She watches the numbers on her phone face tick over to eight o’clock as she slips the device into her pocket at the top of the stairs and exchanges it for keys, letting herself into the apartment without ceremony. The paperwork had come through that morning but, inevitably, there’d been a rush of meetings and ensuing emails that needed to drafted, leaving her unable to send him any sort of message regarding the update. Instead, Maria attempted to get out of the office at a reasonable hour, and when she steps into the flat she’s met with a well-lit living area ( as opposed to the cool navy hues of an apartment in stasis, normally well after midnight )

Maria feels as though she might have surprised him, chin tilted sideways and offering the barest remnant of a smile while she stands at the table jutting out from the entryway, disengaging her concealed sidearm from her ribs, keys clattering to the tabletop.


        “I meant to send you a text.”