The man held his hand up, and the room immediately fell silent. “Our version of the legislation went through, and the President has agreed to work directly with Visage to complete all the blood type testing included in the Census sample. Once the sample is complete, we will officially have a full list of all the blood types of the human population in this country.”

Reyna’s face paled. Why would they need a full list of blood types? Didn’t they already have a voluntary program with more people employed than any other company in the world? Why would they need or even want a full registry of humans’ blood types?


The room erupted into applause again, but Reyna leaned over to Beckham. “Do I have to enter the Blood Census?” she whispered.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Only people who haven’t been tested by Visage in the last ten years have to complete the blood test aspect of the Census.”

“Why?”

“Why what?” he growled low.

“Why only the last ten years?”

“New technology.

Reyna wrinkled her nose. “What’s the difference if they’re just testing for your blood type? They’ve been able to do that for years.”

“Leave it alone, Reyna. We’re in the middle of a meeting,” he snapped.

She sat back roughly into her chair. She hated the dismissal. Surely she wasn’t the only person who thought it was strange including a blood test in a Census.

She tuned out the next half hour as they discussed implementation and the business aspects of Visage’s involvement in the Census. They must have switched topics at some point, because Beckham nudged her chair to get her attention. Her eyes snapped to the front of the room where the man was still speaking.

“As we have discussed in previous meetings, the Permanent Sponsor positions have officially gone into effect.”

Oh. That’s me.

“Three of our highest-ranking officials have brought their subjects with them today to discuss the new program. Rowland Batiste, Cassandra Dresla, and Beckham Anderson. Please come forward with your subjects.”

Beckham’s chair scraped back against the floor, and he helped Reyna out of her seat. Her legs shook as she moved to the front of the room. Rowland followed next, and behind him was a tall, model thin girl in a skintight white dress with long flowing blond hair. Behind them came a woman with wavy red hair pinned up at the base of her neck who was a million degrees of beautiful. She looked fierce, but seductive.

She reached Rowland first. “Rowland, my love.”

His smile was magnetic as he kissed her cheeks. “Cassandra.”

She smiled at Beckham and came to stand next to him. “Beckham, darling.” She kissed both of his cheeks in greeting.

“Cassie,” Beckham said cordially.

Behind Cassandra appeared a man. He was pretty for a guy with fair hair and pouty lips. His eyes never strayed from Cassandra’s face, and he seemed completely enthralled.

Rowland stepped forward first. “I’m completely satisfied with my experience with a Permanent Subject. We’ve been together for about two weeks, and already it is better than the rotation program. I am able to get to know her,” he said, eyeing the girl blatantly, “on a more personal level. Because I know she’s not about to leave. This is my Sophie.”

Sophie strutted forward, placed her hand on her hip, and sank into the position. She didn’t look frightened at all. She seemed to revel in the attention. “I’m so happy to be here. I was in the rotation program before this and finding out about a Permanent position was a dream of a lifetime. I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything or anyone better.”

Reyna refrained from rolling her eyes. What a load of shit!

Cassandra smiled and ran her hand down her subject’s arm. “This is Felix. He was placed in my care a month ago. I’ll admit I was skeptical. A Permanent human entering my life, living in my home, dealing with my crazy schedule sounded…unpleasant, to say the least. But having someone always there and not having to worry about fitting them into the schedule. Well, Felix has changed my mind. He’s…delicious.”

Reyna couldn’t keep from cringing. Bad choice in words.

Felix tore his eyes from Cassandra only long enough to speak to the crowd. “Before being included in Visage, I had gone through three years of college and was nearly a hundred thousand dollars in debt. When the economy collapsed, I couldn’t get a job. There was nowhere for me to go. I had to enter the program, and in the couple years I’ve had to work at Visage, nothing has been better than being in a permanent secure position with Cassandra.” He turned back to stare at her lovingly. Enamored. Practically hypnotized.

Now it was Beckham’s turn. Oh God! And then her turn. What the hell was she supposed to say? She couldn’t speak to this group. She had only been here a couple days and fucked up more than she had thought possible. Not to mention that she had no prior experiences with Visage to draw from. This was all so new to her.

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