I walk home that night in a foul mood. This plan of Lannis’s… actually, it isn’t even a plan! More a vague idea… I kick a rock into the gutter as I fume. I understand why Lannis feels that we need a support group, but who’s to say these other “people” want one? They’re just as likely to turn us in to the government.
Lannis doesn’t think so.
“They’re trying to keep to the shadows, just like you Audrey,” she says. Ph, nobody’s like me. Nobody else has an ever burning fire raging through their body. Nobody else has to hide their genius because they can’t risk getting into a situation where they might let loose a little more then some angry words. Nobody else is especially afraid of being locked up. No, I am not going to let Lannis get herself into who-knows what kind of trouble because she thinks we need other people.
This decided, I perk up considerably. Nope, it will be just me and Lannis. No government, no supers who think they’re all that, just…
My pleasant, if bitter, thoughts are rudely interrupted by my life banging the neighborhood awake at ten thirty at night. Just ahead stands my dark and worn down apartment complex, and from its depressing interior sounds every kind of bang, clatter, and verbal abuse known to man. I groan, and will my feet to move faster, before the situation gets out of hand. I pause at the door just long enough to input my code before bursting into the musty indoors.
The Landlord is just exiting his apartment on the main floor as I enter. Rats, I’m too late.
“I thought we went over this before, Ms. Skyburn,” he drawls as he rubs his great pot belly. I wrinkle my noise as the hall becomes noticeably smellier. “If you want to keep your room here, you have to keep him under control.”
“I know, Mr. Georgio,” I say quickly, already inching towards the stairwell. Another crash sounds from somewhere above.
“Then get the ***** up there and get that damn father of yours under control!” Georgio screams at me as I race up the stairwell.
Georgio has never had a clean mouth. But then, I’m not paying him for his hosting skills.
“You look awful,” Lannis comments as she hands me a caramel mocha drowning in whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
“Thanks,” I grunt, and immediately gulp down half the whipped cream and a sip of coffee.
“Geez, Audrey, what happened?” Lannis asks, returning to the espresso cups she’s drying as she eyes me suspiciously. “Did Jannet do something?”
I laugh a world weary and worn out laugh at the idea. Oh, if only my problems were restricted to simple things like a stupid high school queen bee.
“I wish,” I say off hand, and swipe a finger of melting cream from my drink. “Nah, thanks to our little excursion last night, and coffee stop after, I got home late and my Dad was grilling Widow Driscul down the hall.”
“I’m sorry,” Lannis apologizes quite sincerely. I just shrug.
My Dad has never been “all there” if you know what I mean, not since I was small, but it’s been getting worse the last year or so. Suddenly I’m not just a high school student who works in a greenhouse spring to fall, and tries to keep a secret; I’m running the Skyburn household completely. I’m paying the bills, getting the groceries, and keeping my Dad from freaking out. I’m trying to do not just the household stuff, but my Dad’s job. Lucky for me, he’s a freelance software designer, working for the highest bidder. No one even knows that who they’re e-mailing, or talking to over the phone, is not his secretary or work assistant, but the man’s daughter who’s doing everything now.
“More whipped cream?” Lannis asks, as I swipe off the very last melted drop. I push my cup over the counter towards her, and she gives me a quick top up.
“So,” I ask, switching subjects from my rotten life to my even more rotten life, “you’ve given up on that support group right? I mean, the idea is crazy! Nobody likes us as regular humans, what’s to say these “supers” are going to like us any better?”
Lannis begins to shift uncomfortably.
“Come on, Audrey,” she begs. “I’m sure…”
“You’ve already sent out invites haven’t you?”