Eliza hummed. Milly noticed the joyful melody of a love song as her cousin danced through the apartment. The regular dates with Scarlett energised Eliza. As she cooked, Eliza shared Scarlett’s recommendations to enhance the meal. Scarlett’s love of food influenced Eliza, and she wanted to impress them. Their time together increased, making Eliza consider asking Scarlett to move in. What concerned her was taking care of Milly. Eliza needed to put her cousin first.
Milly considered the idea; she loved seeing the big smile and relaxed vibe Eliza had. Since moving to San Myshuno, Milly felt life was a black cloud threatening rain. The new school came with cliques, established and not looking for newbies. They were not mean. Milly wished they were; at least, that would be an acknowledgement of her existence. A few teens spoke to her during class, as teachers encouraged teamwork. She felt isolated at lunchtime, sitting alone at the table or outside the main building. Eliza gave up her full social calendar to ensure Milly settled, so she hated complaining. Guilt weighed heavy on Eliza’s shoulders. It made her want to be present in Daciana and Luliana’s life. There was not enough of Eliza’s time to share with everyone. Milly wanted to be selfish, but at the same time, Eliza needed to have the love she deserved. Scarlett had been supportive during Eliza’s anaemia diagnosis. That had been the extent of Milly’s interaction. Whatever Eliza decided, Milly assured her she would be supportive.
Eliza knew she was overthinking her relationship and whether she was ready for the next step. City living came with its challenges, first the rat-infested apartment and job demands. There was also her rising suspicion the building’s owner Mr Carrington might not be on the level. Concerns he would want a quid pro quo were not unfounded. He paid for their cat’s cremation, and since had shown increased interest in her career. The recent absence from matches saw her receive several well-wishes from him. Eliza shuddered, clearing the thought from her mind. GeekCon was on and Eliza felt confident she could compete and win a gaming tournament. Another reason for the determination to win was the beautiful Scarlett who would go with her.
GeekCon took place in the Fashion District across the river from Eliza. She had, with jealous eyes admired the apartments as she scoured the paper looking for a place for her and Milly. The festival hosted the usual food and obligatory t-shirt and mementoes. Amateur actors volunteered to dress up as superheroes and movie villains. Fans crowded, snapping pictures pretending they met the real deal. Two massive rockets separated the gaming areas and hackathon computers. The first rocket was complete and a pilot remained at the helm. Eliza watched as excited and frisky passengers waited their turn to ride into space. The other rocket came with “how-to” instructions. There were pops and bangs as wannabe rocket scientists put their skills to the test. The first game area was what Eliza had her eye on, a virtual reality action game. She was certain her athletic ability, and quick reaction times would get her a perfect score. Eliza was not a natural gamer, her score beaten by other competitors.
Scarlett threaded their arm through Eliza’s, tucking a stray lock behind their ear. The closeness made winning seem a frivolous goal to have. They nudged their shoulder against Eliza, guiding them to the Observatory. The telescope was the perfect place to capture images of the night sky, but GeekCon was a daytime event. Eliza suspected some were spying on the surrounding apartments. After all, gazing up at the blue sky through a lens did not sound exciting. Scarlett held her hands, pulling her into the tight space. Eliza discovered a new perspective on daytime observations. The telescope jerked and spun as Eliza pressed against the controls. The observatory echoed and rattled with the motion contained within. The two emerged, flustered and with passers-by raising a knowing eyebrow.
On the tube, they sat cosied up. Eliza felt conscious as though everyone knew what they were doing in the observatory. Scarlett kissed her cheek as they arrive on the third floor, heading for their door. It had to be now, Eliza reached for their hand, the words crumpled in the wrong order. Scarlett accepted the key, a freedom to come and go as they pleased in Eliza’s home. They leaned in, taking Eliza’s face in their hands. A deep probing kiss was the promise to explore the cosmos together.