“RISE AND SHINE, BOSS-MAN, SIR!” came a loud voice from all around me. I jumped out of bed, tripped over a box, and fell to the floor. “Are you alright, boss-man, sir? I can call Emma or a medic to assist you if necessary,” said Mila. “No need, Mila. Why did you wake me?” I asked as I stumbled to my feet and searched for where I put my phone. “The evil twins have been awake for over two hours already, and I thought you should know that they are heading here as we speak.” I checked my phone and found that I had slept past ten, but that didn’t really seem late at all considering we were up till four watching movies and talking. When Mila brought up a countdown for Ai and Mai’s arrival on the large mirror across from my bed, an idea struck me. Throughout yesterday, I had been feeling a bit disconcerted by talking with a disembodied voice. In my car, which I couldn’t quite think of as “Mila” anymore, things didn’t seem so unnatural. I was accustomed to looking straight while talking with people or listening to Mila be my GPS. In my home, speaking without a point of reference felt completely unnatural. “Hey, Mila. Could you ask Aaliyah to give you some sort of image, so I have a face to see when we’re talking? Well, you probably shouldn’t mention it till after her vacation. I don’t want to take time out of her trip.”
“There is no need to trouble the princess at all over such a tiny thing, boss-man, sir. I am fully equipped with a large library of visual software. How would you like me to look?” inquired Mila. I didn’t have the faintest idea how Mila should look, so I told her “Female. Can you randomize the specifics?” Seeing that the twins were still a few minutes away, I started unpacking one of my boxes for something to do. “How is this, boss-man, sir?” inquired Mila moments later. I looked up to the mirror to see a small, cartoon dog on the screen. I laughed and told her “I don’t think the idea of a talking dog would make anyone, least of all me, feel even slightly more comfortable than a disembodied voice.” Mila actually sighed at me to my surprise, and then she said, “You had told me to randomize the specifics. Will you answer some questions if you want to be picky?” Aaliyah truly wrote the most remarkable software. I hadn’t heard of A.I. software with attitude outside of fiction. I assented and started picking choices between various pictures Mila brought up on the screen, stopping when the timer reached zero to open the door and find Ai with her hand raised to knock, which she quickly used to brush her hair.
“I told you he wouldn’t be ready yet,” said Ai before pointedly looking at her sister. “Well, we can’t let him be a slacker just because he has a fancy house now. Time to exercise, James!” exclaimed Mai. I suppressed a groan, knowing that they’d hold it against me. No point in showering, but I at least wanted breakfast. After saying as much, Mai actually praised Marco’s cooking, however begrudgingly. Then Ai said, “Well, fine. You have thirty minutes. We’re going to get the girls. Regina’s probably ready to go, but…” Mai continued with “Emma occasionally gets distracted. Make sure Jarod is ready too.” I didn’t know where Jarod went after we all got done hanging out last night. “Do you two have any idea where he went?” I asked. Ai sighed while Mai said, “Surely you know where the guest rooms are in your own house.” Then they turned and walked off together. “Boss-man, sir. I’ll gladly show you to Jarod, but there are more questions for you to go through on the way.” stated Mila. I quickly changed clothes, and then followed Mila’s directions as I answered her questions. There was an absolutely stunning number of mirrors in the house, which I completely failed to notice when they weren’t lighting up every time I passed one.
I was rather surprised when Mila told me to leave the house and pass into the garage. I hadn’t thought Jarod would even be awake yet after last night. When I got inside, I found out that he wasn’t. I wouldn’t have even found him if Mila wasn’t in the garage as well, through mirrors on one wall as well as the car. Jarod woke up when I opened the door. “Hey, dude. What’s up?” he asked. I was about to ask why he was sleeping in the car when he said, “Yeah. This has to seem a bit odd. I couldn’t go to sleep without seeing what your garage was like though. Isn’t it awesome?” I had to agree. Beyond the tremendous size, the garage was equipped with all of the equipment I could possibly want for maintenance as well as some machines I didn’t even recognize. “Emma’s pink bug is around the bend, and I’m betting the motorcycles belong to the twins. Why else would there be a matching pair, right?” he commented. I couldn’t argue with that, but I had to wonder when the twins got bikes. Did they even know how to ride? Before I could get too lost in thought, Mila said, “Only nineteen minutes remaining, boss-man, sir.” I quickly explained to Jarod that the twins were expecting us for practice and asked if he wanted to join me for some breakfast.
Marco had two plates waiting for us when we walked inside. When I opened my mouth, he guessed what I was asking, and said, “Mila informed me that you were in a hurry. Luckily, I had dough for the cornetti ready from earlier. This kitchen is quite nice. We’ll have to talk sometime about when you’d like your meals and if there’s anything little miss Aaliyah forgot to mention you like. But don’t let me keep you. Buon appetito!” Jarod and I both had some sort of fruit salad, rolls, and yogurts. Though the rolls were good, I wondered at what Marco had made the twins to get such praise out of them. Mila had us running after our light breakfast to get over to the east wing on time, but she continued having me pick choices the entire way. Despite Jarod obviously being out of breath, the twins put us to work with Emma and Regina immediately. There was a long mirror across one wall of the gym with a bar typical for ballet practice. Mila was continuing to ask me questions through the entire workout on it. I protested at first, but the Mai thought it was good multitasking practice. I took a kick to the side when Mila finally rendered a new picture and asked me to look. Smiling from the mirror was a face that looked almost exactly like Alma. My preferences were clear: I obviously had a thing for psychopaths.