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.
Alex got up Monday morning and rushed to get ready for school.
Sunday evening had been so hectic after everything that her mom had just gone and picked up a pizza. Okay, she had picked up two super-sized pizzas, because Ray came over for dinner, and between her and Ray, a lot of pizza got chowed down. But then Alex spent over an hour sitting with Ray and her folks going over all the security stuff Willow had already sent her, and there was a ton of it. Computer security and phone security and just general security stuff like not talking about Terawatt stuff in public, and practicing cover stories.
Alex sent her dad off with the last two slices of pizza for his lunch. It wasn’t like she was being World’s Most Wonderful Daughter or anything like that. He had a fridge at work to keep them, and she was going to be carrying lunch in her backpack, like always. And her mom bought some really yummy sliced cheese over the weekend, so she and her mom had cheese sandwiches for lunch. Hers had mayo, yellow mustard, lettuce, and tomato slices. But she put the tomato slices in another baggie so they wouldn’t turn the sandwiches into mush while they sat in her backpack all morning long.
She scrambled to get all her papers into the right places and get all her stuff into her backpack so she could go meet Ray in the school parking lot. And everything was worse because her mom bumped the big jar of mayo with her elbow when Alex was out of the room, and they had to clean up broken glass and mayonnaise and everything off the floor. Using telekinesis, Alex could get all the glass she could see, and all the mayo that would come up, but there were still tiny little slivers on the floor and there was sliminess on the kitchen floor from the mayo that didn’t want to come up. So they had to get all that cleaned up before they left. Yuck.
She still made it to school in time to get a kiss from Ray, but it was close. Then, after all that rush, school was sloooooow. It seemed like time was crawling the whole morning. She was the only student in English class who had their paper in already, so the whole thing with working on the paper in class was just a huge waste of her time. Then European history was review for a test, and she was really bored. And then trig was going over stuff she’d already read and understood, so that was even more boring. She just sat there and worked on the homework problems as much as she could without being totally obvious about it.
Was this how Annie felt when she took stuff she already knew and was way past? Weird. Then lunch was everyone talking about Libby, who wasn’t at school at all. Everybody wanted to talk about stuff Alex knew already. Jill and the rest of the tennis team were having a cow about the tennis courts, which were wrecked because of the huge fire in the middle of the courts over the weekend.
Uh-oh. That was her fault. And she couldn’t say so. But Robyn and Nicole wanted to blame Libby for it, and it seemed like the whole tennis team agreed with them. After all, if Libby hadn’t done something crazy like claiming she was a superheroine, and then handled that mess by doing something even crazier like lying about being a superheroine and agreeing to a public photoshoot, none of the disaster would have happened.
Then Alex didn’t get to work on homework in sixth period study hall because she was supposed to be having more planning meetings about next year’s yearbook team. And the problem was Pete and Paul were running the meeting, and even Alex could tell they were really bad at it. The management book chapters she’d read just made her see what Paul was doing that wasn’t good, and what Pete was doing that was distracting. And they weren’t letting Alex get a word in edgewise, even though it was going to be her yearbook. And even worse, Pete and Paul were picking their buddies to be next year’s yearbook topic editors, since they didn’t get to choose them to be the head editors, and that was going to make things worse for Alex and Mina. Billy and Marcia were okay for their sections, but Jack wasn’t, and he was a problem in meetings, and he always wanted to do things his way. And Paul and Pete wanted Brian for the assistant editor for the sports section, even though he never
had his stuff in on time. And they wanted their buddy Eakin to be the assistant editor in charge of photography, even though Eakin was a lousy photographer.
Finally, Alex had to stand up and say, “Fine. If Mina and I have no say in our assistant editors for next year, we quit. You can do without a yearbook next year. This is totally unfair. You guys got to help pick your assistant editors last year. You’re not letting us have any say.” She made Mina get up, and they walked out.
Once they were in the hall and way away from the meeting, Mina freaked. “What are you DOING? We can’t quit like this!”
She sighed. “We have to. You know everyone they’re picking. We can’t get a yearbook out on time with Brian running sports. We can’t get decent pictures with Eakin running photography; he thinks his stuff is great and he has a horrible eye for shots. We can’t control the meetings with Jack in there. We can’t get the new things we want in the yearbook with Jack doing student life. We can either take a stand now, or go through a year of complete hell and end up miserable.”
Mina gasped, “So what are we doing?”
“We’re going to see the principal. Right now.”
Alex didn’t like doing it this way, but she didn’t see she had a choice. Not with Pete and Paul doing what they were doing. So she dragged Mina straight to the admin offices and said they needed to talk to the principal right away.
It only took about ten minutes before Principal Wilson came over and led them into his office and asked what was wrong.
Alex said, “I’m really sorry, but Mina and I are gonna have to quit on next year’s yearbook. We can’t work like this. Pete and Paul won’t let us choose our assistant editors or anything. And they’re picking the worst people ever. Brian never gets his stuff in on time. Eakin takes terrible photos and he stinks on judging other people’s stuff, and he always picks photos based on whether one of his pals took ‘em. Jack won’t listen to anybody and always does stuff his way even if it’s wrong. And him and Greta won’t let you get through a meeting. They’re not listening to our ideas for the yearbook, and they’re forcing us to take people we can’t work with, and they won’t even let us talk in the meeting!”
Mr. Wilson calmly said, “It sounds very hard on you. Are you sure you’re not over-reacting? After all, Greta Harsgaard is a senior, and won’t be on the staff next year.”
Mina said, “I wish Alex was over-reacting, because it’s gonna be awful. We had all these great ideas, and we figured out how to make the yearbook a lot better, and Alex even figured out how to get the end-of-year things into the yearbook so everything’s awesome. But we’re not gonna get to do any of that.”
Alex said, “If we have to work with what we’re getting, we’ll have lousy photos on everything except the headshots, and we’ll have no spring sports stuff because Brian never gets things in on time and he’s already swamped being the sports editor for the paper, and nobody except the popular kids’ll have stuff in because that’s all Jack cares about, and the whole thing will be horrible and awful.”
Mr. Wilson nodded and took some notes. “And so this is all boiling over from… what?”
Mina said, “Pete and Paul just had a meeting for next year’s yearbook. And we had to walk out.”
Mr. Wilson asked, “And what did Mr. Carson say about that?”
Alex said, “He wasn’t there.”
Mr. Wilson made a ‘hmm’ noise and used his intercom to get one of the secretaries to page Mr. Carson. Then he just asked some questions about the yearbook staff and their plans for next year’s edition.
Mr. Carson came rushing in a few minutes later. He said, “I had to get over to the clinic to pick up a prescription for my youngest. What happened?”
Mr. Wilson just looked at Alex, so she explained, “Pete and Paul ran the meeting, and wouldn’t let us get a word in, and wouldn’t let us pick next year’s staff, and wouldn’t let us say who we wanted to pick, and wouldn’t even let us say no on Brian and he wasn’t even at the meeting!”
Mr. Wilson asked, “Brian Pickering?”
Mina nodded. “Yeah. He’s a really good writer, but he never gets anything in on time, and he’s gonna be sports editor for the paper next year anyway, and there’s no way he’d have time to do yearbook too, and if he says yes, he’ll miss all our deadlines like he does with the paper, and then we wouldn’t have the spring sports stuff, and it’ll be a disaster!”
Mr. Carson groaned. “Let’s go see how the yearbook meeting is going, unless it’s over.”
Alex muttered, “No way, Jack and Greta never
let anybody end early. They won’t even be done with what Pete wanted.”
Mr. Wilson got up too and said, “It is nearly the end of the period. Why don’t we go see?”
And sure enough, when they got down there, Greta was still going on and on about why some of her pages weren’t going to be done on time, and Jack was trying to cut her off and talk about his stuff.
Mr. Carson went in first and held the door for everyone else, including Mr. Wilson. Then he shut the door and firmly said, “Now. Misters Cleveland and Harrison. Perhaps you could tell me why you held a meeting when I told you I couldn’t be here, and why you chose Alex and Mina’s staff for next year when that is not
your responsibility, and why you bothered with such a thing when you are running behind schedule for your own yearbook?”
Then the whole thing turned into yelling and finger-pointing and complaining. It was pretty much like Alex would have guessed. Pete and Paul were big on the yelling and finger-pointing and blaming. But the principal didn’t let that kind of junk go on for more than a couple seconds.
So then stuff got straightened out, but Pete and Paul were mad at Alex and Mina. Like it was Alex’s fault the guys were being gigantic jerks. And Eakin and Jack were mad at them for not picking them to be assistant editors, even though Pete and Paul had promised. Which Pete and Paul totally didn’t have the right to do.
Alex said, “Look. Every year, the upcoming editors get to pick their own team. You all know this. This isn’t our fault. Pete and Paul didn’t have the right to do this, and they aren’t allowed to have a meeting like this without Mr. Carson, and all of this is just wrong. And if you’re going to be like this, then maybe you shouldn’t be on the yearbook next year. At all.”
Pete and Paul and Eakin and Jack were all bigger than her, and Eakin and Paul were a lot
bigger than her. But she wasn’t worried about them. Before she got her powers, she would have been scared. Now? She was just frustrated. Okay, she was pretty sure Mina was really intimidated, but she was going to protect Mina.
She said as stern as she could, “I’ll be calling those of you that I want on next year’s staff. And we’ll be holding a meeting of staff for the next yearbook. So Pete and Paul don’t need to worry about that at all, and can just focus on getting all the late stuff in so they can meet this year’s deadlines.”
Mr. Carson said, “Pete and Paul? Did you finish things today?”
Boy, Alex was so surprised. Not! She’d been in Pete and Paul’s meetings all year long, and she couldn’t think of even one that finished in the hour it was supposed to be in. And if Greta and Jack both came, the one meeting would end up getting spread over the next three or four days. She said, “Photography already has all of their parts in, except the spring events that haven’t happened yet, so I won’t be at the rest of this meeting. I’ll keep you guys updated, and get the section’s pictures in as soon as they’re done.”
She took Mina’s wrist and walked out. “Whew. I don’t like being like that.”
Mina grinned and said, “You did great.”
Mr. Wilson looked at her and said, “Yes, Miss Mack. You handled that well. You didn’t lose your temper. You didn’t retaliate in kind. And you didn’t let them run roughshod over you either. I think you two will make great yearbook editors next year.”
Mina asked, “Are we really not gonna go to the rest of the yearbook meetings?”
Alex said, “I’ll go if you want me to, but there’s really nothing left for my group. We have less than half a dozen events before the deadline, and we just have to get our photos taken and turned in. No point in me going to five hours of meetings spread over a week, just to hear Greta complain ‘cause her people haven’t gotten their write-ups in to her and Jack’s mad at some more school clubs.”
Mina frowned. “Yeah, come to think about it, all my stuff we can get in before the deadline’s already in, except who’s going to the State Math Contest.”
Alex nodded. “Yeah, and no pictures for that, so my group’s off the hook on that one. Our big headache’s the baseball playoffs and the track and field playoffs. They’re right on the deadline, and if we get past quarterfinals in baseball or we go to state in track and field, the rest of the stuff is after the deadline and nothing on that part goes into the yearbook anyway.”
Mina said, “Maybe I won’t go to the rest of their meetings either.”
Alex said, “Anyway, Jack should’ve had all his stuff in two months ago.”
Mina asked, “How come we don’t have more clubs in?”
Alex frowned, “Jack and Paul. If you’re not cool, or you’re not one of the official school clubs from sign-up day, forget it.”
Mina said, “Jack is pretty much a butthead. I really don’t wanna have to deal with him every meeting.”
Alex said, “I’d rather get Bill Brittsen or Harry Portings or Monica Jens to do the clubs. They’re not so only-the-cool-kids.”
Mina said, “Harry’s my first choice. He’s friends with more of the kids in the not-so-cool groups, so we could get them in the yearbook for a change.”
Alex said, “Okay. Let’s ask him first, Monica second, and Bill third.”
Mina smiled, “Gotcha. Let’s go sit down in the caff and come up with our list, and then I’ll make calls after school.”
Alex said, “Great! Call me after my work and we’ll see how stuff went.”
Mina moaned, “Pete and Paul and Jack are gonna be SO mad at us!”
Alex said, “Don’t worry about them. Mr. Carson won’t let them cause any problems.”
“If you say so,” Mina said untrustingly.
Alex said, “I do say so.” She wasn’t going to waste time worrying about high school jerks.
And she knew that if they tried anything, she was going to be prepared, because she had the best backup anywhere. She waited until she was driving to Gloria’s shop, then she fished out her Terawatt phone. As usual, the call took about four times longer than a normal phone call to connect. “Hi Burn, this is Tera. I have five more names with cell phones and email addys and Twitter to monitor…”
The rest of the school week was pretty boring. And pretty tense. Classes went fine, and she got all her homework done. There were a couple tests that weren’t too bad. Some of the other yearbook staffers were mad at her and Mina, like it was their fault Paul and Pete tried to cram their ideas on yearbook staff down her throat. On the other hand, everyone Mina asked said yes, so they had their own assistant editor staff picked out for their
yearbook next year. They even had one assistant editor just for what was going to go on the CD, and one just for designing the page backgrounds and borders, and they had a couple guys from the computer club putting together their short quiz for everyone to fill out.
Libby still wasn’t back at school. Kelly and a couple other girls who just last week had been insisting they wouldn’t run for homecoming queen because no one could beat Terawatt were all back to talking about being homecoming queen. And everyone was talking about how Libby tried to steal Terawatt’s identity and do a sleazy photoshoot at the school rocks. Libby’s posse was pretty much sticking with other friends in other groups, and trying to be invisible.
Alex’s job at Gloria’s donut shop was going great, because cameramen kept coming in and chatting with her and buying tons of donuts and big to-go orders, and leaving her big tips too. Her film footage of the Sunday superbattle was the best on the networks, because everyone else spent most of the fight running away and hoping not to get burned to a crisp. So she was the only one who had the entire battle on film.
She found out that all the cameramen who were at the school got hit with criminal trespass charges but none of them cared, because they apparently did that all the time. Willow said it was one of the regular risks of being a paparazzo. Boy was Willow smart; Alex hadn’t even known there was a singular of ‘paparazzi’.
And Libby’s dad had a super-expensive lawyer defending her from charges of felony fraud and identity theft. Wow, like that was a surprise. Willow said the emails and phone calls from the DA’s office to the arresting officers sounded like they were going to let Libby plead ‘no contest’ and pay the school for damages and do community service hours, instead of having a huge trial and stuff. Willow said they could either let Libby cut that deal, or else they could spend thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars and still maybe lose the trial to some super-expensive lawyers hired by Libby’s dad.
Alex very carefully didn’t ask Willow how Acid Burn was able to bust the city government firewalls and read the emails that the police and the district attorney’s office were sending to each other.