“Have you ever met Wonderful?” Jake looked up at his father.
Hank stepped back from the workbench and looked at his son. “Son, you better never tell your mother this.”
“What? Why?” Jake put the tools he held in his hands on the table. “This isn’t gonna cause me problems, is it?” His eyes went wide as he looked at his father.
“No,” Hank said with a smile. “There’s no skeletons in my closet. At least not like that.”
“Huh?“ Jake leaned forward. “What does that mean?”
“Nothing,” Hank said. “Back to Wonderful. Yes, I met her. Her name is perfect. She is wonderful. And I’m not just talking about how she behaved in uniform.”
“It’s a costume,” Jake said. “Uniforms are for police, military, and parochial schools.”
“Believe what you like,” Hank said. “It’s a uniform and that’s how I treated it, so did a lot of others.”
“Fine.” Jake rolled his eyes and let out a breath.
“Your mother and I hadn’t started dating, but we knew each other.” Hank took a swig from his beer can, then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Wonderful showed up and stopped a runaway bus from running over a couple of kids. This was what we referred to as a fluff piece. The bus was still in good working order and the kids were happy and smiling afterward. It was how she dealt with the press when they swarmed her. She didn’t let them bombard the kids and she insisted on ensuring the driver, as well as the bus company, wasn’t held liable.”
“That was a lot of work,” Jake said. “No body does that now.”
“Tell me about it.” Hank took another drink. “I’m not sure why or how she got her name, but it was an appropriate name. She brightened the room with her smile. Then there was her laugh. You couldn’t help but joining in with her. I was always surprised that the bad guys would attack her. She looked helpless, but was far from it.”
Jake interrupted, “Is it true she flashed the president?”
“No comment,” Hank said and smiled. His cheeks showed a pink tint as his eyebrows rose.
“Come on, Dad.” Jake tilted his head and smiled. “You never saw—”
“I said no comment,” Hank said, “and I meant it.”
“That’s not a denial.”
“It is not.” Hank smiled at his son. “I’m pretty sure she doesn’t look the same anymore.”
“Like she would be alive,” Jake said. “After what she did to those space ships and aliens. No way.”
“I’ve made that mistake,” Hank said with a nod. “Many times. But to be honest, I don’t believe that she’s gone.”
“What if she isn’t?” Jake’s face flattened and the corner of his lips turned up. “She has to be old. Like you.”
“Careful boy,” Hank said with a slight smile. “I can still take you. My powers are still here.” He flexed an arm, making the muscles bulge.
“You can’t hit what you can’t see.” Jake faded from sight.
“Don’t tempt me, son,” Hank said with a laugh. “I could use a good workout.”
“Fine.” Jake reappeared sitting in front of his father. “Did you love her?”
Hank sighed. “Yeah. I did.” He took a long pull from his beer and crunched the can. “Not like I love your mother, but yeah. Wonderful was that rare soul that burned bright and affected everyone around her. There aren’t many like her.”
“You miss her,” Jake said. “Even if just a little.”
“Yeah,” Hank said. “But, I can say that about several of my teammates from back in the day. Everyone special to me in their own unique way.”
“I do miss her, but I love your mother.” Hank grinned at his son. “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.”