“Casey, are you sure this is safe?” April asked as she warily eyed her friend indicating for her to sit in front of him on his bike. He had his hockey gear in a bag that was slung over his shoulder and was looking at her expectantly.
“Don’t stress, Red,” he told her, patting the area again. “This is my chance to wow you with my balancing skills.” When it looked like she still wasn’t going to join him, he said, “Come on. You were just fine when you rode behind me on this thing.”
She had to admit that was true. April sighed and reluctantly climbed onto the bike, sitting awkwardly on the rail in front of his seat cushion. He reached around her arms to grab the handles and pushed off, slowly at first, but gaining more speed as he went.
“See?” he said. “This isn’t so bad.”
“Sure, Jones.” April rolled her eyes. “Just focus on not crashing and we’ll be fine.”
“Right.” He smirked at her. “So, Red, any chance I can get you on the ice this time?”
April shook her head. “No way.”
“Hockey isn’t my forte.”
“Who said anything about hockey?” Casey asked. She looked at him. “I just want to get you on the ice with me for a change. I practice hockey all the time, but you don’t seem to get out much. You could use some fun in your life.”
“Hey, I know how to have fun,” she protested.
Casey grinned. “Sure. Studying and picking fights with mutants.”
“No getting out of it this time, Red. You’re getting on the ice with me. That’s that.”
April sighed in resignation, deciding he was right. It was time for her to get her mind off of the crazy world she was part of and just relax with a human companion for once. She loved the turtles, but still...
Casey observed her silently for a while as he pedaled down the street towards the ice rink, then asked quietly, “What is it with you and all those mutants, anyway?”
“What do you mean?” April asked. He gave her a look that said her innocent act wouldn’t fool him, so she looked away from him and answered, “It’s...complicated.”
“Look, Jones, I don’t want to drag you into all this. You might get hurt.”
“Please. Danger is my middle name, Red.” Casey slowed to a stop while waiting for the signal to cross and looked her in the eyes. “These friends of yours that you said you fought with for a while...are they mutants, too?”
April tore her gaze from him and sighed. “I don’t think I should tell you, Casey.”
Hearing her say his first name instead of his last for once surprised him, making the sincerity of her words stand out more. He contemplated prying, then decided against it. Her personal life was her business. She would open up when she was ready.
“It’s cool if you don’t want to talk about it.” Casey nudged her. “But you’re still skating.”
April smirked up at him. “If it keeps you off my back, then it’s a deal.”
The signal to cross came up. Casey began pedaling again so quickly that April automatically reached to clutch the handlebars, resulting in her hands resting on his. She realized her mistake and moved her hands so that she was holding onto the bar above the front wheel instead, muttering a “sorry” to him.
When he didn’t respond, she lifted her eyes to look at his face and saw that he was smiling.