Riley quickly grew bored of being in the hospital after a week. She was pumped full of painkillers a majority of the time, which both made her tired and feel strangely lighter than usual. It was a strange experience she couldn't begin to describe. At least it kept her from feeling most of the pain that she'd otherwise have to endure.
The bruises had all healed, but there were still some marks left to fade. The stitches on the back of her head would be able to be taken out soon, much to her relief. She'd had to sleep carefully and not put too much pressure on her skull. The cracked ribs and broken wrist would still take several weeks to heal, so she'd have to avoid straining herself or moving around too much.
The worst part was having nothing to do though. She'd watched through all of the movies the hospital had available to patients, and Riley began to miss her collection of movies at home. These were nothing like her favorites.
Plus, the hospital food was good, but nothing beat her favorite Chinese food place. She was craving some teriyaki noodles, and no matter how much she begged, the nurses wouldn't let her order any. Apparently, she had to be on a strict diet to help her recover faster. Whatever the hell that meant. Her soul was dying and Chinese food was the only medicine that could help her.
After her second day in the hospital, Riley had thought to call up ProviBlue and explain what happened. The supervisor didn't sound like she believed the story, especially when Riley couldn't provide a police report or other proof that it even occurred. They still insisted she come in and discuss her continued employment there as soon as she was released from the hospital.
She toyed with the thought of calling Bill to let him know as well, but it might only give him more incentive to pull her out of San Francisco sooner. She wanted more time to decide. Well, at this point she'd already decided to stay, but…well, she needed to take the necessary steps to secure her apartment and a new place of work. She didn't want to say anything to the others at this point, because jinxing it now wouldn't do any good.
After almost dying, she'd spent a lot of time wondering about her standing in life and if she were truly happy doing what she wanted to do. She'd always thought that pursuing journalism would allow her to fight against the injustice Riley so hated. But…it seemed like the profession itself wasn't as cracked up as she thought it would be. She'd been working at the company for a few years now, and she had yet to make any sort of dent.
In the short month or so she'd joined with DedSec, they'd accomplished so much, learned so much, and Riley had found herself a handful of great friends. Something she hadn't expected. But a welcome surprise. And…well, Riley had no idea how Wrench felt about it but, there seemed a possibility of discovering something more than just friends in him. The tension the nurse had identified when she'd interrupted had been there. Did Wrench feel it too?
One could only hope.
The gang had each dropped in one by one as the week dragged by, giving her company. Ray was still a constant companion, but they were convinced the Bratva wouldn't try to attack her in the hospital after wrecking several of their smuggling operations, forcing them to go back underground and recoup their losses. So, it wasn't unusual that Ray would be gone most of the day only to check up on her later that night.
Riley appreciated this. It wasn't like she was ungrateful for him keeping a watch on her, but she also enjoyed some time to herself. Having someone constantly hovering at her bedside could start to feel exhausting and uncomfortable.
Wrench hadn't visited since that first time, but he still texted her when he wanted to talk. It seemed he was in better spirits than before, because his joking nature had returned, as well as his enthusiasm for destroying things. She liked to keep the more unique and random texts he'd send her way, and read them over when she was bored.
How awkward do you think it must be for a sex-toy maker to go to Career day at their kid's school?
I just had the best idea for a weapon. A pistol shaped like a dildo, so that way people won't even be expecting an attack!
Or a cat. I haven't decided yet.
I hacked into that FBI fuck's facebook account, and he's now come out as a closet furry.
Riley smiled, glad he was getting back to his old self. She'd missed the happy-go-lucky Wrench that she'd known this whole time. But…a part of her was just as thrilled to know the vulnerable and shy Wrench that he'd introduced her to when he came to visit. She found him more…human that way. And his eyes were definitely something to love…She thought back to them, how piercing they could be…
And the sadness they held…Riley wanted to somehow get rid of that sadness and guilt. Any way she could.
The day finally came around when the hospital marked her well enough for discharge. Riley had sighed in relief, and the nurse chuckled. "Eager to be out, are you?" She'd asked, taking her vitals to double check her condition.
"As much as I've appreciated you guys taking care of me, I also really don't ever want to see you again." Riley said, shrugging to indicate she meant no offense.
"Aww, and here I thought you'd never want to leave." The nurse said, waving her words away. "I understand. I'm sure most people don't want to see us on a regular basis." Then, her smile took on a mischievous tilt. "How's your man?"
Riley blushed, but shook her head. "I've told you, he's not my man."
"Mhmm, so you say." She had yet to convince the nurse that Wrench was, in fact, not her boyfriend. No matter what Riley said, the older woman would only shake her head and laugh. "Deny it all you want. I may be old, but I'm not stupid. I saw you two looking at each other. That there is attraction, Riley."
The brunette sighed, holding her arm out so she could take her blood pressure. How bad was it really to admit she did like Wrench? I mean, this nurse wouldn't ever see her again anyway, and it might feel better to at least tell somebody, no matter how much of a stranger they may be.
"He's not my boyfriend…but I do like him." She said quietly, and the nurse jerked her head up with a smile.
"See? That wasn't so hard." She looked rather smug as she pumped the armband up to measure her pressure. Riley bared the constricting pain from the band without much trouble. "So, when are you gonna tell him?"
"I, uh…I don't know." She answered honestly, happy when the band was finally taken off of her arm. There was a phantom sensation of being squeezed after it was released. "I don't know if he feels the same way."
"Ah, hell, don't let that stop you." The nurse said, straightening up and coming closer with a stethoscope. "What does it matter if he feels the same or not? Either it gets you two together, or you can start looking somewhere else."
Riley knew the nurse was right. She should woman up and just tell Wrench what she felt about him, but it was anxiety-inducing. Especially because she cherished Wrench's friendship so much. Wasn't it better to have some sort of relationship with him than to have nothing at all, even if it was simply a close friendship?
"Besides," she continued, finishing up her examination and putting her equipment away, "there isn't any way he doesn't think of you in the same way."
"How do you know?"
The nurse smiled motherly. "Oh, I've been around the block a few times, Riley. When you get to be as old as me, you just know. You go to that boy and you tell him. If he tells you no, I'll owe you some of that Chinese food you've been whining about all week."
The brunette didn't know the nurse much at all, had only a few conversation when she came in to check on her over the past week, but her kind reassurances were comforting all the same. The wisdom of those who were older than you surely was something to behold. She found herself smiling in return.
After a mountain of paperwork to fill out, Riley walked out of the hospital and perked up when she saw Sitara leaning against a car at the entrance. When the brunette walked out of the entrance, the hacker straightened and smiled. "Your chariot awaits."
"Hey, thanks for coming to take me home." Riley said, stepping into the passenger seat as Sitara walked around to take the driver's side. The brunette was really carefully with easing herself into the passenger seat, as putting pressure on her chest of any kind sent sharp pains through it. She winced, putting on the seatbelt.
"No problem." Sitara answered, turning on the car and slowly pulling away from the curb. "Everyone's glad you're finally out of there."
"Oh, believe me, I am too." She said, smiling.
Sitara cast her a side glance, keeping her tone carefully neutral. What would her reaction be? "Wrench especially. I haven't seen him so restless before."
Riley chewed the inside of her lip, trying not to smile. She was glad to be able to see him regularly again too. "Oh really?"
"Jesus, I was half tempted just to let him break something to get all that energy out. Maybe having you back will calm him the fuck down." Which was true. Wrench had been so unfocused and all over the place while Riley was in the hospital. Marcus had even said something, offering to have him do all the ops for the time being just to get his ass out of the hackerspace. He was driving everyone insane.
"Why would having me around calm him down?" Riley asked only somewhat innocently, and Sitara looked over at her with a knowing glint in her eye.
"I don't know. Why would it?"
Riley was too embarrassed by the implication to answer, so Sitara let it slide. She was amused by her reaction, especially knowing how she felt about Wrench. Oh, how these two fools were frustrating. Just because Sitara had bet against them ending up together didn't mean she didn't want it to work out in the end. But the hacker had known Wrench for a long time, and honestly couldn't see him working up the nerve to do anything about it this time either. It had happened before, and chances were it would happen again with someone else.
The idiot had let so many other girls get away before and he hadn't learned yet.
The silence was broken by Riley's stomach grumbling between them, and they laughed. "Hospital food is not very filling." She grumped.
Sitara flashed her a grin, keeping her eyes on the road. "Yeah, we all heard how much you were dying to get some hands on Chinese food. Speaking of which, want to swing by before I take you home?"
"God, yes please." Riley begged, clasping her hands together pleadingly. "I would love you forever if we did."
"Say no more." Sitara took a left instead of continuing straight towards Riley's apartment.
With food in hand, Riley lead Sitara towards her apartment on the third floor. It was a bit more exhausting than it normally would be, just because Riley had been forced to bedrest for over a week, plus her ribs were beginning to bother her. She'd have to take some more painkillers once she got settled.
She unlocked the door and stepped inside. For some reason, she half expected to see the remnants of her struggle with the Bratva members when she was kidnapped, but the room was clean and tidy and just as it should be. The carpet looked vacuumed, the kitchen was free of dishes and the counter appeared to have been wiped down. Sitara must have noticed her confused glances.
"Oh, while you were in the hospital, Marcus and I came by to check on your place and make sure Pants was alright. We did a little cleaning up too." She admitted, placing one of the bags of food on the table.
Riley couldn't believe she'd nearly forgotten about the cat. That whole time, and she hadn't even thought about him once. What kind of horrible owner was she? That thought alone was sobering. She owed him a week's worth of love and affection. "Thank you." She finally said, knowing that if not for them, Pants probably would have starved while she was away. She had them to thank.
Speak of the devil, Riley's attention was directed to the hallway, where she heard a small meow. Pants timidly looked into the kitchen, so different from his usual habit of running straight in when he heard her come home. The poor cat was probably traumatized by all of the unfamiliar people coming in over the past week.
"Pants, I've missed you." She said, putting all of her stuff on the counter and crouching down on the kitchen tile. She winced, feeling her ribs being compressed, but ignored it, too happy to see her beloved cat again. "Come, here, buddy. Come here."
She gestured in her usual way, watching as he carefully stepped out into the kitchen, meowing curiously when he saw Sitara standing there as well. But his recognition of Riley overweighed the sight of a generally unfamiliar person. He slowly walked towards her, offering her his tail to pet.
She gathered him up in her arms, careful not to squeeze him too hard because it would hurt both of them. "I'm sorry I was gone so long. I won't do that again, I promise."
He meowed again, purring loudly into her chest as she cuddled him. Sitara stood by, watching the reunion with a happy smile. "He was such a darling. Poor thing was terrified when we came over to clean, but he seemed much happier after being fed."
"Yeah, his loyalties are easily swayed so long as he gets his food." Riley said, scratching his ears affectionately before putting him down again. It was starting to hurt crouching there for too long. Pants stayed close by Riley even after she put him down, no doubt waiting for his next meal.
"Are you gonna be good? I can grab you something from the store if you need it." Sitara offered. Riley straightened and brushed away the excess cat hair that now clung to her shirt.
"I'll be fine. I know the others are probably waiting for you at the hackerspace, right?" Riley knew that DedSec was in full gear looking for new ops and ways to take down Blume, especially after that stunt that Dušan pulled with them. They all now had a much bigger reason to want to see him brought down a couple notches.
"Yeah, we're poring over data from some of Blume's back up servers. It's taking awhile." She confirmed by nodding with a sigh. Riley guessed there was a lot of work to do.
"Well, don't let me keep you."
"Alright, well you know how to reach any of us if there's any problem." Sitara said, giving Riley a quick hug before stepping towards the door. "Enjoy your food." She gave an amused point towards the bags of takeout.
"Oh, I will. No doubt about that." Riley said with a wide smile, seeing the hacker out. Once the door was shut, she locked it. The brunette wasn't too keen on having another break in. In fact, she should probably look into improving her security system. Her simple lock and key obviously wasn't enough anymore.
Playing with the idea of online shopping for a new security system right at that moment, she shrugged and decided to leave it for later. Right now, all Riley wanted to do was eat. She was tired and hungry, and her chest was beginning to hurt worse.
After popping some painkillers and changing into pajamas to get more comfortable, Riley set up a pillow and half a dozen blankets on the couch. She created a sort-of nest out of the materials before nestling in with her Chinese food. A long day of rest at her own home with her favorite food was just the sort of thing she needed to feel better.
Pants hopped up beside her on the couch after she turned on some Netflix and settled himself between her legs on top of the blankets. It was his favorite spot to sit with her this way. She enjoyed it too, because he kept her legs warm and often provided her a sort-of massage with his purring. It was a win-win situation for the both of them.
While the opening intro played, the familiar music and scenes flashing across the screen, Riley took the opportunity to text Wrench. Maybe even invite him over? The thought was dashed almost as soon as she had it. Riley really wasn't up to socializing with anyone, and not in any way fit to be moving around too much. Texting would have to be enough.
Finally home…doing absolutely nothing has never felt so nice. :)
Sure enough, she received a response almost immediately. Riley smiled, glad they were back to the instant back and forth again.
Nice! Just don't go boasting about that to the others. We're up to our necks in data to scrub through from Blume's servers. They might get jealous. O.o
Oh shoot, am I bothering you?
No way. In fact, keep distracting me. I need something to get my mind off of all of this useless info…
Ok, well, what have you been working on while I was in the hospital? You kept mentioning a project.
Wrench had briefly mentioned in passing something about a project that he was working on. Based on what Sitara had told her, she was willing to bet it was more to get him out of the hackerspace because of his pent up energy. Maybe one of the other members had asked him to work on it. She wasn't sure.
This time, a picture accompanied his text. It was the bare bones of what was supposed to be a motorcycle, the pieces strewn about in Wrench's garage.
Marcus asked me to upgrade his ride, plus add a new paint job. It's still in the works.
Oh cool! What has he got in mind for the paint?
Black, sleek, and classy, if you ask him directly. But of course, with our logo in vibrant, messy graffiti. Just my style.
Huh, you'll have to show me the progress as you go. That sounds awesome.
It'll turn out great! I've got to get all the mechanical parts in working order first though…some of the upgrades aren't normally meant for a motorcycle, so I've gotta jury rig the configurations a bit.
You're not gonna have it shoot out flames or something, are you?
Ok, Marcus asked me the same exact thing, its almost scary. What would be so bad about flames? Flames are awesome.
And dangerous. Also illegal.
Pfft. Danger is nothing. Plus, what's the fun in following the law?
Fair point, but Marcus wouldn't be able to drive it anywhere without being stopped by the cops.
Ugh, fine. I'll modify it…but let the record show I did so with much protest.
When you are feeling up to it, you can come by and see the designs I've got planned. Almost everything is getting an upgrade.
I'd love to, just give me a few days or so to rest up. The painkillers are the only thing keeping me moving without bitching about the pain right now.
…is it still pretty bad?
Yes, but if I hear another 'I'm Sorry' from you, I swear I will stuff those schematics for the flames right where you wouldn't want them.
I don't know if I believe you'd actually do it.
Do you really want to risk it though?
Something came to mind then, back when he'd visited her at the hospital. Right when Riley had tried telling him how she felt, in a brief moment of courage, he'd been trying to say something too. Then the nurse came in and interrupted them, but she'd wondered what he'd wanted to say. His expression back then led her to believe that it was something important.
Hey, back at the hospital, what were you going to say before you left? I didn't mean to interrupt you.
This time, a few minutes went by before he sent a reply.
I'll tell you another time.
Frowning in curiosity and slight confusion, Riley was in the middle of typing out her next text message when Wrench sent a second one her way.
Marcus is glaring at me from across the room. I think I've been compromised.
For now. Gotta get back to this data. I'll text you later.
Putting away her phone, Riley grabbed the remote for the tv and backtracked about ten minutes. While texting Wrench, she hadn't been paying attention to what was going on, and was now sort of lost. She hoped his quick goodbye hadn't been because of her question, but there was no helping it now.
She happily ate away at her Chinese food and watched more of the cop drama that she'd been dying to get back to. The main character had been so close to finding the killer, and now she was sure by the season finale they would catch him.
By the second episode, the painkillers had really started to kick in, and she fell asleep not too long after.
A long day of rest was definitely helpful, as the very next day, Riley had to go into work and face management. She wasn't necessarily nervous; Riley was fully convinced she'd be walking out with her things from her desk and without a job. But she hated tarnishing her reputation in any way. Especially with an employer. This all may just be a way to get closer to the information she was after, but it didn't mean she wanted to burn all of her bridges in the process.
She'd carefully gotten out of the car, purse and doctor's note in hand, and walked up to the entrance of ProviBlue. The usual bustle of people flowing in and out of the door was present, as well as the security guard sitting at the front desk, manning the security gate.
They'd disabled her ID to check in several days ago, so Riley was to report to the security guard and identify herself. She walked closer and waited in line behind the other person currently engaging the guard with conversation.
Riley glanced down at her phone, smiling at the encouraging message Wrench had sent her after she explained what she was doing.
Go give 'em hell. ~.^
The person in front of her got their issue taken care of, stepping out of line and towards the employee entrance. Riley took their place, gaining the attention of the guard.
"Hi, my name's Riley Clarke. I'm supposed to come here to talk to management?" She honestly wasn't sure how this procedure worked, but the guard stood from his seat and gestured for her to follow.
"Come with me."
Riley did as instructed, walking with him towards the elevator at the end of the lobby. He swiped a badge and the door dinged. Both of them stepped inside as the door shut behind them. He pressed the button for the sixth floor, and the elevator came to life, rumbling quietly as it ascended the building.
The air within the cabin was stiff, and neither person looked at each other. She swallowed, relieved when the door finally opened to let them out. Just standing beside this guy was making her anxious. He started down the hall, not bothering to look and see if she were still behind him.
They took a right and then a left, stopping outside of a large office. The guard tapped on the door and a woman's voice bid them to enter. He turned the handle and stepped through, Riley only a step behind him.
The office she walked into wasn't luxurious, but it was neat and comfy and still exuded a certain amount of wealth. It was about six times larger than her cubicle several floors down, and large windows made up the entire left wall, affording a great view of the city below.
A woman sat behind the desk, tapping away at her computer. She gave them a single glance, gesturing to the chair situated on the opposite side, before going right back to work. Riley took the cue and sat, settling herself as easily as she could in the chair. Sitting still afforded her a small amount of pain, as her chest compressed just a little.
The security guard stood at the door, arms crossed and staring out the window while he waited. Riley wondered if it was a normal things, or if she were going to be escorted out as soon as this meeting was over. The latter was most likely of the two.
After a few minutes, Sandra—as the name plaque on the desk identified her as—continued whatever she was doing on the computer. Riley was willing to bet this was all for her benefit, and that there wasn't anything important on that screen. Maybe she was hoping Riley would squirm and start asking for forgiveness, or her job back, or something. But she was well trained in dealing with situations like this. Her impatience be damned, Riley sat and waited, gently tapping her foot soundlessly on the floor.
Riley's eyes wandered around the room, trying to find something to look at in the meantime. There was a security camera in the corner, and she swore she saw it move to look at her more directly. Huh. Who was watching her? Could it be DedSec? Or perhaps the company itself, wanting to try to get more solid evidence on her.
The silence in the room stretched on, broken only by Sandra's tapping, until finally she seemed to realize that this tactic wasn't going to work. With a few last clicks of her mouse, the woman sat back from her computer and looked at Riley properly for the first time. She folder her hands together on the desk.
"Miss Clarke. I'm sure you are aware of the problem currently facing you and your position here at ProviBlue. Am I correct?"
Riley was aware that she meant the back door installation incident, but until they had concrete proof, there wasn't anything they had against her. She nodded slowly, apologetically. "Yes, and I have a doctor's note. But the whole situation was out of the blue, you know? No one expects to be robbed and attacked within their own home until it happens I guess."
Sandra accepted the note and tossed it to her desk without even opening it. "I am well aware of your extended absence from this apparent assault, however I am referring to something else entirely."
Sandra turned the screen of her computer to face Riley, and she saw what appeared to be the front lobby. It took a moment to realize it was a security camera footage. As she watched, Marcus strolled up to the ID scanner and walked in without a problem, but the brunette kept watching, as if unsure of what she was supposed to recognize. Any sign of recognition on her part was carefully hidden.
"Umm…I don't see how this pertains to me. I'm not in this at all." She said, glancing back up at Sandra. The woman had a pinched face, and was unamused by her ignorance regarding the matter.
"The importance here is that this man," she said, pointing to Marcus just before he disappeared down the hallway, "used a badge issued to you that morning to break into ProviBlue, illegally obtain company information, and tamper with company property. I've also have reason to believe that he is a member of that group called DedSec. I'm sure you can see how this implicates you, Miss Clarke."
Riley dawned an expression of understanding. "Oh, I lost that new badge while out at lunch that same day. I think I may have left it at the table or something. I'm not sure though, since I couldn't find it."
Sandra narrowed her eyes, unconvinced. "Not only that, but you used your old badge, which you claimed to have also lost, to check back into work that day."
Riley nodded, as if there wasn't anything suspicious about that at all. "When I realized I had lost my new one, I went home to see if I could find my old one, and I did. It was in the back pocket of one of my jeans the whole time." She shook her head, ashamed at her own stupidity.
Sandra stared at Riley for several seconds, then sighed. Shaking her head slowly, the woman pinched the bridge of her nose briefly, before looking back at her. "If I can be candid here, Miss Clarke. I as well as several members of upper management believe you to be a member of, or at the very least affiliated with, this hacker group. This is something we will not tolerate."
Riley took on an expression of outrage. "Hacker? Are you serious?"
"Given the circumstances and after deliberating with my colleagues, we've come to the decision to terminate your employment here."
"Termin-" She started, shaking her head in the appropriate amount of outrage for the situation. "Are you kidding me? I'm not a hacker! What sort of evidence do they have saying I am?"
Sandra gestured to the screen, which was circumstantial and shaky at best. Riley was willing to bet that was all they had. Of course it was. She'd been careful to make sure nothing could point to her directly.
"I take these implications very seriously, Miss Clarke. The chance of your being a security and financial risk is too high to keep you employed here." Sandra then gestured to the note Riley had provided. "And even if the accusations against you are unfounded, you still were missing from work for over a week."
"I was assaulted!"
The woman shrugged. "So, where is the police or incident report? Surely, you would have filed one after something like this."
Riley glared in return. This time, it was a bit more genuine. They were really trying to prove that her assault had been faked. That was a bit low, even for ProviBlue. "I had several more important things to worry about, like not dying in the hospital, to think about that."
Sandra unclasped her hands and spread them wide, as if Riley's words explained themselves. "Then we've both reached a point in which we cannot validate each other's claims. Nonetheless, an employee with this sort of stain on their record would harbor suspicion from multiple sources in the company. As a security measure, and for your own benefit, we ask that you pack your things and turn in any and all ProviBlue property that you were allowed as an employee."
"I can't believe this…" She muttered, sitting back in the chair with an angry expression. "I put in a good amount of time and effort into this company for over a year, and this is what I get in return? You know what? Fine. If this is the treatment employees can expect from management, I'd rather work anywhere else."
Sandra looked unimpressed with her outburst, and reached down below her desk for something. It was an empty box. "Travis here will escort you to your desk. You may gather your personal possessions and be on your way."
Riley stood and grabbed the box angrily. Not bothering to give Sandra another glance, she turned towards the door, which Trevor opened for her, and marched towards the elevator they'd taken to come up here.
Another tense ride followed, the air once again stiff with silence. Riley gripped the box in a tight hand, staring down at it so she wouldn't have to look at Trevor beside her. The bell dinged and released them from the cabin on the first floor.
He escorted her to her desk. Several of her coworkers spotted them walked among the cubicles, and cast curious glances their way. Riley was willing to bet she'd be the next topic of gossip for awhile, and couldn't help but feel pissed by that fact. It made her uncomfortable when others talked about her behind her back.
They approached her cubicle and she started gathering up the few possessions that decorated her desk. There wasn't much, just a few generic inspirational pictures, some photos of Pants, a couple small figurines that had been hidden away on her shelf, and a paperweight with the Batman symbol on it. She threw them all into the box, searching the rest of the drawers for anything she could have possibly missed.
The noise of her perusing her desk must have alerted Dan, because he popped his head into the cubicle the next moment. "Riley! We were all a bit worried there, is everything fine?"
"Yup." She said shortly, not bothering to turn around and look at him. The guard watched warily, but allowed Dan to enter the entryway of the cubicle, believing nothing would actually happen.
"Woah, are you quitting?"
"Fired? What for?"
Riley stayed silent, getting increasingly more annoyed with Dan's talking. She'd always wanted to give into her negatives thoughts and actually slap him in the face like she'd always wanted. However, the presence of the security guard probably would cause more problems than it was worth if she tried it.
"Wow. Jeez, I'm sorry." He said in a genuine manner, shaking his head sympathetically. "You know, if you ever wanna talk or anything, or just go get a coffee…"
Riley's patience with him had run out. All of her possessions in hand, Riley turned around and faced him directly. She shot him the darkest glare she could manage. "You know, I've always wanted to say this to you, and I hope you never forget it. Go fuck yourself, Dan. I'm sick and tired of your pestering and unwelcome flirting and just…everything about you. You make me uncomfortable and sick. Please, promptly get out of my way and go fuck yourself."
The shocked expression of both disgust and stunned confusion on his face was priceless. Judging by his reaction, Riley didn't think anyone had every talked to him like that before. Well, maybe it was about time someone did.
The security guard shifted on his feet, shaking his head to let her know that he wouldn't tolerate anything further from her. Dan, still shellshocked by her words, silently sidestepped the entrance to her cubicle and allowed her to pass.
Feeling immensely proud of herself, Riley held her head high, a pleased smile on her face as she was escorted off of the premises.
Wrench hadn't yet been subject to Riley's fiery anger. Thankfully. Because she could certainly handle herself when she'd had enough, as he'd seen. He'd kept an eye on the office while they'd informed her of her termination, just in case they needed to step in and help her with any incriminating evidence, but things had turned out just fine. The company didn't have enough substantial evidence to prosecute, and all they could legally do at this point was let her go.
She'd looked pissed going back down the elevator to get her things, and Wrench didn't blame her. She was being fired unfairly, in his opinion. She had a valid reason for missing those days of work, and the lack of a police report shouldn't point to proof that no incident had occurred. She still had lingering bruises from the assault for fuck's sake.
Back at the hackerspace, Wrench had watched Riley leave her cubicle with a wide smirk on his face. That little grin of her own, and the way she sauntered out of there like she was the fucking queen was such a turn on. Not to mention, her blunt outburst at this Dan guy was amusing and hot as hell.
Marcus walked by and smacked him upside the head. "Really, dude?"
Wrench came back to himself, and realized that those damned heart icons were back on his display. Why had he even programmed them into the mask in the first place? He rubbed where Marcus had hit him, staring after him as he walked away.
"What?" The hacker asked, spreading his other hand wide. Marcus turned and gestured to the screen.
"Quit stalking Riley and start working. We're almost done with this shit. Let's go." He pointed towards the table where Sitara, Ray, and Josh were all huddled, still churning through all the data they'd gathered.
The hearts quickly replaced themselves with irritated slants, but he reluctantly backed out of ProviBlue's security system and joined his friends at the table. He could just ask Riley about it later.ns 220.127.116.11da2