"Rigor Mortis"-The life after death RP(Started/PM for participation)-Arc 4: Closing Loose Ends

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"Alright, Frank, I'll be blunt. What are you, how do you use those powers, and do we all have access to them, or is it just Marcus?"

Ben was in no mood to be subtle, and honestly, considering what he had seen and what had happened yesterday, there really was no way to be so.

"Also, what's the plan for today? You wouldn't be here just to answer questions. Also, when are we going to meet Alice, I've heard some interesting things about her that doesn't quite mesh with some of my own conclusions."

"Well, Brendan's already said most of what I wanted to ask, Frank." Marcus followed up. "So I'just have this. Do we have to do this forever now? Is there ever a time when our 'service' to you is up, and if not, do we at least get paid for doing your dirty work?"

Marcus held up the files, "And lastly, what's in this and why was it worth killing a man to get our hands on?"

Frank had closed his eyes, his cigarette continued to burn in a slow pace. "Give me the files. Alice needs those.", Frank said. He opened his eyes and slowly raised his head, looking at Ben. "I won't tell you. First you survive long enough for me to care", Frank said in his unchanging husky tone. He raised his right hand and moved it across his chest, "I needed him alive, but he shot me. I don't need traitors", Frank said, answering Marcus's question.

Frank stood up and walked towards Marcus, now standing at the hallway. His hand reached for his pant's pocket and took out a glass bottle filled with violet pills which he then put on the table. "Give me the papers", Frank said, "Each of you take four. Those aren't so sweet.", he added.

"I'm here to see if you have any questions."

Spencer scoffed.

"You say that, but you refuse to answer them."

He walked up to the table and took four pills out of the bottle, examining them carefully in his hand. Hesitating a bit, he filled up his glass with water and swallowed one of them. Perhaps it was because of his empty stomach, but it tasted nauseatingly bitter. He shuddered and turned to Frank.

"If you're here to hand out more envelopes, just get it over with."

The sooner I'm done with this guy's work, the sooner I can get my life back.

Spencer repeated the thought in his head. He knew it might not be true, but it was what kept him going.

Marcus shot Frank a dirty look as he handed over the files. He knew what Frank was capable of now and wasn't stupid enough to get into another confrontation with him, but he was annoyed at how Frank had just dished out more orders and had explained nothing. Spencer was right, and Marcus was glad he wasn't the only one getting sick of this shit.

"Each of you take four. Those aren't so sweet."

"Here's a question." Marcus replied "What exactly are these things? Will you at least tell us what they do and how they work? I'm sorry that I'm not inclined to accept pills and candy from murderers who don't tell me anything."

Frank rolled the cigarette in between his lips. He spit the but on the floor and turned around with the files in his hand. He reached for his pant's back pocket and threw a thick, white envelope on the table. "That's one thousand, two hundred and twenty seven dollars. Clean this place up. Marcus-", He addressed one of his employees by his name for the first time, "-I'll tell you what you need to know.", Frank said. He walked to the front door and closed it, using a key to lock it. He turned around and looked at the others.

"You're not Dead. But you aren't alive either. If you want to keep moving, you do your job. Each of you has life energy siphoned from others. That is how you all live. Those pills are conveniently packaged life energy." Frank continued his explanation. He leaned against the door. "It won't always involve death. It was unfortunate for you to see that-", he said. Frank looked at Ben, "When you die, you can't rest. The Darkness won't accept you. You lose your life energy. When you breathe, eat, sleep... You are living like humans. It costs you energy. Which I supply" Frank turned his gaze back at the glass bottle filled with violet pills.

"You run out of energy and you're gone. You want to give up on life, you can stop working for me. But always remember - ", Frank looked at Adrian, "We charge interest".

Marcus was slightly taken aback by the use of his first name. He wasn't sure whether Frank was trying to be friendly. If he was, it wasn't entirely working, but it was a start at least.

He had asked about money half-jokingly, so he was even more surprised to see Frank produce a large wad of cash from his pocked and throw it onto the table. He knew he would need it, but a part of him wanted to reject it completely. He had no desire to be a mobster, he didn't want to be paid for killing.

Marcus wasn't so sure what to make of the rest of it. So this was the deal. There could be no going back, ever. It was not like Marcus had much to go back to, but still, the part he hated was the notion that others would now be, quite literally, in charge of his life. He felt like a dog, dependent on being fed by it's owner, except this time the food was little, pre-packaged casuals of 'life' itself. His only choice being a life like this, or death. Marcus mind again ran over the images of his parents. He examined his guilt, his new found grief, and he allowed himself to debate, just for a moment, whether he actually wanted to live.

Don't be stupid! he told himself. He'd died before, he knew what it felt like. It wasn't peaceful, there would be no white light waiting to welcome him. He would not be reunited with them. Marcus had never given up on anything before, and he didn't intend to start now.

He took the pills and swallowed them down. They tasted horrible.

"So what do you have for us now?" he asked, this time less agressively, more business-like.

"We charge interest"

That did it.

When Frank looked into his eyes as he spoke those words, something inside of Adrian's mind clicked. Brendan had been correct. The smoking man had killed that family in his presence to prove a point. It was a threat about the consequences of leaving this second chance behind.

Adrian Hardy did not bow to threats.

His eyes blazed with a quiet fury as he stared a hole through Frank's skull. There was nothing that Adrian could do about it now. They did have him at the disadvantage by quietly holding his family's lives at ransom against his cooperation. He would have to play along for now...there was no other choice.

"So this isn't a job. This is a debt that can never be paid in full."

Adrian's voice didn't seem his own. It was a tone of voice in which he hadn't spoken in years. There had been no need...there were no obstacles in his life that needed removing.

A brief pause and a smile followed his words. Suddenly Adrian seemed like himself again.

"Might as well get the day started then."

Frank noticed Adrian staring at him.

He understands . A small, almost unnoticeable grin appeared on Frank's face as Adrian replied. "So this isn't a job. This is a debt that can never be paid in full.". Frank knew the truth all too well.

"Take a break", Frank said and turned around, walking towards the door. He unlocked the door and threw the key at Marcus. "An armchair would look great here", he said. Frank opened the door and looked back at the filled room.

Frank was about to leave when Marcus realized that the most important question remained unanswered.

"Does everyone who dies get the same offer we were given?" He asked "If not, the why us? Why do we deserve a second chance?"

Ben grabbed one of the pills on the table, if they kept him alive, he would take it.

He put the pill in his mouth and swallowed. He would learn how to create these, he hated being indebted, particularly to this thing. He still hadn't gotten any answers to his questions, but Frank- what a bland name- had hinted that he would get them sooner or later.

The money on the table- just a little over a grand- it wouldn't be enough to fully furnish the place. If they were going shopping, Ben would need to pick up some more at his bank.

Then Marcus asked the questions that they were all wondering, but weren't asking Frank about. Are we the only ones? Ben waited for Frank to answer

"I did not choose you" Frank replied. "Men die and men live. Some get to play gods. Others end in the gutter. Only one thing is certain-", Frank said and paused, "-Dead men tell no tales. I'll see you later". Frank left the apartment without giving a straight answer. Some questions are best left unanswered, for mow.

"Welp, we asked many questions and got no answers. Why the fuck did he come here again?" Ben asked when Frank left, "He knows enough about us that he should know that we could probably pool our resources and be able to furnish this place on our own, and one grand will not cut it.

"Anyways, we need to split up to do our shopping. Groups of two would probably be best. We'll need to split up the money for stuff we need. I have a car, so I can take some stuff, though I don't think I could fit an armchair or any other furnature in there. So we'll need someone to go rent a U-Haul or something larger for the day. Look through classifieds to try and get cheaper things."

"So now we're hitmen and decorators? Does everyone go through something like this after death?"

Afterlife theorists would have a field day with this.

Spencer counted the money on the table. Exactly one thousand, two hundred and twenty seven dollars.

"So that's... 409$ per group? If we're pooling our resources, I have about 270$ on me."

His wallet was the only place he kept his money, partly because he never knew when he could need it, but mostly to discourage Melanie from "borrowing" it from his room. She would always try to pay him back, but despite her best intentions, her forgetfulness often got in the way. This was the first time Spencer thought about her after his death, but he knew he couldn't distract himself with thoughts of family. It used to be different, but his priorities have changed.

Sighing, he took his laptop out of his backpack, started it up and sat down on the floor. After a few minutes, he spoke up.

"There's a U-Haul rental place nearby, it's about a ten-minute walk from here. I don't have my own car, but I have a license, so I guess I'll be heading there."

He neatly placed everything back in its place and stood up, dusting off his pants as he did so.

Dissatisfied with the lack of clarity in Franks answer, Marcus barely listened to Brendan's assessment of the situation. He wondered exactly who Brendan thought he was trying to dictate the arrangements for their cosy little home improvement; surely the one guy who'd managed to get himself killed on their first mission was in no position to take charge over anything. However, Marcus did not possess the passion for decorating required to challenge him, and so responded with a few dispassionate nods of indifference.

He needed a shower. Not just because he had not had one the night before, but because Marcus also felt he wanted to be alone for a while. He needed to block everything else out and assess, to figure out what he was feeling and what he wanted to do about it. Recent events had put far more stress on Marcus than he was used to coping with, and the cracks were starting to show in his previously flawless self-projection as a result. When he emerged, Marcus needed to be calmer, more focused. If he couldn't control anything else, he could at least control what was happening inside his own mind.

He walked into the bathroom where he stripped, tuned the water temperature almost as high as it would go, and immersed himself in it. The effect was almost instantly cathartic. The scolding hot water felt like it was searing away the events of the past day from his skin. The tension in his muscles melted, and he allowed himself to slide down the shower wall, finishing sat, curled up, on the floor.

After a few minutes of brooding meditation Marcus was surprised by what came forth in his mind as the chief annoyance. He was disappointed. Yesterday he had risked his life. He had held a knife against another man's skin, been shot, discovered a power within himself that he had never thought possible, opened his mind up to horrors that had made him despise himself, and witnessed unspeakable brutality first hand; and what was he doing today? Home improvement. If there was anything that Marcus would have thought the life of an undead Hitman would not involve, it would have been inane and boring tasks suck as this. He remembered feeling a vast array of emotions the night before, yet he could not ever remember feeling fear. If anything, it had been a thrilling experience overall. Should he have been terrified? Disgusted? What did it say about him to think that last night had made him feel more alive than any other moment in life?

Those questions would answer themselves in time, and the last thing Marcus needed right now was even more ammunition to throw at himself. He stayed in a few more minutes, letting the water wash away his sins, for now. When he emerged, drying himself and getting re-dressed, he felt almost as good as new.

Mira stood there, aghast at what the employer, Frank, had told them to do. Clean up? She rolled her eyes as the thought of them being brought back to life to not only kill but spruce what little space they had. She looked at her fellow group members glad that she wasn't the only one sharing the sentiments.

Frank's appearance and quick leave of this place made her wish that she spoke up. There was still a plethora of questions unanswered and Mira regretted she didn't ask. Once Frank had left Mira took a pill and swallowed, wanting to make every second that she was there count. She watched as Marcus take the bathroom and she could sense his frustration. To be honest, she didn't quite trust the rest of the group as she did Marcus. What he said back at the building when she was "purging" herself touched home with her. In fact, it almost sounded in snych to what David would have said. She trusted him and that was enough.

When Marcus finally decided to leave the bathroom with the steam from the shower floating past him she talked to him

"This is bullshit..." She whispered.

"Well, we could always go and collect another 'debt' if you want..." Marcus replied jokingly.

He wasn't sure if his sense of humor was quite in line with hers, so he adopted a still friendly, yet more serious tone from then on.

"Listen, I hear you. One minute he asks us to kill, the next he wants us comparing wallpaper patterns. That's a fucked up job description if I ever saw one; and all the while he won't even answer our questions except with more riddles. But I've been thinking; we might not be able to run, or fight back, but there is something we can do."

Marcus wondered why he hadn't come to this realization until just now. It must have been at the back of his mind somewhere, but it just hadn't emerged before now. It seemed talking to Mira made him figure things out about himself that he wan't even aware of.

"We won't become like them." Marcus said emphatically. "No matter what they make us do, no matter how long they keep us in the dark, we're not going to just lay back and accept it, not entirely at least. I can't help that my life is tied to them, and that things won't ever be the same again, there's nothing I can do about that. But I can still hold on to the memory of who I was before. They can't force me to forget. I'm not their attack dog. Whenever possible, I still do things my way, and I won't give up asking questions until I get some Goddamn answers."

Marcus sighed and bowed his head. "Look, I know that's not much of a victory, but it's all we've got, and if we want to be more than just their servants, we have to hold onto it with everything we've got. They may control what I do, but they don't control what I think and what I feel, so I'll be damned if I'm gonna let them take that away from me."

"You missed a 'yet' there in your sentence Marcus. We might not be able to run, or fight back right now, but that doesn't mean that we won't be able to in the future. You have, at the very least, the power to heal, that bodes well for the rest of us. What makes you different than the rest of us that only you would have the ability to access powers? Don't answer that, I'm speaking in rhetoric.

"As for why we're doing this, even hitmen don't go out and kill every day, and we can't exactly get jobs considering we're legally dead. So what do we do in our spare time? We get our space tidied up, make it so we're not bored as all hell when we're waiting around. We can't get jobs, considering we're dead, and this place really needs to spruced up a bit. Think of it as moving into a new life- you have to set yourself up first before you do anything else."

Ben finished with his spiel. Frank had left him angry with his evasions and half-answers to the posed questions. He still needed information that was being left out, he would get it eventually, and then he would start making plans.

"Anyways, I'll wait up for Evey, I'm going to want a woman's eye when I go shopping, I suck at it myself. I have a little more time than you guys, considering I already have my vehicle parked out back, and she's going to want an explaination of what's all going on."

"Alright then," Marcus responded "I've got a car, so let's say Mira, Adrian and I go to the Mall to pick up some smaller things, while you, Evey and Spencer go pick up a U-Haul for the heavier stuff. How's that sound?"

"Sounds good. If you have enough money when you're done, try to pick up some disposable cell-phones while you're there, there might be a time that we need to be in contact with each other, and it's better to be prepared rather than unprepared. If you don't have enough, I can go pick some up later, I have a little bit of money left in my trust fund, and I don't think that they will have closed the account yet."

Ben split up the money, giving 700 dollars to Marcus and keeping the rest for his own group.

"I'm giving you a little bit more money as I do have a little bit left in my account that I can use. You guys can take off now, Spencer and I will wait up for Evey," Ben turned to Spencer, "Unless you want to head over to the U-Haul now and go pick it up?"

The Tartaros Pit wasn't the kind of place you would expect to be a clothing store. Sitting near the entrance to the Lincoln Mall, it served passers by with with elegant men's apparel. Looking at the entrance through the glass, Frank stood near the parking lot of the Mall. He stayed still for over ten minutes, keeping his head steady as he tried not to look down at the person sitting in front of him. She was drawing a picture on a sheet of paper, held up on a wooden post. "One moment, Frank", the woman said in her sweet voice. Frank's right eyebrow twitched and he walked out of his pose. The woman protested, but he walked around her and looked at the picture.

"That uniform", Frank quietly said. "Yes, Frank. I remember. US Infantry had different clothes. I don't know why you won't throw that old German one", the woman looked at his grey blazer and copper, silver colored eagle pin. "Alice. Stop", Frank looks visibly uncomfortable, "A nice drawing", he tried to end the conversation.

"You know I hate them", Alice said, this time in a different, emotionless tone. Frank crouched down and held his head near Alice's."Did you hate Klaus?", he whispered in her ear.

"Oui. Je le'ai deteste"

"I'll go get the U-Haul. Just fill Evey in on the job details when she's up."

Spencer made a slight detour on his way to the rental to check out a nearby news stand. Something was telling him it was a bad idea, but the woman at the counter seemed so absorbed in her fashion magazine that he decided to do it anyway. He flipped through some of the newspapers, scouring the pages for news of the accident at the library, trying to turn away from the clerk enough so she doesn't see his face, but not too much, to avoid looking suspicious.

Upon seeing no mention of his death in any paper, Spencer still wasn't satisfied. The absence of his death from the paper was a slight advantage, but it wasn't enough. He had only just died last night, and the papers most likely simply didn't have time to publish the news. The other media were probably faster.

He put the papers back and continued on his way to the rental.

Mira followed along with what Marcus had to say.

"As long as we get this thing over and done with, I don't care what we do." Mira said apprehensive of the entire situation. Would it be such a simple mission for them to spruce up the place? Was it another trial in store for them?

She tried to think what David would do in her position but at this point she wouldn't have been surprised if he had. Frank had mentioned that some people had been given this chance to live past death and wondered if David had met Frank before.

"Let's go." Mira said nonchalantly.

Ben walked over to the bedroom door, not watching everyone leave. He knocked.

"Hey Evey? Are you awake?"

He thought he heard stirring in the bedroom. He sat down on the couch and waited, Spencer should be back soon with the U-Haul, and Evey should be getting up soon. He closed his eyes and started meditating.

Short deep inhale, long exhale. Short deep inhale, long exhale...

Inside Marcus' car the mood certainly wasn't one of three people having just been given the day off. In fact, the atmosphere could have been cut with a knife. Marcus found himself in the very unusual position for him of being decidedly the most optimistic and light-hearted person in the group. The things he and Mira had seen yesterday had still taken their toll on Marcus just like the rest of them, but having managed to succeed and live through it had softened the blow; and now the initial shock was dying down Marcus was feeling a little pleased with himself. His new found power made him feel like he was achieving something, and he had to suppress the beginnings of smugness at the thought of him being 'ahead' of the rest of the group. Yesterday had been one of the worst days of his life, and it was the sense that things could only get better from here that buoyed him.

By contrast, Mira seemed distinctly miserable, while Adrian seemed to be burning in silent anger. This interested Marcus, last night Adrian had just seemed exhausted and morose; what had happened since to cause this change? For the first time since they met, Marcus was thinking that he may have underestimated Adrian. The man had, after all, escaped injury where Brendan had not; and now there was something about the way his features were set, despite his mean stature, which made him look distinctly dangerous.

Marcus contemplated saying something, trying to inject some enthusiasm into them. However, he decided against it. Him trying to play the inspirational leader now would probably only make things worse. Besides, he wasn't sure if he had the necessary level of empathy to pull it off in this situation.

Marcus had always known that he functioned (particularly while under stress) differently from most people. Most people, as kids, learn the values of good behavior and politeness. They learn not to steal, not to fight, to say their pleases and thank you's and to respect their elders. Marcus' early lessons, on the other hand, had been about how to protect himself. He had learned through experience, and at the knee of the older kids at the orphanage, that people would always be after something from him. People lie, manipulate, and bully their way to the top of the ladder whenever they can, and if you don't want to be walked all over you have to be both tougher and smarter than them. By the time he left the orphanage Marcus was an astute and hardened tactician. He knew how to spot the weaknesses in others as well as how to conceal his own. He was an expert in waging war right under the noses of his adult supervisors, and he trusted no-one, not completely at least. Marcus had always thought that this made him tougher, wiser, and generally better than his contemporaries. However, he now feared that those years of training had damaged him. He had witness horrors the night before, and yet a part of him couldn't help but relish the next mission, the next challenge. Surely this wasn't 'normal'?

They arrived at the Mall. Marcus parked as close to the doors as he could; he didn't want to be out in the open for too long.

"Where to first?" he asked the other two, switching the engine off and undoing his seat belt.

Adrian looked between Marcus and Mira. The expression on his face did not change as they had split up the duties and the funding. Adrian did not care for these things. Far more pressing issues had come into the forefront of his mind. Fractions of plans had begun to silently take root in his thoughts. Nothing concrete had yet formed, but the day was still young and it didn't look like the situation was changing anytime soon. He could wait.

He was glad that today would be spent with these two even though he didn't really show it outwardly. Marcus and Mira at least seemed to care enough about others to not casually talk about manipulation techniques and deadly chemicals they had stolen so freely. It would be a nice change of pace from the parade of uncomfortable moments that had pretty well defined the entire excursion yesterday.

As they left the apartment and piled into the car. The ride over was uncomfortable and tense. Adrian could almost tell that part of the reason for this was because he was projecting it. He stared out the window of the back seat and quietly simmered, stewing in ideas about all he had seen. There was so much still that they didn't know about their situation. So many factors at play that he had to consider and research before even beginning to figure out how to move forward.

Time flew as he pondered silently. Before he really knew it, they were already at their destination.

"Where to first?"

"Phones," he intoned quietly as he reached for the car door. "Communication is going to be key moving forward. It would be best to start with that."

"Evey, are you awake?"

"Hm?" Evey wondered in the ever-elegant tones of a waking teenager. She rolled into the middle of the bed from her perch atop the edge of the mattress, perilously close to toppling, and wondered why her bed was so small and uncomfortable. In a jolt, she sat up, and looked around the empty room. How had she gotten here? Where was she? Why did the bed smell funny? She quickly regained her sense of position and sleepily stepped out of her bed, pulling the long sleeves of her night-shirt over her hands to keep them a little warmer. She fished in her bag for some deodorant, too uncomfortable to use the shower with so many others around, and made herself look presentable as possible in the reflection on the window before walking into the living room.

When she entered, she saw only Brendan, sitting on the sofa with his eyes closed.
"Where is everybody?" she asked.

Spencer entered the apartment just as Evey came out of the bedroom.

"Where is everybody?"

"Oh, good, you're up."

He took a deep breath, and tried to get her up to speed without wasting much time. Everyone else had apparently already left, and it was better to get to the mall early and avoid the crowds, or else someone was bound to recognize them.

"To sum up, our boss' name is Frank. He left us some cash, and we're supposed to decorate this place." He gestured to the small bottle of pills on the desk. "Those are supposed to keep you alive. Take four."

He turned to Brendan.

"The U-Haul's out back. We can go whenever you're both ready."

Ben opened his eyes, mind clear of distractions, totally aware.

"U-Haul's here? Alright, I'll head down now."

Ben stood up and looked at Evey.

"You might want to change, sweet-tits, unless you really don't mind getting odd looks. I'll be down at the U-Haul."

With that, not wanting to witness the ensuing explosion, he turned and left the apartment, getting into the U-Haul. He looked at the cab, he forgot that U-Hauls only had one row of seats

"Huh, Looks like Evey's sitting bitch. Suitable."

He sat in the front passenger seat and waited, they shouldn't be too long. And he could delay gratification of sparring with Evey until she was sitting in the cab. Hopefully Spencer wouldn't mind.

"If we're going to get phones, then we should get disposable ones. Less expensive and if we get tracked we can easily dispose of it." Mira said. Although she felt slightly stupid for emphasizing the phones dispose-ability.

"Next, I guess we should buy clothes for disguises and stuff."

"Why are we here?" Alice asked Frank as she stopped in her place before entering The Tartaros Pit. "We could have gone and seen Josť", she continued to protest. Frank turned around and looked at her silently, examining her composure. "I don't want to see Josť. Come, Klaus is waiting", he raised his right hand and motioned her to follow him as he entered the shop.

The Tartaros Pit, a rather ordinary looking shop stocking on suits, trousers, hats, shoes and belts - all for men, was run by Klaus Schultz, an elderly German gentleman who came to America two decades ago. "Afternoon", Frank announced his arrival to Klaus. Alice walked behind him, her red apparel contrasting all of the colorless gray clothes in the shop. "Any news?", Frank asked Klaus. He heard a voice coming from behind a door in the back, "G.I.Joe!", he said loudly from behind the wooden door.

The door opened and from it came Klaus. A man in his late seventies, he is rather short and appears frail, his thin gray hairs are combed to the right and he brandished a smile as he greeted Frank. His smile narrowed as he noticed Alice behind Frank, "Jolie Rouge, welcome".

"It's Alice", Alice corrected Klaus.Frank walked to greet Klaus and they both smiled, held out their hands and hugged each other. "Klaus, did you find where the thief is at?", Frank asked. Alice walked out of the shop and looked outside. She leaned against the glass window and waited for Frank's men to appear.

"Something strange", Klaus began to explain his findings, "I don't understand much. He stole it through his Electricity-", Klaus stopped, rolled his eyes and hit his cane on the floor,"-Computer, yes. A Hack, no - Hacker. He told me the Tzardom sent its men to fight the Britons in the Opium trade. We can't collect the debt if the Russians succeed", Klaus continued his explanation. Klaus's hand was visibly shaking as he handed Frank a piece of paper with some scribbles on it. "Klaus, is there something wrong?", Frank inquired as to the health of the old man.

"I just need a cigarette, boy. My life is running out".

Around, 10 minutes later, with six disposable cellular phones added to their inventory, Marcus Mira and Adrian stepped out into the main artery of the Lincoln Mall once again. While the mood was still undoubtedly downbeat, getting away from the dingy apartment and out into something that at least closely resembled normality had alleviated some of the tension.

So far so good. Marcus thought, No unpleasant surprises yet.

"I saw a tailors near to the entrance as we came in." Marcus announced "Should be useful if we ever need to go anywhere fancy. Let's go."

Evey got changed quickly, thinking privately of the many ways she would inflict pain on Brendan for his remark and the cowardice with which he had fled afterwards. She put on a simple black skirt, a stripy blue t-shirt, and a soft teal cardigan before making her way down to the truck, cursing her lack of forethought to bring another pair of shoes that went with the skirt and trying to get the acrid taste of the pills from her mouth. They had tasted like a wedge of lemon rind wrapped around a bottle of bleach with a chaser of Axe bodyspray. Not something she wanted to try again by any stretch of the imagination.

When she arrived at the truck, Evey peered in through the window, and pulled the door open. Eyeing Brendan coldly, she gave him a simple command. "Move." she most certainly was not climbing across him unless it was a life or death situation, or she got to elbow him hard in the crotch.

Ben got out of the cab, allowing Evey to get in, smiling amusedly at her glare.

"After you Princess, there isn't a back seat, though, you're going to have to sit between us."

Ben didn't give the crude name of the seat to Evey, if she didn't know it, it'd be his private joke, if she did... well that just made it all the sweeter.

"Spencer's coming down I hope, or did you slaughter him in your rage against my comment?"

Spencer followed Evey down to the truck. Seeing her altercate with Brendan reminded him of his sister's complaints when she'd come home after babysitting the neighbors' twins. At least she got paid.

"Be civil, kids. You'll have plenty of time to bicker at the mall."

The ride over to the mall was pretty quiet. Spencer kept his eyes on the road and his head in the clouds, and even if anyone spoke, he probably wouldn't hear anything. Brendan and Evey did listen to him, save for a few exchanged looks. It wasn't necessary a bad thing, as their rivalry kept the atmosphere light, and took their mind off all the bloodshed that happened just the day before. The short time they spent on their way to the mall was a nice distraction from having to think about anything else.

Spencer parked the U-Haul near the entrance, just in case. Assuming the other group would get the smaller items, they were left with the furniture.

"I think we should get a refrigerator, a stove and an oven first. Armchairs, carpets and decorative items are all well and good, but nobody wants to starve."

He turned to Brendan.

"There should be a bank around the corner, too. You mentioned an account?"

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