Eden stumbled rather clumsily into her apartment that night. Her head pounded and swarmed with questions as she tried to register everything that had happened in the last twenty-four hours.
She walked into her kitchen and put the kettle on the stove.
Slipping off her shoes and peeling off her dress and tights, she pulled out the small slip of paper Malcolm had given her.
The encounter with the crows at lunch had shaken her and in response Malcolm had given Eden his personal cell number. Insisting she call him if anything was amiss.
The kettle began to scream.
Eden exhaled and placed the paper on the counter.
She turned the stove off and poured the steaming water into a nearby mug with a tea bag.
Eden picked up her discarded clothes and carried them to the laundry room. She then grabbed a clean white button down shirt and draped it around her.
Her cheeks burned when she realized it was the shirt Malcolm had given her.
An ear shattering crash sounded from her bedroom.
Eden shrieked in surprise. The apartment was suddenly silent.
A chill slipped down Eden’s spine and simmered in her stomach.
She took a shaky breath and slowly walked toward her bedroom. Her hands trembled and her heartbeat sounded like thunder in her ears.
Turning the door handle she looked inside.
Shattered Glass from a nearby window was scattered across the floor. Moonlight reflecting off of the broken pieces.
Eden looked around for a brick or a rock. Something to indicate the cause.
A chilly breeze drifted in from the now hallowed window frame. The curtains fluttered upward and whipped around.
Her heart stopped.
She lost all feeling in her fingers and felt as if she were going to be ill.
A long dark feather rested against the ground among the pieces.
She looked around again. Her eyes adjusting to the dark and saw that there were as many feathers as there were pieces of glass. The dim light of the moon cast over them.
Eden felt adrenaline replace the blood in her veins as she ran into the kitchen and grabbed her phone.
Her entire body shook as she typed in a phone number.
The phone rang once.
Her heart continued to beat wildly.
The phone rang twice.
Eden suddenly had a flash of reality. How stupid could she be? This was not something to bother anyone about. It was just a feather. It could have been from anything.
She quickly hung up.
Her ears picked up the noise of harsh wind whipping through the room.
A tear trickled down her cheek.
Now where felt safe to her. Everywhere she went she could feel something watching her. Whether it was all in her head or not the feeling of dread and the torment caused was real.
Eden backed up against the wall and slumped to the ground. She held her knees to her chest and felt her head spin.
“It’s not real,” she whispered.
She closed her eyes.
When her eyes opened she realized she had slumped to the ground. She was laying on her side with one arm tucked beneath her head.
Someone was touching her cheek.
Her eyes fluttered upward and she saw Malcolm.
It was still dark outside. Well into the night by now.
“What happened? Are you hurt? Why did you call and then hang up?”
Malcolm placed one hand under Eden’s head and the other against her back as he lifted her up and into his arms.
Her head rested against his chest, and she noted the fast pace of his heartbeat.
“I-I the glass in my room... the window broke.”
Eden’s cheeks flushed as she realized how irrational she was being. She made Malcolm worried all for nothing. She made him come all the way out to her apartment over a damn broken window.
“Are you alright?” He asked, pulling away slightly and cupping her face in his hands.
“Yes. I’m fine,” she whispered. His green eyes were swimming with concern and it made her almost melt into him.
“I don’t understand why you seem so upset. Really I’m okay.”
He almost glared at her.
“Forgive me but when I saw a trail of bloody foot prints leading to your unconscious body I was more than a bit alarmed.”
Eden’s brow furrowed.
“Bloody footprints?” She murmured.
She lifted her gaze and saw crimson splotches of blood trailing across her kitchen floor.
Malcolm adjusted his hold on her and gently examined the soles of her feet.
Her feet were covered and blood and little shards of glass were still stuck in her flesh.
She began to hyperventilate.
“My feet-I didn’t know I had-”
Malcolm turned her face so she looked at him instead.
“You must have been in shock. Do not worry. The lacerations are not too ghastly. You will be fine I promise.”
“Oh my god I’m bleeding everywhere! I can’t even feel my feet, Malcolm-”
He gently pressed his lips against hers.
“Shhh everything is going to be fine, Eden. I am going to take care of you. Alright?”
He whispered the words against her cheek. Stroking her hair as he did so.
Eden hiccuped. Her eyes wide.
“Okay,” she whispered.
“The window broke and what else happened?” He asked, brushing back a dark strand of hair from her face.
Her lips parted.
“There wasn’t a stone or a brick of any sort left behind. Just...feathers,” she replied. She wanted to roll her eyes at how idiotic she sounded.
Malcolm’s gaze hardened.
“What color feathers?”
The entire apartment was chilly from the airflow.
“Black,” she breathed.
His brow furrowed, and he laced an arm beneath her legs. Hoisting her up into his embrace as he rose to his feet.
“I am going to go investigate the scene. I don’t want to leave you here alone. Will you be alright seeing it again?”
Eden nodded and leaned into his chest. Now that he was here she didn’t understand why she had been so frightened in the first place.
He walked across the kitchen, evading the bloodied footsteps and shards of glass she had trailed from her room.
Malcolm nudged the door open wider with his foot. A cold gush of wind raced over her. She shivered.
He looked down at the floor. Analyzing the entire room under a hard set stare.
His eyes drifted to the feathers. Still lying on the ground beneath the glass shards. He walked across the room to Eden’s bed. The glass crunching under his shoes. He set her down on the bed before backing away and picking up a small metal cylinder.
Malcolm twirled it in between his fingers. Studying it.
“This is a bullet,” he muttered gravely.
He then shifted his gaze to the large window. Now completely void of any protection from the outside.
Walking over, he peered down.
“I’m on the fourth story. How could someone of caused this?” Eden asked timidly.
“I do not know,” he muttered in reply, looking back at the feather in his hand.
“You cannot stay here.”
Eden’s eyes widened.
“I don’t have anywhere else, I have to.”
Malcolm’s fiery green eyes snapped to hers.
“I am not trying to scare you, but I am not going to lie to you either, Eden.”
Eden stopped breathing.
“Someone is trying to harm you, and I am not going to stand by and just let you get hurt. Do you understand?”
She bunched the blankets beneath her in her fists. Fear still surging through her.
“Do you understand?” He repeated.
“Yes,” she whispered.
“I won’t be able to work,” she added softly. Glancing at her bloodied and battered feet.
“Yes and you will not be attempting to either.”
Malcolm suddenly stilled. Cocked his head to the side.
“Is that my shirt?”
Eden’s eyes grew to the size of saucers, and she quickly looked away in embarrassment.
“Goddess above,” he purred in approval.
Eden slowly looked up at him.
“You will be staying with me until we get this figured out.”
She began to stammer.
“No no that’s fine really, I can stay with my sister until my feet are healed-”
Her brow furrowed. She folded her arms across her chest.
“You’re forcing me to stay with you.”
Malcolm stalked toward the bed and placed a hand on the mattress on either side of her, caging her in.
“Your life is at stake here. I am not going to let social formalities and inconvenient accommodations get in the way of your safety.”
Eden suddenly realized the gravity of the situation.
“If you were in this room you could have been shot and killed,” he pressed. His thick brows knit tightly together in concern.
Someone could be trying to kill her. And they knew where she lived.
“They don’t know where Genevieve lives,” she argued.
“They found you once they can do it again. You would be placing a target on your sister as well.”
Eden’s thoughts drifted to her beloved sister and darling nephew. She would never forgive herself if even a shred of harm came to them because of her.
“Alright,” she sighed. Finally giving in.
“Is there anything you want to take with you?”
Eden shifted to get off the bed.
Malcolm sent her a death glare. Menacing enough to stop her movement completely.
“You are not to walk. I can grab anything you need for you just tell me what to get.”
“There’s an empty duffle in the closet.”
Malcolm nodded and opened the closet door. Finding the item and unzipping it.
“Could you just grab some uh tops and pants and what not.”
Malcolm took several items of clothing off the hangers and folded them neatly before placing them inside the bag.
“Am I correct in assuming you will be in need of socks and undergarments?”
A blush fanned across Eden’s cheeks as she awkwardly cleared her throat and nodded.
Malcolm looked at her expectantly.
“Top drawer to your left,” She said quietly. Hoping he maybe wouldn’t of heard her.
He swiftly grabbed pairs of socks along with bras and underwear placing them into the bag.
Eden had to hide her face in her hands.
“What is it with you and being so immensely shy about your underwear?” He teased. A small smirk playing on his lips.
“Ugh you’re such a perv,” she huffed.
“No. A pervert would have teased you about the transparency of the shirt you are wearing,” he argued. A positively smug expression on his face as he blatantly eyed her.
Eden gasped and threw a pillow at him whilst grabbing another to cover herself with.
“You are unbelievably annoying,” she growled.
Malcolm winked at her as he easily caught the pillow.
“It’s not as if I go to bed in a winter coat and pants.”
“I am not complaining, Miss Glace. Only appreciating.”
Her mouth gaped in utter frustration.
“Do you need any toiletries?”
Eden nodded and pointed to the bathroom across the hallway. Still fuming at his immature behavior.
“Just grab the big black bag. Everything is in there.”
“Oh and my toothbrush,” she added as he left to go get the items.
Once she had everything she needed he zipped the duffle bag up and threw it over his shoulder.
He walked toward her. Arms already extending and ready to carry her.
“Could I change my shirt and maybe put some pants on before we leave?”
Malcolm’s eyes glinted.
He placed his fingers against the collar of the white shirt. He then trailed his hand downward. His fingers gently grazing against her all the way down to her belly.
She gasped. Her body humming to life just from the one simple touch.
“I rather like you in my shirt,” he whispered hotly into her ear.
Eden’s eyes closed, and she tilted her head back. Her lips parting.
“I wonder how much you’d like me with it off,” she asked suggestively.
Malcolm’s eyes seemed to practically glow in the dark. Eden nearly gasped at the primal look that shadowed his face.
“I’d tear off every article of clothing you are wearing. And then I would show you exactly how much.”
Eden was rendered completely speechless.
“Thank your lucky stars that we are in a situation that requires evacuating the area,” he whispered against her ear.
“Or you would not be able to walk for days. And it wouldn’t be because of your feet.”
Before Eden could utter a single syllable Malcolm scooped her up into his arms and carried her out of her room and out of the apartment.