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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, '11, 8:25 pm
At the end of the year, Andi graduated from the Paseo branch of the Motavia Academy with a degree in fine arts. She moved into a cramped apartment near the center of the city and got a job working part-time at a tool shop. The job probably wasn't necessary, as many of Paseo's residents did not work, but dealing with monomates and telepipes gave her the break from painting she sometimes needed. She'd had some small successes in selling some of her work, but unfortunately, it seemed that most of the people of Motavia had very little interest in anything remotely creative.

Gabe would teleport to the city on alternate weekends, and she, in turn, would travel to Oputa twice a month and walk to the cottage that was provided to him by the Biosystems Lab.
The first time Andi set foot inside his home, she immediately deemed the walls “too bare and white” and promised to remedy that particular situation on her next trip. The tiny house only had several rooms and, as was to be expected, was perfectly clean and tidy.

The small group of scattered buildings outside the laboratory didn't really even constitute a village – they were all residential spaces, save for one tiny tool shop (that wasn't nearly as well-stocked as where Andi worked) and a food distribution center. There was no teleportation station, hospital, or other amenities usually found in the Motavian towns. If the staff of the lab needed anything else, a trip to Oputa or Zema (both of which were in walking distance) was necessary.

“I'm so comfortable, I don't want to get up and walk back to Oputa today,” Andi whined one morning. She rolled around and faced the window, where the early sun was streaming in. Reaching out her hand into the golden beam, she twisted her wrist and turned her palm upward, seemingly playing with the particles of light.

Gabe didn't mind the covers of his usually well-kept bed being disrupted, as he had learned long ago that trying to contain Andi was like trying to catch a thunderstorm in a test tube. “If you don't want to go, then don't go,” he simply stated.

She turned back towards him and scooted her body up so her face was closer to his, thoroughly tangling herself in the blankets in the process. “Maybe I won't, then.”


She needed more of a reaction. “Maybe I'll never leave. You may be stuck with me forever.”

“That's fine. I could learn to live with that.”

Andi quickly shot up into a sitting position, her rumpled pink hair flying forward into her face. “Really?” she asked, cocking her head at him.

“I'd love it if you came to live here. I just didn't think you'd want to leave the glamorous life of the big city,” Gabe admitted.

“Eh, I can take it or leave it.” She pondered the idea for a few moments. “And you'd still let me paint here?”

The sleepy scientist chuckled softly. “Andi, I don't think anyone's ever 'let' you do anything. You'd do whatever you wanted, anyway.”

“This is true.” She leaned back against him. “Then it's settled. I'll never leave here again,” she said dramatically.

“I would think you'd need to go back to Paseo eventually to gather your belongings,” Gabe pointed out.

“Damn you and your logic!” Andi grabbed her pillow and gave him a gentle bop on the head. His efforts to wrestle it away from her were unsuccessful, so he reached behind him to grab his own feathered weapon, laughing the whole time. He used it to fend off a second attack before getting in a hit of his own.

After declaring a truce, Andi flopped back down and curled up next to the pillow-less Gabe. “You know,” she said pensively, “if I move here, you're probably going to wind up marrying me.”

“The thought had crossed my mind.”

“I promise not to wear you out too much.”

He kissed her. “Then what would be the point of having you here?”

Within a month, Andi had completely established Gabe's home as her place of residence. In another month's time, they stood at their favorite place above the ocean early one morning, accompanied by a court clerk from Paseo. As marriage was nothing but a legal contract in the eyes of the Motavian government and Mother Brain, the simple procedure could have easily been done in the capital city, but the starry-eyed artist had insisted on the sunlit ceremony.

“Welcome home, Mrs. Thompson,” Gabe said as he opened the door to their home for her upon their return.

“Mrs. Deandra Thompson...” Andi pouted slightly. “It sounds so old!”

“Look on the bright side, now you have a new signature to practice. I'm sure this one will be even more famous than the last.”

Her face brightened slightly. For a moment, she was torn between grabbing a sheet of paper and deciding on how best to incorporate her artistic flair into her new written name and pouncing on her new husband in celebration. After not much deliberation, she opted for the latter.

When Gabe opened his eyes the following morning, the first thing he saw was a half-dressed Andi perched on a stool she had dragged over to the bed, her easel in front of her. He stirred slightly and her paintbrush stopped moving over the canvas as she noticed he was awake. “Don't move yet,” she instructed. “I almost have what I need.”

“I hope your artistic vision includes pants,” the exposed man mumbled into his pillow.

“I figured my first work as the greatly talented artist Deandra Thompson should have something to do with married life. You know, to symbolize the change...”

“And me sleeping naked in bed is your idea of a good representation of marriage?”

“Isn't it?”

After some consideration, Gabe realized he couldn't argue. “Wake me when you're done,” he said, but he never closed his eyes. Instead, he watched her, as he had frequently done before. Her hand moved gracefully across the canvas, as if starring in a beautifully choreographed ballet. A wide variety of emotions rippled across her face, from excitement to serenity to frustration and back again. Gabe sometimes wondered if he looked the same way when he was hard at work in the lab. Since meeting Andi, he realized there was a certain sort of beauty to be found in the cells and organisms he studied and experimented with, if one knew where and how to look for it.

“Okay, you can get up now.” He sat up as she carefully slid the easel out of the way. “I'll work on it more later. Do you have to go to the lab today?” she asked.

“They won't miss me if I'm gone one more day.” He reached his arms over his head, stretching out his muscles before getting up to officially start the morning. “It's up to you. If you want to concentrate on your painting, I'll go in. If you'd rather have me around to entertain you, I'll stay. Whatever makes you happy.”

“That is a tough decision,” she teased. She put the rest of her supplies away before coming back to face him again. “You know nothing makes me happier than you,” she said with a smile. With one quick motion, she pulled off the paint-smeared shirt and pushed him back down.

By the time Gabe returned from the lab the following evening, Andi was nearly finished with the painting, having worked on it all day. His body and the bed were comprised of various shapes and strange angles, and the room whirled around him in colors that could be found nowhere in the small house, but somehow, he could see the resemblance.

“I like it,” he told her. “We can hang it right over the bed, it’ll be like looking in a mirror every day,” he joked.

Gabe continued to work at the lab and Andi continued to paint, occasionally traveling to the surrounding towns to replenish her supplies and sell her artwork, with varying levels of success. She would usually put down the paintbrush when he came home in the evenings, but every now and then she would be so engrossed in her work, it would be pointless to try to stop her.

One night, Gabe idly flipped through a book as Andi busied herself across the room. When he looked up, he saw that something about her was different. Usually when she painted, every thought and feeling that was going through her mind was prominently displayed on her face, but now, as she twirled the brush, she only looked...subtly amused.

He crossed the room and stood behind her, following her gaze. Instead of her usual wild brushstrokes, there was a simple, almost cartoon-like, figure in the center of the canvas. Gabe thought it bore a strong likeness to him, though it was smaller and had different proportions. Curiously enough, its head was topped by a untamed mass of pink hair.

“What’s this?” he asked with a smile.

She set the brush and palette down before looking up at him. “Oh no, you caught me!” she laughed. Turning back to the easel, she studied her little character before answering. “I was just thinking about what our children are going to look like,” she admitted, blushing slightly.

Gabe slid an arm around her shoulder. “Apparently, you think they’re going to look like me.”

“Partially, anyway.”

“Except the hair, it seems.”

Andi let out a soft giggle. “Well, I figured that since I have the more dominant personality out of the two of us, those genes would be more dominant, right?”

The biologist laughed with her. “I don’t think it works quite that way,” he said, kissing the top of her head. “Maybe you should give him a little white lab coat while you’re at it.”

“Maybe he won’t be interested in biology,” she teased.

“That’s impossible. I’ll make it sound like the most fascinating field he could ever hope for.” He gave her a little wink. “It worked on you, didn’t it?”

“Maybe he can illustrate electronic textbooks, I think that’s a fair compromise.”

Gabe put his face in his palm and shook his head. “This poor kid. He doesn’t even exist yet and we’re already planning out his whole life.”

“Isn’t that what all parents do?” Andi legitimately asked.

“Probably.” A slight look of panic came over his face. “What if it’s a girl?”

Andi finally spun around to face him directly. “She will have her daddy wrapped around her little finger. Just like her mother.”

“I won’t even stand a chance in my own house,” he groaned. He took her hands in his and tugged. “Come on, let’s go to bed.” As he led her into the bedroom, he added, “And when you fall asleep, make sure you’re dreaming about baby boys.”

After she was certain that Gabe was out for the night, Andi slipped through the dark rooms of the house and approached her little painting. Turning on a small lamp, she decided to apply the finishing touches. As she added some minute details, she reflected on her life in her home outside the Biosystems Lab. Perhaps it wasn’t the most exciting life, but she was content; according to Gabe, that was all Mother Brain really wanted for her “children”. It had been surprisingly easy to let her concerns about the seemingly omnipresent entity slip away, though she probably wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of admitting it. If this was how she, as a citizen of Motavia, was supposed to live, she accepted it willingly and gladly.
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