I’m taking part in the StoryADay September 2015 challenge. The main reason being to explore my characters from the Morgan and Fairchild Series. I will endeavour to incorporate the daily prompts, though, as it’s a continued tale, it’s not strictly a story a day. It’s more a story within a story. I’ve given myself a word limit of 600 words per day.
Prompt: Sept 2nd – The Pickpocket (Your character’s an extremely talented pickpocket. He learned the skill when he was young and poor. Now he has a good job, a healthy bank account, and a respectable lifestyle, but he thinks it’s a shame to let such remarkable talent go to waste).
Recap: Justin Chambers, part of the team at Morgan & Fairchild, is approached by a friend who needs a favour. Justin accepts the missing person case, and agrees to look into it in his own time.
Justin slipped into the back of the BMW, and met Ellen Parker’s eyes in the mirror. He saw amusement, followed by suspicion, filter through her dark brown eyes.
He pushed the box of doughnuts between the front seats, wiggling his brows at her. She didn’t even look down.
“If you’ve come for a favour, I’m going to need more than a little sugar bribe.”
“How do you know I didn’t drop by to keep you company?”
Ellen turned in her seat, pinning him with a stare. “I’m doing Abe a favour by babysitting some exec with questionable morals and an attitude problem. I don’t feel particularly accommodating right now.” She lifted the box and grabbed a doughnut without breaking eye contact. “But you get points for effort.”
They often worked with AD Securities, and Abe had the biggest contracts when it came to protection detail. This particular principal was big news if Abe wanted Ellen on it. Justin suspected something else was eating at her, but he wasn’t brave enough to bring it up.
“How’s Stuart doing?” he asked, almost amused when her hand paused halfway to her mouth. Ellen didn’t often share her family business, but Justin was family too. They were a team. “I hear he’s cleaned up his act.”
She bit into the sugary treat, chewing far longer than necessary before swallowing the bite. “The last time I saw him he told me to butt out of his life, so, yeah…he’s doing better.”
A chirping tone filled the air between them; the mobile ringtone unfamiliar. Ellen’s smile was slow and deliberate. “Give me a second.” She held up a finger, and then used it to accept the call. “This is Stephen Webber’s phone. How may I assist you?”
Justin watched the smile spread, and had to smother his chuckle. She was up to something. Her “Sure, I’ll take a message,” said it all.
“Are you going to tell me what that was about?” he asked when she disconnected.
“Payback.” Ellen winked at him. “Mr Webber needed a lesson in manners, and I’m more than happy to oblige.”
Justin considered what he knew about Stephen Webber; a successful businessman who had worked his way up from nothing – a regular success story. His arrogance was legendary, but it wasn’t a crime.
“What did he do? Threaten to take you away from this life and show you the world?”
Ellen laughed as she rummaged for another doughnut. “He challenged me to a little game.”
“And is he aware of issuing this challenge?”
She waved a hand. “That’s irrelevant. He was bragging about his ability to lift things without a person’s knowledge, like picking pockets is all the rage, and assured me if I stuck with him I’d learn a thing or two.”
Justin dropped his head on a groan. That was as good as a dare to someone like Ellen. “So you took his phone.”
“So I took his phone.”
“You do know that you crossed about a dozen lines, right?” It was a pointless question, but Justin needed to voice it.
“Let me worry about that, kid. Right now I’m feeling a major sugar rush, and you should take advantage of it.” Ellen waved the remainder of her doughnut at him. “Tell me what you need.”
Justin did just that. Starting with everything Paul had told him about the missing teenagers. Ellen’s stepbrother might be cleaning up his act, but he knew the streets and he owed his sister a major favour. She had taken a bullet for him. Literally.
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