Ellie was practising her teenage face. ‘Ugh’ with just a hint of ‘pancakes’. She was quite proud of it, to be honest. Today was her birthday, and she wasn’t going to waste a moment of it.
“Morning, birthday girl!” Lor said, sitting down opposite her. “How are you feeling?”
“Pancakes,” Ellie said, before cringing. She’d meant to say ‘ugh’. She was going to be a terrible teenager. At least she had the day off school – she could have a training montage! Those always made things improve quicker, right?
She had passed the swimming portion of her training. Now onto the second ordeal – the romance channel. Teenagers liked romance, right?
“Ellie? What are you doing?”
Of course she was, Malik sighed. She was part Lor – not making sense must run in the family. “Mind if I join you?”
“Dad? Why do you like this show?”
“Oh, Ellie! Where to begin… the costumes are stunning, the drama is high and the music is just incredible! I mean, look at that lady on the screen right now. Her sister has just returned after eloping with a penniless artist, and she’s distraught! The artist is actually her ex, and seeing him again is torture.”
Ellie watched her dad more than the show in the end. It was far more entertaining.
Malik looked towards the house, startled. Lor shouldn’t have been back for another two hours at least. He got up and ran inside, worried that something had happened, only to be greeted with a radiant smile and a hug.
“How’s your day been, love?”
“It was great, but why are you back so early?”
“I didn’t want to miss any more of today than I had to. I’ve got to go in early tomorrow to make up for it, but I was allowed out. Now, what sort of cake do you think I should make?”
Lor put the cake on the table, admiring it. He had to get the candles from the kitchen, but then they could-
He could make another one. There was still time.
He hadn’t even seen who had taken a slice this time. He was going to cry. Still, third time lucky, and this time he would have the candles ready!
He shielded the cake with all his might as he called everyone together. This one would survive even if he had to fight them all off with his Simray. Anyone who tried to stop him would find themselves in their formal wear.
“Make a wish!”
“What did you wish, Ellie?” Lyra asked, eyes shining.
“If I tell you it won’t come true” she said, grinning down at her little sister. “I do, however, wish to change out of this outfit. It’s a little tight.”
“It’ll adjust,” Lor said, finally allowing himself to eat some cake. The battle had been won, after all. “Just give it a couple of days.”
Ellie smiled over at him. “Still, there’s no way I can eat in this thing. I’ll be back soon.
She took one last look in the mirror. Perfect.
“So, have you saved any of that cake for me?”
“Ellie? What on earth are you wearing?”
“Like you can talk, dad. I’ve seen those old photos.”
“She’s got you there, Mal,” Lor said, smiling at her. “Besides, I had outfits just as revealing as that as a teen.”
“Yeah, Lor. Stop embarrassing yourself,” Mal grinned, dodging as Lor swiped at him playfully with his fork.
“So, have you decided what you want for your birthday?”
Ellie smiled. “Do you still get a discount on rockets?” she asked. Space was the final frontier, after all, and she would boldly go as far as it would take her.