Tease didn't say much else as she pondered what he offered. Ten minutes later she'd asked him to pull over at a roadside diner, yes Montana roads still had a diner here or there, and this one in particular had one of Tease's biggest vices: milkshakes. They sat, or 'leaned comfortably' on the hood of his Corvette while they enjoyed a quick bite before continuing on.
Dennis watched her as she wolfed down a triple cheeseburger while other young women her age looked on in abject horror and minor jealousy that she could eat like she did and not worry about calories. "That's just amazing," Dennis said, shaking his head. "As much as you want and you don't gain a pound?"
"Kind of," she replied, catching a dab of mustard in the corner of her mouth and licking it off her finger. "See, Sean ran a few tests and my powers aren't like the others. I didn't gain their hyper metabolism or resistance to pathogens or extremes. He thinks it's something to do with my being able to make those same toxins and transmit them through my skin or saliva. So, unlike them, I still need sleep, can't stand a room of mustard gas, or run marathons anytime soon. On the plus side, I can get black out drunk, or high as a kite with the bonus that my liver won't rot or lungs or other organs won't fail on me. We're not sure the science... but I'm not immune to the effects of the stuff, but it can't hurt me if I abuse it." She shrugged, "I don't know."
"Wait," Dennis chuckled. "You're poisonous."
She offered him a coy, salacious smirk. "Venomous. And, kind of. It's not poison, or just poison. I can replicate pretty much anything from poisons to designer drugs. I could shake your hand and within a few seconds it would be as if you just snorted ten lines in a cheap hotel bathroom. Your heart would probably explode too."
"That is so fucked up," he laughed, shaking his head.
"Yeah," she nodded. She chewed some more and took a sip of her milkshake. "I didn't get the metabolism, but I did get the appetite. I have no idea where it all goes, but Sean thinks my body breaks it down and transfers it right to my node for energy." She shrugged. "I dunno. What I do have is what she calls 'Appearance Alteration'. It allows me to mentally control my appearance, from the make up I have on, to the color of my hair, its length, boob size, and to some extent, my weight. It's permanent until I change it to something else, or gain a few pounds, but every morning as part of my ritual of getting ready, I adjust my weight and sculpt my muscle tone."
"Pardon my asking," he waited a moment to finish his bite from his burger, but rolled his finger like he was going to say something, he just needed a minute. "If you can change all that stuff, why you ain't gone... y'know..."
"Bigger?" She asked. "Because that's a man's fantasy. You ever tried running with massive tits? I've found the gravity defying, perfectly firm, comic book style breast shape is more than adequate. So, we came all the way out here to talk about my chest?"
"No, no," he shook his head laughing again. "God, no. Like I said, I was just asking. The things you guys can do it's... it's just a head trip is all."
"So, about what you said, about being a partner?" Tease crunched up the wrapper of her triple bypass burger and tossed it at a waste basket just a few feet from where she as sitting. She missed and it rolled pretty much back to her, but with a shrug she continued on. "Just so I understand your proposal, you want me to use my powers of manipulation and persuasion coupled with complete mental domination, to bring the entertainment industry to its knees while you and I are sitting in the thrones they're kneeling to?"
"Well," he leaned his head from side to side like he was weighing her words. "That's a real immoral, dishonest, and illegal way of putting it. We probably shouldn't ever-"
"Because I am totally down for that," Tease replied with more enthusiasm than he'd heard from her since he'd met her.
"We can explore those as options, I suppose," his line of thought did a complete one eighty. "But first... what I'm telling you, Marissa-"
"Tease," she corrected him.
"Fine, Tease. What I'm telling you, Tease, is that we won't have to use those sorts of tactics. I know the people, you have the talent. We could make it."
Tease nodded, "Yeah, but what's to stop me from just doing it myself? I mean, it kind of feels like you're just using me."
"It's because I am," his honestly hit her like a slap to the face. Dennis was a no bullshit kinda guy and his honesty just never seemed to be at anything but a ten. "I just want the American Dream, Tease, but that's the catch, it's a dream. We are not entitled to be rich, or have power. No one is guaranteed to make it in this world. I've worked very hard, darlin' and I've had my ideas stolen by big producers, I've had talent bought away from me by higher bidders with lower standards for their clients. Am I looking for a little payback? Oh, yeah. We can turn the industry on it's ear. So, you give me a chance to teach you everything there is to know about Hollywood and I will show you the Penthouses and the gutters. The high rollers and the low ballers and most important of all: there is nothing but devils and demons in the City of Angels and they all want a free ride to Heaven."
"So, you just thought you'd slip into the Cave of Wonders and steal yourself a lamp," she summed up his explanation with metaphor.
He shrugged. "Ali-Baba had his 40 thieves, Scheherazade had her 1,000 tales... I have a Tease. Look, all I'm asking for is a partnership, fifty-fifty down the middle. I'll be your mentor, your guide, your advisor. I'll help you with who to talk to, what deals are legit or worth taking, show you where the money is... if I know it, you'll know it."
"Hell of a pitch," the teenage woman said while she smirked and winked at a guy who'd been staring at her for the last ten minutes. "Say I were to consider it, I'd have rules. Like first, when it comes to my abilities or powers, I call the shots. Nobody is charmed, mesmerized, enchanted or otherwise infatuated by my gifts unless I deign it fit to use them."
"Fair enough," he nodded.
"...and the 'bitch' thing? It's not just an act. We all pay a price for our power, Dennis. My brother's ego and desire for glory shot to titanic levels after he gained his powers. The others, they're all sociopaths or obsessives of some sort. In a nut shell, we're all a little crazy. For me? My competitiveness for popularity and status launched to insane levels. I can't help being a bitch because I learned everything I know about being a female mogul from 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians'. I don't think I'm better than everyone, Dennis, I know I am. I'm convinced that every baseline around me is nothing more than a servant or a fool ready to just do my bidding, because they are. Every time I try to be normal, that attitude and sense of superiority claws and screams at me until I give in. It's not a switch I just flip and be a regular teenager again and still have my powers." She seemed a little sad, like there was a self awareness about the fun, all around great young woman she used to be and the superior, raging bitch she'd become. As the saying went: 'all power has a price'.
"You're not... dangerous, are you?" Dennis asked.
"Well, yeah... I can coat my lips in cyanide, I'd say I'm dangerous," she mused with a chuckle. "But, no. My attitude doesn't make me dangerous, I won't hurt people or anything, at least not physically. I'm cruel and snobbish, but it mostly pushes people away from me, makes them dislike me."
"Yet your powers pull them back to you..."
"No, I have to use my powers to pull them back to me, but since I'm using my powers, the things they feel aren't genuine," she sighed.
"Always alone, even in a crowd."
"Pretty much," she chuckled again. The young man who'd been staring the entire time finally worked up the courage and approached the pair on the Corvette. Tease smiled at him as he walked over and that smile swept away some of the butterflies that swirled in his stomach. To assume Tease was out of his league would have an understatement. "Hi," she greeted him in a flirtatious tone.
"Hey." He smiled back, offering her a nod. "I was uh, well, I noticed you and I was wondering if-"
She cut him off. "Cool, uh, hey, would you kindly throw that burger wrapper away for me? I completely missed," her voice took an innocent, ditzy tone. "I feel so clumsy."
"Y-yeah, no problem," he replied as the dumb smile on his face suddenly seemed plastered there like she was a DC villain who'd infected him with something. He knelt at her feet allowing his eyes to look up at her in abject wonder awe. Everything about her was everything he'd ever want in a woman and no other woman in his life after this day would hold hold a cnadle to her splendor. He scooped up the wrapper and tossed it in the waste bin. "A-anything else? Because I was thinking maybe I could give you my num-"
"You can go now." She cut him off flatly and with a rash sense of jaw smacking reality. Uncrossing her legs she slid from her spot on the car, swung the door open and offered the strange guy a wink. "That's all I needed. Oh, and uh," she gave the guy a once over and winced. "Don't take this too harshly, but, if I were you, I'd seriously get used to rejection."
Dennis sighed and shook his head as the Corvette sped out of the parking lot and they were on their way again. "You're gonna be a handful, I can already tell."
She grinned as her eyes cycled through a series of shimmering and luminous colors from purple to blue to green, each one a thousand times more vibrant than a human eyes was capable of. She finally settled on a sparkling purple, a color she and her brother seemed to fancy. She grinned as she looked into the mirror of the visor. "You have no idea."