Chapter Nineteen

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Arcee and Kita raced down a dusty two-lane road away from the main Area 51 base towards one of the towering mountains. Above them, a helicopter struggled to keep up. Arcee slowed as the road twisted and turned climbing up the mountain. At the top, the road became gravel and ended in a small parking lot among a forest of antennas, satellite dishes, and a missile defense system.

Arcee stopped, and Kita dismounted. She took her helmet off and slicked back her hair.

Arcee transformed. "This is as far away from anybody as I can get us."

Kita grinned. "Nicole is going to hate us."

"Nicole?"

"Major Adrestia. When we started, I wanted something personable and informal."

"I'm sure they are telling her where we are." Arcee pointed at the helicopter.

"I'm sorry. I know it's impossible to escape them."

"I'm sure I'll mind if they interrupt something, but right now let them have the illusion of control."

I like the sound of that. No one controls our destiny but us.

"What do you think of the view?" said Arcee.

"It's spectacular. You can see forever. Too bad it's the desert. I'm beginning to think you like places with a view."

Arcee's eyes lit. "I do. We have nothing like this on my world. Your world is so varied."

"And you've only seen the southwest."

"That is true. I guess it's natural you would have asked what happened to us before."

Kita nodded. "Bumblebee told me. It sounded like a rough time for you."

"It was. I made a mistake and learned a lesson. It was hard, and it hurt."

Kita looked into Arcee's eyes. "I got some of it from Bumblebee—about you and Mike, and how he rejected you. I'm sure it's a painful story." Arcee's eyes dimmed. "I know it's highly personal. You don't have to tell me."

Arcee's eyes brightened, and she sighed. "No. You deserve to know. When I went before the Oracle, it told me the person I fell in love with would guide us to the Matrix of Leadership. I did not know what love was until I came here. I studied it, what it was and meant to humans, and even then, I got it wrong. I did not understand humans use the word in so many different ways. My own ignorance cost us precious time that has allowed the Decepticons to gain the upper hand."

"Or, it was the time needed to find the one you would fall in love with. Remember, I wasn't around during the seventies."

"That is true. I just feel stupid for thinking it was Mike and even stupider for thinking the mission was a failure when he died."

Kita took Arcee's hand. "If you thought it was a failure, then why did you stay?"

"I did not want to go home a failure. I chose exile. When you found us we were on our way home, I just had not told the others. Then I saw you and my world changed. Everything brightened. I felt I could fly. You still do that to me. Everything feels right when you are around. I want to keep you safe. That is when I discovered the difference in love.

"When Mike said he 'loved me' I tried to make myself feel all those things. I tried everything I could, but nothing I did made me feel the things that you make me feel."

Kita blushed. "You make me feel good. And, you listen to me, appreciate me, and adore me. I like to be adored."

Arcee giggled. "I could not tell. It is nice to have someone who appreciates my attention."

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