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   Chapter 6

Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 12747

Updated: 2017-12-05 12:05


"Heaven! Wait!" Gats calls. I don“t want to wait. I want to leave this building before I slaughter some poor, innocent house plant. The night is still young and there“s plenty of time for patrol. I storm the hall for the elevator, cursing Angelos all the while. Traitor. Next time he“s falling to his death Jaylin can go save his sorry butt. "Hev! Don“t be like that!"

I whirl around. "I can “be“ any way I want to be! Leave me alone!" He barrels into me before I can get out of the way. We hit the ground. The impact knocks the wind out of me and I lie there, gasping like a fish out of water. "Thanks a lot, Gats."

"Well, excuse me, princess."

I cringe. Not only from his Legend of Zelda animated series reference, but from the whole “princess“ thing. "Please don“t call me that."

He rolls over and props himself on his side. "You okay?"

I sit up. "I don“t want to talk about it."

"Well, that can“t be good," he says. I scan him up and down, soaking in each detail. The skinny jeans, the black tee, the woke-up-like-this perfectly styled white hair. If I he was a stranger wandering the streets, I“d ask him if he were lost and remind him the closest modeling studio is forty minutes away. He frowns. "You“re bleeding."

I wipe the side of my mouth. "I“m always bleeding."

"Are you hurt?"

I try to stand up, but he grabs my hand. I glare. "I“m always hurt."

He sighs. "Heaven, calm down. You just woke up a few hours ago. I know you and Jaylin don“t like each other--"

"She broke into your house and tied you to a chair, Gats. You think I“m going to forgive her for that?"

He looks away. "She let us escape. She saved your life, Angel“s too."

I“m boiling up inside. "He took her side."

"You tore her apart." He laughs. "Of course he took her bloody side! If you had lost, Angel would“ve picked you up and carried you out. But lucky for us Cat got her butt kicked. What did she say to you?"

I take a long breath and count to twenty-five. What am I supposed to say? She said you didn“t love me. I cringe. No. It doesn“t matter if he loves me or not. I don“t need him. He“s nice, but if he doesn“t like me, that“s fine. I don“t care. I don“t.

What else? That I“m not a true hero. That I“m only popular as a superhero because boys like me. That Gatsby had to rescue me and I needed help and I couldn“t save myself. "She called me a princess."

He gives me a long look and then sighs like an old man. "Love you, Hev, but I think you overreacted this time."

"She said other stuff too," I add. He“s laughing now and I shove him. He shoves me back.

"You kind of are a princess, you know?"

I pull away. "Oh, okay. Be like that. I need to patrol anyway--"

"Aww, Hev." He springs to his feet. "I mean that in a good way. Like, you know Mulan? How she wasn“t technically a real princess but Disney recognized her badassery and put her in the princess club anyway? You“re like that."

I blink. Mulan. I could get behind her. "Really?"

"Yeah." He purrs, and by “purrs“ I mean he“s real-deal cat purring. "I think you“re great."

"Uh." My heart“s beating all out of whack and I don“t know what to do. What can I say? I punch people. I don“t understand the intricacies of courtship and this romance-shomance stuff, let alone how to flirt with the guy who I made out with, I don“t know, a week or two ago. We haven“t even been on a date. Actually, I“ve never been on a date. With anyone. Ever. If I am a "siren," then my personality sure scares off all the gents.

Frankly, it sucks Gats knows how to put the moves on and I don“t. He stoops a little so he“s at my eye-level. That“s right. I“m so short even Gats has to stoop for me. "I“m just happy you“re okay. I don“t know what I“d do if you died."

"Huh." I think I told him I“d marry him or something

y do you hate Mr. Mason so much?"

"If you took his class you“d know." I shrug. "Anyway, that“s running away from your problems. Moving away from some place because dangerous supervillains know where you live isn“t running away from your problems, it“s called “common sense.“"

He just shrugs back. "I like it here. I don“t ever want to move again, Hev, ever. Even if it kills me."

"Well, it just might." I cross my arms. "If I can“t talk some sense into you, maybe Juniper will understand."

"Yeah?" His voice cracks. He turns away. "Well, be like that bossy Miss-I-know-what“s-best-for-everyone!"

I glare, but I don“t say anything back. I am bossy. And I do know what“s best. I turn my back to him and stare at the brown walls. When we hit the ground floor, I leave. Just silently turn my back, speed walk through the lobby, and leave the building. The wind“s brisk. The sidewalks are empty.

"Hey kid!" someone shouts. I don“t look up. Which alleyways lead quickest to Kimberly Strip? There are so many people who live there and can“t afford to have their shops graffitied or their windows smashed in. I try not to think about Angel and Gats being mad at me.

Let them be mad. I don“t care. "Kid!" I stuff my hands in my pockets and flick my eyes to the street.

Black van. Oh. That“s not good. I“ve watched my fair share of action movies, I know what misfortune those suckers bring. It“s trailing me, isn“t it? I walk faster, wedging myself closer to the shop windows. I check my reflection in the glass. Yup. It“s trailing, definitely trailing me.

I fumble for my phone. I flick my eyes to the window again and see the vehicle stop and the passenger door open. "Yo, kid! Heaven!"

My phone hits the pavement and smashes into itty-bits of broken plastic when I hear my name. My super-speed“s still in the works. I can“t outrun that machine!

Someone“s wearing a mask. So Poison wasn“t lying about that "saving the effort" stuff. Snare planned to take me the moment I left my building.

You see, this is why I spent all that time hiding my identity. Not because showing my face would make me a "less effective crime-fighter" or whatever that means, but so people wouldn“t try to shoot me. Or follow me around in black vans. Angel“s lucky, Snare and Syndicate had some sort of treaty barring either of them from stealing him. Only a third party, a neutral like Cat, could. And she didn“t carry a gun or drive a black van. These guys though?

Yeah, no. They“re not taking me, not without a fight. I hit “panic“ and run.

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