Anne sat at the toilet seat, having forsaken all hope, dignity, and most likely every other aspirational emotion you can think of.
So, at that very moment, her cell phone rang.
“Shit,” she muttered, forehead on her arms — a position which allowed her a not-so-lovely look into the toilet bowl. “Goddamn motherfucking shit.”
She coughed, lifting her head up and taking the phone out of her pocket.
She didn’t recognize the number. “Well fuck you then.”
She put the phone back in her pocket, chuckling to herself. “Fuckin’ stranger. Probably a sales call gettin’ me to buy used Kleenex or something stupid.”
She rested her head on her arms again, but the phone kept ringing.
What if it’s the government? she wondered. What if it’s like, a summons to court? Or some way for Jennifer to get in contact with me? For a brief, stupid moment, she wondered if it was her father.
She got her head off her arms again and picked up the call. “Hello?” Her voice was soft and small, as it always was when taking a call from a stranger.
“Caine Ase at Metahuman Correctional is trying to put a call through to you. Do you accept it?”
“Ugh,” was all Anne had to say.
There was silence for a few moments, as Anne couldn’t believe this fucking asshole was calling her.
“Sir, is that a yes or a no?”
“Whatever,” Anne said.
“I need a yes or a no.”
Fuck you, she thought. But out loud, she said, “Yes.”
“Putting you through now,” the operator said.
Within seconds, there was a different voice on the other end of the line. “Hey, Li’l Red! Just the ginger I wanted to talk to!”
“You called me…” Anne said. “No duh you wanted to talk to me.”
Caine took a half-second to recover. “I’ve got a friend who wants to meet you.”
“Because anyone who can be friends with you,” Anne said, “is an asshole. Because you’re an asshole.”
Caine laughed, but Anne noted the meanness that lay under the laugh. She figured she’d best be a little more cautious, especially if she was going to be working with him on the Galactic Kill Squad.
“It’s nothing bad,” Caine said. “Nothing criminal or anything like that. I’ve just got some nerdy friend who heard how smart you was and wants to say hi.”
Anne thought about how much she didn’t want to see anyone. About how she wanted to hide under her sheets forever. Thinking about the news, and about how much she needed a distraction from it, she changed her mind.
“Alright,” she said. “Give me an address, and I’ll be there.”