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The Things I Don’t Know Yet

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   Alya Fitz-Simmons impatiently taps her foot on the wooden floor of her aunt and uncle’s living room. God, she hates America. Her parents adore it of course, citing it as the place they met and fell in love, but Scotland has spoiled her. She thinks she hates England too, because of the city life. She hates America for it too. It’s too damn urban. 

 

 Alya thinks she hates everything— and everyone for that matter. Especially her siblings. James and Maisie have been bothering her all weekend. They’ve effectively ruined her first two days in the states. All she wanted was to have a good vacation to tell her mates(who’ve mostly never left lowly little Perth) about when she gets home. 

 

 “Al? You want to get out of here?” Aunt Daisy distracts Alya from her thoughts. “Your Uncle Daniel’s watching the children.” Daisy has always given Alya the gift of taking her wherever she wants to go when Alya visits America, allowing her to get away with her cool aunt while someone else watches her cousins and siblings. You want to get out of here? She asks. 

 

 “Yes, please,” Alya’s eyes widened, allowing herself a grin. “Can we take a walk around the city? My parents—“

 

 “Love it here. I know,” Daisy winks. “Give me two seconds.” Aunt Daisy quickly jogs over to her husband, whispering something in his ear before they share a chaste kiss. Alya mildly wonders if anyone will love her the way the adults in her life love each other. Aunt Daisy has told her before that sometimes love comes in unexpected ways, and she should never rule it out. 

 

 Her mum and her aunt share that sentiment. Mum always tells her that love is a funny thing, but she’ll always be surrounded by it. Alya sometimes imagines herself as an adult woman, one who lives glamorously with the love of her life. But for right now she snatches up her cell phone and her coin purse, and follows Aunt Daisy out the door. 

 

 “Are you this cool with your own kids?” Alya questions as Daisy puts on a pair of sunglasses, looking hopelessly awesome. Daisy lets out a great laugh. 

 

 “Well, you could ask my seven and five year old, but they’d probably just call me ‘the coolest ever’ and ask me to play toy trains with them,” Daisy grins at her niece. “I used to be a lot cooler too. Your mom isn’t lying if she tells you becoming a mom takes all the cool out of you.”

 

 “I still think you’re cool,” Alya shrugs. “Can we go to the shops?” Alya tugs her jeans up on her waist. She squints at the bright sun. 

 

 “I was thinking about lunch, but hey, whatever works,” Aunt Daisy leads Alya down the street, and they turn a few corners before arriving at the train station. 

 

 “Two tickets, please,” Daisy exchanges some cash with the cashier, and hands Alya a ticket. “Souvenir for your trip.” 

 

 “Yeah,” Alya studies the ticket, “I’ve never ridden on an American train before.”

 

 “They’re mostly just dirty,” Daisy shrugs. Alya squints at the sun before pursing her lips. “Nothing fancy or exciting.” 

 

 “Aunt Daisy?”

 

 “What’s up?”

 

 “Do you think I should be allowed to get a tattoo? Mum and dad won’t budge.”

 

 “Woah,” Daisy turns to Alya, her expression partly obscured by her sunglasses, “slow your roll. Listen, kid: I did the whole running away and wearing black thing for a bit. Ask your mom how she had to patch up the bullet hole in my shoulder.”

 

 “It’s just a tat!” Alya defends. Daisy seems to consider this.

 

 “You’re right—“ Alya perks up. “In a way.”

 

 “How so?”

 

 “It is just a tattoo. But why you want a tattoo is the important part. Are your friends telling you to get one?”

 

 “You sound just like Dad. No, no one is pressuring me. I’m not going to run off or whatever you did. At least not until I’m legally—“

 

 “Do you want me to kick your butt back to Scotland?”

 

 “Did you really get shot?”

 

 “I—“ Daisy looks around. “More than once, yes.”

 

 “Okay, cap.”

 

 “What?”

 

 “You’re lying! No one gets shot multiple times and lives. Not even those with superpowers.”

 

 “Why did you call me ‘Cap’?”

 

 “I meant it like lying. It’s slang.”

 

 “It’s awful. They couldn’t have stuck with ‘LOL’ and other prehistoric phrases from when I was a teen?”

 

 “No, because then children couldn’t confuse their parents,” Alya giggles.

 

 “Oh god,” Daisy sighs. “One day Felicity and Wyatt are going to be your age. And then I’ll officially not be out of the loop forever.” 

 

 “I’ll still think you’re interesting,” Alya grins. 

 

 “Listen, Al, all parents lose any hope of being interesting when their kids turn 13. It’s a known fact of life.” Suddenly, the announcer calls their stop, and they get off the train. 

 

 “Aunt Daisy?” Alya pushes her sunglasses onto her nose, a small skip in her step. 

 

 “Yes, Alya?” Daisy grins amusedly.

 

 “How did you know Uncle Danny was the right one?”

 

 “This sounds like lunch conversation.” 

 

***

 

   “How’s your salad?” Alya looks up at her aunt. 

 

Daisy grins, “You are all Fitz and no Simmons. Eat your sandwich and be quiet.” Alya giggles. 

 

 “Are you going to answer my question now?”

 

 “You ask more questions than my own children.”

 

 “The one about Uncle Danny, I mean.” Daisy’s look softens. She looks at her niece with great curiosity. 

 

 “That’s not an easy question; ask anyone who’s married, and they’ll have a different answer than the last person,” Daisy shrugs.

 

 “Yeah, but what about you?”

 

 “There are a lot of things I love about your Uncle Daniel. But I think what made me realize that he was— as you call it— the one, is that he is always honest. From the moment I met him, he never lied to me or bent the truth for my feelings. He— he’s honest. And I think that made me trust him.” 

 

 Alya nods, “How do you decide if you want to date someone?”

 

 “Alya May Fitz-Simmons! Do you have a crush? Does your mother know?” Daisy’s jaw drops, and she leans forward.

 

 “Maybe… and mum doesn’t know yet. I couldn’t find time to tell her before her and dad went on holiday. Without us! I still can’t believe it. They went to the Seychelles without us!”

 

 “You’re here with me. Who is willing to answer your burning questions while forcing her husband to watch four small children. You don’t get to complain.”

 

 Alya huffs, “Fine.”

 

 “If you like someone because they’re nice, or smart, or kind… you should date them. Whether or not they’re hot is… bonus points. They just have to be attractive to you.”

 

 “Thanks,” Alya looks down, stirring her lemonade with the straw. “I’m going to tell my mum, you know.”

 

 “I know, kid.” Daisy nods. 

 

***

 

   “We’re home!” Daisy calls into the house. Alya shuts the door behind them and locks it. Both the woman and the girl gasp.

 

 “Oh my god. Oh god,” Daisy blanches for a moment. Then she begins to laugh. Alya joins her, and they fall into peals of laughter.

 

 “Wha’ so funny?” Daniel looks up blearily, from his place in the middle of the floor, surrounded completely by block towers at least a foot high. “Why have I been put in jail?”

 

 “For being too perfect,” Daisy drops the bag she's carrying, and helps Daniel up. She turns back to Alya. 

 

 “Go get ready for bed, and make sure Wyatt and James are sleeping, please.” Alya nods, running up the stairs. 

 

 “Did you two have a good day?” Daniel grins.

 

 “Yes. Thank you for watching them, jailbird.”

 

 “Anytime, Quake,” Daniel grins. Daisy presses her lips to his.