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For the Joy of I Ch. 4, Tea with a spoonful of stalking.
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Cuckoo
Posted: 28 October 2019 - 12:49 AM                                    
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Chapter warnings: shock, drinking, Murdoc

Ch. 4: Irish Breakfast

Elizabeth washed the mugs and put them away. Her shaking stopped and a preternatural stillness replaced the trembling.
It took nearly an hour to think of calling the cops, or so the clock behind the counter told her. What the clock said and how her body interpreted the next sixty minutes, however, did not agree. It might have been days of contemplation. By the time she stood from the table, her tea was stone cold, and it felt like the sun had risen to warm her face and disappeared again at least once. But that didn’t make any kind of sense, and maybe it had just been an eternal minute since her rescuer smiled and vanished into the night.
When she finally plugged the three numbers every child new as a call for a help, her own voice felt distant and foggy. Something warm dripped in her eye. Blood smeared on her knuckles when she tried to clear her vision, and she realized her head wound must have reopened. Just how serious was it?
The cops wasted no time rushing to the scene. Elizabeth waited at the desk, like she was waiting for a customer.
EMTs arrived with the police, and while armed men rushed down the horrible basement stairs, two paramedics bundled Elizabeth out of the store and into the back of an ambulance, draping her in heavy blankets and flashing penlights in her eyes. They touched her neck with chilly, gloved hands, asked her to speak, peered down her throat, and eventually patched the gash on her head.
Then the questions began.
Why had she taken so long to call?
Who else had been in the building?
Was she aware of anything unusual leading up to that evening?
Who shot the man who attacked her?
Some of her answers surprised her. Mostly, they were the truth – she hadn’t called because she hadn’t thought of, hadn’t thought of anything for a while – she’d been alone, or she’d thought so until the man grabbed her – there had been nothing unusual, nothing at all…
And then she lied.
“Someone else shot the man attacking you?” the officer repeated. “You didn’t fire the shot?”
They’d run a test on her hands for gunshot residue. They knew she hadn’t.
“Yes. Someone else.”
“Can you describe them?”
“I was on the verge of blacking out.”
“Any details could help.”
Help what? Arrest him? For saving her life.
She shook her head. “I could barely see anything the whole time. They lights were off. I passed out.”
The man in uniform waited, pen over notebook. Elizabeth paused, like she was trying to remember. She tried to forget instead.
“I didn’t see anything. Just that dead man’s face when I woke up. The lights were on then. I called the cops when I remembered I needed to get to a phone.”
With her horrifically rasping voice, the bruises she was sure ringed her neck, and the bandage on her head, it wasn’t hard to play the victim. Really, she wasn’t playing at all. She hurt, and she wanted to go home and take a bath.
That was not to be.
She got a trip to the police station instead where she got to tell her story two more times, once on camera and again with a very sympathetic female cop Elizabeth suspected was there to elicit a more emotional – and possibly contradictory – story. Even if the police guessed she was holding something back, though, they didn’t call her on it, and they had absolutely no proof to suggest she knew more than she was letting on.
After a gamut of tests, photographs of her injuries, and a final inspection from the medic on duty, they cleared her to go home. The bump on her head wasn’t as bad as she’d feared. Apparently, it looked nasty, but there was no concussion. Rattled and shocky, she was still in good shape, all things considered. The police drove her home.
She had no idea what time it was, only that it was still very dark and her neighbors were quiet.
When she reached her apartment, she realized she didn’t remember climbing the stairs, unlocking the door, or even stepping inside. She blinked, dropping her bag on the side table as she stumbled towards the bathroom. That’s what she’d wanted all day, wasn’t it? A bath?
She twisted the knob so scalding water filled the tub, steaming like a witch’s cauldron as she stripped out of the police sweats the kind lady officer gave her in place of the bloodied work clothes they’d packed away into evidence. The hot water burned, but she sank into the bath quietly as feeling returned to her thoughts and extremities with twitches and shudders.
As the heat forced her back to life, the past few hours slammed into her with brutal clarity.
She’d almost died.
A man waited for her in the basement and he squeezed and squeezed and squeezed until she was just a rag doll. He’d been smiling. What would have happened if her mysterious friend hadn’t shown up…? No, she knew the answer to that. It would’ve been her purpling corpse they found on the filthy basement floor.
Pulling her knees up to her chest, Elizabeth covered her face and tried to take a deep breath. She got three quick gasps through instead, and they left as a weak, keening wail. When she tried to breathe again, the same thing happened. She didn’t want to cry, but she just couldn’t stop. It sounded even worse coming from her abused throat, and tears of fear and pain finally bubbled over. They dripped off her chin into the uncomfortably hot water.
No one tried to stop them this time.
.O.O.O.
The girl, Elizabeth, did not return to work. Murdoc didn’t expect her to be there the day after her attack, but he had thought she might return in three or four days. When she didn’t, he began to wonder if she’d fled. He’d seen a light on in her apartment each night, but that didn’t necessarily mean she hadn’t found help and gone to ground with witness protection as a witness to a professional hitman’s latest successful job.
He didn’t want to believe that story, but his fists flexed in his pocket as he walked towards her apartment and his jaw clenched. Letting her live was a snap decision, made in no small part by her unexpected embrace over the corpse of a mediocre serial killer. He wouldn’t deny he enjoyed her company up to that point, but sacrifices were the norm in his business, and hers wouldn’t be the first death he hadn’t relished.
But there had been fear in her shell-shocked expression, not for him anyway. Only gratitude and warmth. Then she’d made him a cup of tea, and although he kept his gun handy, she was just too charming, and he couldn’t bring himself to use it.
Couldn’t bring himself? No, that was dishonest. He didn’t want to, and he didn’t see a need. He’d never even given the girl an alias’s name, and what could she possibly tell the police that might hurt him?
So he decided to see how far that gratitude went, how well she paid attention. He told her to keep a secret, and when he didn’t see any description of the bookseller’s mysterious savior in the newspaper over the next couple days, he dared to hope she did in fact want to see him. It was a novel situation, and he wouldn’t mind playing it out a little further.
But, although she seemed to stay quiet, she hadn’t returned to the one place she knew to look for him.
Now there were questions, and Murdoc wasn’t happy with a single one of them.
As he approached her building, he looked up towards her window and stopped. He moved out of sight, hugging the shadows.
She hadn’t run.
Elizabeth sat in the open window along an improvised window seat with a book in her lap and a cup of tea in her hands. Wet hair hung over her shoulder, fresh from the shower, and as she ran her fingers through it, Murdoc gathered she must be taking advantage of the unseasonably warm day to let her hair dry in the sun. She spent all her time indoors. Of course, she must miss the sun sometimes.
He hadn’t been expecting this scene, and he watched in silence as she finished her tea, turned a few pages, and her hair gradually lightened as it dried. He was ready to be angry, maybe even disappointed, but he had not been prepared for such an intimate moment. After all she’d gone through, she looked so calm. Armed with her two great loves, tea and books, he mused, she could probably best any trauma.
When she leaned back to rest her head on the window frame, he realized why she hadn’t been at work. No doubt her employers preferred to keep the attack out of the public eye as much as possible, and the bruising over Elizabeth’s neck was truly lurid. He saw the deep purple, red, and green shadows clearly, even from the street. Black and blue patches so dark they looked like shadows marked the lines of her assailant’s fingers. Murdoc’s own jaw twitched. He could’ve prevented that if he’d really wanted to. At the time, he hadn’t seen the point. Now, he wished he’d pursued his target into the basement earlier.
Sitting up in her window, hair beginning to float on a gentle breeze, the young lady cut a very romantic picture. Her choice of literature seemed fitting, really. When next they spoke, he would have to ask her more about that heroine of hers. He was certain now that she’d return. She was only locked away for a short time, recovering in her lonely tower before she rejoined the living.
As he straightened from his slouch against the shadowed doorway, he found his body had relaxed without his permission. Gone was the tense itch to solve a problem and cut away a loose end. His brows no longer felt like they were trying to meet as he frowned, and his arms rested, comfortably folded across his chest.
He shook himself and glanced once more at the young lady’s window just as she roused herself and moved indoors.
Murdoc grinned to himself as he sauntered away, hands in his pockets. He felt as if he’d accomplished something, though goodness knew no one would contract him to watch the young woman.
Still.
She hadn’t run.
.O.O.O.
Under pressure from her bosses – a kindly old couple who cared more about literacy and a friendly work environment than running a profitable business – Elizabeth took a week off. It was a very lonely week, and she returned to the bookshop early her first day back. Even without her coworkers, the smell of the books comforted her. Thankfully, the store smelled very little like the basement, a place she reasonably expected to never set foot in ever again. She’d continue to do her regular duties, but if she drew the short straw next time, she would be skipping that particular chore. No one could blame her for that, not if they had a heart.
The only sign of the incident in the public space was the scarf swaddling her neck and a shiny new lock on the door. According to the police, the would-be strangler forced the old one. He must have slipped in while Elizabeth was cleaning the back areas. It wasn’t a comforting thought, and while the gleaming replacement made a show of better security, Elizabeth doubted it would keep out aspiring killers any better than its predecessor.
Her coworkers greeted her with more enthusiasm than they ever had before, giving her careful hugs and offering to make her tea as she sat in her favorite seat behind the counter with her worn copy of Jane Eyre at hand. Any time she went to help a customer or wash a few mugs, someone leapt to do it for her. She wanted to believe they’d all suddenly realized how much she meant to them, but the truth was that they missed her contributions at work. And they felt guilty. It could have been any one of them in that basement, and they knew it. Elizabeth accepted their wordless apologies with all the grace she could muster. At least they knew not to give her coffee. That, she really couldn’t forgive.
It was nearly closing time when someone snuck up to the counter and smacked the bell five times in rapid succession. Elizabeth had been all but dozing, and she flailed to life like an uncoordinated octopus looking for a fire.
She met a grinning face full of teeth instead.
“Cilly?”
Her impromptu alarm clock clapped. “Nerd!”
“What?” Elizabeth climbed to her feet. She was still groggy, but she knew what month it was – and what month it wasn’t. “You said in your last voicemail you wouldn’t be in town until January. At the earliest.”
Cilly shrugged, her leather-padded shoulders brushing against her low-hanging earrings. “Had a surprising booking near here. Saw your face in the paper. Thought I would move the Night of Debauchery up.”
“Ugh.” Elizabeth knew the picture she was talking about. It was her original employee photo from a few years ago, and it was less than flattering. She had good reason to suspect a coworker had sold it for a quick payday on the sly. More reason for them to feel guilty.
“You act like you don’t want to see me.” Cilly slapped her shoulder. “C’mon! Let’s go on out and get this over with.”
“It isn’t closing time yet.”
Cilly leaned back and whistled at Amy, who was discreetly eavesdropping as she toyed with the front display. “Hey! It okay if the walking wounded here clocks out a little early?”
Cilly was good at the guilt game. Always had been. Amy didn’t hesitate. “Sure, yeah, have fun!”
Blessed by the coworker, Cilly swung over the counter.
“I need to get my stuff!” Elizabeth exclaimed.
“Well, hurry up! Happy hour waits for no broad.”
With her book in her bag and her jacket over her shoulders, Elizabeth ran out of excuses, and Cilly pounced, frog marching her right out the door.
As they moved swiftly through the autumn breeze, beelining for Elizabeth’s apartment, she couldn’t help grumbling.
“I have to work tomorrow.”
“Call off.”
“I just had a whole week off. I have bills.”
“You’ll live.”
“Doubtful.”
“But entirely possible.”
“I hate you.”
“You do not.”
Cilly happily bullied her into her apartment complex, and Elizabeth went whining all the way. Neither noticed the eyes following them.
O.O.O.
Once she’d been dolled up to Cilly’s satisfaction and Elizabeth’s mortification, the two headed out to a club Cilly insisted wouldn’t be too loud. Elizabeth instantly knew her friend was a liar, but she put up with it anyway, because that was the Night of Debauchery was all about: pushing boundaries and experimenting with her severely restricted wild side. It was Cilly’s sworn duty and favorite form of torture.
Really, though, it was also a setting that helped Cilly relax, and Elizabeth was happy to have a conversation with her wherever she was comfortable having it. Anything to spend time together. Cilly travelled so much she didn’t have a real home, just a PO box and a renovated school bus. Her band and her boyfriend had become her life, just as the bookshop and cups of tea had become Elizabeth’s.
They sat up at the bar, and Cilly immediately ordered drinks.
“I’m not gonna ask about,” she gestured at Elizabeth’s neck, “but I DO have to ask if you’re okay.” The drinks arrived and she made a show of chugging a beer. Elizabeth rolled her eyes and obediently consumed whatever was put in front of her, grimacing all the while. Cilly slammed her glass upside down on the bar. “So. Are you okay?”
Elizabeth adjusted her scarf self-consciously, tracing the splotches she knew showed above the fabric along her jaw. “I will be.”
“But you aren’t right now.”
“Not really.”
Cilly nodded, not happy, but satisfied. “That makes sense. And you’re honest about it, so that’s good. Promise me you’ll see a doctor if things get any worse – physically or mentally.”
“I promise.” She could take care of her own problems, but she wasn’t an idiot. At least she knew Cilly cared. Time to change the subject, though. “How are things between you and Jake?”
Cilly threw up a hand. “No, no, no! We don’t talk about feelings until the fourth shot. Them’s the rules.” She caught the bartender’s eye and shouted down an order for eight shots of whiskey. The guy didn’t even blink, and he delivered quick. Elizabeth nodded her thanks and silently decided to throw in a hefty tip at the end of the night. He was earning it, and Cilly would put him through his paces.
Three shots and the beginning of a buzz cleared the way for more conversation, and Cilly immediately broke the rules. Cilly admitted that things were going stupid well with her long-term boyfriend and she’d caught herself trying to self-sabotage on a regular basis, but Elizabeth didn’t have much advice to offer besides the usual encouragement and a willing ear.
Then Cilly got serious.
“I worry about you, you know.”
So stay, Elizabeth wanted to say, or take me with you.
Instead she took her fourth shot.
“I’ve always been fine on my own,” she said.
“Mmm,” Cilly made a balancing motion with her free hand. “So-so. I mean, you’ve always been so freaking responsible, that’s what I liked about you at sixteen when you got emancipated, why I let you move in, but there’s more than that. Like, you survive just fine, but you don’t really live any kind of life. You just keep chugging along. Go to work. Read books. Drink tea.”
Elizabeth shrugged expressively. “That sounds like a great life to me.”
“Friends, Nerd, I’m talking about friends.”
“What about them?”
“You don’t have any.”
Sitting up a little straighter, Elizabeth frowned at her oldest companion. “Yes I do.”
Cilly’s eyebrow went up. “Other than me?”
“Sure.” Elizabeth twirled her empty shot glass, straining to hear it rumble against the counter over the blaring music. “I talk to people all the time at work. Amy even –”
“Have you, even once,” Cilly interrupted, “hung out with a single one of your coworkers outside of that bookshop?”
That wasn’t a fair question. She couldn’t say why it wasn’t fair, but she determined not to answer it, choosing to play with her shot glass instead as Cilly groaned.
The older girl rapped on the bar to get the tender’s attention. She lifted four fingers. “Two more each.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Getting me drunk won’t change anything.”
“It’ll be fun, and I’ve given up on my original plan.”
“You had a plan?” She struggled to believe that.
The shots arrived and Cilly pounded one down with a hiss. “I really, really, really wanted to get you laid this time.”
Elizabeth, mid-sip, spluttered. The aspirated whiskey swirled like fire in her lungs, and she hacked desperately. A few hard slaps on the back from Cilly didn’t really clear her airways, but they did bring her back to the reason she almost drowned.
“Excuse me?”
Cilly held up her hands. “If you can’t even manage friends right now, though, there’s no way you could deal with romance. Maybe next year.”
Elizabeth took a deep breath to clear her lungs.
Why, oh why, were her thoughts suddenly on the man from the bookshop. Her tea buddy who read violent books and performed violent acts with such ease and grace? He hadn’t been back, though she imagined she could feel him watching from outside. Amy assured her the English gentleman hadn’t been there all week.
She’d kept his secret, but he never made any promises. Just because she played dumb didn’t mean he’d ever step back through that door, even though her heart jumped every time the hinges squeaked. It had only been one day, she told herself. Maybe he’d be in the next week.
Her remaining shot and a half disappeared in rapid succession. Cilly watched her, eyes betraying her suspicion.
“Am I late to the game?”
When she didn’t answer, Cilly’s jaw hit the floor. Then she attacked.
“You little minx!” She was everywhere, fingers like heat-seeking missiles digging up old ticklish places she’d exploited as a teen. Elizabeth writhed and giggled helplessly, nearly toppling from her barstool. “Tell me! Tell me now!”
“It’s not – it’s not…!” Gasping, she finally managed to slap Cilly’s hands away. “It’s not like that.”
Cilly would not be put off. “But you want it to be.”
Nothing and no one could get Cilly to drop a bone once she’d latched on, and Elizabeth didn’t see the point of denying the obvious. “I think he’s… attractive.”
Cilly signaled for more shots. “I think I’m gonna need to be the one who’s drunk for this story. So, he’s attractive. Anything else? Have you even talked to this person?”
“Yes,” Elizabeth mumbled.
Spinning her hand, Cilly demanded more. “About…?”
“Books.”
“Shocked. Just shocked, I tell you.”
“Do you want to hear it or not?”
Cilly dramatically zipped her lips and pitched the key into oblivion.
Elizabeth took a deep breath as she tried to corral her fuzzy memories, picking which stories to tell and which to leave alone. She did like him, and she did want to see him again. Even if he never came back, she’d prove she could keep a secret.
“He comes in to read. Usually actually buys something, too. Picks a lot of classics. And one day I brought him tea. He’s English, and he has the most beautiful voice.”
Cilly nodded her approval but remained obediently silent.
“The next time, he asked for tea, and he invited me to sit with him. He’s funny, and charming, and just irritating enough to be interesting.”
Good interesting, or bad interesting?
Her sudden silence broke Cilly’s willpower. “And? Have you invited him over? Has he asked you out? What?”
Elizabeth shrugged, but her disappointment must have showed on her face, because Cilly’s hand found its way to her shoulder where it began rubbing soothing circles.
“He’ll come back. And if he likes tea and books even half as much as you do, then it’s meant to be. If he doesn’t, it’s his loss.”
Whatever.
“Right.”
Shaking her head, Cilly pushed herself to her feet. She wasn’t wobbling yet, but the feverish burn in her eyes said she was ready for action.
“I want to dance. You want to dance, Nerd?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “Nah. I’m still pretty worn out from…” she pointed to the scarf.
“Alright. Okay. I’m gonna go warm up and then we’ll start on the vodka. Deal?”
Elizabeth just groaned, and Cilly grinned. “That is definitely Nerd-speak for deal.”
And then she was gone, and Elizabeth was left to sink deeper into the warm haze of burgeoning drunkenness.
.O.O.O.
Murdoc was curious, so that was his excuse. He saw the stranger all but kidnap Elizabeth from the bookshop and stayed across the street until they emerged, clearly ready for a night out. Elizabeth’s expression of playful tolerance reassured him she was safe, but he’d carried out enough hits in bars and clubs to understand exactly how dangerous they could be.
She hadn’t run, and he had yet to return to the bookshop.
He followed.
They sat at the bar and he found a dark corner where he could study them, unobserved. At least they had common sense. They didn’t leave their drinks unguarded, and although they did separate, Elizabeth stayed at the bar, clearly visible to both the bartender and her friend on the dancefloor. But although she was safe, she really did not appear to be having a good time. Her eyes stayed on the polished wood, and her lips had a distinctive downward tilt. Despite the makeup her friend added, her eyes didn’t sparkle like he knew they could, and in her low-cut sweater she didn’t carry the airy confidence she did in her work clothes with her arms full of books.
He glanced at her friend. She was speaking to a couple other girls while dancing with her back to the bar, and her movements were getting sloppier by the moment. She wouldn’t notice much of anything in that state. Again, his gaze wandered to the little book lover at the bar and her sad, sad face.
He wanted to know why she was so sad, if the night in the basement haunted her, or if something else had damaged the gentle heart behind her naďve smiles. Anyway, the seat beside her was empty.
Without taking his eyes from her, he crossed the room, and she must have felt his attention, because she looked up from her slumped position and found him. Even if he hadn’t planned to investigate, the sweet smile she gave him would’ve drawn him. He took the bar stool beside her and just watched her for a moment, wondering where that unhappy face had disappeared to.
He held her brightened gaze as she took a deep breath and released an even deeper sigh, all liquid courage and oblivion. Blue and green lights kaleidoscoped across her face, and in the dark room she almost seemed to glow, some enchanting creature slipped loose from a children’s fairytale. Murdoc didn’t believe in fairytales. Unfortunately. But he did believe in alcohol’s magical power to coax out the truth.
“It’s too bad you’re not really here,” she said.
His chin came to rest on his fist. He tilted his head to better meet her eyes, intrigued. “And what would you do if I were?”
Without her overwhelming shyness crippling her expression, she gave him another magnificently soft smile instead of her customary blush. Her face burned with something else. Interest, maybe. Something unfamiliar that warmed and thrilled him.
“I think I would kiss you.”
Ah. Inebriated honesty really was a wonderful thing. He brought his hand up to ghost across her cheek, and she pressed into the contact, but she didn’t close her eyes. She held onto the connection with such a sweetly vulnerable openness, Murdoc felt he could already taste her soul. His thumb rolled over the Cupid’s bow of her upper lip, but he went no further. He leaned close and murmured in her ear.
“An idea we will have to revisit when you’re a little more cognizant.”
He left her with a sleepy smile on her face and the smell of her hair locked in his memory.


A/N: So, first of all, don't drink like they just did. That is not how one safely drinks, FYI. That said, Elizabeth only gets drunk once or twice a year with Cilly, so let's not judge her. This will probably be my last post for a month or so, because I am using NaNoWriMo to work on an original project while simultaneously dealing with some physical and mental health issues. I'll be okay, no worries, but just wanted to explain my absence. Hopefully will have a nice big chapter when I come back! Thanks for reviewing! You really make my day!



 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 28 October 2019 - 10:07 AM                                    
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Yay! Another great chapter!! And I love how you write from both Elizabeth's and Murdoc's point of view. So, okay, I'm really starting to identify with Elizabeth!! I don't care for tea, but definitely give me my cozy house and a good book and I'm happy! I feel her pain when going out with Cilly...but at some point we've all had a friend like that!! The addition of Cilly was a good way to add a little to Elizabeth's backstory.

Ah, I think Murdoc's in love happy_dance.gif Of course, I'm sure he won't realize it for quite some time...if ever!! Awww, and he's gotten under Elizabeth's skin, too. He chose not to kill her and she hasn't ratted him out...romance is in the air!! love.jpg

And how noble of him to not take advantage of her drunken state!

I really love the pace and description of your writing. This was a very emotional chapter and you allowed it to play out without rushing or milking it. Well done!!

Take care of yourself and I'll be here ready to read the next chapter when you post again!!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Cuckoo
Posted: 29 October 2019 - 03:40 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 28 October 2019 - 10:07 AM)
Yay! Another great chapter!! And I love how you write from both Elizabeth's and Murdoc's point of view. So, okay, I'm really starting to identify with Elizabeth!! I don't care for tea, but definitely give me my cozy house and a good book and I'm happy! I feel her pain when going out with Cilly...but at some point we've all had a friend like that!! The addition of Cilly was a good way to add a little to Elizabeth's backstory.

Ah, I think Murdoc's in love happy_dance.gif Of course, I'm sure he won't realize it for quite some time...if ever!! Awww, and he's gotten under Elizabeth's skin, too. He chose not to kill her and she hasn't ratted him out...romance is in the air!! love.jpg

And how noble of him to not take advantage of her drunken state!

I really love the pace and description of your writing. This was a very emotional chapter and you allowed it to play out without rushing or milking it. Well done!!

Take care of yourself and I'll be here ready to read the next chapter when you post again!!

Aw, thanks!

I had a lot of fun with this chapter, and I'm glad all the moving parts/pacing came together. Good books are generally a universal love, and we do all have a friend like Cilly, lol!

I laughed out loud when I read your review: yes, declining to murder someone and then lying to the cops = romance! laugh.gif My sister reads this to boost my confidence before I post. Once she realized I followed a meet-cute in the first chapter with a serial killer and a hit man she confirmed this is why I can't have nice things.

In the show, Murdoc is much more of a seducer than someone who forces the issue, and although he obviously wouldn't think twice about killing someone, he does respect personal boundaries outside of his work. For instance, although he clearly hurt after Penny's rejection, he didn't go into 'you're mine' mode. Still used her against Mac, but he accepted that clear 'no' instantly. That tells me he wants emotional engagement. It isn't just possession, it's connection, and he just isn't terribly interested without that.

See you in about five weeks!



 
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