We are in first class, courtesy of the agency credit card. It is nice being with Charles and having people on the plane think we are together. I cannot stop picturing him in bed with me making love and wondering how affectionate he is in bed. Charles is asleep leaning back in his chair. I assume he is in a deep sleep which I am not surprised after our tough assignment is completed. I cannot stop myself staring at him and pinching myself that this guy has me as his girlfriend. I keep remembering the moment when we first kissed. I look at his chest with his tight white double-cufflink shirt with no tie. His first two buttons are unbuttoned. He is in a two-piece beige suit. I just want to put my arms around his chest.
Charles is trying to sleep and he senses me gazing at him, ‘Why are you staring at me Jane?’
I feel uncomfortable and look around the cabin, ’I was not staring.’
Charles is still trying to sleep, ‘Yes you were Jane. It is okay to stare at your boyfriend. Just don’t moan when I stare at you.’
I feel embarrassed, ‘I was staring into space.’
He smiles at me while he still pretends to be asleep. He opens his eyes and then leans forward to look at me, ‘We never really formally introduced ourselves. What, with blowing up the warehouse and preventing an arms deal. And watching you helpless being attacked by Vladimir’s girlfriend. What is your full name Jane?’
I make myself comfortable in my chair trying not to nudge my broken arm in my sling, before responding, ‘The name is Knight, Jane Knight. I am an accountant by trade. But recruited to take down illegal companies. And you are?’
Charles has a serious face, ‘The name is May, Charles May. Formally an agent for M-I-Six. Recruited from the military when I was a medical officer treating minor injuries. You could say I was talent-spotted.’
I have a quizzical look, ’What made you leave
He withdraws, ‘Personal reasons.’
I lean forward with excitement and jump straight in, ‘A woman?’
He does not show any response, ‘Something like that.’
I am now intrigued, ‘She could not cope with you going out in the field, days on end. A model?’
He smiles and does not respond to my question, ‘And you Jane? Miles. You fell in love with.’ I do not show any expression and sit back, ‘That is it. You fell for Miles’ charm.’
I cannot hide my emotions, ‘Does that bother you?’
He looks out of the window, ‘No. I would never have met you.’
I look out of the window without realising I am mimicking him, ‘I did not fall in love with him.’
The mood is now quiet and it makes me feel uncomfortable. Charles leans forward again as I am still sat back in my chair, ‘I have a confession. I had a peak of your naked body when I undressed you at my flat.’
I am open-mouthed, ’I knew it. I knew it. So am I a true blonde or is my hair artificially dyed?
Charles smiles, ‘The light was on. So I could not tell.’
I smile, ‘Well you will never know.’
Charles puts on a serious face, ‘Well there is always the possibility of letting me sleep with you.’
I give him a serious look, ‘I don’t think you have it in you to sleep with me.’
He replies, ‘I have always wanted to join the mile high club.’
I respond, ‘Well I have known someone to lose their virginity on a mile high club.’
Charles says, you guessed it, ‘Absolutely.’
I awkwardly move over to sit next to him. He looks at me the whole time. Charles has a look of content. I lean towards him to rest my head on his arm as I struggle with my broken arm. He responds with treating me like china. He kisses me on the forehead, then my nose and eventually on my mouth.
Charles becomes emotional, ‘You are so gorgeous. I don’t know why you are not married with kids’
I look at him with tired eyes, ‘I would love to. With you.’
Charles is taken aback, ‘You will. They will be as gorgeous as you.’
We go to sleep for the rest of the flight and I no longer feel alone. When we land, Charles is sweet with helping me with my hand luggage carrying it for me. We collect our main luggage from the carousel claim baggage. After that, we get a taxi together.
I remember I have my first shrink appointment and need to be there in the next hour, ‘Charles, can you drop me off at work?’
Charles is surprised, ‘So soon? We have only just come back.’
I am a bit embarrassed, ‘I have my first session with the shrink. It is a part my job now.’
Charles is really understanding, ‘Of course. As long as he is not your type.’
I find him sweet, ‘No one is your type. So you have worries.’
Charles relaxes, ‘Doesn’t matter anyway. I have to be somewhere myself.’
I do not ask him what he has to do as I don’t think anything of it. Eventually we arrive at the secret service building. We kiss passionately before I get out of the taxi. Charles agreed to take my luggage to his flat and arrange later to take mine back to my flat. I watch the taxi drive off before I go and see my shrink.
I am outside my shrink office waiting for my first session. I wish that I did not try to kill myself as I would not be sat here having to talk about my feelings. I cannot continue working for the agency if I do not go to these sessions. Rather than find someone perfect for the job, they would rather employ me.
I am sat outside in the waiting area stroke reception with my broken arm in a cast and sling. I have bruised cheeks and a black eye. I look at my phone to catch up on texts and emails from friends and family. My family is the worst for texts. I am in my casual jeans and polo shirt with pump shoes. I have my hair down tucked behind my ears. I have a slight suntan from being in Switzerland with the cold air.
I have been waiting outside for half an hour as I had nothing else to do after coming from the airport. By the time I would get home, the session would have already started. I thought I would need the time to think of what I will say to him or her. I have not been told what to expect or what I have to talk about. I do not know who I am going to talk to.
I am nervous because I do not want to talk about my feelings. I am also nervous that if say something wrong, I will be fired from my job.
I am picturing him asking about how my day was, if I have ups and downs with my work and personal life. Whether I am a heavy depressed person. I will probably be prescribed pills to deal with my depression.
The door suddenly opens and the person does not show their face. I assume I just walk in. I put my phone away on silent.
It is a man, I would say is in his late forties. He is white and bold with an oblong face. I now understand his comment about him being competition to Charles.
He is already sat down and points at a chair opposite him which I guess I sit in. The chair is wide and the seat is slightly curved up either side. You are able to fold your legs in the chair. The back of the seat is at a right angle. After I sit down, he acknowledges me and is ready for me to open up. He starts first.
He sits in his chair, looks over the top of his rimmed glasses, ‘I believe your boss sent you here. This was not your choice.’
I do not show any expression, ‘Yes. I am only here because I have been ordered to. I mean, it is a part of being able to continue my work.’
He is honest with me, ’I don’t care what your boss said. Do you think you need to be here?’
I think about the question, ‘Does almost killing myself in front of my work partner count?’
He looks shocked, ‘So let’s agree to say yes. What was that like?’
I sit back and take a long think about it, ‘A relief getting away from all this. Also scary.’
He is naturally interested in my story, ‘What made you stop?’
I go quiet, ‘I didn’t. He left the bullets out of his gun. It was scary. But I was caught up in the moment.’
He tries to be down with it, ‘Did it feel cool.’
I ignore his attitude, ‘It was okay.’
He pecks up, ‘Okay. Now how it works, is that you have to do all the talking. It is the only time you get to talk and someone listens. Do you have any questions?’
I do not feel comfortable telling him everything, ‘Do I have to tell you everything?’
He is frank, ‘I do not want to hear about your sex life. It will probably make me jealous. Nor about your sexual problems.’
I am worried about not being able to open up, ’What if
He is relaxed about it, ‘We have as many sessions as it takes. So if you just want to sit here and say nothing, that is okay.’
I really want to deal with my demons, ‘It is not that I don’t want to. But… I am scared that I will not come back from this.’
He is happy for me not to talk in the first session, ‘Let’s just sit here. You can tell me about your arm the next time.’
I want to know about him, ‘Can you tell me about you?’
He is happy to do so, ‘Certainly. My name is John. I studied at Cardiff university…’
Charles does not go home. He has the taxi driver take him to a corner shop. He buys flowers and walks around the corner to a cemetery.
He takes about ten minutes to get to the headstone. He looks at his last flowers and chucks them aside. He brushes away some dead leaves, blown from a tree nearby.
He makes an annual visit to see his wife on the anniversary of her death.
He is standing in front of his wife’s grave, ‘Hi, pumpkin. I miss you so much. I still haven’t found the guy who gave the order. But I am in a new department. A man named Barney can help. I also met someone. She doesn’t replace you. She is not a patch on you, but I have fallen for her. The funny thing is, she is not my type. Ditsy, not sure of herself and is suicidal. She is white, blonde and shorter than you, which takes getting used to. She is four feet ten. I know, the complete opposite I would usually go for. But she is quirky and cute. Selfless and thoughtful. You would get on with her. It is very early days though. I wish I was with you.’
Charles crouches down to place the flowers on the grave. He is tearful as he lays the flowers down.
As he fights back his emotions, ‘I am still finding the people who were behind your death. I will find them. I will kill them.’
I get back to my flat when I see the neighbour. He asks if I need a hand and sees my face.
He is taken back by my bruised face, ’What the hell happened to you. You look as if you had a round with
I brush it off, ‘Something like that.’
He empathises me, ‘Do you want company?’
I politely say, ‘No thanks. Just want an early night. But thanks.’
He looks disappointed, ‘Okay. Well you know where I am. Let me help you in.’
I thank him and close the door. Finally home. I see a pile of letters on the floor that made it hard for me to push the door open. I notice a wedding invitation that must be Anthea and Steve. I do not open it.
I make myself some instant noodles and wonder how I am going to take it into the living room. Also have a shower afterwards.
The doorbell goes and now I don’t know where to put my bowl of noodles. I quickly put it back in the kitchen and hold my arm to protect it as I walk to the door.
I am anxious it is the neighbour, ’Please don’t let it be
Steve. I just want to be by myself.’
I open the door and it is Charles. He has my luggage.
Charles has a serious face, ‘I couldn’t wait till tomorrow.’
I am open-mouthed, ‘I thought you were someone else.’
Charles feels like he may have overstepped the mark with me, ‘I can leave.’
I am over the moon but I play it cool, ‘No!’
Charles carries my things in and then helps me carry my bowl to the living room.
I ask as if he is going to sleep on the sofa, ‘So. Do you want to stay?’
Charles smiles, ‘Absolutely.’
I laugh, ‘We are going to have to change that.’
He laughs, ‘What. That is my trade mark.’
He kisses me while I am standing holding my broken arm. I welcome it.
I look into his eyes, ‘I am glad you came.’
Charles says, ‘So am I.’
I think about my face and my broken arm, ‘This is not exactly sexy.’
Charles says, ‘I don’t care. I have already fallen for you.’
He lifts me up, to carry me to my bedroom. We do not sleep together this time.
It is Monday morning we have been asked to go and see Mary when we get back to the office. We are both asked to come in this time.
Mary is stood behind her desk while she talks to us sat down, ‘I see you managed to foil an arms deal. However, when local authorities tidied up your mess, they did not find Vladimir or Natalia. Despite combing the area.’
I naturally ask, ‘So do we track them down. Or find the people who took their bodies?’
Mary nods her head, ’No, we have bigger fish to fry. There was a big explosion across the Thames while you were away. One of the captives, female, got away. We do not know who they were, how they did it and how long it
had been in the planning stages.’
Charles asks, ‘Any leads?’
Mary appears cagey, ‘We have one potential lead, but we need you two to confirm our suspicions.’
I ask about the society, ‘You still do not want us to investigate that society.’
Mary responds, ‘We have no evidence. We can assume they were his board members. Discussing a new product to go in the market.’
Charles asks about the escapee, ‘Who’s the dish that escaped?’
Mary describes the escapee, ‘A woman who seems to have an attitude and zealous for world war three. She said, in not so many words, she wants to take out the world leaders. There was an explosion in a disused building. We have a prison below that building. For serious dangerous people. Forensics only could collect fragments of pottery and a partial logo. Strange about the pottery. Despite your arm Jane, are you two up for your next assignment?’
I speak up, ‘Ma-am, with pleasure. With pleasure.’
Charles then speaks up, ‘Face another life and death situation? Absolutely. Absolutely.’
There are so many questions unanswered.
What is the society, if they are called that?
Why was Ivor at that meeting in the Cayman when he was escaping Vladimir?
What did Vladimir have on Ivor to persuade him not leave?
Where is Vladimir’s body?
Where did Natalia’s body go?
What were the smart boxes doing in a warehouse full of weapons?
Knight will return in Fair Game.
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