Off Campus: Part 4

I blinked. “That’s going to get awkward. What are we supposed to do about that?”

Haley frowned. “I don’t think there’s much we can do without leaving. I think we should warn Courtney and see what she wants to do.”

Keon rolled away, briefly looking down at the ground. It was all rocks and dirt, and couldn’t have been easy to roll over. Shaking his head, he looked up, and rolled toward the club.

I would have helped, but he started moving before I could say anything, and once he started moving, he didn’t look like he wanted help.

At any rate, he didn’t need it, and he didn’t ask for it.

Plus, Camille stepped out of the van and joined him.

Courtney stepped out of the van, and stood next to us. She’d taken Lim’s directions to heart, making her skin darker, turning her hair brown, and growing a few inches, giving herself a skinny look.

She hadn’t changed her face much, but with the other changes, I wouldn’t have recognized her. Part of it was her clothes. Typically, she wore jeans and a t-shirt. Today she wore a green tank dress.

“Did I hear you mention my name?” She stepped out of the van. Meanwhile, I clicked on my keychain, locking all the doors, and setting up alarms and defenses.

Haley and I looked at each other.

Courtney’s eyes flicked from one to the other of us. “Now you’re making me nervous. What’s so bad that you’re not saying it?”

Haley spoke up before I did. “Keith and Zoey are the other people Gifford invited.”

“Are you joking?” Courtney asked. When neither of us answered, she laughed. “I hadn’t seen him for almost a year, and now I can’t get away from him.”

She gave a little shrug. “At least Zoey’s nice, so it’s not a total loss. Oh look, Camille’s waving at us. We should catch up.”

We started walking after them. Scowling down at the parking lot, Haley commented, “I’m so glad I didn’t wear heels.”

She had worn a short, black dress. I’d worn blue jeans and a plain, navy blue t-shirt. My reasoning had been that if we were going to be dancing, we’d get sweaty. How was I supposed to know you got dressed up for that?

“Oh, one more thing,” Haley mentioned as we stepped onto the sidewalk next to the building. “Gifford’s brother and a few of his friends might be there too.”

I nodded. “No big deal. He seems okay.” I didn’t add, “except for his frightening acceptance of the idea that supers are better than normal people.”

We caught up with Camille and Keon near the open doors. They’d been waiting for us. I belatedly noticed that Camille wore a bright, red dress, and Keon had worn an off white suit jacket with his t-shirt.

Camille grinned at us as we neared the door. “Hey slowpokes, Steve the bouncer told me we get a private room.” She stopped, grinning harder. “Problem is, we might have to share it with the band. We’ve got the green room.”

Steve, a muscular twenty-something with a buzzcut, led us through the club.

Whoever owned the place had renovated an old factory with an eye toward the maximum amount of underground indie feeling money could buy.

All worn wooden floors and bright lights, the room had a stage on the far end, a wide bar off to the right, and plenty of dance floor between.

Between the wood, and the big, industrial fans slowly turning, it was obviously meant to give the impression that the owners had bought the factory and barely changed it at all. The brick bar counter with its glossy wood countertop argued against that. So did the second floor.

Steve led us past an old cargo elevator to an elevator that could have fit into most office buildings.

We walked out onto a second floor. The renovations that had turned it into a club had removed two thirds of the floor, giving what was left an excellent view of the dance floor below and the stage. On the right side of the floor, an enclosed room ran almost from the back to the front of the room.

Steve passed us off to another bouncer who put strips of plastic around our wrists, and let us into the green room.

Aside from the staff, there weren’t a lot of people there. Gifford and Hunter stepped away from the buffet table as we were let in—Gifford still carrying his plate of hors d’oeuvres.

“Glad to see you made it,” he said, “look at all this stuff. There’s even a bar up here. They’re not going to let us use it, but if you’ve got a fake ID, you’re welcome to try. Plus, the band’s going to come here after the show.”

I glanced over at the table. Fruit, cheeses, meat, and crackers covered two tables. Even though we’d already had supper, it looked good.

Haley glanced up at me and said, “Seriously?” Then she let go of my hand, and said, “Go ahead.”

As I stepped toward the buffet table, I heard her telling Gifford, “We’re going to have to be a little careful. Did you know Keith was Courtney’s ex?”

I picked up a plate, trying to decide what to grab first when my thought process was interrupted by a man saying, “Hi, I’m sure you don’t recognize me, but we’ve met—“

I didn’t shriek, but only by luck.

A guy stood next to me. I didn’t know how I could have missed him. He was my size if not a little bigger. I wasn’t as observant as I might be, but Lee had taught me better than that.

A look in Haley’s direction found her staring, eyes widened. That said something.

“It was on one of your first times out in costume,” he continued, seemingly oblivious. “I’m Adam, better known as Dark Cloak.”

16 thoughts on “Off Campus: Part 4”

  1. Just think how being invisible/unnoticed until you draw attention to yourself could mess-up your social life…

    I do find this storyline, on fitting a social life around being a super, fun. Not to mention dealing with people like Gifford, and his elitist political beliefs.

  2. @Dreamer
    I have that power…
    But seriously, the amount of times I’ve been walking with my friends, only to have something to add to the conversation and realise… No-one noticed I was there…

  3. After a quick search i’ve found only one appearance of “Dark Cloak”, in “The Public Eye” Chapter 12.

    Are there anymore?

  4. Surprising Supers: the world’s least safe pranks

    It would be an awesome TV show idea, until someone accidentally got killed in episode 4, just for jumping out of the closet and saying “boo!” at the wrong moment.

  5. I was wondering when he would come in. Now the only question is if this is pre kidnapping Adam or post kidnapping Adam

  6. @Curious George
    It’s also dangerous surprising Mafia members. If you’ve seen the Key and Peele episode Mafia Hit, then you know what I mean

  7. Are we ever going to see his ex in main story? She got powers of her own I liked her was hoping she would show up someday in more then a bonus short story.

  8. “Whoever owned the place had renovated an old factory with an eye toward the maximum amount of underground indie feeling money could buy.”

    I love this sentence. It is so ironically matter of fact in a Pratchett sort of way.
    Love it.

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