CHAPTER 7-GETTING CLOSE TO THE DEVIL
While we were all sitting in the living room discussing what we were going to do about C-4 and her explosion happy self Berdina walked in with her phone in hand and very pale making us all extremely concerned. I stood up quickly wincing from the pain of my staples but afraid of what may have happened. She looked to me first then the others and asked me to get Justin out of the house so she can fill us in on the phone call she just got. I quickly made a list of things everyone wanted from Wendy’s since Hazel was sleeping and asked Justin to go get it for us because I wasn’t feeling up to it. He quickly obliged but looked confused when I asked Berdina to stay with me because I needed to talk to her after he had asked her to go along. He shrugged it off and asked Eddie to go with him.
Once they were gone Berdina broke while trying to explain things. She said, “Rain, I don’t know what to do. Melina just called me and said that I have to help her and the others get rid of you or she will kill Justin’s kids. She knows I’m with him but I don’t know how since we haven’t told anyone. I told her I would because I didn’t know what else to say. I don’t want Justin’s kids to be hurt because of me but I don’t know how to tell him either. I also didn’t know what to say to her, though I did ask what others she was talking about. All she said was the others she had working for her so my guess is more people she’s threatened. I knew you would want me to play along but now that I have what do you want me to do.”
I sat there thinking for a few minutes before I answered. “Play along with her. Let her think you’re working with her and not just because she’s threatening Jus’ kids but because you’re tired of me. I can guarantee she won’t try to persuade my three because she knows they’d kill her themselves. Everyone she’s using are all ranked below her guaranteed, that way she can keep them in line by threats. She has to be working for someone and for something. I want to know what it is and why she’s suddenly so gung ho on killing me. It’s not overly important because I will kill her either way, but call me curious. Bri, are you up for some u.c. work again?”
Brian looked a little startled at first but then answered as soon as he recovered. He said, “Yeah I can go undercover if you need me to, but why am I and what am I doing?”
I told him, “Melina loves all men and will throw herself at you. She doesn’t know who you are or that you know me. I want you to casually bump into her and let her hit on you. Pretend to be interested and get close to her. As close as possible as quickly as possible and then maybe we can find out who else she has working for her in her little plot to try to take me out. Don’t break cover unless needed. I’ll call your superiors on base and let them know I may be keeping you on longer but you’ll have to call Rebekah to let her know. Hopefully we can get this sorted quickly so I can kill her that much sooner. That bitch is going to have a very slow painful death for what she did to my family. Don’t tell Justin what’s going on just yet, Berdina. I don’t want him scared and distracted since she almost killed him once already. To be sure his family stays safe, though, we’ll all take turns shadowing his kids to make sure they stay safe until this is over, and I’ll hire extra guards to walk around unnoticed to keep an extra eye on them as well.”
That was when Justin and Eddie walked in the door carrying about eight or nine bags of food and a bunch of drinks. Justin walked around handing everyone their food and was looking at me questioningly but I shook my head slightly telling him everything was ok and he seemed to relax a little. He relaxed the rest of the way when Berdina sat down with him on the couch to eat their food.
We ate while making small talk and I didn’t notice I was rubbing my stomach until Logan reached down and put his hand on mine. I looked down and noticed why. When I looked up he had a tear in his eye but quickly brushed it away when he saw me looking. I guess he was afraid of making me break again. I was scared of that happening too, but I knew I couldn’t let that happen. Brian was right, if I did that I was putting Jesse and Rory in danger, and that I wouldn’t allow. I needed to figure out what her plan was and fast. Well, first thing’s first, I had to wait a couple more days until these staples came out. My skin was starting to adhere to the staples. I always healed quickly but this was starting to be more of a pain than helpful.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
It had been almost a week since we had found out that Melina was threatening Berdina into helping her kill me. We had all been taking turns with Brian getting him faster and better with sparing and it had paid off, though everyone was still unaware of his true abilities since Brian was very good at pretending to be worse than he was. He ran into Melina in the gym two days after going undercover as an amateur MMA fighter struggling to hit it big time. As soon as Melina saw him she was instantly drawn to him and started sparring with him twice daily and offering to teach him. Things were working out exactly as we had been planning on them to.
My staples came out the day after the wake because I was healing too quickly and they weren’t needed anymore. I was back in the ring in my gym sparring with Madison to get my stomach muscles built back up but I think I was trying to go too fast because I kept feeling them tear in small areas. When I went back to get checked a week after having them removed my OB said that the incision was healed almost as if it was never cut and my muscles look stronger than before but there was definitely small tears in certain areas of the scar and if I didn’t take it easy then it was going to start building up to where the scar looked like I had a plate put in or something. It was a bad description but I understood what she was saying. She said she had never seen that with anyone before and was concerned about whether it was normal. She looked at me sorrowful before telling me that if would most likely be impossible for me to conceive again. I told her not to worry, then got out of there quickly signaling to Madison it was time to go. I didn’t tell Madison what the doctor said about me not being able to have any more kids.
After explaining to her what the Doc said, I thought she was going to make some remark about me relaxing for a few days but I believe she thought better of it and told me to do what my body could handle. I knew that deep down this loss hit her almost as much as it was hitting me.
We rode on for the next few minutes listening to the radio playing old country songs when all of a sudden a song came on that I loved when I was a little girl but this time I couldn’t stand hearing it. The pain of everything that has happened these past couple of weeks hit me all over again and I broke and started crying quietly again. Madison wasn’t fooled though, as she heard the song she pulled over and just sat there with me listening to One Boy, One Girl by Collin Raye, and she cried to herself with her hand on my shoulder. When it was over we just looked at each other, gave a small smile, wiped our tears and Madison pulled back into traffic and we continued on with our day.
The week passed by slowly it seemed like but I started feeling better and more in shape like I was before the accident. I decided to go back to work the next day since it was Monday and once I got there I wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea. Everyone there knew about the accident since most came to the funeral to show their support and were all looking at me sadly and whispering to each other as they all gave me condolence glances. I was glad to know they weren’t as scared of me and felt sympathy for me but at that point I didn’t want people’s sympathy, I wanted to kill the person, or people, responsible.
The rest of the workday wasn’t as bad as the beginning and things did start speeding up but I could still feel eyes on me all the time as I worked and figured it was Berdina and Logan watching me to make sure I was alright. After lunch I heard a soft vibration coming from my bag and when I realized it was the burner cell I had for Brian I jumped up and grabbed it before it could finish ringing.
Brian whispered, almost breathless, “Midnight.”
I was a little stunned at the brevity of the call, but I knew something had to be wrong or very important for him to call me and say just that, knowing it would worry me. When I looked up I saw Logan looking at me questioningly and Berdina on the phone, I’m sure with the rest of my team. I was right; twenty minutes later they were all coming off the elevator. Madison was in front, as usual, looking especially worried. I wasn’t sure if she was more worried about Brian or me if something were to happen to Brian. I guess I should fill them in that Brian is more than capable of taking care of Melina if he needed too. He qualified as number two the day I started putting the team together but he always knew he wanted a family and didn’t want the added danger or the added time away.
Once we were all in the conference room I told them that Bri called on the burner and told me midnight. Madison looked more confused than anyone else because she knows Brian doesn’t leave things that vague if possible. She blurts out, “What the hell could be happening that could cause him to need to meet that quickly and be that vague? That’s not Brian; he’s more informative than that.”
We didn’t have to wait long for the answer because as soon as the words left her mouth, the light on the phone started flashing signaling a visitor downstairs. I picked up the phone and asked reception who it was and then felt like I was going to pass out when she told me who. I sounded almost as if I were whispering when I told her to send him up.
Christiaan and Jojo were looking at me as they slowly started inching over to me in case I passed out, which was a real possibility. One minute later the elevator door opens and out walks a man that made Madison’s and Berdina’s jaw drop and start blushing.
David looked at him and then at me and asked, “Is that who I think it is?”
All I could do was nod yes but everyone else kept their eyes on the man coming through the hall and toward the conference room. When he got to the door he came in and for about a minute it was a very awkward silence. Everyone was staring at him while he and I had our gazes locked on each other. Finally, after what seemed like forever he spoke to me.
He said, “Hello, Rain. It’s good to see you again after so many years. How have you been?”
I thought after all these years that when I saw Jason again I wouldn’t still feel the sting of his betrayal, but I was wrong. The sad thing about it was, I didn’t know why it still bothered me since I was over him and completely in love with Logan.
I answered without realizing, “I’m better than I was the last time I saw you. What is it that you need that made you come to me?”
He looked down a little ashamed and I felt shitty about still holding on to a grudge from eleven years prior then.
He looked a little embarrassed when he asked, “Is there somewhere we can talk, alone? I really need to talk to you about something important, and I don’t know how to say it but part of it is private.”
Logan didn’t seem to take to that very well because I think he could sense there had been something between Jason and I in the past.
For the first time in my life I felt like a normal person that was caught between her past and present with no idea how to get out of it without hurting someone so I made a choice as quickly as I could.
I said to him, “Jason, this is my team; they know everything that goes on with my personal and professional life because they help me with everything. And this is Logan, my husband. He also knows everything about what I do and don’t do from the day to day in my military life and since he owns these companies he knows about what goes on here as well.”
Logan automatically rattles off, “WE own the companies.”
Still Jason looked a little hesitant but after he realized I wasn’t going to give him his way, for once, he started talking. “I just wanted to start by telling you that I’m sorrier than you could ever know about what happened with us in the past. I never intended for things to happen that way and they didn’t happen the way you think they did.”
Jojo cut him off asking, “What is it that happened? It’s obvious you’re asking for her help with something, which means you’re asking for our help with something, and if we’re going to help you then we need to know everything about what we’re getting ourselves into. Plus, call me nosey, but this is getting interesting.”
Jason looked from him to me and when I shook my head yes he started telling the others what he was talking about from our past, and I knew I needed to sit because just the thought of this conversation was already making my knees shaky.
Jason looked down when he spoke, I think because he couldn’t bear to look me or Logan in the eye as he told this story. He said, “Eleven and a half years ago Rain and I met in a recruiters station and we hit it off. We ended up dating over the next year and a half while we both went through our training and things started getting serious between us. We never slept together or anything like that because of a previous experience Rain had, but we knew things were headed that way and Rain wanted to wait until we had decided what we wanted out of each other.
“What Rain didn’t know was that I was already engaged to the girl I had been dating since high school. We lived together but things had been over for us for a couple of years by then. We stayed together out of habit, or fear I think, because we had been together for so long. She knew I was seeing Rain and things had been getting tense with us. I waited until she finished her degree and got a job and I was getting an apartment of my own since she was finally able to support herself. I broke off the engagement and we went for dinner a few nights later to say farewell to the relationship on a friendly note, but that just happened to be the same restaurant Rain went to that night with one of her friends. That guy actually. She saw me before I saw her. When I got up to go to the restroom she apparently came over to the table and asked Melissa who she was to me. Melissa lied to her telling her she was still my fiancée. I was walking back to the table when I saw Rain standing there talking to Melissa and then I saw her point to her engagement ring. I didn’t even know she was carrying it on her. She hadn’t worn her ring for over three months.
“Rain must have sensed me standing there, like she always did when I was near, because she turned to me and then back towards Melissa. She told Melissa she was sorry, then she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said good-bye. I asked Melissa what she told her and when she told me she said we were still engaged I took off after Rain, but she was already gone and the guy she was with, this guy, wouldn’t tell me where she went. Later, I went back to ask Melissa why she lied and she told me she wasn’t going to just let me walk away. She told me that she was going to tell me that night that we needed to stay together because she was almost ten weeks pregnant.”
That was when my head shot up. I didn’t know Jason had a child. I guess that was a good reason to stay with someone.
Jason eyed me carefully before finishing what he was saying, “Rain, I know what you’re thinking. I didn’t cheat on you. When I said that she and I were done, we were. I slept with her but I never had sex with her after you and I got together. The baby wasn’t mine. It was Jonathan’s.”
I gasped. “Your brother’s? They were having an affair? They hated each other, I thought.”
He smiled, “Yeah, I thought so too, but apparently one drunken night while he was on leave ended that. Unfortunately, he died right after he went back which is why I stayed with Melissa. I raised my brother’s son.”
I was stunned but still slightly confused. “Ok, Jason, you have my attention, the past is the past, but I still don’t know what it is that you need from me.”
Again, he looked embarrassed, “I’m a Lieutenant Colonel, I know when something doesn’t exist to someone who isn’t a participant in that field. You were always the best at anything you did, Rain, and something happened. No one was helping me so I got curious as to where you were and what you were doing, so I ran your name through our database and it shows you as an active Brigadier General but that’s it. The rest of your file is blacked out. When we enlisted you came in as enlisted because you hated officers and I came in as an officer. Now, you outrank me and in a field I don’t have access to, though I have the highest security clearance possible since I work in Military intelligence. I know you’re into something most people don’t know even exists and I’m not here to ask what it is, I just want help.”
I was starting to get more irritated by that point because I still wasn’t hearing what was wrong. “Jason, I have a U.C. that may be in danger and though you and I know you’re smart I’m starting to get a little frustrated here because you still have yet to tell me what’s wrong and what you need help with.”
He blurted out, “Someone killed Melissa two months ago and took Jon trying to get me to start passing them information. The Military has their investigators looking into finding him but you know how they do. It’s taking them too long and I want my son back alive and in one piece. My deadline to give them what they want is in three days, and if I don’t find him by then, then I have to give them what they’re asking for and I don’t know if I can do that.”
Jojo spoke up, “What is it they’re asking for?”
Jason said, “They want a program I built that will decrypt any file from any server on the planet. It then copies the file and shrinks it down to no more than a Megabyte so it can be easily stored on any drive without being noticeable. It also keeps an open record and transfers any new data that’s been added to the file, or the server for that matter, to the already stored files that have been shrunk down, all the while being invisible to even the best analyst showing nothing has been touched or tapped.”
Christiaan was the one that spoke up this time directing the conversation towards me, “That’s not anything newer than what you developed and have on all of our equipment for the unit. Didn’t you say you were also working on a virus that can uploaded as soon as someone tries using that without putting in a certain clearance code first?”
I started to answer before Jason cut me off. “Whoa, wait a minute here. What do you mean you developed pretty much the same software? When did you do that?”
I answered everyone this time. “Jason, I developed and had that software installed almost ten years ago, and Christiaan, yes I was working on something like that but I haven’t since things started getting a little busier and then the accident happened so I never picked it back up yet. You and Jojo stay in here with Jason and get all the info he has about Melissa’s death and Jon’s disappearance and see what you can do about working up a profile. Berdina and Madison, I want you two digging into absolutely everything we have on every single person we have in our unit and the ones that we rejected for the unit since they didn’t fit the criteria or we just didn’t think they’d be a good fit with us. They obviously don’t know about the unit but I still want them checked out nonetheless. I want every scrap of information you can find on them from their entire life. Logan, I need you to call in and talk to someone about getting Rebekah and the kids picked up and put into protective custody with my people. Bring her here now! When they get them in let me know and I’ll have them picked up somewhere and taken to a secondary location with my guys. I have some digging to do myself.”
Everyone started walking off to do what they were assigned to do when Logan stopped me to ask me if I was ok after all this new information and my blast from the past. I laughed for the first time in a while and told him I was fine. I kissed him and told him how I needed that laugh. When I was walking away Jason stopped me and started to say something but I stopped him.
I said, “Don’t J. Tell me after we find Jon.”
He nodded yes seemingly knowing what I meant by that and everyone went on with their business.
OUR DEAD ARE NEVER DEAD TO US UNTIL THEY ARE FORGOTTEN-GEORGE ELIOT