HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 117

“I’m not after your money,” she said. “I just want to be left alone. Call off your dogs and I’ll consider us even. Nobody will ever know about the, uh, Prague Incident. Not from me, anyway.”

“You’re really going to just drop the story?” he said skeptically. “What if you actually do manage to prove it someday?”

She shrugged, even though he had no way to see it.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she said. “For now, though, I’m offering you a reprieve.”

Carter sighed and slumped down onto an expensive-looking leather couch. He cradled his head in his hands. Frederica almost felt a little pity for him. Almost.

“I’m going to leave now,” Frederica said. “I trust you’ll make the right decision.”

She stepped back out onto the balcony and shot up into the sky.


Frederica sat by the window nursing a chai latte. The cafe was almost empty, closing soon. A woman stepped through the door—literally—and looked around. She was lankier than Gertrude and her black hair was cut into a jagged pixie, but they were definitely sisters. Virginia pulled up a chair next to Frederica.

“Carter just called me,” she said. “Told me my services were ‘no longer required’. He let me keep my advance, at least, so it’s not a total loss.”

“That’s a relief,” Frederica said sarcastically. “I was really worried about that.”

Virginia chuckled.

“Hey, girl’s gotta eat.”

“Is this where you say ‘it wasn’t personal’?” Frederica asked.

“No, because you already know that,” Virginia replied. “And you gave as good as you got. I’m honestly kind of impressed. I’ve never had someone get the better of me like that. You even gave Alex a run for his money. If you weren’t so damn ethical I’d ask you to be my partner.”

“Yeah, that’s not going to happen,” Frederica said.