Another day in Paragon City
Through the bedroom door, the living room was welcoming, an overstuffed couch and wingback chair clustered around a coffee table. Below a ceramic bowl of green apples, the glass protected a collage of newspaper clippings and accolades from City Hall, Noelle's "Hero of the City" announcement from the Paragon Times next to a smaller piece on her skating classes at the Kings Row Ice Arena, almost covering a gossip clipping with familiar bolded names.
On the terrace outside, two rattan lounge chairs with bright pink cushions had a great view of the waters, and a hardy ivy plant grew up the wall and reached toward the balcony above from a terracotta pot on the floor.
The kitchen cabinets, if you'd peered in, were stocked with food -- adult food, not the snacks and treats she's bought in her first months in PC, when the variety in the grocery stores had been so alluring.
And the bathroom was cluttered, but clean, a variety of hair care products and makeup scattered on most surfaces, but towels neatly hung to dry.
It looked like the home of a grown-up, and Noelle -- though she'd come to Paragon City almost two years ago as a teenager learning how to use her new superpowers, uncertain of her abilities and how she'd fit in in the famed "City of Heroes" -- had seemed to make it her own. There had been less newspaper articles lately, perhaps, as newer heroes eager for the press and the spotlight gave interviews and had their pictures published where once hers might have been, but Noelle seemed happy about it. She might, if she trusted you and you asked her, tell you that she was coontent, even delighted with the way things had turned out. That she regretted some of the brash heroics, the constant gossip column mentions, the long nights and constant fights.
Fights there still were to be had, but they were handled quietly, with precision, in a team that she was proud to be a part of, even as she missed some of the faces that had been so familiar once, and were more often than not elsewhere now.
Someone, once, had talked to her about finding a life outside of Paragon City -- of needing to leave to find out who they truly were. Noelle had found her life here, and heroing was just a part of it.
The phone rang, and almost simultaneously, a scrabbling of keys was heard at the front door. "I'm coming!" Noelle shouted through the wood, turned the lock and rushed through the open door to grab at the phone, clicking off the answering machine that started to play her pre-recorded message.
"No, I'm here. What's up?"
"They are, huh? Where?"
"No worries, I'll be right there. See you in a sec."
Closing the door behind her with her foot as she hung up, she threw a pile of mail on her kitchen table, pulled off her tank top as she went into her bedroom, and came out a moment later in a familiar outfit with cape and boots. In a flash, she disappeared, a tracing of frost on the glass-topped coffee table near where she'd been.
Another day in Paragon City.