It all happened so fast. She thought she was well on her way to putting as much distance between herself and the Graverobber. And suddenly, he was there and his hands were on her shoulders and she was being shoved through that door. The door she'd been staring at for... well, she'd long since lost track.
And if that weren't enough to make her head spin, now she was perched at the edge of his couch, face to face with him. And to make matters worse, he had serious face! She nervously fidgeted with the strap of her satchel and cleared her throat a few times before finally speaking.
"Ah... I, um... I mean, I came to... uh, check on you..."
She was scrambling for something, anything! Suddenly, she remembered the other night when he'd found her wandering around. It seemed a common occurrence between the two of them. He'd given her an addition for her bug collection. A flawless latrodectus. A black widow. And it was alive. How he managed to capture it and carry it around without being bitten was a miracle. And it was an excellent excuse! At least she thought so...
"I was worried that, um... the specimen latrodectus... uh, the spider, might have bitten you and I thought..." Thought what, Shi? With your complete lack of formal medical training you'd try and treat a deadly spider bite days after it should have already killed him? Blinking rapidly, she did her best to dispel the voice in her head.
How could he sit there so calmly while she felt like her heart would leap out of her throat? No time to think about that now, she'd simply have to stammer on.
"Uh, thought that, well, I mean you look alright now, I mean you don't look sick or even dead so that was why I started to leave but then you saw me and... and..."
He was so still, she found herself wondering if he hadn't fallen asleep with his eyes open. His gaze was so steady and unfaltering, she almost withered and, before she could stop herself, she began rambling again.
"Okay! Okay, so that's not really why I came. I... came here because, um... I wanted to make sure you were... um, eating?" You don't have any groceries with you, Shi... What were you going to do? Watch him not eat? Grimacing, she hated to admit that annoying voice was right. It was a painfully transparent excuse...
He didn't say a word. He hardly even moved save to quirk a single eyebrow. She was sure all the blood in her body decided to gather in her face. Her stomach knotted, but she couldn't very well just blurt out the real reason she'd sought him out, could she? Of course not! How could she? How could she possibly tell him that as soon as she'd laid eyes on him that night at the inn, everything came flooding back.
The look on her father's face... the way Rotti Largo had used her... all the pain and fear she'd experienced the night of the opera... How could she tell him that when she saw him, her mind reeled and, even though his face was the one that brought back all those painful memories, his was also the face that brought her a sense of comfort and stability? How could she tell him she only felt truly safe when he was around? That she hadn't had a decent night's sleep until she had seen him at the inn? And most importantly, how could she tell him any of this without dying of embarrassent?
But the more she sat there and stared into his piercing green eyes, the more she realized she couldn't NOT tell him. Big, brown, doe-like eyes closed for a moment and she let out a small puff of air. When she opened them again, not much had changed. He was still sitting there, stock-still, unblinking, but something about his gaze was different. It was less penetrating and more searching. Whatever the difference, she felt a little more at ease.
She still couldn't answer him. Instead, she just stared back, hoping the look on her face would speak the volumes she simply could not put into words.