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Once he's been assured he hasn't failed her, and they are both free of Mercedes, his calm is restored and all is well. Except for the deep rumbling in her stomach. "Justin, I'm starving, I haven't eaten since breakfast," she says.

Cooking dinner restores him completely to normal: Eleanor loves watching him, he gets so involved in it, chopping things into perfectly uniform pieces, measuring spices exactly, his science, his art. "Eleanor, there's more to this," he says gravely as they sit down to eat, "The house in Tahoe, they have security cameras in every room, Mercedes has tapes, of us. She was playing it today when I saw her." There's a bit of an edge to his voice: he's not slipping back into panic, but the memory clearly disturbs him. Eleanor never had any respect or liking for Mercedes, but the things she's learned about the woman today shock & disturb her. That she would stoop to videotaping her secretly and use it as emotional blackmail against Justin is completely revolting, no wonder he wanted to kill her.

"She probably arranged the whole trip to get those tapes," Eleanor realizes, growing angry, "She's completely blowing off the woman I showed the house to that weekend, like she doesn't care if it sells or not." They continue the meal in a reflective silence: Justin, she knows, is trying to bury the memory, sweeping it into those dark corners of his mind. But that isn't going to satisfy Eleanor, "I'm going to make her give me those tapes," she says with resolve, "What she did is illegal, I won't let her get away with it." Justin says nothing for a moment, staring at his plate. Then he turns to her, his brow furrowed & his eyes grave, "Pick your fights carefully, Elle, don't go in without an exit plan, and never leave your back exposed," he says, sage advice from a fighter. But Eleanor isn't interested in doing the smart thing, she's outraged, "I can't stand the thought of her watching us & getting herself off, the woman is disgusting," she says, a shudder in her voice Justin shudders physically, "Let's not go there," he says quietly, taking his plate to the sink.

"I don't like it either, Princess, believe me," Justin says after he's cleaned up after her, "If you think you can challenge her and win, go for it. Just make sure you completely defeat her: if you leave her with anything she can use to stab you in the back, she will," he says earnestly. He's perfectly right: Eleanor will need to consider this thoroughly. She won't let that bitch get away with what she's done, and she has to get those tapes away from her, but she can't just charge in to Mercedes' office & demand she hand them over...Eleanor cringes at thought now, knowing the bitch has seen her naked, in her most intimate & unguarded moments with Justin. She reviews her memories of that weekend, trying to imagine what Mercedes saw on those tapes.

"Justin, how did we look?" she asks timidly, whispering the question as she embraces him. "What?" he asks, not understanding. "You said Mercedes was playing the did we look?" she asks again, bolder this time. Justin nuzzles against her neck, sighing, "Elle, the place I was in...I was too angry to even see it, once I realized what it was. It was the sound, Elle, hearing you come, over & over again: she really pissed me off," he says, his hands gripping her tightly as the memory renews his anger. She'd like to ask more questions, about Mercedes, what she liked to have done, how often he saw her and for how long, but clearly this is a bad time for him. There's no hurry, Eleanor tells herself, she'll have many years with Justin to learn everything she wants to know from him, and she'll find a way to get the tapes back from Mercedes, and to get revenge as well, without doing any damage to herself.


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