As I turned about, I witnessed the woman I'd seen yesterday in the interview room. I managed a weak smile, trying to maintain what politeness I could. Her dark silhouette framed against the open light of the room behind her and I could just make out the doors to the service elevator within.
"Miss Takahashi, would you mind letting me out of here? It seems I've been craving fresh air all of a sudden!"
"Fresh air?" The whites of her eyes glistened as she began to smile.
"And how much 'fresh air' were you enjoying prior to this in that dingey little hole of yours, Mr Fukami? My poor staff had to take extra time just to clean up that messy apartment too. Don't you worry though, I took the liberty of taking note of all of your favourite brands of food and beer too."
I couldn't believe it. They've gone to my unit and through all my possessions. To top it all off, she was mocking my home for being a mess.
Then suddenly out of nowhere, I started to try to rationalise her behaviour once again.
Maybe she was just trying to help-
In a rush of anger, I couldn't believe I was even considering that right now.
"NO, THIS IS BULLSHIT!" I was fuming at this point. I felt violated, vulnerable and exposed.
"Hahahaha! VERY GOOD Mr Fukami, or how about Kai? Can I call you Kai? Well, I guess your emotional awareness was your best score. That AND you've had some help from dear Norio, haven't you? Yes, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised I can't deceive you anymore. Allow me to remove that strand for you. I had hoped to give you a day to settle, but you've actually impressed me!"
As she approaches me, I begin to back away in horror, but why? She's shorter than me, probably physically weaker too. Glancing behind her and noting the lanyard around her neck, I realise I should just rip it off her and run to the elevator.
I bolt straight in her direction, reaching for her chest in the process.
Her voice bellows in response. "Thank you for your co-operation Kai!" She grips her hand in a claw like fashion and pulls back against some sort of invisible tension and as she does so, I feel myself ripped face forward, slamming into the ground.
My face strikes against the concrete and I feel as if an enormous pressure is being applied to me all over. As I try to resist, I can feel hot liquid dripping above my mouth. A nosebleed!
"Psychic Powers? No way?!"
"Oh Kai, I'm very much going to enjoy working with you too, but you can't go trying to stick your hands where they don't belong, we don't even know each other yet... How about we start slow and you call me by my first name! All my friends do!"
All I can see as she squats in front of me are her high heels and dark stockings covering her ankles. I didn't know what she meant by 'remove that strand', but suddenly, I could feel it. A sharp pain, like a needle lancing through my brain and then relief, as well as clarity.
She had brainwashed me into liking her! In fact, she probably still was!"
"Bingo! Well done Kai! Well, you're mostly right. It doesn't work exactly like that. Also, I've been reading your mind too... Your every surface level thought belongs to me. That's why we just HAVE to be friends now Kai! Now, what do you say? There's so much I have to show you today."
I groan in anger as my initial response and try again to stand. I feel a sharp pain as she presses one of her high heels into my back.
"Listen, Kai, you don't have a choice in the matter, but if you're a good boy and you behave yourself, you can leave free, knowing you helped save a bunch of kids from certain death."
I freeze, horrified at what she just said. I feel the heel removed and the pressure of her power slightly lessened as her hands gently raise my face to meet hers.
"Forget those petty teachers wages you were offered, if you work well with me, you'll be paid more than you could ever hope and then retire! And maybe then I'll let you touch me."
She speaks the last few words a lot more softly, drawing my attention to her smooth pouty lips, just for a moment. In this instant, she lets go, causing me to slam into the ground once more.
"My my, you are a man after all. Choose carefully Kai."
I pause momentarily to think, my heartbeat aflutter in a raging torrent of emotions. Right now, I was totally powerless and she knew it. This conflict was pointless. Defeated, I make my decision.
"I understand, Akane."
She immediately releases her power, allowing me to stand. Breathing heavily for a moment, I raise a finger in front of me before I speak again.
"But I have a couple of conditions..."