Title: Seek and Hide
Word Count: 1300
Prompt: #80 Party
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and no profit is being made from the use of them.
Seek and Hide
The lack of laughter should have been her first clue that it wouldn’t be an ordinary, child’s birthday party as she put three-inch patent-leather pumps to asphalt and pulled herself free of Isaacs’ sleek sports car. She straightened her silk top and ignored the slight breeze that trickled over her exposed back and down her spine. The shiny bag that held Angela’s gift crinkled as she adjusted the handle hanging from the crook of her arm and made her way up the cobble stone walkway.
Isaacs’ cool hand settled on the small of her back, just above the line of her jeans and she swallowed the urge to tell him to get off of her and instead sped up her stride. She reached the door first and gave a sharp knock before opening and stepping inside. The stained glass paneled door was caught and held as Isaacs followed her and she made her way down the narrow hall, brows pulling down with the quiet murmuring of voices rather than the loud, excited noises she had been expecting—see anticipating.
The few silver and black steamers that were combined and twisted to decorate the top and sides of the arched entryway that led into the living room were brushed aside as she stepped over the threshold. Her head cocked as she noticed several doctors and nurses from the compound holding champagne flutes and conversing in small groups scattered across the room. Her lips thinned as Isaacs’ hand found her bare skin through the scooped back of her top once more and used it to direct her across the room.
Toward Ashford and a tall, well-dressed man favoring his right side as he stood with the aid of a cane. Her tutor noticed her first and his face broke into a wide smile as he motioned her closer. “Ah, Rabbit. I’m so happy you could join us.”
The man turned, his cane making an authoritative knock against the wood floor as he set it down and pierced her with a pair of close-set hazel eyes. She spared him a confused frown because of his intense scrutiny before nodding to Ashford, “Where is Angela?”
“Outside with my children.”
She blinked and turned back to the well-dressed man, lips quirking. “You mean someone actually thought to bring their children?” She sent a point glance to the rest of the adults surrounding them.
The man beside her laughed and offered her his hand, “Dr. Clayton Sandeman.”
Isaacs moved forward as she slipped her hand into Sandeman’s, marveled at the width of his palm before his fingers wrapped around hers and he gave a strong squeeze. Glossed lips spread wide with his firm shake and she locked her gaze with his as she stated, “Ingrid Hunnigan, but I prefer Rabbit.”
His lips pulled up at the corners as he released her hand, “Rabbit?”
She shrugged and readjusted Angela’s gift on her arm, “A nickname.”
Isaacs stepped around her to grasp Sandeman’s hand, his free one coming up to cup the other man’s elbow in a gesture of familiarity. “It’s good to see you again, Clayton.”
“And you, Samuel.” Sandeman glanced down, offered Ashford a smile and nod, “If you’ll excuse us a moment Charles?”
“Of course.” Ashford watched the two men move toward a more secluded corner of the room and turned his attention back to his pupil, who watched their progress with mild interest. He tugged on the brightly colored bag she held and pulled her attention back to him. “I’ll put this with the others and you can go say hello to Angela. She’s outside with Dr. Sandeman’s children. I believe she was attempting to teach them Hide and Seek.”
Her head cocked, “How old are they?”
“Six and five.”
A brow rose, “And they’ve never played Hide and Seek?” She frowned, wondering why that confused her when she had no memory of her own childhood.
“They’re somewhat of a special case.” Ashford’s words were accompanied by a humorless smile and a slight wave of his hand. “Isaacs did promise you an interesting time,” and with that parting shot his wrist twisted directing the wheelchair toward the table set up in front of the fireplace that was overflowing with presents.
She nodded to the few people that she knew from her time as a lab rat as she made her way across the room and to the sliding glass doors. Her fingers tucked into the depression acting as a handle and tugged the door opened before slipping outside and onto the deck. Her pumps were surprisingly quiet as she made her way down the stairs that led into a backyard that faded from manicured grass into forest within forty feet.
The first giggle had her spinning and she cocked her head, knees bending so that she could see under the deck. She caught a glimpse of long hair and a shadow before the giggler muffled him or herself.
Her lips lifted at the corners, as she called out, “Hel-lo” in a singsong voice.
The laughter rose in pitch and the shadow darted out from under the deck and grinned up at her, canines flashing. Green eyes widened and she straightened, mouth dropping partially open at the sight of her giggler. Blue eyes stared back at her and she tracked the sprinkling of freckles down a wide nose that flattened at the tip and a mouth that’s upper lip hung lower and turned in overtop of the bottom spread wide with a smile.
A slightly gruff but still childlike voice asked, “Play Seek and Hide?”
She blinked, “Um,” and was saved by Angela running up, holding the hand of a smaller child with the same facial features, who duct shyly behind the birthday girl.
“Joshua! You know you’re not suppose to talk to strangers.”
Those wide blue eyes turned to Angela for a moment before shifting back to her and his smile widened as he offered her his hand, “Play?” the newly turned twelve year old rolled her eyes.
She stared at the darkened nails that were curved at the ends and hesitated only a moment before wrapping her fingers around the child’s, apparently called Joshua, much smaller hand. He offered her another toothy grin and she turned to Angela, arched a brow. “And who’s your other friend?”
Joshua dragged her forward with surprising force, “Isaac, little brother.” He turned to look up at her, “You?”
Angela stepped forward and pulled a hesitating Isaac behind her. “Dr. Isaacs and Dr. Sandeman are great friends.”
Her brows lowered and she nodded with the small explanation before turning to Joshua, “I’m Rabbit.”
His head cocked, “Rabbit?”
She smiled, “Yes, sir.”
He grinned when she called his sir and nodded, “Play Seek and Hide? Be on my team?”
“I’d love too.” She turned and offered Angela a wide smile of her own, “You game, Angie?”
The birthday girl inclined her head at the new nickname but nodded and bent to pick up Isaac. “We’ll hide. You seek.”
She glanced down and winked at Joshua, “We’re so gonna win.”
“So gonna win?” He questioned back as if testing the words and then nodded, “So gonna win.”
Angela laughed and shifted Isaac who turned and ducked his had against her shoulder. The movement bared the back of his neck and her eyes narrowed on the set of black lines and she frowned, glanced at the wrist that held her own matching set. The ridges were barely visible compared to the starkness of Isaac’s barcode and Joshua’s grip on her hand tightened to just this side of painful and she looked down. Caught his excited gaze and found herself becoming endeared with his wide smile and wider eyes.
“Seek and Hide now?”
She nodded and assured him, “Seek and Hide now.”