Part 3: You've Got Mail

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After tossing and turning all night, I went in search of coffee. I found everyone in the kitchen. Brie and Jack were at the breakfast table, a laptop and a couple of books open in front of them. Fish was sitting at the kitchen island, watching Eddie make eggs and toast. I went straight to the coffeepot. Eddie handed me my favorite huge mug, and I filled it to the brim. The first sip was hot and tasted oh, so good. I closed my eyes and savored it.

"Hey, Tess?" I opened my eyes and looked at Fish. He was frowning at me. "Did you and David... er..." Fish blushed, his ears turning pink. He looked adorable with his square jaw, black hair, blue eyes... and bright pink ears.

"No, we hardly spent any time together at all. Why?"

"Well, uh. Not to be nosy, but who gave you the hickey?" Fish pointed at the left side of my neck.

My eyes popped wide as the kitchen went silent. Eddie's head whipped around, looking for what Fish had seen.

"You didn't have anything on your neck yesterday, Tess. When did this happen?"

I pulled my messy bun loose and let my hair down over my shoulders, covering up the mark on my neck. Eddie was not going to let it go that easy. "Did you see that stranger guy again? Who is he?"

"What stranger guy?" Fish and Jack asked the question at the same time. I glared at Eddie, but he just glared back. Brie came over to look at my neck, pushing my hair out of the way.

"Eddie's right. That wasn't there yesterday. When did you get it?"

"After the game," I mumbled.

"You were with us after the game." Brie looked confused, but I didn't feel like telling her about Stranger with both Fish and Jack listening in. He'd promised to contact me "later". I'd assumed that meant last night but my inbox was depressingly empty. I'd sat up for hours refreshing my browser over and over again, but no email from Stranger. I was more than a little frustrated and irritated by the whole stupid situation.

Before I could reply to Brie, the front door banged open and three more members of the hockey team came in. Nova, Goose, and Finn each dropped a couple of large duffle bags on the floor and headed for the coffee. Each of them gave Eddie a fist bump as they went past, mumbling some form of thanks. They looked exhausted.

"Tess, I already talked to Brie, but didn't get a chance to talk to you yet. The guys are all going to be staying here for a while. That okay?"

What was I supposed to say? No? It was Eddie's house. "As long as I don't have to share my room, it's fine with me."

"Well, not your room, but you'll have to share the bathroom on the third floor with one of them."

I shrugged. That was no big deal. But why were they staying here to begin with? "What's going on?"

Finn muttered into his coffee cup, "Police raided our house last night. Landlord was growing weed in the basement. Slumlord was doing it in two other houses. We got back from the game to sirens, cops, and chaos."

Goose picked up the story, "They took us to the station for questioning, been there most of the night. Asshole kept the basement door padlocked and had a clause in the lease that we weren't allowed down there under any circumstances. Guess we know why now. This morning they took us back to the house, escorted us in to grab some clothes, but they kept all the computers. I've got a damn paper due tomorrow and no fucking computer."

Nova just sat on a stool, clearly exhausted. His hands were wrapped around his cup and he only nodded his thanks as Eddie shoved a plate full of eggs and bacon at him. I moved to help Eddie get more breakfast going as the others all pestered the guys with questions.

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