Chapter 20

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Katia's POV:

London was pretty miserable as always this time of year. The rain showered down from the opaque clouds in the dark sky, I found myself following the drips down the taxi window.

Nat sat next to me behind the taxi driver, lost in her own thoughts. Neither of us wanted to leave each other. We became attached over the last year and losing everyone was like losing my parents all over again.

The city was bustling. Sudden outbursts of car horns followed with strings of angry yells from drivers. Late night rush hour.

"Were here." The driver spoke with a bored, London accent before pulling up to the side of the road where a long road of dusty brick apartments. I glanced up towards them then back at Nat, who returned with a pitiful smile.

"20 quid luv." The driver held his large, chubby hand out towards Natasha as she placed £20 into his hand. We exited the black cab and I quickly got a scent of the air, a mix of car fumes and the Chinese take away 10 yards away.

Grabbing my backpack from beside me, Natasha began to walk up the small flight of stairs to the large black doors. I followed close behind. Sounding the buzzer, she opened the door for me to head inside.

The inside was just as glum as the outside, only slightly warmer than the overcast rain that settled. "Third floor." Natasha informed from my right hand side.

The way up consisted of loud music coming from the second floor, expected for half nine on a Friday evening, the sounds of a child wailing and the sound of something I wish I never had to hear. I cringed, hearing a couple from number 104 clearly enjoying themselves rather loudly. "Sometimes I hate telepathy."  Nat laughed before knocking on the door marked 106. Great, right next door. I had better not have to hear all of that often.

The sounds of footsteps came from the other side of the off-white door before the lock jiggled. The door creaked open to reveal a tired woman, her dark brown hair was tied up in a ponytail on top of her head and her hazel eyes peered over the door wearily. Her gaze softened at the sight of Nat. 

"Natalia." She said holding her arms out and gripping Natasha's shoulders. "Esme, it's been a long time. Thank you for helping us."

"Hey, you helped me before, this is my way of thanking you."

Esme turned to me, her eyes kind and her smile like one of a mother. "Hi Katia, I'm Esme. It's good to meet you." She
held her hand out to me, shaking mine before opening her door fully and inviting us in.

The apartment was small, but homey. Filled with candles and textbooks, all of which contain the acronym 'GCSE' whatever that was. Esme sighed at the sight of the study material that was scattered over the table.
"Jane, they're here." Esme called down the small hallway to a closed door.

The door quickly opened and a girl around my age stepped out. She was taller than me, around five-six-five-seven, and her hair was dark brown and was cut just before her shoulders. She gave me a bright smile before running up and hugging Nat.

"Nat! It's great to see you." Her British voice was delicate when she spoke.
the two embraced, "hey Jane, it's been too long. I'm sorry I didn't visit sooner but, y'know, too busy becoming fugitives."

"Why don't you two catch up, I'll talk with Katia over some stuff."
Esme led me into the first room on the right of the small corridor The wood furniture stood out against the grey walls and the small window was squeezed into the centre of the cramped wall. She ushered me to sit on the bed while she grabbed a folder from the desk.

The springs squeaked from the weight added to it when the two of us took our seats opposite each other. The folder sat neatly in Esme's slender hands.
Esme's kind eyes gazed at me with welcome and sympathy; her smile just as much. "Katia, I know that it has been rough lately, I'm here to say that if you ever need to talk I will be here. I may know nothing about your abilities, but I know a damn thing or two about the fear you feel. I'm not sure if Natalia told you about my past but we managed to find ways to communicate within the redroom. The day she escaped, I was on a mission to retrieve the daughter of a Hydra leader and take her to the Academy. Nat jeopardised my mission, but doing so, saved my life and got me and the girl out. She made sure we didn't get caught and throughout the years she has been visiting. Turns out, taking Jane from her father was the best thing that could have happened. She was on the waiting list to be used in super soldier experimentation and would have been leaving in less than a week.  We have been on the run from both Hydra and the Redroom ever since and considering you are on the run, why not have you stay with us."

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