The morning of our departure, Es and I woke up early to pack. Then, as we enjoyed our coffee, stood on the deck to relish our last day in paradise. We’d miss the waves crashing on the beach, the smell of the salty air, and the crabs chasing each other in the sand.
Check out time came and after we left the key on the counter, locked the doors on our way out. After the suitcases were loaded into the car, we slid in ready to leave. Unfortunately, my trusty car wouldn’t start.
“Hmmm. I wonder what’s wrong,” I mumbled as I opened the car door. “I had it checked before I left.” I went to the back of the car and opened the hood.
“London, what are you doing?” Es came around and stood next to me. “You don’t know the first thing about cars. Maybe we should walk to the diner, ask about a tow truck and grab brunch.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” I closed the hood. I really didn’t know what I was doing. Es chuckled as she opened the door to grab her purse. We locked the car and started the hike. She caught my hand as the sun shone down upon us. Its warm rays forecasted another hot day.
Once we arrived at the diner, the staff pointed us to the phone along with the number to a local towing company. I paid the extra money to send it to Roaring Heights. I know, expensive, but I wanted the only mechanic it had known to look at it. I just hoped my baby could be fixed. After hanging up, we quickly ate brunch. Then we made arrangements with the local airport since the local car company had no vehicles available.
After the plane took off, we circled over the island. The view was breathtaking! I knew we’d be back again, for a proper honeymoon.
“London, what is that white stuff down there?”
I leaned over in my seat to peer out the window. “I don’t know. They look like clouds over the water. That’s weird. Wait!! I see the top of a roof or something peeking out of one of the clouds!” I couldn’t believe my eyes. “That’s it, Es. We’re coming back. Maybe we can do some snorkeling and discover what it is.”
“Yes!” she squealed and grabbed my hand. “I love a good mystery! Maybe we can be here for a week or two next time. It’ll give us longer to investigate.” The whole trip back I thought of nothing but the mysterious cloud covered areas. I could only guess what lay under the white fluffiness.
We arrived home late, but the car had yet to arrive. The next day, after we’d unpacked and settled in, I sat at my computer staring at the blank screen. Thankfully, the mechanic’s call interrupted.
“London, I’m sorry to tell you this, but your transmission went out again. The last time, I rebuilt it. But it had already been rebuilt before that. It’s had its limit. We’ve also looked into buying a used one from a junk yard, but currently, no one has any. I can try to keep looking, but it could be a few days, a few months or ten years before the part is found. I hate to say this, but I think you need to look into buying a new car.”
My heart sank. I told Frank to keep an eye and ear out for the part, but said I’d pay it to be stored for now. I couldn’t just junk it. My mom had given it to me. “Thanks, Frank. I appreciate you being honest. I’ll make sure you look over any new cars before I buy one.” I hung up.
Es walked in and I told her the news. She appeared a little too excited. “Honey, I’m sorry, but honestly, that rusty bucket should have been gone a long time ago. It’s like a death trap on wheels. The doors wouldn’t even close all the way.”
“But it started every time I needed it to,” I protested.
“Um, yeah, except when we were in Sunlit Tides,” she said as she counted on her fingers, “the one time in that rain storm and a few other times which I could point out.”
“It purred,” I said more quietly, knowing I was losing the battle.
“And now it’s choked on its final hair ball.”
“Let’s find a car that runs and is newer than 1968,” she pleaded. “And, if it makes you feel any better, we can get two vehicles. One can be for you, though I’d appreciate if we could still fit a stroller and a kid inside. And one for me, and I’ll choose a van or suv.”
I perked up a little at the thought of getting a car I’d enjoy. I hated to admit it, but the car did break down frequently. More than I was willing to admit. And, I had been wanting a cd player for awhile instead of the 8-track deck it boasted. Maybe I did need to move on.
Within a few days, we both had chosen vehicles. Frank checked them over and approved. Purchases complete, we drove them home.
The weeks that followed occurred without incident. While I finished writing my book, Es ordered thing for the baby room. She eventually grew bored of that and would work on compositions on her guitar.
Her music became, well, music. I knew she could do anything she put her mind to, but she really began to sound like a pro. I’d leave my door open to let the music drift in, for those moments of needed inspiration.
As the day drew closer for the alien to arrive, I approached Es and told her everything about Ghint. Her immediate acceptance of it, surprised me. I thought she’d freak out, at least a little. When she explained she trusted me, I became apprehensive. Having that responsibility on my shoulders had me debating that last week. I kept thinking that perhaps I’d made a big mistake.
“London, honey, what’s wrong?”
Sitting at the table, a few days later, I had my head in my hands. I hadn’t even noticed her approach. Raising my head, I gave her a forced smile. “Nothing, sweetie. Maybe I’m coming down with something…” was all I could muster.
“No, London. You’ve been jittery and upset ever since you told me about Ghint. I told you I trusted you, but now you’re beginning to scare me. Out with it.” Her face filled with concern.
I didn’t want to tell her any of my thoughts, but I knew she wouldn’t let it go. I sighed and began.
“I’ve been having doubts about the alien coming here. Lots of thoughts flying through my brain as to why it’s a bad idea. Maybe I should meet him at the door and ask him to leave,” I said biting my lip.
“No, I don’t think so, London. If they were going to do something to us, they already would have. I mean, they know where we live. Is that what you mean?“
I nodded slowly. That had been my thought.
“And another thing,” she continued, “they didn’t want to disturb our wedding. No one even saw them except you. And, last but not least, they had the respect to wait a full month after we married.” Es raised her arms in the air. “It just doesn’t make sense that they’ve come to harm us. I think they want something else. Maybe you’re just scared,” she suggested.
“I’m not scared of them,” I sputtered. I got up and walked into the living area. “Esmeralda, I welcome them. You know I’ve been waiting for this day and…”
“researching them for a long time….” we said in unison. My head jerked towards Es. She smiled, but seemed annoyed. I guess she’d heard me say that before.
“Look, London,” she reasoned as she followed me,“I know you may not seem scared, but maybe you’re worried about the answers they’ll bring regarding your chemical makeup. I know I would be, especially if I were about to have a…” Her voice drifted off quietly, “…baby.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, no,” she breathed out as her eyes misted. “What if…what if…oh, my…the baby.” She burst into tears.
“I know, honey, I know,” I just held her as we collapsed on the couch. Curling up against me, she cried her fears out. Now, my burden was being shared, and I hated it.
When her tears were spent, she slowly untangled herself. “Well, I don’t care if you’re anxious or not.” She pushed herself off the couch as her voice got stronger. “We have to talk to them,” she stated as she paced the room. “We have to find out if our baby will even survive or will have some kind of permanent damage.” She stopped and hung her head. “What were we thinking?” She sighed and leaned against the wall.
“Look, Es. Let’s not beat ourselves up for this. What’s done is done. We can’t change it.” It killed me to see her all upset like this. I knew if I tried to hug her right now, she’d push me out the door. Possibly even throw me across the road.
Instead I offered, “Like you said, they respected us. Maybe we’ll find out why I was born this way. Maybe the baby will have issues, but most likely, he or she will not. Let’s not get any more upset by this. It’ll work out.”
“I can’t help it. I’m not sure why I’ve never thought of this. I guess I’m just so used to your skin, it never occurred to me.”
“But, Es, look at me.” Her swollen eyes sought mine. “I am blue, but I’m healthy. I’ve barely been sick my entire life. Maybe, just maybe, even if the baby was born blue, he or she would be healthy. We have no evidence to think otherwise.”
She stared at me. Her eyes twitched a little, the only evidence that her mind processed my words. After a few minutes, she plopped on the couch very unladylike.
“I know.” She sighed, fiddling with her wedding ring. “I know you’re right, London. I know it in my brain. But, I still worry.”
“I know, baby. It’s okay,” I took her hand and held it firmly as I continued, “Look, as long as we can continue to remember that those who have been born with blue skin were healthy, no one died, and no one had permanent damage, then we should stay calm.”
Es leaned forward. “See, that is what I don’t understand. Why would they do it then? What is the point of the blue skin?” Her voice had calmed down as she ticked through the questions.
“I’m not sure. Maybe that is why he is coming to talk to us? It would make sense.”
“Well, you have already written a book about them,” she spoke slowly as she talked it out. “Maybe they read it and want to talk. Hmm…I hope they liked it.” She seemed serious for a moment, but then giggled.
“Hmm…well, that’s an interesting thought. Thanks.” My voice dripped with sarcasm. “Hopefully, my book is not the reason for their visit. Yikes, I hope they did like it.” I shivered a little.
“Oh, honey, I was only kidding.” She patted my hand. “We have a few more days. Let’s finish our list of questions and then we’ll be ready for him.” She seemed far more confident than I did.
My phone rang as we concluded the list. Romeo’s numbered displayed on my phone, so I answered. He stated they had samples ready for testing. I agreed to come in the next day.
In the morning, I kissed Es goodbye and drove to the bakery. Inside, Romeo stood at the counter, helping a customer. The place smelled like fresh baked bread with a hint of blackberry jam. My mouth watered.
He waved me back and we walked through the double doors. Instead of walking down the hall we had weeks ago, we took a left this time. We strode past the kitchen staff and into another room. Another kitchen, to be exact. Trays lined the walls on carts. One cart sat next to the counter. My mind imagined all sorts of goodies. Next to the cart, the counter held pens and several questionnaire notepads.
As I entered, Romeo asked everyone else to come in. Six other men and women walked in from another room and surrounded one side of the counter.
“Welcome to our Test Kitchen, ladies and gentlemen! We appreciate all of you taking the time out of your busy schedule to help us test these new products. We will do this every quarter, if you would like to participate.
“Each recipe you will try is either a new recipe or one that we put a twist on. We want to keep our old stand-by’s that sell well, but would love to introduce new things, too. It keeps the bakery fresh and alive!
“This is how it will work. Each area has a new item. They haven’t been named yet. We will not give out the ingredients. We don’t want trick your mind in anyway. We need a pure thought process. So, grab a plate and fork, then take a sample, one at a time,” he said and pointed to the pile on the table in the middle of the room.
First, look at it. What are your first thoughts on it? Is it eye catching? Do you like the way it is presented? Does it look appetizing?
Next, cut a small piece off it and put it in your mouth. Don’t just swallow it. Take your time. Move it over your taste buds or whatever you do to savor your food. What do you taste? Are the flavors distinct? Is one flavor stronger than another? Do the flavors collide nicely?
Finally, swallow it. Is the after taste pleasant? Is the texture pleasing?
When you’re done, answer those questions along with a few others that are on the paper. At the bottom, there’s an area for any additional comments or notes.”
I processed everything he said and grew suddenly unexcited. “I have homework? You failed to mention this part.”
Romeo laughed. He put his hand on my shoulder. “Well, I may have hidden one or two things from you.” He smirked at me. “And you did agree, so no backing out now,” he stated in a sing-song voice.
“Yeah, I suppose not. I hope you are happy with yourself, you crafty man.”
Romeo took the samples and spread them around the room. I grabbed a pencil and questionnaire along with a plate and fork. I watched as the others picked their starting places. I chose one further away to start. I had never done anything like this and felt a bit foolish. They all looked like pros at this.
The instructions were clear and concise, which made it easier. I tasted each one slowly with a few bites.
In between each sample, I drank some water to clear my pallet. Then wrote my answers down. I wasn’t thrilled with all the questions, but I did have fun trying everything. Maybe when we were done, I could try a bigger sample of my favorite.
“Romeo, don’t ever let our chef go,” I surmised as I added my completed questionnaire to the pile. Obviously, I knew nothing about testing, but I enjoyed every bite of the samples. Maybe too much since the others had finished long ago.
“Well, that’s not my plan,” he said, chuckling. “Katarina has known Chef Louise for a long time. Apparently, they grew up together. I met her when we visited Kat’s parents a few years ago in Monte Vista. Louise had recently moved back there.”
“When we told her our plan to open a bakery, she surprised us by asking if she could interview for a job. I told her we would let her know once we started. Like you, once I tried her samples, I knew her pastry abilities beat all the other interviewees.”
“Well, I’m impressed!” I raved as I walked to the doors. “I’m looking forward to the next tasting already. Hey, before I go, do you want to join me for a slice of banana bread?”
Romeo laughed. “London, you just ate all those samples.”
“Yeah, but they were just samples. I have plenty of room for a delicious slice of my favorite bread.”
“True, London, very true,” his laughter filled the kitchen. “I suppose I could join you.” As we walked out of the kitchen, Romeo locked the door behind him. The secrecy of the kitchen surprised me. I guess it made sense, though. You never wanted competition to come in and steal your recipes.
Once we got our slices, we sat down near the window. Conversation turned to the twins, which were growing far faster than Romeo and Kat expected. Romeo asked about Es and the baby. We talked a little about the alien. I glanced at my watch as I took a sip of water, almost choking on it. We had been sitting there for an hour.
“Oh, man! I need to go.” I jumped up from my seat as Romeo chuckled and said goodbye.
When I arrived back home, Es sat on the couch, relaxing and reading a book. She looked up as I walked in.
“The food must have been delicious.” She chuckled and shut her book.
“Oh, I’m SO sorry! The time flew. Did you know I had homework?” She raised her eyebrow as she tried to hide her smile. “Yes! I’m telling the truth. I had to fill out this questionnaire.” I filled her in on the rest of my experience.
“Well, I’m glad you had fun, but now I need your help.”
“Oh, yeah,” I said as I sat down beside her. “What are you reading?”
“A baby book recommended to me by your mom. That’s not what I need help with, though. I have a basket of laundry upstairs that I need to do. However, I filled it up a little heavier than I meant to. Could you please bring it down to the laundry room?”
“Of course, my love,” I proclaimed as I jumped up off the couch. I brought up my arm and flexed my muscle. “I, your strong sexy man, will carry your laundry basket and save the day.”
Es rolled her eyes and laughed. “You’re sometimes a bit too much, but I love you anyway. The basket is upstairs in our bedroom. Thanks, honey!”
I brought the laundry basket down and she gave me a kiss for the work. I felt I deserved a little more. After all, I saved the day!
Instead, I plopped myself in front of my computer to do some editing. My latest novel had few more rewrites, then it would be finished.
When I awoke the next morning, I could hear the rain against the windows. “Appropriate for alien day,” the words came out before I could stop them.
I took a shower and then sat down at my computer. I looked over our list one more time and then printed it out. I grabbed it, added it to my pile and walked out to the living area.
I sat on the couch and dumped my stack of papers on the coffee table. It included the list along with several folders filled with everything collected over the years. Es came over, leaned down and put her hands on the back of the couch. “We’re ready, London. I think we’ll survive. In fact, I’m actually excited.”
“Really? I feel like our first month of marriage has been far more than most could handle.”
“Yeah, it has been pretty overwhelming,” she put her hands over her stomach, “but I have a good feeling about it. Like we’re in the right place kind of thing.”
I nodded, I understood, though I didn’t feel the same. “I’m glad you feel it. Maybe your feelings will come over and jump into my body, too.”
Es laughed, then walked around the couch. A knock sounded at the door. She looked at me. I nodded and we both walked to the door together.
Ghint stood on the other side of the doorway. Completely visible, he greeted us with a wave. This time, his ship wasn’t parked on the road.
“Good afternoon! Please come in!” Es allowed him to walk into the room, then shut the door.
Es asked him if he wanted anything to drink or eat. He declined. I wasn’t sure he even enjoyed the same things we did or if he even ate similar food. For all I knew he ate metamorphic space rock or something even stranger.
He shook our hands in a warm, friendly way. My previous fear began to disappear.
“Please, Ghint, have a seat.” He sat down on one couch, while we chose the other. I wasn’t sure if I needed to begin or if he would. We sat in silence while Ghint took in his surroundings.
After a few minutes, he spoke.
“Thank you for meeting with me. And, yes, London, before you ask, the ship is in the woods hidden away. It is still invisible, but I did not want to take any chances of it being found. And, again, I am invisible. However, knowing you and your wife would be sitting with me, I included her in the programming of my suit. This is full body visual. I believed it to be less distracting.” We nodded as he continued.
“First, London, I wanted you to know that your book has helped our people tremendously. Overall, we as an alien nation are slowly becoming more accepted. We know it will be a long time until full acceptance, but we believe it will happen. Of course, there will always be those who disapprove, dislike or are ignorant. However, you have shown most of the world that being different is not bad with your book, My Colored Life.
Those, including yourself, who have been our experiments have helped us more than you will ever understand. Our future is more secure than it ever has been because of you. Our testing has gathered valuable information. Those results have saved our people and will continue to aid in our quest to succeed.” He stopped, letting it sink in.
I didn’t say anything. How could I? My book somehow helped save a whole race. Helped them to survive. From what, I had no clue.
“Well, honestly, I’m shocked,” I replied finally. “I wrote the book to help me process my life and the others who were affected. I never dreamed it would help a whole other race.” I looked into Ghint’s almond shaped eyes. “I have so many questions, though. One more important than any other currently: Es is pregnant, will the baby be….healthy?”
Ghint smiled and said, “Yes. In fact, it will be a normal sim baby. The process we use is never transferred to the next generation.”
We breathed a sigh of relief and hugged one another. “So, is that all you came to tell us? If so, I have a list of questions,” I leaned over to pick it up.
“No, I came to ask you a question. I promise I will answer your questions, but it won’t be today. Our question: would you write another book about us?”
“What?” I squeaked out. The questions abandoned my mind as I gawked at the alien. “But I have no more information. What I wrote originally, mostly detailed my life experience and the little knowledge we had at the time.”
“I have been given permission to share more information,” he gestured towards a folder on the coffee table. I hadn’t seen it before. Man, they can make things appear any time, couldn’t they? He continued, “You will have access to it when I leave. Also, what you wrote in the first book helped introduce us, which was far more important than the details. To help guide you for the next book, I want to tell you my story. We feel the way for complete acceptance is to share with your world, our world. My story will do that.”
“You have a world?” I asked in utter disbelief. Something niggled in the back of my brain. It didn’t come quickly, so I pushed it back into the recesses.
“Yes, the name of my planet is Tetor. We have lived there for what has seemed like centuries. The book would be more information about us along with our planet, our people and the story behind our experiments. The full story.
“You are a published novelist. Your popularity along with your writing skills are a perfect combination for what we need. The packet you will look at when I leave, includes documents along with some photos of our planet. Please take your time looking through everything and thinking about this. It is a very important decision, to us and to your planet as well.” He stood up.
“Of course. I, er, we will give it great thought and consideration.” I stood up, feeling rushed.
“Some of the documents have information that may answer some of your questions,” he said as he walked to the door. “Other answers will be found within my story. I apologize for leaving so quickly. A situation has developed that demands my immediate attention. I will contact you in due time.” He shook our hands before I could even reply and left.
I stood stunned in the middle of my living room. Was that real? Did that just happen? I pinched myself. “Ow!”
“Yes, honey, it was real,” she laughed as she sat down on the couch again. “I hope everything is alright. Ghint sure seemed in a hurry to leave,” Es said as she picked up the packet and moved to the kitchen table. She emptied the contents of the folders on the table as I sat down across from her.
Together we looked through everything. We took our time. First we looked at the photos. They were all different, but showed different aspects of his planet. To us, it looked like Ghint had pulled them together from difference sources.
The planet resembled Earth in many ways. As we studied the photos, we pointed out differences between our planet and theirs or things we noticed.
Once we finished, I picked up the folder and began to read while Es continued studying the photos.
“Woah!” I blurted out as I read the folder in my hands, which surprisingly was in simlish.
“What?” Es said as she looked up from a picture.
“It says here that they have two suns. They sit next to each other and run parallel.”
“Wow! I wonder how that works.”
“I don’t know. It doesn’t really explain it. Maybe the suns are smaller than our one is and they need extra heat. It’s interesting nonetheless.”
“Well, none of the pictures include any suns that I can see. Maybe their suns are dangerous to look at like ours.” Es continued flipping through the photos. Silenced occupied the room as we continued our examination.
Suddenly, I made a gasping sound. “Es, I think I found part of the reasoning for the experiments!”
Es put her photos down to listen.
“According to this, a time machine appeared and sims from Earth arrived to explore Tetor. It seems the machine could be used to travel into the future or the past. Eventually, after some kind of long fight with the government, sims started to marry the aliens and have babies. Thus, creating a new species. They were born with blue skin! Like me!” I looked at Es as her jaw dropped.
“Wow, London! This is what you’ve been waiting for! Keep reading!”
I stared at the paper and continued, “No one really anticipated a new species, which to me is surprising. After the first baby was born, concern emerged. The babies seemed healthy enough, but a research team developed nonetheless. They hoped to determine what, if any, products or medicines would be needed for this new life.
“After a small amount of time, they found sims grew faster than aliens. So, they cloned the new species’ DNA and traveled to Earth to experiment. Careful research determined the exact parameters needed for a successful implant. That’s why a scan of the mother was completed before any implantation. They inserted the DNA into the baby BEFORE it was born. It didn’t matter what stage as the cloned DNA took over immediately. The character of the child remained, but the physicality was that of the new species.
“These babies were exact replicas of their new species.” I stopped reading.
“Es, this means that I’m part alien.”
Es remained silent, thinking. Then, almost when I couldn’t handle it anymore, she replied, “But, London, you don’t have any alien characteristics. Does it say anything about the differences between the new species and aliens?”
“Yeah, according to this, the sim eyes were dominant, they had hair and also grew like regular sims.”
“Well, that explains it! Is it bad that you’re part alien?”
“I’m not sure. I’ve heard stories of others going into the future. So, I believe what I’m reading. It’s just a lot to take in,” I paused as I stared at the ceiling in thought. “I do already have a few ideas on how to start the book they want me to write.”
“So, you think you will write it?”
“I’m not sure yet. I want to finish reading everything.”
“What else does it say?”
“Basically, the rest says they scanned each child once a week and sent the reports to their headquarters. Eventually, after the lengthy experiments, the team discovered there was no need for alarm. Nothing needed to be done. The new species seemed to be healthier than a regular sim or alien and there was no lasting effects,” I finished as I put the folder down. “Well, I guess that’s good news and lines up with what I know.”
After a few minutes of hearing the clock ticking, Es spoke up, “London?”
“Yeah?” She stood up and walked behind me.
“You know I don’t care whether your alien or sim, right? I married you because I love you for you, no matter what?”
I relaxed as she touched me. “I know. I may need that reminder a few more times until I get used to the idea.“ I kissed her hand. “The scientists never suspected this in their research. They just thought it was some skin pigment alteration. Boy, are they going to be shocked by this.”
Well, what a revelation! And, we’ve not even discovered everything yet. I know some may be disappointed about no more blue babies. 😦 London wanted it to be his story alone. 😉 And anyway, I already have a plan for the next generation that will make you forget blue babies (at least I hope).
Also, I feel like the pictures came out really good this chapter. Like, the seemed to fit the story better than I usually can get them. I truly hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed putting it together! 😡
I’d love to have your feedback and guess as to what could be coming. :-O
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