Author's note: Rika can actually bench way more than she implies here. She can probably lift about 400lbs without her force field, and over a ton with it. Anyway, I had fun with this chapter. I don't think I'll get to use Petra's friends as often as I'd like to, but I'm trying to fit them in every so often. I'm posting this a day early because I'll be away from the Internet tomorrow. Please remember to review. All feedback is appreciated. hotwing: The previous chapter was more about showing her determination than her limits. It's just that the best way to show someone's determination is to make them reach their limits.

April 4, 2013

"How much can you bench?" Petra asked suddenly.

"Huh?" Rika replied. "Where'd that question come from?"

"I was just thinking about how toned you are," Petra explained. "You work out a lot. I was wondering how strong you are."

"I don't really know what my limit is," Rika said with a shrug. "I usually stick around one-twenty-five." Not technically a lie. She just didn't mention that she could do that in each hand.

"I want to work out with you."

"Sure. My gym won't let you in," because it's Defenders headquarters and I'm not going to tell you I'm secretly a superhero, "but we can go to another one some time."

"Maybe we can all go," Giorgios said. "Make it a group outing."

"You sure you won't mind being shown up by a girl?" Rika asked with a smirk.

"I bench one-forty," Giorgios said, with a slight boastful tone.

"I do 200," Michail said.

Rika was hanging out with some of Petra's Gay Alliance friends. In addition to Petra, there was Giorgios, Michail, Demetrios, Louiza and Marianna. They were gathered at Demetrios's house.

"You shouldn't be pushing yourself anyway," Petra told Rika. "We don't want you to wind up in the hospital again."

"I'm fine," Rika said. "Stop babying me."

"Besides," Marianna told Petra, "you were the one who brought it up in the first place."

"She's got you there," Demetrios said.

"Shut up,"Petra said, then stuck her tongue out at him.

"Don't show it unless you plan on using it," Giorgios said.

"I do plan on using it," Petra said. She leaned over and licked Rika's face.

"Aaaahhhh!" Rika screamed. "Ew! That was a lot less sexy than it should've been."

"So I'm pretty sure I'm going to fail math," Marianna said.

"That sucks," Demetrios said. "What are you having trouble with?"

"All of it. I just don't understand any of what we're doing."

"Zoe's good with math," Rika said. "Maybe she could tutor you?"

"Who's Zoe?" Marianna asked.

"One of my friends. The gay one."

"Oh, right. I don't know. It'd feel weird, getting someone I don't know to tutor me. Maybe if you were there, too. Then I wouldn't feel as uncomfortable."

"Yeah, sure. Petra, you want to come, too?"

"Sounds like fun," Petra said.

"Saturday work for you guys?" Rika asked.

"Shouldn't you make sure it's OK with Zoe, first?" Giorgios pointed out.

"I don't see why she wouldn't be OK with it," Rika shrugged. "But I guess I can text her real quick to check." She took out her phone and sent a message to Zoe. 'Would you be OK with tutoring Marianna in math on Saturday?'

'I don't think so,' Zoe replied.

'Why not?' Rika asked.

'I hate tutoring people. I'm terrible at it. I can never get them to understand, and I just get frustrated. Trust me, Marianna doesn't want me for a tutor.'

"So it looks like Zoe won't be tutoring," Rika said out loud. "Turns out she hates doing it. Sorry."

"No problem," Marianna said. "I'll take the fail. Not like I'm going to need math anyway."

"Math isn't my strongest subject, but maybe I could help you with it."

"You don't have to do that."

"I'd be glad to help you out. Come on, we'll get together and I'll help you figure it out."

"Well, all right. If you insist. But you've got your work cut out for you."

"I love a challenge," Rika smiled broadly.

"Me too," Giorgios said. "Incidentally, 'challenge' is what I named my penis."

"Ooohhh!" Louiza groaned.

"Is it still cool to say 'too much information'?" Rika asked.

"I don't think so," Petra replied. "I'm pretty sure it's lame now."

"Yeah," Marianna agreed. "I think it went out of style around the time Chuck Norris Facts did."

"Oh, God, I hate those stupid Chuck Norris Facts!" Rika said. "I am so tired of seeing those stupid things online."

"I like Chuck Norris Facts," Petra admitted.

"That's it, we can't date any more," Rika said.

"What's wrong with Chuck Norris Facts?" Giorgios said.

"They're just so overdone," Marianna said. "I can barely go anywhere on the Internet without running into them."

"They're still funny," Giorgios said.

"No," Rika shook her head. "They're not funny. They're the opposite of funny. They're a Black Hole into which funny is sucked, never to be seen again."

"You have a real way with words," Marianna told Rika.

"Yeah," Petra agreed. "She's very good with her mouth." Michail choked on the soda he was drinking.

"Huh," Rika said. "I'm surprised that Michail can still gag."

"I'm working on it," Demetrios shot back.

"I actually don't have a gag reflex," Giorgios said. "I haven't had one for as long as I can remember. It's neat."

"And yet you waste your talents," Demetrios said, "by splitting yourself between guys or girls."

"It's not my fault I love all of God's children," Giorgios said solemnly.

"Another name for your penis?" Rika asked.

"It is now," Giorgios laughed.

"Did you tell Rika about your blind date this weekend?" Louiza asked Giorgios.

"Ooh, a blind date?" Rika said. "Do tell."

"Ugh!" Giorgios grunted. "My mom's setting me up with the daughter of a lady she works with. One with a 'nice personality', and you know what that means."

"It means we'll all laugh at you, no matter how the date turns out," Rika said. "Even if it goes well. Then we'll just laugh at you being so worried about it."

"You're such a good friend," Giorgios told her.

"I know," she replied.

"I honestly can't understand why you have so much trouble finding people to date," Demetrios told him. "You should never be single."

"It's not like I'm not trying to find someone," Giorgios shrugged. "I just never seem to click with the people I talk to."

"You're probably expecting too much," Rika said. "You need to give the person a chance. A two-minute conversation might not be enough to tell you if they'd be good to date."

"Easy for you to say," Giorgios said. "You clicked with Petra right off the bat."

"Well, yes, but I also gave her more than a couple minutes of talking to impress me."

"I don't know," Giorgios sighed. "Maybe I should just not date for a while."

"Don't be stupid. Of course you should date. You shouldn't expect to find your soul mate, but you should still date."

"Nah. I've made up my mind. I'm done with dating. From now on, I will be single."

"Until you get drunk and make out with someone at a party," Demetrios said.

"Exactly," Giorgios nodded. "As God intended it."

"Not that you get many chances for that," Rika said. "When was the last time you got to go to a party with alcohol?"

"New Year's. And the next one probably wouldn't be until the end of the school year. Whatever. No rush."

"I assume you're doing well in your classes?" Rika asked him.

"Of course. Well, I'm passing them all, at least. You?"

"Yeah. No problems."

"So am I the only one who's failing a course?" Marianna asked. Everyone looked around, then nodded. "Wonderful. I do like to be different."

"Aw, poor Marianna," Louiza said. "Need a hug?"

"I don't think your chest is big enough for a hug to make me feel better," Marianna told her.

"And I curse God for it every day," Louiza chuckled. "Someday, I'll have boobs. Even if I have to pay for them."

"We should get going," Petra told Rika. "My dad will be picking us up for supper soon."

"I'm so jealous," Rika said. "You have parents who accept your sexuality."

"Yeah, but your parents are still together," Petra said. "I'm jealous of that."

"Don't be. Maybe if they cared about how much time I spend out of the house, you'd have reason to be jealous. As it is, I could probably not go home for a month and they wouldn't even notice."

"You should talk to your parents about this stuff," Giorgios told her.

"No point. Forget about it. I'll talk to the rest of you later."