Paula/ Dani

Forgotten Birthday Dinner

Wait, before you ready this, have your read ‘Picking Up A Friend?

“Dani, it’s quitting time, let’s go!” Mark, the man who sat across from Dani, said as he logged off his computer.

 

“Nah, I still gotta finish this report. Go ahead, go on without me.” Dani said, never taking her eyes off her screen.

 

She didn’t even need to be looking at Mark to know that he was pouting. Despite the numerous times that she told him she wasn’t interested in men, he wouldn’t leave her alone. He’d constantly go out of his way to get her lunch and wait for her at the end of their shifts. 

 

Jackson offered to set him straight, but Dani declined. Being a woman whose father was one of the most famous officers of the NYPD was hard enough. The last thing she wanted was the guys thinking she couldn’t fight her own battles. 

 

Mark let out a heavy sigh before wishing her a good night and heading towards the exit with a few more of their co-workers. 

 

As the office started to clear out, Dani opened up her search history and began looking for the web pages from the other night. She’d fallen down a Prince LaVine rabbit hole and ended up finding the LaVine family tree. According to some articles she’d found, the LaVine family had been mob affiliated for centuries. Most people didn’t pick up on the family’s shady activity cause unlike most organized crime groups, the LaVine family sought out the limelight rather than shying away from it. 

 

They hid behind fundraisers, and drug outreach programs, but Dani saw through it all. Paul might be smarter than his ancestors, but he wasn’t that smart. Like the rest of the LaVine men that came before him, his drive to be the best, the richest, and the most powerful would trip him up eventually. Either that, or he’d end up with a mole just like his dad and his dad’s dad. 

 

Sifting through web pages and social media profiles, Dani followed a long line of bread crumbs, hoping and praying that it would lead somewhere. 

 

Meanwhile, somewhere in downtown, Ellie Willem, leaned against the brick wall of the nightclub, with her phone pressed to her ear.

 

“How do you forget your own birthday dinner?” Ellie’s wife, Maggie said, bunching up her nose.

 

“Grow up with a shity dad that cares more about the city than you. That’s how.” Ellie said.

 

Dani’s phone rang a few more times then, just when Ellie was about to hang up, Dani answered. 

 

“Hey El, what’s up?” Dani said casually.

 

“Dani what the hell?! Where are you?!” Ellie yelled into the phone. 

 

Dani took a sharp inhale through her teeth, causing Ellie to roll her eyes.

 

“You forgot, didn’t you?” Ellie said.

 

Maggie shook her head, a knowing smirk plastered on her lips.

 

“Yeah. I fell down a research rabbit hole and lost track of time. I’m leaving the office now.” Dani said.

 

Ellie’s eyes went wide as she pulled the phone away from her ear and looked at her screen.

 

“Dani it’s almost fucking midnight! You’re still at the office?!” Ellie said.

 

Maggie threw her hands in the air.

 

“Of course she is.” She said.

 

Dani sighed.

 

“I know, I know. I have a problem. Look, why don’t you two just meet me at mine and we’ll order some takeout.” Dani suggested.

 

Now that Dani had mentioned it, Ellie was starving. All-day she had been looking forward to celebrating her best friend. 

 

“Alright, fine. But you’re paying for it. I don’t care if it is your birthday.” Ellie said, causing Dani to laugh.

 

“Love you, I should be home soon.” Dani said with a smile.

 

“Twenty minutes.” Ellie said seriously.

 

“Elle come on that’s-”

 

“Twenty minutes!” Ellie said again.

 

Dani rolled her eyes at her friend’s stubbornness.

 

“Elle I still have to grab dinner.” Dani pointed out.

 

“Maggie and I will get it.” Ellie said.

 

Dani sighed, trying to wrack her brain for an excuse. She only lived about ten minutes from the station, so twenty minutes was more than enough time.

 

“Fine, twenty minutes.” She repeated after a moment.

 

“Don’t be late and drive safe.” Ellie said sternly.

 

“Okay mom.” Dani responded.

 

The line went dead and Dani sighed as she dropped her phone onto her desk. After setting a five-minute timer, Dani continued working until it went off. When it did she logged off her computer and began packing up. As she shoved her iPad into her bag and went to reach for a couple of notebooks, she heard Ellie in her head. Maybe just for tonight, she’d leave work at work. Besides, with Ellie and Maggie over, there was no way she’d get any work done. So tucking the notebooks in her desk, she grabbed her iPad and her bag and headed out the door. 


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