“You be careful.” Dara ended the call. She flipped her cellular phone closed and turned around. “Florence!”

Marcus Taggert's mother stood in the doorway of her bedroom, watching Dara with a knowing expression on her face. “Good morning, dear.”

Florence Taggert considered herself a progressive type of mother. Though Marcus would probably disagree, the older woman believed that she had managed over the years to refrain from interfering in his life. Much.

“Have you eaten already?” Florence asked Dara.

“Yes, a little while ago.”

“Then you won ‘t mind sitting and visiting with me while I eat.”

Dara smiled weakly at Marcus' mother. Other people looked at Florence Taggert and saw a refined, easygoing woman. Dara's years of court experience told her something different. Without a doubt, Florence Taggert would be a force to be reckoned with when she chose. “Of course,” Dara murmured as she followed Marcus' mother down the hallway. “I would be happy to keep you company.”

Florence reached into her cabinets and pulled down a box of cereal and a bowl. She placed them on the table and went to the refrigerator for milk. She held up the nearly empty plastic carton for Dara to see. “I bought this gallon of milk two days ago,” she chided half-heartedly.

“Marcus loves his milk,” Dara nodded. “I've never seen another adult who drinks it as much as he does.”

“That is true.” Florence casually dipped a spoon into the bowl of cereal. “Soooo…what happens next between you and my son?”

Dara admired the other woman's style. The question, so casual and low-key would definitely have caught her off-guard if she had not been so sure it was coming. “I'm only here to help Marcus through this, like you asked me. Nothing's changed between us.”

“That's not really true, is it? I mean, not based on what I heard early this morning.”

Florence's statement effectively caused Dara's jaw to drop. The young A.D.A. felt her entire face grow hot with embarrassment. She and Marcus had been careful to smother the sounds of their passionate cries. Or so they'd thought. Now Dara felt like a teenage girl caught necking in someone's basement.

“I heard you, you know. Our two bedrooms share a wall.” Florence raised an eyebrow. “I may not be young any more but I think I can still recognize the rhythm of a headboard against the wall. So... I'll ask again. What happens next with you and Marcus?”

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