“Mademoiselle Strkyer! How good to meet you!” Now it was my turn to be hugged. I wasn’t a short person, but she towered over me in her heels. I didn’t expect anyone who was that tall and thin to be able to grab me like she did. She seemed to speak in high pitched squeals and, combined with the overly exaggerated French accent she was faking, it made her a bit difficult to understand. “I just got the memo from Luca about you joining us here at POWER and she said you were marvelous. And you came to just the right place to get your costume! Cherie’s is the best in the business.” Her hand drifted up to the neckline of my shirt and flipped it to see the label in the back. She let me out of her hug and smiled knowingly. “But you knew that. You’re wearing my line!”
Her stuff must be really expensive, because I’d borrowed this shirt from Nova. Cherie grabbed me by my shoulders and spun me around, pushing me over to the raised platform she’d been aimlessly wandering on just minutes prior. “Now just stand right there, Mademoiselle Stryker. Arms out like a plane, head forward, chest puffed out like an action hero.” Her tiny hands grasped my left ankle and pulled it back. “Yes, bring that back. Now bend your front knee, but keep this leg straight…keep your chest out! Good.” She stepped back to examine the awkward position she’d posed me into and then raised my right hand so it was bent at the elbow like I was waving to someone. Tempus Manum flopped into one of the fashionable couches that decorated the office and snickered at me.
“C’est parfait!” screamed Cherie, stepping back and leaving me in my extremely uncomfortable position. “Now, stay still and don’t be surprised when it moves!” She skipped over to the couch where Tempus Manum sat and snuggled up against him, picking her tablet up from the coffee table in front of them. He put his arm around her shoulder and grinned at me. I rolled my eyes. Well, apparently, all the media didn’t tell me was that he was a complete player. Cherie tapped a few icons on her screen, her tongue poking out the side of her mouth as the machine sent me spinning in a circle.
After a few seconds, my dizzying and sudden ride on the machine was over. “I got the model!” trilled Cherie, placing the tablet on the tablet in front of her. She bent over the screen, edging slightly away from Tempus Manum in the process. A three dimensional model off my body appeared on the glass screen, and she began to play with various fabrics and colors on my body. “Do you have a sketch or design? Maybe just an idea of what you’d like your suit to look like?”
I nodded and Tempus Manum passed me the envelope. I rifled through my application until I came to the crudely drawn, handmade portrait of myself wearing a superhero costume. I could have asked Simon to draw it for me, but he would have refused. For some reason that no one could understand, Simon held a deep hatred for Heros; he hated Villains, too, but not the same way. To be honest, I didn’t know when I was going to tell my friends about this job, or if I ever was. I wanted to keep them safe.
“Here,” I said, passing her the folded up piece of paper. I spread it out next to her tablet and Cherie wrinkled her nose. The design wasn’t very complex, but I felt like it displayed intimidation and strength on my part. By the look on her face, Cherie obviously didn’t think the same thing that I did.
“Would it be possible for my team and I to make a few small adjustements? Just to make the costume more…public friendly?” she asked me.
“Um, I guess,” I said. Wasn’t this supposed to be my uniform? I didn’t see what was wrong with it, but something have been. “If you want.”
“Great and wonderful,” said Tempus Manum, standing up. “So you’ve got your costume in the works and in the hands of the beautiful Cherie…” Cherie giggled and blew him a kiss. “That means it’s time for RE. Cherie, we’ll be seeing you.” She waved goodbye to us as we exited her office and walked past the designers again. I could now see the model of my body on several of the computers, along with the costume design I’d submitted. They all seemed to be hard at work. Tempus Manum pushed me into the elevator, fiddled with his ID and the buttons again, and we rode down a few floors.