Chapter Eleven - Cory
I laid there, drifting in and out of a sleeping state. I thought I had dreamt the sound of the door opening until I heard it shut with a soft thud. Sitting up, I moved the blanket and saw I was laying in the bed by myself. Swearing, I tossed myself out of the bed and shoved my feet into my boots. I swung open the door and saw no one there. Looking up the drive way, I saw Abby’s shadow darting between the cars parked in front of the rooms. I sprinted towards her, my footsteps echoing off the walls. Looking over her shoulder at the sound, her eyes widened when she saw me. She picked up speed, running full force up the street. I should have known better than to let her sleep towards the door. I didn’t think she’d be this much of a flight risk though.
As we rounded the corner, the suitcase in her right hand started to weigh her down. She was losing speed and I was quickly filling in the gap between us. The laces on my boots were slapping me in the leg from where I left them untied. They clomped on my feet as I ran. I was close enough to her now that I could hear her short bursts of breath as she panted. Bending my knees, I jumped and tackled us both into a snow bank. She let out a yelp as we landed in the cold snow, my arms wrapped around her waist. Wiggling, she tried her best to climb out of my grasp by I grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her back gently. Standing, I yanked her up to her feet and turned her to face me. Her cheeks were flushed from running mixed with the anger that came with the glare she shot me. Her red hair was fanned out around her head and she panted, trying to catch her breath. Something in me felt like a bolt of electricity had shot through me. I pushed it out of my head though as I looked down at her.
“Are you trying to get us both killed?” I asked, grabbing her upper arm. I pulled her behind me as I started back for the hotel room. “And you said I was the one who you couldn’t trust!”
“Let me go.” She said, pulling on her arm. I held firm though, gripping her shirt.
“No. When we get back, I’m handcuffing you to the damn bed so I know you won’t take off on me again. Your nuts, girl. Do you know what Scorpio’s men would do to a pretty girl like you if they found you?” I felt her shiver as I spoke. We were both covered in snow and neither had our coats on. She must have forgotten hers as she was making her grand escape. Her eyes changed, something almost hollow there in them. “Think of something warm.” I said softly. She gazed up at me, confused. “You have the crystal. It’ll make the air warmer for you.”
“Oh.” She simply said, not moving for the crystal. We reached the room again and I opened the door, pushing her gently inside. I took her bags from her and tossed them in the corner of the room.
“Go change your clothes. And leave the door open! I don’t want you to shimmy out the window.” I said, pointing a finger at her. She glared at me as she grabbed a pair of pajama pants and a t-shirt from the dresser. She disappeared into the bathroom. I could see her reflection in the mirror where I stood in the room but she couldn’t see me. Looking in the mirror, she took a deep breath. She was scared. I could tell by the way her eyes gazed at her reflection. I didn’t blame her. I was worried too. I had no clue what would happen when I came face to face with Scorpio again. Especially now that both my partners were out of the picture. I haven’t gone solo like this on an assignment since I joined the CIA. I couldn’t quite consider Abby a partner in this. Though I had no doubt she could hold her own in a fight, there was something about her that wanted me to leave her here out of harm’s way. I wasn’t sure what but it was the same part of me that told me she needed to be protected because of that crystal.
I watched in the mirror as she cleaned the dirt off of her face, the scratch on her cheek from the scuffle with Scorpio’s men last night beginning to scab over. It was the only blemish on her fair skin, the peach color returning back to its normal shade now that she had caught her breath and warmed up. Reaching down, she pulled the shirt she was wearing off, exposing her bra. I averted my eyes away, hoping she hadn’t seen me looking. She could pack one hell of an ass beating if need be and I didn’t want her to catch me being a peeping Tom. She’d kick my ass for sure. She emerged a few moments later, changed into the clothes she had taken in there. Ignoring me, she walked over to the bed and plopped on her side.
“You made me do this.” I said, reaching into the pocket of my leather jacket and pulling out my handcuffs. Her eyes widened as she looked at them, obviously thinking I had been bluffing before. I grabbed her left hand and clasped the cuff around her wrist. Securing the other to the head board above her, I tugged on it a few times to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere. I kicked off my boots and slapped the light off before heading to my side of the bed. I heard the cuffs slide as she shifted on her side. Slipping under the covers, I heard her let out a shallow breath followed by a sniff. Was she crying? Guilt filled my chest and I tried my best to ignore it. She was the one who caused all this. If she had just handed over the crystal when I asked her to the first time, none of this would have happened. I would be long gone; the crystal would have chosen me as its holder and she’d be out of danger.
When I first joined the CIA, I thought I would be doing some over the top spy missions. It was a dream of mine since I was a kid and thought for sure the CIA would help me make that happen. And it did. I’ve been to countries all over the world and have seen some sights that most people could only imagine. After a while, the job began to lose its hype though. Henry decided he needed a change from his police officer gig in Chicago and joined the agency. We became the dynamic duo of the office, fighting bad guys on a weekly basis. We had a great thing going and made me feel like I had found my calling again. That’s when my supervisor added Alexz to our team.
I wasn’t thrilled to have her with us. I thought for sure she would slow us down. She was only 21 at the time, fresh out of the academy and didn’t seem to have a mean bone in her body. She surprised me though by killing one of the most wanted criminals in America. My attraction for Alexz began then and even though I tried to hide it, she was able to tell I had feelings for her in which she returned. We started our secret relationship, swearing to not tell a soul while we were working for the CIA. At the time, I was fearful of putting both of our careers in jeopardy and putting us at risk for having a weakness of each other while on missions. She agreed, acting like a partner in public and the love of my life when we were alone. The only other person who knew about us was Henry. I knew he would never tell so I confided in him shortly after our affair began. He always insisted that I gave up the shield and settle down with Alexz while the going was good. I always told him that I would after the next mission was over.
Our team grew stronger and the three of us became inseparable. We were assigned to learn all about the Perineum Crystal, a new tool that a scientist had developed that could change the history of the world as we knew it and was terrified that someone would try to steal it. Alexz, Henry and I went undercover as students learning under Dr. Maser. He was the leading meteorologist on the crystal and had discovered it off the coast of Guam. He was building a team of supporters who would be interested funding the project to advance the use of the crystal. Scorpio was on that team. He had contributed a great deal of money towards the project, hopeful that the scientists would be able to develop a type of machine to control the crystal and its powers. And they did. Dr. Maser created the device, a machine that could harness the power of the crystal and control it without needing a vessel to do so. Up until that point, the only way to control the crystal was to find a person who was able to link with it. Even then, they had very little control over the actions of the crystal. With the device, anyone could use the gem and control the weather. Dr. Maser was beginning to look for the person he believed could control the crystal without the device, convinced that the person would have raw and natural pure power in them. With it being such a powerful tool, Maser was certain someone would try to steal it. He told very few people about the crystal and its abilities, limiting it only to us “students” and his team of funders. He told us all that the crystal would be controlled by the device and that a code would need to be entered for it to be operational. Unknown to everyone but me, the device did not need a code. It would become unusable once it leaves the facility that Maser and his team created.
Six months into the mission, there was a large explosion. Alexz, Henry and I barely got out alive, our quarters just out of the path of the fire. That is when we first learned of Scorpio’s plan and his lap dog, Lucas. I knew they were the ones behind the bomb. Dr. Maser and the rest of his team was killed and the crystal was recovered. Alexz had found it grasped in Maser’s hand. She held on to it as we made our journey back to the United States. Like Abby, it latched on to her and would not leave her side. We tried finding a way to lock the crystal up to keep it safe but there was no use. We would leave it in one place and it would reappear on her just moments later. It left us no choice but to assume she was the one meant to utilize the power of it. She was didn’t blink an eye and insisted to start training with it. The power was amazing and quite strong. I was afraid of the effect it may have on her after long term use but she never seemed to care. She grew very skilled with the crystal and was able to control it for the most part.
Our team was shattered though when word of our relationship got out. Alexz asked me to just be honest with the CIA and let us be together once and for all. I considered it but didn’t want to give up everything I’ve worked so hard for since I was a kid. When my supervisor asked me, I told him that we were just friends and that our relationship was strictly platonic. Alexz was crushed. She assumed it meant that I didn’t want to be with her openly and that I would never be able to be with her without putting my career first. We ended up having a very heated argument that ended with her running out. She was grabbed by Scorpio and his men at that point, who had been watching us since we had gotten back from Guam. He knew all about her training with the crystal and how much she could do with it. He offered to give her back to me in return for the code he still believed he needed to control the device. Her death was on my hands because I couldn’t open up about my feelings with her and stop him from taking her from me.
The room grew quiet and I heard the soft deep breaths coming from the other side of the blanket. Reaching up, I pulled it back. Her eyes were closed and she was fast asleep, her left hand propped over her head where it was shackled to the bed post. Sighing, I pulled the blanket on the bed up so she was covered. The crystal was around her neck, a light pink color swirling inside of it. Something told me the crystal felt the same way as I did. I had never met anyone like this girl before. The air around her just seemed to be different, even with her having possession of the crystal. When Alexz had the crystal, the air always seemed to buzz. With Abby, it was peaceful and almost neutral. Like the world had been before the crystal was discovered. It was like the crystal was more like a part of her rather than a hunk of rock around her neck. She could control the weather without even thinking about it which made me think that she was the person Dr. Maser was searching for. If that was the case, that would put her at more of a risk than we thought. If Scorpio discovered her, he would use her to do all his bidding. I wasn’t about to let that happen. Even if I couldn’t explain what was drawing me to her, I couldn’t deny that every piece of me wanted to protect her.