Part 6

by CM Towns

   Reed stood next to Sally looking over a statue of The Hope Athena. The two, along with Elijah and Jessie, were the only visitors of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this Wednesday evening. The LACMA was closed on Wednesday and Jessie, or rather Reina Titán, called in a favor. The director gave her keys and tools to enjoy a day at the museum for her and her partner Red Sprite. Jessie used this to have a fun day out with her boyfriend, but included Sally and Reed for the trip.
   Sally loved the LACMA, it was one of her favorite places in California. A love of History, specifically cultures was one she inherited from her parents who were both archeologists. Sally’s mind wandered back past life, as it seemed to always creep in when she was in the museum. Memories of the Shuin Kingdom, one of the oldest kingdoms from her homeworld. A beautiful place she missed greatly even as she grew more and more connected to her adopted home of Earth. She let the memories wash over, the warm ones. The time with her parents watching them work. Visiting museums and taking trips to see wondrous sights.
   As for Reed, he personally found museums generally boring.

   “Is that Medusa on her clothes?” Reed asked.
   “Yes, her many myths tie to Athena,” Sally said.
   “What’s your favorite set of myths? Greek, Norse, other?”
   “I find it all fascinating.”
   “So you really like this stuff?” Reed asked.
   “I do. One of the first places Jessie and her family took me in my time here,” Sally answered.
   “So Jessie’s parents took you for a tour of California?”
   “Jessie and her dad at first. Jessie’s parents did no reconnect until months after my moving in,” Sally told him.
   “They haven’t been married all Jessie’s life?” Reed said a little sadden.
   “I probably should not have mentioned that.”
   “Well now you did, I need to know,” Reed said.
   “I should not get into it. Jessie is open about it so it would be best to ask her,” Sally suggested.
   “Okay. Can I ask you a personal question?”
   “No.”
   “Do you date?”
   Sally looked over at Reed and turned away to look at more of sculptures.
   “Sorry,” Reed said to her.
   “No need to apologize.”
   “I don’t really care. If you like being alone that’s cool. I get it, you’re not from around here,” said Reed.
   “I am uncomfortable but it’s not just that. My culture, the way I was raised, feels strange how simple the courtship is here. At least in the US,” Sally explained.
   “So you never dated?”
   “You seem interested in my personal life. I assumed you found couples rather nauseating,” Sally responded.
   “I don’t. I just-don’t care. Not like that-just…”
   “I understand what you are saying. As for your question, I have,” Sally said.
   “Didn’t take? It’s cool. Just sometimes Jessie feels… You know,” Reed said.
   “She wants whats best for me. Like a sister.”
   “Like a sister?”
   Sally looked over at Reed, smiled. Romance was something Sally had little experience with. She came from a traditional family-or as traditional as the times were. This meant a woman shouldn’t date until her coming of age-or Chik-which was at sixteen. The years on Niebleheim were longer than Earth. A month lasted less days between 20 and 27 but there were 16 months. By Earth years she is actually older but really the date of her sixteenth birthday past five months back. That day reminded by a calendar she kept and when it pinged Sally was reminded of pictures of her mother, Cöffin, on her Chik.
   Sally thought about how her parents got together as her and Reed looked over more pieces. Her father Jun went to a Military Academy as all men were required to serve a two year service. After that Jun entered a university where he met Cöffin through mutual friends. The two were married only a year later and Sally came along sometime after both graduated. Her father went through the courting rituals of their people and had a small wedding. Sally seen vids of it and the joy on her parents faces.
   Since Sally’s time on Earth her attempts at dating were few and ended because of her own fears. Her lack of comfort. She wondered if she could get over it or if she should plan for a life of solitary.
   “You okay?” Reed asked.
   “I am fine,” Sally said with a smile and a hand on Reeds back.
   Jessie and Elijah walked in hand in hand and Jessie said, “Guys want to move on to the next floor?”
   “That sounds good,” Sally replied.
   “First we should take some pictures,” Elijah suggested.
   “Sounds great,” Jessie said.
   “Blah,” was Reed’s response.
   The group took a handful of pictures. In twos and threes, with plans on doing all four of themselves in a picture back at Jessie’s home. With the pictures finished the group started their way to the elevator.
   “Have you enjoyed the museum, Elijah?” Sally asked.
   “Yes. I haven’t had the chances to see it before. I’ve been to LA a couple times but never came here. My family did do Disneyland, Magic Mountain and a few other places,” Elijah said.
   “Disneyland is fun,” Sally said.
   “Disneyland is awesome. I wish I could go there like every other day. The days in between would be all hardcore video gaming,” Reed said.
   “Oh-,” Elijah started as they entered, “Frank sent me a message about a possible case. One that we and the others could take as a group since we know that you two and Antoine have training plans coming up.”
   “I thought we had a strict ‘no case talk when having fun’ policy?” Jessie said.
   “What is it?” Sally asked.
   “It has to do with a series of bank robberies, police attacks, retail stores and corporations. Their concern is that attacks are too violent,” Elijah said.
   “So basically whatever their message is suppose to be is tainted with blood? Great. I see no problem with it,” Jessie said.
   “Antoine and I would want at least one of us there,” Sally said to Elijah as they exited the elevator.
   “Do you think we can handle it?” he asked her.
   “Perhaps after I look over the details I’ll decide. Even then I would want to see how the newer members have come along. Without the assistance of our four seasoned members,” Sally replied.
   “Sounds like a deal,” Elijah answered.
   “Enough of that, we’ll worry about all that later. Tonight, let’s just focus on enjoying the pretty pretty art,” Jessie said as they made their way into the next exhibit.
   Elijah smiled, “Of course.”

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