Price In Triplicate, Chapter 18- Chloe

By the time school let out, I was more than ready to go home. I swear, for a while there the clock was ticking backwards. Worse, I couldn’t risk bringing my hero notebook to school, in case one of the nosier girls took a peek.

Not that they cared, their gossip of choice was now about me and Domenic. Of course, if I had brought my notebook, someone would have assumed it contained love notes and taken it at some point. Like I said: I was so ready to get away from school.

I managed to avoid the more inquisitive girls on my way out, and made a bee-line (hah) straight for Beatrice’s car in the lot. She was already there, sitting on the spoiler and leaning back like she was in some sort of car commercial, complete with excessive display of skin. If her skirt rode up even a little more, everyone would get a look at her underwear.

And she wonders why no one wants to be seen associating with her around here. Not that it stopped the guys, or myself, from getting a look. For that matter, I wasn’t certain that she noticed or cared that people avoided her. It wasn’t an easy subject to broach in conversation.

She hopped off the back of her car, which lifted her barely-regulation skirt just enough to confirm her panties were white. “Why didn’t you tell me you and Dom finally got together?”

“Let’s just go home.” I usually loved school, but not after today. Now it existed only to get in the way of what was important. “It’s a long story that can wait.”

Bea smiled in her usual self satisfied way “I think it will be a minute ‘fore that happens.” She pointed behind me, so of course I turned to look. Domenic was headed straight for us, looking a little out of breath. It’s because of his injuries. That I inflicted.

Guess the rumor mill already got to him. I took a breath. “I’m sorry, Haley and Karen started asking questions and-” I though they might think I was seeing Bea and panicked. “It just sort of slipped out. You’re not mad, are you?”

“What the hell, bro?” Beatrice had moved up beside me, just enough that a simple motion would have us holding hands. “When you score the hottest babe in the school and she’s bragging to her friends, the appropriate response is high fives and thumbs up. Not making her apologize for it.”

“I didn’t say anything!”

And now his sister’s defending me even though it’s my fault. Wait, she thinks I’m hot? No, that’s not important right now. I stepped between the two and turned toward her. “Bea, it’s not his fault.”

“How ain’t it his fault?”

I ganced around, making sure none of the gossip mongers were too close. A few watched from the distance, but unless they had superpowers they wouldn’t be able to hear us. “Well, to start with, I’m not dating Domenic. I just… it’s complicated, okay? And totally my hangups, not his.”

“Why the fuck not?” Now the accusation was leveled on me, but I deserved it. “The two of you spent more time together this weekend than I did with my last three boyfriends combined. I could cut the sexual tension between you with a knife, spread it on crackers, and make millions selling it to fat chicks.”

That’s certainly a colorful way of putting it. I was torn between marveling at the analogy, and guilt over the fact that the tension was only there when she was around.

“Okay, Bea, that’s enough.” Domenic put a hand on my shoulder. “No one’s done anything wrong, and I’m not mad. I am, however, confused. Girls never so much at looked at me before, and now, well, a lot of them smiled at me today. Jennifer acted like she was going to jump me in the hallway. And I have no clue what’s going on.”

I felt my power starting to push to the surface. I forced it back down before there were any visual tells. That only happens when I’m upset, but why would I? Oh, I’m jealous. Why am I jealous?

“Oh, that’s easy.” For a second, I thought Bea read my mind, but she was talking to Domenic. I tried to concentrate on figuring out my own emotions while listening in on their conversation. “Jen’s a slut.”

“Beatrice!” I jumped to Jen’s defense, though out of principle than anything. In truth, I felt almost happy that Bea was talking bad about my pseudo-rival, while still confused that I cared. Part of me also wondered how Bea, of all people, thought she had the right to disparage anyone’s sexual history. Mostly, however, I was still jealous.

“What? She steals boyfriends like it’s a sport.” Bea brought her hands up and started counting on her fingers. “Remember when Amanda and John broke up?”

I thought they broke up because her parents hated his parents. Or maybe that was only their excuse for the last breakup. “That was her?”

“Beatrice, you should know better than to believe rumors.” Domenic moved closer to me. As silly as it was, I appreciated the gesture. “You know this school’s full of that sort bullshit. Look at the stuff we deal with all the time.”

“It’s true! All three times!” Bea counted a second finger. “Then there was that drama with Trevor and Isabelle.” I remembered that one; it was a miracle no one got arrested. “Oh, and she tried to get between Tina and Felicia, but…” Beatrice wobbled her hand.

“Yeah, I get it.” I tried not to sound too upset, but I had a personal reason to hate that pair. The pair were single-handedly setting the gay rights movement back to the seventies. They liked to pretend they were dating each other, including making out in public, just to get attention from guys and piss off their parents. Part of why I never came out; I didn’t want to look like I was doing it for attention like them.

Now that I had powers, I had a second reason; I could be an openly gay superhero. I wasn’t alone, in fact it seemed pretty common, but most of us gay Imbued were Gadgeteers, Gifters, or other ‘support’ type powers. I was one of the few with an iconic power set, and I could use that, even though I wanted a more versatile ability. That did mean I’d have to keep a tight lid on my civilian preferences, to avoid compromising my identity.

I was so deep in thought that I only caught the last part of Beatrice’s continuing list of Jen’s conquests. “-and she stole my boyfriend in freshman year!”

“Well, I at least owe her a thank you for that.” Domenic’s tone was dry to the point of sarcastic. “I guess I’ll believe exactly that one rumor about her, if only because I witnessed it myself. But what’s with all the other girls? I doubt they’re all out to steal boyfriends, if only because the school hasn’t gone Lord of the Flies on us.”

“That’s just natural girl behavior,” Bea said with a shrug. “Guys with girlfriends are, like, a thousand times hotter than guys without girlfriends.”

I stared at Bea, as if gazing hard enough would give me the power to read her mind and figure out how that made sense.

“That… What?” Domenic voiced the thoughts I was having. “How does that make sense?”

“Fuck if I know,” Bea said. “I ain’t into women so I don’t care how they think.” Ouch. I already knew it was true, but it stung to hear out loud. Domenic’s hand squeezed a little harder on my shoulder. “Girls like guys who already have girls. Maybe they’re just teases who want to flirt with dudes who won’t try and make somethin’ of it. Or maybe they’re whores like Jen.”

“Okay, Beatrice, enough with the name calling.” Domenic did an excellent impression of a stern father, almost like my father dealt with my brothers. He always let Mom deal with me. “I still don’t think it makes sense.”

“Hey, I don’t get it, either.” Beatrice didn’t so much as blink at the tone. “Chasing after a guy just because he has a girlfriend seems shallow as fuck. I’d never do it. All that matters to me is if he’s hot and has a nice, thick-”

“You can stop now.”

Beatrice smiled ever-so-sweetly. “What? I was only gonna say wallet.”

Holy shit. Next to me, Domenic sighed theatrically. I glanced at him, he was had moved a couple fingers under his glasses to rub his eyes.

This is putting a lot of stress on him, I owe him to fix it. “Does that mean if I say Domenic and I aren’t seeing each other, they’ll leave him alone?”

“Well, I bet Jen would still go for it. But she’d drop trou for a Doberman if he gave her a bit of kibble.”

What? This must be one of those things white people don’t get. I looked Domenic again. “Uh, is that one of your, umm, colloquialisms?”

“A colosto-whatnow?” Beatrice asked.

Domenic sighed again. “It’s the fancy word for slang. I’m kinda curious about this one, myself.”

“Well why didn’t you just say so?” But, I did. “No, it’s not slang. I literally mean you should keep an eye on your pets when she’s around.”

“Beatrice, could you please stop saying stuff like that about Jennifer.” I bristled a little that Domenic was defending the girl. “Okay, I get you don’t like her, but wouldn’t it be easier just to leave her alone? You do that, and I’ll promise not to hook up with her, how’s that sound?”

Good. No, wait, that’s the opposite of good. It’s utterly selfish and makes me a complete bitch. “No, you don’t have to do that.” I forced myself to smile, then made myself believe it. If he and Jen liked each other, I’d be happy for them. “You’re free to see anyone you want, I’ll make sure everyone knows I was making it up for a laugh or something.”

Bea cleared her throat. “Yeah, about that. I don’t think it’s gonna work.” Bea’s smile morphed to the smuggest thing that had ever existed in this or any other world. “You’ve been cuddling in the parking lot for the last ten minutes.”

Domenic’s arm pulled away like I set myself on fire. “We were not cuddling!” Try not to object too hard.

“Yeah, well, I don’t believe you. They don’t, either.” Bea gestured behind us. There were a few clusters of girls standing around, who had something else to look at now that I was looking at them.

A couple groups of guys who were watching as well. They didn’t flinch away like the girls did; in fact, they seemed content to stare right back at us. A couple smiled and nodded at Dom, some male code I wasn’t privy to and would no doubt find insulting. The other cluster had a whole different look, ones universal and hard to mistake for anything but what it was: disgust and anger.

Domenic stepped a little closer, to protect me. Not that we were in any danger; no one would dare start a fight on campus, and if anyone did I’d be the one doing the fighting. I looked up at him. “Sorry I got you into this mess.” I seem to trash everything I get my hands on.

“You’re apologizing for making me popular with girls?” Domenic couldn’t quite sound as confident as he was trying to act. “I’m used to being on the low end of the geek totem pole, the jocks will hate me no matter what. You’re the one with a reputation to care about.”

It took me a moment to realize he was talking in code, and even after I made that leap I couldn’t be sure I decoded it properly. I knew it wasn’t a matter of ‘geek’ and ‘jock’; it was about a black guy dating a white girl, or pretending to in our case. Reputation might have been something to do with my parents, or some kind of attack by some thugs or something.

I had enough of it to come up with a response. “Don’t worry, I can take anything they throw at me.” If I had to blow my identity to protect him, his secret, or Beatrice, then that’s what I’d do. “And dish it out twice as hard.” I hoped the message was clear. I stepped closer and leaned my head on his arm; I wasn’t tall enough to reach his shoulder.

“Try our new Sexual Tension brand cracker spread. Tastes so good, it’ll make you gag.”

“Bea, is there anything you enjoy in life that doesn’t involve driving me insane?” Bea started speaking, but Domenic cut her off. “No, that counts as driving me insane. Plus, I don’t want to know. Now let’s get out of here before security arrests us for loitering.”

“Okay, that I can agree on. We’ve already been at school eight hours too long.” A pair of hands grabbed my elbows and pulled me away from Dom. “But I’m taking your girlfriend with me. Can’t have you kids driving off somewhere and doing something I would do.”

I resisted, but was careful not to use inhuman strength against Beatrice. “But I-”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be right behind you, we can talk at home.” I looked at him for a second, but he didn’t seem worried so I let Bea drag me along. Really, I could have cooperated, but it was more fun to have her push me around.

“That’s right,” Beatrice said. “Listen to your little sister. She’s the responsible one.”

“I’m sure you’re responsible for a lot of things,” I couldn’t help but quip back. “None of them good.”

“Damn, girl, keep that up and people might think you have a sense of humor!”

I glanced over at Domenic, already headed for his truck. “Around you, it’s a survival reflex.”



13 thoughts on “Price In Triplicate, Chapter 18- Chloe

  1. This chapter was a pain to write- not because I hated the chapter, but the last couple days I’ve been in a weird sort of funk where it’s been hard to concentrate. I only got focus recently… due to insomnia.

    That’s right, I didn’t start thinking clearly until I was awake for roughly 20 hours. How does THAT make sense?


    Trevor and Isabelle are the only names I have not rolled since the beginning Price. Their names are actually a reference to a certain rather famous opera that I like.

    Domenic may be a remarkably level headed and sane human being. That just means the people in his life need to pick up the crazy-slack. Fortunately, Chloe doesn’t have issues… she has an entire library…

    Beatrice remains unreasonably fun to write.

    I completed the Zach-Cassie interlewd yesterday. So if that’s a thing you’re into. I’ll get the other done this weekend.

    Oh, right, and the request for votes and typos.

    If any chapter is likely to have more typos than usual, it’s this one. Funk and Insomnia probably don’t make for a good combination for writing.

    PS- and now that I’ve gathered a decent chunk of change, I think I want a banner for the story. Point me in the direction of a decent artist that won’t charge too much… then again, it won’t be a massive project to begin with.

    Details found there.


  2. Seems like is your best bet. If not, you could try – looks like they have experience doing banners. It’s really up to personal preference though – look around for an artist you like, then see if they’re open to commissions. Deviantart and tumblr are good places to start. Whatever you decide, banner art shouldn’t cost much.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ehehe, didn’t notice that!

        I don’t think you’re imitating Wildbow or Worm at all. Yeah, there’s the serial web novel format, superpowers, etc, but I think your characters are much more relatable. Your stories are less about grand worldsaving shenanigans and more about the people. And, well, I stopped reading Wildbow stuff a while ago. Everything felt so… Hopeless. Still excellent, but it just made me depressed. I’m much happier to be here!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks. I try to keep things as human level as possible. I want my stories to feel relatable, like things normal people would go through. Just with superpowers tossed in as an extra complication.


  3. Another good chapter. I’m really curious about the little bits of jealousy and attraction that we are seeing. Sure, they could both be written off as teenage hormones, and I’ve even been in a similar situation with the whole “I’m going to be jealous even though we aren’t actually together” thing (and everyone knows that anecdotes are as good as facts).

    But I also can’t help but wonder if this is just the burgeoning pair bond in action, starting to influence Chloe and Domenic to stay with each other. From what Tana has said it is like an addiction, where you can end up justifying some pretty awful choices to maintain the bond. Like marrying a Nazi when you really wanted to be a hero. Or chemically turning yourself gay to better please your partner…. And now this is starting to sound kind of familiar.

    So there is something to be said for Chloe and Dom being in the pair bond, and her basically having it say “Sure you like women, but this one guy also isn’t so bad.” Which is a perfectly valid scenario and not that uncommon, except that its pretty obvious that Chloe isn’t attracted to Dom physically at all, just on a weird mental level.

    I’m also wondering about how Hunter and Killer play into this. I think there could be a really interesting dynamic where instead of all three being bonded, it is actually two pair bonds with one of them as the hub. So both Chloe and Cecelia bond with Dom, and there is enough cross over that Chloe and Cecelia get a sort of secondhand bond with each other out of it.

    I’m assuming that Cora isn’t in the bond, just by going off of Kitten’s speeches in DoaH. All the talk of destiny and what not makes me think she saw her sister go through this process and it fucked with already unstable psyche to produce that mindset.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good god! I’m afraid to reply to you sometimes, in case I give you the wrong piece of information and you unravel the whole plot!

      … Seriously, though, I love it and I love having such insightful readers. Is the best thing.

      The one thing I’ll give away is that Chloe and Domenic don’t have a pairbond interaction. What they have is a series of perfectly natural (well, as natural as ‘OMG mah parents are Nazi Supervillains! can get), though not necessarily healthy, motivations.


      1. I swear I never actually mean to do that. I start off thinking I’ll write a quick thought on the chapter, but then i start thinking about everything and next thing I know I’ve a giant post full of questions and guesses about the whole story.

        I was kind of leaning against Dom and Chloe having the pairbond going on, in this scene and in general. We have seen them both interacting with their powers and nothing really stood out. Compared to the scene where Chloe’s mom and dad are seen interacting and can manage functional telepathy through the bond.

        And now I’m almost torn between more speculation, and legitimately not wanting to spoil or guess the ending. So I’ll just take the middle path and say that I am feeling good about some of my previous speculation, and got see which bits I was close on and which bits I totally missed.

        P.S. Read the Zach an Cassie interlewd and enjoyed it. Despite the part where I remembered that in canon Zach never actually got to give her that necklace and got bummed out for a second. Sad boner is sad

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Speculate all you like, I love seeing speculation. Even if you do guess the ending, it’s not like I’ll actually tell you.

          Besides, there are a few twists coming up that I’m wondering if anyone will see ahead of time.


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