First, though, he and Bree had one matter they needed to settle. “Before we head back, there’s something I’ve been wanting to discuss with you.” He had to bite the inside of his lip to keep from smiling and giving himself away. He was trying to look serious.
If Bree’s wide-eyed, startled look was any indication, he’d achieved it. “What’s that?”
“I have major reservations about being taught by someone who apparently holds the massively incorrect opinion that Star Wars is somehow superior to Star Trek.”
She stared at him, blinking, like he’d spoken in a foreign language. “I . . .”
He gestured at her shirt, light blue with Rey and Leia standing back-to-back, weapons at the ready. In dark blue it read Girls Rule the Galaxy.
“I saw the Rey and Leia figures on your desk.” Somehow he still hadn’t cracked a smile. A small miracle, because he was grinning in his head. “A clear indication of your poor judgment, and I’m not sure I can accept you as an authority on anything.”
She gave him a sarcastic smile and flipped a sloppy Vulcan salute. “Yeah, yeah, live long and prosper. Leonard Nimoy was God. I know. But see, when I was growing up, I was unaware that Star Trek had kick-ass female characters for impressionable young girls like me to look up to with three older brothers.”
Now he did grin. Something different flashed across her face, then her expression went back to bored sarcasm.
“You’ve never heard of Uhura? Not only a female, but a female of color. Or Christine Chapel? And that’s just the original series. When we were kids, we had lots of choices on Next Generation.”
“Oh, God. Babe, we’ve died and gone to nerd hell,” Reina said, leaning toward Tomás.
“He’s a football player. He’s not supposed to be a nerd too,” Tomás replied. “Who let this happen?”
Ignoring them, Marcus continued. “You can’t go wrong with Kira, or Dr. Crusher. There’s also Guinan, played by the estimable Whoopie Goldberg. You’ve got—”
“See, all this ignores the fact that my brothers weren’t pretending to be Patrick Stewart or William Shatner,” Bree interrupted. Marcus loved the way her brown eyes flashed with a mix of amusement and indignation. “They were Luke, Han, and Vader. I could either sit in the box they designated as R2-D2 or pick up a squirt gun and be Leia. That’ll make up your mind real quick.”
“That’s absolutely fair. But part of growing up is expanding our minds.” Marcus put his hands on his head, then moved the outward, like his brain was growing. “You know, like I’m doing. You should try it. There are dozens of female role models awaiting your discovery. Captain Janeway. Dax. Love me some Dax. She’s pretty hot.”
Bree rolled her eyes, but she was grinning now too. Marcus felt revved up in a way he hadn’t in far too long. It had been years since he verbally sparred with a woman he liked. He’d forgotten how fun it was. And how attractive it was when the woman held her own and didn’t back down.
“Kill. Me.” Reina dropped her head onto the table.
“I bet if we leave, they won’t even notice.” Tomás pushed back his chair.
“You two are embarrassing,” Reina said as she rolled backward. “And we’re huge nerds.”
“Whatever. I’ve had to listen to you two argue for hours about Batman versus Iron Man.” Bree stood, stacking her and Marcus’ trash on her tray.
“Iron Man doesn’t need some gadget dude to make all his cool stuff. He’s a fucking genius,” Reina said.
Simultaneously, Tomás said in a gravelly voice, “Batman is motherfucking Batman.”