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They obviously didn’t agree on who to go after first. This may be challenging. He did say the mystery man is a high stake gambler. It would be annoying to try to hack into every casinos surveillance. Then one idea popped into her head. He probably won’t like it either. Owen. Owen can help then. He also likes to gamble. Then there’s trying to find where Gwen would go.
[#af18ae “I think Owen can help us... but we’ll have to owe him something since his life can possibly be in danger... while he keeps tabs on our mystery man we can try to track down Gwen. Maybe even dye your hair and make you wear contacts. Or you can wear itchy wigs. I’m going to need a few things myself. I’ve never worn a fat suit. I can try to make one. Make me look thick and different. Have fake blue eyes, freckles and a ginger color wig... if Gwen knows I’m alive it can ruin our chance on sabotaging her and finding out who put her up to it. The bounty for you could’ve increased.”] Serena sets the bowl of soup behind to go on Craigslist. Sometimes bounties are there in plain site. Some are encrypted. Her father showed her a few times a secret program working the website. It took her a while to access it but when she did Gavin was on the top ten [i (7)]. Serena is number 10 but her photo is grey which means it’s been taken care off. John Wick is number 3, but he’s retired... he’s somewhat of a family friend. They can form an alliance. [#af18ae “Baba Yaga... it means the boogeyman in Russian. John wasn't exactly the Boogeyman, but he was the one you sent to kill the Boogeyman... I’ve heard stories. I knew better then to ask when he would eat with our family. Whoever put a bounty on him is a d-e-a-d man.”] they need to go to her parents place. They need the small black book and the special gold coins. Serena closes the laptop. It’s enough researching. Plus she doesn’t want her soup to get cold.
He took another bite before handing the bowl off to her. [b "Corrupt indeed,"] he muttered, taking in the information on the screen in front of them. [b "He was already making government wages with the FBI, so our employment fee for him wouldn't have been that much. Legally, an honest FBI agent working for us would pull in about two-hundred thousand dollars a year as their salary."]
Gavin flicked through the pictures of Todd's purchases. [b "But he's gotta be nearing the million dollar mark if he's affording shit like this,"] he stared at the mansion that was bigger than his entire property.
Her question rang in his head. Gwen or Todd? At the moment, one was the lesser of two evils. [b "We can deal with Gwen directly, while we gather more information on Todd. If we can track his expenses and schedules, it'll make our strategy more solid. He wasn't the most tech-savvy guy, so it shouldn't be too hard to pull information from his employee documents."]
He slumped into a chair next to her. Grabbing her ankles, he hoisted her feet into his lap and started pressing into the soles to massage them. [b "Yacht guy seems like a big shot who will be hanging around any casino he can find. He was dropping cash at that poker table. I'm sensing a gambler."]
Todd Byrnes. Why does that name sound so familiar? She didn’t know about Todd traveling with his dad. They never actually go with him or drop him off at the airport. How could she miss something like this all? Her finger being doing her magic. While he got her, her soup she pulled up everything she can about this Todd guy. He’s not bad looking for an elderly.
[#af18ae “Bingo…”] she whispers seeing her parents name on a few of his files. [#af18ae “Small world.”] she says scanning over a few things. Serena sits up seeing Gavin with her bowl of soup. [#af18ae “fifty percent serious, but come look at this. So Todd has been traveling, has three different bank accounts in different locations and I think he may have another one overseas, He also knows my parents because he’s the one who caught the apparently..”] she takes the bowl of soup from him as she thanks him. [#af18ae “I smell a dirty FBI agent. He has too much money for his salary.”] she shows him the two houses, condo, and four cars he owns. Not to mention his recent purchases of expensive jewelry, restaurant bills, and clothes. She does it with one hand and tries eating in between showing him things. [#af18ae “So should we deal with him first or Gwen?”]
It is hard to determine what should be done first. Gwen thinks she’s dead. They can take advantage of that. Now when it comes to Todd it’ll be harder to do anything to him because they need to watch him and figure out how to capture him and question him. it won’t be easy because he’s a FBI agent. There’s no telling what up his sleeves. The most she can do with Todd is have someone watch him for at least a month or two. They need to know what his routine is and if he makes random stops. As for Gwen, they can watch her and bug her phone to see who she talks too. However, they still need to find the mystery man who attacked them at the yacht. [#af18ae “I think yacht guy should be dealt with first before dealing with anything else. I know Gwen actually got to me and hurt me, but she’s an easy target.”]
[https://i.pinimg.com/736x/e1/39/82/e139829e35948282f574055fcb2f6695--christoph-waltz-supporting-actor.jpg Todd Byrnes]
Gavin frowns and leans over her shoulder to see the screen. [b "The sixth floor deals with the company's international contracts. Files on other companies, our security contracts with the FBI for insurance purposes."]
Holy shit. He hadn't even considered looking there. [b "Wait, we had an FBI agent on staff to ensure legalities were in order whenever we signed a new contract. Fuck, what was his name..."] he starts pacing.
The man attended every meeting that his father went to. He was responsible for going over the paperwork to ensure everything was properly secure. [b "If my father had any illegal dealings, he would be the first to know."]
What the hell was his...[b "Byrnes!"] Gavin yells. [b "Todd Byrnes. He was a senior agent with the FBI. He traveled with my dad to every international business meeting. Every employee has a designated access code to the company system. If we can find his, we can see what he's been involved with."]
He can only imagine how tired she is as she slumps back in her seat. [b "I'll get your soup,"] he heads for the kitchen.
He stole a few bites on his way back. [b "This is actually really good. Now, how serious are you about me feeding you? Because I have to be honest, I don't know if I'll be able to spoon feed you without making airplane noises."]
Look at her fake husband treating her like a princess. She is actually loving this. He is too kind to her. [#af18ae “Ha, if you thought that was bad… you just witnessed how much worse it can be. I’ll still push myself and try to force the sickness away.”]
Gavin didn’t take her to the living room. She could have scolded him, but she said she’ll behave. The laptop would do. The TV isn’t really necessary however he could see what she’s doing. He is a brave soul to agree to dig into his father’s business.
[#af18ae “Well we can give Mr. and Mrs. Botches two shiny pennies and I can sneak into the tanning salon to make her look orange.”] she says giving him a wicked grin. It didn’t take long for her fingers to start tapping on the keyboards. A lot was going on, on that single screen. She stops seeing how his dead father apparently entered the building. [#af18ae “What’s on the six floor?”] she asks showing him the logins. According to the login. She began to look for security cameras for the floor but it was hidden. She spent almost twenty minutes trying to find the real footage. When she did it her laptop blacked out. [#af18ae “No, no, no, no…”] As much as it hurts her Serena got up running to connect the laptop to the computer. She needs to prevent her laptop from getting a virus and have whoever they have protecting them hack them. Her legs began to shake. She is super fidgeting at that point. There is a virus war going on. Virus after virus. Serena always messed up trying to find and send her dad’s virus but for once in her life she got it right. Out of excitement she stood up so fast the computer chair falls, her hands were up above her head and she was screaming out of excitement. Tear streamed down her cheeks from the excitement and the amount of pain she’s in. [#af18ae “Son of a bitch was good. Too good.”] she began to encrypt the files before downloading them. [#af18ae “I need something.”] she says laying down on the cold floor. Luna joins her and cuddles against her right shoulder/neck. [#af18ae “I feel exhausted… feed me please…”]
Gavin huffed. [b "We dated for a long time, remember? I'm fully aware what a pain in the ass you are when you're sick. This is just a different kind of sick."]
He carefully washes her back, avoiding areas that looked far too raw for the cloth to scrub at. [b "Sabotaging her seems right up our alley. We could bribe a surgeon to screw up any Botox she goes for. Turn her into a gargoyle,"] he suggests as he moves to her legs.
Once she's clean and the water is getting cold, he helps her stand so he can grab a towel to wrap around her. [b "You can make it up to me once we're out of this mess. Maybe with a steak dinner. I'm not a cheap date,"] he smirks as he helps her dry off.
He gets her settled into loose, comfortable clothes and deposits her by her laptop. [b "I'll get the TV from the bedroom. We can attach it as a second monitor."]
Gavin has it off the dresser and in front of her in a moment, plugging in the HDMI cable. [b "My dad was a good man, but it wouldn't surprise me if we found some dirty dealings. He would do what he thought was necessary to secure a wealthy future for the three of us. If I can access his records from my work computer, then we may be able to find something."]
He's more than willing to look in to any potential criminal activity that his father could have been involved with. As much as he loved the man, Gavin knows he wasn't a saint by any means of the imagination.
Serena can be a hand full. The girl has trouble listening when it comes to curtain situations. What just happened is a good example, but its normal for her. This time around everything seems to be slacking. She’s been out of the game for a little over a year. Things weren’t the same when your parents are locked up. Not to mention seeing Gavin’s dad plastered all over social media. It was the only reason why she was pulled back. She turned down a handful of solid offers. Right now, she’s’ slightly regretting them or some.
[#af18ae “I’m horrible when I’m sick… don’t say I never warned you, but I should be good right now.”] Serena was a good bath patient. She was focused on getting out to go eat or crawl over there. [#af18ae “I think I know a way to get revenge on Gwen. She likes messing with cosmetic thinks. It’s her way to stay looking young and beautiful. I say we botch her.”] even though Gwen likes to do cosmetic surgeries she’s also cheap. Right now, she’s on love with Gavin. More than ever. Look at him taking care of her. He saved her. He’s learning her lifestyle. What more can she ask for? If she wasn’t in so fragile she would show him how much she loves him. [#af18ae “Thank you… for helping me. I know I should be in bed, but I want to do some more research on the computer. I need the multiple screens.”] it was a mission to braid her hair. She braid half the top and put the rest up in a loose bun. Her fingers brushed against the medical glue. It feels weird. It’s going to be hard not to pick on it. Something doesn’t seem right. Maybe its because they’re close and she doesn’t know who’s on the right track. Sometimes its best to start from the beginning again. She’s going to need to re-research everything again. Maybe she missed something before. Gavin could even help if he’s up for it. His father and the company has something else to offer besides money and power. Was he in some secret drug trade or related to the black market?
[#af18ae “If I was to start my research all over again would you help? Maybe I missed something since I don’t know too much about your family’s business. He was a secretive many… this may be a tough topic to touch but I don’t know what else to do.”]
Gavin swears his eye twitches right out of his head. [b "Are you serious?"] he finds her mid-crunch.
He doesn't know whether to laugh or be angry. At the moment, it's an odd mix of the two. [b "You're aware that you were near-fatally injured, right? As in massive damage done to your body, both internally and externally. As in a doctor would not recommend your chosen activity at this moment!"] he scolds, trying to sound somewhat stern.
She ignores him and moves to couch dips. [b "Are you going to listen to me? You could do more damage. The kind that I can't fix with stitches and gauze."]
She asks about the soup. [b "You're - the soup? You're worried about...oh for fuck's sake,"] he sighs, stomping away to the kitchen.
It smells delicious, he'll give her that. [b "It's bubbling like your vengeance. Shall I get you a bowl, or will that enhance your hostile tendencies?"] he calls to her, giving the pot a stir.
He turns the temperature down a bit so it doesn't overcook. Home care he could do. [b "Good, because I draw the line there,"] he returns to the room, finding it empty. [b "Oh come on!"] his voice raises as he marches down the hall to find her. [b "I'm warning you, my stitch work is not the best, so if you pop them, that's on you!"]
Gavin reaches out to help her tug the rest of her clothes off. He turns on the faucet and lets the water get nice and hot. [b "At least attempt to be a good patient,"] he lectures her as he reaches for her body wash and cloth.
[center [font Constantia Serena was going to say hell no to having a stool next to her, but he moved it anyways. She is going to fight it. That’s how she was trained. The more she pushes herself the better she gets. The stronger she gets. There is no room for weakness allowed. It was a struggled. Her legs would quiver. She would curse under her breath. As the soup cooked she went to go lay down on the living room floor. It took her a while to begin a mini workout. Yup, a workout. [#af18ae “Well I guess I should become the Red Hulk or She Hulk in order to take the bitch down… and I’ll pass with the drugs.”] she says huffing through some crunches. Her hands were on the floor. They shouldn’t touch her head. It is still throbbing.]]
[center [font Constantia [#af18ae “We. Need. A. Plan.”] she moves to do some sofa dips. Serena was already breaking a sweat. The girl knows her body isn’t ready for anything. It’s been years since she had something like this happen to her. her constantly getting injured, being reckless and pushing herself because it’s training for her. four sets later she stops. The girl couldn’t move. If she did she could collapse. [#af18ae “Hey can you check on the soup? I need to catch my breath.”] so it was a small white lie. Serena waited for him to leave to slowly get on the floor and army crawl towards their bedroom. It was actually fast. Her body remembers the army training that she learned from someone she met. Getting in the tub was a mission but she did it. Stripping was harder. [#af18ae “I know you’re out there…] she stops and whispers the next part, [#af18ae “At least I hope so because if not I’m talking to myself…”] Serena clears her throat to speak back to normal, [#af18ae “I need help. Your new job is going to be a home aid care. I can wipe my own butt though, okay?”]
Gavin rolls his eyes and followed her to the kitchen. He should have known she'd want something more substantial to eat. Her appetite had never been an issue, even when she was sick. [b "I'll eat the crackers, then,"] he pretends to huff and snatches the bag of saltines from her hand.
He watches her sway slightly and grab on to something for balance. He wants to help her walk, but doesn't want her to think he's questioning her ability to take care of herself. [b "Should I move one of the bar stools over to the counter so you can sit while you get everything ready?"]
Even if she disagrees with it, he puts it there anyways just to be safe. [b "In terms of what injuries you had, I can only list the external ones. I'm sure there are some bruised, if not cracked, ribs. There is also potential for minor internal bleeding, if your bruises are anything to go by."]
His jaw clenches as he recalls caring for her upon their return home. [b "Most definitely a concussion, so that would partially explain why you feel so off-center. It honestly looked like you were on the receiving end of an Incredible Hulk tantrum."]
He doesn't like the grimace that flicks across her face every other minute, no doubt caused by the immense pain she must be in. [b "There are morphine shots in the medi-kit. Should I get you one?"]
Oddly enough it was music to her ears. The girl loves watching storms pass by. It’s like a watch the gods fight or something like that. It’s just enjoyable in her opinion. [#af18ae “I bet its beautiful without view…”] she whispers walking towards a window. Everything outside looks calm and peaceful.
Serena looks at Gavin as if he’s crazy. Why is he feeding her crackers? She’s not a bird… she isn’t Polly wants a cracker… [#af18ae “How about I go make some soup. I really don’t want crackers.”] the fur babies follow her to the kitchen. She takes a seat really quick to compose herself. She feels so weak. It’s disgusting. She hates herself for feeling this way. Not that he has seen this side of her, but weed sounds so good right now. It helps her in situations like this. These rare moments of her being betrayed.
The girl gets up after feels better. [#af18ae “So my fake grandma taught me how to make a chicken noodle soup and it tastes like the Progressive soup. I love her. she’s the best fake grandma ever.”] she says pulling out the ingredients. [#af18ae “Babe, so besides the gash in my head what else was wrong with me? I feel like I got hit by a car and I’ve been there, don’t that.”]
Gavin was quite content to let her sleep. It had been a long, difficult day for her and she needed as much rest as she could get. He stayed in bed with her the entire time, only moving to use the restroom when needed. Occasionally, he would rest his head near her heart just to remind himself that he'd found her in time and she was there with him, alive.
When the storm hits, he's forced to deal with the cowardly dog inching his way up the bed in a panic, pinning Gavin to the mattress. He'd purposely left the curtains open on the window so he could watch the storm raging outside. Lightning lit up every inch of the sky, casting a grim light in the room.
Linus started whimpering at the first crack of thunder, attempting to bury his head in to Gavin's armpit. [b "You'll wake her up, you brute,"] the man whines, trying to avoid the dog's leg hitting a rather sensitive area.
The rest of the time passed rather peacefully, and he dozed off and on with her. When her eyes finally open the next day, he offers her a sleepy smile. [b "Welcome back,"] he answers. [b "You missed the start of the show, but I think you'll catch the second act."]
The storm was still pelting the town, but Gavin manages to ease Linus off of him so he can get her some water and crackers. [b "Start with this for now, and we'll see how your stomach handles it. I don't want to feed you and then have you throw it all up,"] he hands them off to her when he returns to the bedroom.
It is a tough choice. She pretending to think too by tapping her chin with her index finger and staring towards the ceiling. Although she should be thinking about what he’s thinking about, she was craving sweet and salty popcorn. Serena chuckles at Gavin and their fur babies. They actually listened! Everything in her body ached. A soft huff escaped her. It felt heavenly to be laying down with her fur babies, Gavin, a tequila bottle and some pringles. Okay, so that sort of sounds bad but she’s in heaven at the moment so who cares!
[#af18ae “Oh read me a story would ya?”] she says in a little kid’s voice, [#af18ae “Nope, let me just…”] she opens the bottle and tilts her head back as her lips touched the tequila bottle. Three huge chugs later, Serena face loos like she ate something extremely sour. It was a beautiful burning sensation. She closes it before getting comfortable. [#af18ae “I’m surprise she remembers me. We left soon after getting her.’] she yawns. They’re going to talk to whenever she wakes up. She could feel herself drifting away quickly.
Hopefully Gavin remembers what she said; not to worry if she slept in for a few hours to possibly four days give or take. Serena didn’t wake up for a good 29 hours straight. She most likely didn’t move an inch besides having her chest from breathing. The first thing she did was go eat. [#af18ae “Did I miss the storm?”] Serena asks staring at the floor. Her eyes were taking a while to adjust and her muscles to start working. She was walking like crippled zombie. [#af18ae "Food... I need some food and a game plan. I want revenge..."]
[b "Let's see,"] he pretends to think. [b "Go out on my own on a dangerous mission with an imminent storm coming in, or stay in bed with you and our two children with no intention of getting up? Tough choice."]
He takes her hand and carefully hauls her back up, leading her back to their bedroom. [b "Linus and Luna, let's go. Your mother needs your affections!"] he calls to the animals.
Like the loyal little fuzzballs they are, they come trotting after them and make themselves cozy on the bed. [b "Linus, stay on my side. We don't need you crushing her,"] he tugs the large beast over.
Gavin adjusts the pillows and makes sure that she's comfortable before he lets himself settle. [b "Do you need anything to relax? A movie? I can read a book out loud for you. Or I can recite Shakespearean poetry to you,"] he's only mildly joking.
The cat kneads against the blanket, trying to gauge where the softest spot is. Naturally, it's deemed Serena's stomach as the best place. [b "I think she missed you,"] he notes, reaching out to rub Linus' giant head so he doesn't get jealous.
What hurts more? Being betrayed by someone you call family? Having your own father telling you to shoot the person you love? Actually shooting your first love? Watch your first love life change and you don’t even know how to help him? Or it could be the pain she’s feeling from being shot and having her mind filled with a little bit of everything?
Well it’s the last one.
Serena looks at him giving him her best smile. [#af18ae “How about you give me at least a day before we hunt her down?”] It felt weird having all eyes on her. Not only all eyes, but all the attention. Their fur babies followed close by. Isn’t she supposed to be the protector? She’s the one with the skills and experience. The tables have turned… for now. For now, they should eat or at least she should. Only if they how close they are or getting would be helpful. Who’s on track? Her, him, or both?
It amazes her how much he has stepped up this past few hours. Serena is a pretty good teacher if he’s keeps improving the way he is. The first thing Serena grabbed when they got to the kitchen was a bottle of tequila and pringles. [#af18ae “A storm is coming by the way. A few shops began putting sand bags in front of it so it doesn’t flood. My shop never gets flooded, but we shouldn’t let the pets out and we have time to figure out our next move. Gwen hate storms so she’ll isolate herself until it’s over.”] Serena sits down on taking a big swig and hiss afterwards feeling it slowly burning down her throat and into her stomach. Right now, Serena doesn’t know if she wants to eat, drink or sleep. They all sound great. [#af18ae “Can we be like otters and have a cuddle party? I think I need more rest. Don’t be alarm if I’ve been sleeping for more than 8 hours. I’ve been through a lot… you can just place a finger under my nose to make sure I’m still breathing.”] she said chuckling towards the end.
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