"Mom I told you, I'll be fine"
Claire counted to three in her head as she carefully climbed the stairs to what would be her new home. Unfortunately the elevator was out of service, she wasn't complaining per se about that, but it was hard to carry a box, especially one labeled in all its size with the word fragile and keep her phone steady with her shoulder without fumbling steps. She stop the counting, Sandra didn't make her wait.
"Have you eaten anything? Did you get the dishes? Please don't leave the stove on, remember what happened at your brother's birthday last year"
Claire rolled her eyes a little but couldn't contain the small smile that found its way across her face. Call it empty nest syndrome or whatever but ever since Lyle's moving to college, her mom couldn't refrain herself for calling every day and questing her every move. It was maddening when she would call at the most odd hours of the day but she couldn't refuse it was endearing too; these little gestures reminded her of the days when everything was simple. A life she had left behind a long time ago.
"Nope" She popped looking at the box in her hands "yes I have it right here and please don't worry; I lived on the campus for four years remember? I think I can manage now" she snorted amused; seriously if she had survived that hell, this was a piece of cake. Four years of hard work had earned her a degree on psychology and a secure job as a counselor in the revamped company, helping people deal with their powers was rewarding and the pay was a nice incentive too.
"Yes, but Gretchen was there too" She sing song.
"Yeah, until she decided she had had enough of her freaky roommate and left "She sing song back "I was there more time alone that I was with her" Tired of the riot that her life had become after the carnival, Gretchen went her separate way. Claire couldn't blame the girl, she had also felt the need to flee from all that; the press, the stealthy glances of her classmates, the jokes; but she refrained for doing so and fortunately for her "specials" swiftly lost its appeal as people embraced the new paradigm. Of course the tireless work from the company to create a safe environment for them had worked pretty well, without mentioning the new regulations made in favor of special's rights.
"It just that New York is a very dangerous city from a young woman from Texas"
Claire stopped in her tracks, sighing tiredly she changed the cell phone from an ear to another, managing to change the box's weight too as she continued again her journey upstairs; leave it to Sandra Bennet to worry for a daughter that was practically indestructible.
"Mom I told you I'm fine, it's not my first time in the city and I know how to defend myself-
-and in the extreme case that I need help, I have Peter on speed dial, he will not hesitate to come in a heartbeat" Quickly conceding, Claire opted for dissuading her mother's concerns; It wasn't exactly a lie, she has no doubts that Peter would come to her aid if needed, but she wasn't going to disturb her uncle just like that, she was enough of a big girl to deal with her own problems.
Claire heard her mother's sigh from the other side and smiled; apparently she had won the argument for now.
"Have you seen your father yet?"
Claire winced at the mention of Noah; the truth was, ever since her infamous jump at the carnival, she wasn't exactly in good terms with him. Claire understood. From his point of view she had disappointed him. Through the years the two had worked on their relationship but it was clear that a gap was formed between them and nothing would ever be like it was before. Besides it wasn't a secret that Noah has Lauren. The same Lauren that got pregnant a few years ago. So in order to find a clean solution for everyone her dad reassessed his priorities; his new little family begun to occupy all of his time and although she was genuinely happy for him she couldn't help the spark of jealousy that rose into her chest from time to time. She would always be a dad's little girl.
"No" She exhaled "But Lauren told me he was going to Boston for a couple of days" holding back a giggle she continued "Recruiting new agents"
"Oh poor things!" Sandra exclaimed from the other line, Claire burst out laughing "They don't know what is coming for them"
Noah Bennet had left the field a few years ago but not the mission; now dutiful on the training of new people for the company, it was a well known fact that his training methods were a little jaded to put it lightly but no one could question that he was the best in the field.
"Is his twisted way of having fun these days"
Claire climbed the final step of the staircase, finally reaching the last floor of the building; hopefully the moving crew had left by now; still rocking the box and her phone she realized that in order to open the door she would need at least one functional hand.
"Mom I have to go" Claire regretfully said, "but I promise I will call you as soon as I'm all set up ok?"
"Ok honey I will leave you to your own devices now" Sandra chuckled, Claire simple shock her head.
"I love you too, mom"
Finishing the conversation, Claire pocketed her cell phone and took the keys from her breast pocket; fitting the key on the lock she let the click from the mechanism soothe the aching on her tired arm's muscles that soon would fade into nothing as the heavy box could be left on some surface. Any surface, she wasn't picky. A wave of pride swelled on her chest. Finally she had her own apartment, her first apartment. No more campus, no more Angela's mansion, no more intruding Peter's privacy at his home.
No; now she had a place she could call her own.
And when she referred at it as her own she meant literally. No money from Angela was used to buy it, nope not even a penny; it wasn't what she wanted, Claire sought to earn her place. Of course one thing was to want something and other completely different was to actually have it; her savings weren't much and although Claire´s pride didn't want to admit, never enough. So when Peter mentioned this place, she couldn't believe it.
It was an old building but beautifully restored; not at all the rat´s nest she had been expecting when she was told of the price; although the elevator wasn't in working condition, she was young and possessed strong legs -one of the few benefits that cheerleading had left her, so it didn't mind her much; the apartment in itself wasn't very large, one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room, all the basics but its wooden floor and baseboards that ran around its perimeter along with the creamy walls give the place its personality. Though what was the win for Claire was the beautiful view from the balcony of a little park; being a country girl from heart it was heartwarming to have a place that could remind you of home every time you looked out of the window.
The negotiation started immediately. Peter was the intermediary on the transaction, a very kind gesture since Claire wasn't very experienced in that kind of things; an initial deposit was required -which consisted in all her money anyway, and the rest was financed in installments. The payment wasn't even that much and the apartment was close to her work, another advantage of the place.
It was perfect, almost too perfect.
Opening the door completely she let herself in and took a deep breath; the boxes and furniture that the moving company had brought were lying scattered all over. She was in her own now. Claire groaned, better put herself to work and start to set everything in place.
It was hours later when the blonde ex cheerleader decided to call it quits; she was never going to unpack all of her things alone now. Well, if she was being honest with herself, she has never been so much of a freak neat neither; so it would have to wait until later or whatever. She carefully placed the dishes's box on the counter when the sound of the doorbell interrupted her thoughts. Frowning to herself she navigated through the mess of things that has become her living room to answer the door. Upon opening she came face to face with a petite lady about the same age as her mom, maybe a little older, with a warm smile and bright black eyes.
"Hello" Claire flashed the stranger a brief smile, scanning the woman and deciding whether or not she could be a potential threat; she was Noah Bennet's daughter after all.
"Hi! You must be the new girl, my name is Rose Taylor I live across your apartment" She explained while waving her hand in the general direction of where she had came; she folded her hands with a sigh" I know is not the usual thing to do in the city, but from where I come is polite to greet the new neighbor- She paused in mid sentence narrowing her eyes "I've the strangest of feelings seeing at you" she furrowed her brow "like I know you from somewhere"
Claire cast her eyes downwards in a shy gesture. "My name is Claire Bennet"
"Bennet…" whispered the woman thinking to herself, then her face brightened when realization came "Oh I know the ferris wheel's girl!"
Claire grimaced, dreading the name "That would be me"
After the stunt at the carnival the press begun to refer at her like the ferris wheel's girl. She hated it at the time. Although thinking it now it could have been worse, imagine if they had called her invincible girl or indestructo-girl or something equally bad, she shuddered. Anyway, Claire never was a person who did many interviews or that sort of thing, so when the press started to seek more interesting people who actually enjoyed it, she welcomed and soon people started to forget about the ferris wheel's girl. It was a long time since she had heard someone call her like that.
"This is wonderful! We have a star in the building" Rose exclaimed while Claire shook her head trying to politely smile "Don't worry dear I will not call you that terrible name"
"I would really appreciate that, uhm… Mrs. Taylor"
"Please no formalities, call me Rose otherwise I will call you that awful name"
Claire laughed. "Ok thanks…Rose"
"I see you are placing your things"
Claire looked over her shoulder, biting her lip. "Yeah sorry for the mess, I was trying to put everything in place"
"Oh I know how that can be" Rose offered sympathetically "Do you need help?"
"Well…" Claire assessed the situation, she didn't know this woman, she seemed friendly yeah but one can never know for sure, although it would be nice to have someone besides her mom, Peter and Emma to talk to and maybe a little help wouldn't be so bad…hell she was here for new things right? "I would love to" she finally granted moving to let the older woman enter her place.
Rose turned out to be a great conversationalist and a dedicated worker too. After a while the apartment looked almost decent with most of the boxes out of the way. They had talked about a lot of things while cleaning, Claire learned that Rose was also from Texas and had shook with laugher when Rose told her that "The Texan girls should stick together" in addition she came to known that Rose has one son that was special; one of the reasons she didn't seem weirded out from her ability, Claire mused, and three grandchildren; unfortunately Rose didn't see them much because they lived in England. The older woman also loved to talk about her prized orchids, and to some extend it made Claire think of her mother talking about Mr. Muggles.
She liked Rose.
Now they were lounging in the couch, gaining some earned rest when Claire's stomach roared, alerting both of them of the lack of substance in her body.
"Ouch someone is hungry"
Feeling a little embarrassed Claire cast a brief gaze towards her neighbor. "Sorry I haven't eat today with the moving and all"
"Don't worry honey" Rose said while patting her shoulder, thinking it over "I will tell you this I'm gonna bring you a pie that I made earlier if you don't mind having me around for a little longer"
Claire´s face instantly brightened. "Of course I don't mind and I would love a piece of pie" she could already taste the sweetness.
Rose stretched her legs and stood from the couch. "Ok I will be here in a minute"
The older woman left the apartment and Claire got up from the couch. Her place looks much better now. Thank god for that woman, she thought. Opening the box of dishes that Sandra gave her, Claire took an enveloped dessert plate to unwrap from its protection paper. A knock on the door was heard and she smiled to herself as she went to open it.
"I have my new dishe-
The words hung on her mouth, her jaw frozen in a moment of disbelief, the piece of glass slipped from her fingers easily, coming to an end with the hard floor.
It wasn't Rose.
"You" She managed to say, through her stunned state of mind; there in her door, stood him, clad in black from head to toe; his dark presence looming impossibly tall with his arms folded leaning casually against the threshold, the corner of his mouth slightly curved up into that horrible smirk that made her blood boil with righteous hate.
"Hello Claire" Sylar said smugly.
The last time she had seen him face to face, was the night at the carnival. He had tried to apologize, but she wouldn't listen to any of his words; it goes without saying that it didn't end smoothly. Claire punched him in the face in front of a bemused Hiro and a-not-so-happy Peter. Luckily for him and not-so-good for her, she didn't carry a pencil at the moment. Oddly enough Peter was on the psychopath's side if his good words on behalf of the murderer had meant something.
She didn't need to worry about him; he wasn't going to hurt people anymore and a bunch of other absurd things. Yeah Right.
She loved her uncle but sometimes Peter could be so naïve; Sylar will always be a monster, there wasn't anyone or anything that could persuade her of the contrary. As the months passed by, Peter stopped trying to put the good deeds of the murderer on her eyes and she welcomed it. Life had been nice since then.
"What the hell are you doing here? She demanded, forcing the words through her mouth "Are you following me?" Claire hissed. He is stalking me again.
He smiled and she felt the need to stab something sharp in his head. Her foot came upon the remains of the broken plate, forgotten until now on the cold floor.
"Please Claire, I'm not following you" he rolled his eyes "I simple came to say hi" Nonchalantly as ever he put his hands on his pockets.
"Hi?"She repeated incredulous, gaining momentum with each second "I will show you where you can stick your hi!" Whispering through clenched teeth, she was planning to stab him with the piece of glass at any moment.
"Claire I see you have meet Gabriel" Said Rose as she came from her apartment, joining the unlikely pair in front of the new girl's door, effectively stopping Claire from developing her planned ambush. Rose knew Sylar and called him Gabriel? Sensing the hostility on the air Rose dropped her pleasant smile. "Is something wrong?"
"Nothing is wrong, Rose" Sylar said quickly with his most innocent expression"I was about to properly introduce myself" Rose visible relaxed under his facade and continue smiling; he turned to Claire "Hi, I´m Gabriel your neighbor from next door"
Claire chocked on her breath, Rose scowled at Sylar unaffected by the girl's reaction.
"Oh don't be so humble dear" Her voice dropped into a conspiratory whisper "He is also the owner of the building" Rose chuckled.
Fuck her life.
"Is that peach pie?" Sylar asked pointing at the covered plate that Rose held in her hands, the older woman nodded happily.
He moaned in delight while leaning into Claire.
"I love peach pie" He confessed, an evil smile that only she could see over his narrow face.
A/N: This idea came to me and I had to write it in paper. I'm not sure about the plot yet, but I decided to post it anyway; tell me if any of you liked it.