Clara landed on the fire escape, folding in one wing while positioning the other over her head to get a good rain-free view of what was going on inside the unit. Elizabeth could have been asleep, but Clara suspected otherwise. Sure enough, Elizabeth was up, pacing back and forth while looking at her phone. At what precisely, she did not know, but Clara assumed it was related to what unfolded earlier in the day.
She observed for a few moments, looking out for nervous tics or any other signs that would hint at her being compromised. So far there were none. Her heart rate remained steady and, while elevated, it was natural for someone who was anxious or under duress.
Clara sighed, took a deep breath, and knocked on the window. It was time to see if her welcome was worn out; one way or the other, there were things she needed to get off her chest.
Elizabeth was clearly nervous. Learning about the existence of vampires, tended to make people skittish. The amazon turned around so fast that it nearly startled Clara, and the fact she was armed filled her with a sense of pride. Guns were not effective against all foes, but at least Elizabeth was taking her well-being seriously.
Clara remained in place—visible, smiling and most importantly non-threatening. This seemed like the best approach, and she wanted to avoid Elizabeth feeling threatened. Shoot first and ask questions later tended to be the mantra for anyone in Elizabeth’s state of mind.
Elizabeth recognised who was at the window, exhaled in relief, and ran over to unlatch the casement. Clara did the rest, lifting the pane from out of its seat despite the wood swelling from exposure.
“Where were you?” Elizabeth raced through the question.
Her eyes were wild, running over every detail of the scene. It had the potential to develop into a thousand mile stare, something that Clara had seen hundreds of times before. She prayed that her friend would be spared.
Clara did not immediately answer. Instead, she folded her remaining wing, hunched down, and stepped into the apartment. On the counter was the amphora, and Clara buried her desire to indulge in the sweet nectar. She may be a goddess or demi-goddess, but there could be side effects to prolonged use.
“How did you manage to find that?” Clara asked.
Elizabeth grunted and narrowed her eyes while saying, “Quit avoiding my question! Now where were you?”
Clara shrugged but did not smirk since the latter was too dismissive. Elizabeth was not happy, and Clara would need to smooth things over before getting any answers.
“I was captured. I then woke up in a secret interrogation room located in one of the city’s morgues,” Clara replied, having no clue if there were multiple morgues in the city.
“How did you get out?” Elizabeth asked, alarmed.
That question indicated that Elizabeth had followed the instructions to the letter. Hence, she ran off before the troops swarmed their position and captured her. Not knowing what happened easily explained her state of heightened anxiety.
Clara delved into the situation: the rapid progression of the interrogation, the ghoul, and how she broke free. She also described the brief interaction with Jane and detailed her escape.
Elizabeth listened intently, her eyes focused more on Clara as she calmed down. While news of a shadow group upset her, being in proximity to her guardian angel did much to smooth things over. That worried Clara, since it would make what she had to say a challenge.
“I managed to circle back to the dumpsters through the building,” Elizabeth said once satisfied with Clara’s response. “The cops were not interested in the alley. They were focused on what that red-head unleashed.”
“One hell of a distraction she put on,” Clara said with a grin.
Elizabeth chuckled nervously. It was clear that these particular memories left her feeling uneasy.
“Can anyone from your order even define the word subtle?” Elizabeth asked.
Clara broke out in laughter, saying, “Most can, but I was always the bull in a China shop.”
“You know they busted that?” Elizabeth asked. “Bulls run around the shelves, showing more grace than some dancers.”
“Really?” Clara said. “I really need to get started learning all of this trivia and slang.”
Despite the banter, Clara was acutely aware that Elizabeth was distracted by her chest. The white blouse was sticking to her clammy flesh and showed the perfect outline of her breasts. Fortunately, the bra provided enough padding to conceal her hardened nipples. After all, it was cold out there in the rain.
“I need a—” Clara said.
“You need a change of clothes,” Elizabeth said concurrently.
“That would be lovely,” Clara said with a smile.
Her eyes avoided the other’s outfit, or lack thereof. Elizabeth wore a bathrobe, and the longer she stood there without adjusting, the more her cleavage showed. Clara knew why she had these feelings. Unfortunately, that did not make this any easier to deal with.
“Head into the bathroom, take a warm shower, and dry off,” Elizabeth said. “I’ll find you something to wear.”
With that, Elizabeth made things easier for the both of them. She left Clara alone in the living room. She lingered long enough to shake any cobwebs loose from her mind before moving on to the next step.
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!
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