Mr. Dark 5By: Lauren Landish
I didn't like my plan, but it was the easiest way for me to get to her. During the night, Han Faoxin was either protected or within structures that were controlled by the various Asian crime groups. There was little chance I could get in and out safely. But at Harrison High, I only had to worry about the security systems in place of a rather prestigious private high school and whatever weapon, if any, she had on her.
Not that Faoxin was a pushover. Trained from birth, she could more than handle herself, and I could be assured that she was carrying some form of weapon on her. Still, it was my best shot, and I couldn't think of a better chance.
While Mark was preparing himself for Han Faoxin, I was across town, taking a moment to see an old friend. Since being played and having her heart broken by Scott Pressman, the Knave of Hearts, I'd been worried about her. Tabby Williams was my best friend for a very long time, going on nine years. I'd never seen her as messed up as she was when Mark and I revealed who Scott Pressman was, and in the weeks since, something just hadn't been right with her.
Knocking lightly on the frame of her office door, Tabby looked up from her desk, long after most of the other financial analysts in her firm had left. "You know, I think it'll wait until tomorrow," I said with a smile, before doing a double take.
For as long as I'd known her, Tabby had long, lustrous auburn hair. It was the perfect color of red, dark enough so that she couldn't really call herself a "ginger" except as a joke, but bright enough that she was striking. Combined with her natural beauty, and Tabby had been a head turner as long as I'd known her.
One of her old flames, one who had come over to the dorm room Tabby and I shared and ended up spilling his guts, told me that Tabby had the kind of hair that wound through your fantasies, spread out over a pillow or draped over your vision. "The sun filtered through her hair would look blood red, like a ruby trapped in a web," he said while sipping at the beer I had offered him. "The thing is, that ruby could easily be your heart, and you knew it, but didn't care. When she was on top of me like that, none of it mattered."
Yeah, that was Tabby. Now, instead of the vivacious redhead, a raven haired woman with slightly drawn cheekbones looked up at me. Her normally creamy pale skin was bordering on sickly white, and she looked cadaverous. I realized I had gotten so busy over the past two weeks that even when she stopped by the office, I'd not looked at her as closely as I should have, and was put off by her bluff and bluster. The hair was new though, I was sure of that.
"Hey Sophie," Tabby said, trying to give me a smile. It didn't work, and looked more like a rictus of pain than a genuine smile. "What's up?"
"It doesn't matter," I said, coming over and closing her laptop. "You're coming with me, now."
"But I have a ton of work....." Tabby said before I cut her off. I seemed to be doing that a lot recently.
"Nothing that won't keep for a day, since I control eighty percent of your workload anyway," I said, taking her by the hand. "You're sitting here looking more like the Bride of Dracula than the woman who means most to my life, so we're getting out of here. If you insist, I'll bring your laptop with me, but you're not opening it until tomorrow morning, and then only at my house. You can send your bosses a note saying that Marcus and I got you up at six in the morning for a business meeting or some other sort of lie. I'll back you up on it."
Tabby looked like she was about to protest again, when I played my best weapon. Taking her other hand, I looked her in the eyes and smiled. "Come on, it'll be fun. Just the two of us."
It was obvious that she needed me. For all of Tabby’s playful flirting, and underneath that sex kitten exterior that she likes to put on, she has a deep romantic streak. She wanted more than anything to find someone that she could give her heart to, to share her soul with. And yes, someone who could keep up in bed with her. You think someone who studied for her freshman psychology final by listening to Bryan Adams ballads doesn't have a romantic streak?
"I guess I have been a bit too focused on work," she said, resting her head on my shoulder. She felt feather light, and I wondered if the ten pounds of weight loss was more. "I just haven't been able to sleep well."
"Even in your new place?" I asked. After Scott Pressman had broken her heart, she hadn't felt safe in her old apartment, so Mark and I had helped her move into a better place, one with security and no criminal control. Mark had also surreptitiously placed extra security measures that only the three of us knew about and made her apartment just about one of the most secure places in the entire city.