Mom wasn’t putting up with it. “I’m not going to talk about classified information here. It’s too easy to hear us. I’m not trying to get out of it, but we can’t talk here.”
“Where can we talk about it? Should we set up a secret meeting in a park? We’ll pretend we barely know each other, and feed the ducks. That’s how you do it, right?”
“Cassie! We’re not having this conversation.”
“No, Mom, this is important. Who’s using it? Are they running soldiers through it? Like, a lot of soldiers? Because that could get really bad.”
“Do you have to be like this? Your father didn’t know when to let go either.”
“Well, he wouldn’t have had to be like this if you told him what was going on.”
From there it became the same argument we’ve always had, and one where we always say the same things. My part is, “Mom, here’s how you’re ruining my life by not letting me do what I want.” Her part is, “You’re a naive child. You don’t have any idea what you’re really asking for. It’s more complicated than that.”
There in her apartment just like at home in Grand Lake, the argument got really loud, and stopped being classified because it included everything she’d ever said no to ever, and a few things we’d only disagreed about.
Mom didn’t approve of me dropping sports my senior year to focus on martial arts and hero work. She got royally pissed when my grades slipped after my acceptance into Grand Lake University.
Come to think of it, she got pissed at my acceptance into the Stapledon program too. She’d seemed okay with it when I said I wanted to do it.
Really, she got more angry the more steps I took toward becoming like Dad. It was kind of weird, considering that one of Mom’s officially paid for duties was to push me into the work Dad did.
We weren’t done yet when someone knocked on the door. Mom opened it to find a short, balding guy in a button down shirt. “Sorry lady, you two are too damn loud, and if you can’t keep it down, I’m calling the super, and then the cops.”
After she’d said something to him, and shut the door, she said, “That’s enough. We’re not talking about this any more. I’ve got a supper meeting. You need to stay here, okay? I’ll give you money for takeout. We’ll do something together tomorrow night.”
And that was totally typical. When she was in D.C., they pulled her into every meeting they could.
After she left, I sat around and watched television in her apartment for an hour. It was boring.
Mom didn’t decorate the place at all. It was furnished with exactly the furniture it came with—bed, futon, table, and chairs… Mom had to have bought the TV, but nothing felt personal. She didn’t have pictures of Dad or me. Aside from her laptop, she didn’t even have anything from work there.
Knowing her, she expected someone to break in.
We’d gotten back around three something, so it was close to five when I decided I’d had too much of watching the SuperTV channel over the hum of the air conditioner. I knew Mom wanted me to stay in the apartment, but I wasn’t in a listening mood. I grabbed the money she left me for supper, put it in my pocket, and I changed. I put on my costume under my clothes. Not my standard costume—the small one that fit under shorts and a t-shirt.
I wasn’t going to wear more than that in Washington D.C. in August.
I grabbed my backpack in case I needed to ditch my clothes. It was one of the small ones the League had for that. I didn’t have the sword, or utility belt, but I did have my staff, shrunk to be only a little wider than my fist, and disguised as a flashlight.
Not that I planned to use any of it. I wasn’t going out to fight crime. D.C. had its own supers. I was going dancing downtown.