Zariel took another drag and exhaled. She couldn’t tell if she was early or if Lorelei was late. She supposed it didn’t really matter anyway; either they’d talk today or they wouldn’t. She just didn’t know which outcome she’d prefer.
She held the joint up to her lips again and inhaled. It wasn’t her usual strain, but it was doing the trick well enough, dulling the tension in her gut and making the world glow ever so slightly. She savored the slight burn as the smoke went down her throat before attempting to blow a smoke ring. She never could get those right. Today was no exception.
“Morning!” The voice ringing down the hall was unmistakable. Zariel sighed and shielded her eyes, hoping that it would go away if she ignored it. The Jordans squeaking on the linoleum towards her dispelled that theory.
Zariel finally peeked out from behind her fingers. “Not a good time, Noa.”
“It never is with me, is it?” Noa cracked that damn smile, the one that always felt like a knife in Zariel’s gut. She wiped the sweat off her brow, her bangs sticking to her forehead while the rest of her blonde locks cascaded messily around her shoulders. Her workout clothes were a lot more revealing than Zariel would ever be comfortable with herself; her tight sports bra and shorts left her slim, yet toned body largely exposed. But Zariel figured that, if Noa waited so long for her body to be hers, then she had a right to show it off if she wanted. “I smelled your, uh…” Noa imitated holding a joint between her fingers. “Habit from across the floor.”
“You’re one to talk,” Zariel said dryly. “We have showers here, y’know.”
“Yeah, and air freshener too. You should think about carrying some around with you if you wanna toke up wherever you please.”
“Get some nose plugs if it bothers you so much. Better yet, leave me the fuck alone.”
Noa sighed. “Is it always gonna be like this with you?”
Zariel stood up, getting right in Noa’s face. “What’s the matter? I thought you didn’t want me anyway.”
“Of course I wanted you!”
“Yeah? That’s why you folded at the first sign of pressure? Ran away with you tail tucked between your legs?”
Noa opened her mouth to speak, but heard a noise from down the hall and looked to the side. She turned back to Zariel with a thin-lipped smile. “Hope your therapy goes well, Zee.”
She spun on her heels, sending a slight push of air that nearly made Zariel topple over, and walked off down the hall. Zariel sneered and turned her head to the source of the noise. “What do you– o-oh, hi.”
Lorelei pushed up her glasses, her expression a blank. “Good afternoon, Zariel.” Her eyes followed Noa as she turned the corner. “I do hope I won’t have to rebuild your relationship with every member of Generation 6.”
“Just the assholes,” Zariel sighed. She held the joint up to her lips, only to find that Noa’s burst of air had extinguished it. She rolled her eyes and pulled out her lighter, but Lorelei snatched the joint out of her hand before she could light up. “Huh?”
Lorelei stepped past Zariel and unlocked the door to her office. She held it open and motioned for Zariel to step inside.
“If I go in,” Zariel glared, “are you gonna give me my weed back?”
“Hm…” Lorelei held the joint up between her fingers, as if studying it. “No, I don’t think I will.”
Zariel rolled her eyes. “Ugh, don’t tell me. You’re one of those ‘war on drugs’ types? You know weed’s legal in this state, right?”
“Oh, I’m aware,” Lorelei smirked, “And as a matter of fact, I often recommend CBD to my patients. And a lot of them tell me they’re already self-medicating with it.”
“Yeah, well, it helps me relax.”
“I’m sure it does. But, unfortunately, while it’s legal on a state level, your group receives federal funding. Which means if anyone found out about this, you’d be in even more trouble than you are right now.”
Zariel blinked. Wait, really? Shit, I didn’t know that. “W-Well, so what? Not like anyone here is gonna tell the feds.”
Lorelei’s eyes glimmered with an emotion Zariel couldn’t quite place. “Are you sure about that?”
“What?” Zariel didn’t know what to say. Is she threatening me? Or… maybe she’s talking about someone else on the team?
“Well, in any case,” Lorelei continued, flicking the joint into a nearby trash can, “I’d prefer for there to not be any distractions while we talk. Please, have a seat.”
Zariel stepped inside the office. It had been improved since the last time she was in there; the folding table had been swapped out for a somewhat worn desk, and the chairs she and Alexander sat in were now replaced with a leather sofa with a patch or two sewn in to fix tears. Guess someone dropped by the thrift store. She sat down on the sofa, cross-legged, and drummed her fingers on her knee. “Is this gonna take long?”
“That depends on you,” Lorelei replied. She sat down in her chair and picked up a small notebook – a fancy one, maybe a Moleskin – and a pencil. “Why don’t we start with Revolution?”
“You mean Noa?” Zariel rolled her eyes. “Am I supposed to trust you when you don’t even bother to learn anything about us?”
“Noa Woods, born 1997, first openly-transgender post-human engaged in the crimefighting field,” Lorelei responded, rattling off information like a Wikipedia article. “Originally born in Nevada, relocated to Nitro City when Generation Six was founded.” She paused, twiddling with the pencil in her fingers. “She was also in a relationship. With you.”
“Y– Wh-Wha–” Zariel sputtered. Her face burned. “H-How do you… know that?”
“It was in the dossier Eleanor provided.” Lorelei sighed and pushed her glasses up. “It’s something I wish she left off. I want to learn about my clients from them, not some piece of paper.”
“Fucking…” Zariel muttered under her breath. “God, that fucking bitch! Goes on and on about keeping shit out of the public eye, then goes blabbing about it to the first person she can…”
“Why do I get the feeling you don’t like any of the people you work with?” Lorelei chuckled.
“‘Cause they either don’t do their jobs or they turn around and stab you in the back,” Zariel fumed. “I mean… Trevor’s okay. Dumb as a brick, but he’s nice. And Keani’s chill. Doesn’t get caught up in personal crap, stays focused. Wish we had more people like her.”
Lorelei wrote something down in her notebook. “So, between incompetent and treacherous, which category does Noa fall into?”
“Thought you already knew all about that.”
“I only know Eleanor’s perspective on what happened. I want to hear yours.”
Zariel weighed her options. Don’t think she’s gonna let this go. And she already knows at least part of it, so… “Yeah, we were together for a while.” She leaned back on the sofa, staring up at the ceiling. “Of course, we had to keep it hidden. We weren’t allowed to have ‘intimate relationships,’ even though they threw a bunch of queer people in the same place and made us fight and die alongside each other. Don’t know what they expected to happen, but…” She ran a hand through her hair. “Anyway, EE finds out, tells us to call it off or she’d have to report us to the Bureau. Noa caved right away.”
“And how did that make you feel?” Lorelei leaned forward, her tone gentle and caring.
“How do you think it fucking made me feel?” Zariel snapped. “God, she just… threw me away! Like I was nothing!”
“She betrayed you.”
“That’s not how she says it.”
“That doesn’t matter,” Lorelei responded. “If that’s how it made you feel, then that’s a valid feeling. How she wanted it to come across, or how she felt about it, none of it can change how you feel. If you’re angry, get angry.”
“I am angry!” Zariel said, a little louder than she meant. “Like, fuck! How could she do that to me? After all we went through together?”
“Breakups always hurt the most if they come after happy memories,” Lorelei said solemnly. “If you’re still hurting, even now, then you must have had some good times.”
Zariel rubbed her eyes and sniffled. “Maybe.”
“Come on, Zariel,” Lorelei said, “you can tell me. I won’t rat you out, and I won’t judge you. I want to help you work through this.”
“Because no one should have to go through life in pain.”
“Yeah?” Zariel rolled her eyes. “Bet that goes over real well in the self-help seminars or whatever. But we both know why you’re really here.”
“Do we?” Lorelei smirked. “Then tell me. Why do you think I’m here?”
“Because you’re getting paid. Probably way more than you’re worth, too.”
Lorelei chuckled. “Is that what you think I am? Some mercenary quack?”
“Yeah,” Zariel replied bluntly.
“Well, not that you’d believe me, but I’m actually not getting paid for this. I have a clinic I run that provides me with more than enough revenue for my needs. This, though? This I do for free.”
“Uh huh,” Zariel scoffed, rolling her eyes. “And why’s that? What, do you, like consider it a–”
“–A way to support the defenders of our fair cities?” Lorelei pushed up her glasses and smiled. “Yes, I do. People depend on you, Zariel. Kids look up to you, want to be like you when they grow up. But the fact of the matter is, no matter what kind of abilities you have, no matter what the public thinks of you, you’re still human. And you deserve help just like the rest of us.”
Zariel blinked. “That’s… nice? How’d you know what I was going to say?”
“When you do this for long enough, you run into a lot of the same questions.” Lorelei looked down at her notebook and tapped her chin with the eraser end of her pencil. “You said you smoke weed to relax. Do you often have difficulty relaxing?”
“I dunno. I guess? I mean, my power is all about aggression, so maybe I have some… issues, keeping that in check.”
Lorelei nodded and wrote it down. “Let’s go back to Noa, just for a minute. When exactly did you two break up?”
“About half a year ago.”
“And is that the last time you had sex?”
Lorelei chuckled. “Sorry, that came out of nowhere, didn’t it?”
“Yeah, no shit, Doc.” Zariel furrowed her brow. “What does it matter the last time I had sex?”
“Like I said, you’re still human. And in my experience? A lot of problems come from sexual hangups.”
“I-I don’t have a ‘sexual hangup,’” Zariel blushed. “I… just don’t see the need for–”
“So you haven’t had sex in six months,” Lorelei interrupted, jotting it down in her notebook. “Do you masturbate regularly?”
“U-Uh…” Zariel stared down at the floor. “Not… really? Why–”
Lorelei giggled and looked away. “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to make you so embarrassed.”
“I’m… not embarrassed,” Zariel lied. “Look, can we just drop this, please?”
“Oh, definitely not,” Lorelei smirked. “In fact, let’s focus on it a little more.”
Fucking. Kill me. “D-Do we have to?”
“Well, the way I see it, this would kill two birds with one stone. We can’t have you smoking weed in the building, since that would put you at risk with the feds. But you still need a method for stress relief.”
“And the solution is… masturbating.” Zariel stared at Lorelei in utter disbelief. Is this bitch even a real doctor? I feel like I’m in some shitty porno or something.
Lorelei smiled warmly. “I know it’s crude, but it does the trick more often than you’d think. And it can’t hurt to try, can it?”
“I guess not?”
“You seem unconvinced.”
Zariel scratched the back of her head and shrugged. “It’s just, uh…” Her cheeks became flushed. “I… have a bit of trouble. Getting into… y’know.”
“Oh?” Lorelei tilted her head to the side. “Is it a physical problem, or–”
“N-No!” Zariel stammered. “I-I just can’t find stuff that I like!”
“Ah, I see. Well, in that case, I have a couple hard drives of ‘material’ if you’re interested. I’m not sure our tastes are entirely compatible, but I have a fairly broad selection.”
Lorelei laughed, and the sound made Zariel’s heart flutter. “Oh, come on! Of course I watch porn, you didn’t think I was that uptight, did you?”
“I’m just… like, that you’d offer to…” Zariel chuckled and shook her head. Hell, maybe this lady’s not so bad. Hot and kinda perverted, that’s a good combo. “Uh, sure, I guess I’ll take it.”
“Great!” Lorelei pulled open a drawer on her desk and pulled out an external hard drive. “I’ll lend this to you until the end of my contract. You can copy files off of it, but don’t delete anything. Trust me, I’ll know.”
“Yeah, okay– wait, why did you have that here?”
“Hm? Oh, I keep all my hard drives with me at all times.”
Zariel raised an eyebrow. “Even the porn one?”
“I’d rather have it here instead of at the hotel, in case the cleaning ladies find it.”
Wouldn’t EE finding porn in your office be a lot worse than some random hotel employee? Zariel shrugged and walked over to the desk, picking up the hard drive. “Whatever.”
“Oh, and before I forget…” Lorelei reached back into the drawer and handed Zariel a plastic jar. “CBD gummies. To help wean you off the weed.”
“Ugh, seriously?” Zariel rolled her eyes. “C’mon, no one’s gonna rat me out.”
“Eleanor is already gunning to have you removed from the team, Zariel. We don’t want her to have any more ammunition. Besides…” Lorelei rose from her chair and got close to Zariel’s face. “You wouldn’t want to disappoint me, would you?”
Holy shit where is this coming from she’s so pretty help I’m gay– “N-No!” Zariel sputtered. “Of… of course not.”
“That’s what I like to hear,” Lorelei grinned. “The dosage on these is a bit high, but since you already smoke regularly I’d suggest taking two a night before you sleep. And as far as the hard drive goes…” She shrugged. “Go at your own pace, I suppose.”
“Okay,” Zariel muttered.
Lorelei smirked. “What was that?”
Christ, it’s like I’m back in the academy… “Yes, Dr. Lawson.”
“Ah, there it is,” Lorelei chuckled. “I’m a trifle deaf in this ear, speak a little louder next time. Anyway, I believe that wraps everything up for now. You’ll report back to me in our next session.”
“Ok.” Zariel paused. “…Dr. Lawson.”
Zariel popped four of the gummies in her mouth and sighed. It was a quarter to midnight, and she was bored out of her mind. She’d been trying to avoid her stash of weed she kept under her bed. The gummies were definitely keeping her relaxed, but she missed the way time used to fade out when she smoked. Luckily, Lorelei never said anything about beer.
She binged another season of TNG, looking for any kind of distraction. Anything to avoid the nagging curiosity clawing away at the back of her head. I should just forget about that hard drive. It’s just too fucking weird. Besides, that’s gotta be like a violation or something, right? Like HIPAA or whatever?
Her phone buzzed. She picked it up and scowled.
GENERATION 6 FOILS KIDNAPPING ATTEMPTGroup refuses to comment on the suspension of Jaguar and Saturn
Great. They’re already fine moving on without me. She tapped on the notification and read the report. Lovelace is still at it? Christ, I thought they would’ve given up years ago. For someone who claims they’re a genius, they sure act like a dumbass. She flicked through the photos at the top of the page, the usual assortment. The perp getting dragged into a cop car. Trevor talking to reporters.
She came to the last photo and felt her heart skip a beat. Noa and the victim, a blanket wrapped around them. Noa was trying to cheer her up.
Zariel felt a tear well up in her eye. Fuck. Fuck! Why’d she have to do that to me? Didn’t she know how I… She took a slow, shaky breath and closed her eyes. I’m such a fuckup. It’s my fault we even got caught. Maybe if we hadn’t, she’d still be with me.
She threw her phone on her bed and downed the rest of her beer. No, fuck her. She never loved me in the first place. She threw me away. She thinks I’m nothing. Her eyes flicked back to the hard drive. I gotta get back on the team. Show her I’m better than she’ll ever be. And if that means jacking off to my weirdo therapist’s porn, then god help me, I’ll do it.
Zariel plugged the hard drive into her laptop. She was surprised at just how big the drive was. Two terabytes? Christ, and it’s almost full, too. How much porn does this lady watch? She shrugged and double-clicked the icon, revealing a neatly-organized system of folders. Guess these are all different… subgenres? Or fetishes, or whatever? She scrolled down the list, shaking her head at the sheer amount of porn downloaded onto the drive.
One folder in particular caught her eye. “Boss/Employee?” Hm. Guess I’ll start there. Zariel opened it and saw a couple dozen thumbnails. She clicked on one at random, and the video started to play with a loud musical sting. She cursed under her breath and quickly plugged in her headphones.
After a short legal disclaimer, the scene faded in to what Zariel supposed was meant to be the kind of lavish office a CEO would have. Naturally, whoever made the video didn’t have the budget for that, so it was just a desk and a couple chairs and some dark space behind the fake windows. A stern-looking woman sat behind the desk, typing away on a laptop. Her dark brown hair was tied in a small bun, and her jet-black glasses and cherry-red lipstick stood apart from her pale skin. The silk blouse she wore did very little to hide her buxom figure. That’s probably the point, though.
Someone knocked on the door. “Come in,” said the stern woman.
Another woman stepped into the office. She was short, with bleach-blonde hair that fell to her shoulders and the kind of vapid gaze that told you exactly how little was going on in her head. She was a little less buxom than the other woman, but she was still more-than-well-endowed; judging from how few buttons on her pink dress shirt were buttoned, she knew it, too. “Um, miss Gloria?” the blonde woman asked, her voice dripping in vocal fry. “It’s getting pretty late. Can I, like, go home?”
Gloria sighed. “Candie–” Fuck, her name is Candie too? Shit, they’re laying it on thick, aren’t they? “–how many times must I tell you? We have a big merger coming up, and we need to make sure all our documents are in order. Now, be a good girl and get back to filing.”
“B-But miss Gloria!” Candie whined. “It’s my two-month anniversary! My boyfriend’s expecting me tonight!”
“Oh? My, I had no idea it was so serious,” Gloria replied sarcastically, rolling her eyes slowly in case the audience didn’t get it.
“So does that mean you’ll let me go home?” Candie questioned expectantly.
“No!” Gloria spat. “And button your shirt, for god’s sakes! We’re a professional company, not some two-bit brothel!”
“Y-Yes, miss Gloria,” Candie murmured. She fumbled with the buttons for a moment, but then Gloria stopped her. She motioned for Candie to sit, and the blonde woman hurried to follow her order.
“Candie, allow me to be frank for a moment,” Gloria said, rising from her chair. “I don’t think your current role is very well-suited for you.”
“You don’t?” Candie asked, gulping. “Um, like, why not?”
“Well, for starters, there’s your spelling.” Gloria leaned against her desk, glaring down at Candie. “It’s… how can I put this delicately? Atrocious.”
Candie tilted her head to the side. “Is that, like, good?”
“No, Candie,” Gloria sighed. “No, it’s very bad. And then there’s your consistent tardiness in handing in your projects, your frequent unscheduled breaks, and let’s not even discuss what Ted from accounting saw you watching on your work laptop. Frankly, Candie, I don’t think you’re cut out for this job at all.”
“W-Wait…” Candie’s eyes went wide. “Are you… firing me?”
“Not at all, my dear,” Gloria chuckled. “I just think there’s another position within this company more suited for your… gifts.”
“Oh?” Candie asked innocently. “What’s that, miss Gloria?”
Gloria grinned smugly. She spread her legs apart, flashing Candie – and the camera. “Well, for starters, I’d like you to put that tongue of yours to work.”
“M-Miss Gloria!” Candie gasped, covering her mouth. “I can’t do that! You’re my boss, we shouldn’t–”
“That’s right, Candie,” Gloria interrupted. “I am your boss. And that means you do as I say. Right?”
“Well, um… I-I guess?”
“Then get on your knees, and start worshipping my cunt.”
Candie opened, then closed, then opened her mouth. “B-Buh… I’m not a… a…”
“A lesbian?” Gloria laughed. “Candie, you stupid slut, what else do I need to do to get this through your thick skull? You’re whatever I tell you to be. You’ll fuck whoever I tell you to fuck. That’s all you’re good for anyway. Now, stop thinking and eat me out.”
Christ, this is kinda dark, isn’t it? Zariel stroked her chin as she watched Candie swallow her pride and descend to her knees. She hiked up Gloria’s skirt and tentatively licked her pussy. Her eyes went wide, and she licked some more, letting out a soft moan.
“Oh, you like that, don’t you?” Gloria purred, licking her lips. “You like the way my cunt tastes?”
Candie murmured in agreement, by now abandoning the pretense of being reluctant and falling back on her porn star skills. She flicked Gloria’s clit with her tongue, eliciting a triumphant moan from the other actress.
Zariel felt a twinge of arousal even despite the embarrassingly low production values and shoddy acting. Well, I guess I should get started? She took one last swig of her beer and slid a hand down underneath her waistband. She started to rub, slowly at first, then quickly finding a rhythm that felt good.
Try as she might, however, Zariel couldn’t come close to orgasm. She just couldn’t shut off the part of her brain that kept reminding her how weird this all was. This wasn’t her; she never watched porn, let alone on the recommendation of some Bureau-supplied shrink. It was all just too weird for her to ignore. Fuck, this isn’t gonna work. I’m just gonna have to tell Dr. Lawson to try something else with me.
Strangely, the video almost seemed to sync up with Zariel’s own thoughts. Just as she had trouble getting off, Candie seemed to be having trouble bringing Gloria to orgasm. She pulled away from her boss’s pussy and panted for breath, furrowing her brow. “N-No…” she muttered, blinking rapidly as if trying to clear her thoughts. “This… I… I can’t…”
“You can, and you will.” Gloria shoved Candie back between her legs and squeezed her thighs around her head. “You don’t want to disappoint me, do you?”
Zariel’s eyes went wide. Whoa, that’s… heard that somewhere before… She tried to think through the alcohol sloshing around in her brain. Dr. Lawson, she… fuck, she’s so hot… She closed her eyes and, still listening to the moaning porn stars playing in her headphones, imagined Lorelei standing above her. Zariel was in Candie’s place, looking up at Lorelei’s cunt as the gorgeous woman looked at her expectantly.
“You don’t want to disappoint me, do you?”
She started touching herself without even realizing it. Zariel lost herself in the memory of Lorelei – her face, her curves, her voice. She’d forgotten what it felt like to feel so smitten with someone, so utterly entranced by their beauty that she could almost drown in it. She wanted so desperately to just be near her, to hear her voice again, to–
Zariel had a split second of clarity before she climaxed. She clamped her free hand over her mouth to muffle her moan and shuddered with pleasure, nearly falling out of her chair. When she finally calmed down, she closed the video and threw off her headphones, looking down at the hand that had been between her legs with a mixture of fascination and embarrassment. Fuck me. Been a while since I felt… that.
She shook her head and sighed. Alright. I have a crush on my therapist. I’ve been through worse.
Besides, it’s not like it’s gonna go any further than that, right?