eight

[author’s note: the relationship between these characters has changed. it seemed less interesting to have them meet, and learn to trust each other, before the friendship could play the role I originally wanted it to. I‘ve decided, for now, to let them be roommates with a certain amount of time knowing each other. I’ll have to rewrite some of the scenes early on, where we see Peter and Sarah not knowing each other, but that should be minor. I’ll also have to add some scenes where Sarah tells Peter about the break-in. The following should take place sometime after she’s told him about the break in.]

Sarah looked him in the eye. “Peter,” she said, “I haven’t been totally honest with you.”

“Huh?” Peter wondered what was going on. Did he leave the toilet seat up again? Forget the dishes in the sink? “What do you mean?”

“You remember the break in?”

“Yeah?” he almost asked.

“Well, the burglar went out the window, Like I told you.” She paused, not sure how to broach this. “But i tripped and fell out, too.”

“Out the window? Jeez, Sarah, are you ok?” he looked her up and down, as if expecting a cast and some crutches, at the least.

“Yeah, I’m fine because I–” It was just too weird to actually say it out loud. “I, uh, stopped, before I hit the ground.”

“You…stopped?” The incredulity was plain in his voice. But his eyes said that he trusted her, completely. Sarah knew he still had a little crush on her, goddess knew why, and she felt a little bad for not trusting him completely.

“I, uh, floated. About a foot above the ground.” There. She said it.

Peter stared. Then he giggled. Then he laughed. He had a great laugh, but it was pissing her off at this point.

“Seriously, Peter! I floated! I didn’t hit the ground ‘cause I –”

He cut her off. “Dude, you floated. That’s awesome. You’ve been watching Heroes again,
haven’t you?”

“Peter.”

He must have seen something in her face or her stance, hands cocked into fists, and placed on her hips, one foot in front of the other, like a boxer stance without the raised fists.

“Seriously? Show me.”

“Uh.”

“Let me see, then,” he said, not quite as nicely as he had meant it to sound before the words actually left his lips.

“Jesus, Peter. I can’t. I can’t float anymore. It happened just the once.” Her smile was unexpected. “But I can run.”

“Run?” He was feeling pretty lost here. Out of the loop. Confused AND dazed. What the hell was up with her today?

Suddenly she was in the other room, waving to him from the doorway between them. Granted, it was a small apartment they shared, but…how’d she get over there?

And again. He felt a tap on his shoulder. She had somehow gotten behind her.

“Hello, Peter.”

“Uhh. Hello?” He didn’t know what was going on. Was he blacking out? Time and space going awry? “Do that again.”

And she did. She stood out in the hallway beyond the front door, waving like a maniac imp.

“Hi Pete! You know that Holiday convenience store out there on the corner? What do you want from it, i’ll run over there.” The last was said with a little giggle. Puns bugged him, but made her giggle.

“Sarah, i don’t want to wait here for five minutes for you to grab me a candy bar.” He said it, and she winked.

Then she was gone. He rubbed his eyes, for all the world feeling like a cartoon character on TV, going through all the physical manifestations of not believing what he was seeing. He blinked some more, just in case.

The door slammed. Then she was back. In the room again. But in front of him. With a candy bar.

“Here you go. I know you like Reese’s.” Her eyes twinkled. It was like she was having fun for a change.

“Wha? How?” His vocabulary thus reduced to one syllable abbreviations of meaning, Peter sat on the couch.

“I can run REALLY fast. And now you have to give me that candy.” She grabbed it from his hand as she sat on the couch next to him, right leg tucked under her ass as she sat.

“I get really hungry when I run like that. Last night, when I ran to the pawn shop in Muldoon, I almost passed out when I got there. Had to eat a candy bar from near the register just to stay standing…what?”

Peter wasn’t stupid, just a bit slow on the uptake on this one. But he had heard that last bit pretty clearly.

“The pawn shop in Muldoon? The one that got hit by the ANC burglar?” There had been a rash of recent robberies all over the city the last week or so. It was all over the ADN website and on the local news shows. Authorities were advising business owners to add extra security and keep outside lights on. The robber had apparently been breaking in to low-end businesses like pawn shops and convenience stores from the rear, at night, and getting away before any guard or police response could arrive.

Peter’s brain caught up, yet again. “You can run real fast. And you were at the pawn shop that got robbed. You–you’re the ANC burglar!”

She had the good sense to look ashamed. “Well, it’s a STUPID name for a robber.”

“Sarah!”

“Peter…” Sarah’s eyes welled up with tears.

“Sarah, what’s going on?” Peter hadn’t seen her actively crying yet once in their entire time as roommates. It freaked him out a bit.

“Peter, my dad. He’s…”

“Is he ok? Did he crash?” Peter knew that her father was a pilot in Nevada, flying rich tourists around to the various attractions and such. Peter always assumed he’d run other errands for rich, less savory types, too.

“no, no, nothing like that,” she wiped her hand across her face, catching both her tears and her snotty nose with one fell swipe. “He’s been gambling again. And he owes a lot of money.”

“When are you going to stop letting him manipulate you?” Peter had heard of the last two times he’d sent her some sob email story. usually when she was feeling her best, so the emails were guaranteed to head that eventuality away for another month or two. Her father had good timing, that was for sure.

“Peter, you know that’s not true.”

“It sure as hell is, Sarah. What did he want this time? A new laptop? Money for his plane?” Realization dawned. “He wants money, doesn’t he.”

Sarah nodded. “He lost a lot of money by gambling. He needs three thousand dollars.”

“Fuck! You need three thousand dollars more than he does!” His protective instinct rose up, like a dog guarding a toddler. It wasn’t very flattering, but he couldn’t quite help wanting to be the knight in shining armor.

“I know, but now I can have it!”

“Wait, what?”

“I can run, and I’m pretty strong, now. I go to these places — they’re companies, they won’t miss it, the insurance will pay for it — and get the money, and I send it to my Dad. I’d try running there, but I need to get in better shape.”

That was almost too much info to digest all at once, so Peter didn’t even try. “Sarah, that’s wrong. It’s just wrong.”

“But, Peter, why? It’s money. They’ll make more. They’ll get insurance settlements. My dad needs the money. So do I. So do you, for that matter. it’s not like I’m breaking into houses and stealing little old ladies’ purses.” She was uncertainly angry.

“I got these powers, and I think it’s time I got a little bit for myself. Why the hell not?” Her anger grew more insistent. “I’ve always been the quiet one, the shy one, the one who says ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ I’m sick of that. Where has it gotten me? Wiping asses every day of every week, and serving dry bread with cranberries in it to rich old people. What the hell?”

“But…” He tried to break in, but she was on a roll.

“But nothing! You can’t sit there with a straight face and tell me that you wouldn’t take a little of what you can’t ever have. I mean, you work six days a week at that damn coffee house and make about four cents a day. And you send off half your paycheck–”

“A third–” he tried interrupting again, but she was having none of it.

“–a third, then, thank you very much, Mr. Detail Oriented, a third of your damn paltry paycheck to your cousin, who lives in goddamn hollywood trying to be an actor. Why can’t HE get a damn job at a damn coffee house there, and server even RICHER folks than you do? Don’t try and tell me that you wouldn’t grab a little cash here and there if you could get away with it.”

“I don’t think I would, Sarah, that’s the thing. With great power comes great–”

“DON’T QUOTE FUCKING SPIDERMAN COMICS TO ME!”

Sarah spun on one heel, stormed into her room, and slammed the door. It flew off it’s hinges and spun around in the doorway, falling to the ground with splinters. Peter heard her say, “shit” and then flop on the bed anyway.

He decided now might be a good time to go to his friend’s house, anyway. Jesus, she could float, and run, and now she was fucking superman strong. At least Wonder Woman.

Maybe a round of Halo with his buddies would help him chill out. This was way too freaky. And it wasn’t like he could tell them, or anyone, about her. They already thought she was an anti social freak. Jesus, he was freaked out.

Peter Novicki stepped past the splintered door, into the hallway, and out the door, pausing only to grab his hat, coat, and gloves. He paused outside the apartment door and shivered, but not from the cold. This was gonna get wierder before it got more normal, he thought. Then he thought, “What a lame thing to think,” and started to the walk to Fred’s place.

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One Comment

  1. sp1deyluvr
    Posted November 16, 2006 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    LOVE the Spidey reference. She freakin broke the door. Nice! Peter reminds me of, well.. me!

    Lovin’ it! Keep it up!

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