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Chapter Twenty-Five

Marcus sipped a cup of coffee in his living room with Edward and T. Ellen was busy packing up the papers he had spread out on the couch and organized them into one pile. It had been two days since they uncovered the truth about Garrett and everyone remained on high alert. Tonight, they'd be careful with their choice of words.

Ekon, Daniel and Garrett came through the front door. Rod was out for the night keeping tabs on Damon's whereabouts if the he was really involved. Garrett chose to sit next to Ellen on the second leather couch across from Marcus. Ekon stood next to Marcus and Daniel stood slightly behind T.

"Ah, now, we're all here," Marcus started.

"I'm still going through my list new members that Daniel hired since I've been MIA. Don't worry, Garrett and Ekon are excluded."

Garrett smiled.

"The next step is to find the fifth Aryan brother who escaped and find out where he's holed up. If he needs to make sure one of us is dead, there's a likelihood he'll be back with reinforcements"

The group nodded.

"However, so far, no idea who it could be."

Ellen watched as Garrett nodded with a sly smile. She slid from beside him and sat next to Marcus instead.

"For now, we'll keep a lookout"

Marcus finished going through the recited plan in his head and leaned back. He wanted Garrett to take the bait. He also followed Ellen's suggestion to wait it out and see what happens. Two days ago he didn't know she was capable of decoding all that and now she proved to be useful. He was beginning to get use to having someone's input, having someone lead just as he did. He was upset at first at her ordering Edward but then the idea made sense. He hadn't pieced together Damon's involvement either.

"Once we've got him, you'll handle this, got it Garrett?" Ellen spoke up.

The man nonchalantly shook his head.

"So, anything fun planned tonight?" Daniel asked to relieve the tension in the room. "We've got a party to go to. One of our investors is celebrating."

He had gotten back earlier that morning after ensuring Dani was safe. They had successfully gotten the DA's help, which in turn meant he had no choice but to return as soon as possible.

Marcus groaned. "Is this another stuffy event?"

"No no, it's business casual but if you want to go all out, we should be fine."

Marcus conceded that those not interested were allowed to go home and ended the meeting. Garrett waved them all goodbye and Ekon followed him out. They trusted him to keep an eye on the intruder. Daniel came up to his brother.

"I'll see you at The Cordons. They invested half of our sixty million profit this year so a show of gratefulness would be nice," He stated.

Marcus glanced at Ellen from the corner of his eye and realized she wasn't even focused on his conversation. Usually women who were after his money were more involved when they heard figures being discussed.

"I'll be there" Marcus stated flatly. He stormed off away from the living room to get dressed. Daniel watched him go with a air of anger. He waved Ellen goodbye.

"I'll tag along with Edward. I should have a dress or two to show off," she joked.

Edward smiled at her then went off to his own.

Marcus shook hands with Miss Cordon, a pale willowy woman who was still beautiful despite her age. She was dressed in a tall purple gown that had rhinestones encrusted along the bodice. Her hair was short at the ears, combed sleekly and low heels. He thanked her for the invitation and chatted idly about business for a few minutes. Daniel had joined him as well and the three were engaged in a ripe discussion until Mr. Cordon pulled her away.

Marcus patted Daniel on the back with brotherly affection.

"You did good while I was gone," He praised modestly.

Daniel sipped his wine and looked at him shocked. "Really?"

"Yes, I'm serious. The investors are happy and they speak praises of you"

Daniel blushed. "Thanks...I didn't think I'd ever do a good job like you and Dad."

Marcus finished his glass and slipped it to a passing waiter. "Dad was the brains of all this, of course he'd be fantastic at it. It's a shame he was bested by his rivals. I, on the other hand, am just his faithful follower, like you. We all do things differently...I appreciate that you aren't me. I always have"

Daniel felt the tears threatening to burst. "Oh shut up," he teased.

Marcus smiled. He was proud of his brother.

"Oh wow," Daniel breathed a moment later.

"What?" Marcus asked. Daniel pointed to the entrance of the wide room. There stood Ellen, dangling off Edward's elbow like supreme arm candy. She was elegantly dressed in a strapless, yellow, silk gown that had a thigh high split on her right leg and white six inch heels.

Her rather obvious curves stood out and her hair was tied back into a large wrap. Marcus managed to hide his lust filled look on his face but he couldn't say the same for the other men in the room.

"You two have become close lately," Daniel nudged him with his elbow teasingly.

Marcus rolled his eyes.

Edward and Ellen made their way toward them with quick strides. Daniel gave her hand a quick greeting kiss and Ellen shyly looked over at Marcus.

"Sorry, you know I like to be fashionably late" Edward smiled crookedly.

Marcus looked at his other side and saw Lily awkwardly trailing behind him in a pink mickey mouse dress and flat shoes. Her curls were contained by two ribbons. Marcus picked her up and brought her to his chest.

"The Great Ndrangheta family," came a strong male voice.

It was Mr Cordon minus his wife.

"My wife got in her demands in but I didn't"

Daniel took Lily from Marcus and he walked off with Edward. Marcus pulled Ellen close before she had the chance to follow his brother.

"May I speak to you privately," Mr Cordon clarified, eyeing Ellen strangely.

Marcus lightly brushed her elbow and took her hand in his. "Whatever you wish to say to me, you can say in front of her"

Ellen stared at him. He surprised her again.

"Very well," Mr Cordon sighed, "I wish to increase my percentage of the year end dividends"

Marcus furrowed his brows.

"Seeing you were MIA for so long, I should inform you that there was one period where my return on investment fell short"

"How short?"

"Ten million short" Mr. Cordon smiled.

Marcus remained quiet. How could he be short by such a high fraction?

"How does one's ROI drastically change in one year?" sounded Ellen's voice.

Mr Cordon looked from Marcus to her.

"Don't look at him, I'm asking you obviously," she continued.

"Well, I invested in the resale of the last guns that my company were in possession of"

"Then the quality of the merchandise is your problem, not his" Ellen stated with a firm voice. "Your ten million loss is your own fault"

Marcus smiled. "It was lovely chatting with you," He bid the man goodbye and walked away with Ellen at his hip. She had done great, once again and he strongly felt to embrace her then and there. He spotted the guys across the room and led Ellen with him.

"You surprise me," He whispered off guard.

Ellen blushed. She wasn't sure how to respond to that.

"How I expect you to act and how you do act, are surprising" he continued in a soft voice.

Everything about her was almost like a fresh blossom. He wondered how it was that all he knew were toxic women, when refreshing women were out there too.

"I'm happy I surprise you," Ellen mused out loud. "But you surprise me too."

Marcus looked down at her with a gentle expression.

"How I initially expected you to act and how you do act, too" she continued. "I'm happy that I met you...it doesn't change how I feel"

The two were so engrossed with each other that they didn't notice Edward and Daniel standing now standing next to them.

"Well, you two seem deep in conversation but I'd like to steal Ellen for a dance," Edward smiled.

Marcus caught his outstretched arm. "If you'd like to have two hands for the rest of your life, I suggest you step back"

Edward pulled his hand away and took Lily to the dance floor instead.

"May I?" Daniel tested

"If you'd like to keep your arms and your legs for the rest of your life--"

"Yeah yeah," Daniel cut him off, "I'm walking, I'm walking. Sheesh, so greedy"

Ellen laughed between the antics of the three men.

She was going to miss this...she truly was.

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