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The two became rather close, in time. Vyra had nothing else to occupy her time, and Michael had become rather fond of her. He knew she would never be able to do normal girl things, like go out to movies or hang out at the park, but he was slowly learning that he didn't care.
"How's she doing, Michael?" her mother asked one day
"She's become incredibly more receptive, Mrs. B." Michael smiled. "I'm not sure what did it for her, but she's paying a lot more attention during my lessons these days."
"I'm sure it has everything to do with the teacher," Mrs. B answered, and she laughed when Michael's face turned crimson. "Oh, you know that's not what I meant!"
"O-of course." But Vyra, who had taken up the habit of pretending to be asleep so she could eavesdrop on the kitchen, knew that that was exactly what her mother meant.
"Michael, Vyra's father and I...well, we have two things we need you to know." Vyra heard her mother's voice become a little more stern. "Well, what I'm trying to say is...Vyra will never be like other girls."
"I know that," he answered. "And I don't care. Mrs. B--"
"But the second thing, Michael," her mother continued, "is that you have our blessing. If she's interested."
"Michael, ever since we let you into this house, you've done nothing but care for our daughter. You're always worried, you teach her better than any other tutor we've seen, and you keep her interested. You amaze us, honestly, with the background you have, to be such a brilliant and kindhearted gentleman. We are in your debt, really, and if you like our daughter," her mother sighed, "well, all you really need is to make sure she likes you too."
Their first movie night together, she spilled the popcorn all over the floor. It was a scary one, and she screamed and jumped and yanked the blanket so hard the popcorn went flying. But Michael wasn't even mad, he just laughed and laughed and gave her a gentle one-armed hug. When it was over, she whispered, "I'm sorry, Michael, I ruined everything!"
"No you didn't," he said. He looked straight into her eyes while he took her hand. "You're perfect."
She didn't know what to say. Her eyes filled with tears, but her cheeks turned furiously red. She couldn't look away, but she couldn't take another minute staring--
His lips brushed her cheek gently. "Goodnight Vyra." He squeezed her hand and smiled, looking back once before he started up the stairs to his room.
Originally published on medium.com/@gillianannie