Forty-Eight - Linkin

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While the drive to the safehouse should have only taken three hours, I was starting to notice that Thierry was making unnecessary twists and turns. I knew he was doing it for our safety to ensure no one was following us, but it was starting to get on my nerves. We had more important things to do, like trying to get Stuart his practice back. "Russia, Thierry, she was in Russia. Just drive." I scolded him in broken French so the two in the back seat didn't understand.

Rolling his eyes, he knew better to object and started taking a bit more of a direct route, only starting to backtrack when we were five kilometres away. I noticed less than as I stared out the window of the beautiful French countryside as we came closer to the Switzerland border. There was a small lake which connected the two, this beautiful lakeside place was our safehouse. Thierry said it was because we had multiple escape routes, but I knew he liked to show off.

Glancing back to Stuart and Ira in the back, I smiled as I faintly noticed Stuart's head resting on Ira's shoulder. He was sleeping and she looked slightly uncomfortable but didn't dare move. "You alright?"

She nodded. "Are we almost there? I feel like I could use a real bed." Ira wasn't complaining, but we all had a long day.

"Twenty minutes, Princess," Thierry said slightly rudely and I hit him weakly in the arm. He shot me a sideways glare but continued to drive.

This wasn't how I expected any of this to go down. Stuart and I had a nice life, a good life - as good as could be expected after what happened. Things had been changing so quickly I didn't even have time to mourn the loss of what we had. Life was going to be a lot different now with Ira around. I would try to set up a new practice for Stuart, hopefully, this time he'd agree to change his name since Ira was with him, but the first time wasn't easy.

I had different ideas running through my head of what could happen next. I was toying with the idea of Africa or Australia to move us to. We needed out of Europe. While it was safe and had the ease of being able to country jump without a second thought, I could feel the noose around our necks tightening. No one to blame for what happened, I shouldn't have trusted Ira with the phone and she shouldn't have called, but things needed to change now.

Arriving at the house, I smiled faintly and glanced to Thierry. He did like to show off. The place was two stories and made of grey stones. The winding road which led to it meant that the stunning windows wouldn't make us vulnerable, but almost made us normal with the view of the surrounding forest and lake. The first thing I noticed was the three car garage and I prayed Thierry had filled it for us, but would never admit that to him. "Do you like it?" Thierry whispered once we had stopped the car.

Ira was gently trying to wake up Stuart without startling him and I continued to stare at the house. I smiled and nodded, "I do." I didn't know what else to say.

"I made it just for you, for us," his comment had me stunned just enough for him to be able to quickly land a peck on my lips before getting out. My cheeks turned red and I stared at the door handle, my mind struggling to remember how to operate such an easy piece of equipment.

Not that it mattered. Before I could move, Thierry came around and opened the door for me, his hand extended. "I don't want to be too presumptuous, but I already had some of your stuff brought here. Or, well, I had some people fill it with stuff I hope you'll like?" He looked almost nervous as I reached out and took his hand, squeezing it.

"I'm sure I'll love it." He looked a bit anxious, unsure like he was expecting me not to for some reason. "What is it?" 

He kept his hand in mine, protected through my glove as Ira slowly helped Stuart out as well. "There's a lab in the attic. I-I made sure it wasn't in the basement, but thought..." He didn't finish his sentence.

I let the thought hang in the air, unsure what to think myself. "Thank you," I finally said, simply to put him at east. I knew he did it for me because he wanted me better, but the idea of having tests made me both excited and nervous. "But why don't you show me to my room and to my laptop first. I have some work to do."

"You have an office to work in," he smiled, his mood changing as we walked inside the magazine-perfect house. 

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