3 MONTHS LATER
There was a shadow of a doubt the night Elle married Rex. She loved him, for sure, but rushing to marry him ASAP felt weird. Granted, planning a wedding and reception was not her style. Yet, the hurried pace reminded her of life in Spectrum. And again, Spectrum had stolen her freedom and her ability to choose, because mom and dad were going to race off on a suicide mission to end Spectrum by cutting off its head. What real comic book/action movie momentum.
If there wasn’t the pressure of Spectrum possibly killing her parents, she’s quite positive she would have said yes to marrying Rex on the spot anyway. She just felt trapped all over again and hated feeling that way.
Rex moved into the house that Elle, Mara, and Milo lived in. It was the house in between Uncle Ben’s bungalow and Rex’s parent’s place, which was sort of a mini-mansion. All the properties were beachfront property. The Wace House was built according to Mara’s desires of what a dream house would be. Elle wasn’t sure what she wanted in a home. To her, it wasn’t what a place looked like, but who was around her that made the home.
The schedule didn’t differ much from when attending school.
Elle would wake up at 3:30 AM. She’d make breakfast for her husband and Milo. They would come to the kitchen by 4:15, dressed and ready to ranch. At 4:45, they would load up in the truck with Uncle Ben, and take care of their daily morning duties.
Around 7:45, Elle and Milo would stop and walk back to the house. After getting cleaned up, she would make him a sack lunch, and at 8:15, the small bus would pull up to pick up Milo for school. Some days Elle would walk back to help with the ranch duties, but most days she joined Sky in the greenhouse to tend to the plants that produced most of their vegetables year-round. Having an island full of some of the best scientific minds had its advantages, especially to avoid famine.
For lunch, Elle would either crash mealtime at the schoolhouse, go back to Sky’s house, or the ladies would head over to the Police Station to eat lunch with her mom, Cory, who was also the Police Chief. Crime hardly happened on Crown Vic, but when it did, the residents were prepared.
Until it was time to make dinner, Elle would work out either in the home gym, go for a run on the beach, or through the mountain trails. It was a good size island, and she wondered how Uncle Ben could afford such a piece of land.
Milo would be in his room when Elle got done with her housework. She let him do his own thing, rarely checking on what he was up to in there.
Elle would then shower and cook dinner. Rex would come home from a long day and have his personal time until Elle served the food.
Milo timed things just right, setting the dinner table right before the meal was ready.
They would say grace and eat. Dinner time was Elle’s favorite family pastime. Yep, that’s right, because it was like the epitome of normal. Rex was often being goofy. He was the only one that could make Milo laugh. He thought it was because he was funny, but Elle knew it was because Milo thought Rex was a bit of a dunce.
After dinner, they had family devotions. Milo didn’t believe in God, yet he was respectful to sit and listen. He asked questions, and Rex thought that it was a good sign that Milo was close to finding Christ, but Elle knew he was simply blending in.
She had her days where she would think in the ways of the world, and her thought pattern would make Christianity sound whacko and not legit, but she would pray for God to sustain her faith, and peace of mind found her again. There are just some questions that will never be answered in this life, and just because some things can’t be explained right now doesn’t make the Bible untrue or devalue her faith. Elle realized that every Christian has doubts and that strengthened her resolve to keep going.
In the middle of Bible Study, both Elle and Milo heard a car approaching a mile out. No one drove around at night on the island; all the business that required driving was taken care of by sundown.
To distract Rex, Milo asked a question that Rex would pounce on to answer in length and depth, “So… the takeaway from the life of David, is to have a repentant heart like him? My question is, if the Holy Spirit didn’t dwell in God’s people yet, how did David know to be repentant?”
“That, my little man, is a great question…” Rex proceeded to answer it as Elle got up and snuck out to the foyer. She slightly opened the curtain to peek out the window. In the distance, she saw a black SUV heading for the house. Elle was relieved. She reminded herself that if Spectrum found her and Milo, they would most likely drop out of the sky from a plane too high for them to hear.
A quarter-mile out, Elle saw the man driving the SUV was her father, and sitting in the passenger side was her mother. They were back. Did that mean they accomplished their mission? Was the threat of Spectrum finally defeated?
“Milo, Mom and Dad are home!” Elle said.
Milo raced into the foyer, whipped open the door, and ran to stand at the curb. He jumped up and down, screaming, “It’s them! I can see them!” He squealed.
Elle wondered how he did that. One minute he sounded like a 45-year-old man trapped in a 7-year-old body, and the next he seemed like his actual age, filled with innocence and wonder. That’s when she remembered knowledge didn’t equal maturity, but at times knowledge could present the illusion of wisdom.
The SUV pulled up to the curb outside the house, and as soon as Mara opened her door, Milo hopped in her lap, not letting her get out of the truck.
“Finally, you’re back! I missed you, mom,” He exclaimed as he hugged Mara.
She snuggled him back and held him tight as she climbed out of the truck. Zave got down and got their bags out of the trunk.
Once inside the living room, Zave and Mara broke the news that they didn’t catch the Director. All their leads dried up and he was a ghost yet again. They did find Sam: she was in a hospital in Germany, dying from a rare blood disease. She passed away a few weeks ago.
For some reason, that made Elle sad… Sam was far from the perfect mother, but she was the only mother she’d known for most of her life. Sitting on the couch, Elle cried, grieving the first mom she ever had. Rex rubbed Elle’s back, attempting to bring her comfort, but it only agitated her. She stood up abruptly and stormed off upstairs to their room.
Sobbing into her pillow, face-planted on her bed, there was a knock on the door.
“Sweetheart, can I come in?” Mara asked.
Of all the people Elle craved to be comforted by, it was strangely just Mara.
Elle sat upright on the edge of her bed and told Mara she could enter.
They sat in silence for a long time. Mara had a thick manila folder on her lap. Curiosity danced in Elle’s mind. She was nearly desperate to read the contents of the file.
“What’s in the folder?” Elle finally asked.
“We found the old headquarters of Spectrum. So old, it had paper files. We were gonna torch the place, but Zave and I were both curious how they created Milo. Just so if he ever asked, we’d have an answer for him one day.”
Milo probably already knew everything about himself. Hacking into Spectrum’s files was never an issue for him.
Mara handed Elle the file and explained, “Sam was Milo’s surrogate as you know, but to sustain the pregnancy, she regularly needed a blood transfusion using your blood. Your father had to explain most of it to me. But that’s why she had super strength. She continued the blood transfusions from you and Milo. That’s why she always needed you both, or one of you near her at all times. The blood from you and Milo gave her her blood disease. It was manageable by constantly getting transfusions from you guys, but after you ran away she died a very slow and very painful death.”
Almost holding her breath, Elle opened the file and spread out its contents. She read it over and over, not believing what she read.
They didn’t just use her DNA to make Milo, they used one of her eggs. By the looks of it, the Director used his sperm to make Milo. Then they used all the research from the Prometheus Project to create him. According to the file, Milo did initially imprint on Sam successfully, but for some reason rejected her and selectively imprinted onto Elle, his natural mother.
Somehow, believing Milo was a clone variant of her was easier to cope with than learning he was her son. That means Milo’s known all this time that Elle was his mom and yet he just plays along as her brother like she wants. Elle burst into tears again. Mara took her into arms and held her as she wept.
*Edited by Aly Fry