Rose stood perfectly still. There was no sound to give him away, but Rose knew that if she turned around, Henry would be leaning against her door frame. She almost didn’t want to turn around. Rose knew that if she turned around, Henry was going to ask her those questions that she really didn’t want to answer, questions about her and him. But at the same time, it was those unanswered questions between the two of them that made Rose turn around. She steeled herself, trying to pull up that confident persona that came so easily to her when speaking to other men. She took a deep breath, placed the shirt she was holding into the open suitcase on her bed and turned around.
Yes. There he was, leaning his back against the frame of the door, arms crossed across his chest, his hair sticking up just so, just a little bit of scruff, and frown firmly on his face. Rose managed to keep her knees from going to jelly, but just barely. “Hey, Henry. Come to help me pack? Because, thanks and all, but I’ve got it pretty much under control.” Rose turned away from Henry’s stern gaze and crossed over to her dresser. She heard Henry come into the room, but she didn’t turn around again at first. After a moment, she realized she had absolutely nothing left to do at the dresser. she was going to have to turn around again and face him.
While she was working up the courage to do so, Henry spoke. “So, I’m story for imposing, but I just wanted to learn where I misinterpreted.”
“I’m sorry?” Rose asked, still unable to turn and face him.
“While you’ve been here the last couple of months, I thought—well, I wrongly assumed that we had a flirtation, an attraction if you will. That this was going somewhere. But in that meeting, in front of everyone, I had to find out that you are sleeping with every other man in this entire facility. And while I appreciate not being a part of your brainwashed army of men, I’m just curious as to what makes me so revolting. Helen says that she’s never known you to pass over a man for your army before, so what makes me so awful that I’m not even good enough to be brainwashed?” Rose cringed away from the pain in his voice. He was trying to mask it with anger, but like Henry said, they had spent the last several months flirting and growing closer—and there was something to Henry that Rose had never found before. And he knew more about her than anyone had before.
But she couldn’t tell him flat out. That would give him too much power, and she wasn’t ready to give that much away yet. With another steeling breath, Rose put the mask back into place and turned around. “Henry. You know I inherited my abnormity from my mother, right?”
Henry looked confused, but said, “Uh, sure.”
“Our power pulls on levels of attraction, pheromones, and hormones in the blood or something. I’m not sure of the exact science, you would have to ask Helen about that if you what to know the details, but the way my mother described it to me was it was like capturing threads. When a man is attracted to someone, the edge of their mental fabrics becomes unraveled. Threads are exposed, that when pulled on can change a man’s opinion on things. The average woman can use her so-called feminine wiles to tug on those threads to an extent. My mother and I can take those threads, and keep them for ourselves. We can use them at any time for any distance, and we can make these men do things that go against their very natures. All we need is any kind of sexual contact, usually a first kiss, to grab those threads. The more often and the more intense the contact, the more control we have over these men. That’s what makes us so dangerous.”
Rose was quiet for a moment, trying to figure out the way she was going to tell the next part of the story. This was going to be harder than she thought.