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Chapter 9

Fifteen minutes. That was how long Megan realised she had been sitting and tapping her foot impatiently.

After the official job offer and acceptance, Dennis had suggested to her that she met the three teenagers again- the Superman, she gave them their proper time at that point- so that she could get a proper feel of what she was working with now that she was in on everything- Megan preferred to think of it as “in on the relevant details” though. She knew without a doubt that Dennis hadn’t told her everything concerning Project Olympus.

Anyway, he put in the call and the meeting was arranged in one of Olympus’s small conference room- small here meant that it was a larger than the standard office conference room but smaller than the others on the mountain- and the teenagers were actually waiting for her when she arrived. Well, all of them except Kei.

She did it just to annoy me, Megan knew the moment the door to the conference room slid open and she saw that only Jay and Adolf were seated at the end of a long oval glass table that was the meeting point. Adolf openly smiled at her when she came in but Jay held a neutral expression on his face, looking at her as if studying to see what to make of her in the long run.

But Kei was nowhere to be found.

It’s probably her way of establishing dominance in a new relationship, Megan assumed. It definitely fitted in with the teenager’s superiority attitude; and while she didn’t feel dominated by it one bit- it would definitely take a lot more than coming late to a meeting to dominate Megan- she was very annoyed by it.

Megan looked at her watch again. Eighteen minutes late. “Is Kei usually later than this?” she asked Jay and Adolf at the other end of the table, the question directed to neither of them in particular. They shrugged in response.

“Perhaps I should-” A whoosh interrupted Megan's speech and she looked up to see Kei suddenly standing behind the boys.

Just like earlier in the day, she had on her black leather outfit and boots- the others were still wearing their earlier outfits too, actually- but this time, with one too many knives sticking out of various parts of her pocket. The purple crystals on her clothes shimmered erratically when she came into view, almost as if the tech in them was still trying to orient itself to her new position.

“Hello, boys,” she greeted the boys with a smile and a quick pat on the head, ignoring Megan presumably on purpose. “Sorry, I didn’t know it was already time for the meeting.”

“It’s been time since the last twenty minutes, Kei,” Megan returned where she sat.

Truth be told, she had actually told herself she wouldn’t let the teenager see her annoyance. She’s only trying to psyche you, Megan, she had prepared herself beforehand, you don’t have to give in to her.

However, seeing Kei come in so unapologetically riled Megan and she lost control of her emotions.

Her expression didn’t seem to faze Kei though and she smirked. “Hello, Meg,” she said, “didn’t see you there.”

“Well, I am,” she returned.

Megan and Kei stared each other down for some seconds, neither willing to back down from the other.

It’s just another dominance tactics, Megan deduced. She had actually been on the receiving end of the stare countless times from many of her patients over the years; and while she had never had a reason to return it- experience had taught her that it only encouraged it the more- something about Kei’s just made her unwilling to let it slide.

The teenager herself did eventually break the stare though, seemly bored by it all of a sudden; or more likely realized she wasn’t going to win Megan that way. She began to walk round the room, bringing out and beginning to spin a Swiss army knife carelessly between her fingers as she did.

Megan relaxed when she saw Kei back off. She had won that round, she knew, but the game was far from over. She would try again, she had no doubt; her personality wouldn’t let her let it go.

But till then, there's work to be done, Megan thought. “Since we’re all settled now,” she said, “perhaps we can finally begin-“

“What’s your full name, Meg?” Kei suddenly asked, stunning her to silence mid-sentence.

“Megan Months,” she returned, her response a little automatic as she was still reeling from the interruption.

“Megan Months,” Kei rolled it in her mouth with a concentrated look like she was trying to see if it had a distinctive taste. “I don’t know, Meg, sounds made up.”

“It’s not,” she returned, suddenly feeling the need to defend herself. “It’s my legal name.”

“Doesn’t make it sound any less made up.”

A whoosh and all of sudden, Megan found her card in Kei’s hand. She usually kept it in the inner pocket of her jacket but there it was in the teenager’s hand and she didn’t even know when she took it.

“Shrink, huh?” she said, turning the card over once or twice. “That explains a lot.”

“Wait, you’re a shrink?” Adolf looked very surprised by the fact and Megan felt the need to defend herself again.

“Adolf, it’s not what you think,” she quickly said when she saw his look shifting towards Kei. “Here, I’m just your friend. You do your thing and I observe it, and maybe offer an advice or two if need be.”

“So, in other words, exactly what a shrink does every day,” Kei chimed in.

“Goddammit, Kei, enough!”

Megan didn’t know she could feel so hot with anger until she saw herself literally fuming in Kei’s face and the latter reflexively took a step back.

“Please, Kei,” she took a breath to calm her nerves and took her card from her, “don’t make this job hard for me.”

But the latter didn't seem to get the memo as Megan had barely made to return back to her seat when she suddenly asked, “And why did you accept this job, Meg?”

Megan stopped mid-action, stunned for the second time that moment. Why did I accept the job? She found herself wondering the same thing.

The answer wasn’t that far from her mind really. Everything that entangled her with Olympus had to do with Arthur Dean; or rather the secret he held over her and she would rather it never saw the light of day.

Even as Megan thought about it then, she could feel the strength of that secret trying to taking over every inch of her mind. The fateful night from long ago, her mother, and her little brother; their memories were so close that she could literally taste them on her tongue.

“I took this job because I’m good at what I do,” she forced back to reality.

Kei smiled. It seemed like she had seen something but wasn't telling. “You’re good, Meg, I'll give you that,” she said. “But the others thought so too.”

“Others?” Megan made a confused face. "What others are you talking about?

“Wait, the director didn’t tell you?” Kei looked like she was genuinely surprised but Megan suspected that she wasn’t; she wouldn’t have mentioned it to her if she thought she already knew.

“Well, Meg, you’re not the first to try to be in charge of the Supermen," she explained. "There were scientists and philosophers before you. You’re the first psychologist though.”

“And I’m guessing you chased them all away, didn’t you, Kei?” she returned.

“Not me exactly,” she admitted, “their secrets helped a lot too.”

“Well, I have nothing to hide.” Megan took a step forward in front of Kei, opening herself up to the latter for a challenge; one she was more than prepared to do whatever it took to come out on top.

The latter seemed to get the message just like it had been sent and she smiled, for the first time, in respect of the woman in front of her.

“I hope for your sake, you’re right, Meg,” she said. “Cos nothing ever remains hidden for long, not here on Olympus.”

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