AN: Heya guys. Hope you're still sticking around. This chap was a lil longer than what I'm used to writing but it was necessary to get across Alice's story... or the first half of it anyway. It was a bitch to write and I had to restart it like four times before I found something I liked. Just a heads up for the next chapters, I will be basing the character's stories a little bit off of the novels and games so if you don't want to be confused you might wanna invest the time to wiki them or something.

Ok here we go. Thanks to the peeps that reviewed. Do it again lol. R&R!


Alice Abernathy squinted against the glare of the clinic's linoleum floor, shifted uncomfortably in her seat between her daughter and a coughing elderly woman dressed in a bright pink two piece suit complete with matching hat and sandals. The woman made Alice think of a flamingo.

...A tiny elbow in her side drew her attention to the smiling seven year old beside her. Becky signed something to her then happily went back to her coloring book.

Becky's seventh birthday had just passed a few weeks ago and she'd received a set of color blowpens in the mail from her father. The set came complete with stencils, stickers, and coloring book pages. She was ecstatic, had yet to put it down. It was every seven year old art aficionado's dream.

Alice had been a little surprised when the gift arrived the day before Becky's birthday. Trent hardly bothered with sentimental things like that. The gesture was touching, highly unusual as it was.

"Do I have to see the doctor again today?"

"No sweetie," Alice signed, forming the words with her lips, "They just need to speak with me."

Becky smiled. "Okay, mommy!"

She couldn't quite contain a smile of her own, it was so infectious. Becky had her nose and hair, Trent's eyes and chin, and a combination of their smiles. She leaned down and kissed her daughter's head, wrapping her arm around her small shoulders...

Her gaze shifted towards the closed door that led back into the examination rooms. Her smile faded, a forlorn expression taking its place. It wasn't logical to blame a building for the problems in her life. She knew that though she couldn't help it anyway, couldn't help all the contempt she held for this damned clinic. This was the place that gave her the happiest moment of her life and the place that shattered her heart all rolled up into one. She wanted to leave today and never have to come back. But if that's what it took to keep this precious little girl—her baby girl- by her side...

"Ms. Abernathy?"

Alice's heart skipped a few beats then kicked into overdrive. Her mouth went dry as a lump formed in her throat, a knot forming inside her stomach making her want to retch. She tensed- a negative full body reaction.

If Becky didn't sense her distress then she certainly saw it written on her face. Her daughter frowned, bottom lip pouting in that adorable way only kids could manage. "What's wrong?"

'Everything's wrong. My baby's sick...' Alice forced a cheerful grin to her face. "Nothing's wrong, babe." She signed.

Becky looked doubtful but resumed her coloring. Alice sighed, feeling more tired now than she had in months. Sometimes she was grateful Becky couldn't hear. She would never be able to lie to the little girl otherwise. How screwed up was that? But it made sense in a deeply pathologically disturbed way.

Grabbing her purse and Becky's hand, she walked slowly over to the young nurse holding the door open for them, reluctant to go any further.

The nurse seemed to sense her hesitation. "How are you doing today, Ms. Abernathy?"

Alice tried and failed to match the woman's politeness. "That depends. What's this about?" Lately too many things were going wrong in her life for her to stay optimistic. First there was the missing campers down by the reservoir, then there was the fact that Trent hadn't bothered calling in over three months.

The nurse, a girl by the name of Rebecca Chambers, cocked her head to the side looking genuinely lost. "Actually I don't know. The Dr had the secretary track you down as soon as possible." Alice paled. Rebecca gasped, eyes widening in horror. She shook her head insistently, waving her hands about. "Oh, no, I'm sorry! It's nothing like that!"

"Then what is it?" She growled, her blood pressure sky rocketing through the roof due to the nurse's incompetence.

"The Dr just needs to talk to you. I can take Becky to the playroom if you'd like." She offered.

Alice glared at the young woman, making her squirm like a wriggling worm. Normally she wouldn't chew someone's head off for making an honest mistake but the message on her voice mail left her feeling on edge. Becky's last check up had been a mere three months ago and according to the results there were no changes in her condition. That didn't necessarily make things good. It just made them okay. She didn't have the slightest idea as to why Dr. Birkin needed to see her.

Alice crouched besides Becky, garnering the girl's attention. Big, bright blue eyes looked at her with all the love and adoration a seven year girl held for her mother, a love and adoration she sometimes felt unworthy of.

"I need to talk with Dr. Birkin. Will you be okay in the playroom?"

Becky gasped, excitement washing over her features. "Yes!"

"Okay. Be careful." She ruffled her hair. "You'll watch over her?" She asked Rebecca, eying the girl warily.

"Or course." Rebecca answered a little too eagerly. "Dr. Birkin is in his office."

Alice released her grip on Becky's hand allowing Rebecca to pull her away. She watched them until they reached the end of the hall where Becky turned and waved at her before disappearing around the corner.

Now that Becky was gone she allowed the full weight of her concerns and fears to hit her. Almost staggering her like a physical blow, she sagged against the wall, panting for breath.

Dr. Birkin wasn't the type of person to call patients into his office for any little reason. In fact, she found the man guilty of being too aloof. They'd never been anything but professional and polite to each other but they were both clear on the boundaries of their relationship. He was Becky's doctor, he was there to help in every way that he could. And she was her mother, her protector, her provider and she would see to it that Birkin did everything he could do.

She rapped on the door lightly, waited for a response. "Come in." Dr. Birkin's baritone voice boomed through the door. Alice sucked in a deep, steadying breath and turned the knob. "Ah, Ms. Abernathy, come in."

Alice walked slowly into the office, feeling like a prisoner walking down death row. And Birkin was the cruel smiling executioner waiting to end her life.

"Dr. Birkin." She greeted curtly.

"Please, Ms. Abernathy, have a seat." Dr. Birkin gestured with his free hand, the other hovered over his silver capped pen sitting on a stack of papers. "How is Becky?" He asked, looking up from a folder. No doubt her daughter's.

Alice eyed the clutter on his desk, wondered how he could find anything in that heap of candy wrappers, soda cans, cigarette cartons, and medical files.

"She's doing great. She has all A's in school and the teacher really seems to like her. She's made a lot of friends, too. She's happy."

Dr. Birkin hummed, nodding slowly. She doubted he cared but he at least had the decency to act like it. "That's wonderful..." Alice stiffened, sensing the he wasn't quite finished. "Ms. Abernathy, as you are aware, we just brought Becky in for an examination. Everything checked out clear but her next appointment is scheduled in two month's time."

Alice frowned, not getting where the Dr was going with all of this. Becky's check ups were due every five months. They were on schedule. "I'm not sure I'm following you."

Dr. Birkin sighed, cupping his hands together on his desk as he leaned back in his chair. "These procedures are highly expensive, Ms. Abernathy, and that doesn't include the price of her medications." He paused, seeming to consider his words. "I just want to make sure you'll have a way to pay for her treatment." He finished.

Alice stared at the man as if he'd grown a second head. "What are you talking about? The insurance covers all of Becky's examinations and treatments."

Dr. Birkin reached up and pinched the bridge of his veiny, bulbous nose. "Ms. Abernathy your insurance has been denied. It will no longer be paying for Becky's treatments..."

After that Alice lost track of the man's words. They were all garbled, muffled, so that she couldn't make them out. They were like white noise in her ears. Insurance this, insurance that, blah blah blah, money. That's what it all came down to. Money. It made the world go round and without it you were nothing. Dr. Birkin could try and sugarcoat his words as much as he wanted to- shit still tasted like shit.

The drive back home was the longest yet, even longer than the one she took the night Trent left them and she was left to bring Becky- then only a week old newborn baby- back home alone. Her mind kept racing with a mess of thoughts, none of them making too much sense. One thought would begin and end halfway through, only to have another take its place, none of them coming any closer to a solution than the previous one.

Dr. Birkin was kind enough to fill out one last prescription order for Becky. It bought Alice a few weeks' time. But what happened after the medicine ran out? Rebecca Chambers offered to sign Becky up for a healthcare program that would pay up to 60% of all medical costs but even then she wouldn't be able to afford those kind of expenses. Her job as a sensei at a downtown Muay Thai dojo paid handsomely but not enough to cover their costs of living AND Becky's medical bills...

"Shit..." Alice cursed hotly, her grip tightening on the wheel. Hot tears like lava burned a trail down her cheeks. Luckily Becky had fallen asleep in the back seat. She'd hate to have to explain to her daughter why she was crying.

It all came down to Trent. When he left he promised he would take care of all of their expenses. He'd told her not to worry, that he wasn't going to completely abandon them. He'd made good on that promise the past seven years. What changed now? Did he find a new woman? Maybe he had. Maybe he had another child now, too, one that wasn't sick or disabled- the perfect child he'd wanted.

No. Alice forced those thoughts away with a shake of her head. Trent might be a bastard, but he wasn't a FUCKING bastard. There must be a reason for this. Whatever the reason, she intended to find out as soon as they got home...

They arrived a few minutes later. Alice climbed out of the car and unstrapped Becky from her booster seat. The girl was fast asleep and the thought of waking her made her heart clench. She scooped the little girl into her arms and kicked the car door shut.

Before they'd left she made sure to turn the kitchen lights on and she was grateful for that now. Fumbling around in the dark carrying her daughter wasn't the best idea. As they entered the house she was greeted by the pitter patter of feet and a familiar bark.

Justice, their one year old Doberman Pincher, flashed her a canine smile. Alice softened at the sight of the eager pup. Together they trudged on upstairs to Becky's room. She made quick work of changing her daughter into a pair of pajamas then tucked her in.

"Goodnight, baby." Alice whispered, kissing her cheek. Becky turned and shifted but remained asleep. "I love you..." She said shakily, her emotions forming into a lump in her throat. Commanding Justice to stay put beside Becky, she wondered out into the hall, closing the door gently behind her.

Downstairs Alice snatched up a pair of black track pants from the laundry basket in the kitchen and slipped into them. She fixed herself a vodka and lime, reached to replace the liquor in the freezer, thought better of it, and brought the bottle along with her. She collapsed on the futon.

She was hunkered down, ready to drink herself into oblivion, when a soft click behind her caught her attention. Slowly she set the bottle down on the lamp table beside the futon and sighed.

"You really picked a bad time to break into my house." She almost flinched at the sound of her own voice, scratchy and hallow.

"It's a good thing I didn't break in then."

Alice frowned. A woman? Oriental by the sounds of it. "What do you want?"

"I'm here to express my condolences."

Alice craned her head to the side, meeting the woman's dark gaze head on. She was a deeply attractive woman, petite but firmly built underneath a blood red kimono inspired dress. Her dark short hair hung low over dark, almost black eyes. She was beautiful, really, and Alice didn't trust her.

"Condolences for what?" She asked, lips pursing into a hard line. Her mind was stuck on two things- Who was this woman? And how did she manage to sneak around a trained K-9?

"Your husband." She said breezily. "He was a good man. His death was unfortunate. Umbrella extends its condolences to you."

His... death...

"T-Trent's dead?" Alice stuttered.

The woman gave a sharp nod. "Umbrella is truly sorry for your loss."

Umbrella... Alice hardly recognized the name of the company Trent worked for, there were more pressing matters at hand. "Wh-what happened?"

"He was killed in a car accident."

Alice sunk back into the futon feeling slightly numb. She hadn't seen and had hardly spoken to Trent in over seven years. Slowly but surely the feelings she had for him faded in light of his betrayal. Eventually she learned to live without the man she thought she loved. That didn't mean she didn't care for him. Trent had been a simple, laid back, handsome and intelligent man. He'd been easy to love, in her opinion.

News of his death didn't quite impact her the way it should have. Not in light of the developing situation. If Trent was gone that meant his insurance was gone. It meant his money was gone. It meant Becky's medical treatment would be stopped...

The woman cocked her head to the side, a corner of her mouth twitching. Amusement shone clearly in her eyes. Alice doubted this woman felt as torn up about Trent's death as she claimed. Call it woman's intuition.

"Did you work with Trent?"

The woman licked her lips. "We worked for the same company."

Alice stared intently at her drink, long forgotten on the lamp table. Trent never liked speaking about his job with Umbrella. He always claimed that he spent enough time there to want to talk about it at home as well. After being shot down a few times she'd learned not to ask him about it. She'd often wondered about his job. What exactly did he do? Where exactly did he work? Who did he work with? All questions she never received answers to...

Several minutes passed in silence until Alice sensed the woman growing impatient. She shook her head, blinking madly, as if doing so would clear away the cobwebs in her head. "Thank you... for telling me about Trent."

The woman raked her eyes over her in a way that reminded Alice of a butcher picking out a choice cut of beef. It sent a shiver down her spine. The Asian woman looked as if she had something more to say. She reached behind her back, producing a business card.

"If you have any questions or require any assistance do not hesitate to contact us. Trent was an amazing asset to the corporation. He will be deeply missed."

She took the card from the woman, her gaze never leaving hers. There was something about her that screamed danger. "Thank you, miss-"

"Ada. Ada Wong."

"Ada." Alice tried the named. It fit the woman.

Ada smirked slightly. She looked as if she had something else to say but decided not to share. Instead the woman gave a little wave. "See you around, Alice."

Alice stared at Ada's back as she spun on her heel and exited through the study door. Seconds later she heard the kitchen door close and lock. She waited a few moments, counting to ten in her head before reaching under the couch to remove her hidden .45 and leaping off of the couch. She yanked the door open and took aim at the empty drive way.

Ada Wong was nowhere to be seen.

Confused, Alice dropped her arms to her sides, taking slow deliberate steps out into the dark. There was no sign of the strange woman dressed in red. "It's like she wasn't even here." She whispered to herself, scanning the empty darkness.

After a minute or two her shoulders slumped, convinced the woman was long gone. Head tilted towards the sky, eyes closed Alice allowed herself to finally break down. Trent was dead, Becky's medications would no longer be paid for by his insurance, and she couldn't afford to pay for the bills, the mortgage, food, supplies, and Becky's medical bills on top of that. Her life was slowly but surely falling apart.

To make matters worse her stupid dog let some stranger sneak into the house. "Thanks a lot, Justice." She muttered darkly, staring up into the night sky.

...Her parents raised her to be a fighter, to be strong, courageous, brave, and independent. For the last seven years she got along just fine without Trent, and although the money he sent definitely made things easier for her this didn't spell out the end of the world for her and her daughter. So she was going to have to work a little harder, a little later- that was fine. She had Becky, her beautiful, sweet daughter and that's all that mattered.

She would make this work. She had to. For Becky's sake. For her own. Because Becky was her world, the one person she loved more than anything or anyone else.

She stared at the darkness a bit longer, her eyes adjusting until she spotted the stores up above. When she was a little girl herself her father used to tell her stories about good people that had unfortunate things happen to them. No matter how bad things got for these people they always found a way to overcome their adversities and in the end they always ended up as the victors.

Alice wished she could whisper her fears to the stars and have them grant her wishes and desires. She wished a magical little fairy would pop up and tell her everything would be alright...

But her life was far from being a fairy tale. There were no castles or kings and queens, no witches or dragons or mighty knights to fight them. This was simply her world, one she intended to fight hard to keep.


...Several months later Alice found herself locking up the dojo on a Sunday night. They weren't usually open on the weekends but the owner gave her permission to open up on Saturday and Sunday to rake in a few extra dollars. It had been a long day and teaching the advanced Muay Thai class dealt its punishment on her. Her entire body felt like a massive throbbing bruise but it was worth it to see the extra money tacked on to her paycheck at the end of the week.

She added up all of her expenses in her head and if her calculations were correct then she would be looking at enough money to pay the bills and enough left over to treat Becky and herself to a nice night out on the town. It had been a while since they'd spent more than an hour or two together. She missed her daughter terribly.

Having to pick up the slack after Trent's untimely death left Alice with less and less time to spend with the little girl. She counted herself lucky if she got home in time to kiss her goodnight before she fell asleep.

She counted Ashley Graham, her next door neighbor, as quite the blessing. They'd been forced to move out of their lavish two story house into a smaller, humble apartment closer to Alice's job. As first she'd been apprehensive about the neighborhood but she warmed up to Ashley, who turned out to be an babysitter. It was a bonus that Becky took a liking to her as well.

"I'll see you tomorrow." Alice called out to the last of her students, a young college girl by the name of Jamie or Janie or something like that. The girl gave her a polite smile before limping out of the dojo.

Now that the day was over her spirits perked up a bit. She was looking forward to taking the next couple of days off to spend Thanksgiving in Catalina with Becky and her parents. They hadn't seen her parents since Easter, Becky absolutely loved playing with The Colonel, and she could really use the break after the past few months.

Locking the deadbolt on the door Alice shoved the keys into her coat pocket and yanked out her cell phone. She was just about to call Ashley and let her know she was on her way home when it started vibrating.

She caught the beginning of the number and flipped it open, already knowing who it was. "Hey, Ash, I just left the dojo so-"

"Alice..."

Alice froze, her feet rooting her to the ground. She hadn't known Ashley long but it was enough to know something was wrong. The girl's voice sounded shaky and scared. "Where's Becky?"

"The ambulance is here, Alice," Ashley sobbed, "I don't know what happened to her. One second she was fine and the next-"

"Ashley," Alice said her name through clenched teeth, as if she were in pain. It was taking everything in her not to lose her cool. Terror seized her mind, made her blood run cold, made her hands tremble. "Wh-where is she?" She asked weakly, her voice hoarse.

"They're taking her to Raccoon City Memorial Hospital... I'm so sorry, Alice-"

Alice slammed the phone shut, nearly breaking the device, fished her keys out of her pocket, jumped into her car. She was moving mechanically now, not of her own will. Her body was taking over, pushing her through the motions while her mind shut down.

'Becky's in the hospital. Becky's sick. She's dying...' Her mind tortured her, replaying those words over again until she reached the hospital. She barely shifted the car into park before she tore the door open, raced inside, ignored the security guard threatening to impound her car. 'I don't care about the fucking car,' she wanted to scream at him but her voice didn't work. It was stuck in her throat caught between a sob and a scream.

She spotted the admissions booth and charged to it. "Becky Abernathy." She said to the wide eyed woman. She knew she looked awful. Sweaty, bruised, and filthy. She slammed her hands on the counter, making the woman and several people in the waiting room jump. "Where is she?!"

The woman pointed a trembling finger towards a set of swinging double doors. "She's in the OR. You can wait for her in the ER reception area. The doctors will be with you shortly if you'll just take a seat."

'Take a seat?' Alice wanted to scream, punch her fist through the protective glass, grab the woman and throttle her by the neck. 'What if that was your child?' She wanted to shout, 'Would you just go back there and sit?' She must have a murderous look about her- the LVN looked ready to bolt. She wanted to give the woman a reason to bolt.

"Alice?"

Alice whirled around. Ashley stood between the double doors shaking, whimpering, and teary eyed. She crossed the distance between them in three long strides and pulled the blonde against her chest. Just that look on her face made her feel weak, like her own two feet wouldn't support her.

"What happened, Ashley? Where's my baby girl?" She asked desperately.

Ashley shook her head, her hot tears spilling on Alice's neck. "I don't know what happened. She was watching TV. I went to fix her a snack and when I came back she was unconscious. I tried waking her up but she wouldn't move. I—I didn't know what to do."

Alice bit her lip hard, drawing blood. It was the disease. There was no other explanation. The disease was starting to reach her brain, causing lapses in consciousness.

"Seizures are often the most common warning symptom that it's spread to the brain. There isn't much more we can do after that happens. With treatment and medication we can prolong Becky's life for a number of years if the disease isn't too advanced but all you will really be doing is prolonging the inevitable."

Dr. Birkin's grim words came back to haunt her now as she stood there, trembling, crying, and trying so damn desperately not to lose her mind. She hated being weak but this was her daughter- her very own life on the line. Nothing in this world would ever break her down like Becky...

Hours later Alice felt like a caged animal. The nurses wouldn't tell her anything, the Doctors had yet to come out, and Ashley kept asking her if she was alright. She knew the young girl only meant well but what kind of stupid question was that?! She was the furthest thing from alright. On the opposite spectrum of alright.

It got so bad that eventually she forced Ashley to go home. It was irrational to blame her for what happened but right now Alice didn't really care about being rational.

"Ms. Abernathy?"

She bolted upright. "Yes?"

The unremarkable doctor poked his head through the double doors. He gestured for her to follow him to the back. "This way, please."

Alice nodded gravely.

As far back as she could remember, Alice detested hospitals, doctors, dentists—anything with a lab coat and chicken scratch writing. She hated how they always tried to smile and seem nice. It was very misleading for their profession in her opinion.

Her hands began to tremble as the doctor began to speak. His words were important to her but she could barely make them out past the roaring in her ears. The white wash walls reflecting the blinding florescent lights were a gaping maul trying to swallow her...

"-in a few days." The doctor finished with a heavy sigh. They were standing outside of a private room, the door slightly open. Alice stared past the doctor. Stared at Becky.

It's impossible to describe the way a mother feels when she sees her child laying in a hospital bed pale as the sheets they're covered in and barely visible underneath a mountain of tubes, wires, and pipes. But if she had to put her feelings into words, Alice found only two.

Utterly heartbreaking.

"Ms. Abernathy, are you listening?" The doctor's insistent voice finally came through to her.

"No..." She said weakly, unable to tear her gaze away from Becky.

The doctor shook his head and when he spoke he sounded irritated. "I'll come back to speak with you some other time."

"Okay."

She registered the sound of his retreating footsteps, knew she was free to go inside. But something prevented her from moving. It was the voice in her head telling her she failed at the easiest job in the world; The job of being a mother.

'I couldn't take care of her. I couldn't keep her safe. I don't deserve Becky...'

"Mommy?" Becky's weak, harsh voice silenced her thoughts immediately, like pressing the off button on her brain.

Alice rushed inside to little girl's side, snapped out of her trance by the urgency in her daughter's voice. "Hey, baby." She signed, trying for a smile. "How do you feel?"

"Sick."

She swallowed roughly. Sometimes children were brutal in their honesty. "I'm so sorry, baby." She sighed, combing her fingers through her frazzled hair. What good did being sorry do Becky? Absolutely none.

"Ashley said when I group up I can be a doctor. I can make medicine so no one ever gets sick again."

Alice smiled sadly at Becky, tears stinging her eyes. It's amazing how easy it is to comfort a child. Just give them mommy. Sometimes she wished it wasn't so. Becky was terminally ill- it shouldn't be as easy as saying 'mommy's here' to make her think every thing will be alright. It was a lie. Mommy couldn't fix everything. Mommy couldn't even fix herself...

"Sure. You can be a doctor. You can be anything you want to be."

That drew a little smile from her. "Really?"

"Really."

"Okay," She paused to yawn. Alice imagined she must be exhausted after her ordeal.

"You should go to sleep, babe."

Becky nodded, closed her eyes, immediately began to drift off. Alice sighed in relief. She simply couldn't find it in her to pretend anymore, to lie to herself and her daughter.

Becky was the single most important aspect of her life. After Trent left she became the center of her universe, her best friend, her partner, her companion. When she'd felt alone, trapped, and lost Becky was her motivation to keep pushing forward. She was more than just her daughter. Becky was—is her everything...

The thought of losing her everything was a thought she couldn't fathom. She simply wouldn't allow it.

Alice slipped her cell phone out, scrolled through the list of contacts until she found the one she sought. Her thumb hovered over the phone icon next to the number, uncertainty reeling its ugly head. That is, until a small whimper from Becky strengthened her resolve. She pressed the talk button, slowly pressed the device to her ear, waiting.

It rang twice. "I must say, I didn't expect a call from you."

"I need your help." Alice cut straight to the point.

"Obviously. Otherwise, why would you call?"

"Can you help me or not?"

A moment passed, long enough for her to reconsider her decision yet again. She wasn't as stupid or naïve as Trent thought she was. She might not know the exact extent of her ex's trouble with the corporation but she knew deep down it was part of the reason why he left them. Becky's illness was simply his excuse. If the circumstances were different she would do her best to ensure Becky and she were as far from these people as possible.

As it were, the Umbrella Corporation is the only place Alice could think of that might offer the help she needs.

"I certainly can."

Alice sucked in a deep breath, closed her eyes, prayed to whoever was listening that this was the right way to go. "I need a job." She looked at Becky, pale and small underneath a mountain of medical equipment. "And I need it as soon as possible."

"You've called the right place."

She cringed, hating how smug the woman sounded. 'God, I hope so.'


'Please watch your step. Proceed carefully. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. The Umbrella Corporation loves its employees and wishes to see everyone safe and-'

Alice rolled her eyes at the automated drone of the computer going on and on and on... 'We get the gist. Umbrella good.'

"Damn, I hate those things."

Alice glanced over her shoulder at the man who suddenly appeared in the chair beside her. He looked about 32, tall and average built with dark cropped hair, hazel eyes, and a charming smile. He was dressed in a black shirt underneath a leather bomber jacket, dark jeans, and a pair of motorcycle boots.

He grinned at her, noticing the way her gaze roamed over him, extended his hand. "Spence Parks."

Alice gave his hand a firm shake. "Alice Abernathy."

"Are you here for an interview, Alice?" Spence asked, making himself comfortable beside her.

She eyed him dubiously. Either the man had no sense of presentation or he already worked here. He stuck out with his casual state of dress and easy smile yet managed to look completely at home.

"Yes."

His brows shot up. "What position are you applying for?"

Alice leaned back in her chair, resting her head against the backboard. "Security."

Now Spence really looked interested. "You know how to fight or something?"

Alice snorted. She eyed Spence from the corner of her eye. He was certainly handsome. He didn't rub her the wrong way the way most of the men she'd bumped into here did. He had a bit of an accent, a lilt to his words the reminded her of Boston.

"Or something."

"Alice Abernathy."

Alice perked up at the sound of her name. She shot to her feet and quickly smoothed out the creases on her suit. As intrigued as she was by Spence Parks, she came here with a mission she intended to complete.

"I'll see you around, Alice." Spence called after her.

He sounded so sure of himself.

"Yeah..."

She followed the man that called her towards a corridor at the back of the building. He led her to a pair of elevators, pressed the button, and waited...

After running more tests the doctors at RCMH concluded that the disease hadn't reached Becky's brain yet but it wasn't that far off. They preformed an emergency blood transfusion and the next day she was allowed to go home. Alice had never been so relieved and terrified at the same time. They'd dodged a bullet but it was all a waiting game now. Without the medicine to slow down the virus the disease would begin to progress at a much faster level. That was something Alice couldn't allow.

So she got a hold of Ada Wong and the next day Wong came to her apartment to conduct an introductory interview.

It didn't seem right, going to work for the company her ex husband used to work at, especially not with the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. But working eighty hour weeks, seven days a week at a martial arts dojo wasn't cutting it. She barely had enough money to keep the bills at bay, let alone the money to pay the 40% copay for Becky's hospital visits...

There came a time when it became necessary to turn off her emotions and do what had to be done. That didn't mean she forgot about Trent, it simply meant there were more important issues to deal with for the time being.

"Do you have a copy of your social security card, passport, birth certificate, ID, driver's license, proof of residency, and all certificates or certifications pertaining to the position you applied for?" The man asked. He was sharply dressed man with small square framed glasses and a Don Juan mustache.

Alice tapped a manilla folder against her thigh. "Right here."

The man eyed the folder, slithered his gaze up the length of her body, then forced a smarmy smile to his face. "Good. Cain appreciates pupils that come well prepared."

Cain? The name sounded familiar. Trent might have mentioned it in passing.

Well whoever it was the time to guess was over. The elevator announced its arrival with a loud ding. Alice took a step back as she waited for the doors to open.

"This is where I take my leave. Mr. Cain will be on the top floor." The sharply dressed man bowed, "I wish you luck Ms. Abernathy."

Alice watched the man slip through one of the doors in the corridor. He was a peculiar guy, reminded her of a skittish rabbit. Shrugging, she stepped into the elevator, waited for the doors to close.

"Here goes nothing."