Maia succeeded in avoiding Tony Stark for the first day as she unpacked the few things she had taken with her, mainly clothes, books, and all the other essentials, using the in-house cafeteria for dinner, although her temporary accommodation had every facility it was quite basic and she would need to do a big grocery shop to fill her shelves. Consisting of a kitchenette and living area that any realtor would describe as “cosy”, a bathroom and bedroom, it was adequate, she guessed, but any more than four people in the living area and it would be cramped. Luckily the only person she knew was Stark and she was in no hurry to invite him over.
In the evening an in-house courier brought her a sealed envelope asking her to be on the twentieth floor, conference room B, at nine tomorrow morning for briefing. No other information whatsoever. That was fine, she understood the need for security, and perhaps it was better she not know who her assignment was before they met so she had no preconceptions.
That night she showered and hung her favourite shirt and skirt suit on the front of the wardrobe and went for an early night so she would be fresh.
Clipping her ID badge to her suit jacket and smoothing first her mint green blouse then flared grey skirt, she checked her reflection as best she could in the small space between the bed and mirrored wardrobe. Her make up was subtle and brought out her blue eyes, her hair in a loose ponytail, curling down her back. She wanted to make a good impression, not knowing who she was meeting with, and she decided to take a small shoulder bag containing her wallet, lipstick, notepad and pens, because you never knew, and she left for the meeting.
Maia was fifteen minutes early so she was surprised to find two people already waiting. The first was a tall, pretty brunette woman by the name of Maria Hill who shook her hand, saying she would be leading the meeting, and, low and behold, Tony Stark. She tried to hide her annoyance as he grinned at her from the large conference table.
‘Good to see you again, Secret Squirrel.’ He nodded to her as Hill offered her a seat.
‘And you, Mr Stark.’ She smiled politely.
‘Tony, remember?’ He had told her, several times, to address him thus, but she refused; firstly because she felt she didn’t know him well enough and secondly because it was the only way she could truly bug him back, besides not showing him her powers. Speaking of which, Tony sat forward in his chair and leaned on the table with his forearms. ‘Did you reconsider my offer?’
‘Offer?’ Hill asked in puzzlement.
‘Private deal. Just me and her. C’mon. Five hundred thousand dollars is nothing to be sneezed at.’
‘All the same, Mr Stark,’ she smiled, ‘I’ll pass, thank you.’
‘Tony.’ He said again. ‘A million?’
Maia laughed at his persistence, she had to admire him for that. 'Sorry, still no.'
'Your loss, Squirrel.' He shrugged.
'Can we?' Hill patted the Manila folder in front of her in frustration so Tony waved his hand towards her by way of permission and Maia could all but hear Hill's eyes roll in their sockets. 'Ms Tomson, thank you for agreeing to this assignment. Professor Xavier assured us if anyone matched our criteria, it's you.'
'Thank you, Miss Hill.' Maia smiled, trying to ignore Stark as he moved his seat closer to hers. 'I have to take your word for it, as I don't know anything about the assignment other than it's to help a new agent.'
'You're right, and yet you're not, at the same time.' Hill folded her hands in front of her. 'You're to help a new agent to adjust to New York and his new position, but he is a special case. Professor Xavier was sure you would understand his situation better than any of the other agents we've tried to assign him. He's not the easiest of people to get on with.'
'I'll do my best.' Maia frowned slightly, trusting Charles' judgement but curious all the same.
'All the details are here, but...' she was interrupted by a knock at the door. 'This should be him now. Come in!'
The door opened and a male agent walked in, taking a stance to one side, but it was the man who followed him who took Maia's breath away.
Tall and regal with slicked back black hair that brushed the collar of his black designer suit, matching black shirt and tie, his face handsome with high cheekbones and a smooth jaw. Maia could hardly breath as he turned his green eyes on her. Her charge was Loki, Prince of Asgard.
For anyone wondering, Maia's last name is indeed a tribute to the incredibly handsome yet apologetic Tom Hiddleston, without whom I don't believe Loki would have been half as popular! Eheheheh!