It’s been a great week. With everyone in the household gainfully employed again, money isn’t tight anymore.
The spectacular black eye I got from a henchman boot to the head has faded to a mere purple smudge under one eye.
Jack, Roy and I all got assigned to the same fire house. Roy’s college friend, Bo, didn’t make it through the academy. The kicker is that we walked into the firehouse that will be our home 24 out of every 72 hours, and saw two familiar faces, Tamara Perez and Mark Novak.
I’ve got mixed feelings. On the one hand, I get to hang around with Tamara a bunch more. She is a lot of fun. On the other hand, her and Jack now spend even more time together than usual. Those two work together like me and Jack do, like two halves of the same person. I know it’s petty, but I liked that it was just the two of us who worked together like that.
On yet another hand, Jack’s not thrilled about me and Novak being thrown together so much either.
There was a dual 18-wheeler wreck on I35 on the north end of Round Rock a couple days ago. No serious injuries this time. I took one look at that big rig laying on its side and grinned at Novak. He grinned back. We had one of those moments of thinking the same thought without a word that make you realize you’ve become close friends without meaning to. Flipping an inverted big rig tractor with the driver trapped inside was the first time Novak and I pushed in the same direction, rather than against each other.
It bugged me a little as I realized that if the driver had been trapped inside this time, Novak could still push, but I no longer had the strength to help significantly. We couldn’t have flipped that 18 wheeler if we needed to. I was just glad the driver wasn’t trapped this time.
I invited everyone out to dinner to celebrate us all being employed, getting to work together, and saving the city, for now. We had a lot to be happy about.
Tamara, Novak, Jack, Brad, Ma and me all went out to Fish Daddy’s. I can eat veggies now, but I still love seafood. I invited Donovan to have dinner with us, too, since he was following us around anyway.
The amazing thing, to me at least, was that we had an actual celebratory meal out, and no supervillains attacked, the building didn’t blow up, no ultimatums were issued, and no wayward Alliance heroes shattered the windows.
We just had a nice, normal dinner.
Well, as normal as my life gets anyway.
Novak was pretty quiet through the whole meal, not his usual snarky, self-righteous self. He seemed happy to be included, though.
I bought Tamara a margherita and told her, “Thanks for the lessons in fighting. They paid off hugely.”
Tamara said, “You are a very apt and dedicated student, even if you are a spaz.” She winked at me.
I kicked her under the table.
I bought Brad a Dos Equis with lime, his favorite beer. Brad said, “You don’t owe me anything.”
“I owe you my life. You should have gotten that medal, not me. If not for you, half of Austin would be radioactive, and I’d be in a coffin, if there was enough left of me to put in one.” I hugged Brad. “Thank you.”
Brad’s grizzly bear bubba look didn’t do a blush, but he managed to look like he was trying. “I didn’t do anything, Dee. You were right. They were the lamest henchmen ever.” He chuckled uncomfortably. Brad seems to have some issues with handling praise.
Jack ordered me a frozen margherita with extra salt. My love of salt hasn’t changed just because I don’t have to eat nothing but meat all the time. I’ve had to cut back a bit on the cayenne pepper, though.
“Hey, I’m the designated driver.”
Ma said, “Nonsense, I am driving us home.”
Jack chuckled. “I’ll drive us home, maam. I don’t drink anyway.”
“Neither do I,” I told him.
“You’re the one who saved the day, this time, Dee. You and Brad. You did it without any supe dragon powers at all.” Jack squeezed my hand. I’d have faced a whole passel of bad guys to see that look on his face. “You haven’t tried a drink since you became normal. Give it a shot.”
I tried it. It didn’t smell bad like it used to. It was kind of sour and salty, cold and refreshing. It was pretty good actually. I drank the whole big glass, about the size of a large cereal bowl on a thick glass stem.
I got a bit giggly after that.
I didn’t dance on the tables or anything. Jack kept me from doing anything I would regret later. Including when I tried to seduce Jack when we got home. He said he would prefer that we did that when I was sober. He did say that he was hoping that would be soon, though.
The best part? I woke up the next morning and didn’t feel like the whole world was spinning and I wanted to puke up my toenails.
Being normal is pretty cool sometimes.