Broken Hearts & Coup D'etats

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Chapter EIGHTEEN

Ellerie Devereux

You have returned to your apartment early after a mindblowing, sensual night between Ford's sheets, to get a jump on assessing the damage..

Nothing appears to be missing and the culpret seems to have left many items of sentimental value relatively untouched.. If they were looking for something, what could it be?

Or if it is some kind of message, you have no idea what the person who did this is trying to tell you ..

Several forensic agents from Zeta team are busy, bustling in and out of the apartment completing their checks, dusting for prints and collecting samples.. Jackson watches over the process, directing them with a casual yet commanding ease..

You're flicking though a stack of bank statements that you had just collected from the floor of your study when you hear a firm knock rattle on the open front door.. Poking your head out into the hallway you nearly fall over when you see Hunter Paxton, dressed neatly in tan chinos and a pale blue button down shirt, he breezes through the doorway..

His face twisted in anger at the sight before him.. "Ellerie?" He calls out gruffly as you drop the papers on the desk and hurry out to meet him..

You hadn't exactly expected him to show up here and you're not quite sure why he would.. Or why you kind of like the fact that he has.. "Hi!" Your voice comes out just a little to high..

His eyes go over your shoulder to Ford who is now deep in discussion with one of the other agents.. "What the hell happened here?"

You wave a hand around the room at the busy team.. "Well.. That's the million dollar question, Axe.. What are you doing here?"

He nods a head in Jackson's direction.. "He called me.."

Your head bobbles in confusion.. He frowns, lowering his voice.. "Was this Pierce?"

You shurg a shoulder, you honestly don't know.. If this was Pierce, what changed since the last time you spoke to him, to push him from threat to action and why would he leave so much untouched?.. "Maybe? Probably? I don't know.."

You turn back to the mess with a sigh.. "Regardless.. Its not ideal for me to be staying here so.."

His eyes flick over to Jackson again, who has only now acknowledged Paxton's presence.. "So, you're staying with him?" His tone has a hard edge to it as he stares across the room at Ford..

You swallow nervous and all too aware of the potential drama of this situation.. You nod slowly.. "Yeah.."

Anxiety rises in your chest, is he going to say something?

The last thing you need is more tension, more things to worry about!

Instead, he gives a stiff nod, turning back to you.. "Right.."

Jackson strides across the room towards you then, he nods to Paxton, greeting him casually before he turns back to you.. "Axe.. Ellerie, Zeta were able to recover a set of prints and a possible DNA sample. There's nothing else.." He informs you in a professional tone..

"Okay.. Tell them to head back to Specter and to call us the second they find a verified match.. Thank you, Jax..." He nods again and leaves without another word, striding across the living room to pass on the information to the Zeta officers..

You're glad he's here to help you deal with all of this, it's starting to feel like you're going to need more help than you were willing to admit..

"So you're gunna live with the guy now?" You turn back to Paxton, surprised to still be on the subject of Ford..

"I'm not living with him.. I'm staying with him.. And.. I'm not sure I need to be explaining this to you.." You narrow your eyes on him..

"And yet, here you are.." He grins that cocky grin..

"Mmmm.." You hum disapprovingly..

He holds up his hands in surrender, yielding the tension he is purposefully creating with his line of questioning.. "Alright, alright.. I suppose its better than you staying here.."

You scoff and shake your head.. As if you need his permission..

But what you do need is his help, so you bite your tounge instead of saying so..

He looks around the wrecked room... "Sheesh, what a mess.. You alright?"

You nod, feeling kind of numb.. "I'm fine.."

Your phone buzzes in your pocket and you pull it out glancing at the screen.. The number is blocked..

You smile at Hunter who arches an interested eyebrow before your take a few steps away from him, just enough to be out of earshot before answering in a low voice.. "Hello?"

You're fully prepared for another tyraid from Elijah.. Instead, a trembling female voice responds down the line.. "Ellerie?"

You recognise her voice.. Mikki De'lucca.. She sounds as though she is scared.. Maybe even crying.. Worry grips you instantly.. "Mikki? Are you okay? Where are you?"

There is a scraping sound, and somebody, a man, yelling in the background.. Her breathy panicked voice whispers in your ear.. "I'm sorry, Ellerie.. I'm so sorry.." There is a shout and a gasp, then the line goes dead..

What is going on!?

What could she possibly be sorry for?

You slip the phone into the pocket of your crisp white demon shorts and adjust the long lace sleeves of your striking cobolt-blue sweater, crossing back to where Hunter waits..

"Anything good?" He asks curiously..

You can't stand the idea of bringing another investigation down on poor Mikki.. Even if she did something bad, you want to be the first to know exactly what is going on with her.. If there's any chance you can help her, you'll try.. You shake your head and smile at him.. "Nope.."

KNOCK - KNOCK

Another knock on your door echoes throughout the room.. You and Hunter both spin around to see, Kirby Carter standing there, stunned, looking like smart-business perfection in a tight black pencil skirt and blazer combination..
"Oh my god, Ellerie!"

"Kirby!" You take a step toward her and she does the same, in her hand you see a thick A4 sized envelope..

"Are you okay? What happened!?"

You give her a weak smile, it's nice of her to be so concerned for you.. "I'm fine, really.. Just a break in.. It happens.."

She nods, her eyes scrutinising the Zeta agents behind you curiously.. She's a smart enough woman to put two and two together and work out that this is likely connected to the case.. "As long as you're okay.. I have the FBI's discovery request reply.. There's a few things we should go over.. Have you received any further documentation?"

You nod, moving to your handbag that sits on the entry table by the door.. "The subpoena was delivered to my offices this morning.. We picked it up before coming here.."

You pull the paperclipped subpoena papers from your bag and hand them to her.. She scans each page twice.. "The hearing is set for three weeks from now.. Is that enough time?"

She nods but doesn't look up from the pages.. "Plenty.."

Hunter steps up beside you, his hard, cold gaze set on Kirby.. The way he's looking at her, you'd swear he was about to go off on her.. Like he hates her or something.. That has you awfully curious.. You clear your throat and attempt to make an introduction.. "Axe, this is my lawyer, Kirby Carter... Kirby, this is--"

He cuts you off, offering his hand to Kirby, speaking cooly.. "Axe Hunt.."

She completely ignores his hand, instead offering him brief disinterested glance and a curt professional nod.. "Nice to meet you Mr Hunt.." She turns back to you and you try not to smirk as Paxton's hand drops back to his side, the scowl on his face growing deeper.. "I was just dropping these off on my way to the office, if you could go over them and let me know if there's anything.." She glances at Hunter warily, her concern for your confidentiality just further reassures you that you made the right choice with her.. "... Out of place..Come by my office when you're ready to discuss.."

You take the hefty envelope from her with a smile.. "Thanks Kirby.." She smiles briefly, before she turns on her heel" Not a problem.. I'll see you.." Abd then she's gone, her sky high heel clicking down the footpath without so much as another glance in Paxton's direction..

You turn to him, now with a sly grin of your own.. "Axe Hunt? Really? She's hardly a threat to you're identity, Hunter.."

He grunts, watching her as she gets into her black sedan.. "Hm.. You can't know that Ellerie.." He's acting so bizarre.. But it's really not your business who he does and doesn't share his identity with..

You hold up your hands defensively.. "Okay.. If you wanna be known by an alias, go right ahead.."

He nods silently and there is an oddly tense pause.. You can't help but add.. "Just seems lonely is all.."

He grins his sharky, confident grin.. "Mhmm, I'm desperately lonely, firecracker.." His tone is dripping with sarcasm and and hint of innuendo..

But with a face like that on a body like his, you know its highly unlikely that he has every been 'lonely' in the implied sense..

You laugh, offering a teasing jab in return.. "I find that impossible to believe, 'Mr Hunt'.."

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