A Deal To Be Made

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VIII

March 19th, Birmingham, England



"Arms out, please, Mr. Thomas." Blythe instructed while she grabbed a few pins from in between her lips.

"Mackenzie." He corrected once more before following the directions he was given. At the same time with the grace and fluidity of royalty he let both arms float up, watching Blythe in the mirror.

Taking a deep breath, as much as she could between pins, she began to run her lithe fingers down his ribcage and to his waist. Blythe felt for any areas in the waist coat that appeared to big and did not fit snugly. What she did not fail to recognize, however, were the speckles of goose flesh she raised on his skin as she did so.

"What business are you in, Mr. Thomas?" She asked quietly, trying to intently focus on the job her fingers were working on while not pricking him with the pins.

"Mackenzie." He corrected, again, putting extra emphasis on his name this time to get it through her thick skull. Mackenzie did not answer immediately, though. He chose to pause and observe the young woman. Her eyes were so concentrated on placing the tiny pins just perfectly ensuring the fabric fit him correctly. She glanced up at him through her thick, dark eyelashes as if to say 'Well?'. Sliding his eyes across her features before returning them to the sight of himself staring back from the mirrors, he pursed his lips. What would he tell her?

"I am an equine breeder." He stated simply, praying that little bit of information hadn't sparked any sort of remembrance. It wasn't necessarily untrue. He did run one of the largest breeding companies in the UK. Mackenzie had built it from scratch years ago before he had been old enough to earn a position at his families law firm, Inquisition, Inc. The latter was predominantly his leading career, but he was rather largely known in the racing world on the table, and under the table.

Blythe nodded, seeming to accept this answer. "And do you enjoy it?" She resumed her work, placing pins every so often down the seams of both sides of his waistcoat. Mackenzie simply shrugged in a reply. The quietness of this man nearly irked something in her, although she couldn't say what. She usually preferred the silence of a customer over their intruding questions that she had no desire to answer.

The rest of the appointment went off without a hitch. With comfortable sounds of only the people passing by outside accompanied by the quiet murmurs of the men he had brought along, Mackenzie and Blythe had not uttered another word to each other. After fitting the waistcoat she promptly held out the crisp black suit jacket. She admired the fabric shortly before placing it in his grasp. Her eyes observed him quietly as he, too, examined the fabric. Once deciding that it was quality enough he placed the jacket on with ease in one swoop of his lengthy arms.

He had specifically ordered this suit for the 2,000 Guineas coming up in just a few weeks time in late April. Mackenzie had never been an overly flashy man. He would rather hang back without the eye of the crowd, however, he did still enjoy a quality set-up. The suit he had chosen was as black as the night sky in the country on a cloudy evening. It had silver stitching emblazoned along the edges of the onyx suit that accented the hard steel of his eyes well. Between the suit and his ebony hair and beard his tanned skin contrasted well with his attire.

He brought his hands up to adjust the lapels of his jacket while raking his eyes up and down the image of himself in the mirror opposite of him. This would do well for the event. Mackenzie was glad that he had let Addington talk him into choosing these particular items.

"Alright, Mr. Thomas. We're finished here. I'll get these taken to the backroom and tailored for you to pick up for your next visit. It should take me about a week, tops." Blythe nodded before bringing her right hand down the center of his back to smooth out the wrinkles that had taken place.

A large shudder ran through Mackenzie, heading him to close his eyes and take in a deep breath. There was something about Blythe that sent electric quivers through his body, raising goose flesh everywhere. Turning around within the blink of an eye, Mackenzie snatched Blythe's hand in his own forcing her to take a step forward. Caught off guard she stumbled into him, staring up at him in massive green orbs. Her lips parted with a delicate gasp. He brought the back of her hand up to graze against his lips. "Hard to get through that thick skull of yours, isn't Ms. Davies?" He murmured, never taking his eyes away from hers. "Mackenzie." He whispered once more. "I'll be back in four days." Without another word, he removed the jacket and waistcoat placing them on the back of a nearby chair. Rolling up his sleeves, he signaled to the men waiting for him. With the grace of royalty they all stepped out of the shop and left Blythe to deal with the heavy atmosphere.

A large breath escaped escaped Blythe's lips that she hadn't even realized she was holding in. That man was entirely too much.



***



A few days later and it was time for the weekend. Blythe had been absolutely slammed in the backroom attempting to tailor not only Mr. Thomas' suit but four other custom orders as well. Mr. Addington had made it very evident however, that Mr. Thomas' order was to be finished before all the others and with the utmost attention. So she did as she was told and made sure every single stitch was removed and replaced with as much focus as she could muster during the busy season.

After packing up her belongings and locking the shop Blythe began the trek to the hospital. Her father still hadn't been discharged as of yet, but things were looking up. With any hope he could be released this weekend so long as he passed the remaining physical therapy tests. She was so elated that her father was doing well, but she still couldn't shake the dread of what they were to do after he was released.

As soon as she had entered the hospital the awful stench hit her like a brick wall. It smelled of death. That was a scent that she would never get used to, and hopefully never had to. A brisk eight minute walk through the hospital corridors finally let Blythe to stand outside her fathers door. The curtains for the windows had been pulled back allowing the public to see into the infirmary. It looked like her father was sleeping again. She wouldn't wake him. He needed his rest if he was to be rid of this place once and for good.

A small tap on her shoulder startled Blythe into turning around. A quaint nurse was standing behind her. Her stark white nursing attire was crisp in every way and her blonde hair was pulled back into a low bun under her cap.

"Ms. Davies?" She questioned quietly. In her arms she was clutching a plain brown clipboard that appeared to have a stack of papers a mile high.

Blythe nodded, plastering a smile across her lips. "That's me."

"If you have a moment, I'd like to discuss some finances with you." The nurse prodded softly. There was a tinge of sympathy in her dark brown eyes that didn't settle well with Blythe.

Her face blanching completely, with a big swallow Blythe shook her head once indicating that the nurse should continue.

"Your father has been making a rather well recovery. However, unfortunately these treatments do not come without any financial burden. I have taken it upon myself to gather all of your bills combined with those of your fathers. The top sheet represents the final cost that you will be invoiced for." With mild trepidation the nurse handed Blythe the clipboard.

Her throat closed making a small choking noise escape her mouth. Blythe's eyes nearly tripled in size as she scanned the document. This couldn't be real. It was even worse than she had imagined.
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