Invited in, Claire couldn’t help but stare pointedly at his bare chest and interesting choice of attire. Assured that this was the man she’d been seeking, her nerves quieted enough to restore some of her sense of humor, and as she stepped past him, she grinned. “Nice pants,” she chuckled, belatedly hoping he was the sort to take a joke. She didn’t know what she’d do if she offended likely the only man that could help her… Shaking that thought aside, she glanced around the apartment, taking in all the little knickknacks the man surrounded himself with. You could learn a lot about a person by how the decorated.
“I’m Claire,” she said, a little belatedly. “Sorry, rude of me not to reciprocate the introduction. Though I’m sure you understand the hesitance.” She didn’t offer her last name; it was safer that way, should anything go sour. Nothing to trace back to either of them. It was an ingrained habit, one only made worse by her increasing paranoia. Getting out of the house felt good, though; while she’d been anxious on the streets, the walk over, one person was something she could handle. It was a smaller situation, easier to contain and inherently less risk of something…unfortunate happening.
“Oh, tea….how marvelous. Chai would be fine, thank you, bless your civilized heart. Everyone takes coffee these days.” She pulled a face at the idea and she set her purse down on a chair, but remained standing. It was a long formed habit in unfamiliar places. Standing made it easier to see exits, made it easier to get out in a hurry, if it came to that. She didn’t yet know if she could trust Mohinder to feel comfortable enough to sit, despite the fact she could feel her muscles relax a bit. But he had been right, she had a story to tell him. Her instinct told her this was the right man after all, and though she’d done a bit of research, her gut was what she always went with.
Trusting herself at the very least, she let out a little sigh and tucked her hair behind her ear. “As for stories….mine is…unfortunate.” Her smile was stiff, almost apologetic. “But no need for gory details. I do know it’s genetic, that I’m not the only one in my family to be ‘gifted’ in this way. Not that I would ever call it a gift, that’s my mother talking. I’ve never met any of the others, however. In all my life, no one has ever been that hard to track,” she said, shaking her head dismissively.
“Essentially though, to get to the point, blood makes me go…berserk. That’s the only word I have for it, it’s what mother always called it. If I taste any, any at all, I lose control of my own body and the results…well, they aren’t exactly child friendly. I don’t remember what happens in great detail, and I’m weakened afterward.” Claire shrugged and wrapped her arms around herself, partially for warmth and partially to ward off the unusual feeling of vulnerability. She could be naked in front of this stranger and feel completely comfortable, but sharing this information felt as though she’d been stripped to the bones. It itched.
The woman cleared her throat. “I don’t want it to happen anymore."