iv. revelations & burnt waffles

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The disheveled man gave me a serious blue-eyed stare when I didn't move at his commands.

"I'm just making breakfast," I say.

Chase returns a blank stare at my pretty self-explanatory statement.

"I also might have set off the smoke detector."

The man doubled over laughing. The sound was a cheery tone that could illuminate an entire room. It was these simple, human things that made me want to learn more about everyone here. Their titles and reputations all were daunting, yet their characteristics beautifully mundane.

Chase walks over to the kitchen to take out the batteries on the fire detector. He picks up a waffle, then after seeing how grotesque it became, puts it down.

"How the hell do you mess up waffles? You literally just put them in a waffle maker!"

I hit him with the spatula. "Give me any more attitude, and I'll put you in the waffle maker."

Ace walks into the living room with an apathetic look. "Chase, if the CIA wanted to kill you, you'd be dead by now."

The golden-eyed man then turns to me. "And Octavia, you're no longer allowed in the kitchen. Ever. You're a danger to yourself and everyone within a five block radius when you're in the kitchen."

"The same could be said about your face but you don't see any of us telling you to wear a paper bag over your head."

Ace flips the bird at me. Classy.

Skye trails into the living room with a look of weariness written over her face. Dark silk from her loose headscarf flows past her as she nonchalantly walks past the burning mess in the kitchen, grabs some cereal, then plops down in front of the TV.

"Where's Xavier?" I ask.

"Still sleeping. I wouldn't go bother him unless you wanted a semi-automatic pressed up against your temple," Skye sighs.

Ok so maybe these people were not the most mundane.

Xavier could sleep through anything. Seriously. Once Skye challenged me to steal one of his daggers while he was sleeping. I knocked over one of the lamps in his room—didn't disturb the sleeping tiger at all. I never understood how he could be an assassin with such fine-tuned sensitivity to sound. Note the sarcasm.

Ace pinches the bridge of his nose and lets out a long, drawn-out breath. He runs a hand through his tousled oak hair and rests the other on the waistband of his sweatpants. Under this young morning light, his eyes seemed to be comprised of raw gold.

Those same golden eyes crinkle in amusement when he catches me mid-scrutiny.

"You know, Cupcake," Ace remarked with pleasure, "It'll be hard to pass your assessment if you gawk so visibly."

Red, no—crimson—rushed like torrents onto my cheeks.

I quickly recover. "Oh, is that how your self-centered mind interprets girls spacing out? How can such a large ego can fit inside a single person?"

Chase glances between the two of us, hesitant of exactly what to respond. Ace glares at me while I return the favor. Both of us are absolutely hellbent against giving in.

Skye goes to put away her cereal. "Hold on. Ace, what is this about an assessment?"

The agent finally stops scowling in my direction. "There's a physical and mental readiness test you guys have to pass for joining this team. It should be no problem, though."

Assessments were never my forte. I wasn't a bad student or anything, but just the stress of racing against the clock would derail my ability to perform. An assessment from the CIA? That's like asking me to play professional baseball when I was barely ready for little league.

"What will be on this test?" I assert. A part of me wanted to fail the test. If I was deemed unfit for this team, then at least I could go home.

"It's just some standard procedures. And if you fail, you go to prison." Ace looks directly at me; he knew exactly what I was thinking. He had a way of being annoyingly intuitive.

"Alrighty then. When's the assessment?" Chase questions.

The slightest smirk plays on Ace's lips, one that indicated knowledge greater than ours. Every time I saw it, I wanted to smack it off.

Suddenly, without any warning, the expansive floor to ceiling windows begin to rise. Gusts of brisk wind start filling the room and run through my hair, making it more unkempt than ever. They don't stop rising until they hit the top.

Looking around, Chase's blue eyes go wide and he clutches for dear life to the kitchen counter. Skye backs away from the couch and into the center of the room, as far away from the walls as possible. Xavier just now walks into the living room. He yawns, rubs his eyes, and after seeing the problematic the lack of windows, curses at Ace. 

There are no more barriers between us and falling to our deaths from the thirty story tall building.

"Alright recruits," Ace yells through the sound of wind while grinning like a madman. "Your assessment begins now. Task number one—scale the building."

This. Is. Insane.

Ace: "Vote and I'll make waffles (that aren't burnt) for you."

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