A/N: Another chapter! :)
Two months later
Claire watched with soft eyes as Annabelle stood on the stage wearing a Lobster suit. It was the Christmas season and she was attending Annabelle's school play on the birth of Jesus- and apparently there were lobsters, whale's and Spiderman present at the event.
Claire waved at Annabelle who returned the gesture by waving her little paper mache' claw. Claire held back a giggle, Annabelle was so cute! Claire had chosen to go to the play because while Annabelle had asked both her and Wesker to go, Wesker apparently had 'pressing matters' to attend to. Claire snorted, as if he had pressing matters, but she had to admit that a play in a school's hall was the last place she would expect Wesker to be.
Wesker… Claire's mind went to think about the man and their strange relationship. Their relationship was strange they had had sex a total of sixty-seven times(not that she was counting) and over the span of the two months she had seen the man nearly every weekend. The guilt she thought she would have felt wasn't there and she was a little disturbed to find that she had gotten into a routine. A routine which consisted of her getting home from work on Friday, finding Wesker and Annabelle waiting for her in her home- which had scared the living crap out of her the first time she had seen them there and she had yelled at Wesker for just breaking into her home.
The past two months she had only had three weekends where Wesker and Annabelle weren't at her apartment, they would stay until Sunday and then they would leave. Wesker had even bought an inflatable bed for Annabelle so that they could have the bed. Claire still had trouble understanding what was going on- it was the freaking twilight zone!
Much to Claire's disdain Annabelle spent the week at her Aunt and Uncle's house, but whenever she tried to discuss it up with Wesker he would either ignore her thoughts or distract her.
It was bizarre, what was happening in her life at the moment. It was just so… normal… when she went to the park with them, the zoo, when they went out to dinner. It was a little scary and even though she had experienced all of them with Wesker she still found herself wondering if it was all some creepy dream and she was expecting to wake up at any given moment.
She was just glad that her brother hadn't found her secret out. She had spoken to her brother since the phone debacle and she had managed to convince her brother that Wesker had called her to give her torment and that's why she had answered the phone thinking it was Wesker- Chris had been surprisingly accepting of her lie a fact that had made Claire feel more disgusted with herself over lying to him.
She grinned and clapped as Annabelle's class finished their part. She waved at Annabelle who grinned and waved back- gods the girl was so cute. Claire still had moments of amazements that something so perfect had come from Wesker.
The rest of the play Claire didn't really pay all that much attention to, her mind too busy thinking about her crazy, relationship(?) with Wesker.
When the night was over she waited for Annabelle in the halls foyer, as she waited she watched the families congratulating their children on 'how good they were' and 'how amazing they looked', it made her smile and think about when she was their age and when it was her plays that her parents were going to.
"Claire!" Claire turned to see Annabelle running towards her. Claire noted that her face was completely spotless, if Claire hadn't just watched the girl on the stage with orange face paint all over her face she wouldn't have believed it given how clean Belle was.
"Hi Annabelle." Claire knelt down to her level. "You were amazing! So orange."
Annabelle grinned. "Thank you Claire!" she jumped at Claire and gave her a cuddle. "I'm glad yoor here Claire."
Claire returned the hug before standing. "I'm happy to be here." It was true, she was so happy to be there, even if she had to tell Chris she had other plans when he asked to meet up with her today for Christmas- so she was going to meet her brother tomorrow.
"Excuse me?" Claire turned to see a man standing behind her.
"Mr. Branson!" Annabelle beamed at the man.
The man, Mr. Branson, was of an average height, roughly 5 foot 4 and had a kind, slightly freckled face. He looked as though he worked out though he was lean, his face was very pointed but square at the same time and seemed to be complimented by his bright red, almost orange, hair. He smiled at Annabelle and his blue eyes sparkled, he had a very kind face.
"Hello Annabelle." Mr. Branson replied. "Did you have fun tonight?"
"Yup Yup!" Annabelle smiled.
Mr. Branson then turned his attention back to Claire, he rubbed his hand against his suit's blazer before holding it out to Claire. "Sorry I'm Mr. Branson, Annabelle's teacher, and you are?"
Claire took the offered hand and shook it. "I'm Claire, a… a family friend."
The man smiled flashing his white teeth. "I'm glad someone came with Annabelle this time, she's such a sweet girl." The pair looked down at Annabelle who was looking away as though embarrassed.
Claire looked back at the teacher and opened her mouth to say something but she noticed that he looked as though he wanted to say something, so she waited. "Claire I must admit I came here with an agenda, not just to talk about how cute Annabelle is." He scratched the back of his head in a nervous way- it was a little funny.
"Yes?" She replied.
"Annabelle would you like to have some cake, there's some at the table." Mr. Branson pointed towards the buffet table, which was surrounded by children and teachers who were trying to pass out foods. Annabelle nodded and bounced towards the table. When she was out of earshot the teacher turned back to Claire. "Well its just this, you are the first adult that I have seen with Annabelle, she doesn't get picked up by her Aunt or Uncle and they refuse whenever I call them. I would really like to talk to someone about Annabelle's development- are you able to get in contact with the girls father? She speaks of him often."
Claire opened her mouth to reply, only to pause as she watched the teacher's eyes widen fractionally. Before she could ask what was wrong she felt a firm hand touch her shoulder. She tilted her head to see Wesker standing beside her.
"Dear Heart." He said not looking at her, while his eyes were covered by the glasses she could tell that he was watching the teacher. "Mr. Hank Branson."
Claire watched with sharp eyes as Mr. Branson, Hank, narrowed his eyes at Wesker. There was something, almost an unspoken message passing between the pair. Almost as though they had met before, but that had to be ridiculous, the teacher had said himself that he hadn't met any of Annabelle's family.
Mr. Branson did not hold his hand out for Wesker and Claire found that a little strange, the man had been so polite up until now. "Have we met Mr…?" he trailed off in his question but there was something inside Claire that said that the pair had met.
"Whittman." Wesker replied coolly. Claire tried to hold back the roll of her eyes; did the man need to be such an arse?
Mr. Branson was quiet for a few moments as he looked at Wesker, his behaviour was almost frightening to Claire. All of a sudden he smiled and held a hand out to the blonde.
"Nice to meet you sir." He shook Wesker's hand. "Annabelle speaks so fondly of you."
Claire turned to look at the girl who was standing at the table trying to squeeze in to get a slice of cake. She excused herself from the pair and walked over to the table and grabbed a plate.
"Here Belle." She leaned over and took a slice and passed it to the girl.
"Thanks Claire." Annabelle smiled and went about eating her chocolate covered treasure. While the girl ate her treat Claire watched the strange exchange between Wesker and Mr. Branson. 'They so know each other' she thought to herself as she took note of how tense the teacher was.
Elle smiled to herself as she wandered down the hallway of their base. She took note that it was strangely quiet, she couldn't hear Al training, nor could she the familiar sounds of Krauser beating the shit out of the poor training dummies- then again when she thought about it, Jack had been pretty distracted lately since the return of Manuela, the poor girl was hardly aloud out of his sight, it made appointments with their doctors interesting however while the girl hardly seemed to mind Jack's presence, Elle was pleased to note that Manuela had put her foot down and said 'no' when Jack had wanted to go into the bathroom with her. Elle liked that girl- no woman, she corrected, no person goes through what Manuela had been through without aging years beyond what you should be. Even Elle hadn't been a girl in a long time.
She shook her head to take away the sad thoughts that were beginning to surface and turned left into another small hallway on her way to Wesker's office, which was technically her office while the man was away. She grinned at the memory of Wong's face when Wesker had informed everyone of Elle's second in command status. It was almost worth the painful work she had to do while in charge. Thinking of Wong… she groaned, she had to have a meeting with that bitch today… she sent angry mental glares at Wesker while she walked into the office, now it wasn't as though she didn't want Wesker going out and having time with Claire and Annabelle, no she wanted this to happen but she absolutely hated that Wesker seemed to be deliberately booking appointments with Wong for whenever he was out and that was not cool with Elle.
Sitting down on the swivel chair in Wesker's office she put her legs on the table, her black heels being kicked off in the process leaving her black stockings on. She grabbed the laptop from the desk and went about doing her work. Wong wasn't due for a few hours thank god.
Not even fifteen minutes into typing some work she was interrupted by the sound of seven inch heels walking towards the office. She frowned, Wong wasn't due yet so who could it be? She snapped the laptop closed, placed it on the table, flung her legs under the table and pushed her chair in. It was in that moment that Excella (or Witch as Elle calls her) walked in.
"Good day Miss Smith." She said, her accent thick and Elle had to resist the urge to cringe because of it.
"How are you, Miss Gionne?" Elle straightened her back and made herself look more imposing, while telling herself that she wasn't in contest with this woman- even if she did have that painful noble air about her and boobs larger than a watermelon.
Excella moved to take a seat near Elle but it was in that moment that she noticed the shoes that Elle had haphazardly kicked onto the floor. Her nose upturned and she gave the other woman the expression that nobility is born with while others have to spend decades perfecting. She took her seat and lifted her head with the air of someone who was wasting their time by being there and obviously had better places to be and better people to see.
Elle resisted the urge to snort, she found it pretty amusing when Excella put on that 'holier than thou' air because in reality if Elle really wanted to she could kick the woman arse to next Tuesday as well as buy the woman and her 'company' out four times over- not that she wanted the shitty pharmaceutical company but it would be pretty sweet to see the expression on Excella's face if she did.
"What can we do for you today?" Elle spoke snapping the other woman from her glaring. She then decided that even if Wesker gave her a lecture about it later she didn't care, she was going to be as unaccommodating as physically possible. With that in mind she leaned back in her chair and put her feet back on the table.
"I was hoping to speak with Albert." She replied, gesturing to the black briefcase in her hands. "I have something important to deliver to him."
Elle smiled with thin lips at Excella's use of Wesker's first name, he was honestly surprised that Wesker hadn't murdered the woman yet. No one called Wesker by his first name- she wasn't even sure if her father had. Her eyes then went to the briefcase, her senses were telling her to take whatever it was in that case and destroy it- something just didn't feel right and when senses that are heightened by a dangerous virus tell you something is bad, you listen. "If you give it to me I'll make sure Wesker gets it." She finally said.
Excella pretended to think about it for a few moments. "I think not." She finally said. "I would much prefer to make sure that Albert receives this personally."
Elle wanted to hit someone, instead she opted to press the button under the table and prayed that someone would come soon before Excella learned just how many ways you could hurt someone with the office supplies on the table. "Well Miss Gionne, since Wesker is not here you have what appears to be two options."
Execlla crossed her legs, an action which revealed more of her thigh than Elle had needed to see and caused her to wonder why she would come to visit Wesker with such clothing- the man was practically celibate…with the exception of Claire. Elle found herself smiling smugly with the confidence that no matter how much Gionne advertised her body, Wesker was not going to go for it. Who would? Especially if you had Claire waiting for you at home- but that was just Elle's personal feelings.
"And pray, what would those options be, Miss Smith?" Excella drawled snapping Elle from her thoughts.
Elle clasped her hands together and rested them on her stomach, with her feet on the table and how she was leaning back on the chair, all she was missing was a cigar to finish the look. "You can either give me the briefcase and as second in charge I will ensure that Wesker receives it. Or you can leave and come back at a later date- though I don't know why you would want to do that, it can be quite a pain flying all the way from Africa just to deliver a case and then find out that you need to do it again… all because of Wesker."
Excella rose from her chair. "I assure you, I am quite willing to make that sacrifice in regards to delivering this package." She inclined her head. "Thank you however for your concern. Good day Miss smith." With that she turned and walked from the room- and hopefully the building. Just as she left Al took that moment to walk in, clad in his typical black attire complete with his helmet.
"What did you want?" he asked referring to the fact that Elle had pressed the button under the table.
She smiled. "Surely you saw Gionne leaving the room?" she took her feet off the table. "I just wanted someone in here on the off chance I decided to relocate her head."
Al crossed his arms and tilted his head. "Why is it that you always end up fighting with the women who work for Wesker?" there was a mixture of humour and annoyance in his voice.
Elle snorted and waved him to come closer. "Maybe if they all weren't bitches who if they're not trying to sleep with him, they're trying to steal from him." She watched as he moved to sit in the chair across from her. She crossed her head and pointed to the spot beside him- she swore she could hear him sigh as he walked over to her.
"That's the bosses business, not yours." He sighed taking his helmet off. He ran a gloved hand through his hair to slick it back, it worked, with the exception of one little patch which just shot back up making him look like a blonde Tintin.
Elle giggled and licked her hand as she rose to stand, she then ran her had over the spot, she smiled as it stayed down only to let out another giggle as it popped up again. Oh this was hilarious! "You'd make a pretty cute little Tintin." She smiled and patted his head.
Al frowned and looked at himself in the reflection of his bike helmet. His frown deepened and he reached into his pocket. Elle watched with fascination as he pulled out a small tube of gel. She let out a cackle as he spent a few minutes sticking the spot back, being only satisfied when the spot stayed down.
Elle let out a high pitch laugh as she watched him put the gel back into his pocket. "Only you would keep Gel in your pocket." She grasped the bottom of his jacket and pulled him down to her. "Pedantic little shit…" she pushed her lips against his.
He didn't respond for some time and Elle had a feeling it was because he was still uncomfortable about the age thing but after a few moments he gave in and responded. Only problem is, as he began to respond one of Elle's many phones began to ring and 'Hakuna Mattata' began to play in the room.
"Bloody pain in the ass piece of shit." She cursed as she pulled a phone out from her jacket. "Yes?" she answered, trying to sound remotely pleasant. There was a pause as she listened to the other party. "Really?" her eyes raised higher than Al had seen them in a long time. "Thank you for letting me know…" she hung the phone up and looked at Al who was watching her expectantly.
Elle placed the phone back into one of her jacket pockets and looked at Al with wide eyes. "Wesker went to Annabelle's school concert."
Al raised his brows in wonder and crossed his arms. He would like to think that he had known Wesker for a very long time and while he had no doubt that Wesker loved his daughter, the man simply did not go to school functions like that. He let out a snort as he tried to picture Wesker sitting in an audience while Annabelle sang something along the lines of 'yellow submarine'.
"Who told you that?" he asked.
Elle leaned back in her chair and grinned. "HUNK, you know her teacher."
Claire watched in amazement as Annabelle ordered something from the menu in fluent French. The girl was six, Claire only knew enough French to ask if they spoke English. She found it amazing that a little girl could read, let alone speak French. She stole a glance at Wesker who was smirking at her, clearly he understood what was going through her head.
When the waiter turned his attention to the, and Claire flushed red and had to have Wesker order for them both.
"You're very clever Belle," Claire commented. "I wish I knew French."
Annabelle smiled. "Daddy taught me, maybe he could teach you."
"I am sure I could teach Dear Heart many French words." There was a tone in his voice that along with sending shivers down Claire's spine, had her staring at him with wide eyes. He seemed to ignore her gaze and paid some attention to his drink.
'Pervert.' Claire thought after her shock went away. She decided that if he could play her she'd play back. "If your father wants to teach me French, I'm sure I could think of a few things I could teach him as a thanks." She took note of Wesker's smile.
It was in that moment their food arrived and Claire looked in horror at the plate of snails and frog legs that was set before her. Narrowed eyes shot to Wesker who went about eating his rather tasty looking steak. She seethed. There was no way in hell she was going to eat the monstrosity in front of her.
"Are you okay Claire?" Annabelle's eyes were wide with concern as she noticed the expression on the Redfield's face.
Claire tried her hardest to smile, a feat which was harder than she had initially thought, especially with Wesker looking so damn smug as he cut his amazing looking steak into smaller pieces. She absentmindedly wondered why the hell he would do that.
"I'm great Belle…" she finally manage to ground out, amazed at her ability to sound remotely happy. "I'm just not overly fond of snails." She sent a withering glare to the girl's father.
Annabelle's eyes went wider and she let out a gasp. "Oh no I'm sure daddy didn't mean to get you food you didn't want. You can have some of mine if you want." She gestured to her chicken salad.
Claire opened her mouth to reply only to find herself turning to glare at Wesker as she felt a hand on her thigh. The man in question seemed to be looking at his daughter, not that she could tell as he had his bloody sunglasses on!
"It is alright Belle," he said calmly as though he wasn't currently groping Claire in public and on the same table as his daughter. "If Miss Redfield wants she can share mine."
Annabelle smiled and not noticing anything went back to eating her food.
Claire glared at him. He seemed to not notice her glares and with his free hand used the fork to pick up a little piece of his steak. He held it at her lips. Claire narrowed her eyes, he wasn't actually going to feed her was he? At the raising of one of his brows, her eyes narrowed further and she opened her mouth, wishing that the fork was his fingers so that she could bite them off. She took the steak into her mouth and felt her eyes close in pleasure. The steak was amazing! Never before had she had a piece of foot that tasted that good in her mouth, she tried to take her time in eating the piece, but alas all good things must come to an end and she found herself swallowing the wonderful piece of meat.
When she opened her eyes she found Wesker looking at her with that damn smirk of his.
"Well?" he prompted.
Claire couldn't help but smile. "That was the most amazing piece of food I have ever put in her mouth." Claire took a glance at Annabelle who had watched the exchange between the two adults, there was a smile on her face that was so bright that made Claire almost want to engage in PDA with Wesker just to keep that smile there.
Unknown to any of the three they were being watched.
Claire smiled at Annabelle who was asleep in the backseat of Wesker's car as they pulled into the car park of Claire's apartment. When the car had stopped she climbed out and gently took the girl from the back seat and proceeded to carry her against her hip.
"Argh we tharp…" the girl murmured into Claire's shoulder, she was still very much asleep.
"Shh…" Claire soothed as Wesker locked the car and walked beside her towards the elevator.
The three rode the elevator in silence and when they reached Claire's floor they silently went inside her apartment and Claire took the girl to the bed that Wesker had provided in her spare room. Gently placing Annabelle on the bed she gave the girl a kiss and tucked her in. Slowly she crept from the room and closed the door behind her. She then made her way to the living room, only to stop as she heard Wesker on the phone.
"She said that did she?" Claire noted the annoyance in his voice.
"No matter, I will deal with her when I arrive in Africa. Good evening Elle." As he hung the phone up Claire chose that moment to walk into the room.
"Would you like a drink?" she asked trying to sound as casual as she could. She desperately wanted to ask him about Africa and who 'her' was but she decided against it- something was telling her that she did not want to know.
Wesker nodded his head and took a seat at her sofa. She still had trouble believing how normal her time with him was. One would think that spending time with Wesker would be chaotic, but for her it was quite the opposite. There seemed to be something in her chest that was warmed by her time with him, and she wasn't sure if she should be frightened by that notion.
Carrying two glasses of wine she passed one to him as she sat beside him. She took a rather large gulp of her wine and placed the glass on her table, she noted that Wesker's glass was already there.
She turned her head to look at him and found herself gasping. Gone were his glasses and his red eyes were looking at her with such an intensity that she found herself turning into goo from the expression on its own. She had seen his eyes many times now and one would think that she would be used to it by now, but she was not, whenever he looked at her in this way you could ask her what one plus one was and her answer would be 'Wesker'. His eyes had the most profound effect on her. She sat up and leaned towards him.
"Wesker I-" Whatever she had wanted to say was cut off by hot lips. Closing her eyes with a smile, Claire let herself be taking by his eyes, his hands and his mouth.
A/N: Well I hope you liked the chapter! :)