Hey! Leander Prince here! No I haven’t inherited this journal… yet, but a lot of stuff went on during Dad’s last entry that he doesn’t know about so I uh… “borrowed” the family journal temporarily to fill you in on all the stuff Dad didn’t. He doesn’t know I have this thing right now so I’d better write quick.
You already know that Dad and Ruby did some sort of weird nerdy science experiment on Calista to turn her into a human… or at least a cyborg of some sort but Dad totally skipped over her being a part of the family after that. I guess the birth of my little brother would overshadow Calista a bit but c’mon, Nereus is a baby who just lies there in a glorified basket all day! Sure he’s cute and everything, but Calista deserved way more attention than she got in Dad’s last journal entry so I’m going to tell you about the conversation we had that Dad wasn’t there to hear. Calista and I have always talked a lot whenever Dad wasn’t around, just you guys didn’t know that until now because you’ve only been hearing from Dad.
I was sitting at the counter in the kitchen on the first floor of the new house. We hadn’t been living in Oasis Springs for that long. I think Dad and Ruby just got the last box unpacked the day before or something. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with having to move here but since when did I get a say in anything my dad decided for me, right?
“Still moping, Leander?” Calista asked me sympathetically. It was still weird hearing her talk these days. Her voice wasn’t robotic anymore. She had this soft, sweet sort of voice that calmed people down when they were worked up about something and when she was really happy, she almost sounded like she was singing when she talked. Basically, you couldn’t help but feel better as soon as she started talking to you.
“I’m not moping,” I grumbled.
“Perhaps moping isn’t a suitable term. Shall I provide a synonym? Perhaps brooding? Sulking? Lamenting? Languishing?” she offered. I would have been mad if she’d been trying to make fun of me but she wasn’t. Her programming had always been like that; she was always trying to do everything right and adjust her actions according to what we wanted from her. Honestly, it made me kind of uncomfortable now that she was more human than robot. Calista’s my friend. I don’t want her to be my slave.
“Forget it. Don’t worry about it,” I told her. “It just sucks that I got dragged here is all. There’s nothing to do in the middle of the desert,”
“You’re conflicted,” she told me. “You miss your mother and don’t want to be far away from her but you love Hope and want to do whatever is necessary to keep her safe… including moving to the desert.” Man that sixth sense of hers was creepy. I swallowed hard and shrugged my shoulders.
“Whatever,” I muttered. “It’s not like I ever would have seen my mom again anyway even if we lived next door. Dad would have made sure of that.” Calista looked like she was struggling with something. I raised my eyebrows at her. “What?” I asked. Calista just shook her head.
“It’s nothing. Would you like some coffee?” she asked me. She was already making some before I answered. She probably already knew the answer and was just asking to be polite.
“Yeah sure, thanks,” I told her. “Seriously though… what? You look like you know something you don’t want to tell me.” Calista poured a mug of coffee and set it on the counter in front of me, then sat down next to me.
“Your father loves you, Leander,” she told me. I huffed and stared down at my coffee.
“Yeah he says he does, but what kind of father never bothers to see his own son for the first four years of his life, then takes him away from his mom? That’s not love. He hated her more than he loved me so he used me to hurt her. I was just a little kid. That’s fucking evil.”
“That isn’t true, Leander,” Calista insisted. “I have been a part of this family as long as you have, remember? I have overheard conversations that you haven’t and I know that everything your father did, he did because he loves you and wants the best for you. There are things that happened when you were small that you don’t know about.”
“Yeah? Like what?” I asked. Calista shifted uncomfortably in her seat and shook her head.
“It would upset your father if I told you and I care about you both. I don’t want to anger either of you,” she told me. “I feel like you are old enough and have a right to know the whole story now, so I will just say if you want to know what really happened, look in your father’s desk drawer and view his email history. You’ll find your answers.” I almost pressed her for more information, but it wasn’t fair to pit her against my dad and make her take sides. That’d be no better than Dad and Mom fighting over me and putting me in the middle of all their issues with each other. I just nodded.
“Alright. Thanks Calista. You’re a good friend,” I told her. She smiled at me and I suddenly couldn’t remember why I was “brooding” in the first place to put it like Calista did. “Hey… Calista?” I asked her.
“Do you… like being human now?” I asked her. She thought about it for a second then nodded.
“Yes. I do,” she answered. “All of the emotions were overwhelming at first. It was frightening, but I think I’m used to them now and I like having them. I can feel things that you can feel and understand them like I couldn’t before, like joy, sadness, love.”
“Do you love us?” I asked and Calista didn’t need to take a second to think about it this time.
“Very much, Leander,” she told me. She leaned over and kissed my cheek. I really hoped I wasn’t blushing, that’d be majorly embarrassing. I was kind of glad Calista didn’t wait for me to give her a response before she stood up because I was pretty sure my words were stuck in my throat. “You know, if you’re looking for places to explore and new things to do in Oasis Springs, I remember seeing a boarded up mine behind our house while I was tending the garden the other day. You might want to explore that, but be careful,” she told me. A boarded up mine? Hell yeah that sounded cool! Maybe I’d find a bunch of valuable gems or gold in there or something! I grinned.
“Yeah, I will. Thanks Calista.”