Hanna was unlike anyone he'd ever met before. He'd known that before they had left the hotel but once they hit the crowded streets, he became even more aware of this fact as he walked with her.
She didn't take any interest in normal activities that he would expect of someone with her upbringing. No she seemed to take a liking to more ordinary pursuits.
So far she had fed a bunch of stray cats and dogs. Played tag with some kids in the park several blocks from the hotel. Done a little bit of window shopping- but not for anything fancy. No, she had bought some colored ink pens, paint brushes, some watercolors and sketch pads. After that they had lunch, however he was the only person who ate since she told him that she wasn't hungry.
Still despite this he tried to coax her into eating some little something and after having his food pushed back and forth across the table between them; she had finally relented and ate a few bites of his fries then handed his stuff back to him to finish off.
Once he was done eating they hit the streets again and headed towards the historic district of the city where she turned to him and asked, "Have you ever ridden a train?" Benton thought for a moment and then shook his head no.
He could honestly say that he had never ridden a train before. Despite the fact that he had been living in Chicago for the past eight months, there had simply been no need for him to ride on the subway. Besides he'd heard some rather outragous things about people who rode on trains and wasn't sure if it was a good idea to try it.
But Hanna looked so happy and excited that he found himself biting the inside of his cheek and giving in to her whim and let her lead him down into the subway for the first time in his life.
The first thing he did once they were below the city streets was grab her hand and pull her against his side and look around warily. He could already see a majority of the people that were best avoided. The gang members, the pimps and drug dealers that frequented the slums.
Hanna looked up at him with a perplexed look on her pretty face and he leaned down so that his mouth was just a few inches from her ear and said very calmly and clearly. "Stay right by my side. Do not make eye contact with anyone. Do not try speaking to anyone. Do not draw attention to yourself in any way. We'll ride the train to it's next stop then we'll leave."
He straightened his spine and slipped an arm around her shoulders while transferring the hold on her hand to his free one and more or less pushed his way through the crowded area and over to the platform, where people waited for the train and noticed five- no eight men ranging in age, race, and occupation were staring at him.
Or rather they were staring at Hanna. Crap. He thought as he gritted his teeth and maneuvered her so that she was right in front of him, his hands settled on her shoulders, his grip so tight that when he looked down he noticed that his knuckles were white and automatically loosened his grip some while wondering if he'd hurt her. And if so why hadn't she said anything?
The train pulled up and they stood there silently waiting for the doors to open before stepping on. Benton led the way, seeking out some private corner where he could hide Hanna and then place himself firmly between her and the men he knew were going to follow them onto the train.
He managed to find a spot in a nice secluded little corner and none too subtely pushed Hanna into it and then trapped her there with his body as people flooded onto the train. Hanna whom had been silent up until he trapped her finally managed to ask warily, "Benton? What are you doing?"
He glanced down at her as soon as he located the places the men were in so that he could keep track of them and if they moved, and gave her an innocent look that might have fooled someone else. But not her. She knew that he was tense about something and a mountie that was tense, was a really bad idea to cross.
Mainly because you would never know what hit you. Or where for that matter.
"I'm protecting you." He finally said then twitched and hissed as someone bumped into him and forced him a bit closer to her than he wanted to be. Hanna saw him clench his fists on either side of her shoulders, looking very much like he was about to back hand someone if they pushed him any closer. And found herself reaching up and grasping his shirt and shifting their positions before some innocent bystander got hurt, startling him a little bit.
"Be quiet, Fraser and try to relax."
He looked like he wanted nothing more than to argue but no sooner than the words left her lips someone bumped into her, forcing her flush against him. Both Benton and Hanna stiffened and flushed and awkwardly apologised to eachother as Benton lashed out with his foot without her knowing it and kicked the person pressing her against him in the butt, forcing them into someone else.
Hanna looked over her shoulder with a suspicious look on her pretty face and muttered, "Well, that was odd."
Benton gave her a slightly nervous look as he laughed then said. "Not really. Things like that happen all the time." She was silent for a heat beat or two, her expression regarding him- contemplative before she said in a doubtful tone.
"Really? Things like that actually happen all the time, hm?" Benton noted that she was walking just within arms reach of a group of people dressed like muggers and took a moment to ignore her question as he reached out and lightly draped an arm around her slender shoulders and pulled her in close to his side. Causing her to give him a startled glance as she flushed then looked away.
Oh. Oh my- Benton thought as he blinked and stared blankly ahead. He may not know much about the opposite sex, but he knew enough to know when a woman was interested in him. And from the looks of the fetching flush staining Hanna's cheeks...she was definitely interested. Though for what reason he couldn't possibly fathom. According to the few women that he had tried dating before, he was boring, uninteresting, non adventurous and too- too gentlemanly.
One woman had even told him before breaking up with him, 'Benton, you're so much like a boy scout that you actually make the boy scouts look bad.' Which had turned out to be a huge blow to his self confidence as far as women and dating were concerned.
Still, now he found himself in a whole new predicament and wouldn't be able to escape from it until the end of the month.