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Chapter Twenty-Two

Ellen rubbed her cheeks to contain her embarrassment as she followed Edward back to the living room.

Did I really just ogle him and give him a hug!? You’ve lost it Elle!

Her mind trailed back to the half hug and she felt herself melt. He had stared at her too but she wasn’t sure if she should read into it. Especially since he hadn’t returned her hug. In fact, he had smiled instead. She’d never seen him smile like that away from a few chuckles and smirks.

“ Oh god” she faintly moaned.

She frantically shook her head to remove the sensual thoughts that were rising.

“Ellen, are you listening?”

She wasn’t. She was still trying to get the image of Marcus’s smile out of her head. “What am I thinking!?”

“Ellen,” came Marcus’s voice again.

“Why can’t I just not think about his stupid face!” She nervously continued.

Edward glanced between him, Daniel, Rod and T. “Is there a joke that I’m not getting?”

Marcus touched Ellen’s shoulder gently and she slightly jumped. “Are you listening? We’ve been trying to get your attention For a few minutes now”

She sheepishly apologized and focused on Rod.

“As I was saying,” Rod started, “Barry Mills had a son. Apparently this was six years before the massacre. He was being cared for by the mother but she wasn’t involved in the Aryan membership. Despite this, Mills kept a close relationship with his son. T informed me that the son claimed he was out for revenge for whoever killed his father. At this moment, that pretty much puts us in the lead for that”

Marcus rubbed his chin. There were many ways this could affect business negatively. A majority of their gang members were involved in the massacre that took place at least thirty years ago but most had died. Having the new members being singled out and targeted wasn’t a good look.

He sat down on the leather couch and watched the others sit too. Ellen sat next to him with an unreadable expression on her face.

“We haven’t been able to identify the son as yet. He had no hospital records and T suggested his birth name may have been changed. I’m still looking into it but that’s the most so far. How do you propose we handle this?”

Marcus leaned back and clenched his fists. He had hoped his father handled this carefully before he took over the reins. His anger started to clouds his thoughts and he almost would have lashed out in response but Ellen’s cool hand touched his forearm. He looked at her with hooded eyes.

“I know you don’t have any answers right now but I’m pretty sure you’ll figure it out,” she whispered slowly. “The anger won’t help. Evolution. Your father made a mistake, you’ll fix it better than he did this time”

Marcus’s brain fortunately agreed with her and slowly his anger began to recede. He felt the exhaustion leave his body and he breathed. She continued to gently rub his forearm.

The guys looked between each other again. “Seriously,” Edward asked, “is there a joke that I’m not getting?”

Marcus ignored his comment and proceeded with business.

“Edward, I need you to address the members at the warehouse. Inform them of what’s going on and the measures they need to take. Everyone goes out in groups of two, no lone riders.”

Edward nodded.

“Daniel, have T accompany you at all times”

Daniel nodded. Marcus looked at T. “If someone goes after him, you better make sure you kill them before I do”

The tall man agreed.

“Also, I have a safe house in Vienna. For the time being, I’ll allow you to safeguard your family there. It should be enough until this blows over.”

He turned to Ellen. “Continue your training and have Rod watch your back. If you leave the house, I suggest you get use to the idea of walking with a gun”

Ellen reluctantly nodded. Killing again wasn’t a great feeling but it was either her or them.

“What are you going to do in the meantime?” Daniel asked Marcus.

“I have a little digging to do. I had asked Rodriguez to provide the list of new additions to the membership since I was gone.”

The group came to a conclusion and adjourned.

Daniel gave Ellen a quick wink and waved goodbye. Edward shuffled down to his room to check on Lily. Marcus and Ellen were left on the couch.

“How do you feel about all this,” Marcus suddenly asked. “You haven’t asked any questions since you signed that contract. What it is we do, killing people, the men who invaded the house, nothing!”

Ellen stared at him flabbergasted. He was very close to her but more importantly he was asking a good question.

She shrugged. “It’s not my place to ask. If you want to tell me, I’ll listen but I think it’s better if I don’t know”

Marcus laughed with disdain.

“You expect me to sit here and believe that you’re okay with this all because you chose to be ignorant?”

“No, I expect you to believe that I understand enough to know that I don’t need to ask”

Marcus ripped his arm from her grip and stood up from the couch.

“Is this all a game to you Ellen Walker? This is the fucking Mafia, now is not the time to be indecisive”

“Who says I don’t know what I want to do?”

“The look on your face says it all!” He growled. “When I said carry a gun, I wasn’t asking you to kill anyone. The whole point is to ensure you can handle yourself effectively against a bigger opponent. These Aryans are ruthless motherfuckers who would rather mess with their prey than kill them head on!”

Ellen remained quiet. Was he really angry with her for not being concerned?

“I didn’t know...”

“This isn’t a movie or a book at the library. This shit is real. Worse he has a spy among my ranks and he knows about your existence and Lily’s”

She sulked her shoulders.

“I really didn’t know.... some of this still feels surreal. I handle it better if I don’t think about it too much.”

Marcus watched her stand and tilt her head to him.

“Would you like some help looking through the files? I’m free for the rest of the day.”

He blinked a few times. “What?”

“The newly hired members. I can help you scan the files”

Marcus touched his forehead for a fever and found none.

“Again, What?”

Ellen looked at him weirdly.

“Usually women like to argue their opinion. All you did was apologize and change the subject”

She brushed her hair behind her ears.

“I know when I’m wrong. Besides, I only know you’re trying to have my best interest at heart. I won’t argue with you”

Marcus stared at her as if she’d lost a screw. “Yeah, you can help me in the office when you’re ready”

With that he walked away.

Ellen watched him go. She planned to take a shower then head back down. She turned to see Rod and Edward peeking at the door. She laughed.

“Yep,” Edward pointed at her “There’s a joke your hiding. What is it? Since when did you and my best friend started becoming friends”

Ellen coyly got around him and started up the stairs. “We’re not friends. I’m just here because I had no choice. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an arrangement with your best friend”

Edward let her run off and faced Rod. “How are you feeling now?”

Rod faked confusion. “Feels like I haven’t been shot in the rib”

Edward held his shoulder and smiled. “Good work. I’m sure Daniel is going to gather the remainder of the info and report back so you can rest”

Rod nodded.

“Uncle!” Lily’s loud voice came from down the hall.

“That is my cue,” Edward chuckled and the two men separated.

Ellen quickly freshened up and pulled on a fresh pair of black jeans, a white turtle neck jumper and left her feet bare. She wiggled her clean toenails, glad she hadn’t painted them before the whole fiasco. They would resemble cracked tiles by now if she did. She packed I the rest of her clothes in the closet and applied a little perfume.

Edward had been resourceful and purchased an obscene amount of clothing and feminine products for her. She now had a vanity table stacked with perfumes, lotions, soaps and makeup. The closet was replaced as well so she could feel a bit more like herself. She had given him a few tips on the style she wanted and he passed wonderfully. She just hadn’t expected him to go all out, given that she would be leaving in a moments notice.

She disregarded the thought and hurried to Marcus’s office. He had the papers spread across his coffee table and was in deep thought. She noiselessly closed the door and sat on the floor in front of him, starting to go through the list as well.

He briefly acknowledged her presence with quick eye contact then continued reading whatever was in his hand.

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