Chapter 6

    Skylar always showed up for her shifts at Crazy Eddy's  Wings and Waffle Emporium right on time, plus but more usually minus five or ten minutes. The job at the eccentric diner wasn't as glamorous as supper with supers, but it had it's moments. She'd actually applied to the restaurant, and was turned down on spec. Seems a six foot two glamazon didn't fit in so well with the vibe they were going for, Skylar couldn't help it if she made every costume look too professional dominatrix, or sex-kitten-ish unless it was a shapeless sack. Besides at Supper with Supers she'd never get to work with Crazy Eddy, and that was an experience that she was glad she hadn't missed.


    You never knew what or when Eddy might go a little off the regularly scheduled programing. Anything from impromptu hoodoo rituals with old hot wing bones for better juju, to tossing uncooked buttermilk biscuit dough at customers with a shouted epitaph of “Mess with the donkey, you get the biscuits!”. Skylar knew from experience the thoughts in that mans head made no sense and shared only a passing acquaintance with reality, but for all that somehow the man owned and operated a successful restaurant. Skylar would of said the “crazy” was all an act to draw people in, if only so they could see what he was going to do next. However the aforementioned adventures in reading the man's mind defied such mundane explanations.


    About the only down side to work at Crazy Eddy's was the uniform. Which for the servers was short pleated plaid school girl skirts, white button up dress shirts tied in a knot, knee high black patent leather lace up boots with three inch heels, and either a ribbon woven in the hair or tied in a bow around a ponytail, for male or female servers. Needless to say not many males took the job as a server but there were a couple on staff that did. Least that had been the uniform since Skylar started, the older hands told her that it could and had in the past changed on an Eddy whim. Most of the uniform Skylar was fine with, except for the boots putting a six two girl in three inch heels was just wrong, and if her feet hadn't had enhanced durability it'd be assault with intent to do grave bodily harm waiting tables in them for six or eight hours a stretch.


    Skylar spotted a boy sitting in booth six, one of her's. So she grabbed a menu a roll of silver wear, a water glass and headed over. When she got to the table she saw his face was a little red and the bridge of his nose was a second degree sunburn. Poor kid was going to feel that in the morning.


    “Welcome to Eddy's, here is our menu.. Our specials today are.” Skylar started her server spiel but didn't get the chance to finish.


    “I'll just take a cola, Skylar thanks..” The boy looked up at her, like she was angel and answer to his prayers. To his credit his eye only darted down to her cleavage twice. At his age, in the shirt she was wearing at the time, and with the amount showing it demonstrated impressive will power.


    “Okay hun be right back with it.” She started to turn away when she heard him thinking.


    Skylar please tell me you're listening in right now. I've come to give you a warning to pass on to Darius. There is a guy following you two, who isn't me. I was following Darius after he helped you out to get inside HCP tips, this guy was decidedly not an admirer. He followed you both home from the bar last night. Please nod if you are getting this, I've not got a lot of time to spend on this, right now I'm on a clock.” He said as he distinctly thought about the gear stats on his MMO character. Then chanted the characters attack chain in his mind like a mantra. All so the hottest woman he'd ever seen wouldn't realize he was a geek that had to get back to Texas so his mom could pick him up.


    Skylar nodded, “Be right back..” she stammered again and went to get the kid's coke. She wasn't thrilled that the kid had somehow followed Darius. But if Skylar had just seen the speed and efficiency with which he'd taken down her harassers she might of assumed he had to be in the HCP and not just a street wise brawler. At least if you added into the equation the context of where the brawl took place, on one of only five campuses in the country with an HCP program. She'd trust, but with her eyes open.


    She filled a glass with ice and coke at the waitress station, then yelled to Tabitha that she was taking her break and grabbed her bottle of water from the mini-fridge at her knees where they kept the little tabs of butter and other prep items. Tabitha looked up surprised from where she was flirting with a truck driver at the counter by letting him look down the front of her shirt like she was unaware of what he was doing. It was a shameless bid for better tips, and Skylar didn't fault her for it. She just wished it worked for her, for some odd reason a lot of guys saw her as a competitor. One even wanted to arm wrestler her.


    “Sure sweetie, everything okay?” the slightly older woman called back in a matronly way. She was shocked because the only break Skylar usually took was her meal break her enhanced endurance and the toughness of her body making the usual breaks unnecessary, and the more tables she actually caught to serve the more money she made so she usually skipped them. The others thought that odd at first considering most of the wait staff wanted to get as much time off their feet as possible.


    “Fine,” she said “Just a friend stopped in, wanna say hi for a few minutes.”


    “OH!” Tabitha said, “Sure no worries, I got your tables for awhile.”


    Skylar sat the coke in front of the boy, and she realized he was a boy. He couldn't even be out of High School yet. And slid into the booth across from him. “Now, explain how and why you were following us.”


    “I graduated high school last year..”


    “Bullshit.... you look fifteen.”


    He gave her a long suffering look, sort of like he was a puppy and she'd just kicked him. “I turned sixteen last month thank you very much.”


    Oh.. well that showed her huh? He was smarter than she was if this was true. Best to try and catch him in a falsehood if you can unwind one then sometimes the whole mess comes undone. “Okay then.. So you graduated high school at an obnoxiously young age... Then..” She was being condescending but then she didn't like being followed and she liked not knowing that she had been followed even less. Telepaths aren't easy to sneak up on.


    “Okay..” He thought, this is going shitty. She thinks I'm a stalker she's probably had a few. His brain rambled on at high speed. “Okay, So I applied to the..” He paused and glanced around.. “The program, and was turned down, the administration told to reapply at eighteen thanks but no thanks see you then kind of thing. Stupid rule no one younger than eighteen gets in but whatever right? Nothing says I can't spend the two year interval between now and then investigating and preparing so when I do get in I got a better handle what I need to know, an edge if you will. After all, it's the  prepared mind that conquers.”


    Skylar just arched an eyebrow at him. But thought, Get a girlfriend all ready, this can't be good for you.


    Thomas continued. “Anyhow.. I have a way of travel that gets me back and forth pretty quickly..”


    Skylar interrupted him. “Shadows?” The image of him slipping into a shadow and hearing all sorts of weird echos came to her mind.


    “Shhhh..” he hissed at her. Yeah he thought wryly he was talking with a telepath.. no thinking about her boobs he reminded himself.. It backfired.. CRAP just thought about her boobs..”


    “If I flash them at you, would you be able to get your mind off of them and back on topic??” She said with hair more snarky sarcasm then was probably warranted.


    He looked to Skylar like she'd pole axed him. “Umm no, probably not. I don't think that would be too very helpful.” He said seriously as if it had been a genuine offer.


    “Geeze lighten up you think your the only dude hell in even the last ten minutes that hasn't scoped them? Or hell the woman three booths behind you trying to convince herself that they have to be fakies since no skinny slip of a girl can grow a set like these. Her mental words not mine. I stick out and draw attention, I'm used to it. Now explain before I drag you out of here by your ear and beat the snot out of you, while screaming about you trying to grope me.”


    Predictably the poor kid went ghost white. “Ri-ight.” he swallowed hard, “Okay, so I saw the altercation, I was getting ready to step out and help when I noticed Darius. You see I don't just travel through shadows I hear and see through them too. So I heard him mutter something, and by the time I blinked the fight was over. Well you were there.”


    Skylar nodded..  “Go on..”


    “I figured that anyone who could take down four guys that efficiently had to be in the.. program. So I followed him to the bar, where you showed up.”


    “I was there I didn't see..”


    “Think they'd of let me in if they saw me? I'm surprised they let you in. I stayed in the shadows, watching and listening. Then when you umm.. helped Darius out of the bar and into the cab Mr. Creepy was very interested, He sat out in your apartment parking lot long into the night watching your door. I didn't stay all night I had to get home before I got caught by m...”


    “Kid you've got a mother, your hiding the fact that you've got powers from her. She's not going to know until you enter the program. I get it. But if I catch one peep of a thought that you've been in my apartment bathroom.... Well you've got to sleep sometime, we clear cupcake?”


    “I wouldn't... I've never..” He stammered.


    “You've never spied on the girls locker room shadow boy?” She heard the denial screaming in his thoughts. “Ever?    Wow, maybe you should look into that, loosen your goose a little. Your much too tightly wound.”


    “Huh? Really?” He was confused it wasn't that he wasn't tempted to do it but it didn't seem right some how.


    “Of course not!  Perv...” Skylar smirked jerking his chain was fun. She could see why her older brothers jerked hers and each others so much. “Get home before your mom freaks.. I won't tell you not to do it again because you did us a solid, and I'm not your mom. but be careful, don't get caught, and Darius isn't in the program, he's...”


    “I know he's not, from what he said at the bar. I'll probably be around the campus again. Still haven't gotten any useful information about the program yet. I know where the shadows are that lead to the underground, but I'm betting there are  a few telepaths on staff that would catch me or worse students if I tried. I don't want to be expelled before I'm accepted.”


    “Good call, now I gotta get back to work.. Don't get caught, and get a girlfriend already al-l this,” Skylar motioned in his general vicinity “can't be healthy Skippy... And just between me and you when your trying to convince a pretty girl that is also a telepath that your cool.. Maybe going over MMO stats in your head shouldn't be your first choice for thougt camouflage. Just saying.”

    Thomas smirked then between one blink and the next he was gone the five dollars on the table and the half empty glass of coke the only thing to say he'd ever been there. Least the kid tipped well.