A whoosh of cool air greeted her as she pushed through the doors, into the lobby of the busy police station.
A young woman, not too much older than herself, walked up to Emma.
“Hi. I’m Inspector Volcov’s assistant, Kara Gwynn. You must be Ms. Wayne. It’s nice to meet you” Kara smiled, her bright green eyes matched oddly with her very light blonde hair.
“Yes, and it’s nice to meet you also. Are you new to working here?” Just two weeks ago, Emma knew everybody at this station.
“As a matter of fact, Inspector Volcov and I just transferred here from North Police Station. There was a job opening last week. Anyway, please follow me.” Kara started to lead Emma to the back of the station towards the private offices when a woman stopped them.
“Oh, Kara. Ms. Meyer is already here, why don’t you take Ms. Wayne to the open office instead?” The woman was tall, in her thirties, and had sleek brown hair.
“Yes, Inspector.” Kara nodded. The inspector shot a piercing glare at Emma that gave her shivers down her spine. Kara took a turn, leading Emma into an open office. The white walls and brown trim matched the many plants in the office. Definitely a more cheerful view than the city.
A woman was standing in front of the corner office windows, staring thoughtfully into the metropolis.
“Ms. Meyer? Ms. Wayne is here to see you.” Kara said.
“Thank you, Kara, you may go now.” When Kara left, Ms. Meyer did not look up from the window. Presently, she turned around.
“Please have a seat, Emma.” Ms. Meyer beckoned. She smiled pleasantly as they sat down. Ms. Meyer reached across the desk and shook Emma’s hand.
“I’m Barbera Meyer, your social worker, but you may call me Barbera. Dr. Sullivan has informed me of your medical status.” Emma nodded.
“How are you doing?” Barbera asked kindly. The girl shook her head, forcing back the sudden tears in her eyes. They surprised her.
“Not well.” She managed. “I mean, I know that my parents are. . . gone. But that night is just a blank page in my mind. If I could remember what happened, then I could. . .”
“It’s okay, I know.” Barbera soothed. “Maybe you could talk to Inspector Volcov, she might know something.”
“I don’t think she likes me very much.”
“Nonsense. She’s a very brave and smart woman. I’m sure she’ll talk if you want to.” Emma sat back.
“Either way, did the doctor tell you who you’ll be living with?” Barbera asked.
“Not a word.” Emma picked at a loose thread on her chair.
“Well, your closest relative is your cousin, Bruce Wayne, and he’s willing to look after you.”
“My cousin?” Emma bolted upright. “The Bruce Wayne?” She couldn’t believe it.
“Yes, he’s on your father’s side.” Barbera was looking through a folder and she didn’t see the shock on Emma’s face at first. Then she looked up.
“Why, Emma. Is that a surprise to you?” Emma shook her head.
“I always believed that my father and Bruce Wayne were from different lineages. My father mentioned a cousin, but I thought. . .” She trailed off, absorbed in her thoughts.
“I’ve heard that things were a little. . .” Barbera paused, searching for a word, “a little tense between your father and Mr. Wayne.”
“Oh.” Emma rubbed her arms.
“Look, I’m sure you’ve had a rough day, so why don’t we finish up all this legal stuff another day. What do you say?”
“Thank you, I am a little tired.” Emma smiled wanly.
“Okay, well here’s a bag with your clothes and some of your parent’s things from your apartment. I thought it might be better for you not to go back for the time being.” Barbera stood, and handed Emma a small black duffel bag.
“Oh, Kara. Just in time, will you call a cab for Ms. Wayne?” Barbera called as Kara walked past the room. Emma felt her anxiety start to go up.
“Of course, Ms. Meyer.” Kara replied.
“Um, Barbera. I really don’t want to take another cab.” Emma interfered. Barbera stared at Emma for a second.
“Okay, then. I’ll drive you there myself. I’ve always wanted to see that mansion again.” Barbera’s smile replaced the doubtful look she’d had a second before. Emma sighed as a wave of relief washed over her, silently vowing never to take a cab again. She took the duffel in her hand and followed Barbera out of the office. How much is in this bag, it’s heavy! She marveled.
They passed Inspector Volcov on their way out. She stared with those piercing black eyes, once again, making Emma shudder. Inspector Volcov’s eyes were so dark, Emma couldn’t even discern her pupil from her iris.
Once on the street, Barbera led Emma to a small black car.
“Here’s my car. Let me put your bag in the back.” Barbera smiled and Emma muttered her thanks and climbed into the front seat. Barbera joined her, and they were soon on their way.
Emma let her eyes wander over the skyscrapers, occasionally spying a bird. They eventually reached the edge of the city, and into the slums. Emma turned away, not wanting to see the messy streets, and her old, worn-down apartment.
Eventually, she opened her eyes, and to her delight, they were in the countryside. Lush grass covered the sprawling hills, which were dotted with wildflowers and lined with trees. Emma smiled at a sheepdog barking and rounding up sheep with superb accuracy. The shepherd raised a hand in greeting. Emma waved back.
Emma’s gaze rested upon an eagle. She’d been watching it for quite some time now. A long time, and it seemed to be following them. Why, it was following them! Emma thought with surprise. She squinted at the bird, trying to get a closer look, and wished she had her father’s binoculars.
“So, why didn’t you want a cab?” Barbera brought Emma out of her musings. Emma sighed and turned to Barbera. She quickly told the eventful journey, only sticking to the most important facts. She glazed lightly over her fears, not wanting Barbera to know that she thought she’d been in danger.
“Oh.” Was the woman’s only response. A silence ensued for a while.
The car honked and the tires screeched to a stop. Emma bit her tongue to hold back a scream.
“Are you alright?” A voice came. Emma was curled up with her head in her hands. She jumped when a hand laid on her back.
“It’s okay, it’s only me.” Barbera said. Emma sat up. She was breathing hard, and her heart pounded like a drum.
“W, what was th, that?” Emma asked shakily. She clasped her hands together to make them stop shaking.
“It was just a dog, are you okay?” Worry creased Barbera’s face.
“Y, yeah. I’m f, fine.” Emma tried a smile.
“I think you had a panic attack.” Barbera said, “Are you sure you’re alright now?”
Emma nodded. Her heart was slowing down, and her hands had stopped shaking. Barbera started driving again. She occasionally glanced toward Emma to make sure she was alright.
Ten minutes later, they arrived at a metal gate, Emma noticed it had a crest on it. Bruce Wayne's family crest. Her family crest. Barbera pulled up to a keypad.
“Facial ID or key code?” A computerized voice asked.
“Key code,” Barbera confirmed, before typing a code onto the screen.
“Access granted.” The metal gates slowly opened, and Barbera drove through.
“Wow, this is a long driveway.” Barbera commented after several minutes. Emma laughed. But the sight she next beheld was no laughing matter. A mansion, more of a castle, stood in the middle of an open field. It's perfectly manicured lawns and flowering gardens only dimmed in comparison to the mansion’s grandeur. Everything practically screamed royalty. But the Waynes were not royalty. They were just super rich.
The car pulled up the circular driveway to the very front of the house. Emma couldn’t even see the top. She slowly got out of the car, staring at the richness of the mansion. Stone lions, the same ones on the family crest, guarded the doorway. Several more were resting up higher on the mansion walls.
Barbera handed Emma her duffel bag.
“I have to go, I’m already late for an appointment.” Barbera smiled at Emma when she saw the worry on her face. “You’ll do great! Oh, I almost forgot.” Barbera brought out a chain with two rings on it. “They’re your parents' rings.”
“Thank you.” Emma tried to blink back at the pricks in her eyes. She stared at the rings before slipping the small chain over her head.
“If you ever need to talk to me, just call. There’s a new cell in that bag.” Emma nodded her thanks, then Barbera got in the car and left. Emma turned back. The mansion loomed over her. It was even more imposing than before.
"Find your cousin, then come back for us." Her father's parting words echoed through her head. Emma sighed. She raised her hand to the lion's head knocker and rapped twice, sharply.