Now top of his high school classes, Milo was rarely found without his head in a book or trying to figure out some logical puzzle. Like his great-grandfather Myron, it was becoming increasingly apparent that he was a genius - yet he was also good-hearted. One day, he hoped to channel his high intelligence into a role that would help benefit the world.
Miranda, on the other hand, was more akin to the late Montague... having inherited the Miskin insanity gene that had somehow skipped her father. Although she knew it was incredibly dangerous to reveal her alien heritage publicly - and thus, she never did - she remained secretly proud of it. It was something that made her unique... unusual. Developing her own distinct and dazzling style, she wore her individuality on her sleeve - forever proud to stand out from the crowd.
Insanity was not the only trait that grandfather and granddaughter had in common, as Miranda also had high hopes of becoming a famous entertainer - only in a different way. Just as her brother was gifted in the sciences, Miranda's own talent for music had continued to grow. In addition to mastering the violin, she was learning to play the guitar, and had a charming singing voice. She planned to one day start a band - naturally taking on the role of front woman - and had dreams of topping the charts.
Rosie was growing up too. Now a toddler, with her mother's long blonde locks, she loved nothing more than to scurry around the house like a wild animal, laughing and playing . She had a vivid imagination, and spent many a happy hour immersed in pretend games of her own design.
Thankfully, she also had a love of bedtime stories, and could always be counted on to settle down for one when night-time rolled around... much to her parents' and half-siblings' relief!
One Saturday afternoon, despite a long, tiring week at school, Miranda chose to stay at home - to practice songs with her best friend (and hopefully future bandmate), Zara van Halen. Having bonded over a love of sweet melodies and artistic endeavours, the two had known each other since they were very young, and had been through a lot together.
Born "Zachary", Zara had realized at a very young age that she was in the wrong body.
Shortly after starting high school, she made the brave decision to begin transitioning into her true self - to finally don the vibrant, dazzling outfits she had dreamed of since her youth. Several weeks passed before she felt able to confide in Miranda... and was massively relieved when her old friend thoroughly supported her.
In return for Zara's courageous "confession", Miranda had revealed her own secret... but naturally, only did so after swearing Zara to utter secrecy. Learning her friend was not entirely human was initially shocking to Zara, but after time, she got used to the idea. In fact, it helped her feel like a kindred spirit. Both she and Miranda were special and distinct - albeit in two very different ways. However, rather than choosing to hide themselves away, they had each developed larger-than-life personalities, and wanted the world to know they were here.
That afternoon, as Zara played a tune, Miranda tried valiantly to sing the lyrics she had written especially for it. However, she struggled to focus, and wound up hit more bum notes that correct ones. Concerned, Zara stopped playing, and approached her friend.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"It's Milo," Miranda sighed. "I think he's getting himself into big trouble."
"Why? What's going on?"
"Well... he's started seeing someone. This girl, from school."
"You mean like, dating? But that's a good thing, isn't it?"
"Normally, yes - but you don't understand. It's who he's dating that's the problem."
"Well, who is it?"
Miranda rolled her eyes.
Zara almost dropped the guitar in shock.
The McLains, a very well-to-do family, owned a mansion across the city. Scarlett, their only daughter, had grown up spoiled and entitled, giving her a reputation for rudeness that had spread throughout the entire school. However, she couldn't have cared less - she was rich, happy, and knew that she was better than anyone else.
Besides... being callous could be fun.
She sat alone at home in the lounge one night, idly watching some stupid show on TV, when her mobile phone began to ring. Her best friend, Candice, was on the line. Sitting up, bolt upright, Scarlett clutched at the phone, pulled it out of her pocket, and took the call.
After a few minutes of enjoyable but meaningless gossip, Candice asked Scarlett what she was up to.
"Nothing at all," came the reply. "God, I'm bored out of my mind. I want to get out of here, have some fun."
"Who says you need to go out to do that?" Candice told her. "Do what you always do - screw with someone."
"Hmm. That's always good for a laugh. Did you have anything in mind?"
"You know that guy in Science class? The swot with the stupid purple hat?"
"That's the one. Got his number today - said I might need to call him later for some help with a project. Sucker bought it hook, line and sinker."
"Guess the smart-ass doesn't know it all, after all," Scarlett said smugly. "God, I hate that jerk - always getting the best marks in the tests, sucking up to the teacher and everything. I'd love to take his pompous ass down a peg."
"He's got a weakness," Candice said mischievously.
"Oh? And what's that?"
"Well, I heard on the grapevine he has a thing for you. Thinks you're really pretty."
"What?! Oh, Jesus, don't say that - that's so embarrassing!"
"But still, it's something you've got over him," Candice replied. "Maybe you could use it to your advantage? Build him up, then break him down. Teach him a lesson he'll never forget."
Scarlett caught on. She chuckled menacingly.
"Candice, my dear... you are a genius."
"Well - I do my best."
"They've been going out for about a month now," Miranda told Zara. "There's no way Scarlett loves him... she's up to something, I know it. But he loves her. I really don't want him to end up hurt."
"I'm surprised Milo trusts her," Zara replied. "Everyone know what she's like."
"Maybe, but Milo isn't exactly the heart of the social circle. To him, Scarlett's just this pretty girl he sees once or twice a week in Science class. Until lately, he barely knew her... and I daresay he still barely knows her now. That is, the real her."
"Well... she's hardly likely to know the real him, if you get my drift."
"Oh God," Miranda cried. "That's another thought. He'd better not do anything stupid."
Zara pondered the issue for a few moments in silence.
"Look, I know you're worried about him," she told Miranda gently, "but I think it's best if you just let this be. Milo's not a little boy anymore - and you getting involved won't help. It'll just make him mad at you. Milo's clever, and knows a lot about many things... but perhaps this is one lesson he still needs to learn."
A small smile formed on her lips.
"Besides, maybe, for once... Scarlett's being genuine," she added, optimistically. "Maybe she really does like Milo."
"After all - he is a cutie pie."
As they both burst into giggles, Miranda playfully tapped Zara's arm.