The shock knocked every wisp of air from her lungs. The color drained from her face and eyes widened in pure terror. Her mind was wiped of any thoughts as she duly followed the movements of stalling car.
It stopped mere inches from her, so close she could particularly feel the vibrations of engine. Her legs shook, knees threatening to buckle. Catherine lied her arms flat on the hood of the car for support. It was the only thing that kept her from collapsing onto the asphalted road. Her whole form begun to shake as her mind processed what fate she had narrowly avoided thanks to dumb luck.
Her stare flickered upwards, meeting eyes so icy they could impale you just by single glance. There was no warmth in them only coldness. For a moment she found herself astonished by the two unblinking orbs.
The man who sat in driver’s seat looked like someone out of a movie, but instead of a million dollar smile his lips were pulled in thin line and his square jaw was clenched. Two, perfectly shaped, black eyebrows that matched the color of his well combed hair were arched in a deep frown, creating lines on his forehead. He didn’t look older than thirty, but was clearly not her age.
The man shifted in his seat, his hand slipping off the steering wheel onto the handle of door. Catherine followed his every move as he got out from the fancy car. With two wide steps he was already standing short distance away from her, looking at her from above. Literally. He was about six and something feet tall, give or take few inches. With her shorter form she had to tilt her head up to look at his face.
“Luckily for you my car isn’t damaged. I could overlook this.”
Catherine’s jaw dropped open at his arrogant tone of voice. He didn’t even bother to look at her for long, being more concerned about his car than a person he almost ran over!
“You son of a-I nearly saw my dead grandmother! But all you care about is some piece of metal!?” She snapped, straightening her form and folding her hands across her chest. Her fiery temper spiked up like wildfire and her mouth move on it’s own, spitting out the first knee-jerk response that sprung to mind.
Briefly surprise flashed across his features before it was quickly replaced by a somewhat sly and evil look. “It’s your fault for not watching where you go. It wasn’t me who crossed the street under the red light.” He told her calmly, almost like he was scolding a child.
“What! Well, excuse me! I wasn’t the maniac who crossed all the possible speed limits!” Catherine yelled, drawing even more attention to them. A small crowd was beginning to form to watch the two argue whilst still standing in middle of the road.
“Do you expect me to apologize for your stupidity?” His eyes seemed to darken making him appear even more intimidating.
“An apology won’t fill my stomach. I want you to pay me for emotional distress you caused.” She said confidently, refusing to give up just because of a scary man in a suit thought he was a God.
A deep chuckle rumbled through his chest, not quite making it to his eyes.The man took a step closer, invading her private space. Catherine obdurately fought against the urge to take a step back. Every fiber in her body screamed for her to turn around and run, but she was stuck gazing up at the gorgeous man who was now so close that she could feel the heat from his body and smell his cologne.
“Listen carefully, little girl. Your word against mine means nothing. You should be thanking me for letting you off the hook this easily. Try to gain anything from this and you’ll regret it. Take my words for granted.” His voice sent uncomfortable shivers down her spine and made the little hair on back of her neck stand. There was something unsettling about the way he threatened her while being calm and collected.
Catherine opened and closed her mouth like a mute fish. Screws in her head gritted against each other, trying to figure a good comeback. But her mind was empty.
His lips that were pulled in thin line parted slightly, letting a throatily humph escape. “Pathetic...” He murmured, giving her one last aggravated look before turning his back to her and making his way to the car.
She was left stunned. Did he just call her pathetic!?
“Hey! I’m not done talking to you, jerk!” Catherine yelled, rage radiating off of her in waves.
The man ignored her, not even sparing a second to look at her. That was the last drop in the already brimming glass. Before her mind could register what she was doing, Catherine marched towards him, her nimble fingers itching to do the deed. Her eyes were fixed on outline of a wallet in his pocket and she couldn’t resist the urge.
‘I’m only taking the compensation for the distress...It couldn’t even be called stealing.’
Just as the man was about to get in his fancy car she darted past him, pickpocketing him before anyone could bat an eye. She could feel the lightweight of money and smooth leather under her fingers as she disappeared into the crowd, once again letting her feet carry her past the high-rise buildings and grey masses of human population.
Catherine ran down several blocks, keeping up a good pace. She didn’t risk slowing down in case someone was on her tail, but luckily for her, no one followed. Eventually she slowed down, feeling her energy running low.
The young woman clutched at her torso, leaning against a tall brick wall of some run down building as she tried to catch her breath. Her heart drummed against her breastbone and familiar sharp pain tormented her side. “I’m out of shape...” She murmured under her breath, words bitter on her tongue.
Her eyes traveled down to a wallet she was still holding in one hand. It looked brand new, the black leather almost intact. Inside were more creditcards that she could count along with several 100 dollar bills.
Her lips formed into a cheshire grin in her arrogant triumph. “Benjamin Franklin, my favorite dead person. I’m always glad to see you.” Catherine flipped through the banknotes proudly, her keen eyes stopping at what appeared to be a visit card. “Layton Grim...” She read the name written on the card, followed by CEO of Grim Enterprises.
She had heard that name somewhere before, but her mind refused to recall from where she knew it. Catherine shrugged, pocketing the wallet. Whatever, it was none of her business anyway. It’s not like she would see him ever again....
With that in mind she returned to her old apartment an hour walk away from the center of city. If she had a car it would most likely take twenty minutes for her to get home, but that really wasn’t the option considering her financial situation which could be described only as bankruptcy.
Catherine sighed as she dragged her feet up the flight of stairs. Huffing and painting she finally managed to reach the third floor alive. It wasn’t like she was completely out of shape, maybe a little rusty, but the fact that she hadn’t eaten anything for two whole days was a serious excuse for lack of energy.
She shuffled through her backpack, her fingers digging their way through various crap to reach her keys. The young woman considered giving up few times. Taking the door down sounded like much easier thing to do than find something in that trashcan of a rucksack.
Her expression lit up as she finally felt something metallic brush against her fingertips. Catherine was about to grab onto the object when her neighbors door flew open, startling her.
‘And it’s lost again...’
She groaned quietly, looking up at who had disturbed her. In a doorway stood a gaunt and very tall man. His pale cheeks had sunken inwards, accenting dark bags under his tired eyes. From the first glance someone could mistake him for someone who just got out of The Walking Dead. And he definitely isn’t Rick Grimes.
“How can I help you...Mr...Mr...” Catherine paused, cursing herself for being so bad at remembering names. There goes her attempt to sound polite...
“Anderson.” The old man wheezed, his grating voice echoing through the staircase.
“Right, Mr. Anderson.” She finished her sentence as if nothing happened, putting on the most innocent face she could muster. Catherine needed all the luck she could get with that man. He was her landlord and she hadn’t payed this month’s rent...nor the last month’s.
“You have a guest.” Mr. Anderson said, his chapped lips parting into a creepy smile. “He was persistent, so I let him in.”
Catherine felt her heart sink at his words. A guest? She wasn’t expecting anyone. There was only one person she could think of that could be that visitor and if it really was him, then her only choice was to run and move to Argentina with naive hope that he wouldn’t follow.
She cleared her throat, forcing a smile. “Who is it?”
“How am I supposed to know.” The man grumbled back, turning to walk back in his apartment. “Don’t forget to pay the rent. I give you three days before I’ll throw you out!” He added before shutting the door with a bang.
“Assh*le” Catherine murmured under her breath, turning her attention to wooden door in front of her that suddenly seemed very similar to gateway to hell. Hesitantly she put her hand on the handle and opened the door, praying to all Gods she knew for the guest to be a lost postman.
What she saw though was anything but that. Her eyes widened, mouth forming in an ‘o’ shape.
From all the people in the damned world, it just had to be Layton Grim.