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15 July 2009 @ 01:59 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Virtue - Parts 3 and 4  


Title: Virtue - Parts 3 and 4
Series/Universe: Vice / Virtue
Pairing/Characters: See Series Post
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: Seasons 1, 2 and 3
Summary: Megan's new management team begins to take shape just as Ian returns to haunt them (AU)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ



Tuesday, 7/3/07 - Day

Darby slung her motorcycle helmet under her arm and flipped open her cell phone.

Speed dialing, she waited for the other end of the line to pick up before she spoke.

"He's out. Getting his personal effects now."

"Stay on him." Megan's tone was grim. "David's prepared to give you whatever backup you ask for for surveillance. Just call and it's done."

"I want to do this my way," Darby said, her eyes never leaving the tiny window in the door where she could see Ian signing for a large envelope then pulling his watch and wallet out of it. "He'd spot a regular tail and we can't risk spooking him. I'm cool with using Security to handle overnight surveillance, but if the target's on the move I want to be the one on him."

"Understood."

"Did you tell Don about the arraignment? About how low Brickle set bail?" She continued to watch as Ian put his wallet away and put his watch back on.

"Yes. He's not happy. None of us are happy. Clearly Tuttle was behind it. I mean, Dennis Matthews is his lawyer. He didn't even bother using someone that couldn't be tied to him. He wanted us to know. Tuttle's getting him out for the sole purpose of Edgerton being a thorn in our side."

"Well, I aim to make that very difficult for him," Darby said, her mouth a grim line. "He's on the move. Got to go..."

She disappeared into a shadowed alcove as Ian came out the door and walked towards the exit.

"I have my staff working on your case," she overheard Dennis say as they passed. "We should meet right away: tomorrow or Thursday at the latest. As your attorney, I was able to get your car out of impound. It's in the visitor's lot. I had it detailed on your behalf, so no worries about fingerprint dust."

As they got to the exit, Ian stopped, barring Dennis from leaving by blocking the doorway with his body.

"As my attorney?" he said, acidly. "Don't ever do anything on my behalf again. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens without my express advance permission." He pulled his sunglasses from the envelope, put them on, then closed the door on Dennis' face as he stormed down the front steps.

Dennis shook off the affront and pulled out his cell phone to make a call as he reopened the door to head out.

"It's Matthews. He's good and pissed off, just how you want him. He's not going to last long, is he?"

Darby slipped out another door and followed at distance, watching Ian head for the visitor lot with her eyes as she listened in on Dennis' conversation.

"Brickle did an exceptional job in the arraignment. He really looked like he wanted to go after the dirty cop, but pretended he had no grounds to ask for more bail given Edgerton's 'years of devoted service to the community.'" Dennis laughed. "I'm surprised the judge didn't just release him on his own recognizance after that performance!" He glanced at his watch then flagged his driver who was waiting a short distance down the street. "I'll see you at the clubhouse at tee time. I'll have my caddy find your caddy..."

Darby spared him a brief glance as he got into his town car, automatically making a notation in her PDA of the make, model, color and license plate out of habit.

Her motorcycle was parked within easy view of Ian's sedan, yet subtly hidden from his sightlines. She straddled the bike and watched as he checked the trunk, his cursing loud enough she could hear it from a distance.

When he got behind the wheel, she put her helmet on and started up the bike.

Game on.

+

"Mr. Eppes!" The maitre d' at Xerxes looked slightly flummoxed at Don's sudden arrival. "I was not informed you would be coming! I don't seem to have a reservation for you..."

Don put up a hand to placate the man. "Not to worry, Henri. I'm not lunching here today. I've just come to look for..." His face lit up as he spotted Liz in the bar. "And there she is..."

Henri gave a polite little nod and gestured Don's way to the bar as he passed.

"Don! What a pleasant surprise!" Liz rose from her stool to exchange a kiss on the cheek with Don.

"I like what you've done with the place," Don complimented, looking around the bar and restaurant. "I hope the hotel appreciates your efforts."

"Hardly. They hired me to make over Xerxes and then wouldn't let me do half the things I wanted to." She kept her voice low and stopped short when the bartender came over.

"Ah, Mr. Eppes," he said, nodding his head in greeting. "The Glenfiddich again?"

"Sounds good."

Liz waited for the bartender to return with Don's scotch then leave again before she continued. "Sales are up, the tables are getting filled, but the demographics haven't shifted," she whispered. "Xerxes could have been a bigger hit with the early to mid thirties crowd, but they're so stodgy here." She made a noise of exasperation. "They hired me for my ability to bring in a young wealthy clientele, but vetoed any changes that would actually have brought in those people! I mean look at that wood paneling. Gorgeous, but it screams gray haired men in their fifties."

Don took a sip of his scotch, chuckling. "So have you picked your next project?"

"Not yet," she grumbled. "I may take a few months off... Wait for a decent remodel or something to pass the time until some good club comes ripe for a complete revamp and relaunch."

"Well..." Don swirled the scotch in his glass. "You could come listen to a pitch from people you know and like..."

"Don..." Liz gave him a look. "You know I'm a freelancer for a reason. I don't want to be stuck with one club for the rest of my career."

Don smiled, his eyes crinkling up. "Who said anything about one club?"

Liz's eyebrow went up. "What are we talking about here?"

"To start? Launching and running the new club. After that you'd be part of Megan's management team, in on the ground floor of any new projects she starts. I think it's pretty safe to assume she'd have you bring in a replacement once each new venue is up and running so you can work on whatever's next."

"Megan's management team? So the rumors you're retiring are true?" she asked.

"It's not been announced publicly yet, but yes," Don answered. "Charlie and I have already signed the paperwork handing the company over to Megan to run."

"Impressive. But still..." Liz eyed him warily. "Eppes Enterprises only has three locations: The Loft, Code and E - if that is indeed what you're calling the new club..."

"It is," Don said. "Charlie insisted. Him and his math..."

"At the rate you're opening new clubs I'll be old and gray before I get two more under my belt."

"I admit, I focused on the Security side of the business at the expense of not opening up more locations. I also spent more of my energies in making deals with existing clubs and bars to work our gambling operations there. Megan's more ambitious. She's got capital and she wants more locations we fully own and control." Don paused for a sip of his scotch. "All I ask is that you come by the mansion and hear her out."

"If I do, even if I say no, can I get a sneak peek inside E before it opens?" Liz asked slyly.

"Absolutely."

Liz sat back on her stool, nodding. "Okay. I'll listen to the spiel."

"Glad to hear it." Don finished the last of his scotch. "Come by the mansion tomorrow for lunch and we'll talk. And if you're interested, I'm throwing a little Fourth of July shindig on the yacht. Great view of the fireworks... We'd love to have you join us."

"Sounds better than what I had planned," Liz said wryly. "Besides, what better way to commemorate me - the eternal freelancer - considering giving up my independence than an Independence Day party?"

Don rose and gave her a kiss on the cheek in parting.

"Trust me, being part of the family's worth it."

+

David walked into the Platinum Rail to a number of nods in greeting from the men in attendance and a few waves from the women.

"David!"

The owner came out from behind the bar to greet him with a sultry kiss on the lips.

"Olivia."

"To what do I owe this pleasure during working hours?" Olivia asked, adjusting David's collar and drawing a finger down the open throat of his shirt.

"Megan asked me to check up on all the businesses personally. Now that the code black is over and The Loft and Code are back up and running we wanted to make sure..." he glanced towards the back room where the gambling operations took place, "everything was back up and running here okay."

"That was one long code black," she said, turning to lead the way. "I'll be in the back," she called out to the bartender as they passed into the hallway leading to the rest of the building. He followed her into a small coatroom and through a door on the other side. Inside she swiped her security card to open the next door and led the way into the gambling hall.

A few men looked up from card tables, but most of the attention was focused on the large TV screens spread around the room showing various sporting events and the smaller screens beneath them showing odds for wagers on all sorts of bets.

"We're a little slow, as you can see, but the regulars are here so nothing much to worry about. It could just be the holiday tomorrow keeping some of them away."

"Antoine said if you thought it would help he could come by this weekend."

Olivia nodded. "That would help. If Antoine's out socializing people will believe things are back to normal a lot faster. It would go a long way to ending the chatter."

"That's what he said. How about Saturday night?"

"Friday would be better. The sooner a big crowd sees him the better. This midweek crowd's not enough to bother, but I can use them to spread the word that he'll be coming."

"Fair enough. I'll let him know to set aside a few hours for you."

"I'll have a table reserved for him." Olivia tugged David closer by his belt buckle. "Speaking of socializing... I'm looking forward to the party on the yacht."

David glanced around, but caved in and put his arms round her for a moment, pulling her into a heated kiss. "Me too."

"I'm just glad Don isn't making you bring that medical examiner chick."

"Hey, she's a great lady," David protested.

"But she doesn't know about your wicked wicked ways, does she?" Olivia purred, pulling David closer. "Good thing you have me to be naughty with."

David chuckled then placed one last lingering kiss on her upturned mouth.

"I'll pick you up at five. Don't forget a wrap. It gets chilly on the yacht at night."

"Who needs a wrap?" Olivia smirked. "I've got you to keep me warm..."

+

"Knock knock!"

Kit looked up along with Suzanne to find Charlie tapping on Suzanne's open office door.

"Charlie!" Suzanne gestured him in. "What can I do for you?"

"Oh, I just came to see how the new CFO and the new Chief Mathematician are making out." He settled into a guest chair on the other side of the desk from where Kit had drawn up the other guest chair to sit beside her.

"We were just going over the latest spreadsheet Kit did for me." She turned to Kit with an expectant look and it took him a second to realize she was asking permission. "Yeah! Sure! Go ahead!"

Suzanne turned the external monitor on her laptop towards Charlie for him to see.

"I had asked Kit to give me a mathematical representation of your investment strategies tied into real time data from global financial markets. This way I can gauge which shelter is the best choice based on up to date currency rates without having to have someone do the math for me each time."

"Yeah, I just took your equations and worked with, what's her name again?" he turned to Suzanne, questioning.

"Sharrlyn," she answered.

"Yeah! She's cool! She knows math and computers! Anyway, I got her to subscribe to some online real time feeds, transfer the data to a secure server and then make me a networked version of the spreadsheet that taps into that data. So whenever we run the refresh macro it pumps new data into the equations, recalculates and gives us up to the minute results. Voila!"

"Impressive!" Charlie nodded his approval. "Guess you guys don't really need me."

"Oh, come on! This is totally your work! I just dressed it up and stuff," Kit scoffed.

"No one can replace you," Suzanne told Charlie kindly. "But you don't have to worry about us either. We've got more than enough talent in the organization to keep this ship afloat. But it will help that you're just an email away," she said with a wink.

"Definitely. Happy to help, but I assure you, also happy to not be needed. I have faith in you and Kit. We're leaving Megan in good financial hands." He glanced at his watch. "Almost time for the management staff meeting!"

"Oh! My first one!" Suzanne said, smoothing out and primping her suit.

"Mine too!" Kit piped up.

"And the first one I'm sitting out," Charlie said, a weak smile. "It's going to be hard not to go," he admitted.

"Why can't you just come anyway?" Kit said, frowning as Suzanne pulled her monitor back and started packing up her laptop to take with her.

"I'd love to," Charlie said, trying to sound cheerful and failing. "But I need to be respectful of Megan. It's her company to run now. I can't get in the way." He rose and headed out the door. "Have a good time, you two..."

"Thanks..." Kit's wave fell flat as Charlie walked off, head down. "Why do I suddenly feel like crap?" he bemoaned.

"I know it's hard," Suzanne said. "But the old gives way to the new and Charlie has to face it: he's out and you and I are in."

+

Megan sat at the head of the conference table, feeling odd sitting in Don's chair with Terry in her old chair. Everyone had moved up on that side of the table and David had left two places on the other side where Charlie used to sit - space for both Suzanne and Kit.

Looking down at the management meeting agenda in front of her, a part of her was still waiting for Don to move onto the next topic, but she took a breath and plowed forward, knowing this was important.

"Okay, up next? Staffing. So far the primary transitions are going well." She cocked her head over to Suzanne and Kit. "Charlie's stepped aside and Suzanne is now officially Chief Financial Officer with full access to all the organization's accounts and Kit is our Chief Mathematician. Kit, we'll have new furniture put in your office, but for now is it working out okay?"

"Yeah! It's really convenient to be within yelling distance of Suzanne." He stopped himself, flushing a little. "Not that we yell a lot, but you know what I mean."

"Trust me, I kind of wish Terry was within yelling distance sometimes," Megan reassured him. "Speaking of, Terry's been installed as our new Vice President. I'm almost done moving into Don's office - I still need new furniture, but I'm using the old for the time being - so as soon as the move is done Terry will be in my old office."

"I've got furniture ordered," Terry piped up. "Matt's got it handled for me."

"Excellent! Millie, Antoine's almost out of his old office so when he's done transferring we'll have your files and such brought over from Code. Have you picked out new furniture?"

"I actually like mine, but I did ask Matt to get me some new file cabinets. I'm going to need a lot more storage space handling more locations."

"Understood. Antoine, are you moving into the Accounting area okay?"

Antoine made a non-committal nod. "Fair enough. Barely in that office anyway, so it doesn't matter much. Besides, it's handy to be closer to the bean counters, especially now that Kit's doing so much work in oddsmaking for me."

"Great," Megan said. "Let's move on to new hires then. Don met with Liz and she's receptive so I'll be meeting with her here tomorrow to talk about her coming to run the new club for us. She'll also be on the yacht for the party so be sure to talk her up if you get a chance. How about The Loft?" She turned to Terry next.

"Marco and I are going to see Gabriel Ruiz tomorrow. The Bandolino Hotel's got him working event setups on a holiday so we figure we'll just drop in and point out that we don't have to work and invite him to the party on the yacht. There's a good chance he'll have his events taken care of in enough time to join us, so again, if he's on the yacht? Talk him up too. Marco has a very short list of people he's willing to work with and out of them Gabriel's my first choice to replace me at The Loft so we really want to talk him into joining us."

"Sounds promising. Let me now how it goes." Megan turned next to Millie. "Millie? How about Code?"

"As we discussed, I'm confident in Alex as my replacement. She's been a great second in command and while some of the employees are going to be a bit miffed that I didn't promote someone who worked their way up the ranks, she's damn good at running the club and there's no one else as business savvy or as cool under pressure as her. She's running the club without me for the holiday so I'll probably let her know on Thursday when I get back in that she's got the job."

"When will you tell the staff?"

"Oh, right after she says yes!" Millie said quickly. "Nothing's worse than the rumor mill in a cathouse, trust me on that. We're going to have enough infighting when the announcement about hostessing for the new club is made."

"Bet you're glad you're not sticking around for that," Terry joked.

"Hell yeah!" Millie let out a hearty chuckle. "It may end up being Alex's trial by fire, but if she can't handle a few feuding hostesses then she doesn't deserve the job."

"So we've got Alex squared away for Code as of Thursday and hopefully Gabriel for The Loft and Liz for E." Megan smiled widely. "Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a corporate structure for this new world order."

+


Tuesday, 7/3/07 - Night

Darby sat back on her motorcycle, the machine cooling between her legs as she watched and waited.

Across the street in a storage facility Ian and two day laborers were finishing putting his furniture and boxes in a unit. It was mostly the day laborers carrying the heavy items as Ian handled the boxes, scolding them when they were careless and dropped things.

She felt her phone vibrate and answered with her Bluetooth headset.

"Go."

"It's Carlos. We got into Edgerton's place like you asked. It's totally cleaned out - nothing left behind."

"That's what I figured. Helps to know for sure though."

"Anything else?"

"Yeah, check the trash cans. Take whatever's there and have David assign someone to go through it. People tend to be careless throwing out stuff."

"Will do."

She hung up and pulled her helmet on as she saw Ian pay the day laborers and get into the truck to drive it out of the facility.

She followed at a safe distance, the large rental truck easy to spot even in heavy traffic. She waited idling as he returned the truck and got into his sedan again. This time following was harder, but with her motorcycle she managed to stay back fairly far and still not lose him.

She felt her phone vibrate inside her leathers, but she let it go to voicemail; trailing a pro like Ian was not an activity that tolerated distractions.

Eventually he pulled into a mid-price hotel chain, parking in the lot before heading inside.

Situating herself across the street, Darby watched through her high-powered binoculars as Ian approached the counter. She drew her unidirectional microphone and earpiece out of her saddlebag and pointed it at the window.

"And here is your credit card back, Mr. Edgerton."

"Do you have any rooms on the ground floor?"

"We do, but it's facing the alley. We have much nicer rooms on the second floor."

"I'll take the alley access."

"Very well." The hotel employee slid over a card key. "You're in room 113. Just head straight down the hall past the elevators and it's the last room on the left near the exit."

Darby pulled out her PDA and switched to the tracking application. The tracker on the car showed up fine as did the numerous ones in Ian's luggage in the trunk. The ones in Ian's boots were on the move and sure enough, he exited the lobby and headed for his car for his bags.

She put away the microphone and binoculars and took a moment to check her cell phone: Megan.

She called back using her headset again.

"Darby, please have good news," Megan said on answering.

"I have news. Up to you if it's good or not," she said plainly.

"What is it?"

"Edgerton cleaned out his apartment. He put everything he owned save some bags in his car in a storage facility and checked into a hotel."

"What the hell is he up to?" Megan wondered aloud.

"Can't tell you," Darby said. "But I can tell you where he is. The trackers David's people put in all his stuff are working great. I have him, his car and his luggage all lighting up my PDA like a Christmas tree there's so many red dots on the screen."

"Good, because if we lose him?" Megan said, her voice making the severity of the issue crystal clear. "Nobody's getting any sleep."

+

Don looked up from where he and Kim were sitting together in the den watching the news and saw Megan hovering just outside the doorway, her expression sober.

"Hey, Kim?" he asked, kissing her on the temple. "Would you mind telling the kitchen to push back dinner twenty minutes? Tim and Robin aren't even here yet and I'm thinking I don't want to rush things tonight."

Kim turned and saw Megan waiting and nodded in understanding. "I'll give Tim a call," she said, rising. "If they're running a few minutes late I'll push it back a half hour."

"That would be great." He let go of her hand reluctantly and she flashed him a smile before exiting, sharing a brief glance with Megan on her way out.

"Let me guess," Don said with a resigned sigh. "Edgerton."

"I just thought you should know." Megan came and perched on the edge of the sofa. "Darby called in. He moved out of his apartment, put his stuff into storage and checked into a hotel."

"Not good," Don said grimly. "He's preparing for something big, I know it."

"Yeah, and odds are it's aimed at you. I mean, he won't care if you handed the business over to me. At this point your mere existence is enough to infuriate him."

"Trust me," Don grumbled. "The feeling is mutual."

"Well, it's a good thing we got into his apartment before he got out of jail," she said, shrugging.

"Speaking of," Don said. "Send the photocopies of what we found at the apartment to Bradford. I think his professional opinion on Edgerton's frame of mind might be helpful."

"Shall I send copies to Dr. Fisher too?"

"Why not?" Don said. "Let the psychologist and the psychiatrist duke it out. We'll just have to decide who to believe if they don't agree."

"I'll get Matt to take care of that tomorrow."

Don laid his head back on the couch. "I just want this over! David's increasing security on Kim and I. We're barely going to leave the house now that Edgerton's out. It's too dangerous! Charlie's got so much security it's a wonder he can get out of the driveway."

"How long before you and Charlie can leave the country?" Megan asked gently.

"Howard's got his people expediting the paperwork, but there's a lot! The properties we own back east alone are a headache to transfer. I should have transferred them from my name to the company ages ago, but it seemed like a hassle and expensive for no good reason. Now that we want it done quickly it ends up it would have been better to spend the money just to facilitate the transfer."

"How long?" Megan repeated.

"Well, other than the business paperwork to deal with, Charlie and I have our twice a year trip coming up, then the opening of the new club and there's Kim's birthday in there too..." He lifted his head and looked at Megan. "At this point with all that has to be done, I'm looking at the first of September to be out of your hair."

"Hey, I'm cool with you staying," Megan said. "You handed over the reins so the day to day running is under my control, which is what I wanted. The problem is this isn't about what I want."

"Or what I want," Don continued for her. He glanced after Kim, making sure she was out of earshot. "Kim needs time too. She's here, you know? But she's still just on leave from the FBI. Until she officially quits and, well, says yes to me? We're in a holding pattern."

"Do you really think she'd leave you and go back to the FBI?" Megan marveled.

"If Ian came after us hardcore? Enough to scare her?" Don glanced again, more longingly and wistfully in the direction Kim had gone. "Yeah. I could still lose her."

+

"So he's being all wildman, taking his shirt off and everything..." Tim interrupted his own story with anticipatory laughter. "He opens up the limo's sunroof, right? And stands up in, poking his head out the top? Only he comes back in like two seconds later freaking out. He's all 'The wind blew off my toupee! You have to go back for it!'"

Kim joined in the laughter, casting a glance over at Don and enjoying his relaxed and handsome face as he laughed along. She sat next to where he sat at the head of the table, Charlie at the opposite end, without a date. Tim sat across from her with Robin by his side.

It had taken a while for Kim to get over her initial attitude about Robin and the other 'professionals', but Robin really did seem to genuinely care for Tim and he clearly doted on her.

"How about we have them serve dessert in the media room?" Don suggested. "I could go for a movie. What do you guys think?"

"Sounds great!" Tim enthused, with Robin nodding in agreement.

"How about you, buddy?" Don asked, turning his attention to Charlie who'd been oddly quiet most of the evening.

"Sure," he said agreeably. "Sounds good to me too. I'm just going to run and check my email first."

They rose and headed to the mansion's home theatre as Charlie took a detour upstairs to his suite, Tim and Don leading the way. Robin fell back to walk with Kim.

"Is that your engagement ring?" Robin asked quietly. "I noticed when you bent over that you had a ring on your necklace," she explained.

"Technically it's not until I say yes, but..." Kim nodded and halted long enough to pull it out for Robin's inspection.

"It's gorgeous," she breathed. "Really." She waited as Kim put it away and then they continued on. "Yesterday it was one month since the day Tim and I met. He bought me flowers and made me dinner." She let out a contented sigh. "I seriously can't figure out why your brother's not taken. He's the sweetest guy."

"His first love is and always will be cars," Kim said with a shrug. "Hard to compete."

Robin smiled, sanguine. "I can share." She leaned in closer and spoke softer, her tone almost conspiratorial. "I don't know if it's you or the retirement, but I really like this new Don."

"How is he different?" Kim asked. "He seems the same to me."

"You didn't see him after you left last year," Robin explained. "This Don? He smiles. He laughs." She gave Kim a grateful smile. "He's happy."

They walked into the room and Don beckoned to her to come sit with him as Tim looked through the leather-bound binder containing the list of movies.

"You have The Bourne Ultimatum?" Tim looked up from the list, confused. "I thought that wasn't out yet."

"It's not," Don said. "I just have some really well connected friends."

"Seriously?" He blinked at Don in awe. "Dude, you have some kind of friends, let me tell you."

Don pressed a button on the center console intercom next to his chair. "Can you load up The Bourne Ultimatum please? Thank you."

Tim put the binder aside and sat down next to Robin on the other side of the center console.

Charlie walked in and halted, looking at them in the room for a few seconds.

Belatedly Kim realized that he and Don probably had seats they usually sat in and one of them must be in his regular seat - quite possibly her.

"Do you need us to move at all?" she offered, but Charlie was already headed for the second row.

"No, I'm going to stretch out where I can put my feet up." He plopped himself down in the plush chair right behind the center console and used it as a footrest.

"We can take a break about halfway in for dessert, if that works for you guys," Don offered. After a round of murmured assents, Don lowered the lights via the controls and buzzed the intercom. "We're ready."

He put his arm around Kim's shoulders and she glanced up at him, accepting a quick kiss before the film starting rolling. He did indeed look relaxed and happy, just as Robin had said.

Halfway through the opening credits she stole another glance. The telltale stress lines creasing Don's face in the flickering shadows told a different story - one he clearly meant to keep hidden.

+

"So with all the managers out on the yacht for the Fourth of July party, do you feel confident you can hold down the fort?"

Millie peered over her glasses at Alex standing in front of her desk at Code.

"I always take care of things when you're on vacation," Alex said with an unconcerned shrug. "I don't see that this is much different."

"There's no David to call on for Security if something big goes down. No Megan if Edgerton or Penfield shows up."

"I already checked with David and he's got the guys on duty on high alert, ready to come out in force if needed, plus he's sending us three extra guys: one to augment Aaron at the door and two more as backup bouncers. We should be fine. Besides, if Edgerton or Penfield show up? You know you want me to call Megan anyways even if she's busy offshore."

"True. Regardless, for tonight pretend like I'm not here. Run the club like it's already the Fourth of July and I'm gone."

"I can't," Alex said with a smirk. "On the Fourth I'll have David's three extra guys."

"Funny." Millie got up from her desk and gestured for Alex to sit. "As of now, you're driving." Before Alex could even make it around the desk, the phone rang. "Oh! Brilliant timing!" Millie cocked her head towards it. "You're up!"

Alex picked up the phone and in a professional voice said, "Code. How may I assist you?" She paused, looking up at Millie. "Hi, Amita." She grimaced, but her voice stayed pleasant. "No, if you're sick and can't work, you can't work. Please call me in the morning right away though. I need to know if I can rely on you for tomorrow night or not. All right. Feel better..." She hung up the phone. "She's not coming in tonight. Says she has food poisoning or something."

Millie crossed her arms over her chest. "You're the boss. What are you going to do?"

Alex sat back in Millie's chair. "Well... If I was in charge..."

"And you are," Millie said.

"Knowing that Robin asked for and got the night off to have dinner with Don at the mansion? I certainly don't want to interrupt them to ask her to come back to work."

"Understandable," Millie said. "But you've only got two hostesses."

"Yes, but it's a Tuesday night after a long code black and it's right before a holiday. You can't get a much slower night than that to give a new hostess a tryout."

"I like where you're going with this," Millie said nodding.

"Especially since we're opening up a new club soon," Alex pointed out. "I've got over an hour until we open our doors. More than enough time to prep a hostess for a slow night."

"Who's your pick? You know all the girls want to be hostess," Millie said, warning in her tone.

"No question: Kelly. She's sharp, handles herself well in a pinch, juggles tasks well and is an effortless conversationalist. She puts that English degree to good use with our brainier clients and for those who aren't? She laughs well at jokes, but doesn't tell any of her own. I like that in a professional. She's been with us long enough that she deserves a shot. Plus more than one client has recognized her from her modeling days so she's got some cache there as a face for Code."

"Excellent choice," Millie said, nodding her approval. "Now get out there and show her the ropes."

+

DoJo, as far as clubs went, wasn't as highbrow as Code, but the music was good and loud and tons of sweaty, sexy twenty-somethings gyrated to the electronic beats pounding out of the DJ's speakers.

Amita wove her way from the entrance to the bar with some difficulty, while Marshall - watching her unseen - merely pushed people aside to clear his way. His height, and lack of caring about tact, gave him enough of an advantage over the others and for those who took offense he had two discreet bodyguards to handle them.

He positioned himself halfway down the bar from where she stood, trying to flag down a bartender.

She'd come alone and on a work night too. Marshall knew her schedule by now, knew she worked every Tuesday night and knew that The Loft and Code were back up and running after four unplanned days dark, which he felt rather smug about. Everett had made a point of going after Don's clientele on the nights that his locations were closed, adding insult to injury.

Marshall felt particularly pleased with himself that he'd predicted Amita's disillusionment so well. It was hard to be patient - to not approach her tonight, but he knew he couldn't afford another faux pas when it came to dealing with the Eppes Brothers. Amita had to come around slowly. She wouldn't betray them lightly, but with a push... The old adage about a woman scorned came to mind.

Marshall waved the bartender over with two twenties and after a few words and a few bills got him to agree to ignore Amita's section of the bar for a while.

He watched her get exceedingly flustered then aggravated. By the time he gestured the bartender to see to her, she all but screamed at him.

Amita's frustration was a thing of beauty and he wanted to nurture it until it grew inside her, expanded beyond its boundaries and finally had to come out.

Manipulating people was more than an enjoyable task to Marshall. He considered it a science and an art.

And Amita was to be his next masterpiece.

+
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on July 15th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Confession
Please see the Virtue Series Post for information on this Series and for the Parts 3/4 Confession.

Information on the Viceworld universe can be found in the Vice Series Post.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
hear me roarmagisterequitum on July 15th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
I am so enjoying reading this again.

I love Megan slowly taking charge and taking ground as the Boss now.

And Kim not being fooled that something is not up with Don.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 15th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
Yay!

/smishes/

Megan as Boss is making me kind of crave writing Sin.

And Don wasn't fooled about Kim being off work so she would be able to tell when he's hiding the stress from her. (As Robin in For Her!)

Thanks again, my dear. You're a doll. (And I mean that in a totally non-Dollhouse Active way. /grins/)
ladygray99ladygray99 on July 16th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
uhoh...What's Ian up to? (And I've been around long enough to get the highlights of Vice.)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 16th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
I can tell you, with certainty, Ian is up to Absolutely No Good TM. ;-) Honestly, they should be just as worried, if not more, about Marshall and Tuttle, but they're a wee bit distracted at the moment - which is exactly when enemies love to strike.

There's a Vice recap on the Virtue Series Post, but you really should read the Vice Prologue before you read that. It's short, but it sets the tone rather abruptly yet appropriately.

And now that I have these two posts up /whew/ I will have some time to read this week (that is if I finish my Criminal Minds Big Bang and the edits on my remix ficathon fic. Gah!) so I'm torn between finishing the last bit of SP or jumping into your back catalog epic. Decisions, decisions... Hmm...
ladygray99ladygray99 on July 16th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
SP is easy. It's like M&M. You'll be through the whole bag before you know it.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 16th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
LOL I tried that! I read the majority of it over two days but at some point I have to go to sleep you know?

I used to read far faster, but now that my eyes are shot and my glasses are broken it's slowing me down tons. Rather frustrating really. Mel and I will be reading the same thing and she'll comment on a bit I haven't gotten to yet. Grr...

Okay then. SP it is. We've been rewatching Torchwood at night to get ready for the new season (such as it is) but I might stay up a bit after that and get some reading in. I cleared 1400 words on my big bang in this sitting so after a few more chapters I'll have earned some relaxing down time. :-)

P.S. And like M&Ms I'll be very disappointed when there are no more and I'm still hungry. ;-)
ladygray99ladygray99 on July 16th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
I've got smut and some other stuff on the burner but I'm thinking of an SP side story where Charlie goes shopping for all the stuff for Ian's Christmas surprise.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on July 16th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
I'll take it! Hehehe

Srsly, if that's the universe that will never end? I will not be unhappy. :-)