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As soon as breakfast was over they planned an outing on the beach whereby Christina and Brandon could relax in the sun while enjoying the company of the others.  They built a bonfire and the others were attentive, bringing them drinks and snacks off and on throughout the day.

Paul made a point of wrapping his arms around Eilea every available chance, and she found herself enjoying those moments of intimacy and closeness.  It wasn’t simply the game played for the perp’s benefit, the look in his eye said otherwise and she found herself drawn more and more to the man.

Andrew wasn’t as put off as he’d been earlier so either he was accepting the situation or chose to view their actions as part of the cover.

Brandon had an all band radio which they retrieved from the van and Paul grabbed Eilea twirled her into his arms then held her intimately close, danced her back and forth within view of any interested onlookers.  Soon Theresa and Cliff joined in while Brandon and Christina heckled from the sidelines.  Eilea made a point of grabbing Andrew to include him. Before long, a few supposed onlookers passing by joined them and a crowd either sang or danced or both well into the evening.  A few faces changed, but as days went, it was idyllic.

Although Paul yearned for alone time with Eilea he’d accepted having to make do with dancing and holding her tight.  With the “clan” around, it wouldn’t be possible.  Yep, he thought, and quietly whispered in Eilea’s ear, “the clan plan”.  Eilea laid her head on his shoulder as laughter shook her body and she squeezed him tighter.

Paul had met with the other undercover officers assigned, a man and woman team, Janet and Bruce.  He’d made a show of befriending them, inviting them to join the fun.  Every now and then, two would break off and saunter the beach ostensibly wrapped up in each other, but in reality, on a scouting mission, keeping an eye on the surrounding area.  Paul didn’t expect the perp would make a move this soon but he’d proven he was a loose cannon so Paul wasn’t about to take chances.

By dinner, everyone brought something, whether marshmallows, hot dogs and buns while Eilea added her “famous” chili and it became an event. They added more logs to the bonfire creating a beautiful backdrop that everyone gathered around huddled telling jokes and sharing stories.  Although unplanned, it was a day everyone enjoyed.

Little did they know, trouble lurked formidably close, a shadow away disguised yet clearly visible.  Such a delightful place in which to watch, mingle, easily becoming a mist of smoke that went unnoticed.

The only flaw in the ointment was the man hanging onto Eilea. While he seethed his mind ticked away formulating possibilities.  He smirked.  He’d managed to get close, leave the note, he would again.

 

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