FSOP2: 22

The next day, I am organizing my portfolio in the little library in Ms Pink’s castle when I hear her calling my name. Looking up from my art work, I meet her gaze and give her a smile but she grabs my hand and pulls me up without as much as a smile or hello.

“Where are we going?”

“To bed.”

“What? Like right now?” A glance at the majestic grandfather’s clock in the corner tells me it’s barely past three in the afternoon but strangely, Ms Pink’s apparent urgency sparks sensual desire in my body too. I guess I should consider myself fortunate to be in tune with Ms Pink in this way. I mean, it’s not like I can overpower her and stop her from taking me to bed, can I? And it helps that Ms Pink is such a good lover in bed. After getting almost three hundred years’ worth of practice, Ms Pink has acquired goddess-like skills and knowledge in sex and I am the lucky beneficiary of her . . . expertise. So I can’t complain, since she is always mindful of my pleasure and not just her own.

The door closes behind us. Woah, when did we get to Ms Pink’s bedroom?

“Strip,” Ms Pink commands as she strides to the bed and sits at the foot of it.

“With a tease?” I ask, half in jest. But Ms Pink merely frowns. “Okay. No tease. Strip. I get it. Stripping now.”

“Turn,” Ms Pink commands when I’m finally nude.

I turn a full circle and face Ms Pink again. “My body is ready. Tiffany.”

A burst of pink flares up in Ms Pink’s eyes and she stands. “You don’t know what you’re up against,” she says, and the next second, I find myself lying on the bed, pinned below my princess vampire.

“I know what I’m up against,” I say when Ms Pink releases my lips from hers. Arching my back and pushing up against Ms Pink’s body, I grin and add, “I can hold my own.”

Ms Pink ravages my lips again, making me breathless with her tongue. She fills her hands with my derriere and squeezes. Hard. Unapologetically. But it only makes me moan as pleasure surges from deep within.

“You are a dirty girl for me.”

“Yes,” I gasp, as Ms Pink brings her fingers closer and closer to where I need them. “Yes, I’m your dirty girl.”

“Who’s dirty are you?”

“Yours. I’m your dirty girl. I’m yours. I’m yours, Tiffany.”

Lips clamp over mine again and arms wrap around me, holding me closer to Ms Pink than ever.

And then we’re falling.

Any sound I might have made because of the shock is absorbed by Ms Pink who kept her lips on mine the entire time. Our landing is hard and all my breath is slammed out of my body. “Oh my God,” I exclaim. “What was that?” Ms Pink hauls me into a sitting position and I look around us, seeing only dark, cold stones and recognizing nothing in the least. “Where are we?” I ask, fear stabbing me in the guts.

“The dungeon.”

“The dungeon? In your castle?”

“Yes. But we don’t have much time.” Ms Pink stares deep into my eyes, her pink irises expanding and contracting at an alarming rate.

I clutch her face in my hands, terrified. “Ms Pink, what’s happening to you?”

“Nothing I can’t handle. Now, listen to me. Right now, captes are creating the illusion that you and I are having outrageous sex on my bed.”

“What? The captes are what?”

“You remember why we had to stay in Summer’s apartment for a while. My castle may have been compromised again. My office definitely has been.”

“What? But how? Who—”

“Qas.” Ms Pink huffs impatiently and grips my shoulders harder when I exclaim again. “Shut up and listen. I will form an alliance with Qas Sogok. But it is only a front. And you are to stay out of this. Completely.”

“I-I don’t understand.”

“You will go to the interview. You will do your best to get hired. Then you will work very hard and stay clear of everything else.”

“But why—”

“Taeyeon, promise me.”

I have never seen Ms Pink in such a state before. Her pink irises are erratic and her body is trembling all over. Out of fear and sheer worry, I nod and declare it a promise, even though the thought of a fake alliance with Qas Sogok unsettles me to the core.

“Good. Now we go back.”

Ms Pink’s lips clamp over mine again and the oddest, most uncomfortable sucking sensation dives deep into my body, pulling me out from the dungeon and when I open my eyes again, I am lying on Ms Pink’s bed, writhing from what must be sexual pleasure even though my mind registers none of it.

“Scream for me, my dirty girl,” Ms Pink growls in my ear as her fingers move wickedly in my most intimate space and I respond with a shrill scream as I arch one more time, before falling limp in Ms Pink’s arms.

“Ms . . . Pink . . .” I gasp. “Tif . . . fany . . .”

“Is this how you hold your own?” Ms Pink asks with a smirk.

I blush, despite the multitude of questions in my head right now. “I-I just need some time.”

“Always asking so many questions. Always so slow.”

“I-I’m sorry.”

Ms Pink gets to her feet. “Time, I will give you. I have plenty of it.”

Suddenly terrified of the future looming up ahead, I cling to her legs and close my eyes. “Ms Pink,” I say mindlessly, hoping for a miracle to enlighten my cluelessness.

“Stupid human.”

The tone of love is back. I can hear it and it calms the turbulence in my heart instantly. “We’re not done yet, Ms Pink,” I say, pulling her back down. Then, with renewed confidence, I climb over Ms Pink and kiss her where her still heart is. To hell with Qas Sogok and the sickening, rotten politics of the supernatural-human world. There is only one truth I hold dear to me and I want to express it right now. So with a firm hand, I push Ms Pink flat on her back and give her a soulful kiss.

“Let me show you how I hold my own.”

X

Eyes are watching. I can sense it as I walk towards the multitude of colours adorning the walls of Rainbow. The feeling reminds me of my training with captes in Helene’s castle and it feels as strange as the time when weird things were happening to Max. But I am no longer as naïve as I was back in those days and this time I know something’s up.

Ms Pink’s words come back to me as I walk up the steps leading to Rainbow’s lobby.

“You remember why we had to stay in Summer’s apartment for a while. My castle may have been compromised again. My office definitely has been.”

Qas Sogok. The new head of the Parliament. He may not be part of the Federation but he certainly seems no less powerful than a Fed. He might have some kind of backer. Someone who is supporting him from behind the scene. Ms Pink did mention something about looking into Qas’ activities but nothing much else, so I have nothing to go on, unfortunately.

Unless I can find a secure source of information. . .

The lobby looms up before me and reoccupies my attention. It is still under construction, but there given that the building has been constructed in the shape of a rainbow, I have no doubt the entrance of Rainbow will be as opulent as PINK’s is.

Entering the lobby reminds me of the first time I visited PINK months ago. Back then, I was innocent and naïve. I had no idea another world existed and if anyone had joked about my singlehood ending because of a princess vampire, I would have laughed the loudest. I find myself repeating the things I did when I went to PINK to interview Ms Pink: Present letter, attain a pass (a plain white card since a design had yet to be designed), proceed to elevator. Being a subsidiary of PINK, Rainbow does not have as many floors in its building. Just eight, which is the level I have to go for my interview.

The walls are still plain white, awaiting a new coat of colour, I observe as I turn the corner to get to the offices. I lift my pass, expecting to be required to show it and lift my eyes to greet the secretary I’m told would be there.

“Good afternoon, Ms Kim.”

I blink, jaw loosening as I stare at the all-too-familiar bright eyes and impish smile. “Y-Yoona?”

“You’re looking good today.”

“What are you doing here?”

Yoona looks at me as though I’m crazy for asking. “I work here.”

“Since today?”

“Since a week ago.”

“A week ago—” That’s roughly when Ms Pink brought me to Elv with her because Yoona couldn’t guard me. And Ms Pink has been babysitting me after that. I feel betrayed. I have been utterly deceived and manipulated by Ms Pink. She had this whole thing planned out and persuaded me to apply for a get at Rainbow with Yoona waiting here. “How did you end up working here?”

“I need some extra cash,” Yoona answers with a shrug.

I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it even for a second. And it worries me how this might get Ms Pink into trouble with the Federation again. They had not hesitated to take the chance to mete cruel punishment on her the last time for hiring a slayer to protect me. Somehow, I don’t think they will be happy with Yoona working in Ms Pink’s company either, even if it isn’t part of the supernatural league.

“But a secretary?”

Yoona grins. “It’s an easy job. All I have to do is manage schedules. Nothing I can’t handle.”

There’s nothing else I can probe into without saying too much and running the risk of leaking information to whoever the spy is so I stop asking questions. It is a short wait on a multi-coloured chair before I am sent for by the interviewers and I enter the room with some amount of trepidation.

Four people are seated inside. There’s a balance between the genders and I glance at their names and titles displayed on the table in plain black and white signs.

Mr Chang, Human Resource Advisor.

Mrs Lee, Design and Development Director.

Mr Park, Art Director.

Ms Han, Marketing Chief Executive.

I gulp and try my best to breathe. This is the crunch time.

X

It wasn’t so bad.

They asked me a few questions about my experience and I showed them my portfolio. They asked me more questions about my work and I talked freely about my passion for design and how I think it should be used. They seemed to be satisfied with my answers and Mrs Lee in particular, seemed to find resonance in my answers. The dossier that Ms Pink asked Seo to give me had definitely helped me a lot so I guess I have someone to thank for enabling me to come up with good answers.

Comparing this interview to the few I went prior to today, I decide that this interview went better than all the rest. Hopes of being employed? Relatively high. I don’t want to think about how Ms Pink might have an influence on my application. I sincerely hope she doesn’t stick her nose into this. But who am I kidding? Don’t I know Ms Pink well enough by now?

“What are you mumbling about?”

I blink back into reality and stare into Yoona’s doe-like eyes. “Oh, you know, the usual jitters post-interview.”

“Would you like to grab some ice cream with me? My treat. To calm your post-interview jitters.”

For some reason, I can sense that my jitters and the ice cream are only an excuse. “When do you get off work?”

Yoona grins from ear to ear. “Right now.” She slings her satchel over her shoulder and grabs my arm. “Come on. Let’s get ice cream.”

X

With three scoops of dark chocolate ice cream in a cup, I sit with Yoona at a little round table at the cafeteria in the basement of Rainbow wondering why we’re sitting here in silence. She’s staring at her ice cream for the longest time when I clear my throat.

“Do you have something to say?”

“I thought you might have something to say,” I reply.

“I have a question.”

“What is it?” I ask after swallowing a mouthful of ice cream.

Yoona puts her cup of ice cream down and leans forward. “Are you still a human?”

I frown. “Of course I am. Why would you ask?”

A twitch in Yoona’s lips catches my attention. What is bothering her? “I would have you know that things could have been very different if you walked away with me back then in High Society. I had been tracking the scent of a bait and when I finally found you, you were already in High Society with Tiffany Pink. If you had left with me then, maybe Tiffany Pink wouldn’t fall in love with you and you wouldn’t be turning into something else.”

“Turning into something else?”

Yoona’s eyes inch down my face to my legs. “There’s something different about you now. Back then, I could track you with my bait detector. But when you arrived for the interview, my detector told me something else.”

I blink in confusion. “What did your detector tell you?”

“It was confused. It couldn’t decide if you are just a bait or something else. It kept switching, running randomly from human to bait to beast to vampire.” Yoona leans back and pinches her chin. “My detector doesn’t know what you are anymore.”

“Maybe it’s because there’s something following me and it’s close enough to confuse your detector.”

“What’s following you?”

I shrug. “I don’t know. But I can sense something in the air. It’s really weird and uncomfortable, to be honest.”

Yoona narrows her eyes. “Something’s brewing, isn’t it? Tiffany Pink won’t tell me anything but I can tell she’s worried about something.”

“She has a lot to be worried about,” I say with a sigh.

“Help her. She’s too full of herself to ask for help but she’s a kind vampire at heart.”

“Do you like her?”

Yoona’s eyes grow wide. “Like her?” She laughs. “Are you kidding me? A vampire slayer liking a vampire?” She shakes her head, still grinning. “No. She’s a vampire at the end of the day and I’m a slayer. If we work together, it’s for a reason. Like convenience. Or mutual help under the table. It’s not because we’re the best of friends. But neither am I blind to what she’s like. I know things about her. I’m a vampire slayer. I know vampires. And I know she’s not the rotten apple she tries to act as.”

“I agree,” I say with all my heart. “She’s not at all. And I would love to help her if she would just let me.”

“Don’t wait for her to ask.”

“What do you mean?”

“You must know some things about what’s happening. Figure it out.”

“But how?”

Yoona shrugs. “I don’t know. I don’t even know what’s wrong. It’s just a gut feeling I have. So I’m telling you, since you’re closest to Tiffany Pink.”

A flash of Gerant pops into my mind. How strange that Yoona should be saying this now, after Ms Pink acted all strange when she talked about Qas Sogok. And that insane trip to the dungeon just to have a secret conversation because Ms Pink is convinced her castle isn’t safe to talk in anymore. It all clicks somehow. It has to be all connected. But I just can’t see the link. And that’s one of the worst things to be stuck with, especially when I know that it must be terribly important.

Help. I need help. But who can I go to?

X

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