The morning after my rape wasn’t what fiction told me it would be. There was no anguished screaming into a pillow. I didn’t spend the entire day sobbing. In fact, I didn’t sob at all at first. I didn’t have a deep loathing for myself, no more than my usual at least. I could still look into the mirror without needing to break it.
I did feel numb, inside, but that wasn’t unusual after just a bad night.
It took me until halfway through my morning shower that Robin had done what she’d done, that the hazy memories were hazy because of having been drugged, not because I had dreamed them wholesale. Robin. My sister, my roommate, my best friend, was untrustworthy. She hadn’t drugged me, but she did take advantage of me being drugged.
I acknowledged the fact intellectually as I washed my hair. I would have to change my behavior around her. I’d have to keep an eye on her, at least until this ordeal was dealt with. I had no idea how this ordeal was going to be dealt with, but that was a question for another time. I had to assume she was compromised in some way Jules couldn’t detect.
Or some way Jules had lied about, if Amelia were telling the truth.
I’d found myself analyzing everything Amelia had said to me, everything she had done to me. My gut was telling me to believe her. I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to believe that Jules was using me, that Jules was lying to me. I trusted Jules more than anybody but, perhaps, Robin.
I didn’t like the situation that trust put me in.
Robin was acting normal enough before Amelia had left. If she were being affected by something, it would have been subtle for Jules to not detect it. Maybe. My mind spun with just how little I knew about the situation I had landed myself in. I had no clue who could do what, or how hard it would be to hide influence from another psychic. It didn’t make sense that Jules would lie to me this whole time, or even simply last night.
Maybe she wasn’t as good as everyone perceived her as.
Maybe Robin was never far away from violating me.
I did my best to avoid thinking on the subject. I was usually good at going into a numb, distant daze when things got too rough, but the smell of fried starch and oil hit my nose hit prevented me from falling into a numb daze. Robin was making hash browns, or potato pancakes, or some other unhealthily delicious potato-thing. Robin never cooked while I was in the apartment unless she was intending to share it.
I couldn’t eat anything she cooked. I couldn’t trust her to not drug or poison me.
A tear gave way to another, and before I could really comprehend what was happening I was sobbing on my knees at the bottom of my bath tub. I did my best to hold my breath, to stifle my sobbing noises to a level that the shower would cover. The last thing I needed was Robin coming to check on me.
It wasn’t what she’d done that hurt. Not entirely. I was violated and used and taken advantage of, to say that what had happened to me didn’t hurt on its own would have been disingenuous, but that was far more of a dull ache compared to the realization that I could no longer trust my sister. I had no idea how to interact with her without that trust. I had no way of feeling safe in my own home anymore.
I needed help. I couldn’t do this alone.
I didn’t even know what ‘this’ was, I didn’t know what a solution to my problem even began to be, or who I could go to for information. There was Jules, but if there was even a chance of her lying to me I didn’t want to take it. When I thought rationally, Jules hadn’t done anything to earn the level of trust I put in her. We had sex regularly enough, but I was deluding myself if that meant anything. It clearly didn’t to her.
I could go to Cunt if I hadn’t burned that bridge. She was clearly tired of dealing with my shit already, and I didn’t want to imagine her reaction if I went to her with more Amelia issues. She’d get some sort of ego boost from being right all along, but something told me she wouldn’t appreciate being leaned on any more. We were strangers, really.
There was Victoria. She had very little connection to the situation at hand, just enough to care about what was happening without being personally involved. That was a good thing as much as it was nerve-wracking. She could tell me that I was overreacting, she could tell me that I wasn’t reacting enough. I could base my own actions on hers.
That would mean returning to The Gilded Cage. I could look up its’ hours later, but being a bar it was likely to be open later. That meant filling the time between then and now. That meant work, distraction from my situation. I was put at ease. It didn’t matter if I’d been raped or not, it didn’t matter if my sister was some sort of psychic puppet or if she had violated me of her own volition.
That felt like a more solid plan than crying in a bath tub, at any rate. It felt like a way to get through the day with some sense of purpose. It was enough of a plan to finish my shower, towel off, put on the white blouse and black skirt that made up part of my waitressing uniform. After hesitating at the bathroom door for longer than I wanted to admit to myself, I took a deep breath and entered my kitchen.
As expected, Robin had prepared a meal for two. Eggs, hash browns, and a sausage link sat on two plates on the dining table we barely ever used. It smelled good, better than I wanted it to. Robin was smiling. Her swelling had faded overnight, but her bruise was still visible.
“Hey, Ori.” She spoke with a cautious confidence. My heart sank. I desperately wanted to ignore that she existed, I didn’t have the energy to pretend everything was normal and I didn’t have the force of will in me to confront her.
“Can we talk later?” I sounded tired, even I could tell. Robin’s face twitched with guilt.
She knew she should feel bad.
It was difficult to say if I knew what she was feeling from context clues, her body language, wishful thinking, or from some supernatural ability. Amelia was right enough, I was usually better at reading a room than people around me. I could usually tell what somebody’s intentions were, when they were lying, when they were masking depression or anger. But I’d never felt anything as strongly as what happened with her. I didn’t feel her intrude on me, but she might have been more subtle than Jules ever been. I wasn’t an expert in all things psychic.
Either way, the mere idea of it was making my head spin. That’s probably exactly what she wanted.
“We should probably talk now.” She was quieter, but firm. She looked at me in that way she always did when she was about to give me advice I didn’t want to hear, or ‘tough love’. I was not going to have this conversation now.
“Robin. Don’t.” I managed to hide a quiver of fear and anger that welled up in my throat somewhere between her words and my speaking. I impressed myself, but only for a moment. Robin’s face steeled in a way that told me she was going to put me on the defensive in the conversation. She wanted, or needed, to have this conversation, so to her mind, it was necessary to have in this moment.
I loved Robin, but she was one of the most self-centered people I’d ever met.
“I really just want to explain—“ She started. I wasn’t having any of it. If this was happening now, I wasn’t letting her have the upper hand.
“What is there to explain, Robin?” I yelled loud enough for the neighbors to hear. The anger in my voice shocked me as much as it seemed to shock her. “What can you say that makes this okay!?” Anger rushed through me like a drug, making me feel seven feet tall and bulletproof.
“Quiet down, Oriole!” Robin flinched. She spoke softly. “I was just trying to protect myself! I’m sorry!”
“You wanted to protect your- Robin, you—“ I sputtered, a dozen responses fighting for my tongue’s attention, each with increasing venom. My arms felt like hammers as I crossed the kitchen to move towards her. Her eyes widened with fear, her hands moving to block me as I smashed fists down on the table in front of her. “She drugged me, Robin!” My voice boomed. If the neighbors hadn’t heard me before, they did now.
“Ori, I—“ Fear filled her voice, her body. She pulled herself away from her seat and moved a few feet away from me, towards the sink. Guilt and fear were all she could manage to project. Good. Maybe those could overpower whatever influence Amelia had over her.
It wasn’t a logical or helpful course of thought, but it allowed my mind to trick itself into staying pissed off.
“Are you going back to her?” I interrupted her, voice quieter but no less calm. She didn’t answer vocally, but she hunched forward, apologetic, guilty. It was as good as a ‘yes’. “Then I don’t want to hear one more word about ‘protecting yourself.” She opened her mouth to protest, but she quieted down when I threw my arms into the air angrily.
A few moments passed, enough for me to take a few breaths, enough time for me to begin to feel guilty about my outbursts. It wasn’t fair that I felt guilty for being angry after what she did, but I knew it would happen. It happened every time I didn’t play nice with other people. I could tell, already, that this one would be worse than most.
I’m not sure I’d ever been so angry in my life before.
“You didn’t fight me off…” Her voice was quiet and meek. “You were so touchy that I thought it’d be okay if I asked, and…” I shook in place. I didn’t have the energy to interrupt her, or I had too much. A part of me needed to make sure I didn’t mishear what she was saying. “No doesn’t always mean no, with… that stuff…? It’s… safe words. Red to stop. You didn’t say red, Oriole, how was I supposed to know?”
I needed to leave. Now.
Hurt and rage wracked my chest. It felt like being stabbed in the chest, and it took everything I had to not lash out at my attacker, to tear her to shreds. It took every ounce of self-control to not start screaming again, to not lose control of myself completely, to do something I’d regret forever instead of regret later.
Before I even realized what had happened, my hand had grasped one of the plates of food and flung it at the nearest wall. I had enough sense to not throw it at her, at least. The plate shattered, sending shards of ceramic careening across the floor of the kitchen, leaving a smear of egg yolk dribbling down the wall.
I grabbed my things quickly- my jacket and my apron. I needed to remove myself from this situation, I needed to process things away from Robin, away from everything. There was nothing short of restraining her that I felt like I could do for her, and I didn’t trust myself to not hurt her right now.
I could hear her sobs as I moved into the hallway outside our apartment. They felt like fresh, new wounds to my already wounded heart, but this time I felt like I only had myself to blame.
I felt like hell by the time I made it to work. I had to fight to not sob during my bus ride, and the pressure that caused had given me a throbbing headache. My lungs ached from the effort of holding my breath whenever the urge to cry got too strong to breathe. My eyes felt like they were swollen, but I didn’t want to pull out my hand mirror to check. My nose was clogged. I was a mess. I should have called in to work, but I was desperately hoping it would distract me.
It didn’t matter if my life was being torn apart, either. Rent was due on the sixth.
Buried within the headache and swelling and pain was anxiousness. I was twitchy, anticipatory, and was only growing more so by the moment. I felt more sensitive, too. Sounds were louder, lights were brighter, everything I touched felt harsher. It was less present than the immediacy of my headache, but it compounded how garbage I felt.
Part of me missed the drugged haze.
I pushed that thought out of my mind and walked into the employee entrance of Valentina’s Diner. Waitressing didn’t make great money, but of the jobs I could find it was the highest paying. I was able to bring in a lot of tips, my commute to the Diner was both fast and cheap, and my boss let me work good hours. The patrons liked me, and speaking to them almost substituted for my lack of a social life.
Valentina’s Diner looked like a fifties’ diner pulled out of time. Black and white checkered flooring mixed inoffensively with light blue walls and décor. There was an overabundance of booths along two walls of the establishment, with tables placed evenly across the floor space. A chrome bar with metal stools ran along the wall that divided the eating area from the kitchen. It was completely bland, milquetoast, but that seemed to be what the older clientele wanted.
I made my way into the kitchen and signed in at the time clock. I had barely begun to turn around when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I tensed, ready for some sort of confrontation or attack, until I recognized my coworker’s voice. “Heads up, Mikes here.” She paused, looking me over. “You look like hell. Are you okay?”
Melanie wore her brunette hair in a ponytail, which always drew attention to how gaunt her face looked. She was tall, but not overly so, and usually managed to look cute, but today she was wearing just a little bit too much blush and a shade of red lipstick that made her look like a clown. I felt bad for thinking that, but she’d just told me I looked like hell, so I felt like she deserved it.
“No.” I smiled. Melanie frowned. She was always nice, if a bit too quick to say hurtfully blunt things. “It’s that bad, huh?” I sniffled and smiled at her. She meant well, even if she bruised my ego. I would call her my friend if we spoke outside of work at all.
We went on a date once, but she turned out to be painfully hetero.
“Yeah. If you want to talk about something, I’m here, okay?” I didn’t but it was nice to hear. “You should probably take dish duty. The new girl’s been itching for a shot on the floor anyway, so this works out.” I felt relieved. Dishes weren’t fun, but I wasn’t sure I could manage putting up a facade of normality for the patrons today.
“Sure.” I slipped my black uniform apron over my neck and tied it behind my body as we spoke. “What’s Mike doing here?” Mike was the man who owned the diner. Valentina didn’t exist, she was a fictional woman meant to give the place a sense of history. Mike was a big man in his early fifties, with all the prejudices and behaviors that came with men his age.
“Elle told Lisa that she overheard Jill say he was selling the place.” Melanie spoke quickly, noncommittal. None of those names were people who had any credibility. “He’s showing some girl around, so the story tracks, but you know how Marge spins yarns.”
I didn’t have enough time to get unreasonably anxious about the word ‘girl’ and dismiss my own suspicions before those nascent suspicions were confirmed. The giant chrome freezer door opened and Mike’s booming voice drowned out my own conversation from across the kitchen. “And here are the two fine young women who keep the lunch shift running. Melanie, Oriole, give me a moment, wouldn’t you?” He was overweight, wore an oversized brown suit, and had taken to shaving his head bald in his old age. He had the face of a cigar-chomping capitalist, minus the cigar.
At his side, nearly disappearing from view next to His Boisterousness, was Amelia, smiling her devilish little smile.
“I’ve already met Oriole, actually!” Amelia’s voice sounded sweet and happy, designed to make it sound like we were friends. Melanie crossed the kitchen floor towards Amelia and Mike. I followed close behind, mostly on instinct. It felt like my mind was clawing at the inside of my skull for a way out of this situation, but I wasn’t willing to make a scene in front of my boss. Explaining the situation wouldn’t take so long, and he’d probably not understand, even if I cut out mentioning Amelia’s abilities.
Why is she here?
The answer to my own question was obvious enough: She wanted to hurt me, and she wanted to make me uncomfortable. She’d told me she was targeting me, but a part of me didn’t believe in the reality of that situation. I hadn’t expected her to attack me at work.
I didn’t follow the ensuing conversation. Amelia being here was too much for me to handle after my morning. I felt like I was lost in a fog of half-formed thoughts, watching a movie I couldn’t follow play out in front of my own eyes. Lips moved, sounds were made, gestures. Small talk. Mike’s voice was the most prominent, but Amelia chimed in occasionally. I nodded along. Mike spoke some more and laughed before patting Melanie’s shoulder. Melanie left.
There was a moment of silence with both Amelia and Mike speaking to me. I had a moment of panic, in my haze, and managed to pull myself back towards reality.
“That means you too, Oriole, the lunch rush isn’t far behind.” He was telling me to get back to work. Right. Of course. I blushed and nodded.
“Sorry, I… sorry…” I stammered. I began to turn away and try to hide near the dish washing station.
“It’s okay. I don’t imagine you got a lot of sleep last night, did you, Oriole?” Amelia’s voice carried a playful and flirty tone. It carried loud enough for the rest of the kitchen to hear. I didn’t respond, opting to scurry away like some sort of vermin escaping the sight of a predator. The less time Amelia had an excuse to talk about me, the less she could needle at me.
I approached the dishwashing station, feeling the comforting fog of thoughts return. It was like a protective blanket away from my own emotions, my own sensations. My hands and feet felt like they could have been a million miles away. I could feel sensation, I could feel my own emotions, but they hit me on a much more intellectual level. My mind was still clawing at the inside of my skull, trying desperately to find a way away from Amelia that wouldn’t get me fired.
It was better than having a panic attack, at least.
“You okay?” I was jarred into reality again, for a moment. Elle, the most recent hire to the diner, was staring at me, waiting for me to address her. She was young, bright-eyed, with blue eyes and blonde hair. Her skin was tanning-salon brown. I normally thought she was cute, but her freshly-eighteen-year-old look reminded me too much of Amelia to think that today.
“Yeah. I’m doing this now. Melanie needs you out there.” My words didn’t come out nearly as elegantly or clearly as they should have, sentences morphing into a cave-woman version of English. I was too busy fighting my increasingly-painful headache and staying out of my dissociative blanket to process words correctly. Worry crept across Elle’s face, but she didn’t question me.
“Take care of yourself, okay?” She smiled despite the worry in her voice, and I wanted to hug her. I managed to contain myself. I nodded in affirmation, and she moved past me, brushing against me in the narrow kitchen walkway.
That comforting haze took over completely in that moment, numbness and deadened emotions overcoming every sense, until I saw and felt a glorious, empty nothing for a split second. When my mind returned to me, I was no longer familiar with my body. I was taller, heavier. My hair was tied tighter.
I didn’t have an all-consuming headache and a panic in my chest.
I had a moment of confusion when I realized my body was walking without my volition, but it was only momentary. I’d felt this before.
I was inside Elle.
She was moving with a skip in her step and a buzz in her belly. She was nervous and shy, but excited to work in a way I hadn’t felt since I’d gotten my first job. It would have been infectious if I weren’t literally experiencing the dopamine-high that was flowing through her body. I worried for a moment about my body staring off into space, but I remembered that I was responsive to Cunt when I was inside Amelia.
It was becoming harder to convince myself that I wasn’t psychic in some way, but I was growing more comfortable with that fact. Amelia’s logic made sense. I was psychic. Jules wanted a simple thing to toy with. It was easier to contemplate that Jules had been manipulating me when I wasn’t able to feel like the thought stabbed me in the heart.
What had Jules done to gain my trust, anyway?
Elle approached Melanie, and Melanie smiled at Elle in a way I could recognize as fake. It was a smile she only used when trying to get something out of somebody. Elle didn’t pick up on it at all.
“Oriole said you needed me on the floor?” Elle was almost jumping for joy as she spoke, her heart aflutter with possibilities. She’d been wanting to waitress for two weeks, but schedules had never allowed for it.
“Yeah. You’re going to be taking over table three.” Melanie produced a note pad and pen and thrust it into Elle’s hands. Elle rubbed her fingers over the pad as though it were some sort of holy relic. “Just get their order, write it down, and come back. I’ll show you what to do afterwards.” Elle nodded and rushed out to the restaurant floor.
Elle made her way to her assigned table, suppressing the skip in her step. She was graceful on her feet, stepping and avoiding moving patrons and spinning her way past customers in places I would have found alternative routes. She was focused in ways that I rarely could be, able to zero in on her customers without analyzing every face along the way.
I was a little jealous.
The elderly couple she served was polite, and Elle naturally moved through small talk into taking their orders. She was excited and giddy when she returned to the kitchen. Melanie lead her through the moment-to-moment of putting their order in the queue, help the queue of dirty dishes along, keeping an eyes on the cooks, keeping abreast of the chaos in the kitchen. I was able to spot my body placing heaps of dishes into one of the washing trays, putting my worries of being fired at ease.
Elle’s first day was nice to experience. She was so exuberant and glowing, and I was able to bask in it. I was a passenger in her body, but the ride was one that I needed to take.
Amelia and Mike were seated in a booth near the elderly couple by the time Elle brought the couple their food. Their presence was a sharp reminder of the reality of my own situation, but my lack of control over the body I was inhabiting deadened that reaction. If Elle had no reason to be panicking, then my panic was purely intellectual.
Elle was oblivious to anybody but her patrons, except where it came to avoiding a collision. She bounced and twirled with their tray of food on an unorthodox but very quick route towards the two that placed her between the elderly couple and Amelia’s table. Being more aware of Amelia’s cruelty and Mike’s dirty-old-man nature made me nervous of the positioning, especially as Elle bent over to place trays of food in front of her customers. I could almost feel Mike’s eyes on her thighs as her skirt rode up each time she bent over.
Elle was moments away from moving away from the table when her own train of thought was rudely interrupted by a snapping sound behind her. She turned towards it, flustered and a little angry at the rude method of getting her attention, before she noticed Mike and Amelia looking at her. Amelia was smiling her innocent little smile, fingers still snapping even as Elle’s attention was pulled. Mike looked over his own menu, oblivious.
“Hey.” Amelia’s voice was high-pitched, giggling. “Could you do me a faaaa-vor?” She drew out her words childishly. Elle didn’t register as Amelia’s eyes darted over her, or at least didn’t react. I wanted to panic and pull Elle from this interaction, but I had no idea how to do it. I had made Amelia influence Robin, but I couldn’t remember how.
“Uh, sure!” Elle smiled, pushing Amelia’s rudeness aside faster than I ever could have. “What do you need, ma’am?”
“Give this to Oriole. She left it with me yesterday, and she’ll be needing it by now.” Amelia produced an over-the-counter pain pill bottle and placed it into Elle’s hands. Elle eyed it, suspicious, but grasped it none the less.
There was no way anything in the bottle was good for me. It was probably more of whatever she had given me yesterday. Or something hurtful and personal. It was some sort of attack. I tried to exert my will, but I didn’t even know what that meant. I thought, hard, loud, screamed thoughts, ideas of putting the bottle down, of throwing it, of refusing her, anything of the sort.
I managed to get her to squeeze the bottle tighter than was necessary. Progress, but not what I needed.
I wanted to get back to my body, but I couldn’t even conceptualize how to do so. There was no ‘off’ switch, no mental connection to my body. I felt wholly disconnected—A part of me feared I might never get back, but I’d done it before. Somehow. Trying to escape to a situation where I had less information on what my tormentor was planning seemed like a fool’s errand.
“Sure, no problem. Anything else?” Elle sounded so professional, oblivious to the harm she was being used to inflict on me. I had no idea what I would do with the pills. Did my body react like I would, or was she on autopilot? Would she take the pills to ease herself from her situation, or would she throw them away? Pocket them? Would she even recognize what was happening?
I could feel my own panic begin to infect Elle. A pit grew in her stomach, and she began to shake a little. I leaned in to the feeling, gripping the bottle just a little more. Her skin felt different, in a way I could only describe as ‘closer’. Her body was nearer to my mind that when I had been a mere observer in her body. She began to panic on her own, eyes widening, shaking just a little. “W-wh…” her lips began to murmur
“I want a half order of pancakes.” Mike closed his menu and held it out to Elle. The interruption was enough to jar both of us out of our state. I felt bad for having influenced her, but that faded quickly. I felt more in control, more powerful. It was difficult to not feel special, to feel like I could do something to change my situation, if only I could master this.
Cunt wasn’t lying when she said psychics had boundary issues.
Elle smiled, wrote his order quickly, and turned to Amelia. Amelia waved dismissively. Elle nodded and took Mike’s menu, brushing his hand briefly as she did. As the two touched, I could feel… something. A pathway, a reaction, a doorway, open for the briefest moments. It was as if a wall had disappeared in a room I was trapped in. Disorienting, uncomfortable, but freeing all the same. Willing myself into the newly opened space was simple.
If I was going to help myself out of this, being my own boss was probably second only to being Amelia.
The transition into Mike’s body was smoother than any other I’d felt. I was able to pay attention as the mental wall rose up behind me, leaving me trapped in my new one. Mike was giddy, excited, but in a way that felt dirtier than Elle’s. There was a twinge of guilt to it, along with a selfish lust. His eyes watched Elle’s hips sway as she made her way back to the kitchen.
“So what was in the bottle?” Mike asked. His voice reverberated in his chest in a way that felt unfamiliar and alien to me. He was tall, large, and strong. He made me feel like I was an absolute weakling compared to him. He could lift and throw two of me and not even think about it.
“Not entirely sure, but I know it wasn’t Tylenol.” Amelia’s eyes twinkled. “Oriole’s a party girl at heart.” She giggled a little. I would have felt angry, but my disassociation combined with my more intellectual frame of mind deadened that. She was trying to ruin my reputation, to isolate me from my coworkers. It was predictable and effective.
If I could get control of Mike, I could end it here.
I didn’t want to hurt or kill her, but that was only because I didn’t want Mike to go to jail. If I could simply eject her, bar her from the premises, if I could ruin her own credibility through the most powerful person in the room, I could at least carve out this place as somewhere I could be safe. “Oh?” Mike leaned in, looking down at Amelia. His skin tingled as a sick curiosity crept over his body. He was starting to get an erection. If I could have felt sick, I would have.
“Mmhmm.” Amelia’s eyes twinkled with that devilish glee. “We were at this club, a sex club, over the weekend. It’s where we met.” Mike’s eyes widened, but his curiosity only grew. He leaned in closer, his breath growing heavier, his pants growing tighter. I tried to focus on him, on projecting my will. It felt like it should be so easy, simply yelling thoughts through his mind, but there was something subtle to it that I couldn’t quite pick out.
“She spent a lot of Saturday night strapped to a spanking bench.” Amelia continued, eyes looking at Mike. She spoke in a husky, hushed tone that tugged at Mike’s libido. “Tits just hanging out in front of everyone while this bull dyke went to town on her.” Mike’s hand gripped his napkin more tightly, his groin throbbing.
I tried to scream thoughts to him, but it wasn’t working, as I suspected. There was another trick to it. I tried to pull myself from the conversation, to focus on my own task, but with Mike hanging on every one of Amelia’s words it was hard for me to do that. He began to pant, his lips hanging open.
He was such a fucking creep.
“Sunday she was just all over everyone.” Amelia giggled. “Like some crazy nympho being passed around a room. She played all demure and shy at first, but that went away quick.” Mike rubbed his thighs together and I could vomit. I wanted to dig my nails into my palms, to cringe, but I was a passenger.
“Then she said she wouldn’t do anal, but let me tell you, that girl will do anything if you flash a Benjamin to her.” Amelia giggled. I began to panic. It felt like I had a knack for taking over Elle, but I couldn’t replicate it. If he got it in his head that I would do anything for money, I was in for a lot more than ogling from a dirty old man. If he was this into Amelia’s story, what had he been thinking of me all this time? I hadn’t ever felt safe around him, but I had been sure his creepiness had limits, but it was hard to not question every interaction I’d had with him.
“Wow.” Mike said, dumbly. I tried to push him out of my head, but loathing filled me. Loathing and hatred for a man I’d trusted even a little. Did he really think so little of me that he would believe some stranger’s story than his own impressions of me? It was hard not to feel like not simply snapping Amelia’s neck with his hands wasn’t the best idea.
In a moment, his hand was my hand, his heart, his whole body was mine. I could feel his heart rate increase as panic set in. He tensed his muscles, but his own control over them were weakening by the moment. I could feel my ego settle into his body, controlling his voluntary muscle movements. He tried to make noise, but only managed to exhale in a way that I was able to stop
His eyes—my eyes widened as I realized what had happened. I slid my fingers over the smooth table beneath me experimentally. I waited for something to happen to knock my control from under me, but it didn’t happen. Amelia giggled a bit more. “Yeah, I’m sure you could have her if you wanted to, Mike. She’s really that easy.
I didn’t know if Mike was trapped in his own mind like I was, or if he was in some sort of state where he wouldn’t remember what happened, but the cat was out of the bag. I leaned towards Amelia, anger still thrumming in me. I wanted to bring myself to attack her, as I had done before, but she still had her abilities. She’d knocked me to the ground with them before, and I didn’t want to feel this giant of a man fall over. “I don’t appreciate you talking about my—“
“Oh, you figured it out!” Amelia giggled. “I was wondering how long I’d have to ignore you in there!” She practically bounced in her seat. “I knew you could do it!” She was so excited, happy. I couldn’t help myself.
I slapped her.
Mike’s hand carried a lot of force behind it, enough to almost knock Amelia off her seat. She yelped, and I flinched, hesitating for a moment. I could have jumped over the table, I could start throttling her, hurting her, but it wasn’t my first instinct. I wasn’t a killer, or a fighter in general. No matter how much she hurt me, I couldn’t hurt her too badly.
She sat up, distraught, a red mark across her cheek. She held up her hands defensively and started sobbing, tears running down her cheeks. It was difficult to convince myself it wasn’t a facade. The rest of the room quieted, turning to look at the commotion.
“Hey man! What do you think you’re doing?” The old man Elle had been serving stood up from his chair, pointing his cane threateningly at me. I widened my eyes and raised my hands into the air, unsure what else to do.
Mike was fucked.
As the old man began to approach, yelling something I didn’t quite understand, I felt a pressure at the back of my mind. Vibrating, sawing, painful pressure building until it was all I could focus on.
“Nice try.” Amelia tittered. I felt my connection to Mike sever.
Returning to my own body felt like it took longer than it should. I felt nothing, a perfect black emptiness for what felt like minutes before I felt my own hands and feet. I was dizzy, needing to steady myself against the dish rack to keep my balance.
My headache was gone.
I felt warm and fuzzy and sensitive in sickeningly familiar ways. A pressure in my apron pocket told me I had accepted the pills Elle gave me. There was no way I hadn’t taken them. Everything felt nice, the smooth metal of the sink, the fabric of my bra against my breasts. My cheeks were red with arousal, my body buzzed, feeling good.
I had to focus. I rubbed my lips together and groaned in pleasure. Focus was going to come hard, but I had to leave. I didn’t know what would happen from the ordeal outside, but it was nothing good. I walked unsteadily from the dish-washing station towards the rest of the kitchen. Everybody was rushing out into the restaurant to see the commotion. It provided me with a clean path towards the back door from the kitchen to an alleyway.
It was difficult to not lose myself to sensation, to not rub against every surface between the alleyway and the street. I waved my hands in the air without even checking if there was a cab nearby, but miraculously, a marked yellow station wagon parked in front of me.
I threw myself into the back seat and rubbed my cheeks against the leather, barely remembering to close the door behind me. I giggled and groaned, rubbing more of my body against the leather. It felt good, smooth, with a surface lined with so many valleys at random, it was so hard to predict what I’d feel next.
“Where to ma’am?” The cab driver asked. He sounded like he wasn’t very pleased with me, but he wasn’t kicking me out. That’s good. I was good here, I could rub myself against the leather if he didn’t kick me out. I ran my fingers along the glass between him and me and giggled some.
“Uhhhhhhhh….” I wiggled against the seat, all but straddling it in my effort to feel it more. “Gimme uh… get me to The Gilded Cage!” I giggled more. He didn’t ask where that was, and I was happy for that because I didn’t even know how I’d tell him right now.
I lost myself into the surface of his seat as the car began to move. At least here, I was happy and safe.