I take extra care in my appearance this morning, and honestly, I’m proud of the end results. I actually let my long, jet black hair loose, instead of my usual high ponytail. I stole Aunt Suzy’s mascara and applied it to my already long and thick eyelashes. The combination of that and the lavender lace sundress I’m wearing makes the gold in my honey brown eyes shine. Normally, I just put plain studs in my double ear piercings, but today I dug out some old silver hoops. My favorite part of the whole outfit is the shoes. The pale tan gladiator sandals that I found gathering dust in the back of my closet are so amazing, even though the straps are painfully squeezing my bad ankle.
Normally I would never do this, but desperate times call for desperate measures I guess. Today’s objective: Catch the eye of Atlas and make him fall in love with me even more. If possible, strike up a conversation and attempt to flirt. I really hope I don’t have to flirt today. Last time I tried to do that I ended up making a fool out of myself, and scaring away the guy who I actually had liked at the time.
Checking myself one more time in the mirror, I shrug into a faded denim jean jacket. I then grab my school bag and head out.
My ankle feels a little better today, but not by much. I had wrapped it with some ace tape I found in a random closet downstairs last night and iced it while I slept. I really hope the pain just subsides. It’s going to be pretty difficult to assassinate Captain Colossal with a broken ankle.
Waiting for the bus, I could throw up from the nerves. It’s funny, before a big heist, I have no nerves, I’m cool and collected, but when faced with the prospect of flirting with a guy, I am an absolute nervous wreck. My pulse is racing, and I can’t stop fidgeting with my earrings.
The bus goes practically silent as I step on. The jocks throwing paper airplanes at each other stop and stare. The hot, popular girls flip their fake blond hair and start whispering to each other, their death glares pointed directly at me.
Maybe the makeover was too much. I feel heat creep up into my cheeks but then I push it back down. I won’t be intimidated by a bunch of high school burnouts.
I swallow down my fear and embarrassment and put on my steeled expression, one I had perfected for situations like this. With a toss of my hair, I do my best not to show my limp too much as I make my way towards my normal seat in the back of the bus. Whispers and whistles follow me down the aisle.
Halfway down the aisle, Brady Star leaps up in front of me.
“Dressing up for someone Nixie?” He jeered, looking me up and down with a raised eyebrow and look of approval.
Perv. And this guy is Atlas’ best friend. Sure says something about Atlas’ character, now doesn’t it?
“You wish, perv,” I evenly replied, shoving past him. I give my head a little swing as I take a step past Brady, just enough so that my hair smacks him in the face. I wish I had my ponytail in so that I could hit him harder.
A chorus of ohs and laughter at Brady ensues as I keep going down the aisle to Selene and my’s normal seat.
Selene doesn’t come on the bus for a few more stops, so I endure the stares by pretending to be looking through my Calculus notes and thinking of a game plan for today.
I am so lost in my thoughts that I don’t even realize that the bus has arrived at Selene’s stop and that she is standing right next to me.
“A dress Nixie? It’s October dumbo*!” She chides, snapping me out of my thoughts.
“I’m aware of what month it is Lean. Now get your butt* down here,” I hiss, grabbing her arm and pulling her down onto the seat.
“Woah, settle down there-Woah! Is that Mascara I see? And your hair’s down?! Hmmm, short dress in October, makeup, and nice hair, is this about a certain boy?” She teases.
“Before you get too excited,” I cut off her excited squeal, “it’s not what you think.”
Selene gives me a look that clearly says that she doesn’t believe me one bit.
“Oh really?” She says raising one eyebrow at me, “You know from where I am sitting it sure doesn’t look like that. To me it looks like a girl trying to impress the guy she likes who she just learned likes her back.”
“It’s not like that,” I say, running my hands through my long hair.
“Then what is it like?” Selene challenges.
Now what do I say? I could tell Selene that Atlas is the Falcon, but then she would most likely be mad at me. She has such a big crush on him and she’s not as good at hiding her feelings as I am. Last night I could definitely tell that she was annoyed that I didn’t seem to care. She would be furious if she knew I was just taking advantage of him.
Or I could add Selene to my huge pile of people I have to lie to and convince I’m into Atlas. I really don’t want to do that.
I choose to have to suffer the consequences of Selene being mad at me now rather than later.
“Ok, I’m going to tell you something crazy. You have to promise you will never tell another living soul,” I whisper, leaning in closer to Selene.
She nods, her entire face lighting up. She got the same look on her face before I told her I was the Shade Assassin. She absolutely loves it when I trust her with secrets. Too bad she’s always disappointed or mad at me afterward.
“Atlas is the Falcon. Captain Colossal is his uncle.”
Her jaw drops.
“You mean Atlas Rivero, Atlas?” She says, a little too loud for comfort.
“Shut up!” I hiss at her, looking around to check for people eavesdropping, “But yes.”
“How do you know?”
“Remember that one time when Atlas came to school with that huge bruise on almost an entire half of his face?”
She nods, her eyes wide, drinking in all of this information.
“That was from me. One night last year I was staking out a spot of a possible heist when Atlas, well, the Falcon, came out of nowhere. I hadn’t fought with the Falcon for a while, before he had always been an easy opponent, but this fight was different, he was stronger, faster, better. We had this huge fight on the rooftops and for a minute he almost overpowered me, until I Tornado kicked his mask right off his face. He ran away the minute his mask hit the ground but I still got a pretty clear picture off his identity.”
Surprisingly Selene is giving me a look of approval. I think I hear her whisper ************ underneath her breath. That makes me smile, more than relieved that she approves.
“Yeah so that’s how I recognized him, and obviously he doesn’t know who I am otherwise he wouldn’t have told people that he likes me. I mean, who falls for a girl who literally has kicked your butt* multiple times and is your nemesis.”
“You never know…” she draws out with a sly grin.
I ignore that.
“But seriously Lene, connect the dots. I want to avenge my father and to do that I need to kill Captain Colossal. Atlas is Captain Colossal’s nephew and he likes me. Now I am dressing up nice. What am I up to?”
Selene sits there for a few with a very confused look. I can practically see her mind frantically trying to catch up to where I’m at.
I know she’s figured it out when she goes pale and looks at me with fear mixed with disgust. I hate that look.
“No. Please tell me you are not going to do what I think you are going to do.”
“I have to,” I respond, swallowing a lump of regret.
I think Selene is speechless. She turns away from me. She stays that way for the rest of the bus ride.
I feel horrible and I just want to make up, but here’s what Selene doesn’t understand, I have to do this. She knows how complicated this mess is. I never wanted it to go this far and personal but again, I have no choice.
I turn towards the window, fighting the tears with all my might. Assassin’s don’t cry, neither will I.