Pauline quickly became a part of the group, making several secret trips to the mainland. She fell in love with Windenburg and the people in it. Why her mother chose to stay secluded on that small island was beyond her. But she didn’t care. For the first time ever, she felt alive.
Usually the gang would just pick a random location to gather, play music together and dance, but sometimes they branched out a bit; went to the movies or the arcade and just goof around.
“Score,” Peyton cheered.
To no-one’s surprise, she excelled at video games too. There seemed to be nothing Peyton couldn’t do.
Pauline couldn’t believe her luck. Not only did Peyton change her life for the better, but she genuinely seemed to like her. Her, the weirdo from the island. Pauline was slowly working on trying to accept being an alien, being different. And Peyton was eager to help.
“You know what you should do? You should dye your hair!” Peyton exclaimed. “I always thought my brown hair never suited the green, it’s so boring! If you could dye your hair any colour, what would it be?”
“Um, blue?” Pauline suggested hesitantly.
“You should go for it!”
And so, with Peyton’s help, Pauline got a makeover. She ran her fingers through the vibrant blue locks.
“You look so good, it’s really brightened your face,” Peyton encouraged her.
Pauline examined her face as she took a selfie. Maybe, just maybe, the reflection on her screen was not the ugly creature she had been seeing in the mirror for years.
“Come here, I need a photo with you too,” Peyton squealed. “Look how awesome we are!”
Pauline smiled for the photo. She couldn’t help but wonder: “Peyton, were you always… like this?”
“Like what?” Peyton arched an eyebrow, confused.
“So… bubbly and happy with who you are,” Pauline tried to explain. “I mean, ever since I remember my mom hated herself. She never said it, of course, but I could see it. And I know she doesn’t hate me but… she definitely hates what we are. She… she called me a monster. Said I’ll never be like anyone else.”
Peyton tilted her head, as if she was thinking.
“My mom said I’ll never be like anyone else too,” Peyton told her. “Because I was special. Because everyone is.”
“Nobody in the world will ever be exactly like you, Pauline,” she continued. “But you could say the same thing about Starr, Ted or Davion. Or the bartender. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s what makes life fun!”
Pauline was touched: “You’re too smart, Peyton.”
“I don’t know about that, you should see my algebra homework,” Peyton laughed and looked at their picture. “It’s a good thing we’re pretty!”
“You’re my best friend, Peyton,” Pauline managed to say. “I now it probably doesn’t seem much, because I’ve only met a handful of people I my life, and well, everyone wants to be your best friend anyway… but you are.”
“And you’re mine,” Peyton replied simply. “We’re sisters, remember?” she winked.
Playing the guitar wasn’t so hard, Pauline thought to herself as she was trying to replicate the chords Davion had taught her. He’ll be so proud!
“Pauline, I need to talk to you,” Astrid came in. She paused for a moment, taken aback by her daughter’s appearance.
“Do you like my new hair?” Pauline smiled. “I know it’s different, but isn’t it a lot more creative?” Pauline knew that appealing to her mother’s artistic side was the best way to appease their differences.
“Um, sure,” Astrid nodded absent-mindedly.
“Mom? Is everything ok?”
“No actually,” Astrid replied. “I just had a phone call…”
“Astrid, I was told this is your emergency number,” the male voice said. “It’s Noel.”
“Noel… what gallery are you from again?”
“Plummit, Astrid! Have you forgotten your own brother’s name? Theo was right, I shouldn’t have bothered…”
“YOU HAVE A BROTHER?” Pauline interrupted.
“Two, actually,” Astrid looked away. “Noel and Theo are both my brothers.”
“And you never mentioned this?” Pauline couldn’t believe it. What else did she not know?
“Remember when you asked me how and where I was born?” Astrid asked.
“Yeah, you told me that that you were planted inside of some man in a place called Newridge or something…” Pauline said impatiently. “You never said anything about a family!”
“Newcrest,” Astrid corrected her. “And yes, well… he did have two sons, and a wife.”
“And you never thought you should mention any of them?” Pauline grew more and more irritated.
“I was going to tell you about Newcrest… about my brothers… and my parents,” Astrid sighed. “I was just waiting for the right time…”
“And why is the time suddenly right now?” Pauline growled.
“Because my parents are dead,” Astrid looked her daughter in the eyes. “And we are moving back to Newcrest.”