Read and Review Please!

Chapter Twenty-Four: Pillow Talk

Mob Guy interrupted me again. "What about Emo?"

I paused, unsure of what he wanted from me. "What about Emo?"

"You've talked a lot about the elder Romano's breakup with Jade but what about Mr. Wilkes? I realize," he hurried on, holding up a hand to stop me when I opened up my mouth to explain it to him again, "that Mr. Wilkes was found out because of the whole relationship fiasco but how? Did he meet the Romano brothers?"

I shook my head. "It just kinda worked out that he came around when Antony was gone. And I was hesitant about showing off my significant other to Markus when he had just lost his."

"It must have been you that told him then. Am I correct?"

My heart wasn't working so well all of a sudden. I didn't think it would ever really work right when this particular subject came up. "Yes," I replied softly.

"Skip to that part. I've had enough of the events leading up to Mr. Wilkes demise. Tell me the main event now."

-o0o-o0o-o0o-o0o-o0o-

I groaned mentally when I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. Emo felt it too and barely moved his mouth away from mine. "You going to answer that?" he asked, his voice husky.

My eyes were drawn to Emo's lips like they were magnetic. We'd been together for three weeks now and I still couldn't get enough of them. Emo insisted it was because I wouldn't let him show me what he could do with other parts of his anatomy yet, mostly because I think that my mind would go into sensory overload and implode if I did. Hell, I was getting jittery just thinking about letting Emo into my bed.

And yet my phone was still buzzing. I sighed then leaned away from Emo's ever-tempting lips. "Yes," I replied grumpily.

Emo chuckled and fell back on the blanket he had brought for us to sit on while we watched his friend's soccer game.

I dug the phone out of the pocket of my jean shorts and looked at the ID, Jade. "Hello?" I asked, hiding my impatience as well as anyone could possibly expect me to.

"Whoa. Down Fido," Jade said. I guess I didn't hide it quite as well as Jade would expect.

"Sorry," I replied, honestly trying to tone my frustrations down. "Whatcha need?"

"Markus has my cork screw. Could you be your fabulous self and ask him it back for me?"

My eyes wandered back to Emo. He was stretched out, leaning back on his forearms, absorbed in the soccer game. I was torn between staring at his t-shirt pulled taut across his chest or his intent eyes. "Cork screw. Got it."

"And I have some of his stuff still here too. Some CDs, a mug, small stuff like that. I can just put it in a box and give it to you when you bring by the cork screw."

Emo caught me looking and a small smile pulled his lips up. That drew my attention to his mouth again. There should be a support group because I was obsessed. "Uh huh," I replied half-heartedly to Jade.

"And I really need you to talk to him about the phone thing. I know he wants to cancel the service now but if we wait one more month we won't have to pay all those cancellation fees. Tell him that we can keep a list of our minutes and I'll send him the money or he can reimburse me or whatever he likes."

I reached out to play with Emo's hair but he grabbed my hand before I could. He brought it to his lips, giving each of my individual fingers butterfly kisses. "Whatever he likes," I repeated.

Emo's smile took on a mischievous glint after I said that. I'd learned that that look held a lot of possibilities.

"And I'm uber uber sorry for asking you to do this but Markus refuses to return my phone calls and Antony flat out refused," Jade continued on, oblivious. "I cannot find my birth control patches. I've looked everywhere but they aren't in the apartment. I think Markus might have taken them which really makes no sense since they were in my bedside table drawer and he didn't have any reason to go in there. Could you ask him about it? Maybe look around for them a little?"

I had a hard time keeping even half of my attention on the phone call when Emo nipped at my fingertips. Damn. "Right," I muttered, watching him kiss away the slight sting he'd created. There was something nudging at the back of my mind but my senses were being overloaded by Emo's ministrations and I really couldn't be bothered to figure out what it was.

"Thank you so much," Jade let out a relieved sigh, "I really can't imagine what he was thinking, you know? The only reason I could come up with was that he didn't want me sleeping with Logan but that didn't seem like Markus' style. I mean, what kind of guy steals a girl's birth control?"

I finally tuned back into the conversation, only because Emo had been momentarily distracted by an indignant shout from the crowd around us. "Wait. What did you just say?" I asked, confused. She said something about birth control and Markus. That couldn't be good.

"I know, I know. Markus is way too in your face to do something so underhanded but I can't find it and the more I think about it, the more I realize that I haven't really seen the box since he moved out. And you know—"

"Are you saying that Markus stole your birth control?" I said incredulously. I pulled my hand away from Emo so I wouldn't be so easily distracted. "Why the heck would he do that? I don't think it works on men."

"I told you, it's about keeping me from using it because he doesn't want me to sleep with Logan."

I laughed, unable to hide my amusement at the thought. "Jade. If Markus didn't want you to sleep with Logan he would stake out your house and then cut off parts of Logan's anatomy necessary for the task. Markus is not so desolate that he would resort to stealing birth control."

"Would you just look for it?" Jade asked shortly. Apparently she hadn't liked that but I wasn't going to take it back. As the great Break Up kept dragging on, I was finding myself less and less sympathetic towards Jade. Not only had she seemed to have forgotten that she was the one that had broken up with Markus and was expecting me to pull the Poor Baby routine, but as time went on it seemed almost like she wanted Markus to be hung up on her. Markus was upset about the whole thing, to be sure, but he was Markus. Markus did not do hung up. I got the feeling that he was refusing to talk to her now more because he was finished with her than because he would break down if he heard her voice again like Jade seemed to think.

I repressed a sigh and said, "I'll get Markus to call you and I'll get the stuff you wanted from him but I'm not getting into the rest of it."

"Fine," Jade replied. "Listen, Logan is waiting for me. I gotta go."

"Alright. Bye," I said, trying to be nice about it, but she'd already hung up on me.

I groaned and threw my phone into the grass beside me. "Don't let me answer my phone anymore, ok?" I told Emo on a long sigh.

Emo held out an arm and I eagerly went into his embrace, cuddling into his body despite the heat outside. Some things were worth a little discomfort. Emo's arm around me was one of those things.

"Happily," He replied, stroking my arm soothingly. "You wanna tell me about it?"

I hesitated. I had pretty much kept the details about the Break Up from Emo before this, mostly for selfish reasons. It seemed like every aspect of my life was stained with gossip and drama stemming from the Break Up. Even my parents knew about it, for God's sake. They'd taken Jade's side of the whole thing and were constantly telling me to tell her that they were there for her if she needed anything. Antony was just as tired of it as I was but he had a way out of it by going to work. I didn't think a day at the super spy office included gossip about Markus' personal life. Unfortunately, my work did. Mark had become pretty good friends with Markus and a bunch of the other waitresses were half in love with him so they'd made it their favorite hobby to get together and talk about poor Markus this and evil Jade that. I didn't have any escape, except with Emo. I liked having a part of my life that was drama free.

Then again, I did feel bad for keeping something that was so dominant in my life from my boyfriend. And it would be nice to have someone that was just on my side. Selfish again, I know. But while everyone else was busy picking sides, I was stuck firmly in the middle, unable to choose. Jade was my best girl friend and Markus was second only to Antony as my best guy friend. And even though Jade was pissing me off with her poor-me attitude, I would never turn my back on her. Markus didn't talk about any of it very often but when he had something he needed to say or give to Jade, he'd go through me rather than go to her himself. They had made me their unofficial go-between so I was constantly playing he said she said or running from Jade's apartment to Markus' hotel room on top of everything else. Jade had tried to include Antony in the whole game but he had bowed out before she had even finished her sentence, refusing to play. I had been willing to play at the beginning because I had had no idea that it was going to drag out like this. As it was now, I was in too deep to tell everyone to just leave me alone without people getting offended and turning their anger on me. All in all, I was thoroughly tired of being jerked around like a flag on a rope. I wanted someone that knew the whole story and all they had to say on the subject was what a raw deal I got.

"Jade broke up with Markus three weeks ago because she found her soul mate," I started after a moment. "Markus moved out of their apartment and is now living at the Hilton because he's being stubborn and refuses to live with Antony and me for unknown reasons. Jade is making me feel guilty for still being friends with Markus even though I've told her a million times that I won't pick sides. And because the both of them refuse to meet once and get all the details of the break up out of the way, they've been dragging this whole thing out for nearly a month now with me stuck between the two of them because I don't want to lose either of them in this."

Emo kissed my hair. "Bummer," he said.

"No kidding," I replied with a small laugh. Leave it to Emo to sum up my sanity-ending crisis in one word.

"What was all that about birth control?" Emo asked.

I snorted, still finding the idea unbelievably amusing. "Jade thinks that Markus stole her birth control."

Emo looked over at me, surprise warring with amusement in his eyes. "He's that hard up for her?"

"I think that she wants him to be that hard up for her." I was distracted from the conversation by the rising cheering from the crowd. Our team was about to score so I had to watch and add in my screaming cheers while we unerringly scored again.

"It sounds like Jade is doing just great," Emo said after the cheers had died down, "But what about Markus?"

I shrugged, pulled back into the talk. "He's fine. Markus isn't the type to give me a regular update on the fragility of his psyche but from what I can figure he's doing alright. He comes off as distracted, mostly."

"Any end in sight?"

I shook my head. "They've been going out for a year and moved in together five months ago with every intention of staying together for the foreseeable future. Their lives are all intertwined and I'm the one they want to untangle them."

Emo slid a finger under my chin and lifted my face to his for a scorching kiss that was borderline inappropriate for the public venue. "Anything I can do to help?" he asked after a long moment.

"You were helping tons until you stopped to talk," I replied. Was that my voice that was so breathy?

Emo smiled against my lips. "I'll be sure to never do that again," he murmured, then put his lips back to a much more satisfying task.

An abominably short chapter for such a long absence, I know! Read my author's note on my profile for the full explanation.

All I really have to say here is WOW! You guys rocks! 132 reviews and well over ten thousand hits on just the previous chapter alone! Almost all of those reviews were trying to goad me back into action but take heart! It was the reviews that got me through my writer's block on this chapter and I feel like I did at the beginning of this story, eager and willing to write again! So congrats on a job well done and thank you for helping out as only true fans can.