"This is all a matter of--"
Marcus trailed off on his sentence after Damon pushed the door open. In the living room, they were staring at Ellen and Lily playing around. Lily was chasing her in a circle dressed in a hideous green dragon costume, Ellen pretending to be scared and hopping away. The scene before him was....new. Marcus didn't have much experience with children besides his brother and he had no fond memories of playtime with his mother. The only memory that stood out was when his father gave him a gun at 16 and told him it was time to grow up.
Edward stared at the commotion as well with Damon and Rod too. All four men appeared to be transfixed.
Ellen finally playfully fell to the carpeted floor and placed the back of palm against her forehead like a damsel in distress from the 50's. Lily climbed on top of her chuckling with a rawr.
"I'm jealous," Edward pouted.
His voice travelled to the two playing and Lily's eyes turned to him.
"I never get dragon play," He cried with fake tears to the 4 year old.
Marcus looked at him awkwardly. "I didn't know you were into that stuff."
Edward dropped his facade and looked at him flatly. "Must you ruin every happy moment?"
Marcus shrugged. He returned his attention back to Ellen. She was seated on the carpet. Her hair was a wavy mess down her shoulders and her chest breathing hard. She was wearing a white T shirt that hung off her curves and another darned sweatpants. Her feet were bare. Her elbow was also wrapped in fresh bandages.
"She doesn't give up, does she?" Ellen breathed.
Edward took Lily in his arms and shook his head. "Play time is special and rare. If she's playing with you that means she trusts you."
Ellen smiled and smoothed a strand of her hair behind her hair with her healing arm. Marcus noticed that her range of motion was much smoother and he momentarily thought about having Doc look her over. He hadn't considered this before...
"My elbow is fine," Ellen answered.
Marcus's eyes travelled to hers. He briefly smiled at her. The only person he considered telepathic enough to read his thoughts was Edward. She was observant.
"I'm not that sharp-eyed actually," she clarified. "I learned it from you. Your log made me realize how naive I was to the people around me, that I had to be more aware."
Marcus felt his smile disappear. This was definitely new. Edward watched their exchange in silence. Seeing as how the two were distracted with each other, he successfully tiptoed out of the room with Lily. Damon and Rod were now sitting in one of the couches.
Ellen stood to her feet. "I think when I hit the pavement, my bone simply shifted out of place. Lucky huh?"
Marcus agreed. She shyly smiled in return then walked to the stairs. She brushed past him. His eyes followed her every move until she was out of sight. Marcus removed his shoes by the door.
"Rod, you're keeping guard here tonight. Forget about the event"
Rodriguez nodded. Damon smirked. "I get to tag along right?"
Marcus ignored him and followed after Ellen. He found her fiddling with the TV, half bent over.
"Rod is going to stay here with you and Lily. Edward will be the only one accompanying me tonight."
He stood at the door. Ellen turned her face to his, still bent at the TV.
"Your flight is set for tomorrow morning. In twelve hours, this will all be over and done."
Ellen slowly nodded as she processed what he was saying. In the little time she'd been there, she barely managed to make any progress. She was no better at talking with him or being around him. Breakfast had been a awkward mess and now she was being sent home faster than a horse with its tail on fire. She should have been relieved but...
"Thank you" Ellen smiled.
It was better to accept his kindness while he was giving it. She left the TV and walked over to stand in front of him. Marcus stared down at her with a slightly raised brow. Ellen held out her hand.
"This was..fun" she joked.
Marcus returned the favor and shook her hand gently. With that over, he turned away and left. Ellen closed the door behind him and went back to the TV. It didn't last long. Rod came knocking and she let him in. Rodriguez was obviously Portuguese from his long slicked hair and caramel skin. His eyes were a gentle blue and his build wasn't that intimidating as Marcus or Edward.
He smiled at her.
"I didn't introduce myself the first time we met. I'm Alexio Rodriguez. Marcus has instructed me to be civil with you for the remainder of your time here. If you need anything, I'll be downstairs."
Ellen mutely nodded and shut the door again. She was trying to turn the volume down but the button on the remote was malfunctioning and she couldn't seem to find the button on the TV either.
Again, that didn't last long. Edward came barging into her room as usual.
"For Christ sake," she muttered, "Why is everyone bothering me tonight!?"
She glared at Edward but then noticed the small carry-on in his hand.
"Nice to see you too," He smiled.
All these men are going to drive me up the wall. She thought.
"I got some change of clothes for you today. Feel free to pick whatever you like."
Ellen took the bag from him and set it on the bed. She pulled out two fitted jeans, a few shirts and clean underwear. She still had the sandals from the flight and decided she could wear those.
Edward nodded but he didn't move.
"Also, I guess I should apologize for hitting you when we first met. At the time it was necessary but now, you're like a new addition to the family...like getting a new dog"
Ellen grimaced and laughed at his statement. "Are you guys going to be okay?" She asked.
Well that was a dumb question.
"We'll be good"
With that, Edward left her to herself. She settled on the blue jeans with a pink ruffled shirt. She hung them in the closet and placed the sandals beside the dresser. In a few hours she'd be back at school, she'd see Dani and be safe. A small knock came at her door again.
"Is this a joke, I will-"
Lily stood at the door with Edward behind her.
"Oh, sorry," she blushed.
Edward walked Lily into the room. "Said she wanted to be up here with you. We'll be heading out in an hour so might as well take her now before I do."
Lily stretched her hands to Ellen and she lifted her to the bed.
"No problem. Be safe okay"
Edward stared at her incredulously for a moment.
"You know, we kidnapped you. You're unusually calm about this all, is there something I should know?"
Ellen froze. He was being coy.
"Its none of your business, Ed."
He stared at her until he had a sudden smile on his face.
"Please don't tell me you have a crush on the big man?"
Ellen chuckled nervously. "N-n-no, what?"
Edward continued smiling. "You know, don't get me wrong, it won't happen. Marcus is too caught up in family and business. Especially since he's just returned. To get in his good graces, you'd have to do something extreme."
Ellen glanced at Lily. "I'm leaving tomorrow so none of that matters now"
Edward shrugged. "I guess you're right."
He smiled at Lily and waved her goodbye. "See you later, cupcake."
Lily waved him back with a toy and cute smile. Edward left and Ellen finally breathed normally. She considered his words carefully, knowing that extreme measures were not her cup of tea. She had already settled on returning home empty-handed. Marcus wasn't who she had expected and leaving with her life was enough.
She met him so she was grateful.
That's all she wanted...
Ellen sighed. "Right.."