What She Asked For: Part 3

On Thursday night, Courtney and I walked up to a house near campus. A brown two-story, it had to be around a century old.

The lawn hadn’t been mowed in the last few weeks. The bushes in front of the houses hadn’t been clipped either, and had grown high enough that they partially blocked the windows.

Courtney knocked on the front door, and a college-aged guy opened it. Square jawed with obvious muscles showing through his t-shirt, he fit every stereotype I had about football players.

Of course, I had no reason to believe he actually was a football player, so every part of the stereotype but that.

Courtney smiled uncertainly, and said, “I’m looking for Davis?”

“Sure, come in.” He stared at Courtney for a second, and then glanced toward me. “Both of you.”

He led us through the house. A couple guys were playing video games on the big screen TV in the living room.

They ignored us.

We followed the guy through the dining room (or so I guessed from the chairs, table and two mountain bikes), and into the kitchen.

A dark haired guy stood next to the refrigerator. He was about our age, maybe a little older, but better dressed. His purple, button down shirt shimmered a little in the light.

Giving a sly grin, he said, “I’m Davis. Good to see you again, Courtney.” Turning to me he said, “And you’re her boyfriend?”

“No, her bodyguard,” I said.

Davis gave a small laugh. “Sure, I should have seen that right away.”

Courtney said, “You know why I’m here. How do we get started?”

She sounded a little nervous to me, but that might have just been my imagination.

“You’re direct,” Davis said. “I like that. Here’s how we get started. I’ll tell you a little about how we do things, and you can decide whether you’d be comfortable working with us.”

Courtney raised at an eyebrow. “I’m not looking for a job.”

Davis gave a wide smile. “Hear me out. This isn’t so different. You’re looking to make your powers permanent. We can do that, but there’s a cost. For normal people, we’d say one hundred thousand dollars—”

Courtney’s eyes widened, and she began to say, “I can’t—”

Davis held up his hand, “Don’t worry about it. What can you do?”

“I,” she started, and paused, still probably thinking what I was thinking.

One hundred thousand dollars? Who could afford that?

“I can change my appearance,” she said, “but not my shape. Not in a big way.”

“What else?”

She took a breath. “I can make myself stronger and faster, but only by comparison to normal people—not supers.”

Davis nodded. “Do you have any skills?”

“I’m a chemistry major. I can make power juice, but so can anybody if they’re careful.”

Davis grinned a little. “Don’t underestimate yourself. We can work with that. You can make yourself very useful.”

Courtney said, “To who?”

“Ahh,” he said. “I can’t say. We’re a large organization, and not strictly legal in all of our areas of business. You’ll find out after you go through with it.”

“So, if I decide to work for you, it’s free?”

He shook his head. “No, we’ll have you pay what we think you can afford, and then we’ll have you do us a few favors.”

“Oh.” Courtney stood still for a second, and then said, “What if I decide not to do it at all? No permanent powers? Nothing. We’re okay, right?”

Davis smiled. “We’re okay. Sure. If you did decide not to get involved with us, we’d all want you to keep quiet about tonight. You don’t tell anyone about us. Not unless they can be trusted.”

Courtney nodded.

Davis turned to me. “You understand that?”

“Sure,” I said, hoping he wasn’t a telepath because if he was, he stood a good chance of knowing that I was recording the entire conversation.

I did my best to keep that, and the other precautions I’d taken, out of my mind.

“If I said yes,” Courtney said quietly, “how soon could it happen?”

“Tomorrow, if you wanted.” Davis opened the refrigerator, and pulled out a can of beer.

“What’ll it be?” He asked. “Are you interested or not?”

“I’m interested,” Courtney said, “but I need a little time to think it over. Its a big decision.”

He pulled out a card, and handed to her. “Call this number. You have two days. After that, it’ll never work again, and you’ll have to find me another way.”

Courtney put the card into the pocket of her jeans. “Thanks. I guess we’d better go.”

“Sure,” Davis said. “One question though. I’m trying to find someone in Grand Lake. Have you seen this girl?”

He held up a photograph. It looked like it had been modified or created by a computer, but I knew the subject.

It wasn’t exactly right, but the girl looked an awful lot like Cassie. I had a sudden intuition as to who Davis represented, and wanted to get away as soon as I could.

20 thoughts on “What She Asked For: Part 3”

  1. Zeee 9 again.
    Nick should come clean, nothing good will come from letting Courtney get deeper into trouble.

  2. i guessed it when Davis said that he represented a large organization. I want Nick to convince Courtney that they have to leave immediately due to a chemistry test they both just conveniently forgot about. Courtney is smart she would play along.

  3. @Captain Mystic
    Dodging a question in that manner is as good as answering it to anyone with half a brain. “Hmmm. If you squint a bit, it looks kinda like Britney Spears…”

    Courtney’s a smart girl, and I’m sure she’s already figured out she doesn’t want to get in bed with these people. Feigning interest just prevents potentially rash and violent actions by this clearly dangerous group. The fun will start when Nick convinces her to go under cover with The 9, because that will clearly end well…

  4. It was really only a question of which group it was, the Nine, Syndicate L, or some Cabal branch office. Or perhaps some new one, but it was going to be organized crime in any case.

    What annoys me here is that Courtney’s basically nothing but a liability. She’s just looking out for #1 and there’s no actual reason to trust her, and yet Nick is pretty much sure to spill the beans to her, consequences be damned.

  5. Nick will have to stop her. it’s the nine and she has been on juice for like 2 years now. If she went through it she would most likely go insane.
    But I have a feeling the Heroes league or the FBI will be drop the hammer on that house tonight.

  6. The problem with dropping the hammer on the house that night is that there’s a clear connection to Courtney. “Hmm, we let in this girl and the guy she brought with her, then we’re suddenly raided by the FBI. I wonder if there’s a connection? Hey, Jimmy “The Jumper Cables” Maroni, why don’t you go pay her a visit just to make sure?”

    If they bring this up with the FBI, they might instead want her in as a mole or out completely.

    And even if she knows these aren’t good people, she knew beforehand she was looking at the possibility of bedfellows she wouldn’t like. I hear that’s fairly common with college girls at parties, actually.

  7. Rain: So that everyone’s on the same page, I’ll mention the following…

    There’s no magic number with regards to side effects of power juice on people. For some it might take many years to do damage (if it’s going to). For others, it might take a relatively short time.

    With regards to how long she’s been taking it… The Heroes League came together in the fall of Nick’s senior year. Ray appeared around Christmas of that year. The League fought Ray and the Cabal in the spring/early summer. This is taking place in Nick’s freshman year at college, so Courtney’s been taking it for about 6 months.

    It seems like longer than that because the serial’s been going for more than four years now.

  8. Four excellent years of great writing, thanks Jim.

    I can’t wait to see Night Cat, Night Wolf & Shift sneak in and just take these guys out without them even knowing who hit them.

    At least they are who I’m betting on that Nick had follow him as back up

  9. I would definitely second Night Cat’s being there whether Nick wanted her to or not, but would she ‘accidentally’ take Courtney out with the bad guys?

  10. Piccolo: Thanks. What’s crazier is that come November, it’ll be five years.

    Hg: Given that he’s likely to start working with alien tech somewhere in the not too distant future, it’ll probably seem that way.

    1. I honestly don’t know.

      I’ve got certain storylines mapped out, but I haven’t worked out how that turns into years.

      Ideally, it’ll end a few years post college, but that depends on some details that I still need to figure out.

  11. wow a few years post college that means you could be writing this on and off for at least another 10 years. that would be intense.

  12. It’s possible. It all depends on how quickly I handle the 2 major arcs that I have in mind. It may be that the story’s afterword will take place a few years post college, and the main story will end earlier.

  13. No Jim. It just gets better!!!
    I’m reading through, all the way from the start, and trust me, it just gets better and better as I get to know the characters and setting more. Brilliant writing.
    And there’s something fun about following stories as they update over the course of a few years.

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