Ethan was last to be shown his room. He looked on quizzically as Marko stepped inside the room behind him and shut the door. Never one to stand on ceremony, Ethan plopped down on the bed and made himself comfortable, removing and tossing his shoes onto the floor.
Marko stood over Ethan with his arms crossed, “We need to talk.”
“Oh bollocks, when someone says we need to talk, it’s never about anything good is it?”
“I just think we need to talk man-to-man so we know where we stand with one another. You have a lot of nerve showing up here empty-handed, knowing how much you owe me and sucking me into yet another one of your lost causes. The only reason I agreed to join is to protect those ladies. Don’t think I’m going to forget what you owe me. First chance I get, I’m going to collect.”
“Fair enough mate. I fully intend to pay you back. For the record, I came to you as a last resort. I’m not trying to get over on you. I got sucked into this myself.”
Marko snorted derisively and let himself out. The easygoing smile slid off of Ethan’s face as the door closed. Under his breath, he mimicked Marko’s promise to collect. You’re welcome to try arsehole. Can’t squeeze blood from a turnip can you? Maybe coming here was a mistake. I can see he’s gonna be a problem. I’ll have to watch my back. Ethan felt his eyes growing heavy in the midst of his musings. All of the stress and strain of his adventures suddenly hit him. He dropped off into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Down the hall, Janet turned over onto her left side and let out a contented sigh, surrendering herself to the exhaustion making her drowsy. Her sister’s voice intruded.
“Hey, Janet are you asleep?”
“I was about to be asleep.”
“Oh sorry, never mind go on to sleep.”
“Well now you woke me up. What do you want?”
“Don’t get your panties in a bunch. I’ll just talk to you later.”
“Now that I’m wide awake you’ll let me sleep. Gee, thanks sis. What do you want Andrea?”
“I don’t want anything, if you’re gonna cop a ‘tude with me.”
“I do not have an attitude.”
“I’ve know you your whole life. I think that qualifies me to be able to tell when you’re all pissy.”
“I’m not mad. Just a little annoyed.”
Andrea sighed heavily, “What’d I do now?”
“You know good and well what you did.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“See, that’s what drives me up the wall. You do things that you know irritate the hell out of me and then you pretend like you have no clue why I’m irritated with you. Don’t sit there and pretend like you weren’t just trying to undermine me upstairs. It wasn’t enough for you to disagree with my ideas, you had to act like I was a joke.”
“We’re all adults. I see no reason to sugarcoat things. I tell it like it is, always have always will.”
“Oh please, save your shoot-from-the-hip speech for some bumpkin. We both know the real reason you put on a show. I saw the way you were undressing Marko with your eyes. The way you kept arguing with him just to get his attention. Subtlety has never been your strong suit.”
“Make up your mind Janet, was I arguing to put you down or chat him up?”
“Every time you said something to him you had that lopsided grin on your face that you think is sexy. Whenever you argued with me you were sarcastic.”
“I’m not even going to dignify those accusations with a response,” huffed Andrea.
“That’s because you’re not loyal. You know I’m right. You have never had my back. Oh you’re fine when it’s just the two of us but the minute a man comes along your claws come out!”
“What the hell are you talking about? You’re not making any sense Janet.”
“All I know is that we were getting along just fine until Marko came into the picture.”
“Marko? Do you like him or something? You do don’t you? Oh, now I see what this is really about. Why didn’t you just tell me you wanted him? Don’t worry sis, I’ll step aside and let you have a fair shot at him.”
“You don’t get it do you? I’m not a man-eater like you Andrea. I don’t want Marko. You know what? Forget it, I should never have attempted to discuss my feelings with you. You don’t have any, so how could you possibly understand mine?”
Janet watched pain bloom on her sister’s face and instantly regretted her rash statement. She opened her mouth to take it back but shock robbed her of words. Janet had never seen her look so wounded. Then the look was gone as quickly as it appeared. Andrea’s expression went blank and relaxed into the nonchalant look she normally wore. Janet had the sensed that she had just kicked a door shut between them. Andrea lay down and turned away from her. Janet laid back and stared at the ceiling, puzzling over things until she was too tired to think straight and sank gratefully into a deep slumber.