You are very correct, (it costs 8 years) but Clora doesn't know that. Mark handled the entry admission and she has her hands full with everything else. There are just some things they don't have time to share, unfortunately.
Mark started the entrance paperwork for Milo, and we don't know if it's completed or if he has remembered to complete the steps necessary. For six months Mark has been out of commission, and he's slow to recover.
Mark managed to get Warren off to the side, while the ladies were busy with lunch. Walking down the hall, he stopped them in front of Warren's room and opened the door. Warren gave him a look bordering on outrage and suspicion, but when Mark waved the locator and it flashed a strong signal, Warren frowned.
Mark asked Warren to help him walk outside, leaning on his Father for security. As he waved the finder unobtrusively over Warren, they found a transmitter in the cuff of the elder's smartly tailored pants.
Mark had steered them over behind the inoperative auto's lined up in front of the hotel. Warren picked the transmitter up and looked it over. It was the type favored by his business. All of the actions had been silent; but the older man had fury leaking out all over. Mark checked himself and found nothing, and took the transmitter from Warren and placed it on the closest bumper and destroyed it with the end of his folding knife.
"They're all over the house, a new crop, as I checked the house when Karl and Helga left us. If you're doing this, I want to know why?" Mark looked steadily at his Father, giving the ex spy a chance to explain. Family spying on family was low, real low.
Warren said a subdued "no" and frowned harder. "I have to admit that looks like very damming evidence, and we are a closed entity here. This is very troubling, I'm at a loss to understand why. There are three of us here that are capable of securing this type of device, me, Joy and you." That was the first time Warren had made any reference to the fact he knew about Mark's involvement in the 'business.'
"It's not impossible for orders to come down and create situations such as this, when someone is suspect; but Joy and I are retired and you are the most likely target. How many of the bugs were in your room?"
Mark held up one finger.
"So deduction points to Joy and myself. And there are others all over the house?" Warren was actually shocked, he and Joy never talked about their previous work, never bragged, they talked....sure; they were putting a life together with two strong independent personalities and it wasn't always easy.
"It doesn't follow logic that Joy would allow herself to be recorded, unless she were trying to absolve herself of a accusation, and implicate me. I don't know, is this some tactic to create distrust among us.... divide and conquer type of warfare? And then there's the issue of electricity, who's powering them with the EMP in force. Are they useable?" Warren had questions and no answers, neither did Mark.
Warren leaned against the back fender of his Rover, stroking his chin thoughtfully. "We need to check the batteries of the vehicles, that would supply enough voltage to run low energy devices, I've done that before, that's almost a standard set of operations." Mark nodded.
"What about the interior?" and Warren jerked his thumb toward the inside of the medium tan colored Rover.
Mark walked closer when Warren unlocked the rig and waved the finder. Nothing.
Warren was looking at the finder, "that's a sophisticated piece, where did that come from?"
"The Prince. That's a part that I'm not discounting, if they're smart enough to make the 'finder' they're smart and clever enough to plant the devices."
Warren rubbed his chin once again. "I don't believe I've ever been involved in dealings with the man, and I do know that your association with him caused untold alarm. No one could understand how you got involved, or how he happened to trust you, of all people."
"I was honest with him," Mark said by way of the short explanation. "The man has an incredible spy system in place and he knows things about us, as in personally, that leads me to believe he has us under surveillance. Again, I don't know why, other than Clora has told him some things that prevented, ahh, lets call them incidents, in his life."
"So how did you get involved with the urns?" Warren looked levelly at his son.
TJ came running out of the house to tell them lunch was ready and that stopped Mark's reply.
It was difficult at lunch for father and son to be upbeat and cheerful, and of course Joy noticed the forced behavior right away and questioned Warren with a look. Joy was a very alert and focused woman.
"I need to begin fishing again," Warren said by way of a convenient answer, "we are going to be short of food for the winter, and I want to do my part. "I'm going to start this afternoon."
Clora spoke up. "Thank you Warren, that is very much appreciated."
The logging crew would have preferred food other than rice with gravy, it didn't seem to stick with them all the afternoon, but the revelation they would be short of food, stalled the complaints.
"We'll take more rifles with us," Milo offered, "sometimes the game is curious with the noise and stands to watch us." and all the boys nodded.
"That would improve the situation," Clora smiled. "We all have to do the best we can."
Wayne and Millie didn't come down for lunch, and when Clora would have called the pair, Mark shook his head no when she sought his eyes.
Mark understood Warren would think on the problem and bring Joy into the revelation if and when he felt comfortable. With both of them thinking on the dilemma, there was a greater percentage of solution that way. Personally, Mark had suspicions of who it might be, but he wanted an 'independent audit' to come up with the same conclusion.
The rest of the day was spent casually walking the house and collecting the bugs. Mark picked up his cane and told Clora he was going to walk up to the barn. "You might keep an eye on me, I'll have to rest some when I get there, but I think I'm ready."
Clora looked worried, but didn't protest, "I'll keep track of you." she promised. Clora was cutting carrot rounds and packing jars.
Mark and Dawg walked slowly and measurably to the barn door. Before he went in, he told Dawg there was another dog in there and no fighting. Dawg reserved his opinion, he'd have to see what the other dog was like, that would determine his response.
Inky was lying on a blanket, the magnificent Newfy close to the end of his life. Unable to get up without considerable pain, he thumped his tail in genuine welcome for Mark. Mark walked over and sat in the nearby chair, his hand petting Inky's head. He talked to the dog a long time, remembering the many adventures that had happened.
Eventually Dawg walked over and he and Inky sniffed noses, then Dawg laid down close to Mark and licked Inky's paw.
The torch of duty and protection to the family was passed on to a worthy and capable successor. Inky licked Mark's hand, laid his head down and quietly passed away. Mark cried. He didn't think he had ever been so saddened by the death of an animal; but then no animal had done what Inky had done.
The hardened man was deeply affected, but thankful he had been there and Inky had not gone over the rainbow bridge alone. Mark sat out there a long time, reflecting on the unconditional love Inky had given them all, the kick Inky had suffered from had irreparably damaged the protector. That had been a good reason for the Moor to die, on top of all else he had committed.
Clora came up to the barn, she had felt Mark's distress and the two of them sat holding hands and not speaking, but reflecting on Inky and his many exploits.
Supper was less active and noisy than usual, Benny wanted to know if they could have a funeral to celebrate Inky's life and Mark and Clora agreed. "How about Sunday," Clora suggested, "everybody bring a Inky memory." That was agreeable.
Early the next morning Mark got up with a big smile and a better attitude and the men of the family went to dig a final resting place for their valiant dog. Tess was heartbroken and she moped around the house until Dawg walked over to nose against her hand. He felt the duty, but wasn't used to such emotion. His previous owner had been a abusive and cruel man, and Dawg had left and never looked back when he found Mark.
Dawg could feel the man he had accompanied East cared about the people in the house and as such, Dawg protected them all with intensity.
Wayne and Joey had come down and gone with the procession that went to bury Inky. Millie came down with Abe and cut carrots for Clora while Clora made lunch. "Wayne has to go back tomorrow, his comp time is up. He promised me that he would check out the grocery stores, but they are open limited hours during the day and often he works past their closing time." Millie reported.
Clora didn't say much beyond a small noise of agreement in her throat.
"We can't afford for Wayne to quit, we need the health insurance for this next baby. That's another agreement we had to come to. No more babies after this one. We can't provide for the children we have now, and in good conscience we can't keep adding more. Wayne's not happy about that, he'd have as many children as you and Mark have."
"Well did you remind him that I only birthed four of them, what he wants is not good for your health Millie."
"Oh yes, we went down that fork in the road many times. I've never seen Wayne turn so stubborn; he was acting exactly like Ben. That's another thing Wayne is upset about, the way Mark handled Ben's passing. Wayne was there, he saw as well as the rest of us that really up close, that wasn't Ben. Then he was upset thinking it was Pete, and then he was upset thinking it wasn't Pete and that Pete was still on the loose. He's never been so loose in the thinking category, I was shocked."
Clora stopped and looked at Millie. "Millie, I'm afraid that's the way Wayne reacts when he has been alone. That's the reason we have always included him like one of the kids. He flat out does not make good decisions by himself. This is going to be tough for you, but I can tell you that if Wayne is left alone another winter, he will disintegrate into someone you won't know.
If you want him to keep the county job, you are going to have to go back to town and provide rigid structure to his life. Get him up at the same time every day, fix his lunch the same way, have his supper waiting when he gets home. That is how he thrives. Going to town puts you and the children at risk, and you know you are welcome back anytime. I think Milo got Karl's old pickup running, so perhaps that could be used to take you home. I can spare a sack of rice and beans, and would send bread and lunchmeat for Wayne's lunch. I don't envy you at all, you have a tough choice to make." Clora was as frank as possible.
"Everything you say is true," Millie admitted. "I know that, and I hate fighting with him. It doesn't do either one of us any good. If you don't mind, I do want to go home. It's where I belong and if there is trouble, I'll figure out a way to get by it as best I can."
"I see the wagon bringing the guys back to the house." Clora was looking out the window. "Eat lunch and take Wayne upstairs and get your things ready to go. I'll talk to Mark and see when, why, what and how he wants to do this. If he says this afternoon, then you are ready." Clora patted Millie on the back, "you'll do fine, and you'd better pick out another boy name, your going to need it."
Millie nodded. "Thanks Clora, what are you going to do about...." and Millie pointed to the closed bedroom door and the woman who had to know they were busy canning and getting lunch.
"That's Mark's department," Clora said sweetly, and then winked at Millie.
Lunch over and the boys electing to buck and split the wood they had hauled in, gave Clora the chance to approach Mark with the latest news. He was agreeable.
"I listened to the pickup run this morning and I think it would do OK. I also want to go this afternoon if possible. If Wayne would take off now, he would get there about the same time we would after we load their stuff. Milo can go with me, he'll have to ride in the back on the way down, but he'll probably have to drive on the way home."
Mark was off and running in the planning mode. "Let me get Milo and Robert, they can load the pickup and help me siphon gas out of the other rigs so we don't run out. Send Tess in, I'll have her run upstairs and ask Wayne to come on down."
As the people scattered to do as they were told, Mark looked at Warren. "No work, no eat," he repeated and pointed to the closed bedroom door where Joy had retreated as soon as lunch was over.
"I'll see to it," Warren assured his son, and went to the bedroom.
Mark was unsmiling as he looked at Clora, "From up on the hill, we could see a storm gathering. You'd better grab the boys and strip the ears off the corn; throw it in the wagon and anything else ready to harvest. This one's coming up from the south, so it might be part of a hurricane with lots of rain."
The Linderman harvest crew went to the corn patch and started gathering ears. The pumpkins looked far enough along that they could be harvested, and Clora instructed Gary and Lou to cut the stems as long as possible, six inches or better.
Teddy and Benny started digging potatoes and carrots, and Tess, Clora and the young ones went to harvest all the tomatoes.
Mark tended to all that he needed to do, the boys bringing down the small amount of belongings that Wayne and Millie had. Wayne started to town, going down the hill a faster drive than the slow climb up. Mark had Milo bring up a sack of beans and one of rice and four quarts of canned meat. Clora had wrapped the bread to send and they spared as much as they could.
In the eight hours that Clora and the children had, they stripped the gardens, loading the wagon with so much, the boys had to help push up the slight hill to the barn. The load was more than Lady could pull. A hay bale was opened and spread in a pen, and the potatoes were off loaded to dry and cure as best as they could. Carrots, beets, turnips, went in a pile, onions and garlic. The last of the tomatoes were bucketed to the house with flashlights.
Joy had set the table and had rice and bean soup cooking, and Clora added pancakes as a filler. Starving children ate every drop. Warren had milked the cow, sending himself into a trip down memory lane. "Sixty some years later, I still remembered how," he was crowing and the kids crowded around and begged stories of his growing up.
Listening to Warren talk about the sod shanty and the family homesteading on the cold and unforgiving land in North Dakota, the ladies did the dishes and listened to it start to rain.
Praise the Lord," Clora said quietly, "He gave us time to get the garden harvested."
Mark and the pickup passed Wayne about a half mile from Wayne and Millie's house. The boys, he took both Milo and Robert, and of course Dawg wouldn't be left behind, had the pickup unloaded and boxes scattered around as Millie directed.
Mark got them headed back to the farm as quickly as possible. They were about an hour from dark, but there were no cafe's or burger joints open. They came across a open grocery, but it was due to close in ten minutes and the guard waved them on. They didn't get out of town before it started to rain, and the old blue Datsun went chugging up the hill toward home.
Dawg was plenty wet by the time they got to the farm; but he didn't care and shook it off, happy for the adventure.
Once they were out of town, Mark had to have Milo drive. Mark was running on sure guts and determination, and he was so tired and used up, he could hardly squeak.
Clora fed them pancakes and bowls of heated beef chunks; while Warren entertained the kids with stories of the past.
Soon, Luke, Liz and TJ were nodding off to sleep and the rest of the kids that had done a tremendous effort were drooping. Clora sent them all to bed with a special thank you for the saving of the garden.
Mark was so weak, Clora had to have Milo help her walk him to the bedroom. Milo whispered that he had got to drive and Clora patted his back. "Good job," she praised, "thank you for the help."
Milo was holding Mark and Clora loosened his belt and his pants went south with a rapid slide, They sat Mark on the edge of the bed and took his vest off and then his boots. Laying him down, Clora thought he had already gone to sleep.
Back in the kitchen, Clora stacked the dishes and sent her young men to bed. She made sure the house was locked and Red and Bootsie were on guard. Dawg had dried off by the stove and was in the bedroom with Mark.
The wind picked up and lashed the rain against the windows. It was a severe rain and wind event.
The heavy cloud cover provided rain the next twenty four hours. A steady, hard rain that peppered the ground and filled the ditches to overflowing as the water drained toward the lake. The lake level rose higher, putting the length of the dock above water for the first time since they had been there.
Warren stood in the front window and watched the grey curtain of rain partially obscure the wind whipped whitecaps on the lake.. "Won't be any fishing for a while," he told Joy when she joined him with a couple of cups of coffee. "So much feed for the fish will have washed in, they won't need to bite the hooks. I keep wondering about a fishing net, but I don't know where to get ahold of one. They're not usually allowed here in the states, like they are in other countries."
"The resources are tight here, aren't they?" Joy spoke quietly. If there was any food she heartedly disliked, it was rice with bean gravy and that was a staple showing up for at least one meal and as a filler for suppertime with distressing regularity.
"Yes, they lost so much when the town burned; Clora hasn't complained, but I know they lost many hundred jars of canned food. And one thought follows another. If they had that much canned, then they had other supplies that were lost. Clora has always taken great care to provide food to the family, with any means possible."
"How many times have they started over?" Joy was interested; Clora was such an enigma to her. The woman was so quietly competent, she made her hard work look easy as she canned, fixed meals and directed the children in all of their activities.
"Starting over? I'm not sure, you'd have to ask Clora or Mark. I do know that I got to know then during a relatively stable time in their life and there have been , let's see, I believe five or six moves."
"No wonder she has nothing," Joy made the comment. "All the time we've been here, I've only seen her wear two different tops and skirts, and she always has boots on. Clora seems to be satisfied, so who am I to make a judgment."
"There's a good reason she wears boots," and Warren explained about Helga shooting off part of Clora's foot. Joy was shaking her head at the information.
"I believe I would have shot the woman for doing that," Joy was used to taking care of such matters on her own.
"Clora or Mark probably would have, but the Doctor treating Clora poisoned her because the Doctor was so madly in love with Mark that she exercised extremely poor judgment. Clora barely got out of that alive. Mark was very ill with radiation poisoning at the same time, and I believe only the two of them knew how close they came to leaving fourteen or fifteen orphans." Warren took a swallow of coffee. "It was closer than anyone wanted to admit."
"There were more than what's here now?" Joy had to work to keep her voice down.
"A teen girl that was killed, a girl of color that was killed and a boy who had his wife killed and lived with them with a new wife and four children. Wayne and Millie have been in and out, Clora's brother Ben and his wife, and a young man that eventually married the girl of color. Some where in that mix, were two little girls that they fostered, three idiot men including my father, a cook and her daughter and two children." Warren was sure he had forgotten someone, and said so. "When they moved from Oregon, we chartered two Greyhound busses, and five big diesels."
"Unbelievable," Joy said softly.
"Oh, I forgot to include myself and Gail." It was the first time Warren had ever voluntarily mentioned his previous wife.
"Tell me about her?" Joy requested, "how did she come to the family?" and Joy tugged on Warren's sleeve for him to come sit down and talk with her.
The young men went to the barn to check on the animals and to get out of the house. Ma was starting to cook lunch and it only reminded them of how hungry they were.
Mark was once again confined to bed. He had so severely overdone his activity, he was exhausted by simply being awake. He had lost all his hard won ground, but he had Wayne and Millie out of the house and that was a major score on his part.
Clora was supervising children, canning carrots and starting the rice and beans for lunch. She certainly could use Joy's help, she thought, and wondered why Joy needed to be reminded every day to come and lend a hand. Finally Clora tripped over TJ who had parked himself close to the stove.
"Joy, would you please come help, I nearly dropped a scalding hot jar on TJ. Please either watch the children, have them wash up and set the table; or come stir the rice and beans to keep them from scorching." It really wasn't a request, it was an order, and Joy and Warren seemed so involved with their personal chat that Clora's request didn't register with them.
It did register with Mark however. The head lion started roaring as he walked from the bedroom to the living room. When it was all done and over with, Joy packed up her entitled feelings and what she could carry and left. Mark gave every person within hearing distance the 'word.' They would work and help or they wouldn't eat. There was always some assistance a person could do to help Clora, and if they couldn't 'see' what needed done, they were required to ask.
Warren didn't make a move to side, or leave with Joy; and that earned him a contemptuous dirty look and a ring left on the dresser top. Joy didn't do the type of work that Clora needed help with in her own home, and she wasn't going to extend Clora the favor in hers.
"I don't know why Joy was doing the disassociation," Warren remarked. "She tuned Clora out completely, and even though I reminded her several times, she ignored me. This pains me terribly to see her walk away. Survival doesn't favor those who leave the safety of the group, and I'm at a loss as to why she would consider it."
"Warren," Clora was stressed by the emotional and almost physical confrontation and the prima donna antics of adults in her vicinity. "Do you suppose Joy's attitude might have had something to do with you? We asked if you would school the children until the canning season was over. If you had been doing your job, you wouldn't have been available for Joy to seduce you with talk. TJ wouldn't have been nearly fatally scalded, and none of this upset would have happened. I believe you are half responsible for Joy's attitude, you have done a week's worth of teaching and then conveniently skipped almost two weeks. We have enough interruptions in the schooling that deliberately forgetting them cannot be tolerated."
Warren found the 'hot seat' an uncomfortable place to be. "You are absolutely correct," he said seriously. "I will call the children right now." and he went to collect TJ, Luke, Liz and Sam; and into the room designated to be the school room they went.
Mark had seated himself at the table, mad and stressed as Clora was. "Com'mere Sweetie, I need a hug as much as you do." he had his little boy look firmly in place, and Clora went to hug his neck from behind. She reached around and kissed the side of his mouth and tugged lightly on his earlobe. Unfortunately, she had a canner that had sputtered steam for ten minutes and it needed the petcock.
"That wasn't very satisfactory," came the almost petulant whine, a sick and recovering Mark was not the ideal patient.
"I'm sorry but fooling around will have to wait. It's an hour to lunch and I have to get things moving in a hurry. Sit there and talk to me," Clora coaxed her hard to please husband. "Thank you for backing me up this morning, Joy is a master manipulator, and she worked hard on Warren, but I also have to believe he allowed it. He is not that clueless of a man."
"True," Mark thought about the bugs, and now was as good a time to talk to Clora about his suspicions. "Clora dearest, walk through these circumstances with me. When Helga and Karl were killed, I did a very comprehensive sweep of the house and area, removed all the listening bugs and destroyed them. Then Wayne and Millie show up and then sometime later Dad and Joy make it back here. Yesterday I discovered the house is literally crawling with listening devices. I am going to present to you several theories and let's discuss them." Mark accepted the last of the coffee and Clora started a new pot.
"First would be; Wayne or Millie or both planted listening devices. Second would be; that Dad or Joy planted the bugs, and after this morning, that's more of a possibility than ever. But, the location of the devices is what I don't understand. Most of them were in Dad's room, and a sprinkling in all the rest of the rooms." Mark took a swallow of coffee.
"Why would Dad or Joy bugged their own rooms? I'm missing the elephant in the room."
Mark of course, hadn't missed the elephant; he wanted to have Clora draw that conclusion on her own. It was going to take some forbidden revelations of his own, but it was time.
I'm putting bets on Joy. She was asking a lot of questions of Warren about Mark and Clora's past, so if she's getting the information for someone else, where ever is the better place to "bug" than their own bedroom where she would most likely be asking Warren these questions.
Thanks for the chapters, Pac! Lovin' this new story!!
I just hope and pray that Mark and Clora make it through - together - in raising these kids, and that someday they will have a more peaceful, less stressful, more settled life!! They both deserve it!!
( \ o / )
/ _ \
Following my Lord-
Where He leads me,
What He wants of me,
Who He wants me to be.
Although she had her hands going in one direction, Clora's mind was racing down a different path. "So that is four suspects," she said quietly.
"Actually not," Mark intervened. Taking a big deep breath he continued on. "There is always the Prince..... and then there is me." His bald statement left hanging in the air. "You are aware that both Warren and Joy are retired CIA operatives. But I am also one, not retired."
Clora was looking at him with such a 'so what' attitude, he was almost tempted to ask if she had heard him. Nerved up and getting scared by her silence, Mark shifted in the chair and frowned at Clora. "Well?"
"Well what?" she countered as she stirred the beans and added a little thickener.
"Well, I just confessed I'd been hiding a secret from you for fifteen years and you're acting like it is no big deal and that you'd known about it all along." It was enough to make a spy feel grumpy.
"I did," Clora added with a small laugh. Looking at Mark she shook her head gently. "After fifteen years you still don't realize you have no secrets from me. Mark, I've known that the Marshall's job has been a cover for your other activities for fourteen and three quarters years. I figured that when you wanted to tell me, you would." Clora gathered up the plates, bowls and utensils and brought them to the table.
"How can I be a dark and mysterious spy, when I'm disrespected in my own house." he complained.
"I've kept your secret that long," Clora reminded him, "that's respect."
"Yeah, but I wanted to make this big and grandiose announcement to overwhelm you with my sophistication and worldly manners, and you took all the fun out of it." Mark was back to being a sick, little boy. "How did you find out?"
"Two plus two; the first time you contacted the FBI and they came to the farm, you flashed a badge at them and they immediately backed off the hard sell. Applying some of your favorite logic; there are only two reasons they would do that. Either you worked for the FBI, or another organization that had more clout than they did. Carsen didn't like you or what ever job you had, and he had to defer to you." Clora could hear the boys running from the shop in the rain. "I'll tell you the rest of what you want to know after lunch." Clora promised.
Mark was feeling persnickety; he could tell Clora was amused at him, and Mark thought it poor duty for her to always be so far ahead of him. It was more than irritating for her to already know or have guessed, all the hard won conclusions he came up with. Totally disturbing.
What was even more annoying, was the fact she said nothing, unless questioned directly. Clora seldom volunteered information, and she preferred to talk people into doing her bidding. For her to be so upset this morning at Joy and Warren was a measure of the fright she felt tripping over TJ. Mark had been quite astounded to hear her tear into his Father and step mother.
What was worse, the kids took forever to eat, longer than forever to do the dishes, and settled in by the stove. That was the opportunity Clora had been waiting for. She set up a clothes washing brigade, and little by little, kids disappeared from the kitchen and the warm cozyness of the wood stove.
Not too long after her announcement, the living room was clear and Mark drug a chair close to where Clora was working. "OK, will you talk to me now? I've sat up about as long as I can, and I'm anxious to hear if you have the same conclusion about our sneak and the listening devices."
"Logically, it has to be Wayne." Clora said softly. "There is no way, he could have been in such close contact with Ben and not have known the man was a fake. So he was covering for the imposter, or the imposter was blackmailing him, or he was compromised a long time ago; it's a take your pick grab bag of excuses and reasons."
Mark nodded, he should have known she would have figured it out. "So I wonder where he got the devices? from who? and is he working for an agency? and the best reason of all, why?" Clora had come over and they were whispering in each others ears.
"For the same reason you had to go to Washington and look in that cave, for the Rhodium. Now if you really want to get into a twisted mess, what if I suggested that perhaps Ben and Pete are still alive, and the government is trying to locate the metal as it's probably worth close to a Billion." Clora whispered.
"What if Pete is offering the Rhodium as a trade for the government dropping all charges against him? I haven't exactly figured out what part Ben might have in all this, but it will come with some excuse, of that you can be sure. Don't say anything out loud, or go get the metal out of the closet. There might be hidden cameras. And to be safe, I'm not sure Warren is trustworthy. When he didn't leave with Joy this morning, he aroused my suspicions." Clora drew back to look Mark in the eyes and then fooled around kissing his face.
"We are being watched," she breathed in Mark's ear. "Can you pretend you do, or don't like this?"
Mark let out a groan that had nothing playacting connected with it. "I like, I like," he managed to say, "more."
Clora laughed warm and low, as she twisted Mark into knots with her touching and kissing. When he had to close his eyes, Clora took pity and whispered in his ear. "Warren was watching us, there has to be a reason."
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