CHRONICLES OF MICHAEL: DENIABLE ASSET

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CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

*SHYIRA CHANDLER*

Dressed in my monochrome outfit, typical for night missions, I step out of the Ready Room to find Godfrey leaning against the wall waiting for me. I’m not shocked he’s there, but surprisingly grateful he is. Godfrey starts towards Weapons in order to get my black duffle bag equipped with all I’ll need for the mission. After a few steps he notices I’m not following, and stops. Turning around, he walks cautiously back toward me.

“What are you thinking, chocolate covered marshmallow?” Godfrey asks in a way only he can.

“I can’t do this, Godfrey,” I say, quietly.

Oh, God. You’re in deep shit. My inner annoyance states the obvious. Godfrey stands closer to me, grabbing my shoulders, a little too forcefully I might add. If he’s trying to get my attention, he’s getting it. He waits until we lock eyes before he says a word.

“Yes, you can, and I need you to start believing that right now.” He is stern when he speaks, all pretenses gone. “I’m sorry Michael slept with Br-”

“For Christ’s sake, Godfrey,” I interrupt him, pulling away. “It’s not because I’m some love-sick girl, falling apart because my boyfriend cheated on me.”

Although, that’s how you feel.

“It’s because I don’t know the fucking mission. I dropped the ball in there. I let them rattle me, and now I don’t know the mission. FUCK!” I yell.

“Calm down, Shyira,” Godfrey says, using my name for the first time in like . . . ever.

“Calm down . . . calm down?” I ask. “How the hell am I supposed to calm down when wheels go up in ten, and I don’t even know where we’re going? I need to have Michael’s back out there. I don’t even know where we’re fucking going.”

I’m pacing now. Godfrey clearly sees the nervous breakdown I’m having. I’m unraveling at my core. I need to rein it in before someone, other than Godfrey, notices.

“That’s an easy fix, powdered sugar. Dublin, Ireland; that’s where you’re going, Dublin,” he says again, thinking that will solve the problem.

“You’re going to capture Oscar Benet. I’ll give you all the details as we walk because your ten-minute window is rapidly closing. Anything else you need to know you can find on your phone.”

I nod. He’s right, time is running out. With my duffle bag secure in my hand and a mostly full understanding of the mission, I head toward the Vehicle Access tunnel and Michael. I round the corner to find him standing there in all black, looking as dangerous as I know he is. My body betrays my anger for him as it releases the butterflies that wreak havoc on my stomach at the mere sight of him. I refuse to make eye contact as I pass. It will be my undoing. He hands me my phone as I walk by. I take it without breaking stride, or uttering a word. Michael doesn’t say a word, either, which I expect.

The van pulls off, and we buckle up for the long ride to the airfield. Michael’s doing what he always does. He’s checking the guns and ammo before moving on to sharpening the knives. In between his tasks, he constantly looks for mission updates on his phone. I; however, sit quietly with my back against the van wall, watching him very intently as he prepares for the mission.

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