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Shaotoro sat down at his table and poured tea for his daughter and son in law. “The government thinks it will get too out of hand?” He said, parsing what they told him down to the easiest part to understand.
“Those are the projections,” Damon said. “The invasion teams will get too numerous for one person like Dieous, and we’ll have to evacuate the city, and possibly destroy it.”
“Is there anything we can do?” Shaotoro asked. “Kyane cannot train any harder than she has been.”
Hinotomi sighed. “She can,” she said. “I don’t like it, but we may have to cut Kyane’s social ties.”
“She will not understand,” Shaotoro said.
“No,” Damon said, “she won’t.” He went to the door. “I will tell her.”
“No, I will,” Hinotomi said. “This needs tact to properly express what the stakes are.”
Their alarms went off as the doorbell rang. The buzzing sounds conflicted in a cacophonous wreck to the eardrums.
The three stopped.
Hinotomi pulled out her phone and checked it. “It’s from Jerry,” she said. “There are two large portal signatures coming in simultaneously.”
Damon checked his phone. Desmond stood in the doorway, he had a bouquet of store-bought sunflowers and roses in his hands, covering his suit and tie. A limousine sat idle in the background. “It’s Kyane’s date.” He looked back at the two. “What do we do?”
“I’ll go get ready to greet one of those portals. Kyane must go to the other as Dieous,” Shaotoro said. “You two must tell her, and her date that she can’t go.”
Kyane’s parents had to bear it.
Desmond tapped his foot and looked around at the house. It was bigger than his, and way nicer. He checked his phone multiple times. He looked back at the limo and saw Harry sticking his head out of the moon roof and waving or making stupid faces. The door opened. Desmond straightened himself up. He forced the flowers forward. “Hey, Mr. Yorotis, I got these flowers for your daughter.”
Damon took them and smelled them. “They’re great. Good job.” He blocked Desmond’s path in. Damon then stepped out and closed the door on his way out. “Look, Kyane can’t go with you to the dance tonight. Something came up.”
“What?” Desmond said, unable to even get that out. “What do you mean? She hasn’t texted me anything about that. Is this about her dumb work thing she does for ya’ll? Why can’t you let her work at McDonald’s like a normal girl.” He took out his phone to demonstrate the wasteland of digital information he was given.
“She doesn’t know yet,” Damon said. “Her Mom is just about to tell her.” He put his hand on Desmond’s shoulder. “I’m sorry man. You seem like a good guy. Maybe we could meet each other formally another night.”
“Ah huh,” Desmond said like a dull thought. “Whatever. Well, have fun.” He opened his phone and sulked away, texting Kyane all the way back to the limo. He ducked in and sunk himself as far as he could into the seat.
“What’s wrong, man?” Harry asked. He was splayed out along the side seat.
“Nothin’.” He sent his message, pocketed his phone and straightened himself back up. “Let’s just go.”
Hinotomi knocked on Kyane’s door. “Come in,” she said. Hinotomi entered and saw Kyane glowing in her electric blue dress and flats. Her hair was in an updo and wore faux sapphire necklace and earrings.
“You look beautiful,” Hinotomi said.
Kyane spun around. “Thanks, I hope Desmond likes it.”
“I’m sure he would have.”
“Yeah,” Kyane said cheerfully. She paused mid-spin then the phrase smacked her upside the head. “What do you mean?” She faced her mom, clutched her hands and marched toward her. Her body shook.
“Desmond would think you are as beautiful as I do right now, if you could go to the gala. But you can’t.”
“Why!? Not?!” Her body trembled more and more. She grabbed her mom’s collar. “I am going!” She felt her cheeks get warm and wet. Salt broke through her closed lips.
“I’m sorry, you can’t. We have two signals matching Nyansa and a sizable platoon. Platoons you haven’t faced alone before.”
Kyane closed her eyes. Tears continued to stream. She felt her kiss with Desmond get torn away by Herreas’s claws. They pierced her just as hard as him. The moment froze. Her phone buzzed. She checks it. Her face sunk in despair. He’s close. She can run. She can get to him and leave. Be gone. “I hate you!” She shoved her mom into the open door and took off down the stairs. The front seam cut gave her just enough room to sprint down the stairs. Through the hallway, and out the door. Desmond was gone. Damon stood sullen on the porch. Kyane ran down the walkway and to the street. She saw the glowing red brake lights of the limousine go further and further into the night. Her knees buckled. She collapsed, holding herself up only by her palms. She heaved and let out a scream.
Kyane looked at the doorway into her house. Her vision was cloudy and wet. She saw her parents stand together. The light hid their obviously hideous smiles as their plan to crush their daughter’s hopes were completed to a rousing success. She picked herself up, brushed off the grass, dabbed her eyes and walked over to her parents. “This is your fault!” she yelled. “You just want to ruin my life! Take away everything I like! Leave me with nothing!”
“Kyan-” her dad began, but he stopped. He couldn’t finish the sentence.
Kyane reached them. She was shorter than them but could easily take them. She could take them now. It would feel great. Take everything from them. “I enjoy doing nothing, you force me to find something to do. You force me to live here, next to terrible neighbors, I get blamed for an accident. I fight bad guys, it’s suddenly a job. I get friends; no, I get a boyfriend maybe, and I lose that because I have to be a hero and fight monsters I don’t know or care about, who have only caused me problems! This is what you were hiding from me! This is your fault.” She grabs their collars. The veins in her arms here popping up. She could easily bash their skulls. It would feel great. She could just call Desmond to get picked up and go about her life, free of pain.
“Kyane, we never wanted-” Hinotomi began to cry.
“Shut up!” Kyane said. She shook them. “I don’t want to talk to you!” She looked away.
Shaotoro stepped into the doorframe. He had on an exercise shirt, loose pants, and flip flops. “What about me?”
“What about you?” Kyane said.
“Is it my fault as well?”
“Yes! No! I don’t know…” Kyane’s voice faded from anger to melancholy.
“I understand,” Shaotoro said. “The thing you don’t understand, Kyane is that there are things you don’t know or see. Those things you blame your parents for are because of your choices, your choices lead to responsibilities you have to keep. That is life, you have to learn that.” He put his hand on her shoulder. She still shook. “I’m sorry it had to be so much harder than it needs to be for someone your age.” He paused. “But the city is counting on you. What your parents were hiding is that projections show if the UDCs keep coming, it will become too much for you and the city will be evacuated and condemned or destroyed. No one wants that.”
She turned back to him and hugged him. Her tears bled through his shirt. He hugged her back. “I hate this! I just want to have fun for a night.”
Damon and Hinotomi joined in the hug. Kyane’s tears shrank and stopped. “You can after you do this one thing,” Damon said.
“We promise,” Hinotomi added.
Kyane pulled away. She took a deep breath, wiped off her face. A look of determination glowed in her eyes. “Time to get to work.”