"Thank you." Brenda wracked her brains for a conversation topic, but came up blank. She could chatter with the best of the bimbos if she put her mind to it, but that wouldn't help her in this situation.
Finally she sighed and glanced at the girls, then snapped her fingers for Ace and told him to bring her crutches.
"Need some help?" he asked, setting down his tea and offering her a hand.
"I'm good. Thank you." She smiled up at him, then set her empty coffee cup down and took the crutches before standing. The move brought her very close to the Commissioner, and she looked up at him thoughtfully before turning away.
He realized he was holding his breath and carefully exhaled, bending and gathering the tray and cups while he scolded himself internally.
"Relax," said Brenda softly, waiting till she could walk beside him and then moving easily on her crutches, her body showing remarkable condition for what it had gone through the past several years.
"Yeah," he smiled, following her and marveling slightly at how fit she was.
"I was fit enough to do triathlons before I lost the use of my body," she said, noting his glance and facial language. "And I kept up the training after I got out of the hospital."
"That's good," he said. "But you haven't been overdoing it, right?"
"Not recently." She peeked into the kitchen and was relieved to see that Alfred must have stepped out for a moment. A nod to the counter showed where he should put the tray, and then she was turning away again and heading for her study.
He did so, then followed.
"So what do you do now, with your time off?" he asked.
"Well, we went to the museum the other day." She looked over her shoulder, then led him over to the clock and opened the secret door. "Hurry, before Alfred or Leslie come by."
He hurried, looking at her in confusion. "That would be bad?" he wondered.
"They don't like me spending much time down here." She watched the door swing shut behind them, then put both crutches to one hand and grasped the railing as she made her way down the stairs. -Alfred's been down here. This is dusted.-
"Where are we going?" he said, walking by her, ready to help at the first sign of weakness or strain.