|Zou Bisou Bisou|
|Summary||Things heat up at XFS. Also, there's a cat loose. Mystery. Tiffany thought it was yours?|
| The front entrance to X-Factor Solutions has been kept meticulously clean, with neat white walls and a floor that's polished regularly by a tiny robotic housekeeper (when it's not broken down). Despite that, the place looks run down. A crack runs from one corner of the ceiling nearly to the center light fixture, and several of the floor tiles have chipped corners. A pair of red vinyl wing chairs sit to one side just in front of a pair of doors that lead to a small gym and a conference room. The receptionist's desk, which is more often unmanned than not, is a tall, black thing with scuff marks suggesting it was bought used. Even the old-fashioned bell resting atop it with a 'ring for service' sign is dented, and the door behind that opens into the staff lounge hangs a little crooked on its hinge.
This is a building that's seen more than a few long years; the only new thing about it is the hand-painted sign across the storefront's glass, declaring in neat black lettering, 'X-FACTOR SOLUTIONS', and below that, 'Mutants for hire.'|
| It is a winter evening. The weather is cold and fair.|
Tiffany is taking full advantage of her sister’s wardrobe while she still has access to it. The heels of her gray booties click against the floor as she rounds the receptionist desk. “Agh!” She scoffs as the cat from outside, having gotten in under her watch again, hops onto it and spills over a cup of cheap X-Factor Solutions pens.
Her dress is made of flimsy cream-colored fabric with a sherbert orange overlay that flits around as she moves. The garment stops just below her hips, leaving a good inch of her thigh exposed before her black stockings begin. As she bends forward over the desk, the little sliver of visible flesh grows. “Damn it,” she whispers, dropping some more, which requires her to bend forward even that much more.
The door opens with a creak and a sudden rush of cold air. (Quick, cat, that's your opportunity.) Rosalie slips in from outside, cheeks reddened from the chill, scarf tucked in around her chin, wearing a cream-coloured wool coat and a thoughtful expression. As she takes a step in, her foot meets a particularly far-flying pen. Crunch. "Oh, can I--" she begins, at comprehending the scene of pen devastation--and stops sort as her gaze takes in Tiffany. Tiffany, bending over, with that little gap between her stockings and dress.
For all the winter outside, the temperature in the office suddenly turns positively balmy.
"Oh!" Tiffany gasps, tossing her dark hair over her shoulder in surprise, "You startled me." Her lazy eyes find Rosalie's. Slowly, she crawls backward to stand back up.
... ... "Things were this way when I came in," Tiffany explains dryly after a heavy pause. Her hands find and smooth out her dress and she wets her lips.
The cat is straight up chill in the receptionist chair. New receptionist.
"Oh," says Rosalie. Her cheeks are pink, and the temperature remains warm. Not overly warm yet, but warm with a touch of humidity, like an early summer's day. She does not question the state of the office, and instead, hastily, awkwardly, stoops to pick up the pen she stepped on. "I think I broke this one?" Her voice goes up at the end, questioningly, as she extends the pen to Tiffany.
Tiffany makes lingering, awkward eye contact with Rosalie. After another pause, she shifts her eyes and quietly, very quietly says, "I don't want it." At the very least, she is amused by the offering. She even breathes out a small laugh as she kneels to begin scooping the fallen writing utensils into one single pile on the floor.
Although not low cut, the fabric of Tiffany's dress is very open at the neckline. As she bends forward at Rosalie's feet, she unintentionally reveals just the beginning hint of cleavage, "How are you?" She asks idly, "Planning on going on anymore road trips?"
"Oh," says Rosalie again. It's a very eloquent 'oh,' registering all the way down the scale from awkwardness to dismay to embarrassment to attraction. Her gaze lingers on Tiffany's, and then she looks away. "I thought I'd stay here for the moment," she says, awkward but conversational. "I'd like to get better at--well, everything. In case someone tries to attack--" She seems to remember, belatedly, that it's polite to look at whom you are speaking to, and looks down to Tiffany. Right down her neckline. Her cheeks flush darker, and the heat in the room scales upward--a tropical heat, damp and sticky.
"I know what you mean," Tiffany offers dryly. For her part, she does not look up at Rosalie when she speaks to her. Instead, she concentrates on the task at hand. "I'm useless in a fight." In response to the heat, Tiffany brings up a hand to comb through her hair and toss it out of her face and away from her neck. She cranes her neck, fanning at it with her free hand while the other wraps around a wide, loose column of pens, "Jesus, is someone messing with the heat?"
"Maybe it's broken," ventures Rosalie. Totally not her. Nope. She takes a deep breath, and then another, unbuttoning her coat, and loosening her scarf. "Sometimes that happens. Costs a fortune in heating bills, though." The heat remains, but at least now it is steady, and not climbing upward. She hesitates, and then kneels in front of Tiffany, reaching to help with the pens. "I did take a self-defence course," she volunteers. "But I'm...not much of a fighter. And my power's useless if I can't control it."
“You did?” Tiffany sounds a little surprised, but not /too/ surprised, “I can’t picture you kicking some dude in a padded body-suit in the balls.” She smiles, reaching for the same pen as Rosalie and in doing so, unintentionally brushing the other woman’s hand. It doesn’t bother her. She just moves on to a different pen before slowly standing. “I should take one, but those are always so expensive. /Jeremy should pay for one/.” Tiffany turns on her heel and with her back to Rosalie, bends forward over the desk once more to replace the pens in their cup.
Rosalie swallows as Tiffany's hand brushes hers. She blinks at her, gaze huge and dark, and then looks away hastily. The air in the room doesn't grow hotter, but there is the faintest hint of electric tension to it, like the air before a thunderstorm. Her gaze trails over Tiffany's back and then off again. "Well, in theory I should be okay, because when...things happen," Rosalie says, a touch wryly, "I get scared and blizzards happen. Except." She remains kneeling on the floor a moment more, her hands in her lap. Her hair clings damply to her forehead; she's not impervious to her own weather, it seems. "I've spent a lot of time being afraid of my own powers," she admits, quiet. "but when I couldn't do anything during that fight I--I felt so helpless. And it felt so strange, to feel so helpless and have nothing respond."
"I've always been envious of people who can actually do things with their powers," Tiffany taps the pens into place before turning around. "I guess I never gave much thought to how terrifying it must be. To be capable of so much." The beginning sheen of sweat from the humid room begins to show itself on her skin. "All those raw," Tiffany gently pulls at her clothing where it starts to cling to her, "primal forces."
From its chair, the stray cat watches Rosalie from behind and between Tiffany's legs.
Rosalie watches the cat. It's safer. No, maybe it isn't. The wall. She'll look at the wall. Nice safe, inoffensive wall. "I can start blizzards," she says. "And thunderstorms. And tornados." She swallows, and touches her tongue to her lips. "It's...scary," she says. "To feel all that power and not be able to control it. I used to--well, I lived by the sea for a bit. I tried to avoid people and sometimes took tranquilizers, but sometimes I still got angry or sad or-- Anyway," she adds, tripping over her words a little. "I'd go down by the water, and feel the winds blow and stir up the sea until the waves crashed against the rocks--"
Tiffany’s breathing becomes more shallow. She doesn’t look away, looking straight down at Rosalie with the same confident detachment as the cat. “That sounds beautiful.”
Rosalie takes a deep breath. Her cheeks are still scarlet, her eyes dark. "It was," she says. "Sometimes that was...one of the times when I actually enjoyed being me. It was beautiful and powerful and not--shameful and dangerous."
“You should find a way to feel that way about yourself, again,” Tiffany slowly tilts her head, considering the other woman. She lowers both of her hands to the desk’s cool surface, planting them there on either side of herself.
Rosalie stands up, half-tripping over her feet. "It's hard," she says, with the faintest of smiles. "In the city, it's hard not to think about the people I could hurt, you see. But I have to learn."
"The city's weathered storms before," Tiffany observes quietly and in a higher pitch, as if unsure. Her brown eyes remain fixed on Rosalie, probably showing more esteem than she'd given her previously. Idly, one of her legs lifts just barely off the ground. Extending, she wraps it around the other.
Rosalie swallows. Her gaze goes to Tiffany's, eyes locked on hers, avoiding looking at her legs. She toys with her coat, finally slipping over her shoulders in deference to the growing heat. (She wears a perfectly demure grey dress beneath.) "I suppose." She sounds uncertain. "It's a very old city, after all. It's lived through hurricanes."
"Hurricanes," Tiffany slow blinks, tightening and relaxing her lips, "Blizzards." ... She runs her front teeth over her bottom lip, holding it for a moment in coy thought before released it. "Tornado like circumstances."
"Floods?" offers Rosalie, her voice a little too high. There's a quick flicker of her gaze, down to Tiffany's lips and then back up to her eyes again. She touches the tip of her tongue to her lips, wetting them nervously. The heat climbs, almost stifling, heavy and damp. The electric prickle in the air stirs hairs on the back of necks.
“Especially with global warming,” Tiffany rolls her head around on her neck seductively, keeping her sultry, heavy-lidded eyes on Rosalie’s. She presses her back into the corner of the reception desk.
"Yes," says Rosalie. "They're losing shoreline and the climate change--" She swallows, and takes a step closer to the desk and Tiffany, as if tugged forward by an invisible thread. She just brushes against Tiffany's foot.
"--caused by pollution--" Tiffany slowly bats her eyelashes some more. "--which the city just contributes to--" So sexy. Tiffany just ever so softy moves her own foot up Rosalie's ankle in encouragement.
Rosalie lets out a sound that sounds very much like a squeak. A muffled squeak, but a squeak all the same. She takes half a step, trips over Tiffany's legs, and lands, in a tangle, right into Tiffany's lap.
A crack of thunder sounds outside.
The cat howls and flees further into the building
"Oh!" Tiffany let's out a feminine gasp, albeit one that sounds a little more on the recreational side. Already braced against the desk, the shift in weight causes the piece of furniture to move back a few inches. It's legs screech against the entryway floor. She reaches out to grasp hold of Rosalie to stop her fall, unable to restrain the little bit of laughter that starts ...and grows ...and continues.
Rosalie eeps as the desk screeches beneath them. She flails for a moment, and then grabs hold of Tiffany to steady herself. One hand lands on Tiffany's waist, the other perilously close to her chest. She lands right across her lap, blinking up at her. "It's not funny," she insists, cheeks flaming, and then lets out a breathless giggle.
“You-” Chest heaving, Tiffany continues to laugh. She twirls a finger in the air, “And the thunder-- And the cat--” A great smile blooms over her face, which of course she tries to conceal by bringing up the back of her hand to cover it. “Are you okay?”
Rosalie blinks again. Outside, a patter of rain--a little wintery for that, surely--pounds against the pavement, and the temperature in the office drops. It does not so plunge as that a sudden breeze, as icy cold as shame, suddenly cuts through the heavy heat. Rosalie takes a deep breath. "I'm fine," she assures Tiffany, her cheeks still flaming. She does not stand up yet. Maybe she's afraid she'll trip again.
"And nobody died," Tiffany adds with a hint of quiet optimism. Her eyes narrow in playful suspicion. /She/ stands Rosalie up, placing a little bit of space between the tiny woman and herself in doing so. "I mean, well. That was touch and go for a second."
"Yes," says Rosalie. "I very nearly tripped over you and died." There's a trace of wryness in her tone. She stands where she is placed, free by a small amount of space. "That would have been a horrible way to go."
“I should uhm-” Tiffany finally subdues her smile, “-get that cat before he hides somewhere.” She clears her throat, still smiling down at Rosalie with her eyes as she snakes a heel around past her.
"Yes," says Rosalie, giving Tiffany a shaky smile. She doesn't move from where she stands, close, but with a breath of space, close enough to brush in the passing. The temperature is uncertain, a mixture of hot and cold. Rain patters against the window. "I...don't suppose you'd want to go for coffee or something sometime?" she wonders
"I'm going to be honest with you," Tiffany allows her body to press against Rosalie's with confidence as she moves away. She goes stone faced, like she might decline, "I'd rather go for a drink." She fixes her hair, pressing it behind one ear and offering Rosalie a small, maybe-devilish smile.
Rosalie's face falls, and then brightens again, in time to the plunge and rise of the room temperature. "I don't drink," she blurts out. "Because--" She presses against Tiffany, just a little, the warmth and firmness of her body clear through her dress. "All right," she decides, suddenly. "A drink."
"Alright," Tiffany repeats, coolly. Lowering her hand, she runs her fingers along the desk as she steps just a little bit further away. She does this until she runs out of desk, "I'll let you know when I'm free."
Rosalie watches the trail of that hand. "Right," she says, awkward still, shifting her weight from one foot to another. "I'll let you know when you're free--er. When I am. I mean I hope I'll be free--right," she repeats. She blinks at the wall, and says, "I forgot what I came here for."
“A pen,” Tiffany suggests, swinging her hips as she saunters out and into the lounge after the cat."A...pen," echoes Rosalie. "There are lots of those here." She stands there, considering the pens. Outside, the rain continues to fall, a gentle patter against windows. The temperature returns to normal--eventually.