Charlie sipped from her water calmly, letting the stranger talk. She made no move toward the door, not even when he held the card out as evidence of his goodwill.
Honestly, she was being mean and spiteful, making the man stand outside trying to prove his innocence to her. Crowne had the unfortunate luck to catch her when she was already unstable, emotional, and worst of all, PMSing. She was scared of herself and the secrets she kept, nervous about Royce and what he might really be feeling, and was taking out all her frustrations on what was otherwise a helpless target. Alexander Crowne, in her limited experience, was never anything but polite, friendly, and ever the perfect gentleman. She almost felt bad for leaving him out on a limb like this.
Almost. Royce still didn't like him, and moody as she was, that was more than enough grounds to dislike an otherwise total stranger.
The door was still locked and she made no move to change that. She simply stared at Crowne, grey eyes hard like stone. "Tell me, Mr. Crowne, if meeting Royce is of such importance, why not meet with him yourself? I've met you twice now, once at my home and now, this second time, at my work. Since stalking clearly seems one of your greater talents, you shouldn't need little ole me to perform your delivering for you."
"Unless," she added, "of course, you are aware of Royce's extreme dislike and distrust of your own person, in which case you are using me as a vehicle to get your message seen to and addressed. He is extremely protective, and undoubtedly evening knowing I was talking to you again, let alone passing messages alone, would be enough fuel to force him to actually face you. Both are good, clever plans."
"But I will not let you do this."
The paper cup was empty now, and she crumpled it in her palm a little more forcefully than was strictly necessary, and chucked it in the small bucket by the door.
"You want to talk to Royce? Fine. I won't stop you. But I'm also not about to let you use me to trick him the way you did before. You knew I would tell him about you and you knew it would freak him out. I don't know who you are, Mr Alexander Crowne, nor do I know why Royce doesn't like you, but I do not appreciate being used like a puppet to force some reaction out of people I care about. Is that clear?"