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Chapter Three

The gun in his hand felt cold as he opened the door to the warehouse. It was at times like these that he loved his job, but at those other times—few as they were—he hated his job. This was one of those rare times that he hated his job. Behind him, also ready with guns, ten others waited for him to enter. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes momentarily.

"Simon, we need to do this now," Colin whispered harshly from beside him.

When he opened his eyes they were cold and a smirk crossed his lips. His hand raised slowly and he made a motion for everyone to follow. Barely a second was wasted as he dove into the warehouse and fired five shots simultaneously. Five men fell and at that moment they were the one's being shot at. One of his men fell and he hissed slightly as a bullet grazed his arm. At least they weren't outnumbered; that was the only thing to look forward to.

Five minutes later his gun was empty of bullets and he was sliding a new mag into his gun. But there was silence apart from the muted groans of the men lying in pools of their own blood. Four of his men were a part of that group. Thankfully, they didn't seem to be bad off. They would live. The Italian's on the other hand were all going to die; it would be stupid to leave witnesses.

"Get what we came 'or," he called to the rest of his men. "Ethan, Craig get 'he wounded outside and into 'he SUVs."

Ethan looked at him, "I'm assuming you don't count?"

"Do you even need to ask?"

There was laughter among the men as Ethan rolled his eyes and went to help Craig. Simon pushed himself to his feet and ignored the pain in his arm as he went over to the stairs. The office above would have what they wanted and if it didn't then they'd be going through this whole 'shoot up a warehouse' thing again. He took the stairs two at time until he reached the top where Colin stood outside the door.

"You should get that checked out," Colin commented. "Ellie doesn't seem like the girl that would just turn a blind eye to a wound like that."

Simon glared at him, "It's only a graze."

"If she goes ballistic, I reserve the right to say 'I told you so'."

Christopher, one of the lower lackeys, walked out of the office, "Is this what you're looking for, boss?"

He took the file from Christopher and flipped it open. The first page showed a Hayden Family picture. A circle was around both the father's and Ellie's heads. A cross was through the elder Hayden's but there was nothing through Ellie's. This wasn't good. He handed the file to Colin and dug through his pocket for his cell phone. He didn't have service.

"Damn, clear out," He shouted. "Someone find Hayden."

As soon as he got back to the O'Grady Manor he was tearing through the file. There was no information as to the where and when for Ellie's to be 'assassination', but there were the plans for the elder Hayden's. Stupid Italians hadn't destroyed the evidence. He was about to close the file when he realized there were a few more papers he hadn't looked at. As he laid them out on the table he found himself growing angrier. Someone had been following Ellie since before her father's death. There were pictures of her in class, dancing, at work, and in her apartment. None were places he recognized which made him think they were from awhile ago.

"She can take care of herself son," His father said from behind him. "You need to trust her."

"I know she can, trust me. But I can't help but worry…"

There was soft laughter, "When did you fall for her? I wonder if she feels the same way."

"Dad, the only feeling I have for her revolve around me wanting to shoot her on different occasions. She annoys the hell out of me."

"Sure, whatever you say." His father picked up one of the pictures, "Find the man who took these pictures and kill him. Then find the people who want her dead and kill them as well." He glared at Simon, "Get it done by Christmas."

As the door shut behind the elder O'Grady Simon slumped down into the desk chair. Could his day get any worse? It wasn't possible that so many things could happen in the same day, but apparently the fates had found a way for it to happen. He pulled open the bottom desk drawer and slid a bottle of scotch from underneath a pile of papers. There was a glass in there as well but he pushed the drawer shut without taking it out and opened the bottle. As he drank the last half of the bottle he knew he would be regretting it tomorrow, but while he was drinking he felt good enough to defeat the people after Ellie. The hangover he would have didn't seem so bad compared to that.

"Why does he always 'ave to be right?"

Ellie gingerly stepped over a pile of plywood as she left her meeting. The man was lucky she wasn't suing him for damage to her clothes. Unfortunately, she hadn't been able to find a reason—no matter how hard she tried—to not invest in his newspaper. There was nothing wrong with the company apart from the evil receptionist and the construction work. It seemed almost too perfect which was exactly why she was contacting a private investigator the minute she left. She wasn't stupid enough to invest without checking the company out.

Once inside the elevator she set her briefcase down and started rubbing her pant legs. The dust seemed to be permanently settled to her clothes. These were her favorite clothes too. As the doors started to open she grabbed her briefcase and left the elevator elegantly. She smirked at the receptionist as she passed and was aware of the glare aimed at her. It had been such a wonderful day before the meeting. Things couldn't possibly get worse.

The minute she stepped off the plane in London she breathed a sigh of relieve. A headache and no Tylenol account for a very pissed off female. She almost…almost felt bad for the man who tried to hit on her. Then again, she didn't like men who try to openly hit on women. She passed through customs without a problem but as she walked towards the doors to parking she was aware of the man following her. This just wasn't her day.

Once inside the parking garage she walked down the isles looking for her car. She knew where it was but for the benefit of being a 'damsel in distress' she pretended she didn't. Ahead of her a security guard was making his rounds and she quickened her pace to catch up to him.

"Excuse me, sir?"

He turned to her, "Can I help you?"

"I'm sorry to bother you, but someone's been following me since I left my hotel in Greece and well-"

"Do you want me to walk you to your car?"

"Would you?"

He chuckled, "Of course I would."

"Thank you so much."

Ugh, this whole damsel in distress thing was really grating on her nerves. She was more like the act now think later kind of person. Once at her car she thanked the man profusely and got into the '99 Toyota Camry. She loved this car regardless of how old it was. She wasn't likely to get rid of it any time soon. As she pulled out of the parking space she saw the man standing a few cars down. He had a cell phone to his ear and she cursed out loud. Now she was going to have lead any tail all around London before going home. She couldn't lead anyone to her apartment and to her roommate. If something happened it would be on her conscience and she didn't know if she could handle it so soon.

It took her over an hour to make it home and she was burned out. So burned out that she didn't even notice the car parked across the street that had two men inside. She ran up the front stairs and nodded to the doorman who held the door open. Once inside she let out the breath she had been holding and nodded to a few people milling about in the lobby. The mail was gathered from the desk and then she was in the elevator. When she was on her floor she let the strap of her duffel bag slide down her arm and she dragged it behind her as she walked down the long hall.

The door to her loft was ajar but she wasn't worried, her roommate had a habit of forgetting to shut the door all the way. It wasn't something she worried about; the chances of being robbed in this building were the same as her marrying a prince. She pushed the door open and dropped her two bags near the door. Her coat fell on top of them and she shut the door with the back of her foot. News was playing on the television and she could see her roommate lying on the couch.

"I'm home Michael," she said loudly to be heard over the TV.

He propped himself up to peer over the couch, "So you are. A man called for you awhile ago. He seemed jealous when I picked up and told him you didn't need a new boyfriend because you had me."

"I didn't realize you were straight," was her comment as she set water on the stove to boil. "Did you take down a name?"

"Simon O something or other."


"That could be it, but I was staring at that hot news anchor, the one who just split up with his wife for reason's unknown."

She chuckled as she retrieved her cell phone from her coat, "And let me guess, you think it's because he's gay?"

"Why else would he split up a woman who he's supposedly loved since he laid eyes on her?"

"Point taken." She pressed speed dial two and held the phone to her ear. "Can you turn the TV down?"

"No," Michael hissed, "He's coming back on in ten minutes. Take it out onto the balcony."

She glared at him, "It's like fifteen degrees out there."


"Hey Si." She looked at Michael, "I hope my roommate didn't scare you too much. He can be a bit overbearing."

'It was fine. Listen there may-'

"-Do you have someone following me?" She asked because he could finish.

'Someone's following you?'

She looked at Michael who was now listening intently to her conversation, "So he wasn't one of yours."

'No, listen I'm sending Colin to be-'

"No Simon. I don't need a bodyguard. I can take care of myself."

There was a sigh on his end of the phone, 'Fine, but the mafia is after you now. They aren't content with ending with your father.'

"Good. I'll enjoy hurting whoever comes after me. Now if you'll excuse me I need to stare at the hot news anchor."

She hung up on him and looked over at Michael who chuckled, "You like him."

"Simon or the news anchor?"


She just burst out laughing. There was no way on earth she that she liked Simon O'Grady. She was still laughing as she drank her tea and got ready for bed.