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And always thank you for reading! :3 The next day, Charlie was ready to kick herself in the pants for her unreasonable decision to stay with the agency. The first thing she thought when she opened her eyes that morning was 'What have I done?'
When faced with a big decision, Charlie normally slept on the idea and waited to see how she felt about it in the morning. And on this particular morning, she was really wishing she had stuck to her rule, because she felt totally different about it than she had the night before. 'What have I done?' Charlie asked herself again, toothbrush in mouth, as she stared at herself through the bathroom mirror in disbelief. 'What was I even thinking? This is crazy!' But even in her disbelief, Charlie couldn't seem to find it within herself to change her mind. She figured that as long as she had made this decision, she might as well take full advantage of the time she would spend with the agency in search of her father. In fact, opportunity presented it's self right away. The very night she had agreed to stay with the agency, Eddy had informed her that they were going to study one of the disappearance sites the very next day.
"We're going to be doing a little bit of hiking, and maybe digging in some soil" he had warned, "so I wouldn't take along my best outfit if I were you."
Charlie took this into consideration as she got herself dressed. She had an outfit she always thought was perfect for outdoor activities. But she had never quite gotten to wear it since living in the city hadn't provided much of an opportunity to do so. When Charlie was all ready to go, she came downstairs and found that the group had been waiting around for her in the sitting room. She entered quietly, feeling awkward around the group. Her entrance was so quiet, none of them even noticed her at first. Charlie took a few more steps into the room, but was still so quiet no one realized she was there. She didn't know why these people made her feel so much like an outcast. It made her feel so awkward to be near them whenever they were all together at once. Clearly, they were too involved in their little group thing to notice she was in the same room with them. Charlie scratched her arm nervously and looked down at the floor as she cleared her throat loudly enough for everyone to hear. Maybe that would get their attention. That seemed to have finally done the trick, because Eddy heard it instantly and rose from his seat. "Oh, there you are Charlie. Are you all ready to go?" "Oh, my." Eddy suddenly stopped once he got a good look at Charlie's attire.
"W-what's wrong?" Charlie stuttered. Eddy seemed so serious as he began to approach her. She wondered if she had done something wrong.
"Nothing really..." Eddy suddenly burst into laughter. "Except you look like freakin' Indiana Jones over here!" "Hey!" Charlie shouted in defense of her silly outfit. "You were the one who told me to dress like this!" "I didn't tell you to dress like that." Eddy chuckled. "I told you not to wear anything too nice. We're only going to explore some fields... nothing too adventurous."
"Whatever..." Charlie muttered, feeling a little foolish now.
"Hey, don't sweat it." Eddy laughed just a little bit more. "It's all fine. I was just having a little fun at your expense. But seriously now, let's get going before the rest of the group dies of boredom. I'm sure you're just as excited as we are to collect some information on these Ergo Flux things." At least Eddy was right about that. Charlie may not be fitting in so well with the little agency group, but her soul purpose for being here wasn't to make friends. Her goal was something much more important than that. She couldn't wait to get going on the project.
The group left the hotel, and set out on a trek further into the French country-side. By almost noon, the five finally made it to the second disappearance site. Charlie began to feel slightly dizzy almost immediately as they entered the farm field where the disappearance took place nearly three weeks ago. But she tried to shake it off, assuming the spell was nothing more than nerves getting the better of her. The group walked on ahead, talking amongst each other excitedly about this and that. Things Charlie didn't even comprehend because her head was in a whirl. She was also too out of it to notice that Chase had purposely stayed back with her as if to keep an eye on her while they walked. It seemed as though he knew something was up, despite Charlie's best efforts to hide it. Charlie's mind was becoming so clouded, she could never even remember how she made it from the white picket fence all the way to the center of the farm field. She was almost in a trance-like state the entire time.
"Oh, my god, EW!" The small, shrill voice of Alexis Bell pierced through the air, somehow shattering Charlie's tunnel vision as it echoed across the rolling hills of the French country side. "That is DISGUSTING." Alexis whined. "And I just bought these shoes too!" "It's a farm." Chase laughed. "There's manure everywhere. We warned you about wearing your nice clothes out here, didn't we?"
"As if I wear anything that isn't brand name or fashionable," Alexis muttered under her breath, still disgusted and horrified at the mess she had gotten all over her brand new, designer shoes.
"True, that." Eddy chimed in. Fargo was not up for all the chit-chat. He didn't like to mess around when it came to science. He was ready to get right down to business.
"So this is the exact area that Mr.Jean Bernard disappeared." He explained to the group, gesturing to a particular area of the farm. "He was farming this land at approximately 8:53AM when an eyewitness claims to have seen the elderly man disappear into a bright flash of light."
"In order to study this particular Ergo Flux event, we need samples of the dirt and plant life in the surrounding area." Fargo explained, mostly to Charlie, since the rest of the group already knew the drill. "Usually, there's a degree of radio activity that follows an Ergo Flux, and is left on everything it's touched. An Ergo Flux will sometimes leave other things behind such as a magnetic field or strange chemical substances. It's all of those things that we test for when we take the samples back with us to study." After Fargo had finished explaining, the group taught Charlie how to go around and collect dirt, plant and even insect samples. They had small containers and baggies to put each sample away in. And they had to wear gloves so as not to contaminate anything. By the time they were finished collecting and analyzing, the afternoon had flown by, and everyone was tired out. They decided to wrap it up and call it a day, but before they headed back to the hotel, they all stopped to take a quick break.
Fargo and Alexis gathered around their boss as usual, leaving Charlie by herself. This time, Eddy noticed how left out Charlie was feeling so he went over and stood next to her for a chat. "So, that was your first time collecting samples, yes? Did you like it?" Charlie nodded a slow "yes." She had to admit, she finally really felt like she had been doing something important. And every little sample she had collected that day seemed to be a step closer to finding her father.
However, at the same time, Charlie really wasn't sure how joining the agency was going to work out. The group seemed to be segregating her! She wondered why they even wanted her to join if they were going to ignore her. It was difficult for Eddy not to notice the way Charlie's mood had shifted when the agency grouped up without her. "Hey," he said. "Don't worry those guys. Our members have an unusually close friendship, and they don't open up to others easily. All you have to do is open up to them first. I can tell you are shy, but just give it a try. I'm sure you'll find out how quickly they'll take to you. I promise they won't dislike you." "Yeah, but what about Alexis?" Charlie replied, remembering the look she had received from the redhead back at the burial mounds. "I'm pretty sure she hates me. There's no other explanation for it. I just can't figure out what I did to her. Whatever it was, I didn't do it intentionally." "Oh, don't be too concerned about Alexis." Eddy chuckled. "She just gets jealous any time another woman hangs around The Boss. I wouldn't worry about it."
Charlie wasn't so sure about that. She hadn't even made up her mind to join the group yet, which was probably the main reason she was so distanced from everyone else. She was still distrusting of them, so she didn't see how she would even be able to take Eddy's advice and "open up" to them anyway. It was nightfall by the time the group made it back to the hotel. And finally, for the first time since Charlie had been in France, she slept soundly. She was so exhausted that despite being in unfamiliar territory with unfamiliar people, her body won out and she was soon passed out cold in the feathered bed of her hotel room. Charlie woke up the next morning feeling oddly refreshed. She hopped out of bed as soon as she awoke and got herself dressed. Then, she went in search of the group members.
As she came down stairs into the hotel kitchen, she noticed Fargo was there, typing away on his laptop. "What are you doing?" Charlie asked as soon as she had approached him. She was genuinely curious. She wondered if this had anything to do with their escapade into the farmlands and the collected samples that had resulted from the trip. "Well," He began, sounding rather absent. He did not look up from what he was doing as he started to explain. Rather, he continued typing away. "I'm just checking up on the French government and what kind of information they've got on the Ergo Fluxes around here." "The French government, huh?" Charlie asked plainly. "Doesn't that require some kind of hacking or something?" "Technically yes..." Fargo's voice trailed as he kept his full concentration on his laptop. "Ok then..." Charlie wasn't too surprised to hear this. Hacking into government information didn't seem too far off in her mind. After all, this was the only way Charlie believed the group would have received all that top secret information on her father. "So," she changed the subject. "Where are the others?"
"Oh, I don't know..." Fargo muttered. "Alexis is probably still in bed, the Boss is outside doing his own thing and I don't know about Eddy."
"Alright..." Charlie nodded. Not real helpful, but it was an answer. So Charlie stepped out into the courtyard in search of either Eddy or Chase. Or even just something to do.
However, Charlie was caught off guard when she made her way outside and first caught sight of Chase "doing his own thing" as Fargo had so vaguely put it. It was odd enough that Chase was topless as he stood next to the water fountain. But he wasn't just standing still. He was moving his body carefully... With a great amount of control and accuracy.
It was graceful, like a dance. Charlie had never seen anything like it. She was enthralled and entranced. So much so, that Eddy was able to sneak up on her. "Like what you see?" He blurted suddenly from behind Charlie, scaring her half to death.
"W-What?!" Charlie gasped under her breath. "I said, 'Do you like what you see?" Eddy teased. "Most of the ladies do."
As soon as she realized what Eddy was talking about, Charlie turned a bright shade of red. "Hey! It's not like that!" She tried to defend herself, but she lowered her head in order to hide her burning cheeks. "Apparently the man's a lady killer." Eddy laughed when he saw how easily flustered Charlie had become. "At least you don't have to worry about the Boss knowing you were watching." "Why do you say that?" Charlie was intrigued and therefore regained her composure rather quickly. "Well naturally, because he's blind and can't see us standing here. And he's way to focused at the moment to hear or sense our presence." Eddy answered simply. "But you knew that already, right?" "He's what?!!" Charlie exclaimed, a little bit louder than she had intended. She most certainly did not know this little fact. Chase Donavon was bind? How was this even a possibility? Charlie needed an explanation. And she needed one quickly.
---Chapter 6: End
ErgoFlux - Chapter 6
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