Part II: Clutchmates
Since Annabelle was still very tired the next day she didn’t go to school with the rest of us, staying home. Instead it was her clutchmate Emma who came with us. Emma told us they were identical but they really weren’t…
Because we had had to miss a class with Mr. Rook two days before, because he wasn’t available, our class was rescheduled to five for that day so we could see him and catch up before lunch time.
We arrived and lined up in the dojo like usual, Mr. Rook coming to us wearing his costume.
“Who are you?” He asked, stopping in front of Emma.
“Emma Yeun, I’m Annabelle’s sister and standing in for her until she gets better.”
“And you’re here to take her place in this combat class?”
“More like take notes, but I can probably handle myself a bit; I’ve got a black belt in Judo, did three years of mixed martial arts and ranked third in a national fencing competition.” She said, moving her shoulders up.
Mr. Rook let out a laugh.
“You know what? Let’s see what you’re made of.” There was a concerned whisper among the class. “Relax class, I keep the tough love to my real students.” Mr. Rook looked at us before pointing at Mace. “You’ll do.”
Mace and Emma took place in the middle of the mattressed arena. Mr. Rook gave them the signal to start and they began sparring. It was like fighting but you didn’t hit each other for real, so it was kind of like a game and Mr. Rook had began teaching me the different moves after our first class and I was getting better at it, even if he said I needed more spunk, whatever that was.
Everyone seemed surprised when Mace ended up getting pinned to the floor, Emma an arm around his neck. He tapped out.
“Not bad.” Mr. Rook declared.
“Hope that wasn’t the best here.” Emma said with a smirk.
“Far from it. But you know, if get yourself some super powers you could make a good student here.”
“Last I’ve heard you and the Raven didn’t have any either.” She replied.
“Or a few billion dollars and some high-tech friends to give you the boost.”
“Fair enough.” Emma said with a grin.
Mr. Rook, rather than showing us some new sparring techniques and having us practice them for the rest like he usually did, gave a reminder lesson on everything we had gone over in the past month.
When Mr. Rook’s class was over with lunchtime came. I followed Emma around the cafeteria and she went to get a grilled chicken salad with a iced fruit juice before sitting down with the others.
“You know, your clutchmate doesn’t like salad.” I said. “You’re really not identical are you?”
She let out a snicker. “It’s just a saying because we developped from the same egg.” She explained. “We grew up differently, but we were born as two tiny identical baby. Wish I could show you pictures.”
“Kulaat and I were identical when we were larvas. But all larvas are really identical.”
“She’s my own clutchmate. I miss her.”
Emma wrapped an arm around my shoulder and drew me closer. I put my head against her shoulder.
“I know how you feel, I missed Annabelle everyday she was gone. But I’m sure you’ll see your little clutchmate very soon.”
“I hope so too…”
I didn’t eat much of my fish sandwich that day, feeling a little too sad to have any appetite. Instead I just laid against Emma’s shoulder. She and Annabelle were very different, but she was just as nice as her.
The rest of the classes of the day went by slowly, I just wanted to go home and call Kulaat and my zuzuk. When we were finally home, I tried to call but they didn’t answer. Rowan must have seen I was feeling sad because they offered to play Sankinu with me. Even Emma and Annabelle joined us! All my favorite humans were with me, it was hard to stay sad.
Not long before dinner time, Mr. Martin came into the house for a surprise inspection, said it was to make sure we were keeping the house in good shape as we were supposed to. Which we were, we had a whole cleaning schedule. It was big but with everyone’s powers it was easy; Caroline could just mop the whole floor with her power, Jaime threw all the dust away with her mind and so much more.
After he explored the whole house, being unhappy with Amber, Yikaru, Sage and Allen for having very messy rooms and said that Annabelle wasn’t supposed to have her little snake without permission but he let it all slide.
He went for the door but instead of leaving he opened it and let tons of humans through. I just froze, trying to understand what was happening.
“Ahti? Are you there?” My hearts stopped as I recognized Kulaat’s voice. I looked around and saw her.
“Kulaat!” I ran toward her and embraced her. “I missed you so much.”
“I missed you too.” She replied in Ibarian, she leaned closer and her nose touched mine, rubbing together gently for a moment, the act sending little pleasurable sparks through my body. When we split apart, my Zuzuk came to my side.
“Zuzuk!” I called out and the two of them came forward and hugged me simultaneously.
“We missed you so much.”
“Don’t call them that in public.” Kulaat said, pouting. “You’re embarrassing me with your baby talk.”
“Relax, nobody here speaks Ibarian.”
“They have a nice little soaking area, why don’t we go take a dip?” Tzama-zuzu offered.
I agreed and along with them I undressed and went into the little hot tub our house had. However unlike my Zuzuk and Kulaat, I wasn’t naked under my clothes. For the past weeks I’d chosen to wear the little swim suit Caroline had given me, it had stopped the naked comments, even if I still didn’t understand the problem.
“What are you wearing?” Kulaat asked.
“It’s a swimsuit, humans wear them to go in water.”
“I don’t know… They don’t like being naked but I don’t understand why… But it is cute!”
I made sure to show Kulaat the back and front sides of the swim suit, I think it was called a bikini bottom. It was orange like me, but paler and it was covered in adorable little black dots.
“So what have you been up to Ah-nee?” Zukii-zuzu asked.
“I don’t even know where to start! Everything here is so different!”
So I tried to explain to them everything that had happened in the past month. It was only one month, but it had felt like so many more, like a dozen month of things all in one!