HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 116

The shower stopped. Frederica turned invisible. The bathroom door opened and Carter stepped out in a robe, drying his hair. He wasn’t a bad-looking guy if you could get past all the layers of smug on his face; unfortunately they were pretty much a permanent feature.

“Hey,” Frederica said.

Carter dropped the towel and glanced around but couldn’t see her.

“Who’s there?” he muttered.

“You should know,” she said. “You’ve been hounding me for days.”

“You’re that kid who’s trying to ruin my life,” he said.

“I’m just doing my job,” she said. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand what that’s like.”

“Screw you!” he said. “I’ve done more for this city than you ever have! Do you think it’s easy to make a difference without getting your hands dirty?”

“Can’t make an omelet without stealing a few eggs?” she replied.

“That’s it, I’m calling security,” he said.

He made a beeline for the nearest phone.

“You want to know who my source was?” she asked.

He paused, glanced in her general direction, but said nothing.

“It was you,” she continued. “Your mind’s an open book, just waiting to be read. Everything I needed to know about what you and your colleagues were doing was right there on the surface. I corroborated it all through other sources, of course, but I wouldn’t have had a story without you.”

“Why are you telling me this?” he asked.

“Because all that stuff I wrote about in my story was only the parts I could prove,” she replied. “I left everything else out because I have principles, and integrity. But not all journalists have that kind of restraint.”

“So it’s blackmail then?” he said. “You’re going to leak everything to the tabloids if I don’t… what? Pay you? In case you hadn’t heard, most of my assets are currently frozen.”