Once again she was left sitting at a fast food joint, waiting for yet another failed friend to return from only God knows where, so she'd have a place to lay her head for the night. She looked around the McDonalds, taking everything in. She read the Wi-Fi warning restriction for the millionth time then turned back to her now cold McCafé. She had only herself to blame for all of this and it pained her deeply.
It was summer again- yes summer, her worse time of the year, but that wasn't what troubled her. She was still here, stuck in this damned city for over two years with no signs that she would be free of it soon enough. Of all the emotions she'd expected to overwhelm her, numb was nowhere on the list.
She'd willed her subconscious away so she wouldn't feel the pain anymore and just as she’d feared, she couldn't reach it now. All she had left was the stench of failure and an emptiness nothing could fill; not the booze, not the sex and not her new obsession.
Her eyes raised from the little brown journal that Demola had given her last summer to the figure in front of her- her dismissive glare came ready too.
"Need company?" the scruffy stranger asked.
Her mind flayed about, thinking on how oddly disproportionate the world was. That such a person would approach her was quite insulting. Here in front of her stood the picture of what very well described scum. If he’d had a bath in a week she’d be surprised. His eyes darted about the cafe erratically and the uneasy in them was unsettling.
"Obviously not yours," she said.
He looked himself over- in a time when she had not lost the ability to feel, she was quite certain she'd feel sorry for him. He turned back to find her eyes fixated on him.
"Keep it moving, pal." She turned back to the story she was attempting to write. Failed writer surely looked ready to join the list of failures she had going.
The stranger set his medium iced coffee down on the table, right next to her beverage and sank into the adjacent seat. She eyed him and turned back to her journal. He did that to prove a point. It was a public space and a free country.
"Must feel mighty big of yourself." Her eyes remained glued to her journal as she spoke.
He chuckled loudly and her eyes raised to his for a moment then dropped back to her reading. He was clearly human, although he had the makings of a gifted's envoy.
"Your assumptions about me are inaccurate," he said. She turned her gaze on him. "I asked if you needed company, I never offered mine."
"Yet here you are." She tied her journal shut and relaxed. Her mind took flight and soared about the McDonalds. It settled on the familiar scent of sandalwood and richness of tobacco. She turned towards it and caught a glimpse of his auburn slick hair from two booths down.
"Mr Dante will like a word," the stranger said. She turned her attention back to him. He rose as if to indicate that she followed him.
"He knows where to find me."
He started to argue but stopped when he saw the look in her eyes. With a nod, he left her and went to Dante and his little entourage to the far left of her. She watched them through the side of her eyes, trying to mind the story forming in her head. She noticed the envoy start back for her and half-smiled. He reached her and lowered to the seat he just vacated.
"Mr Dante needs a moment, Jade," he said, firmly this time. "I'll have to insist that you come with me."
She looked around the cafe again and sighed. There were too many humans, she would have to use her words this time even though that line of action rarely helped anything.
"Aaron, I'm only going to say this once. Tell Traci I'm not moving an inch. If he needs something, let him come get it. Disturb me about this again and you will not like the outcome."
He sat there for a moment, wondering two things; how she knew his name for one and if she was as dangerous as he'd heard she was. He didn't know what to think with the gifted. She shot him a dismissive glare and he felt a chill creep up his spine. Her abilities may have been exaggerated but her ominous glares were something else.
He rose and went back to his boss. Evita packed up her table as she listened in on the exchange between Traci and Aaron. Were she merely human, she would worry herself about how they tracked her here but she wasn't. They had their way, the gifted.
As new as she was to the community, she knew enough. They were a privileged lineage blessed with unique abilities and as expected men like Dante sort to exploit it. She'd been introduced and registered as a gifted, as they were called. Before her, gifteds only ever had the one ability. She was the abnormality and it made her highly sorted after by the gifted clans.
It stirred unease about her core, but they'd much rather have her on their side and subdued than worry about her. The Conquered Colony only knew of three of her abilities and she couldn't comprehend their reaction to the discovery of the other diverse abilities that only seemed to multiply the more she used them.
"Jade." His familiar intoxicating voice came from above her. The Lord of the Lynx Conglomerate stood almost six feet tall with short auburn hair that framed a well-formed face was now standing in front of her, bent slightly against a walking stick merely for show. Those familiar unreadable grey eyes with a unique golden glint held hers softly. She eyed him and adjusted in her seat. "We need to talk."
"Don't give me that, Jade," he warned quietly. "You have a duty to your kind."
"What is my kind, really Traci?" she asked.
He knew her well enough to know she genuinely meant to know. He sighed visibly, shifted his weight off the cane and eyed the seat in front of her before lowering into it. He set the black glistering stick which looked ominously expensive on the table and turned those bewitching eyes back on her.
"You have no idea the honour your abilities bestows upon you Jade and it makes me wonder if you're deserving of it," he confessed. No response came so he continued. "To be offered a seat at the table with the elites of the Colony is the grandest of gestures. You simply cannot turn it down. You have a people to serve."
She watched him quietly. She had no words for him. If this was the reason he'd tracked her down yet again, to force her into their inner bureaucratic nonsense and not even consider the risk of confronting her in a room full of humans, he was more damaged than she'd thought.
"First, you lured me into your world with promises of a better existence, away from human contempt. I fell for it. Then you used me, exploited my abilities and as though that wasn't enough you think naming me an elite will make me easier to use?"
"You're serving the greater good Jade. Goodness! This is how the world works, and the idea that you can't comprehend that is fucked up!"
Heads turned towards them at his response and Evita laughed in absurdity. His eyes darkened in anger. One thing the almighty Traci could not stomach was mockery. She raked her fingers through her snow-white long locks and rose with a sigh.
"I suppose I cannot change the way the world works, even with all my righteous indignation." She smiled as she said it. "But I do get to choose who can use me and let me make this very clear Mr Dante, it sure as hell isn't going to be you." She strapped her black backpack on, adjusted her blue jean jacket and stormed out of the McDonalds. Zar had better be home when she reached his place.