“Courtyard,” Finn said and looked up. Sure enough Archer’s face appeared in the second-story window of his office. “We need a box.”
“Down in five,” Archer said.
He made it in two. Archer set an empty box down on the bench and reached for Thor, presumably so Finn could handle Pru, but Thor bared his tiny little teeth and growled fiercely.
“Whoa, little dude,” Archer said and raised his hands. “I come in peace.”
Satisfied he’d protected his woman, Thor went back to cuddling into Finn.
Finn grabbed the box in his free hand and crouched in front of Pru, who had an armful of stuff. “Set everything in here,” he said.
She hesitated and he leaned in. “It’ll be safer,” he said quietly, and she nodded and unloaded her full arms into the box.
Archer had sent a text and Elle showed up with a broom and dust pan, which seemed incongruous to her lacy tee, pencil skirt, and some very serious heels.
“You could’ve sent someone,” Archer said to her.
Elle gave him a don’t-be-stupid look and smiled at Pru. “Pretty photo albums. Shame about the frame.” She swept up the glass, the line of thin silver hoops clanging on her wrist. “I’ve got some spare frames I’m not using that would love a home. I’d be glad to give them to you. Is that you and your parents?”
Pru nodded and rose. “Thanks for helping.”
“Don’t give it another thought,” Elle said. “Oh, and it’s girls’ night out tonight. Karaoke. Doll yourself up, Finn promised nineties glam rock band music.” Elle flashed a smile. “My specialty, so just ring if you need something to wear, I’ve got a closet full.”
“Okay,” Elle said, “so I have two closets full. Eightish work for you?”
Pru, looking a little bit dazzled and probably also more than a little railroaded by Elle’s gentle but firm take-charge ’tude, shook her head. “I can’t sing,” she said.
“Nonsense,” Elle said. “Everyone can sing. We’ll duet, it’ll be fun.”
Pru didn’t look convinced but she did look distracted instead of anguished, and for that Finn was grateful. He brushed a quick kiss on Elle’s cheek. “Thanks.”
She kissed him back and gave him a look that said take care of her, and he knew better than to not do what Elle wanted.
Besides, he wanted the same thing.
A few minutes later he got Pru and Thor upstairs.
“Thanks,” she said quietly. “But I’m good from here.”
Oh, he got that message loud and clear, but he was still holding both her dog and her box so he stepped into her apartment behind her.
He could see her small kitchen and living room and the wall dividing them that had a square door right in the middle of it. It was a dumbwaiter, which cut through this whole side of the building, a long-ago leftover remnant from when the place had at one time been all one residence belonging to one of the wealthiest, most successful dairy families on the west coast.
Finn knew this only because he’d seen the dumbwaiter in Archer’s office. Archer employed guys with major skills and they kept those skills sharp with company-wide training. Once a month that training came in the form of a serious scavenger hunt, and somehow Finn had once ended up one of the things on the list of items to gather.
Archer’s idea of funny.
Team One had captured Finn in his sleep once. He’d escaped before they could win though, and he’d been lucky enough to use the dumbwaiter to make his hasty exit. He’d been unlucky enough to end up in the basement in nothing but his boxers, showing up at an illicit poker game between the building’s janitor crew and maintenance crew.
He’d joined in and won two hundred bucks, which had kept him from trying to kill Archer.
Pru had the dumbwaiter door latched from her side. Smart girl. That didn’t surprise him.
What did surprise him was that there was almost no furniture in the entire place.
“Where did you move from?” he asked.
“Not far. Fisherman’s Wharf.”
“You didn’t move your furniture yet?”
“Uh . . .” She headed into her kitchen and was face first into her fridge now, leaving him a very nice view of her sweet ass in her snug yoga capris. “My place there was mostly furnished,” she said. “But yeah I have a few things left to move over.” Her tank gapped away from her front, affording him a quick flash of creamy, pale skin.
“You work out of Fisherman’s Wharf too,” he said. “At Jake’s charter service, right?”