The surreal feeling of the world being smaller than you remember filled me as I stood waiting to be let in. To get what I needed to know, my only option seemed to be Jason’s father, Pete. Despite success in after school daycare and writing for TV shows, Pete had become a hermit just like me. Maybe worse, since he didn’t stream or even do interviews really. Supposedly he had become agoraphobic at some point in his adult life, but I never really concerned myself with it. Jason wouldn’t tell me more, and you can’t exactly ask the man himself without feeling awkward.
As he came to the patio door, I could see a big smile on his face. He hadn’t seen me in person for maybe three years. While he seemed to be taking in my growth, I was definitely distracted by his new look too. I knew his hair was going, but it was going pretty quick. I also felt like he was taller before. Hard to remember exactly. Once we were done looking at each other like fish, he let me in.
“My long lost daughter! How are you?” Pete said, motioning for me to head upstairs.
“Just checking on my old man. Have you seen him?” I said, kicking my shoes off, keeping pace.
Upstairs was Pete’s office. He converted the house’s attic into a home office, which was really cool when we were kids, but kinda lame as we grew up. Now it seemed to be where Pete spent all his time, either in his lounging chair watching TV or at his desk. A lot of the paraphernalia from the show that used to decorate the room had been covered with sheets. The only thing still visible was Pete’s collection of action figures and toys mostly from Japanese action shows for kids. The guy knew what he liked, and you had to respect that much.
I sat down in the desk chair as Pete sat in the lounge chair and turned it to face me. I told him I wanted to know anything about the show involving a relationship between my character and Nai-bu’s character, but even Pete’s insight wasn’t very helpful.
“We actually agreed to not really do romantic plotlines since the audience was intended to be pretty young. That was one of the few things I was able to stop others from changing.” He said with a very serious look. “I did fight to have your character be an ally full time, but the producers thought it would be a waste of your...other self.” He knew I wasn’t comfortable about my alien form, so he would avoid bringing it up. Especially because I knew he thought it was really cool.
“Maybe then...anything just between us as kids? Did we seem like we could have been dating?” I asked, still unsure.
“Dating?” He said, then laughed. “You two always seemed too innocent for dating, as far as I saw.” A bit of laughing turned into silence. “You two seemed to get along really well, but I never really thought about you two dating. You were just kids to me.”
“Did no one else say anything?”
“Sure there were rumors, but they were from crew members who didn’t know you two like I did. A lot of surface reactions.”
I sighed. This wasn’t exactly progress. Maybe it’s better that way? Maybe she doesn’t like me; she’s just excited to be friends again. What was I looking for exactly?
“Hey,” Pete started, sitting up a bit. “If you want I can make up some stories about you two being cute with each other as kids, and you can use that to decide how you feel, or you could ask what’s more important now. Do you think you like her?”
“What?” I asked, reflexively.
“You’re trying to figure out if Nai-bu liked you when you were kids, or if she’s acting out something from the show, like she’s just nostalgic or something. But what do you feel right now? Do you think you like her like that?” Apparently Jason caught him up to speed already.
I could feel my face warming up. I started staring at the floor. “I...I mean, it’s been nice having her in my life again. She really seems to care, even if I’m not always open with her.”
He smiled. “Then go with that. If you think you like her, start there. And talk about it with her in the present.”
Pete was right. I was so worried about Nai-bu’s feelings that I hadn’t even considered my own. The more I let myself think about it, the idea of going on a date with Nai-bu sounded like fun. We could go shopping and get something to eat. She would definitely make it easier to try on some clothes while out rather than waiting for a package to come in. She’d probably pretend to not be very hungry just to make sure I eat enough by offering me some of her food.
I thanked Pete for his time and tried to slip out as soon as I could. Pete’s wife always thought I was too mean to Jason, and I probably was, so she didn’t like it when I came around. Pete asked me to play games with him online again sometime, and I told him I would think about it. But now my main goal was to make sure I could support Nai-bu as she prepared to talk to her parents. Then I could ask her if she would like to go on a date! We could celebrate her successful coming out to family!