Texting back and forth with her girlfriend makes Jia miss home more than she already did. Cassie continues to send her pictures each night. They’re always a little provocative but never overly revealing. They make her smile and drive her to get back home as soon as she can. She misses the feeling of being wrapped in that woman’s arms. Each night she considers sending a picture back but then she catches herself in the mirror and the sight of her bald head makes her reconsider. She doesn’t like the look herself, she can’t imagine Cassie’s going to. She doesn’t want to turn the girl away.
She’s kept most of the details of what she’s doing in San Fransisco to herself but has told Cassie about the pain she’s in and how hard her plan to get Jillian safe’s going to be. Details beyond that make her nervous. She trusts Cassie but her girlfriend’s a cop and she’d feel guilty putting her in a position to either hide a crime or betray her girlfriend. Technically as a registered vigilante, since she’s protecting someone, what Jia’s doing isn’t illegal. Certainly what she’s involved in is illegal though and Cassie might feel pressure to report it to the police. That would make a mess of her plans.
Curled up on Jillian’s couch, she watches TV and tries to take her mind off the pain. Her friend Carly has a beautiful guest room which she’s been staying in but she doesn’t want her friend seeing her like this. She texted her to let her know she won’t be back tonight. No excuse was asked for and she didn’t feel like making one up.
She considered going to a doctor but she’s afraid they’ll tell her not to do what she has to tomorrow night. Before Jillian went to bed she ran down what to expect. They’re going to want her to take on some sort of mission for them. What it is could vary. It could be as simple as stealing something or beating someone up. It could get more complicated depending on what’s needed at that moment. There’s no way to prepare for that because there’s no way to know what they’d be preparing for.
The first part of the initiation’s got her more worried. She’s told they’ll want her to sample their products to prove she’s loyal. She’s never been a fan of drugs. She smoked pot a few times in college and one night after a lot of pressure from a few girls in her dorm she did a small hit of cocaine but she’s never really enjoyed anything enough to keep doing it. Apparently they’re selling a new drug that’s being imported from Canada and Jillian can’t tell her what to expect. She doesn’t do drugs unless forced and her pregnancy gives her a perfect excuse at the moment.
Right now what she needs more than anything is reassurance. Jillian’s no use. She’ll just say Jia shouldn’t be doing this and that she needs to go to sleep. Leaning on Cassie’s not an option here because she can’t be open and honest about the problem. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her what her police officer girlfriend’s going to say about her taking illegal drugs. She considers Shin but he already feels guilty enough about her being here. Any worry he takes off of her will be piled on him tenfold. He deserves it but she still doesn’t want to do that to him.
That leaves her parents. Her dad’s always been her go to parent for any sort of worries and right now she could really use to hear his reassuring words in her ear. Normally he’d tell her how amazing she is and how she can handle anything life throws at her. They’ve been fighting over her being a vigilante though, to the point where he’s threatened to kick her out of the house. She also left for San Fransisco without telling him. He’s not going to be in any mood to talk to her right now, let alone give her the support she needs.
Her mom answers the phone on the second ring. She sounds tired, but that fades in moments. “Is everything alright?”
Hearing her mom’s voice brings a smile to her face. Anything familiar’s something she can grab onto at the moment. “Everything’s fine mom. Really just needed to hear a friendly voice.”
The sound of her mother rising out of bed and moving follows. “Sorry, your dad’s asleep and I want to keep it that way. It’s late you know.”
“I know mom. Been busy all day though so this was my first chance to call. Wanted to let you know I’m okay. Had a fight today and I’m feeling it but I handled myself. Things are going to get harder still but I’m making progress here.”
There’s a long silence before her mother speaks again. “Do I still not want to know what’s going on? I have some old contacts in the city I could reach out to if you need support.”
“I appreciate it but that’s probably not a good idea. This mission requires subtlety.”
“Some of my friends can be very subtle when they need to. Probably a lot moreso than you. I’ve already put out feelers to a few and they wouldn’t mind helping, especially if it’s important to you and your brother.”
There’s a temptation to take the offer. She’s in over her head. She’s already seen the Delux Gang has at least one person with powers. For all she knows they have more. That’s unlikely considering how few people out there have them but it’s possible with the kind of influence Shin says they have. There’s a good chance at some point her plan’s going to break down and the only option’s going to be fighting her way through. If that happens, having backup could be the difference between life and death.
“No, not now at least. I’ll keep it in mind but I need to see this through on my own. Tomorrow’s going to be tough. I have to go through some sort of initiation I don’t really know the details of. Once I get through that though I’ll be in and I think my plan will work.” Despite her reservations, she doesn’t trust her mother not to take over once she realizes how important this mission is. Her plans seem to be working, there’s no reason to change course.
“If you’re sure, but please keep me updated.” There’s a strain in her mother’s voice. She’s fighting hard not to force herself in.
“I will, I promise mom. I need to go though, it’s late. I’m sorry I woke you up, but I love you. I’ll call in the next couple days. Promise.”
A strained goodbye’s all that remains. She sits there staring at her phone, wanting to call back and hear her mom again. She’s not sure that call gave her what she needs. It gave her what she’s going to get though. It’s going to have to be enough.