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Epitaph 1 and 1/2--A Dollhouse Fic
ears, eyes
rogoblue
Rating: R (language)

Summary: It’s the Thoughtpocylpse. Caroline is ensconced at Safe Haven. DeWitt delivers a message to Dominic on her behalf in order to make a request of her own.




“It was only a matter of time before Cray pulled some serious brand of shit, Dom.”

Laurence Dominic nodded in agreement with the tall, wiry black man he’d come to rely upon heavily in the last year or so. Devon Moore had been an immature street punk Before and the memory of the scrawny assed kid whose life Dominic had saved over three years ago nearly occasioned a smile. Time does fly when you’re cobbling together infrastructure while staying a step or two ahead of Rossum.

“Crazy motherfucker calls himself The Sultan.”

“Justifies the harem, I guess,” Dominic muttered, as he scowled at a map of California showing the three zones that had co-existed reasonably harmoniously until just before dawn on the previous day. “Speaking of which, did you initiate—?”

“As per your standing orders, sir!” Devon saluted smartly before rapping Dominic on the shoulder with his fist. “I’d pay in gasoline to see Danielle’s face if you decided to go the concubine route.”

“No risk of that. Women are enough trouble one at a time.”

“Is that so?”

Dominic glared at Devon’s hoot of laughter before spinning to face Danielle Evanston—the woman with whom he had sex when he had the time and energy. He knew some would call her his lover or woman, but the world had become both horrifically complicated and devastatingly simple and he couldn’t think of her in either of those terms. There was no love between them, not on his part anyway. The notion of her being his woman relegated her to the status of a possession, which would insult her and confer a greater sense of responsibility than Dominic wanted. Who’d have thought Rossum’s power play would result in longwinded and still inaccurate explanations of interpersonal relationships?

“Well, is it?” Danielle demanded, crossing nicely muscled arms beneath her more than ample breasts.

Meeting eyes bluer than his own, he said, “Yes,” and realized he wasn’t sorry for causing her to flinch and refused to dwell on what sort of man that made him. “We’re in the middle of a situation, Dani.”

She caught his arm, when he started to turn away. “Pierce brought in someone to meet with you. She had the codes we assigned to Arizona and says she knew you Before.”

“That lovely lady can have any kind of knowledge of me she wants, but I’m sincerely hoping for carnal,” said a burly man a few years younger than Dominic with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder. “She didn’t balk at the blindfold or the handcuffs. I like that in a woman.”

In large part, the command post was secure by virtue of the fact that not many people knew its location. Dominic had chosen it personally and designed its security systems and procedures himself as well, making use of all that he’d learned in preparation for and in fulfilling his role at the Los Angeles Dollhouse. “Where’d you put her?”

“Jealous chick locked her rival’s fine self in that tiny conference room at the end of the hall,” Pierce explained, pointing melodramatically at Danielle.

Dominic closed his eyes briefly and regretted it. Fatigue descended upon him with indecent haste. He leaned against the table the map was spread out upon, blinking rapidly. “Keep me apprised as the battle progresses, Devon. We need to fortify Esteban at all three points in the wedge or the whole thing could go to hell.” To emphasize, Dominic tapped the three hotly contested areas on the map in the order of decreasing importance in his view. “What else?” he muttered. “Oh, when our other operation is complete, I want the prisoners brought to whichever bunker you prefer and I’ll address them as a group and then individually.”

“Undress them, more like.”

Ignoring Pierce’s intentionally audible comment and the arch look he exchanged with Devon, mind still focused on the armed conflict, Dominic fell into step with Danielle.

“What did Pierce mean?” she asked, nonchalant tone belying the tension humming through her admittedly taut body.

He chose to misunderstand. “That he wouldn’t mind fucking my visitor.”

“He made it sound like you’d be fucking the prisoners.” Danielle’s eyes widened. “You’re kidnapping the goddamned harem, aren’t you?”

“Cray started this. I don’t have time or the inclination to fight anything more than a skirmish and I need California stable, so I’m taking prisoners.”

“This has nothing to do with your issues with exploitation then?”

He hadn’t gotten drunk since “The Conversation,” where he’d tried to explain the moral outrage that the Dollhouse had evoked in him to Danielle. The generalizations he’d been forced to speak in, because he knew the truth would come across as bad fantasy, couldn’t hope to convey the anger engendered by seeing an active in doll state, observing a person reduced to … to … that.

Evidently interpreting his silence as an admission of sorts, she said, “You should cut off the people you knew Before; they’re nothing but trouble.”

Dominic shrugged, even as he silently agreed that Caroline Farrell was trouble rendered in all capital letters and flashing neon orange. She was, however, trouble of a sort useful to him currently. He also wondered if Danielle would ever perceive his disinclination to take orders, however she chose to deliver them.

Warming to her topic, she said, “All they do is ask you for things. They think you’re a one man post-apocalyptic Wal-Mart.”

“I have my reasons, Dani.”

“I’d sit through an explanation.”

The man he’d been Before would be shamed by every response that came to mind. He supposed that should matter at some level and didn’t want to begin to consider the ramifications of the fact that it categorically did not. “Catch me on a slow day,” he muttered as he unlocked and then opened the conference room door.

Danielle was saying, “Roger that,” when she collided with him, because he froze on the threshold. “Dom?”

“Surprised, Mr. Dominic?”

He barely trusted himself to nod. Adelle DeWitt he hadn’t expected. Adelle DeWitt he hadn’t seen since they’d gotten drunk on the vodka he’d missed and other liquor she’d had hidden away. Adelle DeWitt who had stolen many months of his life but had also remanded him from The Attic into the care of a cadre of physicians and physical therapists armed with the knowledge, drugs and equipment to reverse what his bizarre form of incarceration had done to his body. Of course, he’d escaped once he’d gotten his legs back underneath him, as it were, and broken into the Dollhouse to confront her after everything had gone to hell. Why her? Why not Caroline, Paul or Priya? What the fuck is going on? Well aware of the need for care, he opted to start slowly. “It’s been forever since anyone’s called me that.”

Her eyes cut to Danielle briefly and the resulting smile held amusement. “I imagine so.”

“What’s Caroline want?” Adelle produced a list. He scanned it, smiling despite himself. “That girl loves to blow shit up.”

“Indeed.”

“That covers Caroline. What is it you want from me, ma’am?” Her wince brought a fleeting pang of regret for the chosen mode of address.

“I am merely a messenger.”

Dominic laughed. “Right.”

“Why do you find that difficult to believe?”

He strode into the room and stopped just shy of Adelle’s personal space. “You aren’t, nor have you ever been, merely a messenger.” He shook his head. “Even if everyone else involved in whatever is happening thinks you are. You don’t have it in you to go into anything without an angle.” Her gaze shifted to Danielle again and understanding dawned along with a cautious form of curiosity.

“Give this to Pierce,” he said, holding Caroline’s list out to Danielle, “and have someone bring hot tea to my office. Something tells me this will take a while.”

Looking mutinous, Danielle said, “Dom, I don’t think this—.”

“Please.” His trust that soft spoken word from his lips would win the day wasn’t misplaced. Danielle retreated, leaving him alone with Adelle DeWitt and to belatedly wonder if the outcome he’d achieved actually constituted a positive development.

“Lovely girl,” she observed evenly.

He refused to be baited into an admission of sexual interest in Dani or anything else for that matter. Instead, he brought finely honed powers of observation to bear. Adelle looked tired. Hell, that was no surprise. Everybody did these days. The realization that it was much more than that threw him. He never would’ve believed it possible, not of this woman. Adelle DeWitt as a suitable poster child for bereft did not compute and yet he sensed the correctness of his assessment. “You’re running away from Caroline’s cozy little enclave. Who saw that coming?”

“Don’t be absurd!”

“You must really be desperate to have chosen this particular destination.” Further thought demanded a caveat. “Assuming you actually had another choice.” He tilted his head toward the door. “C’mon, let’s go to my office. You’ll be more comfortable.”

“You’d be surprised at what a foreign concept “comfortable” is for me these days.”

They regarded each other as they ascended two flights of stairs and gained the solitude of Dominic’s rather spacious, spartanly furnished office.

Adelle gasped. “It’s true, then?” She approached the laptop computer on his desk like it was a cornered and likely rabid wild animal.

“I’ve put a secure network in place, yes.” Pride in that accomplishment kept him talking. “Rossum can’t touch it. Not that they haven’t tried.”

She smiled and he marvelled at the immense satisfaction he saw in it. “You’ve truly become the number one thorn in Rossum’s side. Caroline will be extremely vexed, once she realizes she’s been marginalized as well.”

Pondering the possible meanings of “as well,” he said, “I’ll gladly cede the position to her.”

“If only Rossum would agree.”

“Yeah.” All at once disinclined to converse, he pulled out a fair to middling bottle of moonshine—south eastern Idaho vintage. “Can I interest you in something a bit stronger than Earl Grey?”

“You can.” He poured. “How widespread is your network, Mr. Dominic?”

“We go coast to coast. Twenty-seven states in all, including Hawaii, thank Christ, because we need the fish and fruit to feed everybody with any kind of variety.” Enjoying her admiring in-taken breath more than he should, he said, “We’re still working out how to go global.”

“How did you manage the imprint burst risk?”

“Which one?”

“I meant the one attendant to securing the network.” Her eyes widened and she clasped her hands together tightly, as if she didn’t trust them to act appropriately on their own. “Have you somehow lessened the danger of being out of doors?”

“Eliminated it,” he said as he handed her a drink and tried to calculate the probability of Adelle missing this highly relevant memo.

She took a healthy swallow. “How?”

“A scary smart young woman observed that the imprint bursts aren’t random anymore.” Some days, he missed Eva. This was one of them. “Initially, they were and, even now, they aren’t the same everywhere.” He stopped and considered his words, because Adelle looked confused. “What I mean is, the bursts are released in accordance with a computer program designed to shoot them off randomly. It did for a while, but the iterative nature of the beast eventually settled into a pattern, so that the bursts go out at specific times in particular locations. Here in LA, they fire at 3:13 am, 12.02 pm and 7:17 pm with an extra at 11:37 pm every other Saturday. It’d be different in Tucson, but it’s perfectly predictive.” The oddness of this exchange suddenly struck him. “I sent word to Caroline. Doesn’t she have it pinned down yet?”

“Perhaps your messenger didn’t get through.”

The careful tone Adelle used spoke volumes. “Caroline didn’t believe him. No, no, no, no, no, that’s not it. She didn’t want to believe him. She is so fucked up.”

Face several shades paler than just a few seconds ago, Adelle drained her drink and asked, “How do you maintain the security of your network against attack of the computer virus nature?”

“My former gamers are better than Rossum’s mainframe. For now.” Having this woman’s rapt attention was a bit of a rush. Always had been, truth be told. “My people evaluate our system, invent a hack, defeat the hack and update the system with the defense, invent the next hack and so on. We try to stay at least three steps ahead. That’s getting harder and harder to motivate them to do with the supply of junk food diminishing.” He smirked. “Geek groupies with fresh fruit are bridging the gap thus far.”

“That’s splendid.” Nodding slowly, she observed, “Communication is the key.”

“I think so.”

“There’s a bit more to the backstory than that, isn’t there?”

He inclined his head in acknowledgment. “The NSA modelled it to death—the end of days brought about by the Dollhouse tech. I’m just trying to put that research to use.” Chuckling, he added, “What else am I supposed to do? Caroline’s got the blowing shit up angle covered.” Dominic regarded Adelle closely. “Which brings us back to you and why you’re here instead of the usual suspects. I’m all ears.”

“Why would you imagine I’d go on this sort of errand?” she challenged.

“I don’t know. Are you tired of weeding?” The spark of temper flying across her face left behind an impressive frown, but he didn’t regret calling forth the image of Adelle DeWitt, farmer extraordinaire, that Priya and Paul spoke of so highly. Caroline didn’t mention Adelle at all. Ever. Which had always struck him as odd, but Adelle’s satisfaction with Caroline’s alleged marginalization and shock at the younger woman’s failure to chart imprint bursts bespoke an uneasy relationship between the two—if indeed they had a relationship at all.

“Rossum has Topher, Mr. Dominic.”

Shock hit fatigue broadside and manifested in a wave of vertigo. When it passed, he realized Adelle had taken his left arm in hers, presumably to steady him, and that his hold on his drink was best described as precarious. Glowering down at her, he spoke very carefully. “What. Did. You. Say?”

“Rossum has Topher.”

“Where?”

“That’s what I’m hoping you can tell me.”

“Sit, please, so I can and still be polite.”

“You always did have impeccable manners,” she said, as she strolled over to the small square table and complied with his request.

Dominic more or less fell into the chair next to hers, but, once again, didn’t spill a drop of alcohol. Taking pride in that accomplishment clearly indicated how tired he’d become and firmly established his desire to rewind the conversation about a minute and have it proceed quite differently than it had. Ruthlessly, he cut off the wishful thinking and a pointless exercise in recalling how long it had been since he’d last slept. “So … the unstable wunderkind has been spirited away to an unknown location. Finding him does not involve blowing shit up, so Caroline isn’t interested or particularly well suited to it, because gathering intelligence really isn’t her thing, Ballard or no Ballard, unless it’s recon as a precursor to the joy of pyrotechnics.” Something shifted in Adelle’s expression, but Dominic couldn’t put a word to it. Distaste seemed the closest but didn’t really capture the essence of what he saw. With a mental shrug, he continued. “Pyrotechnics, of course, now being contraindicated as a result of the wunderkind’s location being unknown.” Dominic took his time. “Why in the hell did she ask for all the explosives then? Is she stockpiling?” Adelle’s face should’ve been a bland mask, but there was something about her eyes that troubled him and raised his hackles. “She’s going to blow shit up anyway, is that it? Regardless of the risk to Topher?” Adelle nodded. “Not with my C4, she isn’t. We’re done here.” As if to punctuate his statement, Dominic’s office door opened.

“Caroline will obtain the supplies elsewhere, if I fail to return within a reasonable timeframe with what she wants,” Adelle asserted, tone thrumming with tension. “I hoped that you, being much better suited to gathering intelligence, might be able to ascertain Topher’s whereabouts before she acts indiscriminately.”

“Here’s your tea,” Danielle announced, waving a tray-bearing Pierce forward.

“Intel pertaining to Rossum is tricky,” Dominic said and pretended not to notice Pierce’s uncharacteristic clumsiness in setting down the tray. “If we’ve got it, that’s one thing. Otherwise, we’re firmly in something else again territory.”

“I don’t follow,” Adelle said and something within him relished the opportunity to explain.

“Everyone in this organization watches Rossum to the extent they can within acceptable safety parameters. If someone spotted your boy arriving or noticed an uptick in sophisticated Topher-esq equipment procurement and maybe a mini-trampoline being delivered or something like that, it’ll be in our system and we’ll get it for you. Fishing in the Rossum network is a most dangerous game that’s only recently been made a little safer.” Not surprised that Pierce used the excuse of pouring tea to stay, Dominic said, “They’ve dotted their virtual landscape with remote imprint mines, Adelle.”

“There’s a blocker for those, right?” Danielle asked.

“One,” Dominic said, rising to his feet and rolling his shoulders. “It’s here.”

“I’ve seen it work,” Pierce said. “I’ve also seen it fail.” He stepped back from the table, the empty tray dangling from his left hand. “But who’s gonna hack it, Dom? Unless you’re hiding Eva someplace and spreading the rumor she’s in NYC, which I wouldn’t put past you by the way, there’s no one with those kind of chops in residence.”

Danielle had bristled at the mention Eva’s name, but Dominic knew that would pale in comparison to what was forthcoming. “No one except me,” he said.

In his face in a heartbeat, she snarled, “No way! No fucking way, Dom. You can’t do this. We won’t let you. I won’t let you.”

“Are you done, Dani?”

“You’re a real bastard sometimes, you know that?” He nodded readily. “You have responsibilities. You have people who depend on you. There’s a trajectory at work here, like you always say. A plan that’s been set in motion with you as the centrepiece or lynchpin or whatever you want to call it. Why would you risk that?”

“To find one of the few people, if not the only person on the planet, who might be able to fix this fucked up situation.” He sighed. “Before Caroline Farrell inadvertently blows him up.” He slowly rose to his feet. “Some collateral damage can’t be tolerated, Dani.”

The crack occasioned by her palm impacting his face at high speed sounded far louder than he’d anticipated. No one spoke while Danielle turned on her heel and stalked out. Surprisingly, she refrained from slamming the door.

“You play the old man card sometimes, but you’re plenty quick enough to have stopped that,” Pierce noted with calm curiosity.

“She’s earned it.” With nothing more than a thoughtful nod, Pierce strategically retreated.

“Has she indeed?” Adelle said, tone the epitome of bland. When he didn’t reply, she evidently decided to try to lighten the mood. “Have you been derelict in paying her the attention she believes she deserves?”

“I’ve probably been derelict in every way imaginable.” He chuckled softly. “Twice.”

“I didn’t realize my request would put you and all that you’ve accomplished at risk.”

“I don’t hear you withdrawing it.”

“Nor will you.” When he sat back down, drained his drink and contemplated having another, she said, “I’m sorry to have caused you difficulties of a personal nature.”

Deciding in the affirmative, he went to retrieve the bottle and said, “Don’t be.”

Tone now ultra-careful, she said, “All right.”

At this moment, he simply couldn’t see the humor in the absurdity. “Why is it …?” he began. It suddenly hit him that his companion might actually have an answer to one of his favourite rhetorical questions. He spun to face Adelle. “Why is it, even now, with the world as it stands today, that after a man sleeps with a woman a few times, she wants to move in and rearrange the furniture?” Pointing a finger at her for emphasis rather than in accusation, he said, “That makes zero sense to me.”

She regally sipped her tea, looking for all the world like the Ms. DeWitt of old in terms of elegance, attentiveness and intelligence if not with regard to hair style, footwear and wardrobe. “Are you asking in general or with regard to you specifically, Mr. Dominic?”

“There’s a difference?”

“There is.”

“Ok,” he said, meandering back into Adelle’s orbit with the moonshine bottle and the will to polish it off. “I’ll bite. Is the inexplicable urge to hook up greater or lesser than average when it comes to me?”

“Greater, of course.”

Her offhand, yet implacable reply struck an odd chord, suggesting a subject change might be in order. Hedging his bets, he said, “Am I going to regret it if I ask why?”

“Possibly.” Perhaps in reply to his annoyed grunt, she added, “It depends, I should think, on whether you truly wish to understand.”

Having successfully brought the bottle of booze into close proximity with his empty glass, he sat and poured himself another. “Do you want some in your tea or just in the other glass?”

“Would you think less of me if I said both?”

Shaking his head, he delivered a splash in her tea and a healthier slug to her tumbler. She seemed content to watch and wait. Unaccustomed to inactivity and Adelle’s brand of patient scrutiny, he forced, “Why?” out of a tight throat.

“An association with the leader of any organization confers status and demands acceptance.” After the briefest of pauses, she continued, “With the return of something approaching feudal times, such an attachment also enhances the chance of survival and provides a sense of security.”

Her words might as well have been a stiletto slipped between his ribs.

“I take it that was not what you wished to hear, Mr. Dominic.”

He stared at his drink and tried to calculate how drunk he would have to get to forget what she’d said. “You take it correctly.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No need for that. I just didn’t expect to get sucker punched by the truth today.”

A slight smile graced her lips. “Does that happen to you often?”

What should’ve been an innocuous question was anything but between the two of them. Lies and retribution played such a large role in the tragedy they’d perpetrated and continued to live. “Not anymore, Adelle.”

“I’m glad to hear it, Laurence.”

Her slight hesitation before using his first name drew a rueful smile from him. “That doesn’t make it any easier to hear that women go for what I represent as opposed to who I am.” Gesturing in Adelle’s general direction with his glass, he explained, “I’m not an idiot. I knew that the leadership deal was part of the attraction. I guess I just wanted to believe there was more to it than that. I thought that this time …”

He vividly recalled the moment he’d first set eyes on Danielle Evanston. “We’d just come back from our last trip to the east coast. Everything had gone according to Hoyle on the way out. We’d set up several new nodes in the network, reinforced others, made new contacts and strengthened alliances. It was all I could’ve hoped for. The return trip was a completely different story. Only half of us made it.” He still blamed himself for the train wreck that journey had become.

“She was waiting for you?”

“Hmmmm? Dani? No. She signed on while I was gone.”

“Ah … the new girl.”

“Who didn’t know me from Adam. Yeah, I liked that about her.” Adelle, he suspected, hid a smile behind her hand. “What?” he demanded. When she declined to enlighten him, he said, “I know what you’re thinking. The new recruit—scared, not sure of what she’s gotten herself into but needing to fit in in a way that suits her—is going to gravitate to the leader. Thing is, she didn’t know that guy was me until later.”

“You wasted little time in taking things further.” Adelle spoke as though discussing the weather or the menu at a fast food restaurant.

“Didn’t see the point.”

“In other words,” she said, “it had been awhile, you had just endured a series of harrowing life-threatening experiences in which people, some of them yours, did indeed lose their lives, alcohol was being consumed and you spotted a fresh face in the mix.”

“Didn’t see the point is more succinct.”

Something about the way she inclined her head when she said, “Granted,” brought things into sharp relief.

“I’d forgotten how good you are at this,” he muttered. “You asked, what, two questions, maybe three and I’m spilling my guts about things I simply do not talk about to anyone.”

“The initial question was yours, Laurence.”

“That’s true, but it doesn’t change the fact that back in the day you’d be telling me what I need right about now and assuring me that Topher could dial up whatever that is and all would be right in my world. For a fee.” Dominic rolled his neck to attempt to loosen recently tensed muscles. “That … process, for lack of a better word, was scary sometimes. I never could figure out how you did it.”

“Shall I?”

He swore his heart stopped. “You … you know what I … need?”

“I believe so and, what’s more, sadly, that the lovely and somewhat possessive young woman simply cannot give it to you.”

Dominic swallowed hard, but valiantly tried to smirk. “Don’t let Dani hear you say that.”

“I doubt she’d deny it.”

“Are you kidding?” It felt good to laugh. “She’d tell you you’re full of shit and drag me off to prove you wrong.”

“Perhaps, but she wouldn’t succeed.” No doubt sensing his skepticism, she said, “To provide you with what you need, she must separate the man from what he represents. However, the things you represent are fundamental needs of hers and she will not be able to give them up.”

It took him a few moments to recognize the feeling welling up inside of him as a combination of sadness, anger and fear. “Well, since I’m not going to get what I need in the foreseeable future or maybe ever, I guess I should get back to work.”

“What do you believe you need, Laurence?”

Shrugging, he ventured, “To be a regular guy in private.”

“That certainly is part of it,” she said. “However, I fear it’s more complicated than that.”

“Enigmatic as always.” He sighed. “Just let me have it, Adelle.”

“You need to surrender, willingly give up your control and allow your partner to have her wicked way with you.”

He laughed and recognized the relief attendant to it. “I’m not a sub.”

“There is a distinction between surrender and submission, Laurence.”

After silently admitting he’d never thought about the subject before, he said, “The element of choice.”

“Exactly.”

“If you’re right …” Dominic couldn’t go on. It was too depressing to have the most perceptive person he’d ever met insist that he needed something that he couldn’t have. Rebel leaders had to be commanding and in control, because that’s what everyone expected of them. Meeting such expectations is what held shit together.

“Perhaps I shouldn’t have said anything.”

Unsure what to do with this woman’s sympathy, he muttered, “I asked.”

“Somewhat reluctantly.”

He met her frank gaze, raised his glass and forced a smirk. “Here’s to at least being able to get what you want.”

She laughed. They drank and looked each other over, noting the changes that time and circumstances had wrought. “What about you, Adelle?” he whispered. “What do you need? You personally, I mean, not Topher’s location.”

“I want Topher’s location. I need … to be useful.”

“Feeding people is useful.”

Leaning toward him, elbows on the table, expression intent, she said, “Fighting Rossum at one remove is unsatisfactory to me.”

He smiled. He couldn’t help it. He also couldn’t quite believe that he intended to make this confession aloud. “Fighting Rossum toe to toe is … unsatisfactory to me. I’m so fucking tired of it all.” Laughing, he admitted, “If I had it to do over again, I’d have stolen a yacht and spent most of my time on the water.”

“Alone?”

“Hopefully not.” Smirking at the crazy idea, he asked, “What do you say, ma’am? Want to sail off into the sunset with me?”

Adelle’s slow smile twisted something in him. “I might’ve have agreed, if you’d asked over vodka.”

“Now she tells me.” Adelle’s laughter sounded like she could use more practice at it.

“A woman sometimes enjoys styling herself as unattainable.” She gestured toward him with her glass. “Often in order to see what a man is made of.”

“Keep talking like that and I’m going to be tempted to offer terms.”

She touched his cheek feather lightly with her fingertips. “Shall I be tempted to accept them, I wonder?”

Calling her obvious bluff, he murmured, “I surrender,” in a tone that got Dani off like nothing else.

Her nostrils flared, her eyes widened and her lips parted ever so slightly.

“Dom,” Devon poked his head in the door, grin shattering the bizarre yet intriguing moment. “It’s show time. You have a date with Cray’s harem, en masse and then in single file.” He winked. “Does not suck to be you, my man.”

“Harem?” Adelle asked.

Dominic gestured toward the door. “Why not make yourself useful, Ms. DeWitt? I need all the eyes and ears I can get for these … interviews.” He knew she would translate interview as interrogation and it was a relief not to have to explain everything.

“An actual harem?”*

“Yes, and I’d have a spy or two in place if it were mine. Wouldn’t you?”

“I would indeed.”

“Help me id them?”

Adelle downed her moonshine and smiled. “It’s the least I can do.”


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She wants him to get Topher back. The one to trust for something important.

I like that this is them just having the chance to meet up and be who they would be around each other in this scenario. It makes a lot of sense that they didn't sleep together and just have that weird lingering tension.

Dom's little group were great characters.

Edited at 2013-03-28 08:27 pm (UTC)

Wow! That was a fast read.

Adelle came to someone who she thought could discover Topher's whereabouts and would have some incentive to look in a meaningful way.

I like them meeting up and seeing what's the same and what's different about their lives now. Adelle assessing what he needed came out of nowhere but it rang true to me that she still had that ability. In this scenario, you're right. They hadn't had sex but there was some tension in the aftermath of him missing the vodka and there certainly is here.

I like surrounding Dom with eclectic groups. I couldn't tell you why. Maybe it's because they're fun to write.

Thanks, as always, for reading and taking the time to comment.

What can I do for an encore then?:)

Kidding. Thanks so much for the kind words!

Edited at 2013-03-29 09:23 pm (UTC)

Very Interesting. Really liking it so far.

There is a sequel. Must edit. Must edit. Must edit.

Are you still editing? Because I must know what happens next.

I completely forgot about this. Got involved in other projects and now am on vacation. Give me a little more time and I'll produce the sequel. I promise!

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