Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 8, 2032


Mateo spent a few minutes just staring at Leona sleeping next to him. He felt responsible for turning her into a salmon; for forcing her into this life. But he was also grateful to always have someone with him. If they hadn’t fallen in love, it would have still been nice to have a partner.
She woke up quickly, possibly sensing his gaze. They looked at each other for a good long while, not saying a word. “I’ve been waiting to wake up next to you for a very long time.”
Mateo looked away. “Nothing happened between us last night.”
“I know that.” She sat up and leaned against the headboard. “This is gonna get awkward.”
“How so?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure you and I are together now. But our family is always going to be around, at least for a long time. We won’t be left alone very much. Even though our life will be saturated, they will have waited months to see us again. Doesn’t seem fair to take a break from them for sex when they don’t get to see us very often.”
“We’re alone now.”
“We’re not doing it this year. This is just the first conversation on the matter.”
“I just mean...I think they know that. They’ve been alive long enough to understand. They’re probably not here at the moment so that we would have some privacy. What we do with that time is up to us.”
Leona bit her lower lip in thought. “I think we should use that time to eat.”
“I agree.” Fittingly, there was a knock on the door and the sound of Theo on the other side. Mateo pulled on a shirt someone had laid out for him and opened the door. “Hey, kid. You look older.”
“I’m getting there.” He sported an evil smile. “Did we give you two enough time?”
Mateo looked back to Leona with a smirk. “What did I tell you?”
She ignored him. “Theo, have you been missing for two years?”
“Of course not, I’ve been back home. I spend the year there. I told them where you are. They kind of already knew what was going on, what with the fact that your older boyfriend only came ‘round once a year, if that. They’re not happy, but they get that you wanted to make a clean break.” He walked all the way inside and sat down on the table. “They just need a call from you every year.”
“I can do that, now that things have settled down.”
Theo looked up to Mateo. “Leona is going to take me to lunch since I’m too old to drive. Your mother wants to get to know you.”
“Go ahead,” Leona urged. “We have all of time and space.”
Mateo laughed. “Is that a reference?”

He met his mother outside by the pool where she suggested they go for a walk. There was still much to learn of each other, and the healing process was just beginning. “Where is your husband?”
“A couple of our friends dropped in, so they’re catching up, just like we are.”
“How do you know anyone?”
“They’re salmon. I believe you know one of them. He healed you once?”
“Ah, yes. Vearden, right?”
“That’s right. They both lived with us in in the 1740s, but we knew his partner, Saga from the jump before.”
“Speaking of non sequiturs, what am I supposed to call you?”
She smiled kindly. “You can call me whatever you want, but if you prefer a name, then it’s Aura.”
“And why is that? You used to be Lauren.”
“It changes each time we jump. Intellectually, I know that I used to go by that, but it’s very hard for me to answer to it. It would be like me trying to call you John Smith and expecting you to accept it. I don’t know why the powers that be did that to us. I’ve not heard of any other salmon who is forced to change their name.”
Mateo took a few beats. “It’s one thing to force us through time. It’s an entirely different invasion to alter our minds. What else have they done to our brains? When I was young, I skinned my knee while staying with you and you were so scared about being in trouble with Randall and Carol. Do you even remember that? Or did these assholes take that away from you, or make you think that you had a daughter. Did you have a daughter? Do I have a sister I don’t remember? We would never freaking know!” But he didn’t say freaking.
She didn’t ask him to calm down or stop cursing. She let him vent, and not just because she was his mother and understood what he needed at the moment, but also since she appeared to share his sentiments. A child is supposed to end up losing their parents, but to remove a child from a parents’ life; that was sacrilege.
“One day,” Mateo assured her, “they will pay for what they’ve done, not only to me, but to all the others. I don’t care what their motives are. If they’re powerful enough to push us around like this, surely there’s another way to accomplish their goals.”
“One might imagine,” Aura agreed.
They walked in silence for a few blocks.
“I would like to go back to Kansas. Leona says she wants to keep her family out of this, but I want them to be close enough if she ever changes her mind. You used to live in Kansas City. Do you think you would be interested in going back?”
“I would love that. I was wondering how to ask you.”
“It’s going to take us an entire day to get there. I’m sure you two have had time to establish fake identities in this time period, but it’s probably going to be impossible for us to purchase a plane ticket.”
“Oh, we are extremely rich,” Aura told him with quite a bit of pride. “The powers that be didn’t seem to have a problem with us investing in companies we knew would be successful in the future. We discovered that we had already opened an account at a bank, which we later had to actually do once we went back in time. We mostly did it to have some money while we were there; we never expected to end up in the 21st century. But now that we have,” she paused for effect, “we’re millionaire’s, Mateo.”
“If you didn’t know what your name was going to be until your jump, how do you still have control of that account?”
“That took some maneuvering, but we figured it out.” They had arrived back at their starting point. “Our family owns this motel, which is why we had no problem getting back to this room for your arrival. We also own an entire apartment complex in Kansas City, Missouri. We have been living there while we build our dream home in Mission Hills. It’s ready for you now, though. We’ll get back there by the end of the day.”
Mateo was more excited than he felt he should have been. He was raised by all three of his parents to be modest and humble. Nonetheless, he figured it would be pretty nice to have an entire mansion so that they could travel through time in peace.

That evening, they were back in Kansas and walking into their new home that was already fully furnished. Mateo and Leona were tired again, though, so they fell asleep once more. They really needed to find a way to get on some kind of legitimate schedule. Click here for the next installment...

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