Unknown Medical Facility, New Hebron, California
Sapphira sat hunched over, tears streaming down his face as he stared down at his open palms. All those years… all that anger and he now understood what a waste it had all been. All the people he’d hurt with his harsh words, and petty little acts over the years and only now did he see that his actions had done more harm to himself than the objects of his contempt.
He’d lost his Clara, the one person in the world who had meant anything to him and he thought it justified his rage, but now he saw what a fool he had been. Revenge was all he thought about for years and he’d come close to taking it. He shuddered at the thought of what he might have become had he followed through with it.
There came a groan of metal on metal and he looked up in time to see the door recede into the wall. A familiar figure stepped inside and Sapphira sat there breath caught in his throat.
“Well, it seems you’ve been a busy girl,” Matthew said folding his arms across his chest and glaring down at the exemplar, a frown creasing his thin lips.
Sapphira opened his mouth, ready to contradict the man, but stopped himself when he looked into his eyes. He bit his lips wiped the tears from his eyes and let out a long sigh. “I take it Amy told you about her viewing?”
Matthews nodded, folded his arms across his chest and let out a sigh of his own. “You’ve been nothing but a headache since you first gained your powers, Ms. Scott and frankly I have enough on you to have you locked up for a long time. Fortunately, for you, someone upstairs is still batting for you.”
Sapphira glanced up meeting his gaze and swallowed hard. He doubted if he made that kind of threat it boded well for him at all. “What are you saying?”
Matthews didn’t answer, but rather looked the other exemplar up and down studying Sapphira with a slow shake of his head. He cleared his throat and brought a hand up to his collar to adjust his tie. “You tried to murder a man, if it were up me, you’d be in restraints right now. You have one more chance to prove yourself and if you step out of line, I will make sure you are dealt with accordingly. Do you understand?”
Sapphira swallowed hard and his whole body quivered as he looked into the other’s eyes. Matthews was not a man to trifle with, of that much, Sapphira was sure. “I-I understand.”
“Good,” Matthews said between gritted teeth. “Now that we understand each other. I’ll have clothes brought in and you can—”
Sapphira closed his eyes, and willed clothing to appear and while nothing more than an illusion, he felt it shifting around on his skin. The thin, almost sheer, hospital gown was gone replaced by softer fabric. There was an added weight on his skin and as if he were wearing something far more substantial.
He opened his eyes and met Matthews gaze. “Will this do?”
His eyebrows shot up and his eyes grew wide, and Sapphira glanced down at himself his cheeks burning as he realized why Matthews seemed so surprised. His mind had conjured a short pink dress with a plunging neckline that would have been scandalous in his day, but which seemed par for the course for this younger generation. He cleared, his throat, bit his lip and stood glancing down again. He was showing a lot of leg.
Why his mind had conjured up such an outfit was beyond him, but the thought of going out in it made his cheeks burn anew. He met Matthews gaze, and he realized that the other man was sizing him up, waiting to see how he’d act next. Well, he’d surprised the other man once, maybe he’d do it again. Closing his eyes again Sapphira willed a few finishing touches appear.
His feet rose from the ground and he stumbled forward hearing something clack against the floor. When he opened his eyes again, steadying himself on the bed and glanced down at his feet. He was wearing a set of pink wedge sandals, which were a perfect match to the dress. He swallowed hard and glanced at the other exemplar. Matthews jaw was hanging open anda smile stretched across his face as he realized his choice in footwear’d had the effect he’d hoped.
As Matthews collected himself, Sapphira paused, marveling that he didn’t seem at all uncomfortable wearing the feminine apparel. He wasn’t sure what it meant, but a growing part of him didn’t even care. Had he known his change in footwear had accompanied another change in his appearance he might not have been so nonchalant about the whole thing. With this new change, he appeared to be wearing cosmetics. Sapphira was beautiful even without them, but with them, well, there was a reason it had stunned Matthews.
Sapphira steadied himself and walked forward, he stumbled for the first few steps, but he’d had experience wearing footwear of this sort before. He had been a single father raising a girl who seemed to delight in all things feminine. He had no female relatives to turn to, so he’d had to pick up some less than masculine skill sets to guide her along the path to womanhood. Walking in wedges and heels were among many of the skills which he’d picked up over the years.
He turned back to Matthews and found that the other man had regained his composure. “Well,” Sapphira said glancing toward the door. “What are we waiting for?”