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Locklear Enterprises/New York City

Sneaking out of a forty plus story building was easier when you can fly. It was also easier when you came home to an empty home. As expected, there was a note waiting for her from her father:

Business meeting in Nevada, stay out of trouble – ML.

Avis sighed, crumpled the sheet and tossed it into the waste basket as she dug in the fridge for some after school snacks. It felt as if Malcolm Locklear was avoiding her. Sure this new device he was working on was important, Avis understood that, but since she moved in here she had only seen her father a few times, and even then all that time couldn’t be more than thirty minutes. She preferred him in the mornings tough, it was nice eating breakfast with him; even though they rarely talk. It beat the late nights when he would stumble in, exhausted, partially drunk and in a bad mood. He would either completely ignore and head off to his bedroom, or grab a drink and tell her to go to bed. It wasn’t like with mom, there were no smiles, no hugs, no ‘I love you’s’, that as cheesy as it was, meant more to Avis than she ever knew.

Yet, despite her father’s constant absence from her life, Eve Munroe was in it way too often. Avis saw her when she arrived home, hanging around the lobby talking to the receptionist. Her tablet in her hand, going on about some meeting or something business related that Malcolm didn’t have time for. THAT was her job, not coming up to the penthouse every evening to ‘check up’ on a fifteen year old who didn’t need babysitting. Avis thought a personal assistant was required to stay near her boss, you know to take down notes? Obviously wherever her father went it wasn’t important enough to warrant her to go with him.

It would be the one glitch in her plan for the night. She was really wanting to go see this fight, even try to make some friends. She doubted Eve would let her go if she knew the real reason, and if she said something about going to a friends, Avis knew the assistant would call up any name she said and check with their parents for security measures. Avis missed being the invisible feeling, of not being in such a lime light with Malcolm Locklear as her father. The attention was too much, she felt it at school, and she knew she’d feel it on the streets if Eve made a fuss about it.

At least Eve was punctual. Seventy-thirty, on the dot, the elevator bell would ring and Eve would causally walk out, and inspect the apartment, Avis and in her own way make sure the teenager was being well-behaved and not sneaking into the labs on the other floors. Avis didn’t have to sneak around physically though, within a couple of days of arriving at the penthouse, she had managed to find the security feed of the many cameras stationed all over the building. Locklear’s tech and security software had been impressive, Avis had to give her father credit for that, but she had her own skills and managed to hack into the feed eventually. Everything was in black and white though, which was a downer, and the audio wasn’t there. Still, Avis managed to get a little bit of a sneak peek into what her father’s employees were doing, and the anti-grave device was the most interesting by far. It fed her curiosity enough to not warrant any night-time snooping, but Eve didn’t know that.

“How was your day?” Eve asked, moving to the kitchen area, pretending she was looking for something to eat.

“Fine.” Avis lied. Like she was going to tell her about the attraction and the rope climbing incident.

“Lot’s of homework?”

“Some… it’s not too bad.” Avis said. She was sitting on the couch, the TV on to some show about an air borne virus killing off all of humanity. She really wasn’t watching it, she was just waiting for Eve to leave so she could. God, she would have to fly several blocks now to get to the meeting point in time. Even without her mother breathing down her neck, Avis still felt uncomfortable flying around a city like New York, with so many people, and all those lights, it would be hard for her to get away without being seen. And that is the last things he needed right now, for some news outlet to tape her flying over Times Square. What if those aliens from Glasgow hear that and come looking for her again?

“Any plans for tonight?” Eve asked, coming to stand behind Avis.

“Ah, plans?” Avis jumped, then quickly put on a smile. “Ah, no… nothing like that… maybe a movie.”

“Don’t stay up too late.” Even warned then departed the penthouse. Avis waited, heart in her throat, until the elevator lights showed that Eve was back on the ground floor. Pulling out her laptop, she quickly clicked on the security camera feed icon and watched through the lens of Eve Monroe leaving the building. It was only then that Avis could breath again as she jumped off the couch and headed to her room. Sending a quick text to Nick Renyolds that she was a go, and to wait for her.

***

It was close to eight by the time Avis was ready to head out. She had spent close to twenty minutes trying to figure out what to wear. Not only was she meeting students of Maplebrook Academy out of school hours, but she had decided to participate in the fight… that is if they were still accepting applications. The flyer was vague on those details, even on the location. Maybe there was some code that only underground fighters knew about on how to find the place? Either way, for the first time Avis was preoccupied with her wardrobe and how she looked. She found a black skirt and a pair of knee-high boots with heavy heal. She then found a tank top, and for luck, her mother’s old blue uniform jacket. It was worn and faded and a bit singed by the fire, but still in one piece. Whatever the material used for it, it was certainly durable.

Avis looked at herself in the mirror, her dark hair hanging loose around her shoulders. Good for a night out with fellow teenagers, distracting when fighting. Avis shifted through her belongings until she found an elastic heavy enough to hold back her thick hair, she then collected her dark locks, pulled her hair back and twisted and twirled it before taking the elastic and clasping it all together in a messy looking bun. Strands fell out around the elastic, and down her back, but her desire result of keeping her hair out of her face was achieved. Grabbing her bag, she threw it over her shoulder and across her chest before leaping to the widow ledge in her bedroom.

Unlocking and pushing the window open, Avis was greeted by a rush of heavy forced air. Without hesitation she jumped out the window, only dipping a few inches as she called upon her inner power and well of energy to keep her airborne. Closing the window, Avis pushed off the side of the glass building and began to fly over the skyline of the massive city below her. Though she still had worries about being seen, there was no way Avis could focus on such negative thoughts when she was completely airborne. There was freedom that came to navigating the skies, freedom that nobody on his planet could really feel. A bubbling laughter escaped her lips as she sped across the sky towards the meeting point, which didn’t take that long.

Avis found an alley to land a few blocks away and proceeded to meet up with Nick and his friends on foot. Coming out from Eighth Avenue, she made her way towards Columbus Circle where she saw Nick and a few others loitering around in the middle of the high density traffic circle. There were two other girls, with two guys who appeared to be their boyfriends. They were sitting along the lip of the fountain, joking and laughing amongst themselves. Nick was talking to another guy who wore a pizza hat.

“Avis, hey, over here.” Nick said, as Avis crossed the road to meet up with them. “This here is Victor, the one who found the flyer… he’s sort of our guide to the location.”

“I hope you don’t take us on some wild goose chase again.” One of the other girls spoke up. She had hot pink hair, with piercing in her nose and up her ears. She wore a leather jacket and skinny jeans that had several tears down the legs.

“Oi, don’t remind me. This better be good Victor.” The other girl said. She had a streak of lime green hair through her natural blonde. She too had a number of piercing, but wore a fitted sweatshirt with some sports team from Maplebrook on it, jeans and platform healed shoes.

“It is, promise.” Victor assured the group.

“Introductions…” Nick said, coming up to Avis. “The pink hair is Gabby, the green stripe is Zoe. Their boyfriends are Tom and Rory.” Avis waved her hand, and got a shrug and a small smile out of the others. So much for making friends, Avis thought as they all headed off. “Glad you could make it, I was telling them about your stunt today in gym class.”

“It’s not that hard to climb a rope.” Tom said. “Sorry you got such a hard time though…” He added quickly to both Nick and Avis.

“Whatever,” Avis said with a sigh. “So, where exactly is this place?”

“It’s in Queens… around Willets Point.”

“Queens?” Gabby shouted, “why the hell did we meet here then?”

“I didn’t think Avis knew her way around the city yet.” Nick spoke up. “It’s not that long of a train ride.” Gabby mumbled into Tom’s shoulder as the two couples walked ahead of the others.

“It’ll be an adventure.” Rory said, not seeming phased by the idea of going to Queens. It was true though, Avis didn’t know her way around the city, nor did she understand the bit deal between Manhattan and Queens, she just trusted the others knew where they were going.

“Besides, where else would they hold such an event?” Victor tried to placate the girls. “I mean, they’d need some sort of warehouse large enough, not to mention avoiding the cops and other authorities.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Let’s just get going.” Gabby shouted back.

“You’re all friends?” Avis asked, as the couples got a little further a head.

“Yeah since primary school if you believe it.” Nick said with a sigh. “Though since those two got boyfriends, it’s been harder to get together as much as we used to.”

“Oh…” Avis had never been in a place long enough to even imagine what it would be like to have a friend since childhood. They must all be close then. “Do you think we’ll make it in time for registrations?”

“Why? Are you wanting to participate?” Victor asked, joking around.

“Well… I was thinking about it.” Avis said. Victor stopped laughing and looked at Avis more closely.

“You’re insane.”

“Yeah… so I’ve heard.” Avis gave the other teenager a sly smile as the group descended the steps into the subway. “Don’t worry, I’ll take it easy on my opponents.”

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