Sateria and the Night Raiders

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Chapter Twenty

Over the next few weeks, the team hit a couple more stores. Always mindful that they were doing this to attempt to replace the collection that was stolen. Sateria was getting better with each hit, but in the back of her mind, she wanted more. She was hoping to get good enough to go after what she wanted more than anything at the time. A museum hit.

In the mean time, now with several pieces of Johnny G’s multimillion dollar jewelry collection in hand, Brad became curious. Jayden revealed to Brad that Johnny was a thief, and he wondered if Johnny ever cheated him

Venus was out with her friends that day. With her out of the house, Brad called his appraiser. He was determined to find out if Jayden was taking more money from him than he should.

His man came to his house and looked at the four pieces of jewelry.

“Fakes,” Gabriel said.

“Really? You have to be kidding me.”

“No sir. Not one piece is real. Very good copies of the real thing, but not one of them are worth the money you paid for them.”

“So, the pendant. What is it worth?”

“About twenty dollars.”

Brad assumed that Jayden knew the collection was a fake. Brad was being cheated, and assumed he wasn’t going to get the pay he was promised.

“Gabriel, I plan on buying more from this person. I really would love to know if he’s cheating me. Can you look at everything I buy?”

“Certainly, for the normal fee of course.”

“Of course. Thanks, Gabriel. I’ll give you a call when I get more.”

“Not a problem, Mr. Morris.”

Fuming, Brad came up with a plan. If Jayden wasn’t aware he’d stolen fakes, Brad would collect his payment and disappear, giving up everything. That is what he counted on. What he learned that day, he would keep to himself.

Faster than anticipated, one-hundred million dollars worth of gems passed through Brad’s hands. Or so Jayden thought. Brad knew that every piece was a fake. He couldn’t wait to meet with Jayden that afternoon to get his pay.

Jayden smiled. “Good job, Brad. I’m proud of you.” Jayden pushed a card across Brad’s desk. “Here is your account number. It is a business account that I set up so I can move money around easily. Ten million dollars is there, all yours.”

Brad grinned. “You’ll understand if I make a call to verify that.”

“Of course.”

Brad called the bank as Jayden, and verified the amount. Ten million, just like Jayden said.

“Thank you, Jayden. I look forward to working with you in the future.”

They smiled at each other. Jayden left Brad’s office, determined to get out of town with his woman, and his jewelry. However, he had to wait a day or two, to tie up a few loose ends.

Later that night, Jayden sent a text message to Venus.

Babe, we are outta here in a couple days. Pack a bag.

Venus was out of the house without her phone. When it buzzed Brad picked it up thinking it was her calling from a friend’s phone. Brad saw the text message and recognized the number. He knew at that point, it was his time to leave.

Hurt that the woman he’d spent so much time with didn’t care about him at all, Brad stood up, gathered his wallet, his keys and his phone. Armed with ten million dollars, he didn’t need anything else.

He walked out of his front door, got into his car, and drove away. As he pulled onto the highway, only one word entered his mind. Bitch!

Brad drove down the interstate at a blinding seventy-five miles an hour and disappeared.

Venus arrived home later to find the television on, and the house quiet.

“Brad, baby, I’m home! I left my phone, sorry!” Venus moved about the house expecting Brad to be there, but he was gone. Hoping that he was gone for good, and ready to move forward with her life, she plopped down on the couch and called Jayden.

“Hey babe, what’s up?” Jayden asked.

“He’s not here.”

“He got paid today,” Jayden chuckled. “I didn’t expect him to be. Didn’t you get my message?”

“No, I forgot my phone when I left the house.”

Jayden rolled his eyes. “Aw fuck.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I sent you a message a while ago. If he saw that, he knows we were in on this together.”

Venus laughed. “Babe, it doesn’t matter. We have what we have waited so long to get our hands on. I don’t care about Brad. Johnny’s dead, you killed him and now we can go forward.”

Jayden shook his head. “Babe, I didn’t kill Johnny. By the time I got there, Johnny was already dead.”

“Oh Jayden, you are not serious.”

“Yeah, I am.”

“So if you didn’t kill him, who did?”

Knowing very well who killed Johnny, he decided to keep up the game he’d been playing for months. This time pulling someone new into his plan. “I’m not sure, but I have an idea.”

“So what do we do?”

“We can’t leave yet. I have to take care of this.”

“Jayden, what are you talking about? It doesn’t matter. We have what we set out to get. Let’s just get outta here.”

“Venus had she not come into his life when she did, you might be the billionaire right now. She took my friend from me, and now she’s fucking another one. There is no way in hell that I’m gonna let her get her hands on Apollo’s shit too.”

“Who?”

“Sateria.”

“Oh come on, Jayden. Sateria didn’t kill Johnny. He had lots of enemies. And she’s just a waitress, right?”

Jayden shook his head. “A well trained waitress. She now has the knowledge and the skill to take Apollo out, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let that happen. We can’t leave just yet. I have to save my friend.”

“But Jayden we-”

Too late. Jayden hung up the phone. He didn’t know how he was going to get Sateria alone, but he had to find a way. He was going to have to kill Sateria to keep the real killer safe. But, Apollo lived with her now, and he would protect her with his life. The only time he wasn’t with her is when she was at work. And that was out of the question.

If he told Apollo that he still suspected Sateria, Apollo would just assume he was losing his mind. There was only one way he was going to be able to get her. It would have to be on one of their jobs. They had decided to lie low for a while, so it would have to wait.

An hour later, Jayden got a text message.

I have been watching the exchange. I know you have everything back. When do I get my cut?

Jayden rolled his eyes and quickly texted back. Not now. You will have to wait.

You aren’t gonna skip town on me. I want my share.

And you’ll get it. Something else has come up, so I’ll be around for a while.

Ditch me, and I’ll find you.

I’m not going anywhere. Don’t worry about it.

Jayden waited on a return text and didn’t get one, and was glad. He had other things on his mind at that moment.

Two months later, Apollo was tired of sitting around. He decided that they would hit one last store, and then it was on to something bigger. The team was at Sateria’s house to discuss it.

After they’d eaten dinner, they went up to the great room with their wine. Apollo sat next to Sateria with his arm around her, and she snuggled close, getting comfortable.

Pheonix stared at the two of them and said, “So, what’s next with you two? A wedding?”

Sateria looked up at Apollo and smiled. Apollo shook his head. “Not yet.”

“Soon?” Troya asked.

Apollo chuckled. “Let’s just talk about what we’re here to talk about for now, okay?”

Jayden sighed. “And what’s that by the way?”

“One last store and we go back to what we know.”

Jayden rolled his eyes. “Another one? Come on, Apollo. Enough of this. Sateria is ready to join the big thieves club now.”

“Well, it wasn’t Apollo’s idea,” Sateria said. “It was mine.”

“Okay, so what are we chasing after this time?”

“A little store in Stony, NY. They have an absolutely beautiful and extremely large Cordova collection. We haven’t been able to find any to replace what was stolen from my original collection until now.”

“So after this, we can go back to museums?” Jayden asked. “Because I’m still waiting on the ultimate score.”

Pheonix looked at Jayden and grinned. “The Met.”

Jayden nodded.

“The Met as in Metropolitan Museum of New York?” Sateria asked.

“That’s the one,” Jayden said sipping his wine.

“That was the top museum on Johnny’s list. A lot of coordination, time, and paperwork would go into robbing that one. Johnny had been working on getting us in there for months, but he never got a chance to finish his plan,” Apollo explained.

“I see. Well after my collection is finished, we can start making plans then.”

Jayden smiled. If he had his way, Sateria would be dead, and he would be long gone. “Sounds good to me,” he said.

The town even smaller than Michigan City, there would be no mingling with the locals if they could help it. They left all real ID behind in Chicago. The store was only open for six hours during the day, which left hardly any time for a stakeout. The plan was to break in the store well after the town went to sleep.

Three o’clock in the morning, they struck. Apollo broke the glass in the door, and the alarm immediately sounded. Jayden took up the rear. Three minutes was all they had, and they hoped a little bit longer. A minute would do.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get that extra minute. As they gathered all they could of the targeted collection, they heard sirens in the distance.

“Fuck!” Apollo yelled. “Let’s go!” Apollo headed to the back door, with the women in tow. Sateria was lagging behind, and Jayden had his chance. He smiled and took aim at Sateria. He fired his weapon, and the bullet grazed her arm just as she turned the corner. Jayden fired a few shots towards the on-coming car and he made his way to the back of the store himself.

With the jewels and everyone inside, Apollo took off. He drove like a demon in an effort to keep everyone safe and out of jail.

Apollo drove until the sounds of the police sirens were well behind them. It was then Sateria started to feel pain in her arm. Thinking that she might have pulled a muscle, she pulled off her left glove and rubbed her right arm. What she felt was wet and sticky. She pulled her hand away to find that the pain hadn’t stopped and what she saw was blood. Sitting in the front seat she immediately started to scream.

Apollo panicked. “What!”

Sateria couldn’t stop screaming. Apollo pulled the car over.

“Apollo, what are you doing?” Jayden asked loudly. “The cops are on our ass!”

“Shut up!” Apollo yelled. He had to see what had Sateria in such a state.

“I’ve been shot!” Sateria yelled.

Sateria was in a panic though her injuries weren’t life threatening. Apollo afraid that he was going to lose her, felt all over her body for other wounds, but found none.

“Calm down babe,” he said pulling her close. “I’m here, I’m here. Just a scratch. Shhh. We’ll get you to a hospital as soon as we can. I need you to hold on. Can you do that for me?”

In pain, and tears of fear streaming down her face, Sateria stopped screaming and nodded. Apollo stepped on the gas and sped away, happy his woman, though injured, was still whole. Jayden, disappointed he missed, sat in the backseat of the car, disgusted, and rode in silence to safety.

Two days later, Apollo made it a point to stop by the offices of AJG realtors. He was furious. He wondered if Jayden had really gotten over his suspicions. Apollo had a feeling burning deep in the bottom of his stomach, that Jayden was the one who shot her.

Stepping through the glass doors of his former office, he stopped at the reception desk. Donna looked up and smiled.

“Mr. Leonard! So good to see you. Miss Murphy isn’t in today if you were looking for her.”

Apollo shook his head. “No, actually, I was looking to speak with Mr. Johns. Is he in?”

“Yes, he is. One moment.”

Donna called Jayden’s office. Perfectly willing to see Apollo, he told Donna to send him to his office. Apollo thanked Donna, and moved down the hall to Jayden’s office.

Knowing why Apollo had come to see him, Jayden stood, ready when Apollo came in. The anger on his face was apparent. Jayden made sure to stay back.

“So what the fuck happened?” Apollo asked firmly.

“We shouldn’t talk about this here,” Jayden said quietly.

“I made a point to come here today seeing that I haven’t seen you in two days. You haven’t even come by to see if she was alright.”

“I didn’t have to with you there.”

“And what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Jayden smirked. “Oh come on, Apollo. You couldn’t stay away from her so you quit your damn job. So yes, you’re always there to protecting her, telling her you love her, and whatever else you feel like you want to do.”

Apollo stared at Jayden absorbing his words, because he knew he was right. But he wasn’t going to let Jayden steer him away from the real purpose of his visit.

“Tell me Jayden, how did Sateria manage to get shot?”

“I don’t know,” he lied. “The cops were close. Closer than we thought.”

Apollo tilted his head to the side. “There were no cruisers anywhere near the store when we went in.”

“We don’t really know that, Apollo. We didn’t drive every block.”

“So what are you saying? Are you telling me that you failed?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying that his ass was probably on us not long after the alarm went off. I gave you all the time I could before he started shooting.”

Apollo stood and glared at Jayden for a moment. “Jayden, did you try to kill Sateria?”

Shaking his head violently. “No. Why would I do that?”

“You still think she killed Johnny.”

“No. I trust her now.”

“Did the cop die?”

“What?”

“The cop. Is he dead?”

“If not we wouldn’t have gotten away.”

Apollo paced the room like a crazy man. “I’m gonna warn you, and I’m gonna only warn you this one time. Pull some shit like that again, and you’re off the team. You will not take away my happiness because you have some twisted notion that Sateria took away yours.

“I’ll fight to protect that Jayden, and you already know I’m serious. If Sateria gets hurt again on another one our hits, and you are supposed to be watching her back, your ass is mine. Got that?”

Jayden stood his ground. “Apollo, it’s not my fault.”

“It is.”

“Did she send you here?”

“No. She thinks the cops shot her, and I’m gonna let her believe that.”

“It’s the truth. I didn’t do it.”

Apollo glared at Jayden and walked out of the door. Apollo made it back to Sateria’s place and immediately went to check on her. He found her sitting in the middle of her bed watching television, wrapped up in her comfortable thick robe.

Apollo was falling more in love with her, the longer he was around her. When he moved in, they agreed that it would only be until his own place was finished. Due to be finished in the next two weeks, Apollo was ready to spend some money and start to get his life back together.

“How are you feeling babe?” Apollo asked.

Always wanting to be close to him when he was around, she scooted to the edge of the bed. “Better. I should be able to go back to work tomorrow.”

“I’m glad,” he said and completely changed the subject. “You know, my penthouse is almost done. Do you wanna go out and do some shopping with me?”

She looked up at him with sadness in her eyes. “No,” she whispered.

“Why not babe?” he asked, kneeling, reaching for her hands.

“Because I don’t want you to leave me.”

“Aww honey, I can’t stay. We agreed that this was just temporary, you know that.”

“I know,” she nodded. “I just thought you might not want to go home after all this time.”

Apollo reached around her waist, and pulled her closer. He put his head in her chest and said, “I love you. Nothing’s gonna change that, I promise. But I can’t stay Sateria. I’m not ready for that kind of commitment yet.”

Sateria pushed him away. “Get away from me.”

“What’s the matter? What did I do now?”

“You’re a coward, Apollo. You’re so scared something is gonna happen to me that you want to keep your distance just in case something does. So I got shot. So what. It goes with the territory right?”

“Sateria, I have to go back home sometime.”

“No you don’t. You can sell your place.”

“Babe, I can’t stay. I’m sorry.”

“Damn it Apollo, why do you keep on doing this to me? Why won’t you let me have all of you?”

Apollo stood and reached for her hands. Sateria didn’t take his hands immediately. She turned away to avoid his sensual gaze. He took a step closer, put his hand beneath her chin, and made her look into his eyes. Tears were forming in her eyes at the thought that he was going to leave her.

He looked at her flush face and saw that his words hurt her feelings. Her tears could always melt his heart. Every time he saw her cry, he wanted to fold his body around hers and protect her from the cause. This time, he was the cause. He had to stop her tears so he could think rationally. The longer he glared at her, the more he wanted her.

He held his hand out for her to take, and she took it. He pulled her up from the bed and hugged her tight.

“Babe, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I do love you. You know that right.” He asked pulling away slightly to look into her gorgeous eyes, and she nodded.

Apollo moved in slowly for the kiss, and she didn’t turn away. Giving her chaste kisses one after another, the tension in her body went away. Deepening his kiss, he reached beneath her robe to find she was naked.

Gently, he put his hands between her legs and began to pleasure her. She didn’t resist. That simple act lead up to an evening of passion he would never forget. She wanted him. She loved him. She would do anything for him, and Apollo thought it was time to let her in. As they made love, he realized that she and his friends were right all along. He had been afraid to fall in love again. Kalista’s death scared him to the point that he thought he could never go back.

He fought it for as long as he could. The only two women he loved in his life were similar. Both were beautiful, and both demanded his attention. Sateria however, was something Kalista never was. An extension of Johnny.

She had his determination. She had his guts. And though not in the beginning, she took on a challenge the same way he would. With a smile, and a go get ’em attitude. He couldn’t help but love her. She alone kept their spirits alive, and Apollo couldn’t ask for more.

They lay together post coitus, hot, sweaty, sticky, and out of breath.

“Okay Sateria, you win.”

“Babe, what are you talking about?”

“You’re right. I have been running from you. I’m in the perfect position to continue the way we have for the last few months, but I’m scared. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to lose you to a bullet, another man, or anything.”

Sateria looked in his eyes and saw the pain. “So, you’re not gonna move out?”

“No. But you have to promise me something.”

Overwhelmed with joy, she grinned. “What?”

“Let his dream go. Johnny’s dead. Be president of AJG if you want, but I want you to give up being a thief.”

“But-”

“Hear me out. You know how Kalista was ripped from me, and I wasn’t there with her. There is no way in hell that I’ll watch you die before my eyes. I won’t make it through heartache like that again.

“I still have nightmares of you getting shot.”

“You dream about that?”

Apollo nodded. “I do. In my dreams, you die in the car. I don’t want that to happen. And the only way that it won’t is if you go to work everyday, and sit in your ridiculously large, well decorated office. Be the president of your company. Run things. Talk as much shit as you want, because there is no one around to dispute your ugly behavior and mood swings. That would make me happy. But if you want me to stay here, and give you all of me, that is the way it has to happen. Give up trying to be what Johnny wanted you to be. Half of it at least.”

Sateria stroked his muscular chest and was quiet for a moment.

“What about you?” She asked, not wanting to lose him either.

“What about me?”

“You give up the same? Then you can come back to work.”

Apollo shook his head. “No, I won’t come back to work, but I will think about giving it all up. One thing at a time, beautiful.”

She inhaled deeply, hoping to confirm what he said. “So you will stay with me?”

Apollo nodded. “Yes.”

“I run AJG, on a daily basis.”

Again he nodded. “Yes.”

“I do what I enjoy.”

“No. In the last weeks you have enjoyed the trill, and watching you, I haven’t. President of AJG, and that’s all.”

“But Johnny said-”

“I loved him, but I’m so sick of living by a dead man’s words. You want all of me. You let him go.”

Sateria nodded in agreement happy that she had the love of her life close, and though he said it, she wasn’t sure if he was going to stay.

“I love you, Apollo.”

“I know. I love you, too.”

Back in Jayden’s office, he was trying his best to work. He knew Apollo would watch Sateria even closer now. The only other chance that he could get at her if he wasn’t able to be seen. He decided that he would take a short vacation. And in that time, he planned to save Apollo from certain doom.

The following day, Sateria was back at work. She was in her office reading her emails drinking a cup of coffee. Jayden walked into her office.

“Hey.”

She smiled. “Hey Jayden. What’s up?”

“I know we just got back, but I have a family emergency out of town, and I have to leave.

“Oh? What going on?”

“My grandmother is in the hospital.”

“Well by all means, take all the time you need. I’ll have Donna clear your calendar for you.”

“Thanks, Sateria. Oh and I haven’t told you I was sorry.”

“Sorry for what?”

“I should’ve watched your back a little closer.”

“Its okay, Jayden. I was slow.”

“Doesn’t matter. It’s my fault.”

“Okay,” she smiled. “I forgive you.”

“Thanks,” Jayden said and walked out of the door.

He went home and packed a suitcase. On his way out the door, he called Venus and told her he was on his way.

She opened the door surprised to see him with a suitcase in his hand. “Jayden, why are you here? Why aren’t you at work?”

“Because my grandmother is in the hospital, and I had to suddenly leave town to be at her side.”

Venus knowing the truth, smiled. “What are you up to?”

“Never mind that. Just come here and give me some of that fantastic loving.”

Close to the end of the work day, Pheonix walked into Sateria’s office.

“Hey. What are you and Apollo doing tonight?”

“Nothing as far as I know. Why?”

“Oh I just thought we could all get together at my place tonight and have some dinner. You can meet Max.”

“Max?”

“My boyfriend. I’m cooking his favorite for his birthday.”

Sateria smiled. “Oh how sweet. We would love to come.”

“Good. Dinner will be promptly served at eight.”

“That’s fine. See you then.”

Pheonix left Sateria’s office and went to Troya’s office.

“You are coming tonight, right?”

“Yeah. I think it’s about time someone besides you knew my secret.”

Pheonix giggled. “Apollo is gonna flip.”

Sateria made it down to the parking garage, got into her brand new black BMW 328i Coupe, pulled out of her reserved space and started on her way home. She was excited to finally be invited to Pheonix’s house. And she was even more excited to meet her boyfriend.

Sateria pulled into the garage at her building. The valet opened the door for her and let her out.

He smiled. “Let me take care of this for you, Miss Murphy.”

She grinned. “Thank you, Don. Be careful with her.”

“I will ma’am. And have a good evening.”

Sateria walked through the lobby and smiled at Jensen. She was in a good mood, and she wasn’t sure why. Perhaps she knew that she would be coming home to a big strong handsome man everyday. Maybe it was because the closest people around her were now her friends, and they shared a huge secret.

Sateria opened the door to an amazing aroma. Apollo cooked for her. Aw how sweet, she thought. “I’m home, babe!” she shouted, closing the door behind her.

Apollo walked out of the kitchen to greet her. She looked stunning in her navy blue suit, with her hair pulled back.

“Hello, gorgeous.” Pulling her close, giving her a chaste kiss.

She smiled. “What are you cooking? It smells wonderful.”

“Oh nothing much. Seared Mediterranean tuna steaks, some Avgolemono, and a Greek salad.”

“Avgolemono? What’s that?”

“Soup.”

Sateria grinned. “Sounds wonderful babe. Sorry we won’t be able to eat it,” she said slipping out of his arms.

Apollo turned around and watched her walk towards the bedroom. “What?” he asked following behind her.

“Pheonix invited us over to her house. She’s cooking for her boyfriend’s birthday,” she said taking off her earrings continuing to walk to her room.

“Max? I didn’t know his birthday was today.”

She sat on the bed and began to take off her shoes. “I don’t know when his birthday is, but she said she was cooking for him. Come on, babe. Get in the shower. I can lay your clothes out for you if you want.”

Apollo stood there with his mouth open. “Aw, come on, babe. I worked all day on this meal.”

“I know, but I want to go. Come on, hurry up,” she said going to the closet. She started going through his things. “How about your black slacks and grey shirt? I love you in black you know.”

Apollo couldn’t believe it. “Sateria, we can’t go honey. You will love the tuna. It’s my mama’s recipe.”

“Well we can have leftovers then.”

Apollo crossed his arms in front of him and pouted. Sateria couldn’t hold it in anymore. She burst into laughter at the sight of his face. “I’m sorry honey. I couldn’t help it.”

Apollo grinned and rolled his eyes. “You are so mean.”

“And you are so cute when you pout. I bet you got away with a lot when you were a kid.”

He walked up to her and put her arms around her. “Yeah, my mom was a sucker for my sad face.”

“Of course I’ll eat the dinner you worked so hard on. But I still want to go over to Pheonix’s place.”

“What’s she cooking?”

“She didn’t say. She just said she was cooking his favorite.”

“Ugh. Max loves Italian food. It will mess up your ridiculously hot figure. My food is better for you.”

She stroked his chin with her finger. “You don’t have to convince me. You had me as soon as I smelled it. What’s the occasion anyway?”

“Domestic partnership,” Apollo said, and pressed his lips against hers, kissing her deeply.

They ate their meal, showered, got dressed, and made their way to Pheonix’s condo.

Greeted at the door, by the hostess herself, Pheonix looked wonderful in her simple but elegant, emerald green cocktail dress and pointy pumps with painted on peacock feathers.

“Hey,” she grinned. “Glad you could make it. Come on in. We were just having a drink in the living room.”

Pheonix stepped back and let them in. Sateria looked down at Pheonix’s feet. “Oh, I love your shoes.”

“Thanks,” Pheonix said and led them to the living room.

Max looking quite attractive stood to greet his guests. Sateria was shocked. Max was not at all what Sateria pictured. An extremely tall and ridiculously good-looking black man reached out and shook Apollo’s hand.

“Hey Max. Long time no see.”

“Yeah, it’s been forever.”

Putting his hand on the small of her back, almost as if he was marking his territory, he introduced Sateria. “This is my girlfriend, Sateria.”

Max showed off his million dollar smile. “A beautiful name for a beautiful woman. I’m pleased to meet you, Sateria. Maxwell Sheldon,” he then kissed her hand.

A hint of jealously hit Apollo so hard he almost forgot he and Max were friends.

Sateria grinned and turned to Pheonix. “Where have you been keeping this one?”

Pheonix smiled and shrugged her shoulders. “In my bedroom.” They all laughed. “Would you like something to drink?”

Pheonix poured them both the drink of their choice, and they talked for a bit just then, the door bell rang.

“Oh,” Pheonix said. “That would be Troya. Excuse me for a second.”

Pheonix got up and opened the door. She went back to the living room and her other guests followed.

Troya smiled and hugged everyone. Apollo was surprised to see who Troya’s date was.

“Nate?”

Nate grinned and introduced himself to Sateria and Max. Pheonix poured them their drink of choice and refreshed everyone else’s.

“Well, this is a surprise,” Apollo said. “So how long have you two been seeing each other?”

“Every since we went to lunch that day, remember?”

“Well, I see she didn’t scare you away. I’m glad.”

“Well, she’s a beautiful and intelligent woman with many talents,” Nate said and patted Troya on the leg.

Pheonix not wanting to hear about her sisters bedroom antics stood up. “Well, I’m hungry. Everyone ready?”

Apollo waved his hand, “Sorry Pheonix, Sateria and I ate before we got here.”

Pheonix clicked her teeth. “Really Apollo? Sateria knew you were coming over here for dinner tonight.”

“Well, it’s kinda my fault. I didn’t call him to tell him, and when I got home he had my dinner already done.”

“Well, at least sit with us and have some dessert.”

Sateria grinned. “What’s for dessert?”

“Tiramisu,” Max said.

Sateria grinned wider. “Oh boy. I love Tiramisu.”

Apollo patted her on the leg. “What did we talk about at home?”

“Oh come on, babe. I can eat what I want. Jayden isn’t here to give me shit about what I eat.”

“Isn’t he coming?” Apollo asked.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you. He had to go out of town. His grandmother is in the hospital.”

Apollo looked at both Pheonix and Troya. “Hmm. That’s odd. Jayden’s grandmother died two years ago.”

This news surprised more than just Sateria. “Oh, I have to go wash my hands before we eat. You all start without me,” Troya said and went to the restroom and closed the door. She pulled her phone from her purse and immediately sent a text message.

Where the hell are you?

Jayden was watching television with Venus when his phone buzzed in his pocket. He pulled it out and saw it was a message from Troya.

“Excuse me for a sec, Venus.”

“Who is it?”

“Troya.”

Jayden got up and went into the kitchen to reply.

I’m still in town, quit freaking out.

So when, am I gonna get my cut Jayden?

Relax. I already told you that I have something to take care of first.

Well hurry the hell up. I helped you torch Apollo’s place for this.

I know that, and I promise it will be soon.

All right. You better not leave town.

I won’t.

Jayden turned off his phone, and went back to join Venus on the couch. With a text message coming from Troya so soon after he left work, meant Apollo may know of his disappearance. And if Sateria told him why, Jayden knew that Apollo and the Smith sisters were immediately suspicious.
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