Chapter 50

“So, anything good going on this weekend?” Alex asked as he and Hershel sat down in the dining hall.

“Not that I’ve heard of. I think most people are freaking out about finals on the horizon and speculating on Tuesday’s mystery speaker,” Hershel replied.

“Yeah, that’s about what I’ve come up with, too. That sucks; usually there’s a video game tournament or some other dorm-sponsored event on any given weekend,” Alex complained, adjusting his tray to try and find a point of attack on the noodle surprise he had been served.

“Don’t you hate when class messes with college?” Hershel joked.

“That I do,” Alex said. “On the plus side, I heard there’s a big party going on next weekend held by one of the upperclassmen. Every Su... person in our class is invited.”

Hershel held his breath and tried to covertly scout the room to see if anyone was paying the pair attention. Not seeing any turned heads or huddled groups whispering, he decided to breeze over Alex’s almost fuck-up and hope no one had heard.

“Sounds fun,” Hershel said. “Nice of them to invite us freshmen.”

“Apparently it’s a tradition to let those of us who haven’t dropped out by this point participate. Plus, from what I’ve heard, our gym final is going to be brutal, so the experienced ones are showing us a bit more kindness,” Alex explained.

“No idea what that’s going to be yet, huh?” Hershel asked.

“No more than you. That’s a pretty tightly-guarded secret. The only thing I’ve been able to uncover is that it’s really intense.”

“That part I could have guessed,” Hershel commented. “Oh well, a party sounds fun. Roy’s been good lately, so it’ll be nice for him to blow off some steam.”

“Ah. So you’re going as Roy then?” Alex asked.

“Well, yeah; the parties are kind of his bread and butter,” Hershel said.

“No, I understand and all. It’s just that... well, I haven’t made a whole lot of friends at Lander besides you, so I was kind of hoping I’d have someone there I already knew. And Roy is cool and all, but he and I don’t get along quite the same,” Alex said, working to avoid meeting Hershel’s eyes as he spoke.

Hershel gave thought to his words before answering. He hadn’t seen Alex really hang out with anyone besides him and his roommates, and given what he believed his power to be, it made a certain amount of sense. Most of the other Supers probably thought of him as idiotic or deranged.

“It might be nice to actually get to go out for once,” Hershel said tentatively.

“You sure that’s okay? I don’t want to accidently cause problems for you two.”

“I’m not, but now that we’ve talked about it, Roy will remember the conversation next time he comes around and I can see how he feels about it. He’s been really focused ever since his fight with Chad; he doesn’t even go out too much anymore. I’d say there’s a decent chance he’ll let me have this one without objection, or at least agree to change halfway through,” Hershel said.

“That’d be cool,” Alex said.

“Yeah. You know, I think this would make the first party since I changed that I actually go as Hershel instead of Roy.”

“Better hope it’s a good one then,” Alex chuckled.

“Better hope it’s not too good, or Roy’s gonna be pissed he missed,” Hershel pointed out.

“Agreed. Then we will hope for a good party, but not a great one,” Alex said, lifting his soda in toast.

“Here’s to a lackluster but still entertaining party,” Hershel said, lifting his own in suit. Glancing around, he realized while Alex’s earlier comment may have passed unnoticed their impromptu toasting was definitely gathering a few odd stares from throughout the cafeteria.

Hershel felt less bothered by it than he would have expected.