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“You’re right,” Elizabeth agreed and looked out to where the bench was – though she couldn’t see it from here, of course. An old habit from the tower that helped her think, that was all. “Why don’t you stay here, and I’ll talk to her?”
At first, his eyebrows raised and a few beats passed in silence. And as the surprise faded, he nodded, looking over the room beyond her.
“Yeah. Yeah, okay. Someone should clean up around here.” He laughed, almost a cough rather than a true laugh… But it was something. “This definitely isn’t to Tenebaum’s cleanliness standards for the girls.”
Jack took a couple steps towards the nearest closet, but her arms found their way around him before he found his way there. His breath stopped for just a moment, and she felt the warm weight of his arms across her back.
And Elizabeth stepped back, reflexively twisting her fingers around the stub of her pinky. “Right, well, I’ll just…”
Jack pointed to the bench and nodded again, a little pink coming to his cheeks even as he looked down.
“Thanks,” Elizabeth added and wove around the turret, out the front clinic door, and strode over to the bench with purpose.
[I]Put up a good front, Elizabeth.
The woman still sat there, not that she looked up at Elizabeth. Her hands rested in her lap over a wrapped package. It crossed her mind that it might be a weapon, but who didn’t have at least one out here?
“Ran into those thugs, didn’you?” She tapped the open seat beside her as the only acknowledgement that Elizabeth was there at all.
Elizabeth remained standing. “They’re dealt with now. And how do you know them, Miss…?”
“Grace Holloway from the Limbo Room. For now, at least,” Grace scoffed, her face twisting to a scowl. “And that gang is talkin’ to everyone, sometimes not just that. Worse’n Ryan and Fontaine together, those damn crooks.”
She leaned forward, setting her eyes on Elizabeth with a pinning intensity. “They’re looking for your man in there, and he’s gon’ need all the help he can get.”
This woman was blunt, but sincere… Elizabeth felt she was truly intending to help – if perhaps being misled by another. She took a seat on the bench and noticed a small smile from Grace. “You’re awfully brave, being out here as a woman by herself.”
“So aren’t you. And I got my family, the Rapture family,” she emphasized reverently. “They can protect you and your family too. Atlas, he don’t really care about the little people, you n’ me.”
Before Elizabeth could even begin an answer, Grace offered a torn pamphlet. Taking the crumpled paper in her hands, Elizabeth turned it around to read a title – Dr. Sophia Lamb’s free counseling sessions on Sundays.
“This woman, she cares.” Grace stood, the package in one hand and her weight on the cane in the other. “You don’t got to answer me now. I’ll be in The Limbo Room singing at night if you wanna join the family. However longer we’re gonna keep the room’s doors open,” she sighed with a heavy smile. “Maybe you can meet the sweet little lamb there.”
And she walked away, steadfast despite her cane and the rubble everywhere. Elizabeth looked over the pamphlet in her hands again and thought on what she’d said.
What do you want to do, Elizabeth?
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