Mr. Dark 5By: Lauren Landish
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Around midnight, the closing credits of the movie were rolling. Tabby was asleep next to me, her left leg thrown over my thigh and her head pillowed on my breast when Mark came in. "Shhh," I said quietly after he had done his double take and realized who it was. The movie was a big hint, I think. "We have a visitor."
"I see," he whispered, carefully taking the quarter of a cheesecake from me and taking a bite. "Thanks for leaving me some dessert."
"She needed it," I said, stroking her hair. "She was pretty messed up, but she'll get better."
"Okay," Mark replied, not needing any other commentary. He trusted me, which is spoke deeply to me. "Should I just bring you two a blanket?"
"That'd be nice," I said, smiling. "Thanks. How was your work?"
"I'm prepped as much as I can," he said. "Need a few little tools, but we can discuss that in the morning. I'll help you with yours tomorrow."
"Okay. I love you," I whispered. Mark smiled, blew me a kiss and stood up, taking the rest of the cheesecake with him. I turned and pulled Tabby a little bit tighter, wrapping both arms around her before dropping off to sleep myself, barely feeling it when Mark draped the blanket over us.
Both Sophie and Tabby were pleasantly surprised when I brought them breakfast the next morning, about the only breakfast I knew how to make well, Southern style biscuits and sausage gravy. I found them spooned together on the large bean bag, both of them looking tiny in the middle of the immense sack, which I had ordered to be more than large enough for me and Sophie. Setting the two plates on the low coffee table in front of them, I went and got my own plate and set it down before waking them up. "Good morning ladies," I said, sitting cross legged on the far side of the table.
Tabby groaned, while Sophie rolled and stretched before blinking and looking at me. Tabby sat up, giving Sophie a chance to finish rolling and start rubbing circulation back into her left arm. I could understand, she and I had fallen asleep on the bean bag before, and it was tricky. The surface was shifting and soft enough that you could stay that way all night, but you still woke up with a pretty wicked case of pins and needles in your forearm. "Wow, breakfast in bed," Tabby said sleepily. "He is perfect."
"Not quite, but I'll keep him," Sophie said, running her fingers through her hair. "Hold that thought though, I need to use the potty."
Tabby apparently had to as well, as both girls disappeared for a few minutes, coming back looking like they'd both washed their faces and maybe swirled some mouthwash before coming back. In any case, both girls looked much more refreshed, Tabby pulling her hair back into a quick ponytail.
"Wow, country boys can survive," she said after taking a bite of her biscuits and gravy. "Now, if you tell me you made these biscuits from scratch, I'm going to have to kidnap you and keep you for my own. Or just invite myself to live here permanently."
"Actually, I wanted to talk to the two of you about that," I said, setting my spoon aside. While you can eat biscuits and gravy with a fork, spoons work much better for scooping the gravy up into your mouth. "How would you like to live here?"
"What do you mean?" Tabby said, grinning foolishly. "Mark, just because I slept together with Sophie doesn't mean I need to move in with you guys."
"You wouldn't be," I said, causing both women to look at me like I was crazy. I looked from Sophie to Tabby. "You didn't fill her in on our plan?"
Sophie shook her head. "I was going to leave that decision to you."
"What plan?" Tabby asked.
"We're going to go into our end game," I said, leaving out a lot of details. Sophie could understand that people had to die, I wasn't sure if Tabby could. "If our plan goes well, then both sides of this criminal chokehold on the city will get broken."
Tabby took another bite of her breakfast, chewing while she digested the information I'd just given her. "Okay, so what part of that means I live here and you don't?"
I shrugged. "If things go well, Marcus Smiley and Sophie Warbird will have to disappear. But that puts us in a bit of a pickle. You see, one of the things we've used in our long term game plan is the financial investments that you set up for us. We're tied in with how many companies now in the city?"
"You're approaching forty," Tabby said after a moment. "I was just working on your quarterly report last night when Sophie rescued me from the office."
I nodded. "That sounds about right, and there's a lot of money that is in our investment fund that we haven't even touched yet. Tabby, I can't just disappear without those companies going through hell, especially if it comes to light that the money is tainted. So I need another way out."