Of Maleficent and the perfect spring day
Springtime was probably the best part of the year. Everything seamed brighter in London, despite the cloudy skies and near-daily showers. The parks bore an ever-bright green, flowers of all types and colors adorned the gardens and even the stern faces of the londoners seamed merrier. School wouldn't return for another two days and so father and daughter decided to go out for a stroll. It was moments like these that made him cherish life, forget all the violence, all the trauma, all the blood he himself spilled and the blows and pains he had suffered to spend two weeks of perfect illusion with his little one.
Olivia was now five years old, she could run, she could climb, she could count to one hundred and last week she had learned how to ride her bicycle without training wheels, and he was proud of the patience and teaching skills he never thought he had. Yesterday had been quite eventful, in the morning he had cooked one of the very few things other than alcohol that he could concuct: apple pie. In the afternoon, after stuffing their faces with their "masterpiece" and vanilla ice cream (his spiked with some cognac) and taking at least two hours to be ready to leave they went to the cinema and watched "Maleficent" in 3D.
He never thought it would be so good, despite Angelina Jolie's seemingly perfect looks. What he had enjoyed most was the comment Olivia made at the end when he inquired on her favorite part of the motion picture.
"You're my Maleficent dad." No I Love you's or you're my hero's, just that. A man who raised her mostly from afar, who many times didn't seem so attached, but despite that, her father who loved her unconditionally. In a rare public display of affection he had crouched down and given her the tightest, warmest, the best hug of their lives. The only pain there was the knowledge that in a few days his holidays would be over and he would be forced to report to the new M at MI6. James would be again replaced by 007, the man with a gaping hole for a heart. A man who killed without the blink of an eye, a man with no law, no love, no laughter. A man who didn't have a daughter—a man who was selfishly unafraid to leave her alone in the world. They had offered him a desk job in London... he, too proud hadn't accepted. Mallory, a family man himself had tried to caution him, to no avail. Who was he without his gun, without his cars, the adrenaline, the scheming, the seducing, the adventure? All he knew what to be was an agent, and that is something he planned on doing until his last breath.
But when he was with Olivia... he was so, so different. He was someone else, it was as if some other entity took over his body, mind and soul and he lived and breathed and got up at six in the morning everyday for her. It was nice, for two or three weeks.
Olivia lived in a townhouse in kensignton owned by him. Her mother had died as she was being born, one life for another. She'd had an aneurysm that somehow no one was able to detect priorly, while pushing and pushing for her baby to come out.
He had met Ana on a mission to Portugal, she was there a beautiful fado singer in black, a richly embroidered shawl around her slender, olive-skinned arms as she sung her heart out. In Portugal, when a fado singer opened his or her mouth to sing, everyone went silent, in awe of the pure emotion and artistry. When Ana opened her mouth—people were hypnotized, completely baffled, moved to tears, touched. She smiled, curling her bright red lips, looking straight at him who enjoyed a glass of porto in a corner of the taverna.
He'd been the only one there to stand emotionless... it had intrigued her to the point of confronting him and later that night the Portuguese goddess had made her way into his bed, into his life and allowed him to come into hers. One week later they were married in Coimbra, five months later they were expecting their first child and less than a year after that, he was burying her in a cemetery in Lisbon, their daughter in his arms and Ana's mother clinging to his other arm, head to toe in black. She was a widow, she had lost her only child, her only family... Maria followed them to London and here raised and educated Olivia more than he could say for himself.
As he sat on a wooden bench under the shade of a tree he watched as she charmed her way into the circle of children by the playground and joined in their game. She looked nothing like him—all her mother. Perhaps the only noticeable thing she had inherited from him was the character. In many ways that terrified him.
As the sun began to set and his omega watch displayed 6 o'clock, he called her over and made her put her sandals back on. Her brown curls were all over the place and her big eyes sparkled. Her baby cheeks were red from all the running she had done and she wouldn't stop talking about how the other boy and girl enjoyed "Peppa Pig" and "Charlie & Lola" just as she.
James just nodded along to everything she said, aham here, hmm there... Simply walking towards their car with her tiny hand in his, knowing that soon they would be home, made him feel... good.
Maria awaited them with dinner nearly done and the house impeccably clean. Only God knew how these women were capable of multi-tasking so spectacularly. Tending to the children, tidying the house, cooking, cleaning, keeping themselves informed of all the neighborhood gossip and watching all their Portuguese and Brazilian soap operas... And at the end of the day, looking nice and fresh, ready to go out on a date. It had only been a month since Maria met Anthony Michaelson, a well-off divorcee who owned an amusement park. That Dona Maria Alcantara was interested in paintball, rock climbing, rollercoasters and bungee jumping James had never suspected.
She left her specialty on the table, cod-fish with potatoes and natas, pearly white rice, salad, wine for him and freshly made passion-fruit juice for Olivia. She kissed both on the cheeks, fetched her purse and left with a bright red smile on her face.
Olivia just stared after her avó and then at him, quizzically.
"Dinner and bath, love. Tomorrow's another day..." She nodded and he followed her into the bathroom to wash their hands.
Dinner passed and both Bonds decently scrubbed and dressed in their sleeping attire, they lay on James' large bed, on top of pristine, Egyptian cotton white blankets, as soft as clouds probably were, Olivia's head rested on his shoulder, watching yet another re-run of "Peppa Pig". As she began to close her eyes, he whispered sweet little nothings into her ear, snuggled even closer to her and enjoyed these priceless last hours of slumber before he'd return to "reality". He kissed her on the forehead and relished the scent of her lavender "Johnson's baby" shampoo... his heart already aching.