Francis International Airport was packed as usual, and Niko didn't like the fact that there were so many people crowding him. He stood near the terminal his sister was to arrive at and her respective terminal. He had nearly given in to his impatience when Kate placed a hand on his arm.
"Hey, have some water." She said, handing him a bottle. He offered her a smile and took a drink.
"Niko!" He heard someone call, and as he looked up a set of dark eyes met his. Natasha quickly made her way with complete grace to her brother and wrapped arms around his neck. Niko took a deep breath, taking in his sisters sweet scent. Not very tall, but making up for her stature with muscle; Natasha Bellick was beautiful, and lucky she inherited their mother's looks. Her dark hair was pulled back and she carried a small rucksack over her shoulder.
"Do you have more bags?" Niko asked, clearly feeling a little uncomfortable with his sister and new girlfriend standing so close to him.
"One. It should be in baggage claims. Who's this?" She asked, nodding toward Kate.
"This is Kate McCreary. Kate, my sister."
Kate offered a warm smile and took Natasha's hand. "Hello. It's wonderful to meet you."
The younger Bellick returned the gesture before turning her attention back to Niko. "So…what now?"
"I figured we would get you settled then feed you, if that is okay." Niko said, his uncomfort with being in the crowd evident.
Natasha nodded. "Can we eat first? I am…starved? Is that the word I am looking for?"
Kate couldn't help but giggle, nodding she said. "Yes dear, that's the word I'm sure you wanted."
They took Niko's SUV to a small Italian restaurant not far from his apartment near Middle Park East and both he and Kate watched astonished as Natasha completely demolished multiple plates of pasta and a cannoli.
"This food…it will never be as good as mother's, but it's the best I've eaten in a long time." She had said between bites.
"I am glad you have such appetite." Niko said, looking at Kate who had barely finished her dinner.
"So, are you two together?" The question from Natasha was asked so casually that Kate nearly choked on her water and Niko stared at his little sister with his mouth agape.
"Yes…we are." Kate answered, staring at the table.
"I only ask because I saw you holding hands in car. It was pretty evident."
Kate's face had turned red and Niko had to shake his head to clear his mind. He had no answer, or explanation for that matter, to respond to what had just been asked. It shouldn't have surprised him that his sister would notice such a little gesture of affection, they had been close before he left home and of all the people who had been associated with in that place she was one that even when she was a child he could confide in. He quickly wanted to change subject, having a 'girlfriend' was a first between them.
"Natasha, I'm still in disbelief that you are here. Why did you make such a decision without telling me first?"
Natasha dropped her fork and slowly pushed her plate away. She was silent for a moment, as if contemplating an answer. "I am not sure. I think I wanted change…"
"What else? I know that's not all."
She looked at Kate, and Niko knew it was something she was not comfortable talking about in front of anyone else.
"Kate dear, would you mind giving us a moment?"
"Okay. I'll be outside." Kate said. She kissed Niko's cheek and offered Natasha a smile before leaving the restaurant.
"There was a man, a very wealthy man from somewhere in London. He had offered lots of money to mother in order to take me off with him and be married. He said he was there on business and I had caught his eye. When mother told him no he did not take it well and he threatened to take all her land if I did not leave with him. Mother and I decided that the best decision was that I came to America to live "American dream" as Roman called it with the two of you. By the time we had learned of poor Roman's fate I had just purchased ticket for Liberty City. I didn't want you angry, so I did not tell you."
"Angry? And you think I am not angry now? Who was he?"
"Niko, it does not matter. Mother will keep her land, she told him I had run away. There is nothing there and you know this. I tried to talk mother in to coming with but she insists she is fine where she is."
Niko dropped his head into his hands and sighed. "This man, if he comes looking for you…"
"…he will pay. I know this. He won't. He cannot track me. I will send emails to mother through a pen name and in our language, he cannot understand it."
"You better be right." He tossed some bills on top of the check and had the rest of Kate's meal boxed before standing. "Let us go."
Unlocking his apartment, he let the two women enter before he did. "I will give you tour of city tomorrow. You may have my bed tonight and we will find another alternative soon, maybe a new place. I'd prefer if you lived with me until you have become settled in the city and I will help you get what you need until then. I will pick up a few groceries later so you have something to eat. Is there anything you need now?"
"No." Natasha shook her head. "I believe I'm okay. Thank you, Niko."
He nodded. "Bathroom is that door. I need to take Kate home, will you be okay?"
She nodded and smiled.
"Before I forget, here is a cell phone. Will you be able to figure it out?" He tossed her a brand new smart phone. "It was programmed this morning and my number along with Kate's is in it, in case you can't reach me."
"Are you sure?" Natasha asked uneasy. "This is a lot Niko, you really shouldn't."
"You are family, and I will protect you. I could not save Roman but I will do everything I can for you. Everything." He took her by the shoulders. "I will return. He is twenty dollars in case I do not come back for dinner. Order something and only open the door for them, do you understand?"
"Good." Niko kissed her cheek. "Please stay here. I promise I'll return."
"It was nice to meet you Natasha, I'll see you soon." Kate offered her a hug, which was accepted, before stepping out of the apartment. Niko took one last look at his sister before closing the door behind them.