She sits on a crowded subway, earphones in and tablet in hand. Apparently, rush hour has switched from 5:30/6:00 over to 3:00; that’s something about New York she’ll never understand. On 42nd street a large wave of people burst out of the crowded subway container, and she lets out a relieved sigh. The break doesn’t last very long, however, for a whole new crowd of people replace those who have just gotten off. Double tapping her tablet to mark the word she’s at, Lyla sticks her head up and attempts to see past a few bodies to count how many subway stops she has before she’s got to get off. Everyone seems exhausted — particularly the person in front of her. Oh, do you want a seat? She asks, jumping up to offer it to them. I’m getting off really soon.
She’s pretty sure she would have fallen asleep standing up like a horse and clutching onto a bar if it wasn’t for the familiar voice that rang through her ears. Oh… no. She turns around, half answering and then breaking into a small smile. Hey! I didn’t see ya there. She chuckles. Or else I woulda said hi obviously.
Sophia fidgeted around. Her hands didn’t quite know how to situate themselves and went from being neatly placed in her lap to straightening her hair to scratching the side of her face. Finally they rested on the table top and started lightly tapping against it. This was a tick of hers whenever she felt overwhelmed and didn’t know how to put her thoughts into words. It had been 4 years now, what could be said in her defense should have been said long before. But they weren’t. “I always think of you as my close friend, Riley,” her voice sounded hoarse with regret.
Riley looked up at Sophia, looking at her face, although trying not to look into her eyes, yet failing. She gave a small close-lipped smile. Although it was very much genuine. “Maybe not so much now given that we haven’t spoken in a while, right?” She gives a dry chuckle, all breath but not bitter. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell ya all of this sooner. I just… I dunno. I’ve never been much of the confrontation type. Not for my own problems and definitely not while I’m sober, really.” Her eyes looked back down at her hands and the corner of her mouth tugged up to make a wider smile.
Oh yeah, that must be it. Claire laughs with Riley and grins. What can I say? There just aren’t enough hours in the day! Thank you. It is. He’s my uncle, and we’re really close, so it’ll be good for both of us to have some time to unwind, just like it will be for you and Rae.
Yeah I can’t argue much with you there. I swear life woulda been much better if we didn’t have to sleep. She scratches at the back of her neck sheepishly. Oh, he is? That’s nice then. I would say spendin’ it with family is just as good as with anyone else you care about. Yeah, I agree. There needs t’ be more time in the day t’ just be able t’ unwind.
We Got This Covered interviews Amber Heard.
As a matter of fact I do know the red hair sisters pretty fondly. [The man makes a small gesture in excitement] Spot on. Sorry it’s a detective thing, we like to play guessing games. So what keeps you and your spouse up here in New York and not back in the more quiet South?
She laughs softly. Really? That’s great. They’re… pretty good friends of mine. She figures that’s enough to share at the moment unless he presses on. No, no, that’s alright. I don’t mind it at all. And, well, she’s more of a city girl, you see. Obviously it’s because she hasn’t experienced the countryside long enough. Riley sighs and rolls her eyes but with a smile on her face. I’d move back in a heartbeat if I just got her permission t’ do so. Not home, but down south.
Initially, it didn’t even occur to Päivi to run, maybe because on some level her rational mind was still functioning, telling her that they’d only look suspicious were a camera to catch them, and if they could in fact walk out like nothing had happened, maybe she’d even manage to get back to work on Monday, talk about how she’d been confused, misplaced curiosity. Or maybe she just knew that she was fast enough a walker after years of competitive sports, and gifted with long legs. What she did know was that Zora had fallen behind a bit, but it didn’t seem to matter at that moment, they would make it, and maybe it even was good that she, Päivi, was in the lead here, she’d make sure they’d get out, she’d never found the door locked, but…
She stopped dead in her tracks when she heard the first footsteps, in shock at first, then to hear where they were coming from. So damn close. That was when Zora caught up with her, grabbing her arm. “It’s….”, just around the corner and a bit down the hallway, really, was what she had wanted to say, but when she heard the voice booming down the hallway, the words became lodged in Päivi’s throat. And the sight of the gun made her drop all hope of returning on Monday. They were intruders already, had overstepped the line. She sought out the agent’s face, recognized her as someone in field (the woman from the jury? Hicks?), and the fact that they were facing a field agent here had her drop all pretensions of being able to talk her way out of this. So when Zora set off, Päivi followed suit, trying not to think of anything but the rhythmic motion of her feet on the floor, but in fact, her thoughts were racing, attempting to picture how they’d return to HQ, what they could say in excuse: “We can’t get back in like this if they know that I’m a Rogue!”, she shouted half over her shoulder, half thinking out loud, as if they had any viable options for a change of plan here.
But there it is, the door. Like the last few metres of a race and right behind you, there is someone who has been tailing you the entire time. And your muscles scream and you feel like you’re about to pass out but you can always go faster. One, two, one, two, hand on the door handle and of course it opens, it’s a fucking emergency exit. And outside but sky and the evening breeze she pushed down the hallway now in a gust, cold air to convince herself: We’re safe.
"I said stop!" Riley yelled at them one last time. Despite it not coming out in her voice, she was urging, pleading. She didn’t want to shoot. She didn’t want to pull the trigger and risk taking another life. That was the last thing they wanted to do. She understood that they must have been frightened at the thought of being caught by Nexus. Hell, she was frightened by the company’s wrath as well. Which is why, aiming away from the two women, but not all the way, she fired her gun, once, twice, three times then continued running. She couldn’t let them go. Not without letting it look like she did everything she could to get them to stop.
However, when she heard that word, that one word, it set a fire in Riley’s mind. It ignited the memories of the blackout, the memories of all they had done, all the evils that group did. She stopped running. “Stop!” She yelled and fired her gun, still slightly away, once, twice, thrice, four times this round. Seven rounds she had fired. Panting, she shot once more this time a little closer. When she saw the blonde one closer to the exit. She shut her eyes and blindly shot two more rounds. Somehow she knew. She knew.
She opened her eyes to the thud of a body landing on the ground. However, the blonde was out of sight. She ran to the body, speaking into the radio. “Call an ambulance, I got one of them. Hurry.” Sprinting, she was sprinting now, she hoped the woman would be okay despite the wound. Skidding to a stop, she then went on her knees and saw the back of the woman’s jacket slowly absorb the blood as well as blood pooling out from the front. “Why didn’t cha stop?” Riley whispered. Turning her over, Riley tried to put pressure on the wound. “You’re gonna be okay, darlin’.” Her voice shook as the blood felt warm over her fingers. Her eyes darted to the woman’s face before shutting her eyes. No, no, no, please. “Hang in there. Please.” She whined slightly. “You shoulda stopped. You shoulda stopped. Why didn’t you stop? Why?” Riley whispered over and over again until ultimately she knew in her gut that the woman wasn’t going to make it by the time the paramedics got to her in the building despite the sound of sirens in the near distance.
You never know — most icons in history start as normal people. [he hears her ask if he had kids and is shocked] oh my! — hahaha noo, no kids for me yet. The closest thing I have is an overly spoiled German Shepard
Think I may be a little late in my years for anything like that, but it’s always nice t’ dream. She chuckles modestly. Ah, well, hope I didn’t offend ya with that. People are havin’ ‘em young, not that I would judge. You’ve got a German Shepard? I grew up with two of ‘em! Great dogs, unfortunately one of ‘em is goin’ on his last year, I think. His brother already left him a couple years back.
A very strange world! I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. She smiles and laughs with Riley. Nah, it’ll be nice to have a night to hang home. I had no offers, though I appreciate the compliment. I’ve been so caught up in work that I really haven’t come up for air, so it is what it is. She shrugs. I’m definitely okay with it.
What? No offers? Oh, must be that you didn’t give anyone the chance t’ ask ya what with you becomin’ some workaholic. She laughs. Well, still, I’m sure someone thinks it woulda been really nice t’ spend an evenin’ with you and maybe wine and dine ya a bit. But spendin’ time with your boss is equally pleasant as bein’ wine and dined, I’m sure.
Close. I’m actually a detective — used to be on the police force for a good while but recently found my way to PROTECT to make a difference and all. Ah, I take by the accent that you’re from down south if it isn’t too obvious. Am I hearing a little Louisiana spice in you?
Ah, detective—oh PROTECT? I have some friends in there. D’ya know of a Lyla Martin and, a, um Sophia Sc-Scarlet? She realizes her mistake in Sophia’s surname, but continues with it anyway. Yeah, you got that right. I’m from Louisiana, good ear.
It’s fine. Gillian mutters, pushing her hands deeper inside of her pockets. It’s not like her personal space hasn’t been invaded before, but she doesn’t trust Riley - yet - and doesn’t know her - also yet. It takes a lot to make me uncomfortable; you didn’t know; it’s fine. Her words are teetering on hasty, like she’s trying to make an excuse for herself rather. Either way, she isn’t too miffed about it after Riley apologized; she finds it hard to stay troubled at anything Riley’s said within the past ten minutes, even if she’s easily bothered by people just talking sometimes. Maybe that’s what it means to be a people person, Gillian wonders - so “good” (whatever that means) with people that it’s impossible for negativity to hover around you or exist in your presence.
She wants to ask if that meant that Riley doesn’t want to be at Nexus for a longer time, but her gut instinct tells her that that’s a stupid question. Even she probably won’t spend more than a few years devoted to this cause; it’s just like war - actually, that’s because it is war. She’d want to stay a soldier until she’s so high up that ribbons decorate her chest and decades trail behind her, but injury foiled that plan. If life was just Nexus as well, pain and hurt would probably shoot her down as well. Gillian keeps her mouth shut as Riley keeps talking - she’s good at doing that, staying quiet.
Oh, uhm, I’m from Louisiana- She blinks and clears her throat, quickly correcting herself,Sorry, I meant Kansas. My dad and I ended up moving around all over for a long time, and we settled down in Shreveport when I was in high school. Gillian’s quiet for a moment as she momentarily loses herself in memories. My friends took me to Mooringsport once or twice for concerts, actually. She shrugs, not knowing what that information would mean or why it’d matter to Riley, anyway. But, whatever. At least she was trying. She drags her boot against the ground, and it grinds against the cement; she’s actually starting to get hungry now that she’s not doing paperwork. Where are we going again?
Riley’s confused—if she did nothing wrong why was she called out? She obviously passed a boundary and one that Gillian didn’t want her to. She didn’t take the woman as being polite for the sake of being polite, something Riley would be. Alright, Riley says, not wanting to discuss it any further. It’s obvious she did something wrong, but if Gillian didn’t want to acknowledge it then Riley won’t either. She scratches the back of her neck nervously, not knowing what to do after that since she just feels out of balance after Gillian acting so strongly over a small nudge. She inhales deeply and exhales. It’s not the first time she’s come across people like this. She’s dealt with worse.
Oh—Riley moves her head to understand her slip up. So you’ve been t’ Louisiana? Ah, all right. That’s nice. I’ve got a brother, no, two brothers that are livin’ down in Shreveport. Bein’ the nearest city, any chance me and my friends got we went down there and just… had some fun. Not completely legal fun when we started though. She chuckles at remembrance the remembrance. She wonders what some of her high school buddies were doing. Obviously some were still down in Mooringsport already having started their own family, their own lives, were making something of themselves… Concert in Mooringsport? Really? Why would ya even bother goin’ there a second time when you could avoid it? I lived there almost all my life. There ain’t nothin’ redeeming ‘bout that town. S’got special place in my heart bein’ my hometown and all, but that’s as sentimental as I can get ‘bout that place. She laughs lightly although is slightly confused. She can only recall a small amount of concerts and festivals over there. And only a handful amount of non residents ever went to them. She would know. They’d probably end up being interviewed in the paper about it.
Oh! Uh, crap we’re we goin’ again? She snaps her fingers in an attempt to come up with the answer. Pizza! We’re goin’a go get some pizza. She sighs in relief. Glad I remembered that. Thought I might be gettin’ a little old and a little cloudy on the memories there, she chuckles, glancing over at gillian.