The Secret Thief

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Chapter 24

“I thought you said she was coming.”

“I thought she was coming.”

“What happened?”

“I don’t know!” Margaret barked. “I’m not a mind reader!” Marco was quiet for a moment.

“Simon’s furious. She was in the line of fire.” He told her.

I’m furious.” She said, her temper rising again. “And I don’t give a damn how Simon feels.” She looked at her watch and out the window repeatedly. The fear of being discovered intensified daily. It was effecting her interaction with the team. Could she count on nothing anymore?

“She shouldn’t have been in that café. It’s my fault. I should have kept a grip on her.”

“No.” He said, not making it clear if that meant he was agreeing with her or not.

“What are they saying at the compound?” She asked him. “What do we know about this hit?”

“Nothing so far.” He replied. “Intel thinks it’s possible this execution didn’t have had anything to do with her. Looks gang related.”

“Seriously?”

“Spies aren’t the only people who kill each other.”

Did he believe that? It didn’t matter. The course they had to take did not change either way.

“What is the plan now?” He said. “How should we proceed?”

The question caught her off guard. For a moment she forgot about the danger they were in and considered his words. She was not in command yet he wanted to know what she would do.

“You haven’t gotten a directive from Simon?”

“No.”

“That isn’t like him. What is he waiting for?”

“He doesn’t know about the failure. He doesn’t know we still have not connected.”

“You didn’t tell him?”

“I told him I had a handle on things.”

Her eyes narrowed. Why would he do that? Why would he circumvent their leader in this crisis? Did he not trust Simon?

“You’ve invested more to this project than anyone.” Marco said. “You’ve insight that we don’t. Besides, ” he coughed, “I’m not sure Simon grasps the delicacy of the situation.”

A compliment? Was he trying to forge an accord?

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying you and I stand a better chance at victory together.”

She could barely believe what she heard. He wanted to join forces with her, outside of the team, away from Simon.

Her heart leapt. She pushed it down quickly, grounding herself. She had a decision to make and if she was wrong, it would be the end.

Could she trust him?

“I have a plan,” Margaret said. “But Marco it won’t work if you are not as strong as your file reports.” There was a pause. Both agents considered their positions and all they had built. “I need to know,” she went on. “are you ready? Is your training complete?”

Marco cleared his throat. “My training ended a long time ago.” He said.

“Marco,” she stressed, holding the phone so tight against her face it hurt. “That’s not an answer and you know it. You must be honest with me.”

“I…I am…” he faltered.

“Listen, I swear whatever you say stays between you and me.” She promised. “I will tell no one but you must tell me the truth. Can you block her?”

Marco knew what it said in his file, what the trainers believed about him. He knew what Margaret wanted to hear, what he was supposed to say, but could anyone really know for sure until he tried?

“Yes.” He answered. “I can.”

“I hope you’re right.” Margaret’s reply was barely above a whisper and Marco pretended not to hear. She couldn’t mask her fear and he couldn’t take it on. He was dealing with far too much already.

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