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Chapter Twenty-Three

Marcus looked at his watch. He was holding the last paper of the list in his hand. He had started at 11AM and his watch now displayed a few minutes after three. Ellen was now sitting on the chair across from him and had her legs folded beneath her. She had paused earlier to borrow his phone to call Dani.

He had changed the sim with a burner and gave her ten minutes. He could faintly hear bits and pieces of the conversation.

"My dad should be in Miami tomorrow so he'll probably stop by the school," Ellen mumbled. He watched her fiddle with her toes.

"I'm good. Not thrilled that I missed my tests but hopefully I can redo them once Dad clears my case."

Marcus continued watching her. It wasn't that he didn't trust her to keep specific info out of the conversation but he was beginning to admire her more. He'd already done it twice earlier too.

"How was your tests? I bet you failed calculus without me" Ellen smiled. She was barely aware of him staring.

"Hey, did you hear anything else from the police?"

Marcus put down the paper in his hand and rested his cheek on his fist.


Ellen tensed. "Hold on"

She put the phone on speaker and came over to Marcus.

"Could you repeat that Dani?"

"Yeah," Dani started, "I heard him talking about some guy named Garrett. Said he escaped from Mercy Hospital. Also, he was involved in identity theft and three or four DUI's"

Marcus's body language remained neutral. He didn't say anything or react.

"That's all I heard. I told him I didn't know a Garrett Mills nor did you so..should be it."

Ellen read the look on Marcus's face and hung up the call.

"Did you catch that?" she asked him.

Marcus flexed his neck. "It was in his background check. Most members have petty theft on their records, including DUI's, assault and bodily harm. It's not uncommon," he stated in a bored voice. Ellen put down the phone and shuffled hastily through the membership list. Marcus watched her with confusion.

"What is it?" He pushed up from his relaxed position.

Ellen found what she was looking for and thrust Garrett's info in his hand.

"I've read this--"

"You're not paying attention!" Ellen interjected softly. "The name on that file says Garrett Stein. The name at the DA's office says Garrett Mills!"

Marcus froze.

"Barry Mills had a son, right? Rod said that he may have changed his name and he's not registered at any hospitals. Garrett also has identity theft on his record," She pieced together.

Marcus replayed the conversation in his head. "So then...Garrett is..."

"He's the mole," Ellen whispered.
"Shit!" Marcus roared.

Ellen came up behind him as he turned away from her and faced the office door. She could sense the anger rolling off him in waves again. She was afraid of him, yes, but...it must have been lonely having to deal with everything. She hugged him from behind this time and rest her head on his back.

"He already knows we're on to him," she spoke calmly, "What we need to do now is pretend as if we know nothing more. Wait him out. Watch his moves. The next meeting, we watch him closely."

She felt his muscles release their pent up energy and his breathing evened out. Was this going to be a regular thing? she mused. Not that she minded. Any excuse to get close was good enough. Marcus hung his head down and nodded in agreement.

"I'll go tell Edward," she suggested.

She let him go and quietly left his office.

Edward processed Ellen's words over the phone. He had just completed addressing the gang at the warehouse and was about to leave. He had Ekon keep a close eye on Lily while he dealt with a few loose ends. He placed the phone between his shoulder and ear.

"I hear you," He breathed.

His jaw tightened and he clenched his fists. This was his fault. He had trusted Garrett. He had told him their location. He had vouched for him because he protected his best friend in prison. But now it came back to bite him in the ass.

"For now, keep it quiet. I think it's safe to tell Ekon and Rod too. In my opinion, lets keep this info from Damon. I've had a strange feeling about him since the incident."

Edward paced around Marcus's empty office. "What do you mean?"

He heard some shuffling in the background and then Ellen's voice dropped an octave.

"When Damon got back, the bruises on his face and arms, the angle and pressure appeared to be self inflicted. If the fifth member caught him off guard, why wasn't he more severely injured? I just...have a bad feeling about him."

Edward grind his teeth together.

"This isn't a direct order from Marcus, I'm just...making a guess. I'd like your support on this. Damon stays out of the loop, got me?"

Edward looked to the floor. "Got it. Damon out of the loop."

Ellen rejoiced. "Great. Don't forget to buy the car seat for Lily." With that she hung up.

He went down to the training floor to get Ekon and Lily. He found them off the floor in the resting area. He was juggling a toy over Lily's head and she playfully reaching out. He smiled but it soon faded. Garrett was sitting next to him with folded arms and conversing with Damon in a hushed tone. Edward approached them and signaled to Ekon. Ekon got up with Lily in his arms and walked over to him.

"We're leaving now. I need to discuss something with you." He stated.

Garrett came over behind him.

"Heading back?" Garrett asked.

Edward took Lily from Ekon and hugged her closely.

"Yeah, we'll see you tomorrow."

Garrett nodded and the two men walked off.

Ellen looked at the clock on the wall and noticed it was almost 5PM. The cook hadn't showed up at her usual time so she had considered making dinner for today. She fished for the ingredients she needed from the packed fridge and started the stove. Her mother had once taught her how to make Rigatoni and she considered Marcus would like it. It was the only Italian dish she was versed in so it was better than nothing.

She spent the next hour engrossed in chopping the red pepper flakes, melting the cheese and letting the creamy sauce simmer. In no time, it was done and she plated the pasta and poured the sauce on top. She covered a dish on the table for Marcus and went to get him. She found him watering the plants by the front garden, bent over a few Lilies. He had taken a shower and was now dressed down in a sweatpants and a green turtleneck sweater similar to her jumper.

"Hey, I don't think the cook is coming today so I made dinner," she shouted.

Marcus perused the flowers once more before he rose to his full length and came back to the house. He sniffed the air and a mouth-watering grin came on his face. Ellen smiled.

"It's Rigatoni with Vodka sauce," she elaborated. "I melted the cream with the peppers and then added the cheese. I added the garlic, basil and vodka after.

Marcus took a seat and dug his fork in. His phone began vibrating and he mentally cursed. He passed his phone to Ellen. He had gotten rid of the burner sim and put back his. She took it from him and hit the answer button.

"Ellen speaking"

Edward laughed in shock. "Where's Marcus?"

"He's eating dinner"

"Did he give his phone to you?"

Ellen looked at Marcus eating happily. "Yeah...why?"

"Nothing..." Ed stated cheerily, "Anyway, I wanted to speak to you actually. I saw Damon talking with Garrett at the warehouse. I trust your gut feeling on this"

"Great," Ellen smiled.

"Ekon and I are on our way back now so save some food for us too."

Ellen confirmed enough Rigatoni was there and Edward expressed thanks. She hung up and placed Marcus's phone beside his plate.

"Edward said--"

He held up his hand to stop her. "At this point...I know which side you are on. I heard your warning about Damon earlier and I let it be. No need to explain."

She smiled again. "Well then...lets eat!"

But she looked to his plate and realized it was empty. He stood up and went to the oven for a second helping.

"I'm afraid someone is going to starve tonight," he muttered to himself.

Ellen laughed. Yeah, Edward is definitely going to throw a fit.
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