Booker started his new job as a team mascot soon after his birthday. He did sweat a lot in the llama costume, but the career path of an athlete can’t be expected to be sweat free.
Keiko also started working, she became an office assistant for a major firm based nearby. She dreamed of running her own business someday. Her and Yenn usually got home around the same time, and while they were not close, they’d always exchange a few friendly words upon their return.
In spite of herself, Yenn actually felt quite grateful for the human contact she got at home, because her colleagues still refused to talk to her at the lab. She quite liked the balance, time to herself to recharge in the office as the projects got more and more interesting, and time to socialise with her family.
But one day, as she was analysing a death flower through the miscroscope, she suddenly noticed she had company.
Angel: “Please, no need to stop what you’re doing on my account. Please stop by my office later today when you get a chance.”
Yenn: “Err, who are you?”
Angel: “That’s a good question. I am of course the director of this laboratory, Angel Peril. But I am a whole lot more than that, which is what I’d like to discuss with you.”
Yenn: “Of course ma’am! I apologise… I’ll be right over.”
As the girl with the golden hair walked into the room, Cassiel couldn’t take her eyes of her. She’d been watching her through the security cameras ever since the day she had started, but to see her in flesh was a whole new experience… she looked so much like her father.
“Please, sit down,” Cassiel said dryly. She wasn’t quite sure how to continue; it had taken her quite some time to even muster up the courage to invite the girl over to the office to talk. But what was there to say?
They sat in silence for a while, Yenn growing more and more impatient by the minute. Was she in trouble? Did she mess up any of her tests? What was going on?
Cassiel finally spoke: “I guess you’re wondering why you’re here… There’s no easy way to say this. I’m your mother.”
Yenn looked at the woman. She looked nothing like her mother, the fair adventure loving gentle woman she grew up with. If anything, she was the polar opposite; dark, closed off and hardened by life.
“I don’t… you… why did you give me up?” She blurted out.
“I’ll give you no excuses,” Cassiel said solemnly. “I hated you. I could not stand the sight of you, your screaming, your demanding eyes. I craved peace and solitude. You were not it. So I sent you somewhere I knew would be better for both of us.”
Yenn’s throat felt dry. The woman’s eyes were cold, and so were her words; but at least she was honest.
“Tell me about my father,” Yenn continued.
Cassiel: “Your father came from a culture I have little knowledge of. A tribal place where the women rule and men serve. He had to leave his world due to false accusations, and that’s how I met him. He was a wonderful man, a dedicated man determined to fight the worst in him for loyalty.”
Yenn: “But you both abandoned me… strange loyalty you speak of.”
Cassiel: “Your father never left you Yennefer. In fact, he believed you would become a powerful leader, a creator, as he called it. I’ve never seen him happier than the day he first held you in his arms. I sent you away, and he… he returned to his original home shortly after. He could never forgive me, because he loved you.”
“You mean my father wanted me? And you just couldn’t have that?” Yenn tried to collect herself. “Where is he now? Do you know anything about him?”
“I’m afraid not. As I said, all I know is that he returned to the group of people he called his tribe, to do as they say. I don’t know what came of him after. He used to be gardener there, so perhaps he returned to his original duty. Or perhaps he was chosen to provide an heir to their legacy, in which case…” Cassiel’s voice sank.
“In which case what?”
“I believe it is customary in the amazon culture to have the men who procreate with the leader sacrificed.”
“So my father could be dead? Because of what you did? Because you couldn’t love your own child? You’re a monster!”
Cassiel trembled with fury: “Don’t you dare speak to me like that! Listen to me, you ungrateful brat! You’d be nothing without me, I spent painful hours giving birth to you, I arranged for you to be brought up in the best environment for children that I knew of, I created you! Whether you like it or not, I am your mother!”
“You’re no mother of mine,” Yenn yelled at the woman. “My mother is kind and supportive, and she would never leave me.”
“Oh really,” Cassiel snickered. “And where is she now, your mother? Din’t she abandon you as well? Flew across to the other side of the world to be as far away from you as possible?”
Yenn grew pale with anger. “You’re a despicable woman…”
“Careful now, child,” Cassiel grinned wildly. “I’m the only mother you have left!”
Yenn stood up and headed for the door. As she approached it, she took one last look at Cassiel.
“No wonder my father left you. By the way, I quit.”
Yenn stomped out of the facility, leaving it behind. She never wanted to see that awful woman again. It was bad enough knowing she was the one who gave her life.
She wandered around aimlessly for hours, unsure of where to go. She couldn’t talk to her sister Chell, or anyone in her family, for that matter. Working at Future Sims Labs was the job of Chell’s dreams, she couldn’t possibly ruin that for her by telling her about her biological mother.
No, it had to stay a secret. But for once in her life, Yenn did not want to be alone. There was only one other place she could think of going.
Ethan opened the door and stared at her, confused: “Yenn! What a surprise, considering how we… are you ok?”
“No… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come here.”
“Don’t be stupid. What happened?”
Yenn told him everything. All she’s ever known about the parents, and the awful things she’d learned today.
“I just can’t believe I came from this venomous woman. She’s like the desert she lives in. No wonder there’s so little goodness in me. I have nowhere to get it from…”
“And my father… I had always assumed neither of them wanted me, but to know that he thought so highly of me, even as a little baby… And can never get to know him, in spite of all that.”
Ethan jumped in: “First off; you’re nothing like your birth mother. You know that. Just the fact you’re getting so worked up about this goes to show there’s more goodness in you then she’ll ever get to experience.
As for your father, somehow he had the foresight of knowing how amazing you’ll grow to be, he must have been an insightful and intuitive man. I’m sure that on some level, he knows what a wonderful woman you’ve become and is proud of you, no matter where he is.
Now, how about I make you some dinner?”
Ethan cooked delicious garlic noodles and entertained Yenn for the rest of the evening, telling her light-hearted stories about the trials and tribulations of his football team and the latest happenings around the library.
It was a very one-sided conversation, but soon enough, there was a hint of a smile on Yenn’s face.
When Yenn was finally ready to head home, she was feeling a lot better, and eternally grateful to Ethan for his kindness.
“Thank you so much Ethan,” she hugged him, “You have no idea how much you’ve helped me!”
“It’s all good. You looked like you needed a friend. Maybe we could give that a go instead, unless friendship is too much of a commitment for you,” he winked.
“Hey!” She nudged him playfully. “No, I think I can handle that.”