Chapter 10: Malefactor

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A few days later...

"Guess what I brought today?" Ayva shouted as soon as she walked in the door. She would throw her backpack onto the couch but today she held onto it tightly.

Her mom was letting her walk over by herself now. In fact, we hadn't seen her mom since the first week. For some reason, my aunt's enthusiasm had made her mom feel more comfortable. I didn't understand it. If I was her mom, I'd have taken her to a different babysitter long ago.

"What'd you bring, sweetie?" my aunt asked in that soft voice she always used to talk to Ayva. It was the same one she used on me with when my uncle was around.

To her, you stopped being "her baby" when you moved out. Ayva was so cute she apparently became "her baby" too. Seven years was a lot older than my aunt thought, but I guess to her Aya seemed younger than that age.

I had been around that old when she and my uncle got me. Maybe that's why she was used to more mature seven-year-olds. Well, maybe not mature. I bordered on depressed back then.

Ayva didn't answer my aunt's question, though. She turned to me. "I said guess."

"Um..." I thought for a minute. "Your blanket?"

"I already brought that once, silly." She sighed with frustration, which I found adorable. "Guess again."

"Your... teddy bear?"

She shook her head and shrugged. "I give up on you."

I laughed and put my hands up defensively. "I don't know what it is!" I glanced around for my aunt but she had already walked away.

Ayva slipped her arms out of the straps and set the backpack on the couch. After unzipping it, she stuck her arm in until I couldn't see anything below her shoulder. "Hold on. It's heavy." She put her other arm in and finally pulled out a white, rectangular box along with two thin controllers, a little shorter than a foot.

"You brought your Wii," I said.

She beamed at me. "Well, come on! We gotta get playing."

"Right now?"

She put the Wii into her backpack again, hoisted it onto her back, and grabbed my hand, leading me towards the television in the other room. "Come on. You can help me set it up!'

Half an hour later, we finally managed to untangle all the cords, plug them into the right outlets, and sync the controllers. I turned on the television and saw the home screen, waiting for us to insert a game.

"Um, what games do you have?" I asked.

The first one had a pony on the front. The second was a dyslexic blend of pinks and purples and lazy animations. The third and final game was some kind of combination of the two, although I swear I saw Mickey Mouse's head somewhere in that mess.

"Which one do you want?" she asked, laying them out on the floor where I could inspect each and every one.

I pointed to the third one.

"Too bad. We're playing them in a certain order. I was just being polite." She grinned and inserted the disk. "First the game with ponies then, then the ..."

It would be a long day. I sighed at the thought of it, and couldn't help but grin.

"Which pony should I be?" I asked, interrupting her tyrant on which was the best-colored one.

"Not the purple one!" Her face was deathly serious. "That's mine!"

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