Rachel offered Maëlle her seat, moving to grab two more chairs. “Why don’t you sit? We have a lot to discuss.”
“Oh? Are you not concerned about the men?” Maëlle asked with a slight frown at Mick.
“You don’t have to worry about infecting anyone here,” Rachel said with a bright smile, not explained the reason.
“I see,” Maëlle hummed thoughtfully, glancing between Maria and Kyle. Smile returning, she sat in her seat. “Then I will take the offer. By the way, Kyle, aren’t clothes stuffy to you too?” She sighed, loosening a black button on her dress, exposing a bit more cleavage and drawing everyone’s eye.
Kyle took a deep breath, vision shooting to Scarlet, making her look away with a flush on her face. “Umm—yeah, to be honest. It’s everywhere the glowing cracks are; it itches a bit when you have them covered.”
“You do know!” Maëlle complained, smoothing out the bottom of her dress as she crossed her legs, heels dangling as she bounced them up and down for a moment. “I can’t imagine how uncomfortable you must feel; are you sure you wouldn’t like removing your shirt?” She asked without a hint of hesitation.
He brushed his blue hair back with a sad sigh, eyes shifting to Maëlle, and Rachel set the two chairs she was carrying beside him. “No. I can deal with it.”
“Okay,” Maëlle shrugged, seeming to lose interest. “So, Rachel, are you the one hosting this little gathering? Everyone looks so stiff for this to be a party. What’s the purpose?”
She kept her pleasant smile as she sat beside Kyle, Fiona sitting on Scarlet’s knee as she stiffly settled beside Rachel.
“You could say we’re getting together to help Kyle and you with your abilities. We’ve been able to learn a lot that could be helpful to you. I’m sure you’d like to live a normal life without the FBI always breathing down your necks.” She stated it casually, but everyone seemed to catch the implication.
“Wait,” Mick muttered. “Are you saying you know how to help them turn off their hormone ability?”
“Is there a way? Is it like what you told me before?”
Serah huffed, glancing sideways at Maëlle. “The question is if she wants to turn it off; why would she want to when she could just manipulate men to do whatever she wants?”
“Oh, my,” Maëlle giggled, “is that hostility? I’m not trying to be rude, but I don’t need these new powers to hook a boy’s attention. I could give you some pointers—if you’d like?”
Serah’s nose twisted, but before she could respond, Rachel cut in. “Excellent, then you’d like to join us, Maëlle? Before that, though, we should introduce ourselves. I think getting to know each other will lighten everyone’s mood. Why don’t you start Serah, and we can go around the circle.”
“I—guess,” Serah mumbled, glaring at Maëlle. “I’m Serah Hughes; I’m a Special Agent here at the FBI, working field cases. I’ve been working in this district for three years, and I have a German Pinscher named Bernard—that’s kind of what you wanted, right, Rachel?”
“It could be anything; we’re just getting to know each other,” she replied. “Is there nothing else you wanted to share?”
“Well, to be honest,” she glared at Maëlle for a moment. “No—nevermind. I like tennis.”
“What about relationships?” Maëlle quickly interjected with a sympathetic tone. “Anyone on your arm?” She asked with a sly smile. “You must have someone.”
Serah cleared her throat, folding her arms as she looked down at the floor. “No … not right now.”
“Too bad,” Maëlle hummed sadly.
“Why’re you so interested in her business?” Maria huffed.
“I’m a curious woman, and I believe relationships are key to happiness,” Maëlle smiled at her. “I’m more than willing to help a girl out if she needs help. I’ll have men throwing themselves at your feet.” She stated brightly.
“Taking your words,” Serah muttered, “I don’t need powers to hook a boy.”
Maria giggled. “I’m sensing some hostility. Can’t we be friends? I’d prefer being friends. Men won’t like a harpy.”
“What … saying you want to be friends, and calling me a harpy?” Serah growled, fists tightening.
Mick chuckled nervously. “Hughes, what’s with the cold shoulder?”
“Yeah … let’s get along,” Fiona muttered.
“I need some air,” Serah whispered. Getting up, she scooted around Mick and left the room, muttering under her breath.
When she was out of the room, Bree released a tense sigh. “I’m sorry…”
Maëlle completed the thought with a sad tone. “I suspect she had her man stolen by some vixen recently.” Bree’s hands knotted, but her slight hesitation all but confirmed it, leaving Maëlle to nod. “Understandable. Perhaps when she calms down, we can set up a date to get him back.” She said brightly.
“You serious?” Maria’s brow furrowed. “You wanna help her get her guy back?”
“Why not?” Maëlle asked with an innocent smile. “It certainly sounds fun to me.”
“No magic or hormones?” Bree pressed.
“Please,” Maëlle giggled, “do you think you don’t release hormones that attract guys, and it’s more than scent that draws a man’s attention.” She said with a wink at Mick, left hand sliding down her smooth leg as she shifted a little in her chair.
His eyes followed her hands for a moment before he flushed, turning away.
Rachel watched the situation unfold, analyzing Maëlle’s tone of voice and muscle movements, but she was a little more concerned with Kyle and Scarlet. Kyle’s vision kept shifting to her, while Scarlet’s couldn’t stay on him as she tried to look at anything but the handsome guy in front of her.
She’s so love-struck, and either Kyle’s interested in her, or he’s wondering why she’s so fidgety. This is not turning out how I envisioned. Kyle wants help, and Maëlle hasn’t refused it; in fact, she seems interested, but her mannerisms breath tension. Wait … tension.
Rachel’s turned her smile toward Maëlle. “Do Succubus feed of tension?”
Maëlle’s eyes widened with her grin. “You’re so smart; guilty as charged! I didn’t have to say much at all, but to be more precise, I feed off sexual tension. Isn’t that right, Kyle? I assume it’s the same for you. We’ll die if we don’t cause at least a little tension every so often.”
“Every so often?” Maria huffed. “You’re breathing sexual tension, chica.”
“You’re too kind,” Maëlle beamed.
Maria just rolled her eyes, and Rachel leaned back, folding her legs.
“Do you know how to turn off your hormones, Maëlle? As you said, you don’t need them active.” She chuckled. “You’ve got a charm all yourself.”
Mick nodded. “If you can find a way to turn it off, then it would go a long way.”
“How sweet, thank you, Rachel. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about my abilities,” she sighed, playing with a long lock of hair. She twirled it around her left index finger as she frowned at the glowing blue cracks running down her legs. “It’s a little frustrating not knowing if it’s me a guy likes or some power I have, but on the bright side,” her smile returned, “at least I’m surrounded by boys.”
“One track mind,” Maria muttered, eyebrows lifted.
Her tone of voice is completely devoid of deceit, and Maria isn’t making a fuss … at least about her lying. She’s just a woman utterly honest about her feelings. I bet once Maria gets past her initial comment; she’ll like her. I can see Scarlet being extremely tense around her, and Fiona just wants everyone to be friends. The problem would be the agents.
Mick is fine with her, as long as he isn’t affected by her ability. Bree is concerned about Serah, but she has no real problem with the Succubus. It seems like Serah is the only issue that could come up. She should be able to at least hold her temper once she cools off, but if anything more sets her off, then she could disrupt the conversation. If we can solve this issue for David, then we’ll be in an even greater position.
Once Serah comes back, what will be the best solution to solve the problem? From Bree’s response to Maëlle’s question made it obvious that Serah had a bad breakup because of some girl that stole her boyfriend or husband. That’s not going to be easily reconciled if she’s deflecting her pent-up emotions onto Maëlle.
Could I leave to talk to Serah myself? If I can make her understand what we’re trying to accomplish, then it could at least put a bandaid on the issue. Maëlle offering to help her win back her husband or boyfriend could also set her off, though. From her tone of voice, she wasn’t bluffing; she’d really help Serah win him back. However, it’s the pure entertainment she’d feel from it that would leave a bitter taste in Serah’s mouth.
Maybe I should look at it from Maëlle’s point of view; what’s driving her actions? She lives off sexual tension, but I don’t get the same feeling from Kyle. He could be putting on a facade, which would be impressive because every indication screams honesty.
Her wide field of vision surveyed the slowly developing situation as her mind worked at an accelerated speed. The actions of everyone around her played an eighth their normal speed.
Maëlle probably wanted to come here to be in a group; she’s definitely a social butterfly. Actually, playing matchmaker would garner a lot of sexual tension. She’s hungry. How large is her appetite, though? Scarlet needs blood, and you can’t blame her for that. Maëlle needs sexual tension, and you can’t blame her either.
Rachel’s smile didn’t falter as she cleared her throat, drawing everyone’s attention. “I was already instructing Kyle on what to do. Maëlle, could you ask yourself what Type, Race, and Kind you are? You will get a response…”
Maëlle licked her lips with interest as her head tilted slightly, hair dropping from her finger. “How fun … I’m a Mythickin Succubus; I already knew that, but I’m also like a femme fatale. So, you just have to ask questions to get answers?”
“Femme fatale,” Maria mumbled. “Sounds French.”
“It is,” Bree said, a slight frown on her lips. “It means, disastrous woman.”
“I don’t think I’m that bad,” Maëlle giggled. “Although, I suppose others might see me as a disaster.”
Rachel shook her head. “I think we have more pressing things to worry about; Maëlle, Kyle, could you ask yourselves how to deactivate your hormone ability?”
“Umm—huh?” Kyle’s eyes snapped to Rachel. “Sorry, I was a little—distracted.”
Scarlet cleared her throat, vision shifting between them. “She—umm, she wanted you to ask yourself how to turn off your—your hormones.”
“Oh?” Maëlle’s pink eyes moved to Scarlet before sliding to Kyle, lips turning mischievous. “Do I smell chemistry?”
“I—I don’t…” Scarlet stammered, but Rachel interjected.
“Let’s focus on your abilities, please.”
Maëlle chuckled, waving her hand. “Okay, okay … oh?”
“I can reduce the hormones released to a normal amount,” Kyle took a deep relieving breath. “Why did it not answer my questions before?”
“It can be a real punk,” Maria huffed. “You gotta ask it specific questions.”
“Not only that,” Fiona cut in. “You need to desire it and not just complain or be angry about it. It’s not that hard, to be honest. Once you know it will answer your questions.” She smiled brightly, patting Scarlet’s knee comfortingly.
“These powers are so strange; imagine waking up with horns attached to your head? Of course, it’s not that bad.”
“So,” Fiona hummed thoughtfully, “what’s next?”
“How are their hormone release levels?” Rachel asked Maria.
“As far as I can tell, it’s gone,” Maria said with a slight frown. “Can we finally kick back and have a party?”
“Yes!” Maëlle’s grin rose. “A party would be so much fun; now that we aren’t seen as threats, we should invite all the tense agents around the base. They could use a release, right?” She asked innocently.
“There’s still a lot that needs doing,” Bree said. “We can’t disrupt all the work that’s being done to get everything back to normal.”
“What’s normal?” Maëlle asked. “I think a party is pretty normal.”
“I second that!” Maria said, stretching out her arms. “Scarlet, can you sneak back and grab those bottles?” She asked with a sly grin. “We get to relax for a day before heading out. I think we’ve earned it!”
Rachel chuckled tiredly. “You know what, I think that’s actually a pretty good suggestion.”
“For real?” Mick asked, brow furrowing as he glanced around the group. “I mean, I guess the biggest issue has been solved, but can we really just throw a party, and with what?”
Everyone pretty much ignored him.
Scarlet fidgeted a little, vision shifting to Rachel. “You really—you want me to go get it?”
Scratching behind her left ear, Rachel shrugged. “To be honest, we’ve had so much stress recently; it’ll do us good to relax. If some trouble comes with it later, then we’ll deal with it then. While you guys do that, I’ll report to David and tell him the good news … I have something else I need to see to anyways.”
“Wait,” Fiona frowned as her wings appeared, light green dust puffing around her; she rose to Rachel’s level. “You aren’t going to join us?”
“I’m a curious hare,” Rachel chuckled. “My ears hear a lot of things, and there are a lot of interesting topics that I need to investigate.”
“Boo,” Maria called, pointing at her. “You should cut out all the scheming and relax with us!”
“I’ll stay for a minute,” Rachel promised. “Scarlet, could you go grab the bottles?”
“Bottles?” Maëlle sucked on her lower lip for a moment. “Do you mean … you are grabbing some alcohol?”
“Maybe,” Maria grinned.
“Eh—I don’t know about this,” Mick mumbled. “You want to get drunk with your powers?”
“Yes, to be honest,” Rachel promptly responded. “I need to understand how they function when intoxicated. I doubt Maria can get drunk, and she can purify them if things go poorly. It’s an experiment that does require answers.”
After a moment’s hesitation, Mick said, “I guess that makes sense…”
Bree sighed, pulling back her blonde hair as she worked around her neck. “I can see why you’d want to learn how it affects you, but does that include Scarlet?”
“Yeah, does it?” Scarlet squeaked. “I’ve never had alcohol before … and I’m a Vampire. When I changed, I threw up all the food I ate for dinner.”
“That’s the point!” Maria stated, getting to her feet. “Let’s get it going. You guys know where some cups are?”
“There are some plastic cups in the break room on this floor,” Mick said.
“I can get that while Scarlet gets the drinks,” Rachel quickly responded, getting to her feet.
Scarlet rubbed her forehead nervously, blue eyes darting to Kyle before leaving him for the floor again. “Okay…” She closed her eyes and vanished in shadows.
“Woah,” Kyle muttered. “She can just—teleport like that whenever she wants?”
“Basically,” Maria said, moving the desks around.
Maëlle got to her feet, stretching out a little. “She seems like such an interesting girl.”
Rachel left the room at a brisk pace, waving to them as she moved down the left hall, toward the break room; she’d already memorized much of the building’s layout from different conversations.
It didn’t take long for Scarlet to return, and she handed Maria the two bottles they’d discovered. “These aren’t strong … right?”
Maria whistled. “One-fifty-one and Malibu rum? Someone was getting ready to make some Caribou Lou!”
“What does that even mean?” Fiona asked.
“Don’t mind that,” Maria chuckled, humming a song. “Do you guys have any pineapple juice—like a lot?”
“Maybe?” Bree questioned. “If there is, then it’d be in the break room.”
“You hear that, Rachel? Scarlet, did she hear?”
“I don’t really need to check … she heard.”
Rachel chuckled as she turned the corner, walking toward David; he’d just finished a meeting on the fourth floor with a few supervisors and was heading toward Ruth to report on the cleanup of South Beach.
Scarlet doesn’t want to change her eyes … she really cares about how she looks in front of Kyle. Maëlle’s caught on, but it wasn’t really that hard to figure out, to begin with.
David’s neutral face lifted into a curious smile as he caught sight of her. “Rachel, what’s up? How did it go with Maëlle and Kyle?”
They both moved to the side of the hall to not impede traffic.
“Everything went smoothly, for the most part. Serah has some issues with Maëlle, but it’s understandable. It shouldn’t cause many problems. Kyle and Maëlle now know how to reduce their hormones to a normal level. I bet they’ll still garner interest, but it will be from their looks, not their mind-altering powers.”
“Hmm,” David leaned up against the wall, glaring at the floor as he cupped his chin. “What’s your impression of them?”
Rachel let a frown touch her lips as she sighed. “My initial observations weren’t conclusive, but both Maria and I couldn’t find any deception. Maëlle and Kyle seem to feed off sexual tension, but I get the feeling Maëlle acted the same way she does now when a human. Kyle, however, is a bit of an odd case.”
“Not really … he seems shy, almost like he’s rarely had many interactions with the opposite sex. You can get a report from Bree and Mick about a few details. Right now, they’re getting ready to have a party to relieve stress.”
“A party,” David crossed his arms, looking down at her. “You aren’t joining them?”
“I’m getting the cups, but no, I don’t think I will. They’ll be able to experiment with alcohol safely with Maria there. I’d like to know how it affects them. It could be important in the future … especially with Fiona.”
“I see … yesterday I’d see that as an excuse to get drunk, but times have changed. I understand you’re doing your best to prepare for whatever General Dallas has you doing tomorrow. If you aren’t going to be testing the alcohol with them, what will you be doing?”
“My plans…” Rachel rubbed her eyes, glancing out of the window to the dark parking lot below. “I plan to first get the cups, look for some pineapple juice, deliver that, meet with Serah, and finally,” her ears twitched as she followed her target, “meet Anthony, the Legendkin.”
“Oh? What do you plan to do with him?”
“I don’t know yet … the only two Legendkin I’ve known have been pretty bad people. I want to confirm a few things about him, and I have some questions he might be able to answer.”
“Rachel,” David said with a warm smile, “I like your work ethic; I know this might be coming out of the blue, but how would you like to join the FBI? It could be a special taskforce, depending on how things turn out, but I believe you could be a real asset. Once you’ve finished with the contract you signed with General Dallas, that is.”
She chuckled. “Thanks, David. I’ll keep that option open as long as I can, but I can’t give you an answer right now.”
“I completely understand,” David sighed. “The offer stands. Let me know your answer when you can. I know your life is fairly hectic at the moment.”
They both broke off, going their separate ways.
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