The team had gathered in Hardison's safe house in LA. They were all still keyed up and they all had questions that Eliot really couldn't answer. Eventually they left him alone when he busied himself in the kitchen, with a sharp knife in his hand.
"How'd they do it?" Parker asked, having slipped back into the kitchen while everyone else was catching up with Tara.
"Do what?" He asked, finding it hard to be angry with her at the moment. She had risked the most to help him. Tara had already been in side, working her own con, it was different.
He chuckled. "He's not a clone. He's Lindsey McDonald," He said tossing the garlic into the pan with the onion and moving on to the next thing while those sweated in the pan.
"Lindsey McDonald is dead," She pointed out as she hopped up on the island to watch him work.
"You've never faked your death before?" He asked.
"No," She said. "Never really had to." Parker gave it some thought, not that she believed him. He was a clone of Eliot, not a good one either. "Nate said you signed a contract."
"Yep, and I'm not going to tell you what was in it." Eliot wouldn't tell anyone. It didn't matter to anyone but him and Amie after the fact. She was safe and that was what mattered.
He looked toward the door as everyone started laughing at something Hardison had said. "You should join them," He said. "I'll be out in a few."
She hopped down and gave him an impromptu hug. "I'm glad you're back," She said.
"Yeah , me too," He told her and watched her go, passing Tara in the door way. "I'm not telling you either."
"I wasn't going to ask," Tara said. "I was just coming to say good bye."
"Taking off so soon? You either have a job or a date," He said with a smile. He wasn't sure he approved of her choice in men, but who was he to judge. It wasn't like he'd recommend himself to anyone he liked either.
"Not sure if you can call it a date, but Angels here to pick me up," She said.
"Invite him in. We don't live here."
She shook her head. "No, with all the conditions McDonald put on things about Angel, I think its best we keep things separate."
He nodded and leaned in to kiss her on the cheek. "Just be careful," he admonished. "And thank you."
"I'm glad I was there. I'll be in touch," She told him and walked out the back door.
Eliot put the knife down and leaned back against the counter. Keeping up the happy face wasn't easy. He'd never been much good at it in the first place, but it was important now. They couldn't have any reason to question. They couldn't ever find out what all had really happened inside Wolfram and Hart otherwise he wouldn't be able to keep them safe. It was his job to keep them safe.
He closed his eyes and took out his cell phone and dialed a number he hadn't used in a long time. "Hey," He said quietly into the phone and smiled a little as Amie began to rattle off questions. "I'm alright," He said with a faint chuckle. "Seriously, I'm alright." God it was good to hear her voice.
Tara walked through the gardens in back taking her time to reach the drive way. She didn't know what to expect or where things would go and she wanted time to prepare.
Angel leaned against his car, smiling at her. "You could have stayed if you wanted to," He told her quietly.
"I know. I'm where I want to be." She looked up into his dark eyes.
"Next to me isn't the safest place to stand," He said "People die. or worse."
"It's a chance I'm willing to take," Tara told him honestly
"I don't know that I am." He looked up as he heard the noise inside the house. People celebrating life and friendship. He could see Eliot through the window walking into the dining room arms laden with dishes. "You should go join them. Its where you belong."
"I'm not going anywhere," She said. "And neither are you."
"For now," He added.
"For now," she echoed.