Kat grabbed her bag and walked to her elevator-door. It was there in a flash, and she rode the elevator down to the lobby.
She was wearing a long, black wool trench coat, and she put sunglasses on as she stepped out of the building through the back
door. She took a deep breath. “Mmmm ... I love New York,” she murmured to herself, as she started off toward
She got off the subway and started in the direction of the Maxim building. Under her trench, she was wearing her Thundergirl
outfit, and butterflies the size of hedgehogs were wrestling in her stomach.
She opened the doors and walked into the building, and walked straight to the desk in front. She was proud that her legs
weren’t shaking, and that her voice came out naturally when she told the woman at the desk that she had an interview.
Kat waited until she was out of the building again before laughing out loud. That was so awesome! And the best part is,
I’m not nervous for my Pepsi commercial, either!
She was glad she had scheduled the two for the same day, even if it did mean she had to wolf down her lunch on the subway.
Speaking of lunch ... Kat looked around, saw a hotdog vendor, and went over there. She loved the hotdog vendors in New York.
Some of them, anyway. They used real meat, instead of that processed crap that comes in packages.
Kat sighed as the man made up her hotdog. Her stomach was twisting again, but it wasn’t nerves this time. Well, in
a way it was. Agreeing to the Pepsi commercial had been a split-decision, a moment of weakness, as it were. She didn’t
drink Pepsi, especially Diet Pepsi, and she was morally opposed to sweat shops and cheap labor and carcinogenic Equal or Sweet
‘n Low or Aspartame or whatever artificial sweetener Pepsi used to make Diet Pepsi.
And she knew her Dad wouldn’t approve.
But, I signed the contract and that’s that. The best I can do right now is do what I said I would do, go to the
commercial shoot, and deal with it. And I have to be careful what I say from now on. So maybe it’s best if I focus
on, say, energy, from now on.
And with that, she set off for the subway again, hotdog in hand.
Kat opened the door and walked in. God, it felt strange, walking into her own home. She’d only been gone a couple
months. But she hadn’t visited since then. She hoped she wasn’t interrupting dinner.
“Dad? Jess? Livvy?” she called out.
“Kat!” She heard her sister scream from the other side of the brownstone, and then she heard Livvy coming toward
her at a dead run, and she grinned, and crouched down to catch her sister.
Livvy came bounding into the entryway, her sandy ponytail bouncing. She ran straight into Kat’s arms, and Kat caught
her, stood, and swung her around a few times. But only a few. Maybe I should work on strength next .... whatever else
I got with this nova-thing, I sure didn’t get any stronger ...
She tried to set Livvy down, but Livvy wouldn’t let go. “Hey. babe, let me go for a sec, okay? Can I take off
Livvy shook her head. “I missed you!”
“I missed you, too, sweetheart. But I’ll be here for a little while, and you can sit by me at dinner and everything.”
Livvy let go as if she was afraid her older sister would disappear once she did. Kat looked up to see her dad and Jess standing
in the entryway. She set her bag on the floor and gave her dad a big hug, then turned to her stepmom, and hugged her.
Richard grinned and winked at Jess. “We should make her favorite curry more often. I used to say the smell of that
would be the only thing that could bring her out of her workshop sometimes, but I had no idea how powerful it really was.”
Kat sniffed the air. “You’re making my curry? I don’t smell anything.”
“We were just discussing what we wanted for dinner tonight. It came up as an option.” Jess smiled at her. “You
can put your bag and your coat in your room, if you want, then we want to hear all about StormWatch.”
Kat nodded. It was good to be home.
“You can’t say anything about all this, okay? It’s so hard, sometimes, watching everything we say, and
I think we’d be closer if we called each other by our real names, but then I’d have a lot more to worry about.
Accidentally saying Pumpkin instead of Damage in public, that’s embarrassing. Accidentally using his real name? Potentially
Kat was sitting at the table, with a small stack of papers in front of her, and Livvy sitting next to her, listening avidly.
Richard was at the stove, and Jess was sitting on the counter, drinking a glass of pomegranate juice.
“Anyway, Damage is the big-brother type. You can tell he’s ready to protect the people he cares about with his
life, if it comes to that, and he cares about a lot of people. He’s got a big heart.” Kat grinned. “Yeah,
I had a mini-crush on him when I first started to get to know him, but then I found out he got engaged to Songbird. It’s
cool, though. I’ve only seen her once or twice, but she’s cute, and it was only a mini-crush.” Kat took
a sip of her juice, and then grinned. “On to Aura ... Aura is not the big-sister type. I can’t criticize her
too much, because she does stuff I want to do, but ... she doesn’t think before she does it. I almost think we’d
make an excellent team, with me the brain and she the brawn, but ... she doesn’t play nice with other girls. She’s
Richard turns from the stove. “Dinner’s ready.” Jess hopped down from the counter, and started setting
the table. Dinner commenced, and the talking continued, mostly Kat telling everyone what she really thought about StormWatch
members, instead of the condensed and slightly sugar-coated version she had given to Maxim that morning.
“Dad, tell me about a company called Niagara Mohawk.”
Richard looked up from the sink, where he was washing the dishes from dinner. “Niagara Mohawk is an electric company
that uses hydro-electric fuel sources to power most of the New York area, except New York City. They’ve been trying
to win the bid for New York City’s energy pact for awhile now. Why do you ask?”
Kat tapped a small stack of papers she’d brought into the kitchen from her bag now sitting in her room. “They
want me to sign a contract with them. My bet is they want my help getting New York City. Sounds logical? I wanted to make
sure they were okay before signing it, and I want you to help me with the contract.”
“No problem, Kitten.”
Livvy insisted that she and Kat have a sleepover. They pulled together as many blankets as they could find, and put them
on the floor in Kat’s room, and they both slept on the floor, like they were camping.
Kat lay awake - she had never needed much sleep, and since becoming a nova she found she needed even less - and Kat was thinking
hard. About a few things. First was the fact that she still hadn’t brought up Diet Pepsi or Maxim to her dad yet.
The second was that she really wanted a chance to really talk about StormWatch to someone, and that someone would have to
be her dad.
But the third thing, the biggest thing in perhaps a lot of ways, was something she didn’t want to think about too hard,
at least not until she had a chance to talk to Caestus.
“What’s on your mind, Kitten?”
“Well, there’s a couple things you should know. I signed a contract with Diet Pepsi, and I did a commercial.
Yesterday. I felt really stupid afterward, Daddy, but I agreed in a moment of, well, moral weakness, I guess.” Richard’s
face was unreadable, so she rushed on to explain. “Niagara had just asked me to do a commercial, and they wanted me
to say stuff, Daddy, and I’m really nervous about that, you know? So then Pepsi came along and said, just one commercial,
and you don’t have to talk, and I thought that would be good practice, you know? For the serious stuff I was thinking
about doing with Niagara?” She stopped talking. There was nothing more she could say, anyway, and it didn’t
look like any of it was helping.
Richard shook his head. “Well, that was your decision. I can’t say I’m pleased with your decision, but
you’re a big girl now, I guess, so you get to make your decisions. I hope that was the worst thing you have to tell
Kat laughed, but it sounded a little forced to her. “Well, just before the commercial shoot, I did an interview and
photo shoot - with Maxim.”
Richard’s face grew even more unreadable.
“Daddy ... “
“A photo shoot?”
“Daddy ... ?”
Richard sighed. “You’re right, I’m being the overbearing, overprotective father. I’ll try to keep
that to a minimum. I still don’t like it, but I said it before, and I won’t repeat myself. Tell me about the
Kat smiled. “Well, he asked a bunch of silly questions, and a few serious ones. It was fun. You’ll have to
check it out. And skip the questions about sex.” Kat grinned as her father shook his head again, but he was smiling,
too. Disaster averted! Good thing they didn’t ask about my virginity or anything ...