Marcus led the group outside to a pair of sleek black BMW’s parked on the side of the road. The dark-skinned man named Daniel, gestured to the vehicles.
“Take Ekon with you Edward, I’ll take the woman” Marcus announced.
Edward walked off to the second BMW with Ekon tailing behind him. Marcus motioned to Ellen to follow him. He opened the door for her to enter the back seat before him. He slid in afterwards and shut the door. Ellen huddled to the opposite side of the seat to be as far away from him as possible. She was still shaken up about what happened, even though Marcus had done his best to console her inside earlier.
In fact, why had he done that?
She knew he had no intentional kind-heartedness towards her but...she appreciated the little. Practically up against the door, she could feel the steady thrum of the engine and the smooth run of the wheels each time they moved and turned. She breathed calmly and glanced over at Marcus. She chided herself for her stupid conscience, still admiring his looks when he wasn’t aware. Marcus had eased back onto the seat, closing his eyes and appeared to be sleeping. He didn’t care what state Ellen was in. He needed to handle his business first.
In any normal situation, she’d be disposed of already. The more pressing matters were weighing him which brought him to ignoring her altogether. He kept thinking about the DA and Garrett. Edward clearing him for the trip could bring trouble. In his experience, people could be loyal one moment, then betray you the next. Ellen continued ogling him without a care in the world. She wanted to see him without the jumpsuit on. It didn’t downplay his handsomeness but she wanted to see a different side of him.
“Where to now?” she timidly asked.
Marcus sighed. “You’ll be sent home in the next twenty four hours if you can guarantee you’ll shut up.”
He hadn’t opened his eyes or looked at her but Ellen could feel miniature threatening waves flowing off him. She nodded, even though he couldn’t see and metaphorically zipped her mouth shut with her hand.
The driver continued the rest of the ride in silence until he spoke when they pulled up to a red brick, two-story house. The yard was immaculately trimmed with pink, purple and white flowers blooming in bunches by the gate. A intercom was to the right, with a camera angled above it. The driver said something into the intercom and in a few seconds the automatic gate slid open. He drove up to the front door, circling around a small pond and stopped.
Marcus opened his door and started walking up the steps, indicating with a point of his head that she was to follow. Ellen scrambled out of the seat and came face to face with Ekon. The other car was parked behind them, Edward closing his door and Lily standing on the pathway with her tablet in hand. She rushed in after Marcus and found him standing in the entryway. It was painted in blue, lined beautifully with small potted plants on each side that were in full bloom.
The floor was lined with a soft looking blue carpet that stretched to some stairs and wide open living room. Marcus stood next to the flowers caressing their petals when two men stepped next to him. Each was dressed simply in a black and white suit and Ellen could see each was holstering a gun at the hip. The first one spoke to Marcus in a hushed tone and he seemed agitated.
“Now?” Marcus responded to the man.
Both men nodded then focused on Ellen. Marcus shoved a hand into his pocket.
’Take her to the guest room and lock her in. I don’t need any other problems right now,” he ordered.
Both men came toward her in a rush. The taller of the two, grabbed her good arm and the other man secured a hand around her waist. He hoisted her up slightly.
“Wait, wait, I don’t-” she started panicking.
Marcus turned away and walked to the living room as they dragged her off up the stairs and into a wide room. They left her on the floor in a haphazard manner. Ellen bolted to grip the door handle as they swung it shut but was met with disappointment. They’d locked her in.
“Shit!” she whispered frantically.
She rushed to the window and found it was sealed from the outside. Abort. She looked over the bathroom and found no possible weapon she could use either. Abort. The bedroom was the same. No loose nails, no vases, nothing worthy of causing damage if she was attacked. Ellen settled hopelessly onto the bed.
“Be grateful for the small blessings, I’m not dead at least,” she murmured softly.
She slipped off her shoes and walked on the large white carpet. The room was simple enough with the basic amenities. She went back to the bathroom and found a towel and some fresh underwear, except they were boxers. She wasn’t sure if they belonged to Marcus or someone else but she was in dire need of a shower. She only had time to wipe the essentials on the plane and change her clothes. She locked the bathroom door and quickly washed off. The water was refreshing and she almost didn’t want to end it but she shut off the pipe and dried off. She had taken extra precaution with her injured arm, removing the wet bandages and set them on the sink counter to dry.
It was slightly painful to not have the muscles contained but it’d have to do until she got some clean bandages to apply. She awkwardly slipped on the boxers and the shirt she was previously wearing then climbed into the bed. It was huge and very soft. The ottoman on the plane provided enough support but she didn’t sleep too soundly but now, the bed was lulling her. She drew the sheets up, adjusting her arm to curl on top of a free pillow, peeked at the door one more time then closed her eyes. In no time, she felt relaxed and fell into a deep sleep.
Marcus sat down on the living room couch and stared at his phone. His third hand team, Rodriguez and Damon had agreed to meet him at the house in Daniel’s place. The warehouse was under reconstruction and he had to watch over the proceedings so he left in a separate vehicle. Marcus contemplated calling him but decided against it. He needed to handle some things first.
Said man came into the living room with Lily following after him.
“I want you to rendezvous with Rodriguez and pick up Garrett. Ensure he’s debriefed and checked before he gets anywhere near the warehouse or here. I want a background check on every contact he has and when was the last time he saw them. We’ll get around to him swearing the oath after that,” Marcus instructed. He was in business mode.
“When should he get here?”
Marcus looked over at the wall clock. It was just a few minutes to 9AM.
“Okay. Ekon, where are you?”
The tall man produced himself from the kitchen with a cupcake in hand.
“You’ll be accompanying Edward to the warehouse as well. He’s going to run a background check and brief you on the daily operations. You’ll also be sworn in and then you’ll be given an opportunity to prove yourself to me.”
Marcus focused on Lily.
“How old are you, chipmunk?” he asked.
Her eyes lighted up at his attention and she walked over to him. She threw her tablet on the couch and climbed up by herself. Marcus watched her in awe as she climbed onto his thigh and sat down.
“I’m 4,” she mumbled.
Marcus looked from her to Edward who had his jaw on the floor.
“Do you like playing games and having a lot of toys?”
“Yes,: Lily giggled. “Uncle Edward has a room of toys for me.”
Marcus nodded at this. “Fine, I’ll allow you to use one of the lower rooms for her playroom. Feel free to redecorate and fill it with whatever shit she likes.”
Edward coughed to conceal his smile. Lily settled her back against Marcus’s chest and stared around the room. Edward began to move but Marcus stopped him.
“It’s fine,” he grumbled. “I may have to get used to a child being around.”
Rodriguez and Damon appeared around the corner.
“The woman is secured upstairs,” Damon stated.
“And about the extra company,” Marcus drawled, “book her a flight to return on Monday for her test. I trust your judgement if you say she’ll keep her mouth shut so I won’t press the matter any further.”
“For now, she remains in that room. I don’t care if she knocks the door down, she isn’t to come out. Understood?” Marcus asked, directing this to Rodriguez and Damon. Both men nodded.
Marcus ruffled Lily’s hair gently and she poked his cheek.
“I’m going to take a shower and change out of this,” he said, gesturing to his jumpsuit and offering Lily to Edward. Edward took her into his arms and watched Marcus walk off to his room. Ekon followed after Rodriguez who showed him to a room down the hall in the other direction and Edward took Lily to the other guestroom to settle her in. Damon caught Marcus at his room door.
“Daniel handled the three bodies at the airport,” he reported. “Additionally, he said he’d look into how the DA figured out you were headed here. Details should be available when he gets here tomorrow.”
Marcus nodded and waved Damon off.