————— The Hellfire Club Headquarters New York —————

The limousine pulled up to the front of the gates to what seemed like a large mansion. Around it the walls were topped with ornate, yet dangerously sharp looking spikes, small security cameras swiveled taking in the surrounding streets. The building and the grounds took up a whole city block in the middle of Manhattan and from the front gates the Baxter Building, Empire State Building and the Chrysler building could easily be spotted.

The building itself was breath-taking, exquisitely ornate stonework adorned the cornices and window frames of the three storey mansion. Two large wooden doors formed the front entrance with statues of lions on the pillars beside them. All in all, the New York headquarters of the famed Hellfire Club reeked of wealth.

“Impressive is it not?” came the liquid silk voice of Eve as she lowered the champagne flute from her lips. She was watching Alan as he gaped and stared at the well kept gardens and grounds of the Club. The limousine drew up to the front door to the mansion and the driver got out and opened the door. “Shall we?” Eve asked the still silently impressed Alan. She gracefully stepped out of the vehicle adjusting the red fox fur stole around her shoulders and watched with amusement as her guest somewhat awkwardly followed her.

“So I’m going to be living here? In this … this palace? Just so I can continue my work for your boss?” he asked skeptically.

“We can discuss what you shall be doing for my boss later, for now why don’t you get settled in,” Eve smiled at him, “There is a lot to see and unfortunately I need to pursue my other duties. I can however give you a quick guide,” she reached for his hand and held it delicately in hers. As innocent as the gesture was Alan was suddenly acutely aware of her touch, her perfume, her very presence in a very real way. He blushed and followed her inside the front doors of the building that a butler was holding open for them. Eve allowed a smirk to flit across her face. Men are so easy, she mused.

Stepping into the foyer of the headquarters Alan again began to pause and stumble as he tried to look at everything around him. If the outside reeked of wealth the inside seeped with it. There by a grand staircase precariously balanced on a thin table, was what he thought was a Ming vase. Luxurious red carpets decked the floor when it wasn’t tiled with green streaked marble. As he stepped on it he again felt the stone tingle underneath his feet, the same feeling that he had sensed from the building materials in the university. Distracted he sent his new mutant senses downward to the marble and slowly the tile began to tremble.

Eve stopped as Alan stopped. She raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow as she saw one of the marble tiles they were walking across began to lift from the ground. Letting go of Alan’s hand she stepped in front of him and saw that his gaze was locked on the stone square. A look of concentration and curiosity was etched there. She stayed silent content to let him play this experiment with his new powers out to its finish. She watched as the tile floated to eye level, Alan’s eyes following it steadfastly. It slowly rotated under his gaze until suddenly a servant emerged from a door nearby. The noise was enough to distract Alan and the tile shattered on the ground as he lost control of it.

“Oh damn, Eve I’m sorry …” he stammered.

“Forget it. It is merely a tile” she replied.

“But that marble it must have cost a fortune to import” he stated.

“Regardless, do not let it bother you” she said smiling as she held his hand again. It was enough to make Alan briefly shut up. So easy, Eve chuckled silently to herself. “Besides if the help cannot perform their duties with grace and silence” she continued, raising her voice so that the stationary servant could hear, “Then they had better begin looking for employment elsewhere”. The servant jumped and promptly left the room. Eve glared in her direction until the maid had disappeared through a doorway down a corridor.

“Come, let us get on with the tour,” she said with a smile that made Alan’s knees buckle. She opened a door across the entrance hall from the stairs and entered a room carpeted in a rich brown shag, mahogany paneling on the wall and extremely comfortable looking leather armchairs and sofas placed around a currently dead fireplace. “This darling is one of the main living quarters, it is mainly used for our guests and acquaintances, but the more private ones are just as nice as this”. She let go of his hand and he strolled over to the nearest armchair. The leather looked soft, the hardness worn out of it over a period of years. Alan could just picture himself sitting down with the latest Nature publication, perusing the best the global scientific community had to offer. He put his hand out to touch the leather on the high backed chair. As his hand rested on it, the chair suddenly spun on its base, throwing him off balance. He fell to the floor and landed on his ass. He looked back up at the chair and saw a woman sitting there an amused expression on her face.

“Courtney!” exclaimed Eve, momentarily thrown off by the presence of the resident White Queen of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle.

“Eve please, call me Miss Ross,” replied the blonde haired woman, a hint of warning in her voice.

“Of course, Miss Ross,” replied Eve, regaining her composure.

Courtney held up her hand for silence and directed her stare toward Alan who was just pulling himself up off the ground. She smirked and ran an approving eye down the young man’s physique. “So who do we have here?” she directed the question at Alan, ignoring Eve’s presence. She stood up, a pure white cloak clasped with a white gold broach at her throat, falling to the floor.

Alan gaped as he looked at her. Were all the women in this place stunningly beautiful? The women he gathered was Courtney Ross, stood before him in a white leather corset, which was exposing a fair amount of cleavage. A gold chain was hanging around her neck with a tear shaped diamond hanging from the end. Full length white soft looking fabric trousers covered her legs and she was standing on pointed white leather boots. He raised his head quickly to her eyes, embarrassed he had been unable to refrain from looking her up and down. He saw a glint in her ice blue eyes as a demure smile formed on her pink lips. He couldn’t stop gulping as the woman stepped toward him.

“Well you are certainly a good looking man. I bet you get all sorts of womanly attentions,” she murmured as she traced the tips of her fingers along his jaw line. “Of course you will look infinitely better once you are scrubbed up a bit, and of course everyone should go wild with you in a cowboy costume.”

“I’m sorry… a what now?” startled Alan.

“Miss Ross, I’m afraid you have the wrong idea,” Eve said as she sidled over to Alan and lightly placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Oh do I now?” replied the White Queen, a dangerous look appearing in her eyes. Alan was getting the idea these two women were not exactly the best of friends.

“With no disrespect, Alan here is not intended for what you are assuming,” replied Eve.

“You mean he is not here for our entertainment facilities?” inquired Courtney, her interest suddenly increased.

Alan felt Eve tense as she stepped partially in front of Alan. “That is exactly what I mean Courtney”. Her whole deferential demeanor toward the white clad woman had swiftly changed to a more challenging one. The drop of the honorific was not lost on Courtney either. “Alan is Sebastian’s new toy and you are not to play with it,” she practically spat at her.

Courtney’s fake pleasant demeanor dropped into a mask of loathing before she gained control of herself once more. Her eyes still contained a malicious look though. “We shall see” was all she said back.

“I’m sorry ladies but don’t I get a say in this,” He immediately stepped back as the two women spun and glared at him. He decided it would be better to shut up. Getting between these two would be a decidedly stupid move. He also decided that when the timing was better he would ask Eve what exactly meant by being Sebastian’s toy. That and the business with the cowboy outfit.

“Now if you will excuse us, Alan must be shown to his apartments, he will be residing here for the foreseeable future,” said Eve.

“Of course,” replied Courtney, her face showing nothing but pleasantness now. She walked past them and paused as she came alongside Alan. Leaning in she whispered into his ear. “Until we meet again Alan. Oh and uh, by the way, what the White Queen wants, the White Queen gets!” She stalked out of the room leaving Eve and Alan alone.

“Umm…” began Alan as he turned to face Eve.

“Please,” Eve stopped him, raising her fingertips to his lips. “Questions later, for now I advise you to avoid that woman and forget this ugly scene. Let us just concentrate on showing you just how much of a good time you can have here.”

————— Two Hours Later —————

“Now let’s recap shall we,” said Eve as she and Alan came into the main entrance hall. He had been led for the last two hours around the gigantic mansion that was the New York Hellfire Club. He had been led through opulent room after opulent room. He had been shown the spa and swimming facilities. The full gym and luxurious apartments that were to be his. He had also found out that he would be sharing his apartments with others but he did not mind. The rooms he was shown were huge and there was plenty of space so he would not feel crowded by whoever ended up living with him. He had also been shown the area being converted into the lab where, he was told, he would be allowed to continue his own work. The lab was everything he could have ever wanted and Eve had said if he needed anything else he had only to ask. He had been astounded.

“You are allowed access to all the areas I have personally shown you today. You are under no circumstances to enter the business areas we passed earlier unless expressly invited. You are forbidden to use the elevators on the fourth floor near the eastern wing and the western end of the sixth floor is off limits as well. Apart from that make yourself at home,” said Eve.

“Thanks,” Alan said somewhat daunted by the list of places he should not go too. He felt like a new student in Harry Potter. Now all he had to do was get his new found ‘magic’ under control and figure out what the hell he was supposed to be involved with here.

“You’re welcome,” smiled Eve, “And now here,” she continued pointing to the only door left that that they hadn’t been through “is the entrance to our Gentlemen’s Club, we entertain many of our important male clients here and if you please you have been granted full membership. Few women are allowed access and fortunately I am one, so let’s get the last part of this tour over with”. Gesturing him to follow her with one finger she walked off, her hips swaying hypnotically as she went.

As the doors swung open he was again led into a room of wealthy grandeur. Leather armchairs, red velvet drapes, wooden floors, expensive artwork, the works. A few men were sitting at a table discussing something or other. As Eve walked by they all looked up and stared. She ignored them and strode by to another set of oak doors. As she pushed them open he was greeted with a sight that he would never have thought to seen in this place.

Blue and red lights cast a soft glow around what at first glance looked like a night club. Sets of booths were occupied with men in business suits and a DJ was playing soft jazz from a booth set into the far wall. On the other side of the room from the booths, were metallic tables surrounded by low bar stools. These in turn were in front of a raised platform, lined with brighter yellow-white lights aimed toward a metal pole that rose from the podium to meet the ceiling of the bar. A fully loaded bar was nearby. Alan realized he had walked into a strip club. This place just keeps getting better and better, he thought.

The music suddenly changed beat, becoming faster, more rhythmic. A set of beaded curtains parted at the back of the podium and a stunning woman in a white and blue camisole walked out toward the pole. She began to sway to the music sending enticing looks at the clients stationed around the bar and the seats near the stage. She span around the pole once before reaching up and releasing the ties that bound her platinum bound hair into a tight bun. The locks cascaded around her face as she performed a set of moves that would have shamed the talent of a professional ballerina. Alan stood completely mesmerized. In the last few hours he had met more attractive women than he had in his whole academic career. Go figure he thought!

As the woman continued her routine she noticed Alan standing with his mouth hanging open. She smiled in his direction and that seemed to bring him down to reality. She looked on amused as he blushed and tried not to look at her anymore. Moving toward him she crouched at the edge of the podium and beckoned him over. Shuffling his feet he followed her silent instruction. She held him underneath the chin and lifted his head up so his eyes met hers. “You look nice, how about a private dance big boy?” she said, her voice sounding like honey.

Eve smirked and removed the stripper’s hand from Alan’s face. “Alan meet December, one of our more, shall we say, successful girls. December this is Alan Tremaine. And if he wishes a private dance it shall have to wait till later, we still have business to wrap up. Come along Alan.” Eve took him by the hand and led him away toward the entrance doors they had come through earlier.

As he left Alan looked over his shoulder. The woman called December was standing waving and smiling at him as he left. This place is like some kind of heaven he thought. I’ll never get any science done here at this rate.

Once they were again in the entrance hall Eve turned to him and smiled. “Okay Alan, that’s it, tour’s over. What you wish to do with the rest of the day is completely up to you. At the moment nothing is required of you but I’ll come see you tomorrow some time. Promise!”

“Wait!” he called as she turned to leave, “What will I need to do, you still have not told me what services I may be required to do. Who was that woman in white earlier? Who is Sebastian? Eve I still have a lot of questions!” he complained.

“All in good time my dear, but for now my other duties are demanding my attention. You will have to be patient,” she replied. Something in her voice told Alan he should not push the subject further. God, what had he gotten himself into.

“Fine, I’ll see you tomorrow then” he said a trace of his sulky demeanor creeping into his voice. He turned and walked off in the direction of the elevators. Eve watched until he was out of site. That young man was proving to be very interesting she mused. He had been in the headquarters a mere two or three hours and already was embroiled within the Hellfire Club’s machinations and intrigues. The funny part was he wasn’t even aware of it. Eve mentally noted to keep an eye on Courtney Ross though, she may try to stir things up but as long as she had Sebastian’s backing she feared no reprimand. She reached in and pulled out a sheet of parchment with a list of names on it. She delicately scored out Alan Tremaine’s name and looked at the next one on the list Sebastian had compiled. Raising an eyebrow in surprise she murmured “Well, well, well!”.