Who: Rylee, then Charlie later What: Elias decides to pay a visit Where: The doorway of Charlie's apartment, #103 When: 6:30 p.m. Warnings: None as of yet
Elias had given considerable thought into his next meeting with Charlie. His intention had been to have her introduce him to the boy who had been with her the night of the blackout, but somewhere along the way, he'd begun to think about her job in night security. It changed things.
The longer he imagined what her job entailed -- and where it drew her -- the more he believed that he needed to do something about it. What's more, she lived on the first floor. Pax struck Elias as a relatively safe apartment complex, but thieves and rapists rarely cared much for what the neighbors of their victims thought. It was possible, given Charlie's job and her choice of apartments, that price had been one of the driving factors in her choice of apartment #103. That was understandable; Elias had also chosen his apartment with price in mind. But he had reasons that were not related to his income. As for Charlie...
He went to the hardware store on her behalf. At first, he had intended only on buying pepper spray. Pepper spray turned into clamps to install on her windows, so that they could only be raised a crack. And then he saw the sporting goods section. A bowie knife and a Louisville slugger both went with Elias when he left. And then he stopped by a novelty store. He left with a pair of black lacquered nun-chucks with silver-adorned handles.
Elias wasn't one for wrapping presents. He had done it for Brigetta and for his mother, but typically presents from Elias came in brown paper bags or white plastic ones. So it was with Charlie's gifts -- with the exception of the nun-chucks, in their wooden box. The box, he tucked under his arm; the bat, he held in the same hand, along with the plastic bag from the hardware store. That left a free hand to knock on Charlie's door, which he had full intention on doing.
Typically, Elias took the stairs down to the ground floor; but tonight, laden as he was, he chose the elevator. When it opened, he saw a face that was relatively familiar. Blond kid, pretty timid from Elias' guess... They'd never met, but Elias had passed him now and again on his way in and out of the building. He gave the kid a nod, and then moved to the opposite side of the elevator, thinking little more of it.
But when he got out of the elevator, the kid followed. Elias already learned that Charlie shared her floor with three other people. Two were women, but the other just as easily could have been this guy.
Except... they just passed the apartment Elias knew was occupied by the man. His lips compressed. His jaw clenched. He slowed his steps and then stopped in front of Charlie's door. And when he turned his head to find the kid standing right by him, he kept his eyes on the boy.
"Can I... help you?" he asked in a gravely monotone. It was a quiet voice, but gravid and stern -- authority dripped from it.