1. He was vaguely aware of his mother splashing her way toward him. Her hands dipped under the surface and he felt a hard tug on the straps that were keeping him pinned to his seat. There was a solid jerk and the straps floated free. She grabbed him under the arms and lifted him upward, flinging him over her shoulder. He landed on his belly and another gush of water pumped out of him. His mother pounded him between the shoulder blades. Overcome with his body’s reaction, and the pain of struggling to breathe, Slone started to cry.
2. Slone returned the smile. “It does. But we can’t allow it to overwhelm us to the point where our day job suffers.” He glanced over at her. “It’s also affecting our personal lives. We’re not getting enough rest. We’re not eating properly. Between the stress of trying to do both, the bounty hunting and being superheroes, as the old saying goes, we’re literally burning the candle at both ends.”
3. A soft kiss touched her temple. “We were just starting to feel those feelings. Those grown-up feelings. But we didn’t know what to do. We didn’t know how to handle them, so I went to talk to Papa Pugg, and you went to see Mama Mary. Then we talked afterwards. That’s when we decided our future, what to do with our lives. And that’s when we chose to take it to the next level…to become intimate.”
4. She nodded. “I know. Those poor, poor people. I just wish I could come with you.” She started to say more, when a sudden sneeze came upon her. She barely had the chance to bring the pillow to her face when it came. It was followed by two more in quick succession. When it was over, foam pellets were scattered across the living room like miniature balls of snow. Embrie sniffed. Jerking several tissues from the box she kept beside her, she tried to blow her nose without causing more havoc. “Sorry. Geez, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.” She gave a soft moan of pain as she placed a hand to her wound. “Ow, that hurt.”
5. “Listen. We know you wanted to be like your original parents when you grew up,” Papa Pugg admitted. “Slone, I can’t count how many times you told me you wished you could become a pilot like your mother, or a navigator like your father. Same for you, Embrie. You wanted to be a scientist like both your parents. But you understand that this world has barely stepped into outer space. Yes, Slone, you could probably enlist in the Air Force. Maybe even go into the astronaut program. Embrie will be eighteen and you’ll be nineteen on your next joint birthday. But, again, you know you’ll run the risk of exposure by unintentionally or accidentally revealing your powers.”
6. There was a snort of laughter. “You have no rights, Miss Jones. Last warning. You and your brother steer clear of MacElroy, or else you might accidentally end up in the line of fire again.”