"Where would you like to go?" Alfred was sitting in the driver's seat, examining the both of them. They both looked... shell shocked.
"You aren't really going to take me to the hospital, are you?" Eva turned and asked Bruce.
"Not unless you need to go." He answered and she shook her head. "Then how about some place quiet?" Eva smiled at that, so Bruce instructed Alfred to head back to Wayne Manor.
They both sat in silence for the trips entirety; Eva, digesting what had just happened to her and Bruce, unsure of how to react. She realized that for the first time in her entire life, she had found herself in a situation where she had absolutely no control over any aspect of it. Anything could have happened, and that was frightening. Fortunately she wasn't shot, but three people were. They weren't the high society patrons that had filled the room, but they were no less important, and their deaths would probably be swept under the rug by the media because of their lowly place on the social ladder. The jewels, she knew, would take center stage.
Bruce was equally disgruntled. For the first time in his adult life he was having to face a victim as Bruce Wayne. No mask to hide behind, no hard exterior to shield himself, no cape and cowl to sink behind. What was worse was that the victim was someone he considered to be a good friend, something Alfred constantly reminded him he was in short supply of. Bruce looked at her. She faced the window with her eyes gently closed, but her eyebrows furrowed. He had no clue how to handle this. He felt as though this situation was completely out of his control. Bruce had never been one to sit back and sympathize with another person. Not because he was intentionally trying to brush them off, but because he lived in a fast paced world. One kept moving and going, not stopping to take care of the incidentals. He supposed, in a way, that was another fulfillment Batman gave him. He could stop and help someone, if in the only way he knew how, forcefully and briskly. But this was Eva, and Batman couldn't even save him this time.
When they arrived at Wayne Manor, Bruce helped Eva out of the car and through the threshold. He guided her past the staircase, through a long hall and into a study filled with a sofa, book cases, a fireplace, and two desks. Bruce sat Eva down on the sofa then walked out of the room, returning a few seconds later.
"Alfred is going to make some dinner for us."
"Thank you. I appreciate that."
He walked over to a table set up like a bar, that sat in front of a large window. Eva had only ever seen a set up like that in movies and TV shows. Bruce filled two glassed with what appeared to be brandy, added ice to one, then walked over to her and handed her the one without ice. She smiled at him but didn't take the glass. "I don't drink drink liquor," she said.
Bruce gawked at her and then chuckled. "Why am I not surprised?"
She laughed. "Not because of that! Geez, Wayne, you must really think I'm a prude." She laid her head on the back of the sofa and looked up at him. "But if you have some wine, I'd love a glass." He nodded.
He set the glasses down on the table and walked out of the room, quickly walking to the wine cellar. She needs something strong, he thought as he surveyed the racks and racks of wine. Bruce not only wanted to ease her nerves, but he needed her to relax enough to recall all the details of the night. He was going to need them for his investigation. He grabbed a bottle of red, inspected it and decided it was right for the occasion, then walked back to his study. Eva was standing by one of the large windows looking out over the grounds.
"You have a beautiful view," she said, as she turned to face him. Bruce stopped and took a moment to actually look at her for the first time that evening. The way the clear moonlight cascaded over her features caused him to catch his breath. Eva was absolutely breathtaking. He had always found her attractive, but at this exact moment he could see this inner glow she had. Her skin was crisp and silky looking against dark blue fabric of her dress and her eyes popped in the glow of the moon. He didn't know how he hadn't really seen it all before. Obviously, Alfred had.
"Thank you," he answered as he walked to stand next to her. He showed her the wine bottle. "Is red OK?"
Bruce grabbed a corkscrew from the table and began to uncork the bottle, then grabbed a glass and poured her a small amount.
"Thank you, Bruce."
He smiled at her, then gestured for them to sit back on the sofa. "Tell me what happened tonight."
Eva took a sip of her wine and took a deep breath, recalling the events of the evening. "Aaron and I were sitting at our table talking about that stupid bracelet..." she trailed off and then began again: "You know, if I had worn that thing tonight, then my problem would be solved of having to deal with it."
Bruce laughed. "I take it he won't accept it back?"
"Worse. He justifies giving it to me." She took another sip from her glass. "This is quite good, Bruce. Is this from your vineyard?"
He nodded, "In France." He motioned for her to continue.
"Anyway, we were in the middle of that conversation when I heard gunfire. I immediately covered my head then looked over at the door way. The thugs were all wearing masks, save for one."
"What did he look like?"
"Big. Burly. He had greasy long brown hair with a receding hair line and scars all over his face. I'd never seen him before. His thugs moved around the room taking everyone's jewelry. They didn't want money, just jewels, which I found a bit odd. Wouldn't those jewels be insured? Be traceable?"
Bruce shook his head. "The rich always protect their investments. They aren't stupid."
She sighed then took another sip of her wine. She took a pause before continuing. "He shot three of the servers. Just shot them. For no reason." Eva began to tear up at this memory. "I'm sorry."
She began to cry fully and Bruce immediately set his glass down and grabbed her in a gently embrace.
"Hey, it's OK. It's OK. It's been a long night." He told her. Eva sobbed for a few moments then Alfred walked in.
"Excuse me, sir, but your dinner is ready."
She looked up and wiped her face briskly, smearing the tears away. "I'm sorry, it's just so shocking. I've never seen anyone killed in front of me, shot to death right there." Before she could take the words back, Eva realized exactly what she had said. "Oh Lord, I'm such an idiot," she said as she stood up. "I'm so sorry Bruce, I didn't think..."
Bruce looked at her but didn't say anything. She continued: "I should go. I'm way out of place. I'm way out of league." He stood up at that and walked over to her.
"Will you stop? I'm not upset and you don't need to leave. I was only thinking." He grabbed her hand. "You aren't out of place and you aren't out of your league. You've just been through something terrifying and traumatizing." He paused for a moment and gave out exhale of breath. "If I have to be totally honest, which your pain in the ass propriety is forcing me to be, I think I now have someone who can, at least, imagine what it is like to see that."
Alfred, all the while, had been standing outside the doorway watching the exchange. Eva's resolve once more started to teeter and tears began to wet her cheeks. "I'm so sorry," was all she said as Bruce pulled her close to him and held her as protectively as he could. Alfred simply shut the door quietly and went to the kitchen to start cleaning up.
A few things... This chapter was originally started way back in June, before the horrible Colorado massacre, and as I was typing this up, I realized the uncanny similarities between my chapter and that horrible incident. So I'm sorry if it is a touchy subject. But it really does serve a purpose in my story. My heart goes out to the real life victims and their families.
Second thing... just to clarify, I'm trying to keep with the Batman Begins version of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Chris Nolan has done a wonderful job of showing the evolution of the Dark Knight, but for all intents and purposes, I am trying my hardest to stick with that one. Besides, I haven't seen the new one yet! :(
Thirdly, I thank everyone for their reviews, good AND bad... However, it needs to be understood that this is fan fiction, not an actual work of art. I would hardly classify myself as any type of author. But it being fan fiction, that gives me the freedom to create and bend and mold characters to my favor. I FULLY am aware that Barbara Gordon is the name of Gordon's daughter. But this isn't Batgirl. This is a different character. I may not have every piece of Batman's history etched in my brain's entirety, but I've been reading the comics since I was a little girl... I know a thing or two. Just because I am choosing to go the route of Bruce Wayne more than Batman doesn't mean I don't appreciate the Batman universe and have full respect for the characters. Nolan's Batman doesn't include Barbara, therefore I posted this story in this section, not the comic section. If you are going to review, please, read the story. NOT just the summary, otherwise move on. It's not your cup of tea, great, there is a story out there for you, but don't bash something you aren't even taking the time to read.
Rant over! Thanks for reading and reviewing! Hopefully I won't be so long in updating.