A/N: Alex’s powers and new knowledge will make more sense if you go read the first story in this series: “The League of Extraordinary Women”. The disclaimer, spoilers, and other information are in chapter 1.
She flew back downstairs and said, “I’m going to practice walking in these boots, and then when it’s totally dark, I’m going to fly over to Bohn’s junkyard and make sure these gloves are okay for my lightning bolts.”
Her mom said, “Al- I mean, Terawatt, you look great. The films really polish your look.”
She grinned, “The lip parts feel a little funny, but this stuff is great.”
Then her mom noticed the holes at the ends of the gloves. “Oh, I didn’t think about that when I got the gloves.”
Alex shrugged. “Well, I figure the worst that happens is the tips of the gloves get a little burned and we have to trim them back a bit more.”
Her mom pursed her lips and said, “Well, you may need me to do some needlework to make sure the fingertips don’t unravel.”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. Sorry,” Alex apologized.
So she flew back upstairs and worked on trig for like an hour. As far as she could tell, Mrs. McGurty wasn’t making up tests using the exact problems she hadn’t assigned, but pretty close. She was just changing a number here and there. So that meant Alex needed to do all the math problems, whether they were assigned or not. But Willow said if you understood the stuff, then it was super fast to get all the assignment done, and if you didn’t understand the stuff then sometimes you could learn it by doing the math, and if you didn’t learn it by then it could take a long time to do the assignment and you would know what you needed help on.
She put her math book and her notebook on top of her dresser, where she could read them easy while she was wearing her Terawatt boots. Then she practiced walking back and forth in the boots. She’d look at a problem, walk around the upstairs while she did the problem in her head as much as she could, then go back to the dresser and stand there and write out the problem. First she did the assignment, then she went through and did all the other problems on the page. And the other problems were pretty much the same, just with numbers or words changed. So maybe it took her a lot less time to do the not-assigned problems. And then she read most of the next little section in the textbook, so she was ready in case Mrs. McGurty finished their section tomorrow.
Then it was English. She walked around the house some more, while reading Act II of “Much Ado about Nothing” only this time she was keeping an eye out for dirty jokes. And boy, were there a lot of them. She pulled up her laptop and searched for a website that explained the play, and she found half a dozen. One guy went pretty much line by line, telling what the jokes were, and all that stuff. She used to think Shakespeare was really fancy stuff, but this comedy was just chock full of dirty jokes and bad puns!
Then it was Spanish. She was sure Senora Martinez would still be mad at her tomorrow, so she worked extra hard on the assigned words and phrases. Earth Science was easy, since there were a couple of Annie’s books on Annie’s bookshelves she could use to look up stuff, so she was done with the whole assignment in maybe fifteen minutes.
After that, she stood in her boots and typed with the laptop on top of the dresser. She wanted to get all her ideas about the yearbook down and emailed off to her co-editor Mina. She didn’t see why they couldn’t have a couple meetings with next year’s yearbook staffers before the end of the year. And she really wanted to get started on the planning part.
After she got the email fired off, she flew down to the living room, where her dad was reading a book. “Pardon me, citizen, but I am Terawatt. I was wondering if you could be of assistance?”
Her dad put the book down and asked, “Are you really going to talk like that when you’re out being Terawatt?”
She dropped the Terawatt voice. “Umm, maybe not?”
He thought for a moment and then asked, “So, what can an ordinary citizen do for Terawatt?”
She said, “Well, Willow and Sam and Hermione gave me a bunch of advice on being yearbook editor, and so I’m wondering if you have any books on being a good manager and time management and Gantt charts.”
He wondered, “Is that what yearbook editors do every year?”
She shrugged. “I think most years, they tell people what to do, then they have a big panic at the deadlines when people don’t have stuff in, and there’s lots of running around yelling at people. That’s pretty much what it feels like this year. I mean, my group got their stuff in to me, pretty much, and I filled in where there were holes, so Pete and Paul didn’t do a lot of yelling at us, even if we still don’t have pictures yet for the last spring sports stuff. But they were doing a lot of yelling at some of the other people, and I was thinking it could go better, and if we do okay with the charts and stuff, we’ll have some awesome stuff to hand down to the next yearbook editors.”
He gave her a big smile. “Honey, that’s just what a real leader does. He plans ahead and motivates his people, and then he plans for when some of the staff don’t get the job done. And he plans for how to help everyone after he’s gone. I’ve got a whole shelf of books you might want to take a look at, but I’ll just give you two to start.”
He gave her a thick book on time management. She looked at the cover and asked, “Isn’t this like the complete opposite of time management? I mean, shouldn’t a real time management expert be able to teach you what you need to know in a short time?”
He chortled and said, “You know, that’s a really good point.” He gave her a way thinner book titled “Real Leadership” that looked a lot more reasonable. She looked at the time management book again and decided she would exercise some time management by looking up about time management on the internet first, in case someone could explain what she needed to know in like one or two pages.
He said, “I have a nice book on charting at the office. It has a chapter on flowcharts and a chapter on Gantt charts. It also has some material on org charts, which I think you’d find useful when you get your staff set up, and some other kinds of charts for management.”
She gave him a smile. “Thanks dad.” Then she put her hands on her hips and lifted four inches into the air. In her Terawatt voice, she said, “Thank you, sir. It’s always helpful when regular citizens step forward and assist.”
He rolled his eyes and said, “Always happy to help a superheroine who wears really inappropriate footwear.”
She took the books back up to her room and left them on her desk. By then, it was dark enough to go off to the junkyard to check out her gloves.
She made sure the back porch light was off before she slipped out into the darkness. Then she went straight up about three hundred feet and headed east. Flying fast across the town, instead of driving carefully through the streets, she got to the junkyard in only a few minutes, instead of half an hour. She could go really fast on the ground when she was silvery, but not this fast. And flying meant she didn’t have to detour around buildings and stuff.
She flew into the junkyard and cruised around the place about fifteen feet above the ground, looking for attack dogs or guards with guns. Nope and nope. Okay, so far, so good. She flew back to some kind of sediment pond that looked like it was full of sludge. That looked like a good target.
She took one more look around, and then landed near the pond to use it as a target. She blasted it with her pointer fingers, and with her second fingers. The pond flashed as lightning zapped it, but nothing bad happened. She would have been in trouble if it caught fire or something.
When she was done, she checked her gloves. “Rats.” All four holes at her fingertips were burning. Her gloves were on fire!
She went silvery to keep the leather from bursting into flames. When she went back to normal, the holes were still smoldering. “Rats!”
She flew over to a huge puddle that looked more like real water. She sniffed it a couple times to make sure it wasn’t gasoline or anything. Nope, it smelled like muddy water. She flinched a little as she stuck her fingertips in it, but nothing caught on fire or exploded. When she pulled her fingers back, the gorgeous white gloves had muddy brown fingertips for the first two fingers of each hand, but at least the gloves weren’t a raging inferno.
Boy, her mom was not going to be happy about her ruining the brand new, never-used-yet gloves.
She took off from the ground, starting with a small leap so it might look like she was jumping hundreds of feet into the air. She probably needed to get Ray and Nicole to look at her jump and tell her if it looked good. Robyn wouldn’t want to say anything bad, no matter how lame her jump looked. And Louis wouldn’t shut up about every little thing he could think of to criticize her on. Plus, he’d spend way too much time focusing on her boobs, because he was Louis.
She flew back home, staying high enough that no one would see her. Then she dove down when she got to West Creek, which was another dry creekbed most of the year, but had storm runoff pipes dumping into it. She had snuck out of the house using one of these pipes before. She just hadn’t tried sneaking back before, which was dumb of her, because it gave her a great way of getting back to really near her house without being seen.
She picked the big pipe that had mud scuffed out of it in a wide sweep. That was probably from her silvery form. So she flew into the tunnel and went silvery. Then she puddled at her best silvery speed back up the pipe. Then she had to remember the path from the street grate near her house down to the creekbed, and reverse it in her head.
“Okay… straight up the pipe, all the way to the big T junction, go left… no right, turn here, and… Shoot!” When she puddled out of the grate, she found she was about two streets over from her house. She puddled down the streets for a couple minutes to find her way home again.
Ugh. She totally needed a really good map of the storm runoff pipes in this town.
She puddled up the driveway and under her front door, then up her stairs and into the gymbag in her room. When she puddled back out, she was ready to go normal. In her regular clothes. And she didn’t have yuck in her hair.
She just had to take the gloves down to her mom and admit she’d ruined them. Oh, and she’d left them in the bag with the rest of her superheroine uniform so she needed to get them out first.
She fished them out of the bag and walked down to the home office, where her mom was hard at work taking notes while reading a thick book. She whispered, “Mom? Mom?”
Her mom looked up and asked, “Alex? Can it wait until I finish this? Maybe half an hour?”
“Oh sure,” she said. “But I ruined the gloves and I’m gonna need your help fixing them.”
Her mom nodded. “I’ll come up when I get this chapter done.”
“Thanks, mom.” She gave her mom a hug around the back, and skittered back up to her room.
She peeked in her gymbag. Her costume looked ready, except she needed to straighten out the wig. That would be a good thing to do pretty often, maybe after every time Terawatt made an appearance. And the boots were really cool, even if they were hard to walk in. Ray sure liked them. Maybe she should get some boots to wear for just normal. Something not too skanky, maybe flats. Maybe something like what Kelly was wearing last week with those boot-cut jeans, but without a heel. Because Kelly was pretty mean to people sometimes, but she had good taste in clothes.
Alex changed into sleep stuff and read into Act III of the Shakespeare play. Even with all the dirty jokes explained to her, she still wasn’t laughing it up reading the thing. And Don John was such a jerkface! The guy even had a manservant who was like Jerkface II: The Wrath of John. She really felt bad for Hero. Beatrice and Benedick were a cute couple. Okay, maybe that was because she was pretending they were Angelina and Brad in the parts. But she liked that part of the play, with their friends tricking them.
She was nearly falling asleep before her mom finally came up to check on her. Her mom said, “Honey, I’m sorry, I lost track of the time.”
She yawned, “It’s okay. But I wrecked the gloves.” She got up and pulled out the gloves and showed her mom. “Even with the holes I cut, I still burned the ends of the fingers there, and then I had to stick the tips of my fingers in dirty water to put the fires out.”
Her mom sat on the sat of the bed and gave her a one-armed hug while she studied the gloves. “I don’t think this is so bad. We’re definitely going to have to cut the gloves back farther. Maybe back to your cuticles. Then I’ll do some needlework so the fingers don’t unravel, and I’ll use some more of your father’s fake leather spray over the ends. That ought to make them look better.”
Alex nodded. “And the plastic might be more resistant to my lightning than the leather was.”
Her mom said, “Let me work on these a bit tonight, and maybe I’ll have time to finish them tomorrow or Friday.”
“Sounds good.” Alex couldn’t keep from yawning.
And even if she was a big high school junior, she let her mom tuck her in, which didn’t sound very superheroic to her.