Marcus Billows paced back and forth several times, checking his pocket watch every eleventh step. He had ceased to read the time, but nerves forced his shaking hand to depress the button atop the silently ticking device and reveal the stolid numbers in a perfect circle around the slowly revolving hands. He placed the watch into his pocket and began his linear route once more.

The cobblestones clacked respectfully under his shoes as he continued to pace the street. Lucielle was insufferably tardy once again. That girl’s constant preening never accomplished anything except forcing Marcus to miss: the opening lines of Hamlet, the 1123 from Warwick, and countless appointments with Businessmen from Abroad.

Marcus stopped his march after checking his watch for the fifteenth time he had counted, and sighed exasperatedly while pinching the bridge of his nose. Glancing long at the smoke-choked horizon where the 148 was patiently waiting for him, he adjusted his vest and strode resolutely to the large double doors.

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