Remember when I was heartbroken about not having any usable talents?
Ajax woke something very bizarre inside of me that I can’t turn off now. I am going out of my mind, to put it mildly.
“Flix,” I say. “I see it again.” I am sitting on my double bed in my dorm room, I will call it. The room is very basic but very clean and high-tech. I have a vanity, a connecting bathroom, and a large wardrobe. Accents of white and silver are the only visible colors, very sterile. And, those are not colors by the way.
“Another one?” Flix says and squints his eyes, trying to see something only I can.
I am seeing different colored, flying ghost bugs. Not kidding. I see a beautiful butterfly that is flickering a transparent purple. “I hope nothing was put in my water, like, I don’t know, acid,” I murmur as I watch the butterfly flutter around my room.
“I’m logging on, seeing if Pierce can tell me anything,” Flix is typing and blinking quickly.
I sit there and watch him, hoping Pierce can tell me something now that I have unlocked the power from within. I smile, realizing I sound like a Star Wars nerd.
“Pierce is calling a tech guy from the support team,” Flix says. “They are more knowledgeable in that area.”
“Just call Jake from State Farm,” I say.
Flix looks at me and frowns. “Who?”
“Kidding, you wouldn’t get it, inside joke.” I smile.
He ignores me and keeps typing. “Uh, yea, Flix here. Uh-huh. Right. Well, that’s—right.” He is typing more and nodding his head. It seems like forever as Flix murmurs and mumbles.
“What are they saying?” I whisper, leaning closer to him.
“She is only seeing one butterfly.” He looks at me, “One butterfly, right?”
I look up and still see the little things flutter about. “Roger that.”
“Fabulous.” Flix giggles. “Make it fire red. Can I mentally high-five you?! Oh, you don’t do high fives?”
Flix looks at me and takes a breath. “Okay, a lot of information you unlocked by awakening your talents. Pierce said that Jake from support said—”
“Wait, his name is Jake?!”
He frowns at me. “You know him?”
I shake my head and suppress a grin. “No, sorry, continue.”
He dramatically sighs. “Okay, so, you are a Spirit Valkyrie. Those animals or insects that you see are real spirits now being attracted to you. The more powerful you are in your gift, the more you will see the angelic creatures. You’re now a beacon, girl.”
“Uh-huh,” I say, looking up at the butterfly. “How the hell am I going to protect myself with an angelic butterfly?”
Awesome but not practical.
“Well, you need to be able to touch it. They will fly closer to you once they feel more comfortable. It’s a trust thing, word spreads fast in the spirit world. They’re attracted to you like a bug is attracted to a bright light on a dark night.”
“Weird,” I murmur. “So, for example, I am in a competition, and I do not see any spirit animals/bugs. What then? I’m screwed? And, what happens when I touch them?”
“I am not sure, Jake had said you must send out a panic signal for battle. They are harmless, beautiful creatures, but if they know you need help, they can turn pretty nasty in a hurry.” Flix says and smiles. “That’s so badass.”
I laugh and glance up at the butterfly. “That kinda does sound badass, actually.” I hold my fist out for him to pound. “Blow it up, you deserve it.”
He blows it up and bobs his head, pointing at ceiling. “Can you touch it?”
“Maybe,” I say and stand on the bed. “How do I get it to come closer?”
“Okay Pierce sent over some arms movements you have to learn that are very crucial to your talent,” Flix says and stands up on the vanity chair, almost losing balance. “Watch,” he orders, and places both palms up with a hint of Diva. “Place both palms up, it’s a submissive gesture.”
“Please don’t tell me I have to do the macarena,” I say dryly.
I roll my eyes and hold my palms up. “Okay now what?”
“Then touch your heart, with both hands,” he says and does it too.
Flix looks so serious he’s making me smile. “Now this last part is very crucial. This is how you send the message, whether you just wanting to say hi, or you need help from them. Thrust your palms out in front of you vertically, like you are pushing your energy towards them. But you must be focused, and confident.”
I take a breath and try my hardest to feel.
Apparently, I have trouble feeling, according to Ajax.
I thrust my hands towards the transparent butterfly, and it was as if a slight wind current hit it, causing the butterfly to flutter oddly to the left.
Did I do it?
I am holding my breath as I see it come closer, flying right up to my face. “Hello,” I whisper. I raise my shaking hand to it and touch it, praying it would not flutter away. For a split second all I can see is a blinding white light then half of my hand seems to glow an iridescent purple.
I gasp, hold my hand up.
“Oh my gosh. Your hand is glowing purple, girl!” Flix says, eyes wide.
“Wow,” I say. I can feel a tingly sensation, as if it just fed my power. I look up and see three more flying bugs. One a sky blue and the other two are a canary yellow. Beautiful, transparent, magical. “Flix I see more.”
I am speechless.
“Exciting! Tomorrow we will have to work on your hand movements and how to send a distress signal to use them to fight with. You’ll see that these pretty little creatures can be very terrifying, or least that is what Jake informed us. ” He claps his hands. “But now, girlfriend, we have to get ready for the dinner or we will be late.”
He is booty dancing on the chair, looking back at me and shaking his tailfeather, he calls it. Flix does not have a butt, it’s more like watching a twig bend in half and move up and down.
I take a breath and laugh. “Yes, the dreaded dinner.”
He clicks his tongue. “Honey, this is another chance to get to Ajax. Because if you don’t, someone else will, trust me. That man is a walking legend here, the most sought-after bachelor. He has got the hottest swagger, so predatory, right?” He does the cat claw move. ”Meooow.”
My eyes widen. “Whoa. What do you know about swagger, Stick Butt?” I choke out a giggle.
His mouth drops open and places a hand on his heart. “My real self I have a cute butt, thank you.” He looks down at his current butt and sighs, bending to the side to get a better look. “Hell. You’re right, I look like a baby stork.”
I’m laughing, falling back on the bed as I can hear his snorts of laughter
“Okay, for real though you mean bitch, picking on the skinny little gay boy.” He wipes his eye. “The contestants can go to the on-site salon and the store here to buy clothing. They have tons of dresses, it’s a massive warehouse. So much so that they will not realize your dress will come from the amazing Pierce Charming.”
I feel butterflies in my stomach, pun not intended.
I stand up. “Let do this.”
“Okay, logging on now.” He is typing again. “Okay I can see the dress Pierce made for you and wowzah!”
I can’t wipe the smile from my face off. “Do I spin now?”
“Hold on, uploading it.”
I raise a brow; their technology is mystifying.
After a few moments, “Okay, spin girl!”
I spin and feel my body heat and tingle making me gasp. I stand there and I can instantly feel a tight gown suctioned to my body. “Holy shit,” I say.
“Holy shit is right,” Flix says and covers his mouth.
I turn my head to the direction of the mirror. And what I see makes me take a sharp intake of breath. “Oh, shit.” I am wearing a long gown of scarlet lace, hugging to every seductive curve of my body. I look killer, I look like a man killer. The dipping neckline makes my breasts look insane, and let’s talk about the slit in the skirt? It is beyond sexy, almost to where I am nervous. “Can Pierce make me a cover for my arms?” It’s a tank-top, and I might feel more covered if I had something on my arms.
“Yes, Pierce says good call. He has a matching red satin, arm cover.” Flix says and claps his hands.
My hair is slick tight to my head then forming a low bun at the nape of my neck. I look sexy and sleek, elegant. Sparking earrings hang from my ears and my make-up is classic with an edge of smoky mystery.
“Lila is already with the team, they are meeting at the entrance before going in.” Flix says and gets up. “Let’s go girl!”
With my cover in place we head out. It takes us fifteen minutes to arrive but when I walk through the massive doors of the main banquet room I am in awe. It’s colossal, and I can see flying cameras everywhere with large T.V screens. There are hundreds of tables with virtual displays indicating who sits at what table. Music is playing and tons of people are walking everywhere.
I turn to see Aaron waving me over to the group, they are standing next to the entrance in all their finery. His eyes scan me up and down and whistles. “Red, you sure clean up well,” he murmurs, eyes drifting my cleavage.
I can’t blame him.
“Thank you, Aaron, you look handsome—” my eyes widen when I see his hair, blue spikes. “You dyed your hair blue!”
He leans into me. “You can’t have all the fun.”
I laugh and say hello to everyone else. Lila eyes me up and down with a sour expression on her face. She looks lovely, but nothing like Big Red. Yes, I just referred to myself in the third person. So what.
Her her gown of gold silk makes her body look tight and cute, but mine is dark and seductive. There is a big difference.
As soon as we enter, I can see the camera’s zipping by to get to us, filming out bodies from top to bottom. Nerves flash through my body. I lean into Lila, “Where is our table?”
McFolas points to the large table with our cobalt colors shining on it. “Gang, I think we are over here.”
Everyone is starring at us and I can’t help but see all the Fey men and women everywhere. Long white hair with pointed ears, tall and elegant. They wore white and silvers, glittering in the low lighting. My red dress sticks out like a sore thumb.
They look at us like we are low-life slaves, here for their entertainment.
Which technically we are.
We find our table and I can see my name along with the others, I quickly sit. I look around and see so many eyes on us.
There is a large stage with a podium and a massive screen behind it showing what the cameras are seeing. Somehow the cameras are all in sync with each other, getting a shot with different angles. I feel like I’m at the Grammy’s, except—not.
“Red, would you like some red wine?” Aaron leans into me with a wink.
I smile at him. “Why, yes, I would love some.”
Can I have the whole bottle?
“Red,” McFolas says from across the table. “What do you think about me dying my beard green?” He chuckles and takes a large gulp of his drink, “We could make a stand.”
Alok looks a Lila, a seductive smile happening. “If Lila is in, then so am I.”
“Red! You are on the big screen!” Aaron nudges me to look at the large screen.
I look and they are zoned on my face then slowly moving down to my cleavage, are they serious? I blush and turn a bit only to see Ajax.
I suck in a breath.
Ajax is leaned against a large pillar in the middle of the room, just watching the screen with a heavy-lidded expression. Something erotic flashes through me, the way he is watching me is not PG. I am good at reading men, most of the time, and I can tell that there is something more in his gaze.
He does not know I am watching him, watching me.
My eyes scan over him, watching him intently. Ajax looks stunning, heartbreaking, mysterious. He wears a black tux that makes his shoulders look insanely wide and broad. He is the best example of a male specimen with his narrow hips and muscular body, the suit fitting him tightly making my mouth water. I can tell that he has his shirt unbuttoned making him look like sex on a stick, for a lack of better words.
The camera is off me and turn back around, heart pounding.
“There’s Ajax,” Aaron says.
The team stands up all the sudden and I bet I know why, Ajax is coming over. I am nervous, is he mad that I wore a red dress?
“Ajax!” McFolas booms.
“Aaron,” Comes his sexy voice.
I grit my teeth, this is unhealthy.
“Blue hair?” Ajax asks.
I can see Aaron turn red. “Sorry, Ajax. I was hoping that our team could be different than the rest of them.”
Will Ajax be furious?
“Aaron, I don’t mind as long as we win, how about that?” Ajax says and claps Aaron on the back.
Aaron beams at him. They all seem to just love him, and honestly, I don’t blame them. Ajax seems different than the rest of his snooty race. He is laid back, like a lounging lion, not much seems to get under his skin.
Only because he is terrified that I will screw the team.
I stand quickly and face him, my pulse hammering. I wanted to tell him about my progress, then maybe he will not be so angry with me about my dress.
He gazes down at me then glances around, then back to me. I bet he is watching out for cameras, probably not wanting people to see him talking to me.
“Red,” he says.
“You look handsome,” I close my eyes in embarrassment. Seriously? “I mean, everyone here looks very nice.”
He tilts his head at me, his pale gaze eerie.
I shake my head, feeling like I need to remove myself from him. “I have made more progress, I think I have a good, or better, grasp on my Feno powers.”
He does not say anything as he stares down at me. I see his eyes lower and slide over my body boldly and I feel my skin ignite. He is being very bold and I like it.
“Are you mad about the dress?” I breathe.
Finally, I see a hint of a smile pull at his mouth. He looks around and then leans down to my ear. He smells like the more seductive cologne. “Red, I play the game better than you do. On the contrary, I wanted you to wear Red tonight. I just knew you would do the opposite of what I said.”
I stare at him, shocked.
He leans back and winks at me. “I will have a word with you after dinner,” he says and turns to walk away.
I let out my breath not realizing I was holding it.
That’s when my eyes clash will ice blue ones. A tall Fey female who regards me very coolly, and by coolly, I mean she would like me to disappear.
The camera didn’t see us, but something worse did.
I turn around and grab my wine, cheers to me. Sarya wants to play then fine, Big Red will not back down to a skinny blond bitch.