Since waking up hopeful and alive, moving out of that rundown shack, and leaving her abuser behind, an act totally unthinkable a month ago, Marie's life doesn't feel like her own anymore. She tingles on every level. Goodness knows what's gotten into her? She has never felt such resolve. It's like she's possessed: a new job, new clothes, new friends from work asking her out for drinks, and a warm feeling inside like her fairy godmother finally found her.

At the bar, having a cocktail with officemates, talking, joking, and forgetting her past, the girls, using side glances, alert Marie to a guy checking her out. Marie is flattered, gains status, suddenly confident, and not unattracted to the neatly dressed, well groomed man. A tinge of caution wells up but is just as quickly smoothed over. Part of her wants to run away but her new self keeps her firmly in place. "I'm going to meet him," she knows.

He approaches and begins to speak to her in melodious tones, touching her forearm lightly with one finger, and all she can hear is music. He sounds wonderful, she feels warm, open... She is nodding her head but inside her, unable to decipher the musical language, Gyre dissociates. Alpha is scrambling her senses, hypnotizing her, sorting her thoughts, testing her for fitness, his presence already inside her is cleaning the aura and drawing her away. Gyre tries to follow Marie along the narrow fiber toward Alpha but won't fit. A filter? Gyre flinches. A shadow flickers behind Marie's eyes and the man notices, tilts his head, attempts to sting Gyre, breaks the connection, and walks away.

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