The next time Lisa woke up, she was glad to find herself fully recovered and with no permanent damage. She cried and smeared snot over the doctor’s clothes. Fortunately, Rebecca seemed quite used to such reactions and simply patted her head while glaring at the others watching from the door who were too afraid to go inside. That didn’t mean she could leave without any problems.
Considering how long she’d been stuck in bed, she would have to go through rehabilitation. Not only that, but Mr. Thompson took the opportunity to interrogate her at the same time. That meant she had to hold onto bars and walk on shaky legs from one end to the other as the officer bombarded her with questions. She answered the best she could, but she could barely keep up. Honestly, she wondered if he was taking advantage of the fact she was still recovering. He couldn’t possible do that, right? He was a police officer and they wouldn’t do something so underhanded.
At least her parents called this time, crying and demanding to know if she was okay. She had debated whether or not to state ‘no, I’m not fine. does it look like i’m okay’, but they couldn’t see her over the phone so she opted for the next best thing: crying. All three of them ended up crying for hours, raising the phone bill for the month. They promised to head back immediately except she surprised all of them by saying they didn’t have to abandon their trip.
All this time she’d been hoping they’d come back home and handle everything. Now the thought of them returning home bothered her. The only thing she could think of was because of her near death experience had affected her more than she realized. They argued that they should be there for her, but she insisted she would fine and that her tenants and friends would there for her. That of course led into further discussion about who she met after they left. Since she had never been able to get them on the phone and she couldn’t even think what to tell them if they did answer, she never told them.
Her mother awed hearing about Kali and commented on what a gentleman he was. Lisa swore she heard her father muttering darkly in the background, but it was hard to tell. She got nothing out of her mother who wanted to hear about Kali’s employer. Well, there wasn’t much for her to say. They barely spoke a couple words to each other, but she was going to set up a meeting so they could discuss in further detail about the buildings he rented. That brought up a point she hadn’t realized which was she had missed rent day.
After the initial panic, she found out from Nancy that it had been handled. Mrs. Zamora had all been too willing to make sure the tenants coughed up the money. It was a good thing no one had a problem with paying on time. They all heard about her condition and most had known her family for quite some time. The idea of taking advantage of their absence didn’t cross any of their minds.
Then there was Phrynosoma and the kids. Her mother practically screamed (squealed?) after hearing about how they meant. Lisa was very concerned that her mother seemed to focus far too heavily on the fact that Phrynosoma had helped her out over the fact he was an alien killer. By alien killer, she meant he was an alien who killed and not someone who killed aliens.
Her father, on the other hand, wanted to tell her something, but her mother stopped him. She was getting a little bit worried about what was happening on the other end. Then again maybe it was a good thing she didn’t know what was happening. Something was telling her she would be very humiliated or embarrassed by what was happening.
They were both happy to hear she made friends (sort of) with Nancy and Mr. Thompson. Having a girl friend in her life was something they believed she needed and having an officer like Mr. Thompson reassured them that she would have the law on her side. It was surprising how quickly they forgot about the bad parts like how he was the one to interrogate her for criminal activities.
“It’s good to hear that you’re doing well.”
“Yeah, are you sure you don’t want us there too, kiddo?”
“I’ve been handling things since you’ve been gone. I’m sure I can handle it a little while longer.”
“Take care of yourself.”
Hanging up the phone, she gave a sigh of relief. That didn’t last long. The door to the office was slammed open as Phrynosoma and the kids barged in. Apparently, they had been listening through the door. At least there was no one else trying to listen in. It was already bad enough talking to her parents about them. She didn’t need them getting weird ideas.
“So grandma and grandpa aren’t coming back?” asked Amanda.
“No-wait, grandma? Grandpa?”
“They’re mommy’s mom and dad so they’re grandma and grandpa.”
She wasn’t in the mood to force her to not call them that and settled with, “Don’t tell them that.”
Lisa vaguely wondered if she had made a grave mistake. That was pushed out of her head when there was a knock on the door. That had to be Shyloh and Kali. Standing up, she walked slowly to the door. Sure enough, they were waiting for her. What she didn’t expect was the bouquet of flowers that were handed to her. She gave them a startled look, expecting them to explain the flowers.
“Forgive me for not sending these sooner. I was busy when I received the news and by the time I was able to acquire them, I heard you had recovered.”
Shyloh really seemed sincere, but she couldn’t help the awkward feeling she got. “Er, thank you. You didn’t have to.”
“Oh, I insist. It would be rude of me not to send my landlord anything.”
She kept her uneasy smile as she gave the flowers to Amanda to hold. Phrynosoma and the kids were sending murderous glares at Shyloh, but she wasn’t certain why. Was it because of the flowers? Lisa prayed that they didn’t decide to pick a fight right then and there. She had finally managed to set up the meeting, and didn’t want to have to go through it again.
“I suppose you would like to see the apartments now or would you like something to drink first?”
“No need. We will like to see our accommodations.”
“This way please.” She paused to stare at the rest. “Stay inside. You can watch TV if you want, but no wandering off.”
They didn’t sound happy and she wasn’t sure if they were going to keep their word, but she knew that was all she was going to get out of them. Closing the door behind her, she led Shyloh and Kali to the first building. The walk was quiet and awkward, but she didn’t want to be the first to talk. She didn’t know why, but there was something about Shyloh that bothered her to no end. It made her wish he was in front which wasn’t possible since she was supposed to show them around.
“My other associates will arrive soon. Shall I introduce them to you?” Shyloh asked as they stopped at the first building.
Caught off guard, she took a moment to think. He must be talking about the others who would be working in the newly rented buildings. “If you don’t mind, I would like to meet them.”
He smiled before they looked over the building. Lisa really wondered why they didn’t think to check the buildings first. Maybe they were in desperate need of places and were only looking to see what they had to fix up to make it work. It was the only explanation she could come up with. It wasn’t like they were criminals looking for places to hide out from the police. They would have run the other way if that was the case when they met Mr. Thompson.
Speaking of which, one of his associates showed up just as they finished inspecting the building. “Ah, George. Thank you for coming.”
“Of course. Need to at least have a good look at the place. Must say it’s not that bad.”
While she didn’t outwardly react, she was inwardly seething. They didn’t have the right to be picky. She did her job and even cleaned it up for them. If they didn’t like it, they should have thought to take a look first before paying. It’s not her fault they didn’t do their own research.
“Come now. I believe this is quite a lovely place. Simple, but lovely.” Shyloh turned his attention towards her. “This here is George. He won’t stay here often as he is a traveling salesman.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” George said as he reached out with a gloved hand.
She shook it. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Well, I best be going. Stuff to buy and sell.”
Lisa could only watch dumbfounded as he waved goodbye. That was quick. He barely had a look at the place. Were all the people who were going to move in just as weird? If so, she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She already had her fill of crazy people as tenants. It didn’t help that all she did was watch as Shyloh and Kali discussed the place without actually talking. The only signs they were talking about the place were hand motions and noises of agreement or disagreement. Could Shyloh have the ability to read minds? When he turned to look in her direction, she was suddenly very self-conscious of her thoughts.
Oh god, he’s reading my thoughts, isn’t he? Did he hear my earlier thoughts? He must have heard. What do I do? Think!
She hadn’t even seen him move. Blurting out the first thing she could, she said, “S-so I understand you’re a private consultant. I’m sure you’ve met all kinds of people.”
“You could say that.”
He didn’t expand. Well, that failed spectacularly. Honestly, nothing seemed to faze him and here she was close to a meltdown.
“S-shall we take a look at the other properties now?”
“If you don’t mind. We’re finished here.”
Determined not to have another awkward, silent walk, she asked, “S-so, if you don’t mind me asking, what are you planning on doing? I know Kali wants to open up a bar.”
“Yes, he used to run one before, but circumstances forced him to give it up.”
A cynical part of her wondered if there was something more to the story then what he was saying. “Oh.”
“I, myself, will continue my business as a professional consultant though I intend to limit my cliental. My doors will always be open to you.”
“I appreciate the offer.”
Lisa couldn’t understand it. Shyloh seemed just like Kali, a complete gentleman. He was polite and considerate, yet she couldn’t stop the uneasy feeling she had around him. Was it one of those things where Daniel said she should trust her instincts because she felt bad for thinking the worst of Shyloh when he’d done nothing wrong?
At their next stop, they ended up encountering two more people. One of them didn’t seem that much older her than her and the other appeared to be a doctor. They had to be more of Shyloh’s people, but how did they know where to meet them? This was their first time having a look at the place right? Maybe she had told them about the locations so they knew where to go. It still didn’t explain how they knew which building they were going to see.
“This is my son, Thomas Smith. He will be running the flower shop.” Shyloh indicated to the younger before turning his attention to the doctor. “This is Doctor Rodriguez who intends to open up a clinic.”
She smiled at Thomas, but he just scoffed and looked away. Shyloh gave her a sheepish smile. “My apologies. He’s quite shy.”
It wasn’t fine, but she had no intention of saying that out loud. Whether or not Thomas wanted to speak with her was none of her business and frankly she didn’t care. Shyloh didn’t seem to react to those thoughts so she hoped that meant he actually couldn’t read her thoughts. Turning her attention to the doctor, she reached out to shake his extended gloved hand.
What is it with everyone wearing gloves?
Almost every new tenant kept their hands covered as if they are afraid of showing their hands. Or maybe they didn’t want to touch anything with their bare hands. She actually felt the same with certain people. The need to wash her hands was never so strong. Either way it bugged her to no end when she shook hands. It made her feel like she should be wearing them too.
They too left fairly quick afterwards. She wondered if the only reason they showed up was actually to meet her rather than to see where they would be working or living. If so, she wished she had dressed nicer. At least no one else showed up so she was just left watching Shyloh and Kali study all the places they rented. Occasionally, they asked her for her opinion or advice, but they mostly kept to themselves. She felt like a third wheel.
By the time they finished looking around, she was exhausted. She had never walked so much before. Neither of the two men even seemed winded despite walking between all the different locations. With Kali’s abilities, she would have figured they would use it. Maybe she should take Phrynosoma up on his offer for other training besides self-defense.
“Thank you for taking time to show us around Miss Taylor.”
Her eyes flitted about as she noticed they were alone. Kali had disappeared and there were no other people in sight. Maybe she should have let Phrynosoma and the kids come with her. Then she wouldn’t be alone with someone that made her skin crawl. Something was screaming at her to get out of there as fast as possible. She pushed it aside.
“It’s all part of the job description. You don’t need to thank me.”
“Regardless, you have my thanks.” He took one of her hands and pressed his lips against the back of it. “Take care. As I said before, if you are ever in need of assistance, know that my door is always open for you. You can count on Kali as well.”
She didn’t get a chance to respond when he walked away and was swallowed up by shadows. Apparently, Kali had been there after all. He had simply given them a little privacy. That wasn’t what was going through her mind though. Her eyes were fixed on the hand he had kissed.
What was that?!