Edward stared at Ellen as Daniel relayed what happened at the warehouse. His jaw practically touched the floor and he couldn’t effectively keep it closed with his hand. He marched over to her and stretched his palm open.
“Your gun,” He stated.
Ellen relieved herself of the two guns she had. “Why?”
“Again, no self control” He mused.
Ellen rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. “You keep talking about self control but it isn’t so easy!”
Marcus watched the two argue it out with a solemn look on his face. Self control was something you learned over time, not in a few weeks. Expecting Ellen to not shoot when her friend was in danger was stupid to think. He placed a hand on Edward’s shoulder.
“Calm down man, we have one of his men in the basement. Its fine”
Edward’s jaw ticked and he sighed. “Fine, you get off this time”
Ellen stuck her tongue out at him.
“Are we dealing with children?” Daniel muttered.
Edward looked over at the brother. “While Ellen may not have a gun, I still do” he teased.
Daniel held up both hands as a sign of surrender.
“Anyway,” Marcus cleared his throat and the room went silent “Doc patched up our guy downstairs. I have a few questions to ask him”
Edward’s face brightened. “Then we get to shoot him?”
“And then you say I have zero self control” Ellen threw at him.
He shrugged. “Do you wanna shoot him too? I can give you back your gun”
At this, Daniel took the three guns from Edward and passed them to T. “You’re a bad influence. No shooting”
Edward slumped his shoulders and Ellen patted his shoulder comfortingly.
“Lets go,” Marcus announced. “T and Ekon are coming with me. The rest of you head home.”
Ellen stopped focusing on Edward’s childish pouting and tried to look at Marcus. His face had fallen and he seemed to be trying to hold back from showing any emotion. He brushed past her and was out of sight.
She figured it was because she didn’t give him an answer earlier. She had brushed his question off and then didn’t even reassure him that she felt the same way. It was obvious he was showing her that he felt something and wanted to explore it with her.
She frowned at herself.
“Hey, lets head to the house and clean up” Edward suggested. She nodded and limply followed him out to the car he had been driving. They climbed in and took off. Edward peered over her a few times and noticed Ellen’s mood was down. He suspected it had something to do with the way Marcus stormed off. He had watched their interaction all night and he was happy that his friend had found someone. He had noticed it from day one but he wasn’t going to say he was matchmaker.
“Ellen,” She looked over at him, “Don’t worry about it. Marcus can be a huge idiot sometimes and he’s still learning”
“What do you mean?”
Edward turned into the driveway. “Lets get out of this gear first then I’ll tell you”
She took his suggestion and headed inside the house. Although she wanted to learn about Marcus, she thought it was best to hear it from him. It was easy for things to be out of context coming from someone else’s mouth.
“I think it’s better we don’t discuss this at all” She stated once she had freshly showered and changed.
Edward was seated on the new sectional in the living room with his feet propped up on the new beige coffee table. He patted the spot next to him and she slowly complied.
“You know, you’ve been here for almost four months and I’ve never seen Marcus react to any woman like he does with you. I’ll say it’s because you’re actually genuine”
He briefly gave her body a once over and coughed. “Among other things”
Ellen narrowed her eyes at him. She was wearing a purple top with spaghetti straps and black sweatpants.
“From the look on his face earlier, it seems he wants you to stay but knowing him, he’s more likely to force you than ask”
Ellen shyly smiled at this. “Actually, he asked me earlier if I’d like to stay.”
“Yeah,” she continued, “But in a offhand way I told him no. It’s my final year of school and I’d like to graduate”
“I know this is probably late to ask, but what exactly are you studying?”
“I major in Economics with a minor in Psychology. I’ve been at this for about six years so I’d like to complete this journey”
Edward smiled at her approvingly. “That’s great. It explains why you knew Damon’s wounds were self inflicted. Makes sense”
The two agreed with each other until the room became tense again. This time, Edward’s face wasn’t comforting.
“While you may be okay with everything that’s happened thus far, I doubt you’ll be able to bluff at Marcus’s past. He’s messed up...we’re all messed up”
Ellen avoided his eyes and frowned sadly.
“Marcus hasn’t interacted with a woman in ten years and the time before that he was a notorious heart breaker. He can change his womanizer ways but the blood in his ledger won’t disappear Ellen”
She heard him sigh in frustration.
“I don’t intend to stay. This life isn’t my taste, no offense” She clarified.
“This life may not be to your liking but I dare say, it’s suits you well. Do I need to remind you of the number of people you’ve killed in the past few weeks”
She groaned at his statement.
“Also, have you forgotten you got the big kill of the night? Don’t you think I wanted to gut Garrett myself? If I had, he would have been unrecognizable”
She shivered. “Whatever...I can make my own decisions. Until Marcus chooses to talk to me, I’m taking a plane home in two days”
Edward remained quiet. She stood up and rubbed her arms in an effort to console herself. He stood as well and shoved his hands into his pocket. He was dressed in jeans and a clean shirt. His plan was to get some sleep as well but other things demanded his attention.
“Get some sleep. You’ll need it” He encouraged and let her head off to her room. He then pulled out his phone and made his way out front.
“Already here,” Answered Daniel. He was parked by the gate in another black BMW. Edward jogged his way down the path then climbed into the passenger seat. He had been surprised earlier when Daniel informed him of what happened. He was glad Ellen was there to keep Lily safe. If anything had happened to her, he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself.
“Thanks Daniel,” He whispered.
Daniel slapped a hand on Edward’s shoulder and smiled reassuringly.
“No need to thank me, my friend”
Edward scrunched his nose in mock disgust. “I think your feminine energy is peeking through again”
Daniel playfully tilted the steering wheel and the car ran off the road for a second. “I will kill you, don’t tempt me”
Marcus stood in the basement with T and Ekon surrounding the last remaining AB member. Doc had removed the bullet from his leg earlier and stopped the bleeding. His leg was now wrapped in a thin layer of guaze and they gave him a small dose of ibuprofen to ease the pain. Ekon had his gun in hand pointed at James but with a wave of his wrist, Marcus ordered him to lower it.
“Care to explain?” Marcus started.
James slowly looked between the three men and decided the truth was the best. He had no hatred for the Ndrangheta family. He barely knew them and he had no intention to get involved but Garrett had recruited him recently for this plan, despite his restrictions.
“I’m pretty sure you know the whole story already,” James choked out.
Marcus narrowed his eyes at him menacingly. “Pretend I don’t”
James swallowed in fear. He had a sick mother to return to and if they were willing to let him go, he would cooperate.
“If I talk, will I be able to return home? Free of this?”
“Why exactly?” Marcus asked. He glanced at T and Ekon who’s lips were sealed shut.
“My mother is sick”
Marcus rubbed his chin. “No, if you’re honest, I’ll think about recruiting you in my ranks then we can talk about your mother. I want to end this bloodshed now”
“As you should know already, Garrett’s father was arrested and killed because of your father, Silvio. Barry Mills was sentenced to life and then murdered in prison. Garrett was there the day your men came storming in...he watched his family being torn apart. Damon’s family was his protectors at the time, they grew up together in the Brotherhood. Unfortunately after the incident, Damon got mixed up with you.”
Marcus remained quiet. That explained one part he was wondering about.
“Once Garret got older, he finally reinstated as the club leader and began recruiting members from the families that had sworn loyalty to his father, being one myself. My grand father and father had been advisors and so it was my turn. My father died in the massacre too but I had no intent on returning to this life. I was done with it. However—” James looked over at T “Not many of us have the balls to refuse”
Marcus nodded a few times as he circled the concrete room. It was wholly brick and cement, not meant to be comfortable or comforting. He looked down at James.
“While you’ve more or less confirmed my previous info, we need to talk a bit more. I’ll let Doc finish with your wounds first”
Marcus turned to T and Ekon.
“Watch him for the night. I need to think”
The two statues nodded.