Chapter 11: If you had a superpower
“All my life, I’ve wanted to do more... be more. And now I am. And the first chance I get to help someone, I screw up. What if Wells is right? What if I’m not a hero? What if I’m just some guy who was struck by lightning?”
~Barry Allen (The Flash)
It was two weeks since I told Oliver my secret identity, and things were definitely not as awkward as I thought they’d be.
You know, when you tell your boyfriend that you’re a vigilante anti-hero, normally things don’t go by smoothly, especially when said boyfriend was a superhero himself.
I had made a few public saves in the past weeks, enough so that the public stopped calling me a villain. I mean – I hadn’t even technically done things that were necessarily bad before. Graffiti was technically a petty crime, and I only did it to speak out against the corrupt politicians my parents were always talking about. And maybe attacking a couple trucks wasn’t exactly legal, but Paramount Pharmaceuticals wasn’t exactly following the law in the first place and needed to be taught a lesson.
Oliver and I had acted normal the first couple of days at school, even if things were a bit awkward. I was a bit star-struck when I first found out, especially since my best friend was practically in love with supers like White Lightning. To know that you’re dating a superhero is a bit to get used to.
But, in all reality, it was a wonder I never saw it before. Oliver was the nicest guy anyone would know. He was the kind of guy who would walk an old lady across the street or give a homeless man his last dollar. Of course he was a real life hero with his good heart.
I figured he was also a bit surprised with me when he found out who I was. I was very quiet at school, which probably made it weird that I was an outspoken vigilant super in my spare time.
Plus, adding to the fact, Oliver had gotten himself a sidekick.
Aden Dashner was a freshman. I only knew of him because he was in a couple of sophomore classes, which meant he was one of the insanely nerdy kids. Oliver himself could’ve skipped classes as well, but I think he didn’t want to feel weird for being ahead of the rest of our grade.
Aden was certainly a strange character. He was geeky, but also very sarcastic. It was also very obvious that he had a huge crush on Mary.
Aden and his best friend, Tyler, have been sitting at our lunch table, invited by Oliver of course, since last week. Being two freshmen at a table of juniors must’ve given them some popularity points, and judging by the envious looks of other freshmen, everyone thought they were the luckiest people alive.
Our lunch table was getting very crowded.
Of course, there was Olly, Ian, Mary, and I, the original few. Then Heather got added to the bunch a few weeks ago when Oliver invited her, oblivious to her huge crush on him. Next came Nicole, the mysterious new girl whom had invited herself to our table. Lastly was Aden and Tyler, who were very excited to be eating with us.
Aden being Oliver’s sidekick came with a couple of other perks as well. The public was starting to take notice of White Lightning’s new sidekick. He had been dubbed Kranos after the Greek god of strength. After he lifted a crashed bus in the air, saving the lives of twenty stuck civilians, he was taken more seriously. It wasn’t common that supers with strength were heroes and not villains.
Aden was all smiles nowadays, due to his sidekick job turning out better than expected.
I liked to think that in a few years Aden could be a real superhero.
But with the new sidekick came a new villain.
Inferno seemed to be insistent. He attacked Oliver and Aden whenever they stayed in the public eye for too long in one place. He deliberately set fires in random abandoned buildings to lure them. He was very insistent on killing my boyfriend and his sidekick, something I did not like one bit.
He’s also tried to go after me one time after I saved an elderly couple from a robber. What he didn’t realize was that attacking a super who could literally teleport away whenever she felt like it was useless.
“So, Elise, what about you?”
I blinked. I had zoned out again. “What?”
Ian sighed. “If you had a superpower, what would it be?”
I almost spit out my sandwich. “I don’t know.”
“Oh, come on! You must have some ideas.”
I looked over at Oliver, who was smirking. Aden was trying not to laugh. Of course my other two super powered buddies wouldn’t try and help me on this one.
“Maybe electricity. White Lightning makes the power seem cool.”
It was Oliver’s turn to almost choke on his food.
I smirked. “You know what? I think I’d probably do an even better job than he does.”
Tyler laughed. “Yeah, right.”
I scoffed. “What? Just because I’m a girl?”
Tyler got red. “No.”
Heather narrowed her eyes. “We girls are probably more powerful than all you men combined. We can control you without even blinking.”
Nicole smirked. “I think we need an example.”
She turned around to face Henry Urban at the next table. “Would you be a dear and throw this away for me?”
Henry blushed, “Umm, yeah. Of course” and took her trash from our table to throw away.
Nicole turned back to the table, triumphant.
“The trash can is closer to you than to him!” Aden exclaimed. “Why couldn’t you have done it?”
“I was proving a point.” She grinned. “Women don’t need to do anything as long as they can convince a man to for it for her.”
Aden and Tyler were speechless while Oliver couldn’t control his laughter.
Of course, that didn’t work for all women. Nicole was, to say in the least, drop dead gorgeous. She could probably cure cancer with the flip of her hair. Her Asian decent made her bone structure the envy of almost every girl in the grade. She didn’t need makeup to make men fall at her feet.
“But back to the superpower bit,” Ian interrupted, “what power would the rest of y’all want?”
Oliver pretended to think for a moment. “Hmm, maybe teleportation or flying. That way I could get places much faster than with my beat up car.”
“Maybe you should just get a motorcycle instead.” Aden offered. “They’re faster and travel easier.”
“No.” Olly deadpanned. “I’m fine with the car I have.”
“You’re lying to yourself.” Aden argued.
I figured this had to do with an argument around the Captain Cruiser. When neither of their powers involved fast transportation, they needed a way to get to places. The Captain Cruiser was kind of Captain Impossible’s vehicle, not theirs. Plus, maybe with a new hero, he needed a new image. Motorcycles weren’t actually that bad of an idea for them.
“I think I’d go with being a ninja.” Tyler changed the conversation back to superpowers. “No powers is cooler than being all powerful. Plus, if villains underestimate you, it would be easier to defeat them. Like, Blue Archer or Sparrow.”
Sparrow was a vigilante with gadgets and crazy ninja like skills in Chicago. Blue Archer was a part of the League of Legends down in Empire City. He had no superpowers, but was wicked with a bow and arrow. He used to be a rich playboy until his dad died and he was stranded on an island. If you paid attention to the tabloids, he was dating Sonic’s best friend.
“But superpowers are awesome!” Aden argued.
“Not really,” Tyler shrugged, “I mean – most of the time the bad guys get the powers anyways. The world needs more heroes who aren’t nuclear.”
“Ooh, that’s a tough blow.” Ian laughed. “Mary, you have any thoughts on that?”
I tilted my head. “Yeah, normally you’re very outspoken about supers. In fact, you’re outspoken on everything.”
Mary hunkered down further in her seat. “Maybe I’m just not feeling very well.”
And that was when I noticed something was off. “Mary, where’s your salad?”
Mary wasn’t stuffing salad in her mouth in frustration at her brother’s antics, like normal. Mary was sitting quietly eating a sandwich. And not just any sandwich, one with actual meat in it.
You see, Mary practically gave up on meat when we were in second grade. She wanted to be healthier. She started to bring salads for lunches and only ate meat at dinners with her family. She was practically a vegetarian. So why was she now eating a Turkey sandwich, breaking a habit that was drilled into her brain as much as mine?
“You’re eating an actual sandwich?” Ian asked, bewildered.
Oliver furrowed his eyebrows. “Are you feeling alright, Mary?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little tired from studying. I guess I just forgot about my salad today.”
“Tired?” Ian questioned. “That never stopped you before, Mary.”
She lowered her eyes and shrugged. “No one is invincible. I guess the hours of no sleep have finally caught up to me. Sleep deprivation has been known to cause teenagers spurts of low spirits as well. I’ll be fine tomorrow.”
Ian seemed satisfied with her answer, but Olly and I obviously weren’t.
“Are you sure?” Olly pushed.
“I’m fine.” Mary answered, her eyes dark.
Nicole offered a smile. “She’ll be fine. It happens during junior year. The stress just gets to you and you can’t control it. She probably just needed some fuel in her body besides all those salads.”
And, the surprising thing? Mary smiled back.
I knew all about Mary’s dilemma. She liked Nicole, as more than just a friend. If I was being honest, Mary still had conflicting feelings about it. She grew up around politicians who were all against what she felt. It was kind of hard to find politicians like her mom who believed what the new generation did. Mary still felt like it was a bit wrong to like girls as well as the public norm of guys.
But if now was any indication of it, Mary was warming up to the idea. Nicole was nice, if a bit regal feeling. I hoped Nicole would also return those feelings. I didn’t want Mary to be hurt.
Ian sighed. “Well, let’s hope you feel better by Thursday. I don’t want to have to sit through a thanksgiving dinner with both sides of the family arguing all night without your voice of reason.”
Oh, yeah. Thanksgiving was on Thursday. Today was Tuesday, and our last day of school before the Thanksgiving break. I had no idea why the school made us come to school for these two days like the public schools in the area did. There was no point.
“That reminds me, Oliver, my parents were wondering if you wanted to come to Thanksgiving at my house. If you and your mom aren’t doing anything, of course.” I asked.
Oliver’s eyes widened. “They want me over?”
I nodded. “I think they want to finally meet my boyfriend. Plus, if you were there I could probably last the entire night without wanting to gouge my eyes out. Sitting at a dinner table while my dad talks politics and basically crushes everything I believe in isn’t the best.”
“I’ll ask.” Olly assured me. “That would be a better Thanksgiving than at my house.”
I knew what he was talking about. Oliver’s mom wasn’t rich or powerful like the rest of the kid’s mothers who went here. They lived in a small apartment on the bad side of DC. I could imagine that they didn’t have a huge Turkey and sides galore at his house.
“Great.” I smiled.
And it would be great. I could finally have one Thanksgiving that didn’t make me rip my brains out.
“At least you don’t have to go to Thanksgiving at my house.” Heather offered with a playful grin.
Ian scoffed. “Thanksgiving at the White House has to be amazing. You have no right to complain.”
Heather stuck her tongue out at him. “I have every right. At least your dinner doesn’t have to be supervised by secret service agents.”
The table laughed, the tension from when we were talking to Mary gone.
And somehow I knew everything would end up alright.