He gave me an incredulous look as though he thought the answer was obvious. “Well, um, there’s how he looks at you. There’s how you look at him. There’s the fact that there’s that much sexual tension between you that it gets us all horny. I mean, come on, you guys can’t even work together.”
“Thanks for the heads-up about the rumour,” I said simply, still aloof.
“Well? Do you wish to confirm or deny these rumours?”
“You know what? No comment. And I’ll tell you why: you lot need to grasp the fact that I’m your superior, not your equal, not your mate. That means my business is my own.”
Max grinned. He’d taken that as a denial, by the looks of things. There was the smallest space between us now. I had to question why I was allowing him to get so close. It wasn’t like I had any intention of kissing him. But, contrary to what he believed, I wasn’t nervous around him. He was easy to be around because he didn’t want to play games or make bets or push on things. He just wanted to have a laugh.
“Okay,” he said. “But like I’ve said, we’re on our own time now. This is just one single person talking to another.”
“What does this single person want?”
He pursed his lips for a second. “Hmm. I guess what I want is to know if when we’re on our own time...we can cancel out each other’s single status.”
His cuteness and smooth voice and the way that he hadn’t come across all corny and pushy almost made me consider it. But I had plenty of reasons not to. “Mates is the best I can do. And by mates, I mean friends.”
Max nodded but didn’t lose his smile. “There’s one thing you’ll learn about me in training tomorrow.”
“I don’t give up easy.”
“I’m not playing hard to get,” I told him as he hopped out the pool. “Mates, that’s it.”
“I know you’re not playing. But babe, that just makes you even more of a challenge. You’ve no idea how much I like challenges. You might not have meant to, but you just turned me on big style.”
I had a feeling that he didn’t walk away with vampire speed because he was hoping I’d take a sneaky look at his arse as he strutted off. I didn’t look. I’d already gotten a good look at it at the try-out. It was a nice behind if ever there was one. Biteable.
You’ve just saved his life by saying no, I heard in my head. Jared.
My head immediately snapped up to look at his balcony. He wasn’t out, but I could see him at the window. Seconds later he was out of view, but I’d saw his expression long enough to notice that he was absolutely livid with me. That fact bothered me as I lay there that morning, trying desperately to get some sleep.
After my day’s sleep in the comfiest bed ever, I actually didn’t feel so bad. Yeah, I still felt crappy over everything that had happened with Jared. And I still had mixed feelings over burning alive my maker. But there were bigger problems – like the fact that The Hollow might be attacked soon and the squad had to be prepared. So although I was again a little tempted to hide away in my room, I ignored it.
I thought about trying to teleport to the office but immediately decided against it. God knows where I’d end up. It was odd. Usually when I absorbed someone’s power I could handle it just as easy as I handled my own because I knew exactly how to harness energy and channel it; that was all you needed in order to control and effectively use a power. But I couldn’t seem to grasp how to use this teleporting thing. Thankfully it would fade as soon as I used up all of the energy that Jared had passed on to me.
Before I was even half-way down the corridor to the office I knew that Jared wasn’t in there. I’d be able to smell his scent from here, and he wasn’t too hard for me to sense.
“Alright, Fletch,” I greeted as I reached the reception desk outside my office.
“Oh, luv, come here.” Before I could say a word he was on his feet and his arms were clamped around me. I guessed he’d heard about Victor meeting his doom at my hands. “It’s alright, luv. It’s alright,” he crooned, as though I was crying. “I know. I know.”
“Fletch, I’m fine honestly.”
“You don’t have to act for me, luv.” He was patting my back now.
“Oh bugger off ya big Nancy,” I giggled as I stepped out of his arms. “I’m fine.”
“Your emotions say different.”
Oh crap, yeah, I’d forgotten he was an Empath. “Okay, I’m a bit mixed up.”
“Mixed up? You’re all over the place. You’re like a broth of conflicting emotions.” He held his head as if the impact of it all hurt. “Ooh I can feel a migraine coming on.”
“Then I’ll leave you be, luv.”
“Ah bless ya. Bless ya.”
Once settled at my desk I retrieved my notepad, intent on doing flow charts on the recruits for me to document what their ability is now and what goal I have for each of them. That was, of course, if they bothered turning up later at the arena. I got a feeling that some of them might. Max, David and Denny would. Maybe Chico and Butch. I wouldn’t go chasing after the others; that would cut into the training time I had for those that did show, which wasn’t fair to them. As for afterwards, I might make cook up a mini tornado and stick the lazy absent gits inside it. That would be satisfying to watch.
On completing the flow charts I stuck each one in the relevant recruits’ file. I still had an hour to kill before it was time to meet the recruits at the arena when Evan strolled in the office wearing a cheery grin.
“You’re here. I knew you would be,” he added. He looked edible in those tank-green pants and t-shirt, but I wouldn’t have thought they’d suit him if I hadn’t seen the evidence for myself.
Confused, I said, “Where else would I be?”
“Well some people thought you might want more time alone. I said you’d have bounced back by now. Right, come on.”
“Antonio wants to see you. In the mansion.” With that, he turned and waltzed cockily out the office, confident that I’d follow. Which I did.
Fletcher’s face was a question mark as Evan and I started down the corridor together. Wanting to be careful not to start rumours that I was shagging both brothers, I told my assistant, “Fletch, I’m just going to see Antonio and after that I’ll be at the arena if you need me.”