“Will you be my lover?”
The girl who proposed the weird question to Dina looked like a high schooler. Short, white skin, black hair, dark eyes and wearing fashionable clothes, with a blue blouse, black shorts, and long brown stockings.
Dina was a college student. She was tall, had dark skin and her brown curly hair was tied in a ponytail. It was night and she was wearing a jacket and jeans. Her class had finished early that day, and she was about to go home. What she never expected was to be proposed by a teenage girl out of the blue.
“I-I don't get it”, she said.
“I'll become your girlfriend, bride, wife. I forgot what the order is.”
Dina was sure that was a joke. After all, the girl was a teenager, so that was to be expected. She didn't have the patience for that and tried to ignore the girl and keep walking home, but was stopped when the teenager jumped in front of her.
“Wait. Why aren't you answering me? I heard this would be easy in this place.”
“Look, I was your age once. Not that long ago, in fact. I get it, you're just having fun. I don't have time for this, so please go bother someone else.”
“I'm not having fun, right now”, the girl had a really serious face as she said it.
Dina scoped around trying to find anyone who could be the girl's friend, laughing at the whole situation. But if someone like that was there, they were really well hidden, as only adults seemed to be around.
“Okay, I'll give you a chance. Explain yourself.”
“Right. So, you see, I'm from another planet…”
By hearing that, Dina turned and tried to walk away again, but the girl held her arm again.
“I’m serious, please, let me explain!” she said.
Seeing the serious face the girl had, Dina didn’t feel like ignoring her. Although she was probably lying, it seemed like a lie she actually believed in. Dina thought maybe there was something more about that whole thing.
They went to a snack bar. Dina paid for a coke and hamburger to the girl, while asking for a beer to herself, as she thought was appropriate given the situation. Although the girl hadn’t asked for anything to eat, when it was in front of her, she started to devour it, as if she was famished.
“I heard about these, but it’s the first time I eat one myself”, she said to the inquisitive look Dina gave her.
What Dina was thinking about was why she was wasting money on a girl she just met.
“Was food your objective after all?”
“Of course not”, the girl said after swallowing the food. There was sauce on the side of her mouth. “I said it already, right? I need love.”
“Because you came from another planet, right?”
Dina stared at the girl without saying anything. The girl probably picked up the distrust in her eyes, since she started to explain:
“I see you don’t believe me. Well, our research did show how hard it would be, considering your species has a history of making lies. It’s hard for me to imagine why someone would make a lie about it, though.”
“People like attention”, Dina said. She wasn’t convinced, but she thought she would play along until to find out if the girl had any objective in all of that, or if she really believed she was from another planet.
“Well, I do owe you an explanation. According to our research, themes like mating can be sensitive to your people, so maybe my approach was wrong. I apologize for that.”
“That’s understating it.”
“I see…”, she slurped a gulp of her coke. “You see, we’re not good with things like this, and that’s exactly why I’m here. My planet is similar to yours, as we live in society and are born of a sexual act. We’re compatible with the most different kinds of organisms, what means we can actually reproduce with other species, as long as they have a similar organism as ours. Five thousand years ago, in my planet’s years, at least, we were victims of a meteor rain that fell on our surface and the element it brought was nocive to all male DNA. Since then we live in a society dominated by females, as even giving birth to a male with our bodies is impossible.”
Dina was impressed by how the girl had a whole story about her origin. She was starting to think maybe she had a problem with schizophrenia or something similar. Unfortunately, that was outside of Dina’s area, as a marketing student.
“Until recently, our only means of reproduction was to get involved with a male from other species and reproducing with them”, she continued. “We have chosen mothers who would go to other planets, seduce men and mate with them. They were trained at that, and that’s how we lived until now. That’s how our species lasted until today. Recently, we have experienced some difficulties with keeping that system, though. You see, our species is extremely logical, and as such, emotional values means little to us. Unfortunately, we realized the most advanced planets in the universe put a lot of weight on something called romance, and that’s a hard concept for us to grasp. But it turns out that seducing people from these planets without working on this concept is a demanding task, and things like contraceptive technology make actually producing offspring from those sexual acts complicated, what made us target less developed planets until now. Our researchers believe that’s maleficial to our DNA. And so, some of us were sent to planets where this concept is well developed to learn about it. And that’s why I’m here.”
Dina looked at the girl, not knowing if she should laugh or take her seriously.
“So you want to be my lover, to learn about love?”
“Yes”, the girl had finished eating what was on her table.
“You just said it, right? You do that to seduce males. You’re aware I’m female?”
“Yes…” the girl looked uncomfortable and tried to avoid Dina’s gaze. “I was not trained as a mother, and so… males are a little… scary…”
“They’re too big. They smell weird… Their voices are scary. I’m not sure how to act around them and I heard stories from mothers that… I really am more comfortable with females”, the girl looked at Dina with pleading eyes. “Is that wrong?”
“It’s not about being wrong or right. You know we can’t have babies, right?”
“My objective is learning to teach other, not offspring. So that’s not a problem.”
“So, you want me to believe they sent a child for something like that?”
“Oh, I’m mature enough…”
“Our researchers shows that females around this age are more likely to successfully seduce males, so often that’s the appearance chosen for our interactions. It wasn’t my choice either.”
“You…” Dina paused, looking straight into the girl’s eyes. “Are you calling us all pedophiliacs?”
“We didn’t invent those numbers, miss.”
Dina finished eating. She wasn’t keen on keeping that farce. Either that girl was making a joke and had a really fertile imagination, or she was sick.
“Well, even if I believe you, and I’m not saying I do, I don’t think we could make it work. You’re just a girl.”
“So that’s impossible?”, the girl looked disappointed. “So it really won’t work unless it’s a male?”
“I wouldn’t say that. But you’re going to be luckier with a male, yeah. Like you said, all yours… huh… researches were with that purpose.”
“I see…”, the girl rose from the table and looked at Dina, forcing a smile: “I’m sorry for taking your time. Thanks for the food, I’ll repay you sometime, for sure.”
And saying that, she walked away.
Dina felt bad, but there wasn’t much she could do. Maybe that was cruel if that girl really had a problem, but it wasn’t Dina’s responsibility. Maybe she would look the next day for reports about a lost girl and send her family over there.
She paid for the food and left the bar. Looking at her wristwatch, she realized it was almost midnight. She lost a lot of time in that joke, or whatever it was. Luckily the next day was weekend, so she had no job or college.
Dina would be lying if she said that girl didn’t bother her. The most she walked home, the more she thought that leaving her alone at night after saying she should propose to a man wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe because of that, she didn’t go home and wandered through downtown, as if looking for something aimless.
“Will you be my lover?”
It was the same voice, but it was different this time. First, because it wasn’t directed to Dina, as before. And also because the person saying it was clearly uncomfortable and nervous, not confident as before. But as Dina looked in the voice’s direction, there was the same girl. In front of her, an older man, probably in his forties. He looked around in the same way Dina did.
“Is that a joke?”, he asked. “Is someone hiding somewhere?”
“It’s not a joke… I need to learn about love. If you’re willing to teach me…”
There wasn’t the same conviction about it in her voice. Dina remembered what the girl had said about males being scary. She was playing with her fingers, avoiding eye contact with the man, while talking to him.
He surveyed around again, lowered his eyes to the girl as if examining her.
“So, huh… If you want help, you can come with me.” He grabbed her hand, almost too eager. “If you come to my house, then…”
Dina hurried and grabbed the girl’s free arm. She turned her face and looked at Dina with a surprised expression, although a faint smile crossed her face.
“Erika!”, Dina shouted. “Thank god I found you!”
“W-what… D-Do you know this girl?”, the man asked, clearly startled.
“Yes. She’s my neighbor. She has some psychological problems, so her family was worried.”
“I...I see. Huh… I realized she was lost, so I was trying to help…”
“I see. Thanks, you’re really a good man.”
“Y-Yeah… Then, huh, bye.”, the man left in a hurry.
“Asshole…”, murmured Dina.
She looked at the girl. She wondered until which point the excuse she gave the man was a lie. It was likely that the girl had some psychological issues, even if she could talk soberly. All that talk about aliens and studying love made no sense.
“You’re coming with me”, Dina said, and the girl followed her while holding her hand tight.
Dina knew that she needed to find that girl’s home, but all questions in that regard would bring that same answer about another planet.
“Can you give me some proof of that, then?”, she asked, but the girl just shook shoulders, saying she didn’t know what she could do.
Dina decided she would need to stay with the girl for that night. Maybe looking for news of a lost person. She lent some of her old clothes to the girl, who was developed for her apparent age.
“By the way, I'm Dina. What’s your name?”, she asked and the girl reflected in silence for some seconds.
“My name would be too hard to understand with your current language skills. I think that one you called me by should work.”
“Yeah, I don’t really understand much about name conventions in your society, but the name does have some… nice sound to it. Also, as far as our studies about your behavior go, it seems like important items you get from your beloved are valuable and strengthen your relationship with them, even if such item is an abstract concept. So while thinking about the name, I should remember you, and my heart should beat in a way that it wasn’t designed to.”
Dina sighed. She was looking at the girl sitting on the couch like a behaved kid.
“You see… I brought you home, but that doesn’t mean I agree with your proposal.”
“Is that so? So why did you brought me here? That man was willing to give me his love.”
“Because of things like that I can’t leave you alone. That man had no intention of giving you anything. All he was interested was in sex.”
“Why would he want sex with me if he doesn’t love me? Was he looking for offsprings?”
The girl looked confused as she asked it, waiting for an actual answer. Dina took her palm to her face, letting out a big sigh.
“If you’re serious, I worry about you. Look...Erika...You can stay here. I promise I’ll help you somehow, but don’t go saying things like that to strangers.”
All that Dina meant with that was that she would look for Erika’s house, but she knew the girl wouldn’t agree with it since, for all purposes, she looked like she actually believed the alien story. The girl just looked into Dina’s eyes with a calm expression before throwing her next question.
“Is a female absolutely out of question?”
“W-what?”, Dina was taken by surprise by the question.
“Is the fact that I’m a female the reason why you’ll refuse me?”
“Don’t you have the slight interest in females in that way?”
“I…”, Dina avoided looking Erika in the eyes. “I wouldn’t say I never had any interest, but… Well… To begin with, when I mentioned a male would be easier, I just meant...most of the time… I’m not interested in romancing you, but...”
“I understand… Yeah, I see... I’m satisfied with that, then. After all, romantic relationships are said to be developed over time, so as long as we are near each other, I could work on it.”
“Look here… Wait, so why didn’t you try that to begin with?”
Erika inclined her head while looking with a serious face to Dina.
“Looks counter-productive to me. Also, all guides for communication I read said we should always be objective about what we want. What kind of contradiction is that?”
Dina stood there in silence. She didn’t know what to reply. Nonchalant, she went to her room and soon came back with a pillow and a blanket.
“Is it okay if you sleep on the couch?”, Dina asked.
Erika didn’t say anything, and Dina left the pillow and blanket beside her. She moved to turn off the light in the living room.
“Well, I’m kinda tired, and we eat already, so if you’re going to excuse me…”
“Wait!”, Erika said as Dina brought her hand to the switch. Dina stopped and looked at her. “Hum… I… The prospect of being left alone and not being able to see makes me uneasy…”
“I see, would you want me to keep the lights on?”
“The… the prospect of being left alone by itself makes me uneasy…”
Dina stared at the girl, who was playing with her fingers again.
“How did you sleep in your...huh...planet?”
“We all share a room in a huge group of tenants. Staying alone is counter-productive, so…”
“I don't think that has anything to do with that…”, the girl kept playing with her fingers and avoiding eye contact with Dina. “I'm not saying you can't sleep in my room, though.”
The girl almost jumped from her couch and approached Dina with bright eyes.
“Are you sure?”, she asked, with too much energy. Dina couldn't stop a smile.
“Yeah, yeah. Come with me.”
Her bed was big enough for two, but Dina still made a bed for Erika on the floor beside her. The girl didn't seem to mind and went to sleep with a big smile on her face. Dina wanted to make the girl admit she didn't like to be alone before allowing her to sleep there, but she felt that would be close to bullying.
She went to sleep, planning to look up about missing girls next day. Someone should be looking for Erika.
The next day Dina woke up with an awoke Erika kneeling beside her bed and looking her into the eyes. At first, that startled her, but she recovered fast enough, despite still being sleepy.
“W-what are you doing?”
The girl didn't move away or reacted any other way, still facing Dina in silence.
“I was thinking if I should kiss you or not.”
Dina jumped in her bed, sitting up.
“Some manuscripts I studied talk about kissing pretty ladies while they're sleeping, what makes them wake up from almost dead state and fall in love with you. I don't get the logic in such relationship, but they seem popular enough. But then other studies also reveal that consent is important in a relationship. It's all so confusing and contradictory.”
“You mean...fairy tales?”
“Some of them do have those curious creatures called fairies. Are those extinct?”
“No, no. Those never existed. Those are just, you know, for fun.”
“So they're lies?”
“Yeah...something like that.”
“You people tell lies for fun? Why?”
Dina left the bed. Since she wasn't alone, she slept in her clothes, so there was nothing to hide. She walked to the desk she had in her room and turned on her computer.
“You know what a computer is?”, she asked. Erika moved her head slowly.
“It's a processing machine, right? That's right, this planet already has such technology, even if primitive.”
“Huh… yeah, sure. This computer is connected to something called internet. It's a place when you can research things. Do you get it?”
“Oh, so that's how I can access the documents of all human knowledge?”, Erika jumped from the floor, looking excited.
“Well...something like that. You can do your research like this, so you stop misunderstanding things. I'll go out to buy something for breakfast. So while I'm out, feel free to use it as you want.”
“Understood!”, she said and hurried to sit in front of the machine.
“Do you know how to use it, though?”
“I'm sure it'll be easy since it's such a primitive technology.”
Dina left Erika to her researches and, after washing herself, went out to shop. She had another objective, that was finding any info about the girl as she could.
But after asking around, buying the regional newspaper and looking up the internet in a cyber coffee, she still came out with nothing. She even called some colleagues from college to know if they knew about something. Erika wasn't a kid, and some families could be used to a teenager sleeping out once, but if she actually had any psychological issues, Dina thought someone would be looking for her. So far it didn't look like it was the case.
“An alien, huh?”, she thought as she put the key in the door to her apartment while holding a bag with food she brought in the market. She also had brought some essentials items for Erika, like toothbrush and underwear. For clothes, she could lend some of hers if needed.
As she opened the door, Erika was waiting for her. She looked at Dina and asked, in a serious tone:
“Cunnilingus, fingering or tribadism?”
Dina almost left her bag fall on the floor.
“W-what the hell are you talking about?”
“I was looking about love. It was all so confusing, so I tried to be more specific and searched for love between females instead. The computer suggested me 'love between women’, and with that, I found some educational videos.”
“Those are not educational videos”, Dina left the bag in the kitchen and went to her room. “You’re not using the internet without my supervision anymore.”
“Isn't that how women love each other?”
“No! I mean, yes, I think. But that's sex. And sex and love aren't the same things. Remember what I said before?”
“That's confusing. Why is love important, after all?”
Dina sighed. She would try to stop arguing with that girl, at least until she realized what was her problem.
Although confused, the girl recovered with the smell of Dina’s breakfast, that she gulped with joy. Dina thought she was cute, for a weird girl.
In the afternoon she thought it would be good for them to watch some movies together to spend the time. Erika would understand all complicated plots with ease, but everytime a romantic plot would happen, she would question Dina about every little detail.
“Why are they in love when they never talked with each other? You said it didn't work like that.”
“Why can't she choose between them when the difference in their quantitative qualities is evident?”
“What this guy is saying is clearly contradicting what that other guy said in that other narrative.”
As they finished their fifth movie, Erika looked at Dina and made a perplexed expression.
“I'm starting to think not even your kind know what this love thing is.”
“You might be right there.”
As Dina went to make dinner, Erika also started to question her.
“Don't you cook in your...huh...planet?”, Dina asked.
“We do. But I don't get why you worry about the aesthetics of it. And also, the nutritional value is a mess.”
“W-well, that's totally my fault. But you liked that hamburger you eat yesterday, right?”
Erika reflected and gave a smile.
“Yeah, it tasted good. Even though it was probably being prejudicial to my body, but I can understand why you would sacrifice healthy for that.”
“Ah, I'm sorry. Please, don't get used to that.”
They lived like that for one whole week. During that week, Dina tried to gather more info about missing people, but it was all useless. She even told some close friends about her situation so they could contact her if they hear anything.
More and more it seemed like the girl wasn't lying, but the alien story was too absurd to believe. But at the same time, Dina was starting to appreciate the girl's company. She wished that even if she went away, they could still be friends. And just like that, another weekend came.
Dina was using her laptop to make college work on the couch. Erika stopped in front of her, looking like she needed to talk. Dina left the laptop beside and looked at the girl, giving a warm smile.
“What was it?”
“I'm sorry”, she said, and threw herself at Dina, pulling her head and kissing her on the lips.
Dina pushed Erika away, and the girl fell to the floor. Her eyes were filled with tears.
“I'm sorry!”, Dina said and hugged the girl. “I'm sorry, but you shouldn't do that.”
“I don't know what to do anymore. If I don't do anything, I'll fail my mission. Is it because I'm a female, after all? If that's so, you should’ve let me go with that male.”
“It's not because of that. I said it already… it's because you're a kid. That's why I couldn’t let you go with him either.”
Through Erika’s sad face crossed a shadow of confusion.
“I'm not a kid! I'm probably older than you.”
Dina stopped hugging Erika and with her hands on the girl’s shoulders, looked at her face, smiling.
“I know… in your...planet, right? But to me, right here, you're a kid.”
Erika stood up, leaving Dina kneeled on the floor.
“I see. I didn't think that would be such a big problem. We miscalculated. But luckily I can do something to fix it.”
Dina just watched confused as Erika walked to the bathroom.
“That's unpleasant, so please, no matter what happens, don't try to open this door. It'll be fast, I promise.”
Saying that Erika locked herself inside.
For some seconds, it was a total silence in the house. After that, some grunts of pain started to leak by the bathroom’s door.
“Erika?”, Dina asked and got up. She went to bang the door. “Erika, is everything ok?”
“Don't...open...the door…”, her voice came in intervals, with a pained voice and some groan mixed in. “I'm...fine...wait a...minute...gh.”
Dina was starting to desperate. She surveyed around, looking for any tool that would help her to break the lock. She felt tears rising in her eyes.
The painful sounds stopped. Dina put her hand on the handle, fearing to call and not get an answer. She heard a click as the door was unlocked from inside and in a burst, pulled it. The vision inside almost made her fall back.
She couldn't deny the resemblance between the person inside the bathroom and the girl who spent the last week with her. Except that the woman sitting on the bathroom’s floor was an adult. Her naked body shivered, covered in sweat. Her long black hair sticking to her well-developed body. The clothes she was wearing before were scattered around the floor. She looked in pain as she faced Dina.
“Is this better?”