The door opened as I reached for it. That sort of thing happened frequently around here when Mila was being helpful. I realized I was even luckier this time as I saw James. He was home!
“James, we have to talk!” I exclaimed, signing quickly as I spoke.
“What’s the matter?” he asked as he looked down to me.
He always made me feel so tiny next to him with his broad soldiers and greater than average height.
“The matter?” I asked. “What would be the matter? It’s not like I’ve been waiting two weeks for the date you promised only to find out that you went out with her instead as soon as you were free.”
Alma said something to him. She didn’t seem to be very happy either, running off with her incredible speed. I still wasn’t used to someone moving that fast.
“Umm… I think I hear my daddy…” started Aaliyah, turning before I could catch all of it. She had followed James and Alma inside. After a couple steps, she turned back to face me. Then she signed and said, “By the way, why are you in your hoodie?”
I fidgeted as I replied “Oh. I was getting frustrated waiting, and thought I might bump into James if I was out on patrol.”
“What happened to your other outfit?” she asked with wide-eyed innocence.
“I sorta lost part of it when Maxine hit me with a missile.” I explained.
She face-palmed before saying, “You’re not supposed to let missiles hit you, silly. If I were you, I’d ask Mila to print you a new outfit. See ya!”
New outfit!? I turned to James, grabbed his hands to get his attention, and asked “Was she being serious? Mila can do that?”
He shrugged said, “Mila ,are you capable of printing a superhero outfit for Portentia?”
Appearing on a nearby mirror, Mila signed as she said, “Oh, master. I would have no idea what you’re speaking about, though I do have a design in my database for Calamity’s outfit, strictly for cosplay purposes, of course. I think Portentia would be able to fit into it if she wished to cosplay as the city’s greatest superhero.”
James was saying something back to her, but he had turned to face her, blocking my sight. Oh! Mila was transcribing again.
“Are you saying she’s not the only one?” he had asked.
“If there are others, none have been successful enough to catch my attention, but I don’t claim to know everything.” she insisted.
I’d argue on her behalf. Mila certain seemed to know everything when asked. She wouldn’t always tell what she knew, but she knew.
“Please, get started with it!” I pleaded, nearly bouncing in my excitement. “I’ll put off going on patrol until after my date with James.”
I never dreamed getting a new outfit could be that easy. If only they could be as durable as me. Noticing Mila frowning, I felt a moment of unease.
“As you wish, but don’t let the master forget he still owes me a date as well, though I’m not quite ready for it.” she insisted.
I snapped my mouth shut, realizing it had dropped open. Then I turned to James and asked “You’re going on a date with Mila? James, why didn’t you tell me!?”
He seemed to be thinking too hard about what to say.
“Ugh. Now I’ll really have to show you that I’m more fun.” I insisted, grabbing his hand and pulling him back through the door.
Was I though? Mila was incredible. She was beyond incredible. I had no doubts she’d come up with some incredible date specifically designed for their needs.
James tugged back, so I stopped and looked at him.
“Are you sure you want to do this right now?” he asked. “I’m not entirely certain that I’m even done babysitting Aaliyah for the day.”
He quickly pulled out his phone to check.
I said, “She’s gone, so you must be. I have to grab you before you promise ten other girls dates before me. You’re not forgiven for giving Alma a date first.”
“Actually, I owed Alma a dress, since one of hers was ruined when she was helping me.” he stated.
I stared up into his eyes. He seemed to be perfectly sincere… When he wasn’t teasing someone, he was usually sincere. He was a good person.
Grinning, I said, “Sorry! I should’ve known better than to have doubted you. I’m still questioning this date with Mila. How is that even supposed to work?” I couldn’t get past the part where Mila was stuck in mirrors and phones.
He shrugged and told me “I have no idea, but she cornered me into it. Mila’s extremely bright.”
I nodded and pulled him forward again. “I know!” I assured him. “I’ve spent enough time watching Jarod and her talk to realize that they’re amazing.”
“So… what do you do with Jarod?” he asked, trying to be casual.
Was he jealous? I tried not to grin as I said, “Just hang out and talk about ways to stop Maxine, really. I’m not into him, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“Why are we walking?” he suddenly asked.
“Sorry. Are you cold?” I inquired. “I can’t really help with that. I don’t get cold, so I generally don’t think about it.”
“No. I dressed for the weather when I left this morning. I merely meant that we could be taking my car.” he explained.
“I don’t have one of those either, so that’s not the first thing that comes to mind. I have borrowed Mila a few times when she’s free. You don’t mind, do you?” I asked, feeling embarrassed by asking after the fact. Mila always seemed fine with the idea, and she was actually reliable, unlike most cars.
James laughed and said, “No, not at all. She needs to be kept entertained, so she doesn’t end up finding trouble.”
I found myself wondering if Mila’s idea of a date involved her using the car to be out with James, but I quickly said, “Thank you! You wouldn’t believe how difficult hiding the fist off maxine’s machine was. If not for Mila, I wouldn’t have managed getting it all the way here.”
James put his phone to his ear and said, “Mila, could you give us a lift?” After a moment, he looked down to me and said, “Mila’s bringing the car.”
I nodded and said, “I know. I was watching.”
Mila would never turn James down. Her admiration of him was obvious whenever we talked about him. She could seem so… human. I found myself wondering again what I was. I never really had this problem before. Meeting Alma changed things. She forced me to consider that I might not really be human. Most people certainly couldn’t keep up with me, and they certainly didn’t heal as I do.
James waved to get my attention before asking “So what do you have planned for this date of ours?”
“Huh?” I asked, blinking. “You don’t have anything planned?”
He sighed before saying, “Of course not. I didn’t realize we were doing this today.
I shrugged and admitted “I guess I just thought you’d have done some planning already. You had two weeks. Don’t worry though. Let’s just go down to the triangle and roam around.”
“Sorry, but I’m not familiar with that area. What’s ‘the triangle’?” he asked.
“It’s a bit of a slum, really. I’ve been trying to clean up the streets some now that Maxine’s not keeping me busy. Since you don’t have plans for us, I figure we might as well check if anyone needs some help today.” I explained.
He nodded and seemed to get lost in thought again, standing there silently. He never seemed to understand how incredibly handsome he was. One way or another, I was going to show him a good time.