Chapter 8: From gold

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'And I'll know that your heart was once like mine, Watch the flaws unwind'

It was the start of week two. Lilianna curled the last strand of her hair and set down the curling wand. Running her hands down her outfit, smoothing the front out, she looked herself over in the body mirror. Her black leggings and black suede ankle boots were lint free, and her white off the shoulders blouse made her look very grown up in comparison to her usual black tank top and dark green, oversized cashmere cardigan.

She took a deep breath, pushing her hair back from her face and throwing her black overcoat on. Making her way out of her room, she grabbed her bag and keys.

Her boots clicking on the stairs caught Mikale and Otis' attention. She came into the kitchen, poured some coffee into a black travel mug and munched on a blueberry muffin from the plate of them she had made the day before.

"Good morning Anna!" Otis smiled wide.

"Hey, kid," Mikale mumbled.

"Morning. What will you be doing today while I'm out?" She asked, hoping they wouldn't be in her house during her absence.

"Going to the local gym. We've been slacking since we got assigned to babysit, time to start pumping if we want to keep the guns strong." Otis smirked, flexing his biceps.

"You're not babysitting. I'm not a kid thanks."

"Uh, yes you are. We're almost ten years older than you." Mikale laughed.

"So?"

"So you're a kid!"

"Whatever."

"Anyway-" Otis interrupted their childish behavior. "We're going out once we drop you off at the airport and we will be there to pick you up when you land."

"You're not taking me and getting me. I'm driving myself. I can't have Hardy see you with me or anything like that! It's bad." She panicked, crossing her arms and glaring at a narrow-eyed Mikale.

"You don't have a choice, kid." Mikale snapped.

"Mikale," Otis warned.

"No. No, I'm not having her show up there today and slip it to him that we haven't been doing our jobs to the best of our abilities, to the limits that he told us we had to meet." Mikale shot back, his anger rising.

"Don't you get it? If Hardy Wallon sees you, I'm done for!" She argued.

"Does it look like I give a shit? I'm just doing my job. That's the only thing that matters, that you're safe and in our constant care." He stepped in front of Lilianna and looked down on her small form.

"And guess what, if I get sent into WP, then you won't have a job!" She pointed out, almost yelling.

"You think we're gonna let that happen?" He chuckled darkly.

"Stop being such a pain and let me make my own decisions as a legal adult!"

"No!"

"Yes!"

"I said no! End of discussion." Mikale yelled, slamming his hand down on the granite counter top. The contact between his hand and the stone resonated through the room, silencing everyone.

"I'll be waiting in the car. If you're not sitting in that back seat in five minutes, I'm dragging you there myself." He dipped down, speaking to her through clenched teeth in an unnaturally deep voice. He reached out and yanked her car keys from her bag, gripping them tightly so her tiny grabbing hands couldn't get them. "And these are mine and only mine from now on. If you're going anywhere- it's gonna be by my car with me driving it. Are we clear Lilianna?"

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