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Aberrant: Wild Card - [HW #2] The Winning Project

Helen Booth

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Lizzie bounced around the kitchen, preparing breakfast for her family with all the zeal of an excited nine year old. Breakfast was orange juice and coffee for her parents and waffles, which she had woken up a whole hour before her parents usually got up to make as a surprise and which she was pretty sure she wouldn't get in trouble for since she was using the waffle iron instead of the stove.

"Morning, sunshine - what's the special occasion?"

Lizzie glanced up at the sound of her mother's voice from where she had been carefully pouring a cup of coffee. The pouring faltered for a moment though, and the young girl almost lost her grip on the coffeepot before she managed to right herself. Her mother was standing there, dressed in full Renaissance choir garb, her hair perfectly braided and coiffed. The young girl's face fell at her mother's appearance, for though she found the Renaissance-style clothes beautiful, she knew what it must mean.

"The science fair is today Mom.. remember? You promised you'd go, since Dad couldn't find anyone else to run the shop for the day. You forgot and scheduled an event for the choir.. didn't you?"

Her mother's fair-skinned face filled with guilt, and her cheeks turned as pink as Lizzie's favorite crisp Fuji apples. Her observant young daughter never missed a thing, and took in her mother's expression with a soft, unhappy sigh.

"It's okay, Mom. I'll call Uncle Matt and see if he can drop me off, you've probably got a long way to drive. I don't want waffles anymore, maybe you can finish this one for Eddie."

And before her mother could say anything, she hurried out of the room and up the stairs, slamming the door behind her.


"Congratulations, young lady. This is an exemplary project, and you are to be commended!"

Lizzie shrugged slightly as she stood at her table, and tried to force a smile for the teacher in front of her. He was one of the judges from the local high school, and she should be talking about her project and trying to show it off so that she would win. But her heart just wasn't in it. She knew that her school stuff wasn't as important to her parents as Eddie's music lessons or art classes, but they didn't have to be so obvious about it, did they? The man wandered off to check on the next student's project, and Lizzie breathed a sigh of relief. She sat down in her plastic chair and pulled out her latest book, hoping to read her way through the rest of the day. She'd only gotten a few paragraphs in before an unexpected voice broke through her reverie.

"Well.. this osmosis thing definitely looks "egg-citing" to me, Rachel.. what about you?"

"Oh yes, Patrick.. it looks egg-citing indeed. Maybe Miss Lizzie here can tell us about it?"

Lizzie's head shot up, and she stared for a moment as she saw not only her mother - still dressed in her Renaissance Festival garb for her choir recital, but her father and Eddie too, who were supposed to be (respectively) working and at a sleep-over this weekend. Her whole face lit up in a big smile as she threw her arms around them each, hugging them.

"I thought no one was going to come! What happened to the choir performance, and the store, and Jake's house?"

Her father knelt down in front of her, and pulled her into a tight hug before pulling back and holding onto her arms with his big hands.

"I closed the store, sweetheart. Mom felt so bad about forgetting your fair that she called and talked to me, and I decided to close up shop. We called Eddie and asked if he wanted to go too, and he decided he could go visit Jake again next weekend instead."

She eyed her twin brother speculatively, but the grin he gave her in return told her that he hadn't been cajoled or forced into it. She gave him a hug too, and then pulled back and looked at them, her expression grave.

"I just thought everyone was bored by my science stuff, y'know? I know it's not very interesting to you, or as fun as the Renaissance Festivals."

Her mother reached down and brushed her hair back from her face gently, her expression full of tenderness.

"That's not true at all, my darling. Sometimes we get busy and forget about things, and I'm so sorry. But I love to watch you do the things you love to do, even more than I love doing the things I love. You two are my babies, and what you love doing is more important to me than anything in the whole wide world, you got it?

She nodded, and squeezed her mother tightly, before pulling back and brushing the tears out of her eyes. Her father reached into his pocket and pulled out the camera, aiming it at her and her project.

"Say cheese, baby. Dad wants a picture of you and this winning project."

"I haven't won anything yet, Dad!"

"No, but you will, I know it."


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