Chapter Eleven

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Sure enough, to Scarlett's surprise, Erik was standing outside the door. He had that ridiculous helmet on him that made it impossible to read his mind, and he looked worried. His blue eyes were filled with pain, and it made Scarlett quite curious.

However, once she saw who was standing behind Erik, she was suddenly even more concerned. It was Rory, her best friend, but the older woman looked even worse than she had the last time they'd seen each other. Her eyes were bloodshot, as though she hadn't had any sleep in a while, and she completely reeked. The smell was familiar, but Scarlett couldn't recall where she'd smelt it before.

The biggest clue, however, that something was wrong with Rory was that Scarlett could read her thoughts. Or at least, she could feel that Rory's mind was open enough that she could read them if she wanted to. Being aware that Rory didn't particularly like her thoughts being read though, kind of kept her away from doing that.

"May we come in?" Erik asked, his voice cracked, and for the first time, Scarlett realized he looked like he'd been crying. This was a situation that she wished he wasn't wearing his stupid helmet, because this seemed important enough to read his mind.

"Of course," she said, gesturing for him to come in. "What's going on? Why are you two here? Is Rory okay?"

Her questions were almost answered right away, as Erik walked in, and Rory tried to follow. The black-haired girl stumbled on something invisible, and Erik quickly caught her, as though this was normal.

It was then that the pieces seemed to fall into place, and she quickly realized why Rory's current smell was so familiar.

"Has she been drinking?" she demanded.

Erik's face turned to a frown, his bright blue eyes suddenly saddened. He solemnly nodded, as though the thought of the girl he loved drinking saddened him deeply. Scarlett wondered what would happen if he knew how his best friend was behaving.

"Why have you let her drink?"

Erik's brown eyebrows furrowed for a second, and his blue eyes started to steam up, as though he was mad. "You think I let her drink like this?"

Rory, who'd been silent the entire time, reached a hand for Scarlett, and grabbed her nose. "Hi, Scarlett," she slurred. Scarlett flinched at the touch, and the sound. She really didn't like alcoholics, and she tried to avoid them at all costs. It was one of the many reasons why she refused to talk to Charles.

This was her best friend though, and while her and Charles had been close, it was nothing compared to how she felt about Rory. She couldn't abandon her best friend, just because she'd been drinking. Perhaps she could help Rory.

"I didn't let her drink," Erik replied, when Scarlett didn't respond to his question after several seconds. "I left her at our apartment to do a mission for a couple weeks. When I came back, she was completely drunk, and she won't listen to me. I don't want to leave her alone...but I can't stay home. Not twenty-four-seven anyways. I still have...other matters to take care of." He took a deep breath, and his blue eyes fixed on Scarlett's looking pleading. "I need you to take care of her for me, Scarlett. I know she's been missing you, and perhaps if she hangs out with you, she'll drop this drinking." He then turned to Rory, and smiled. "You want to stay with Scarlett, right?"

Rory nodded her head, albeit a little shakily. Without even trying to read her mind, Scarlett could sense that the older woman didn't really understand what was happening through her drunken haze.

Glancing back at Scarlett, Erik asked, "So, can she stay here? I swear, I'll come and actually visit her when I'm not out, but I can't promise how frequently that'll be."

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