Amy had sent it to everybody. As we read the first message, the second came in, “Details next weekend.” With next weekend being a Stapledon weekend, it was the closest we could come to getting everyone together.
Anyone who wasn’t at Stapledon could watch video from the meeting in HQ. We’d almost certainly need the support.
Messages appeared from everyone involved, asking questions, discussing the situation.
“We could ignore it all until tomorrow,” I said.
Haley sighed. “I’m sure we’d regret it.”
We went back to my room and followed the discussion on our phones until 2am when Jeremy came back to the dorm. He climbed up on his bed without taking his clothes off and exhaled a long breath. “Jillian’s out.”
“No kidding?” Haley and I looked at each other, and then back at Jeremy. He flopped his head sideways.
“Yeah. She called David Cohen, the number you gave us. He told her not to give the police anything until he met us there, and to let the police know that he was her lawyer.”
He pulled himself on the bed. “Did you know he was a former prosecutor?”
“Yeah,” I said, hoping this wasn’t a problem.
“Well, thanks.” He leaned forward. “I mean that. Everybody, and I’m including the police, knew him, and they seemed to like him. When he walked into the room, the cops relaxed. They’d seemed a little nervous about everything, and a little annoyed when she said she wasn’t going to talk until her lawyer was there. I wasn’t there for all the details because they sent me out of the room, but they’re not charging her for anything. She can’t leave town, but it could have been so much worse.
“It’s a big relief.”
For a second, he did look relieved. He slumped a little on the bed, but then he lifted his head up and looked me in the eye. “So who was that? Does the League have him on retainer or something?”
“Something like that. If we had him on retainer, there would inevitably be a money trail back to us, and well, that probably wouldn’t be good, but we have connections.”
“Well,” Jeremy said, glancing over at Haley, “he’s one of the good ones. Oh, and I don’t want mess things up for the two of you, but you weren’t planning on staying overnight, were you?”
Haley glanced over at me, raising an eyebrow. “No, and I’m sure you want to sleep.” She stood up, asking, “Tomorrow?”
“I’ve got no plans,” I said.
“You do now,” she said. “Don’t forget,” and walked out the door.
Jeremy shook his head. “It’s weird knowing who she really is. Does that ever get you?”
I shrugged. “I grew up meeting other heroes and their kids, often when they were out of costume. My grandfather wouldn’t always tell me who they were, but it wasn’t hard to figure out when I saw what he was making for them. In some ways, it’s weirder when I see someone on the news and don’t have any idea who they are.”
Jumping off the bed and beginning to take off his shirt, he added,“You’ve had a weird life. You know that, right?”
The next two weeks were boring, and by boring I mean pleasant, and normal. Wherever Jillian’s boyfriend’s gang was hiding out, they left no sign that we could follow, and the police weren’t volunteering anything that Jillian had told them. More to the point, Jillian wasn’t either. That left attending class, doing homework, and training with Lee several times a week. Even time spent with Haley was safe from interruptions.
Lucas even showed up for practice a couple times.
Even the Stapledon weekend wasn’t worth worrying about. We had the meeting with attendance to end all meetings at least as Heroes’ League meetings went. Beyond the League members who were enrolled in Stapledon, we had Alex’ friends from California, Samita and Rod from D.C., Amy, Tara, and Izzy. Everyone in the League who wasn’t in Stapledon yet watched in HQ.
We agreed on a plan, created a list of what we’d have to practice and made sure everyone had their marching orders.
During the week afterward, we practiced, we sent videos to each other and evaluated how we were doing. On Friday night, Marcus and I picked up the members of our task force from their universities, and before ten we were all there.
With all the people, it almost felt like our summer movie nights, but not quite. Hospitality and last minute preparations filled the evening. Cassie, Daniel, and Jaclyn set visitors up with cots in the main room. Meanwhile, I fitted everyone who didn’t already have one with one of the new Heroes’ League suits. At the same time, Amy gave everyone one of the red, gemlike objects that she used to ward off supernatural threats.
Apparently, it wasn’t as simple as handing them out. She needed to customize them somehow. So while I sat at the counter on one side of my lab, fitting League suits to people, Amy stood in a corner of the main room. Her voice carried into my lab, asking questions, and being drowned out by what felt like an army.
She walked through the door as Bloodmaiden—black armor with red, gemlike accents, and a visible glowing gem on her chest. She’d never said so, but I’d always suspected she had more power to work with that way.
Camille stood in front of me. Her suit was black like the others, covering every bit of skin, impossible to identify except by the number nine written on her chest.
Checking the screen on my computer, she said, “I’m not stuck looking like this, am I?”
“No,” I began but didn’t get the chance to complete my thought.
Amy marched up to us. “There’s something magically wrong with everyone I’ve worked on today. What have you been doing?”