1 Susan Storm stood staring at the commercial jet on the airport tarmac, itslarge belly reflecting the afternoon sun with a powerful glare. The enginesof the jet were silent, at least to her, as she watched several figures onthe ground loading luggage and moving around the jet with ear protectorsfastened tightly to their heads. She lingered on the activity on the ground,the scurrying and the action that she was not a part of, grateful to havesomething else to focus on. Often she begged her fiance, Reed Richards,to find some other way for them to travel, some other way that didn't makeher feel so exposed, soseen. Susan blinked away the darker thoughts, turning from the window of theairport terminal and letting her eyes become readjusted from the glare ofthe afternoon light. Inside the terminal at LAX, all silence wasobliterated. A crowd had immediately formed around her and her family assoon as they'd arrived at the gate to wait for their flight back to NewYork. She tried to block out the squeals of delight from the onlookers, therush of the crowd that usually seemed to suck all the oxygen out of theroom. She attempted to refocus, to ignore the voices gathering around them,the clicking of cell phone cameras, the murmurs and whispers that stuck toher skin so quickly that sometimes she could feel them before she heardthem. Before the strange hands touched her arms or shoulders. One time,there'd been a tug on her long blond hair. Is that them? Oh my God, I can't believe it. They look so different upclose. What the hell is she wearing? Do you think she's pregnant? Of all the things that had changed about Sue's life since the cosmic storm-- the storm that altered her DNA and gave her powers beyond anythingimaginable, powers that drew her back into the world of Reed Richards,powers that led to the defeat and death of Victor Von Doom -- it wasbeing thrown into the public eye that remained the most difficult. Shedisliked it intensely: the constant staring, the roving cameras thatfollowed them wherever they went, the intense scrutiny that came with suchattention. For the most part, she had accepted the fate that had befallen them. Ifthey suddenly had powers that could be useful to mankind, so be it. Shewas willing to share them and to do her part to make the world a saferplace. She wasn't haunted by the changes in her life, the way shesuspected Ben Grimm might be; nor did she relish the limelight the way heryounger brother, Johnny, did. And Reed? He barely noticed anything beyonda book or his PDA. With the outside world rushing so violently into theirprivate space, she often wondered how he could remain so clueless to themillion different ways their lives had been invaded. Sue felt a small weight in her chest. She rubbed her hands together,staring at the slim band of silver around her finger, trying to dismiss hercranky, cynical thoughts. She knew these weren't the musings of a hero, orof someone grateful for her life and upcoming wedding, or of someone eventhe least bit fantastic. It happened to her sometimes, when the crush of itall became a bit too much, when she'd retreat inside herself, if only toget a break from the attention and the spotlight. But the thoughts werebeginning to stay with her for longer periods of time, and even her powerof invisibility, her ability to disappear from their sight, could not makethem go away. She walked over to where Reed and Ben were sitting, waiting for the flight.The airport lounge was large and quite generic, she felt, for such ametropolitan city. They had bypassed the coffee bars and newsstands, hopingto lose the seemingly necessary crowds. But they were unavoidable. Shenoticed the people all around them and made a note to speak to Reed againabout finding a less public way toFrost, Mark is the author of 'Rise of the Silver Surfer ', published 2007 under ISBN 9781416548096 and ISBN 1416548092.