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I am curious as to what she is doing there again, but before I can figure a way of finding out, two vans from the hire company pull up. Good, I have another channel for my annoyance.

“I take it my stuff is intact?” I sniff as I stride down the path towards the driver. He just stares, no doubt mocking my damaged face, then shrugs. It is back to being bloody after I opened the wardrobe door on myself earlier.

“Didn’t open it. Not allowed to, so however it was in there is the way it still is. The keys.” He holds them out along with a tablet. “You need to sign here and produce some ID.”

“As I said before, making love to the police has its advantages!” I bellow in the direction of Benson’s house as I pull out my wallet. I scribble my signature and hand it back. He looks at it then puts the keys in his pocket. “Now what?”

“Emmett told you that he knows us, so we know all about you. Want to sign again?”

“I have signed it under my new and true name!” I shout out as I see Brian heading into the house effortlessly carrying a crate of beer on his shoulder. “Tell your lying mother that the Army frowns on this kind of thing!”

“Well the second party to this van is Michael Charles Novotny, so unless you sign as him or provide ID to your new and true name, you can’t have the van. And also, I need a picture of you...”

“That is ridiculous!” I explode.

“That is common practice, so that people can’t deny that they have received it. So sign and say cheese or get some new and true name ID, sign and say cheese. Either way, the van doesn’t become yours until you do.”

“By rights Det Horvath should have paid for it, however, I shall walk the moral high ground, which is more than I can say that he does.” He says nothing after checking my ID and taking my picture. “So the van is mine until the end of next week as per the agreement?”

“Yes. And we want it back on time and spotless, or you will incur removal and/or cleaning charges. Then you will be blacklisted. Oh, and we will also empty it, we find that ex-clients don’t like having to collect their stuff from the city dump.” He looks behind me and a small smile plays on his lips. “Well thanks for that. Enjoy your high ground, don’t get vertigo looking down from that lofty perch of yours, or you might land on your face...again.” He smirks before turning smartly on his heel and striding off before I can formulate a response. I frown when he takes his time getting in the other van before slamming the door hard, then he and his colleague drive off laughing.

“I would complain to his superiors if they weren’t in legion with the cops.” I mutter as I head to check the van’s contents. I get inside and after about two hours, I am satisfied that there is nothing missing.

It is when I am heading back indoors that I realise why he slammed the door so hard, it was to mask the fact that the front door had been slowly shutting behind me...and my keys are inside!




I take the brandy and check my cards with a small smile. I could not believe it when we found out after Brian suggested poker night; that Ben, Justin and Benson have never played!  He and I haven’t played in a long while! The rest of the boys and gals know better...besides Ems and Brandon are playing their own game. It unwinds him after a stressful day...apparently!

It feels oddly freeing to not have that lie hanging over me anymore. It is sad that I have lost Michael in the process, but it was all getting to be a bit too much before he went away...no he didn’t go away, he stowed away...with Brian.

“Houwf!” Benson exclaims and puts his cards down with triumphant but slightly drunken grin.

“Shot!” Brian orders, pouring generously.

“Wass wrong wiff houwf!” Benson peers at his hand.

“For the fifth time, we are playing poker not bingo!” Ben guffaws, just as drunkenly as Benson take half the shot down. “You really aren’t very good at this are you?”

“I am a rubbish poker player that's true!” He concedes, knocking back the rest of the contents.

“Well you excel in other areas and do make a rather adorable, if confused, bingo player.” Ben clinks his glass and throws in his hand. “Though I think we may be getting somewhat shafted.”

“Who by?” Brian looks over his glass at them and gives me a quick smirk.

“There! I knew it! We’ve been hushtled!” Benson looks across at a dead-to-the-world Justin. He had six shots and is now curled up in a ball, snoring. There is a competition for who is louder: his snores or stomach rumbles. “Poor boy had no chance!”

“Bullshit. He's neither that drunk nor asleep. He is a sore Selenophile because he doesn’t understand it, and he's going to be a great deal sorer, if he doesn’t stop pouting.”

“This cannot be this difficult!” He grumbles, sitting up and hiccuping.

“Okay, maybe a little bit wired, but definitely not drunk enough to warrant that level of nasal bassooning!” Brian pats his lap. He sighs and comes to sit down, frowning. “One more time?”

“Just let me see you play a hand and I’m sure I will get it.”

“Speaking of getting it….” Ben is by the window tilting his head. “What...no why is the...is the neighbourhood asswhore trying to break into his house?”

We all get up and join him; sure enough, Michael is holding a rock in his hand and is about to launch it at the front door window!

“He can’t be serious?!” Benson gasps, pulling on his trainers and heading outside.

“Yes he is, and no!” I tell him firmly, and he comes back in. “Whatever he is doing is his concern, and…”

“...he’s most likely going to end up in jail.” Benson is still by the door.

“Jail? Why jail?” I frown.

“They have a private security company that patrols these blocks. One of the security guards lives at the top of the road. He put the windows in, and…” The sound of smashing glass silences us and we return to watch what happens next. “...they will be here in about ten minutes.” He finishes, and then takes off his trainers when I look pointedly at them.





Part of me wants to run, such is my glee to make his life even more miserable, but this has to be done properly! I watch the screen carefully. One of the features of the front of these houses is that although there is a cubby and a picket fence surrounding the pretty garden, there are no hiding places. I watch him sweep the glass out into the garden, and now he is talking, well it looks like arguing with his neighbour.

“Think I have to step in, because that guy is balling up, as Benson would say.” I sigh and put my shoes on. I had hoped that I wouldn't have to go out, just call the boarding company to sort the door out and then go do the needful in the morning, but of course not!

The voices are getting louder and more abrasive as I get closer.

“Not that this is your concern!” He spits at the neighbour.

“Why didn’t you just call the security team to let you back in, you buffoon?!”

“What security team?!” He snaps, and then looks at me in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

“The security team. I live up the road and…”

“I knew it! I knew he owned it!” He throws the broom down and crosses the road to Benson’s house. We follow because we all know how Benson feels about him! “I wonder what else she lied to me about him!” He bellows, but before he can start to, no doubt, hammer on the door it is opened by Benson. “I want to speak to my not-so-benevolent landlord!”

“Then go home and call him. Contact details are in the lease. Brian does not own this block!”

“Yes he does!” He snaps. “BRIAN, GET OUT HERE NOW, YOU ASSHOLE!”

“He is not an asshole, Mr Asswhore, now get gone before I start balling!”

“Aww, poor ickle baby, does this big scary man fwighten woo?” He jeers.

“Balling…” His neighbour sighs. “...in the way both him and I mean, is to ball up a fist and smack you one!” This wipes the sarcastic look off his face, and he looks at me and I smile. “And he's right. Whoever Brian is, he doesn’t own these houses! Have you called the company to sort that mess out, Nate?”

“Yes. So, Mr Novotny, kindly stop causing a disturbance, return to your house and wait!” I order him.

“What is going on here?!” A voice bellows behind me, and I can’t help my ever widening smile as the female officer approaches. “I asked a question, and one of you will answer!”

“He needs to leave, officer, I am slightly drunk, very mad and don’t like him!”

She takes in the scene and nods. “Sir, he has asked you to leave, and I am telling you. Do you live far?”

“Just across the street.” He mutters, all swagger gone.

“What happened to your face, sir?”

“I got into an altercation with…”

“Careful…” Benson growls.

“My father…” He sighs. “...we have fallen out.”

“How the hell did you fall out with him?!” A redhead shouts as she joins Benson by the door and stares at Novotny’s face. “What did you say to warrant that?!”

He doesn’t answer, just gives her a filthy look and then heads back to his house.

“Are we all done here?” The officer asks, and with a small nod, Benson closes the door muttering very dark and murderous thoughts.

“What happened in the lead up?”

“He broke the window to his front door, because he left his keys inside.” The neighbour rolls his eyes.

“How did he end up here?”

“Thought some guy called Brian is his landlord, he’s in there.” I explain, and with a curt nod she strides across to his house.

“I will need a statement from you about the damage he caused if you saw it. Uh, sorry, I have forgotten your name. So many…”

“Don’t worry about it. Should imagine you only remember the bad’uns. It's Shaw. Philip Shaw, and absolutely no problem. So will this put him in breach?” I have never seen a man look so desperate for this to be true.

“Most likely. Could be out in a week.”

“Hmmm. I do believe a block party will be thrown to coincide with that!” Philip chuckles and heads back to his house.

I start to walk back up to mine when a blast of a horn gets my attention and I get in with a smile. “He’s right you know, even if I didn’t like the way he said it, making love to the police has its advantages. Good evening, officer.”

“Hey.” Officer Heather Pillow smiles tiredly. “What an ass.” She jerks her head back in the direction we have just come. “Why did he say that?”

“No idea. Let’s just get home, and how quickly can you get a crime number for me?”

“How quickly can you open that bottle of white?” She rubs my thigh.

“Very!” I smile.



I sigh in contentment. Not only has Nancy gone from my life forever, but in a few short minutes the other bane of my life will also be gone. I hear her footsteps down the stairs as she does her final checks.

“Well, that is me done and dusted.”

“Well the done part is right. The dusted not so much, but cleaning up after your mess was never one of your strengths.”

“Can we make this as…”

“As pleasant as possible? I guess so. As a goodbye gesture you can be chauffeured to the airport.”

“Thank you. Will he be long?”

“He's outside, you just need to load your bags.”

“So what are you going to do it?”

“Like I said, none of your concern. Now, you wouldn't want to miss your flight.”

“No. Well, goodbye, Daddy.” She gives me an awkward hug, which I return, and I watch her get in the car without a backward glance.

“Goodbye and good riddance, Lindsay.” I call out as she disappears into the distance.




I dab my eyes and shake off my morose mood. “Pull yourself together!” I chide myself for feeling like Little Orphan Annie. “You have means and wiles, just use them judiciously, and, for once, kindly.” I look around the lounge at my fellow passengers and signal the barman for a drink.

“What will it be, ma’am?”

“Well, since I am soon to be in Rome, might as well do as the Romans. A Negroni, please.”

“No problem. Take a seat over there and I will bring it to you. May I have your boarding pass?” I hand it to him. “Oh, you have lots of time, we do some great bar snacks if you want to look at the menu?”

“Thanks. I will.” I take a seat in the corner and peruse the menu. He places the drink down and a glass of champagne. “I didn't order that.”

“Perks of first class.” He grins. “Want some food?”

“I think I’d better!” I laugh. “Can you give me a few minutes?”


I sit back and sigh as my mood starts to lift, I reach for my phone as I feel it buzz, then grimace before sending it to voicemail then switching it off. “My new beginning is not going to start with your whining, Michael. Whatever your problem is, fix it yourself!”



I glower at the swaggering back of Nate Killson. I have been given a week’s notice. Sighing, I head to the laptop to look for another place when I see an email from Mrs Horvath to be and smirk. Seems she is changing allegiances. This falls off my still sore face when I read it. She spoke to Daniel and took his advice, which was that she tell Lt, Novotny’s family what she had told me and they have a copy of my birth certificate, should I feel the nasty need to contact them!




“Oh now that is unfortunate. My cheeky selenophile, once again you lose.”

“How?!” He stares at his hand, then mine, and then at the poker tutorial he insisted we had running at the same time. “This is...what did you call me?”

“Selenophile.” I coo, closing the laptop and nudging him towards the chaise lounge. “My blue eyed, strip poker losing selenophile.”

“You called me that on poker night, what’s is it?” He pulls me on top of him.

“A lover of the moon. So it is off with the pants, so I can feel those moonlit bathed cheeks rising and falling around my cock.”

“You say the hottest things.” He sighs.


“I know. Now strip!”

Chapter End Notes:

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