In the morning, I actually slept in for a bit and when I woke up I found that Orion had gone out and brought in some food. After we ate and started getting ready for the day, I told him I had heard him talking on the phone–though I didn’t say I overheard what was said.
“Dad really wanted to know about Kellen,” Rion explained, pulling his sweatshirt down and smiling at me.
“And what did you tell him?” I asked innocently. “You wouldn’t tell me.”
He reached over and mussed up my hair. “I told him that Kellen was all right. Which he is, if I have to admit it.” He winked. “I just didn’t want to say anything until after I told Dad. He’s really been anxious to hear about the Mysterious Boyfriend. He’s happy and can’t wait to meet Kellen.”
I pulled my hair back, unable to stop from smiling. “I’m hoping that can happen soon.”
Orion nodded and then looked down at his sweatshirt. “I think I’m gonna change…”
“Why?” I asked as he yanked off his shirt and began rummaging through his suitcase.
“No reason,” he replied, pulling on a nicer shirt. “Do I look okay?”
“Yeah,” I grumbled in admittance, knowing full well why he wanted to look nice.
Orion, Milla and I went to a matinee showing at the theater then had an early dinner outside.
The two of them hardly ever stopped chatting and it was nice to see both of them so happy–even if it was because of each other. I rather wished I had invited Kellen along since I felt a bit like a third wheel. But then that might seem like a double date. What if they DO start dating? I wondered, sipping at my drink and watching Rion regale Milla with tales from the police. Least I know they’ll each have someone nice, I thought as Milla began giggling.
As the days passed by, my time was full of work, Kellen, and Milla. Milla seemed rather sad after Orion left but it didn’t take too long for her to cheer up. She did occasionally ask about him but nothing too deep so I figured that it was just a passing fancy.
Work, of course, took up most my time. I was given research projects that were interesting and was even asked by Kay to work on some inventions that would help teach the Ancora kids about various things. Weather, the ocean, stuff like that. I even devised a little tornado in a jar which Kay really liked. I still wasn’t allowed to go to Ancora, though. I kinda wanted too but lab work was all right.
As for Kellen…
Since I spent most the day in that building and was often called in for emergencies, it started getting difficult to separate Kellen and Work.
Really, really, really difficult.
I decided to invite Kellen home with me for Jake’s first birthday party. But before that happened, I knew it was time to tell my family I had a new job. I would be casual about it and answer… most questions, if they really had any. I’d keep my bosses a secret but really–what was there to hide?
So about a month before Jake turned one, I went home since there was something Kyle and Ken wanted to announce. It wasn’t much of a surprise when they said they had gone to the doctors to start treatment for their second child.
I slept on the couch during my time home, to avoid any confrontations with Temp, and on my last night home I asked Ken and Temp to come into the living room since everyone else who lived in the house was already there and I wanted to get this over with.
“You’re not pregnant, are you?” Kyle asked and I glowered.
“NO!” I exclaimed loudly. “I am most certainly not. I do, however, have a new job. I was offered a job at another science facility in Riverview and I accepted the job. It pays well, has great benefits, and stimulates the mind more than my old job.” I folded my arms. There. It was said.
“Another science place,” Temp muttered.
“I think that’s great,” Mom said with a big smile. “You are happy there?”
“Yes,” I said. I was happy for the most part. The only things I didn’t like were my curiosity about Ancora, and having Jay around. “I like it,” I quickly added. “A lot.”
“As long as you are happy, that is what matters,” Mom said.
Dad was nodding. “Your mom’s right.” He looked over at her and she smiled back. I could see the love and respect in their faces and while that used to make me feel weird, now I thought it was so sweet and wondered if Kellen and I would… if we were still together after as long as my parents had been…
“Luna,” Temp said, cutting into my thoughts. “Can we take a walk? I need to talk to you.”
I did not want to go. I wanted to just say no. But then I spotted Dad giving me a look and so I reluctantly agreed.
We got our shoes on and left the house. I stuck my hands in my pockets and remained silent as we began walking down the sidewalk. I wanted to ask her what was up but she remained silent, just walking with a purpose so I merely followed.
I was very surprised when we wound up at the beach. I shivered slightly in the chilly night breeze but remained quiet until my sister began talking.
She turned towards me and frowned. “I’ve been unfair with you.”
I raised my eyebrows in complete surprise. This was not what I was expecting. I opened my mouth but she indicated for me to not say anything so I closed my mouth and looked at her, waiting for more.
“It’s not just the stories Dad told us,” she said. “I mean, that’s part of it. Dad, and Mom. The Reddings.” I quickly looked away when she said that, worried she was somehow able to see into my brain and know who I was working for. “It’s something else. When I was a kid.” She hesitated and then wrapped her arms around herself. “When I was kidnapped. And experimented on.”
“What?” I whispered. “What do you mean?”
Temp shook her head and turned slightly away from me, not looking at me anymore. “These people in masks just grabbed me. I tried to fight them but they pulled me into a van and put a blindfold on me. I screamed but…” She looked out over the waves and sighed. “I was carried around and when the blindfold was taken off of me, I was in this white room–full of people with masks on and white lab coats and all these… machines.
“One of them asked if I was the right one, and the other one said yes. Then they started poking me with needles and scanning me and–” She hunched over even more. “I never… I never told anyone. Not even Mom. I should have. N–not about this. About something else. About why I think they wanted me.”
I bit my bottom lip, unable to speak. Temp was very quiet for several minutes until she turned to stare at me.
“I’m like Mom. Sort of. She–she used to be a doll. That picture Dad painted. In the kitchen?” She waited for a response so I slowly nodded. “I can do that. I can look like that. Well, I used to be able to. I used to–as a kid. I’ve never done it since they hurt me. They wanted me to look like that.” Her arms went around her body and she was now looking down at the sand. “They kept telling me to turn into the doll. They needed to document everything. Lune–I think it was the Reddings.”
I stepped back, my mouth open. “What makes you think that?” I stammered out.
Temp shrugged. “Who else would it be? Who else in this stupid world would know about this sort of thing and want to–want to experiment and document?”
I pressed my lips thin, my heart pounding. I felt so sick and wanted to not believe her. But part of me couldn’t ignore this. “Temp…”
“They let me go,” she continued, ignoring me. “They said they had what they wanted, they patched up the spots where they had put needles into me–there weren’t too many, I think it was just to take blood. And they let me go, telling me nobody would believe me if I said anything. So… I never told anyone.”
I bowed my head, pressing my hand into my forehead. “Temp. Watcher, I–I’m sorry. I never knew. I didn’t…”
“When you started getting interested in science and everything, it terrified me!” she interrupted. “Then when you left for Riverview, all I could think was her blood runs in our veins, runs in you. What if you turned out like her? I was so scared and I… lashed out. I turned my fear into anger and I know now that that was so wrong of me.” She took hold of my shoulders and gave me a half-smile. “You’re you, not her. You’re Luna Danevbie, my little sister. I do love you. And I’m sorry.”
I wanted to cry hearing everything. But I kept my tears back and put my hands on her arms. “I love you too,” I whispered.
“So… truce?” she asked with a bigger smile.
“Of course,” I answered.
And just like that, I had a sister again. Though when I talked to Jay about this, I knew I wouldn’t have a boss.
I didn’t get to confront Jay. I didn’t see her, and I didn’t want to talk to Kay about this. I asked him where his sister was and he just mumbled that she was away on business.
She was ‘away on business’ for quite a long time and before I knew it, Kellen and I were going home for Jake’s birthday. My stomach flipflopped at the thought of him meeting everyone but it went well.
Of course Mom loved him, and he loved Mom. She kept pouncing out at him and linking her arm with his, asking him all sorts of questions. She thought he was wonderful and charming, he told me that she was so beautiful and caring.
He and Kyle got along pretty well, and with Ken. He won them over the moment he started cooing over Jake and congratulated them on the confirmed news that in eight months, Jake would be a big brother.
He and Tempest also got along, though a tad bit more warily than Kyle. Kellen knew my troublesome past with temp–and the makeup–but did his best to befriend her and she, knowing he was a fellow scientist, did her best to be nice back.
Dad took to him quickly. After being given a few intimidating glares and gruff questions, Kellen charmed his way into Dad’s good graces. I found them telling each other jokes and stories. Though there was a moment when the two of them went out on their own for a while. When they returned, Kellen gave me a beaming smile and Dad looked quite cheerful and kept going on about how wonderful Kellen was.
I asked them both what they had talked about but neither would answer me so I decided it was just some guy thing and gave up trying to figure out. Which, as it turned out, was a good thing.
It was a year since his confession of love, which we decided was our anniversary. We went out to eat and then he said he had two places to take me.
“Where we first met,” he chuckled when we went to the junkyard. “Turns out to be one of the best things I ever did, coming here that day.” I smiled at him and he kissed me cheek, pointing at some junk. “Look over there. Notice anything?”
I glanced at the junk and shrugged. “No… why?”
“Go up onto that platform,” he said, nudging me gently.
Giggling and rolling my eyes, I obeyed. I went up onto the porch and looked at the junk. It didn’t take me long to see what he was going on about.
“Is that…” I stopped and tilted my head. “Kellen!” I laughed. “How did you do that?”
“I came in last night and rearranged some stuff,” he said, going over and grinning at me. “I got permission. I couldn’t resist, I know a junkyard isn’t the most romantic place but we did meet here. So I thought it only right to put a heart here, for this is where I found mine.”
“Hmm, it’s a bit crooked,” I teased. “You have a crooked heart.”
He seized me around the waist and spun me around. “You goodly rotten apple!” he said, burying his face into my neck. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” I said, leaning back against him. Then he turned me a bit so he was facing me. He reached up and stroked my cheek gently before kissing me.
“Despite you trying to convince me you were junk and I should leave you alone, I knew you were truly a treasure.” Our eyes met and he kissed me again. “It is true what they say. I found a true treasure here in the junkyard.” I blushed, not sure what to say in return. So I kissed him and then he began pulling me towards the road. “Come on, we should go to our next destination!”
It was the library, the room where we had danced. Kellen was very quiet for a few minutes then cleared his throat. “Now, um, I talked to your dad. About this.”
“About what?” I asked, stupidly.
Kellen kept his eyes on mine as he sank down onto one knee and I felt as though someone had dumped a bucket of icy water on me. Oh, I realized, stunned. About… this…
“You are dearer to me than I could ever put into words,” he said, his voice a bit hoarse. “But I will do my best.”
“Kellen,” I gulped as he reached into his pocket. Oh Watcher, oh Watcher, I kept repeating in my head. This was happening. This was really happening. Oh… oh.
“So dear I love you, that with you all deaths I could endure,” he said, holding up a box. “Without you, there is no life.”
“And I hope that you will accept this,” he continued. “And agree to the joining of our two lives as one. For,” he added, going into another quote, “I would not wish any companion in the world–but you.
I felt like crying and tears did start sliding down my face. My fingers brushed against his as he started to open the box. I wanted to say yes, I wanted to tell him how much I loved him, how much I needed him in my life as well–but my voice wasn’t working. I couldn’t speak.
“Ohhh!” I managed to get out from behind my hands. “Yes. Oh yes, yes!”
His eyes sparkled and the box fell. Blushing, he picked it up, taking the ring out. “Yes?” he croaked out.
“Yes!” I shrieked. “A thousand times yes. You–you are… all I want in this world!”
He took my hand and gently slid the ring onto my finger. “Luna… oh, my Luna. This is truly the happiest… happiest, happiest…” He stumbled on his words and finally gave up on them.
As soon as the ring was on my finger, I wrapped my arms around his neck, falling against him and burying my face into his shoulder as the tears came out. Everything else just drifted away. There was just us, and that was all that I wanted.