Round 1 - DNash
"Another beautiful day on the Plateau," remarked Marguerite to the empty room, the dryness of her tone providing stark contrast to the wet weather. She glared out at the sheeting rain then released her hold on the woven blind, letting it flap soddenly back into place.
She looked around the treehouse for something to occupy her time. A futile endeavor, and she knew it, but she looked anyway. She crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against a supporting frame of the treehouse wall.
She was still standing there when Roxton and Challenger returned. Both men were soaked to the skin, clothing plastered to their well-toned bodies. Marguerite simply looked at them as they stepped out of the lift.
"What? No greeting for the prodigals returned?" quipped Roxton, his usual teasing smirk turning up the corner of his lips. He removed his dripping hat, allowing the water on the brim to pour into a small puddle on the floor.
"I presume you intend to clean that up yourself," the heiress snapped in reply.
Challenger bit back a grin. More and more he noticed Marguerite and Roxton acting like what he would call an old married couple. They’d always sniped, but had it seemed different for several weeks now. He wondered just what had brought about the change—then chided himself because whatever it was, it was likely none of his business. "I’ll get us towels…and a mop."
"No," said Marguerite surprising them both. "Don’t move. You’ll just make a mess. Stay put, and I’ll get the towels and mop." Besides, she thought, it’ll give me something to do for thirty seconds.
The two men exchanged a puzzled but accepting glance. Roxton shrugged. "Whatever you say."
The dark-haired woman didn’t even look at them as she stomped off to collect the items in question.
"Any word on Veronica and Malone?" called Challenger after her. He removed his own hat and hung it, drooping, on a nearby peg. He and Roxton both began removing their waterlogged, heavy boots.
"Do you see them anywhere?" sniped Marguerite, handing each man a large towel. She leaned the mop against the wall. She’d brought it; she’d never offered to use it.
"I don’t know," Roxton said. "They could be here, hiding from you." He hid his smirk behind his towel and took plenty of time scrubbing it over his wet hair.
"Ha, ha. I’m going to my room." She stormed out nearly as violently as the weather outside.
Challenger looked over at Roxton who was just peeking out from under the towel. "That wasn’t nice, John," he chided.
"I know." He looked for a brief second as if he were about to go apologize. Then the moment passed. "Wonder where the others are?" he mused instead. "They should have headed back the minute this storm hit." He peeled off his wet shirt, letting it fall with a splat to the floor. "I have to mop up anyway," he said with a shrug.
"It’s not safe for them out there." Daring more of Marguerite’s wrath should she catch him, Challenger moved to the window and peered out. A line of damp footprints showed his path. He shifted the storm shade aside and peered out into the driving rain. He couldn’t even see as far as the ground. "They weren’t supposed to be going that far. They should be back by now."
"Ned?" shouted Veronica into the increasing storm. She took a cautious step, slipping in the sticky mud. The river was rising fast, and she’d lost sight of Malone. "Ned?!"