The Prodigy

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Chapter 31

The next few weeks pass quickly. It feels like the calm before the storm. We work deep into the night and by mid September we complete all the detail work and just start practicing our presentation. All of a sudden, we are operating on “normal” business hours and it feels odd but welcome. The gods seem to have smiled on us, at least temporarily. Katharine has stayed away from the lab and there are no further angry outbursts from Marcus.

Kevin spends several weekends at the safe house with Luis and masters getting in and out of the power company network with ease. Luis practices sparring with Kevin and keeps his promise to take Kevin out clubbing. Working with Luis has had a calming effect on Kevin. Kevin comes in one Monday with a huge grin on his face and tells me he has met a girl. He reports that he actually has had several conversations with her. There is of course a “but” in the conversation. Kevin and I don’t have to say it. We are leaving in a month and the return date is open ended. Both of us have lived very carefully, planned lives. We are in new territory now.

I’m having similar feelings. I finally spend a night out with Jacki and Jiang at a dinner club in the meatpacking district. Jiang is actually a sweet girl who misses her family back in China. She is able to speak better in a small group and her English is much better than what I first thought. I regret that I couldn’t have developed a better friendship with both of them.

The weekend after Labor Day, Josh and I head to the beach for the last time to pack up the house. W empty out the refrigerator and store the outdoor furniture. Josh has a plumber coming in a week that will winterize the house. Normally, the plumber doesn’t come until the end of October, but Josh wants to make sure the house is taken care of before we leave. I can tell Josh is melancholic. I have only been here this summer and I have become attached to the house. I can’t imagine what Josh is feeling.

After working all day around the house, we settle down on the porch with a bottle of wine. Josh comments on how much he has come to appreciate Francesca, who normally cleans the house at the end of the season. I snuggle up to him in front of the outdoor fire pit. Fall is approaching and the temperature has dropped into the forties at night although the days are crisp and sunny.

“Hey Josh, I can tell this is getting to you. We’ll be back someday.”

“I know we’ll come back. And I am doing what my grandfather wished he could do. My fears must be getting to me that I will never return here or see you, Bent, Frankie or my father again. I don’t actually believe my fears, but they creep up on me sometimes.”

“I have similar fears. I would be devastated to lose my mother. But I don’t think we can escape our destiny. At least I can’t. I have been reading about this memory altering serum. It is very hard to reverse. No one even knows all the possible side effects because it could never go to a full clinical trial. I need to get my father out before they start using this serum on the detainees.”

Josh walks over to the kitchen and gets a beer. “Does your destiny also say you will be with me?” He dims the lights so the fireplace becomes our only source of illumination. The shadows dance across his face, obscuring the intensity residing in his eyes.

“Haven’t really considered it in those terms. I honestly can’t imagine the future beyond the Rosewood target date. I think I am too scared to consider the possibilities of what might happen. As far as I know, my mother will try to get my father and her out of the country but how and when she will do this is unclear. As for us, I am just enjoying each day. I am scared to think of the distant future. I am scared to hope for an outcome and have it taken from me” Josh turns his head away at my statement and I’m unsure about what he is thinking. The truth is life has thrown me quite a few curveballs already. Having expectations that are too high can lead to profound disappointment.

“Let’s just assume that we will safely make it to Brazil. As for your parents, Jax talked to me about them. He is worried too. He’s also worried about Ziva and her mysterious husband. I asked Luis to look out for them. He has considerable resources at his disposal.”

“Care to tell me what they are?” I curl up close to him with a mischievous grin on her face.

“Don’t bat your eyes at me, thinking I’ll spill the beans. I can’t tell you as I don’t even know who they are exactly. I am not being evasive with you either. Luis works for a top secret government agency hidden from the public eye created during the unrest that happened thirty years ago. Luis told me no one has ever heard of them. Luis was recruited directly out of Hopkins.”

“Is that why Luis is so helpful? Has this agency been tracking what is happening with the false arrests, and the aborted fetuses and the unlawful detentions?”

“That is partly the answer. Their target is Halliday. He is a scary individual. He has too much power even though his elected office doesn’t give him that. Corruption runs deep and for a long time with him.”

I sit back to look at him. “What is the other part of the answer?”

“Luis made it into Hopkins on an athletic scholarship for baseball. He had career ending knee surgery the beginning of his sophomore year and lost his scholarship. I lent him the money to finish school. Luis feels that he owes me, even though he has already paid me back. He is one of the best investments I ever made. He’s a really good guy.”

“Kevin thinks so too. Luis introduced Kevin to a girl last weekend and Kevin actually followed up with a phone call. It was the first time he ever called a girl. He is a little disappointed it will be ending in a month.”

“Does he like this girl?” Josh is smiling. “I can’t believe Luis beat me to it. I had imagined I would be the one introducing him to his first girl after I beat him out for you.”

“Funny.” Sarcasm rolls off my tongue. “I think he likes the idea of a girl talking to him more than he likes the girl herself.”

“Really? What is wrong with her?”

“I don’t think anything is wrong with her. She sounds pleasant. I think Kevin is just super intelligent and has trouble coming down to her level.”

“I could see that being a problem.” Josh stands up to add wood to the fireplace and then lets the blinds down on the panoramic windows. I get up to help him. “Are you getting excited about going to Italy? It is only two weeks away.”

“I am looking forward to our time together after we give the presentation. And Kevin of course.” I let out a tinkling laugh as I say this.

“Yes, Kevin. My ever present rival.” Josh starts playing with my hair and kisses me on the neck.

“Kevin is like the brother I never had. He is really happy we’re his friends. He was very lonely when he first arrived.” My voice drops off as I start to kiss him back.

“Well, I like Kevin a great deal but thankfully he isn’t here right now.” Josh picks me up and carries me into the house. “It is so nice being alone with you.”

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