26. What A First Day

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With her breathing heavy, Elisa's eyes fly open when someone knocks on her bedroom door. Immediately, she squeezes them shut again, remembering yesterday's events very well. She doesn't want to be a part of this, and now she's forced to start her job in the management wing. Forced to wake up without Five by her side. Oh, how she wants (and needs) his arms to be curled around her waist. It's been too long already.

A groan leaves her lips when the knocking becomes louder and more aggressive. One day. That's all she has. Unless she succeeds in contacting one of the siblings. With such guard 24/7, it's as good as impossible. This whole mission is as good as impossible.

"Get up," the handler orders on the other side of the door.

Surprised, Elisa sits up quickly. She expected it to be Hazel who was knocking-not the handler.

"Open the door, Elisa." The handler's voice betrays her. There's clear annoyance audible. "It's a big day today."

"My first day of work," Elisa mumbles, rubbing her eyes tiredly.

The handler has heard her. "Indeed!" she replies in an excited voice.

Groaning another time, Elisa pushes herself out of the bed. She can't have slept three hours; this day is going to be awful. "I'm coming," Elisa tells the handler in a quiet voice. Everything that happened last night, Elisa feels sick to the bone. It's a good thing she hasn't seen anything, but she heard everything. Every single moan out of pain, every cry, every scream. It lasted for hours. Only when Elisa was completely sure that Cha Cha had left, she dared to climb out of the tiny, hidden space.

The man, Riden, didn't notice her. He was awake, yes, but he was too much in pain to realize if someone was passing him. Elisa wanted to help him, to get him out of there, but she could not. The handler would know. Plus, she's here for Vanya. Vanya. Vanya. Vanya.

Elisa opens the door slowly, revealing an excited and beaming handler. This makes Elisa even sicker together with the images of Riden flashing in front of her eyes. She knows that he's laying there, in the cage, barely breathing because of her orders. She knows. How can she even live with herself?

Fortunately, Elisa is able to keep her expression calm. She forces the corners of her mouth to curl up, and the handler's grin widens.

"The colleagues are so eager to see you again," she tells Elisa, walking passed her, into the room. "I came to get you, but I see you're not ready yet."

"I don't have an alarm to wake me up." Elisa shrugs. "Thought that someone would wake me up."

This makes the handler chuckle. "You're enjoying Hazel's company then?"

"Very." Elisa rolls her eyes, knowing very well that he's only at Elisa's side because the handler has ordered him to.

"I only want to be sure that you're not partnering up with Five, or something." The handler sits down on Elisa's unmade bed. Just when she finishes her sentence, she looks straight at Elisa.

The need to look away is there, but Elisa forces herself to stare back at the handler. "There's no reason to partner up with him," she attempts to reassure the handler. Vanya. Vanya. Vanya. "He betrayed and deceived me. I can't ever forgive him for what he did."

"Right," the handler murmurs quietly. "Well, Hazel his nightshift has come to an end. There's someone new. I don't think you've met him yet."

"Who is it?" Elisa asks curiously.

"Some Herb." The handler points at the door. She then gestures for Elisa to come closer.

Elisa obliges, and she approaches the handler.

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