Chapter 33: Fondness
If you looked closely enough, you could see the similarities between Irma and Dana. It was the other features that made her clone so different. It was the dark, long magenta hair that kind of gave it away. Or the golden eyes that shined in the sunshine. And possibly the light, pale skin that was still so soft and...kissable. Her head was placed perfectly on my shoulder. After all, Dana was made to be, well, perfect. The little saying "perfect, better half" is used quite often in these parts. But it was the not so perfect things that made her different from Irma. And arguably better.
I think we all comprehend the term clone. A general term for the research activity that creates a copy of some biological entity. In simple English, a copy of the original. Basically. I still asked Lovely hundreds of questions to why Dana looked nowhere like Irma, from a distance of course. She never answered. She spends all of her time rendezvousing with Excalibur. Can you say ew?
Although, now that I think about the little things going on up in the good old Secret Society, I couldn't help feel happy for Lovely spending a few more minutes with him every day. She had been lonely...for a while now. Sure, I felt guilty at times, but she asked for it. Me leaving that is. I'm regretting it now for sure and if I could rewind time and never ever meet that sinful redhead, I would.
Suddenly, Dana's eyes popped open, having a look of fear burning into them. "Why?" she asked me.
"What did you give me her thoughts and memories, huh?" she didn't look happy with me.
"You think I had a choice in the matter? It was give my knowledge of your...original, or become shark bait."
"I would have chosen shark bait," she outlined a healed scar on my chest.
I sighed. "It was the same dream, wasn't it?"
"They're not dreams," Dana almost shouted. "They're Irma's memories,"
"Okay, fine," I rolled my eyes. "Was it the same one though?"
"Yeah," she hugged her legs. "I don't know why it keeps replaying. It just does. I'd ask for anything else but that..." she started to weep.
I put my arm around her and kissed her forehead gently. When she was "born," Ari didn't take care of her much. She only taught her magic, rather black magic, and some fighting tactics. I was the one who treats her like a friend and someone who looks out for her. I couldn't actually see myself as her parent. It'd be too weird since she appeared to be Irma's age and I was only a year older than that.
She was sobbing hysterically. What other choice did she have in the matter? It was the same remembrance for months now. She was in Irma's place...watching her father die in the hospital, on Earth. I'd cry too if I had seen the horror. Dana only cried because she feels so close and dear to Irma. She may understand that she and her are not meant to be, but she can't help but love her as a friend anyway. I admire Irma too, but not in a lovely-dovey way. Like Helia. Yes, yes, I know. You're probably aware of me kissing Irma twice now. The first one was Ari's orders. The second was all me, since I wasn't exaclty sure who the hell I was looking at in Tsunami. You could tell from a person's lips. It was simple.
"You know," Dana frowned. "I can't help but feel like I'm related to Irma and her family. I mean, we're not so genetically different. We're like...sisters, right?" she asked.
"Well, I guess you could be. You're made out of her blood," I said, us both knowing that by now. "Though, I'm not sure where you get your hair and eyes and skin color from,"
"I guess that's the big mystery," she shrugged, laying her head on my torso.
"Ari probably whipped something up at the last minute so you guys wouldn't be exact," I suggested.
"But," she said. "I'm her clone. Why wouldn't I look just like her?"
"Maybe because Ari doesn't have any kids and thought you'd be the perfect solution to that?"
"Oh," Dana didn't seem so excited about that. She didn't want to be a killing machine or a weapon of some sort. She only wants one thing - to be completely normal. She doesn't want to be known as the clone of Lovely's arch enemy. Or a mistake created by a monster. Even though being ordinary is overrated these days, she still wished. She still dreamed of it. And maybe, I could pull that off one of these miserable days.
Then, out of the blue, she grabbed my left arm and pulled it close to her. Using her fingers softly, she stroked the little black hair that were growing on my forearm. Oddly, she kissed the palm of my hand a second later, making my fingers jerk up. She had never done something like that before. I'm not saying it was a bad thing. It was...nice. Nicer than my horrific days with Ari. It was just sudden and unexpected and different. Her hair was up and out of her face for once, which revealed her eyes. Her eyes were breathtaking. A liquid gold color that could instantly brighten up a dark room. Her skin, soft and pale and smooth. I guessed I loved the quirky things about her. She was my best friend, in spite of everything in this bizarre universe.
"What?" I gave her a weird look.
"I read your mind," yes, thank you, Ari. It's bad enough she has the power to hypnotize a thousand men, now she has the ability to read minds. What next? Gills? Glow-in-the-dark eyes?
I flushed. "Yeah, what about my personal thoughts?"
Dana sat up from her spot on my chest and moved closer to my head, her lips almost kissing my ear. "Don't worry," she said softly. "I love you too,"
Just like my fingers, my head moved forward automatically. What? was the only thing my brain could process at the exact moment. By now we all can conclude that I'm not exactly a Romeo or a stud muffin or, well, a true lover. I was left alone by my father when I was a young child. He could never except me probably because I had powers and such. And my mother. I never knew her so I'm just spit balling when I say she doesn't love me either. So I'm the kind of person who doesn't do so well in circumstances like this. The words 'I love you' don't seem to like me much.
"What are you talking about?" I turned my head to face her.
"Don't play coi, Caleb," she folded her arms across her chest.
"I was only thinking about you and your, uh, looks and stuff," I said. "That's all,"
"Uh-huh," she smiled. And that smile wasn't her innocent or her cheery ones. It was her evil one.
"I'm serious," I defended myself.
"Well," she said. "One thing's true out of all of this," she got out of my bed.
"And what's that?" I asked.
"You think I'm beautiful!" Dana was on her tippy toes and sang, with a giddy laugh to go along with it.
"So what if I think you are? There's nothing wrong with that," I was red in the face and it felt like there was a rock in my throat.
"I'm glad," she came back toward me, sitting on my lap. "And you're not half bad either," she said.
"Gee, thanks," I sighed, touching one of her knees with my hand.
"I mean it," her mouth was close to my ear again. "You're...handsome and nice and sweet and easy to talk to," she nodded.
"Funny," I commented. "Those are all the opposing things Irma thought of me when we first met."
"Well, that's what I think of you," she stroked my neck. "Not her," she said sourly.
"I'm just saying," I said. "She's just...an amazing person. It's what she's doing that's got me interested. She helped save Tsunami and now she's a step ahead of us, the Secret Society. I think she's great,"
"Ah," she wasn't really paying attention.
I cleared my throat. "But I like her as a friend, a best friend. I'm just hoping one of these days we can sit down and talk. Just like regular people. We haven't had the chance. I'd love to though,"
"I see," her nose wrinkled in disgust.
"Huh? Oh, it's nothing," she grabbed onto a part of my jeans and squeezed hard. She bottles her emotions often. That's never good seeing as they come out one way or another - with black magic or hours of endless sobbing. I can handle the second option, not the first, apparently.
"C'mon," I put my other hand on her shoulder. "What is it?"
She bit her lip and said, "I hate it when you talk about her like that! Like how she's more powerful than me, stronger than me, better than me!"
"I'm...I'm not comparing Irma to you, Dana," I squeezed her. "I could never,"
I could feel her heart beating faster than usual, since I was touching her body. This was an irregular thing. She never acted this way before. Her face resembled a rose in bloom and her eyes looked as if she were about to cry out. But not sad tears she did in secret, almost happy ones. As if things weren't odd enough, she sat up from her place in my lap and faced me. Her eyes gazing right into mine. The pit in my stomach was out of control. I mean, I felt this once before. But not like this. Ari made mine perform a few somersaults and backflips. This was completely different. My heart and stomach were almost in sync with one another. They both dropped and my adrenalin kicked in, causing myself to become out of breath and having that cool breeze feeling all over you. I loved that feeling.
And this couldn't get any better, until now. Just as I finally relaxed with Dana and her mind reading games and the not-comparing-her-to-her-clone dilemma, she did something...unpredicted. Kissing me on the mouth.
I pulled away. "What...was that?" I muttered.
"What do you think it was?" she placed her finger on my mouth, her eyes drooping.
I got away from her, my legs over the edge of the bed. I was out f breath, not in a good, pleasure filled way, but in a confused way. The real, normal Dana wouldn't do this. Unless something's making her do this. Or someone.
She sat down next to me, her left leg pressing against my right. She grabbed one of my hands that was resting on my knees. Interlocking our fingers together, she then kissed the back of my hand and kept it near her face. Dana only smiled, her expression staying still and calm and ecstatic. I may be wrong on occasion, but I was definitely wrong a second ago. It was still Dana. It was still the magenta haired beauty...that was a good kisser. A really, really good kisser.
"Would it be weird...if I asked you to do that again?" my heart felt as if it escaped from my chest and jumped a thousand feet into the air.
"No, it's not weird," she grinned, putting her hand on my chest and pushing me down on the bed. And there was Dana, on top of me with her hair falling in her face. As always. Which I couldn't help but love. Leaning down, our mouths touched again. And again. And once more. She ended up leaning against the bed frame, her arms around my neck that pulled me closer and closer to her.
She stopped, rubbing my cheek with a grin. I asked, "What?"
She suddenly pulled me into a huge hug. "You know that I love you, right?"
I didn't hesitate, for once. "Yeah, I know that," I hugged her back, my head laying on her shoulder as she pecked my forehead.
I know where this is going... I pondered. "Hey,"
"Hm?" her eyes were closed, almost falling back asleep.
I cupped my hands over her ear. "I didn't forget 'bout you," I snickered. "I...love you, D,"
"I knew you'd come to your senses,"