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Apologies for the late posting–thank you, readers, for your patience. 💜
1st day of January in the year 2140
Hi Clint. It’s been a few days since my last entry, but I wanted to write an update while I was still in a good mood:
Monty kept his end of the truce; he’s been my ride home every day this past week. I missed our rides more than I realized. Mona was surprised the first day, but ultimately fine with it. She asked me to make sure my friends weren’t bothered by my absence, something I didn’t quite understand until I went back to school Tuesday morning.
Her head shot up at the sound of her name. Lizzie knew his voice anywhere, and to have him appear by her class so early was unexpected. “Gavin, hey!”
He was idling by the entrance to the senior building, his hands buried in the pockets of his black leather jacket. He wore a thick, ash grey sweatshirt underneath, its hood pulled over his head. Lizzie could see he had on his usual red beanie, tufts of his carob-brown hair poking out across his forehead. She eased out of the line of students heading into the building, joining him as he inched away from her classmates.
“What’s going on?” she asked, doing her best to come off as nonchalant. Her mask began to crumble as his hazel pools trained on her.
“You tell me,” he queried. His brow furrowed slightly as he spoke. “You disappeared last Friday after school without telling anyone, and yesterday you got a ride from some random biker.”
Her russet eyes widened, and she averted her gaze as she composed herself. She and her friends carpooled home with Marilyn. It became more difficult for the upperclassman to assist the teens with rides after her graduation, but Gavin was able to convince her to take them as far as their shared neighborhood, promising to drive Lizzie the remainder of the way himself. For the last couple of years, she spent her evenings with her friends and only managed to make it home before curfew thanks to the sophomore.
The younger teen noticed her surprise and took advantage of her hesitation to add, “I know that colonial life can seem claustrophobic, so I get that you need time to yourself every now and then. I just hope you aren’t getting mixed up with any dangerous people.”
Lizzie scoffed at the notion. “Monty, dangerous? Yeah, right.”
“Well, I’d feel a little better if I knew more about him,” admitted Gavin. “But I trust your judgment.”
She smiled warmly. “Thanks. I’m sorry if I made you guys worry. I needed some time to myself on Friday and ended up running into an old friend. He’s my ride home for the week except for today, so you don’t need to wait up or anything.”
He nodded and surveyed the area. There were a couple of stragglers here and there, but most of the other students were in their classrooms. “Are you still coming to watch the coronation with us?”
The “coronation” was a ceremony where the Jovians announced the new prince to the colony. Mona had explained the concept to her after her twin moved out, and Monty had reminded the human of the event the night before. She vaguely recalled the promise she had made to Gabby and Tawni in regards to the celebration. “Yeah! I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”
“Not even your ‘old friend’?” Gavin gibed, arm raised to brace himself from Lizzie’s shove.
“Watch it! He’ll be there, too, if you really want to meet him. He’s already asked about all of you.”
“Already looking forward to it,” he grinned. He took off in the direction of the sophomore building, shouting over his shoulder, “See you at three!”
Three o’clock could not have arrived sooner. Class let out early in order to allow attendance to the ceremony; Lizzie ran out of the senior building and made a beeline for the student parking lot, eyes peeled for her friends.
She saw Gavin and Kaine first, noting how they held their hands out in front of them and repeatedly peeked down at strange devices in their grasps. “Hey guys!”
Kaine was the first to break his attention from the odd slab of plastic. His caramel waves landed just above his shoulders, and his dark olive eyes grew large with excitement as she neared them. “Liz! Where’ve you been?”
His greeting broke the spell that similarly held their friend’s attention. The two exchanged a quick, one-handed embrace before she moved on to greet Gavin in the same fashion.
“Nowhere special–I just needed some space.”
“Space alone or space with Mr. Sexy Biker Friend?” the junior countered, one eyebrow cocked.
Lizzie’s jaw dropped. “H-He’s just a friend!”
The underclassmen swapped knowing gazes as they continued toward the parking lot, shrugging off her claim. “Yeah, okay. Whatever you say.”
“What are those things?” she wondered, eyeing their gadgets. “Toys from Tawni?”
“Yeah,” Gavin confirmed. “You know those communications devices Mrs. Hall gave her? The technology department thought they couldn’t work without something called ‘internet,’ but Tawni was able to get them to work with all those towers we have around the colony. She gave each of us a phone yesterday.”
Lizzie watched their thumbs swipe against the glass screens with amazement. This is what I get for ditching my friends. “They look so cool! I want one–”
A hand appeared in front of her, waving one of the devices in her face. “I would have given this to you yesterday if you came over like everyone else.”
She gasped and spun around, hugging her friend tightly. “Tawni! I’m so sorry!”
“You better be!” Tawni cautioned. Her straight hair whipped wildly behind her, too long to be contained by her neon green beanie. The front-most portions of the dark chocolate strands danced in the wind between them as they separated. “I didn’t know whether to be scared over what that biker guy was doing to you or happy for you.”
Warmth flooded Lizzie’s cheeks. “Shut up! Nothing happened.”
“Apparently he’s ‘just a friend,’ “ jested Kaine. His tone and smirk were proof enough of his doubts.
Tawni cackled at Lizzie’s reaction. “Yeah, okay. When do we get to meet your ‘friend’?”
“He’ll be at the coronation,” she promised. “Can I have one of those phone thingies now? Please?”
“Well, you did say you were sorry,” her classmate deliberated mockingly before handing her a gadget. The thin technology was surprisingly weighty in her palm. “Here. Their main use is for communication, like calling and sending text messages. You can use this application here to send texts, like this…”
Tawni held her own phone between them, her thumbs dancing across the screen. Her crash course of the device lasted the remainder of their walk, and their group was in the student parking lot before they knew it.