The invitation is slightly creased and crumpled when I pull it out of my purse. I smooth it as best I can as I scan the words for the hundredth time in twenty-four hours, skipping to the last sentences. “I’m a meta too, and my friend and I are starting a teen metahuman club- kind of a support group. If you want to join us, we’re meeting at the coffee shop by the park. I hope to see you sometime. Yours sincerely, Lannis Raehe.
I glance up at the coffee shop in front of me. Hopefully this is the right one; I know of at least two named parks in the city, and if I show up at the wrong one, well, I’ll be seriously disappointed. After all, I’ve never met another person like me. I know they exist, sure- the news stories reporting on heroes make sure of that- but it’s not the same as actually meeting one. If I miss my chance, I just might explode.
I tuck the note back into my purse and run a hand through my curls, pushing them back from my face. If I wait any longer to go in, even if this is the right place, I’ll probably miss Lannis and whoever else she’s invited to the group. I push the door open and glance around for the girl I met that most eventful night. It takes me a few moments to spot her, only because I didn’t think she’d be working the counter. I hurry up to her. “Hi! You’re Lannis, right? The one who sent out the invites to the . . . um, special group?” Darn it, why didn’t I think of a better code name for “metahuman club”?
“That’s me.” Lannis gives me a friendly, if slightly tired smile. “And you’re Rebecca.”
“Mm-hmm.” I glance around again. “So, who else is here?”
Lannis gestures to a red-haired girl sitting at the nearest table to the counter. “This is my friend Audrey. I also invited Starlight, and one other girl, S-”
A voice- oddly low and scratchy, as if the owner has a cold- comes from nowhere. “I’m here.”
“Great.” Lannis looks from me to the general location of the voice. “Do either of you want a coffee or anything?”
“Um . . .” I glance at the menu. “I’d like a mint chocolate mocha, thanks.” I dig in my purse again for my wallet.
“I’ll just have a cup of whipped cream.” At this, I glance curiously towards the invisible person. I only know one person who orders a cup of whipped cream instead of coffee . . . but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others. Does it? Doesn’t mean there are either . . .
“One mint chocolate mocha and one cup of whipped cream, coming up.”
Before long, invisible girl and I are seated at the same table as Audrey. I’m wondering why invisible girl is invisible and debating asking her name and if she is who I think she is when the door opens again and in steps-
Oh my goodness. It’s Starlight!
“Which one of you is Lannis?” she asks, her expression inscrutable behind her mask. I know I shouldn’t be staring, but, well, Starlight showed up to the support group. If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is.
“I am.” Lannis sets aside the towel and the mug she’s drying. “I’m glad you could make it, Starlight. Can I get you anything?”
How is she so calm? How? I take a gulp of mocha- which, all things considered, might not be the best way to calm down, but I’ll take what I can get.
“No, thank you,” Starlight replies, almost tersely. She turns to look at us. “These are the others you invited?”
Lannis nods. “My friend Audrey, who you met the other night, and the others are Rebecca and-”
“Me,” interrupts invisible girl. Apparently she’s determined to stay anonymous for some reason.
“Nice to meet you all.” Starlight nods to us, then turns back to Lannis. “You’re serious about this group? Setting up something like this could be more dangerous than you think.”