HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 342

“So I hate to just bail,” she said, “but Julian works near here and I thought I’d meet up with him for lunch. Normally I’d make up an excuse to leave but the cat’s out of the bag now.”

“What cat?” Sam asked. “Who’s Julian?”

“Secret boyfriend,” Melody replied.

“Ah, I’ve been there,” Sam said. “Well, it was really nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Nila said. “Maybe next time you’re in town, we’ll have time to get you into a lab so I can run some tests.”

She winked. Sam chuckled.

“I’ll think about it,” they said.

Nila smirked and darted across the street.

“I should also go,” Magh said. “I still have work to do for the Monday paper.”

“Tell Karen I said hi,” Frederica replied.

Magh nodded and turned to Sam.

“Anytime you wish to return to Victory City, text me,” she said.

“Definitely,” Sam said. “See you around.”

With a wave of her wand, Magh disappeared into a swirling black vortex. For a moment the three of them just stood there, saying nothing. Then Frederica opened her mouth to speak.

“You’re leaving too, aren’t you?” Melody asked.

“Well, I was just thinking you two could probably use some time alone to reconnect,” Frederica replied. “You’ve only got a few days together. You should make the most of it.”

Melody glanced down at the sidewalk.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Frederica replied. “I should check on Jo, anyway. See how she’s settling in.”

“Okay,” Melody said. “Thanks.”

Frederica kissed Melody and then shook Sam’s hand.

“We’ll talk again soon,” she said.

“Count on it,” Sam said.

Frederica nodded and took off into the sky. Sam and Melody waved at her as they shrank beneath her. Part of her didn’t want to leave but she knew she’d have only been in the way.