Arabesque looked at Sven. She looked back at the clock again and then once more around the room. Her eyes returned to Sven and she gave a sleepy smile.
“I should…uh…probably be going now, I guess…” she muttered.
Truth be told, she was beginning to feel quite nervous about this whole affair. It would be her first time on a plane—her first time in an airport even. And who knew what her mom was going to be like? It was difficult to suppress the fear that there was a very deliberate reason for her hardly ever seeing her daughter. Could it simply be that she did not want her?
But it would be wrong to back out now. For whatever reason—be it mere politeness or genuine welcome—Alex had invited her home (if it could even be called that), and Arabesque would go. Not everyone was as lucky as she.
Advena remained by the desk. She pulled the chair out from under it and took a seat.
Since they were now all together, and since she had apparently decided what she wanted to do…would now perhaps be a good time to begin planning? Early she had asked to wait a day, but now she wasn’t so sure. If what she had in mind was going to work, she couldn’t risk any sort of suspicion from the people back home, meaning she had to send them word tonight, just as she had been doing thus far.
If Luka and Monn didn’t want to talk about it just yet, so be it. She would try anyway.
“So, uh…I was thinking…” She began, trying to still sound at least somewhat lighthearted. “I was thinking that it might not actually be best to wait until tomorrow before doing anything more with this little fiasco we’ve got brewing. And I thought of something we could try, if you guys like the idea.”
Sven nodded, still staring at his coffee for a second before sighing and standing, looking her over. "Should I call a cab for you or something?" he asked, leaning on the table.
He could see the fear on he rface though she was trying to hide it, and he gave her a small smile of reassurance.
"Hey," he murmured, for a moment back to how he used to be - with bright green eyes and an easy smirk. "You'll be fine."
Luka's brow rose as he watched Advena with a hint of disdain. Obviously he still didn't trust her, considering the fact that her entire species was trying to kill off his own.
Monn, on the other hand, seemed eager to hear her out. "Oh? And that idea would be..?" This should be interesting.
Arabesque returned the look. Instinctively, she took a step closer to Sven.
“I sure hope I will,” she muttered, leaning in to kiss him quickly on the cheek. “And thanks for offering, but I don’t need a cab.”
Her bus would be arriving in less than fifteen minutes, which meant she was already behind schedule… But wouldn’t it be nice to stay there for just a little while longer? As soon as things were beginning to look up, she had to take off.
Arabesque smiled regretfully before pulling away. “I’ll call you, okay?” She mumbled, turning to dart quickly out the door.
In response to Luka’s obvious distaste, Advena tilted her chin up haughtily.
“I was thinking of having the people back home launch a surprise attack at your area of highest weakness.” She announced. “Or, at least making them believe that they were. Because honestly, there just isn’t going to be any way to avoid a fight. But we definitely have plenty of opportunities to get the upper hand.” Advena smirked and leaned back against the desk. “If they think that they are catching you guys off guard, you have the perfect opportunity to surprise them. All you’d have to do is name a date, place, and call in reinforcements. I could even tell you about the weapons they’d be using, as well as some of the strategies they might employ.” Her smirk grew. “The military trained on the same base as me—which was quite an oversight on their part, don’t you think?”
"You better call me, young lady," Sven called, his voice mockingly serious.
And then she was gone.
Sven simply watched the door. What was this feeling, like he was expecting her to come back already? His brow furrowed, and he sighed at himself; how pathetic he must've seemed.
She was coming back soon enough.
"I like it!" Monn announced almost immediately, grinning.
Luka rolled his eyes at him. "Warren, you'd like anything she says." He smirked at Monn's very faint blush, and glanced back at Advena.
Man, she was short.
"It's honestly not a bad idea," he admitted, sipping his coffee. "But do you think they'll fall for it? I know I probably wouldn't. But you know, that's just me. The extremely messed up me."
((I’m going to skip past the part where Arabesque is traveling, if you don’t mind. We can just assume she somehow made it on the plane in time. :P))
Arabesque exited the plane in a crowd of hurried travelers. She was pushed and bumped around by them for a while, but they quickly dispersed to claim their luggage. Since she only had a few bags, Arabesque had brought all of them on board with her.
Now all she needed to do was find Alex. He had to sit in a seat pretty far behind hers, and she had lost him in the confusion. But he probably had a bag to find, so she decided to linger in that area for a while. Hopefully one of them would catch sight of the other and they could be on their way.
Did he have a car waiting somewhere? Probably, but Arabesque had no idea how long of a drive it would be until they made it to wherever their mom was. Hopefully not too long, as she had the feeling it would be somewhat awkward.
Advena shrugged. “I don’t,” she answered curtly. “But let me know if you have a better idea.”
She folded her hands in her lap, wanting something to hold on to but trying not to let her nerves show through. This was not something they could afford to mess up
“The thing is, if we do decide to go with this, then we need to act pretty quickly. I told them I would try to send word at least once a day, and if I don’t today, they might get suspicious.”
[That's fine xD ]
Today was basically just another day at work. Well, exacept for the fact that Arabesque was gone, but other than that, life carried on. It was as if the rest of the world didn't seem to notice she was even gone.
Sven found that a little depressing. John had actually found a part-timer to work Arabesque's shift, and she wasn't nearly as pretty in Sven's eyes. And she wasn't the greatest waitress, either.
People were oging ot be very happy when Arabesque returned, that was for sure.
Luka sighed, finally allowing himself to sit on the bed, though he still kept a fair distance from Monn.
This was getting stupid. Stupid aliens, stupid invasions, stupid war plans that probably wouldn't work...
"So we honestly have no way to make some kind of peace with them?" Monn asked, earning an eyeroll from Luka.
"Of course not. If that was an option, we wouldn't be discussing strategies, genius."
Arabesque sat in the front seat of Alex’s Civic. It was an older model, and by no means luxurious, but she thought it was quite nice. He was driving quietly, which was how he did just about everything. Arabesque had already failed many times at making conversation.
“We should be there in around ten minutes.” he muttered after an uncomfortably long period of silence. “I’ll probably just stay for dinner before heading back home, but I think Mom has her guest room all ready for you.”
“Sounds great!” Arabesque replied cheerily.
Alex didn’t really know if he was supposed to keep talking, but he really didn’t want to, so he elected to shut up. As the car trip drug on, he was feeling increasingly more guilty about the whole scenario. And to tell the truth, it began much earlier than that. Now was just the first time he was unable to ignore it.
As a child, he had not really been able to understand why he hardly ever saw Arabesque. Now he knew. It made him angry to think that their mother had allowed all those years of abuse to go on without intervening, and even angrier to think of how quickly she had given Arabesque up for dead. But the worst part was that he had never even thought of looking for her. There she had been, his sister, and he didn’t even care.
Alex knew he was supposed to love her. Yet, she was still just a stranger—and the source of quite a bit of inner conflict for him. She seemed so excited, and he only felt fatigue.
Advena gave an exaggerated shrug. When she spoke, her words dripped with sarcasm.
“Oh I don’t know. I’m sure that would go over just perfectly. Because there is no way any of my beloved warmongers would take the opportunity to blindside the entire human race. And I’m sure you guys would never even consider locking us up in a zoo somewhere. Oh no, of course not—we are all far too civil for any of that.”
She glared angrily at no one in particular, but felt a little bad about her snappy response. Probably only because it was Monn who had asked.
Advena tried to soften her tone. “Listen, I’m sorry to say this, but I really don’t think there is going to be any way to avoid violence.”
Sven stared at the tray. It was empty, of course; everyone he'd been waiting on already had everything they needed, and he'd checked every table twice to refill water or something else.
But this tray...
He shook his head, set it back on the kitchen counter. It was hopeless. This thing was scuffed beyond repair, and his mild OCD was turning into some kind of clean-spotless-absolutely-perfect disease. His forehead thunked onto the countertop; this was hopeless.
This was Arabesque's fault. She knew by now that he needed routine to survive. And now she was gone, and his entire life was thrown into disarray. What the h.ell was he supposed to do now? Die at the hands of this merciless imperfection-intolerance?
No. Because no doubt the mortician would mess up and make his body imperfect when laying him into the casket.
Monn winced slightly at the harsh sarcasm. Seriously? Were Luka and Advena ganging up on him suddenly? He hoped not...
"See?" Luka said matter-of-factly. "I told you so, Warren."
"Yeah, yeah..." Monn rolled his eyes. Luka was such a jerk. "I'm so sorry I'd rather not have innocent people die, okay? Don't worry, I'll make sure tons do, in the worst ways possible." Great, now their sarcasm was rubbing off on him.
((Sorry I have been so sporadic lately. :/ I will try to do better.))
Alex and Arabesque pulled into the driveway of a small, but pleasant, suburban home. It had a little flowerbed next to the mailbox, and one scrawny looking tree out front. The general impression was that of polite, if not drab, normality.
“Well, here we are.” Alex announced, already halfway out of the car.
He went around back to get Arabesque’s bags out of the trunk. You would think that someone who was used to traveling all the time would have at least one normal suitcase, but all she had were totes. Alex was annoyed by the impracticality of this decision. Still, he took them all obligingly and waited for Arabesque to follow him up to the house.
She got out and met him where he was. Her excited smile had not left her face, but it had dulled a little at the site of the house.
“Let me carry those.” She half offered/half commanded as she took the bags from Alex.
The pair headed towards the front porch—both somewhat reluctantly. Arabesque noticed Alex’s hesitation and mirrored it with her own, more nervous variety. Alex was wondering when he could go back home and get some actual work done.
Advena let out a sharp breath.
“Well I don’t know what else to do! As much as I’d like to be idealistic, mere principles don’t save lives. If you want as few people dead as possible, you need to stop this invasion. And if you want to stop this invasion, you do it with violence.”
She shook her head. “The kinds of people we are dealing with are ones who have literally been trained their whole lives to hate humans. They aren’t going to go for any sort of peace treaty nonsense.”
This was her first time disagreeing with Monn, and Advena hated talking to him like this, but she didn’t know how else to get her point across.
[That's alright! :) ]
"And, like, ohmygosh, she was so. Freaking. Annoying. So I was like..."
Sven nodded slowly.
So, who exactly was the annoying one here..? No, certainly not the moron standing next to him chattering away like a lunatic. Of course not her.
Why did John hire this woman again? Sure, she was young, and kinda pretty, and got the job done...
But she was sooooooo annoying. Beyond belief.
Sven continued nodding, pretending to listen as he polished silverware or glasses or whatever else needed polished. He's never realised till now how boring this was. At least at the circus there was absolutely no routine except for your performance. New places, new people...
But no. He was stuck here. With the most annoying girl in the world.
Monn huffed irritably. "Fine. Let's just go with your plan then; catch them when they least expect it."
"But it isn't that simple," Luka murmured, tossing his now empty coffee cup into the trash can by the desk. "We still have to plan, gather up the military - which means readying every single military force on earth, just in case - and we have to inform everyone of higher rank than us of all this information and of our plans, which they might not even approve. All in a matter of days."
Well, this sucked majorly. Monn groaned softly, burying his face in a pillow as he layed there. "Guess we better get on it, then..."
Alex rang the doorbell and stepped aside to wait. Arabesque shifted her weight from foot to foot nervously.
Shortly, they heard footsteps, and it wasn’t too long before the door opened to reveal a short, fair skinned woman. She had light brown hair, a soft face, and somewhat slumping posture. The only characteristic she seemed to share with Advena (or Alex, for that matter) was her eyes.
“It’s so good to see you!” She announced, smiling brightly.
Alex nodded and walked past her into the house. “Good to see you too, Mom.” He muttered. Alex retained his tightlipped manner, but something about it seemed just a tiny bit more open.
Arabesque didn’t know what to do. She gave her mom an awkward hug and said something about how long it had been or how nice it was to see her again or something like that. They both seemed equally uncomfortable.
Advena stared up at the ceiling. “Yeesh…”
She couldn’t mention anything about a ‘surprise attack’ to the people back home until the people here approved the idea, which put her at a big risk of sending the information too late. But what else could she do?
Plus, now she had a whole different issue to contend with. It wasn’t too difficult to avoid being killed by two humans, but if the entire military knew about her, who was to say a few of them wouldn’t think it safer for her to be dead? At this point, she was not so indispensable.
“How soon can you call whoever it is you need to call?” Advena asked.
Sven swore he was about to slap the woman. And it wasn't often - practically never, really - that he'd ever even think about laying a hand on a girl, except in that flirtacious way he had.
But this... This constant blabbering... nonstop chatter... This had to end sometime, didn't it?
Where was Arabesque right now? Still on the plane? At her mom's house already? What was she doing? Was she okay? The plane didn't crash, did it?
"Hey!" The girl - Sven hadn't even thought to remember her name - poked him lightly on the shoulder, making him jump. "Are you even listening?"
With his usual smile and a cheerful "Of course!" the chatterbox started going on once again.
"To call everyone we need to call and tell them everything they need to know?" Luka shrugged. Starting now, probably tomorrow afernoon." Man, he was already craving some more coffee... Darn caffeine addiction.
"Actually, more like tomorrow evening, depending on who you call, and what you decide is important enough for them to know," Monn corrected, his voice still somewhat muffled by the pillow. "Plus..."
"They're all going to be wondering about you, of course," Luka continued Monn's thought. "Why you're here, what the heck are you, what to do with you, whether they can trust you... Y'know."
Before too long, Arabesque found herself seated at a table with Alex and her mom. In front of each of them was a plate of what appeared to be some sort of chicken casserole. Their mom poured them each a glass of water.
They ate in silence for a moment. Arabesque soon began to feel awkward, and attempted to start some sort of conversation. But all she could think to say was “Food’s great, mom.”
“Oh, I’m glad you like it.”
Silence resumed and Arabesque fidgeted uncomfortably. Alex seemed completely at ease. He was such a quiet person that it was only natural for him to not be bothered, so perhaps their mother was like that as well.
Eventually, she made a comment of her own.
“Now Arabesque, tell me where you’ve been for all these years. Alex mentioned something about a circus…is that really true?”
Her voice was sweet, but also somewhat condemning. Clearly she did not approve of what she had heard, yet did not want to say so directly.
“Yeah uh, I was a, uh, performer. I did the trapeze and tightrope...mostly.” Arabesque smiled weakly. Her mom just nodded.
“I figured that would be an issue.” Advena muttered.
Perhaps annoyance was not the most appropriate emotion for the situation, but it was all Advena felt. There was always another roadblock. So far, it seemed as though there was no good course of action—only the lesser of two evils. And now they were expected to get the government involved in such a controversial matter.
“If you think it’s best to lie to them, then by all means be my guest. But I think you should just be honest. If they want to lock me up somewhere, you might as well let them.” She chuckled a little, despite the situation. “This feels way too much like something from a movie.”
The fact of the matter was, even if they decided to leave her alone for the time being, she would probably wind up killed or in jail by the end of the invasion. If her species won, they would execute her for treason. If the humans won, well…she wasn’t quite sure what would happen.
“Anyway, you should probably start making the calls now.” Advena smirked “And I wanna listen in.”
Maybe if he just stabbed her...
Sven shook the thought away, trying to keep his focus on polishing the knives in front of him.
The idiot just wouldn't shut up! Suddenly, stabbing her didn't seem like such a bad idea after all... H.ell, he had a knife in his hand already...
No! He squeezed his eyes shut. Why couldn't he just deal with this? He'd delt with annoying girls before, plenty of times. So why was this time so unbearable?
He held back a sigh. Of course - it was because Arabesque wasn't here. He let his eyes open, but this time he didn't even try to smile. Those green eyes that were once so bright and full of life were now dull, practically emotionless as they glared down at the shiny metal.
"Well of course we're telling them the truth," Luka said, rolling his eyes. As if lying was actually a possibility here... "If you go to jail or die, well, sucks for you, right?"
"What?" Monn was sitting up now, staring up at Luka with an expression of almost horror. "You can't just say that! You act like she's some criminal..."
Luka raised a brow. "In my book? She is a criminal. Or at least close. She came here to help them, Warren." He sighed as Monn winced. "Now. Quit acting like this is some Romeo and Juliet thing and get to work. Those calls won't make themselves." He swung the door open, beckoning Advena to follow, and Monn reluctantly stood.
The conversation continued in a similar manner. Arabesque’s mother would ask something, Arabesque would answer, polite disapproval would be shown, and silence would continue. It seemed that nothing Arabesque could say would please her.
“Where have you been living?”
“In an apartment with my boyfriend.”
“You share an apartment?”
“Yeah, but we aren’t, uh, sleeping together or anything like that.”
Her mom raised an eyebrow.
“Oh, I see.”
Alex remained quiet, listening to it all. Whatever genes Arabesque had gotten, he certainly had none of. She seemed so reckless. Then again, what was he to expect from someone with her upbringing? What this girl really needed was a bit of structure.
Ignoring Luka’s comment about her being a criminal, Advena followed him to the door. As far as she was concerned, it didn’t really matter what he thought. What mattered were these phone calls, and she was quite curious to see how they would turn out.
“If they do put me in jail, fifty bucks says I can break out in less than a week.” she grumbled sarcastically.
Of course, she didn’t really think she would be able to, and expecting nothing more than mere jail time was probably a bit too optimistic. Still, getting upset now would do her no good.
“Tell me we get to call the President or something cool like that.” she joked. “That’d sure be fun.”
What's-her-name sighed. "And then, like, he just went and broke up with me. With me! Can you believe that? Like, WTF, right?"
Did she seriously just use texting lingo? Sven could only stare down at the fork in his hand in utter disbelief. This girl was a total moron!
How many times had he polished this same exact fork? Probably too many times. Taking a very deep breath, he set it back in it's place. No need to make things overly shiny...
Once out in the hall, Luka looked pointedly over at Monn, who sighed and headed down to his station in the building.
"C'mon," Luka muttered, glancing down at Advena and trying not to wince at the sight of Rinna's shirt. That had been one of her favorites, actually...
He shook the thought away, leading her upstairs to the room he spent most of his boring day in, where a single long desk was filled with screens, each showing different views of the building. Sinking into his computer chair, he tapped one screen. "That's your room, by the way."
When dinner was finally over, Alex said his obligatory “goodnight”s and left eagerly. All that interaction had exhausted him, not to mention the travel. And if he wanted to keep his job, he needed to get another story out soon. So he would probably be up for most of the night working. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much newsworthy happening in the world of science. Interesting? Sure; there was always plenty of that. But the magazine never seemed to enjoy it all as much as he did.
There were still another two hours or so before it would be acceptable to go to bed, and Arabesque was dreading them. She tried to help her mother with the dishes, but was quickly pushed away.
“No, no thank you. You are the guest! Let me take care of this.”
Arabesque argued, as she always did, but her mom was even more stubborn than she. At least they had something in common.
“If I don’t help you with these, I won’t have anything to do!” she insisted.
“There are plenty of magazines for you to read in the other room.” Her mom made some sort of vague gesture down the hall. “Please, enjoy yourself.”
Clearly, they had different ideas about what ‘enjoying yourself’ meant. Still, Arabesque obliged. At least this would kill some time.
Advena frowned slightly.
“I thought you might have a camera in there, but I couldn’t find it.”
She studied the screen for a moment, trying to figure out where the camera might be. What she saw was essentially a clear view of the room, without much of an angle to give the hiding place away.
“Is it above the desk?” she asked, still not at all sure of herself but trying to sound confident.
Her eyes moved to scan the rest of the screens as well. Sure enough, even someone as paranoid as Luka wasn’t invasive enough to put one in the bathroom. That was a relief. Advena thought she found the one of the basement, but the display was really dark. None of the rest were particularly interesting. There were a few other unoccupied dorms, but Advena couldn’t find anything that looked like Luka or Monn’s. It probably wouldn’t make much sense for them to be monitoring themselves anyway.