A porcelain vase in her hands, not caring how much it was worth, she swung it at Rutherford's head. But like she suspected, he caught it effortlessly. He tilted his head.
"I would appreciate it if you didn't break anything. Especially not my skull." He said bluntly, not caring about Shade's anger.
"You sick freak! What kind of a boy are you?! I have barely known you for a week and you already want to-"
"You really are strange." Rutherford interrupted. "What on earth makes you think I would do such a thing in the first place? Let alone a commoner such as yourself." Shade grabbed her gun and pointed it at Rutherford.
"Don't even try… I'll do it. And I won't give a damn what happens to me afterward." She threatened. Now this was just plain pointless.
"Your gun is not even loaded, smart one. And where do you think you can get bullets for it if you can't even supply them at this very moment?" Rutherford didn't need a gun to shoot Shade down. He just needed his mouth. Shade growled and slumped back on the couch.
"Argh! Why in the world should I?" She demanded. "Like sure, a nice bed with celebrity treatment in a penthouse? That's the life right there, but I don't see why I should. Is this some sort of sick trick of yours?"
"I have no other sick tricks to my nature nor my stature. But rather I am considering your safety." He replied. Shade totally forgot. Since she saved Kousuke and Ryoko, they had to pay her back by protecting her. But why was Rutherford trying to protect her instead? Were they all going to be apart of the ordeal? She figured that it would make sense because they were such a tight group. "It will only be for tonight." Rutherford continued. Shade was caught off-guard as she perked up, assertively. "We cannot guarantee if the Hunters are after you or not. But if they are we can't be too careful and too carefree about it. They will stop at nothing to kill you now that they know that you're someone who won't go down without a fight. They will try to track you down, and for that, you cannot risk walking home alone." He concluded.
Shade suddenly felt concerned. Not just for herself, but for this circle that Rutherford got herself into. The amount of pressure suddenly just quadrupled to a thousand, and there was no way that Shade had that kind of strength and perception to watch over five people let along herself. How was she going to-
"I can see you're worried." Rutherford noticed. Shade jumped, startled. He calmly paced to her and lightly stroked her front bangs. Shade tried her hardest to stay perfectly still. She was shaking from the anxiety that she wasn't sure how to contain herself. It was little things like this that scared and excited her the most. "I wouldn't if I were you. I would only focus on the AB-5 and how you will only need to constantly be on your guard. You can trust no one now. It's too late to turn back." This, Shade knew was true. Maybe Rutherford was right for once. Shade really needed to focus more on the AB-5 and not so much on how to do everything perfect.
"I-I see…" She answered. Rutherford slightly smiled. He now had her trust. Some of it, anyway. "…Didn't you say you have a mother?" he asked as he moved away from her. "You should call her."
"Oh crap! That's right! She's probably worried sick about me!" Shade pulled out her cell phone and clicked the speed dial for her house to see if her mother was there. After a few rings there was a voice, "Moshi Moshi?"
"M-Mom!" Shade exclaimed.
"Shade? Honey, where have you been?" Her mother sounded concerned. "I tried calling but you never answered. Did you have it off this entire time?!"
"Uh… Hehe… Well I just didn't want to have interruptions in my performance is all. I'm fine and all, really!"
"Well I know that, you're my niña. No one messes with my tough cookie!" She remarked. "So where are you?"
"W-Well… I called you to let you know I'm staying at a friend's place tonight." Shade answered.
"Hmm? Shade Katsura, you've only been at school for two days and you're already having sleepovers?"
"Is that a bad thing?" She asked.
"No, it doesn't bother me, I'm just concerned about where you're staying."
"You won't have to worry about anything mom." Shade assured. "My friend here has a lovely apartment. I'll be fine. I'll call you in the morning, alright?"
"Well… alright. Since you're already there, it would be no point for me to get you with no car, or money for a taxi." Her mother sighed.
"Mom?" Shade blinked. "You sound tired. Is everything ok?"
"No, it's ok honey. It's just… I'm so tired. I've been looking everywhere and no one is hiring." Shade lowered her phone a little.
"I'm sorry to hear that…"
"And you know, I hate replying for you on your well-deserved gig money to help out, but-"
"N-No! It's ok! I don't mind it! I really don't!" Shade insisted.
"Ha… Shade… girls like you should be out shopping. With your style and fashion taste, you'll go far. I can see it… I'd rather make it easier for you to live in order for you to accomplish that than to rely on your hard work."
"…We'll both try hard, ok? Everything will work out for the best!" Shade giggled.
"Si… it will." Her mother breathed in and slowly exhaled. "Well, have a good time Shade. Don't stay up too late ok?"
"Me too, Mama." She smiled.
"Ok, have a good night, alright?"
"Yes, I will, Mama. Good night." Shade hung up and suddenly felt a rush of tranquility and calmness throughout her body. Talking with her mother made Shade so calm, almost as if she could feel her love and concern through the phone. Her voice reminded Shade that if she wanted to do this ordeal successfully, she would have to do it not just for her, or for Rutherford and his circle. Shade needed to do this to avenge her father's death and protect her mother as well…
"You two sound close." Rutherford stated. Shade slowly looked at him. "Tell me… what is it like to have that kind of closeness… to have a family?" Shade loosened up and stared at him to see if he was serious. He didn't seem to be joking. Shade carefully thought out her answer.
"Well… It feels like everything around you doesn't matter. My mom is all I have left… and that makes me feel like everything else is worthwhile. She's all I have… and I can't lose her. I love her too much to even think of what it would be like without her."
Rutherford just blankly gazed at her as if he was bored. He didn't even seem interested, he was only curious. He sort of regretted it afterwards if her answer was going to be so poetically modest.
"I see…" he got up and walked a few steps.
"Rutherford…?" Shade stopped him. He turned his head and looked at her behind his shoulder. "What about… your mother?" she asked. "Don't you care about her the same way?" Shade didn't know that she hit a fairly sensitive topic for Rutherford, but he glared at her and brushed the whole thing off.
"That is none of your concern." He replied coldly. "She passed away suddenly when I was very young." Shade softly gasped.
"I… I didn't know."
"At least you didn't say that you were sorry." Rutherford walked into a room and came back out with a set of nightwear and a towel. "I'm going to take a bath. I'll get something for you to wear later." Then he left.
Shade couldn't believe it. It made so much sense as to why he was so cold to everyone all the time. Shade suddenly felt so bad and so sorry for him, like she thought the day would never come, but she was feeling a deep remorse that she could feel the tears well up in her eyes. Her chest was feeling heavy with guilt and her heart sank to her stomach. But she couldn't. Not here, not now. She had to remain strong. Besides, there was no way Rutherford was going to get the best of her by seeing her cry.