HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 29

“Freak!” he hissed.

“Please, say that again,” Frederica replied. “I’m curious to find out if your cologne is as flammable as it is cheap.”

He stood there a moment longer, then she pointed a finger toward him and he took off running. Nila and Magh re-emerged from the crowd, watching the guy go.

“What’d we miss?” Nila said.

“It was awesome!” Tommy said. “That creep came back and started hitting on Fred so she set his beard on fire.”

“I just singed it a little,” Frederica said.

“Then you threatened to murder him,” Tommy said.

“Well… I suppose that’s one way to interpret it,” she said.

Tommy turned to Nila again.

“She was totally badass.”

Nila patted Frederica on the back and said, “I knew you had it in you.”

Frederica rolled her eyes and turned to Magh.

“How are you feeling?”

“Better,” Magh said, and switched to her native tongue: “I threw up.”

“No shame in that,” Frederica replied.

“Everything alright, loves?” a British voice asked.

Nila froze like a statue. Frederica glanced back at the face of John Arthur Owens.

“Uh, yeah,” she said, turning. “Just had to chase away a pick-up artist who wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

“My apologies,” John Arthur said. “I usually try to keep that lot out of my establishment, but occasionally they manage to slither through.”

“It’s fine,” Frederica said. “He’ll think twice before he pesters the next girl.”

John Arthur smiled.

“Then you’ve done me a service.” He reached into his jacket and produced a handful of laminated cards. “Compliments of the house.”

Frederica took the cards. They read “All Access”.