I lay down on the bed with my head on the pillow facing Noah who had already lay down on top of the covers. He was looking at me with sadness in his eyes.
“This is why you don’t have time to date right?” I murmured. “Your job… It’s kind of intense.”
He nodded and closed his eyes
“Yeah.” He replied finally, opening his eyes. “I did have a girlfriend, a couple of years ago… I couldn’t tell her and she assumed I was cheating on her. Things got ugly and I decided that it wasn’t fair to expect my partner to have half a boyfriend so I haven’t tried again since.”
I ignored the flicker of jealousy that stung my gut. Noah was my stepbrother and this had happened years beforehand.
“It can’t have been easy.” I whispered.
“It’s the loneliness that gets me. Pretending to be someone else all the time doesn’t help. Which is why I left… aside from the obvious. I wanted to be normal. Find a girl, fall in love… get married. I was being a dreamer...”
I slid my hand over Noah’s, he flinched, but entwined his fingers through mine. “You’ll find all of that Noah. I know you will.”
“We should sleep.” Noah exclaimed. “Big day tomorrow.”
I nodded and closed my eyes. Daylight came to quickly, the brightness woke me, spilling in from the sunrise outside. I opened my eyes and looked at Noah, he was still facing me, our hands still entwined. He was still on top of the blankets and fully dressed. A couple of minutes later there was a knock at the door. I looked down at the clock on the nightstand, it was barely 7am.
“Room service.” A males voice exclaimed. My eyes narrowed, neither one of us had been awake to call for anything. I sat up and ran around to the window, looking out through a crack. A man dressed in the hotel uniform stood at the door his hands on a food cart.
I turned to face noah and pulled the blankets out from under him until he was covered. I pulled off Noah’s oversized shirt, leaving only my bralette and boy leg panties and swapped the ring on my middle finger to my ring finger.
“We didn’t call for anything.” I exclaimed as I stood by the door. I spoke with a southern accent but I wasn’t entirely sure why.
“It’s complementary miss.” The man replied.
I opened the door ajar, leaving the chain on. The man with the trolley was at least fifty, he was gruff and not like any room service boy I’d ever seen before.
“Look I’m real sorry.” I murmured. “My husband and I, well we’re newlyweds and we’re really only hungry for each other.”
“All the same miss, I need to bring your food in.” The man exclaimed.
“Oh, please. I’m sure there’s some poor souls out there in need. Please, give it to them… if you could bring us back a do not disturb sign… well that would be great. Me and Jonas don’t plan to be leaving the bed today.”
“Uh, okay.” The man exclaimed. “Sorry to disturb.”
My heart thumped as I closed the door, deadbolting it for good measure. I turned and looked at Noah who was now sitting bolt upright. He looked me up and down and then pointed to the door.
“Henchman.” He mumbled. “When need to leave now. They’ll be back… and now they’ve seen you.”
He stood up and picked up his t-shirt. “A lot of you.” He mused. “You have a tattoo on your back.”
I felt my skin redden. The small tattoo on my right shoulder blade was small, but obvious when I wasn’t wearing a shirt.
“Roman numerals for the date my dad was K.I.A.” I whispered. “I may not have known him, but things like that make me feel connected to him. Mom doesn’t know about it.”
Noah’s hand brushed over the spot as he helped pull the shirt back on over my head. “We don’t have time to get dressed or grab our things.” He said. “And we’re going to have to leave through the bathroom window.”
I nodded as Noah raced and grabbed his laptop from his case. “Lets go.”
We walked into the bathroom and Noah opened the window above the toilet. Swiftly we both climbed through. Noah grabbed my hand and ran to a black BMW. He knelt down and did something to the door before opening it.
“Get in.” he exclaimed
I climbed into the car from the drivers side and sat down. Noah got in and pulled wires down, within a minute the car started and we began to drive.
“Did we just steal a car?” I exclaimed, shocked.
“It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last.” he replied turning out of the hotel car park. “It’s either us steal a car and live, or stay there and be tortured to death.”
“Well when you put it that way.” I muttered. Noah turned onto the freeway. He looked in the mirrors constantly for at least 15 minutes, but eventually stopped and seemed to relax.
“So what do we do now?” I murmured. “And if you say classified I’ll hit you.”
“It is classified.” He mused. “But as things have changed…”
“We have to keep moving. When I’m sure we haven’t been followed I’ll call a number from a payphone. I’ll be given a code and I’ll know what to do and where to go. We’ll have to wait further instructions from that point.”
“So I’m not going in to witness protection.”
“Not today.” Noah replied. “Remember that silver lining… where you hadn’t witnessed anything.”
“Yeah.” I whispered.
“It’s gone now. You’ve witness something… someone.”
“Oh.” I replied. “So that was one of the bad guys?”
“We didn’t leave out of the bathroom in our PJ’s for nothing Vi. You really impressed me back there.” He added. “The accent, the lie. It was all very seamless. Which is why he bought it. At least for a while.” Noah exclaimed turning off down a more secluded country road.
“Really?” I smiled and straightened up. “So am I like a honorary spy now?”
Noah took his eyes off the road for a second and stared at me, his mouth was a thin line, his eyes dark. “That’s not even something to joke about Vi.”
“Okay, sorry. Can you at least tell me about the case? The thing that’s caused all of this?”
“It’s classified. I can’t tell you anything without clearance…”
“Did you join a drug cartel.. And the main gangster found out and put a hit out on you?” I exclaimed with a grin.
“What the hell is with you and the damn drug cartel Olivia. No…”
“Okay, then you went overseas on orders of the president to gain intel from the russian government and your terrible russian pronunciation had you tortured until you managed to escape.” I laughed. Noah did too but shook his head.
“No Olivia, nothing political. At least not that I am aware.”
“Okay, okay… uh maybe it’s a sex trafficking ring and you were pretending to be one of recruiters, so you could bring them down.. Like the Movie Taken… but you know, rethought.”
Noah coughed and then shook his head. “This game is stupid Olivia. You’re guessing using plot lines for movies to guess, and I’m not going to tell you. So just stop. Okay.” He pleaded.
I sighed and let my head hit the headrest.
“Why couldn’t I just have the old crush on the stepbrother cliche.” I muttered. “Why did my stepbrother have to be a freaking Spy.”
The air between us fell quiet and awkward, for a long time neither one of us spoke. Finally Noah pulled over beside a payphone.
“Do you have a crush on me?” He whispered.
“If that is all you heard me say. The I think you’re the one with the crush.” I retorted.
Noah didn’t reply, instead he got out of the car and walked over to the payphone. I sat there, and watched him as he picked up the phone. He stood there for all of ten seconds then walked back to the car. Again he hotwired it and began to drive.
“So? Where are we headed too?” I mused, trying to break the awkwardness between us.
“That’s classified.” He replied, his voice taut.
We drove and drove and I had no idea where we were or where we were headed. Finally after another couple of hours Noah turned down a road in the middle of nowhere. We drove into a forest area and down a long gravel driveway. Finally we stopped outside a victorian house.
We both got out, Me dressed in nothing but Noah’s t-shirt and him in dark blue pants and a white singlet.
“Let’s go get settled. We need to await further instructions here, we could be here a while.”
Once we were inside Noah tapped something into a security pad and the door automatically locked.
“Hungry? These places are usually well stocked. I could make us something to eat.”
I shook my head. “It’s been a weird 24 hours. I might go have a nap or something.”
Noah nodded and pointed to the stairs. “Yeah of course. I’ll uh, show you to a bedroom.”
I followed Noah up the stairs of the house. It was odd that it was so empty, yet seemed so lived in and homely. I guessed that was part of deal. They probably have staff that would come out and restock the place weekly. Noah stopped outside the first door on our left and turned the handle. The room was full furnished, the bed made.
“There should be some spare clothes in the wardrobe.” He paused. “If you want to change out of my shirt that is. Feel free to keep it.”
I walked into the room and stood at the door. Noah leaned against the frame and went to say something else, but at the last minute he didn’t. Instead he pushed himself off and took a step out of the doorway.
“I’ll uh, wake you if we get any news.”
“Thanks.” I folded my arms across my chest.
Noah turned and walked back toward the staircase. I closed my eyes and closed the bedroom door. Once there was separation from Noah for the first time in over a day I let out a strangled sigh. For a split second I wanted to open the window and run away. But being I now knew his occupation, I knew that the window probably didn’t open… and if it did, he’d know immediately of my escape. Instead I lay down on the bed and tried to fall asleep, only I couldn’t. My mind was too full of questions, questions I knew I would never get the answers too. Worry for my Mom, surely she’d be back now, her trip ruined… her home gone, and the belief that I too was gone.
The uncertainty within me rumbled to the surface. Right now I was okay, and I knew a large part of that was because I felt safe with Noah. How long would I be with him, the longer I was with him, the more I didn’t want to go to some witness protection safe house. I sat up and fought the urge to puke. I walked out of the room and downstairs.
Noah was in the living area staring at the ground. He looked up at me as I walked into the room and flopped down on the sofa next to him.
“Too much on my mind.” I whispered. “I don’t want to be alone.”
Noah nodded. “Me either.”
“How’d you become a spy?” I asked, knowing the answer was probably not something he’d share. Noah’s eyes bored holes into mine. He shook his head.
“That’s classified.” he muttered.
I felt my eyes roll, “You’re kidding right. Noah everything we’ve done.. Everything I’ve seen… everything I already know is classified.”
Noah sighed. “I was handpicked in college.”
“Like Sidney in ALIAS.” I mused. “Interesting.”
“It was nothing like ALIAS.” Noah shot back.
“Do you wear disguises and go undercover?” I questioned.
“Well yeah.” Noah replied. “But-”
“But nothing, handpicked from college, dresses up… It’s Alias. Except Jennifer Garner has better bone structure.”
“It’s part of the job.” he replied. “Go undercover.”
“Granted, it’s a boring version of Alias. Where is the sex appeal and conflict.”
Noah let out a loud scoff, he moved across the couch and moved one arm between the sofa and my waist, in one smooth movement he had me, straddled over him. Too shocked to speak I looked down at his face, he was deadpan, not a hint of a smirk or laugh. He placed his other hand on my hip and pulled me in closer. I tried to ignore the rolling in my stomach and the tension rising in other places, but it was futile. One move and my stepbrother, the spy would have me as a ball of putty in his hands.
One hand moved from my hip, up my arm, over my shoulder and along my neck. He cupped my cheek and opened his mouth sightly. I wanted to jump away from him, from this moment… but I couldn’t.
Noah leaned in, his lips hovering over my neck, but then before his they could press against my skin he whispered.
“Boring, My ass.”