Stairs and Windows

Ursula Ditkovitch glanced out of the window, sighing.

It was pouring down with rain outside. She'd have liked to write her letter while sitting outside, but she couldn't if it was like this. She didn't want to stay in her room while her father's friends were here, though. They always talked too much, and by the end of the day one or more of them would go home completely drunk.

So she was sitting in the stairway, pen and paper in hand. The rain was blowing in through the window...the glass was broken. It'd been broken for a while. Her father had said he'd fix it 'as soon as the lazy boy pays his rent to me.'

Ursula started writing.

Dear Mr. Jameson,

I must object to your recent editorial, 'Spider-Man: The Invisible Menace'. First of all, you are suggesting in the article that he hides his face because he is a criminal, when in truth I feel that he does this because if his enemies-such as you-knew who he truly was, they would take advantage of this to make his life difficult, maybe even threaten his friends and family. (you wouldn't do that, but others might)

Yeah, that was good. Not too harsh, but making it very clear what she thought. She read through it again, correcting a few spelling mistakes. She heard a roar of laughter coming from the kitchen, and looked up. As she did so, she noticed Peter's door was open...must have been the wind...and he wasn't in there. She didn't remember having heard him come in, either.

Oh well, maybe he was out with friends or something. He wouldn't be out somewhere in the rain, surely.

She kept writing.

Secondly, I have seen no evidence whatsoever to convince me he is a menace. So far I've read plenty of accounts (in other newspapers) of him saving innocent people from thugs, preventing car crashes, and dragging people from burning buildings...but I have never heard of him purposely harming anyone. I suspect, Mr Jameson, that you make a lot of this up in order to sell newspapers. I don't think it's right. Furthermore, it won't work for much longer. Spider-Man has saved a lot of people, and before long those who support him will far outnumber those who don't.

She signed it with her name, Ursula Ditkovitch. She couldn't help but feel nervous at the thought that they might print it. People might laugh at her; they might mock her; they might send in other letters supporting Jameson and proving her wrong; they might-

At the bottom of the stairs, the front door suddenly clicked open, and Peter came in. He had been out in the rain. And, from what she gathered, not out with friends or anything...he looked thoroughly miserable, and thoroughly wet.

"Are you okay?" she asked anxiously. She noticed something else. "Your arm's bleeding a bit..."

He looked down at it in mild surprise. It was bleeding more than just a bit, it was quite a deep wound. "Yeah. I wasn't looking where I was going...walked into...a shelf."

Ursula nodded, deciding not to question him. It wasn't any of her business, after all. She was about to move out of the way for him when the wind battered against the building, a gust of it coming through the window, blowing her letter off the stairs...and straight to Peter's feet. He picked it up. She noticed he was trying very hard to not even look at it, and in that instant liked him even more.

"," he said, and started climbing the stairs to hand it back to her. But at some point his curiousity must have won out, because as he gave it back to her he said nervously, "Um...this is to Jonah Jameson?"

"Yeah," she said, and then realised. "Oh wait...he's your boss, isn't he? I..."

"It's okay," he said quickly. "He won't fire me or anything. I'm sure he doesn't know we live in the same building. Um, good letter, by the way."

"You agree?" she asked, smiling.

He nodded, his eyes looking right into hers. "Do I ever."

Then he walked past her, up the remaining stairs and to his bedroom. He turned around at the door, smiling. "Goodnight, Ursula."

"Good night," she said, beaming.

The next morning, after she'd gone out to post her letter, she walked up the stairs past the window. She was fixed. She glanced out of it. It was a sunny day.

There was a red-and-blue blur outside, vanishing out of sight.