“Congratulations Ms. Martin and Mr. Cook,” the Dean’s deep voice boomed over the PA system. “You have fought with honor today, and have bested your peers. You are officially the number one and two ranked students in the freshmen class. This battle will determine which of you earns the coveted number one position.” Angela looked across the room at Jason, and met an equally determined expression. “You have both heard the rules of engagement several times today, but I must point them out again. This is the championship round between Angela Martin and Jason Cook…”
Angela didn’t tune out the rules of the match, but she focused the majority of her attention on Jason. He was breathing deeply but steadily, building up the supply of oxygen in his blood. <Does he need more oxygen than normal for his ability,> she vaguely remembered several Heroes who had a breath-based ability, but that didn’t quite mesh with a powerful telekinetic. She filed away the information anyway.
Jason’s feet were planted firmly at about shoulder length, with his left slightly farther back than his right. <If he isn’t braced for his attacks will some type of recoil knock him over?> Angela knew many ways she could knock the boy off balance. If one of her methods succeeded she would need to close the distance quickly and incapacitate him.
The telekinetic’s arms were hanging loosely at his side, rising and falling slightly along with his breathing. <Has he ever had to engage in hand-to-hand combat,> Angela wondered. Jason’s hands didn’t bear any of the callouses you’d see on a seasoned fighter, but with healers available that didn’t mean anything. <Does he need to use his limbs to direct his attacks? Are they in this position on purpose so he won’t give anything away?> Angela hoped he needed to. It would give her a valuable split second to react, but she planned on him being able to direct his power without the use of his limbs.
Angela kept up her mental barriers while she thought through potential weaknesses, and ways to exploit them. Jason was an advanced mind after all. She had no idea how good a telepath he was, so she made a mental note to inquire with Kyoshi after she was victorious. She would be victorious. Losing was not an option.
“…the match will begin in thirty seconds. Good luck!” the Dean’s introduction ended, and the room went eerily silent.
The only sound in the room was their controlled breathing. Each competitor knew the danger of getting winded too soon, and they were doing their best to enrich the blood in their bodies. Not that it mattered much to Angela. She reached deep within herself to the place where her power resided, and pulled. She shifted into her angelic form, the power more intoxicating than any drug.
<How can I lose?> she knew hubris could bring down the mightiest of Heroes, but she honestly felt unbeatable.
“Good luck, Angela,” Jason had seen her shifted form before, but she knew it was different experiencing it up close.
“Good luck, Jason,” she transformed her energy spear into the same maul she’d used against Mason.
She did a few arm circles for good measure, partly to avoid the momentary adjustment to the weapons weight, and partly to intimidate her opponent. If she could throw off Jason even for a moment it could be the critical aspect she needed for victory. Her weapon wielding arm blurred around her making the thump thump thump noise people associated with helicopters.
Jason’s eyes grew a little wider. He knew she’d pulverize his entire body if she hit him with that maul. <Good,> Angela marked her psychological warfare a success. The telekinetic wasn’t looking as confident as he had a moment before.
Angela’s imposing action had a down side, but she knew to expect this. Jason was going to go all out in the hopes of taking her out early. It was a natural warrior’s reaction; strike fast, strike hard, and eliminate your opponent before they can harm you. Angela would need to act accordingly, and that meant getting the hell out of the way. Jason had crippled Kyoshi with a blast, and even though Angela was far more resistant, she couldn’t base her strategy on luck.
The fight began, and her first action was evasive. Angela threw herself to the side, barely avoiding the kinetic blast that ripped through the spot she’d been standing in. The reinforced walls of the super tough combat cell shattered under the force of the blow. This wasn’t like her fight with Mason, when a strong hit would knock a few pieces off here and there. The place where Jason’s strike hit that wall punched straight through it.
Angela had enough time to realize it had been a focused blast, no more than a foot in diameter, before Jason changed tactics. He enlarged his blast radius and dragged it across the wall towards her, attempting to pin her to the wall. He moved quickly, his effortless shift showing great mental dexterity, and caught Angela before she could jump against.
Angela felt her whole body compress against the wall, like she was a bug on a car windshield. She pushed and the force gave a little. Adrenaline was pumping through her ethereal veins now, and she knew what it must be like for a mother who saw her baby trapped under a car. If she’d been in her human form she had no doubt she could do the same. She would not be defeated.
Jason felt his force lose ground as Angela pushed, so he narrowed the telekinetic beam close to the size of his initial attack. <That’s your first mistake.> Angela felt the pressure disappear from most of her body and focus on her shoulder.
She felt the wall begin to buckle under the pressure, and she was sure her bone was at least bruised, but she ignored the pain. She jutted her opposite shoulder quickly forward, creating a momentary separation on the shoulder that Jason was trying to grind into powder. The momentary slack allowed her to slip from beneath the force, which then proceeded to punch straight through the reinforced wall.
Jason had demonstrated that he was quick to adapt, and his mental flexibility was going to be a problem in a prolonged fight. Angela was already taking damage, and she’d yet to score a hit, so she gave him something else to think about. At the speed of thought her maul became a spear that she chucked at his face. The maneuver did what it was supposed to do. It threw Jason off his mental balance. The boy didn’t actually move from his spot, but he had to divert his attention to swatting the dull tipped spear from the sky instead of focusing on Angela.
<So he can’t multitask well,> Angela identified a potential weakness as she threw herself at her opponent with the full force of her legs and wings.
The spear was already careening away from Jason, who’d effortlessly redirected it, so she disposed of it. The maul rematerialized if her hand, but it would take precious moments to bring it to bear. Instead she opted to throw her shoulder into the telekinetic. For a second she was worried the boy wouldn’t get a shield up, and she’d plow through him like he didn’t even exist. Her fear was quickly alleviated when she hit an unyielding barrier that stopped her dead in her tracks.
Oddly, Angela’s mind retrieved some fundamental facts of physics as her world exploded in a dazzling display of pain and anguish. She’d been stupid and led with her injured shoulder. That was the risk she assumed when she turned off her pain and was forced to act instinctually. As she struggled not to black out from than agony, she quickly reassessed the situation. The equal and opposite reaction from her charge into an unmovable object was more than likely a dislocated shoulder, broken collarbone, and some form of neck trauma. There were probably a couple other problems, but her training was already kicking in. She was disabling the pain, her weapon reappeared in her uninjured hand, and she began to repeatedly strike it against Jason’s protective barrier.
Each blow from Angela’s maul strove to disrupt the integrity of the force field. It started with gradually spreading cracks in the floor, and then the whole space within the field crunched into the ground as a whole. She then drove it deeper and deeper as she relentlessly beat it. After the fourth or fifth hit Jason fell to his knees, blood flowing freely from his nose. Ground level was nearly above his head when he was able to counter Angela.
A blast shot from the center of his protective bubble, striking Angela in the chest, and driving her back a few steps. It wasn’t particularly powerful, and it didn’t do any damage, but it bought Jason time to scramble out of the hole.
He slipped in his own blood as he extracted himself, which saved him from graver injury. Angela unfurled her wings and shot a gust of air towards him. The attack was meant to catch him in a full upright position, and smash him into the wall; possible knocking his unconscious. Instead, it caught him nearly prone, which reduced the force of the hit. It still spun him like a top across the partial ruined floor, but it wasn’t the victory blow she’d wanted.
Jason struggled to his feet, blasting at her with comparably weak blasts. The telekinetic blows disrupted her forward movement, and knocked her off balance, but they didn’t do any real damage. <I must have pushed him past his limit,> Angela thought as she stalked forward to finish him off.
A false sense of confidence was never a good thing in a fight. Angela knew this, and the point was reinforced when an exponentially more powerful blast ripped into her injured shoulder. Her scream would have shattered glass if there had been any nearby.
<He tricked me, lured me in,> a detached portion of Angela’s brain thought as she spun to the ground.
Her arm felt like it had been pulverized, and she wouldn’t be surprised if it was a blob of flesh no longer held together by a skeletal structure. Angela activated her power and turned down the pain, but it was difficult, and some still remained after she was finished. She ignored the obvious warning that her body was being pushed beyond its limit. She struggled back to her feet, only to take another blow to the head. The blow was weaker than the last, but still strong enough the send her toppling head over heels across the room.
<I can’t take much more,> Angela had thought this multiple times when she’d sparred with her mother or stronger instructors, but she’d always kept pushing. That wasn’t going to change with victory only a hair away.
Angela rolled on the ground, not bothering to get to her feet and give Jason a bigger target. Her opponent was on his own knees, struggling to get up, but that didn’t stop him from shooting more blasts her way. She avoided the first few as she kept on rolling, but he caught onto her strategy. A blast caught her right in the top of the head, and she felt the displaced energy surge down her spinal cord.
CRACK. The pain wasn’t nearly as bad as her shoulder, and she initially counted that as a blessing. That was until she realized she couldn’t move her legs. Primal fear shot through Angela as she tried and failed to engage the lower half of her body. She directed her power at it…nothing. She already couldn’t feel anything down there. Tears welled in her eyes before she remembered she would be fine once she shifted back, or she hoped she would. She’d never been disabled like this in a fight before.
Jason was taking the time she spent trying to get her legs working to get to his own feet. He was unsteady, but still mobile, which was a lot better than Angela’s current state. If she wanted any chance of winning she needed to win in the next few seconds, because without any mobility she was a sitting duck.
Angela’s energy weapon appeared, this time a bow and arrow. She had trouble with this energy construct in the past. She had trouble using any ranged weapon. She was able to throw her spear a short distance, but the bow and arrow had a different dynamic. They were essentially two separate entities, and they taxed her accordingly. She’d only ever managed to maintain the arrow form up to ten feet away, and Jason was triple that distance. Her thought process was that since she was only using half her body her range should theoretically increase.
<Well it’s all or nothing,> she knew she was going all in with this move.
She pulled the string taught and aimed before firing. She was off target, and Jason swatted it from the air about half way between them. The good news was that she didn’t feel like the arrow was going to wink out of existence before it got to him. Once Jason knocked it away she dissolved it and another appeared in the bow. She fired again, improving her aim, and getting a little closer before it was deflected.
<Yes,> the strategy was working. The distance each arrow travelled was growing with each shot. Jason’s energy was depleting more and more with the effort to deflect her energy. If she could keep this up, she’d get him. <Just a little longer.>
Angela anticipated Jason’s last ditch attempt to stop her. His weight shifted slightly on his back foot. It was the critical tell Angela needed to roll out of the way. The blast was weak, but it would have smashed into her face, and disrupted her concentration. It probably would have messed up her eyes too, and taken her out of the fight. Instead it flew harmlessly passed her. The arrow she fired at the same time was much more hurtful. The arrow met no resistance before it embedded itself in Jason’s shoulder.
The telekinetic screamed as he clutched at the wound. The arrow went clean through him, but missed anything vital. She kept the construct in place for a moment before letting it dissolve. Jason screamed again as blood began to pour out of the open wound. He collapsed the ground, still screaming and trying to staunch the flow of blood.
“It’s not lethal force,” Angela’s voice was barely above a whisper, and she wasn’t talking to anyone in particular. “I aimed for the shoulder.”
No voice called out to disqualify her, and no voice called out to end the match. <This isn’t over.> Angela’s resolve deepened. <This is the championship; they aren’t going to call it because we’re hurt.>
Angela knew what she needed to do. She put one hand in front of the other and began to crawl the thirty feet towards Jason. It was the longest minute of her life, as Jason sat their bleeding out, and she wasn’t able to gain any leverage with her legs. Eventually she made it to the telekinetic. She grabbed his leg to pull him the last short distance to her. His eyes were unfocused, and his only response was a groan. This was a relief since she thought he might be playing possum. There was blood. There was a lot of blood, and it was still flowing from the wound her arrow made. She needed to end this quickly if his shallow breaths were any indication; he needed medical attention right away.
As gently as she could Angela punched him in the face. His head snapped to the side, and she was sure he’d have a concussion despite her attempt to be gently.
It was enough. “Angela Martin, is the winner, and the Champion of the Freshman Class…for now.”
“Let’s watch it again,” Craig had bits of popcorn littering his shirt and the area around him. “Just once more,” he pleaded when he saw Daisy’s expression. “You can’t tell me you’re not impressed. She pulled the last punch and nearly took the guy’s head off.”
Daisy sighed dramatically, but hit the key to start the Martin Cook fight over. Sometimes she had trouble believing that Craig was a fully grown man, and not some kid in a man’s body.
“Men,” Daisy guessed Maria was shaking her head somewhere behind the mountain of paperwork on the table between them. “Show them a little gratuitous violence and they’re happy as a clam.”
“I heard that,” Craig replied, a quarter of the popcorn in his hand missing his mouth and falling to the floor.
“Yeah, I know,” Daisy imagined Maria sticking out her tongue at the speedster, and giggled.
It was a genuine giggle, because Daisy was physically incapable of giggling otherwise. So far, most of the staff had done their analysis and left for the night. Considering it was a little past nine, meant they’d put in a good five hours of additional work after the students took off. Daisy tried to remember her carefree days as a student, but had trouble recalling any specific details. She did remember being constantly exhausted, and a few familiar faces, but she shut down that train of thought before it could go anywhere. No need to ruin a good moment.
From her first encounter with Maria, Daisy was worried that the women was going to be an adult version of a high school girl; still single, looking for love, and bouncing her ideas of Daisy. Daisy wasn’t entirely wrong in her presumption. Maria did like to talk about the eligible bachelors in the area, but she never overdid it. Apparently being one of those full body control Supers left you with a pretty good sense of nonverbal cues. This was good, since Daisy was really the last person to be giving romantic advice.
Maria was also damn good at her job. She had a firm grasp on the alternative instructor position, and had stuck with Daisy through her entire analysis. The results of the labor sat in a decent sized pile next to Daisy, and she concluded that this class had interesting and diverse potential.
The golden egg of that diversity was definitely Anika Kemps. Daisy seemed to be the only person read in on her full story besides John and Dr. Johnson, and she intended to keep it that way. Kemps ended up at number 7 after all the ranking was completed. Her loss came at the hands of the number 3 ranked student, who Daisy affectionately referred to as Animation Girl. Her real name was Erin Fisher, and despite her ability, she didn’t have much personality. Daisy’s guess was she hadn’t developed socially since she manifested her power, instead keeping company with her creations instead of people. The hardest part of Fisher’s HCP career would be learning to function in society.
<I need to keep an eye on her,> Daisy jotted the note down in her notebook.
Fisher was a pretty girl, a little too thin with almost pasty white skin, but her straw-colored hair pulled the look together. Despite her incredible ability, her blue eyes were always wide with surprise or fear. It was like she was seeing a lot of things for the first time, and that was probably the case. Daisy had no idea why a young woman with so little human interaction had settled on being a Hero, but she would be a welcome addition if she made it through the next four years.
Being a pretty and unaware girl on a college campus could be a dangerous combination. Fisher couldn’t read the signs others gave off that would signal something bad was about to happen, or she’d misinterpret them. Daisy didn’t want the girl to get expelled on an SI infraction if she overreacted to a situation, and she absolutely wouldn’t have Fisher become a victim at some frat house kegger.
It helped that Fisher and Kemps were roommates, although there was probably a little tension there after Kemps’ defeat. It hadn’t been pretty. What lost Kemps the fight was her hesitation when she realized she was fighting her roommate. Daisy actually saw this as a good thing. It showed the woman had some control, and didn’t automatically go berserk when faced with imminent combat. Fisher was able to animate parts of the concrete to come alive and attack Kemps.
It had been interesting watching Kemps blast and pound her way through the hardened material. It revealed some good data about her strength levels that they would be able to use for future evaluations. Kemps seemed the guaranteed victor until Fisher touched her. Within seconds, Kemps was suffocated by her own clothing. It was an abrupt ending that was traumatic for both women. Fisher was forced to take out her only really human contact, while Kemps’ incapacitation struck a little too close to something from her past. Luckily, Fisher and Dr. Johnson had been present when she regained consciousness.
Fisher then proceeded to lose to Cook. That battle was pretty straightforward. Her animated objects weren’t able to stand up to Cook’s blasts. Cook also took out Bates by the same method. The DVA had categorized Bates as a lesser advanced mind. She had no telepathy or telekinetic ability, but she was able to mentally control a swarm of bugs. From a personality persepctive, she was very similar to Fisher. They both lacked social skills, except in Bates’ case it seemed to be on purpose. She didn’t want to interact with people, and she was kind of a bitch.
<Like you’re one to talk,> Daisy’s subconscious kept her honest in that regard.
Bates was able to overwhelm lesser opponents with the swarm. The recording of her fight with Whitfield, who ended up number 29, was pretty disturbing. Bates couldn’t stand up to the wide ranged blasts from Cook. Once her bugs were eliminated she surrendered.
<Another one to keep an eye on,> she made another note to see who the girl’s roommate was.
The last match for the top five that she’d missed was the number 4 ranked Alexander Webb. Webb reminded Daisy a lot of John. He wasn’t particularly large, only 5’7”, normal build, undescriptive dark hair and eyes, really nothing that would peg him as special. In battle the kid had the power to augment the muscles and bones in his body. He grew into a hulking mass with enhanced strength, durability, and speed. He could even shoot bone darts from range that had been able to cut Martin. It was impressive, but Martin still took him down. The boy’s body still remained at the center of the monster he grew into, and if you beat down the bone and muscle enough you got to his vulnerable core.
Martin took down Webb after defeating Teresa Shaw, the multispecies shifter that Robin Kirk was keeping an eye on. That was probably one of the more enjoyable fights to watch. Shaw was able to transform into any animal, and then she could alter that form at will. Watching a flying grizzly bear with a scorpion stinger fight an energy wielding angel was a hell of a sight. Shaw’s downside was that the animals she shifted into didn’t have anything more than what they were naturally gifted with. She was able to shift parts of herself to heal damage, but there was only so much someone could take. Martin eventually took her down, but it still got Shaw the number 5 spot.
The top five in the class were rounded out with Martin and Cook at the top, with Jackson falling just short at number 6. He hadn’t advanced as far as Kemps and Bates, but his raw power still placed him higher than the two women. Daisy knew there would probably be a little grumbling at this fact, but it would pass in a few days. After all, he’d been the only one able to stand up to her, and he’d lasted awhile against Martin.
The class’ other advanced mind, Miss Schultz, had finished in the 23rd position due to her displayed skill in close combat. Her case caught Daisy’s eye. She had a previously sealed file with the DVA that showed her deep penetration telepathy could be potentially potent. From what Daisy knew about the girl, it was fear that was keeping her from accessing the stronger aspects of her ability. Daisy could relate to her on this level. She’d been cautious when she first realized the true breadth of her absorption capabilities. A little mentoring and encouragement for the telepath would hopefully get her moving in the right direction. Mentorship was going to be the hurdle for Daisy to overcome.
Lastly, Daisy had been disappointed to see Mr. Abney only ranked 43rd of the 46 remaining students. Two more had dropped out of the program after embarrassing defeats by their peers in the first round. His broad spectrum elemental manipulation abilities kept him out of the bottom slot, and she knew he’d claw his way up the rankings if her got his shit together. Daisy just hoped he learned a little something in the process.
Daisy rubbed her tired eyes as Craig gave the play-by-play action of the Martin Cook fight for the third time. Maria was pretty much in the same state. It had been a long first day, and they were both ready to call it quits. The rankings were complete. Daisy had a good idea of where some of the student’s power could go, and she’d planned out the rest of the week’s physical training classes with Craig. She was confident that the students would hate their lives, and their instructors guts, by the time the weekend came around, if they didn’t already.
“I think that’s it for me,” Daisy announced, closing the file she’d been staring at for a few minutes without comprehending much.
“Come on, Daisy,” Craig looked hurt. “You can’t leave the party this early. Look, Martin is about to take the shot in the head that breaks her spine. I can slow down her crawl to Cook a little, add some dramatic music…” he pleaded.
“Don’t you have a wife and kids to get home to,” Daisy countered, piling the folders together to take back to her office.
“Nah,” Craig’s response surprised her. “Chrissy always spends most of the combat trial night at her restaurants, and the kids are at a sleepover. I’ve perfectly planned this evening every year to be a guy’s night.”
“Yeah, ‘cause it is such a sausage fest in here,” Daisy pointed at the only two other people in the room, both females.
Maria laughed, gathering her own research results. “I could use a drink, Craig, Daisy?”
Daisy didn’t miss the warning glare Craig shot in Maria’s direction. “Oh,” the woman’s one word syllable was squeakier than her usual tone.
“I would say yes, but then you’d both rat on me to John, so I’ll pass,” Daisy fought back the anger she felt at the situation.
<Can’t even get a drink at the bar without being judged, and I doubt my emergency stash is still back at the house,> she knew that John would remove the temptation discretely. <How am I supposed to unwind?>
“Never mind,” Maria retracted the invitation. “Daisy,” Maria looked even more nervous as she turned her attention to Daisy. “A couple of the girls are getting together this Saturday to go out. Nothing fancy; maybe a little shopping, dinner, just casual stuff. So far Grace, Chrissy, Robin and I are going. We’d like you to come.”
Daisy fought back her instinctual negative response. She wasn’t really a shopping type of girl, but she did need clothes. She didn’t have many, and most of them were suited for the northeastern seasons. She was ill-prepared for the perpetual heat of Florida. She also wasn’t the biggest fan of spending time with people. She was a little like Fisher and Bates in that regard, but this was one of the reasons Dr. Johnson wanted her to take the job. She needed to get out and socialize with other people. Her isolation over the last three years was a detriment to getting her certification back. She could greatly further her cause by spending a few hours with women she didn’t hate.
“I have a… meeting at ten,” Daisy wasn’t sure she was fooling anyone with the meeting part. “It’s two hours long, but I should be ok to go after that.”
“Fantastic,” Maria lit up like a Hispanic Christmas tree. “I’ll let everyone else know you’re going. Is there anywhere in particular you want to go?”
“I don’t know what’s around here,” Daisy admitted. “But I need athletic clothes, so maybe a sporting goods store.”
“May I suggest some sun dresses,” Craig threw in his two cents. Daisy wasn’t sure how to reply to that comment, so she just stared at him. The speedster sighed and shook his head. “Despite this ruggedly handsome male exterior I happen to know a little about fashion,” Craig made a circling movement around his face to emphasis his “handsomeness”. “People down here wear sun dresses, so if you want to blend in then I’d suggest you invest in them.”
Despite the awkwardness of the exchange it made sense. “Sure, whatever,” Maria looked like she just struck gold, and gave Craig a thumbs up.
“I know the perfect place,” Maria left it at that, sensing that if she continued to push she’d lose Daisy’s cooperation, and possibly ruin the trip. “Goodnight.”
“You want me to walk you out,” Craig offered after Maria disappeared.
“And disturb all of your ruggedly handsome maleness,” she mocked his movements to frame his face in a handsome light. “No thanks.”
Craig laughed in self-deprecation and waved goodnight as Daisy left. Daisy made her way back to her office and dropped the individualized curriculum foundations on her desk. She probably should have filed them, and been proactive in keeping her office orderly, but she wasn’t feeling it at the moment. From there, she made her way to the HCP staff lifts. The lights were mostly off in the facility. They were on a timer so they would only go off if the movement sensors indicated a presence after 8 p.m. Even the big budget HCPs needed to cut costs where they could. It gave the image of the light following Daisy down the otherwise dark hallway. Instead of hitting the button that would take her directly to her home, Daisy hit the button for one of the administrative buildings. She needed some fresh air to clear her head before bed.
Fresh air in the Florida summer, even at night, was still sticky, humid air. Daisy counted it a small victory that it took her a full minute to begin sweating after leaving the air conditioning. She made her way off campus and down a side road that led to her neighborhood’s entrance. It wasn’t a bad neighborhood, not that she would have been too worried if it was. She knew there were some gang problems around the campus, but again she wasn’t worried.
The houses that lined the street were most rented by students during the school year, and a couple of them were having “start of the school year” parties. One even flew a banner proudly across the second floor balcony. “Fathers: Thank You for Your Daughters”.
Daisy couldn’t help but laugh at the sign. <Damn, college has changed.>
“You like that, chica,” Daisy had seen the intoxicated men at the house watching her, and hoped they wouldn’t engage her.
<This is why they give me a lift straight to my house,> Daisy was frustrated at herself for not taking the easy way. <Please don’t let this guy be a total dick.>
“If you like that then you’ll love this,” the guy grabbed his crotch.
<Yep…total dick.> Daisy kept on walking, making it totally clear she wasn’t interested.
“Where you going, baby,” the private grabbing man, and a friend, had left the house and were walking after her now.
Daisy’s spirits perked up a bit as the two men didn’t get the hint. <It’s about time for another ass kicking.>
She stopped and turned to face the two men. They were only about twenty feet away when she finally faced them, and they stopped short. Through their vantage point on the houses steps, and their beer goggles, they hadn’t noticed that Daisy was taller, in better shape, and way out of their league. For a normal man, this would have given him pause. But these two kept steaming full speed ahead, fueled on liquid courage.
“Damn, honey,” the one guy ogled her from top to bottom.
“I’m gonna make you feel good, chica” the other guy just stared at her chest.
<Damn, I forgot to figure out who Bates’ roommate was,> Daisy thought, not giving the two men much attention. If they moved to act on their drunken dialogue she’d dispatch them quickly, and try not to break too many bones in the process.
One noticed she wasn’t paying attention, and took it the wrong way. “You thinkin’ how good I’m gonna make you feel, girl,” he made thrusting motions with his hips, and whipped his hands back and forth in a “smackin’ that ass” motion.
Daisy continued to ignore him. She was running down a mental list of other females in the class searching for the antisocial freshman’s roommate. The two men finally realized she was just standing there ignoring them, and they didn’t like it.
“You don’t think we got what it takes, home girl,” one man spit out some tobacco dip he had packed into his lip.
<That’s super attractive,> Daisy though absently. <And of course they’d take this as an insult to their manhood.>
Before the two drunkards could do anything they’d regret, Daisy heard the whoop of a siren and flashing lights. The two men backed away quickly, pretending they weren’t thinking about trying to beat and rape her.
“Is there a problem here?” the window of the police cruiser rolled down. “Are these men causing you trouble, Ma’am.”
Daisy recognized the police officer from her first night at West. “No, Officer Phillips, but the two men could use a little work on their pickup lines. Just about the worse I’ve ever heard.” The two men glared at her, assuming she was doing this just because the cops were there.
She was doing it partially on purpose. She wanted them to know that they weren’t coming off as attractive to her, and she was using her words. If they decided to keep it up once the police left, she’d make them learn the hard way.
<Oh well,> it seemed like reason was winning out, as the two men walked back down the street towards their home.
“This is the second time in two days,” Officer Phillips was sweating, perhaps a little more than was warranted by the heat.
“In my defense, the first time was just me walking down my street,” she smiled, and was glad Phillips didn’t flinch.
“I’ll give you that one,” he chuckled, smiling back. He reached into his left breast pocket, took out a card, and wrote something on it. “Here’s my card in case those two bother you again. Although, I’d doubt you’d need my assistance. But call me if you need someone to clean up the mess, or whatever,” he kept smiling at her.
Daisy didn’t know why, but she felt her cheeks heat at the attention. “Ok.” She took the card and put it in her pocket, not really knowing what else to say.
“Have a good night, Ma’am.”
“Daisy, my name is Daisy,” she replied quickly before the Officer could drive away.
“Have a good night, Daisy,” the officer smiled again before driving off.
She didn’t run into any more problems as she walked the rest of the distance back to her home. This was a good thing because she had trouble concentrating on her surroundings. She always seemed to focus back on Officer Phillips’ smile.
<I need a drink,> Daisy grabbed a bottle of water once she was back inside. <Why is it so damn hot here?>
She took out the card, already damp from the humid air and her sweat, and read it. <Officer Christopher Phillips; well now I know your full name.> Daisy turned the card over, and was surprised to find writing on the back.
Call me, was written in bold letters along with a personal phone number.
<Huh,> Daisy turned the card over in her hand, a slight smile pulling at the corners of her lips. <That’s something new.>