Rosa winced at the sound of a body slamming against the other side of the wall. “How long before it wears off, do you think?” she asked.
Isobel scowled. “Just because I’m an alien doesn’t mean I know how this stuff works. But Liz got a pretty big dose of it.”
Rosa pretended to retch. “Thanks for that. Hearing my sister’s sex noises wasn’t giving me enough of a clue.”
“Sorry. You know we don’t have to wait in this room for them to finish. We can get out of here,” Isobel said, pointing at the door. That door led to the room where Jenna Cameron and Liz were screwing a pink alien powder out of their systems.
“Yeah, I think I’d rather hear them than see them,” said Rosa. “Which means we have to talk to each other until they’re done.”
Isobel tilted her head. “I’m sure there’s more than a few things the two of us should talk about. Like where the hell inside this building are we?” She checked her phone. “Damn it. There isn’t even any signal here.”
“What did you expect?” Rosa folded her arms. “We’re in the most secret top-secret government facility possible. No communications are meant to get in or out of this building.”
A loud moan filled the room.
“Shame they didn’t extend the thick walls to the interior.” Rosa closed her eyes and murmured a Spanish curse.
“Whose moan do you think that was? Your sister’s?”
“Oh god,” said Rosa.
In the next room, Cam cried the exact same thing. Rosa’s horrified face made Isobel smirk.
“You should be proud to know your sister’s good at sex. Is it really that bad?” she asked, touching Rosa’s arm.
“Yes!” Rosa’s cheeks reddened, and she stepped away. “Wait, are you… Are you enjoying this?”
“Of course not,” Isobel snapped. Her blonde ponytail swished with the force of it. “It’s a waste of time. We’re on a mission, remember?”
“Right. Where do you think Kyle, Alex, and Michael got to?”
“I thought they were right behind us when—Oh no,” said Isobel, eyes widening in realisation.
“You don’t think they…?”
Isobel nodded, and Rosa clapped her hand over Isobel’s mouth. “Don’t say another word,” Rosa spoke through gritted teeth. “I don’t need to think about both my siblings having sex right now.”
A well-timed cry of Liz’s name came from the next room.
Isobel mumbled something against Rosa’s hand. After staring into Isobel’s eyes for a few seconds, trying to see if she intended mischief, Rosa took her hand away and let Isobel speak.
Isobel released the breath she’d been holding. “I think we need to get this mission back on track.” It was the first wise thing she’d said since getting trapped in this room. “That means getting out of here and finding the safe. You with me?”
Rosa eyed the door separating them from Cam and Liz’s literal banging – one of them had slammed the other against the wall again – then looked back at Isobel.
“Okay,” she said. “But we are running past that—” she pointed at the door “—as a quick sacrifice so I don’t have to hear any more of this.”
“Good. And by the time we break into the safe and get the hard drive, maybe the stuff will have worn off both the other groups.”
“I’m surprised it didn’t affect either of us,” Rosa said. “We were there soon after Liz and Cam were exposed.”
Isobel shoved her hands in her pockets in an obvious attempt to look casual, but the tension in her face and shoulders gave her away.
“Oh my god. It is affecting you, isn’t it?”
Isobel winced. “Yes,” she whispered. “I’ve been fighting it for a few minutes now. That’s why we need to get out of here.”
Rosa exhaled. “Okay. Just give me a minute.” From her jeans pocket she produced the map Alex had given her before they all broke into the building.
“I think we’re here,” she said after a minute, pointing. Her finger moved about an inch across the paper. “And this is the next wing we need to check.”
Isobel traced that same route across the map, and their fingers bumped together. Rosa’s heart jumped in her chest; when she stole a glance, Isobel was already gazing at her and biting her lip. That look weakened Rosa’s legs.
“I… I think I was exposed too,” she admitted.
Isobel took in a shuddery breath and wiped a bead of sweat from her forehead. “Please don’t speak in that low, husky voice. I don’t want to do something I’ll regret.”
Rosa swallowed. “Let’s go then. You ready?”
Nodding, Isobel yanked open the door and ran through the next room. Rosa followed, putting her hands over her ears as she sprinted past her sister and Cam. The copulating pair didn’t even notice the other two women running past them, which was probably a relief, Rosa decided. She didn’t want to look her sister in the eye right now.
Isobel’s long legs had put her at an advantage, so Rosa had to keep running to catch up with her; Rosa had the map, after all.
“I think we go along here and then turn right at the end of this passageway,” she said, trying to focus on the mission and not on how Isobel was becoming more attractive the longer she looked at her.
They both avoided the other’s gaze as they made their way to the next wing. The first and second rooms on their left provided no clues. The third room, however, had a loose floorboard.
“There’d better not be a body under there,” said Isobel.
Rosa shot her a look and struggled to lift the floorboard, giving her nails an accidental filing in the process. She smiled at the hidden safe in triumph. “Voilà.”
Isobel put her hands on her hips as she examined the safe. “Pity our codebreaker’s hands are full with both our brothers.”
“Stop,” Rosa groaned. She typed in 1234, and shrugged when the safe didn’t open. “Worth a shot.”
“What about 1947?”
Again, that wasn’t the code. Rosa looked up at Isobel. “You’re sweating,” she said.
Isobel released a dramatic sigh and wiped her forehead with her sleeve. “This is what I get for making fun of the others’ giving in to that powder.”
Rosa swallowed. “How much longer do you think you can hold it off?” she asked, wondering the same thing about herself. There was now a growing discomfort between her legs.
“Not long,” Isobel admitted. As well as the sweat, a drop of which was falling down her top and making Rosa want to lick it from between her breasts, her eyelids were heavy.
“If...” Rosa took a deep breath and stepped closer to Isobel. “If we got this out of our systems, would you promise to forget it ever happened?”
Isobel’s smile was a sad one. “I can’t promise that, Rosa.”
“What can’t you promise?” It was Alex, striding into the room with a briefcase. Rosa assumed it was his hacking toolkit.
Isobel stepped away so fast Rosa was surprised she didn’t get whiplash. Isobel raised her eyebrows at Alex. “Is that the same shirt you were wearing before?”
Alex glanced at his shirt. “Oh, quick change. Now can you give me the room? I’ll work best without you peering over my shoulder and asking questions.”
“Okay. By the way, it isn’t 1234.”
Rosa dragged a smirking Isobel out of the room before she could ask more questions about Alex’s shirt, which Rosa now recognised as Kyle’s.
She pushed Isobel into the next room, an office that was empty apart from a desk and a few chairs. She slammed the door behind them.
“What are you doing?” asked Isobel.
Rosa pulled off her jacket and dropped it on one of the chairs, disturbing some dust and making herself cough. “This doesn’t have to mean anything,” she said. “We can just... have sex so we can focus on the mission.”
Isobel laughed, eyes big and shiny. “That’s the best sentence I’ve heard in a while. Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?”
“I’m aware.” Rosa frowned. “Look, do you want to do this or not? It seems to have made Alex feel better.”
Isobel reached out and stroked Rosa’s jaw. “I want to,” she said. “But for us it wouldn’t mean nothing; you know that. When Max resurrected you, I promised to put things right between us, not mess them up more. Acting on any feelings I might have isn’t the way to do it.”
With a great reluctance and self-control, Rosa stepped away. “Okay. You know you just missed a great opportunity to tell me to go screw myself?”
Even that didn’t make Isobel smile. Crap, she must genuinely be upset, thought Rosa. But Isobel grabbed Rosa to her and brought their lips together in a bruising kiss. A sound of surprise escaped from Rosa, but she wrapped her arms around Isobel’s neck and kissed back, hard.
“You’re right,” Rosa said when she came up for air. “It would mean something. But why’s that so bad? Having feelings after our freaky past is less messed up than one of us killing the other, right?”
Isobel choked. “Can you stop acting like that isn’t a huge deal? My husband hijacked my body to murder you!”
“Has the stuff worn off or did you just kill the mood?” said Rosa, crossing her arms.
“I can’t take this lightly like you do.” There was pain in Isobel’s eyes.
Rosa sighed. “I have to make light of it,” she said, “so I don’t go mad and relapse. So I’m sorry I’m not reacting to this the way you want me to, Izzy, but you don’t control me.”
Her words appeared to slap Isobel in the face. “I didn’t realise,” she said with a remorseful look. “I’m sorry.”
Rosa combed her fingers through her hair, distressed by how quickly the conversation had changed from whether to have sex to Noah’s creepy bodysnatching. “So am I.”
“I think it’s worn off,” Isobel said.
“What? Oh.” Rosa frowned, assessing herself. Isobel still looked hot, but Rosa no longer had to fight the urge to jump her bones. “For the record, I do find you attractive,” she said.
Isobel straightened her clothes. “Likewise.” She cleared her throat. “We’ve been in here a while. Let’s check on Alex.”
They went into the other room and found the others standing around Alex and his laptop.
“What’s happening?” Isobel asked.
“Alex is trying to hack into the hard drive,” said Liz. “It’s taking a long time.”
Alex looked up and smiled in what Rosa recognised as his fed-up-and-trying-to-be-polite smile. He was still wearing Kyle’s shirt. “It will take even longer if you guys keep hovering.”
“Now that we’ve found what we’re looking for, why don’t we leave?” Isobel suggested.
Cam nodded. “This place is giving me the creeps. Let’s get out of here.”
Liz, Kyle, and Michael opted to stay with Alex while he got into the hard drive, so Cam agreed to drive Isobel and Rosa back to town.
“So, uh, did you two get hit with that pink stuff?” Cam asked, starting the engine while Rosa and Isobel climbed into the back seat.
Rosa snorted, while Isobel said, “We’re both fully dressed – in our own clothes – and our hair isn’t a mess, unlike you and the other four. What do you think?”
“I think,” Cam said, “I’m glad we got out of there and never have to speak of it again.”
“You mean I can’t ask what Liz is like in the sack?”
“Please stop,” Rosa groaned.
Cam was blushing. “What Ortecho said.”
Isobel opened her mouth again, but Cam turned the radio on high as she sped along the highway. Turning to Rosa, Isobel shrugged and grinned.
Rosa grabbed the front of her shirt and pulled her close. “We’re not under the influence now. And I’m in the mood for some payback.” She nodded in Cam’s direction. “You still want to...?”
Isobel must have been thinking along the same lines, as her answer was to close the gap and kiss Rosa, putting her hands in her hair as Rosa opened up to her.
The drive home from the facility felt much shorter than the drive there.