"So what can you do?" the older man asked her with a slightly perplexed look.

"What do you mean?" she asked equally perplexed as she continued washing the dishes while he helped dry them.

"Your mutation…I've been observing but am unsure. Are you like Charles, able to read someone else's mind?"

He looked at her quizzically and when she met his eyes, she felt herself blushing at the attention. Objectively he was good looking when one ignores the coldness in his eyes, but she personally felt slight aversion to him because of his caustic remarks which he directed at nearly all of them.

"Just because I have two gifted siblings, notwithstanding that one of them is adopted, does not make me the same as them. And if I was also a telepath, I would have understood your question to begin with."

"You're human then."

"Does that disgust you?" she asked coolly, without mincing her words.

She was tired of being polite and playing chambermaid to the new people living in her house, especially to this particular fellow who looked like he was angry with the world nearly every single day. Charles was better with people than she was, he had more patience and his new friends liked and trusted him. Even Raven could be charming. To them, she was only his and Raven's sister who was helping out with the settling in to their new home. He made it clear to the newcomers that she would not be joining in any team building training or exercises but without saying anything else about her "normalcy". She knew why he had omitted that, he did not want to alarm the more self-conscious ones that she was human after all.

She was also slightly annoyed at how he had invited a whole group of strangers to their house without consulting her beforehand. He simply contacted her two days earlier and told her that they would be living with them for an indefinite duration. She remembered conversing with him via his telepathic link, protesting at how she did not know them and it was not his sole decision to make. He told her to stop acting like a spoilt princess and to be gracious and offer their mansion which was too big for just the three of them to the homeless and needy. Raven was also dragged into the link and had to stop them from bickering any further by saying that the strangers were nice and vouching for them personally. She could never say no to Raven, who had always been a better older sibling than Charles, and so she relented and said she would help out. Charles later took advantage of that, she thought. They had previously hired housekeepers to clean up the house every week but Charles had to let them go because of the newcomers and keep only a few to arrive once a fortnight so that he could control their memories and ensure that the newcomers' abilities were not divulged to the outside world. All this meant that she was the defacto housemaid given that the rest had to train to prepare for an attack on the bad guys.

She was still lost in her thoughts when she noticed the awkward silence between herself and Erik. She looked at him and he appeared to be trying his best to comprehend what she had just told him and to think of an appropriate response. It did not take a telepath to figure out that he was wary and possibly not fond of humans.

"You know, you really don't have to reply to my last question. It was rhetorical. We don't even have to like each other. We only need to get along sufficiently so Charles will not be unhappy."

He actually chuckled a little at her last remark before saying, "Maybe that's your ability, being able to have a response to everything."

"Looks like you can add that to your gifts as well." She retorted with a smirk, and feeling strangely more at ease with him. The guy actually had a sense of humour, she thought.