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Jude regaled Zoey with stories, containing varying degrees of truth from his year and a half of being a superhero, for about thirty minutes before he heard the front door open. Arte was nodding off and Deven was fully asleep.
“Hey, sorry it took me so long.” Mr. Rodriguez called from inside the kitchen, and various clanking noises emitted from the room as well. After a few seconds, he stood, wearing a bright green polo and khakis, in the doorway.
“It’s about time, dad.” Zoey laughed. “Jude was just telling me about this time he stopped two different crimes at once. You’re missing out.”
“Sounds like a crazy story.” He smiled. “I hate to interrupt, but I can only stay for a little bit.” He peaked over the couch, and saw Deven asleep on the floor. “Oh sorry.” He whispered. “Didn’t see your friend was asleep.”
“Don’t worry about it. I appreciate you having us over.” Jude smiled.
“Yeah, do you mind if I ask what happened?”
“Well…” Jude debated how much he wanted to say. On the one hand, he didn’t want to overshare. Mr. Rodriguez might not like them staying over so much if he thought that Dayspring had been committing crimes. Then again, he hadn’t specifically been told to not say what happened, so he figured the worst he’d get would be a slap on the wrist. “There was a misunderstanding with the agency, and they came in through the windows. There was some decent damage, and I really appreciate you letting us sleep in a room without broken windows. They said they’d get it fixed tomorrow, so we shouldn’t be in your hair for too long.”
“Don’t worry about us. It’s no problem. Here, let’s go into the other room to talk for a bit. Let your friend sleep.” He led them into the kitchen and shut the door behind him. “Now, I’ve gotta run back to work, but Zoey can take care of you. Your agency called me on my way, and told me that they’d confirmed the Dayspring on the news wasn’t you. I wasn’t worried too much about it, since it seemed out of character for you. I do need to ask if you think whatever your agency pulled at your house could happen here.”
“I doubt it. I think we’re good for right now, but I assure you, if it does, no harm will come to your daughter. I can promise you that.”
Mr. Rodriguez smiled, “Ah, you know what a father loves to hear, don’t you.” He picked up a couple of items from the counter, and moved towards the door. “Sleep well. Feel free to use any bed, or the living room if you prefer. I will be back in the morning.” He took off out the front door.
“He seems to really trust me, huh?” Jude turned to Arte. He really hadn’t been expecting him to know about any of that, and he felt a little bad for not mentioning it.
“Well, when you think about it, letting you sleep in their house isn’t that much more dangerous than you sleeping in your own bed, since if you wanted to hurt them, you probably could anyways.” Arte shrugged. “That aside, let’s go talk to Zoey about ‘you know what’.”
Jude followed her into the den. She definitely did have a point. When you thought about it, it was dangerous to even be around him. The same goes for Deven, or almost any super really. He found Zoey sitting on the couch where they left her. They both sat down next to her.
“So, Zoey… I wanted to ask you about something.” Jude began.
Zoey’s eyes went wide, and she forced a nervous laugh. “What did you want to talk about?”
“What were you doing in your yard earlier tonight?”
“Nothing! I just wanted some fresh air.” She looked to the side and sighed. “Promise you won’t tell my dad? He’d freak out if he knew.”
“Alright.” Jude nodded. While he did want her help, he definitely didn’t want it without her dad knowing, so he wondered if this was going to be a problem.
She took a deep breath. “I have superpowers too. Well, I guess they’re technically superpowers. I’m not really sure how ‘super’ they are, but I can basically just make salt appear. Mostly in my hand, but really anywhere.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never underestimate the usefulness of any power.” Jude nodded. He wasn’t sure if he had actually learned that, though. He was unsure just how useful salt could be, but she was all they had, so it needed to be good enough.
“What good is salt? It’s like the worst superpower.” She shook her head.
“Well, you can make salt, so you could probably throw it, and use it as a weapon.”
“What good is powdered salt? I keep trying to make something bigger, but I can’t! It always falls apart.”
“How much can you make?” Arte asked.
“I haven’t run out yet. I’ve probably made enough to fill a bathtub if I had to guess, but that’s the most I’ve made at one time.”
Jude nodded. He wondered if there was some way he could get her to think about her power differently, like they did with Anastasia, that would allow her to make something bigger and more solid. He entertained the idea, but he was definitely thinking too far ahead. “Alright, so here’s the deal. I want to help train you to be a superhero, but you have to keep your powers a secret, from anyone except your dad.”
“Wait, do I have to tell him? I thought you said you wouldn’t!”
“I said I wouldn’t. With that being said, I’m not really about sneaking around a highschooler’s parents, so if you want training, you’ll have to get your dad’s okay.” Jude turned to Arte. “Does that sound fair?”
“Definitely. I don’t want to get on your dad’s bad side.” She nodded.
“I don’t know…” Zoey looked down again.
“You don’t have to decide tonight. Just let me know, and we’ll arrange something.” Jude paused. “Also, you can’t talk about your powers at my house, or even near my yard.”
“Okay…?” She raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. “I can do that. I’ll think about how to talk to my dad.” Zoey nodded, and her uncertainty was replaced with a smile.
“Now, you should probably get to bed, since I assume you have school tomorrow.” Jude replied.
“Fine. Goodnight.” Zoey sighed. She made her way upstairs.
Jude sighed with relief once she was gone. He was exhausted, his adrenaline high had run out, and he was ready for it to be tomorrow. He leaned on the arm of the couch, and began to doze off.
My new laptop is operational (thusfar). I still have to transfer over my old writing, but it should work out okay. Thanks for your patience!
(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)