Ridgefield Almost a surprise
The reality of rich buildings was that they tended to have higher security.

So Viktoria's dream of showing up at her sister's door and seeing her look of surprise was only mildly dashed when she realized she would have to declare herself a guest of Ms. Adeline Yan Zhu in the penthouse before she could actually go up there.

Oh well. As she was given the go ahead, she went to the elevator and folded her hands together.

It would open to her cousin-sister's open door, upon which she was ready to greet her with a warmer embrace than her tailored look implied.

Outfit but like simplified

She'd long learned to not try to pretend that she could predict Viktoria with any degree of reliability, but rather that it was best to be prepared. Enough to lay an extra set of slippers along the hardwood floor by the entrance. Truthfully, showing up in code was the precise flavour of bravado she seemed to enjoy.

When the elevator dinged open, Adeline came to a stop on the other side. Glanced at her watch. "Should I assume you also landed today?" she quipped.

How long had it been, Viktoria? Years, certainly.
"You know I'm not that... rash," she joked, hand waving as she'd searched for the word. English was a comfortable language, but there were still so many words to choose from. And the joke was that she could be rash, but she liked to think she was better about it nowadays. Either way. "I landed yesterday."

Slipping out of her heels and forcing herself to be shorter by much more (unfortunately), she settled into the slippers.

"Very nice," she mused at the apartment, but its shining characteristic was undoubtedly the view.
And yesterday wasn't rash. Adeline freed a small laugh, glancing to the elevator to ensure it closed... right... to the very end. Yes, thank you.

There were so many things to ask and be reminded of, but they seemed irrelevant for a moment. Repartee first.

"Fits to your taste, does it?" she asked, trailing a step behind.
She gave a quiet nod and a hum, feeling regal between her own unflinching posture and the world glittering before her.

"Almost like you wanted it for me," she mused, setting her purse down wherever was most appropriate. Comfortable here already. She took a half turn towards her, smiling some, teasing measuredly again. "That is why, isn't it?"
Good heavens. Was she visiting, moving in, or taking her home?

"I..." There was a lilt as Adeline attempted to read her expression, eyes setting into a soft uncertain squint. "I should inform you it's a one bedroom."
That one fell flat.

"I liked it better when you laughed at my jokes," she decided, but that was a tease, too. Eyes back to roving the place; it looked like whoever had designed this suite had pushed for every luxury. "Where is your boyfriend?"
Embarrassing, Adeline. The familiar feeling of being one step behind her was followed by the most typical question of all.

"... And it appears I liked you better before you became my mother!" She began towards the kitchen, in a way showing Viktoria the suite from another angle. "Shall we eat? I've made enough for two." La jiang mian was on the menu.
She laughed openly, head tipping back. Viktoria followed her to the kitchen, but moved to come up beside her. The place was wide enough to allow for it.

"Yes. I was just asking so I know I wasn't interrupting anything. You did cook for two."
Adeline frowned, but it was sarcastic. ”I do usually cook for two. I don’t know if you’ve heard the term... leftovers?”

She divided both the noodles and sauce among two bowls, before reaching to pour the water from the noodles over it all. Simple luxury, and red as a Saharan sunset.
Viktoria rolled her eyes. "I'm thrilled you have so little time that you can't enjoy a fresh meal every night," she answered back, only slightly critical amidst the continued ribbing. Still, she would take her bowl when given with a little bow of her head, and walk with her to wherever it was Adeline deemed the dining area.

"How is your work going here?"
Wasn't that the highest form of concern? She smiled a little wider.

"The same. Interestingly, it's the most reputable clinic in the area," Adeline answered, taking a seat at the dining table. Ridgefield's lights glittered around them, rivalled only by the overhead lights within her own home. "Màn man chī," she added in passing, breaking through the top layer of oil which had settled over dinner with her spoon.

慢慢吃: Enjoy your meal/eat slowly

"Xiè xiè," she answered in smiling response. She left talking to eat quietly, politely keeping from interrupting the meal.

The most reputable clinic in the area, hm? That was something. She enjoyed the idea of her sister dominating in her field. It was good to be first somewhere.

Bowl finished, she inhaled with some relief.

"I am happy for you," she said sincerely, cheeks a little rosier with the warmth of food and broth.

thank you

How much sweeter a meal was, when there were no distractions. Yet she couldn’t quite help from stealing glances at Viktoria.

She’d grown prettier. It was no surprise.

By the time they’d finished, Adeline’s own pose and posture wasn’t dissimilar. ”Truly?” she asked with no small amount of reverence.
The wistfulness in her tone inspired a fond, flattered smile. Viktoria ran a hand through her sister's hair, tucking it behind her ear. Truly!

"Truly," she echoed. And then pulled the sentimentality back into a tease, but the expression was soft. "Just don't tell me if there's any reason not to be."
She huffed ever so slightly, pulling her gaze away as Viktoria fixed her hair for her.

”You know I can’t tell a lie with you,” she reflected. It rounded her thoughts, bringing it to that very topic. ”There’s a lot of people like us here, Viktoria. They call them Psychics.”
She squinted her eyes in curiosity of the term. "Psychics?" Viktoria asked incredulously, then laughed slightly. "Suànmìng?"

What a term for them to go with. Wu was much nicer.

"fortune telling?"
and 'wu' means a female sorcerer/shamaness

Her own brows rose as she inhaled Viktoria’s disbelief. ”Not the media’s finest moment when it comes to articulating differences.” Regardless. ”Is that what’s brought you here?”

There’d been some murmurs in the family, but she wasn’t quite ready to vocalise that other assumption.
How interesting that that was her assumption. She wasn't wrong, but she was overstating its importance.

"First, it was that you were here. Second, it was that an opportunity opened up for the operations position. And third, it was that you were here."

Ridgefield was where shifters had first been revealed, after all.
Forward as ever, words as clear and sound as a pin drop. ”So you’re to be my bodyguard.”
"I prefer protective older sister," she corrected, but less teasingly than last time. A bodyguard, her! She had her own life to worry about, most days. But there was value in being close to Adeline, and she sought to remind her of that. "Family is stronger together."
Most people didn’t have this. Someone who would cross an ocean and, after years, be just the same.

That was the power of family, she supposed. Everything changed around it, but it never did. A rock in a stream. It could flood, and when the rains passed and the sunshine returned, that rock would stubbornly remain.

Adeline smiled with a kind of nostalgia, and then leaned forward to patronisingly tap her sister’s forearm a few times. ”Nǐ māmā tóngyì ma?” Her brows rose.

你妈妈同意吗?: Does your mother agree?

Made her chuckle again. "Bù, dànshì nǐ māmā tóngyì."

Like a crocodile, she waited with an open hand for whenever Adeline's was closest to snap closed on.

"No, but you're mother does"

"Āi yōu!" she protested in a single breath.

It was a well-earned snap.
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