A very angry part of him wanted to snap at her, tell her to keep her pity because he didn’t need it. Letting that out would probably open the floodgates for even more emotion, and he had no idea what was going come out when it did. Anyway, it didn’t seem like pity in her tone. Cautious sympathy, maybe. He knew she and James had been close - for what little he’d seen of them in the same room, they seemed like they had some kind of nonverbal communication between them that spoke of a lot more behind closed doors.
Bran wasn’t the sort that got jealous or felt the need to compete - she’d known James long before he had, after all, and they had never really put a definition to whatever it was that was between the former assassin and the Scot. Certainly not propriety. If anything, he’d been curious about the woman that was currently offering an alternative to a dreary motel room.
He hesitated, chewing the inside of his cheek for a moment and glancing back at the movers who were making short and efficient work of the flat. How often did they do this, he wondered? Probably more than he’d care to know.
“Yeah… alright. ….Thank ye.”
She wasn’t sure about all of this. James had been curiously tight lipped about the boy, beyond what was absolutely necessary information. A straight up, precise account of what had happened way over a year ago in one of the Foundation’s facilities, the simple statement, that Bran needed a place to stay and James was providing it. That had been all.
They never had a huge need for words, though. She could see it in James, the way his lips had twitched into a small smile, whenever he’d turned towards Bran on the few occasions Nat had seen them together. Oh, of course, the idiot had tried to hide it behind that bloody pokerface of his and put up a front of good natured annoyance, but she wasn’t blind and she knew him. He liked Bran. A lot. And whatever the redhead had done in the time the two men had shared the apartment, it had made James better. Calmer. Less tense.
Apropos sharing an apartment. Had Bran just collected his belongings from James’ bedroom? Sure looked like it. And Nat was pretty damn familiar with the layout. She’d made a point of scoping out the place thoroughly. So, it was already at that point.
Just friends my ass, James.
As for Bran himself? Someone else, who wasn’t making a living (and surviving) on knowing exactly what others thought might have mistaken his subdued attitude for apathy. Nat knew better. The kid was shaken beyond the point of expressing himself. She was pretty familiar with that feeling.
Which was, why she was turning all this over in her head, as she swept a hand towards the door in invitation and turned towards the movers to wave them a short, business like goodbye.
"Come on, then.", she said and there was the short urge to put her arm around Bran’s thin shoulders, but instead she stuffed her hands into the pockets of her jacket and fell into step beside him.
Her heels brought them up to the same height and she stole glances at his profile. There was something almost girlish to him. The straight line of his nose, the long, pale lashes and the swoop of full lips. He wasn’t traditionally handsome, but she saw the appeal. There was an odd sense of mystery to the boy, a tragic past etched into the downward tilt of his mouth and the angle of his brows.
James never could resist the pull of the depth behind a fragile facade.
"Are you hungry?", probably not, she thought the moment the words had left her mouth. She didn’t open the door of the Stingray for him, somehow she thought he wouldn’t take kindly to being babied, so instead, she slid behind the wheel and watched him get in beside her