"Look," the young woman was saying, one of the agents—Claudia, Kevin remembered, "I'm really sorry about how things turned out with your fiance and everything."
She did sound genuinely sorry, Kevin thought, even if it was somewhere on the magnitude of "oops I scratched your car".
"Uh, don't be." He said, still a little dazed by the whole thing. "I thought she could handle knowing the truth."
And, okay, in hindsight he had to admit to himself that had been a little naive. From the face she pulled, she obviously thought so too.
"Just a newsflash," Claudia offered, in a tone he thought was meant to be helpful, "but as excusing affairs go, being possessed by Oscar Wilde's tie pin isn't a truth a lot of people can handle."
"There was no affair—" He defended with a startled sputter.
"Not for lack of trying," Claudia interrupted, the corners of her mouth turning up a bit. "And trying. And trying... Really, I think Jinks and Micah were kind of flattered. And there's no way I'm letting Pete for get it any time soon."
"Oh," She added with a cheeky grin, "and that part where you kissed your partner? I'm not forgetting that one any time soon, either."
"Jesus," Kevin breathed. He felt like his face had caught fire. "I'm so embarrassed."
"Don't be," Claudia said, sympathetically. "Artifacts are powerful things. You wouldn't believe the kinds of things we've ended up regretting under their influence."
That did make him feel a little better, strangely enough. The whole thing was just so bizarre, though. Still, as difficult as it was to swallow, at least Javier and the others believed it. Thank God. He didn't think he could ever have faced them again...
Kevin frowned suddenly, his mind focusing on a single detail incongruous with the rest of the impossible incident.
"So, do these Artifacts usually only affect one person?" He asked.
He hadn't been sure he'd get an answer, given the top-secret nature of the Warehouse, but Claudia had been the one to bring up her team and their past experiences.
"Some can effect large groups of people, but this one only effects the wearer." She said, expression turning curious at the question. "Why?"
"So, then..." Kevin began cautiously, mouth dry as a sudden spark of hope ignited in his chest. "If my partner was kissing back...?"