'cecilia, you cheated!'
rodney twisted his mouth. 'not fairly.'
cecilia grinned as widely as she could, squinted her eyes and clapped.
'i won. you didn't. nyeh. roddy, you're a loser. looo-ser.'
'aw, man' he looked at the checkered board, 'you moved the pieces while i wasn't lookin'.'
'no, no, i played it fair and nice and how you told me to play. see, the tall ones move like so, the horses move in l's.'
'hrmmmph...' rodney turned his head aside, his eyes closed, in an exaggerated, comic yet not-so-intended expression of snobbery, 'jus' because yer smarter.'
cecilia sat on the chair with her hands between her short, pink-socked legs, trying to figure out what this new body language was.
'are you sleepy?'
'no, silly, i'm offefended.'
'you mean, offended.'
'whatever!' he jumped off the chair, leaving his sweater behind, slowly slipping onto the floor.
'rod-dyyyyy' cecilia jumped off too, and followed him gingerly, 'you don't want me to win? i won't win next time, if you don't want.'
the boy threw himself on the couch and rummaged through the cushions for one of the four control x-playcube pads. cecilia stood beside the tv, keeping a cautious distance, her hands behind her back and looking at her feet.
'roddyyyyy' she tried again 'you can teach me another game. one where you're better than me.'
after a few seconds, rodney replied '... you'll beat me at all of the games i have.'
'but you have many! lots and lots! and toys too! we can play lots more!'
rodney looked at cecilia from the corner of his eye. she was right, of course. she always was.
he couldn't stay mad at her, she was like his sister.
his father had surprised him for his ninth birthday: he came back from work, loose-tied and shabby-haired, a tired yet enthusiastic smile, with the newest domestic model sony had released, the cc-l06. it had cutting edge personality programming and almost infinite memory - well, almost infinite because rodney lost count of the numbers. so many zeroes meant a lot of memory.
he slid off the couch and walked up to cecilia with the newly found control pad, and handed it to her.
she smiled a mechanical smile.