I somehow managed to drive back to the dormitory, change into human clothing, tuck the newspaper article into my backpack, and sit on my twin-sized bed with my laptop before my roommate Taylor Ginen walked through the door in her Carl’s, Jr. uniform, her golden blonde hair pulled back into a messy bun. Usually she wasn't still in the uniform this late in the evening, but one look at her exhausted face told me she had worked a longer shift.
“How was the journalism meeting?” I asked, pretending not to sound out of breath. I subtly moved my shirt sleeve over a nasty burn mark I got from my encounter with Hung Zhu, where he had punched me.
“It was good,” Taylor replied, setting down her purse, hat, and weathered purple notebook. “We got another assignment for the next two weeks.”
“Cool! What is it?” I asked her, propping myself up on the bed.
“We have to do an article on Time Turner and her influence on Captain Hope City. Not like there’s much about her, am I right?” Taylor said with a laugh. It took everything in my ability not to protest. It would expose my identity for sure.
“Yeah!” I managed to say.
Taylor didn’t say anything more, but instead walked over to the fridge and observed its vacancy. She pulled out the spaghetti leftovers and put it in the microwave.
“So what’s your opinion on Time Turner?” Taylor asked me, pushing some buttons on it.
“Oh, umm…” I started, thinking of what to say. “I don’t know, really. I’m not much interested in superheroes.”
“Interesting...” Taylor said, not looking away from the microwave. After a little while, it beeped three times, and Taylor pulled out the leftovers. She took the steaming tub and sat on her bed. “Who made this?”
“Mrs. Jessica, from down the street,” I replied.
She twirled her plastic fork in the spaghetti and took a bite. “Tell her she makes really good spaghetti.”
“Believe me, I already have!” I said with a laugh. We then fell silent, each of us concentrating on our homework. I pulled up my essay for English, a 5-page rhetorical analysis on The Great Gatsby.
After a little while, my phone started vibrating. I picked it up without looking at the contact name and said,
“Hey, sweetie!” the voice of my mom said gleefully. “How are you?”
“Doing good!” I said. “Just working on an essay for English.” I glanced at my laptop’s screen and made a disgusted face.
“Oh, that’s interesting. What about?”
“The Great Gatsby.”
“Interesting. How’s work?”
“It’s fine. I recently got a small raise for my evening job, since a coworker left.”
“Congratulations, honey! How much are you getting paid now?”
“About ten and a half dollars an hour.”
“That’s nice!” There was a pause. “How’s the car?”
“Oh...” I said, glancing at Taylor. She was silently typing on her laptop. “The Civic is fine.”
It went on like this for a little while. She would ask a question: how life was, how Taylor was, if I’d met any nice guys. I’d then give a straightforward, often one-word answers. It was just how it was when my mom called. However, our conversations would become a little more interesting after Taylor fell asleep…
I looked over at her. She was laying down facing me with her eyes closed and her laptop next to her.
“Taylor?” I asked her. “You awake?”
She gave no response. I turned my attention back to my mom.
“Okay, my roommate’s knocked out for the night! So...did you hear about Flamewoman and Vapor’s engagement?”
“Actually, no!” my mom replied. “I knew about them dating, though.”
“Well, they announced it on SuperTalk. They said their wedding would be within the next couple months.”
“The next couple months? They seem to be moving fast!”
“Well, they have known each other for many years, and they come from the wealthier families. I imagine they don’t need as much time to get settled.”
“You’re right, but...I bet their fights wouldn’t go too well.”
I tried to imagine a fight between them: fire and, essentially, water. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought.
“Yeah, I can imagine.” I suddenly realized how tired I was. “Well, it’s getting late. I should hit the hay.”
“Yes, you probably should,” my mom said. “Good night, honey.”
“Bye, Mom. Love you!”
“Love you, too, honey!”
I hung up and placed my phone on the side table between mine and Taylor’s beds. I then pulled my covers over me and fell asleep peacefully. Little did I know it would be the last peaceful moment I would have for a long while.