Gentleman Caller: Part 2

March 28, 2016:

Ford reveals he isn't quite what what he appears… and a secret he's been keeping quiet.

Ford's Apartment, Metropolis

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NPCs: None.

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Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Ford peers silently out the drawn curtains of his room as he does another check of the outside. Just in case. He's been keeping alert since bringing Claire back to his place, on the lookout for anybody who may come looking for her - good or bad. He'd taken a good deal of time driving back to veer down various roads and zigzag all over the place to ensure nobody was following him back. Some would call his behavior paranoid, but this is nothing new to him. After all, one doesn't their superpowers a secret without some precaution.

Since his return, he carried Claire up to his room and laid her in his bed, letting her get as much sleep as he could afford her. The potential to take advantage of the situation doesn't really cross his mind, not with every other question the universe nagging at him… okay, maybe once or twice, but he was better than that. At the moment, he has his bedroom door propped open to let him peer in regularly and check on her, room as dark as he can make it to let her rest. Returning to his armchair, he flopped into it, turning the TV on and browsing the news channels. He didn't expect anything pertaining to ninjas to be on the news, but… it was more to have some white noise to help clear his head. She'd been sleeping for quite a while… good. She sounded, and looked, like she needed as much as she could get.

It's about four hours sleep that Claire gets, every hour desperately needed, but she's a nurse, she's used to limited amounts of rest, and her body simply knows when she's not in the right place. So, after she gets enough rest to be functional, her dark eyes snap open, breath catching in her throat, a touch of panic running through her mind before she turns her head and runs her fingertips across the, no doubt, thousand thread count Eqyptian Cotton sheets. Claire can't remember the last time she slept in a bed this comfortable, this luxurious. Possibly never. Her fingertips drag across the comforter for a moment before she slowly pushes herself into sitting. Then it comes rushing back. Ford Benett. The date. The apology. His car. That silly necklace. His being a gentleman, despite the flirtations.

Another few moments and her legs swing out of the bed. She pushes a hand through her hair, trying to straighten up and look a bit more rested than she feels, but she's got enough rest in her that adrenaline can kick in once again and keep her going, ready to react, ready for the worst. But the worst isn't happening. No ninjas. No death threats. Nothing but her padding barefoot out of the bedroom into the front room to study him and the television. "Ford."

Surprisingly, Ford's sheets, while comfortable to be sure, aren't all that luxurious. Sure, a little bit higher quality than most, but nothing imported. Nothing in his place is. Granted, it seems a tad higher quality, but it's a bit odd for a rich playboy energy mogul/philanthropist. Perhaps it's why he has more money to throw around - he doesn't spend it on things like that.

Or perhaps he's just a cheap-ass.

Ford's head snaps to Claire's direction as she enters, before standing up. "Claire, you're awake already? I'd have thought you'd get a bit more after all that. You feeling okay?" He watches her for a moment before walking to the kitchenette nearby and grabbing a pot of something brown and thick, pouring it into a mug. Picking it up, he brings it to his guest and offers it. Still warm, judging from the steam. "Here. Drink this. Hot chocolate. Maybe not the best for you physically, but mentally? I find it's a wonder drug."

Oddly? It was comforting not to wake up in a bed that FELT like a playboy's bed. It wasn't cheap, but it still felt a bit closer to the sort of life she knew. And the scent of hot chocolate on the air was a comfort as well. She's still half waking up, but in the way of an ER nurse who can take a nap in the on call room and be alert to save a life in under a moment. There might be grit in her eyes, but she's alert and ready to go. Then he's right there, pouring out that chocolate and not making a single crack or hitting on her. Hell, he actually just seems caring. This all was strange, but she'll take the comfort, wrapping thin fingertips around the mug and hugging it close in against her. "…I…work in an ER. I'm used to sleeping in spurts. It's fine. I…I didn't mean to pass out in the car. I'm sorry. It's been… a shitty few days." Claire confesses over the mug, the thickness of her husky voice giving away those lingering fingers of sleep more than anything.

"Don't worry. I've done the same. You'd think non-stop parties would make the world easy, but negotiating with folks like that is exhausting. Like taking a kid home from an amusement park: you have to drag them kicking and screaming through it. Not that it holds a candle to working an ER… point is, don't worry. This is where I come to kick back and be genuine for a change. No reason to alter the rule for anyone else." He gives a gentle pat to the shoulder and waves to the seat he had, before heading back to the kitchenette. "You need breakfest. Milk, eggs, oatmeal - good oatmeal, not that store-bought garbage! Even if you don't want to eat, you should. Your body is probably worn slap out… and for once, I say that and I'm not the cause! Hah!"

Aaaaaaaaaand there it is. Well, was nice while it lasted. "Seriously, though, you need to eat."

A single brow climbs her forehead as he comments about the non-stop parties and amusement park. Needless to say, Claire isn't totally convinced of just how exhaustion inducing it could be, but she doesn't argue. He's still scored a whole ton of points for this surprisingly respectful rescue. (And the hot chocolate. That's worth at least five points.) She takes a slow sip of it, dark eyes sinking shut a moment. Then he's commenting on her body and she doesn't even need to reopen her gaze to swat him right in the arm. "…Benett. You were just about to convince me that you actually might be a gentlemen beneath that cad of an exterior. Psh. I'll eat in a bit. Not… not really hungry, you know? The chocolate helps." She takes another long sip of it.

Finally, though, dark lashes raise, eyes focusing on him again with a more sincere sort of gaze. "…but, seriously… Thank you. If I didn't say it before. Thanks."

Ford smirked as he cracked an egg into a pan. "Slander and lies, I assure you. I am every bit the callous sleeze you have come to know and love. This is a one time thing, I promise." Ford pushed at the egg with his spatula as he sets up a pot to boil on the burner next to it. "Well, if you aren't going to eat, I will. Perhaps it will convince you to do the same. Not often I eat something else with a lady visiting me~"

The remark, oddly enough, seems more like he's going through the motions of something. The usual heart isn't in it, and while it might have been somewhat evident last night, here, it's clearly showing through. Probably just tired…

"…I'm not buying it, you know. Your heart wasn't even in that one. Seriously. I won't tell anyone that you might actually be a halfway decent guy beneath the sleeze." Claire states flatly, as no-nonsense as she ever is, especially when she gets to call someone out on the carpet about it. Even if it's making her smile a bit, behind her hot cocoa, this whole awful situation having revealed something surprisingly pleasant. She doesn't get a lot of pleasant surprises. She'll take this one.

The scent of eggs on the air actually does get a gurgle from her stomach, more hungry than she'd care to admit. She probably hadn't eaten as long as she hadn't slept. He might win this round about food, even if she's winning about his lack of flirtation. "…I… I guess I'll have a few eggs, at least." She mutters, giving into her body and his coaxing. She then steps a bit closer, leaning her slender hip against the counter near by so she can watch his face while he works. "…Why didn't you think I was crazy last night? I know I sounded crazy."

Ford keeps his eyes on the eggs, but surprisingly, his expression is fairly close to a 1000 yard stare. As if he just recalled something that he dislikes talking about. For a few moments, he keeps pattering at the egg, even cracking another and putting it into the pan, but he doesn't respond. Finally, though, he smirks, looking up at Claire and replying in that usual swagger. "I knew you'd… crack." He laughed far too hard at his own pun before shaking his head, leveling out the heat of the bubbling water and pouring some oats into the pot.

"Why did I believe you?" Ford pauses for a little bit, before he smirks, looking back at her out of the corner of his eyes. "Thought it'd be a good way to get you back to my place. Worked, didn't it?" Ford flipped the egg before pulling it off the pan and onto a nearby plate. "Actually, I believed you because I have seen my share of crazy stuff. I told you I was in Metro General for a while, right? Did I happen to mention why?"

"You didn't. But…I'm listening now. I won't tell anyone else. Not that anyone SHOULD believe me with the crazy shit that's happened this week…" Claire admits flatly, stil a bit in shock herself. Even as a woman who treats all sorts of heroes and viligantes, Ninjas was one step beyond. Her life had gotten very strange over the last few years. She remains leaning against his counter, arms folded across her chest, one tucked beneath the opposite elbow and the other hand still free so she can nurse that hot chocolate he gave her.

"Also, that pun was horrible. Like… not even worth a groan horrible. I'm going to blame it on the hour of the night and forgive you for that death of comedy because, damn, just awful." Claire says that last bit with a smile, now part of her trying to pull him away from that discomfort and that thousand yard stare.

Ford smirked, pulling the second egg out of the pan and placing it on a plate, before handing it to Claire, along with a fork. "Here. Protein'll do you some good." As he focused a bit more on the oatmeal. "Would you rather I make double entendres some more?"

Ford turned off the heat as he stirred the pot, letting the oats simmer a bit as he spoke. "My parents and I decided to take a family trip to the African Savannah for a safari. We needed some family time, or so my dad claimed. Well, about a week abroad, we were out with our guide following a herd of ostriches. I'll be the first to admit, I was stupid separating from the group. But… I wanted a good look at the birds. I mean… you ever seen an ostrich up close? …ugly buggers, aren't they? But… I got lost. I wandered that arid grassland for about 14 hours. I was hot, tired, thirsty, hungry. I nearly died. I about passed from heat stroke out there, when…"

He looked back at Claire, grimacing a bit, as if fully expecting her to laugh at what he was about to tell her before finally coming out with it. "…I… I saw an ostrich. But… it wasn't like any I've ever seen. I mean… for one, it was golden. Like, pure gold. And it was big, even for a bird that size. It kept… I dunno, coming close and trying to get me to chase it. Like… it wanted me to follow it. So… I did. I followed it for… I don't know how long. But, I don't know if it was a mirage, if I was crazy from the heat or it was real… but it lead me right to a rescue party. After that… I fell into a coma… and…" Ford stopped there, clearly waiting to see the look of absurdity on Claire's face at his story.

The eggs are accepted with a thankful dip of her head, she carrying them over to whatever he has for a kitchen table so she can set them down and eat without juggling multiple things. Claire doesn't interrupt, though, not encouraging more double entendres, but giving the long silence that is good for letting someone want to fill it, getting someone to talk. Normally, she does that trick with drugged out patients, but Ford had a story to share, it was too late at night, and she was curious. So she remains silent and listens to him speak.

At the end of it all, both her brows are arched and she stares him over, surprised, worried, piecing things together quietly. "…It… could have been a mirage, yes. Or… luck. Or… maybe something else. This world is filled with… weird, f*cked up things. I can't deny that…"

Ford nodded, tipping the pot of oats over into a strainer set up nearby. He continues assembling the oatmeal as he continues. "That's not the only weird thing about that. I was in that coma for 3 days. And while I was sleeping, I… I had a… I can't really call it a dream. More like a vision? I guess an out of body experience, but in someone else's body. See, I was this superhero. I wanna say Superman - I could fly, move fast, I was invincible, everything! I fought crime, saved the day, all that jazz. But… but then, I recall seeing this headline, I guess, about someone dying, and everyone was blaming me for not getting there to save him. But… I couldn't! I was doing so many other things! I couldn't get to it all, and I guess I was hoping that somebody with some influence - not powers, mind you, just somebody with the ability to do something - would step in and lend a hand. But they didn't. It was somehow all my responsibility to do everything for them. And I couldn't."

Ford frowned, pausing a little in his work on the oatmeal. He knew that was a bold faced lie… mostly. Granted, he had a vision, but it wasn't that. He just… wanted to tell someone, anyone, in some sort of way what he saw. Ford couldn't tell Claire the entire story - and after having told her this was the place he could be honest and genuine, lying to her like this left a poor taste in his mouth. But… he wasn't lying completely! …sort of… He started to stir the oatmeal together as he checked the consistency. "…I don't believe in coincidences. I don't believe in fate either, but I believe in someone somehow reaching out in ways even they can't understand and calling for help."

Ford spooned some oatmeal into a bowl and placed a spoon in it, before walking over to the table Claire has seated herself at and sliding it to her. "I woke up and realized something: I'm rich and good looking. I'm influential. I can get people to do what I want, and I've been squandering that ability for years now. No more. The superheroes in this world can only do so much… they save us, but who saves them?" Ford pointed a finger into the table and tapped it, as if making his point… which he was, to be fair. "I do. Now, anyways. I will help the people they can't. I will fight the evils they are bound not to battle. I will be the man who holds the line while they fall back and catch their breath."

The lovely woman at his side, pretty in her dusky, tanned way even when she's still looking ever so tired, stares at him through slightly narrowed eyes. She was used to being fed bullshit and lines and, while his story somewhat checked out, she knew she was missing pieces. He hadn't told her the whole thing. She leans forward, taking the oatmeal but not eating it yet. Instead, she's staring straight up into his gaze, letting him finish his declaration which sounds a hell of a lot more fully honest than the story behind it. He gets a quiet smile from her, an actually understanding one. It's a strange look of kinship, something she never thought she'd feel with him.

"…First off, I know there is more to your story. You're… still hiding things. I hope one day you'll tell me it all. Nurse patient privilege, because I am certain that some day I'll be stitching you up too. Secondly… I know the feeling. The… the people who fight for this world need more back up. They can't do it alone. You're utterly right. I… I sometimes help too. When I can.." Then she's looking away, stabbing the spoon into that oatmeal and toying with it for a few moments.

Ford smirked as he sat back, arm over the back of the chair as he tilted his head. "You're right, there is… I've been so rude to leave you out of the equation." He shook his head with a chuckle. "I didn't have an issue dropping half a million into Metro General. Because I knew it would get put to good use with someone like you there. That's why I didn't want to waste my chance to date you on that first night. That me at the parties? It's not me… well, not all of me. It IS me, but only half. I use it as a smokescreen of sorts. Nobody bothers to look too hard at someone who demands the spotlight like I do. Means they aren't paying attention to my efforts behind the scenes."

Ford leaned forward, smirking that usual malicious grin of his as he speaks. "I'll be perfectly straight with you - my goal from the beginning was to get you back to my place. Not quite like this, but it was. If I had my way, I'd bend you over my bed and maul you like a wild animal. Not because you're gorgeous, though you absolutely are. Not because you're smart, although you certainly are. But because I like a woman who hits back when the world takes a swing at her. I don't do long term… hell, I can barely handle one night stands. But… like I said, I like all the things money can't buy, brief though they may be. And you can't be bought."

Dark eyes roll to the ceiling as he mentions being rude to leave her out. She shakes her head, trying to say that's not what she meant, but he's going on again and Claire isn't good at interrupting unless someone's being an idiot bleeding out right in front of her. So she lets him go on, listening quietly, occasionally taking a bite of her food, but over all her eyes are meant for him. His final few statements just make her look down and away, an almost grimace to her features as she gives a little shake of her head.

"…I didn't mean you left me out. I meant about the Ostrich story. The coma. There's something more you're not telling me. You're not obligated, but…I'm not gonna spill. People would think I'm crazy already for what is going on." She admits with a half laugh, but there is something tired, almost ashamed behind her husky voice, "…as for swinging back, I think you might be lookin' up the wrong skirt. F*cking ninjas tried to kill me and I could do nothing but run. Well, I guess, I pepper sprayed one. It didn't work all that well. I'm not a fighter, I'm a nurse. I put the fighters back together."

Ford grimaced back, leaning back on the chair and shrugging. "Oh well, at least I tried." His expression dulls a bit as she revisits the ostrich topic. "…I can't. Not anymore. I care too much about your safety to endanger you with the knowledge. The more people know, the bigger a target it puts on your back. Though, I guess when you've faced ninjas, the target can't get much bigger, can it?"
Ford smiled at her grimacing and mentioning not fighting back, leaning forward and placing a hand over her arm. "You're alive, aren't you? They tried to kill you, you beat them by not dying. Whether because of your own efforts or thanks to someone else. Not all battles are won by coming to blows. I personally choose to win battles by saving as many lives as I can. Sometimes, I can't save them all. Nobody's perfect. I mean, I come close, but I'm not. But you need to realize when you win a fight… and the fact you're here now proves that you hit back, even if you didn't 'hit back', you know?"

The weight of his hand on her arm makes her smile a bit. Food forgotten for a moment, Claire looks up from the table and into his handsome eyes. He was still so damn handsome. She gives a bitter chuckle as he comments on her target, just shaking her head, "…It's already there. It's probably not going away, the target, that is. You can't make it much worse. I…I made my own decisions about all this." She confesses quietly. Then her calloused hand comes up and over, wrapping across the back of his palm and securing that touch against her skin. Sometimes it felt nice to touch someone who wasn't dying. "I…I guess. I'm glad I'm alive. And I'm going to keep fighting. Keep… doing what I can. Much like you do, I'm guessing." But that still didn't really explain how either of them WERE helping people. Or why ninjas were after her.

Ford frowned a bit, before standing up from the table. He had to admit… she was right. And perhaps… perhaps it would be better if she knew what he could do to help her, if needed. Just… just one person knowing can't hurt, right? He leaned down over the table, staring straight into her eyes. "If I tell you… you cannot, under any circumstance, tell anyone else, got it?"

The slight panic in his eyes, and the need behind them — the need to tell SOMEONE — she understood it both. Claire carefully slides the the food to the side so she can look over to him, fingertips reaching out to take his palm as he leans down over her. "…Ford, I stitch up vigilantes and heroes in my apartment on an almost nightly basis. I never ask questions. I never report to the police. Fuck, I've been doing it so long now they gave me a nick name 'The Night Nurse'… which just sends more of them to me. So, like… I can keep a damn secret. And there. Now you have mine. So, spill."

"…Night Nurse… hehe, and here I missed a perfectly good 'Hello Nurse' joke. Ah well, easy come, easy go." Ford smirked a bit, before taking his hands back and smoothing his hair as if preparing to say something. And again. After the third try, he got frustrated. "Sorry, lemme grab my comb… I need some composure."

And just like that, he was gone! Well, more accurately, he was gone for a moment before he was back again! Not quite the same spot, more like he's just come in from a jog. And with a comb now in his hands… and papers and napkins spilling over the floor from the sudden wind vortex he'd created from moving so fast. He smoothed back his hair a couple of times, before finally satisfied. "So… yeah, remember that ostrich I was talking about? Pretty sure it was real…"

The nurse comment gets a good roll of her eyes, "Best to have missed it. Trust me." Claire states flatly to him. And then, he's suddenly gone. She can almost feel the wind. He's back a heartbeat later and people shouldn't be able to move that fast but there are napkins and papers telling her that it's not just her exhaustion that she seemed to lose time he moved that quickly. She stares at him in abject surprise, "…Damn." Is finally all she can mutter. "…That's… How far did you go?" She's trying to medically put together in her mind how this was possible.

"Just the bathroom. Had to grab something to get my good looks back in line. Not that far." Ford took that opportunity to run his comb through once more before placing it on the table. True, it wasn't that far… be it should've taken a good 10 seconds to get there and back if he was moving quickly. And assuming the comb was on the counter top. "That coma I mentioned? I… kinda lied about what I saw. Oh, I was in it for 3 days and I saw something, but it wasn't that hero dream. That golden ostrich I saw that lead me back to the rescue patrol? It came to me in my sleep, and told me I was chosen to 'represent the majesty and might that is the ostrich' or something like that. Over and over. And when I woke up? I had all these… weird powers. Like… really weird powers."

"…The majesty and might… that is… The Ostrich." Claire repeats his words circumspectly, fighting with everything in her throat not to dare laugh at this man as he's BARING HIS SOUL to her. She isn't going to laugh. But damn, that was… Strange. She clears her throat and actually does take a spool full of oatmeal, swallowing back the laugh with that bit of food and then looking back up to him as composed and calm as she was before. "…Weird powers. So… super speed is one, clearly, right? You knocked over papers just getting a comb. What else can you do?" Her tone is clinical and curious, she's brought out the professional nurse side of her now.

"Yeah, yeah, go ahead. Trust me, I laughed too." Ford rolled his eyes as he put his hands on his hips. "Super speed… sort of. I mean, it's not as fast as the Flash, but… I can keep it up. I can clock in at over 200 miles an hour if I push myself, but I burn through energy much faster that way. I typically keep a jogging pace of about 80 miles… and I can keep doing that for an hour." Ford lifted a leg as if showing it off, bending it out in a kicking stance and holding it there as he continued. "I can punch like normal, but my kicks? I can put holes in steel. I was testing it in a junkyard once? I flipped a bus - a bus - with one good well placed kick! Just, straight upside down! Those ninjas who attacked you? I kicked one of them when they attacked the university. I nearly repainted the walls with his spinal fluid… I did some reading. Ostrichs can kill lions with one kick… apparently, I can do the same… except if the lion was a tank."

"…Okay. Yes. It's slightly ridiculous sounding. And… pretty damn epic too." Claire finally does laugh. It's a nice sound from her, something she probably doesn't do enough and it frees something that is often so weighted and heavy on her heart. In another life, she should have been a woman made to laugh. Still, she's shaking her head in slow shock. "…So, you kick box Mac Trucks and you could jog to keep up with most of the traffic on the highway. Damn. Anything else? No abrupt egg laying or glorious feathers?" Claire winks at him, more so teasing than flirting.

Ford turned around and set one of the stove tops to high heat, letting it warm up as he looked back at her. "Nope. None that I've seen so far. I have better eyesight… it's not fantastic, but I can see from here, through the swath in the curtains and out the window that there is a couple standing on the building across the way… making out… I think?" Ford grimaced, squinting a bit. "…maybe that's two guys. Hard to say from here… anyways, I don't need to drink like I used to. I mean, I can, but the longest I've gone without a drink following the coma is a week. I'll admit, I could go longer, but by that point, I figured if I had to last longer without water, I had bigger issues to worry about. I can hold my breath longer too… for some reason. I can do it regularly for over 5 minutes. Oh, and heat tolerance."
Ford turned back and waved his hand over the heater, dangerously close, and held it there for far longer than a normal human could probably tolerate. "I can tell it's warm, but it doesn't hurt. Care to try it yourself?" Of course, if Claire does try, she'll note it gets unbearably hot just getting close to the burner.

"I'm a nurse, Ford. You should have first degree burns by now. Your skin should be blistering from the proximity alone." Claire then stands, stepping over to his side and taking his hand. Not in any sort of tenderness or attempt at seduction, she just looks over his palm, confirming that there is no injury there. "…Impressive. Those extra benefits actually might be more useful than some of the more flashy ones. Being able to survive in difficult circumstances is… well, you're a lucky guy. For as strange as it started." Then she does realize she's still holding his hand and gently lets go trying not to make it awkward.

Ford smirked back at Claire as she dropped his hand. "You can touch, if you want. I make it a policy as a gentleman to let the lady lead when she feel comfortable about something. If you aren't, I won't force it… but if you are, I won't object." He doesn't sound like his usual flirty self with that. He actually sounds genuine.
"Yeah, I guess so. I still don't know why these… ostrich spirits, I guess, for lack of a better term. I don't know why they picked me… maybe because I was there? I wasn't much of a hero before, and I don't use my powers now… I don't want to hurt anyone near me. I've got two living, loving parents… I think I can count the number of heroes who have that on one hand. That's a lot to me." Ford looks down at the ground for a bit silently, before shrugging. "That's why I don't tell anyone about my powers. The more people know, the more of a chance there is someone who shouldn't know does. Plus… it's really hard to strike fear into the hearts of evil with a name like 'The Mighty Ostrich', you know?"

He might actually make her blush, just a bit, as he gives her permission to touch. Maybe she'd actually been thinking about it. Maybe he caught her red handed. Claire doesn't comment on her blush, but there is definitely a bit of heat to her dusky cheeks where there was none before. She nods in understanding agreement about the powers, her expression turning a bit more serious again, even has he pitches her the awful name he has for himself. "…No. You're right. And outside this door, I know nothing. I promise. But… it's shitty to be handling these things alone. So… you're not any more. And if you do go out there, help people…get in trouble… If something happens and you can't go to the hospital because then you would go public? Well…" She looks up, making certain he's meeting her eyes, so he can see how serious she is, "You find me, alright? I'll take care of you."

"And if you find yourself in trouble and no heroes without patches on them to help, call me, okay? You've got my number… the 'Ostrich Hotline', if you want to give it an equally stupid name. But I'll be there, and quick. I can do that, after all." Ford placed a hand on her shoulder, smiling. "Even if that's not the case, if you need someone to talk to, someone not strapped to a stretcher or drugged out of their head, just call. I'll clear out the schedule and come over… or you come here. Wherever you're more comfortable. Don't forget to take care of yourself for a change, m'kay? That's my job, after all… I'm watching out for superheroes and planetary guardians. Pretty sure I can lend you a hand now and again, yeah?"

A slight smile tugs at her lips as he offers that help, but it deepens even more as he offers the *support*. It's not something Claire was accustomed to getting, it's what she gave to everyone else. Her hand comes up, wrapping over the top of his palm on her shoulder, giving it a more gentle squeeze. She stands there quietly for a few heartbeats, really lost for what to say. Finally, she exhales quietly and looks back up to his handsome gaze. "You know…it was a lot easier when you were just some sleeze donating money to the hospital. Easier to… walk away that way."

"No worries… I still am. Told you I'd win you over, didn't I?" Ford smirked, winking back at her before adjusting to a more kindly smile. "But now, you know what's behind the curtain; some asshat with stupid powers and a good set of listening ears." Ford replied, smiling back at her. "I told you, I like all the things money can't buy. Like friends. Real friends." Perhaps that's what he meant all along. Not that he wanted her body or her 'company', but her friendship. After all… that was something that couldn't really be bought either.
Probably not, but it may have been an entirely intentional side effect of the process.
Ford held his arms out, allowing her the chance to get in a hug, if she wanted one.

Hugs? Claire wasn't… entirely a hugger. But damn it had been a long week, and part of her suspects he needs it as much as she does. So, a heartbeat or two later, the slender woman sinks into his arms and she returns that hug with the long strength of someone who hasn't done this in quite some time and probably needs it more than she'd care to admit. Her nose rests against his throat, the scent of him filling her. It felt good, even for these few stolen moments. "…Friends…sounds damn nice." SHe murmurs against his throat.

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