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North Bay, Freedom City, New Jersey

Friday January 31, 2020

4:21 PM

 

Lulu Beaumont turned the BMW SUV onto small road that led back to the Harrows’ mansion in North Bay. Tonight Megan and Robert had an event to attend, so they had asked Lulu to be home to watch Lawrence. They had agreed to allow Adam to join her as well to watch movies and otherwise hangout while keeping an eye on the twelve year old. The two teens had left Claremont not long after classes had finished for the day.

 

The Harrows' home was a large mansion set well off from the main road, a long driveway leading up to the front. Hedges ran alongside the road, although not so tall that one could not see more of the grounds beyond. There as a large, well groomed garden to the right of the driveway, and open grounds to the left that stretched back around behind the mansion. The home itself was of a classical style, one that would like right at home on some English estate.

 

This was not Adam's first visit to the home of Lulu’s foster parents. The family had invited him to join them for Thanksgiving back in November and had been very warm and welcoming to Lulu's boyfriend.

 

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"Ah wish ah was better with Lawrence," Lulu admitted as she nimbly navigated the Harrow's driveway "He's a good kid, but ah feel like we're from two different species. Ah mean, ah actually get along better with aliens than ah do with him. Maybe you'll have better luck; at least you're good with science and stuff." She pulled the SUV to a stop and got out, fishing out her purse and bookbag and looking up at the big house with some trepidation.

 

"Everthin's goin' to be fine," she muttered to herself as she reached out to grab Adam's hand.

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Adam took her hand and smiled. "Not everyone gets along with everyone else, Lulu. That's okay." He tugged her into a brief hug. "You're okay, it'll be fine. And if it's awkward for a bit, it's awkward. Take it from me, there are far, far worse things to be than awkward." 

 

As for the science stuff, that much was true. He found that he was insatiable when it came to learning.

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The two teens made their way from the garage and toward the large mansion. They entered the house through a side entrance and passed through a mud room before entering into the kitchen. The kitchen was open and spacious, with dark granite countertops, including a large island toward the middle of space. There was a good sized breakfast nook off to one side, its table large enough for six chairs. It also had large windows that looked out onto the grounds behind the home.

 

Megan Harrow was busy putting some things away into one of the pantries in the kitchen and looked over as the two teenagers came in from the mud room. "Perfect timing Lulu." She said before turning to focus on Adam, a warm smile on her face. "So very nice to see you again Adam."

 

Megan was dressed in pair of designer jeans and a cashmere sweater and focused her attention back on the redheaded teenager. "Lawrence is currently up in his room and dinner should be on its way. There is money up on the table in the front foyer." She stated as she closed the pantry door and made her way across the room towards an exit that led towards one of the back stairwells to the upper floor.

 

"So I am going to go get ready, we will stop by on our way out."

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Adam nodded politely. Megan was nice and polite, and Adam had no reason to be anything else. "Nice to see you too. Should I go say hi, or just leave him be?" Adam knew Lulu was technically the one in charge, here, but he figured she would prefer if he went to see him. He was going to try to balance the awkwardness between Lawrence and Lulu. He was a massive science geek. Both a massive geek and pretty massive in general. 

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"Just leave him be for now," the redhead sighed as she leaned over the counter and let her head droop a little, her crimson locks partially obscuring her face. "Lord, why can't ah just talk to him like another kid? Why do ah need to make such a fuss?" She shook her head to clear her thoughts, and then walked to the fridge to grab a Mexican Coke in a glass bottle, something the Harrows never used to stock before Lulu entered their lives. She held the cool bottle up in her hand and sort of waggled it a bit as she looked back at Adam. "You want one, hon?"

Edited by Heritage

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"Sure, thanks." He said. "I'll leave him alone for now, then." He shook his head. "I never had any babysitters as a kid. My mom and dad sort of rotated taking care of me if one of them needed to go somewhere. Luckily, they got a grant for studying me so they didn't have to worry about it too much." He shrugged.

 

"I've seen enough movies to know what teenagers usually do when babysitting." He blinked and realized what he said. "But I don't want to raid their fridge or anything. No parties, nothing like that. Just hang out, you know?"

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"Oh, totally," agreed Lulu with a nod, though a weird smile spread across her face. Suddenly all the doors into the house flew open, and a swarm of hootin' and hollerin' 'teenagers' (none of whom looked to be under the age of twenty) swarmed into the house, lugging kegs, coolers and what looked like an entire sound system and mixing table. They quickly occupied every available inch of space, tapping the kegs, blending frozen margaritas on the countertop, and dancing and gyrating to the thump thump of house music. To an individual, they were ludicrously attractive, suspiciously well-trained dancers, and wearing dated 90s clothing. One party dude, a NY Yankees cap worn facing sides on his head and baggy colorful clothing on his body, sauntered up to Adam and indicated the bewildered Claremont student with a jerk of his jaw. "Sup, bro!" He then turned to the throng and called out, "Yo, Pony Boy, beer me!"

 

"Incoming!"

 

Catching the cold brew with one hand without even looking, the dude gave the redheaded telepath, who was turning equally red in the face with suppressed laughter, a casual nod as he raised his voice to be heard over the music. "Sup, Lulu! Awesome little shindig you threw together!" The moisture-beaded can in his hand read only 'BEER' in a Gothic font as he popped the top and raised it to his lips.

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Adam just chuckled. "Excellent use of your powers, Lulu. I'm impressed." He sat down, gingerly, and stretched out. "I know you said you have issues with him, but I am interested in meeting our young charge. What do you want to do, watch a movie, maybe?" He glanced around the room. "Babysitting is a lot easier with older kids, I bet."

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"Yeah, movie's probably a good idea. We'll let him pick; might be somethin' interestin'." Now bored of her elaborate display, Lulu turned to the partygoers and sighed. "Alright, y'all; pack it up."

 

She snapped her fingers, and an open suitcase appeared in the middle of the floor, and the entire 'rave', boys, girls, booze and sound system, got sucked into it in a swirling cascade of light and sound as the telepath nonchalantly took another swig of Coke. When it was all gone, the suitcase snapped shut and blinked out of existence.

 

"Or we could play a board game," she offered with a shrug.

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GM

 

As the two teenagers were discussing possible plans for the evening, Lawrence made his way into the kitchen from one of the doorways that led to a hallway to several of the back rooms on the main floor as well as a second stairwell to the upper floor. The blond twelve year old was dressed in a pair of jeans and grey T-shirt. Only about four inches shorter than Lulu, Lawrence’s resemblance to his father was very clear and his fine features were starting the transition from cute to handsome. His bright blue eyes were the very image of his mother's.

 

"Oh, hi Lulu. Good to see you again Adam." The pre-teen stated as he spotted the pair as he started towards the refrigerator. 

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"Food's on it's way, Lawrence. Just letting you know. So what do you wanna do? Wanna play a game, or just go back to your room and do what you were doing? Totally up to you." He kinda wished that he would go back to his room so things wouldn't be awkward between he and Lulu.

 

He stretched out and leaned back. 

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GM

 

The twelve year old turned away from the refrigerator upon hearing that the dinner was on its way. He gave a small shake of his head when Adam asked if he wanted to play a game or something. "No, that's okay." He replied. "After dinner I will just go back up to my room so you two can watch whatever you might want in the home theater. Or whatever."

 

Walking over toward the breakfast nook, Lawrence took a seat at one of the six chairs set around the table. "So, how has the start of the semester been Adam?" He asked as he looked over at the large teenager. "You were looking forward to starting the theoretical physics unit I believe."

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"It's very fascinating. I'm really enjoying it a lot. How is school going for you? Learning anything really good?" Adam smiled as he leaned forward. He knew his girlfriend was unnerved by the kid, but he also kind of understood why. So he was the liaison between the two.  

 

He smiled over at Lulu in apology. He knew she didn't like having to deal with him. 

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Velocity

 

"It has been good so far, though we are not learning anything nearly as fascinating." Robert replied with a small shrug. "Looking forward to starting at Claremont in a couple years really."

 

Just then Megan and her husband, Robert Harrow, made their way back into the kitchen. Unlike just a short time ago when she had left the two teens in the kitchen, Megan was now in a long red dress that accented her slim figure.

 

Robert was tall and handsome, dressed in a black tuxedo that was well tailored to his lean frame. Appearing a few years older than Megan, the resemblance to Lawrence was impossible to miss. "Hello Adam, good to see you again." The Englishman said with a warm smile.

 

"Okay, food should here any minute." Megan said as she walked over and leaned down slightly to give Lawrence a kiss on the forehead, much to his annoyance. "Be good and listen to Lulu and Adam dear." She said with a smile.

 

"Of course." Robert replied with a slight blush in his cheeks.

 

"We will probably be rather late." Megan said to Lulu and Adam as she started walking towards the backdoor towards the garage as Robert opened it for her. "No need to worry about Lawrence getting to bed, he will either go to sleep when ready, or just play video games till we get home." She added, a slight roll of her eyes with the later.

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"Have a good night, Mr. and Mrs. Harrow!" Lulu waved at the departing couple as they headed out for the night, then turned her attention back to the two young men in front of her. And then a icy needle of guilt stuck in her gut. Despite his unnerving intelligence, Lawrence was a normal little boy, just a lot smarter; she knew it was her issue with him to resolve. It was unhealthy to ignore the problem.

 

"Hey look, Lawrence, ah...ah owe you an apology." She leaned up against the counter and stroked her jaw. "Ah have not been a good houseguest since ah moved in here with you and your folks, and ah'd like to change that. Due to my own...biases and whatnot, ah believe ah've been disrespectful to you. What ah have done is avoided you, and not taken the time to get to know you better, know what ah sayin'?" 

 

She shrugged and looked at the young Harrow hopefully. "So, what can we do to resolve this issue?"

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GM

 

Lawrence turned to regard Lulu when she offered her apology and talked about wanting to make things right between them. The pre-teen was quite for a moment before he replied. "No Lulu, you should not have to apologize. I don’t know the details, but I know you came here from a bad situation, with a chance to begin anew. My parents were certainly wanting to provide you that chance, and I probably could have been more welcoming. I would be lying if I tried to say I was not at least a little bit jealous of suddenly having to share my parents’ attention with someone else. You likely picked up on that on at least some level."

 

"So, if anything, we sort of became a circular negative reinforcement loop, each picking up on some subtle negativity, which in turn renewed our own negative impressions of each other." Lawrence paused a moment before he continued. "So, perhaps the way to resolve this is break the loop."

 

He paused again for a moment and then spoke again. "I am glad you came here Lulu. I hope that moving here and attending Claremont has been as good for you as my parents seem to feel it has been."

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"Sometimes, starting over is the best way to do something. I'm glad you guys are going to try to get past this. So, who's hungry? You know me, always hungry." Adam was slightly awkward. He was glad, but still, a bit awkward. He also really was hungry a lot of the time. Sometimes he chalked it up to his unique nature, other times to being a regular teenager. Either way, food.

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Lulu took and deep breath, then let if out slowly. "You know, ah hadn't even thought of the 'only child' thing; when you grow up the youngest of four, you're just used to not havin' any privacy. Ah'm sorry ah didn't take that aspect of your life into consideration." At Adam's mention of food, the redhead laughed out loud. "Yeah, this boy needs his grub! Hey, here's a thought. Why don't we work on some sort of project together, just the three of us! Make something like a volcano or a catapult together? You guys can do all the designin' and what not, and ah'll do the cuttin' and gluin'."

 

She waved her hand, and a small battle scene right out of Gladiator appeared on the kitchen table, with Roman soldiers struggling to load their siege weapon.

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GM

 

 

Lawrence chuckled and smiled as Adam brought up the subject of food. When Lulu created her illusion on the kitchen table, the twelve year old leaned down slightly to get a closer look at the small soldiers, clearly impressed with the detail. "Not sure we could match this detail with just some paper and glue Lulu." He said with a grin.

 

Just then, the doorbell rang, indicating the food had arrived. A few moments later Lulu had gone to the door to get the food, using the money Megan had left out on a small table near the front door to pay.

 

Soon the three were seated at the kitchen table with several boxes of different Thai food set out between them.

 

Lawrence finished swallowing a bite of food before he looked over at the two teens. "If you two really want to, instead of some random project, I do have a project for school due toward the end of next week. It is for science and should be something related to astronomy. I was thinking of a model of the solar system."

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"Hmm, that wouldn't be that difficult. We might have to go get materials, but that's doable. What do you think, Lulu? Also, would you be including Pluto, or not?" He chuckled. He was pro-Pluto. As far as he knew, a planet was supposed to be any sufficiently large, round object in space that didn't orbit a planet. If that meant there were dozens of planets or hundreds, that was fine with him. 

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Lulu happily dipped a satay skewer into some peanut sauce as she pondered the question. "Ah mean sure, we can do that! Poor little Pluto, off on its own with none of the cool planets to play with." She hungrily bit off some chicken, getting peanut sauce all over herself. "So, if we do a Solar System model, how accurate can we do scale? Aren't all the Outer Planets way farther out than the Inner ones?"

 

She waved her half-eaten satay like a wand, and an illusionary representation of the Solar System appeared, though not super accurate since astronomy was not Lulu's forte; she'd definitely compressed things to get all the planet's together within a six foot circle. Still, it was visually impressive to see the various planets slowly revolve around a Sun roughly the size of a golf ball.

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