In a high-rise apartment in New York City, a beautiful young woman stares outside of the window with a grim expression on her face. She carries a burden. The burden of the brave new world upon her shoulders. Because she was the one that had the guts to jump off of a Ferris wheel. She didn’t know that there would be an attempt made on her life the same day. Or that scientists would attempt to kidnap her so that they could study her. Or that world leaders would call for her head to be delivered up on a platter. She just wanted to stop hiding. To stop running. To stop being ashamed of who she truly was.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
She had been safe staying in New York with Peter, but then it started happening. It was like his body was remembering all of the powers that he had lost, but without any control. One night he burst into flames in the middle of the night, and would have burnt the apartment to the ground had Claire not grabbed the fire extinguisher. Another night he turned invisible in the middle of the night and Claire began to panic when she couldn’t see him the next day. He didn’t reappear for two days. Claire had never been so glad to see a face with a voice.
Now Peter had gone to find help. Angela was left to watch after her, much to Claire’s chagrin; not that she doesn’t care about her biological grandmother, but it’s a lot harder to trust Angela than Peter. She isn’t worried about surviving; when your body is indestructible you don’t tend to worry about your safety too much. She’s more worried about Angela selling her out. Angela had a history of being less than trustworthy and she needs someone she can trust now more than ever.
“Lunch is ready, dear.”
Claire turns and looks at Angela. Her dark hair is in a tight-knit bun and her pristine, white blouse and skirt are too formal for another day with just the two of them. Her heavy wrinkles are a sign that her age is slowly catching up to her. More than that, though, her eyes show a burden heavier than old age. A lifetime of regrets fill her gaze. She looks at Claire with sympathy and hope – hope that she will not be another regret to add to the list.
Claire turns from the window. The apartment, belonging to Peter and not Angela, is a far cry from the picture most have of high-rise apartments. It is a studio apartment with gray walls, except for the one facing east, which is purely glass. “Don’t worry, it’s bullet-proof,” he had told her when she moved in. His bed sits in the back corner along with a small bedside table and a lamp. The couch that she sleeps on faces the south wall, where the mounted television was.
Being the brother of a deceased rich politician had its perks, although Claire knows that most of his money was reserved for spontaneous trips whenever his friends got in trouble. He probably even feels guilty for the money that he had spent.
Peter’s small kitchen table is set with two plates, forks, and glasses of water, along with lunch, which is a cold pasta salad with garlic bread.
Claire sits down at the table and eats slowly. The minutes pass in silence as the two exchange no words. Angela eventually breaks the silence with her matter-of-fact tone and interest in business that needs taken care of.
“We need to talk about you arrangements here.”
Claire swallows and looks at her grandmother—no. She looks at Angela. No matter what she does, Angela will never truly be her grandmother.
“What about it?” Claire responds. She is not angry or snippy, but anxious. She’s afraid of leaving Peter’s apartment. He is the only person that ever made her feel safe, and his apartment is an extension of that. With Peter gone, she can think of no other way to deal with the constant threat, other than to stay here. And stay here she would, no matter what Angela said.
Angela sighs and continues.
“We have to leave.”
“No,” she says firmly.
“Don’t be foolish, Claire.”
“I’m not a fragile child!” she insists. “And I’m tired of being treated like one! I’m indestructible for crying out loud! I refuse to let everyone caudle me until this all blows over.”
“You really don’t know the predicament you’re in do you? You aren’t indestructible, child. There are worse things that death.”
“Like what? Sylar isn’t—”
“Gabriel. His name is Gabriel, Claire.”
“I’ll call him Gabriel when he’s burning in Hell. He’s a monster and his name is Sylar.”
“He’s trying, Claire. Can’t you see that?”
“I don’t care what he’s doing. He’s still a monster and I’m still not leaving.”
Angela expects Claire to rise, to run to room like a stubborn child; but she doesn’t. She just sits at the table, glaring at Angela, awaiting her next move. Of course, there really isn’t anywhere to run in this apartment. Still, she is determined to play the part of the adult, and that means facing Angela down like one.
“It’s only a matter of time before they find out where we are, Claire. Anyone who knows anything about you will have this place on their list, and that includes Buhari.”
This makes Claire stop for a moment, but she shakes her head.
“He wouldn’t come after me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I don’t have anything to do with it. His problem is with them, not me.”
Angela sighs in resignation.
“If you insist on being so stubborn, then you are not leave this apartment. No exceptions!”
Claire scowls, but said nothing. She knows it is the best compromise she’s going to get under the circumstances.
Oh how one small jump changed the world forever.