“A’s,” Trisha said. “Mostly A-pluses. Except Gym. C-minus. OK, I have to be really careful not to give away I’m a bit faster than some other kids.”
“I suppose faster than sound does qualify as a bit faster.” Patrick Wells frowned. Trisha sank into her chair. She knew what that frown meant. She was supposed to setting an example for Brian and Janie. Missing an A-plus in two courses meant for sure Dad would be having some private words with her.
“Even better that you have not betrayed that you have gifts,” Patrick announced. Janie and Brian grimaced, just for an instant. “And it’s good of Sunssword to go flying with you.” Trisha’s father took off his glasses, and waved them in one hand. His black hair, lined with occasional bits of silver, matched the metallic silver frame of his spectacles. “Your mystery patron supplied you, all three of you, with garb that does hide who you are. Or would have, if you two hadn’t given things away.” He pointed at his twin children.
“Da-aad,” Brian complained, not quite seriously. “The other choice was getting stomped flat by those giant robots. It could have appeared anywhere in Massachusetts, and Emperor Roxbury just had to appear right in front of my school. Besides, I got A-plusses on everything. Even if I’m not quite up in course levels with Trisha.”
“That was algebra we were both studying, wasn’t it, Brian?” Trisha asked.
Janie wondered if Dad was playing dumb, or if he was teasing. He could hardly not know that Trisha did all the sewing, though it was her games winnings that paid for the fabric, and…Janie allowed that Trisha’s top flight speed was indeed faster than…sound.
“To answer your question?” Janie shrugged. “I got straight As on my exams, well, mayhaps not A-pluses like Brian.” She tried to hide her annoyance that Brian had better grades. Again. That was so annoying. It wasn’t unreasonable, she allowed. “Brian puts more time into schoolwork. But I’m studying something far more important. Games!”
“And you are doing just fine, Janie,” Patrick said. “You’re the youngest person on the National Junior Team, and you got that draw last Fall against Kurchatov. Your grades are hardly suffering. Don’t worry about them.” Trisha sank even farther into her chair. Janie’s grades were worse than hers, on easier courses, but Dad was saying nice things about Janie, would be saying really bad things about her work when he got the chance, and all the while she was stuck doing almost all the housework for all three of them, except when Brian wanted to cook.
“Except Romeo and Juliet makes absolutely no sense at all,” Janie said. “I just wrote down what I memorized from those other crazy books. You were right, Dad. Finding those other books helped a lot, no matter how stupid they were, when I needed to write crazy stuff on my exams. But if I had crossed out half the ‘not’s in my sentences, what I wrote would have made exactly as much sense. The teacher said it was lots of extra books, not just one, and I could name them, so I got my A. How did you do it, Brian? How did you pull an A-plus in that course? We read the same extra books.”