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   Chapter 35 Pilot

Pilot: Book One of the Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 11525

Updated: 2018-02-02 13:21

Once the cargo had been sent off to the repackaging center what looked to Elena to be a fleet of vehicles arrived. At the head of the train was the black sedan driven by Thomas. The following vehicles were less glossy and the various crewmembers, after being dismissed by their captains, piled in without hesitation. Each of them carried a bag of gear and Elena assumed they were being taken to their hotel. Anna and Maria stayed. Elena looked around and didn't see Marcus.

"No Marcus?" she asked.

"He will be meeting us in town. I figured you might not want to drive back alone."

"Of course, " Elena said. Andre gave a little wave to her as he followed Peter and Anna over to where Thomas waited. Elena waved back and led Maria and Alexandro to her car. The drive back to the city and the dinner at Enzo's that followed was filled with talk of family and long absent friends. Her RSVP to her cousin Nate's wedding pleased her grandfather, who now felt as though everything was once again right in the world. Maria rolled her eyes and quirked up the side of her mouth in a suppressed grin as Alexandro repeatedly ignored any possibility of bad feelings between Elena and Therese.

"Some things don't change, " she said to herself as she drove home after dropping Maria and her grandfather off at their hotel. She tucked her car back into its accustomed place in the garage and walked around to the front of her building. She passed a couple of men who looked to be from the military base as she headed towards the door. She tensed and sidled by them, keeping them in sight and out of grabbing distance. One looked at her with an innocently surprised look and the other looked at her like she was crazy. They went their own way and Elena pulled open the door to her building just as Jonathan was walking down the stairs.

"Hello, " he said flashing a smile. "I stopped by since I was in the neighborhood to see if you wanted to catch a flick, but you weren't home."

"Yes, I was out, " she said. Her mind linked the two men outside with Jonathan inside and her eyes narrowed in suspicion. "It is kind of late though and I have an early meeting."

"Oh well, " he said with a shrug. "Maybe next time." He strolled out of the door and Elena climbed the stairs. She went into her apartment, closed the door behind her and stood in the center of the living room looking at the things around her. Had he been inside with the other men standing watch?

The corner of her living room throw rug was flipped up. Had she done that when she had removed her satchel of maps or had someone else been searching? She slowly walked through her apartment questioning every detail. Was that book where she left it or had it been moved? She stopped in the kitchen and looked at the small lamp that sat on her kitchen table.

Dusting had never been one of her big priorities. She remembered to do it when company was coming, but only sporadically at other times. Lately she had been too busy to have company and there was a light layer of dust around the edges of the part of the kitchen table she didn't use much. Not a heavy layer, but enough so that she could see the dark crescent of clean wood at the edge of the lamp base where the lamp had been shifted. Spin, the kitten mewed from the bathroom where Elena locked her after dropping her off.

'I could have knocked it a little earlier, ' she thought without any real conv

I see no gaps or missing elements. I am satisfied. Peter?"

"I am very satisfied as well. If one good thing has come out of Ian Jensen's betrayal of the Guild it is this, " Peter said. Alexandro nodded and Elena took a sip of coffee, swallowing any comments she might have made. "Have you begun looking at staff?"

"Yes, interviews were conducted last week and I believe we have some good people ready to step up. We have a great manager who can be trusted to run things fairly independently since I will be away much of the time. Andre is going to continue handling the marketing." Elena smiled at Andre.

"He has also agreed to take on the task of marketing for Calabrese Imports as well which will be paid out of a separate fund. You can see the breakouts on the budget page. Not only is Andre very good at marketing, but it will look better publicly to consolidate these two aspects." Peter nodded.

"I agree. It would look strange to have two separate marketing specialists for each of your businesses." The meeting concluded with everyone in a well-satisfied frame of mind. Elena watched Peter and Alexandro leave with a shake of her head.

"Just business as usual, " she said. Andre came to stand next to her at the window as the two sedans pulled up to pick up their charges.

"Yup, " Andre said. "Just a normal day wheeling and dealing with two of the most powerful council members." Elena glanced over at Andre.

"Grandfather?" she asked.

"Oh yeah, " Andre said. Elena shook her head and waved his next comment to silence.

"I think I'd rather not know." Andre lifted an eyebrow.

"You sure?"

"Yeah, " Elena said with a sigh. "I know sooner or later I might have to know. But right now, I'd rather I didn't have to."

"I understand, " he said. "Peter was just my cousin before I heard the stories of Black Pete. I thought people were joking at first. I mean it was Peter." Elena almost asked if her grandfather's reputation was as bad as Peter's, but bit her lip instead. There was always time to find out about that later.

"I suppose we better get the PDFs of those to the printer, " Elena said indicating the stack of approved designs and firmly changing the subject.

"I suppose we had better, " Andre said, allowing the subject change.

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