Thanks for the review and follow
CLJuliag: Don't worry. Their part will be coming up soon
Everyone: Stay safe, be happy, happy reading :). And sorry for the grammar.
A/N: Comixology is having a comics book sells on Black Panther comics. They are FREE! That includes Shuri, Killmonger, and Wakanda related comics. Just filter the search engine on their page from low to high.
Also, this Saturday is the second part of DC Fan Dome, which is a virtual, free event. Just go to dcfandome . com
On the News
Dick brought the book down slightly to look over it at Rachael. She was sitting with her legs crossed as one knee bounced up and down. Her bottom lip was clenched between her teeth while she stared intensely at the book in front of her.
The sight of her in frustration bothered him.
He sat up from lying on his back and scooted next to her. He peeked over her shoulder and glanced at the foreign words in the book. He couldn't figure out where the words originated from or why they were making Rachael frustrated.
His attention drifted away from the book as Raven pushed back a strand of hair that was covering her ear.
Her hair was getting longer. She probably was going to cut it soon.
However, it wasn't her hair that had grabbed his attention; it was the cute, little mark on her neck that he had left. It brought pride and joy inside of his chest. The mark showed that she was his.
He leaned in and kissed it. She pulled back and touched the spot on her neck. Her eyes watched him with surprise.
"Stop," she said, a blush creeping up on her face. "We are in public."
They were currently at the park, sitting on a picnic blanket. He wanted to get out of the Tower and spend a day of relaxation before they had to address certain topics between them. Topics like what Starfire's return meant for them and what had happened with her in the pit.
"Today," he said, "was supposed to be peaceful. You haven't relaxed since we got here. Maybe I should have suggested another activity."
Her expression calmed as her gaze traveled to her book. "You're right. I'm not relaxing. I have turned our date into a study session. I should've chosen another book."
She placed her hand under the front cover of her book and closed it. Her gaze connected with his. She smiled, causing his heart to skip a couple of beats.
"How about we read your book together?"
His heart stopped completely and dropped down into his stomach. He watched in slow motion as she reached for his book. At the last moment, when her fingertips grazed the book, he snatched it off the blanket, where he placed it when he sat up, and tucked it under his armpit.
"How about we do something else?" He suggested with a bright smile. "I know a great place that sells excellent milkshakes and fries?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Sure," she said slowly. "We can-" She stopped and stared off to a place behind him. He turned to see what had grabbed her attention.
As soon as he did, he felt his book being jerk up from under his arms. He turned back and watched in horror as Rachael opened the book.
He reached out to grab it again, but she slapped his hand away while scooting away from him.
"You read romance books," she commented more than ask as she continued to read the content of the book. There was no way she could have guess just from looking at the cover of the book because he always tore the cover off the book before replacing it with another cover.
"Yeah," he answered sheepishly while kicking himself for choosing that book today. He should have fought off the urge to know what was going to happen between the two main characters.
"This is surprising. I thought that you were reading a book on politics or war." She commented, turning a page. "I never thought that you would be reading this."
"Why? Because I'm a guy?" He still remembered the look on his old friend's face when he told him that his favorite book at that time was one of the romance books that his mother liked to read while they were traveling in the circus. Since that day, he always kept his favorite book genre a precious secret.
"No." She looked into his eyes. "Because you are a serious person especially when you dawn the mask. I never thought that you would be interested in fictional misrepresentations of love that are placed in these stories. No wonder why you and Starfire got along."
"First, we are not going to talk about Starfire right now. Second, you were never interested in the sweet, passionate pages of romance books?" He asked.
"I never read those types of books. On Azarath, romance books were often based on historical accounts that ended in tragedy. So, I stuck to adventures and mystery books."
"We can't have that." He pulled her to his chest and laid down. He readjusted their position so that they were lying side by side with his shoulder tucked under her neck.
"You need to learn to enjoy the pleasure of reading a romance book."
"Because I'm a woman, I should enjoy them?" She asked.
"No," he positioned the book so that they both could see it. "You have to read it because you need to know how lucky you are that you have a boyfriend that is better than the characters in romance books.
She rolled her eyes. "Conceited much?"
"Just being honest. Now, shhh, it is getting to the good part."
"Wait, I don't know what is going on."
"Oh, right." He rested the book down on his stomach and readjusted their position so that he was facing her. He explained quickly the story enthusiastically before picking the book back up to read it.
Rachael felt her stomach clenched in hunger pain, causing her to slowly open her eyes. Greeted with the sight of her sleeping boyfriend's face, she let a smile gradually grace her face.
The book that he had strongly insisted that she read with him was trash. It was one of the most unentertaining books that she had ever read. However, his reactions to the book were priceless.
His face didn't change, but she could feel different emotions coming from him with each new scene.
It was quite entertaining.
She stretched her hand out to touch his cheek that wasn't press against the blanket. They had changed their position three times before they decided to lay on their stomach. It was in that position that they eventually fell asleep.
As her fingertips touched him, her heart beat faster. It still felt like a dream. She couldn't believe that they were like this together.
A single tear fell down her eye. She didn't deserve him. Nevertheless, she didn't want this dream to end.
She leaned in closer and pressed her lips to his. She prayed that he would forgive her for what she did once she gathered the courage to tell him, once she gathered the courage to disobey him.
She pulled back and watched as Dick's eyelids opened. He gave her a lazy smile.
"You didn't have to stop. I was enjoying that." She opened her mouth; however, her stomach spoke instead. "You're hungry?" He asked.
She nodded. "That milkshake and fries that you mentioned earlier sound great now."
"Okay, let's go."
Fifteen minutes later, Rachael snorted while trying to suppress the smile that was threatening to show on her face.
"Come on," Richard said as he let go of her hand to hold the door open. "You can't tell me that that scene didn't send shivers up your spine."
Raven walked through the door. "Then I will remain silent."
He sighed, following her inside the burger joint. "You are going to be hard to convert."
"Don't waste your time. I'm perfectly fine with my current status."
"It won't be a waste of my time. I would have someone to talk with if you start reading romance books."
"Dick," She turned to look him in the eyes with a serious expression. "I'm okay with you having as many female friends as you would like if it means you share your passion for romance books with them instead of me."
He smirked. "No, I'm determined to convert you. You can thank me later when I do." He grabbed her by her shoulders and turned her around. He walked her toward the counter by gently pushing her.
"I would likely dump you before that happened."
He snorted, looking at the menu above the counter from behind her. "You won't dump me."
She tilted her head up to look up at him. "What makes you so sure?"
He glanced down at her, causing a tingle to race down her spine. "Because you love me." He gave a quick peck on her lips before skimming the menu again.
Rachael looked back at the menu too. "You think that is enough." She wasn't talking about just their current conversation but everything that could tear them apart. She could feel him watching her; nevertheless, her gaze remained on the menu.
"I wouldn't let the end of the world take you away from us; I'm not going to let a book genre tear us apart."
"It's not the book genre that you should worry about."
"What do I have to worry about then?" She glanced up at him, confused before she realized that she had spoken out loud.
"Who?" She corrected him. She turned her sight back to the menu, trying to decide what milkshake she wanted.
"Who do I have to worry about? It better not be Jeff."
She rolled her eyes at the mention of the bookstore owner. "No, not Jeff but Ben."
"Ben with the chocolate cake."
He chuckled. "You still thinking about that kid from the birthday party."
"No, I'm still thinking about that chocolate cake. You never got it for me."
"I can't believe that you are still on that."
"It's chocolate cake."
"Fine." He turned her around and grabbed her hand. He moved them toward the door. "We are going to get you your chocolate cake now. There is no way I'm letting a ten-year-old steal my future wife."
Rachael didn't hear the last part of Dick's statement. Her focus was on the TV. The news was on as she watched it in disbelief.
She stopped, causing Dick to stop as well. "Dick, we have to get the cake another time. We have a problem."
"What pro-" He paused as the news caught his attention. "We need to go back to the Tower."
Retra let out an exaggerated moan. "I miss doing this with you so much. I'm so glad that you are back." Retra let out another moan as pressure was applied to her back.
"I must admit, after Nightwing and my friends, this is what I miss the most about Earth." Starfire released a small sighed as the masseuse worked on her legs. "They don't get it right on Tamaran."
"How was it being back?"
Kory turned her head to face her beautiful friend. It was then she realized that she had made a mistake. After Nightwing and her friends, what she missed the most was having someone to talk honestly with.
On Tamaran, she had to keep her emotions bottled up. Telling the right information to the wrong person could morph into something deadly.
"Minus the war, it was less lonely this time around." She stared into her friend's blue eyes. "I didn't think about coming back to Earth every ten seconds. At first, I did but…" A small smile graced her face. "Being General Ph'yzzon's wife made things more bearable."
"You fell in love with him?" Retra asked softly.
Starfire nodded, blinking away the tears that threaten to fall. "As much as I could. He was a glorious husband. He took care of me. He loved me and worshipped the ground I strolled on. I couldn't help but to trip over him. Yet, I…I feel so bad, Retra. Even thought, he loved me and treated me well, and I loved him. I truly did. But…I couldn't stop thinking about Nightwing. And when he died, I-"
She stopped talking as the tears clogged her throats and blurred her eyes. It hurt when she thought about her late husband.
"Can you give us a moment?" She heard Retra said before hearing a door opening and closing.
"Shhh. Don't cry. Please don't cry. I hate seeing you upset." She felt a towel on her face, wiping her tears away, as Retra patted her back after she had left her table to comfort her.
"Sorry." She blew her nose into the towel as she tried to stop the rest of her tears from falling. This was the first time that she said her feelings out loud.
"Don't apologize. It must have been a terrible experience for you after all that you have lost. I could only imagine how I would feel if something was to happen to Gar." Starfire watched Retra shivered at the words.
"If he was a great guy like you said he was," Retra continued, "then he wouldn't want you to be sad."
"You're right. He wouldn't want me to be sad." She was positive about it. He had sent the majority of his time with her making sure that she was happy and safe. "I will no longer be sad." She took a deep breath and held it.
One. She counted inside her head. Two. Three.
"I will be happy!" She shouted, sitting up suddenly and holding her arms up in the air.
"Star, your blanket!" Retra shouted while covering her eyes with her hands.
She glanced down to see her blanket was gathered around her waist, revealing her torso. She quickly grabbed it and wrapped it around her body.
"One thing that I don't miss about Earth is your modest. You may see now."
Retra uncovered her eyes. "Naked or clothed, Kory, we are glad to have you back. Though I prefer clothed."
Kory laughed and stretched out her arms. Retra stepped in between them, and they gave each other a big hug.
"It feels glorious to be back."
"Don't leave again. I refuse to let anyone from Tamaran take you away from us again. You're our princess now."
Starfire pushed Retra back by the shoulders to look at her with a smile. "I have wonderful news, friend. I won't be going back to Tamaran ever again unless I want to."
"Are you serious?" Retra said with widened eyes.
Kory nodded. "My late husband made sure that I wouldn't have to."
Retra squealed and engulfed Kory into a hug. She returned the hug briefly before pushing her away again.
"Since I am completely free of my duties, I was thinking of proposing to Nightwing." An uneasy feeling settled in all nine of her stomachs at the look on Retra's face.
"What is it?" Kory asked, not sure if she wanted to know the answer.
"Kory." Retra's eyes were sad and pitiful as her eyes connected with hers. "He has a girlfriend."
Her heart shattered at her words. "Is it Batgirl?" She was the only other person that ever got close to Nightwing. There was no other woman in the galaxy that could capture his love and attention like Batgirl and she did.
She knew this because he told her so.
Retra shook her head, causing her to smile and say, "Then I doubt that it is serious."
And that gave her hope. She wasn't the type to come between a couple, and had the person he was dating was Batgirl, she would have wished him all the happiness in the world. However, that wasn't the case, which meant that she had a chance to claim the happiness that should have always been theirs.
"Kory, I…I think it's pretty serious. She knows about Nightwing's secret identity. I'm pretty sure that they are living together."
"What?" She had a hard time processing her friends' words. Who would able to get close to Nightwing and integrate herself into both of his worlds? Something that she was never able to do. "Who is she?"
"Kory, I think-" Their phone rang with the Titan's ringtone. There was trouble.
Retra, who she was shocked to found out was Terra, answered her phone since it was close by.
"What!" Retra exclaimed, causing Kory eyes to connect with hers. "We will be there soon." She hung up and said to Kory, "we have to go."
The radio station personnel laughed at the last caller's antics. Garfield was laughing along with them as he wiped a tear away from his eye. He hadn't laughed so hard or so freely in a long time.
After having everything clear up with Retra and the murders that he thought that he committed, everything felt right in the world again. He felt recharged. He felt like he could accomplish anything.
"Okay, peeps," said the main host, Stacy, after recomposing himself. "We are going to take a short break. After that, we're going to take a few more calls before getting ready for the weekend. Remember; we'll be at the Nighttime Jam this weekend. So, make sure you come and party with us."
He nodded to the technician on the other side of the glass. She pushed a couple of buttons, turning off their mics and broadcasting a commercial over the air.
Two of the other hosts stood up from their chairs and left the room. They were probably going to go and grab a quick smoke before they went back on the air.
He was reaching for his phone when the main host slid his chair next to his.
"How are you doing?" Stacy asked.
Gar raised an eyebrow. They already had greeted one another before the program started. They even had a pleasant conversation along with the other hosts.
"I'm doing good. What's up with you?"
He watched as the host looked at the window, where the technicians were. Gar's eyes followed his. The technicians were talking to each other, doing their jobs in autopilot mode.
He heard his mic being push back, causing him to turn back his focus to Stacy.
"Listen," he whispered while pulling Gar in a two-men huddle. "I'm not supposed to tell you this. Heck, I'm not even supposed to know myself, but you know how people around here like to run their mouths."
Gar knew that very well. He was currently talking to the biggest gossiper in the radio station. Any news that Stacy came across, he had to tell it immediately. He had learned early on to never tell Stacy anything.
Once, he had told Stacy that he needed to go to the restroom before the program started because he ate a bad, vegan taco. When he got out of the restroom, the whole station knew where he had been and why. Until this day, they wouldn't offer him a vegan taco to eat on Taco Tuesday.
"What's going on?" Gar whispered.
"I heard from a little birdie-" The was a worker here name Birdie, who like to gossip as much as Stacy. "-that the big men upstairs were thinking about offering a little, green dog his own radio program."
"Really?!" Gar said, shocked. He was only a guest radio host because his agent thought that it was a good way to increase his presence and to be known more than the Titan, Changeling. Yet, over time, he started to enjoy it and looked forward to doing it.
"Shhh," Stacy said. He pushed a finger against his lips. "Not too loud."
"Sorry," he whispered, "is it true?"
Stacy sat up from the huddle and smiled. "It's just a rumor, but I think that it's true." He winked at Gar before rolling his chair to its original position.
The other hosts walked back in and sat in their chairs. They pulled their microphones closer to them.
Gar did the same thing. All the while his head was on cloud nine. He couldn't believe that only a few days ago, he was worried about spending the rest of his life in jail. And now, everything in his life was perfect. The day couldn't get any better.
"Okay, my beautiful people. We are back after those long and boring commercials." Stacy said, broadcasting his voice to their listeners. "And if any of our sponsors are listening, that was just a joke. We need your continuous money for our program. Okay, back to the listeners. We are going to start taking your calls again. Ask us anything. Hello to our next caller."
"Hello?" A deep, male voice flooded the air.
"Hello, what is your question?"
"My question is for Changeling."
"Yeah," Gar said.
"I have got to know if Starfire and Nightwing are back together. I know, this my girl second time leaving him but what they got is true love. So, are they back together or not?"
Gar tried to keep his face neutral. He had forgotten that no one outside of the Tower knew that Raven and Nightwing were dating. He wasn't even sure if Starfire knew yet. He and Retra ended up spending last night outside of the Tower, so he didn't have any updates on what could have happened since they all were rescued from the pit.
"To be honest," he said, leaning into the mic. "Starfire just got back to Earth, so I doubt their current relationship status has changed. Nevertheless, I will keep you posted when or if it does change," he lied to the caller.
"I hope that it does." Gar winced at the caller's words. Relationships were becoming difficult at the Tower. He wasn't sure who he wanted Nightwing to be with. He just wanted everyone to be happy.
They disconnected from the caller and connected to another one. They connected and disconnected with several callers. Each caller asked questions to different hosts.
Soon, they were near the end of the program.
"Okay, let's take our last caller for the day." The host said.
"Hello, what's your name? Where you from? And what is your question?"
"Hi, I'm Paula from right here in Jump City. And my question is for Changeling?"
"Ok," Gar said. "What is your question?"
"How do you feel about your teammate, Cyborg, getting arrested?"
"What?" Gar asked confused. He looked around the table; everyone was as confused as he was.
"It's on the news that he had been arrested." The host tapped him on the shoulder. The host's phone showed an article about Victor's arrest.
"Umm…. I'm just hearing about it. I'm sure that once everything has been reviewed, it would turn out to be a misunderstanding."
"I don't know." The caller said. "It seems pretty concrete to me."
"Things are rarely what it seems."
"Well, if you ask me-"
"Sorry, Paula, but that's our time for the day. Thank you for joining us at-"
Gar didn't hear the rest of Stacy's words. He was out the door.