"No, Ma, I don't need you to come down here and help out," Catalina Sans-Presance said into the phone as she paced around the reception area of the small office. "Listen, it's all moved in and it won't take long to unpack, I don't… no, Ma, I'm not trying to keep you out of my life. There's just no point for you to come down right now… Yeah, fine, Ma. I'll talk to you later."
Cat sighed as she flipped her cell phone closed and tossed it on the empty desk in the corner of the room. She took in a deep breath and ran her hands across her face. Her brown eyes flashed with irritation as she brought her hands down and slapped them against her jeans.
"Problems?" her helper asked from where he was plugging the coffee maker into the wall.
"No," Cat said as she looked around the office, her office. It wasn't much right now, with all the boxes on the floor and the furniture pushed up against the wall. She didn't know why her helper, Raymond Cabell, was setting up the small kitchen area that was located on the far wall from the entrance, but she didn't really want to argue with him right now. "I'm going to run down the street and grab some coffee," she announced, pulling on her old leather jacket. She flipped her blonde-brown hair out of the collar and turned to look back at Ray. "When I get back, I want you to be out of here."
"What?" Ray asked, turning back to look at her. Cat crossed her arms defensively and refused to meet his green eyes. If she did, she'd be caught up in those eyes and wouldn't be able to go through with her plans. She would look up at him and see those green eyes, and he would smile that charming smile and she would be his again. She wouldn't be able to help accepting his hug or running her hands through his perfectly groomed brown hair.
"Cat, you can't mean that," Ray said, stepping up next to her and running his hand across her arm. He was so warm, so inviting. Cat steeled herself for a fight.
"Haven't I been talking about doing this for months?" Cat snapped. "Did you actually think I would just turn around in the end and not go through with it? Do you think I bought an office here, an apartment and all the equipment I need just to make it more dramatic when you finally talked me around? This is my life now, Ray. And you're not a part of it."
"No, that's the part I don't get," Ray snapped. "We're good together, Cat, we are."
"Yeah, we were a good team," Cat agreed. "When we worked together as the great hero the Patriot and his sidekick the Bengal. I can't be your sidekick anymore, Ray. I have to try to do this on my own now."
"I wasn't talking about…"
"I don't want to talk about the other stuff," Cat snapped. "I don't want to think about us, I want to think about this new life. You're not a part of it. I'm going to be a real hero now. I'm going to put my abilities to good use here, in Atlanta."
"I just wish that you had picked a less dangerous place to start," Ray admitted. "Atlanta is the headquarters of the White Serpent…"
"And DC was the headquarters of the Speaker when you started working as a hero," Cat snapped. "And if I remember correctly, you had just gotten your powers when you started fighting him. I have been a sidekick for several years. I know what I'm doing, stop worrying about me."
"Easier said than done," Ray muttered, finally stepping away from her.
"Go home, Ray," Cat ordered. "Go home to your wife, your job and the city that needs you. I need to find my own place in the world. It's not with you, it's not in DC… hell, it may not even be here, but it's time for me to start looking."
"That's what you said the last time you took off."
Cat laughed silently and went to the door. "As I said, I'm going out for coffee. You had better be gone when I get back."