“So you don’t play any sports?” asks Oliver for what feels like the hundredth time as we walk to the park.
“No,” I say, rather annoyed.
Can’t he get through his head that I don’t like sports and most certainly don’t play them.
“Do any of your friends?” inquires Oliver.
“Sam, Sky, James, Vance, Lucy and Stefan,” I reply
“But you don’t play with them?” says Oliver.
“Do any of them play football?”
“What do the others play then?”
“James does cricket. Lucy plays tennis. Sky does hockey like Emily does. Vance plays rugby. Sam does boxing and golf. We all do self-defence training with Laura. She’s an old family friend of all our families. You see, our grandfathers all fought in the same unit during the war. One of those special ones they’re not supposed to talk about.”
“You respect your granddad a lot don’t you?”
I halt. That is a much more of a question than the rest of his.
“Yeah, I do,” I answer, “Even through he’s dead.”
“I can tell,” replies Oliver, “You and your mother kept his family name and you got his company. Not to mention that you also keep going on about him. He’s done a lot for you.”
“More than you can ever know,” I say, “The reason I know all my friends is because of our granddads. They stayed together after the war up until their deaths. Even the last few are sticking together. The reason I know all my friends is because of our granddads. It’s funny how all of our families stuck together even a couple of generations later.”
“So what are your friends like?”
“A miss-match of people who would have never come together without our grandparents. Charlie and I are smart guys, both into tech. Sam is sort of loner sportsman. James is one of the popular, smart, cool kids who don’t get in trouble. Stefan is a trouble maker who an ex-druggie. Helen, my cousin, is a part time manger at my company and the oldest of our group. The Walters are respectable. Skyler is a tomboy and military brat. Lucy is head girl and a hard worker. Vance is sort of a nerd. A buff, cultured, rugby playing nerd who has a lot of rugged charm.”
“Blimey,” exclaims Oliver, “I can’t believe a bunch of people like that would come together as friends.”
“We didn’t,” I reply, “Our grandparents brought us together as I said. Even Stefan’s and Charlie’s, who weren’t in the granddad’s army unit.”
“My friends are all like me,” answers Oliver, “Footballers. Jocks even. Nothing like your little band. Mind you, my girlfriend is a contrast to me. Harriet is into politics like my dad, not sports.”
“You know we don’t have jocks in the UK, not like even America,” I muse, “Our school cultures are too different for that.”
“You know what I mean,” says Oliver, “Do you still have a girlfriend?”
“You mean Judy?” I reply, “Yeah, we’ve been together for a few months now. We don’t exactly go on many dates, but we do hang out every now and again.”
“When was the last time you went on a date then?”
I’m silent for a moment as I think. When did Judy and I last go on a date? Not since I put on the Sentinel armour and probably a while before that. I do the math in my head for replying.
“About two months ago,” I answer, “I been busy since.”
“I’m surprised she hasn’t dumped you,” notes Oliver.
“She’s understanding,” I reply with a shrug, “Besides, when I have tried to ask her out, Judy has turned me down. From what I can tell, she’s been keeping secrets from me from me and I haven’t been prying.”
Especially when I keeping secrets of my own from her. But if we’re going to keep our relationship up, I’m going to have let her in on the fact I’m Sentinel.
“Are sure she’s not cheating on you cuz?” asks Oliver.
“Definitely,” I answer firmly, “Judy is not the cheating type. If she wanted to go out with someone else, she would break up with me face-to-face first and tell me the reasons. We’re just hitting a slight bump on both of our parts. Mainly since granddad died.”
Oliver is silent as we reach the park. A media event is at the park. You can tell by the stands and all of the reporters and cameramen.
“Did dad tell you about what he was doing here?” asks Oliver.
I shake my head.
“He’s giving a speech at this park,” continues Oliver, “I think he’s hoping to provoke one of the League into picking a fight with him. To prove his point.”
Oliver strolls down the tarmac slope and I follow him.
“Personally don’t like his ideas,” says Oliver, “It’s cool having the League of Heroes operate on their own. Imagine what would happen if they had to do as the government said. And secret identities are for the better. I mean maybe it might better for the public if superheroes didn’t have secret identities, but it’s better for the heroes and their families and that’s want counts right?”
“I agree with that completely,” I tell him, “Those are the main reasons I disagree with your dad’s politics.”
We continue small chat as we walk towards the stand what Harry is going to give his speech. We’ve just walked past the cafe when I spot the shadow. I look up and I go pale.