Sam, Morgan, Tia, Alex, and Yuji climbed up the stairs to a cafe Yuji had suggested. Sam chuckled when she saw ‘Thanks a Latte’ on the sign to the right of the doorway.
It was a pretty stereotypical cafe. It looked like it was patterned after the type you would see in a bookstore. The chairs were wire and had elegant swirls in the backrests. There was an area with a couch and some plush armchairs, and a round bench seat off to one side of the room.
“I need to apologize to the two of you,” Alex said to Morgan and Tia once they’d all sat down with their drinks. “I grew up with very different ideas. In fact, a lot of people on Illuminata believe that basikos are lower life forms. Some of the more extreme believers call you...vermin,” he said with a wince.
“It’s okay, Alex,” Tia said with a reassuring smile. “I’m not gonna blame you for the way you were raised.”
“Yeah,” Morgan added. “You’re forgiven.”
“Thank you,” Alex said with a grateful smile.
Yuji stood. “I’ll be right back,” he said and headed over to order something.
Tia leaned over to Sam once Yuji was out of earshot and whispered, “You need to tell him.”
Sam frowned. “No, I don’t,” she said in a tone that indicated she’d given this answer before.
“You’re gonna give the poor boy a complex,” Morgan said.
“Would you wanna be told you’re gonna die in the next couple years?” Sam retorted.
Tia sighed. “I guess not, but the way you keep brushing him off...you’re making him think he’s done something wrong.”
Sam looked a bit ashamed. “He said that?”
Tia nodded. “Yeah. He asked me about it yesterday.”
Sam groaned and leaned her forehead on her hand. Yuji saw this when he came back. “You okay, Sam?”
Sam sighed. “Yeah. I’m just tired,” she lied.
“I’m curious as to why most people speak English here,” Alex asked as Yuji sat down.
“It didn’t use to be that way,” Yuji answered. “Nakria was a mainly Greek-speaking country until we started getting most of our entertainment media from the U.S. After that, a lot of people decided it was easier if they spoke English. Most of us do still know some Greek though.”
“Are there many that are fluent?” Alex asked.
“I’d say at least a quarter of us are,” Yuji answered.
“The only person I knew on Illuminata who spoke English was my fa...I mean Vasilis,” Alex stated.
Morgan looked at her watch. “Ooo! It’s almost time for Doctor Who.”
“Are the new eps starting this week?” Tia asked.
“Yup!” Morgan replied happily.
“Shmeef!” Sam exclaimed.
Yuji looked at Sam quizzically. “Shmeef?”
“It’s a word I made up a while ago,” Morgan said with a smile. “It just kind of became our thing. It means the same thing as sweet,” she explained.
“Ooo, okay. Shmeef,” Yuji looked like he was considering the new word for a moment. “I like it,” he proclaimed with a grin.
Sam couldn’t help herself and smiled. That smile faltered, however, when she saw the look of hope in Yuji’s eyes.
A baseball flew through the air and stopped three feet from Sam’s outstretched hand.
Alex smiled. “Very good.”
“Thanks. So explain to me why we’re not throwing something bigger?” Sam asked.
“Practicing with small objects helps your control become more precise.”
“Ah, gotchya,” Sam said as she psi threw the ball back to her cousin. “Thanks for helpin’ me with this.”
“You’re welcome,” Alex said.
Morgan and Tia sat on some large rocks as they watched their sister play catch in the most unique way they’d ever seen. One of Sam’s throws nearly hit Alex in the head.
“Sis, are you trying to kill your cousin? 'Cause if you knock his head off I’m not cleanin’ up the mess,” Morgan said with a goofy smile.
Sam nodded. “Not to mention the pain in the ass of hiding the body.” She noticed the horrified look on Alex’s face and laughed. “We’re kidding, Alex.”
Alex sighed in relief. “You have a...disturbing sense of humor.”
Sam shrugged. “Yeah, well I never claimed to be sane.”
The others laughed and Alex did too, but just a little; almost as though he wasn’t sure it was the proper thing to do.
As a warm breeze blew over them a strong looking woman with hazel eyes and her black hair in a braid reaching the middle of her back walked toward the group. Something about the way she walked put Sam on alert; A feeling that was justified when the woman psi threw a fist-sized rock at her head.