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TAFC: The Antis Arrangement

Struggling Existence: Meeting Markos

“Good morning, Angela,” Nova said brightly. “I’m glad you could make it, you just missed Emily.”

“Yeah, sorry about being late,” Angela replied. “I lost track of time. I saw Em in the back just before you got here.”

“It’s no problem,” Nova said dismissively and dawning a large smile. “I’m just glad you’re here. Emily was getting a little worried and so was I to be honest.”

“I really didn’t want to worry you two,” Angela said hanging her head as Nova walked beside her.

“Don’t worry at all, I love spending time at the shop,” she said placing her hand on Angela’s shoulder. “Besides, I didn’t have anything going on today except for hanging out with the big guy over there.”

Nova smirked and pointed at the man standing in the corner, she’d heard Nova talk about her boyfriend Markos before but had never met him in person. She understood why Nova said he could be imposing, but having brothers like hers and knowing he was a good man made it easier for her as she made her way over to introduce herself.

“Hello,” she said politely holding out her hand. “I’m Angela, it’s nice to finally meet you.”

“Likewise,” Markos said gruffly before shaking her hand. “Nova talks about you all the time.”

“Oh, she does?” Angela asked surprised as she turned to look at Nova who was now blushing slightly.

“What can I say?” Nova said with a shrug. “Markos only talks about work, I need something to change the subject.”

Angela was about to respond when her phone began to ring. She fished it out of her pocket and her expression immediately brightened when she saw Danny’s name on the caller ID. She answered the phone and practically screamed at him.

“Danny! Why haven’t you called me back?”

“Angie, I’m sorry,” Danny began in a somber tone.

“What’s wrong?” Angela asked, a worried expression taking over her face as Nova and Markos traded glances.

“Somethings happened to dad,” as Danny said the words the tears started to roll down her cheeks, she knew something had been wrong. She just couldn’t figure out what it was until now.

“I’m going to get on the train,” she said forcing back her tears. “I’ll be there by the morning.”

“Angela, it’s too dangerous,” Danny said pleadingly. “Please don’t come.”

“I have to, and you know it.” she said before ending the call.

“What happened?” Nova asked as Angela put her phone away.

“Somethings wrong with my dad,” she replied calmly though her hands were shaking slightly. “I need to go back to Antis.”

“I’ll walk you to the train station,” Markos said as Nova opened her mouth to protest, he continued simply looking back at her. “I know if I was in her position, no matter what anyone said I wouldn’t be stopped. I would go to my family no matter the risks to myself.”

“Fine,” Nova said crossing her arms over her chest. “But you and I are going to have a conversation when I get back, and I’m not going to be happy.”

“I’m getting pre warned this time?” Markos asked grinning broadly at Nova. “You never know, I might like it when you’re mad at me.”

“Stop it you Neanderthal,” Nova said blushing deeply. “There are other people here, now go and keep your promise. If anything happens to her, you won’t like the consequences.”

Angela was standing beside the door getting ready to walk out when Emily walked back in from outside. She took a single look at Angela and hugged her tightly.

“What’s wrong sweaty?” She asked as Angela hugged her back.

“Something’s wrong with dad, I’m leaving now instead of tomorrow.” She finished pulling back and looking up at Emily. “Sorry for the short notice.”

“Oh stop,” Emily said grabbing ahold of her forearm softly. “Let’s go, I’ll walk with you to the station.”

Angela, Emily, and Markos said their goodbyes to Nova and headed out of the shop. As they made their way down the busy street Angela instinctively moved herself closer to Markos and between him and Emily. It made her feel safer as soon as she was closer to him, while she had just met him, she heard Nova and Emily speak about him often and his presence reminded her of being around Lucas.

“Everything alright Angela?” Markos asked as she moved closer and brushed against him.

“Sorry,” she replied and instinctively hung her head. “I’ve just had some issues, makes being around people difficult.”

“Are you going to be able to handle the train ride?” Emily asked with concern in her eyes as she looked at Angela. “I know you’ve been handling things well but in an enclosed space it could be different.”

“I’ll find a way to make it through.” Angela replied hanging her head again, truly unsure of how she would. But she knew she had to.

“I can go with you,” Emily said putting her hand on Angela’s shoulder. “I’m sure Nova would watch the shop for as long as needed. You told her about the situation in Calia with your previous boss, she’d understand if you wanted some company.”

“No,” Angela said looking up and forcing a small smile as Markos began tapping away on his phone. “I need to get over these issues at some point. The city populations keep increasing and with all the horror stories from Antis,” Angela trailed off thinking about all the horrible news stories she had seen lately before finally continuing. “I need to force myself up again, one way or the other.”

Emily looked at her with a soft smile as the three of them reached the train station. Emily pulled Angela into another hug before saying goodbye and watched as she walked over to Markos.

“I had a private car booked” Markos said handing her a business card with names and numbers written on it. “Show them the seal on the back of the card and they’ll let you in. I also have a friend that will meet you at the train station, she’ll keep an eye on you. Her name is Amanda and she’s a detective like me.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Angela said taking the card before turning and giving him a hug. “Thank you, for everything.”

“You’ll be alright Angela.” Markos said as he hugged her back. “I promise.”

Angela made her way through the station, one of the few places of the large cities that continued to be properly maintained. Without the subway system no one would be able to get between the larger cities and without other types of transportation whole cities would be lost without necessary supplies.

The train to Antis was already on the platform as she walked up to the awaiting guards, she showed the back of the card Markos had given her. One of the female guards stepped forward and walked her to one of the smaller cars at the front of the train.

“This car is for you.” The guard said as she opened the door for Angela. “There’s a bed and some food inside, we’ll be making a few stops along the way, but we should make it to Antis by tomorrow morning.”

Angela thanked the guard before stepping into the car and closing the door behind her. The small space was more than she needed, and it included a bed, small table, and chair along with a few other amenities. She sat down on the bed letting out a sigh as the train began to move, slowly at first before gradually gaining speed.

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