About a week had passed since the competition, and Aiden was relishing in his Easter holiday. Today, he’d taken a walk into the park. The sun was shining down on him, reflecting like a ray of hope. Hope that it was all over, that his life would take a new turn, hope that his worst days were behind him.
The smell of freshly cut grass and sounds of children playing soothed him; it truly felt like a step forward in the right direction. As he strolled through the park, thoughts in his head wondered. He couldn’t stop thinking about his kiss with Alison, and part of him worried in case he’d blown the moment. He spotted a familiar face sitting on a bench, with his leg wrapped in a brace. It was Chad. He smiled over at Aiden and waved.
Aiden walked up to the bench and took a seat next to him, trying to avoid the scent of smoke filling his lungs. “You really need to stop smoking those things.”
Chad beamed. “What are you, my doctor now?”
“Well, I did save your life.” Aiden teased.
Chad patted him on the back. “Don’t flatter yourself too much. Once I get this cast off, you still owe me a real race. I’m thinking just us, in a junkyard. Just like we used to.”
“I’d like that, don't know how long I can keep it up though. Maybe I’m getting too old for this parkour game.”
“You’re getting too old? Buddy, you’re not even eighteen yet.” Chad laughed. “Keep at it, enjoy it. That’s what it’s all about.”
Aiden raised his eyebrow. “That’s not what you told me when we met.”
“Yeah, well. You know what they say, a great teacher can learn a lot from his best student.”
Aiden smirked. “Now who’s flattering themselves?”
Chad flicked his cigarette into a nearby bin. “So, what you got planned for the day? Stop a mugger? Catch a kitten out of a tree? Hopefully, make a costume because the tracksuit and zip up hood is more product placement than superhero.”
Aiden laughed. “I don’t know. Never really think about those kind of things.”
“With what you can do? Man, you should get out there and help people.”
Aiden shrugged. “Yeah, Alison said the same thing.”
“So why not go for it? You could be London’s biggest hero. Girls would flock at your feet man, especially if you put on some tights.”
Aiden looked over at the road outside the park, gazing at the corner of the road. “I’m not really the hero type. Can barely keep myself out of trouble.”
“You know, when you get to my age, you gotta take what you have and make the most of it while you can. One of these days, the world might need a hero.”
“I could have used one all those years ago.”
Chad looked down. “Shit, man. I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to bring that up.”
Aiden smiled. “It’s okay. I guess a real hero just knows when to do the right thing. Maybe I'm yet to find that.”
“What are you saying?”
“Half the time, I don’t know what I’m saying or doing. I just do them.”
“Well, buddy.” Chad tapped on his leg brace. “You’re doing a damn fine job so far.”
Aiden chuckled. “How’s Scarlett doing?”
Chad let out a long sigh. “Her dad’s furious, and so is my mum. Turns out the guy at the store she stole those pills from ended up losing his job. He wants to press charges. She’s looking at a year in juvie.”
“You don’t seem all that broken up about it. I mean, she is your family, technically.”
Chad shrugged. “Can’t say she didn’t bring it on herself. It’s kinda funny how you so desperately want to stop being seen as a loser, but by acting on that, you become the loser. She’s got a tough road ahead of her, and I know it’s not gonna be easy. Me having to visit her behind bars and all, but it might be the best thing for her right now. It’s probably doing her more good than bad.”
Aiden sat back. “You know, I wondered about that.”
“Isn't it kind of funny the police showed up around the same time? Scarlett's not dumb either, someone with that amount of planning wouldn’t be so stupid to leave evidence out in the open like that.”
Chad glared over at him, trying to crack a smile. “What are you saying?”
“I know you planted the drugs, pal. To teach her a lesson.”
Chad groaned. “Yeah, well I don’t regret it, at least not yet anyway. I called the police too, before I went out on the race.”
“Don’t sweat it.” Aiden said, patting him on the back. “I won’t tell anybody.”
“Thank you.” Chad whispered.
Aiden’s phone began beeping; he scrambled around trying to pick it out of his pocket, before finally getting a grip on it.
“Your powers don’t mess up your phone, do they?”
Aiden smirked as he read the text. “Well, my battery life drains a bit faster.”
Chad laughed. “What’s it say?”
“It’s Alison. She wants to meet for coffee in about half an hour.”
Chad nodded. “Oh.”
“You know, you can come with us if you like.”
Chad turned and beamed. “Thanks pal, but I’m gonna stick around here for a while. Need some time to think.”
“Well, I don’t have to leave for a good ten minutes, you wanna catch up, I guess?”
Chad looked at him and smiled. “You know there is something I’ve been wondering.”
“Yeah, what’s that?” Aiden asked.
“How fast can you run?” He smiled as he pointed out at the path, which was now empty.
Aiden laughed. “Pretty fast.”
“How about I time you? See how long it takes you to get around this park. If you get back here in…less than five minutes, I’ll come hang with you. If not, you go and meet Alison and you tell her how you feel.”
Aiden’s heart skipped a beat. “What? Where did you get that idea?”
Chad raised his eyebrow, chuckling softly. “I’m not dumb, Aiden. And neither is she, it’s painful sometimes watching you two together.” He leant back, reclining his elbows and titling his head, sighing with laughter.
Aiden nodded and smiled. “Less than five minutes, right?” He got up.
“Yep, hold on, let me set it.” He took out his phone.
“Take your time.” Aiden laughed. He bent his knees slightly and kept his eyes forward.
“On your mark.”
Aiden flicked his wrist, sending a few sparks down on to the path.
He could feel the energy surging all over his body, vibrating every limb. His eyes caught a purse-snatcher by the entrance of the park. A woman screamed, and a man in a blue hoodie was attempting to get away.