Going from beating the crap out of powers and government agents to mathematics was a weird shift. The teacher kept trying to show us how to solve for X; meanwhile, I couldn't stop thinking about how everything had gone down two nights prior.
My world had violently expanded. A week ago, my biggest concern was whether or not I'd remembered to pack my homework that morning, or whether anyone noticed the nasty blemish on my nose. Now? I was thinking about the impact my actions would have on the image of the Skull at large.
Gym class snapped me out of that. I had forgotten about the issue of my sudden 'growth spurt'; when it came time to change into my gym clothes, I tried to find the quietest corner to dress in.
I should have known better. These sorts of things never work out the way you'd prefer them to.
"Oh my god," someone said behind me. "What the hell happened to your shoulders, Sue? You look like some kind of freak."
The girl was Jennifer Straub; she was pretty, petite, and mean as hell. As soon as she locked on me, I blushed hard and tried to put the rest of my clothes on as fast as I could. "Nothing," I said.
"You look like the Incredible Hulk!" she said, and then she turned. "Jackie! Come here! You gotta see this--"
My blush burned hotter as I got the shirt over my shoulders. Even with it on, I still looked bulkier--it'd be easy to mistake it for fat if it wasn't for my bare arms. They were dense, compact things--hard and with a noticeable bulge of sinew.
"It's nothing," I said, and I turned to leave the locker room.
Jacqueline--I suspected she and Jennifer were friends for no reason beyond that their names began with 'J'--had arrived in time to gawk at me. As I passed by, she giggled. "Watch out," she said. "You're making her angry. You won't like her when she's angry."
Jennifer grinned. "Sue smash."
To be honest? I was sorely tempted.
I clenched my fists and kept moving.
Gym class didn't go any better. A few people gawked and stared; luckily, gym classes were staggered every week, and since I skipped the previous one, there was about a two week gap to explain the sudden muscles. It probably still didn't make any sense, but I figured teenagers wouldn't think too hard on it. Though I heard at least a few of the other kids whispering about steroids.
I hadn't noticed before, but Anna was in my gym class too. Inbetween rounds of dodgeball (I made it a point to let myself get hit a few times, and miss several easy shots), she darted up next to me and gave me a nudge with her elbow.
"You doing okay?" she asked.
"I guess," I said, and then I added: "At least they're not wondering how I got the muscles."
"You should peg some of them with the ball," she said. "Especially Jennifer."
Again, I was tempted. "Better not to," I said. "Don't want to draw attention to myself."
"Okay. But it's fine if I peg 'em a few times, right?" she said.
That managed to pull a grin out of me.
After gym finished, one of the boys--I didn't know his name--ran past me as I moved to the lockerroom. I heard him mutter under his breath: "Sue smash humans."
Without even thinking, I threw my arms out and gave him a shove.
Surprised the hell out of me. It's not something I ever expected myself to do--but this was starting to get to me. When I pushed him, he flew back--I had done it hard enough to throw him to the floor. Didn't hurt him, but stunned the crap out of him.
I heard the gym teacher's whistle. In an instant, he was baring down on me. "Daysdale!" he shouted. "Office, now!"
"Sue hate puny humans," Jennifer said, grinning and keeping her voice low.