December 25, 2020
Ciara stared into space while sitting on the couch in the Kiriakis living room. A knock at the door brought her out of her thoughts. It was Christmas but she would rather be anywhere than where she is: in the family mansion with her lying scheming cousin and Grandfather. Ciara wanted more than anything to visit Ben in Statesville, be able to be with him today of all days but she couldn't. Grandfather knowing about her visits meant that she had to be uber careful, even if it meant not seeing the man she loved more than anything on Christmas.
Ciara sighed heavily as she opened the door. Ciara's eyes widened slightly as she saw a man in a Santa costume. Ciara chuckled slightly, "You must be here for Mickey. Please, come in."
Ciara stepped to the side and Santa walked in. Ciara noticed Santa just staring at her. "I'm guessing either Sarah or Xander hired you?" Santa stayed silent. Ciara cocked her head to the side slightly, there was something familiar about this Santa, but she just couldn't quite put her finger on it.
Santa jiggled his belly, "So, why don't you tell Santa what you want for Christmas?" Ciara chuckled lightly but her face dropped after a moment. As she crossed her arms she said, "I don't think you could make my Christmas wish come true this year, Santa." Santa took a step toward Ciara and looked right into her eyes, "Why don't you tell me?"
Santa blinked and cleared his throat, "I mean, Santa is very good and making the impossible seem possible." Ciara chuckled bitterly, "Yeah, well…" Ciara pointed to Santa's sack, "…unless there's a key to my boyfriend's cell in Statesville and unless you can stop his execution for a murder he didn't commit, you can't make my Christmas wish come true this year."
"Wanna bet?" Santa lowered his beard and Ciara's eyes widened when she saw that Santa was Ben. "BEN?!" Ben nodded slightly, "Merry Christmas, Bobcat." Ciara stared at Ben slack-jawed for a moment before yanking him through the foyer until they were in a place that Ciara knew was hidden from her grandfather's security cameras.
Ciara leaned against the wall and Ben leaned toward her and captured her lips in a kiss. The kiss quickly turned passionate with Ben tightly gripping Ciara's hip as Ciara clung to Ben's neck desperately. This had been the first time the couple had been able to kiss in almost a year, at least without anyone watching. After a few moments of desperate kissing, Ciara pulled back and looked at Ben, she felt like she was in a dream. How was Ben standing in front of her right now?
"H-how did you-whe-when did you-?" Ben pressed his lips together somewhat amused at Ciara's stammering. Ben rested his white-gloved hands on Ciara's shoulders, "You know how I told you that my dad is a psychotic son on a bitch?" Ciara nodded slightly and Ben continued, "Well he is also powerful. He's got connections: both on the outside and in Statesville. He got one of the guards he has in his pocket to break me out and the Ray-" Ciara interrupted Ben, "The guy that kidnapped Mickey?" Ben nodded and crossed his arms, "Yeah, you kinda gave me an abridged version there, babe."
Ciara scratched her head nervously and looped an arm around Ben's neck, "I-it's not that I didn't want to tell you what happened, I-I just knew that you would worry when you had bigger things to worry about." Ben rubbed his hand up and down Ciara's shoulder slightly, "I'm just glad you're okay."
Ben's face turned stern and serious, "But NEVER do something like that again. Like I've said before Ciara, I literally couldn't stand it if anything happened to you. My execution might as well go through because I couldn't live if I didn't have you." Ciara sighed and her face softened slightly.
"Ray met me at this meeting spot and gave me this, figured it was the perfect disguise being Christmas and all." Ciara swallowed hard, "Wh-why did your father have you broken out?" Ben crossed his arms and sighed heavily, "Let's be honest Ciara, without a confession or any new evidence, I'm going to be executed. My dad told me I had to think outside the box and this seemed like the best option." Ciara chuckled slightly, "So... what? Are you just going to go on the run for the rest of your life?"
Ben sighed sadly, "I don't see another option, Ciara." Ciara pulled on Ben's collar as tears welled in her eyes. The thought of a life without Ben made a cold shiver run down her spine, "You stay Ben, you stay and you fight." pulling on Ben's collar with each word she spoke.
Ben sighed heavily, "I know it's a risk and if I'm caught, I can kiss not just my freedom but my life goodbye but… but it was a chance that I had to take." Ciara closed her eyes for a moment trying to stop the tears. Ben held Ciara's cheeks and softly said, "Don't cry, Bobcat. You are much too beautiful to waste tears on me." Ciara scoffed and pushed Ben's hands down. Ciara crossed her arms around her body protectively resting each of her hands on her elbows, "Tell me Ben, ho-how am I supposed to act when the man that I know I am destined to be with forever tells me that this is goodbye because he's going on the run?! FOREVER?!"
Ben swallowed hard, "I-I would never normally ask you this but…" Ciara interrupted Ben, "Yes. yes, I will come with you." Ben's eyes widened slightly, "You will?" Ciara nodded, "Ben, I would follow you anywhere."
Ciara headed for the staircase, "Jus-just give me a few minutes to throw a bag together." Ben grabbed Ciara's arm, "We can't we gotta go now. Be-before the other guards notice I'm gone. I-I mean Will can only try to cover for so long." Ciara narrowed her eyes and cocked her head slightly, "Will?" Ben waved Ciara off, "I'll explain later."
Ciara nodded, "Okay, this isn't exactly the best 'on the run' outfit but I can make it work." pulling on her plaid dress slightly. Ciara continued, "My phone's just in the living room, I'll grab it and then we'll-" Ben interrupted Ciara, "No phones. We can't risk being traced." Ciara nodded, "Okay, let's go then."
Ben pressed his lips together, "Are you sure? Be-because once you walk out that door with me, that's it. You can never see or speak to your family again. And if we get caught-" Ciara loosely wrapped her arms around Ben's neck. Ciara touched her forehead to Ben's, "If we get caught, then it would be worth it. Ben, no matter what happens, it would be worth it. Whatever time we get together is better than staying here and constantly wondering if you're okay. I NEED to be with you. I need you like I need air, Ben."
Ben returned his forehead to Ciara's for a moment and pressed a kiss to her forehead. Ben nodded slowly, "Okay, if you're sure?" Ciara nodded, "I am." Ben led Ciara out the Kirakis mansion without another word.
Ciara watched Ben with immense intensity as he carefully drove. There was a determination that Ciara had never seen before. Before long, the couple arrived at a cabin that was about 20 miles from Salem.
Ben turned the car off and sighed heavily, "Our new home." Ciara looked over and saw Ray standing there with a key in hand. Ciara sighed nervously, the last time she saw Ray, it wasn't exactly pretty. Ben got out and walked over to Ciara's side and helped her out. Ciara chuckled slightly, Ben was nothing if not chivalrous, even now.
Ciara sighed heavily as she and Ben approached Ray. Ray glared at Ciara slightly as he handed Ben the key. Gruffly he said, "You two are on your own now." Ray turned his attention to Ben, "I've followed Clyde's orders: got you some things to get you started and there's some clothes from the previous occupants, but now… I'm out." Ray walked away without another word. Ciara and Ben turned around and watched Ray walk away. Ben turned to face Ciara, "He's so… cheerful." Ciara chuckled slightly under her breath.
Ben unlocked the door and Ciara walked in followed by Ben. Ciara looked around, it looked like an old rustic cabin from the outside but modern-looking on the inside. Ciara stood in the living room area and saw a door that she could only assume led to a kitchen and a staircase that presumably led to the bedrooms and bathroom.
Ben put his hands in his pockets nervously, "I-I hope this is okay." Ciara wrapped her arms around Ben's neck, "It's perfect." Ciara chuckled and Ben looked at her confused. How could she be laughing right now? Ciara pressed her lips together and smiled, "Talk about coming full circle." Ben couldn't help but let a chuckle out, "Crazy to think about how much has changed since then." Ciara nodded, "Yeah, in the beginning I could only see you as a murderer and now, you-" Ben interrupted Ciara, "ARE a murderer?"
Ciara's face softened and her shoulders dropped, "Ben." Ben shrugged his shoulders, "It's true Ciara, whether I am innocent or not, in the state's eyes, I'm guilty as sin." Ciara walked up to Ben and tightly wrapped her arms around his neck, "Ben, I know that you did not do this, you didn't kill your sister. My grandfather and Xander did a damn good job setting you up."
Ciara forced a smile to her face and looked around, "A-as psychotic as your father is, he's got damn good taste." Ben chuckled, "So, I heard from my father who heard from Ray what happened in November, but I want to hear it from you." Ciara grimaced, "The whole truth?" Ben nodded and Ciara took Ben's hand in her own and led him to the couch.
Ciara sighed, "Okay, truth time. If I tell you, you have to PROMISE not to freak out or get mad." Ben's eyes widened slightly, "O-okay, now you're making me really nervous." Ben took Ciara's hands in his and squeezed them gently, "Just tell me."
Ciara inhaled deeply, "I-I didn't exactly show up and Ray was drunk and just grabbed Mickey and got the hell out of there. I-I knocked on the door, Ray answered still completely sober." Ciara looked down at her hands for a moment, "I-I said that Clyde sent me to help with the baby. I knew he wasn't just going to GIVE me Mickey, so I knew I had to get creative. Ray made it more than clear what he wanted with me…" Ciara looked up at Ben and saw his jaw clenching. Ciara rested a hand on Ben's forearm.
Ben closed his eyes and cleared his throat before looking up at Ciara, "What… what happened?" Ciara shook her head violently, "Nothing, NOTHING like what you're thinking, I swear."
Ciara put her other hand on Ben's cheek and gently rubbed her thumb over it. Ciara saw that Ben couldn't even look her in the eye. Ciara ran her hand up Ben's arm, nails lightly grazing until she met his cheek. Ciara tightened her grip slightly, "Ben, baby look at me."
Ben raised his head and met Ciara's eyes. Ben sighed relieved, "So if THAT didn't happen, what did?" Ciara sighed, "He wanted to drink with me, and I said why don't we have some drinks and get to know each other a little better? He started taking shots like it was no one's business and I was meeting him shot for shot…" Ciara smirked, "…except I wasn't."
Ben looked at Ciara confused. "I knew if I was going to outsmart him, I needed to have my wits about me so I faked taking the shots. When Ray wasn't looking, I put the shots into a nearby plant." Ciara chuckled, "Once he was passed out, I went over to Mickey's carrier and was about to grab her when Ray had apparently come to and grabbed my arm saying that I wasn't getting out of there with the baby."
Ben's eyes turned dark with anger and gently held Ciara's forearm presumably where Ray had grabbed her. Ciara put her other hand on top of Ben's, "Get that look out of your eye, I'm fine babe. Before Ray could do anything, I shoved him to the ground and hit him in the back with a plant for good measure and hightailed it out of there with Mickey. And... well, you know the rest."
Ben looked at Ciara in complete disbelief, "That was SO dangerous Ciara. You have no idea the type of man Ray is, the things he's done for my father. He would have killed you and Mickey without a second thought." Ciara caressed Ben's cheek, "I couldn't let you get implicated in it, Ben. It was worth the risk. It was so worth it Ben, Mickey was returned to Sarah and Xander harm-free and you weren't implicated in the kidnapping. Win-win."
Ben sighed, "Promise you'll never do something like that again, that you'll never put yourself in danger like that again." Ciara opened her mouth to speak and paused, "I-Ben, I can't promise that, you are worth every risk in the world no matter… no matter how dangerous."
Ciara attempted to stifle a yawn but Ben saw right through it. Ben rubbed the area between Ciara's neck and shoulder, "You tired, babe?" Ciara shook her head but as she did, another yawn came out. Ciara reluctantly nodded her head.
Ciara chuckled, "Sorry, it's just I haven't slept well in like… a year." Ben stood up and smiled, "Well then, let's fix that." Ben lifted Ciara up bridal style and carried her up the steps. When they were halfway up, Ciara grabbed Ben's collar. "Ben, wait. I know how long you've been waiting for tonight, and I have too but-" Ben kissed Ciara's nose and interrupted her, "I know babe. Trust me, I do not want our first time again to be when you're tired. I want you to be tired because I MADE you that way."
Ciara blushed and chuckled. Ben continued, "Tonight, I just want to sleep in your arms. Something I have been dreaming and praying about for the last year." Ciara smiled and sighed relaxed as she rested her head on Ben's shoulder, "That's what I want too."
Ben gently laid Ciara on the bed and kissed her lips once, "I'll be right… back." Ben walked into the bathroom and walked out a moment later in just his boxers. Ciara smiled and had already changed into an oversized plaid button-up she had found in one of the drawers.
Ben smiled as he got under the covers and Ciara instantly cuddled into him. Ben snaked an arm around Ciara's waist as she rested a hand on his abdomen. Ciara laid her head into the crook of Ben's neck.
Both Ben and Ciara sighed a breath of relief, they weren't exactly free but they were together in this moment and for that, they were grateful. Ciara kissed Ben's neck once and picked her head up, "I love you, Ben." Ben smiled as he tightened his grip slightly. "I love you too." Ciara laid her head back down.
Ciara absentmindedly drew circles on Ben's chest as she spoke, "I will gladly be your Mrs. Claus." Ben chuckled and Ciara picked her head back up resting her chin over Ben's heart, "Ben, I'm serious." Ben sat up and Ciara was now in an upright position.
Ben looked at Ciara almost flabbergasted, "Are you serious?" Ciara blushed slightly and nodded, "Yes, Ben. I love you and I want you to be my husband. I-I know right now isn't exactly the right time, but when has it been for us? This past year has only proven one thing to me: you are the love of my life and my soulmate and I don't want to spend another day without being Ciara Weston."
Tears brimmed Ben's eyes, "You don't?" Ben held Ciara's cheeks tightly in his hands. Ciara closed her eyes and shook her head, "I have had a lot of time to think, a lot of time alone and I'm sure."
Ben chuckled as tears threatened to pool out, "I-I had this all planned out." Ciara looked at Ben in confusion and he continued, "When all this was said and done, I was going to make you the most romantic candlelit dinner, we would dance, and I would take you in my arms and tell you how I love you more than life itself and I can't live without you and how I want you to be my wife. You've stood by me when everyone else assumed the worst, but not you. You are my anchor, Ciara. You taught me what love is, REAL, genuine, selfless love. Even-even if you said no or-or it's not the right time, I will wait, I will wait until you are ready."
Ciara smiled, "All I need is you Ben." Ciara rested a hand on Ben's neck and brought their foreheads together. After a moment Ciara pulled back, "Did we just get engaged?" Ben cocked his head to the side for a moment, "Yeah, I, uh, I think we did. Not in the way I had envisioned it, but what about us is?" Ciara smiled, "I wouldn't have it any other way." Ciara laid her head back down and went back to tracing Ben's chest. Ciara moved down Ben's abdomen but stopped when she felt something rough just above Ben's hip.
Ciara picked her head up, "Is that-? Ben closed his eyes, "Where my dad shivved me? Yeah." Ciara moved the blanket down and even in the dark, she could see something black over what she could only presume was Ben's scar. Ciara leaned down and kissed Ben's scar. Ben tightened his grip on Ciara's hair as she did this.
As Ciara sat up, she got a better look at the black covering the scar. Ciara squinted slightly and cocked her head to the side looking at Ben, "Is that-" "Your signature? Yep, babe." Ciara half-laughed in disbelief, "But ho-" Ben deadpanned, "Prison tattoo."
Ciara looked at Ben in confusion and he continued, "I took the bottom of one of your letters, with your loopy signature. There's this guy in Statesville who does tattoos for…" Ben shook his head, "…it doesn't matter what." Ben grasped Ciara's wrist lightly, "He made a tattoo gun using paper clips and ink from a pen." Ciara shuddered at what Ben was telling her.
"Since I couldn't have you, since we couldn't be together, it was like I had a piece of you with me at all times." Ben kissed Ciara's cheek, "That and the letters and pictures you sent me." Ciara blushed, "I did what I could to keep our relationship as normal as possible. We just had to go old-school; from texts to letters." Ciara let out a nervous giggle.
Ben tightly held Ciara's face in his hands, "You did, those letters-well not just THOSE kinds of letters, but all of them gave me a sense of normal. When I would start to go stir-crazy or start to lose my mind, I would just re-read one of your letters, and it was like I could close my eyes and I was back in the gatehouse; I was home. You ARE home, Ciara." Ciara pressed her lips together and smiled. As Ciara leaned into Ben she said, "And you're mine, Ozark."
Ciara pressed her forehead to Ben's before lightly kissing his lips before resuming her previous position cradled into Ben's neck. Ben rubbed his hand up and down Ciara's back. "Ci?" Ciara nodded slightly, not moving her position, "Yeah?" Ben sighed, "H-have you thought about what you want to do when all of this is over?" "You mean-" Ben interrupted, "Like with your life. I-I'm just assuming you're not going to be staying on at Titan."
Ciara sighed, "Yeah, once my grandpa finds out I've gone on the run with you, my ass is pretty much grass." Ciara let out a light chuckle before continuing, "But in all seriousness, I have. I-I know what I want to do but… but I'm just not sure how you're gonna take it."
Ben sat up and Ciara sat up with him. Ciara folded her legs as Ben took her hands in his, "Tell me, babe." Ciara sighed, "I-I want to be a PI. Doing all of this snooping on my Grandfather and Xander, I realized I have a passion for it and it gives me this…" Ciara tried searching for the right words, "…almost high that Titan never did. It was all about making my grandfather happy, and feeling close to him, not what I really wanted. An-and I've talked to John and he's agreed to take me under his wing once all of this is over."
Ciara looked at Ben with a huge grin on her face. Ciara saw Ben's lack of enthusiasm and her face fell, "Y-you don't like the idea, do you?" Ben squeezed Ciara's hand, "I-it's not the idea itself, babe. It's just…" Now it was Ben's turn to try and search for the right words, "I hate the idea of you doing something even remotely dangerous, something where you could get yourself hurt. In a perfect world, you would have an office job or something that was 100% safe."
Ciara nodded understanding Ben's reluctance, "I get that babe, but John won't let anything happen to me. And besides, he's taken me to the shooting range a few times and I'm a pretty good shot if I do say so myself." Ciara sat up proud. Ben smirked and chuckled, "I don't want to stop you from being happy, Bobcat. I just worry about you." Ciara nodded, "I know, and it's one of the things I love about you. I love your protectorness, but I can take care of myself. I promise you I will be careful." Ben sighed heavily and didn't say anything for a few minutes, "I see how happy just talking about this makes you. So… if this is what you really want to do… you've got my support."
Ciara's smile got even bigger, "I do?" Ben nodded, "All I want is for you to be happy and safe, that's it." Ciara kissed Ben passionately for a moment before pulling back, "Nothing, no job and no one will come before us, Ozark. That's a promise." Ciara smirked at Ben, "I love you."
Ben laid down and pulled Ciara back with him. Ben played with Ciara's hair as she comforted herself in her prior position. "I love you too, Ciara." Ciara sighed contently and drifted off to sleep, the easiest she'd had in over a year. Tonight, tonight rest came easy and Ciara knew exactly why: she was back in Ben's arms, back where she belonged.
Ciara slowly opened her eyes and felt an arm draped over her. Ciara slowly looked over and saw the arm belonged to Ben. Ciara sighed relieved. Ciara smiled and quietly said, "It wasn't a dream."
Ben's eyes fluttered and Ciara chuckled to herself 'Or not so quietly', she thought. Ben opened his eyes and saw Ciara sitting up. Ben scooched up on the pillow and smiled, "Good morning."
Ciara smiled and leaned down and gave Ben a chaste kiss. "Mmm, good morning." Ben ran a hand through Ciara's hair, pulling it from her face. Some of her curls had returned to her previously straightened hair. Ben sat up, "I missed this."
Ciara put her hand on top of Ben's, "What, my curls?" Ben chuckled, "No… well that too." Ciara's face fell slightly, "You don't like the straight?" Ben shook his head violently, "N-no, I do. I-it's just-" Ciara chuckled, "I'm just messing with you, Ben." Ben narrowed his eyes at Ciara, "Haha, very funny." Ciara smiled, "I thought it was."
Ben started tickling Ciara and Ciara's legs got tangled in the sheet. Ben grabbed Ciara's sides and pulled her on top of him. Ciara snaked her leg around Ben's waist and locked her arms around his neck. Ciara giggled as Ben kissed her passionately. Ben pulled back after a moment, "I believe there is something we didn't get to do last night." Ciara smirked, "Oh, is that so?" Ben nodded and tightened his grip on Ciara. Ben mumbled against her neck, "Mm-hmm."
Ben butterfly-kissed Ciara's neck and pulled back, "I-it's been a while, so I can't promise that this will be as long as you're used to." Ciara smiled and chuckled, "I don't care. I just want to be close to you like that again." Ben kissed Ciara's neck as he unbuttoned her plaid shirt. Ben pulled the shirt down and moved his lips from Ciara's neck pulling her bra strap down with his teeth as he expertly unhooked her bra.
Ben woke up in bed, naked and alone. A smile came to Ben's lips as he remembered reuniting with Ciara in the biblical way. "Bobcat?" Ben called out.
Ciara came in a moment later with a plate of eggs, "Didn't expect you up this soon." Ciara kissed Ben's forehead as she placed the eggs in front of him. Ben chuckled, slight amused, "Not burnt."
Ciara crossed her arms and scoffed, "Hey! A lot can change in a year. I've learned." Ben crossed his arms, "So, this is the first set?" Ciara nodded, "Yes." Ben narrowed his eyes at Ciara, "Ci…" Ciara met Ben glare for glare, "Yes, this is the first set." The couple continued their staring war. Ciara stood defiantly, "These are the first set… second…" Ciara groaned, "Ugh, FINE! Third! And that's my FINAL answer!" Ben crossed his arms and chuckled, "I knew it, babe. You're good at a lot of things…"
Ben snaked his arm around Ciara's waist, "A LOT, but cooking ain't one of them." Ciara's face softened and softly said, "I just wanted everything to be perfect."
Ben moved the plate to the side and pulled Ciara onto the bed in front of him. "It is babe, because we're together. And we wouldn't be us if you didn't burn food. I wouldn't have it any other way." Ciara sighed, "I-it's just-I thought me cooking for you was important to you." Ben pressed his lips together, "I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. Ciara, I love how hard you try. That means the world to me, even if the end product isn't edible."
Ciara smiled and kissed Ben's lips once and stood up, "You eat, I'm going to go to the market." Ben's eyes widened and he stood up, "Ciara, you can't! What if someone sees you?" Ciara wrapped her arms around Ben's neck and he instinctively wrapped his arms around her waist. Ciara shook her head, "I'll be careful. No one will see me. Besides, Ray really didn't give us much. If we're gonna survive here, we need supplies. There's a market just a few miles away. I'll be careful. Promise."
Ben sighed heavily, "Wait." Ciara stood in the doorway, "Baby, I'll be fine." Ben shook his head, "No, not that." Ben reached over to his Santa suit pants. "Here." Ciara looked at Ben's hand and saw a pile of mostly singles. Ciara chuckled nervously, "Did-did you hit up a strip club before you came to the mansion?" Ben chuckled, "No, this…" Ben gestured to his naked body, "…is only for your eyes."
Ciara blushed and chuckled, "So, how did you get this?" Ben chuckled slightly, "Apparently, if you're dressed in a Santa suit, on a corner on Christmas, people just hand you money." Ben shrugged his shoulders once as Ciara crossed her arms, "Ben Weston, you swindler."
Ben chuckled, "It's not like we can dip into your trust fund." Ciara sighed, "I guess you're right." Ciara took a piece of the pile and stuck it into her pocket, "I'll be careful, babe. Promise." Ciara kissed Ben's lips once and walked out of the room without another word.
Ben begrudgingly got dressed, well pants at least, and made his way downstairs. Ben walked into the kitchen and chuckled at the hurricane that had hit. That was his Bobcat. The sink was had multiple bowls and pans. How did Ben not hear Hurricane Ciara in the kitchen?
Ben smirked, Ciara must have worn him out more than he thought. Ben looked in the fridge and cabinets. What was Ciara talking about? They were stocked. Ben walked into the living room and began pacing around. Ciara had been gone for what felt like hours. Worry couldn't help but creep into his mind. All the 'what ifs?' What if Ciara got caught? What if Ciara changed her mind and decided a life on the run wasn't one she wanted? What if Ciara decided to say to hell with him and head back to Salem to be with her friends and family?
Ben sighed heavily and collapsed onto the couch, it wasn't the life she deserved. All Ben wanted was to spoil Ciara and give her everything she deserved. He couldn't even give her a proper proposal or even a halfway decent ring.
A loud knock at the door drew Ben out of his thoughts. Did Ciara forget the key? Ben heard some jingling and a woman Ben didn't recognize enter the cabin. The woman had brunette hair not unlike Ciara's but slightly shorter than his Bobcat.
The woman stood in a tan trench coat with large, dark shades, "Are you Ben Weston?" Ben tried to gauge if this woman was an undercover cop or something. Reluctantly, Ben nodded. The woman took off her shades, "I have something for you."