Rain on a Sunny Day (Part 3)
A Second Generation Whateley Academy Tale
Rain on a Sunny Day
Sept. 8th, 2016 (5:20 am)---Whitman
It was the loudest, shrillest noise I’d ever heard. At first, I thought someone was putting an air horn to my head. I swatted with closed eyes, trying to knock it away. Unfortunately, no effort from me made the noise go away. Rolling to my side, I peeled the pillow from around my ears and took a peek. Was she freaking kidding? There was Jenny, sitting on her bed, putting on her sneakers. Opening my eyes further, I noticed she was dressed for a run. Her clothes were skin-tight and once again, she was wearing long sleeves. Her hair was pulled back in a high ponytail and even though it was this early, she was still as gorgeous as ever.
"What time is it?”
"Did I wake you?”
I sat up, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I looked past her to her alarm clock. The numbers on the digital screen were big enough for me to see, I groaned again.
"You’re kidding, right?”
She smirked. “Sorry, old habits die hard.”
"You’re one of THOSE people.”
She laughed. “I was a soccer player before...well, this...”
Her voice trailed off, almost as if she were about to say something else. She paused, looked sad for a moment then plastered on a fake smile. There was definitely a story there but I wasn’t going to pry. If and when she wanted to tell me said story, I’d be here to listen. Hey, I might play the bitch but I’m a human being too. We all have our shit to deal with. We all have our secrets too. I couldn’t help but let my eyes drift over to her box. She still hadn’t opened it and I’m not going to lie, I was dying to know what was inside.
"You want to come?”
She was standing now, stretching those incredibly long legs of hers.
If I was into girls, I’d be in real trouble right now.
I grunted. “Do I look like a running person?”
She shrugged. “You look like someone who takes care of themselves. I saw those abs last night. You might look a bit...ummm...round up top...”
Sure, I guess that was one to describe the basketballs on my chest.
I think most girls my age would be happy to be so “stacked” as they say but they were nothing but a nuisance. Last night, just after coming back from the shower, Jenny got a surprise look at them. Hey, we’re both girls and I have nothing to hide. Well, not from her. We’re going to be roommates after all. I think I shocked her more than anything. Up to this point, I’d been wearing strategic bras and tops to make my chest look smaller. It was a choice. Before manifesting, they were fairly normal-sized. After though, they grew “at least three times that day”. Ok, so not three but it felt like it.
I was now sporting a small C cup and I HATED every bit of it.
I flushed from embarrassment at the mention of them, instinctively trying to cover them with my hands. Jenny was blushing too, so embarrassment all around.
"Sorry, ummm, running, yes...come want?”
She was repeating herself and fumbling over her words.
Again, very cute if I was into that stuff.
"I don’t exactly have the clothes for something like that” I said, sweeping my arm toward the single backpack I brought.
Hey, I wasn’t planning on coming here after all.
I packed enough to run away with.
Best laid plans.
She frowned but it only lasted for a few seconds. “I hear there’s some kind of store. Maybe after my run, we can check it out. Get you something for next time.”
She was persistent, I’ll give her that.
It’s not that I didn’t want to spend time with her, it’s just that I wasn’t sure how much fun I’d have running. I was no stranger to strenuous exercise. I lived on a farm. Mom couldn’t afford to pay any help so Summer and I did a lot of the work for a while. Sure, it was a lot easier when Gretchen was around to help but Mom saw an end to that. Things changed a couple of years ago when my cousin, Brent moved in. Whereas his sister, Abbie, went off to college, Brent decided to pursue the superhero gig full time. His father was making him work for it though. When Brent started living with us, most of the chores around the place fell to him. He had Exemplar strength to go with his hydrokinesis so it was easy for him to take over.
Summer and Mom readily accepted the help.
For me, it just made me feel more useless.
To add insult to injury, she gave Brent the barn loft that Gretchen used to live in.
"Hey Earth to Riley, you still with me?”
I spaced again.
"I’m here, sorry, what did you say?”
Jenny gave me a sympathetic look. “I said my run will take about an hour, I want to check out the surrounding area. Afterward, I was wondering if you’d like to get some breakfast with me?”
I nodded. “Sure, sounds good.”
She left after that, leaving me alone for the first time since last night.
Sigh, last night…
After Jenny went to socialize with our new Housemates, I had a bit of a social surprise of my own.
The girl whom my former friends almost beat to a bloody pulp. The very same girl I saved and manifested to do so. One small part of me was thrilled to meet her because she helped make me special. The rest of me, felt horrible. I’m not going to lie, as much as I “hated” mutants for a time, most of my hatred was centered on the fact that I wasn’t one. It’s something that Dr. Chambers has been trying to help me through. I had a lot of anger about it and I need to let go of that anger. I’m still trying, even now that I’ve manifested. The rest of my anger, it had nothing to do with mutants.
Look at what it’s done for Samantha.
She probably thought she was going to be safe here at Whateley. She probably thought she was going to leave all that horrible stuff from back home behind her. What does she get instead, me living next door to her. The girl who was there when those horrible assholes were trying to beat the hell out of her and possibly kidnap her. If I was in her shoes, I would have run away last night in tears too. I deserved every bit of fear and hate that girl had toward me too. After she ran off, I seriously considered bailing. It was only a matter of time before my part in her incident was exposed. I was an H1 sympathizer in a school of mutants.
Blood in the water here.
I expected the angry mob to come banging down my door any minute.
It never came.
When Jenny came back to coax me into going to cottage movie night, she found me sitting in the dark instead. She eventually managed to get me to tell her what happened and when I did, she hugged me. It was a bit awkward because it was clear she didn’t know what to do. I’m not going to lie, the hug helped. Eventually, she managed to drag me out of the room to the gathering. They were showing one of those 80s teen rom coms, the kind that Summer used to like to show at her slumber parties. I spent most of my time scanning the gathered group, looking for Samantha. When I finally found her, I was met with a glare. Not from her but from a rather tall and menacing Hispanic girl sitting next to her. Like me, the girl spent most of the movie not paying attention to it.
I eventually got up and left halfway through.
I don’t remember Jenny coming in that night.
The next thing I could clearly remember was her alarm.
The dreaded thing.
Sighing, I realized sitting here in more self-pity wasn’t going to solve anything. Besides, it was still pretty early. I might be able to get to the shower before the other girls. Deciding I needed to borrow one of Jenny’s towels because I didn’t have one of my own, I managed to sneak out into the hall without much noise. The floor was apparently dead quiet this time of the morning, save for my over-eager athletic roommate. Trying to be as quiet as I could, I made my way to the floor’s communal shower room that Linette pointed out to me yesterday. Just as I suspected, it was empty.
I found a stall toward the back corner, as far away from the door as I could. It’s not that I was shy or anything but I preferred my privacy. It was all a part of what Dr. Chambers called my “disorder”. I always thought it was a bit of a rude and broad diagnosis but she was generally a blunt woman. She kept trying to get me to open up more, to try new things. Her main goal was to try and keep me from hiding. The thing is, it never really worked. I could make great progress, only to crawl back into my “shell” as she called it. She likened me to a turtle a lot. She seemed to think we were making great progress until my mother decided it wasn’t fast enough. That’s how Whateley got involved. Mom was convinced a change of environment might be beneficial to me, especially after manifestation.
Dr. Chambers disagreed.
Neither of them asked me what I wanted.
Mom got her way though. Well she did initially anyway. That’s when I ran away. I knew the only person who would understand me was Gretchen. She never judged me. She always told me to be myself because I was unique and there was nothing wrong with that. She also taught me to be strong and not let others push me around. Mom never liked that bit, mostly because I kept “pushing” back at her. Mom kept telling me it was for my own good but the only good I ever saw was for herself. She had one “perfect” child in my sister and then there was me, the one she only told people about if she had to.
I was never good enough for Mom.
Anything I did was never enough.
I felt like screaming sometimes.
Realizing where I was, I stripped quickly. There were little cubby holes inserted into the wall, each one had a basket. I placed my clothes in one and padded over to my stall. I made the water as hot as I could and stepped in, closing my eyes. I let it wash over me, not feeling a thing. I knew it was hot but my body didn’t register it. According to the Good Neighbor power tester, Dr. Echo, it had something to do with my mutations natural defense against water. That’s what he called it. If I wanted, I could make it so not a single bit of water ever touched my skin. Combine that with my ability to generate fog and pull water from the air, it was easy to see how I was labeled a TK.
It felt wrong though.
I knew in theory what I was doing to the water, how I was controlling and even changing it but it wasn’t like Brent. I saw how he manipulated the water, how he could pull it from a bucket and wind it around the air like a snake. It wasn’t like Dad either. I saw some of his old videos, the ones Mom wouldn’t let me see. As a kid I used to sneak off into town and go to the library. I would use one of their computers and google my father. There were a lot of videos of him being a hero. I used to sit and watch for hours, marveling over how cool he was. In a lot of those videos, it showed him manipulating waves. It was his specialty, its why he was called Tidal Wave. He could actually stop the waves and in one of the videos, it was shown he actually slowed a large wave from a tsunami long enough for the people in its path to get to safety.
It was cruel that life never gave me a chance with him.
In many ways, it was cruel that I was robbed a chance with my mother too.
Aunt Jessica once told me that Mom was different after Dad was gone. Now she didn’t imply that Mom resented either me or Summer but I could see it sometimes. I think we reminded her of him. In a way, we were a piece of him. Now a sane person would cherish that but I think it pained my mother to look at us. Me, more so than Summer. More than once, I was told how much I resembled Dad. Sure Summer got his blonde hair but I had his eyes. At least I did before they turned their current color. According to Uncle Will, Dad’s brother, I got his stubbornness too. That little bit made me proud.
To Mom, it was another pain.
That woman, she angered me so much.
Yeah, I screamed.
No one was around and it felt good. The water muffled most of it.
A second later, I felt a shift in the water.
What was once hot was now ice cold.
For some reason, I could feel cold. They’re not sure why.
I stepped out of the water, thankfully I got a proper shower. The cold helped wake me up a bit more too. I started to reach for my towel, thought better of it and concentrated. A second later, every droplet of water was pulled from my body. It dropped harmlessly to the tiled floor and down the drain. Even my hair was dry now. I smiled, proud of that little trick.
"Holy shit” said a voice from behind me.
I wasn’t alone.
Turning slowly, I saw a girl with a towel wrapped around her, staring. Her body was drenched, her shoulder length purple hair plastered to her head. I would have just brushed past her but there was something familiar about her. It was strange because besides Jenny and Sam, I knew no one at this school. Well maybe Summer but she didn’t count because I wished I didn’t know her. But this girl, she looked vaguely familiar. There was something about her, something, no someone I met before.
There was a Bar B Que party some years ago that my family threw. It was a get together with a bunch of my uncle’s friends. All of them were in the “business” as he liked to call it. Most of them were adults or kids too old for me to want to hang out with. I was seven at the time and bored out of my mind. Summer found a couple of girls her age. I was behind the barn, throwing rocks at the chickens when this girl appeared. She was my age and she looked about as bored as I did. We talked for a bit then I brought her to my room and we listened to some music. The thing was, the girl in front of now only looked like her and oddly enough, looked more like a teenager version of her mother. It was possible given the nature of mutations but what were the odds?
What was her name again?
The girl gave me a strange look. “Yes?”
Wow, so it was her.
After all this time.
After that party, I kept asking my mother if she could come over and play again. Mom told me that Tanya’s family lived in another state and they were just visiting. I remembered being sad for a while. I asked every once in a while afterward. Then something horrible happened. When I was nine, Mom told me Tanya’s mother passed away. After that I stopped asking. From time to time, I always did wonder what happened to her.
For a second, the girl stared at me. She squinted for a few more seconds until her eyes seemed to pop.
"Oh my God, Riley!”
I smiled. “Hey”.
"Hey yourself” she said, smiling too. “Long time no see!”
She made a move to give me a hug but stopped when she realized that we were both in fact only wearing a towel. We shared a laugh. It was strange how the world worked sometimes. I never actually thought I’d see her again but now that I thought about it, things made sense. She was the daughter of a superhero, so it was only natural that I would run into her here. Well, the odds were pretty good anyway. Not every “super brat” like us turned out to be like their parents. I knew a few who were normal. Most of them resented it--- as I used too---but quite a few accepted their fate.
"So Whitman, huh?”
I shrugged. “Apparently I’m a mutant”.
We both laughed.
It was strange because I couldn’t remember the last time I laughed this much. Stranger still was how much I felt at ease with her. We had only spent a few hours together years ago but she was honestly the closest thing to a real friend I had. Due to the secretive nature of my family, I wasn’t allowed to have many friends growing up. I only connected with Brody because he lived down the way and we went to school together. I only ended up dating him because he was really the only boy I knew. It also pissed off my mother. At the time, I just thought she didn’t like him. Afterward, I found out she knew all about his leanings.
We fell into silence for a few seconds before she was smiling again.
"That was really cool by the way? The thing with the water I mean!”
I smirked. “We Spencers are notorious show offs.”
She looked around quickly then asked in a lowered voice. “Could you, you know, me?”
I knew what she was asking and had to sigh. “Doesn’t work that way. I can’t actually control water, I sorta pushed it off of me.”
She frowned. “Shame. You could make so many friends that way.”
"Yes, my goal in life, stand at the shower and dry people off.”
Shit, I didn’t mean that to come off as bitchy.
She gave me a look then laughed again.
We stopped laughing and she sighed. “Could be worse, a lot worse”.
There was a story there but I wasn’t going to press it, instead we started getting dressed. We talked while we changed. Tanya did her best to fill in her life for me. After her mother’s passing, she went to live with her godmother. Most of her life was about as interesting as mine though. Oddly familiar too. Much like me, she wasn’t really allowed to have too many friends. Being a Super Brat sucked sometimes. Unlike me though, she seemed happy to be here. I did my best to fill in my life too, leaving out the crucial bits. The incident with Sam wasn’t fully my story to tell. Perhaps one day, if Sam was willing, we could share it together.
"So have you had power testing, yet?”
I shook my head. “I think today, maybe tomorrow?”
We started out the door, side by side. Passing through the threshold, I felt something brush against my shoulder. Turning for a second, I thought I saw green and a glimmer of silver. As soon as it was by...what, was I thinking about again? I shook my head, noticing a slight frown on Tanya’s face but only for a moment. Did I say or do something wrong? I was about to ask her about it but she was smiling again, if only slightly now. Maybe it was first day jitters? Well second or third day now I suppose. Actual classes themselves didn’t start until Monday, so she had plenty of time to get those jitters out.
"I’m this way” she said, pointing in the opposite direction from me. “Room 229.”
"215” I said, pointing where she wasn’t.
We laughed again.
"Its great knowing I won’t be alone here, Riley” she said, before turning with a wave and walking toward her room.
And that was that.
It was cool to see her again after all these years.
Perhaps there was a new friendship with her waiting in the future. Perhaps not. I shrugged.
Time would tell.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I stepped in the line with my tray. How fancy the building looked on the outside, I was expecting this place to be a lot swankier on the inside. How disappointed was I to discover that Crystal Hall was nothing more than a cafeteria. It had the same cafeteria things with a lunch line, lots of tables and lots of people. I suppose the only true thing it had going for itself was the three floors. Yesterday during her tour, Lin mentioned how the elite or the elite liked to eat up on the third floor. The second floor was generally for teams, those students who had formed training groups. Those tables up there were grabbed on reserve. It still all sounded pretty “elite” to me.
Grunting, I pushed through the line.
There was a surprisingly lavish breakfast laid out for the taking. Everything from bagels, toast and cereal to things like eggs benedict it would seem. I grabbed some toast, some bacon and a couple of pancakes. Thankful that I wasn’t one of those Energizers who had to pack on the food. I wasn’t the least bit ashamed of my weight, though Mom thought I could be a little thinner. Hey not everyone could be a size two like my perfect sister but there was nothing wrong with being a four either. Especially being five-seven like I was, I had a healthy body weight and image. Mom thought differently and tried to shame me whenever possible. I usually just told her to “fuck off and mind her own damn business”.
Hey, she was the one with the body image issues, not me.
I zipped my card at the register, doing my best to ignore the uninterested look the woman there gave me. I took my tray and scanned faces, hoping to find Jenny. She said she’d meet me here after her run, that was nearly an hour ago. I tried dragging my feet getting here but I was in a lot better shape than I thought. Standing here now, I noticed how many vacant tables there were this early in the morning. Shrugging, I made sure to find one in the far corner. I was hoping it was far enough away that no one noticed. Just as well, when I walked by, only a handful of people even looked up from their food.
Dropping my tray in front of a chair, I was just about to sit when my cell rang.
Why hadn’t I tossed it into the Erie when I had the chance?
Looking at the Caller ID, I really wished I’d chucked it.
How many times was this now?
I suppose I could keep on ignoring her but what would that accomplish?
"What the hell do you think you’re doing?” said a voice on the other end as soon as I answered.
I sighed. “Well seeing as its morning, I’m getting breakfast like normal people.”
"Don’t get smart with me young lady!”
I rolled my eyes. “What do you want, Mother?”
"Now you’re just being rude.”
The nerve of this woman.
"Says the person that won’t stop hounding her daughter at all hours of the night, you know in some states, repeatedly calling someone on the phone over and over again is called harassment.”
"And in all states, daughters don’t ignore their mother’s phone calls.”
Was she really going to start this? This fucking early in the morning?
"Again, I ask, what do you want, Mother?”
"You changed our plans.”
So that’s what this was about.
"No mother, I changed YOUR plans. What makes you think I WANTED to be in that cottage with HER.”
"Well do you know how embarrassed I was to get a call from the school telling me that I sent your things to the wrong room? Then to have your sister call, not you, to tell me that you’ve decided to change our plans and move into another cottage.”
Of course she was going to make this all about her.
Its what she ALWAYS did.
Heaven forbid, the Great Gloria Spencer look bad in front of other people.
"There’s that Our word again. They were your plans, not mine. If you remember, I didn’t even WANT to come to this fucking school in the first place.”
I said that last bit in a hiss, though there wasn’t anyone around to hear me.
At least no one in close proximity.
"Be that as it may, you’re now stuck in Whitman apparently. I called this morning and they’ve already given your room away and there’s no more vacancies. See what you’ve done now.”
"You mean make a decision for myself? Perish the thought!”
"Well it ends now, I’ve made...”
I hung up. I was done with that conversation. A few seconds later, the phone started ringing again. Instead of answering though, I shut it off. I felt the anger start to boil. My arms started to tingle. Cursing, I flipped the phone around, pried the back off with a butter knife and pulled the SIM card. I snapped it in half easily enough. Then dropped the useless phone on the floor where I proceeded to crush it with my chair leg, stomping down on it a few times until I knew it was good and smashed. Satisfied, I picked it up and looking around, I spotted a girl carrying her tray toward the trashcans. Without a second thought, I dropped the dead phone on her tray. She gave me a look, I glared back and she rushed on her way.
Smiling, I returned to my seat.
"Wow, that was...intense” said a voice as Jenny suddenly appeared and sat across from me.
Her tray was piled with food.
"She pissed me off” I grabbed, digging into my pancakes.
I scoffed. “The bitch on the other end.”
"Dare I ask?”
I dodged the question and instead focused on her. She must have gone back to our room after her run because she was dressed in jeans and another long sleeved shirt. Her hair was damp too, pulled back into a sloppy ponytail. She must have hit the shower before coming here too. Well, at least she had some kind of reason for being late. Not that I was complaining, I was used to eating alone.
"You and your mother fight often then?”
So she guessed it.
I shrugged. “She’s got this thing where she has to control every aspect of everyone’s lives, like she thinks its her responsibility to do so. Do you know that before coming here, she never once asked me what I wanted. She decided I was going to go to Whateley, that I was going to stay at Dickinson because its where she stayed when she was here.”
"Sounds rough” said Jenny, spearing some scrambled egg. “But I didn’t really have a choice about coming here either.”
That surprised me.
She sighed. “Clara made the decision for me. Said I’d be safer here then at home. I’d like to say she was wrong but...”
I nodded. I remembered something the Headmaster said yesterday. There was some kind of cult after her? I didn’t really press it because it wasn’t my business. Hell, it still wasn’t but if she was willing to share, I was willing to listen.
"Someone is after you, right?”
She scoffed. “Sorta. They’re really after Mao. Let’s just say she’s a very important spirit and leave it at that.”
I was waiting for said spirit to chime in but when she didn’t, I realized neither one of them really wanted to talk about. Just as well, I had my own problems too. Ones that I didn’t really want to drag Jenny into. Thinking about them and what they tried to get away with just made me angry again. I felt the tingle in my arms again, this time it burned. I winced, which seemed to draw some concern from Jenny.
I didn’t have to look because I knew what she was seeing. The intricate swirling designs on my forearms were indeed glowing. Just like they were supposed to do.
"A gift from my mother” I said, holding up my arm. “They’re runes, one of her specialty spells. According to her, they’re for my protection. The thing is, I didn’t exactly ask for them. She put them there when I was sleeping, said I had an incident during the night.”
Jenny gave me a sympathetic look. “Do they hurt?”
I nodded. “Only when I get angry.”
Which was a lot but I’m sure she knew that already.
"Can you take them off?”
I shrugged. “Tried. After I ran away, I went to this witch woman I found on the Internet, paid her to take a look. Apparently, they’re a lot more involved than Mom was letting on. To attempt to forcibly remove them would take weeks because Mom layered several different runes on top of one another. Each one has to be removed individually. She wasn’t really happy when I told her it was done without my permission but as much as I hate my mother, I refused to give up who did it. I don’t want the MCO breathing down my mother’s neck after all. There is some good news though, they’re not permanent. Apparently they’ll come off when I don’t need them anymore.”
"When is that?”
I shrugged. “Probably when I stop being angry.”
"So basically, they’re on for life.”
Jenny wasn’t trying to be a smart ass but it didn’t stop us both from laughing.
We’d only know each other for a few days but she already understood me.
Our laughing fit continued until I noticed someone else start to approach the table. I turned, not sure what I was expecting. What I found was a girl about Summer’s age, one with blue hair, not unlike my own actually. She was wearing a smile and accompanied by a couple of other girls her own age, one was a really tall redhead.
"Ah good, Jenny” said the blue haired girl. “This saves me the trouble of finding you later.”
"Hey, Jan” said my roommate, clearly familiar with this girl.
Jan smiled at her then turned to me. “And you must be the elusive Riley, I’m Janette, your RA.”
She held out her hand for me to shake and not really given a choice, I took it. It was cold, so cold that I actually shivered. The act was not lost on her, she raised a questioning eyebrow but didn’t say anything about it.
"I’ve been going around telling the other girls we’re having a Wing meeting tonight. If you see any of them, let them know.”
Jan gave us a smile then she and her friends made their way toward the stairs to the second floor.
I watched them go for a few seconds before turning back to Jenny.
"You’re one of those people persons aren’t you?”
She laughed. “Hardly. Jan was at the card game yesterday. She was also at movie night, she introduced herself to most of us there. You would have met her too if you hadn’t bailed.”
"It was boring” I lied.
"It of course had nothing to do with the two young ladies you were staring at?<"/p>
The Thing speaks.
"Who asked you” I snapped, annoyed that it was keeping tabs on me.
Jenny cocked her head, it was clear Mao was still in control.
"Have I upset you?”
"When you spend more time with humans, you’ll quickly learn the phrase, ‘None of your damn business’ and you’ll also quickly learn it means keep your prying eyes to yourself.”
"I have upset you then. I fail to see why it is such a big deal. The taller of the two clearly meant you ill will. Had you not left, she planned on confronting you.”
"How do you know that?”
"You can get intent out of body language?”
"She was agitated and was perspiring heavily as well. Given the way she stared in your general direction, having no prior contact with Jiaying, I assumed she meant you harm. Given how well you interact with others, I drew the conclusion that you must have insulted her and she wished retribution from said insult.<"/p>
Well look at that, I think she made a joke.
"So because she was twitchy and she smelled, she wants to kick my ass?”
"You tell me?”
Well, Mao wasn’t wrong about that. That girl definitely had a bug up her ass. Somehow she was directing whatever it was at me. If I was to guess, I’d say she was connected to Sam somehow, possibly her roommate. It made sense, given that the two of them were sitting together. It just seemed weird that this girl would be so overprotective of Sam after just meeting her. Then again, Jenny and I were starting to become fast friends. Its possible that Sam found someone willing to stick up for her. A small part of that made me happy, that girl needed the help. The rest of me was a bit pissed that most of this bitch’s hostility was clearly directed at me.
I realized Mao was waiting for my answer.
"I’ve never met her” I finally admitted.
"Met who?” Jenny asked, confused.
I groaned. “You two have to STOP doing that!”
She blinked, still confused. I decided to drop it. There were so many questions I had but I was willing to wait for her to answer them. In the meantime, I decided to shift the conversation. The last thing I wanted to think about was Sam and her new friend. Just as well that Jenny didn’t seem to remember anything Mao talked about or did, she was keen to talk about our upcoming day. We talked a little about it last night, so she knew I had a meeting with my advisor in an hour and power testing shortly after that. The latter of which I wasn’t really looking forward too.
I’m not going to lie, I was thrilled I finally manifested.
I couldn’t imagine what kind of mess I’d be in if I hadn’t.
No, that’s wrong. I could imagine and that person disgusted me.
The real problem with power testing is what I know it was going to say. Shortly after waking up in the hospital after the Sam incident, Mom and Uncle Will took me to a facility that the Good Neighbors used for power testing. It was a bit on the down low and more importantly, it was MCO free. Uncle Will never said but I think the DPA had their hand in it. Regardless of who ran it, they did their tests. Sadly they didn’t tell me anything spectacular. Most kids grow up dreaming of being PK Superman, flying around, lifting cars. That wasn’t me. I didn’t get Exemplar powers, I didn’t have a severe GSD or BIT. Sure my hair was permanently blue now and my boobs were bigger but overall I was still the same me. Still five foot seven, still weighed just short of one twenty. My eyes were still usually blue though they tended to gray when I activated my fog. The thing is, nothing overly amazing happened. Besides the fog generation and the very hard ability to pull water from the air, I didn’t have much else going for me. Sure I had that whole heat resistance thing and the tiny healing ability, which was more of a nuisance than anything.
I fingered my lip ring thinking about it.
I can’t remember how many times in the last month or so, I’ve had to redo it. I almost stopped doing it but it was so part of me now that I just couldn’t.
It was honestly the most unique thing about me.
Well, save Mom’s “gift”.
"Hey you ok?”
"No offense but you’re looking a little blue.”
I groaned. Really, she went there?
"Pale” she corrected herself quickly. “You look pale.”
I scoffed. “More so than usual?”
So I couldn’t tan at all, I blamed my father’s English genes.
Mom had this sexy half Italian thing going for her, it gave her skin a nice tan. Summer actually picked it up after she manifested. It literally looked like my sister had a sun tan one hundred percent of the time. I hated her for it. Though with the blonde hair, it also made her look like a beach bimbo. I suppose the only thing she didn’t have were the boobs. Some cruel twist of fate gave those to me.
I grunted, having only eaten about half of breakfast. I think it was nerves. Some of that anxiety that Dr. Chambers kept talking about was rearing its ugly head.
"I think I’m gonna head to the bathroom then back to our room for a while.”
"You want me to go with you?”
I raised an eyebrow. “To the bathroom?”
She nodded. “Isn’t that what girls are supposed to do? Go to the bathroom together?”
I shrugged. “No clue.”
The truth is, I never had any true girl friends to do something like that with.
We fell into an awkward silence which I broke by grabbing my tray and taking it to the trash. Most of my breakfast half eaten thanks to my mother. That woman really knew how to ruin someone’s appetite. No wonder Summer was thin all the time. Not that Mom would ever get on her nerves. She wouldn’t even dare to chide her “perfect” daughter. Argh, just thinking about…
My arms burned.
It was getting worse.
Wincing in pain, I made my way to the bathroom. I was quick about it, never really dawdling that much to pee. I did my business, flushed and made my way over to the wall of sinks. I groaned at the sight of me in the mirror. Apparently I neglected what Summer would often call my “war paint” this morning, which in normal people terms was my eyeliner. I never went all out with the makeup, just a bit of an emo splash here and there. Some dark eye shadow and liner, enough to piss my mother off. Pair that with my piercings and the griping lasted every time I walked out of the bathroom in the morning.
I grunted at my plain face in the mirror. I couldn’t remember the last time I was without it.
I didn’t have any on me either.
Usually I kept some in my bag, which usually never left my side.
New school, new rules I suppose.
Deciding that I was done being vain, I turned on the water and cupping it in my hands, splashed it into my face. I shivered from how cold it was. Back home, the “experts” still couldn’t figure out why the hot water didn’t effect me. They were at it for about an hour, running their various tests. In the end, they concluded that the testing facilities at the school had better “experts”. I still couldn’t figure out why I was gifted was such a lame power. After all my whining I should have been happy but I just couldn’t accept that my cousin could fly and use the wind to crush her enemies. Me, I was a glorified fog machine who could at times make herself waterproof.
Grunting, I shut off the water and started for the door. As I was going out, someone came in. I tried to sidestep them but they deliberately stepped in my way. I walked right into someone’s chest. Taken aback, I stumbled slightly. Looking up and I had to, I saw a familiar and unwanted face. It was that girl, the one with Sam last night. She was tall, really tall. I’m five seven and my head was just below her breasts. I don’t think I’d ever seen a girl this tall before.
"Sorry” I said, trying to avoid a confrontation.
I attempted to move around her again but she wasn’t having it.
She moved with me.
Now, I was getting pissed.
"What’s your problem?” I snapped.
"You” she sneered, giving me a shove.
I scoffed. “How very Mean Girls of you. Now fuck off and get out of my way!”
I was done being nice.
I tried to push past her but she was strong. I couldn’t move her, she was standing right in front of the door. She was at least a foot taller than me and while she didn’t look like much, I knew that could be misleading. My cousin didn’t look like much either and the man could lift a truck. I learned long ago not to underestimate mutants. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn it wasn’t a smart idea to piss them off. This mountain of a girl wasn’t about to move any time soon. Running my mouth at her was probably going to lead to problems.
Looking around, I realized this was probably an ideal place to fight and not get caught.
No security getting in the way.
Just my luck.
I tried once again to maneuver around the Girl Mountain but she was impassable.
I sighed. “We’re really doing this?”
She gave my shoulder a shove in response. So, we were really doing this. I prepared myself for the beating that was about to come. I wasn’t much of a fighter. Sure, Gretchen had done her part to teach me some basic stuff. I just didn’t have the aptitude for it though, not like Summer. She took to fighting like a duck to water. Another thing to hate about her. The thing was, I wasn’t a slouch. I could throw a punch if I needed to. I could also take one. Gretchen was a boxer, she taught us that much. It was all about how you moved. Move toward the blow, turn toward it not away, that kind of thing.
I braced myself but the punch never came. Instead, she tensed up. She looked like she wanted to hit me but something was holding her back. Everything about her body language screamed she was going to pound me---her body was tense, she was all about frothing at the mouth. Something was holding her back though. Maybe she didn’t want to get into trouble?
"So we’re not doing this then?”
I was confused.
"She doesn’t need this shit, you know. Not after what you and your friends did to her. She had a rough time you know. She was almost better then you showed up. She was opening up again, she was smiling again. Then she saw you and you...”
She was getting angrier with every word.
That’s when the fist came.
It happened so fast that I didn’t have time to react.
There was a rush of air behind me and suddenly, Jenny was there.
She caught the Mountain’s fist. It was inches from impacting with my nose and Jenny caught it. I looked at her hand, closer to my face than the foreign intruder. It wasn’t normal, it was, well it looked almost metal. There was something about her too, she looked different. She seemed a bit taller and I could swear she had cat ears now. Her skin had a metallic tint to it as well and I think there were more stripes?
"That’s enough of that<"/p>
"Where the hell did you...”
"We followed you<"/p>
The girl’s eyes all but popped. “You? How did you?”
Jenny or Mao squeezed the girl’s fist, causing her to cry out in pain.
"I can break it, you know” said Jenny, taking over.
There was a cold edge to her voice. Not unlike the one that Mao often talked with. For a split second, I thought she was in control again.
The Mountain was starting to shake and tear up. She tried to pull her hand from Jenny’s grip but it wasn’t budging. I could see this girl, she wasn’t just tall. There was some ferocity and strength there. She was the kind of girl that could probably throw boulders if motivated enough. Here she was now, all but cowering to this thin, supermodel of a Chinese girl. Whoever or whatever Jenny was, it was on a whole new level. What’s more, it was clear that people underestimated her. I couldn’t help but think of the look on Mazarin’s face yesterday and now I knew why. Whatever was going on with Jenny, he knew.
"Let go please!”
The girl desperately tried to pull her hand away.
"Say you’re sorry, first”
Jenny let out a low, guttural growl.
She turned to me with tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry”
I’m not sure if she actually meant it or not but I could see how scared she was.
Jenny finally let go of her hand and pushed her back. The girl stumbled and cradled her arm as she recovered. There were tears in her eyes but she was glaring as well. For a second I thought she might come back for more, there was something about that glare of hers. Did she really want this? I knew angry mutants. You heard about them all the time. Gretchen told me about a few run ins back in her school days. My cousins had some stories too. Most of the time it led to secret fist fights. I just never in a million years thought I’d be in someone’s cross hairs, well at least not this quickly. It was only my second day here after all.
The girl recovered. “Puta” she hissed, spitting in our direction.
Well that wasn’t very nice.
Before Jenny could react, the girl was gone.
You could cut the tension in the room with a knife. I let out the breath I didn’t even know I was holding. I saw Jenny visibly relax. The metallic sheen to her skin and the cat eyes vanished. She still looked pretty tense for a few more seconds before finally letting out a sigh.
"Are you ok?” she asked, turning toward me.
I put on fake airs. “I just have that way with people.”
Inside, I’m not going to lie, I was a bit shook.
Neither of us said another for a whole minute or so.
Then it occurred to me we were still standing in the restroom. I still needed to finish washing my hands too. Which was well ewww.
After washing, the two of us made our way out the door.
"How did you get in the bathroom anyway?” I asked, still a bit confused about her presence.
"I followed you” she said again as if it was the most obviously thing in the world. “Girls are supposed to go to the bathroom in pairs, duh”.
I rolled my eyes.
Never a dull moment here at Whateley.
9:32am---Schuster Hall/The Quad
I rushed down the hall. I’m not going to lie, I got a bit lost. This place could get really confusing if you didn’t know where you were going. It took me a little bit of pathfinding to figure out where I was supposed to go. In the end though, someone was able to point me in the right direction. Unfortunately for me, my meeting with my advisor was supposed to start at nine-thirty, which meant I was two minutes late.
Pushing my way into the tiny office, the hawk-nosed man at the desk looked up at me.
He didn’t look amused.
"Miss Spencer, I assume?”
I was still trying to catch my breath.
He cut me off. “You’re late.”
I looked at the large clock on his wall. Two minutes. This guy was really going to chastise me for two minutes? I waited for him to say something else but when I realized he wasn’t, I decided to plant my butt in the large, rather uncomfortable looking chair in front of me. The man followed me with his eyes. They were already judging me. I took a moment to look anywhere but at him. I tried to find something in the room to keep my attention but besides the desk and the chair I was sitting in, there was nothing else. Well nothing of interest anyway. It was the most utilitarian office I’d ever seen. It fit the bald, beady-eyed man to a tee.
"Now then” he continued, looking back at his computer and typing. “It would appear you arrived a day late.”
"Unforeseen circumstances, I was...”
He interrupted me again. “Your tardiness appears to be a habit I see.”
Who the fuck did this guy think he was?
"Like I said, it was beyond my control...”
"Problem with authority as well.”
If this dude interrupts me one more time.
I crossed my arms. “Well at least I’m not rude.”
He looked up from his screen, glaring. It was clear he wanted to say something but stopped himself and continued. “From this schedule you submitted over the summer, its clear you just picked what you thought were the hardest classes available. How creative of you. I’ve taken the liberty of correcting some of your mistakes’.
Schedule? What schedule?
"I didn’t submit...” I stopped myself because I realized who did.
"Yeah. I’m smart. I did most of that remedial shit in middle school.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Well that’s my class, surely...” He started typing and paused. “Well this can’t be right, that’s a Junior course...”
I couldn’t help but give him a smug smile.
He started typing more, probably bringing up my transcripts.
I’d always been a bit of an overachiever. It was one of the things that I had and Summer didn’t. She wasn’t an idiot but she wasn’t as smart as me either. When I started school, Mom immediately tried to drive a wedge between the two of us. Once again, she favored my sister. She tried to push the two of us against one another academically. So that only pushed me harder. I wasn’t a super genius by any means but I wasn’t an idiot like the other kids around me. It wasn’t all subjects either, mainly Math and reading. Mom tried to ignore it, the school didn’t. I was in advanced Math classes starting in about fifth grade or so. So yes, I really was taking trigonometry as a freshman.
"I really should phone this in” he said, still clearly annoyed. “But seeing as you were late and we’re short on time, I’ll move on.”
Again by only two minutes.
This guy needed to remove the stick.
He continued typing, the sound was already starting to annoy me. As he typed he read off my other classes, most of them I had to correct in some way. My mother had really done a piece of work on my schedule. They were clearly classes she thought I should be taking. He was only on the second or third one when there was a knock on the door.
Saved by the Interrupt.
He looked at me, annoyed again.
Somehow he must have thought it was my doing.
The door opened before he could say anything. A head poked in. It was a woman, she wore dark eyeliner and dark lipstick, the strand of nearly white blonde hair I saw fell in front of her face. That wasn’t her most striking feature though, it was her eyes, they had a strange purple shine to them. The woman looked about the room then those eyes locked on me. For a second, I thought she was looking into my soul. I thought for sure she might somehow suck me in. Instead, she smiled.
"There you are, girl!”
She pushed her way into the room.
She was dressed like a wet dream, some male fantasy of a secretary, short black skirt, white blouse with the top button undone. I could see a red lacy bra underneath. The fishnets were pretty cool though and those boots, they were killer. Knee high and black, with at least a four inch stiletto. This girl was a ball breaker and I liked her instantly.
"Miss...” stammered the man behind the desk.
"DuBois, Olivia DuBois”.
"Miss DuBois, this is highly irregular, I’m in the middle...”
"Of my job yes” she said, interrupting him.
I don’t think he liked being interrupted in the least.
"I beg your pardon?”
"Riley’s mine now” she said, waving a manilla folder she was holding.
"You’re excused” she said with a wave of her hand. “I’ll take it from here.”
The man looked at a loss for words.
Me, my grin was getting bigger.
Who was this woman? Hell, how could I be This woman!
She walked further into the room, her heels clicking loudly. The fairly empty room made them echo nicely. She leaned on the corner of his desk, making sure he got a full view of what she was offering. I saw him turn a few different shades of red. She finally handed him the folder, explaining that she was officially assigned to be my Advisor for the rest of the term. He only peeked at the folder once, rather quickly, before his eyes went back to well...someplace else.
"Expect everything is in order then?”
"Ye..s..ss.sss” he stammered.
"Good, you can leave now.”
"But this is my office.”
"I’m just borrowing it sweetie” she said, giving his cheek a gentle tap.
He seemed to melt at her touch. He also wasted no time vacating the room. She let out a sigh as soon as he was gone.
"Ugh” she said with a shiver before dropping into his chair. She looked right at me. “Don’t try that at home, kiddo.”
I finally found my voice after all that. “Umm, what’s going on?”
"I’m Liv, your Advisor, nice to finally meet you, the Famous Riley Spencer!”
"How do you know me?”
"I read your file” she said, waving that folder again.
I was confused. There was no way that was my file, it was too thin.
"Hey, you mind if I kill the lights in here, I’m a bit photosensitive?”
Before I could say anything, she snapped her fingers and suddenly the lights were off. I blinked. What the hell just happened. I looked around then at her, those amazing eyes of hers were actually glowing.
Her face was also framed in the glow from the computer screen.
"Not great but better” she said with a sigh. She took a moment before looking at the screen. “So, I’ve seen your transcript, pretty impressive, Little Miss Smarty. I’ve seen the schedule your mother made up for you too.”
She made another “ugh” sound before she started typing. She mumbled something about “that ingrate” which I’m assuming meant the guy in here before. It didn’t take her very long before she was swirling the monitor around so I could take a look at the screen.
"I was able to rearrange some things. It seems your mother consulted with Mr. Ding Dong and tried to work your schedule around your sister’s. We both know you don’t want that.”
Wait, how did she know that?
Who was this woman?
She wasn’t wrong though. “My mother is a pain in the ass.”
She frowned “Cherish her, you only get one.”
I raised an eyebrow. “And my sister?”
"Well as much as you’d probably like to kill her---trust me on that one---there are fates worst than death.”
It almost sounded like she was speaking from experience.
I was about to pry when the mood suddenly shifted. “Well then” she said, in a cheerier tone. “Now that we’ve got the boring shit out of the way, let’s take a walk.”
I heard the printer roar to life behind her. She swiveled in the chair and snatched something from the tray. She spun back around and out of the chair before handing said paper to me. It was my class schedule. I started to look at it but she was already grabbing my arm and pushing me out of the room. In a rush, I folded it in half and shoved it into my pocket. Maybe later I guess.
Liv was a burst of energy. She was the type of person that took charge and barreled on without giving something a second thought. It was weird but she reminded me a lot of Gretchen in that way.
"So, how’s school been so far?”
I shrugged, shoving my hands into my hoodie pockets. “I’ve only been here a couple of days, so the jury is still out.”
"She’s cool. Not what I expected.”
Understatement of the century.
"They never are” chuckled my companion as the two of us headed for the stairs. “My roomie and I were like oil and water at first. We had a bit of a rocky start but she’s my best friend now. We did everything in school together.”
"Are you two still close?”
She smiled. “We talk pretty much everyday. We formed this unbreakable bond here. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her, you know?”
I didn’t. I never really had a friend like that. Well, friends in general. Before dating, I only sorta called Brody a friend. It was too early to say how things with Jenny and I might work out. Sure we were ok now but I’ve only known her for a few days now. Who’s to say how much of that might change in a day or a week or hell, even a month. As it stands right now, I’m not sure I could really be that way with anyone.
"You have a lot of friends back home?” she asked as we reached the bottom of the stairs.
I didn’t answer right away.
Instead the two of us made our way the short distance to the nearest exit. We were back in that large atrium area between the main buildings. I’m not sure what they called it, I still wasn’t used to this place. I don’t think I ever would. As we walked a bit, Liv pointed to a bench, indicating that we should sit. I didn’t argue, technically I was still on her time. When we sat, I finally decided to answer the question.
I shrugged. “We live on a farm in the middle of nowhere, there’s not too many people around.”
"What about school back home?”
I shook my head. “There were a few but they turned out to be dicks.’
She nodded understanding. “The incident.’
So she knew. Well of course, she did, she did have my file.
"You want to talk about it?”
I really did, especially after my run in with Sam and her giant friend. Except, I was never really good at opening up with strangers. Plus, there was something about the way she asked the question. All the questions in fact. They were less like a concerned person and more clinical. It was almost as if…
"What did you say you teach again?”
She smiled coyly. “I didn’t. I’m not a teacher, I’m a Grad student.”
Son of a bitch.
How could I have been so stupid and not seen it? All the signs were there but I was just too caught up in the moment. She tricked me. She played the “cool” card and I fell for it. She was good, really good. There was no mistake now though. Taking a good look at her, it was clear who and what she really was. I quickly got to my feet. Damn it. I didn’t waste any time trying to get away from her. A fucking shrink. I stormed off, increasing my speed. I was glad to hear she wasn’t following. The last thing I needed was more of her brand of “ambush therapy”.
I got maybe twenty feet from her, was passing by the shade of some trees when suddenly I couldn’t move. It wasn’t like I had a cramp or pain either. I literally couldn’t take another step. I tried, it was as if my legs were glued to the ground. I struggled and pulled but nothing. Snapping around, I saw her walking slowly toward me. She wore a smile and look of triumph. She, she was doing this somehow. As she got closer, I noticed those eyes of hers were glowing again. Then it clicked. The light, she shut it off with a wave of her hand. Looking around, I noticed one of my feet was touching the shadow.
So that’s how it was.
When she got closer, I hissed at her. “Let me go!”
I still struggled but there was no use.
"We’re not done. I still have five minutes.”
I crossed my arms, pissed. “Dick move.”
"Hey we were just talking, its not my fault you freaked and bailed like usual” she said, finally getting close enough.
She waved her hand and let me go.
I thought about bailing again but I knew she would probably just snag me again. Defeated, I glared at her. “I could report you, you know.”
"You won’t. You’re too damn stubborn for that.”
"Plus, you have that whole, ‘I hate authority’ thing going, which is cute but pointless.”
"You think you know me because you read my file?”
She smirked, held up the folder and opened it up. All the papers went flying out. At first, I was about to freak because well it was my file. That is until I realized that a bunch of blank papers dropped everywhere. What the fuck? This woman, she was crazy.
"To be fair though, I did read your file but I didn’t really need to. You’re an open book, Riley. Parental issues, authority issues, sister issues. Angry, stubborn, Me against the world. Classic misanthrope, blah, blah, fucking blah. I get it, trust me, I lived it. You think the world is against you, you think EVERYONE hates you! More blah and blah and blah.” She paused for dramatic effect. “ I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong because what kind of advice would that be. I am going to tell you one thing though” Another pause, this time with a breath. “Grow up and stop whining.”
What the hell kind of shrink was she?
She cut me off. “No, I can’t but I will because you need to hear it. Yes, your mother is probably a bitch. She probably does favor your sister more. Trust me, been there, done that. Yes, you’re a loner and you hate everyone around you. You’re horrible to them, blah and blah and shit. Tough break, the world isn’t perfect. We can’t change that. We can however learn to deal with that shit. If you let me, I think I might be able to help you. If you’re interested?”
Who the hell was this woman?
She was the most insufferable, most annoying, the biggest bitch…
She wasn’t wrong though.
"Why should I trust you?”
She smiled. She opened her mouth to say something but stopped when she saw her watch. “Well, that’s time. Next week, 9am, I’ll send you the directions.”
What the fuck?
She then turned and started to walk away.
She back hand waved to me, leaving me standing there stunned and really confused.
What the ever loving fuck just happened?
I stood stunned for what felt like an eternity but was only probably a few seconds. I watched as she walked away. The Quad was all but deserted this morning so it was easy to see her until she vanished from sight. Even then, I still stared in her direction. She was the most insufferable woman I’d ever met, I HATED people like that. Yet, there was something about her that I just couldn’t quite place. Something almost familiar. Sure I’d never met her before but there was still something.
Thinking about it made me smile.
I’m not sure why.
It took me another more or so to process and I looked at my own watch.
Shit, I was so late. Why was this place so hard to navigate? There was no one around either. Trying to focus on the little map I managed to acquire, I was trying and failing to find my way through all these meandering tunnels. I took a quick glance up ahead, maybe it was around this corner..
Of course I wasn’t looking where I was going.
I hit someone and hard from the looks of them currently on their butt in front of me. I cursed.
"Shit, sorry about that!”
I bent and helped her up. AS I was doing so, I noticed she was wearing a hoodie like me. Unlike me though, her’s was zipped up and the hood pulled as far down as possible. For a slight moment there I thought I saw something that looked like...nah.
As soon as the girl got up she gave me a weird look. “Laura?”
It was slightly dark in the tunnel and hard to see. Probably the big reason we ran into one another.
"Oh sorry, blue hair. Thought you were my friend. No, blue skin though...”
"Nope, just Riley” I said, in an awkward intro.
She laughed. “Tia.”
"Nice to meet you.”
There was a bit of more awkwardness but mostly silence. She started to explain about her friend but she kept rambling off, so I decided to change the subject. Seeing as she was clearly coming from where I was going, I asked for directions. Turns out I really was lost but she was able to set me on the right course. I thanked her, apologized again for running into her, and started off on my way again.
Nice girl but a bit shy and were those bunny ears?
I shook my head.
I pressed on, making up for lost time until I finally found my location.
"I know, late” I said, rushing into the large room.
The woman in the white lab coat looked at me down her long nose. It was clear she wanted to say something but kept her mouth shut. Just as well, I was getting sick and tired of these people constantly harping on me for not knowing how to navigate campus. This school was huge and it was clearly easy to get lost. Add to that all these underground tunnels and labs and this place was a damn maze. It didn’t help that no one told me how to find K Lab.
"Right then, follow me please”
The woman wasted no time as she turned and started walking toward what I could only assume was some kind of exam room. I followed close on her heels, not wanting to get lost again. Not that I could, this place was a large room without any halls or corridors. I couldn’t help but look around in awe. There was some kind of shooting range over there and some kind of lab area over there, lots of tables and computers. This place made the facility back at home look like a hole in the wall. Then again, this was Whateley. I’d only been here a few days and I was already beginning to realize how wrong I was about this place. It was strange really. The more I was here, the more I was starting to feel like I knew shit.
"In here” said the woman, pointing to a small room off to the side of the lab area.
I looked inside, there was an exam table and not much else.
There were three walls too, all of them made of glass.
I guess privacy wasn’t a thing around here.
I stepped inside, the room was stark white.
"Put on the jumpsuit and meet me outside when you’re done.”
She turned and left, closing the door behind her. As soon as it shut, I noticed the glass frost over.
Wow, personality much?
Now alone, I walked over and looked at the table. There was some kind of strange suit folded on the bed. Picking up, the first thing I noticed was the lycra. She was kidding right?
"This is a joke, right?” I said out loud, hoping she could hear me.
Grunting, I looked around and started to strip. There was no place for my clothes so as each layer came off, I just left them on the floor. I was down to my underwear in mere seconds but realized I might have to strip that off too in order to make this thing fit properly. Thankfully I wasn’t one of those shy girls. Growing up, Summer wasn’t a prude. She often walked around in her underwear and wasn’t the least bit worried if anyone saw her. It only got worse after she manifested and she became a “super babe” as some of my male classmates often called her. It also didn’t help that her roommate was a bit of exhibitionist in her own right. Summer brought her home over Spring Break last year, that girl had no modesty whatsoever. There were other things wrong with her too, thinking about it made me shudder.
A gentle knock on the glass interrupted my thoughts. “Are you ready, yet?”
"You’re kidding about this, right?” I grunted as I finished pulling up the suit.
I was right, I should have taken off my underwear.
Too late for that now.
Taking a look down, I didn’t like how this thing accentuated my breasts, among other things as well. I did a really good job of trying not to draw attention to my body. I didn’t dress all frumpy but I didn’t like tight clothes either. I’m not going to lie, it was a lot easier to dress myself before I manifested. Now I was finding it harder and harder to hide the watermelons on my chest. Ok, so they weren’t that big but they should felt it. I know most girls my age would be happy to have them but I wasn’t most girls. I HATED the attention they drew. It’s one of the reasons I did everything imaginable to hide them.
I finally opened the door to find the woman waiting.
She gave me a curt nod before turning and walking off again. I guess that was my queue to follow.
What followed is something I’ll never forget. She introduced me to a couple more lab coats, names don’t really matter at this point. What matters is that these “tyrants” ran me through my paces. The power testing that I had with The Good Neighbors was intense but the one these people subjected me too was on a whole new level. Besides being poked and prodded repeatedly, I went through a gauntlet of strenuous physical tests, some of which I didn’t know could be performed on a human. An hour later, two important things were apparent to me. One, the old woman had been right about those runes.
They weren’t coming off without me making them do so.
Nothing new there.
The other thing was Earth Shattering.
"It’s not hydrokinesis.”
"I don’t understand...”
The woman who spoke, smiled. “It was very hard to see at first but the more tests we ran, the more we came to the conclusion that you are not in fact controlling the water. The way you described it to us before, you’re pulling the water from the air. Does that sound like a correct assessment?”
I nodded. “Back home they said it was a rare form of hydrokinetics...”
The doctor was still nodding. “I can see where they were confused.”
They aren’t the only ones.
She asked me to follow her because there was another lab that was more adept at testing her theory. At this point, I had no reason to doubt her. Unlike the first woman, this one was a lot friendlier. It was a shame I wasn’t paying attention when she said her name. I followed close at her heels, hoping this wasn’t going to lead to another hour-long poke and prod session. She led me out of the lab, down a short corridor and into another large room, I’m guessing another lab. This one felt bigger but more than likely because it was a large circular room. The walls were smooth metal and whereas the last room had several lab tables and computers, this one only had one small station off in the corner. I noticed it didn’t have any of those side rooms like the previous one either. Whatever went on here, it seemed solely centered on that one station.
"Riley, welcome to Lab W.”
A tall thin man standing over at the lab table raised an eyebrow as we approached, it was clear he wasn’t expecting us.
"Dr. Martin, this is a surprise” he said, still looking at us in a very confused manner.
So that was her name.
"Riley, I’d like you to meet Dr. Phelps”.
The man smiled and nodded but turned immediately to my escort. “I wasn’t aware we’d be having any tests today?”
"Riley here has spent the last hour in the Kinetics lab based on an earlier power assessment but I started to notice something that seemed out of place. She was easily labeled a hydrokinetic back home due to her family’s power history.”
The man looked at me intently. “Your family has a history of water based powers?”
I nodded. “And air.”
He raised an eyebrow. “That’s highly unusual, especially for an entire family to manifest the same kind of power base.”
"Not for Riley, Henry, she’s a Spencer.”
The man blinked but it was as if a light bulb popped up over his head.
Scientists all over the world have been trying to figure out my family for years. It wasn’t unheard of for families to have multiple mutants but for them to all manifest the same powers, over and over again. Things like that didn’t happen. As far back as my great-great grandfather, people have been trying to figure out why and how it was possible. There were many theories, most seemed to think that one of my ancestors made a pact with a powerful spirit but of course that was a bunch of crap if you ask me. Personally I think we were just lucky.
"Has she exhibited aerokinesis as well?”
"Riley, can you give us a demonstration?”
I nodded, so she started to attach those sensor things to my suit again. She asked me to step ten feet away, far into the room in case something happened but not far enough away that I couldn’t hear them. It was a big room after all and empty, every step I took echoed. I got to where I felt was “safe” and closed my eyes. I concentrated, feeling that telltale tingle I was all too familiar with. Unlike the earlier tests of my powers, I was asked to hold back a little. This time I was given no instruction, so I decided to put as much as I could into it. After only a few seconds though, I started to feel the burn. I ignored it and pushed through it. The pain in my arms increased but I bit my lip and pushed harder. The more I pushed, the more pain I felt.
Eventually though, I got to my break point.
I was on my knees, panting.
I opened my eyes and the fog was slowly starting to dissipate. I saw Dr. Martin fumble about, trying to find me.
"Give it a moment” I said, out of breath.
After a minute or so, enough of the fog had cleared itself for her to find me.
She handed me a bottle of water.
"That was amazing, I’ve never seen anyone create fog like that before. It was so thick, I couldn’t even two inches in front of my face.”
I huffed. “That’s me, Riley Spencer, Subpar Party Favor.”
She chuckled. “Nothing about you is subpar, far from it in fact.”
She helped me to my feet, I was still a little woozy from it all. At least this time I didn’t pass out like before. I leaned on her as she helped me over to the lab station. Dr. Phelps was as giddy as a schoolboy.
"These readings are incredible,” he said enthusiastically. “Whatever fool said you were a hydrokinetic needs to have his credentials revoked.”
I smirked at that one.
"So what am I then?”
He shook his head. “We need more tests to make an accurate assessment.”
Of course they did.
They asked me to generate the fog, this time not as intense. I ended up doing it a few times for them. The breaks between getting shorter and shorter. It turns out the more I use my power, the more tolerance I built up to the debilitating after-effects. After three or four times of the fog alone, they started adding different factors to the environment. Making it hotter or colder for instance. That apparently changed the density of the fog. Working in the heat was a lot easier for me too. When it got colder, I found it harder to control things. When they added water into the mix, things took a different turn. Not only did I start to feel less pain but I was able to control the water around me as it fell. Much like what I could do with the water from the shower.
There were other tests too but I didn’t notice if they changed anything or not.
Finally they declared the tests over.
The small clock on Dr. Phelps monitor screen told me it was almost noon.
Great, another hour.
"I have seen some truly remarkable things in this lab over the years but nothing quite like that.”
"So I was right then?”
He nodded excitedly, finally looking up from his screen. “You Miss Spencer are not a hydrokinetic, you’re a Warper.”
"I don’t understand...”
He was smiling. “Its simple really. You’re not controlling the water, you’re changing it. The fog is just the start. With practice and training, no doubt you will be able to change the very density of the air itself. It’s incredible. What’s more, right at the beginning, the sensors picked up hydrostatic pressure fluctuations.”
"That’s not possible!”
"As impossible as it is, it was there. No mistake about it.”
"What’s hydrostatic pressure?”
I was so confused.
"Its the pressure exerted onto an object underwater” explained Dr. Martin “the further you go down, the more pressure you feel. It’s what happens when you swim and pop your eardrums.”
"This type of pressure should not be experienced outside of the water” explained Dr. Phelps “Yet, somehow, you’re able to generate it in the air.”
"What about the atmospheric pressure?”
"She was controlling that too...”
I was really confused right now. What exactly were they saying? I looked from one to the other, both scientists were still staring at the monitor. It took a few minutes for them to realize I was still there then they quickly apologized and regained some of their composure. As soon as they did, they explained that my control of pressure apparently did not exist outside of the fog I created. The stronger my fog, the more pressure I was able to control and even change. They spent the next twenty minutes explaining all the details to me before they decided my testing was officially over.
"We’ll get your new MID” said Dr. Martin, leading me out of the lab.
As we started walking, something occurred to me.
"My codename can be changed?”
She gave me a strange look.
"My mother picked it out for me before, based on the earlier assessment but it doesn’t fit anymore.”
"Well school hasn’t started and if you have one that is available, I don’t see why not.”
I had the perfect name now.
12:45pm---The Quad/Crystal Hall
The name came to me as soon as Dr. Martin asked about hydrostatic pressure. I’m not sure what it was but it suddenly just clicked for me. That was my codename. Dr. Martin accompanied me to Schuster where I went through the process of having a new MID printed. They didn’t give me too much trouble when I told them I wanted to change my codename. I filled out some paperwork and I was able to get the whole thing sorted in a few minutes. After all, the school year hadn’t officially started yet. I was told that I wouldn’t be allowed to change it again until after I graduated. That was fine by me because anything was better than Mist. That name made me sound like a fucking air purifier.
Grunting, I looked at the photo on the front of the card.
I smirked. At least I was smiling in this one.
I still looked weird without my makeup and as soon as possible, I was going to pierce my lip again. I looked a bit doe-eyed in the photo though, a deer caught in the headlights too frightened to move. I wonder if they’d allowed me to retake it? I thought about it for about two more seconds and grunted. Fat chance. Flipping the card over, I took a look at my new “stats”. My new codename was on top, I smiled at that. I can only imagine how much Mom was going to be pissed off about that. I was still pretty angry about her forcing me into the last one. Sighing, I let it go. The most important thing was, I finally beat her for once. That made me smile. What’s more, I had a whole new power classification to go along with the name.
Warper 4, TK 2.
I was still floored.
I was a Warper. Even trying to wrap my head around it was hard to process. I’d heard a lot about Warpers over the years. They weren’t a common power type and more than that, they were extremely powerful. Gretchen would often tell me about Mistress Zodiac, the Warper she had some trouble with before coming to Whateley. The very same one who also killed Mom’s Dad. Mom always detested them after that, even if she tried to hide it. There used to be a Warper in The Good Neighbors, called Motormouth, he could talk so fast that he actually gave people headaches. Summer and I used to love it but Mom hated it. Eventually, he retired from the bizz. He lives in Florida now, living the easy life. Uncle Jeff---his civilian ID---still sends us cards and presents every year for Christmas and Birthdays.
He always used to say I was something special.
I wonder if he had some kind of Sixth Sense too?
I took a second to collect myself before scanning the rest of the card. I didn’t really care about the rest of it though. I was still a bit bummed about the regen bit. Apparently, it wasn’t actually one of my powers but an after effect of the runes that were used to heal me. After manifesting I was unconscious for a couple of hours and was covered in cuts and bruises. Mom broke some rules when she used runes to heal me. A small part of me was glad to see the Regen gone too. It now meant I could return my tats and piercings, maybe even let my hair grow a bit and cut it the way I wanted. My current below the ear chop job was Mom’s doing. I generally wore it a bit longer and liked it in my face a lot more.
Just one more freedom now I suppose.
Sticking the card in my back pocket, I finally got up from the bench. I had found the most secluded one in The Quad, hoping to stay out of the way of the foot traffic. Lunch was coming up and there were already tons of people filing their way back toward Schuster. There was another reason for this bench too. While I was getting my new MID, I saw Sam and her tall friend in the hallway. For a split second, Sam and I locked eyes. This time she didn’t cry. Instead, she looked like she wanted to talk to me. One glare from her friend though and I knew that wasn’t happening anytime soon. Whatever that girl’s problem was, she needed to pull it out of her ass. Sam bit her lip and I just shook my head. I wasn’t in the mood for another fight.
That’s when I found this nice quiet bench crammed in the corner of a walkway.
Nice and out of the way.
Or so I thought.
My heart thumped in my chest. Oh God.
Brad Pitt Jr.
"Hey Blue!” he shouted louder.
I finally turned around. He was coming this way but he wasn’t alone. There was another boy with him, shorter, dark hair and olive-skinned. I quickly looked around in a panic, wondering if there was still time to bolt. I realized it was too late because he definitely saw me. He was waving and smiling. Damn, he had such a great smile. No, Riley, Bad Riley. I shook off the thought and did the only thing I could do now, I gave him a lopsided wave back. Yeah I know, lame.
"There you are, finally” he said, stopping in front of me with a big smile. “I’ve been looking all over the campus for you.”
His friend snorted. “The way he wouldn’t shut up about you, I thought you were a figment of his imagination.”
Cody elbowed him. “Can it Parker!” He smiled at me. “Ignore him, he’s been huffing what he’s been making.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You’re a Devisor?”
Cody smiled even bigger. Was that possible?
"See I told you she was smart, Park.”
His friend ignored him. “I’m Parker Danes, Cody’s roommate, you can call me Crowd Control.”
HE held out his hand but I didn’t shake it.
Cody laughed. “I told you that too.”
I sighed. “Riley.”
"You know for a while there, I was starting to believe what Parker was telling me and you wasn’t real. I’d all but given up hope of finding you again.”
He was looking for me?
My heart fluttered.
No, stop that!
"Well here I am” I tried to sound cool but I bet I sounded like a fucking idiot.
I shook it off. Why did I care? Its not like I wanted to date this guy. Sure he was tall and gorgeous and had these cute dimples when he smiled and…
"So where did you vanish too, after the train I mean?”
What should I tell him? The truth?
Well maybe not the whole thing…
"Got nabbed by the DPA. There was some kind of situation back home I don’t really want to talk about. Suffice to say, they wanted to ask me some questions.”
We were walking by this point. I’m not even sure how that happened. One minute, we were standing in my spot and the next the three of us were making a grand exodus toward lunch. Just as well, I was kind of hungry. I’m not sure how I managed to acquire the two of them in the process though. Walking with them was nice though, especially Cody. When I was dating Brody, he never walked next to me because he was shorter than me. He said it made him feel inferior. I was glad to see that my head was just barely above Cody’s shoulder. I wasn’t short for a girl my age but I wasn’t the tallest by any means, especially at this place. Hell, Sam’s bitch friend made Cody look like a shrimp.
"Well that was some bathroom break...” he said with a chuckle.
Oh right, after getting off the train. I told him I was going to the bathroom?
Well in my defense, I never expected to see him again. Or any of this for that matter. Hmm, amazing how things change.
"Yeah sorry about that. To be honest, I was going to run.”
"Wait like away?” asked his friend, whom I totally forgot was walking with us.
I nodded. “Coming here wasn’t my idea.”
Neither of them said anything for a few seconds.
When we reached the front door of Schuster, Cody opened it for me and waited until I went in first. I blushed and turned quickly as I rushed inside. He followed, allowing the door to all but wack his friend in the face. I smirked, his friend rolled his eyes as he pushed his way in. We didn’t say much as we got into the growing line, moving along with the rest of the herd as we were given our “slop”. Ok, it wasn’t actually slop but it fit the cow analogy. As soon as we were out of line a few minutes later, Parker managed to score us a table. All the while, he kept looking at the second floor.
"Must be cool to be up there?”
I looked, I hadn’t noticed this morning.
There were a lot of people up there too.
I shrugged. “What’s so cool about it?”
He gaped at me. “You’re kidding, right?” I shrugged again. “That’s where the teams sit!”
Oh right, I vaguely remember Gretchen mentioning something about that.
"Training teams, right?” I asked with disinterest.
I wasn’t exactly a team player after all.
He nodded his head vigorously. “We should totally try to start one of those!”
I scoffed. “I vote not.”
"Classes haven’t even started yet, Park.”
"Oh c’mon, it could be fun!”
She dropped into the seat next to me, without a care in the world. It was such a graceful, fluid motion that it left Parker with his mouth hanging open. It hung that way for a few seconds too before Cody pushed it shut. That didn’t stop him from staring though. I’m not going to lie, Jenny was something to stare at. If I wasn’t careful, I might go gay for her. Well, bi at the very least. I wonder if I would be able to juggle both her and Cody at the same…
No, BAD brain!
"Umm, hi” said Parker in a soft voice, keeping his eyes directly on Jenny. “I’m...Pa..r..r..r..ke..r..r”
Jenny blinked. “Jiaying but everyone just calls me Jenny.”
I then went and introduced her to Cody, explaining a bit about how we met. Parker got over his shyness pretty quickly and started exclusively talking to her, much to my roommate’s discomfort. It was weird because she acted almost like she never got this kind of attention before. Especially from a boy. How was that possible? She was gorgeous, unless she wasn’t always so. It made sense I suppose. Some of her behavior didn’t quite fit. She had a great body but she always covered it, every inch of skin. She was shy and demure around everyone but me too? Almost as if she wasn’t comfortable in her own skin? Parker wasn’t helping either. Every time he spoke, he moved a bit closer to her and she moved a bit back. Parker didn’t notice. Jenny’s body language was enough to tell me that she didn’t like it one bit.
She gave me a look a minute or so in, I knew it well.
It was “Rescue Me<"/p>
"So, Parker, why call yourself Crowd Control?”
Cody rolled his eyes. “Here we go.”
Parker finally paying attention to Jenny and turned to me with a smile. “I...Make bombs!”
Cody sighed heavily. “Its not as exciting as he makes it sound. He makes non-lethal grenades.”
Parker grunted. “Well when you put it that way...”
He crossed his arms and actually looked like he was sulking.
"Well I think it’s neat” said a voice from the other side of me.
I think we all did.
I snapped around and sitting next to me was Sam.
Where in the hell did she come from?
"Sam! Where did you…?”
She giggled. “I’ve been here for a while now actually, you four were so engrossed in talking that I just thought I’d wait for an opening.”
Suddenly I felt really nervous. I started looking around, wondering where her friend was.
Sam seemed to catch on to what I was doing and shook her head. “Amaya’s in power testing right now. She’s real sorry by the way, even if she’ll never admit it. She got it into her thick head that I hated you but...”
She shook her head. “You saved me.”
Jenny raised an eyebrow but didn’t question me further.
"You were crying earlier?”
"Not because I was scared...just happy to see you and angry at what my parents tried to do...”
The others were looking at us now, probably wondering what was going on. Sam realized it too because she made an “eep” sound and I think her face turned the same shade of pink as her hair. She didn’t say anything more about it. Instead, she took a deep breath and introduced herself.
"I’m Samantha Ridley, people call me Sam, you can call me Void if you want.”
"Void?” asked Parker, even the curious one.
"I can’t show you because we’re not supposed to use our powers that way...”
She said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Well I guess that leaves me then” said Cody, smiling. “I’m Cody Jenkins but you folks can call me Cattle Prod”.
He held up his hand to demonstrate, small sparks jumping off his fingertips.
I gave him a mischievous smile. “So does that mean you’re a Cow Poke?”
"Ha, ha” he said with a smile of his own.
We went back and forth with the good natured teasing for a bit. The whole time, I noticed Jenny was watching us. She smiled a couple of times before eventually avoiding Parker by engaging Sam in a conversation of their own. They started talking about classes and things like that. That soon got us involved as well. We swapped our schedules. Strangely enough, Jenny was in most of mine. Cody and I shared two, Parker and I four. Lucky me. I was only in one of Sam’s sadly. She did announce that I was in at least five classes with Amaya though. Apparently she’d seen her roommate’s schedule. Fate must hate me.
Our conversation was cut short by the arrival of Polar Vortex.
"Oh good, three of you here” she said, stopping at the table. “Saves me from tracking more of you down.”
"What’s up, Jan?” asked Jenny.
Of course she was friendly with the RA already.
"Wing meeting after lunch.”
This day just keeps getting better.
There was a small community room on our floor between the “wings”. It was across the hall and the right in the middle of where the two wings met. Each RA room was on the opposite wall corners, if that makes sense. The room itself was a good size with a large cherry wood table in the center, surrounded by armchairs and a large couch in the far corner. On either wall opposite the table, were flatscreens. There was also a whiteboard that someone took the liberty of writing, “Welcome Froshies!” on. I grunted at it as Jenny and I were one of the first to arrive.
I pointed to a pair of chairs near the window. “There is fine.”
She didn’t argue.
Just as we were taking our seats, a loud noise came from the doorway, followed by two girls. Most of the noise was coming from the short girl with the curly brown hair and glasses. Despite her size, she had a presence that was overwhelming to say the least. It didn’t help that her shirt literally said, CARPE SCROTUM. I smirked at that one. Her friend on the other hand, though taller, somehow managed to hide behind her. She had greenish blue hair and it almost looked like webbed fingers. The two of them stopped mid-stride as soon as they saw us. The short girl sized us up for a moment before her attention went directly toward Jenny.
"You’re that runner, right?” she asked, stomping her way over. “I’m Rachel but everyone calls me Ratel.”
She held out her hand but Jenny made no attempt to shake it.
"You smell like vermin.”
Gotta love Mao.
The girl still didn’t pull her hand away, she just shrugged it off. “This is Water Lily, my roommate. We’re in 213”
The shy girl gave a tiny wave. “Bonnie, hi” she said in a very soft voice.
Jenny blinked. “I’m sorry about her” she said, realizing that Mao had been rude again. “I’m Jenny, this is Riley. 215.”
She shook Ratel’s hand this time. The smaller girl kept ahold of it longer than usual, I noticed. She had an intense look on her face then smiled.
"Strong, good. We’ll talk later.”
She and Bonnie went off to another pair of chairs.
More girls started filing into the room slowly over the next few minutes. My attention was drawn to a girl with wings. That was surprising. Her friend was pretty striking too, I’d never seen hair that red before and she was barefoot. I’m sure there was a story there. The next girls that entered looked fairly normal until I noticed that the Asian girl’s skin kept changing colors. They were followed by a girl with what looked like black scales all over her body, her friend was even shorter than Ratel and her hair, it was three different colors. She looked at us staring, smirked and her eyes sparked with some kind of electricity. The pair that followed her seemed fairly normal but they definitely screamed Queen Bitches. The one with the white blonde hair went to the table and sat at the head of it, looking with contempt at the rest of the room. I took an instant dislike of her and that stupid sliver streak in her hair. The last two that entered caught some attention, all the girls in the room were staring. Mostly because of the Native American boy? Girl? Person? It was really hard to tell.
"I’m a girl!”.
She took a seat at the table too, snooty bitch glared daggers at her.
Yeah definitely didn’t like her.
The other girl sat next to her, she long dark hair in a ponytail, a bit on the chubby side but not fat. She had striking blue eyes though.
Just when I thought everyone was here, Sam and The Mountain came into the room. Everyone stared at the tall girl because well she was huge. In fact, she looked taller than before. Sam squeaked at all the eyes on them and what did Sam call her, oh yeah, Amaya, huffed.
"Oh good, you’re all here”.
Jan came into the room, carrying a clipboard and a smile.
"Now I thought we’d quickly go around the room and introduce ourselves. I’ll start. I’m Janette McDonald, Polar Vortex. You can call me Jan, you can call me Polar, you can even call me Idiot if you want. I’m here to help you girls adjust to life here at Whateley. Think of Whitman as your home away from home and me as your Surrogate big sis.”
The introductions started in earnest after that.
Starting at the table.
The Queen Bee didn’t wait. “I’m Silvertongue, Jessica Roth, I’m a Siren and I’m happy to be here!”
Her enthusiasm was forced.
I rolled my eyes.
Her friend was Goldrose, Alexis Wallace.
The other two girls at the table were Agateno (the Cherokee girl who didn’t give a name) and Nyx, aka Claire Marshall.
I already knew Ratel and Water Lily. The winged girl was Russet, her barefooted friend was Firestep. The girls on the couch were Jamie and Flicka. Flicka said her first name, I think it was Melissa but Jamie interrupted her. She had more to say about herself but I ignored it. The really short girl was Pullaparte, call me “Barb”, the girl next to her with the black scales was Hexplate. The room shifted to Sam and Amaya. Sam introduced herself as Void, giving a few quizzical looks before Amaya spoke up. Who the hell calls themselves Stellar?
Then all the attention was on Jenny and me.
Jenny took the lead. “I’m Jiaying Wu, you can call me Jenny. I’m also called Onyx”.
"And I’m Mao".
Of course She had to make her presence known too.
"Wait, there’s two of you?” asked Firestep.
Jenny looked confused as usual. “Its...I’m an Avatar.”
"Wait, spirits can talk like that?”
There were some rumblings but they died down quickly.
When attention shifted to me, I huffed. “I’m Riley.”
They waited for more but I wasn’t in the sharing mood. I just wanted this stupid thing to be over with. I hated things like this.
"And?” asked Silvertongue.
"And nothing. Get used to it” I snapped.
She glared but said nothing.
A silence fell over the room before Jan took control of it.
She quickly started to outline the rest of her plans. At the mention of sleepovers and scavenger hunts, I tuned her out. I wasn’t into that kind of shit. I looked around the room, only half of the girls present were keen on her ideas. The other half were like me either bored, disinterested or pissed. Turning to Jenny, I saw a nervous look on her face? Curious. I made a mental note to ask her about it later. Twenty minutes later, the meeting finally ended. Jan excused herself first because apparently she had an RA meeting right after. She was out of the room before any of us, leaving us alone again.
Silvertongue was quick. She turned on me.
"What the hell is your problem?”
Her fake sugar-sweet demeanor from before all but gone, replaced by the true girl I knew was lurking inside.
I shrugged. “Today or in general?”
There were some snickers.
She looked pissed. “You think you’re bad ass, all emo and angsty?”
I shrugged again. “I think I’m a girl who just wants to get the fuck out of this room”
I stood up and as she started toward, I quickly pushed past her.
She looked like she was about to say something when a hand landed on her shoulder.
"Back the fuck off, Barbie!”
I was not expecting that.
"How dare you touch me, you Immigrant.”
Amaya was hispanic but she was at least six foot four and by the look on her face, that was probably the wrong thing to say. Suddenly she was getting taller, a lot taller. Her head almost touched the ceiling. The muscles in her bare arms started to bulge too.
"You wanna say that again, puta?”
Silvertongue took a step back, a visible look of fear on her face.
"Wait, no one fights without me!”
Ratel was right there, immediately in the middle of it.
Silvertongue looked over at Goldrose, who just shook her head.
"Whatever!” she huffed, turned and stormed out of the room.
Goldrose rolled her eyes and quickly followed.
Some of the other girls that were still around to witness the altercation stared, but mostly at her. A few seconds later, Amaya “shrunk” down to her normal size. I blinked. I’m not going to lie, that was fucking cool.
"Thanks” I said, even though I knew how to handle bitches like that.
She shrugged. “Consider it an apology from before.”
"You ok?” asked Sam, touching her roommate on the arm.
"All good here. Let’s go, I still have some unpacking to do.”
Sam gave me a smile before following Amaya out of the room. Ratel was quickly on their heels, all but shouting that she wanted to fight.
What the hell was with that girl?
"Well” said Jenny as she sauntered up to me. “That was interesting.”
"There’s a girl like that in every place.”
We didn’t stay around much after that. Back at our room, I noticed that there was a duffle and a suitcase sitting on my bed. Mine. So they must have finally sent my “stuff” from Dickinson over to my current dorm. I bet that would make Mom happy. Not that I care for most of the crap in those bags. It was all stuff that Mom bought me a few weeks before and all but forced me to pack. In the end, she ended up being the one to pack it. None of it was of any great interest to me.
"Your stuff?” asked Jenny.
"Well no time like the present, they delivered some of mine too it would seem.”
There were a couple of suitcases on her bed as well.
Jenny started to open one, pulling out a pair of yoga pants. She smiled. She started talking to me about how important yoga was to my chi, as if I knew what that was. I tuned her out because as I’m sure it was interesting, I wasn’t a yoga girl. While she was droning on, I noticed something not mine sitting on the bed between my bags. Walking close, I saw it was a black motorcycle jacket. It wasn’t new either, it was scuffed up and worn.
"I think they put your jacket on my bed?”
Jenny looked over her shoulder. “Not mine, cool though.”
Confused, I walked over to it. I started to reach for it when I noticed a very familiar patch on the sleeve, just above the cuff. A pink flower. I knew that patch. I was the one who gave it to…
I started to shake.
It can’t be…
Picking up the jacket, I pressed it to my chest and sniffed it. It had her smell.
I shook my head. “This is her...”
I started to tear up. Numb, I dropped onto the corner of my bed. It wasn’t possible. How could this be here? The last time I saw it, Gretchen was wearing it. I hadn’t seen it in forever and suddenly it was here, on my bed. That meant she was here. Somehow, she was in this room and she did it without seeing me. The tears started to flow. How could she do this to me? She was here and she didn’t even stop to say hello. Rage started to swell up inside of me, my arms started to burn. I cursed and almost threw the jacket across the room. The only reason I stopped was because a folded piece of paper fell out of one of the pockets onto my lap.
I picked it up slowly and opened it.
It was her handwriting.
A warning that sent chills up my spine:
BE CAREFUL LITTLE BUG, THEY’RE WATCHING YOU.