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Fried Rice

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Paige knew Jubilee was home by the sudden smell of fried food and sweat. Her friend passed the Rec Room’s couch with a barely audible greeting as she unbuttoned her work shirt and ran a hand through her frazzled, stringy mess of hair. Jonothan squeezed Paige's feet, eying Jube’s back before giving his schoolmate a knowing look.

Jubilee had been the first one of them to actually go out of her way for normalcy. She had found a part-time job at a Chinese restaurant. It was a local hot spot; one of the only places of its kind for several counties – so it was busy. For someone with so much moving energy, it was perfect. That didn’t mean that it wasn’t draining. Training and fighting was almost easier.

In the kitchen, Jubilee stuffed lukewarm leftovers of meatloaf and potatoes (it was Paige’s night to cook) into her mouth, between gulps of RC cola without worrying about the opinion of her classmate in the breakfast nook. Angelo watched her out of the corner of his eye, his Algebra long forgotten at around eleven.

Switching from RC to water, she waddled over to the table and sat heavily. The two sat silently, one stretching her arms and neck while the other attempted to settle back into his homework. Neither was getting what they needed to done, and if it wasn’t obvious to the pair in the kitchen, the pair on the couch sharing secret glances could have yelled out a few helpful suggestions.

Angelo luckily got a clue before anyone had to embarrass him. “Hey.” He stood slowly and gently grabbed Jubilee’s shoulders. He started massaging them before she could switch to her trained defense mode. Her only response was a grunt at the pressure he suddenly was applying.

“How much did you make tonight?” He watched her eyes close and open, trying to stay awake.

Her voice was hoarse, from cigarette smoke, yelling over the backroom, or talking through a double shift. “Two hundred…” she waved her hand nonchalantly, “I’m guest-imating.”

He nodded, his kneading earning him a moan that was either pleasurable or relieved. “You make good tips, yeah?”

She shrugged a little. “I guess. Enough for clothes and concerts.” Her smile was lazy. “You keep rubbin’ like that, Ange, and someone’s going to have to carry me up the stairs.”

“Oh?” Angelo slowed, mulling over the idea, her suggestion suddenly appealing. “I can deal with that.”

Jubilee raised an eyebrow at him before he rounded the chair and went to pick her up. She only made a small, surprised gasp at being lifted before she was laughing into his shoulder.

“Man, you are such a dork, Ange.”

He grinned into her hair. “You’re makin’ me hungry for Chinese, Jubicita.”

“You’re such a perv.”

“Look whose talkin’.”