Nocte Bellator: Night Warrior

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Chapter 8

Maia's chest heaved has she ran. Her long pony tail swinging back and forth, back and forth behind her with every step her feet pounded on the cement. She could feel the droplets of sweat forming along her forehead and slowly sliding down her face. The sweat stinging her eyes. Her favorite song blaring in her ears. It had taken Maia longer than she anticipated to recover from the Macaria but she was finally almost back to herself.

She still hadn't heard anything from Sutton and she worried she may have pushed her friend too far. So to shake the nerves from her body she decided to go for a jog to her apartment and confront her on the issue. She rounded a corner, just two more blocks and she would be there. Her legs screamed at her to stop, to take a break, but her mind told her no, she was almost there. She could make it.

Maia made it to the large wooden front door of the apartment building. It was a townhouse, actually. The siding was navy blue, with white trim. Sutton lived on the top floor. She could see the small balcony with a sliding glass door but the curtains were drawn. There didn't appear to be any movement from inside but Maia figured she would knock anyway.

She opened the front door to the foyer and made her way up the plush carpeted stairs that led to her apartment. Lifting her fist she knocked a few times and waited patiently for an answer.

After a minute she could hear the latch of the door unlocking and the knob turned to the right. The door opened but did not reveal the person she had come to see.

Luca smiled widely at Maia. "Hey Luca. Is Sutton home?" She asked looking behind him to see if she would appear.

"No, she left a few hours ago." He tells her with a shake of his head. "Said she had to investigate a new case for work or something."

Maia's heart lifted at that. Maybe the new case she was talking about was trying to find Chance. Maia let out a sigh of relief, but still not trying to get ahead of herself. Sutton could actually have an assignment for work.

Luca opens the door wider for her, gesturing to come in. "I'm sure Sutton will be back soon though." He says reassuring her.

Maia nods stepping past him. "What are you doing today?" Maia asks, making conversation.

"Well I came over to visit Sutton but as soon I walked in, she was walking out with her bag and camera." He tells her. "Mumbling on and on about this important case." He says making wild gestures with his hands. "You know how she gets, so passionate."

Maia laughs. "Yeah, that's one way to put it I suppose." She says shrugging off her bag to hang it on the coat rack.

"What about you?" He asks.

Maia situates herself down on her favorite spot on the couch. She shrugs one shoulder. "Didn't have much planned for today, so I figured I'd come over to see Sutton." She says.

He walks over and sits on the other side of the couch. "Looks like we both had the same idea. But she left us high and dry today." He says laughing.

She couldn't tell him that it actually seemed the opposite. It appeared to Maia that Sutton was doing exactly what she had asked her to do. It made Maia's heart swell that she would do this for her. But the fear was also creeping in that her best friend, practically sister, was out there putting herself in danger. Alone.

With that thought panic crept up her spine and wrapped around her rib cage.

She was out there alone.

Movement in Maia's periphery caught her attention. Luca had scooted closer to Maia on the couch.

"Well maybe you and I could go out together instead." He says, a little shy.

It takes a moment to realize that he was asking her out on a date.

Maia had known Luca for as long as she had known Sutton. And Luca has had many girlfriends through out the years. There was no doubt he was an attractive man.

His skin was like creamy mocha chocolate. He had a wide smile with straight white teeth. Any woman would swoon over a glance and smile from him.

But they had a great friendship. One she didn't want to ruin with a date. Or a failed relationship.

"Well?" He asks.

Maia realized she had just been staring and hadn't actually answered him. "I'm sorry. I can't." She says getting up from the couch.

His face drops. "Is it because of Sutton?" He asks. "Are you scared she won't approve?"

Actually, Sutton would probably be ecstatic if they dated.

She grabs her bag from the wall and turns to face him. "No, no." She says. "Its just..." She thinks for a moment. "Its not the right time. I'm just not looking to date anyone right now." She tells him. And she already feels awful for the lame excuse she just gave him.

But he nods in understanding anyway. "Well, let me know when is the right time."

She smiles at him. "Okay." And she turns and heads toward the door.

She couldn't think about dates or boyfriends right now. She needed to stay focused.

She needed to find Sutton.

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