“Seriously, where is she?” I asked Tyler. Beside me, Lisa tapped the face of her watch as if to emphasize how long it had been. Except the watch didn’t work so I had no idea why she was even wearing it.
Tyler only shrugged in response and finished off his third strawberry smoothie. It had already been an hour since we had sat down at a corner table in Starbucks and I was going to have to cut Lisa off any minute if she had any more caffeine. Sarah said she would meet us but so far there was no sign of her.
“You know what’s wicked funny?” Lisa asked and a giggle escaped her mouth. “It’s been a week and no one has made any progress on figuring out who killed Titan-1’s daughter.”
“Yeah…” Tyler said, eyes dancing side to side and taking in the crowded shop. “Hilarious.”
I put my hand on Lisa’s thigh and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Lisa, sweetie, haven’t we talked about this before? Remember that we’re in public.”
“But you’re right here.” She mock whispered. “Sitting right next to them and they have no idea.”
I gripped her leg harder and it only caused a peal of laughter to escape.
“Fine, fine.” She said and with greatly exaggerated movements she mimed zipping her mouth closed and throwing away the key. A second later we heard the sound of squealing tires coming from somewhere down the street.
“There she is.” Tyler said, grinning.
“That could be anyone, silly.” Lisa said, already forgetting she was supposed to be keeping her mouth closed. “What makes you so sure it’s-”
An engine roared and from our spot near the window we watched as an all pink, 1969 Mustang Mach-1 came dashing up the hill. The car swerved in and out of traffic, fishtailing more often than it had actual traction. The other patrons around us jumped in fear as she pulled in front of a speeding semi to make her way into the parking lot before swinging around in a wide circle and parking.
“What a way to keep a low profile.” I muttered, watching Sarah get out the car. The knee length, blue sundress she wore was somewhat out of place considering the antics she had just pulled and a light blush has staining her cheeks as the adrenaline ran its course. And the way she tossed her hair and the sunlight caught it was like something out of a commercial.
I thought I was going to be sick.
“Sorry I’m late!” Sarah called as she came in the door, ignoring how every head turned towards her as she made her way to the counter. “Be right there!”
“I want one.” Lisa blurted, still looking out at the parking lot.
“You want one of what?” I asked and she pointed straight towards the pink monster Sarah had arrived in. “No. No, no, no.”
“Aw, come on Bast.” She pouted. “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Tyler only smirked while a mental image of death and destruction filled my head. Lisa behind the wheel of something like that? She had no idea that the only reason Sarah didn’t crash and burn was because she used her power while she was driving. That, and the fact that she had been driving like that since I met her.
“Pleaseeee.” She said, batting her eyes.
“No way. Not even if I owned a race track you could drive on.”
“You own a race track Sebastian?” Sarah asked as she sat down across from us. “How come you’ve never invited me?”
“Because I don’t own a race track.”
“You should get one.” Tyler chimed in. “I would love to have someplace to really cut loose on my bike. Lately, I can’t even take it anywhere because people drive like idiots.”
“What do you mean get one?” I asked. “You’re talking about at least two miles of track. I can’t just walk into the store and ask for them to deliver one. It doesn’t work that way.”
“Guess you better start building one, Bast.”
I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose, something I felt like I had been doing a lot of lately. “You’re all ridiculous. Assuming I even agreed to that, where would I put a racetrack? I live in an apartment remember.”
“On the roof, Bast. Duh.”
“Can we focus, please? Sarah, what the hell took you so long?”
“I was undercover.” She said and I paused, waiting for laughter to tell me it was a joke. She never laughed.
“Undercover?” Tyler rumbled with one eyebrow rising to the top of his head.
“That’s what I said.” Sarah hid her smile behind a sip of coffee. “Someone had to be at the funeral, find out if he was faking it.”
“Well?” I prompted.
“There’s a good chance that we’ve fucked up royally. To say he was devastated would probably be an understatement. It was pretty lucky there were some other Titans there to hold him down because he started ripping up these huge oak trees and tossing them around once they put her in the ground.”
“I was actually pretty lucky that there were some Accelerators there because one of those trees almost landed on me, some guy in tights whooshed me out of the way just in time. Imagine that on my gravestone for a second. Here lays Sarah Extreme, crushed to death at a funeral by a tree.”
Lisa raised her hand as if she had to wait to be called on.
“You don’t have to raise your hand.” I said. “Just start-”
“Am I getting fired?” She asked in the most serious tone I had probably ever heard her use. “And if so, can I choose how I go? Hey, that rhymed.”
A frown creased my face. “Why would I fire you?”
“Because, I accepted the contract. The big cheese just put innocent lives in danger-”
“Sarah is an innocent now?”
“I resent that. You’re all just a bad influence on me.”
“So we’ve been set up.” Tyler said what we were all thinking and hadn’t admitted out loud.
The table went quiet with the implication. To set us up meant they had to have some idea of who we were, but how? Sure we had competition from other villains looking to profit but no one had ever ID’d anyone on my team and lived long enough to talk about it.
“This is personal.” I said. “Why else take this roundabout method of putting us in the crosshairs? A sniper would have been much more effective.”
“That makes us feel so much better Sebastian.” Sarah mumbled, staring into her coffee.
I smiled and there was nothing comforting about it. “A sniper is more effective. Makes more sense to take your enemies out from-”
A harsh buzzing interrupted my sentence and I looked down to see my phone vibrating on the glass table with an incoming call. From a number I didn’t recognize, which was odd because no one had this number so I only stared at the phone blankly for a few moments. Lisa glanced at the phone as I froze and her eyes widened. The weight of the gun at my back was incredibly welcome as I picked it up and answered.
“Who is this?”
“.....” Only whistling wind and heavy breathing answered me. Until. “I see you, Sebastian.”
I let the mask that acted as my false humanity fall away until my eyes were cold and empty. A young man walking towards the counter happened to glance my way and quickly turned his head away, but not before I saw the flash of fear. He was right to be afraid, I was tempted to kill everyone here and worry about the details later.
My eyes swept the coffee shop, taking everyone in with a more critical eye. The wannabe writers who felt the need to let everyone know they were working on something. The overweight patrons warping the chairs they sat in while they waited for their next million calorie drink to be ready. The businessmen drifting in and out with shots of espresso in their coffee. Lots of people on phones, no one seeming to pay us any attention.
“You think I would sit right next to you?” The voice rasped. I could tell it was male but not much more than that. His voice sounded like someone who had nearly lost their throat to smoking.
My eyes drifted towards the windows but there were too many options. Distantly, I was proud of my team. No one else was looking around, they had gone back to carrying on a conversation amongst themselves. Like nothing was amiss. Only Sarah met my eyes, waiting for a signal but I only shook my head.
“I don’t know who you are.” I said. “And I don’t really care. Shouldn’t you be telling me how you’re going to watch me suffer?”
“You are a demon.” The voice hissed. “What good would my threats be?”
“Then why call, dumb ass?”
“To let you know, Bast.” He said and my eye twitched. No one called me that but Lisa. He was dead and he didn’t even know it.
“Let me know what?” I asked and my voice was as empty as my eyes.
“That I’m hunting you. And Titan-1 will be my weapon of choice.”