[SFX]: An aggressive knock on a door.
COLE: Just a second!
[SFX]: The door opens.
COLE: Hi, can I help you?
SEAN: Are you Cole Sanders?
COLE: Um, yeah. Did I do something wrong?
SEAN: No, nothing like that. I’m a reporter, for The Chronicle in New York? I’m working on a story about Anika –
COLE: Anika? You’ve heard from her? Is she okay?
SEAN: Hey, slow down. Can I come in?
COLE: Yeah – of course. Sorry. Um, please, come in.
[SFX]: They enter the house, door closing behind them.
SEAN: Your parents home?
COLE: No, they’re at work. Home alone. Summer vacation.
SEAN: Good graduation photos. Mine looked like I’d just licked an electrical socket.
COLE: Oh. Thanks. My mom liked them.
SEAN: You going to college in the fall?
COLE: Ah, no, not yet.
SEAN: Didn’t get in?
COLE: Didn’t finish applying.
SEAN: Why not?
COLE: After Anika disappeared, I just kind of… I fell off the deep end for a bit. I was constantly looking for her, trying to find out where she might have gone, spending time with her parents and with Bailey’s. College applications just didn’t seem that important anymore.
SEAN: Their parents still looking?
COLE: They both filed missing persons reports, but nothing ever turned up. Can I get you anything to drink, or something?
SEAN: That’s okay. Is there somewhere we could sit down?
COLE: Yeah, we can use the kitchen, if that’s okay.
[SFX]: They settle into chairs.
COLE: Is she in trouble? Anika? Do you know where she is?
SEAN: Typically, in interviews, I ask the questions.
COLE: Sorry. Um, before I answer any, I’d just like to know what kind of article you’re writing about her.
SEAN: An honest one. Did you know Anika had powers?
COLE: Not at first. When we started dating I just… well, everything felt special with her. I didn’t think it had anything to do with the kind of thing we’d been hearing about on the news from time to time.
SEAN: When did you find out?
COLE: The night before she left? Or maybe the night she left. I’m not – I didn’t exactly react as well as I could have.
SEAN: How do you mean?
COLE: Look, Mister…
SEAN: You can call me Sean.
COLE: Sean. I’m eighteen years old, okay? Anika was my first real girlfriend. I was crazy about her, like, head over heels crazy. The first time she spoke to me, in History class, I literally forgot my own name. All she did was ask to borrow a pen. It took me two years to even muster up the courage to ask her out. And then, finally, I do it, and she basically laughs in my face. But then she said yes. We’re dating for months, and I’m thinking, there’s no way this is ever gonna end. I’m luckier than anyone has the right to be. That part was right, at least. Are you sure you don’t want some water?
SEAN: No, that’s okay. Thank you.
COLE: Sure. When she finally told me… I think the worst part is, what kind of boyfriend was I for her to have been holding back this huge, terrifying thing the whole time we were together, and to not even have noticed?
SEAN: Did what she could do scare you?
COLE: No, of course not. She’s my – she was my girlfriend. I love her.
SEAN: Sure. But that kind of thing would make anyone a little scared, even if they loved the person on the other end of it all.
COLE: Love. I still love her, even if we’re… Whatever you are when your girlfriend skips town after telling you she has super powers. God, I can’t believe that’s something I’m saying out loud. My girlfriend has super powers.
SEAN: So, when she told you, you just accepted it?
COLE: I could have maybe… she’d hurt people, even if it was inadvertent. Or, we had, I guess? She made it sound like it was just her, but we spent that whole night together. I was really nervous the whole time, and I could feel her tensing up throughout the party, and maybe if I’d been a little more observant, or a little more attentive, if I’d figured out what was going on with her…
SEAN: Kid, what happened at that party wasn’t your fault.
COLE: It wasn’t hers, either. I know she didn’t do it on purpose. The people who got hurt, they were her friends. Bailey was down there, and Anika would… she’d throw herself in front of a bus before she’d let anything happen to B. Things may have gone a little haywire because of something that’s going wrong with Anika on some sort of weird, cosmic level, but it wasn’t intentional. She wasn’t trying to hurt anybody.
SEAN: If you believe that, why’d you let her leave?
COLE: I was freaking out! We’d just gotten really lucky in what I thought was a freak electrical incident. My friends were hurt. Then my girlfriend tells me she thinks it’s her fault, and implies that maybe it’s a little my fault, too. And then she proves it, makes my car start when I can’t even get the engine to turn over. I just needed some time to take it all in, to process, to figure out a plan to help her through all this. But then she’s practically leaping out of my car, won’t let me get a word in edgewise, and before I can do anything about it, she’s running down the street. I went back to her place later that night, to try and talk to her, but she was already gone. Ransacked her drawers, left in a hurry. Bailey’s place too. If she’d just let me help, let me explain…
SEAN: She’s hurt a lot more people since then, Cole. Not just your friends.
COLE: I’ve seen the news.
SEAN: So you’ve known this whole time that it was her? Her and Bailey behind the masks, running around the city, wreaking havoc?
COLE: I hoped it was. Because at least then, it meant she was okay.
SEAN: Why didn’t you tell anyone?
COLE: You know, sometimes, when I’m at school, I think I see her? In class, or by my locker, or leaning against my car waiting for a ride home. It’s just these quick little flashes, these blips of before everything blew up. I was sure I was going crazy, the first time. After a while, I just started… letting myself believe it might be real. I’d catch a glimpse of her, and I’d hold my eyes open till they started to water, refusing to blink, in case it made reality set in. That’s why I never sent in my college applications. Leaving here, it just felt like… it felt like it might be that last big blink that kept her out of touch forever. And I don’t think I could bear that. You know the worst part of it all? Here I was, thinking I was like, boyfriend of the year or something. But it turns out I was just another oblivious idiot in her life.
SEAN: I don’t know if that’s fair.
COLE: I told her I loved her, Sean. I spent every day with her, and she had this huge weight on her shoulders. And I didn’t notice. Or, I did. I knew something was up, but I just… assumed it had to do with me. Do you have any idea what it’s like to realize this whole time, you’ve just been letting someone you care about suffer alone? When maybe you could have helped?
SEAN: Yeah. Yeah, I do.
COLE: I’m sorry, I really don’t think I can give you much to help with your story.
SEAN: No, that’s okay. This has been more than enough.
[SFX]: Sean pushes away from the table and stands up.
COLE: Do you think I could have stopped all this?
SEAN: What do you mean?
COLE: I thought about… When she ran away and started popping back up on the news, I thought about going to find her. Trying to convince her to let me find someone to help her. But, I’d talk myself out of it. She didn’t want to hear from me, or maybe she’d come back the same day I went to find her, or… or when I got there, she wouldn’t want to see me. Do you think if I’d gone to her, it would have made a difference?
SEAN: I… I don’t know.
COLE: Could you do me a favor?
COLE: If you find her… could you just… could you let me know that she’s okay?
SEAN: Yeah. Yeah, will do.
END OF EPISODE 8