A minute later she ended the call. When she turned around she found Liam watching her. He wasn't the only one. Alec, Jordan, and Noah were also watching. 



Liam walked closer. "What's Dan worrying about?"

"Dan's the old roommate, right?" Noah asked.

Liam answered, "Yes. He watched out for Allison while she lived with him and another guy."

Allison asked, "Were all of you listening in on my phone conversation?"

"I was on the phone with my wife, so I only caught a little of it," Alec said.

"Yes, we listened," Jordan said. "As soon as I heard you say hello, I decided to eavesdrop."

"You shouldn't-," Allison began.

"Of course we shouldn't. It's rude," Jordan said. "So, what did Dan say?"

"What's he worried about?" Noah wanted to know.

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"Nothing, really. Dan tends to overreact."

Liam wouldn't let her evade the question. "Allison, what's he worried about?"

"You're starting to irritate me, Liam."

"Answer me." There was a sharp edge to his voice this time.

She knew he wouldn't stop. He was determined to get his way, and she wasn't in the mood to fight, especially in front of the others. She repeated the conversation she'd had with Dan, and the second she finished, Liam said, "I'm going with you."

"I'd like to come along, too," Noah said. "Maybe I can move some things around."

Alec nodded. "I wish I could be there. I'd like to watch the presentation."

"No, you wouldn't," Allison argued.

Alec grinned. "I really would, but I'll be back in Chicago."

"I have to be in Dallas Monday, so I can't go," Jordan said. "I wish I could be there. Since you've been working on this program for so long, I'm guessing you've built in a way to stop someone from stealing your work. You have, haven't you?"

Allison nodded. "The software isn't complete. Brett isn't smart enough to know that. I'm sure he thinks he has it all figured out, but he doesn't. It isn't possible until I add more code. It's intricate." She could have answered in more detail, but the only one who would have understood was Jordan, so she spared the men a long explanation.

Allison appreciated their support, but she didn't want to discuss her retaliation against Brett just yet, so before they could ask anything more, she said, "I have to move my car. I thought I was driving to Nathan's Bay, so I parked in a one-hour-only spot."

"Your apartment is close. Drive home and I'll follow you," Liam offered.

Deciding his was a sensible alternative, she acquiesced. After he transferred her overnight bag to his car, they were on their way. As usual, traffic was horrible, but Allison had figured out various side streets to take that cut her drive time in half. She parked in her slot in the underground garage, made sure the car doors were locked, and then got into Liam's car. They didn't talk much on their way out of town because Liam kept getting one call after another, all work related. His voice was tense. Something he didn't like was going on, and she wondered if he ever truly broke free from his work and his responsibilities. There was no doubt he was a workaholic. She recognized this in him because she was one herself. Both of their jobs were important, but his sent him around the world on missions that had a powerful impact on people's lives. She could sense the heavy burden it placed on his shoulders.

The bridge to Nathan's Bay was in front of them, and just as Allison was beginning to think she would make the best of the awkward situation and try to enjoy the weekend, she got a call from Not-So-Special Agent Phillips. He told her it was an emergency but promised it wouldn't take long. She translated that to mean she would be at the cyber unit until the middle of the night.

"I hate to ruin your evening," she said to Liam. "I'll make Phillips send someone to drive me home."

"No, I'll come in." He slowed the car to turn around.

"What about fishing?"

"What about it?"

Her phone rang again. Assuming it was Phillips, she didn't bother to look at the caller ID. "Yes," she answered, trying her best to sound pleasant, not surly.

Aunt Jane was on the line. Allison cringed when she heard her caustic voice.

"You listen to me. We need money, and after all we've done for-"

Allison stopped her. "How did you get this number?"

"I know people who- Never mind. I expect you to cooperate."

"Leave me the hell alone," she shouted. She disconnected the call, and let out a sigh of satisfaction. It felt good to shout.

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