A breeze blew across the roof, and I thought about what he’d said. “I’m not making the decisions, but I can bring it up. One thing we’d probably want is that you’d train with us at least a couple times a week. That way we can coordinate.”
Haley added, “We’ll probably have to bring it to a vote, but we know you. I don’t think anyone would be against it.”
She pursed her lips. “Don’t take this wrong, but why now? I know we’re dealing with that gang, but we’ve fought other people over the past year.”
Lucas shrugged. “I’ve been doing my residency, and I don’t know if you know how that works, but it’s crazy. I worked sixty hours a week most weeks, sometimes more. Now my residency’s over and I’m working at the hospital downtown. For the first time in years, I’ve got predictable hours again. Well, mostly predictable.”
Camille nodded as he finished. “Sixty hour weeks? That sounds awful. How were you even in Justice Fist?”
“Not easily,” he said. “I probably would have been easier on Sean if I hadn’t been so tired.”
He met my eyes. “Is he getting better? It seems like I’ve seen the two of you on TV fighting beside each other lately. Before I knew who you were, all I knew was that he really hated some kid named Nick.”
I nodded. “Yeah. I think he’s getting better. I pulled some strings and Preserver healed his sister. She was hurt fighting aliens last spring.”
“The same way you got Paladin over here when the Cabal’s soldier shot me,” he said. “They’re good friends to have.”
“I knew them long before I got involved in this stuff. Preserver knew my grandfather, and I played with Alex when he visited. They’re family friends.” There wasn’t more to say than that. Even if Alex and I weren’t much like each other, we had each other’s back. Somehow hours of play had set the stage for trust. Had my grandfather intended that?
“Family,” Lucas said, shaking his head. “I get that. My dad’s been grooming me to run the family businesses practically since I was born. I thought becoming a doctor might bother him, but it doesn’t at all. We’re big into medical equipment and pharmaceuticals these days. He thinks being a doctor will give me extra credibility.”
He grinned. “Credibility was the last thing I had in mind.”
Haley had been looking off the side of the roof. She turned her head towards us, eying Lucas with an intensity that made me wonder if she was going to change form. “Do you want to run the family business?”
He cocked his head. “More yes than no, but I’m not completely sold on it. My dad’s never away from the job. Sure, it’s made the whole family rich, but we can’t get away from it. He’s handled work crises on family vacations. Even going on vacation in Europe you wouldn’t believe how close his office feels.” He gave a lopsided grin. “Of course, we’ve got offices in Europe…”
Haley glanced at me. She probably wanted to tell me something, but I had no idea what.
Lucas looked at her and then at me, and came to a decision. “If you need my help, don’t hesitate to call me. You’ve got my number.”
“We will,” I said.
He floated upward, stopping about six feet off the ground. “And say, ‘hi’ to Vaughn. You’ll see him before I will. Oh, and tell him congratulations for being accepted into the pre-med program.”
Then he flew away, disappearing into the darkness.
Camille watched him go, but then she said, “Vaughn’s pre-med? I didn’t know that. He doesn’t seem the type.”
I glanced over at her. “What type is that?”
She frowned. “I don’t know. He’s smart, but he doesn’t seem that ambitious. And everybody knows what he was like in high school.”
“He stopped doing drugs,” I said. “Maybe he’s more ambitious than we know about. I don’t know.”
Camille grinned. “I don’t know either, but it’s late, and I still want to go to bed.”
She walked over to the access panel and opened it. Then she gave us a wave and floated downward.
That left Haley and me together on the roof. It was almost romantic. The view at least was great. Depending on the direction we looked, we could see the lights of the university’s dorm, parking garage, lecture halls, and paths on campus. Further in the distance, we could see the lights of cars and trucks on the elevated highway.
Alongside the highway, downtown’s skyscrapers glowed as did the smaller buildings near the water—restaurants, marinas and harbor buildings.
Past that, of course, we could see the darkness of Grand Lake, the lights of the few boats out on it as well as the lights that illuminated the channel between Grand Lake and the immensely larger Lake Michigan, ending in the now ornamental lighthouse.
The gravel on the flat roof in combination with blocky, metal HVAC equipment and huge fans made it feel less romantic.
“I can’t believe we’ve gotten used to this,” Haley said, staring in the direction of Grand Lake. The gravel crunched beneath her shoes.
“Got used to what?” I walked with her, hoping that she wouldn’t go too close to the edge.
“Night time meetings on the roof and being in the middle of cape fights. Gabriel, Caleb, Jeremy, and Jillian were all scared. I was too, but not much.”
“We’ve been in worse,” I said.
“I know, but it separates us. It’s not normal.” She stopped walking a good ten feet from the end. She could have balanced on the edge. She’d stopped for me.
In my pocket, my phone buzzed. I pulled it out to find that I had a message from Amy. It didn’t show the message on the face. That meant it came from the super end of my life.
Haley pulled out her phone too.
We signed into our phones to find the same message. “We go into Turkmenistan two weeks from today.”