All characters are mine and mine alone. If they look like anybody you know or think you know, it ' s sheer coincidence. This story does contain some violence, foul language, and sexual content. If you don ' t like any of these, please try your call again.
Synopsis: With Brice gone, the others have to go on without her. Greer is especially determined to show she doesn't care about Brice leaving. Parallel to Brice's 7th adventure.
Note: Thanks to Rosa for editing and everyone who keeps writing to ask for more. Only one adventure left.
Questions? Comments? Rude remarks? email@example.com
“Where are you going?” Judy Watson asked as her daughter walked past her in the hallway.
“Out,” Greer curtly replied.
“Are you okay?”
“I'm fine,” The younger woman snapped.
Judy internally sighed as she watched her daughter walk out the front door. Her daughter was an adult and she didn't like it at all. She had missed so much of Greer's life and she didn't want to miss any more. Still, the mother could have done without the hostility and anger that radiated off of Greer. She wondered if this had been what she missed when Greer was a teenager.
Judy hated the unfairness. She had raised Greer throughout her childhood but missed her teenage years, and she had missed John's childhood but would be there for puberty. Judy knew there would be growth spurts and mood swings for John. She just hadn't expected to be dealing with mood swings from Greer. One moment Greer would be fine and cheerful and the next she would be angry and broody. It had been that way for over two months now, since the day Brice Johnson disappeared.
The older blonde clearly remembered the shouting when Greer had discovered that Brice had disappeared. Noel had come to the house to tell Greer what had happened and before long the entire neighborhood could hear the shouting about what Noel had done and whether or not she did the right thing. Judy hadn't been able to break them apart and just when she feared it would turn into a fight Marge had swooped in to break up the fight. Judy didn't know how Brice's parents, Marge and Mark, were holding it together. If Greer had disappeared on her like that, she would be devastated.
The younger blonde let out an angry sigh once on the porch. Greer rolled her head in a circle, trying to release the tension. Walking over to her bike, she pulled on her motorcycle gloves and straddled it. She turned on the motor and pulled out her Ipod as she allowed it to warm up. Greer tucked the earphones in her ears and scrolled through to select a song. She picked a song and tucked the Ipod away. The music to Breaking Benjamin's Fade Away flooded her ears and she relaxed. She was out of the neighborhood and into the sky before the chorus played.
Greer urged her bike faster as she flew into the clouds. Flying her bike was one of the few things that calmed her down these days. She just couldn't shake the anger dwelling inside of her. Anger towards Brice.
For the countless time she started grumbling under her breath as she raced through the clouds, “How could she fucking leave like that? How could she say those things? I'm not a fucking stuck-up teenager and who the hell is she to tell me I don't matter? I lived with her for three damn years. Those years count. I thought I counted. Well, she was right about one thing. She doesn't love me and I'm sure as hell not in love with her. Like I could ever be in love with someone who would rather run away than fight. Like I could love someone that old and closed-minded. She thought she was right because she was older? I've gotten twice the experience of life than she ever has.”
Greer urged her bike faster, veering around a flock of birds, “When she gets back, I'm never talking to her again. If she thinks she's better off without me by her side then so be it. Who needs her anyway? I'm on my way to being a top superhero, school is going fine, Michael and I are doing fine. I mean really, where does Brice fit into my life? No where, that's where.”
The blonde started her descent to the ground as she neared Ohio. What she had neglected to tell her mother was that she was going to class. On Mondays and Wednesdays she had a 9am psychology class with Dr. Fate Gray. Greer didn't care about the class one way or another. Dr. Gray was a great lecturer and the material wasn't boring. However, Greer just couldn't gather the energy to care.
She flipped on her invisibility shield and started to land on an empty road a few miles away from the main campus. As Greer landed on the ground, the logical side of her mind took over the never-ending Brice discussion. She knew Brice had been in grave danger and by sticking around, the woman endangered everyone around her. She knew, deep down, that Brice hadn't meant anything she said the last time they saw each other. Greer knew and could reason out a lot of things, but it didn't make up for the pain she felt. It didn't change the aggravated, unwanted feeling that something was missing in her life. However, being angry was a lot easier to deal with than anything else she felt.
Greer parked her bike in one of the small slots allotted for motorcycles and went to class.
“Okay who knows what the Kübler-Ross model is?”
The girl in front of Greer raised her hand, “It's the five stages of grief model.”
Dr. Gray nodded, “It has several names; the Five Stages of Grief, the Five Stages of Loss, the Five Stages of Dying, and so many others. It was first introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the later sixties. The model is about the five general phases a person goes through to cope with grief, dying, or loss. The first stage is denial.”
The class watched as Dr. Gray crossed her arms, “I'm fine. I'm okay. I'm handling it. Really guys, I'm okay.”
“The second stage is anger,” Dr. Gray unfolded her arms and balled her fists, “Why me, damnit? It's not fair! What did I do to deserve this? How could they do this to me?”
“Next stage is bargaining,” Dr. Gray said, unclenched her fists and folding them as if begging, “I'll do anything for more time. Please God, please. Just a little more time.”
The professor then leaned heavily on her podium, “Next is depression. What's the point? Why should I? It's not going to matter anyway.”
“And finally is the fifth stage: acceptance. It's going to be okay,” Dr. Gray said, standing up right and straightening her coat, “We'll be okay. Things will be alright.”
The professor glanced down at her watch and said, “And looks like we're out of time. Remember your papers are due on Monday. If you're overage and drink, don't drive. If you're underage and drink, don't get caught and definitely don't drive. Have a nice weekend.”
A wisp of a smile crossed Greer's face while others in the class chuckled. Greer placed her stuff in her bag and zipped it.
“Greer, do you have a minute? I'd like to see you after class.”
A moment of fear crossed Greer's mind and she rapidly started flipping through her mental calendar to see if she had forgotten any assignments. She waited as other students chatted with Dr. Gray for a few moments and then followed as the older woman gestured for Greer to follow her.
Dr. Gray cast a look over her shoulder as they walked down the hall, “Well, first of all relax. It's nothing bad.”
Greer gave a bare nod but she still didn't know what her professor wanted with her. Soon they were at Dr. Gray's office and the woman gestured for Greer to take a seat.
Closing the door, Gray said, “We're supposed to keep our doors open when we meet with students. To prevent sexual harassment incidents. But I fear there are some things that can't be said on this campus without precaution.”
The professor pushed on the light switch panel and it slid aside to show another set of buttons. She pressed one and Greer watched as a tiny force field started glowing on the walls.
“There,” The doctor said with satisfaction as she went to sit behind her desk. She took the glasses off of her head and placed them on the desk, “You must forgive the mess. Grading never seems to end.”
Gray leaned back in her chair and looked at Greer, “So, Greer, how are you doing?”
It had never occurred to Greer before that Dr. Gray was one of the professors who knew just how many young super-powered individuals attended the university. Instead of answering the question, she could only ask, “You know?”
“Naturally. I'm a baron you see,” Dr. Gray chuckled, “You shouldn't be so surprised. Several professors on campus are connected to the superhero community.”
“So how are you doing?” The professor repeated.
Greer shrugged, “Fine, I guess.”
“Any problems with keeping up with school and work?”
Greer shook her head, “No. I mean occasionally it can be, but I'm handling it.”
Gray nodded, “Any problems at home?”
“Everything's fine,” Greer easily lied.
“So why has the quality of your grades been decreasing over the past two months?”
“Excuse me?” Greer asked. She knew she hadn't been doing too well in Organic Chemistry but she was sure the professor, Dr. Zach Ryan, hated her.
“The university makes sure to closely observe our ‘special' students. We are even lenient with grades when we can be. Your other professors are reporting you are giving C work when you used to make A's. Everyone but Dr. Ryan is giving you higher grades than you are making. So we're concerned about you.”
“You're giving me grades?” Greer gasped, not sure whether she was more surprised or offended.
Gray said, “You're not a traditional student and we try to make allowances for special students. I know you are capable of making an easy A in my class yet you are barely scrapping by with a low C. I'd like to know why.”
“Well I…you see…I don't want to talk about it,” Greer stammered, “I'll bring up my grades. I promise.”
Dr. Gray remained quiet for a moment and then nodded, “Okay then. You're free to go. However, Greer, I would suggest finding someone to talk to. It doesn't have to be professional help. A friend's ear can be very beneficial. You could even talk to me or another professor if you wanted.”
“Thanks. I'll think about it,” Greer said, grabbing her book bag as she stood. As she touched the door handle, the tiny force field went off. Instead of turning the handle, she looked back at Dr. Gray, who was starting her computer.
“May I ask you something personal?”
“Of course. I can't promise to answer though,” Dr. Gray said, turning back around.
“I have a…” Greer paused. What did she consider Brice to be now that she was gone? Friend seemed wrong but acquaintance didn't suit her either. What do you call someone who was very close to you once but now you can't think about them without getting very angry or sad? Greer settled on friend.
“I have a friend who is a baron too. She said she had to attend counseling because she was a baron. I was wondering if that was true for all barons.”
Dr. Gray nodded, “Yes, it is true. Most start at the age of 12 and continue for a few years. It's to make sure the baron is: Quote ‘capable of going out into society without any residual feelings of anger or resentment towards the community.' End quote.”
“My friend had to go eleven years to that mandatory counseling.”
“That's a long time,” Dr. Gray said, making only the one comment.
“Yeah, I thought so too. I was just wondering,” Greer stopped to think, “I don't know what I'm wondering. I don't even know why I asked. Just wanted to know, I guess.”
“Wanted to know what?” Dr. Gray prompted.
“If that's strange, that she went so long. If it's healthy to have feelings of resentment like that.”
Greer finally realized why she brought it up. She wanted to know if what Brice felt about being a baron was normal. If it was healthy. Deep down she knew if Brice and herself continued any type of friendship, they would have to deal with the issue since it always seemed to come up in their arguments.
“I would think it uncommon if she didn't have feelings of resentment or regret every now and then. I mean, say you have a star football player who shatters his leg. It would be strange if he didn't feel resentment, anger, or grief. He lost something very important to him. Eventually he'll learn to cope and then overcome it. But, every now and then he'll still feel a flicker of anger or whatnot. It's that moment when you look back and think of how things would have gone differently had such and such happened.”
“There's a lot of academic arguments about barons. Some compare barons to a person pouting because they didn't get the family blue eyes. Others say barons getting upset to not having powers is the same as a regular human getting upset over not being born with mutations. It's a long discussion and I digress. Back to your comment, I don't know if it's strange she went so long. I don't know the situation, but I do know it's not strange to have feelings of resentment. A baron has to cope with the life they are given and their loved ones should try not to be too insensitive.”
“Thanks. That's all I wanted to know,” Greer said, opening the door. She would have to process what her professor said later.
Greer massaged the back of her neck as she walked out of Dr. Gray's office into the hallway of psychology professors' offices. She started walking towards the nearest exit, past the pictures of Adler, Erikson, Freud, and Jung that hung on the wall. As she was passing a picture of Pavlov, a voice startled her.
Out of pure reaction Greer used her telekinetic powers to sweep the legs out of the person behind her, causing the person to fall forward. The blonde turned to see another woman falling flat on her face.
Greer started mentally berating herself as she rushed to help the woman up, “I'm so sorry.”
“Oh no, it's my fault. I must have tripped on my laces or something,” The woman said, finally on her feet. Both women looked down at her perfectly tied shoes and then back up at each other.
“Are you okay?” Greer asked, feeling like she should slap herself for being startled and hurting a civilian. She took a long moment to inspect the woman. She was several inches shorter than herself though Greer was tall at almost six feet. Greer suspected her ethnicity background was of Indian origins.
The woman leaned down to rub her knees, “Yeah. I think so.”
“Okay,” Greer said, pausing before turning to leave, “Bye then.”
“Wait!” The other woman called out, “We have to talk, Greer.”
Greer rounded on the other woman, “How do you know my name?”
The other woman looked taken back by the harshness in Greer's voice, “Umm, we're in Dr. Ryan's lecture and lab together. Remember he assigned us to be partners and give a presentation? That's what I wanted to talk to you about. We have to pick a topic and it's due tomorrow. I tried to talk to you after class a couple of times but you always leave in a rush.”
“Oh,” Greer said, feeling moronic. She then grew suspicious again, “How did you know I would be here?”
The other woman adjusted her book bag strap, “We have Dr. Gray's class together too. I followed you two and waited out here.”
Now Greer felt extremely stupid and she felt even more so having to ask the next question, “Sorry to have to ask but what is your name?”
“Ameesha Patel. Not the actress,” Ameesha joked. Seeing the blank look on Greer's face, she continued, “But just call me Misha. Everybody does.”
“Misha,” Greer repeated. She then said, apologetically, “I'm sorry. I don't…pay attention much. My life is kind of crazy at the moment, but I promise to be a good partner for this project. So do you have anything you would like to do it on or should we go brainstorm or something?”
Misha said, “I was thinking we could do it on enols.”
The blonde's mind raced as she tried to remember what enols were.
Misha backpedaled, “Or perhaps lipids and their relation to nutrition and health. If someone hasn't already chosen that topic. Do you have anything you want to do?”
The only thing Greer wanted was to go home and forget about school, forget about Brice. Instead she forced a laugh, “I really have no idea. I've got some free time and the chem. book with me. If you have time, we could look through it and figure out what to do our presentation on.”
Misha beamed, “I do have an hour before my next class. Let's go to the library.”
A few days later found Greer sitting in a study room of the library. The blonde groaned as she leaned back in her chair, “I never knew reading articles could be so tiring.”
Misha finished highlighting a sentence before she spoke, “Well, it's Dr. Ryan's class and we want to do a good job.”
“I hope he doesn't penalize you just for being in a group with me,” Greer said, feeling sorry for her partner, “I don't think he likes me.”
“I wouldn't worry about that. This presentation is turning out to be really good and if he gives us a bad grade, I'll take it to the head of the department.”
“You would do that for me?” Greer asked, stunned.
Misha smiled, “I would do it for the both of us. I must confess that you surprised me, Greer. I thought you were a slacker at first. Since you often come to class late, miss homework assignments, or leave in the middle of class when your phone goes off. I thought I would have to do all the work on this project.”
Greer didn't know why she had the desire to explain her life to Misha but she did. She wanted Misha not to think of her as a slacker, “You know the reason I'm late or having to leave early is because I'm always on call. When my pager rings, I have to go.”
“Oh!” Misha exclaimed, “So you're like an paramedic or other emergency responder? I did not know that.”
“Yeah. It's a great job but it can really cut into school work,” Greer said. She didn't like keeping the truth from Misha, since she seemed like a generally good person, but it was for her own safety.
“I'm starving,” Misha suddenly announced, “How about we take a break and go to get some food?”
“Sounds good to me,” Greer said, thinking she could go to the cafeteria.
“Where would you like to go?”
Greer was taking back. She hadn't expected them to eat together. Then she mentally smacked herself. How could she be good at socializing with superheroes but so awkward with normal people?
“It's up to you. I don't know any places around here other than the dining hall.”
Misha stretched as she stood and bent to pick up her book bag to pack away the papers, “I was thinking about a little Japanese place a mile or so away. My car is parked in two hour parking right downstairs. If you don't mind driving with a stranger that is.”
Greer laughed, “As long as you don't maim or kill us, I'll be fine. I have a friend, Alice, who is the worst driver in the history of drivers. I swear I lose a year off my life every time I drive with her. All you can do is close your eyes and pray.”
“Sounds like driving with my grandmother.”
The pair walked downstairs and out of the building. Soon they were in Misha's blue Camry.
“Do you have any music preferences?”
Greer shook her head, “Whatever you listen to is fine.”
Misha turned on the radio and then pulled out into traffic. They listened to the last few lines of a song that Greer didn't know before it switched over to the news. After the local news played, another announcer came over the air.
“I'm Nicole Reef and this is your superhero update. Primestar fought a giant, genetically altered lizard off the coast of Hawaii this morning. Minimal damages were caused. In Texas, Cavernscar battled a herd of robotic cattle determined to destroy the state. In Europe…”
“Ugg,” Misha groaned, hitting another preset on her radio, “Let's find some music.”
Greer's eyebrows briefly folded into a confused look before putting on a neutral face, “Which don't you like: Nicole Reef or superhero updates?”
“I don't like superheroes, that's all.”
The blonde was flabbergasted. She had never expected to meet someone who didn't like superheroes. Naturally she had run into her fair share of military men and women who felt superheroes were overrated and there were always the supervillains who hated her kind. But what did Misha have against superheroes? She had to know.
“Why don't you like superheroes?”
Misha shrugged as she put on her blinker to turn, “I have nothing personal against them. I just feel they're more like glorified actors. They're always on talk shows, the tabloids, and parades. People fall over themselves to know everything about them, to figure out the mystery, etc. They get far too much attention.”
“Do you understand what I'm saying?” Misha asked, pulling into a parking lot, “They're not like you, Greer. You and the other emergency workers. They're not like regular military, police, EMTs, firemen, doctors, or nurses. Someone like you goes out every day saving lives and making the world a better place and most of the time people forget to thank you, I would wager. You don't wear a mask and tights, you don't show off trying to get famous, and you still make a difference. I'm not saying superheroes aren't needed or wanted. I'm also not saying I don't appreciate everything they do. Because I do appreciate them and then some. I'm only saying why do they get to be so famous and popular while the rest of us on the ground are just doing our jobs and making a living?”
Misha turned off the car and unbuckled her seatbelt. Greer automatically followed her in getting out of the car. Once seated inside Misha asked, “I haven't offended you, have I?”
“What?” Greer asked, brought of her train of thought, “No, I was just thinking about what you said. I had never considered that point of view.”
“How do you feel about superheroes?”
“I think they're brave people who use their evolutionary gifts to try to make the world a better place.”
“I think that too. I just don't know why everybody wants to make a big fuss over them,” Misha said. She turned her attention to the waitress now beside them.
“Good afternoon, ladies. Here are some menus. Can I start you off with something to drink?”
“I'll take a water,” Misha said. Greer asked for the same. They each studied the menu for a while and placed their orders when the waitress came back.
“So what is your major?” Misha asked as they settled in to wait for their food, “I'm pre-med.”
“I'm not sure what I want to be yet,” Greer replied, “I'm just taking classes until I find something that feels right.”
“I wish I had that luxury,” Misha laughed, “My father pretty much told me what I was going to be. I'm just lucky that I like the thought of being a doctor.”
“So since we were talking about superheroes, I can ask the age old question. If you could have any superpower what would it be?”
Greer was taken back. She hadn't thought of that question since she was five years old. She had started showing powers at the age of six and it pleased her to no end that she had matching powers with her dad. She decided to answer truthfully, “I'd want telekinetic powers.”
“Oh like that new super girl people are going on and on about. That…oh what's her name? Thrust?”
“Cobalt Thrust?” Greer offered.
Misha nodded, “Yeah, her. She's one of those that everybody makes a fuss over. She runs around in a mask and wearing tights that show off everything. I know a dozen guys who would rather just watch her bend over than fight anybody. It's like people are more interested in the power of tits than anything else.”
Greer had to fight not to cross her arms over her chest in discomfort. The thought of everyone just ogling her instead of thinking about the good work she was doing was upsetting. She was more than a set of breasts. The blonde recalled the first time she had tried on her super-outfit with Marge, Michael, and Brice in tow.
“What do you think?” Greer asked as she stepped out of the fitting room onto a small stage in front of a set of mirrors.
“Wowzers,” Michael exclaimed before whistling, “You look hot.”
“It does fit you well,” Marge saying, moving closer.
“What kind of gadgets does it have on it?” Michael asked the designer who had come out. Greer twisted and turned in front of the mirrors while she listened to the designer list off all devices in her suit. The blonde then turned to Brice, who was holding her mask. She caught a glimpse of an intense look that made her blush before it faded in Brice's eyes.
“Whatcha think?” Greer asked.
“As long as it keeps you well-protected, it's fine by me,” Brice said. She then stepped up on the platform to put the mask on Greer's face, “I think you're ready to go, Cobalt Thrust.”
“And that's why I would want the ability to remember everything. No more studying for Dr. Ryan's tests,” Misha laughed. Greer laughed too, though she mentally smacked herself for letting her mind wander while Misha talked.
“I think this is our food coming.”
After eating and paying for the meal, the two women were back at the library. They both jumped as Greer's phone started beeping.
“Sorry,” Greer apologized, “I thought I had put in on silent.”
“It's not work is it?” Misha asked.
“Oh no. I have my pager for that,” Greer said, looking at the text before putting the phone on silent, “Just my boyfriend.”
“You have a boyfriend?”
Greer was taken back by how surprised Misha sounded, “Why so surprised?”
Misha could feel her cheeks warming up, “Oh it was just…well…I saw that picture in your wallet when you went to pay. I thought that woman was…well…you know.”
The superhero was flabbergasted. Someone she barely knew thought Brice was her girlfriend? She took out her wallet to look at the picture in question, “No, no. John here is my brother. She's Brice, Michael's sister. Michael is my boyfriend.”
“Do you have a picture of him in here?” Misha asked.
Greer shook her head, “No, not in here. I think I have one on my phone somewhere.”
It took Greer a minute of searching her phone before she could find one of Michael not in his supersuit, “Here's one.”
“Oh he is gorgeous if you don't mind me saying so,” Misha exclaimed over the picture, “Wow.”
Greer chuckled, “Yeah, he is pretty cute.”
“Cute is not the word. He is stunning. If he's got half the personality as he does looks, you should hold onto him.”
Greer forced a smile. She knew everyone said they were a great couple but she wondered if something wasn't missing from their relationship. They didn't interact like other couples she knew.
A loud beeping and vibration scared them both. Greer looked at her pager, “Okay, I have to go. You have my email address, right? We can work on this more later.”
“Yes I do. I'll…bye,” Misha called as she watched Greer dash from the building.
“Are you tweeting?” Greer shouted as she punched Mantrap in the gut.
“Sure am,” Marge replied, barely looking at the battling pair.
Greer grunted as Mantrap kicked her in the chest, causing her to stumble back several feet, “I never should have taught you how to do that.”
“You might want to duck,” Marge said belatedly.
“Would you at least pay attention to me?” Mantrap shouted, getting upset.
Greer rolled her eyes, “Fine. Whatever.”
She used her telekinetic powers to lift Mantrap up in the air and slam him hard against a wall. He screamed in frustration as his cape soon wound around him like a rope, tying him up.
“We're done here,” Greer said, dusting her hands.
Marge finished her last tweet, “So am I. Let's wait for the retainers to get here and we can go.”
The press beat the retainers to the crime scene. Greer blamed Marge's tweeting and they had to pose for photos and give statements. The retainers soon came and took Mantrap into custody, dragging him away in a pair of ununseptium handcuffs.
Once in Majesta's helicopter, Marge took off her mask with a sigh, “Glad to have that off. You get tired of wearing it after a while. I'm getting tired and old.”
“You still got some good years left,” Greer protested.
“Maybe one or two at best,” Marge disagreed, “I'm well past the age of retiring and there are plenty of other fine superheroes to take my spot in the spotlight. You'll be ready to pass the superhero boards soon and you won't need a mentor. You hardly need one now.”
“But I need you, Marge. What if something went wrong? Who will have my back?” Greer said, suddenly feeling afraid.
“A sidekick or another superhero. You're ready for the next step, Greer,” Marge said, reaching over to pat Greer's knee, “It's okay to be afraid. Fear is what keeps us on our toes. But I promise you that you're ready.”
“If you say so,” Greer muttered, looking out the window.
“I know so.”
They flew in silence for a time and Greer pondered things. She realized Marge was getting older and soon would retire. She often heard Marge say she wanted to retire so she could get into trouble with her husband and play with her grandkids. Greer remembered all the discussions she overheard Marge and Brice having about grandkids.
“You're just going to have to wait,” Brice stated firmly.
“Your father and I aren't getting any younger and neither are you. I would like to hold a baby soon.”
“How about a puppy instead?”
Marge shook her head, “Don't you want children?”
Brice sighed, “You know I do but I don't particularly want to go at parenthood alone. Why are you pestering me anyway? You have another child.”
The mention of Michael caused the mother and daughter to turn and look at Greer, who had been watching them, amused. Suddenly on the spot because she was Michael's girlfriend, Greer fumbled for something to say, “I…ah…I think I hear someone calling for help.”
Greer mentally chuckled as she recalled dashing out of the room. She wanted kids in the far future but the thought of having them with Michael was overwhelming. It was very possible for them to easily have children. She tried to imagine a future child with the Johnson family's trademark smile. It wasn't a horrible image.
The blonde's thoughts came back to Brice and Marge. With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching she wondered how well Marge was handling her daughter being away.
“So how are you doing?” Greer asked, unsure if she should. It was like an unspoken rule between them not to discuss Brice. Marge looked confused, “I'm doing fine. You did all the fighting.”
“I mean… about Brice.”
“Oh,” Marge said, keeping her eyes forward. There was another long moment of silence, “Mark and I are handling it. I miss her every day but there isn't much I can do about it. She can come back once we find and stop Virus but that's proving to be so much damn harder than I thought it would be.”
Greer watched as Marge tightened her hands on the joystick. It wasn't hard to see how upset Marge was.
“It isn't the first Christmas we've been apart,” Marge commented, “There were a few when Brice was younger that I had to leave. I remember I had to leave on Christmas Eve one year when Brice was about seven because some supervillain was threatening to burn down several hospitals if we didn't give him what he wanted. It ended up being a 36 hours standoff. It broke my heart leaving that day because she cried and begged me not to go. I thought she would hate me forever after that but she didn't. Mark played Santa by himself that night and set out her presents. She didn't open any of them though. She told Mark they had to wait for me. So they delayed having Christmas until the 26 th so I could open presents with them. She was always thoughtful like that even as a kid.”
“So now she's still trying to be thoughtful,” Marge sighed, “Brice probably won't be back for any of the holidays, but her father and I can still hope. We got her presents under the tree and her stocking hung up on the mantel. Christmas day will be hard but I'm only going to light the one candle for my mother. I wont light one for Brice because I know she's alive and well. She has to be.”
The desperate plea in Marge's voice tore at Greer's heart. She desperately wished she could do something.
Marge roughly cleared her throat, “I never thanked you for letting Mark and I take Monty and Python. Having them to spoil makes it easier. I know she left them to you and John.”
“I think she wanted you to have them too,” Greer commented softly.
“So what about you?” Marge asked, “How are you doing about Brice?”
The lie just slipped out of her mouth, “I'm fine. She made a decision.”
Marge glanced over at her companion, “And I'm a pink fairy. Want to try the truth this time?”
“How should I be?”
“Answering a question with a question crap isn't going to work on me. How are you?” Marge said, leaning over to poke Greer in the arm.
“Ouch,” Greer said, rubbing the spot Marge had poked. She knew Marge had meant it to hurt since she could normally control her strength, “I'm pissed, okay. I'm just angry all the time.”
“Good,” Marge said, satisfied.
Greer was stunned, “You think it's good I'm so angry?”
“It's good you can admit you are. Of course you're pissed. What Brice did is infuriating. Between Mark and myself we about destroyed all of our gym equipment. It's perfectly fine to be pissed for a while.”
Marge continued, giving Greer a hard look, “The key phrase is ‘for a while'. You've been angry for too long and it's clear how much it's affecting your life. You've got to let it go. Or just put it to the side until Brice gets back so you can fight it out then. Being angry at someone who's not here doesn't do you much good. Right?”
Greer turned to look at window.
The older superhero repeated, “Right?”
The blonde heaved a deep sigh, “Right.”
“Good. Now let's get home. It's my turn to make dinner.”
“Well that wasn't awkward,” Michael said, taking a long draw from his bottle of beer.
“No. Not at all,” Greer replied in a long sarcastic draw. She took another sip from her own beer.
The couple was sitting on his parents' roof, drinking a six-pack Michael had bought before he came to dinner. Michael had moved into his own apartment earlier that year while Greer was still living at her mother's house. She said it was to keep John company until they adjusted to having their mom back in their life. In reality John was more okay with the situation than she was and didn't have the majority of problems she had with their mom. She had been considering getting an apartment of her own but she didn't know where. Superhero equipped houses or apartments didn't come cheap either.
Michael had been left ocean front property in the Keys by the same grandfather who left Brice her mountain. Even though they had been dating for three years, neither had suggested moving in together. Greer was certain that wasn't how normal couples acted.
Marge and Mark had invited Greer and her family over for Thanksgiving as well as Noel, Alice, and Noel's mother. The blonde couldn't help but notice how tired Noel looked and how worried Alice and Jamie did.
There was an odd tension among the group that even Noel couldn't break apart with her brashness. Everyone knew it was because Brice wasn't there. Even the simplest conversations could bring up the missing bus driver.
Judy asked, “So is anyone going shopping tomorrow?”
Marge laughed, “I'm banned.”
“Yes, she is. I always go if we see something we want. Brice and I…always go together. It's tradition,” Mark's smile faded at the mention of his daughter.
“I can go with you,” John offered, trying to make the situation better.
Mark forced the smile back on his face, “No need, my boy. I'm sure if I go I can handle all the crazy women by myself. After all I married Marge.”
The group laughed, but the laughter didn't last long.
“Are you done being mad at Brice?” Michael asked, drawing Greer out of her thoughts.
Greer turned to stare at her boyfriend. He held up his hands, “Just asking.”
“Why does everybody think I'm pissed at Brice?”
Michael snorted, “Cause you are.”
Greer punched him hard in the arm. Michael flinched, “Chill, woman.”
“I'll chill you,” Greer retorted, taking an angry sip.
“So are you still mad at her? You seem to be better these days. Not that you were great before,” Michael quickly amended, not wanting to be punched again.
“I think I'm learning to put it aside,” The blonde admitted.
Later that night, Greer sat on her bed and stared at her bedside table. She pulled it open and rooted around in the drawer until she came up with an envelope that was on the bottom. It was the envelope Noel had handed her, a letter from Brice. Greer hadn't read it before. She had been too angry to but now she felt she was ready.
Her hands trembled as she opened the envelope. She looked inside and a laugh escaped her, “Did she write to me on Post-it notes?”
Greer took out the small stack of notes and read what Brice had written to her.
“What are you doing?”
Noel quickly exited out of the page she had been looking at and spun around in her chair to look at her fiancée, “Nothing. Just looking at some paperwork.”
Alice smiled, amused, “You don't do paperwork.”
“And now I know why. Did you know there are these forms you have to fill out? All this blank boxes you have to fill in?” Noel asked, feigning exasperation. Seeing it wasn't convincing her girlfriend, she sighed, “I was just seeing if something was possible.”
Alice crossed over to the computer and typed in a command to show the last document. A blueprint of the UN office they worked for popped up. She arched an eyebrow, “Are we breaking into our building?”
“No! We are not. I was just looking,” Noel declared, closing out the blueprint again.
Alice straightened and looked down at the woman she loved, “Does this have to do with Brice?”
Noel remained silent. Alice kneeled down in front of her and place her hands on Noel's knees, “If this is important to you, then it's important to me. I know you want to protect me, but we're in this together. We're better together than apart. You're not breaking into the building without me.”
The white-haired woman sighed, “I want to steal Brice's records like Virus did. I have to know what's so special about her.”
“Then that's what we'll do,” Alice promised. With a sly smirk, she started easing her hands up Noel's thighs. Noel chuckled, “How did I ever get to have you?”
Alice pulled Noel down into a hard kiss, “You're just damn lucky.”
“I don't think I'll do Christmas lights this year,” Mark commented as he focused on washing the dishes. Marge paused in drying, “If that's what you want.”
“Just seems like a lot of work this year.”
Marge put down the dish she was holding and walked over to give her husband a hug. She said, “You don't have to do the Christmas lights if you don't want to. However, imagine how shocked Brice will be when she comes home and doesn't see that trophy on the mantel like it's supposed to be. She might think you've fallen ill or something.”
Mark laughed, “You're right. You're always right.”
Marge stood on her toes to kiss him, “You better believe it, mister.”
Greer sat at her desk, re-reading Brice's note for the thousandth time. She had long ago scanned the post-it notes into the computer, organized the lines, and printed them out onto a regular sheet of paper for easy reading. With a sigh, she laid it down and turned on her computer.
Her classes had ended a week ago and she had passed all her classes, even Dr. Ryan's class, but she accredited that to Misha's help. She wasn't looking forward to having him again for Organic Chemistry II.
Feeling bored, Greer went to Twitter and signed in as Cobalt Thrust. She clicked to see what people had replied or said about her. The blonde had checked earlier in the day so she didn't expect to see that many new mentions. The first few were well wishes and perverts wanting to see her in a Santa suit. When she got to the fifth message, she glanced over it like the rest.
RedMnMGiver had posted, “@Cobalt_Thrust Merry Christmas to you and yours.”
Greer was a few messages down before she stopped and scrolled back up. Her heart skipped a beat. Could that be Brice? It was such a strange name. It couldn't be that common and only a few people in the world knew how much she liked red M&M's. It was a silly family quirk. Her father had always made a point of eating the red M&M's first, which her mother always teased him about. Wanting to mimic her father, she started eating all the red M&Ms and John had copied her.
Brice was the only one who made an effort to give Greer red M&M's when she ate a pack. Michael never thought that far ahead.
“Brice,” Greer gasped, “That's Brice. That has to be Brice. She's alive. She's safe.”
Green was suddenly alive with energy. She clicked on RedMnMGiver's profile, but the account had been deactivated. This only confirmed Greer's suspicions, it had to be Brice.
She jumped up from her desk and started pacing around her room. The blonde was already making out a detailed plan on how to find her friend when she stopped. Even if she could track down what city Brice was in, she had no idea what appearance Brice wore these days. She had no idea what name Brice was under.
Even if she could find Brice, Greer also knew she had Virus's trackers on her. They already followed everything she did even if she couldn't see them. If she started searching for Brice, they might find her first. Then all of Brice's efforts would be in vain.
Greer groaned in frustration and collapsed on her bed. She reached over to open the drawer of her bedside table and felt around until she found the picture frame she put away. It was a picture of her and Brice at Brice's birthday party. Mark had caught them just after Greer had given Brice a hug and they were both beaming.
She gently stroked her fingers over Brice's face, “Merry Christmas, Brice.”
It had been a hard day for Greer. She hadn't been able to save eight lives today from a suicide bomber and she felt like there was something else she could have done. She hadn't been alone. Majesta and another superhero had been there, but there wasn't anything they could do to stop him. All their superpowers and they couldn't stop one crazy man from pressing a button.
So when they debriefed her, Greer had left just wanting to go home. Now she was left with the question of why had she driven to Brice's house instead of her mother's?
The blonde debated on whether or not to go in for several minutes. She finally turned off her bike and got out her keys. The house let her in and Greer felt like she entered a time machine.
Everything was the same. Brice's automatic duster and vacuum cleaner made everything look the way it had since Greer left. Greer had packed up her stuff and left a day after her argument with Brice. The blonde just thought the bus driver wasn't home. She didn't think Brice would disappear so quickly but that night Noel had come, telling her Brice was gone.
Greer set down her helmet and gloves on the table in the hallway. She unzipped her jacket and tossed it on a recliner as she collapsed on the couch. Covering her eyes with her arm, she let out a deep sigh.
For once thinking about Brice was the better option. She didn't want to think about the explosion and the dead bodies. Or the pieces of dead bodies. Greer moved her arm behind her head and looked around the room. She tried to imagine living here again.
“Why would I live here again?” She pondered aloud, “Would I want to be Brice's roommate again or…something more?”
Greer got up and went to the door of Brice's room. She placed her hand on the door knob but hesitated opening it. She wondered if that would be an invasion of privacy. The blonde figured Brice could bring it up later if she had a problem with it and opened the door.
The bed was neatly made and everything was as Brice had left it. Greer knew Marge had come to tidy things up and clean out the fridge after Brice had disappeared. She wondered if Marge had cleaned up in here.
Greer walked around the master bedroom, looking at pictures and knick-knacks. On the dresser was the bus keychain John had given Brice. There was the Christmas picture of all three of them on Brice's bedside table, the same picture she kept in her wallet.
The blonde didn't really know why but she kicked off her shoes and crawled into Brice's large bed. Perhaps because she was weary and didn't want to go upstairs. Perhaps because she wondered what sleeping in Brice's bed felt like. Whatever the reason, she was soon asleep and didn't wake again until it was dark.
Greer looked at her phone and softly cursed when she saw it was almost midnight. She hadn't realized how exhausted she was with school and work. She got her things together and flew back to New Jersey.
Greer turned the knob before she closed the front door so it wouldn't make a click. She didn't want to wake up her mother and perhaps face another lecture or worse, be asked where she had been. The blonde didn't want to lie nor did she want to explain she had been at Brice's. She started tiptoeing down the hallway.
“You're out late.”
Greer stiffened in fright and then silently cursed. She turned to look into the den where she saw her mother sitting on the couch with a low lit lamp on.
“You weren't up waiting for me, were you?” Greer asked. It came out harsher then she intended.
Judy leaned back on the couch and lifted her hand to her mouth. Greer could see she held a drink.
“I couldn't sleep,” The older blonde stated after taking a sip.
Greer's brows frowned together, not certain if she believed the woman or not.
“Don't worry, darling. I'm beginning to accept you are no longer twelve,” Judy stated with a sad smile. The college student let out a tiny sigh and took off her jacket. She walked into the den and set it by the chair as she sat across from her mother, “Why can't you sleep?”
“Happens sometimes. Too many images flashing in my mind. Too many visions,” Judy answered, taking another sip, “I never recall it being so hard to handle before. Of course I had Garrison then.”
Greer briefly tensed at the mention of her father. She expected her mother to break down into tears, but Judy didn't. The woman merely closed her eyes and started reminiscing, “Your father was such a dork when I first met him in high school. He wore glasses and miss-matched clothes. I practically hated the sight of him.”
“What?” Greer exclaimed. She had never heard this before.
Judy laughed as she opened her eyes, “Oh, yes. I didn't like your father at all when I first met him. I couldn't believe the premonitions that bombarded me when I first saw him and they never stopped. I couldn't believe this geeky boy was going to be the man of my future. I was sixteen, popular, and had a crush on one major stud. I didn't want to date someone who wasn't cool because I couldn't stop having premonitions about him.”
Greer felt like she had stopped breathing. Her mother had had premonitions about her father at the age of sixteen?
“You had premonitions about Dad?”
Judy nodded, “I didn't understand them. Some of them made me blush at that age, let me tell you. It wasn't easy until your grandfather sat me down and told me about one of the few ‘perks' to the family superpower.”
The younger blonde swallowed heavily, “Perks?”
Judy focused on Greer and a look of sadness crossed her eyes, “I never got to have that talk with you.”
“You can tell me now.”
The older blonde set down her drink and rubbed her face, “I thought I would have a few more years to plan out exactly how to explain this to you but I guess you can handle the rough version. It seems to be a family trait that we see visions of who we're going to spend our lives with when we're about sixteen. It usually happens when we meet the person. You'll be hit with wave after wave of visions. Some are explicit and others are tame. I saw myself living with your father, cradling children in my arms, and so many other visions. My father says he saw similar visions when he was young about my mother.”
The woman hesitated, “Did that happen to you when you were about sixteen?”
Greer felt the bottom fall out from underneath her. She remembered being sixteen very well and being assaulted with dozens of visions. Visions that had started from the first time she had touched Brice.
“No,” She lied without thinking.
Judy arched an eyebrow, “Are you sure?”
The younger blonde closed her eyes and shook her head, “What if I don't want that future?”
“Why wouldn't you want it?”
Greer snapped, “Look where it got you! You've been insane with grief and misery for almost a decade all because you accepted those visions as your future!”
“And I wouldn't change a moment of it,” Judy stated firmly, “I wouldn't trade those years with Garrison or you and John for the world. I was happy. I'm not saying the visions show you a perfect future or that you'll only have one love in your life. I think the visions show us a person we can be very happy with. Garrison made me very happy all those years. I wish things had turned out differently, but some fates can't be changed.”
The younger blonde leapt to her feet, “I don't want that future anymore. She's gone. She left me. She left all of us. She didn't trust me and she told me there would never be anything between us. That she didn't feel anything for me.”
“Well, that's just bullshit,” Judy dryly commented.
Greer whirled around on her mother, not certain if she was more surprised about what her mother said or that her mother cursed, “What?”
“That she doesn't feel anything for you. That's a lie. I would dare say she loves you.”
Greer paused. She was uncertain of how to handle her mother telling her that Brice loved her. Judy finished her drink in one large gulp and set it aside, “I feel I should tell you that I played a large part in Brice leaving that day.”
“What?” Greer felt like she was a record on repeat.
“I encouraged her to leave.”
“What did you say to her?” Greer was pleased with how calm her voice was.
“I told her the truth: that I couldn't see into her future. Virus has blocked his future from me though I don't know how. In blocking his, I couldn't see hers. I still can't. We had a discussion and at the end of it we agreed it was best for her to leave.”
“What was the discussion over?”
Judy hesitated, knowing her daughter wouldn't like what she had to say, “I told her that if she stayed, you and John would likely be killed because of her. She decided it was best if she left.”
Greer turned around, “I have to go.”
“Greer,” Judy called out.
“No! Just no. I don't want to talk about it,” Greer snarled as she stormed out of the house.
As Greer flew through the skies, everything made sense. Her visions, why everyone hinted there was more between them, why she felt there was more between them, and why Brice had been so determined to leave. She was left with one question.
“What am I going to do now?”
Noel tried to laugh, “Well, we knew it was coming. Just figured I would have more time.”
“I'm sorry,” Dr. Franklin said, “The cancer is spreading faster than we anticipated but giving your genetic background…”
“It was to be expected. I know,” Noel snapped. She was trying not to cry and she knew if she looked at Alice, she would break down.
“Doctor, could you give us a moment alone?” Alice asked. Dr. Franklin nodded as he exited the room.
“I just thought I would,” Noel's voice broke, “have more time. I mean my dad is over fifty. I just thought I would be like him. To die from PMN…to die from something I can't stop…I would give it all up. I would give all these powers up to have more time with you.”
Alice felt desperation grip her heart for the first time in a long time, “We'll find a way to beat this Noel. Your father must have something that's been keeping him alive or something. He must know something. We'll find a way, Noel. If I have to call up every contact I know. If I have to spend every dollar I have. We will find him and see what he has.”
With a purpose in front of her, Noel found the strength to stop crying. She sniffed, “I think it's time we stop worrying over details and go ahead with our plan. Let's break into the building to see what they have on Brice. That should lead us closer to Virus.”
Greer had asked Michael to meet her at a corner café in Paris and he had readily agreed. He joined her in sitting at a table for two without greeting her with a kiss.
“We have to talk,” Greer and Michael said at the same time. They both stared at each other and said, together, “You go first.”
Michael shook his head with a laugh, “Gosh, we're pathetic.”
“I like to think we just know each other really well. So you go first,” Greer insisted.
Michael fidgeted and started rolling his fingers together, “Greer, we've been together a good bit of time. I really like you and everything. But…”
“Oh thank God,” Greer exhaled in relief.
“What?” He said, looking confused.
“You're breaking up with me.”
Michael's jaw dropped, “How did you know? And wait? Did you just say thank God? You wanted me to break up with you? Wait! Were you about to break up with me?”
Greer hedged, “Maybe.”
“Why were you going to break up with me? I'm a great boyfriend,” Michael exclaimed.
“Hey, you were going to break up with me first. I'm an excellent girlfriend so why were you going to dump me?”
“Oh, well, you see what happened was…well there's two reasons why I'm breaking up with you. Now I'm going to be completely honest with you. The first reason is I don't think you can ever love me. I think you're in love with my sister.”
“I am not!” Greer loudly protested, “How could you say that?”
Michael, suddenly realizing he was in danger of being hit, lifted his hands in surrender, “Okay, you're not in love with her. But the fact remains that you don't love me.”
“You've met somebody, haven't you?” Greer asked. She watched as her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend brightened up.
“Yes, that's the second reason. She's great. Just amazing. I really like her. I mean she's beautiful, smart, and funny. She's just like you expect she's not in love with my sister,” Michael said with a smile. He quickly sobered from the glare Greer gave him, “Not that you're in love with Brice.”
“Why do you think I'm in love with her?” Greer asked, leaning back as she crossed one leg over the other.
To his everlasting credit, Michael didn't roll his eyes. He leaned back as well and lifted his hand to start counting reasons, “One, you carry a picture of her in your wallet.”
Greer started to protest, “It's just a good…”
Michael cut her off, “No. I'm talking. You carry a picture of her in your wallet and not one of me. Two, you have been a mess since she's disappeared. Three, you always talked about her when we were dating. Four, you laughed at her jokes when you didn't laugh at mine.”
“Maybe you're just not as funny,” Greer bitterly remarked. She didn't like talking about her would-be feelings. She was still trying to fit everything together.
The black-haired man covered his heart, “Now that was just cruel. Of course I'm funny. People tell me I'm funny all the time. Anyway, you laughed at her jokes all the time. Whenever we were all together, you lit up when you saw her. You've been trying to capture Virus so she can come home. You read that note she left you three times a day and you would have gone with her without a second thought if she had only asked.”
Greer faltered, “How do you know about the note and me going with her? I never told you that.”
Michael half smiled, “If I was Brice I would have left you a note and since you love her, you would have gone with her.”
“Quit saying I love her! Everybody's always saying I love her! There's apparently a stupid, genetic vision-prophecy that's telling me she's the one and now you're saying I love her. Fate has nothing to do with this. I decide who I'm going to love. I'm going to pick the one I'll be with and I'm saying right now that I don't…love her.”
Michael took the blonde's hand, “Okay, okay. But again the fact remains that you don't love me. I do care for you, Greer. We make a perfect picturesque couple. You made me into a better man because, let's face it, I was a jerk in high school. You're one of my closest friends, Greer, but we're not meant to be together. That's why I'm breaking up with you.”
“That and the other woman.”
“Yeah, that too. She's so hot, Greer,” Michael said, releasing Greer's hand to lean back and smile.
“Don't tell me such things. I'm now a bitter ex-girlfriend. What's her name?”
Michael shook his head, “No. I'm not telling. I'm going to see how it goes between us first.”
“Tell me,” Greer ordered.
Michael pledged, “Not happening.”
“Do you really think I'm in love with Brice?” Greer asked.
He didn't even blink at the change of subject, “I think it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks but you. You have to figure out what you feel. You may not love her yet, sure. You may be furious at her for leaving, but you don't hate her. You more than like her too. So it's up to you to figure out what you feel for her.”
“Trudy. Fancy seeing you here.”
Gertrude turned in her office chair to look at Noel, “I actually do work unlike one of us. What are you doing here?”
Noel started inspecting her finger nails, “Oh nothing. Just walking around.”
The blond haired woman didn't look convinced, “You're never here on a weekend. What are you really up too?”
“Just waiting on my ride,” Noel said, nonchalantly, “How are things going with the doctor?”
Noel normally would have thrown in some insult before Amelia's title, but she really couldn't afford to push Trudy's buttons tonight.
Gertrude grew even more suspicious, “We're good. I met her parents last weekend.”
The white haired woman suddenly paid more attention, “You met her Dad? Brice said he was something all right.”
Gertrude nodded wearily, “He is something. It was not an easy weekend.”
Noel glanced at her watch. She saw she had three minutes and she just had to know something.
“How were you able to handle her sleeping around all the time? I mean come on, Trudy, you never slept with a woman before you met her. How could you enter into a relationship with her? Especially knowing what she's done?”
Gertrude met Noel's look, “I could ask the same of you, Noel. How could you enter into a relationship with Alice? After knowing what's she done.”
“That's different,” Noel said, bristling at the mention of Alice's past.
Gertrude shrug, “Some wouldn't see it that way. I don't care about Alice's past. I don't care about Amelia's past. There are different types of relationships. Our relationship didn't start off with a destination. I had no intention of dating her and she had no intention of dating me. Even as the relationship progressed, she continued to see and sleep with other people and so did I. It honestly doesn't bother me.”
“That just sounds so…wrong,” Noel said, shaking her head.
“People are different,” Trudy stated simply.
Noel glanced at her watch, “Well, I have to go. Too much work and not enough play makes me grumpy. Later Trudy.”
The white haired woman quickly slipped away, ignoring the suspicious look her coworker gave her. Noel started walking towards the entrance. Anybody watching the security cameras would think she was brushing her hair behind her ear but in reality she was putting in a tactical earpiece.
Alice's voice rang in her ear, “I'm switching hacking the cams in three, two, one. You're now a ghost. All they see is you walking into the bathroom. That gives you seven minutes at the most. I hope you have a good excuse in being in there that long.”
“If they ask I ate Taco Bell for lunch and I'm on my period,” Noel joked as she broke into a run. She had to quickly get to the elevator that would take her down to the medical labs where only those with the highest clearance were allowed. Virus had broken in there last year and Noel was willing to bet there was some record of what he had taken. Plus she would be able to link Alice to the labs' computers, allowing her fiancée to find files they couldn't access before.
“You love me anyway,” Noel jested as she slid the ID badge she had stolen earlier through the card reader, “Card confirmed. Please place your hand on the palm reader.”
Noel took a thin glove out of her pocket and slipped it on her hand. The glove was made out of a material that looked and felt like real skin. After stealing the lab tech's ID, she had shook his hand.
“Wow your hands are freezing,” Dr. Hans Larrson exclaimed.
Noel withdrew her hand, “I know. Can't ever seem to keep their warm. Good day, doctor.”
What the doctor didn't know was that Noel had laid a micro-thin scanner over her palm and then covered the scanner and her hand with a skin-thick layer of ice so the doctor wouldn't realize his palm was being copied.
Noel placed her gloved hand on the scanner and it granted her access to a keypad. She typed in the doctor's password, which she had read from his thoughts. The elevator opened.
“Are you sure you are feeling alright for this?” Alice asked as she watched Noel enter the elevator. Noel seemed to grow weaker every day as the cancer took hold. It tore her heart to watch but hope kept them both going. Alice had never believed or relied on hope before in her life, but she did so know. It was a powerful thing.
Noel slipped a metal disk under her tongue. When she spoke, she spoke in Dr. Larrson's voice, “I'm fine. Doctor Hans Larrson.”
“Voice analysis confirmed. Welcome, Doctor. Would you like to go to the lab?”
As the elevator doors opened up, Noel whispered, “Here we go.”
Greer read Brice's note yet again. It had been nine months since Brice had left. Nine months of trying to live her life without the hazel-eyed woman and finding it harder than she expected. She didn't know what would happen if Brice returned. Greer did know Brice had made her a promise in the note and she would make the same promise.
Noel groaned as she leaned back against the headboard of her bed. Trying to decipher the code the files were in was tough work and she was already tired. She had been able to figure out a few words. Blood and DNA were popping up a lot in the files.
The white haired woman picked up her cell phone to look at the time. Alice would be home soon.
Noel's heart almost tore out of her chest when her phone went off in her hands. It was singing the ringtone she had set for unknown callers. That ringtone had not played once since she helped Brice disappear and knew it would likely be her friend on the other end of it.
Trying to keep the hope and worry out of her voice, she answered, “Hello?”
Tears came into her eyes as she heard that familiar voice, “Noel, long story but you need to come get me.”
“I'll be right there,” Noel choked out, “Where are you? Never mind, I'll pinpoint your location. I'll be there as soon as I can. Don't hang up.”
With her free hand, she pulled out of her phone and texted Greer and Alice as she ran to her car. Weariness from her disease was forgotten. In less than ten minutes she would see Brice again.
Greer was in Dr. Ryan's Organic Chem when her phone vibrated against her leg. Even though it wasn't her pager, she looked at it anyway. Pulling the phone under the desk, she looked at the screen. Seeing it was from Noel, she read it.
“Bringing Brice home right now.”
“Ms. Watson, what have I said about cell phones in my classroom?” Dr. Ryan snapped, “Everyone pull out a sheet of paper. Time for a pop quiz thanks to Greer.”
Greer didn't hear him or the groans of protest. She shot out of her desk, “I have to go.”
She ran out of the classroom, leaving all of her stuff behind. Brice was coming home.
This is the last time I'll be able to talk to you for some time. In a few minutes Noel will wave her magic wand and I'll be someone else.
You know despite what has happened in my life, despite not having powers or having a successful relationship, I never wanted to be someone else. I never wanted a ‘do-over' as another person. But now I'm getting one… I have wanted other kinds of ‘do-overs' though. I mean, I'd like to re-do today.
I didn't mean half the things I said…I didn't mean most of the things I said. I just had to leave and I couldn't do that with you around. But…I couldn't go without seeing you again one last time either…
Would saying I'm sorry help at all? Probably not…but I truly am sorry, Greer. We should have gotten the chance to talk, to truly discuss the things we never say. There's so many things I thought but never told you and I know there are things you thought but didn't tell me. Confessing this on a silly square of yellow paper feels wrong. So how about a promise instead? A promise that I'll come back and we'll say the things we haven't said. I promise this.
Take care of everyone for me, Greer. Give them my love and keep them safe. Please.
Until I see you again,
Please be sure to read Brice's 7 th adventure as it is the parallel to this one.
In the final adventure of Brice Johnson:Brice has been home only a week before she finds herself in Virus's company. Will she join him after he tells her everything she wanted to know? Will she get to keep her promise to Greer?
Return to the Academy