“Where have you been?” Astrid glared at Pauline as soon as she walked through the door.
“I just went for a walk,” Pauline replied. Luckily it was too dark for Astrid to see her daughter blush. Pauline had never lied to her mother before. But hey, she lied to Pauline about the mainland, so it was only fair… right?
She’s your mom, Pauline reminded herself. There must be a reason for this. A big misunderstanding.
“Mom, I was thinking,” she started carefully. “I’m getting older… maybe I could go to the mainland with you sometime?”
Fear spread across Astrid’s face: “Pauline, we talked about this! You can’t go to the mainland, because we have no way of disguising you. It’s for your own good, you know that.”
Pauline frowned. Still the same old story.
“Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad,” Pauline tried again. “Maybe people would surprise you…”
“Come on mom, I can put two and two together. I’m only half alien. So what about the other half? You must have had faith in people at some point, otherwise I wouldn’t have been born.”
Astrid sat still for a moment, dumbfounded.
This wasn’t working, Pauline thought. Astrid never answered any questions about Pauline’s father, and today was no different. She thought of Peyton.
“Mom, how did you come to this planet?” she chose her words carefully. “You always say we don’t belong here, but you’ve never spoken about our home planet. Why not?”
Astrid was concerned. She knew these questions would be inevitable one day, but she still wasn’t ready.
“I was born on this planet, like you. Well, not quite… I was implanted into a man who lived in a place called Newcrest.” Her mind trailed off. “Speaking of Newcrest; we…”
“So you weren’t raised by aliens,” Pauline interrupted, victorious expression in her face. “You had a family here. A local family.”
“Pauline, I know where you’re trying to go with all these questions,” Astrid said stiffly. “You’re right. I did have people in my life once. Family, friends, your father. And look where they all are now. Gone.”
“They’re not like us. They will never understand. They broke me. And I broke them. It’s best we stay out of each other’s way.”
Pauline sighed. There was no use. Her mother was trying to teach her a cautionary tale, without telling her the actual story. What could have possibly happened that was so terrible?
But fine. If she didn’t want to share the whole truth, neither would Pauline. She had one last idea.
“So what if we meet one of our own mom?” Pauline asked. “An alien, someone who understands. One of us.”
Astrid smiled sadly: “Sweetie, I’ve lived on this planet my entire life, and I have never met a fellow alien.”
“But if you did, hypothetically…”
“I would hug them and ask where they’d been all my life,” she shook her head and let out a slight laugh. “If I do come across another one of us, you’ll be the first to know. But I just don’t see it happening…”
So there it was, Pauline’s mother had indirectly given Peyton her blessing, without knowing. If lying, or rather, not telling the full truth, was the way to keep her new friend, then so be it. After all, it was the only example she’d been set.
The next time Astrid had to leave the island for business, Pauline invited Peyton and her crew over to the island right away.
“Wow, you live in paradise,” Starr shrieked.
“One man’s paradise is another man’s prison,” Pauline smirked.
“Wouldn’t mind this being my prison,” Ted, the green-haired boy laughed.
The other boy, Davion, who had first discovered Pauline in her hiding spot just smiled and started playing his guitar.
Soon enough, everybody was dancing to davion’s tune. One thing Peyton’s friends had in common was their love of music.
And boy, was their dancing something else. Astrid was in awe when Ted added fire to his performance.
“Woo, you can do it this time, Ted!” Starr clapped enthusiastically.
“Or not,” the blonde giggled as her friend almost caught on fire. Luckily, being on an island, water was not too far.
And then Peyton showed them how it’s done.
Pauline’s heart was beating rapidly. She had friends. And each of them was amazing. Peyton, of course, stole the show with everything she did, but she admired every single one of them. And they all adored music just as much as she did. No matter what her mother said, Astrid was one of them. And she needed to show them.
Her hands trembling slightly, she pulled out her violin. Soon enough, her fingers loosened up as her heart ran away with the sound.
And then, when she started paying attention again, she noticed that Davion was playing the same melody. Their instruments danced together, their spirits were talking without either one saying a word. Pauline wasn’t sure how much time had passed.
And then it was time to say goodbye.
“Man, we need to do that again,” Davion grinned. “You’ve got some skills! And I’m not just saying that because you’re pretty,” he winked.
Pauline beamed. She wasn’t sure what she thought of Davion yet, or if she liked him that way, but she knew one thing; playing her violin with him gave her butterflies.