“You would like, wouldn’t you?” she said. She shook her head. “Unlike you, I’m not the bad guy.”
Elijah stood up. He felt flushed, as if he was starting to panic.
“Can I show you something?” he said.
“Sure, if you’re going to explain everything,” she answered.
He walked over and closed the porch curtains and then those of the side window.
“Can you get that one?” Elijah nodded to the window behind her, over her sink.
“Doesn’t have any,” she answered.
“Alright,” he murmured. He spread his arms and arched his shoulders. Wings spread out, as if growing out from underneath his skin. Brown and red feathers flapped down and spread out till they reached his hands and till they almost touched the floor down his back. His hands flexed and long, sharp talons came out of his fingertips.
“This is who I am,” he said. “I am a raptor. I’m the product of science, but I don’t know who’s. The Correlation wants to know. If you’ve been gathering information about me, you’ve been gathering it for them. So which is it?”
She said nothing. And she did nothing. She just looked straight at him, and he could count the second till she spoke again. “That’s insane.”
He waited for her to say more. She hesitated again and bit her tongue. He dropped his arms at his sides. Aren’t you going to say anything? Anything at all?
“I was told you were part of the Correlation. But that wasn’t reason enough that they wanted you. Is this the real reason?” Adrian asked.
“Do you need more of a reason?” Elijah almost shouted.
“I have to know for sure!” She stepped forward and slammed her hands down on the counter in front of him.
“Don’t you trust me?”
“Do you trust me?”
“You’ve already lied to me. But you can trust me, or I would never have shown you this.”
Adrian paused for a moment. “Alright then. I work for the CIA, and they don’t like the Correlation. But from what you’re telling me it seems they do. That would mean my bosses have been double dealing me. Telling me I’m working against the Correlation, while I’m actually working for it.”
“Whose side do you take then?” Elijah asked.
“My own,” she answered. “Quietly of course.”
“What about mine?” Elijah leaned forward on the counter too now. She looked down at the feathers lining his arms.
“You know,” she started. “If we were really friends we would already be on the same side.”
“Maybe we are. Maybe we have been all along. Even when you thought you were against me, you didn’t mean to be.”
She nodded, and put her elbows down, shrugging her shoulders.
“Is this why you came? To tell me who you are?”
“Yeah. And…I need some help.”
“Ok.” There was loud sounds of hot, hissing water from the percolator.
“I think the coffee’s done,” Elijah said.
Adrian jumped and hurried over. As she did she caught a glance out the sink window, that looked down to the street. She leaned forward.
“Is that Stanford?”
This time Elijah jumped. He rushed over to the window.
A black car was parked behind his. And though in the daylight he looked different, Elijah still could tell it was the man from the night before.
“Not him again,” he muttered.
“How do you know him?” Adrian said.
“He came to my apartment.”
“He’s my boss.”
They looked back down to the street, both alarmed.
“He’s gonna pay a visit. You’d better hide if you don’t want to see him again.”
Elijah nodded. “Right.”
“He’s on the porch. Get in my bedroom.”
Elijah was away in a moment, out of the living space and into the hall. He shut the door behind him. Adrian rammed the cups back into the cupboard and turned off the percolator. She followed into the hall and tripped on Elijah’s backpack.
The doorbell rang. Adrian threw the bag into a closet and ran down the steps.
Elijah stood by the bedroom door and listened for her footsteps. They grew quieter. He waited to hear them come back up, along with Stanford’s. He could hear a door opening, then a door closing. Muffled voices from below.
Then as he had waited for their footsteps came up.
“I don’t have good news for you, Webber. In fact I have very bad news.”