I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been lying on my bed in the dark for hours. I don’t know why, but I’m worried like crazy. I mean, I do know why. School starts tomorrow. And yeah I’m always a little nervous when school starts up but not like this. This year is different.
Things are sort of going crazy in the mutant world the last few months. Mutants are getting violent against humans all over the place, and its scaring the hell out of the normals. It doesn’t help that humans are now trying to make us register and get Sentinels up and running again. Plus they are being just as violent as we are. Not that it matters, it’s the mutants who make the news.
It’s because of this craziness that my job as an X-Man gets harder, and now even school gets more dangerous. They are apparently sending in some ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to be our Dean of Discipline. Supposedly he is going to be searching for mutants while he is there. It’s also happening in seven other schools in the state. People are just letting it happen.
I picked up my cell phone, which was beside me, and looked at the time. It was almost four. I sighed and checked my phone to make sure the alarm was on. This phone was doubling as my alarm clock after I accidently smashed my old one. This phone was a bit more sturdy than the radio, plus it’s my cell. I’d never harm it. And now because I like to talk on the phone or anything, I hate doing that, but because this phone is also my image inducer. In one click, with a simple finger print and DNA analysis, the image inducer displays my costume over my body so I don’t even have to change. Sure there are some big disadvantages too it. Like you know, not having a costume really on, but it really is useful.
I sat up on my bed, looking around my dark room. It wasn’t exactly an interesting room. White bare walls, a brown dresser, blue carpeting, my lap top was on my desk, a TV on a stand so I can view it from my bed. I wasn’t exactly the decorating type. I had one picture in the room. It was of the others and I. Lily gave it to me. She thought it was important I had a picture of all us together in a picture.
I sighed and collapsed onto my pillow and lifted my hand up. I looked to my fingers and my finger tips lit with a blue glow. I waved my hand in the air and the blue kinetic energy seemed to fall behind slightly, leaving five lines of harmless energy glowing in the air.
I really was just so stressed out. They say Junior year in high school is the most important year. It’s the one which all the universities and colleges look at. If you don’t do good here you’re screwed. I mean I barely passed Geometry last year and I can’t repeat that here or I’m done. My parents want me to go to a real college and not to Xavier’s in California. I mean, I don’t want to go there either. I like having a normal school and normal friends. It keeps me grounded.
Junior year was also the year of the SATs. Standardized Assessment Test. I think that’s what it stands for. Whatever it is, it’s one test which basically determines you’re whole future. Want to go to a good college and get a good job? Well you better do good on your SATs. That’s basically what’s been said to me since I’ve got started high school. One freaking test determines so much. And the crappy thing is the school freaks because they want to have the higher test scores so the could look better, so they just keep reinforcing how important this test is and keep preparing us and encouraging our parents to sign us up for SATs courses at the school. Not that my mom needs encouragement. She isn’t sending me to the SATs courses at the school, she’s sending to some expensive one, like Princeton Review or Stanly Kaplan. She wants only the best, my mother and she won’t send me to Cassie or anything cause she thinks I’ll just goof around. She says I better do good if she’s spending all this money. We aren’t exactly rolling in the cash money.
So right now in my life I’m trying to juggle being a leader of the X-Men, handling all these mutant problems, a girlfriend, my best friends, my normal friends, my family, school, the SATs, this new S.H.I.E.L.D. guy, training for whenever Apocalypse shows his handsome mug again, and of course, whatever new evil that is bound to come, because they always pick such great times to do their deeds of mean.
So yeah, no pressure!
I looked in the mirror sighing. I had some major bags under my eyes. I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep. I’m taking this college course on the human anatomy for the next four months. I was very lucky to get it. My mom’s friend had to pull a few strings, I had to write an essay and show my perfect SATs score and everything. I was the only kid my age in the class. So naturally I wanted to impress and I wanted to have the highest grade in the class. I mean it wasn’t so hard, it’s freaking ESU, not a lot of geniuses there. It isn’t like Columbia, Cornell or Yale, one of the three schools I want to go too, though I’m considering going to school in the UK. I don’t know. I guess I’ll decide next year, I’m not really worried about that, I can get in wherever I want.
But this class is actually a lot of work and I want everything to be perfect. And I mean everything from my notes to my paper. Perfection is key for me.
Plus I keep dreaming of Serenity. Every night I see her. All insane, and all powerful. I know she’s coming I mean she has too be. Jean and I both did a search for her on our separate Cerebros, but like usual got nothing. It was worrying me. I hated that we were in this position, waiting for whatever was to come. And the others are so nonchalant about it. They think I’m just having nightmares. They think if she was really back, that she would have attacked already. I told them that she’s probably planning something and Emma agreed with me.
“You should really try make up,” Emma appeared by my side in a tight, white, strapless dress, “Your whole, ‘I’m too feminist for make up thing is just plain boorish.’”
“I wear make up sometimes,” I looked to Emma with a frown, “I’m sorry if I don’t look like a transsexual like you do, but hey this Halloween, I’ll promise to leave my dignity at the door and dress like you.”
“Would never work,” Emma tilted her head, “You are way too butch for me. Plus you would look horrible with my hair color.”
“Most black girls do,” I said running a hand through my straight black hair.
“Have you been thinking of Serenity?” Emma leaned against a wall and looked at me with a bored expression, “I think you are obsessing too much about the girl. Is there something you’d like to tell that wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit?”
I turned around and rolled my eyes, “I can’t help myself from getting a vision.”
“But you can,” Emma’s cold blue eyes looked right into my brown eyes, “It’s all a matter of practice. See this is why I was sent to teach you in the first place and not Jean. She’s too soft on you. She’s all about easing you in. Me, well I did not care if I was to leave you mental impaired. I actually thought it would be an improvement personality wise for you.”
“Jean’s doing alright,” I frowned, “Plus I still have you, though we all seem to go over what I already know. Why can’t you teach me something I don’t know?”
“You know why,” Emma gave me a coy smile and before I could answer she disappeared.
I rolled my eyes. She’s the biggest pain in the ass, but I won’t lie, I like having her around. She appeared about four months ago, a month after her death. At first I was freaked and didn’t believe it was her. I thought I was going crazy, but then she told me that she had somehow imprinted her psyche on me, probably because how close we had gotten. She didn’t know why she didn’t go to Jean, but I guess it was like the Professor Xavier back on Thanksgiving, when he entered my body. There is just something about my telepathic signal or whatever.
I told the others of course, no more keeping secrets. They made me get checked by Jean who said she felt absolutely nothing abnormal in my head and only sensed me, not Emma or anyone else. But, she said that I could be masking it or something. I tried to get Emma to talk to Jean, but apparently she can’t. Apparently only I can see Emma and even though I try to show her to the others, it just won’t work. Everyone thinks I’m just crazy though. Let them think it. I mean, really are they ones to talk?
I headed downstairs just as my dad was heading out the door. Both my parents were extremely busy. My mom was one of the top heart surgeons in the country and my dad was a big shot lawyer. My mom was already at work by the time I got up, but had left me a note on the joys of pacing myself. She felt I overworked myself and that I didn’t need to be perfect, just happy. I always tell her I inherited her work ethic.
My dad paused at the door and looked to me. He was a very handsome and tall with just a few dignified gray hairs. He smiled at me, his hand still on the door knob.
I waved, “Dad.”
“You excited about today?” he asked probably already knowing the answer.
I shook my head, “Going back to school with a bunch of kids I hate? Not really.”
“Come on Cass,” my dad frowned at me, “Try to be a bit more optimistic. You wouldn’t believe how it changes things.”
“Oh I’m sure it does wonders,” I said in a very light and sarcastic tone, “Don’t you have to get to work?”
“I do, I just couldn’t leave without giving you this,” my dad said stepping away from the door and walking over to me. He kissed me on the forehead. “Just try not to make anyone cry.”
“I don’t make promises I can’t keep,” I smirked at him.
He sighed, but smiled and headed out the door.
I watched him as he walked to the driveway, where his car was parked. Across the street, in another large white house a blonde boy in a fancy school uniform was getting into a limo. That was Brian Braddock. He moved here a few months ago. He has an adopted sister, and his parents are really stuffy and snobby. Brian seemed nice enough though, a bit shy and awkward. He went to the really posh private school a few towns over, only a select few could get in. I could have gotten in, but I chosen not too. Not that I love going to public school, but I like going to school with the others.
His sister Betsy, a girl with purple hair, was watching him from the door and gave him a small wave. I guess she wasn’t going to private school, which I found weird. Her parents were the type which seemed to force private school-dom. I went back inside closing the door behind me.
I started my before school tradition that I always do. First I put the song Graduation by Vitamin C on repeat on iPod and put it in my iHome. It gives me a headache and I’m no where near graduating but it inspires me to get dressed quickly so I could turn it off. Otherwise it would take me forever to get dressed because I could at times take a while to get find the perfect first day of school wear.
I think what you wear the first day of school kind of sets the mood for the rest of the year with your teachers. First impressions and all. You can’t dress too nice because then they just think you are some rich snob, you can’t dressed to conservative because then they think you are some smart ass book warm, and you can’t dress too slutty or they think you’re a whore. Luckily I have anything that calls under the slut category in my closet, instead I wore a white tank top with a small black denim jacket and a khaki skirt which went to about my knees. It was, I think, a thing that said, ‘Hey I’m just a nice normal, yet fashionable girl, who is here to learn and not cause trouble, but if you fail me I’ll have my evil mutant father kill you’. I put on my white sneakers, instead of any type of nice fancy shoe. I mean I like shoes, but I’m totally a sneaker girl.
I finally shut off the monstrosity that is Graduation and next went to the bathroom to due my hair. This didn’t take long. I decided that I’d just wear it in a ponytail today, you know, keep the whole casual thing going. So I straightened a few of my stray light brown hairs with water, and pulled playfully on the back of my ponytail.
I then got put my headphones, attached to my Ipod, laid down on my bed and listened to Time of Your Life by Green Day and cried for like a good two minutes. It might seem crazy but I find it cathartic. First days of school always make me sad because it means we are closer to the last day of school, which means we are closer from all going off to college. I couldn’t even imagine that; separating from all my friends. I mean Allie and my other friends I could deal with but Josh, Cassie and Cory? Not in a million years. The thought horrifies me, and makes me cry. Time of Your Life makes me think of it though, of us separating, so I listen to it to prepare myself for that day. It really is a bit crazy, but I think if I’m not extremely prepared for that day where we all go our separate ways, I’ll just have a breakdown.
For one of the people I care about most that day is actually coming up soon. Okay not soon, but in about a year. Connor is a senior. He got a great score on his SATs, is on high honor roll, and was part of the Honor Society. Plus he is a star pitcher. A bunch of schools, schools far away, are going to be considering him to go play for them. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that, actually I know I’m not ready. Thinking about him going to college him makes me almost as sad as the others going off, almost being the keyword. He is important to me, and I love him, but no one matters more to me more than the others. Not one person.
I headed downstairs and the smell of bacon hit my nose. I arrived at the last step and tilted my head slightly so I could look in the kitchen. Two plates were on the kitchen table filled with bacon and eggs.
I smiled and walked into the kitchen.
My dad, the adopted one, not the murderer, was pouring two glasses of chocolate milk. He put the milk down and turned around, with both glasses in hand.
“Hey hun,” he said giving me a large smile, “I thought I’d make you breakfast. You still have time right?”
“Yeah I’m meeting the others in fifteen,” I said looking at my watch, “I finished getting ready early.”
“Impressive,” my dad smiled at me, his dark brown eyes looking at me ones with pride. My dad didn’t look a lot like me. I mean obviously. He had really bright red hair, and tons of freckles. He was sort of pasty and overweight, and had a sort of dopey smile. He looked like a total dad and I loved him for it.
I took a seat, still looking at my father. I don’t know why I just can’t be happy with just him. He’s a great dad. Sure he works a lot and yes his work sometimes sends him on business trips, but he calls like three to four times a day when he’s away, and makes sure I call him at least twice(I call him three times at least). He’s supportive, kind and always there for me. Even after my adoptive mother left us last year, he did nothing but make sure I was happy. He was everything anyone could ask for in a father. He loved me unconditionally, just like a father should.
“Lily?” My father looked at me concerned, “Are you okay?”
I felt wet tears on my cheeks. I hadn’t even realized I had begun to cry. I wiped my tears away quickly.
“I’m fine,” I smiled at my father, “This was just really nice of you.”
My father sat down on the seat opposite me and smiled, “You’re my daughter I’d do anything for you.”
I had to fight back tears again. Why did I ever go to my father, my real one, when I had this. Why did I so desperately want him to be my father? Why does a part still want him to be? Was I just some glutton for punishment?
I didn’t really do anything in the morning. Sometimes I brushed my teeth other times I didn’t. It counted how I was feeling in the morning. I did take a shower though, I promised Lily I would and even I shampooed, I promised Lily I would do that too. After getting out I got dressed in whatever was lying around on my floor. I looked good either way, or at least I thought I did. Cassie would always say my shirts were wrinkled and I looked like a bum. But hey, who said bums weren’t sexy?
I wasn’t exactly thrilled school started. I’m not school’s biggest fan and school isn’t mine. I do horrible in school. I failed a class last year, and got basically all D’s. I was gonna to go to summer school this year, but I decided against it. I think I’m going to go next summer. I don’t think I need to do good in school. I don’t have any plans to go to college. I want to go live in some apartment in the city and start my music career. Make it big. Cassie says I’m living a pipe dream, but Josh always responded with a “We fight for a pipe dream, so shut up and let him be.” That always pisses her off.
I headed downstairs, it was almost time to meet the others, I’d probably be late. It’s hard to get up in the morning again. I usually sleep until like 2 PM, unless we have early training sessions. My parents were both up, drinking coffee. They were sitting as far away from each other as possible. Neither were doing anything, just drinking coffee in dead silence.
“Well,” I said looking to them, “I’m off to school. Junior year and all.”
“Yup,” my dad responded taking a sip of his coffee and not really looking at me.
I looked to my mom who gave me a simple nod then went back to her own coffee.
I headed out the door, neither of my parents giving me one last goodbye. I didn’t expect much. They never made a big deal about anything concerning me. I mean since Donnie died, they haven’t, maybe even before then. Maybe its hard for them. Donnie never got to be a Junior. He died the summer before he started. They still live in the past, I guess that’s fine. I shouldn’t expect anything else. I’m living in the present. I’m doing what Donnie did not, I’m not going to be sad about it. I mean yeah I will, because I’m going back to school and that sucks, but I’m not living in the past and thinking “Oh I suck for living.”
The girls were waiting frr me at the end of the block. Lily greeted me with a hug and Cassie a sigh.
“Come on, come on,” Cassie said starting to walk, “We have that freaking assembly today. If we’re late, everyone in school will now.”
“Including the new DoD,” I nodded.
“Don’t call him that,” Lily frowned, “That sounds weird.”
“I wonder how he’s going to be,” I said, “Maybe he’ll just turn out to be totally chill.”
“I doubt it,” Cassie replied as we turned down the street and we went straight, the school was about eight blocks down. Cassie’s house, or well, mansion was pretty close to the school.
“You’re so pessimistic,” Lily sighed, “I mean, maybe he isn’t searching for mutants, maybe he just wants to better the lives of children everywhere?”
Cassie rolled her eyes, “Well whatever. I’m not worried about this guy, I’m worried about Serenity.”
Lily sighed, “Come on Cassie, you can’t worry about her. I mean, it’s been, what eight or nine months since she broke free from Robert Reynolds. Don’t you think she would have done something by now?”
“Like I told you,” Cassie narrowed her eyes at Lily slightly, “She’s probably planning something, or I don’t know, just buying time before she attacks. She is definitely a threat we can’t ignore and Emma agrees with me.”
Lily and Cory exchanged worried glances and I seemed to catch us.
“Don’t you two do that!” she yelled at us, “She exists.”
“Jean said she didn’t feel anything,” Lily bit her lip and looked at Cassie nervously.
“She said I could be masking Emma,” She corrected her, “Which I am, because I really do see her.”
Lily looked to the ground and muttered, “Well why can’t we?”
“I don’t know,” Cassie shrugged, “I mean, maybe Emma isn’t powerful enough in this form to contact others.”
“Or maybe,” I began finally adding something to the conversation, “you’re just a little-”
“A little what?” Cassie snapped and stopped walking, “Crazy?”
Lily and I exchanged glances again.
“You’re just very stressed out,” Lily looked up to Cassie, “I’m just saying. Maybe you should consider that your powers might be acting up and that’s what causing Emma to appear, because you actually liked her. There isn’t really anything crazy about-”
“There’s not,” Cassie snapped again, “And it’s not what’s going on. And please don’t call me crazy, I mean have you two looked at yourselves, especially you Lily. You’re boyfriend can’t even touch your breasts for more then five seconds.”
“Oh!” Lily waved her hands in the air, “Well I’m sorry I’m not a whore!”
“Oh yes, we all know how that extra two seconds of boob touching so crosses the whore line,” Cassie rolled her eyes and then looked to me. I shivered slightly and then stepped behind Lily, crouching slightly. Cassie looked at me then Lily, who had her arms crossed and looked pretty angry. “I’m sorry. It’s just, this Emma thing, it’s a sore subject.”
Lily’s arms immediately dropped and she smiled at Cassie, “Its okay. I mean, I just don’t want to see you hurt.”
“I know,” Cassie smiled.
Lily walked towards Cassie and threw her arms around her, hugging her tightly. Cassie sighed and put her arms around Lily, hugging her back but not as tight.
“You should kiss,” I nodded, “That’d be hot.”
Lily and Cassie both looked at me disgusted and then broke from their hug and continued to walk towards the school. I don’t know why they are so angry. It would have been.
“Oh,” Lily suddenly said looking from Cassie then to me, “You guys want to come to my house for a movie tonight?”
“I’m not sure if I could,” Cassie frowned.
“Same,” I said walking to Lily’s side
“Come on guys,” Lily frowned.
“I’ve got my college class tomorrow,” Cassie began, “And I want to write new note cards and maybe put pictures of them.”
“And I’ve got band practice,” I nodded.
“Oh okay,” Lily’s face fell, “I just feel we haven’t hung out in so long.”
“We’re hanging out now,” Cassie responded, “And we had training just yesterday and we stopped an evil mutant together two days ago. I think that constitutes as hanging out.”
“I don’t,” Lily muttered just as the school came into view and Cassie looked down at her watch.
“Come on,” Cassie said, “We’ve got like three minutes before we have to be in the assembly.”
“Slower!” my mom yelled in my ear as I pulled up to the school in her car. Yes I had my permit now, which meant I could drive. Well as long as I had an adult with me, “Park closer to the curb! Slower!”
“I’m slowing down!” I yelled back at her as I started to park. I stopped a bit short and my mom and I both leaned forward slightly in our seats.
“That was a horrible stop, you were going too fast,” my mom looked at me with her angry blue eyes.
“I was going at a responsible speed,” I sighed.
Her eyes narrowed. I looked my mother and rolled my eyes. My mom and my sister Kaylee looked a lot like. Both very pretty with same bright blue eyes, but instead my mother is a natural blonde, which my brother Danny, who is now in college in Virginia, is the only real blonde in the family.
“Put the car in park, I’m calling your father and telling him I’m not okay with you driving,” she said opening the passenger door and stepping outside.
I sighed as I put my mom’s car in park and unbuckled my seat beat and got out of the driver’s seat, walking to the front of the car where my mom was waiting for me.
“Well I’m going to be late,” I said not really looking at her. I was pretty angry. She yelled at me the whole car ride. I was going to fast, I wasn’t staying inside the lines, I wasn’t turning correctly, stopping correctly or doing anything I should be doing. Nothing seemed to make her happy. “Maybe if I was able to go faster.”
“You went fast enough,” my mom frowned, “Well have fun today. Do good, and don’t get into any trouble.”
“Trouble gets into me,” I responded then cringed, “That sounds wrong.”
My mom lip twitched into a smile and she gave me a hug then a kiss on the cheek.
I gave her a small smile and a waved goodbye as I headed into the school just as the bell rang.
“Damn,” I cursed under breath as I quickly headed to the auditorium, but then remember that the assembly was in the gym because it could fit more people. Cursing again, I headed downstairs to the gym and rushed in, just as the last few people were sitting down on the bleachers.
A few teachers looked over to me as I made my way to the wooden bleachers. I saw my Geometry shake her head at me and I just ignored her.
It wasn’t hard to find the others, especially since Lily was waving her hands in the air, yelling my name at the top of her lungs.
This time it was Megan’s voice calling out to me. She was sitting with Allie and a few other girls. I saw Allie glare at me with narrowed eyes, the same look she’s given me since my good friend Derek broke up with her.
I looked over to Derek who gave me a nod. He knew I wasn’t going to sit over with him and he wasn’t going to put me in a situation where he was going to ask. Megan on the other hand was waving me over and then looking at Allie annoyed, whispering something in her ear which Allie just rolled her eyes too.
“JOSH!!” Lily screamed her loudest yet People were covering their ears.
I looked to Lily and then Megan, feeling a bit torn. Lily was pointing at a seat right next to her and Megan had a seat empty next to her. I looked to Derek thinking maybe it would be just easy to sit next to him, but it was no good. There weren’t any seats available. I looked back to the floor of the gym, looking to see who this S.H.I.E.LD. buy was, but I didn’t see anyone unfamiliar. Maybe he was late?
I shook my head and looked to Megan was about three rows up from the floor. I gave her a bit of a shrug and mouthed sorry. She looked at me hurt then turned around, Allie nodding at her with a satisfied smile.
I moved to the highest row and moved down the row, past some students to the seat next to Lily.
“Hey,” I said looking over to Lily, Cassie and Cory.
“Nice job ditching the girlfriend,” Cassie smirked. “That just might send her crying to the bathroom.”
“I just thought it was important we’d sit together today, with you know,” I looked back to the floor, still not noticing any new staff.
“We offered her to sit with us,” Lily added, “Well Cory and I did, but I think Cassie made her feel unwelcome.”
“Imagine that,” Cory smirked.
“Well with this S.H.I.E.L.D. guy coming, I thought it would be better if we didn’t have any one listening to our conversation in case we wanted to talk,” Cassie clearly made up on the spot. She just hated Megan.
I looked around, though there was a white, brick wall behind us, but there people both below and on both sides of us, “And them?”
“Well,” Cassie began “the guy next to me is a huge fat ass, and that girl below you is pregnant with her cousin’s baby.”
I looked at her surprised and waited for some kind of reaction from the guy next to Cassie and the girl below me, but nothing. The girl was talking and the guy next to Cassie was yawning slightly.
“These people aren’t listening to what we have to say,” Cassie continued, “We aren’t exactly interesting to them.”
“Yeah if they only knew,” I sighed.
“Alright guys,” a woman’s voice filled the room. I looked to see my principal, Miss. Sanders, take the microphone from its stand and looked around to all of us, “Are we all excited for another fun year of school?”
There was a murmur of unenthusiastic yeahs.
“Now, first welcome to our new students,” she said-
“So where is this guy?” Cory asked looking down at the floor as my principal continued to talk, “Tardy on his fast day, I might actually be able to use that too my advantage.”
Cassie frowned, “You’d think some ex-government operative would be all about punctuality.”
“Booyah!” Lily suddenly yelled and then pointed back down to the floor.
She was pointing over to the door to the gym to which a man just entered. He was a tall, muscular man of about his late forties, maybe early fifties. He wore a fancy, very expensive looking blue business suit. He straightened his red tie as he walked towards where the administration was standing. He had gray hair and a very tough, yet handsome face. He looked like he shaved but he still had a substantial amount of grey stubble. His eyes were dark brown, and looked incredibly wise. Every student’s attention was turn towards him.
“He looks sort of kickass,” Cory looked down at him.
“This,” The principal seemed to have noticed that no one was paying attention to her anymore and was now looking towards the man, “Is our new Dean of Discipline, William Stryker.”
“Yikes,” Lily muttered, “That name is about cuddly as Dick Cheney.”
Stryker smiled and nodded at us all.
“How about you tell us a bit about yourself Mr. Stryker?” my principal handed Stryker the microphone and he stepped forward.
He cleared his throat, “Hello,” his voice was deep and a bit horse. Still it had a bit of a regal southern tone to it, which surprised me a bit. “I have to say, I am very happy to be here with all of you.”
“I’m sure,” I muttered under my breath.
“Now, I am sure many of you have questions about what I will be doing here,” he walked forward a bit, so that he was closer to all the students. His eyes began to scan each and everyone of us, “I will be here in, obviously, a disciplinary role. Tardiness, fights, any sort of indiscretions I will be dealing with. So yes, I am the detention giver.”
He seemed to think this was funny because he paused. Other then a few coughs, no one did much.
He continued on, “Now I just want everyone to know that I am also available if any of you need to talk to me about anything, and most certainly if you feel like someone is a danger to you.”
Cassie’s hand went up immediately and my eyes widened.
“What are you doing?” I said in a loud whisper.
“No talkie,” Cassie’s voice came into my head as she stuck her hand further in the air.
“We live in a very dangerous world right now and we need to work together to keep each other safe. Because together-” Stryker’s eyes finally caught Cassie’s hand and he looked a bit taken aback. My principal went up to his him and whispered something in his ear. Stryker nodded, his lips curling in a smile.
“Cassie come on,” I whispered again.
“Yes Ms. Eaton,” Stryker pointed to Cassie and I, at first, was surprised that he knew Cassie’s name. But then I realize that’s what the principal must have whispered in his ear. She probably warned him too. Even the teachers were scared of Cassie.
“I have a few questions if you don’t mind,” she said loudly, her voice carrying across the room.
I exchanged glances with Cory and Lily. Lily looked a bit nervous, while Cory had a huge smirk on his face.
“Well I have a bit more to say,” Stryker said into the microphone, giving Cassie a patronizing smile.
“Oh I’m sure you do,” Cassie smiled back, “But I feel that my questions are very important and I know many of my fellow students feel they need to be answered before you could go on. Nothing you are saying is truly computing with any of them. Now, it’s not because all those kids over there,” she pointed to a group of lost looking kids in the corner, “are high. Or because they,” she pointed to Megan and her friends, “are cheerleaders. I mean those have tons to do with it, but really, we all just have so many questions about you and its just plaguing us.”
“Is that so?” Stryker’s eyes started to scan Cassie and I felt a cold tension fill the room. I would not want to have those eyes on me, they seem to look into your very soul, but it doesn’t seem to scare Cassie one bit.
He was looking right at me, trying to intimate me, scare me. His eyes looked me over once and then moved right to mine. They are calm yet powerful. I’m sure every student here would be squirming under them right now. Not me.
“It is,” I continued, “There are a lot of rumors about you and I think it’s only fair that you let us ask questions.”
Stryker looked back to the principal, a smile on his face, then he looked back to Cassie, “Well I will answer what I can. So do any of you have any questions?”
Still standing I rose my hand. Josh moaned slightly.
“Yes Ms. Eaton,” he said again, still smiling, It was a very forced smile.
“By dangerous, are you talking about mutants?”
Josh moaned again loudly.
“I really don’t think this is a smart idea,” Lily’s voice came into my head this time.
“Stop it,” I thought back to her.
“They are part of the danger, yes Ms. Eaton,” he said calmly, “But that has nothing to do with me though does it? I thought you wanted to ask questions about me.”
“Well,” I put up a finger, “I just think you shouldn’t label mutants as dangerous. There is a very good chance there might be some mutants in this very room.”
Josh moaned again.
“That is very true Ms. Eaton,” Stryker continued, “And I do not mean to say that mutants are the only danger in this world. Humans are very dangerous too. And I would say any man or mutant, should come and talk to me if they feel they need help. Was that a satisfying answer?”
“Oh it was,” I replied back and gave him a smirk.
“Good,” Stryker smiled, “Now does anyone else have any other questions.”
And just like I expected, hands went up. Stryker pointed to Josh’s friend Derek. Derek was a jock, so I’m guessing he didn’t expect much from him, but he doesn’t understand teenage curiosity.
Derek stood up, his hands in his pocket. He wasn’t exactly looking at Stryker, “Is it true you worked for S.H.I.E.L.D?”
“I did,” Stryker nodded, “A long time ago, when I was much younger.”
Derek nodded and then sat down, his face looking a bit flushed.
Stryker pointed to another person. A tall girl with short black hair stood up.
“Why are you here then?”
Stryker smiled, “I want to help young people. I have become disheartened in the military.”
Allie raised her hand next, “But I’ve heard there are S.H.I.E.L.D. people in other schools.”
“That is just a rumor,” Stryker continued, his voice remaining completely calm.
Another girl raised her hand then stood up without even being called. It was Betsy Braddock. Everyone turned to her. She was absolutely stunning and the purple hair just made her more eye catching.
“Now Mr. Stryker,” Betsy spoke with a British accent, “From the rumors I’ve heard, you worked in the mutant division of S.H.I.E.L.D, am I right?
I smiled slightly. That was the exact question I hoped someone would ask.
“I worked in many divisions,” he replied.
“Yes, I’m sure,” Betsy put a hand on her hip, “It is known all over the world that S.H.I.E.L.D. has never exactly been mutant friendly, so what are your views on mutants? I mean, if you don’t mind me asking.” She didn’t sound like she cared if he minded.
“I do,” Stryker’s voice lost of a bit of its cool and his eyes narrowed at Betsy, “My views on anything, is my business and mine alone.”
“Thank you for answering my question,” Betsy smiled and took a seat as more hands started rose into the air.
“That’s enough for now,” Stryker put his own hand up, “If you have any other questions, you are more then welcome to ask me in person.”
No one put their hand down at first but then Stryker scanned the room, his eyes going over everyone. Their hands went down immediately.
“Now, I just want to make it clear,” Stryker began his voice now as calm as it once was, “That whatever views I have on anyone, I am here for one reason. That is to help you, the students. Take it for whatever you will. My past is my past. I am sure, even at your young age, you all have a past. What I care most about is you, your safety, and your trust. I am not here as an ex-S.H.I.E.LD. agent and no I am not here as your friend, I am here as your Dean of Discipline and that is all. But again, that doesn’t mean you can’t come to me, I encourage it. And really, this is all I need to say.”
The principal smiled at Stryker as she took the microphone from him and said, “Everyone to homeroom to get your schedules.”
All the students were up in seconds and talking fast to each other.
“Why’d you do that?” Josh asked me angrily as we made our way down the bleachers.
“To try and get him to show his cards,” I responded, “And to make show everyone knpws who he is.”
“Yeah but there were rumors,” Josh continued as we arrived on the gym floor and headed for the door.
I noticed Stryker eyeing me with a slight smile, then looking to the other students. He looked sort of satisfied, but I knew he wasn’t.
“This is high school,” I began, “A new rumor involving your girlfriend getting gang banged by the chess team would have just replaced it. Now everyone knows his past as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is true, and that he was part of the mutant division.”
“And they know he obviously doesn’t like mutants,” Lily said coming up from behind us, “His answer was basically, “I hate them, but I’m not going to just come out and say it.”
“Exactly,” I said turning towards Lily and smiling.
“So, what’s the point though?” Cory asked confused, “I mean, lots of people are mutant haters.”
“True,” I said as we made our way up the stairs, “But now at least the mutants in this school know not to go too him.”
“Because they would have anyway?” Josh asked skeptically.
“Probably not,” I said as we arrived in the school’s main hall, “But I rather be safe then sorry. Plus we’ve revealed stuff about him on day one that he probably never wanted revealed. The guy didn’t come off looking too great in there.”
“And you think it matters?” Josh stopped walking, “You shouldn’t have done that.”
“I think it was actually a good idea,” Lily came to my defense, “The worse we make the guy look the better.”
Josh sighed, “That might be right, but come on, he’s a teacher. No one is going to love him.”
“True,” I nodded, “But at least he isn’t veiled behind mystery, I mean he still kind of is, but now people will be less interested in him.”
“And now he knows who you are,” Josh obviously wasn’t letting this go, “And he’s going to be watching you.”
“He was anyway,” I responded, “I’m the smartest girl in school, hell in the state, he was going to watch me anyone. Just like he’ll watch all of you.” I looked to Cory, “Brother killed by mutant,” then to Josh, “Sister was kidnapped by Magneto,” and last to Lily, “Parents killed my Magneto.”
“Air quotes!” Lily smiled and made quote sign with her fingers.
“I don’t know Cassie,” Josh shook his head at Lily then looked to me, “I just…I didn’t want to be on his radar and now I think you’re the big beeping thingy on it.”
“That might be true,” I continued, “But I’m sure everyone who asked a question is, especially Betsy Braddock, and that also takes his eyes off of you three a bit. I mean, at least I hope. You guys know I work better than you all under pressure. So I mean, the last thing you need is more pressure.”
Josh’s face twitched in a smile but then he shook his head, “I’m still not sure if it’s a good idea.”
“I’m not either,” I sighed, “But it’s a risk that I think even Scott would agree with. We were on his radar and me not acting like myself would just make me more suspicious. I mean even if I wasn’t a mutant, I would still have been on his ass and you know that.”
“True dat,” Cory added, “I mean, I guess I’m safest. I’m a dumbass. I mean, come on, mutants are supposed to be advancement! The thing advancement here is my-”
“Don’t,” Lily looked at her Cory disgusted.
“This is why I need more guy friends,” Cory sighed.
Just then Megan passed us, not giving a second glance at Josh.
“Aw,” I said in a sad tone, “Now that isn’t peppy. Someone’s going to lose her pom-poms.”
Josh rolled his eyes at me and then followed Megan.
“Wait,” I ran up to Megan and grabbed her by the arm.
She turned around and looked at me angrily, “Oh so now you want to talk to me? Now I exist too you?”
“Are you angry at me?” I asked a bit taken aback.
“No,” Megan shook her head,
“Oh okay,” I nodded, “I just thought the whole walking away from me, snapping at me, meant angry. I guess I was wrong.”
Megan shook her head, “I mean I knew this would happen.”
“What would?” my eyes brows rose and I felt extremely confused.
“A big problem arises and you ditch me,” Megan said angrily, “I mean, you go right to them, and that’s how it’s going to be from now on. If isn’t going to be Stryker then it’s going to be someone or something else.”
“Megan,” I shook my head, “They are my best friends and of course I’ll turn to them.”
“And not me!”
I shook my quickly head, “No I mean, I’ll turn too you too.”
“It’s so aggravating,” Megan folded her arms, “And embarrassing! I looked such an idiot when you ditched me in front of all my friends, in front of the whole school.”
“I’m sorry,” I sighed, “I thought it was just important we stat together today. Plus we just haven’t been spending a lot of time together. I spent a lot of time with you this summer-”
“Well I’m sorry about,” Megan cut me off and looked at me angry.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” I put a hand on my forehead, “I meant, we spent a lot of time together this summer and the four of us were just really busy. The only time we spent together was doing super hero stuff, you know? It’s just not the same. And I mean, even up there, it was all about being, you know, mutants. It seems to be all we even talk about together anymore.”
Megan looked down at the ground, she didn’t look angry anymore, just sad, “And I can’t even be mad at you for something like that. I mean, I don’t want to be that girl. I don’t want to the X-Men’s Yoko or anything. It’s just I looked at you gusy, the unbreakable four, and it kind of makes me sad, which just makes me feel selfish. But there just isn’t any room for me when you guys are like that. Cassie makes sure of that.”
“I’m sorry, I really am,” I frowned at Megan.
“I know you are,” Megan looked at me sadly, “But this relationship isn’t going to work if it’s going to be like this from now on.”
“It won’t!” I reached for hand but she moved away. I looked at her sadly, “I promise.”
“Okay,” Megan sighed, “I have to get to homeroom, the bell is going to ring soon.”
“I just don’t want to be left on the outside looking in,” Megan began again, “I want to be someone you turn to, I want to be someone you’ll sit with even if it might make your friends upset. I just…I’m not asking you to choice me over them, I would never do anything like that. I know they are extremely important to you, I just…I don’t want to be left behind.”
“You won’t be,” I looked down at her and moved into kiss. Thankfully, she didn’t move and I kissed her softly on the lips.
“We really have to go,” she said as our lips parted, “You don’t want to be tardy. Apparently Stryker frowns on tardiness.”
After getting my schedule I went to my first class of the day; AP Trigonometry. I took my seat in the front of the class, right in the middle room. All the students were piling in, taking their seats, but it was Betsy Braddock who took the seat next to mine. She gave me a smug smile and then turned from me.
The teacher, a skinny, balding man of about fourty walked in with a big black man purse. He placed it on his desk and then took out papers.
“My name is Mr. Preston,” he said as he started to hand out the papers. I looked down on it and realized it was a test. Smiling I looked him too, “Since this is an AP course, I thought I’d test you right away. I want to see if you are really ready for this class because you are not, I advise you to go see your guidance counselor and drop this course. You may begin.”
I finished the test in about ten minutes later, I was the first one done. The teacher gave everyone else another ten minute and then graded our papers for about fifteen while we did us do some work in our text book. I was pretty sure I did excellent on the test. I might have gotten like one tiny thing wrong, but that’s it and it’s a big might.
“Alright,” Mr. Preston walked to the front of the room, “All of you passed.”
Everyone in the class sighed in relief except me and Betsy Braddock. I looked at her a bit surprised.
“Only two of you got A’s though,” he held up two papers, “And only one of you actually aced the test, perfect score!”
I folded my hands together, and tried to get my best modest look on. I suck at being modest.
“Betsy Braddock, congratulations,” he placed a paper down on Betsy’s desk and my mouth dropped, “And a 98 is just as impressive Ms. Eaton.”
I looked down at my paper shocked, seeing a red minus two and then I looked to Betsy, who had a big one hundred on her paper. I heard people muttering behind. I looked to Betsy, feeling a sense of utter loathing come over me. She looked at me and smirked, giving me a wink.
My mouth dropped even more, as Betsy turned around, an extremely smug smile on her face.
“Oh,” Emma appeared by side wearing an extremely slutty school girl’s outfit. Her boobs were putting out of her blouse and her skirt was extremely short, “I’m loving her.”
I walked into my fourth history class and was more than happy to see Josh also sitting there. He waved to me as I walked in and I walked over, taking the seat next to him.
“The school is abuzz,” I said sitting down, “Cassie got the second high grade on a test.”
“I heard,” he said laughing, “I saw Cory in the hall, he’s a bit scared, but happy nonetheless.”
I laughed, “I feel kind of bad. She’s going to be horrible at lunch. You do have sixth period.”
“I have seventh,” Josh frowned, “And I can’t switch because I need my sixth.”
“Really?” my face fell, “Yeah, I can’t switch out seventh…But at least we have this class together”
“Actually,” Josh frowned, “I’m switching of this class. Mr. Carter teaches this class and hates me because of something Danny did to him. He subbed as study hall monitor last year and gave me detention for being two minutes late. It was freaking study hall!”
“Oh,” I looked away from Josh.
“It’s okay,” Josh frowned, “When do you have study hall.”
“I don’t have one,” I replied, “I have ninth off this year.”
“So did!” Josh nodded, “So you, know, we’ll hang then.”
Most Juniors and Seniors had ninth period off. Plus I was mostly taking ninth so it would be easier when I babysit or when we have training. Josh knew that, he was just trying to be nice.
“Oh hey, speaking of hanging,” I put a hand on Josh’s arm and gave him a hopeful smile, “I want to watch a movie at my house. Cassie and Cory can’t come, so I’m inviting Connor and you can invite Megan and we can have a double date.”
“Uh,” Josh shook his head, “I can’t. I think after ditching her, Megan wants to have some alone time, and that means me buying her dinner and flowers. So I’ll have to pass, but you can help me come up with a way to actually have money for dinner and flowers.”
“I see,” I nodded and looked away, “That sounds…cool and uh, I can’t lend you some money”
“No,” Josh shook his head at, “No way. I’m going to ask my mom. She likes that I’m dating Megan, so I’m sure she’ll give me the money. Though, I’m going to hear about it for at least a couple of weeks.”
“Yeah,” I said looking down at desk and brushing back my hair.
“You okay?” Josh frowned.
“Fine, just fine,” I said looking at him with a big forced smile.
School ended, not that I made a big difference for me. I had a lot of what people called dumb classes, but I just liked to think of them as easy. The teachers didn’t make us do anything, and I liked that. Like I said, school wasn’t important to me. My band was important, the X-Men were important, and my friends were important.
I went to Josh’s locker after school, I wanted to talk to him about something.
“Yo homie,” I said going up to him.
Josh closed his locker and looked at me confused. “Homie?”
“Just trying something new,” I shrugged, “Listen, Cassie is still crazy.”
“Yes, as is Lily, as are you,” he nodded, ‘I like to think of myself as sanest. Not that it says much.”
“Hey I’m crazy, crazy hot,” I winked at Josh and punched him on the arm playfully. “Did you get the pun there? The double meaning? Sometimes I surprise you know?”
Josh laughed, “Yeah I got it. So what’s going on?”
“Cassie’s still talking to Emma,” I frowned, “And Emma’s dead, so…problem.”
Josh frowned at me, “Yeah sounds like it. But you know what Jean says…”
“To let her be and figure it out on her own,” I frowned, “But what if she never does? What if Cassie goes through her life thinking Emma really is Emma and not just her subconscious and that Jean only made that masking crap up.”
Josh sighed, “You know how Cassie is. She won’t listen to us and Jean and that Doc Samson guy said that it’s better if she fingers it out herself, being the type of person she is. Having Emma around seems to be some sort of comfort for her, and since we know it isn’t some, you know, evil, it’s pretty safe.”
“No,” I shook my head, “Living in the past is never safe. Trust me.”
Josh leaned against his locker and looked down at the ground, “I don’t know. I mean, I think they just don’t want a repeat of last year. She holds so much in, and if she thinks she is getting it out by talking to Emma, it will help. I mean her empathic powers seem to be working fine and while she’s strung out during school, she’s still general happy and even pleasant. I don’t want to take that away from her.”
I sighed, “I’m just worried about her.”
“I know,” Josh nodded, “I am too, but Jean and Ororo think this is best. They are afraid that if we take away from her, tell her that it’s her subconscious, that she’ll just get extremely depressed and suppress her emotions again.”
“She’s Cassie,” Josh continued, “She’ll realize what’s up soon enough, we all know that. And when she does, she’ll decide when she wants to let go of Emma, so let’s not force it upon her.”
“Right,” I turned away, “God forbid Cassie is forced to face someone’s death. That would suck.”
I walked away from Josh feeling a bit pissed off. No one knows more than me that death is something you have to move past, because if you don’t, it will just end up eating you alive.
I stopped, my heart beating a bit faster. I prayed that my powers wouldn’t start acting wonky as I turned slightly. William Stryker was standing just a few feet from me, his arms folded, an unreadable look on his face.
“Uh,” I lifted up my hands, “I didn’t anything.”
“No I’m sure you didn’t,” Stryker walked towards me with a smile, “But I’d like to talk to you about certain things.”
“Uh,” I looked around, “Like?”
“Your tardiness,” Stryker looked at me, “Your grades, the fact that you didn’t get a grade higher than a C last year.”
“Oh that,” I nodded, “Yikes.”
“I would say that’s the word,” he gave me another smile. It looked so fake.
“I really have to go, I’m in a band and I’ve got practice,” I started to point both my thumbs towards the door.
“You know Cory,” Stryker’s voice suddenly softened, “I’ve heard about your brother too.”
“Uh,” I looked at him surprised, “I’ve really got to go.”
“If you ever want to talk about it,” he reached into his pocket and took out a card, “Or them call me.”
I took the card from him and then looked at him confused, “Them?”
“I have a feeling, at least from your track record, I will see you soon,” he nodded at me and then began to walk away. He stopped and then turned around.
“And tell Ms. Eaton I like her viciousness. You are close with her are you not?”
“Uh yeah,” I nodded.
“Good to know,” Stryker smiled again, “Maybe she could help you in your studies. I most be off, I have more students like yourself to meet.”
With that he turned around and walked away again.
I looked down at the card as I walked out of the school, the fresh air hitting my skin. It had his name and number. He wanted me to call him. I wonder how many other students he’s giving this too.
I decided to still have people over for a movie. Allie was really depressed seeing Derek again in school, so I wanted to invite her and I told Connor to bring his best friend Greg Callie. Crystal Amaquelin was also going to come over for a bit.
Everyone but Crystal arrived around six, and my dad ordered us a pizza. I rented The Incredibles and my dad ordered a pizza.
I sat next to Connor, his arms were wrapped around me and I had my head placed on his chest. I wasb’t really paying attention to the movie. Instead I was looking down at a small business card in my hand. Stryker had given too him. He mentioned how he heard about how Magneto took away my parents, how horrible that has to be to never have known that. He said he was always available to talk. Sorry Stryker, but I filled my quota of conversations with evil bastards for a good while.
“What is that?” Connor asked looking at the card.
“It’s nothing,” I looked at him and kissed his on the lips as I slid the card into my pocket. I wasn’t throwing it away just yet. We might actually be able to use this to our advantage.
I looked over to Greg and Allie. Allie looked a bit bored and Greg looked incredibly uncomfortable. Allie played with her dyed blonde hair and her eye browns eyes were staring dully at the movie. Greg meanwhile was looking at Allie with his green eyes and moved close to her then away from her every two minutes or so. He ran a hand through his black hair and sighed. I really liked Greg, he was so shy, but it was really cute.
“I like Dash,” he pointed to the TV, “If I had a power, it would be that, you know, super speed.”
“Interesting,” Allie nodded and then looked back to the movie.
Greg put a hand on his forehead and I smiled at him sympathetically.
My door bell rang and I knew it was Crystal.
“It’s open!” I screamed.
Crystal walked in and waved at me. She reached into her black big black pocket, “Look what I got. SMIRNOFF!”
She waved a decent size bottle of Smirnoff around and looked down at it fondly, “Hello lova.”
“Ick,” I looked at her disgusted, “It’s a school night! And my dad’s home.”
“Okay first,” she put up a finger, “BFD! And second, do you want to ask him if he wants a shot.”
The others laughed but I rolled my eyes as Crystal took a seat, “You my friend,” she pointed to me, “need to learn to loosen up.”
“I’m loose,” I’m replied. Connor laughed and I slapped him hard on the stomach. He winced in pain.
“So this is what happens when you are home schooled,” Allie looked over to Crystal amused.
I looked to Crystal surprised, “You were home schooled! Wow that explains so much.”
Crystal rolled her eyes, “My parents are just really…” she paused and then shook her head as openedher bottle, “Well they are no where near as fun as I am.” She waved the bottle at Connor and I, “Come on!”
We both refused but Allie decided she’d take some shots.
“You coming?” Allie looked to Greg.
Greg looked at Allie surprised, his mouth hanging open slightly. “Uh…uh…I don’t…uh..know…”
“Uh okay,” Allie looked at him a bit confused. She turned to Crystal, “Let’s do it in the kitchen, that way if her dad comes down, they’ll warn us.”
Both them headed to the kitchen, while Greg looked after Allie with a hopeless look.
“I’m pathetic,” he muttered sinking down on the couch.
“Go,” Connor pointed his thumb to the kitchen.
“But dude, if I come home drunk on a freaking school night my parents would kill me,” he frowned.
“You’ll stay at my house until you sober up, just don’t drink that much,” Connor told him.
“You shouldn’t get drunk too impress some girl,” I looked at Greg with a frown and slapped Connor on the head, “Just go in there and watch her drink and talk to her. I mean, she can be a bit stuck up at first, but if she you get to know her, she’s really sweet.”
“Right,” Greg got up from the couch, “Well, I’ll do one of those.”
He headed to the kitchen, looking extremely nervous.
“Remember when we are all nervous with each other,” I looked up at Connor, moving my head so that it was now on his shoulder. I placed an arm across his chest and he smiled down at me.
“You talked about puke that first night at my house,” Connor looked down at me with his bright green eyes, “I think I would say I feel in love right there, but that would be a lie.”
“Yeah, I think I feel in love with you the first time we met,” he tightened his grip around me, “And you hit your head into the top of my car and struggled with telling me your name.”
“Oh yeah that,” I laughed and them moved my hand up from his chest to his face and gently stroked his cheek, “You know, I just want to thank you for sticking around and not abandoning me or whatever, no matter how rough it is to be with me. ”
“It’s worth every second,” he said leaning down a bit and kissing me on the lips, “And I wouldn’t ever want to be anywhere else.”