"I guess I should have known better …" and he grins at the almost imperceptible nod of her head, "… she was still fast asleep and quite safe, but by then my visitor had disappeared, leaving me with nothing more than the fleeting impression I'd gained in my office"
"Pretty good fleeting impression" she mumbles thinking of the artist sketch on the easel.
He grins but continues "Anyway, the next day I suddenly had my new character ..." and that does get her startled eyes staring at him in shock, and again he's aware of that extraordinary mix of green and hazel which seems to alter with her mood and the light. Its several moments before he realises he hasn't spoken, so with a lick of suddenly dry lips he continues "I sat down that afternoon and well into the early hours and I found I had the most extraordinary character on my pages, with so much potential …" he sighed "… but I needed more, I needed to understand my heroine, understand her motives, give her depth and meaning that would make her seem as incredible to my readers as she'd appeared even in that fleeting instance to me"
She's almost got the T-shirt in tatters by now, though luckily the material is still holding up to the twisting her fingers are applying. Every time she looks up in astonishment at his words his blue eyes drag her deeper into his fantasy and she finds it more and more difficult to maintain the fact that he's crazy, uppermost in her mind.
"So, I used my fantastic detection skills and contacts I have in the NYPD to track you down …" this time when she looks up at him there's a mix of fear and incredulity in her face, so he rather sheepishly admits "… well, in actual fact my mother recognised you from the sketch in my office, after that it wasn't difficult"
She now has enough information to build a picture in her mind of how he'd ended up being where he was last night, though there are still plenty of lagoons which she needs filled in. But right now there are other matters on her mind, thoughts tumbling around in her head and she's not sure she'll be able to get them all out.
"What makes you think I'm interesting … and heroine … what type of heroine?" and she's almost face slapping herself for that last bit. Really Kate, he spews out the most …. most …. outlandish crap and the only thing you hang on to are the interesting and heroine bits!
"Yes you're interesting, under normal circumstances, you should not be here. Most smart, good-looking women become lawyers, or doctors or … or designers, not cat-burglars, you're not Bridge and Tunnel, no trace of the boroughs when you talk, so that means Manhattan. That means money. You went to college … probably a pretty good one ... you had options … yeah, you had lots of options … better options …. more socially acceptable options. And you still chose this. That tells me something happened. Something that made you choose this way of life … and I'm curious … just what made you go the route you have?"
She's abruptly on her feet almost knocking the cup off the table, she needs space, needs to move, she takes several nervous steps towards the window, looks out, lets her hand twitch nervously at the curtain, then she's turned again, is straightening the picture on the wall, though it's perfectly straight already … abruptly she's dropping her hands, maybe he'll think she's trying to steal it … another few steps and she's staring at the contents of the bookshelves, running her fingers down the spines, allowing the leather to calm her down. Suddenly his hand is round her wrist, not hard, not frighteningly so, but gentle, calming, and then he's slowly pulling her back to the couch.
She stands there for a moment, staring at the spot she vacated so abruptly a few minutes earlier. She sits herself down, pulls her legs up and wraps her arms round her knees, fingers fidgeting with the cloth of her … his sweatpants. She stares off into the middle distance, allowing her mind to travel into the dark areas that hurt her so much, debating how much she should tell him. She no longer even remembers her earlier decision to give nothing away, he's already peeled her outer protective layer away, got into her mind somehow and now she's thinking of herself and not him, how much is she willing to reveal rather than how much can she hide.
"My mom was killed during my first year at Stanford, I was going to be a lawyer like her and my Dad, well, I was going to be better actually, first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court" she pauses giving a wry smile "we were supposed to go to dinner, my mom, my dad and I, and she was going to meet us at the restaurant but she never showed. Two hours later we went home and there was a detective waiting for us. Detective Raglin. They found her body. She had been stabbed."
"No. She still had her money and purse and jewellery. And it wasn't a sexual assault either. They attributed it to gang violence. Random wayward event. So, they just tried to package it up nicely and the killer was never caught."
She pauses, running her hands through her hair and looks at him, expecting derision at best, pity at worst, but she's surprised. There's anger and outrage and concern and for a moment she wonders which of those is aimed at her story and which at her. She looks away, at the cup on the table at the shadows tripping across the floor, at her fingers ... then his hand appears before her, settles on her knee and gives a gentle squeeze and she's not sure why, why it should be so, but it's comforting and so she settles back against the couch, takes a deep breath and continues.
"My father started drinking and I couldn't go back to Stanford, not with him like that and no closure to my mother's case. I spent every day pestering the police, talking with legal aid, putting what little knowledge I had of law into trying to get the case reopened, I used what little money I had to pay for information. Two years of scrimping and saving and chasing shadows. Eventually I had to give up, get a job and try to live day to day, put it all behind me and just become a survivor"