.006

For a brief moment, Maurice had believed that the Roboter was coming for her. It was a silly moment, to believe something like that would happen, but it had been a moment of excitement and hope. But as the Roboter’s lights streaked further and further out, she knew that the moment was not hers. She watched the crash of the Roboter in the distance. It made a small explosion and it was like a bomb of disappointment. Stupid, she told herself, clutching her hands into tight fists. Stupid, stupid, stupid….

Lights flew from the city in the distance to the explosion. One ship… then two… then a whole group of them. “The Monarchy,” Zo grumbled. “Makes you wonder how long they’ve been tracking that one.” While it was true that no one knew where the Roboter mechs came from or how they chose their Pilots in theory, it was rumored that the Monarchy was making advancements every year in cracking the secret. The Monarchy had already figured out the makeup of Roboter metal- having implemented it in new ships that were promoted to be near impenetrable and self repairing.

“Do you think the Pilot will join up with the Monarchy?”

Zo shrugged and went back to the blanket, shaking off the dust before folding it. “Depends on the Pilot. No doubt the Monarchy will have extensive data about them and will try to cut them a deal that’ll improve their life like, a million times. Too bad it comes with the cost of fighting in whatever war that comes up.”

She watched the ships disappear into the night. If she stared long enough maybe she could see the Roboter. But that was silly. It was too far and her eyesight that of a human. Together, they climbed down the short ladder from the roof to the second floor. Maurice walked Zo to the side door. The conversation of just moments ago met her there in the doorway, bringing with it its friends excitement and nervousness. 

Zo put the blanket in the basket of her bike and climbed on, looking over at her with a small smile. “So…”

Maurice crossed her arms in an attempt to try to look cool. It made her feel silly, but she was committed at this point. She went to lean against the doorway to just go for it, only to almost fall again. Her face went red and then redder at Zo’s giggle. So much for being cool. “S-So…”

“I’m going to go.” Her stomach dropped and she did her best to recover. Zo came over to her, pushing her chin up with a gentle touch. “But I’ll be back. I’ve gotta get my pajamas and stuff.”

The smile that the butterflies brought to her was a goofy one. “We haven’t had a sleepover in forever.”

“I know right? Adulthood is such a pain with jobs and taxes and the Monarchy constantly in the way.” They both looked at one another and a moment surrounded them. If this were one of the web comics she sometimes read on break, Maurice would imagine there would be shiny bubbles or flowers blossoming around them. Did she see a small blush on Zo’s cheeks? Was she projecting? Or overthinking? 

She rubbed her head lightly hoping that maybe a thought would rub off and jump into her mouth. Say something, you’re making the silence stretch out too long. “I could get the pillows from the couch downstairs and make another bed, if you’d like. Or, uh, we could…” The words tied up her tongue and she feel the tips of her ears going red. Abort. Abort! She was not this cool, suave, confident, or courageous to pull this off! Reign it in! “…sleep in different areas. Privacy and all.”

Zo rose an eyebrow, a skill that she had made herself master when they were younger. “That’s dumb. I know your bed is like, the least comfortable thing in the world, which I have no clue how you make that work and all, but it sure beats the musty couch we found on the side of the road with the cushions that, you seem to have forgotten about, had eggs in it that mysteriously vanished after a week.” She pulled her hair up into a loose ponytail, using the hairband on her wrist to tie it up. “I’d rather take the chance on your weird bed than end up with those eggs seeking their revenge or whatever.”

They both laughed. Zo took a half step closer to her, fingertips tapping against fingertips. Maurice swallowed hard. This would be the part in the web comic that the moment shifted to the next panel. A zoomed in shot of both of them. 

Do it.

Do it.

“Zo?”

“Yes?” Zo looked up right at her with her lips… right there

Words were escaping her. Neurons were firing at all turrets in an attempt to come up with something or do something. Butterflies were banging pots and pans in her chest now. She felt herself lean in a bit… and Zo leaned up a bit…

Except, her attention was pulled away by bright pink lights streaking above the warehouse. Instead of orbiting away, they were getting closer and closer and-

She leaned in and grabbed Zo, pulling her back inside the warehouse. And just in time, as a Roboter crashed into Zo’s bike.

HEADS UP: There will be no update next week, July 11th. I will be celebrating my birthday and visiting family at that time. I may queue up something for that time, but it may just be a quiet Sunday with this week’s cliff hanger hanging over you. 😀

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