Chapter 56:

An offer I can’t refuse? [Vol.2 start]

The Y-files [GL]

Claire! Claire! CLAIRE!Bookmark here

My mom was shaking me gently awake.Bookmark here

Mom? What's up, is there a problem?” I looked at my alarm clock to see the time. Oh no, apparently I had forgotten to put it on with all the commotion last night. I had truly overslept.Bookmark here

You are late! Your girlfriend is already here to pick you up.”Bookmark here

Girlfriend? That comment made me wide awake. I started blushing immediately. “How? How did you find out?”Bookmark here

Don't you think we saw you two flirting all the time? The only thing you were talking about was Anna ever since you met her. Even in the kitchen you were rambling on about her. Then we all saw the show yesterday evening. Claire, that moment where you held her and said that you would face all hardships together... That was just so beautiful! You really made me think about things in my own life. I even shed a tear.”Bookmark here

She paused a little clearly thinking things over a bit.. Then her voice became a bit more teasing.Bookmark here

And did you really think I wouldn't grill Anna, and make her spill the beans when she is suddenly acting all nervous instead of her usual self at the door? I first thought she was so nervous because of all the things her mother said about us, so I put some pressure on her. Eventually she told me about everything that happened after the show. You know nobody can keep a secret from me.”Bookmark here

She gave me a few ticklish pokes in my side, and then playfully said: “Especially if you oversleep and give me time alone with her.” She ruffled my hair. I could not help but start laughing. I hated to be treated like a kid, but at the same time mom had made it clear that she would support us. Mom really knew how to make me feel at ease.Bookmark here

Then the penny dropped about what was said. Anna was already here. “Tell Anna I will be there in a minute.”Bookmark here

You can tell her that yourself.” Mom got up and went out of my room, while leaving, she invited Anna inside my room.Bookmark here

Anna was clearly super nervous. I was too. I sat there, still in my pajamas with bed hair, and my mom just let the girl I confessed to the night before into my room. I quickly turned away and tried combing my hair a little with my fingers.Bookmark here

Sorry”, she said, “I tried to convince her to let me wait in the living room.” I turned back around. It was too late anyway. I would need to get back at mom for this.Bookmark here

I could perfectly see the scene of how mom made Anna do her bidding in my mind, so I answered “Don't be sorry. I know how my mom can get. There is almost no way to say no to her. I think she had the time of her life, teasing us like that.” Why did this have to be the one day that I overslept?Bookmark here

Anna was clearly relieved to see me say those words and said: “Well you should not worry about your looks so much, you look really cute in those pajamas.”Bookmark here

I looked down and noticed I was wearing my pink pajamas with a cat motif. Of course I was wearing my most childish ones... Oh god I felt so embarrassed. I felt my head going so red I wanted to hide back under my sheets. So I pulled the sheet over my head.Bookmark here

About yesterday evening, I still owe you a response and I cannot bear the thought of letting this atmosphere drag the entire day. One sleepless night was long enough. I don’t understand how they manage to drag these kinds of situations out for so long in a manga.” She then sat down next to me on the bed.Bookmark here

In an instant my heart was beating like crazy. It took some effort to muster the courage, but I popped my head out of my sheets and looked Anna in the eyes. By the looks of her, she was probably just as nervous as me.Bookmark here

Claire, I love you too. Let's be together.” I felt her lips touch mine. I recognized the feeling from yesterday. Even though it was the second time we kissed, it felt just as good, if not better than yesterday. I felt completely connected to Anna, and then suddenly during this magnificent feeling, there was a heavy impact, and we both fell down on the bed.Bookmark here

I love you too aunties!” Emma had jumped on the both of us and gave us a hug and a kiss on our foreheads. “Does that mean auntie Anna is my real aunt now?”Bookmark here

I saw mom coming after Emma, and looking at me apologetic, but I took Emma and hugged her together with Anna and started my tickling attack all over her tummy until she begged for mercy. That little monster was just too cute.Bookmark here

Mom took Emma back with her. We were back alone now. I looked at Anna and said: “I have no experience with all of this but I hope we can figure it all out on the way?” She nodded happily to me and answered “I look forward to it.”Bookmark here

I gave her a quick kiss and jumped up. “But now I have to hurry because we are running late. Ms. Lourdes is not going to be happy if we are late.”Bookmark here

I saw the meek Anna's gaze turn back into the powerful professional Anna. She got up, straightened her suit, and left the room so that I could get ready.Bookmark here

I heard mom and Frank congratulating her, and Emma was throwing a million questions at her.Bookmark here

I felt that stupid irremovable smile again on my face. Poor Anna. Well she'd better get used to them, because they are all a very important part of my life too. But that didn't seem to be a problem. If anything, I got the feeling Anna felt really comfortable with my family. That made me think about what I knew about her family. I met her mother yesterday but that was probably one of the worst first meetings in my life. Well they were very well known people, maybe I should google them when I have the time...Bookmark here

I rushed through my bathroom routine, and decided on a cute dress.Bookmark here

When I arrived in the kitchen, I quickly prepared myself a few sandwiches for breakfast. Now that I was at it, I quickly prepared lunchboxes for me, and one for Anna as well. I cut out Anna's sandwiches with cookie shapes so that she would have a cute lunch. I was sure she did not bring anything, she was always getting unhealthy take-out. But not on my watch. I quickly prepared some herb cheese. I also packed a few cherry tomatoes. Because tomatoes taste good on herb cheese. I was sure Anna would like that.Bookmark here

I noticed that I was completely focused on Anna in everything I did. Never in my life had I been focused so much on someone else. Wishing for her happiness. I hope Anna would not think I was being overbearing. Is this how it feels to be in love? It did not feel bad, but I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster going from happy and tender feelings toward Anna to anxiety and uncertainty. Anna was older than me. She had already graduated from uni and was living by herself. She made a life for herself. She might even be experienced in these things for all I know. That idea gave me a stabbing feeling in my chest. I wanted to know, and at the same time I absolutely didn't want to know. The idea of someone else being close to Anna, or kissing her made me feel like someone was ripping out my gut. A truly unbearable feeling. Was this normal jealousy?Bookmark here

I was becoming nervous again, so I quickly chopped a fruit salad as a dessert for our lunches. Few, that calmed me down again.Bookmark here

I would have to eat my breakfast on the road, because we did not really have time for me to be making lunchboxes to begin with.Bookmark here

After saying goodbye we left the apartment and headed straight for school.Bookmark here

We were late and had to enter through the side entrance. Anna did not seem to care about that so much. I guess wanting to be in school before the bell rang was a habit from the time I was still in regular classes.Bookmark here

We went to Ms. Lourdes office to discuss our work planning, but I already knew the coming days would most likely be filled with preparations for the school festival.Bookmark here

When we entered her office we noticed that Ms. Odes was also here. I guess she had no class to teach.Bookmark here

Ms. Lourdes walked over to us, and said “First of all my congratulations.”Bookmark here

This felt awkward. Anna and I turned completely red. “How did you find out already that the two of us are dating?” Anna asked, a bit perplexed.Bookmark here

Ms. Lourdes frowned at that. “I did not, you just told me. I congratulated you because you cleared the FBY and CYA of everything concerning the bully attacks, thanks to doing such a good job on television yesterday. We still need to make sure the idols get together, but the media has clearly put that story on low priority.”Bookmark here

I felt even more embarrassed now. What a stupid misunderstanding, and Anna walked right into it. I had a hard time looking Ms. Lourdes in the eye now, so I looked a bit around and noticed that Ms Odes was fiddling around with her smartphone. She did not seem to be paying a lot of attention to the discussion.Bookmark here

Well congratulations for getting together too. But let us keep it professional on the job. Those kinds of things are best kept in the private zone of our lives.” Ms. Lourdes' tone sounded a bit between a warning and a reprimand, but at the same time, I could hear no malice in her tone.Bookmark here

Have the two of you seen the newspapers?”Bookmark here

I hadn't, I woke up and rushed here after all. I looked at Anna, but she also shook her head.Bookmark here

Ms. Lourdes took out 12 different newspapers and magazines reporting on yesterday's talk show. I had made the headlines in several newspapers, and one journalist even called my speech one of the most inspiring speeches ever recorded, on the level of Martin Luther King and Charlie Chaplin.Bookmark here

But then Ms. Lourdes pointed something else out. Kath Lyst had apologized publicly admitting she was out of line with what she said about me and my mother, and had told the media that she would send out personal apologies too. Apparently she wormed out of the BL stuff by claiming that she never said anything of the kind. That those were all ridiculous conjectures presented as fact by Ms. Odes with whom she shared an innocent hobby back when she was in uni. It was pure coincidence her political party was also called FDF. Politicians will always be politicians I guess...Bookmark here

What is that about? The way I know her, she'd rather die than apologize.” Anna said.Bookmark here

Suddenly Ms. Odes interrupted: “I told her to. I said she had gone too far, and that she deserved that punch in the face Ms. Lourdes gave her before she was escorted off the premises.”Bookmark here

Punch? What punch?” I asked. Anna looked just as perplexed. I could not believe my ears. Ms. Lourdes punched Kath Lyst in the face?Bookmark here

I saw Ms. Lourdes blushed a bit and said “Ahum, Let us not dwell too much on that part.” She gave a sniping glare to Ms. Odes, clearly meant to shut her up.Bookmark here

That is only the start of it all. There is some good news and some bad news. I will start with the good news.”Bookmark here

Apparently, after yesterday's show we had had a major offer for the use of yuridium from a big industrial group. We were going to be millionaires in less than a month's time.Bookmark here

As for the bad news, the offer is from Rainbow Q. A company that is part of the Lyst group.”Bookmark here

Anna was clearly crumbling down again. “Why can't they leave me alone!”Bookmark here

Ms Odes then answered: “This is Rainbow Q's area of research, so it might not be all that weird. Isn't getting help from your family better than getting attacked?”Bookmark here

Nothing is as expensive as a gift. There is always a price to pay.” Anna answered. “Especially if you deal with the Lyst family.”Bookmark here

Ms. Lourdes then turned to me and said “Claire, you are the main shareholder of the patent, in the end the decision is up to you.”Bookmark here

Again all the pressure fell on me, the 16 year old... Why do all adults around me always push all their important decisions on me? They were all staring at me, I could really feel the pressure.Bookmark here

If we say yes, would we have any obligations aside from delivering yuridium toward them?”Bookmark here

Ms. Lourdes overlooked the contract “No, it is a straight deal, we provide them with monthly supplies of yuridium and they pay us for it. If we want out, we need to notify them at least 3 months ahead, which is still very reasonable for a contract worth this amount. We can easily fulfill this contract.”Bookmark here

Then Ms. Odes added: “If anything we get a very good deal here, I doubt anyone would pay this much with such easy terms for what they are asking of us.”Bookmark here

So this is what Anna meant with her family pulling strings behind the scenes. This was clearly an offer we could not refuse. Nobody in his sane mind would. But after yesterday evening, I was wondering what they could be up to. I looked at the contracts, and saw some very specific formulas and data. I wondered how they got their information. It was only made known yesterday evening on TV, and I thought we did not spread such detailed information. So how did their science division get so much information on our work... AAAgh! I am just a high school girl. Not a Machiavellian industrialist. It all seemed very suspicious to me, I had no idea how to deal with all of this.Bookmark here

I decided to just ask. “How is it possible that they already have so much data about yuridium?”Bookmark here

Ms. Odes then replied casually: “Oh that? Kath seemed very interested in my work yesterday. So I explained it a bit to her. I must say she seemed very impressed when she heard that you were the one that created the yuridium. Of course I did not tell her anything about the real specifics on how to create it.”Bookmark here

I could see Ms. Lourdes almost explode with anger. “Cath, we are going to have a nice long talk about company confidentiality as soon as we are done here.” her voice was icy calm. That was a lot more scary than when she was angry. I could see Ms. Odes gulp. Storm was on the horizon.Bookmark here

I want to say yes, because I don't feel like it is time to throw in the towel yet, and it seems like a really good opportunity, and as I understand it we can back out rather easily. I would like to add two conditions though. I don't want yuridium to be used in weaponry, I don't think I can manage having that on my conscience. I also want them to give us access to the research they have done. That way our own research improves also from their findings.”Bookmark here

Anna looked a bit startled at that response. She clearly had not thought that I would bargain with them. I had not said yes, and I had not said no. I had put the ball back in the Lyst's camp making demands of them. By the way people were looking at me, I was guessing not many people made demands of the Lysts. How the hell should I have known that. I was starting to feel bad about what I said, but then the silence was broken.Bookmark here

As expected of Claire.” Ms. Lourdes said, “Anyone would just have jumped at this kind of chance. You are right we don't want weapons made with yuridium, and they do also own an arms factory. I will send your conditions to Rainbow Q. We will see how they respond.”Bookmark here

The meeting was then concluded. Ms. Lourdes notified us that she would be absent from school tomorrow, but that we could reach her on her mobile if anything urgent would happen.Bookmark here

Anna and I were then dismissed. As soon as the door was closed we could hear Ms. Lourdes scolding Ms. Odes so fierce that the doors and windows were shaking. I reminded myself once again to never cross Ms. Lourdes. She could really be scary as hell.Bookmark here

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