Valentina jogged along at a casual pace, the sun barely visible along the sky landscape it reached out touching her face with it’s warmth. She enjoyed the early morning run, she’d start off in front of her condo on Montana avenue, then take Montana avenue down to Santa Monica Beach and run down it’s length until she got to Venice Beach and run it’s entire length. Then take various ways back to her condo. It was a long run and she never ran it too fast. She’d get up around five am and be done by eight am. She was on the last leg of her jog when her earpiece rang, she didn’t have to check the caller I.D., her nanites alerted her to who the caller was. She touched her earpiece answering the call. Her hair in a ponytail swaying back and forth with each step, she was sweaty and hair loose somewhat unkempt from the exercise.

“How is my baby girl?” Rogelio said fondly.

“Hi daddy.” Valentina said with a smile, she kept her eyes staring off in front of her.

“On the last leg of your jog Val? Coming back down Bringham avenue as we speak I’m sure.” Rogelio was not psychic, but he knew his daughter too well. She was predictable in such matters such as daily activities. And she was a stickler for making sure everything she did daily was on time every time and done the same way. Repetition helped her feel normal. In truth he heard the tapping of Val’s feet as they hit the pavement, from there it was easy to surmise what she was doing. The sound of her feet went silent replaced by the crashing of waves. “Wait..” Rogelio said about to change his first guess.

“Too late, you guessed wrong. I doubled back after I reached Venice Beach. Now I’m back at Santa Monica.” She stopped letting her shoes rest in the sand. Staring out at the ocean watching the waves crash, it was a welcome peaceful morning. Seagulls gathered in the skies above gliding on the wind. Other joggers had just started their run on the beach, she smiled watching a married couple jog past, it made her think of Aja.

“Say, why don’t you just take the day off? You deserve it. Just enjoy the day you know?” Rogelio said trying to convince his daughter. But he knew it would fail. She was a workaholic, a chip off the old block like her father. Dropping down in the sand Val continued watching the married couple it made her feel good to know that she was in love. Moving the hair out of her eyes she sighed gently her mind on her love Aja. “Did you forget I was on the phone? You got all quiet.” Her father said breaking into her moment. She kept her eyes on the couple as they jogged further down the beach.

“Sorry dad, my mind drifted off a moment.” She shifted her gaze out to the ocean, the wind currents blowing gently in her face. “You love mom so much, is it hard being a humanite in love with a human? I mean she’s my mother and of course I love her with all my heart. But are there difficult moments between you because of what you are?” She asked her father.

“You’re asking because you’re thinking about Aja, am I right?”

Valentina lowered her head then took her finger tracing circles in the sand, a bland smile appeared on her face. “What do you mean?”

Rogelio knew why she was asking, Valentina had been seeing Aja now for over a year, it was starting to get very serious. She felt that she loved him but at the same time she held back. This was because she didn’t know how he would respond to her being a humanite. That one thing could change it all for her, it could very well be the deal breaker for him if he ever knew. She saw how some humans feared humanites while others merely loathed them, in most cases it was negative save for how humans viewed humanites who became heroes. She’d seen a talk show about human and humanite relationships and how it would be betraying the human race to marry a humanite because any children born would not be born a human. More humanities seemed to be going public, and because of this more relationships were occurring between humans and humanites. So it didn’t seem like much of a problem until you saw the media. It was only then that you saw the ugly truth. American Warrior, Kinetic Balance, both of them were elite humanites, and both went public. This made other humanites go public, but of the original 42 Brent Locke was the only one who went public. The offspring of the 42 were more open to revealing that they were humanites.

“Love is a strong tool in any relationship, but things can sometimes still be trying when you have certain differences.” Rogelio said.

“Have you and mom ever had the talk about the eventuality of her death?” Valentina leaned back, both palms digging into the sand, her shoulders shrugged.

“We did once.” Rogelio’s voice was somber. “She said she didn’t want to talk about it anymore after that. She said it was something she’d deal with when the time came.”

“Mom is in her late 40’s, and she will start to show her age more. But you won’t ever age. That will have to be hard on mom.” Valentina said feeling a bit saddened.

“I’m sure it will be hard on us all. Her husband and daughter both are humanite, neither of us will grow old and die. But she will.” Rogelio’s voice sounded as heavy as the conversation. He fell silent after that.

“Not to keep pressing questions that aren’t too happy in nature, but did you ever hesitate to marry mom? Do you regret being married now knowing that mom will eventually die?”

“When I fell in love with Maria there was a short time that I waited to ask her to marry me. I was afraid that she would flip out once she knew that I was a humanite. It was your mother who convinced me that it was alright to love her. But I never regret that I married your mother, never. Besides you she is the best thing ever in my life.

It was Valentina’s turn to fall silent.

“So how well do you think you will fare with Aja once you tell him the truth? I like the guy, he’s hard working and honest, but he is human.”

“I find it funny how nanites in our body makes us somehow different than the humans we once were. There is no difference between us or humans. We act the same, feel the same, cry the same.”

“I was born a human, I was made into a humanite. You on the other hand were born humanite. Nanites assisted you in every way to ensure a safe birth. Even while in your mothers womb the nanites educated you, you were born smarter. At three months old you were already speaking, this is how all humanites are. As for us being much different than humans we are of the same branch of life. Other than the small differences such as being stronger, faster, smarter, living forever not much else is different.”

Valentina rolled her eyes but carried a smile on her face. “Ok I get the point. But still it’s a shame that a big deal has to be made about us. Love should be the great equalizer.”

“If you were human you would think humanites were a big deal. Humans have the fear of becoming extinct, and they could be right. As for love being an equalizer, don’t forget humans made a big deal about the color of ones skin or gender on the issue of love, so love was never the great equalizer.”

Valentina scooped sand into her hand letting it trickle downward being reclaimed. “Yea I guess…” Her voice trailed. Rogelio knew what troubled her.

“You can’t be afraid of the unknown.” Rogelio said.

“Yet you conceal your identity, dad. That comment doesn’t hold much water with me. Not from you. You’ve been running from the unknown all my life.”

“Take the day off, or don’t. See you when you get here.” He said offensively. Valentina realized what she said hurt her father.

“Dad I…” It was too late he had hung up. She felt guilty for hurting her father. She stood up dusting the sand off of the back of her pants. She had a duality in her life. On one hand her life was good. She lived in an affluent area, thanks to her business savvy she opened several chains of The Working Wrench repair shops in Los Angeles. She had a man in her life that she truly loved. Then there was the flip side. She was a humanite and if humans found out she and her father could lose the business. Then there was the fact that she was a humanite and if her boyfriend found out she could lose the love of her life. Life was so good it sucked. She started her jog home.

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