Disclaimer & Notices
Copyright: Capcom owns the Resident Evil franchise, not me.
Notices: This story contains violence and sexual content. Additionally, this story will contain grammatical or other errors. If you're feverish over the errors, feel free to privately message me about what you find and help me improve.
Summary: Alice and Claire meet only days before Umbrella releases the T-virus on the world. And when Claire can't get in touch with Alice after the outbreak, she heads to Raccoon City to find Alice. But after entering the chaotic city, Umbrella locks down all entrances and exits leaving Claire trapped and on her own.
AN: This will be about a three chapter (plus an epilogue) story. Chapters will be posted as soon as they're written so it should go quickly.
Dedication: This story is for Quincy. I hope you enjoy your birthday gift. ;-)
Happy 18th Birthday, Quincy!
Started: April 1, 2012
Series: One Shot
by Red Hope
It was a beautiful day, to fly. Blue skies were relatively warm today and only a few clouds dotted the morning sky. The winds were three knots, right down the runway. Alice couldn't have picked a better day to move the airplane from Detroit to Raccoon City. The flight took just over three hours, which was cutting it close for Alice's new plane because it held three and half hours of flying time in a full tank. But it was enough, as she followed the traffic pattern of her new home airport.
By the time Alice landed the plane, taxied to the fuel pumps, refueled, and went to her new hangar it was just after two o'clock. Once the engine was shut down, Alice spotted the airport manager approaching her. His warm smile made Alice return it, and she shook his hand. They chatted about the small yet friendly airport while pushing the plane into the hangar.
The airport manager, Ron, dusted his hands off on his canvas pants then took a step back from the plane. Despite the plane's small fuselage, it had extravagantly long wings that filled the hangar. He shifted to the pilot's side and studied the plane better.
Alice came around from the co-pilot's side and caught Ron's eyes sweeping over the plane. "What you think?"
Ron grinned, rather big, at his new customer. "An oldie but goodie."
Alice folded her arms. "It was the hundredth one off the production line."
Ron gave a low whistle then looked at Alice. "What year?"
"1959," Alice softly replied. She was admiring the plane too.
Ron shook his head but turned to Alice. "It sounds like it'll keep you busy."
Alice rocked on her boots then put her hands into her coat pockets. "Yes." She sighed then met the manager's smug features. "It already has a cylinder problem."
Ron pointed a thumb over his right shoulder. "You know where the mechanics' shop is located?"
Alice nodded. "Yes."
Ron seemed to consider something then lowered his arm. "You haven't met the owner." He stepped around Alice and offered, "Come on." He put his hands into his pants' pockets and strolled out.
Alice fell into step alongside the airport manager.
"You picked a beautiful day to move the plane," Ron commented.
"Yes." Alice studied the sky above her head. "It was still a little bumpy."
Ron chuckled and reminded, "Everyday is bumpy in that airplane."
Alice echoed his laugh and nodded. "I've heard that." She followed him down the paved road between the hangars then straight ahead was the mechanics' hangar. They walked along the incline then went directly to the side door. In the shop's parking lot, there were two pickup trucks and a Honda VTX motorcycle with the retro style and snappy red paint that caught Alice's eye. Going inside the shop, Alice quickly realized just how busy the mechanics were here. She and Ron were forced to weave in and out of the planes until they came upon a mechanic.
A beautiful Piper Comanche seemed to be on stilts, its prop gone, and a woman with sunny red hair was under the right wing. She was softly cursing at the landing gear, which was dripping oil into a pan on the floor. Being on her back, she barely made out the two pairs of legs nearing her. But she recognized one set and pushed out from under the wing, her creeper squeaking loudly.
Ron stood on one side and warmly smiled once the redhead was on her feet. "I wanted to introduce you to a new demanding customer." He indicated Alice and prompted, "This is Alice Abernathy."
Alice rolled her eyes at Ron's joke. Taking a step closer, she accepted the offered hand that'd been wiped clean with a rag.
"Alice, this is the owner of Redfield Wings, Claire Redfield." Ron watched the pair briskly shake hands.
"Nice to meet you," Claire warmly greeted. She held Alice's stormy blue eyes for another second before releasing hands and focused on Ron.
"Alice just purchased a 150 and moved it here from the Detroit area," Ron explained. "Apparently she's already having engine trouble."
Claire grinned and turned it onto Alice. "You came to the right shop."
"That's what I've heard," Alice remarked. It was true that Redfield Wings was a well-known mechanics' shop in the local area. Alice had picked the airport because of the shop and planned to spend a nice chunk of her savings with Redfield Wings by the time her plane was done.
"What model 150 is it?" Claire inquired.
Alice shook her head and answered, "It's just a Cessna 150... no letter suffix." The mechanic's awe warmed Alice and nearly made her flush. "It's the hundredth one off the line."
Claire parted her lips slightly, but Ron cut her off.
"I have to get going," he mentioned. Ron already took a step away. "Let me know if you need anything else, Alice."
Nodding, Alice smiled at the manager. "Thanks, Ron."
"See ya, Ron." Claire waited until he was on his way then she turned back to Alice. "What made you decide on a 150?"
Alice shrugged and simply answered, "I like vintage."
Claire chuckled, and her head bobbed a few times. "I can relate." She wore navy coveralls, which sported grease spots. Yet it hardly hindered her beautiful and soft features. "What engine trouble are you having?"
"I did a pre-buy inspection," Alice answered. "They found one of the compressions to be too low."
Several different causes ran through Claire's mind, but she wouldn't know more until she inspected the engine. "Stock engine?" After Alice's nod, she pursed her lips then checked, "Which cylinder?"
"It's on the rear pilot's side." Alice was uneasy about Claire's wicked grin.
"Are you over a thousand hours?" the mechanic asked.
"It's got just over eleven hundred."
Claire folded her arms and didn't lose her grin. "That's pretty common for that cylinder to go bad."
"Bad?" Alice repeated. "Why don't I like that?"
Claire chuckled then took a step to her left, around the Comanche's blunt nose. "Do you prefer new or rebuilt cylinders?" She softly laughed again after Alice's low groan. "Follow me. We'll get you on the books."
Alice was guided through the maze of planes. She spotted two other mechanics, who were older gentleman that probably had years of knowledge about planes. That was another reason she'd selected Redfield Wings because her new oldie plane was over fifty years old. She entered an office that was attached to the side of the shop. The office's warmer air was welcoming and took the chill off.
"Coffee?" Claire indicated the pot.
Alice was tempted but shook her head. "Thank you though." She went down to the second desk that Claire shuffled behind. From a quick glance, it was easy to tell that it was Claire's desk. Taking a seat in front of the desk, Alice waited for Claire to get comfortable too.
"Let's see..." Claire opened a black ringed book that appeared to be a calendar. "I can probably get you in on Tuesday."
Alice was surprised. There were several planes in the mechanics' hangar plus a few outside the door on tie-downs, waiting in line. "Are you sure?"
Claire peered up, a grin tugged at the corner of her lips. "New customer welcoming." She peered down at the calendar. "So, Tuesday?"
"Tuesday," Alice agreed. She sat back into the chair and stole a minute to take in all of Claire's beauty. Thankfully the mechanic was busy jotting down the information in the calendar and didn't catch Alice admiring her. What stood out in Alice's mind was that Claire wore no jewelry of any kind, and Claire's only makeup was just eyeliner.
"What hangar?" Claire inquired.
"Up the hill," Alice started.
"They're all up the hill," Claire gently teased. She peered up with hooded eyes and an amused expression. She bit her bottom lip because Alice flushed, brightly.
Alice cleared her throat and hoped her blush wasn't visible despite it burned her cheeks. "It's the hangar in the middle... at the very end."
Claire nodded and noted that on the appointment. "If you can leave your plane's keys in the cockpit that'd be great. Phone number and email address?" As Alice rattled off the information, Claire hastily jotted it down. She sat up and put her pencil on the desk, about to close the calendar until Alice spoke.
"Is it a good idea to set an appointment for the annual?"
Claire lowered the calendar's left side. "When's it end?"
"It ends in June," Alice replied. She thought it was a good idea to get the annual on the books considering how busy the shop was right now.
Claire flipped through the pages until she came to the first week of July. "I'll mark it in here." She paused then lifted her head. "What's the plane's tail number?"
Alice recited the n-number. She briefly watched Claire before she started scanning the small office.
"Do you have the plane's logbooks?" Claire questioned. She finished the appointment note in the calendar then met Alice's stare.
"Yes, I can leave them in the plane too."
"Great. Do you want us to hold on to them?"
Alice considered it, carefully. Normally the logbooks stayed with her because she didn't fully trust mechanics. However, she could tell that Claire kept a very clean and organized business so that made her feel at ease. "I think so." She gave a thin smile to the owner.
Claire mirrored the smile and promised, "We'll take good care of them."
Alice nodded in acceptance then stood up. "You have a nice shop," she remarked. She faced the wall that had a small collection of vintage airplane photos.
Claire canted her head and studied the newcomer's tall stature. "I keep it a nice shop." She laced her hands together on the desk. "Are you from this area?"
"I live in Raccoon City," Alice distantly answered. She was reading the contents of one framed picture.
Claire tilted her head and noted what had caught Alice's attention. She stood up and approached Alice from behind. "That's the Mechanic's Creed," she explained.
Alice read the last few sentences of the Mechanic's Creed for aspiring and continuing mechanics specifically for the aviation industry. She hadn't seen it before, but it was rather moving.
"I firmly believe in it and have it memorized," Claire commented. She put her hands behind her back. "I've heard too many horror stories about airplane mechanics signing off on logbooks for a price. Or even holding the plane's logbooks for ransom to force their customers to pay." She shook her head and disgust covered her features.
Alice heard much the same thing, and it was why she brought her plane here. Redfield Wings was a trustworthy shop, but she hadn't realized how seriously the owner took it. That thickened Alice's own trust in Claire. Moving away from the Mechanic's Creed, she approached the next framed object, which had caught her attention earlier.
Claire followed, but her gaze was affixed on the drawing too.
"This is amazing," Alice murmured. She enjoyed graphite artwork and this piece was creative.
"It was my first plane," Claire softly revealed, "That I trained in and owned for years."
"A Piper Tri-Pacer," Alice deduced. They were fabric planes made in the 1950s and 1960s modeled after their taildragger sibling. What had been drawn at the nose down to the empennage of the plane was very detailed. But then the tail of the plane became fantasy and gently shifted into flying birds then further behind the birds turned into tree leaves. Each leaf had begun its journey from an oak tree proudly standing on the far left side of the drawing. The artwork was a beautiful study of flight from mother nature to mankind.
"Did you draw this?" Alice curiously turned to the mechanic.
Claire met the piercing blue eyes. "Yes."
Alice was impressed and smiled at the framed artwork. "Amazing," she murmured.
Claire now was the one flushing from the compliment. She could feel Alice's admiration for her artwork.
Alice bit her bottom lip for a second then quickly peered down at Claire's left hand just to reconfirm her assumption. She met Claire's blushing features and huskily asked, "Can I take you out to dinner tonight?" But she half expected to be denied on such short notice, especially on a Friday. A gorgeous woman like Claire Redfield had to have plans.
Claire rocked back on her boots and couldn't stop her stomach fluttering so wildly. "Ummm." For a few seconds, her mind caught up to everything then the heat returned to her face. "I uh..." She read the hope in Alice's eyes, and Claire made her choice finally. She smiled warmly. "Yes... yes, you can."
Alice inwardly groused when her knees went weak from the unexpected answer. But instantly she mirrored Claire's smile. "Uh... well, what do you like? Italian? Steakhouse? Sushi?"
"Italian." That was an easy answer for Claire this time.
Alice ran through her mental list of Italian restaurants. "Have you been to La Casa Pasta?"
"I love it," Claire replied. She didn't often go though.
"That's perfect." Alice decided that part was settled. "I can pick you up or meet you there." She didn't want to overwhelm Claire.
"I live just down the road from here... it's out of your way," Claire argued. She glanced over her shoulder when the side door to the shop opened. One of her mechanics was coming in to get parts from the storage room. But Claire looked at Alice again. "Six thirty?" she tempted.
Alice considered her day and decided it was a good time. "I can meet you there." Most likely her voice sounded as excited as she felt right now. It'd been a long time since Alice had a date with anybody, especially a younger and beautiful woman like Claire.
"It's a date." Claire smiled, shyly. She took a step back and nearly bumped into the other mechanic, who hurried out from the parts room. "I'll... see you then." She shoved her hands into her coverall's pockets.
Alice nodded then edged to the door behind herself that went directly outside into the parking lot. "And thanks for getting me on the schedule." She didn't wait for a response and quietly left the office. There were several things at her hangar that needed to be done before she could go home, clean up, and get ready for the date. The afternoon went quickly and at three-thirty, Alice's cell phone rang with a call from her friend.
"Hey, Carlos," Alice greeted over the phone. She knew he wasn't far from the airport since he was her ride back to the city. He gave him directions through the airport and shortly jumped into his truck after he pulled up to the hangar. Carlos asked her about the flight from the airport in Detroit to the new airport that Alice had selected. They continued chatting for the entire forty minute ride until they pulled up to Alice's apartment.
Alice thanked her friend and told him to have a good weekend. She hurried into the building then once in her apartment, she whizzed around and prepared for her date with Claire. Before getting into the shower, she made a quick call to the restaurant and made dinner reservations. They tended to fill up quickly thanks to their excellent food and superior waitstaff.
At six fifteen, Alice strolled up to the Italian restaurant after parking her car in the nearby parking garage. She entered the restaurant and checked that the reservation was still good. Refusing to be seated yet, she waited for Claire by the entrance for a few minutes. But the wait was short, and Claire arrived at the fine Italian restaurant five minutes of six thirty. Alice was standing outside by the front door and fought not to act like a goggling high school boy.
"Wow," Alice muttered to herself as Claire crossed the road.
Claire went from incredibly nervous to quite flushed after taking in Alice's bright smile. Most likely Alice hadn't expected Claire to clean up so well since she was a mechanic. But Claire stayed in touch with her feminine side, which included a red blouse that showed off her cleavage under a black leather jacket and black slacks. Her hair now had a soft curl to the ends and a few strands pulled back then pinned behind her head. Her ruby red lips and eyeliner perfectly highlighted her mossy green eyes.
"Hi," Alice warmly greeted.
Claire adjusted her purse's strap on her right shoulder. "Hi yourself." She admired Alice's blond hair fashioned into a 1940s style. But what quickened Claire's pulse was Alice's sheer white v-cut top under the jacket and nicely tailored black slacks. As she followed Alice into the restaurant, she heard Alice's heels against the floor.
"How was the drive in?" Alice checked.
"Not bad," Claire replied. But she turned her smile onto the hostess, who started showing them to their table set by a window.
Alice settled into her seat then accepted the menu from the hostess. She noted Claire took off the leather jacket and hung it from the rear of the chair.
"Thanks," Claire offered to the hostess after she took the menu. Like Alice, she began studying it and easily picked out what she was in the mood for tonight.
Alice held back from opening a conversation until the server arrived at their table. She and Claire quickly ordered drinks first then had a few minutes alone.
"So what do you do for a living, Alice Abernathy?" Claire closed the menu and set it to the side.
"Well... I'm in security," Alice explained. She closed the menu and placed it on the table. "I work for Umbrella."
"Who doesn't in this city?" Claire joked. She should have known too.
"They made this city," Alice agreed.
Claire couldn't argue that fact but she posed, "How long have you been working there?"
Alice briefly stared up at the ceiling as she did the math in her head. "This is my twentieth year now."
Claire gave a low whistle in appreciation. It also gave her an idea on how old Alice may be. But before she could ask more, the server returned and took their orders. Once the menus were handed off, she was able to fully focus on her date.
"How about yourself?" Alice tempted.
Claire had a taste of her white wine but set the wineglass down. "I started my business about three years ago. But before that I worked at another shop for five years...earned my AMT certificate."
"What got you into aircraft maintenance?"
Claire considered her past and what'd drawn her into airplanes. "I think really my father." She adjusted the linen napkin in her lap. "He's a car mechanic and taught me at a young age how to take care of my first car. I guess it went from there."
"But how did you decide on planes?" Alice was baffled by how Claire went from cars to planes.
Slowly a grin etched across Claire's ruby red lips. "It's a good business decision... airplanes are required to have annuals performed so that's pretty good assurance that I'll have customers." She chuckled at Alice's amused smile. "But I also like to fly."
"You have your PPL?" Alice inquired.
Claire nodded and argued, "I don't think you can be a very good AMT without being a pilot first."
Alice fully agreed with the mechanic. She was about to try her red wine but hesitated because Claire spoke.
"What exactly is it that you do for security?" Claire gave a mischief grin. "Besides keep the facility secure."
Alice chuckled then decided to try the red wine before answering the question. She enjoyed the flavor and knew it'd go well with her meal later. "Well... it's really been a lot of paperwork lately." She sat back in her chair. "I'm the Head of Security."
"Ah." Claire's head bobbed a few times. "Then you're in management."
Alice sighed at Claire's keen observation. "Managing personalities really."
Thankfully Claire only had to manage two other mechanics, who were very easy going since they were old timers that just loved their work. She didn't look forward to when they retired, and she had to hire their replacements.
Alice was about to explain more about her job until the server arrived with bread and dipping oil. She allowed Claire to select a piece first then took the basket next. Shortly, she and Claire were enjoying the warm bread in the herb oil. Finding an opening, Alice explained her job to Claire and how she'd moved up the ladder over the years.
Claire carefully listened but became curious to how Alice got the job from the start. She imagined to be in security that an applicant had to have some kind of special training in combat or fighting. Then most likely Alice knew things about guns and weapons because Claire had seen plenty of security employees at Umbrella with handguns, rifles, and other weapons. That part made Claire a little uneasy because she wasn't overly fond of weapons.
"Are you from this area?"
Claire put away her thoughts and focused on Alice again. "No." She swept back a loose lock behind her right ear. "I'm from LA... all my family is still there."
"What brought you to Raccoon City?"
Claire shrugged and merely answered, "The snow."
Alice laughed but could tell Claire was being honest. She imagined Claire hadn't seen any snow in Los Angeles until she came to Raccoon City. Taking the last piece of bread, she pushed it through the oil until it soaked enough.
"Are you from here?"
"Detroit," Alice answered before she ate the last morsel.
Claire nodded and had suspected as much. She took a drink from the wineglass then leaned into the chair, quite comfortable now. Somehow her nerves had vanished at some point once she and Alice settled in together.
"So that drawing," Alice started, "You did it." She inwardly sighed at her lack of smoothness. But Claire's grin made her look away for a beat.
"It was awhile ago," Claire explained. She easily recalled how long. "I was eighteen or so when I drew it."
Alice softly hummed at this because that meant Claire had earned her pilot's license around then since the plane was Claire's first one. "It's a very nice drawing."
Claire gave a half shrug and explained, "I'm good with my hands." But Alice's raised eyebrow made Claire's comment seem suggestive. A new flush burned across her cheeks then up to her forehead. She glanced away.
Alice cleared her throat and softly agreed, "Yes... you seem to be." She bowed her head but felt Claire's wide eyes on her. When she lifted her head, Claire was looking anywhere but at Alice. "Thank you by the way."
Claire returned her focus to Alice, curious about the gratitude.
"It's been... sometime since I've been on a date," Alice admitted, weakly.
Claire chuckled but shook her head. "It's mutual."
"That's hard to believe," Alice debated.
Again, Claire shrugged but still had a calm smile. "My business is my focus, honestly. I don't allow for much else."
"Even dates?" Alice teased.
"It has to be a pretty nice one for me to accept," Claire remarked. She enjoyed Alice being caught off guard this time. But it was an honest fact. It had been a long time since Claire went on a date and rejected many invites, until Alice.
"I was a little... surprised you accepted," Alice confessed. Some awkwardness showed in her features, but she pressed on anyway. "Not that being a future customer factors in at all." She grinned and added, "But I didn't think I was in your age range."
Claire narrowed her eyes and curiously studied Alice while she asked, "Oh? What wouldn't be my age range?"
Alice toyed with the fork in her place setting. She dared to answer the question. "Forty... I'll be forty this summer."
That wasn't entirely unexpected for Claire. But she'd guessed Alice to be in her mid-thirties, not pushing into her forties now. Little did Alice's older age bother Claire by any means. "There's something to be said about older women." She picked up her glass and drank more wine.
Alice smirked. "They have all the fun." She regretted her joke once Claire choked on the next swallow.
Claire hastily set the wineglass down then took the water instead. After a few coughs, she drank a several mouthfuls, which soothed her throat.
"Sorry," Alice honestly offered. She felt rather guilty.
Claire brushed it off and smiled at her date. "It's okay." She could tell that calmed Alice. They continued chatting about each other's lives until their appetizers arrived and then later the entrees. As the minutes quickly passed, Claire found herself becoming more comfortable around Alice. By the time it came to dessert, they were comfortable enough to split a tiramisu then finished off the night with a coffee.
Claire attempted to pay for her portion of the dinner despite she'd accepted the invite. But Alice refused the offer and took care of the meal. Once they were finished, Alice followed her date out of the restaurant and into the cool evening. They turned to each other after stepping out of the restaurant.
"Where did you park?" Alice inquired.
"In the garage."
Alice nodded. "I did too. I'll walk you to your car." She and Claire crossed the street then entered the quiet garage. Following Claire's lead, they wound through the garage.
"I had a wonderful time, Alice," Claire mentioned to the older woman.
"So did I." Alice traded a smile with her date. She cut her eyes to the vehicle they were approaching and was slightly shocked that it was the Honda VTX she'd saw at the mechanics' shop. "Claire, did you..." She was dumbfounded that the mechanic had ridden into the city on a motorcycle, and in nice attire no less.
Claire in fact fished out the bike's keys. "Yes, I did." She chuckled at Alice's amazement. First she stowed her purse in the saddlebags then retrieved a red motorcycle jacket, which she swapped with her current one. Once she was switched around, she smiled warmly at Alice.
"Will you be okay getting home?" Alice checked.
"Yes ma'am," Claire teased. She'd been riding bikes before driving cars.
Alice decided not to press the mechanic, who probably took the bike everywhere. She instead noted the helmet being unlocked and set on the bike's seat. Claire then faced her, and Alice gave a lopsided smile. "Thank you for the date."
"Thank you for the invite," Claire warmly replied. She shifted closer to Alice and sadly smiled. "This was the best birthday gift I've had in a long time."
Alice lost her smile and a furrow creased her brow. "Today is your birthday?" Again she was stumped by another revelation and mentally noted today was the sixth of April.
"What's left of it," Claire teased. She grinned at Alice's shocked stare. "I enjoyed it a lot." She shifted closer to the motorcycle then carefully climbed onto it without knocking the helmet off. Once she had the bike between her legs, Claire grabbed the helmet and settled it in her lap.
Alice hesitantly moved closer and asked, "Do you mind texting me that you made it home safely?"
Claire dipped her head and smiled. "I'll let you know." She put the key into the ignition and prepared to start the engine while Alice moved away. That made Claire somewhat regretful despite Alice was respecting her space. But still Claire couldn't control the natural desire to end their night with a kiss. Perhaps it was just as well to leave it alone, for now.
"Be careful," Alice reminded. She watched Claire prepare to put on the helmet, but she couldn't help asking, "What birthday?"
Claire held the helmet over her head like a crown. She paused and answered, "Twenty-eighth." She winked at Alice then pulled the helmet down over her face.
Alice moved further out of the way and automatically tensed when the motorcycle roared to life. She and Claire shared a wave goodbye before Claire was on her way home. Alice waited until the motorcycle was gone around the bend. Then she sighed and started to her car that was parked on the next floor up. On the five minute walk, Alice thought about how Claire could be both beautiful and sweet because most women Alice had a date with were usually beautiful and conceited.
Once at the car, Alice unlocked it with the remote key yet paused and realized something else about Claire Redfield. For a twenty-eight year old, Claire was quite intelligent and doing well for herself since she owned and operated her own repair shop that serviced airplanes. Damn, Alice realized, Claire was a perfect catch.
To be continued.