Well I just finished book five yesterday, :: smiles:: I tend to prefer love stories with a plot behind them. You will find the corporate stuff directly tied to the love story in this book... both are vital to each other as you are going to realize.

I am very interested to hear peoples interpretations of Marc, the stories in general. I like to know how people are enjoying it, and advice they would have for future installments.

As usual Comments or questions direct to Feed back is welcome.

Chapter Ten

The couch was a wonderful invention, who ever conceived of talking a bed and turning into one big comfy chair deserved the endless gratitude of men everywhere. For Will, his sense of gratitude at that moment was shared with the great brewer Alexander Keith. He lay sprawled across the couch staring listlessly at the Leafs as they effortlessly out played the LA Kings. No surprise there.

Brody occupied the large chair, legs sprawled over an arm, remote safely tucked into his pocket so Will couldnít change the channel. He still didnít quite believe Will when he said he had actually grown to enjoy Hockey.

It didnít really bother Will, the extent of his range of motion was the capacity to lift the beer to his lips, drink, and set it back down. He was done, fried like a piece of the Colonelís best. And yet, there was a sense that he had accomplished nothing for the day. He lifted his bottle and saluted apathy.

The rattle of the door preceded it banging open as Jared stepped inside, clapping his hands against his body to ward out the cold. He stared with bemusement at Willís condition on the couch, as he kicked of his boots.

"Hey there guys." He said with a roguish grin as he crossed to the living room, shrugging off the suit jacket he was wearing and stomping over to his chair. "Are we winniní?"

"Just started," Will replied, "Leafs are putting good pressure on though."

"Go Leafs go." Jared yelled towards the screen as he trotted back through to the kitchen, "So I go to the bank today." He said as he leaned around the fridge to look at Will.

"Oh?" Will replied turning his head without his eyes leaving the screen.

"Yeah Jenna was there again, so I get into this conversation with her. They have no idea I go to school." Jared pulled out a casserole dish into witch he began to toss pasta ingredients.

"What did you tell her?" Brody responded as Matts Sundin brilliantly deked the puck around a Kingís Defenseman and pulled ahead on the breakaway. Will felt his excitement rise as Sundin passed the puck with little effort to AntropovÖback to SundinÖ the shotÖ he collapsed back town into the couch as the puck was deflected at the last minute.

Will felt the exhilaration and revelled in it, this human sport was intoxicating.

"Well I was depositing my cheque, and making small talk when she asked me what I did with my time." Jared continued adding a thick bundle of pasta to the dish, "So I told her I work all day, then go to school three nights a week." He grinned, his eyes lighting up with pride, "Studying Philosophy."

"I bet that took her by surprise." Will said taking a pull on the Keithís and cursing the Kingís goalie and his capacity to stop the puck.

"Yeah, she was amazed, I mean me Iím a mechanic -- Iím not supposed to read, let alone know who Kierkegaard is." He stuffed the dish into the microwave and arbitrarily set the timer to an approximate time when he thought it would be cooked. He returned to the living room, "She was all like," his voice changed to a falsetto, "Ďyou're so smartí and Ďthatís so interestingí" he shook his head, "So I asked her out to coffee next Friday."

Will nodded, "Sheís the pretty one right?"

"No," Jared replied sarcastically, "I asked the fifty year old one out! Of course the pretty one."

Will snorted, "Never know with you. Youíre getting desperate." Will was fascinated with Jaredís attitude, as he reflected on how he approached life. If someone were to sit down and write a paper about Jared it would be a fascinating read.

Brody chuckled as he held up his hands, "Hey, Iím not saying anything."

Will nodded from his slumped position, as he fought back a tight yawn. At this rate he was going to be asleep before nine. Go Grandpa! He tasted the beer again as he gestured with the bottle to the screen, "Weíre playing well tonight."

"Of course bud," Jared responded, "Itís the Leafs."

"Yeah," Will chuckled into his bottle, "Well something strange happened to me today."

"You had that big meeting today right?" Jared looped a leg over the arm of the armchair.

"Yeah," Will replied, "But thatís not it, I got done all that bullshit and I get this call." Will explained to them about Marcís call.

Brody stared at him a moment, digesting the situation then shook his head, "Iíd be like ĎDude's on Crack.í"

Will nodded.

"No, no," Brody said sitting upright, "Datís wrong, Normal people donít do shit like that."

Will shrugged, "What can he do?"

Jared shook his head, "Donít go for the beer, or if you do go with people. Dudeís probably hitting on you."

Will shook his head, "No, I mean he couldnítÖ"

Brody looked at Jared and crossed his eyes, "If a girl did that to me Iíd think; aw thatís sweetÖ in a stalker kinda way!" he refocused on Will, "íCause its my place of employment!"

"I know that," Will protested, "but Iím serious; I mean the guy seems normal enoughÖ"

Brody threw his hands up expressively, and imitated Will, "I couldnít possibly see something bad in thatÖ" He rolled his eyes, "idjit! Obviously he has the best intentions."

Will remained silent, Brody was on a tear, and Will tried to focus on the game.

"Hi Iím a crack monkey," Brody continued muttering, "Iíll stalk you at work in the hopes you go out with me. Dudeís crazy."

Will angrily took a sip from his bottle, he wasnít that stupid: he could see Brodyís point, but he wasnít some little kid or a girl. He wasnít defenceless, and he wasnít afraid of some little guy who just wanted to go for a beer in a public place. He worked in an office where everyone was older than him. He interviewed people easily twice his age. He couldnít afford to be intimidated by them, let alone by a scrawny brown-haired young man.

"Donít go for the beer," Jared warned, seeing Willís jaw set in defiance, "Donít go. You're asking to get hurt. Iíll save you the hassle -- Iíll kick your ass right now!"

Will pointed to the TV, "How about we just stick to the game, huh?"

Jared and Brody shook their heads as they watched the Leafs, on a power play, making a rush for the net. Matts was pure poetry in motion, he received the pass, swept the puck up sailing past the Kings' goalieís glove to tickle the twine behind him.

"EN BU!" Brody exploded from his chair and was on his knees before the TV, "La Lumiere est ROUGE!"

Will smiled at his friends enthusiasm, as he turned he watched the replay, the worry about the next day completely forgotten. Nothing seemed to matter Toronto -- had just scored.

Chapter Eleven

What was he doing there? He should have just been done with it and moved on. But he sat at the end of the bar stubbing a cigarette butt into the ashtray and watching the door. The bartender didnít even ask, only walked up and replaced his empty rye and coke with a fresh one. Marc looked down at it, then up at the bartender, large Asian man with a hearty smile who shrugged at him.

"I took a guess." He said as he began to cut up a lemon, "Vancouver right?"

Marc frowned at him, "What?"

The bar tender gestured to the t-shirt Marc was wearing under his shirt, "BC Lions, football team right?"

Marc smiled, "Yeah." It was true after a fashion; he had gone there more on a whim a few years back. It had been something new to do with himself, but boredom had forced him to quit, rolling on with his life.

"They had a good team for a while," the bartender continued, "they beat the Argos in the ninety eight finals. What brings you to our neck of the woods?"

"Nothing really." Marc said quietly, "I needed a place to stay."

"Well itís good to see a new face around here," He introduced himself as Yin the owner of the bar, and they talked idly for a while about the sand, sun and school. It fascinated Marc to learn that Yin had a degree in engineering but choose instead to open a bar. It was unimaginable for him, people spent much of their lives trying to be better than they were, to reach above their station, and yet he was talking to someone that was content with what he had.

"Itís not a bad location," Yin said referring to the small bar tucked just off of Church Street, "I get a lot of good business, a few prostitutes and a lot of drugs," Yin seemed reluctant about the last two, but he wasnít in a position to turn away business, "But people generally leave each other alone. Donít mess with other peoples' shit and they leave you be, and donít deal on another guys turf."

Marc shook his head, "I donít deal."

"Thatís good," Yin said as he moved down to serve another patron before returning, "The local boys donít like competition either; thereís been a couple of incidents around here. I want to avoid having cops looking into things."

"Bad for business." A young man in his mid twenties said as he walked up to the bar, small but wiry he gave Marc a once over as he gestured for a refill on his drink, "What are you doing back here?" He asked a little to harshly.

"Jon." Marc said with a nod. The young man was dressed in a tight tee shirt that showed off his boyish frame, and his hair cut to make him look younger. He got more business that way, even though he was pushing twenty-five he could probably pass for sixteen.

"Marc," Lucas said sniffing and brushing his nose as he accepted his drink, "What happened college boy, couldnít hack it?" He didnít wait for a reply he simply tipped his glass and wandered back to his table.

Yin rolled his massive shoulders, "Old friend of yours?"

Marc cocked his head to follow Lucas back to his table, taking stock of the boys that lurked there waiting for him. "I see some people just donít change." he observed.

Yin nodded, "Yeah, heís a local boy, works this bar and a couple of others in the area. He has a few regulars, does good business and always drops a lot of cash." Yin shrugged helplessly, and Marc could see he didnít like the fact that his bar was dependant on boys working the game, but it paid the bills.

"Business good?" Marc asked as he put his drink down on the bar.

Yin shook his head, "Thatís a cop question." He smiled, "Thereís a decent crowd that come in here. Itís hit or miss though what you do is up to you. That is if youíre looking to make a quick buck, just donít get caught." Yin grunted as he leaned on the bar, "You sticking about Marc?"

Marc looked up, "Iím thinking about it."

Yin nodded, "Then donít piss them off," He looked over at the local boys, "itís not him you have to worry about but heís got connections."

"They always do." Marc replied lifting his glass in Lucasís direction. The young man stared at him with angry resentment as he returned the gesture continuing to talk to his boys across the bar.

"ísíokay." Marc said draining his glass and getting up, "I should be getting home anyway."

Yin nodded to him, offering a small smile, "good luck."

Marc offered a small smile and shrugged, "Whatever, see ya around." He sauntered towards the doors, tossing small salute over at the local boys as he went. He had never liked Jon, Jon had never liked him. Too much history there, history Marc didnít feel like bringing up again.

"Youíre leaving?" a desperate sounding voice asked, "Donít go."

Marc turned to the old man, he was in his late forties, dressed reasonably well and looking nervous. But then they always looked nervous and Marc found himself slipping back into his old routine almost on instinct. "I could be persuaded to stay."

The man shifted and looked back at the bar where Yin was watching the negotiation with interest. "C-can I buy you a drink?"

Marc considered it and made a reluctant gesture, "I was just about to go."

"A-are you working?" the man licked his lips, beginning to sweat. This was always the dangerous part, the part where one or the other would say yes, no, or pull out a badge.

"Depends," Marc replied, "You buying?" In his own mind he was arguing with himself, but he had long ago learned how to ignore that little voice in the back of his head that screamed at him that this was wrong. He was almost out of money; what ever this man could afford would go a long way to easing his situation.

"How much?" the man asked, a little too insistently, he licked his lips his eyes travelling down over Marc suggestively, hungrily drinking in the attractive young man. It made Marc feel dirty, and he felt that voice in the back of his head getting louder.

"Look," Marc said reaching his decision, "Not tonightÖ" he turned to leave again.

"A hundred." The man said reaching into his wallet and producing the bill.

Marc stopped, turning back and looking at the bill gripped in the manís sweaty hand, "I donít do penetration." He said transfixed by the outstretched money.

"Thatís ok." The man said waving the bill enticingly.

Marcís shoulders sagged, "ok."


Marc dug his hands into his pockets as he waited for a subway train, the crisp hundred-dollar bill tucked into his pocket. That was a nightís work in one trick, he couldnít say no to that, he hadnít said no to it. And in his mind he tried to rationalize what he had just done.

There was no rationalizing it outside of that bill. And Marc scrubbed a hand down his face as the battered subway car rolled to a stop to let him on. His mind span, and he fell into the seat, pressing his forehead against the glass and watching the blackness of the tunnel sweep past as it rocketed its way back to Scarborough.

He hated himself, but he couldnít turn down money. He just had to forget about it, move on. He had the money he needed and that was all that mattered. But he found his thoughts drifting to Will, what would he say if he found out, what would Libbet say? Again the confusion rose and he was lost in a wave of guilt.

Better to just not show up for the date tomorrow.

Chapter Twelve

He hated it when he slept poorly, marching across the floor to his office, he snarled at Jacynthe as he passed the reception desk a mug of Tim Hortenís coffee, as yet untouched in his hands. His staff were used to his bad moods, if anything it endeared them closer to him, it made him more human to them, one of them, with the ups and downs that went along with real life.

By all rights, after the day he had yesterday, he should have slept well. But instead he had just laid there staring up at the oyster white ceiling of his bedroom while the small television at the end of his bed played an infomercial announcing he could loose 6 inches guaranteed in just three weeks, or his money back. It was better than the one on the other channel that told him he could become independently wealthy by buying and selling pieces of his soul in yet another pyramid scheme.

It wasnít anything specific that had kept him awake, just a case of insomnia, some nights he simply couldnít sleep at all. Lying awake aware of life just ticking by. The memories of so many mistakes haunting him, so many sins to atone for, so much in his mind as it grew ever closer to that infamous hour of the wolf that lurked just before the dawn.

The hour when doubts and regrets laid siege, and the ghosts of the past sat on the end of the bed to remind a person of every mistake in life. Willís own ghosts manifested in the form of Andrew, his sandy brown hair and glittering blue eyes. The way his breathing steadied while he slept. He had never had to fend off the wolf while he was with Andrew; now that they had broken off their relationship the wolf visited him regularly.

He made a steady line towards his office, junior recruiters that saw him scattered, each familiar with their bosses moods. As much as they liked him, none of them had a desire to get in his way before he had his morning coffee and a chance to settle into his routine. However Sam Conner didnít see him coming, he backed out of his cubical and walked straight into Will.

The cup of Tim Hortenís coffee hit the floor.

"Hey why donít youÖ" Samís eyes widened when he saw whose coffee he had spilled, "OhÖmy godÖ"

Will stared slowly down at his coffee, then up at the man that had spilled it. He didnít say a word, simply stepped over the spill, ensuring he didnít step in it, and walked into his office. The loud bang of the door slamming closed caused everyone in the office to stand up and stare towards his door.

Sam stuttered as he looked down at the spill, "I didnít mean toÖ"

Alicia sighed as she rested an arm on the cubical beside him, extending some paper towel for him to mop up the mess, "Donít worry about it, clean this up and run down to the coffee shop across the road. He takes a double-double," She glanced up at the clock, "Just get it to him before nine."

He nodded dumbly as he stared at Willís door still in shell shock. Wondering if he would still have a job if he came back. So much for that bonus he was hoping for. His mind swam through a hundred different possible futures as he started towards the elevator on automatic.

She rolled her eyes, rookies. Sam was young, intelligent and good at his job, but hadnít grasped the plain fact that Mister Carterís morning coffee was sacred. Will was like a bear first thing in the morning, get in his way and you got mauled, piss him off and you got mauled, but deep down was nothing more than a teddy bear, as long as the job got done he was happy.

She returned to her desk and sat down, running over Willís schedule for the day. Thankfully aside from his regular morning meeting Will had a light day signing off on transfers and sending a stack of recent hire files over to payroll for processing. Nothing that could stress him out further, judging by his mood, Will wouldnít handle a client meeting or interviews well.

She shuffled his day around slightly, pushing back the payroll till just before lunch, and giving him as much time as she could for him to cool off. By the time Sam returned from making his coffee run, she had finished. She smiled up at the rookie as she liberated the coffee from him, before she sent him running back to his desk and the pile of work he still had to get done.

She didnít knock on Willís door. She knew his moods, and knew he wouldnít answer if she had. He stood with his back to her, hands clasped lightly behind his back as he stared down Bay Street towards the city. She always found that strange, most people looked down towards the lake and the magnificent view of the CN tower, but Will always choose to stare North eastward.

She silently crossed to his desk and set the coffee down on the edge.

"Thank you." He said without turning, there was no hint of anger in his voice, he sounded deceptively calm, collected.

"Part of my job," she said as she straightened the papers on his desk, "I moved back your meeting with payroll and the staff are ready for the morning ritual."

He turned finally, his eyes creasing with pleasure, "Anyone ever tell you how appreciated you are?"

"Remember that when you speak to payroll," she shot back, "I could use a raise."

He snorted, "No chance."

She shrugged, "Worth a try." She moved aside to let him sit down as she sorted the colour coded file folders. Green for employee files, Red for Operations projects, and Orange for Payroll and benefits.

Will watched her a moment as he frowned, reaching out to take the orange one from her, remembering Bruce having them the day before. It was strange more from the fact that no one ever needed Orange files, they were only ever used by payroll, the only time he had them, was when he hired someone on for the first time, he had to ensure the social insurance numbers had been entered into the hard copies personally. Company policy.

"Everything okay?" Alicia asked seeing him tap the file folder thoughtfully.

"Itís nothing." He said handing the file back to her, turning on his computer. He had a department meeting to start in a few minutes, and then endless files to process. He didnít have time to dwell on a peculiarity.

* * *

Payroll was always typically located in a forgotten part of the building, Avery-Woodís owned the building, leased several of the lower floors to other companies, and maintained the top ten floors for its own operations. In the heart of the building, in an area originally intended for filing purposes payroll had been sandwiched between a storage closet and racks of corporate archives.

It was like winding his way through a maze, but he spent a lot of time back there. In the constant race for companies to be cost effective, a lot of Canadian firms had turned to outsourcing their payroll departments to third party companies. But Avery-Woodís hadnít taken that step. Eventually it would have to, and several times in Board meetings the matter had been discussed at length. But so far the over worked, understaffed department had survived. Which in Willís opinion was a good thing, it let him sort problems out directly, to have direct access to the department responsible for paying the employees he hired.

That and he liked Bertha; she always had a friendly smile for him and reminded him of his grade school math teacher. She ran her department well, and made the most efficient use of the resources she had available. And she always took the time to sort a problem out personally.

He frowned when he set the extra coffee he had brought from upstairs for her down on the edge of her empty desk. He glanced about for her, wondering if she had taken a moment to step away from her desk.

"Can I help you?" The young woman leaned around a filing cabinet to look at him. She couldnít have been more than twenty, dressed in an ill fitting suit that said she didnít wear one regularly and looking at him as if he were a complete stranger.

"Iím looking for Bertha." He said pointing to her empty chair.

The young woman shook her head, "Iím sorry Bertha has a couple of weeks off, Iím temping until she gets back."

Willís brow deepened, he hadnít been notified. "Iím sorry, who hired you?"

She shook her head, "No, Iím only a temp, Iím with an agency, they called me up yesterday morning to fill in for the week andÖhere I am."

Willís brow darkened further, "Who authorized this?"

"Iím sorry," she looked confused, "I met a manger when I arrived yesterday, he showed me what I had to do, and he signs my time sheet."

Will extended the files he was carrying, studying her intently. His department was responsible for hiring and contracting Temps, and some one had arbitrarily assigned an outside contractor without asking him. If someone in his department had done it, they hadnít filed the appropriate forms with him, and without his signature she couldnít have started work. Not according to corporate policy.

He moved around Berthaís desk and scooped up her phone, "Reception, get me the Training manager." He was determined to get to the bottom of this.

"Ms. Conner here." Mary replied almost immediately.

"Mary, this is Will from HR." He said, "Do you know anything about a temp filling in for Payroll this week?"

Mary paused, "I donít know anything about a Temp in payroll. When did you hire her?"

"I didnít." Will said, "I am trying to find out who did."

Mary sighed, "If you find out, let me know. Should I send someone down to make sure sheís trained on our computer system properly?"

"That would probably be a good idea." Will said as he switched hands with the receiver, "Iím going to call this agency and find out who signed off on this. I will call you back." He set the phone down and stared at the Temp. "Whatís your name?" he asked.

"Iím not in trouble am I?" she asked in concern.

"No," he reassured, "Itís simply that no one informed me you were going to be here, and I handle all our staffing issues."

"Well Iím Jennifer Beatty, and I work for Simmons Staffing." She extended her hand.

"Will Carter, Human Resource Manager." He shook her hand, "Alright Jennifer, keep doing what your doing, some one from our training department should be down soon to show you what you need to do while I figure out who hired you."

He shook his head as he left the Payroll department. Ordinarily when something like that happened, Bertha was the one who could straighten it out. But with her away, Will was at a loss. If both training and HR were circumvented, and Bertha was away, who could he turn to?

He checked his watch, he had half an hour to get to his lunch meeting and when he got back, he would get to the bottom of this latest mystery.

Chapter Thirteen

The Fairview Mall was really an after thought to the city of Toronto. It housed everything the Eaton Centre did down town, yet was located just far enough out of the way to be a fraction cheaper. That and you didnít have to refinance your house just to park there for an hour. It had a pleasant atmosphere, with comfortable sofas instead of benches, a number of coffee shops, almost as if the management wanted to create that friendly living room feeling. Except your living room had an average of a thousand people moving through it, and complete strangers putting their feet up on your coffee table.

Will hated the mall. It was too busy, too brightly coloured. It gave him a sense of confusion as he tried to navigate it, passing stores that looked entirely too much alike as he followed the signs to the Bus station. However he got the impression the signs were leading him in a great circle, and eventually he stopped at a coffee shop to ask directions.

Armed with a large double-double and a renewed sense of purpose, he was once again back on the hunt for the Subway station. Wishing he actually used the TTC regularly enough to know where its subway stations were. He knew it was underground somewhere, and that gave him an idea to look for stairs. A short step outside and down a short escalator ride, and he was standing in the massive tunnels carved out under Sheppard Avenue that housed the subway.

It was a surreal place of bright white lighting, steel and the din of train engines idling at the same time. And Will thrust his hands into his pockets to keep them warm in the late March cold. The TTC, or red rocket was billed as being reliable, clean and efficient. Which was to say it was none of those things, especially in winter. At least it wasnít the British Rail system, Will had been a regular when he had grown up living in Eastbourne and each day he had been forced to cram together with so many other people that he could barely breathe, he had sworn never again. It was that fact alone that made him glad he owned a car, it was expensive, but he was guaranteed a seat, and at least reasonably certain he could actually get to where he was going.

He sipped the coffee he had just bought from the Styrofoam cup and rested on the walkway that looked down over the platform. From up there he could see most of what was going on beneath him, shoppers leaving the mall with their bags of shopping. Kids who should have been at school rather than sneaking a smoke and killing time. Workers on their lunch break, like he was.

He glanced at his watch, he was still early, and he sighed as he drank his coffee. Why was he there? What was he trying to prove? He should have just taken Jaredís advice and not come. But then he didnít feel in danger. Brody was simply over reacting, what could a younger guy with such a small frame do to him? Will worked out regularly, carried a cell phone and was in a public place. If the guy was crazy it was probably because he was eccentric. He just did things differently. Hell, Will himself was a living example of someone that had been known to do weird things when he had to.

Which raised another good point, was Marc hitting on him? If he was how did Will feel about that? He was gay, well not in the way that required him to put on a dress, get up on stage and lip-sync to Cherís latest song. Will had dated, but having a five-year relationship with his first and only boyfriend, he wasnít exactly a dating maestro. Sure Will had thought about dating, and there had been a few abortive dates with brain dead one night stands that hadnít gone well, Will had been too nervous about it, and the guy was in too much of a hurry to just get off. The experience had simply convinced Will he was better off staying single.

Will had simply stopped bothering to try and he knew that he was quite content to date occasionally and just forget about the love thing. But now the rules had changed, and Will re-examined the memories with a cold dispassion, why was he there? He had no explanation.

That wasnít to say he wouldnít be open to the idea, he just wasnít going to be the one to do the hunting. He wasnít willing to take the first step; he couldnít just walk into a bar and seduce someone for the sake of doing it. Their were so many good reasons not to do that, the foremost being that Will wasnít a player, if he was some one had forgotten to give him a hockey stick and a pair of skates. Nope, Will was just going to watch, and if another guy came and sat down next to him while he watched, so much the better.

Was that why he was there? He had to admit the assertiveness Marc had displayed in calling up like that had intrigued him. Will respected confidence; it was what got him to where he was. He figured anyone that could take the time to reason out how to contact him from a company logo on his jacket had to be intelligent. And the fact that Marc had the balls to call him like he had, that at least had to be worth a lunch.

However actually going on a date with the guy was different from just lunch. It was like he was opening himself up to something completely new. There was something about the mystery and excitement, something he lacked in his regular routine. He was a creature of habit. He went through the rote day in and day out. Responsible, reliable, sarcastic. But there he was, about to do something irresponsible. Well at the very least he could chalk it up to a life lesson and move on. He was willing to try anything to break the monotony of life everlasting. And the chance, however remote of a love that wouldnít condemn himÖ

He turned his back to the station and looked across the walkway to the mall entrance where he saw Marc with his back to him, waiting just beside the escalators. The young guy appeared to be searching the throng of people exiting the mall, probably looking for Will.

Will took a moment to contemplate the other man. Young, around twenty or so, spiky brown hair that was the fashion, wearing a ski jacket that looked entirely too big on him. He had a pale complexion; it was almost milky white skin. Will supposed he was attractive in a skater boy kind of way, with a swaggering confidence to match.

He turned and caught sight of Will and raised a hand in a half wave.

Will waved back and cursed as the lid to his coffee mug popped off, spilling coffee down him. He glanced down at it soaking into his white shirt and immediately tried to brush it off.

"You okay?" Marc asked bending a little to take a closer look at the shirt.

"Yeah, I spilled coffee," Will said, aware that he was stating the obvious as he shook to get the sticky coffee from his hand. He crossed to a garbage can and tossed the mug away, un-tucking his shirt and continuing to try to brush the rapidly setting stain out. "Now I look stupid."

Marc contemplated it and shrugged, "Just take it off." He said dismissively.

Will looked over at him startled, "What?"

Marc pointed to the shirt, "Youíre wearing a t-shirt under that so just loose the shirt and youíll look fine."

Will shrugged off his jacket and passed it to Marc as he unbuttoned the cotton shirt and slipped it off, glad that he had chosen a dark t-shirt that morning so the coffee stain didnít show. He took back his jacket put it on and tucked the shirt over his arm.

"Thatís better," Marc said with a slight smile, "You look relaxed like that."

Will nodded, "Well then, thatís good." He cocked his head and extended his hand, "Hi there by the way, good to see you."

Marc looked at the pre-offered hand in bemusement, "Yeah, me too. I thought Iíd missed you though."

Will chuckled, "Nope been waiting right here, so whatís the plan?"

Marc glanced around, "Well we should do lunch."

Will shrugged, "Cool, thereís a restaurant across from the mall, and last I checked there is an East Side Marioís inside."

Marc looked down at the bus station, "We could hop a train downtown to Yonge Street or something."

Will frowned, then what had been the point at meeting at Don Mills? He rubbed his cheek in thought, "I have the Jeep here, and we might as well drive. And that way I donít have to TTC it back out here just to drive back in to work."

"Okay," Marc agreed following beside Will, "So you were working today?"

"Long day so far," Will admitted as they wound their way back through the mall towards the parking lot, "Iím staffing a new office out in Vancouver, and the company I work for is in the middle of a merger with Tri-Tech Innovations."

"What do they do?" Marc asked in interest.

"Well theyíre a small engineering firm that make computer components, one of the departments in my firm Avery-Woodís creates the software to use those components. Our two companies have been partners for a long time, but just recently it was decided that Avery-Woods should just merge with Tri-Tech."

"Like a hostile take over or something?" Marcís deep brown eyes flashed in excitement.

"No, not really. Tri-Tech wants to merge; they need Avery-Woodís more than we need them. From what I understand, they have just developed a new generation of routers and weíre going to market them. Get some competition for Alcatel and Nortel." Will shrugged, "Pretty mundane stuff."

Marc stepped around a burly lady leading three young kids and carrying too many bags, "So thatís what Avery-Woodís makes, routers?"

"Not yet," Will replied with a smile, "Weíre a communications firm, and we make cell phones radios, TV media, newspapers. In one aspect or another Avery-Woodís is a pretty large company."

"Cool," Marc said as they crossed through Sears and out into the parking lot, "What do you drive?" he asked as they wound there way through the rows of parked cars.

"See that Jeep on the end, thatís mine." Will pulled out his keys and pushed the button to unlock the doors.

"Cool Jeep." Marc said as he walked around to the passenger side.

"Yeah it gets me around. Though my friends think I should get something more suitable for work." He got in tossed the stained shirt into the backseat. Starting the Jeep as Marc sat down.

"But suitable is boring." Marc replied, "This," he patted the dashboard, "This Jeepís fun."

Will smiled as he accelerated out onto the street and turned the car towards Don Mills Boulevard, "I like it." He replied proudly, he was fond of the Jeep; it was more him than a BMW or a Merc. He actually felt his own age driving it, instead of the old man he felt at work.

He glanced at his passenger, "So what are you in the mood for?"

Marc turned his head with a knowing smile, "Whatever, its all good."

Will rolled his eyes, was Jared right about Marc? Was he trying to flirt? Who cared really, he was going to enjoy his lunch. "Alright well do you like Italian?"

"Oreganos?" Marc asked meaning a restaurant down in the heart of Yonge Street.

"Sounds like a plan to me." Will replied as the car swept down onto the Don Valley Parkway.