FORTY-SIX

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What the agents had called an apartment was more of a small efficiency motel room with all the basics—kitchen cupboards, stove, fridge, dishwasher, microwave—each of them mini versions of their at-home counterparts. It was cramped, but it was clean.

Virginia headed for the shower. The weight of the lengthy drive and the stress of being chased down on the highway eased away as she lingered under the warm water—and waited for Mark to come join her. When she had delayed long enough, to the point where she was worried about the building running out of hot water, she decided to give up on him. She dried off and wrapped herself in the towel before stepping out into the tiny bedroom.

Her suitcase was on the bed, open and waiting. She poked her head out to the main room but there was no sign of him. He'd come in and heard the water running and . . . left? Turning back to the suitcase, she dug through her clothes for something to wear, the frown giving away her mood. If anyone had been there to see it. She took her time getting ready, partially in an attempt to look nice—after all, it had been almost two months since she'd seen him—and partially as a test to see if he would come looking for her.

He failed. Miserably.

She found herself studying her profile in the mirror. She hadn't had time to buy much in the way of maternity wear, and the loose, mid-calf length sundress was about as far from sexy as you could get. She pushed the material tight to her midsection while turning right and left. Would he still find her attractive? Frustration got the best of her and she put all of the toiletries away, deciding to stop second guessing herself and just go look for him. He couldn't have gone far.

She headed back down to the combination-locked door and knocked.

Agent Carter opened it with a, "Ahh, Lieutenant. We were wondering what was keeping you." He waved her in. "Your brother brought food." He escorted her to one of the larger corner offices where most of his underlings had congregated around half a dozen pizza boxes. Salads, breads, and juices filled the rest of the meeting table.

She spotted Mark across the room and was shocked to see that he had changed clothes. And shaved. Had he showered? And . . . where?

He stood talking to the female agent she had met earlier. Dressed in an office appropriate business suit and sensible shoes, the young woman carried herself with an aura of professionalism. What was her name again? There were far too many of them to remember.

Mark turned his head and smiled. He said one more thing to the woman before heading over. "You look nice," he said, leaning in to kiss her on the cheek.

The fresh scent of shampoo answered one of her questions. "You do too."

She heard the inquiry in her own voice, but he didn't volunteer any insight, answering instead with a distracted glance as he reached for her hand. "Come on, you should eat something."

He walked her over to the pile of plates on the table and lifted one, offering it to her. "Pick whatever you want. You are eating for two now."

She twisted and glared up at him, about to educate him on some basic pregnancy etiquette, but he was oblivious, his eyes focused on something across the room. Feminine intuition had her stomach in knots, but she followed his gaze anyway and gasped when she saw the same agent staring back at him. Some silent communication went on between them before the woman nodded once and left.

Virginia cast her eyes down to her plate, not wanting him to know what she'd seen. Numbly, she picked up a pizza slice and added some salad, then followed him over to another table to join Paul, Bruce, and some agents, already seated.

The men talked freely about the upcoming court cases and how they were going to get Bruce and Mark in and out of the respective buildings without incident. Virginia pretended to be listening as she chewed her food, even though her taste buds refused to play along and she may as well have been eating cardboard.

The Silent Ones [✔️] (#2 in the Chilvati Series)Read this story for FREE!