In another fifteen minutes, cars pulled up in the Spring Market as Elliott stood at the mouth of the alley. Everyone arrived, even the girls rushed to him.
George, on the other hand, ignored everyone and headed straight to the basement with a bunch of keys in his hand. He looked pale and weak like he had been smoking a lot.
"Who's living with George now?" Elliott whispered to Jack who had an unpredictable look on his face.
"No one," he replied, walking past Elliott.
"How have you been?" Isis asked, placing a hand on his shoulder. He gave her a crooked smile and she nodded. Everyone knew of the impact that day had on each other. Elliott found himself unconsciously waiting for Gabrielle's car to pull up. Only then would they be complete.
"Let's go," Fred said after observing Elliott for a few minutes. He knew what was going through his mind. They walked to the basement which now felt nostalgic and painful to an extent.
"We saw her turn into ashes right in front of our eyes. How can she be alive?" Garry said, tensed.
"But we just saw her ashes under her hood, we didn't see her turn into ashes," Jack said. They were all trying to hide their tension and confusion under the mask of being calm. They didn't want Elliott's words to turn true.
"The murders have stopped," Nish said, frowning.
"She might be pretending to be dead and-", Jack started but he was interrupted abruptly.
"We're the only ones pretending here," Meraki said in a low voice. "Why are we acting like everything's alright and even if Phoenix is alive, we can do something about it? If we try again, someone else is going to end up like Gabrielle. Maybe you, maybe me, or maybe everyone. There's no f***ing point."
Everyone fell silent, not meaning to cause a disagreement. George just kept sitting with a blank face.
"Meraki, I understand how you feel but-"
"Stop thinking about your dumb resolves and your unworthy agency. All they'll do is push you off a cliff and leave you to die," Meraki was seething with anger but no one could blame her. She was the only one who could speak her mind.
"You keep rambling about us being undeserving and expect us to keep listening? What did you do to save her? Huh?" Jack shot back. He had a short temper when it came to someone questioning his worth.
"Me? I made a mistake agreeing to this. I shouldn't have got myself included with a fake illegal agency. I was fool enough to think you could do something," she yelled. Her hands were clasped against each other and Meraki was talking unfiltered. She had spilt the secret about Glendell being an illegal agency that Elliott and the others tried so hard to keep.
It was out now.
"I-illegal? You're joking, right?" Nish said with her eyes wide.
"I wish I was," Meraki scoffed, looking at everyone's faces as they stood speechless. No one defended themselves or tried to convince them otherwise because it didn't hold any value anymore.
Maybe, it was time to come clean and take the situation for what it is.
"And you never told us?" Isis asked Elliott.
"You would've said no if we did earlier. But Gabrielle was the one who came up with your names with her powers. I had to get you three in on the plan!" Elliott said. He found himself desperate to make them not misunderstand because no one else was making an effort.
"Does that really justify you tricking us into this mess? When you're not even legitimate?" Meraki said with a loud convicting voice.
"Elliott! Stop," Jack said interrupting him, "It doesn't matter who stays and who leaves anymore. They've lost their powers but they're safe. The only one we need to be sorry to, is Isis and the attack she had survived."
"Don't say things like that without thinking," Fred replied, clearing his throat.
"But were you always an illegal cooperation?" Nish asked with a sense of disappointment in her eyes.
"No," Elliott shook his head.
"We don't need to know. I've nothing to do with you guys anymore. Then I'll be leaving," Meraki said, picking up her bag and starting to rush out. But then, she came back and grabbed both Isis and Nish's hands and started dragging them with her. "Come on, we're leaving."
While Nish didn't complain, Isis snatched her hand away from Meraki's hand. She walked back towards Elliott and the others.
"What are you doing?" Meraki asked, shocked.
"I'm staying," Isis said with resolved eyes. She was sure of what she was saying.
"Don't go that far for money! Money won't help you when you lay dying!" Meraki yelled, infuriated at her but more on Gabrielle's death.
"I was indeed doing it for money," Isis said. But then, she raised her hand and stripped off her eye patch, looking at them with her scarred eye. "But now it's so much more than that."
"But Isis-", Nish tried saying but Isis held up a hand.
"I'll stay," she said, looking back and forth from Jack to Elliott.
"Have it your way then," Meraki said with a low voice. She was giving up on her and running out of patience, "I tried."
With that, Meraki left the basement along with Nish.
After that, it was mostly silence in the basement as everyone refused to talk about what had happened. They sat around and discussed the events of the week they missed and tried to put two and two together in a low voice.
"There are no murders but that explains very little about Asami being alive," Garry pointed out, setting his eyes on Fred. He had been fidgety for quite a while as George didn't talk.
"We have to find out if Asami is actually alive," Isis said.
"Yes, but how?" Jack asked, frowning. Everyone looked worried about George's state. No one seemed to have an answer to that but Elliott was deep in thought. He decided to speak his mind before things took a turn.
"There's a way but you might not like it," Elliott said.
"What is it?" Garry asked.
"To know if the result that we saw was how the result should've been," he replied. He decided to let them know what was going on in his mind after he had executed it.
Elliott knocked on the door of the small cement house. It was still bright outside but the houses looked like they were empty for ages. He knocked again, louder this time.
"Who is here to annoy the sh** out of me?" The voice came from inside before the door opened. But then, the door aggressively swung open and the short and skinny man, wearing the same rugged tank t-shirt, came out.
Van immediately made a face when he saw Elliott.
"Oh no, I'm not dealing with you-", Van said, trying to shut the door on his face but Elliott stuck a hand out, trying to push it open.
"Let me in!" Elliott said, trying to open the door wider but Van was strangely strong.
"No, you're not stepping a foot inside my-", suddenly, Van shrieked as someone picked him up by his T-shirt and tossed him aside from the door. The door opened and she came up to Elliott, not being able to meet his eyes.
"Meredith," Elliott said with a bitter smile.
Speechless, Meredith called him inside into her shabby house and pulled out the couch for him to sit. But he didn't, he kept watching her.
"I'm surprised you aren't living in a mansion with the loads of money Turner gave you to backstab us," Elliott said with an accusing look on his face. Meredith glanced at him for the first time.
"He gave me nothing, it was my decision," Meredith confessed, turning away from him.
"Do you regret your decision of running away?" He asked.
"No," Meredith said with stone-cold eyes. Elliott let out a bitter scoff with harsh eyes. He took a deep breath and let it out.
"Gabrielle's dead?" Elliott said. Meredith's eyes went wide and tears started flowing instantly. It felt like she was expecting such news. Burying her face in her palms and sitting back down on her couch, sobbing hard. "Of course you had no idea of it. Nor did you want to know."
"I... I'm so sorry," Meredith wept continuously but Elliott wasn't buying it anymore. He wasn't trusting any outsider ever again.
"If that's so, I'll give you a chance," Elliott said, showing half of his cards. Meredith looked up with wet eyes but a sense of hope in her eyes.