Hello friends! Are you surprised to see me on a Monday?
I’m beginning to create a new posting schedule in order to accelerate the release of Aftershock and L’Etudiant Etranger, and all the holiday themed posts too! So some Mondays, I will be posting Aftershock episodes! I’m on track for this season to wrap up in November, just in time for the holidays!
CATCH UP ON SEASON ONE
CATCH UP ON SEASON TWO
When I returned to the plane, Tori and Andy looked distraught.
“Are you sure that kid wasn’t powered?” Andy questioned. “There wasn’t a whole lot of time to test his DNA.”
I faltered. I hadn’t thought that part through. How would I get out of this?
“I could tell he wasn’t,” I lied.
“How can you be sure?” Tori asked.
“I taught her,” Pyro piped up. “There are certain tells that give off whether someone has powers or not.”
I silently thanked Pyro. She didn’t know what I was planning, but she still covered for me. I appreciated her loyalty.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “It’s not that hard.”
Tori and Andy shared a hostile glance. “Maybe you should teach us,”
“Seriously though,” Tori added, changing the topic. “That earthquake didn’t seem natural.”
She flicked to a news report about how the quake had only touched one alley. I felt sick. This was all on me, and it was only a matter of time before they knew about me. I didn’t want to imagine what LoS would do to me, a super who lied about not having powers.
“That is weird,” I fibbed. “Maybe there was another super in the area.”
Andy shook his head. “None of the supers can create earthquakes. Except…”
He trailed off, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know how he intended to finish his sentence.
Andy pulled up a file. “No, it couldn’t be.” He scrolled through a file, and though I only caught a glimpse of it, I knew it was my mother’s.
“The only super who has earthquake powers is Lady Earthquake. But she’s been dead for fourteen years,” Andy explained.
Pyro met my eyes. We both knew that wasn’t true.
“Maybe there’s another super with earthquake powers,” Pyro suggested.
“Maybe,” Andy agreed.
I breathed a sigh of relief. “Anyway,” I returned to our earlier discussion. “The kid didn’t have powers.”
Tori sighed. “I believe you.”
Andy nodded. “It’s not that we don’t believe you, Lauren, we just…”
I didn’t miss the fact that as he trailed off his eyes drifted to Pyro. When I vouched for her, I knew I’d lost some of the progress I had made bonding with Tori and Andy. It hurt, to come so close to earning their trust and then to lose it.
But what I was about to do would utterly shatter every ounce of their trust I had left.
“I want to take a break from the team,” I announced before I lost my nerve.
Jaws dropped and eyes widened.
“What?” Tori gasped.
It was clear that my team hadn’t seen this coming. Even Pyro gave me a look of shock. I couldn’t blame them I guess. I never would have wanted to leave this team, even if our relationship had shifted. But when images of Teddy’s scared, dark eyes filled my mind, I knew someone had to help him. And that someone had to be me. No one understood him as I could. Which was why it was so important for me to separate from my team. They couldn’t know about him.
“You heard me,” I added. “I need a break.”
Andy nodded. “I guess we can look at our schedules and find a time for you to take a vacation.”
“No,” I firmly replied. “I need a break now.”
Tori and Andy shared a worried glance. “Can we talk to you alone?”
I shrugged. “Fine with me,” I motioned for Pyro to leave. As soon as she left, Tori and Andy‘s demeanors shifted and I could see more of their true personalities. I could easily read their worried emotions.
“What’s gotten into you?” Andy’s forehead wrinkled.
Guilt washed over me. These were my friends, family even! I hated to keep things from them. But I couldn’t take any chances with Teddy’s safety.
“I just…have some personal things going on right now,”
Tori wrapped her arm around my shoulder. “You know you can tell us anything.”
Part of me wanted to sob and tell them everything. About Pyro, about my mother, and even about me. But I knew I couldn’t. Not yet at least. Teddy needed my help, and I couldn’t take any chances until I knew he was safe.
“I can’t. Look, I just need some time. When I come back, I promise I’ll tell you guys everything.”
I meant it. As soon as I’d taken care of Teddy, I would tell them everything, no matter the consequences. But first, I had important business to take care of.
“Fine,” Andy sighed. “But what are we supposed to do about Pyro?”
I shrugged. “I do think she wants to help. Just keep an eye on her.”
Tori nodded as she pulled me in for a hug.
“Be careful out there, okay?” Her eyes glistened.
That was the last I’d see of my teammates for a while. Possibly the last I’d ever see of them. I had no way of knowing for sure.
After we’d said our goodbyes, I’d gathered my possessions and left.
“This is for you Teddy,” I whispered, leaving the plane.
See you guys on Friday for one of our regularly scheduled posts and on Monday for the next installment of Aftershock!