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Thread: Words

  1. #1
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    Default Words

    Note: I usually post on the story portion of this site but I figured I would make this available on the forums as well. This is a work of fiction and I assert my moral rights.
    This is my first attempt at writting in the first person so let me know how well you think I did on that area. I find it uncomfortable but I thought I would give it a shot and see what the outcome was like.
    If you are just here for nothing but sex then you should probably stop reading now. I prefer to weave in engaging story with my writting and not every chapter will have sex in it. The first chapter does but it is towards the middle of the chapter, so skip ahead if that's all you are here for.
    If you like a little story with your sex then I hope you enjoy this. I have been toying with this story for a while and I think I have worked the kinks and holes out so it can be put out in the light of day.

    Without further interuption:




    Words:
    Chapter One:

    It’s amazing what words can achieve if you know how to use them correctly. Words are the most powerful tools we as humans have at our disposal and if used properly they can change the world, for better or worse. All it took for me were three simple little words strung together in a perfect sentence and my entire life changed, along with the lives of those around me. When I first heard the words ‘I love you’ it was like music to my ears, but now that I think back on it I should have been wary. I should have looked past the words and figured out what sort of motivation was behind them. It was Michelle though; the one that got away and I just couldn’t believe my luck at getting the chance to have her back in my life once more. I should have realized what a fool I was.

    The story I am about to tell you is long, complicated, full of sorrow, heartache, tears, blood, and loss. I wish I could tell you that Michelle came back into my life and everything was good, that we kissed and made up and walked into the sunset hand in hand to live our lives happily. To tell you all that would be a blatant lie though, nothing but hogwash and I do not wish to lie anymore. Not to anyone. It feels like for most of my adult life I have done nothing but lie to those I love, but now I have the chance to set the record straight, even if it is to complete strangers.

    If you are reading this now then my casket has already been buried deep beneath the earth, in the final resting place. You may have heard of the events that led up to the funeral but let me tell you now that everything you know is a complete and utter lie. I was not the hero the government and media made me out to be, at least not in the way you understand it. But I am getting too far ahead of myself right now. Just let me preface this though; everything you are reading here has been marked classified and sealed deep within the government’s walls where they try to hide all their mistakes from the light of day.

    Before launching into my tale I should probably give you a little background and a little information on some of the people involved in and their relation to me, that way no one is confused later on. Just to get it out of the way now and save some time later.

    At the time everything started to begin and drag my life deeper and deeper into a swirling maelstrom of lies I was twenty six years old and eight years in with the armed forces. I probably don’t really have to inform you on what I look like as you have all probably seen the pictures of me on the news handed out by CSIS and the CIA, but for those of you hiding under a rock I will give a brief description. I was six feet three inches tall and weighed two hundred and eight pounds, most of that muscle I had built from my service in the military. I had raven black hair that I liked to keep cut really short and deep brown eyes that I really hated, even though most people said they were beautiful. Unlike most people in the military I opted not to get a tattoo and besides a few scars from training exercises and the single bullet shaped scar on the back of my left shoulder my skin was pretty unremarkable, but always tanned.

    That’s enough about me though; while this story revolves around my experiences I wouldn’t call myself the protagonist. No I was more of a tool or instrument used by another person, but we will get to her soon. If asked who the most important person in my life was leading up to those horrible events I would quickly answer Evelyn or Evee as I called her. You might be asking yourself where you have heard that name, Evee, before and I can easily answer that for you; Pokémon. I met Evee when she was only a few hours old, the beautiful daughter of my older brother and his fiancé. I was thirteen at the time and was really into the Pokémon video games for those old Nintendo handhelds. At the hospital my brother let me hold his little bundle of joy for the first time and I was instantly in love with this child. Swaddled in a soft pink blanket with a fluffy pink toque on her small little head she was the most precious thing I had ever seen in my life. When she opened her eyes and looked up at me I knew my little niece could be anything she wanted to be in life. Hence why I called her my little Evee, the cute little Pokémon that had so many options on what it could become.

    I’m still not sure why my older brother did it, but he made me the god parent of little Evee even though at the time I was so young. I suppose, now that I look back on it, how could Thomas or his fiancé believe that there would ever be a time in the future where they wouldn’t be with their little daughter. It was not to be though. After I was wounded in Afghanistan I returned back home to terrible news; Thomas and his wife had been killed in a hit and run, leaving Evee behind. I was still stuck in a hospital recovering from my wound and it hurt me so much when I realized I would not be able to attend the funeral for my brother or sister in law. I still remember this day very vividly as it if it had just happened a few hours prior, not six years ago. A man in an expensive black suite with an expensive leather briefcase and horn rimmed glasses came into the military hospital I was stationed at the day after the funeral. He was there to inform me about the Will they had left behind and how it pertained to me.

    I wanted nothing to do with the Will to be honest, knowing that nothing they could have left to me would have made up for the gaping hole left in my chest at the loss of the closest family members I had left. There were a few second cousins running around out there in the world somewhere but besides that nothing. It was as if the family name had been cursed somehow and most members of the family didn’t live long, usually dying in horrible accidents or other such nightmarish events. Even though I really didn’t want anything from the Will I was a little shocked to find out that only one provision had been left under my name. I had been named the full guardian of Evelyn Lily Anders, my ten year old niece. I remember almost having a heart attack at the thought of that and the nurses doing the rounds had to sedate me just to calm down enough to make the machines hooked up to me stop beeping so loud.

    Evee would be transferred into my custody when I was released from the military hospital and was back home on the base. So there we were, a ten year old lost soul being cared for by her uncle who was only thirteen years older than she was. Things weren’t easy at first, I was so unsure of how to be a parent and knew nothing about the responsibilities I had been given. Over time though we both figured out how to make things work together and even though I wished my brother and his wife had still been alive, I wouldn’t have traded Evee for anything. She was smart, funny, beautiful, and caring and together we led a great life on base.

    Thankfully I didn’t have to raise the child on my own as one of my closest friends, Gillian lives close to the base and was able to babysit her when I was out in the field for training exercises and such. Gillian and I had known each other from high school, she being three years young than I was. Even though age gaps like that in a social hierarchy like high school never usually happen or even work, we made it work. When I graduated and decided to enlist in the military she was the most vocal of the people I knew that spoke out against the decision. She had been so upset by the life path I had chosen that for almost three years she didn’t speak to me. I suppose it didn’t help that I had moved pretty far away from our home town.

    So anyways three years had passed without any word from either side of the little feud between us when I was in the major city located close to the military base I was stationed at. This night was before my seven month stint in Afghanistan and before my niece came to live with me after the tragic accident that took her parents. It was early fall and fairly warm so a few friends decided to head into the city for a night of fun and drinking. Originally I didn’t want to go, but you know peer pressure. I remember walking into a noisy club and following my friends to the bar to get a round of drinks before going on the prowl for women. One of my friends who had been waiting there for us for about half an hour was at the bar hitting on a petite young girl who had gotten caught away from her group of friends. At first I didn’t pay much attention to the girl, thinking she was just another new university student looking to get her drink on. I should probably mention this; my base was located in Alberta, Canada where the legal drinking age is eighteen. So it’s not like she was in there illegally or anything.

    After ordering my drink I turned back to let my buddy know that we had arrived, and that’s when I really paid attention to the girl he was talking to. Her very short brown hair, big green eyes, and coy little smile that had always knocked me off balance felt like a kick right to the stomach. After three long years Gillian had just shown up in my life again. I wasn’t sure if I should just walk away and pretend I didn’t see her, for all I knew she might have still hated my guts. Thankfully one of the guys I had come with told me they were all going to find a booth to sit at and drink and asked if I could pry the last member of our group away from his ‘hot piece of ass’ long enough for a few shots.

    I went up to him alright, but completely ignored him and instead turned my attention to Gillian. I didn’t even so much as say hi and I couldn’t read the expression on her face. She seemed to run the gamut of emotions in the span of a few seconds when she locked eyes with me. Then she started to move closer to me and I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it. That’s when she slapped me. Not a playful slap on the shoulder or even one of those fake ones you see in the movies. No this one hurt like hell and felt more like a punch than anything else. Before I could even so much as back away she lunged at me and I thought she was going to kill me, but instead she just wrapped her arms around my neck and hugged me tightly.

    Just like that she was my friend again. She had gotten accepted into the local university and had no idea I was even in the area, but it turned out she was glad that I was. We were pretty much back to the way things had been before I signed up for the military. Of course she still hated my decision but she had come to realize that it was my life and something that I wanted to do. While I was away in Afghanistan she looked after my small two bedroom house on base. When I was wounded and sent to a hospital a few provinces over from Alberta she took a few weeks off from her classes so I could have a friendly face around. Hell she even fluffed my pillows.

    When Evee came into my life Gillian was the glue that kept everything from falling apart around us. She would help care for her when I was busy with work, take her to school in town, even invite her over from some ‘girls nights’ when I was too exhausted to do anything but sit on the couch and nap all day after hard training sessions. I honestly don’t know where I would have been without that girl in my life.

    Now if the same person who asked me who the most important person in my life was also asked me who in my life I could have done without it, I would say Michelle. Hands down. Sure I treasured what she and I had when we were younger, but trust me when I say I was a complete fool for trusting her again. She broke my heart once and then proceeded to break the hearts of everyone close to me later in life. You’ll learn all about that part of my life soon enough though, so I am just going to explain what happened when we were teenagers.

    Before Gillian even came into the picture my best friend had been Michelle. We were the same age and had known each other since we were babies, so we were always close. There was some tension between us that I would later find out was both sexual and romantic tension, but I was young and naive so I didn’t really know at the time. When we were sixteen the friendship Michelle and I shared was taken to a whole new level when I realized my real feelings for her. It’s almost ironic you know, my life didn’t feel like it had really started until that first kiss between us and our last kiss is what ended my life. Sorry that is getting way ahead of myself. Anyways things were great between us for the final two years of school, even if Gillian didn’t think Michelle and I dating was a good idea. Gillian was always a great judge of character and I should have really listened to her, it would have saved me a lot of heartache.

    I was just too in love to know that Michelle and I were headed for disaster. On her eighteenth birthday I made a gesture that at the time I thought was sweet and romantic, but it ended badly. I didn’t exactly propose to her, I just offered her a promise ring so she knew my intentions. I really should have followed Gillian’s advice and just given her something cheap for her birthday. I don’t remember exactly what happened that night because it hurt so badly, but I do remember sitting on the curb near her house in the middle of the night with a small promise ring held between my fingers while tears filled my eyes.

    I never saw Michelle again after that night. Well not for a few years at least. According to Gillian Michelle had broken up with me that night, the only reason given being that she couldn’t be around me anymore. I wasn’t sure how to take that. Heartbroken and disillusioned I only saw one option in my life, military service. Yeah, it’s kind of played out, the shattered man going into the military because the love of his life rejected him, but that’s what happened.

    That’s really all the back story you need to begin to understand the journey that had been laid out for me later in my life. Once more I must stress that everything you are reading past this point is considered sensitive information by the government and would most likely get me into a ton of shit, if that were really possible anymore. I feel that this story has to be told though.

    *****************************


    It was a beautiful summer morning, the sun rising above the sparkling city radiating heat on everything it touched. The sky was a brilliant electric blue with not a single cloud in sight for as far as the eye could see. The small two bedroom apartment where I now lived in the middle of the city was filled with warm sunlight and the temperature was already starting to climb into the uncomfortable zone, even though it was only nine in the morning.

    As was usual I had been up for three hours and had gotten most of the housework out of the way so Evee and I could have most of the day free to do whatever we wanted. It was the weekend, which I had off from training unless we were going into the field, so I figured my niece and I could go out to a lake or something like that to beat the heat. As gorgeous as it looked outside I hated ‘blue blazers’ because I didn’t adjust to heat well.

    As I was putting on the second pot of coffee for myself Evee stumbled out of her room still dressed in her sleepwear and rubbing the sleep from her eyes as she went. I marvelled at what a beautiful young lady she was growing into, getting her mother’s good looks and dirty blonde hair that shimmered and her father’s dazzling eyes to make a stunning package. Another year or two and she would be beating the guys back with a stick just for a little breathing room.

    ‘What do you want for breakfast sweetie?’ I asked as she sat down groggily at the table and stifled a big yawn that threatened to stretch her face.

    ‘Food,’ she grumbled in her usual early morning tone. Unlike me Evee wasn’t a morning person and it often took her a few hours to get lucid enough to even string together a full sentence. If they had high schools that only operated at night Evee would have no problem with it. Even in this heat I was sure she could sleep the whole day away if she wanted to.

    ‘Need to be more specific than that,’ I prodded, trying to get her to wake up a little more. Once more she grumbled something but I wasn’t able to decipher what it was so I grabbed a box of sugary cereal and put it in front of her with a bowl before grabbing the last of the milk out of the fridge. Looked like I was only going to have sugar in my coffee because I had forgotten to get another carton of milk the day before.

    We sat at the kitchen table in silence while I sipped on my coffee and Evee slowly ate her cereal as it quickly turned to mush in her bowl. I heard a key enter the lock on the door and turn a second before it opened and Gillian walked into the apartment, her short hair dyed a dazzling red this week. I had chosen to move off base to make it easier for Evee to get to school and also cut down on the amount of gas Gillian had to use to take care of her. Her small one room apartment was just a few doors down the hall from ours. I tried to remember a time when Gillian had ever knocked on the door before letting herself in but couldn’t think of any. She was pretty much a part of this family so it didn’t really bother me in the least.

    ‘I come bearing gifts,’ she said happily and beamed at me holding up a grocery bag in her hand triumphantly like it was a major sports trophy or something.

    ‘What’d you get?’ I asked.

    ‘Well I noticed you were almost out of milk when I was over last night so I picked you up some,’ she explained pulling a carton out of the bag. Before she could even continue I rushed over to her, coffee cup in hand, and grabbed the milk before giving her a peck on the cheek.

    ‘Thank you god!’ I exclaimed before pouring a little into my steaming mug.

    ‘Just call me Gillian,’ she laughed at me and then moved towards the table, ‘I have something for you as well.’ She pulled a box of doughnuts from her bag and placed it in front of Evee whose eyes lit up at the unexpected treat. I wasn’t really a big fan of doughnuts, even the ones from Tim Horton’s so they were usually never in the house.

    Evee mumbled a thank you spewing crumbs all over the table as she tried to stuff two of the deep-fried treats into her mouth at once. Gillian simply laughed at her and then set to work on fixing the rat’s nest the young girl’s hair had become overnight. ‘So what’s on the agenda today?’ she asked looking at me with those piercing green eyes.

    ‘I was thinking about going out to the lake in a bit,’ I answered after taking a sip from my mug and moving over to add more into it, ‘Too bad you can’t join us. You’re going to boil to death at work if they haven’t fixed your air conditioner yet.’

    ‘You’re not coming?’ Evee asked sadly after she swallowed nearly half of a doughnut in one gulp.

    ‘Actually I took the day off,’ Gillian answered with a soft smile, ‘I thought it was more important to spend the day with my best friend.’ She looked sweetly at Evee and then turned her eyes to me, ‘And your uncle if I must.’

    ‘Ouch,’ I said in mock sadness and pointing to my heart, ‘That one hurts. Right here. I think I may even shed a tear. Nope, just a burp.’

    ‘Eww!’ Evee cried out but couldn’t stop from laughing.

    Evee finished eating and then she and Gillian took off into her room to pick out a nice outfit for a day at the lake while I packed up some snacks, drinks, and towels. I had every intention of spending the entire afternoon in the water if it was possible. Half an hour later the girls came back into the living room and we were off. I drove us out to a small lake about an hour and a half outside of the city limits. It was a secluded little place hidden at the end of a small dirt road that led you through dense forest and thick brush. Not many people seemed to know of the lakes existence and I was thankful for that. Even on the hottest of days there was usually no more than ten people, swimming or lounging on the sandy beach.

    When we arrived there were only about six people on the beach and we managed to find a secluded stretch down the way from them for a little privacy. I’m all for getting out and having a little fun at the beach but nothing annoys me more than when the area is overcrowded. I’d rather it be as close to dead as possible with very little noise.

    We all seemed to have a blast out at the lake and most of the time we were just goofing off in the cool water while the hot sun beat down on us from high above. I was glad that I had packed enough snacks because we spent most of the day out there. When it got close to eight o’clock in the evening I decided we had spent enough time out there and we packed up and headed back into the city for a late dinner of take out on the balcony.

    ‘So what’s next?’ Gillian asked as she finished her hamburger and tossed the crumpled up wrapper through the window and directly into the trash can in the kitchen.

    ‘What do you mean what’s next? We just spent the entire day out at the lake and I’m pretty sure Evee is about to pass out,’ I said and pointed to the thirteen year old girl who was trying desperately to keep her eyes open.

    ‘I’m not tired,’ she mumbled but couldn’t even lift her head to look at us.

    ‘How about we just order a movie on Pay-Per-View and relax on the couch for the rest of the night?’ I suggested but Gillian stuck out her bottom lip and pouted. I HATE puppy dog eyes! ‘You have a better idea then?’

    ‘We should go and get a drink at the bar down the street,’ she suggested hopefully but I quickly shook my head.

    ‘Do you have an idea that includes a minor?’

    ‘Oh come on Ty! Please? It’s been so long since you and I have just hung out on our own! Besides, it looks like Evelyn isn’t going to stay up much longer.’

    I shook my head once more and finished off my fries before heading back into the sweltering apartment and throwing my trash away. Gillian and Evee followed after me as I made my way into the living room and started to flip through the movie channels on the television looking for something decent to watch that night.

    ‘You guys should go to the bar,’ Evee said through a yawn as she collapsed on the couch and kicked her feet up on the glass coffee table. I flashed her and evil look and she quickly put her feet back on the carpet.

    ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea leaving Evee in the apartment on her own,’ I answered but both girls flashed me an annoyed look.

    ‘I’m not a little girl anymore,’ Evee growled as more energy rushed into her, ‘I’m thirteen now! Do you think I’m going to burn the place down if you’re gone for a few hours? Besides when was the last time you actually got to hang out with someone without me around?’

    Evee was right, to an extent anyways. Since I had taken full custody of her I really hadn’t had a night alone with friends. Most of the guys I used to hang out with on base were still running around chasing girls in the city, and that really didn’t fit in with the new parental role I had been given. I was still uneasy about leaving her on her own though.

    ‘She’s right Ty and you know it. Look she’s got both of our cell numbers and like I said it’s only at the end of the street. What’s the worst that could happen?’

    A million different scenarios flashed through my mind but I shared none of them. I knew that I was a little over protective of Evee and the only times I wasn’t around her was when I was in the field, but we had both been through so much in the last few years that we had really come to depend on one another being around. Then again it was only one night, a few hours at the most. Besides I was beginning to feel like the friendship that Gillian and I had once shared had morphed into some weird mother and father complex the way we both took care of Evee. It would be nice to find our way back to being friends again.

    ‘Fine,’ I conceded, ‘only under a few conditions though.’

    Gillian beamed and Evee squealed in delight at the prospect of being home alone for a while. ‘What are they then?’ they both asked in unison. Okay scratch that, the friendship had morphed into some weird mother, father, sister complex that I was beyond understanding or explaining.

    ‘First you are not to leave the apartment unless the place is burning down,’ I said pointing to Evee who quickly moved her feet from the coffee table once more under my scrutiny, ‘Secondly no one is allowed inside when I am not here, especially your friends. Thirdly I want a text from you ever twenty minutes or else I call it off and come back. Lastly,’ this time I turned towards Gillian who had been smiling wickedly at Evee the entire time, ‘You are buying.’

    ‘Deal,’ the girls laughed.

    ‘Meet me at my place in ten minutes?’ Gillian asked me, ‘I want to change into some nicer clothes.’

    I agreed and she quickly left the apartment and headed towards her own place, which I swear she barely lived in. Most of the time she was here with us, even when she was in University. Not to mention most of her clothes had somehow migrated to Evee’s room over the last few months since we had moved in just down the hall.

    I found some teen movie about sparkly monsters or some crap for Evee and ordered it while she changed into her pyjama’s and brought out her comforter to curl up under on the couch, even though it was still blisteringly hot. I quickly went and changed my own clothes, opting for a tight fitting shirt and blue jeans before slapping on some deodorant and cologne. I was sweating so bad in this heat that this had become an almost hourly routine for me.

    I took one quick look in the mirror, not exactly sure why, and headed back out into the living room where Evee was just sitting down again after grabbing some orange juice from the fridge. ‘Alright, remember the rules,’ I informed her sternly before flashing a gentle smile and receiving one in return.

    ‘Have fun on your date with mom,’ Evee giggled and I threw a pillow at her.

    ‘Funny!’ I laughed dryly, ‘Behave okay.’ I bent down and placed a soft kiss on her forehead and then she kissed me on the cheek as I pulled away.

    ‘You behave too,’ she giggled and flashed me a mischievous grin that I ignored. I walked out of the apartment and locked the door behind me before heading down the hall and knocking on Gillian’s door. A few seconds later she opened it and walked out. I don’t know how she managed it, but in the ten minutes or so she had managed to do her hair up nicely, put a thin layer of makeup on, and dress in some pretty nice clothes I hadn’t seen her in before. I had to physically restrain my jaw from dropping at the sight of her. I was about to tell her how gorgeous she looked but for some reason thought better of it as we headed towards the stairs.

    It turned out that the bar down the street was actually not a bar, or even down the street. It was two blocks over, which really shouldn’t have been a big deal but I couldn’t supress the thought that if Evee was in trouble I was even further away from helping her now. I was actually expecting some dingy little hole in the wall filled with a few undesirables and beer served in dusty glasses. What I found was a flashy dance club with a line of young people around the building clambering to get through the bouncer who guarded the door.

    I wasn’t too keen on waiting in the long line on the off chance that we would even be able to get in before the club closed for the night, but amazingly I didn’t have to worry about it. Gillian walked to the head of the line with me in tow behind her and waved to the butch bouncer who let us in without hesitation before stepping back in front of the door to prevent anyone else from following.

    Inside the club was even more packed than outside and we had to push our way through crowds of people to make our way towards the bar. Gillian placed an order of drinks for both of us and quickly paid the cute brunette before we waded back through the people dancing looking for an empty table around the edge of the dance floor. With amazing luck we managed to find a table large enough to fit a dozen people or so completely open and we sat down quickly. With a soft smile Gillian handed me the rum and coke she had ordered for me before taking a sip from her bottle of imported beer. It was even hotter in the club than in my apartment and I could already feel sweat start to bead on my forehead. My nose was clogged with the mingled stench of a hundred different colognes and perfumes and the deafening upbeat music was causing havoc on my ears, which was pretty amazing considering I had lost some of my hearing due to firing a rifle off repeatedly with no ear protection. Yeah I know, not smart, but hey I was young so sue me.

    ‘So you mind explaining how you got us in the door?’ I asked her loudly over the music blaring all around us.

    ‘I had a class with the bouncer last semester,’ she answered just as loudly, ‘and he said if I ever wanted to get in the club just show up on a night he was working. I don’t think he really enjoyed me showing up with you though.’

    ‘What do you mean?’ I asked but quickly realized exactly what she had meant.

    ‘I think he likes me,’ she answered with a smile.

    ‘I’ll go out and tell him we’re just friends,’ I laughed but her cute smile turned into a grimace.

    ‘Please don’t. If he or anyone else he knows ask this is a date okay.’

    I nodded lamely but didn’t push the subject any further. From the first time I had met her again in that club downtown I hadn’t seen her so much as flirting with another man so it was kind of odd she would shrug off the advances of a nice enough looking guy who was built like a brick shit house. It wasn’t really any of my business anyways.

    We sat there for about ten minutes, mostly in silence as it was hard to hear each other over the loud music and drank our beers as we watched all the younger people dancing and flirting like there was no tomorrow. Twenty minutes on the dot from when I left the apartment my phone vibrated against my leg in my pocket from a text from Evee who simply stated that I should behave. I texted back a snarky retort and put my phone back in my pocket just in time for a few friends from base to show up at the table.

    ‘Well look at this,’ my buddy Hitchens laughed when he spotted me sitting there, ‘Did you find a babysitter or something?’

    ‘No but I probably should have,’ I laughed and Gillian elbowed me hard in the ribs with a smile. I stood up from my chair and hugged Hitchens quickly. We had been bunk mates in Afghanistan and if it wasn’t for him I probably would have bled out in the sand during a fire fight. Then again if it hadn’t been for me he probably would have been coming back home in the worst possible way, in a casket.

    ‘So what are you doing here man? I thought you didn’t go out anymore.’

    ‘Blame her,’ I said pointing to Gillian who smiled sweetly. Behind Hitchens I heard someone snort angrily and Jameson popped his head out and glared at me. When I had been reunited with Gillian it was Jameson who had been hitting on her when I came over and he held me responsible for his lost chance. Even though Gillian had once told me that there was no way she had been going home with him that night. Regardless I was no longer one of his favourite people, even after so many years had passed.

    ‘Blame her?’ Hitchens laughed, ‘Hell I should buy her a drink for doing something no one else has been able to do in years!’

    He told me not to move and then he and the rest of the group rushed off in the direction of the bar to get some drinks. I didn’t really want this night to get too out of hand, which it usually did when I was around the guys, but it was hard to tell them that. It had been quite a while since we had all hung out off base and to be honest it was a little refreshing. Gillian seemed to see it in my eyes because she smiled at me knowingly and winked in her annoying way when she was gloating. The guys returned a few minutes later with enough drinks for the whole table; a couple of pitchers of beer, a round of shots for everyone, and some Redbull to make things even more chaotic. Even though we were a little older than the target demographic of the club I was fairly certain any one of these military guys could give some eighteen year old punk a run for his money in the drinking department.

    When the shots were handed out I declined mine at first. Hitchens was having none of that though and quickly reminded me that I owed him and told everyone else not to drink theirs unless I was going to do it was well. After a few minutes I caved to peer pressure and ignored the triumphant look Gillian was wearing like a new mask. It had been quite a while since the last time that I had been drinking so the shot of whiskey burned my throat on the way down and I could instantly feel a warmth spreading through my extremities. After a single shot and half of my original drink the room was already starting to spin around me and my head was buzzing.

    I got hooked on the conversation going on around the table, even though it was mostly about the hot girls prancing around in their skimpy clothing. It was just great to be having a little fun for once. I mean I had a blast spending time with my Evee but this was a different kind of fun. It was more mature, more adult in nature. Scratch that, there was nothing mature about a group of military guys buzzed at a club. But still it was fun as hell.

    Without even realizing it I had missed two check-in texts from Evee and Gillian pointed it out to me when she got a worried one from her asking what was going on. I had been so worried about Evee being the irresponsible one but it turned out I was destined to take that roll. Thankfully Gillian let me know she was going to take over the texting duties while I was a little out of it.

    ‘Looks like you got out of paying for my drinks,’ I laughed and nudged Gillian on the shoulder as she sent a reply back to Evee.

    ‘Thank god because at this rate I would have been bankrupt by the end of the night,’ she laughed back and pointed out the empty glasses that were gathering on the table. Hitchens had just come back with another round of shots for everyone and the buzzing in my head was a full on avalanche of warmth and sound as I began to feel invincible.

    ‘So are you guys dating now?’ Masterson asked grumpily from the other table when he noticed how close Gillian and I were sitting.

    ‘Is it that obvious?’ Gillian retorted without even looking in his direction. I was about to tell him the truth but then I remembered what she had told me earlier, that if anyone that knew the bouncer asked about them dating the answer was supposed to be yes. I didn’t think Masterson knew the bouncer but every once in a while I would catch him looking at Gillian with a horny little glint in his eyes. So I kept my mouth shut and moved even closer to Gillian to make it look authentic.

    Most of the guys had already gone off in search of their next conquest for the night leaving a few of us back at the table. The chatter had died down mostly as the music grew even louder as the night wore on. Even now Hitchens was looking around the packed club for a cute enough girl that satisfied his tastes. I figured I should help him out a bit, be his wingman considering he was paying for the drinks and all so I began to look out over the crowd for someone that I thought would be good for him. That’s when I saw her, like a mirage shimmering among the crowd. The one that got away; Michelle.

    She was there for a split second and then a crowd of dolled up girls walked in front of where she was standing and she was gone the next moment. I stood up from my chair and gazed out at where I had seen her, or where I thought I had seen her. I scanned the club, using my height to gaze over people’s heads trying to figure out where she had gone when I felt a small hand land on my shoulder. I spun around, my heart in my throat, expecting to see Michelle smiling at me like she used to. Instead I found Gillian looking at me with a concerned look on her face.

    ‘You okay?’ she asked.

    ‘I thought I saw her,’ I said softly but somehow she heard me over the music and her eyes grew puzzled.

    ‘Saw who?’ she asked.

    ‘Michelle. I swear she was right over there,’ I answered and pointed out at the dance floor where she had been a moment earlier. ‘Right there,’ I repeated.

    Gillian looked at where I was pointing but like me she couldn’t pick out her face or blonde hair in the crowd. She looked back with a sad look on her face and took my hand in hers. I was still so bewildered that I only half noticed she was telling my friends we were leaving and thanking Hitchens for paying for the booze. A second later she led me by the hand out of the club as I strained my neck from side to side to find the girl I had once known.

    We pushed through the doors at a brisk pace and pushed past the bouncer who gave me a dirty look when he saw me holding hands with the girl he liked. Seeing his wounded demeanour I felt bad about deceiving him and wanted to pull my hand away from Gillian’s, but she gripped it even tighter and continued to lead me away from the club.

    ‘Where are we going?’ I asked as we walked down the side walk, past the long line of people still trying to get into the club. The night air was cool and felt good against my hot skin but it did nothing to cool my mind as I kept replaying those few seconds of shock over and over.

    ‘I think you’ve had a little too much to drink sweetie,’ she said softly, ‘So I’m taking you home.’

    ‘I feel fine,’ I lied. I didn’t feel fine at all. Not only was there a tingling sensation in my stomach and throat from the urge to puke but I felt a little over heated and dizzy.

    ‘Nice try Ty,’ she said seeing right through my lie.

    ‘What about Michelle?’ I asked as we crossed through a red light. This late at night there were only a few cars on the road and crossing against the red wasn’t that big of a deal. Besides, waiting for the light to go green just so we can walk was a waste of time.

    ‘She wasn’t there Ty; I think you were just seeing things. You are pretty drunk.’

    I wanted to dispute her logic but found that I really couldn’t. I was pretty drunk and it had been so long since I had actually seen Michelle that I probably wouldn’t actually recognize her, especially in a crowd of close to a hundred people. Still, I could swear it was her. I just had this feeling but I couldn’t find a way to express it without sounding like a drunken fool. I reminded myself that Michelle had been the one to leave me and even if I had spotted her in that club she probably disappeared because she didn’t want to get into a confrontation. I wanted to blame her for that but didn’t think I could. I wasn’t even sure I was ready for it any more than she would be.

    It only took us a few minutes to reach the front doors of the apartment building we lived in, and even as we walked up the stairs Gillian didn’t release the grip she had on my sweaty hand. Five flights up and six doors on the right I found myself at my front door. I pulled out my keys but before I could begin to fumble around trying to stuff it into the lock Gillian pulled out her set to my apartment and unlocked it and led the way in. The only light left on was coming from the stove in the kitchen and I was glad to see that Evee had managed not to burn the place down in my absence. She must have been in bed because the television was turned off and there was no light coming from under her door down the hall.

    Gillian led me to my room, flicked on the light, and told me to get into bed. Being as drunk as I was and not overly shy about my body I stripped down to my boxer briefs right there in front of her before collapsing onto my soft bed, the sheets soft and cool against my warm skin. Like some kind of maid Gillian went around and picked my clothes up off the floor and put them in the laundry hamper while telling me I should probably get it done up tomorrow.

    ‘Do I need to get you a bucket in case you puke?’ she asked and I could hear the laugh hiding behind her words. Not trusting myself to speak just in case I did puke I simply shook my head and hope she saw the gesture as I did it into my pillow. A second later the overhead light shut off and I heard Gillian retreat from my room and back down the hall.

    I was starting to pass out but just before my eyes went dark I could swear I felt something cool and damp get pressed up against my forehead. I wanted to roll over and find out what it was but I was already too far gone and quickly lost myself in a drunken sleep.

    Most of the time when I was drunk, back in the first few years I was in the military, I never dreamt. About anything. That night I did though. It was so vivid it felt real. Michelle’s face swam in my vision looking much like she did all those years ago. Her golden blonde hair curled up nicely to frame her beautiful face and deep blue eyes. She wore that crooked smile that always made my knees weak when she flashed me with it.

    We were lying in bed with her hovering over me on her elbows looking down into my face. I could feel one of her hands trace a line up my chest and over my neck and chin before a single finger danced over my lips. I placed my left hand between her shoulder blades and applied a little pressure so her face moved closer to mine and my lips tasted hers. There was a sense of urgency behind my kiss and I devoured her lips and tongue as it slipped past my teeth and into my mouth.

    It was so much like I remembered it being. Each and every time we had ever made love it had been very passionate. Her body flattened out against mine and I could feel her nipples grow hard against my chest as I held her close. I kept my hand between her shoulders and moved my other down her side and over her hip before curving up and cupping in her buttocks in my hand. I squeezed it gently and she sighed a little into my mouth for affect. One of her hands reached down between both of our bodies and gripped the base of my hard cock, giving it a little squeeze that sent a jolt thought my spine and into my brain. Having her warm hand gripping me like that felt amazing and oh so right.

    The kiss grew more passionate as she began to move her closed fist up and down the shaft of my cock. My hand had stopped squeezing her butt cheek and moved through the cleft of her cheeks, over her puckered little hole down to the sopping wet gash. As my finger began to probe the soft flesh there she began to moan for real into my mouth and her hand began to squeeze a little harder. It didn’t hurt. Her nipples were now like two soft rocks poking into my skin and the amount of juice I felt on my hand between her legs told me she was extremely turned on.

    As if to put an exclamation point on that thought she lifted her pelvis off me and arched her back while rubbing the head of my cock over her clit a few times. We both gasped at the combined feelings we were getting but Michelle wanted more. She moved the tip of my hard cock right to her opening and brushed my fingers away, opening up the area for something larger and longer. When she lined my cock up with her wet entrance she rocked her pelvis back and slipped my full length and girth in all at once. Again we both gasped at the pleasure of my cock sinking deep into her.

    Her tongue swirled around my own as our kiss was no longer confined to our lips. We more or less just began licking at each other’s open mouths, our tongues dancing over tongue, teeth, and lips. When Michelle had gotten used to me being inside her she began to rock her hips up and down on me with a steady rhythm. In no time my entire length was being thrust in and out of her at a rapid pace as our breathing seemed to synchronize and we gasped, groaned, and moaned in unison. Her warmth, wetness, and tightness were doing a number on my libido and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I came inside her. I wanted to fill her with my seed so bad it hurt.

    Suddenly her muscles clenched around my cock and she let out a stuttering groan as an orgasm erupted in her mind and body. A fresh dose of her juices streamed out over my cock, down my balls and dripped between my ass cheeks causing a wet stain on the sheets below me. The amount of pressure she was applying on my cock was tremendous and I gasped in pain as her whole body shook on top of me. Her lips eagerly devoured mine again and her tongue started to pelt mine as she kissed me harder than anyone had ever before.

    She no longer moved her hips on me and my cock was firmly lodged in her swollen pussy as her muscles and walls pulsated over it. It was unlike any experience I had ever had before in my life and I don’t think I could ever actually explain it in words. Suffice to say that it felt incredible. I could feel my balls start to tighten as my own orgasm quickly approached but some nagging voice in the back of my head was starting to distract me. I struggled as hard as I could to focus on the feelings Michelle was giving me but the voice was quickly growing louder and louder.

    At first I couldn’t hear what it was saying, or even place the voice. I knew I had heard it before but that was still no help. I could start to feel my orgasm slip through my fingers and my cock soften a bit as Michelle’s pussy continued its assault on me to no avail. With an apology written all over my face I looked up into Michelle’s eyes as she broke the kiss and peered at me through half open eyes. Her mouth opened and for a good thirty seconds no words came out. Then without her lips moving an inch the voice I had been hearing in the back of my head burst out of her throat and slammed into me as I felt the dream dissolve around me.

    There was a soft knocking sound coming from my bedroom door as I tried to open my eyes, but the sun was too bright that the second any of it pushed past my eye lids it felt like someone was stabbing me in the brain with a screwdriver. The knocking continued and I could make out a voice saying something but I couldn’t understand the words for some reason. That’s when I felt the warm skin pressed up against my left arm that was draped over the other side of my bed and the soft breathing sounds. Suddenly the dream came flooding back into my mind and I could almost picture Michelle curled up next to me sound asleep. I knew it was impossible though, which only deepened the mystery of who was lying next to me and why I had my arm over them like we were spooning.

    At the exact same moment I began to open my eyes I heard Evee’s voice call through the closed door that I better be wearing underwear at least because she was coming in. In slow motion I heard the door creak open as Evee entered the room and my eyes opened fully to gaze upon the shock of short red hair lying next to me.

    ‘Gillian?’ I said out loud, ignoring Evee’s excited squeals. I sat up in my bed and pulled my arm off her as she began to stir. She was facing away from the way I had been laying and was still wearing the clothes she had worn to the club the previous night, thank god. All I needed was for Evee to waltz into my room and find me laying in bed next to a naked someone she considered a friend and mother figure.

    ‘Oh shit,’ Gillian grumbled as she sat up and looked around the room to find two sets of eyes staring at her.

    ‘What are you doing?’ I asked her.

    ‘I wanted to make sure you were alright,’ she sighed and stood up, ‘I must have fallen asleep though. Sorry about that.’

    Gillian glanced over at Evee who was still standing by the bed and her cheeks flushed pink in embarrassment from getting caught in bed with her uncle. I quickly shooed Evee out of the room and then pulled on a pair of jeans from the night before. It was already sweltering in the house so I opted to keep my shirt off, which didn’t help Gillian’s blushing any. Together we made the bed in silence and I could tell something was bothering her; I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

    ‘I’m really sorry Ty. I should have just gone home,’ she said sounding angry at herself.

    ‘It’s fine,’ I assured her, ‘It’s not like anything happened. Right?’

    ‘Yeah… right,’ she answered and something in the tone of her voice made feel a little uneasy. Once more the dream popped into my head and I had a horrible feeling that I might have gotten a little too excited in real life when I was dreaming. I just hoped I didn’t poke her anywhere important.

    I was about to ask her about that very thing when she suddenly stood straight up and looked me dead in the eye before saying, ‘I have to work so I should get going.’

    ‘I was thinking about pizza and a movie later tonight. You in?’ I asked trying to get things back to normal.

    ‘I think I will just stay home for the night. Sorry.’

    With that she left, leaving me standing in my room dumbfounded and completely lost. I pushed the confusion away though and left the room to make sure Evee was eating breakfast and not just watching television. Not being a morning person she hated eating right after she got up and I usually had to force her to sit down at the table and at least have a bowl of cereal or some toast. Thankfully she was eating some toast but she wore the same confused look I had been struggling with a few moments earlier.

    ‘What’s wrong sweetie?’ I asked as I sat down and poured myself some orange juice.

    ‘What happened with you and Gillian?’ she asked me. I didn’t really know how to respond because I wasn’t sure what had happened. I had fuzzy memories from the night before but they were all out of order and mostly filled with loud music I couldn’t hear over. Then waking up next to her in bed was a little disorienting, even if she was fully clothed. What really got me though was how just blew off a fun evening staying in and watching a movie with them. For as long as we had been a, quote unquote, family unit she had never passed up movie night.

    ‘Nothing,’ I answered while still trying to put the pieces together, ‘Why do you ask?’

    Evee looked down at her toast and played with crust before answering, ‘Just wondering why she said she wouldn’t be coming over tonight. I asked her if she wanted to hang out and she said no.’

    ‘She might have other things to do,’ I said softly but even I didn’t buy that one.

    Thankfully Evee dropped the subject and went back to pick at her toast with disdain while I quickly drank the orange juice I had before me. Compared to the previous day this one was pretty boring and laid back. We didn’t see or hear from Gillian at all and I was beginning to get worried that I might have done something really bad again. I couldn’t afford to lose her as a friend again and it really freaked me out that she wasn’t talking to me.

    The next day I was due back at work, and it being summer Evee didn’t have school to occupy her day. I had to be at work at six in the morning for P.T. and Gillian would usually come over just as I was leaving to take care of Evee while I was gone, even taking her to work with her on the days she had no other choice. It was a pretty messed up schedule but we made it work, until now at least. It was almost half past five and Gillian had not yet replied to the text I had sent her the previous night asking if she was still going to watch over Evee.

    Getting a little antsy I decided to go and wake Evee up and take her to the base with me. She still had a few friends on base and I knew one of the military wives would probably look after her for the day if I asked nicely enough. One thing I hated doing was waking Evee up this early in the morning because she was like a half starved rabid and crazed badger. The first time I did it I had scratches all over my arms from her trying to wrestle me for the covers she was hiding her head under, but this time I had no choice. I just couldn’t believe Gillian would put me in this kind of situation.

    Needless to say I was late for morning P.T. after having to get Evee up, dressed, food stuffed down her gullet, drive all the way to base, and then find someone I knew was married and ask their wife or husband if they could watch my niece for the day. Because of me the entire platoon had to run an extra two kilometers before we were allowed to go and shower up for breakfast. I used the showers in the shacks (on base apartment buildings) and ate at the mess before heading over to see Evee before my nine A.M. timing.

    I spotted Evee standing outside on the front lawn of the small two floor house a few doors down from where we used to live with the woman I had left her with and two men in light grey suits and sunglasses. I had been around the military enough to know who these men were and I couldn’t help but wonder why CSIS would be there. A knot was forming in my stomach as I stepped out of the car and moved closer to Evee and the men.

    ‘What’s going on? Are you okay Evee?’ I asked when I was within range. Evee flashed me a weak smile that tried to reassure me she was fine, but the men standing next to her remained unreadable. I hated spooks.

    ‘Corporal Anders?’ one of the men asked me as he took off his sun glasses. He had a hawkish face that I didn’t trust and two small beady black eyes that shifted from side to side as he spoke, sweeping the area like he expected to find enemies in the middle of a military base.

    ‘Yes?’

    ‘I’m special Agent Travers and this is Special Agent Smith. We’re from-’

    ‘Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS. I know who you guys are. Still doesn’t answer my question as to what is going on,’ I said a little bitterly. Back in Afghanistan these guys had made the lives of my entire section hell for seven months before I was shot on one of their damned missions to gather intelligence.

    ‘We have a few questions we’d like to ask you,’ Agent Smith said. I could feel his eyes regarding me with malice from behind his sun glasses and I had a feeling I had met this man before.

    ‘You’ll have to be quick about it,’ I said, ‘I have timing in half an hour.’

    ‘You don’t have to worry about that,’ Travers said with the hint of a smile on his thin lips, ‘We talked to your commanding officer already and he’s aware of the situation and is not expecting you to return for the rest of the day.’

    ‘The rest of the day?’ I asked incredulously. ‘You can’t be serious.’

    ‘We don’t joke around Corporal,’ Smith sneered, ‘now if you’d be so kind to come with us.’

    ‘What about Evelyn?’ I asked looking at Evee, ‘I’m her legal guardian.’

    ‘We talked with Mrs. Snyder here and she has offered to watch over her until we are done with our questions.’

    ‘It’s no problem Anders,’ Cynthia said meekly, using my last name as we all did in the military. ‘I’ll take good care of her.’

    I quickly pulled out my phone, ignoring the outraged looks the agents were giving me and sent a text to Gillian telling her that no matter what she needed to get to the base and pick up Evee for the rest of the day. I told her something was going on and that I really needed her to come through for me then hit send. Agent Travers quickly came over and snatched the phone from my hand. He navigated through the screen until he found the text I had just sent and read it. Seeing that I wasn’t giving away any vital information he sighed and pocketed my phone before ushering me over to a plain black car with tinted windows.

    I smiled weakly at Evee as she watched me get taken away. Thank god they didn’t put me in handcuffs. Evee disappeared as we rounded a corner and headed towards the main gates and soon the base disappeared into the distance as we raced down the highway towards the city. Agent Travers weaved his way through the rush hour traffic then pulled in front of a tall grey building with the logo of the government stamped on the wall.

    I was quickly escorted into the building, led through a metal detector and pat down before being stopped at a bank of elevators. I was taken up to the eighth floor and then led through a dizzying network of cubicles and monitors until Agent Smith opened the door to Interrogation Room Three. A little uneasy about the surroundings I walked into the room and sat down at a table that faced a one way mirror, my own reflection looking back at me. My face was pale and I could see the sweat forming on my brow as I stared at myself in fatigues.

    Both agents sat down on the other end of the table and Travers opened up a manila folder I hadn’t seen him carrying before. Neither of them spoke for a few minutes, Travers going over something in the folder and Smith glaring at me with his sunglasses still on even though there was only a single dim light in the bleak room.

    ‘What’s going on here?’ I asked but Travers held up one finger letting me know he would be with me in a minute. I felt like asking again but the way Smith was glaring at me I thought better of it. If there was one thing I knew about government intelligence agencies is that you don’t fuck around with them or you would most likely find yourself at the bottom of some dark, dank cold hole in the earth.

    ‘How long have you been in the military?’ Travers asked finally. The sound of his voice startled me a little because I hadn’t really been paying attention to him.

    ‘Eight years,’ I answered automatically.

    ‘And you’ve only been promoted to corporal?’ he pressed.

    ‘Yes, sir.’

    ‘Does that seem a little odd to you?’

    ‘No, sir. I’m sure you’ve looked over my personnel file so you would already know that I have turned down any further promotion.’

    ‘I have noticed that. Why?’

    ‘Honestly?’ I asked and the hawkish man nodded, ‘because it’s good pay, good schedule, and allows me the ability to care for Evelyn.’

    Travers was quiet for a minute but I could still feel Smith’s eyes boring holes through my face, ‘I can see how that would be true,’ Travers said after a moment.

    ‘Did I do something wrong?’ I asked hoping that my question would finally been answered. No such luck though.

    ‘Which high school did you attend?’

    ‘Sir?’

    ‘You heard him,’ Smith growled and I tried not to look over at the creepy man.

    ‘Athabasca Senior Secondary,’ I answered as my brain furiously tried to figure out where this line of questioning was going.

    Agent Travers was quiet again as he flipped through a few of the pages in the file he had open before him. I desperately wanted to know what was written on those pages and I knew I could easily crane my neck and read it upside down, but all my military training was over riding my curiosity and I kept my eyes pointed straight ahead. I knew Agent Smith was trying to read my body language for any sign of weakness and I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of finding any. It would help if I knew what was going on though.

    ‘If I showed you a few pictures could you identify them for me?’ Travers asked without even looking up from the file.

    ‘Yes, sir.’

    ‘Good, good.’

    Agent Travers slid a photo out from the file and across the metal surface of the table, turning it so I was looking at it the right way. It was an old year book photo from my graduating year. My brain kicked into over drive when I saw the short dark hair and the piercing eyes staring back out at me. I didn’t need the name written under the picture to tell me who this was.

    ‘That’s Gillian Rogers,’ I answered through a tight throat. What in the hell was going on here? Why in the world would I be pulled in by CSIS and shown a picture of Gillian?

    ‘And what is her relation to you?’ Travers asked.

    ‘Sir?’

    ‘What is she in your life? Friend, lover, girlfriend?’

    ‘Friend, sir,’ I answered. I was starting to feel a little queasy and it felt like the walls in the room were starting to close in around me. Smith’s constant staring was really throwing me off balance and I struggled with everything I had to remain neutral. Not an easy task under those conditions. I felt like reciting my name, rank, and serial number like I had been trained to in basic but I was pretty sure that wouldn’t go over very well right now.

    ‘Can you identify this person please?’

    Travers pushed another picture over to me my heart jumped into my throat when I saw who it was this time. Her hair was shorter than I remembered it being but it was still blonde and a little curly around the tips. Her eyes were still hauntingly beautiful but I couldn’t allow myself to focus on them at that moment. Even if it was just a picture they still captivated me, pulling me deeper and deeper into them. She was wearing a light grey suit open at top showing a little bit of pale skin covered up by a baby blue dress shirt. She wore a set of elegant glasses that only made her nose look even cuter. There was no smile on her face at all but the light in her eyes told me that when this picture was taken she had been extremely excited.

    ‘Corporal Anders?’ Agent Travers prodded pulling me out of my thoughts.

    ‘What’s going on here?’ I asked but this time there was a little more force in my voice. I used that voice to get the attention of the younger soldiers and lower ranks when I needed to hand out orders, but against two veteran CSIS agents it was useless.

    ‘Can you identify the woman in that picture or not corporal?’ Travers pressed and I knew I would have to give him an answer.

    Every brain cell in my skull was yelling at me to lie, tell them that I didn’t know who it was in that picture. I really wanted to say that. That this person was a complete stranger to me but I knew now why they had shown me the picture of Gillian. If these agents did even a small fraction of their actual job they would have figured out already that we had all been friends in school, and that I had known her long before that. Lying to them now would only cause problems for him and he had Evee to think about.

    ‘Corporal Anders!’ Agent Smith barked as he stood up from his seat and leaned over the table to glower at him even closer.

    ‘That’s... that’s Michelle... Michelle Franklin.’
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  2. #2
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    Default Chapter Two

    Chapter Two

    After close to eight hours of being held in a tiny little room by two CSIS agents I was released with no idea as to why I had been held or why they kept asking me about Michelle. I wasn’t exactly going to argue the point though. Whatever it was about didn’t concern me as far as I cared and I had my niece to worry about. The only thing I could discern from the whole experience was that the government was interested in my old flame. For all I knew they could just be doing a background check for possible government employment. Why in the hell Michelle would want to work for CSIS was beyond me but I pushed it out of my mind. It had nothing to do with me.

    I focused on the more pressing matters I had at hand, like finding a ride back to the base to pick up my car and finding out what happened with Evelyn. Thankfully there was a voice message on my phone from Gillian who said that she had gotten my message and had picked up Evee like I asked. She had taken her to work with her and would check by the apartment later to see if I was back. With that cleared up I called a few friends who lived on base to see if they were off duty yet and if so could they come and pick me up. Sadly the only person who was available to come and get me was Masterson.

    Masterson and I had met in the first few weeks of our military service. Both of our roommates at the time had VR’d (Voluntary Release) and the two of us got stuck together as roommates. We were never what you would call ‘close’ friends from the very beginning, but we didn’t exactly hate each other. That changed when Gillian came back into my life. Like most guys who end up falling for her, Masterson fell hard and even a few years later he still blamed me for his missed chance with her. I tried to tell him that he never had a shot with her but it was just too mean.

    Thankfully he happened to be in town doing a little shopping and agreed to give me a ride back to base with him as long as I paid for gas, which was pretty stupid if you asked me because he was already going back to base anyways. I didn’t argue though, I needed the ride or my car would be stuck on base without me.

    The long trip back to the base was quiet, well vocal wise at least. Masterson had the radio turned up as loud as it could possibly go. I think neither of us really wanted to talk so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Seeing him again though brought a fuzzy memory back into my brain about him grumbling across the table from Gillian and me at the club after she had just lied to him about the two of us dating. I felt bad for the guy but I didn’t say anything about it. It didn’t really bother me that Gillian was using me as a shield to push the guys back, but when one of them was someone I worked with it got a little more complicated. She really needed to just stand up and tell them the truth instead of hiding behind a beard.

    Masterson pulled up to where I had left my car at and I was happy to see that I hadn’t been blocked into the driveway when Jimson had gotten home from work. As I opened the door to get out of Masterson’s car he turned down the volume on the radio and asked me to wait for a minute.

    ‘Look I’m sorry about the other night,’ he apologized.

    ‘Hmm?’

    ‘I was a bit of a jerk,’ he smirked. That didn’t really narrow it down though because he was usually a bit of a jerk, even when you were on his good side. ‘At the bar,’ he added.

    ‘It’s fine man.’

    ‘I know. Anyways there’s this house party going on next weekend at my place here on base so you and Gillian should come.’

    I was a little surprised when he asked me to come to his party and bring the person he blamed me for stealing. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was going to try and pry Gillian away from me if we did come. Well at least pry her away from her fake boyfriend.

    ‘Don’t think I can,’ I answered as I stepped out of his vehicle, ‘With Evee and everything it’s hard to get away from town.’

    ‘Bring her along,’ he smiled, ‘Tremblay’s wife is having a sleepover that night to give the guys with kids a night off to just let off some steam.’

    ‘I’ll have to think about it,’ I sighed.

    I went to close the car door when Masterson stuck out his arm and prevented it from closing. Ducking down to see what he wanted now I was met with a grim expression. ‘If you’re not going to come for me then you can at least come for the others,’ he said, ‘It’s the last party for my section before we’re deployed overseas.’

    That caught me off guard. I had completely forgotten that an entire battalion on base was getting ready for a seven month deployment to the Middle East in a few weeks’ time. I’m not sure how I could have forgotten about that though. Over the last four months the entire base had been gearing up for this, hosting training exercises to get the guys ready. I myself had spent two straight weeks in the field with the guys helping them out as much as I could because I had seen combat before.

    ‘You sure know how to lay on the guilt,’ I laughed and got a small smile back, ‘Fine I’ll be there. Don’t know if Gillian will want to come but I’ll let her know what the party is for.’

    ‘Thanks buddy. The guys will really love it. I’ll text you the details later.’

    I closed the door and Masterson gave me a small wave as he pulled back onto the narrow road between the rows of small two story homes and drove off back to his place. I felt a little cornered but I knew I couldn’t just ignore the party. I remember what it had been like for me when I was about to be deployed. The base holds a family day with various activities but the real stuff gets going later that night with all the parties.

    When I had been handed my orders for deployment I had been scared shitless about going into a theater of war. No amount of training could ever prepare you for that feeling. My brother, his wife, and Evee had made the long trip from back east to come to the family day which helped a little bit, but what had really gotten me over the hurdle of fear had been the party I went to that night. The older more experienced soldiers always showed up to those parties to support the ones who were being deployed. I remembered talking to a guy who had served three tours in Afghanistan and the insight he gave me helped a ton. There was no way I could deny that kind of help to anyone.

    I decided not to tell Gillian about the party until a few days before it. I knew if I gave her enough time to think about it she would back out and there would be no getting her there. While she thought I should get out more and have a little fun she wasn’t too keen on drunken military parties. The only one I had ever brought her to had been a disaster and she swore never to go back to one. The details of that party were a little fuzzy but I was pretty sure I had puked on her by the end of the night. Of course that was before Evelyn came to live with me. Since then I think I had matured quite a bit so I was sure there wouldn’t be a repeat.

    ‘No,’ she told me fiercely when I talked to her about it the night before. I already had Evee on board; she was actually pretty excited about spending the night with some friends on base. From what I heard the sleepovers were just as legendary as the parties were. With a lot less alcohol of course.

    ‘Please?’ I begged turning on the puppy dog eyes as hard as I could.

    ‘No way in hell Ty!’ she groaned and got up from the couch where we had been watching a movie, ‘The only thing missing from those parties on your base is a sacrificial virgin! They’re nothing but raunchy testosterone filled bonfires!’

    Obviously trying to use charm wasn’t going to work here so I switched gears and attacked from the flank, ‘It would be kind of odd if I showed up without my ‘girlfriend’,’ I said with a slight grin, making quotation marks with my fingers in the air, ‘After all most of the guys on base now think we are dating because of what you said to Masterson back at the club.’

    ‘That is not fair!’ she turned and fixed me with a deadly gaze. She was pretty cute when she was trying to act angry with her nose all crinkled up and her lips in a solid line across her face.

    ‘Who says I fight fair?’ I laughed and her death stare intensified, ‘Besides even Evee is going. Well not to the party but she is spending the night with some friends on the base. Come on, we’ll make a whole day of it. We’ll go hang out at the Family Day and hit up the barbeque before heading to the party. Besides you didn’t come to the last family day before I was being deployed so I think you owe me.’

    That did it. Her angry expression relaxed and her arms that had been tightly crossed over her chest loosened and fell to her sides. She felt guilty about not coming to my deployment barbeque and it had really hit her hard when I had been shipped back from Afghanistan by medical transport and stuck in a hospital for three weeks. Besides that she couldn’t deny Evelyn a day of fun on the base so I knew she had no choice but to agree now. This was her fault after all.

    ‘I really hate you sometimes,’ she seethed and then walked into the kitchen to grab herself something to drink.

    ‘That was a bit mean,’ Evee giggled from beside me on the couch with her face buried in her cellphone like so many people now-a-days.

    ‘It worked didn’t it?’ I laughed and she couldn’t argue with that point.

    The day of the barbeque and party came quickly. It was apparent that Gillian still wasn’t okay with the idea of the party but she swallowed her problems and did her best to have a good day at the barbeque. Evee had been there for my deployment barbeque but to be honest I don’t think she really enjoyed it as much as she could have. Between the speeches of honour, duty, and sacrifice and the tearful goodbye’s families were given to their children and loved ones Evee had been pretty broken up about me going into war.

    When I wasn’t being the one being shipped off to get shot at though she allowed herself to have a blast and try out everything the base had to offer that day. She stuffed her face with chips, hamburgers, and hotdogs until I was sure she was going to explode and then headed into the various buildings to check out the weapons used by the military, get behind the wheel of a LAV, use night vision goggles, and even make her way through the obstacle course they had set up for the kids to enjoy. I hadn’t seen her this happy in a long time and I was glad she was able to enjoy being on the base for once instead of always associating it with bad things. She steered clear of the wall of remembrance that listed all the fallen soldiers from the base with large framed pictures and medals though. I couldn’t really blame her for that one, I hated the wall too.

    With the day winding down we decided to get a quick bite to eat at the local restaurant on base before taking Evee over to her sleepover. The food was always good there and Evee even managed to stuff down a helping of desert as well. I had no idea where she put all that food because she was a thin girl. Watching her eat sometimes was like watching a lion devour its prey, only Evelyn didn’t have the distended stomach afterwards. Which was probably a good thing because that would look pretty weird.

    Evee was all too excited to see her old friends again and I barely even got a goodbye hug as she grabbed her overnight bag and rushed into the house with a giggling gaggle of teens. Gillian laughed at my annoyance as I got back into the car but I ignored her and headed towards Masterson’s place where the party was supposed to be. It was still early in the evening and I wasn’t really expecting many to be there yet so I was surprised when I pulled onto the street and found the entire area lined with vehicles and the sound of loud music blaring out of an open door.

    ‘This looks fun…’ Gillian grumbled as I found a place to park.

    There were so many people there I thought the entire battalion had to be at the party. They were milling around outside the house, packed wall to wall like sardines inside, and the backyard had been set up with a large white tent like we used out in the field sometimes with at least four dozen people under it. Everyone had beers or other assorted drinks in their hands and so far it looked pretty tame but I was sure as the night went on that would change pretty quickly.

    Before I could even step foot on the front steps to head inside Gillian grabbed me by the arm and pulled me off to the side of the house so no one could hear what we were talking about, ‘Let’s set a few ground rules before we go inside,’ she said seriously, ‘If I want to leave at any point I expect you to drive me back into town no matter what okay? So don’t have too much to drink. I expect you to stay by my side the entire night because I really don’t feel like being hit on by some guy just looking for one last lay before going off to war. Got that?’

    ‘Yes dear,’ I answered and grabbed her by the hand to sell the idea that we were actually dating.

    A lot of the people at the party were from the battalion that was being deployed in a few days but spread out among them I saw a few faces that I recognized from my own battalion. Hitchens was even there with a few other people who we trained with and I immediately made way over to a group of people I knew seeking shelter from everyone else.

    ‘Masterson said you were coming but I didn’t believe him,’ Hitchens said when he saw me. When I got within arm’s length he grabbed a couple of beers from the cooler next to him and handed us each one while Gillian gave me a stern look reminding me about not drinking too much.

    ‘It seemed like the perfect place to show off my arm candy,’ I laughed nodding towards Gillian. She groaned like I had insulted her but gave me a little nudge with her shoulder playfully.

    ‘So you guys really are going out?’ Hitchens asked looking us both in the eyes. I really didn’t want to lie to him as well, he didn’t deserve it and he was probably the best guy friend I had in the world but I knew Gillian wasn’t going to drop the pretence just in case the truth spread.

    ‘Yeah,’ I answered with a little hesitation, ‘It’s a new development.’

    ‘I call bullshit on that one! You guys have been by each other’s side since you first met.’

    I’m not sure why but I could feel myself blush at his comment so I quickly looked away and took a sip from my beer before turning back to him. Gillian was being awfully quiet considering this was her brilliant idea but I figured she was feeling a little out of place at the party. She only knew a few people there and every once in a while I would catch her pulling out her phone and looking at the time like she was counting down the minutes until she would want to leave.

    Masterson found his way over to us about ten minutes after we arrived and I was mildly surprised to see that he actually smiled at Gillian and me holding hands under his roof. He looked to have been drinking for a while before hand though so he was probably feeling pretty good right about then.

    ‘I told you Hitchens!’ he trumpeted and lightly punched our friend on the shoulder, ‘You didn’t believe me but I told you they would come!’

    ‘I was wrong,’ Hitchens admitted between swigs from his beer bottle.

    ‘You so owe me a bottle of Jack Daniels!’

    With a small smirk Hitchens reached into the cooler by him and pulled out a bottle filled with dark amber booze and tossed it into Masterson’s out stretched hands. ‘If you didn’t think we were coming why did you bring the Jack Daniels?’ Gillian asked curiously.

    ‘Sometimes I like being wrong,’ he winked.

    ‘Come on Anders,’ Masterson said ushering me to follow him, ‘there are a few guys I want you to meet.’

    I didn’t really feel like going with him but it was his party and his house so I didn’t really have that many options, and besides he seemed to actually be warming up a bit to me again so I didn’t want to ruin that as well. Remembering what Gillian had told me about not disappearing on her I pulled her by the hand and followed after Masterson as he headed into the kitchen.

    There was a keg set up with about a hundred or so red party cups scattered around. The kitchen was probably the most packed area of the entire house and Masterson had to push through about twenty people to get to the counter by the back door. Four guys dressed in their Civi’s (Civilian clothing) were huddled around a large blue cooler stuffed to the gills with hard alcohol. They looked around eighteen or nineteen in age and each of them shared the same haunted look in their eyes that I remembered too vividly before I was shipped out.

    ‘Guys this is the one I was telling you about,’ Masterson said to them once we got to where they were standing. Even though we were all off duty and not in uniform they snapped up, stopped slouching and gave me a hard look in the eyes like I was used to when dealing with new soldiers.

    ‘How’s it going?’ I said and shook each one of their hands. They visibly relaxed and went back to their drinks between mumbled hellos.

    ‘You really got shot?’ one of the men asked and I suddenly realized why Masterson had brought me to see them. Training for combat and being in combat are two separate things and once you found out you were headed into hell the excitement you once had for being a soldier quickly wore off as the realization that you might not have a lot of time left on this planet sunk in.

    ‘You’re looking at a winner of the Sacrifice Medal,’ Masterson smiled and I had to repress the shiver that was threating to run the length of my spine. I hated the term ‘winner’ because it sounded like I had won the prize of getting shot. Gillian didn’t seem to like that term either because her hand tensed in mine and out of the corner of my eye I saw her look away from the conversation.

    ‘What happened?’ the youngest looking guy asked. I had no doubt that Masterson had told them the story already but they wanted to hear it from the source it seemed. I couldn’t blame them either, Masterson was known for making claims that usually turned out to be untrue or blown out of proportion.

    Gillian’s interest was suddenly piqued and she turned back to face the group of guys with a look of fear and sadness written all over her face. She only knew vague details surrounding what happened to me in combat. She never asked and I never told because it was a pretty sore point between us. The reason we got into a fight when I signed up for the military was because she had a feeling I was going to get hurt or killed, so when she was notified that I had been badly wounded in combat her fears had been realized and it only made her feel worse. It seemed now though that she was over her denial about the whole incident and was just as curious as anyone else.

    ‘Well I was shot in combat,’ I answered and a sour look ran through the group of guys who were around me.

    ‘Well no shit,’ Masterson said loudly, ‘But tell them the whole thing!’

    ‘Fine, fine,’ I sighed. I launched into the story of how I had been wounded during a fire fight with insurgents. The CIA and CSIS had gathered intelligence that a compound out in the highlands held vital information on the location of a top Al Qaeda asset and my section had been tasked with attacking the compound to clear the way for Intelligence Officers. The Intel we had been given on the strength of the opposing force had been wrong, very wrong. We were only to expect small arms fire from about twenty armed men but when we got there we found ourselves in a shit storm.

    We were attacked by .50 calibre mounted machine guns, RPG’s, and anti-tank mines spread all around the compound. The twenty men we were supposed to find there turned into nearly sixty and they seemed to have an almost endless supply of ammunition and assault rifles. Once we realized the error it was already too late to back out and take cover and we had a few men seriously injured in the first few seconds of the assault. Hitchens, a few other soldiers, and I found shelter behind a mud brick house on the edge of the compound and started to return fire to allow the guys still stuck out in the open fields to get closer and find their own form of shelter. That’s when things really went to hell for us.

    We found ourselves pinned down by enemy fire when an old soviet grenade landed in our midst. You truly do not understand fear until you are sitting there in that moment with a grenade at your feet. I’d like to say in that instant I was thinking of the others and there was nothing but courage in my heart but in truth I was scared shitless and only thinking about saving my own ass. I kicked the grenade away as we all dived off to the side, right in the line of a couple of insurgents on a roof raining bullets down on us.

    The grenade only rolled about ten feet away from where we were lying on the ground and when it exploded in a ball of black smoke, dirt, and shrapnel the concussion rocked my entire body and it felt like my head had just been slammed between two pickup trucks going full out. I knew I was still in danger so with blurry vision and an intense ringing in my ears I got back to my knees and trained my rifle on the largest building in the area and just opened up on it hoping to at least make the enemy duck their heads for a few minutes.

    As my hearing started to come back I could hear Hitchens screaming out for help so I quickly turned to him where he was laying prone on the ground with his rifle sitting a few feet away from his open hands. He had been closer to the grenade when it had exploded and it had scrambled his brain pretty bad. Again I wish I could say I was brave in what I did next but it had nothing to do with courage in the face of death, it was just instinct. I slung my rifle over my shoulder, grabbed my friend by the shoulders and started to drag him back behind cover.

    It was in that moment that I was hit by a lucky bullet through the back of my left shoulder. It was the most intense pain I had ever felt in my entire life and I really have nothing else to compare it to. All I can say was that it hurt so bad I felt my eyes roll into the back of my head and I fell onto my face right in the middle of an intense firefight. The bullet had missed my shoulder blade and spine, shot right through my lung and shattered a rib trying to get out. I would have bled to death if Hitchens hadn’t gotten back to his sense and started to patch me up in the middle of a hailstorm of bullets.

    I had to receive surgery to repair my lung and set my rib and then I was sent back home with a little silver medal with the Queen’s picture etched on one side and a statue from Vimy Ridge on the other. Five other men had been badly wounded by the end of the battle and it turned out the intelligence the CIA and CSIS was looking for in the first place wasn’t even there. The compound was just a staging area for the insurgents and we had caught them in the middle of a training program. It had been a waste of time and blood.

    ‘That’s intense,’ one of the guys said and the others nodded solemnly. Gillian who had been listening intently to my whole story remained quiet and took a long swig from her bottle of beer, finishing half the thing in one shot.

    ‘Try being there,’ I said like a total idiot and quickly regretted it. These men were going to be there very soon and you could see the freaked out looks in their eyes from a mile away. ‘Just keep your heads down out there and remember your training. You’ll do fine.’

    The party continued to rage on into the night and more and more people were starting to show up. The MP’s had been by the house a few times to tell Masterson to keep the music down but they didn’t really hassle him too much about it, they were being deployed soon after all. When midnight rolled around I figured Gillian would want to make a hasty escape now that we had been there for a few hours but surprisingly she was starting to enjoy herself. She was drinking a little more than what I was used to seeing from her but I ignored it mostly.

    The group of guys I knew really well had migrated out into the backyard where someone had lined up a row of shots for most of the veterans, a sort of salute. Our battalion tradition was that veterans had a shot first quickly followed by the soldiers being deployed. It was kind of like passing the torch from one group to the other. I had already had two beers and I still had to drive back into town so I let another guy do my shot for me.

    I was standing under the tent with Hitchens and a few other buddy’s when Gillian came rushing towards me with a strange look in her eyes. In her inebriated state she had gone off to use the bathroom without dragging me along for shelter and it looked like it had been a mistake. Without so much as a word she tripped into my arms and planted a sloppy kiss right on my lips just as some guy pushed his way into the tent right behind her, his eyes dropping once he saw she was with someone already.

    I expected her to break the kiss right after she had done it and was sure the guy was backing off but instead she continued the drunken kiss until I finally pulled away from it. I could feel my cheeks blushing hotly and I tried to avoid looking into her eyes. That had been the first kiss I had had in a long time and surprisingly it was a lot better than I thought it would have been. I could almost feel the heat coming off of Gillian’s cheeks as she clutched my arm and held me close under the scrutiny of the guy she had been trying to avoid.

    I felt like asking here where that had come from. All she had to do was just come up and hold my hand to hammer the point home but I realized she was more than a little drunk so her brain was probably pretty rattled right then.

    By the time we left the party at around one in the morning it was still going strong and only a few people had left up to that point. Gillian didn’t seem like she would have minded if we stayed another hour or so but I was getting pretty tired and wanted to get home and into bed for a good night’s sleep before I had to drive back to the base in the morning to pick up Evee from her sleepover.

    I walked Gillian to her apartment with no incident and made sure she was alright before heading back to my place for the night. Without Evee there it felt pretty empty and I realize it had been a long time since she hadn’t been there for the night. Even when she and Gillian had their little sleepovers it was always at my place so there was the feel of life in the apartment most every day. Evee was getting older though and I realized soon she wouldn’t really want anything to do with me as her teenage moods started to set in. I dreaded those days ahead.



    Three months passed from the party and Gillian never spoke of the kiss we shared that night. She was back in classes for her final year of University and Evee had just started her first year of high school. It was weird sending her off to high school when it only felt like I had graduated the year before. What was even stranger than that though was the day when Evee came up to me one morning before the start of the school year and said she thought she needed to start wearing a bra.

    Needless to say I was a little freaked out about the idea so I was more than happy to let Gillian take over and do whatever was necessary. I was perfectly content being blissfully unaware and ignorant while the two girls went shopping for something that would fit her. When they got back to the apartment with half a dozen bags full of undergarments I hid out on the balcony for an hour because they decided to go through everything right on the couch in the living room.

    It was two weeks into the new school year when the memory of Michelle and nostalgia caught up with me. It was the weekend and I was like a zombie after a hard training course at work so Gillian took Evee off my hands for the night and they had a movie night and sleepover in her apartment. I knew Gillian was already swamped with school work so I wasn’t sure how she would find the time to look after a rowdy teenager but I was glad none the less.

    With the apartment to myself I pulled out my old high school yearbook and sat down on the couch before a muted television. Flipping through the first few pages I was swamped suddenly by memories of walking down those cold brick halls filled with laughter, screaming, and general teenage angst for five years of my life. I could almost smell the sweaty gym socks hiding inside lockers around the halls. I stopped in the grade ten section and picked out Gillian with her goofy smile and small zit on her forehead that she had been fretting about the entire picture day.

    It was hard to think she was that much younger than I was because most of the time she was the moral center of the family and by far the most mature of all of us. The first time I had met her she was a tiny little thing with a scared look on her face trying to navigate her way to her first class of the year. I felt bad for her and showed her where to go and said if she needed any more help to just track me down. She never left my side after that.

    With a small smile fuelled by those memories I flipped to the back of the book to find my graduating class. That was a good time in my life as picture day had been two months before the end of the school year. Michelle and I were still an item and I had just purchased the promise ring for her birthday. I was one of the first smiling faces in that section and I couldn’t help but notice how much I had changed looks wise in the last eight years. I was bigger and stronger looking than I had been back then but my eyes were also devoid of the haunted look they now carried.

    Midway through the class I found Michelle’s picture, her eyes bright with the prospect of the future and her hair perfectly layered over her shoulders. She had spent most of the morning in the girl’s washroom fixing her hair and makeup in preparation for the picture and like always it turned out well for her. I stared at that picture of her for what must have been a few hours because when I finally looked up the movie that had just been starting was already rolling through the last little bit of credits.

    I put the book on the coffee table and got up to stretch my muscles and get something drink before I called it a night. When I got to the fridge for a glass of milk however, I found the empty carton sitting on the top shelf. For a brief second I got mad at Evee for leaving an empty carton in there until I remembered that I had actually been the one to do that in the morning when I used the last in my coffee.

    I really didn’t want to go out and get more but the prospect of not having milk for my coffee when I got up was just as horrible so I figured I would get it out of the way then. So I grabbed my keys off the hook by the door and rushed out to get it before it got too late. The only thing open at that time of night was a small convenience store a few blocks over. I really didn’t want to buy the milk from there as they marked it up almost two hundred percent but I really had no other choice. So I bought it and grumbled about the price the whole time I was at the till.

    The second I was standing outside my door with my key already in the lock I realized something didn’t feel right. I can’t really explain it but it felt like a tingling on the back of my neck, the same feeling I had before we assaulted that compound in Afghanistan. Since that day I had learned to listen to that feeling as it was never wrong so this time was no different.

    The door was still locked and as I slowly crept into the front hallway. I couldn’t see anything wrong with the place. It was fairly windy outside so if a window had been broken I would have been able to hear it howling through the ragged hole. Something was still nagging at me though so I knelt down at the tall table I kept by the door and found the metal safe hidden behind a pile of shoes under it. One thing I would never tell Gillian or Evee was that I kept a sidearm hidden in the safe just in case I ever needed it. This felt like one of those times.

    I quickly grabbed the 9mm Browning Hi-Power from the safe and pulled the slide back to chamber a round. I slid my finger over the trigger guard and cradled it like I had been trained before creeping into the living room. The television was still muted and showing a new movie, the light dancing across the shiny paper of the yearbook that was still on the table. Not finding a moving shadow or even a hint of anything missing I moved through the kitchen and down the hall towards the bedrooms.

    Evee’s door was ajar so I stuck the tip of the pistol into the room ahead of me before opening it wider. The room was dark but nothing was out of the ordinary here either, well except for the massive pile of clothes piled up on the floor and all over her bed. I would have to talk to her about that later. That left only one more room in the house that someone could be hidden in so I slowly walked across the hall until I was standing right outside my door which had been closed even when I had left earlier to get the milk that now lay abandoned on the floor by the safe.

    Keeping the pistol in my strong hand I gripped the door handle and readied myself for anything that could be behind it. I took one last shallow breath then swung the door open, quickly stepping into the room and checking my corners before I found a slim figure standing by my closed window with their back to me. My quick entry hadn’t seemed to faze them and they continued to face away from me so I quickly turned on the light overhead and trained my weapon.

    That definitely got their attention and as my brain began to take their appearance in they turned around and I could feel my world start to shatter around me. She had shoulder length blonde hair with light silver streaks through it and a very lithe and athletic figure that screamed both strength and speed. It was the eyes that struck me the hardest though. They were the same colour I remembered them being but there was now a haunted look hiding behind them that I recognized from every time I looked into a mirror.

    ‘Michelle?’ I gasped and she flashed me that crooked little smile I used to love so much. I could feel the weight of the gun in my hands and I was at a loss as to what to do with it.

    ‘You might as well put it down,’ she said like she had just read my mind, ‘You must not use a sidearm at work very much if you can’t even tell the difference in weight between a loaded pistol and an empty one.’

    A little bewildered I lowered the pistol and ejected the clip finding it completely empty. Looking back up Michelle nodded to my bedside table where I spotted thirteen shiny 9mm bullets standing up straight. How the hell had she gotten into my safe and why did she even know to look there? A little dejected about being that easily disarmed I slipped the clip back into the weapon and tossed it onto the bed which was only a few feet away from me.

    ‘What are you-’

    ‘Doing here?’ she asked finishing my sentence for me like she used to back in the day, ‘I wanted to see you.’

    I shot her a sceptical look and she supressed the smile she had been wearing before going on. ‘I was in town on some business and I figured I would come and say hi. It’s been eight years after all.’

    My heart and mind were warring with each other at that moment and it felt like my entire being was going to be torn in half from the turmoil. I couldn’t believe she had the audacity to be standing there in my room in the middle of the night saying she had wanted to say hi after what she had done to me eight years ago. At the same time though my heart was swelling just at her sight and the sound of her voice, it so desperately wanted things to go back to the way they had been.

    ‘You left me remember,’ I said through clenched teeth as my brain was momentarily in control of my actions and voice. The second the words passed over my lips I saw the hurt look on her face and I quickly regretted it, but honestly it was the truth. We hadn’t seen each other in eight years because of her.

    ‘I never stopped caring for you Ty,’ she said softly and my heart gave a great leap like it was trying to burst out of my chest. I quickly swallowed the feelings I was having and tried to fix her with the most hurt look I possibly could.

    ‘You had a funny way of showing it.’

    Sighing Michelle took a few steps away from the window and closer to me but I instinctively took a step back at her approach and she stopped. The memory of being held by CSIS and asked all sorts of questions about her popped into my mind and I couldn’t help but feel a little weary of her. I had come to almost loathe the agency and she seemed to be linked to it somehow.

    ‘Ty-’ she started to say something but I quickly held up my hand and silenced her.

    ‘A couple of your buddies from the agency came to see me,’ I said angrily like she had been the one to send them, ‘They seemed really interested in how I knew you and what you were like back in school.’

    Michelle didn’t say anything at first. Her face darkened for a minute but quickly snapped back to neutral as her eyes glanced around the room. I had seen this little act before and I knew she was trying to think of a way to say something.

    ‘Just spit it out!’ I demanded and she jumped a bit at the sudden change in my voice.

    ‘It’s the reason I had to leave you Ty,’ she said so softly I could barely make out her words, ‘It’s complicated really, I’m sure you can understand that. I work for CSIS.’

    I tasted bile rising in my throat and I had to swallow hard a few times to get rid of the stinging sensation. It explained a lot though. Why I had been questioned about her, why she had just up and left in the middle of summer and left me hanging like some love sick puppy. She had probably been approached because of her grades and tests scores or some nonsense like that. What it did not explain though was why she refused to tell me anything, not even a fake story about why she could no longer be with me.

    Once again she seemed to be reading my mind because she even started to explain that as well. ‘Look Ty I’m really sorry about what I did to you. I just didn’t know what else to do. I had an extraordinary chance right in front of me and I had to take it. I didn’t leave you because I stopped loving you,’ she said and took another small step towards me, ‘In fact it was the other way around.’

    She continued to advance closer to me and my brain had all but abandoned me as her words were soaked up by my thumping heart and used as fuel for my feelings that were now bubbling up with a rapid expansion. One step, two steps, and a third step she was only a few inches from me and I could smell her flowery perfume on her skin and the light scent of her lilac shampoo. I loved the smell of lilacs and it made my head dizzy to know she still used that type of shampoo.

    Before I realized it she had taken both of my trembling hands in hers and moved her face only a fraction from mine as she spoke softly like I was the only person in the world, ‘I had to leave you because I loved you too much. Because I still love you so much. If I had stayed I would have been happy and cared for, but not content. I needed to do something with my life.’

    I heard her words fall on my ears like stones but I could only process a few of them as my heart was now swelling to the size of a balloon in my chest. I could have sworn she said she still loved me. Her lips were so close to mine it was almost unbearable and when I looked into her shimmering eyes I could see them wavering like she was afraid. Afraid of what I did not know but the look was so mesmerizing I lost myself. I leaned in sought out her lips with my own for a timid kiss.

    She returned the timid kiss and at first it seemed that was all it was going to be. But as the seconds began to tick by and we got accustomed to the feel of each other once more the kiss grew in intensity. Our hands began to roam over the others body as eight years of angst and feelings came crashing down on us like tidal wave of desire. The dreams I would sometimes have of being with her could never compare to the real thing and it felt like every inch of my body was on fire, each nerve ending tingling under the pressure and pent up sexual desire.

    No words were spoken as we began to shed clothes off and tripped towards the bed, landing in the soft sheets as the pillows were all but forgotten. In the back of my mind I knew what was happening shouldn’t be but I couldn’t control myself anymore. It was like someone else was making me continue and honestly I didn’t care at that point. Michelle was finally back in my arms and I never wanted to let her go again.

    Before I knew it we were both completely naked with our hot bodies pressed up together. I could feel her hands trembling as she ran them over my body and I began to wonder if she had been with anyone since her and I were last together. I had been with two other women but only a couple of times each. They hadn’t been that great of experiences and once Evee came into my life the need for sexual conquests was pushed onto the back burner. Even with those other times I was still as nervous as a virgin again and I kept fumbling with my hands trying to remember where she liked being touched.

    My hard cock was pressed into her stomach and was starting to feel a little uncomfortable in that position so I reached my hand between us and went to adjust it. She seemed to think I wanted to be inside her because she arched her hips providing enough room to position myself at her entrance. I needed no further signs than that and quickly pressed the head of my cock between her velvety folds. Like in the most recent dream of her I had had a few months back she sat back on my cock and impaled the entire length of it in one go.

    She was extremely tight and very hot, the walls pressing in on my member from every side as her whole body began to tremble under the feeling. This will probably sound corny as hell but it just felt so right, like two puzzle pieces being locked together to finish off a masterpiece. Michelle and I had always had amazing chemistry and from the very first time we had ever had sex that chemistry had transferred easily into the bedroom.

    As my mind began to get used to things once more Michelle began to rock back and forth on me while continuing to kiss my lips so hard that our teeth knocked together with intermittent chattering sounds. Each time she rocked forward I would give a little thrust up, and each time she rocked back I would sink my hips into the mattress providing double the penetrating action. It had always driven her nuts when I did this and I was happy to see the effect was still the same years later. Her little squeaks and moans were pushing past her tongue and into my mouth which only spurred me on more.

    Her soft breasts were pressed firmly into my chest and I could feel the nipples straining to be free from the constriction. She had wrapped her arms around my neck and was holding on tightly in case I tried to move away from the kiss and I placed my hands firmly on her hips to guide her up and down on me as the pace quickened. A thin layer of sweat had built up between us and the combined heat from both of our bodies was wreaking havoc on my mind as everything started to feel a little cloudy.

    I could already feel my balls starting to tighten up as my orgasm neared and by the feel of her muscles clenching around my intruding cock Michelle was already racing towards one of her own. Her soft moans had turned into full on grunts now as she slammed her body down onto me repeatedly while her lips were firmly sealed around my own. Michelle loved kissing and not even an intense orgasm had ever gotten her to break a kiss during sex. It was one of the little things I loved about her so much.

    Her arms around my neck were getting tighter and tighter and I knew she was really close now. It felt like she was trying to strangle me in reverse. Suddenly her whole body tensed and began to tremble on me as she practically screamed into my mouth, her sweet smelling breath shooting straight into my lungs. The muscles in her pussy went into over drive and rippled all along the shaft and head of my cock as my balls suddenly released themselves inside her body. With each shot spewed out a little chunk of my strength went with it. With one last moan from Michelle and a single groan from me she relaxed into my arms and I fell asleep to blissful dreams I hadn’t been graced with in many years.

    When I awoke the sun was streaming in through my window and lighting the room up in a dazzling light that shot warmth through my entire body. For one amazing second the activities from the previous night came rushing to my mind and I felt a smile spread across my face, but it quickly faded the next second. Michelle was no longer in my arms and when I rolled over to look at the other side of the bed it was empty and looked like no one had even slept in it.

    Still feeling a little woozy from the vigorous exercise I had just gotten that night I swung my legs off the bed and picked up my clothes from where they had been tossed hours earlier. All of Michelle’s clothes were gone and the door the room which had been open the night before was now firmly closed. Getting a little nervous as to where she had gone I walked out into the kitchen hoping to find here there, but no dice.

    I heard a soft sigh coming from the living room and my heart leapt as I quickly rounded the corner with a big grin on my face and the words ‘there you are’ on my lips. My heart quickly sank though as I found Gillian and Evee sitting on the couch watching television huddled under a blanket for some reason. At the sight of me dressed in the previous day’s clothes and probably a wild look on my face they both raised their eyebrows as if to ask ‘What in the world?’

    ‘You okay Ty?’ Gillian asked with a touch of concern.

    I wanted to tell her that no I wasn’t okay and ask if she had seen Michelle leave before I had gotten up but I quickly realized bringing Michelle up with Gillian was never a wise choice. So I nodded my head once instead and retreated into the kitchen to get some coffee that Gillian had put on for me when I had gotten out of bed. I reached into the cupboard and pulled out my favourite mug, placed it on the counter and grabbed the coffee pot. I was just about to pour myself a cup when I noticed a piece of folded up paper nestled in my cup.

    I put the coffee pot down and pulled the paper out, unfolding it to find a small note written in very girly handwriting:

    Ty,
    I’m sorry for everything. Things are only going to get worse and I am truly sorry for what I have just done to you. I hope one day you can understand.
    Michelle.

    The note made no sense to me and feeling a little angry about letting myself get caught up in the heat of the moment the night before I quickly tore it into a hundred little pieces and dumped it out the open kitchen window to fall like confetti on the sidewalk below. I tossed the coffee cup back into the cabinet and turned to head back to my room and escape from the real world for a few hours when Evee called out a question from the living room. Feeling that I couldn’t just ignore her I walked back into the living room to find her with my open yearbook on her lap and pointing to a picture. Gillian’s eyes were wide open looking at it and she shook her head in disbelief.

    ‘What’s wrong?’ I asked but it was Evee who answered.

    ‘You guys went to school with my substitute English teacher, Ms. Atkinson’ she said with a smile. Curiosity getting the best of me I walked over and looked at the picture she was pointing to; Michelle Franklin.

    A million thoughts ran through my mind in that moment but I had no time to reflect on what was happening as the front door to my apartment was smashed off the hinges, exploding into the hallway a few feet from the living room. Six men and women in SWAT gear rushed into the small apartment, their SMG’s raised and pointed at the three of us sitting on the couch. Two men in light grey suits under bullet proof vests that said POLICE on the front of them followed closely behind the SWAT team with their small pistols held at the ready. I instantly recognized the two men as Agents Travers and Smith.

    While two members of the SWAT unit stayed in the living room with their guns levelled at us the rest of them spread out through the apartment in a room to room search. After a few seconds one of them called out ‘All clear!’ from my room. Agent Smith quickly holstered his pistol and rushed over to where I was standing with my hands in the air.

    He grabbed me roughly by the shirt and started to shake me while yelling loudly, ‘Where is she?’ over and over again.

    ‘Where’s who?’ I asked even though I knew the answer already.

    ‘Michelle Franklin!’



    Ten minutes later I found myself back in that same interrogation room in the dismal government building in the heart of the city. Both Gillian and Evee had been brought down for questioning as well but thankfully I was the only one who seemed to be pulled into this little hell hole they liked to call the Interview Room while the girls were seated in more comfortable looking chairs out in the bullpen.

    There was no dancing around the subject this time as both Agents walked into the room with sour looks on their faces like someone had just stolen their lunch money. Agent Smith, who hated my guts for some inexplicable reason, sat right across from me and pulled out his standard issue service pistol and placed it on the table between both of us.

    ‘We know you were with Michelle last night,’ he said through gritted teeth, ‘Tell us where she went and you might just get off with ten years in prison!’

    I was done playing their stupid little games of misinformation, or in this case no information and I ignored his question and instead barked out one of my own, ‘Why are you looking for her?’

    ‘That’s none of your goddamn business!’ Smith spat back, literally. I wiped the flecks of smelly saliva off my cheek and looked him dead in his beady little eyes.

    ‘If you want my cooperation you need to be a little more forthcoming with your intelligence!’

    That seemed to set Agent Smith off and he fisted his pistol, pointing it right into my face. I had no doubt that he would have squeezed the trigger and created one hell of a mess for the janitors to clean up that night but a man who had been hiding just out of my sight in the shadows of a corner of the room stepped into the light and told Smith to lower his weapon in a gruff voice.

    The man was obviously a senior intelligence officer and was way past his prime. His stomach bulged in his dark navy blue suit and the few hairs he had left on the top of his head were a mixture of grey and white. His eyes were a faded blue colour and he had heavy bags under them like he hadn’t been sleeping very well lately.

    ‘Would you excuse us Agents?’ the man said in his rough voice. Smith looked at him like the man had lost his mind but the complaint he had been about to register died on his tongue before he quickly slunk from the room with Travers right behind him.

    The new man sat down at the table where Agent Smith had been seated a minute ago and he pulled out handkerchief, dabbing the sweat that had been building on his forehead with it. He folded it once and put it back in the inner pocket on his suit before flashing me a small smile.

    ‘I’m sorry about all of this Corporal Anders,’ he apologized but it did nothing to ease my tension, ‘I’m sure this all must be pretty confusing for you.’

    ‘Yes, sir,’ I said trying inject a little respect into my voice but to no avail.

    ‘I’m in quite the predicament here,’ the man mused, ‘and I’m afraid you’ve just been dragged into the middle of it with me. Oh, where are my manners. My name’s Thompson.’ He held out his hand and I begrudgingly shook it. Thompson was obviously a high ranking official within the government and I was in the military so to show him no respect could be career suicide.

    ‘What predicament would that be sir?’ I asked and he smiled as I called him sir again.

    ‘I do love dealing with soldiers,’ he said wistfully, ‘always so damn polite, almost to a fault. But sadly this is no time for politeness. Before I say one word I need to ask you once more if you know the location of Michelle Franklin.’

    I thought about ignoring the question like I had with Agent Smith but this man, Thompson, was obviously not like the cheaply dressed thugs he had working for him. Besides I had no idea where Michelle was and as far as I was concerned I owed her nothing after what she did to me last night.

    ‘I’m sorry sir; I have no idea where she is. When I woke up she was gone.’

    ‘She left no note or letter saying where she was going?’ he asked.

    ‘No, sir,’ I half lied. She had left a note but there was nothing written about where she was or where she was going.

    ‘Okay then I have only one more question I need to ask you. This is a big one though,’ he said with a sigh. ‘You see I can’t tell you about anything that is going on in this case if you don’t have the proper security clearance, which you do not. However, from time to time, the military and intelligence community work together for the greater good and I feel that it is time to reach out to our brothers in uniform on this case.’

    ‘Sir?’ I asked not sure what he was getting at but having a bad feeling it wasn’t going to end well.

    ‘You’ve served your country for eight years and have even been wounded in the line of duty saving one of your comrades. In my books that makes you an extraordinary man and that’s exactly the kind of thing I want to inject into this agency. How would you like to come work for us?’

    I stared at him dumbly for a few seconds while his offer sank in. I was at a total loss of words in that moment and all I could think to ask was ‘does the job come with dental?’ which was not something I should be concerned with in that moment. Thomas looked at me meaningfully and I knew his offer was on the level but I still couldn’t grasp it. It was like trying to hold water in a clenched fist. Difficult.

    ‘Michelle doesn’t work for you anymore does she?’ I asked and he shook his head with an almost hurt look in his eyes. ‘She’s done or is going to do something horrible isn’t she?’ This time Thompson remained still but I could see the answer in his eyes now. Michelle was not the same person I knew in school.

    ‘I need an answer solider,’ he said gently like he was almost afraid for me.

    ‘I… uh I need some time to think if that’s possible.’

    ‘I can’t give you much time,’ he answered, ‘and you wouldn’t be allowed to leave this room.’

    I thought about that for a minute. I had been hoping to talk to Gillian about this even though I already knew what her answer was going to be; NO! But now more than ever I needed her guidance. I was already formulating an answer in my mind and it scared me that it was so easy. Michelle had hurt me, again. And if she was wanted by CSIS that could only mean whatever she was up to was not good for the national security of the country.

    I was a soldier, sworn to protect my country with my life and stop those who would do her harm with everything at my disposal, but this was pushing it. How had Michelle become the enemy? How had things gone so wrong? I don’t think I could ever physically hurt her myself but I also knew I wouldn’t want someone else out there searching for her with a lethal solution. The desire to get to the bottom of what was going on was like a burning poker jabbed right into my brain and it was spurring me on.

    ‘What would happen to my niece?’ I asked as Thompson continued to look at me mournfully.

    ‘She could be transferred into temporary custody with Ms. Rogers until you were able to take full custody of her again. Or if you liked we could send her to a foster family while you were away.’

    ‘I want her with Gillian,’ I said more fiercely than I had intended but Thomas just smiled gently at me.

    ‘So you have made your decision?’ he asked.

    I took another moment to think about it but nothing changed. I had to know what was going on and now I knew Evee would be safe while I was gone. ‘You can count on me, sir.’
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    50 views and not a single comment? No one has anything to say about the story at all?
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    I just finished this story and I can't believe you do not have more posts. It was an incredible story. I loved it. The only bad part was coming to the end. Need more. Please continue. On this forum, you do not get that many posts. As only logged in members can post, most will come in the evening, The story side gets more posts, but most are the trolls and the crazys. You will get honest comments here, whether good or bad. This was good. I hope you continue with this story line. Semper Fi.
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    Very good beginning to a compelling story here. This reminds me a lot of the Matt Helm novels written by Donald Hamilton. You write first-person exactly the way one should and I am impressed with your style. I hope you continue to add to this story here on the forum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captius View Post
    50 views and not a single comment? No one has anything to say about the story at all?

    That happens a lot lately, My story hase almost 4000 views on it and only about three or four people comments on it, I get comments all the time on the sex stories page but not so much here.

    I would like more too good or bad but sometimes you have to except you get what you get. Your story was good so I expect you will get a lot more in the end.
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    Default Chapter Three

    Note: This chapter is a bit longer then the previous two. There is no sex involved but there will be in the next chapter. There is fighting, gunshot wounds, and death in this chapter. If you can watch a movie like James Bond or anything else like that then you will have no problem with this.


    Chapter Three

    ‘What do you need of me, sir?’ I asked Thompson. I was sitting in a cold and very uncomfortable chair at the very center of a small and barren room with a single dim light right over my head and a black one way mirror on the wall across from me. I really didn’t like this room and I hoped I didn’t have to sit there much longer, my back was starting to tighten up already and I could feel a dull headache brewing at the base of my skull.

    ‘Right now I don’t need anything from you,’ the large man said from across me. The dim light shined off the bald spot in his salt and pepper hair. ‘Go home and get some rest.’

    ‘Sir?’ I asked. I had been expecting to jump right into things and get out there to search for Michelle.

    ‘You’ve got a long day ahead of you tomorrow Corporal and you will need to be well rested to get through it. So go home with your niece and spend some quality time together. It might be your last chance.’

    His words stung my heart and suddenly I was regretting the decision I had just made. No, I couldn’t think like that. I had to stay positive. I knew what the agency was all about and I had seen the games they play before so I was certain I could make it through this. I had to make it through this. Evee would be waiting for me on the other side with open arms.

    ‘I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that this whole operation is classified, including your involvement. So just keep your mouth shut on the subject and you’ll be okay. I expect you here tomorrow at O nine hundred for intake. Is that clear?’

    ‘Yes, sir,’ I nodded.

    Thompson stood and quickly shook my hand in his big sweaty ham fist before turning and leaving the room, the door still wide open. Figuring I was allowed to leave on my own I left the horrible room behind me and walked back out into the bullpen. Agent Smith was standing close by, his beady black eyes boring holes into me like he was trying to kill me just by staring. I ignored him, which wasn’t an easy task, and walked through the maze of cubicles, desks, computer banks, and phone stations until I found Gillian and Evee sitting in more comfortable chairs snacking on a bag of chips each. Evee’s eyes lit up one she saw me but Gillian shot me an angry look and I knew she was starting to put the pieces together. I just hoped she could stop herself from tearing off my head so we could get out of there quickly. The less time my girls spent around these people or what they stood for the better.

    I quickly ushered them to the elevators and then down through the lobby until we were standing in the brilliant sunlight on the sidewalk. Evee was pelting me with questions but I ignored them while Gillian told her to ask them later. My car was back in the parking lot at home and I really didn’t feel like walking home so I quickly called a cab and was mildly surprised when the taxi showed up after only a minute.

    When we got back into the apartment the heat was sweltering and I quickly went around and opened up every window I could. The summer heat obviously wasn’t done with us even though it was September and I honestly couldn’t wait for winter to come back around and cool everything down. Wait, scratch that. Being out in the field during the winter for training was horrible. Then again I wasn’t sure if I would ever be back out with my battalion for training again. My life had kind of taken a sharp turn in the opposite direction and I really wasn’t sure where I would be this time next year.

    ‘Do you mind telling me just what the fuck is going on here?’ Gillian asked through gritted teeth and I knew she was really upset right now. She hated swearing and the only time you would ever hear a curse hissing out of her mouth was when she was angry. Fuck was her least favourite word so hearing her hiss it at me now I knew she was on the verge of ripping my limbs off.

    Gillian had gotten Evee to go and clean up her room so thankfully she wouldn’t be around, so long as we kept our voices down. ‘I have to go away for a while,’ I answered and that did nothing to improve her mood.

    ‘Don’t you fucking dare!’

    ‘Gillian look-’

    Suddenly Gillian was right in my face, her anger pulsing off her in waves, ‘You owe her nothing!’ she hissed so loudly it actually hurt my ears, ‘Whatever she wants you to do tell her no! She has done nothing but destroy your life and yet you still go running back to her like an idiot!’

    ‘It’s not like that,’ I said weakly. She may not have hit the nail on the head completely but she hammered the damn thing hard.

    ‘Don’t give me that crap! I know she was here last night in your room! I came by to pick up my laptop to do my homework and I heard her voice! I really thought you were starting get over her Ty! Then this shit happens!’

    I was at a loss for words as she raged and I found myself staring at my feet instead of her face. When she was done her little tirade she growled menacingly and turned to walk away. I grabbed her gently by the arm and held in her place, the sting of tears in my eyes as I struggled to remain composed. When she turned back towards me I could see a few tears hanging off her own eyelashes and she quickly blinked them away.

    ‘What?’ she demanded and I felt my heart sink.

    ‘I’m sorry,’ I sighed breathlessly, ‘You’re right I am an idiot but you don’t know the full extent of my ineptness.’

    ‘What else did you do?’ she breathed, her lips barely moving.

    ‘It’s… it’s not what you think it is,’ I said lamely.

    ‘You better tell me what is going on right now or so help me god I will walk out that door and you will never see me again,’ she threatened and for a brief moment I almost told her everything. I just couldn’t though. To do so would be a fate almost worse than death and she would be in danger.

    ‘I’m really sorry Gillian,’ I said but couldn’t look into her eyes anymore. Her fierce gaze was injecting ice into my veins and the pain was excruciating.

    ‘You don’t get to say sorry! Not to me! You’re a bastard!’

    She turned on her heel and marched off towards the door. No sooner had she opened it I called out at her to wait and quickly closed the distance, putting my hand on the door so she couldn’t get out just yet. I’m sure it was a pretty scary situation for Gillian but I honestly meant her no harm. There was a lot I had to ask of her still.

    ‘I’m leaving for a while,’ I said gently, ‘I need you to look after Evelyn for me.’

    Gillian turned back to me and the hatred in her eyes struck me like a million tiny daggers right to my heart. My hands were sweaty; my heart pounding in my ears, and a lump the size of a continent was currently lodged in my throat. No matter how hard I tried to rein in my emotions I continued to fail and I felt another tear or two sting my eyes.

    ‘For how long?’ she demanded and I winced at her tone. Not even when I had gone into the military had she been this mad.

    ‘I don’t know,’ I answered truthfully, ‘it could be a long time.’ I tried to keep the fear out of my voice on the last sentence but it was no use and Gillian picked up on it. For a split second her hard exterior shell softened and her eyes sparkled like she knew exactly what I meant by it. It didn’t last long though.

    ‘Send her to my place when you leave!’ she spat. She swatted my arm away from the door roughly and left, slamming the door shut behind her. A few seconds later I heard her apartment door shut loudly and it rattled through the length of the wall.

    I rubbed my eyes hard and took a deep breath before retreating to my room and closing the door tightly behind me. I had never seen Gillian like that before and I could still feel her hatred washing over me even though she was no longer standing there. I truly wished I could tell her everything, make her understand what I was doing and why I was doing it, but honestly I didn’t even know if it was the right thing anymore. I was working for the agency I loathed trying to track down the woman I had once loved. And here I thought walking into that firefight back in Afghanistan was hell on earth. I had just now won the shit storm sweepstakes.

    I couldn’t sit in my room and wallow forever though. I crossed the hall and checked on Evee to see how the cleaning was going, which wasn’t good. Her room looked even messier now than it had the night before. Wanting to spend as much time with her as possible I decided to help out and started to toss clothes into piles of what was dirty and what wasn’t. It took us two hours to get everything done but it was worth it, you could finally see the floor now.

    I ordered in pizza for dinner and for the rest of the night we sat on the couch watching as many movies as we possibly could. By the time we both fell asleep on the couch I had probably dished out about a hundred plus dollars on movies. I didn’t care though. Evee was happy and I was content just sitting there with her as she yammered on about all the plot holes she found in the stories.

    I didn’t dream that night. When I woke up I was just as tired as I had been the night before. I only had an hour and a half before I was supposed to be at the government building downtown so I gently woke Evee up and asked her to go into her room and pack her school books and some clothes for an extended time away from the apartment.

    ‘Are we going somewhere?’ she asked me through a yawn.

    ‘You’re going to be staying with Gillian for a while,’ I answered gently, hoping she would just do as I asked and not cause a scene like the one I had been put through the day before.

    ‘Where are you going then?’ she pressed.

    ‘I have to go out into the field for a while,’ I replied, ‘so Gillian is going to look after you when I am away.’

    ‘When will you be back?’

    ‘I don’t know sweetie. It might be a while before I see you again.’

    Evee didn’t like that answer one bit but thankfully she did as I asked. Me going into the field was nothing new to Evee and usually she enjoyed her time spent with Gillian. I had a feeling that this time things would be different. I was determined to not let anything stop me from coming back to my little Evee though and I hoped it wouldn’t be too long.

    With Evelyn all packed up I quickly went and dressed in my combats. I took one last look around the small apartment and then we left. Gillian was only a few doors down from our place and I gently knocked hoping she was awake. I had a key to get in but I didn’t really want to use it. After the way Gillian yelled at me the night before I wouldn’t have put it past her to actually have her locks changed just so I couldn’t get in.

    Thankfully she answered the door quickly. She gave Evee a small smile and then stared holes through my face as Evee walked past her and into the apartment. We stood there just staring at each other for a few seconds and I tried to think of something to say, but I had a feeling that nothing I could say would make this any better.

    ‘I really hope you know what you’re doing,’ she whispered loudly once Evee had gone further into her apartment and was out of earshot.

    ‘Me too,’ I answered nervously. My hands were fidgeting with the pockets on my pants and I suddenly felt stupid for wearing my uniform in front of her.

    ‘Evelyn will be here if you get back,’ she said and I couldn’t help but notice the emphasis she put on the word if. I had put her through so much in the last few years and I had promised myself to be a better friend to her, but it looked like I was going to have to break that promise.

    Gillian had always been my very best friend and after she got over the initial shock of me going into the military she had become the one person I could count on for anything and everything. She was always by my side. I had betrayed that trust though and I knew nothing could ever fix the hurt I had done to her. I owed her more than she knew and I would do whatever it took to make it up to her.

    I’m not sure if I had a death wish or if I had just lost my mind but I found myself stepping closer to Gillian as she sat in the doorway staring me down with malice laced through her eyes. On their own my hands reached up and grabbed the sides of her dark red housecoat, pulling her closer to me. Her eyes opened wide in alarm as we inched closer to one another but she didn’t resist. I could see her body trembling slightly and I almost lost my nerve as I figured she was too scared to tell me to stop. I was too close though, the heat of her skin washing over my body and the smell of her light flowery fragrance crawling through my nostrils and striking me right in the brain.

    Our lips met in a tender kiss that sent rockets fuelled with a million different emotions through my nervous system. The fake drunken kiss at the party three months ago was nothing like what I was experiencing now. I laced my arms around her waist and lifted her off her feet until her face was level with where mine was when I was standing straight up. Gillian kissed me back with no hesitation but I could feel her arms being a little tentative as she merely placed them over mine gently.

    We both broke the kiss at the same time and the instant her lips were free and I placed her back on the ground she looked away from me, her cheeks turning a bright pink. I wanted to kiss her again but I knew I had pushed my luck to the limit. I took a few steps back out into the hallway and looked at a spot just above her head so I wasn’t forced to look into those beautiful eyes.

    ‘That’s how our first kiss should have been,’ I said weakly and then turned on my heel and walked down the hall towards the stairs.



    Eight years in the military dealing with early timings and stuck on a military clock I arrived at the building downtown at nine in the morning exactly. People dressed in various light and dark coloured suits were filing through the entrance hall, going through the security pat downs and metal detectors that lined every entrance to any hallway on the bottom floor.

    With a little nervousness balling up in the pit of my stomach I crossed the hall to the front desk where a young woman with her hair done up in a bun and thick glasses over her eyes was sitting, typing very quickly on a keyboard. ‘May I help you?’ she asked without even looking up from her computer screen.

    ‘I’m here to see Mr. Thompson,’ I said with as much confidence as I could.

    ‘Do you have an appointment?’ she asked.

    ‘I don’t know,’ I answered honestly, ‘I was told to be here today at this time.’

    No sooner had the words come out of my mouth the phone began to ring loudly. The woman who was also wearing a Bluetooth earpiece reached up and tapped it once. She held a brief conversation with the person on the other line and then tapped the earpiece once more, turning it off. She looked up at me for the first time and took in what I was wearing before pulling out a clipboard and a plastic bin.

    ‘Please sign in here,’ she said handing me a ballpoint pen, ‘and place any electronics you might be carrying into the bin. No cellphones or other such devices are allowed on the premises sir.’

    I did as she asked, tossing my phone into the empty bin and signing my name and rank on the clipboard. My name was the only one on the entire sheet and I figured that was probably because it was so early, but in the back of my mind I knew it would probably look the same way when they closed.

    When I handed the clipboard back to the woman she pressed a grey button on her desk by the computer keyboard. ‘By the way it’s just Thompson,’ she said with a small smile, ‘It’s not his real name.’

    ‘Thanks. I guess,’ I said as my nerves started to get frayed even more. Why the hell had I gotten myself involved with this agency?

    A few seconds later a strong and tall man made his way to the desk. He had the same kind of military haircut I had been getting for eight years and his eyes were hard. He was dressed completely in black, black slacks, a black polo shirt, black hair, black eyes, a black holster, black pistol, and a black flak jacket. The only white he had on him was a long badge that red SECURITY over the bullet proof vest.

    ‘Security will escort you to where you are supposed to be,’ the woman said offhand like it was something that happened every day. She turned back to her computer and her fingers flashed over the keyboard again filling the area with the soft clacking sound of the keys being hit with precision.

    I followed the menacing security guard and was surprised when he walked right through the metal detectors and set them off. The agents running the pat downs and metal detectors simply waved us through and then stepped back up to check everyone else. We stopped outside an elevator and the guard pulled out a ring of keys and inserted a small one into the lock just below the buttons for up and down. The elevator doors quickly opened and we walked inside to the cramped area.

    ‘Nice setup you guys have here,’ I said trying to make a joke but it fell on deaf ears as the security guard pressed the button for B3 and the doors slid closed. It only took thirty seconds until the doors were opening up again into a long brightly illuminated hallway that stretched way into the distance. Just trying to strain my eyes and see if I could spot the end of the hallway was giving me a sense of vertigo.

    I waited for the man to get out of the elevator but he stayed put and held his arm up, extending one finger to point me down the hall. Shaking the fear out of my head I stepped out and took a few steps down the hall when I heard the doors close behind me. I turned and looked back to see that I was now on my own.

    ‘Just awesome,’ I sighed and turned back around. I had no idea where the hell I was supposed to go and I was beginning to feel that this whole thing had been a huge mistake. A man with a fake name, security guards armed with enough firepower to rob a bank, and a labyrinth of underground tunnels that led to god knows where. I was really starting to miss military drills already.

    Steeling my nerves I forced one foot in front of the other until I was walking at a brisk pace down the silent hallways. The walls were painted a bright white but you could still see the rough cement under the coating. They didn’t seem to care what it looked like as long as it served its purpose. Judging by the fact that we were at least three stories underground and the walls were probably a few feet thick I was sure this place could survive an atom bomb going off right above the building.

    I passed a dozen doors on either side as I continued on. Each one of them was made of reinforced steel and windowless. They had biometric locks attached to them and I really didn’t want to know what they were guarding. Images of torture rooms and cramped jail cells filled my mind as I kept going. What kind of shit was Michelle involved with?

    I looked back to see how far I had come from the elevators and found they were nothing but a mere blemish in the distance as my eyes strained hard to make them out. A split second later the door to my left opened wide and Thompson stepped out scaring the crap out of me. Even with the shit I had been through in the military and my service in Afghanistan I still jumped a foot off the ground by being caught unaware like that.

    ‘I do love punctuality,’ Thompson said brightly, his pudgy cheeks dancing as his jowls moved over the words.

    ‘What is this place?’ I asked but he ignored the question and walked back into the room he had just come out of. I followed him in and he motioned for me to close the door behind me, which I did.

    I found myself in a bright room with half a dozen large lights hanging high above me on the roof. The room only held two items, a large metal desk with a stack of papers and files on it, and a single metal chair occupied by a young looking woman with long red hair that was pulled into a tight and perfect ponytail. The woman had been looking over a stack of papers right in front of her when I came in but she looked up at me and grimaced like the very sight of me was repulsive.

    ‘Hello,’ I said moving towards her with my hand held out.

    The woman ignored my outstretched hand and greeting and looked towards Thompson, raising a single eyebrow as if asking if he was serious about me. Thompson smiled politely and moved off to the far corner and faced me. The woman looked back towards me and swatted my hand away before pulling out a piece of paper with print all over it.

    ‘Please state your full name and rank for the records,’ she said in a honey voice that dripped over me.

    ‘Ty Francis Edmund Anders,’ I stated, ‘Corporal with 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.’

    ‘How long have you served in the Canadian Military?’ she asked.

    ‘Eight years, ma’am.’

    The woman marked down my answers on the paper she held in her hand and then tossed it off to the side of a large pile. I looked closely at the top folder and saw my name and rank emblazoned on the manila folder with my service picture attached with a metal paperclip. The beautiful woman opened the file and I saw my service record on the face with my honours, citations, and other various information.

    ‘Impressive,’ she said gently and I felt my ego swell just a bit.

    ‘Thank you, ma’am.’

    ‘I meant that you’ve served eight years and this all you have to show for it.’

    ‘Ouch,’ Thompson chuckled from his corner and I repressed the urge to look at him, ‘Be nice Renee.’

    Renee ignored Thompson’s remark and flipped through the pages of my record, taking a few minutes to go over a few things before closing it again and looking me directly in the eyes. What was it with these CSIS people? Why did they all seem to hate me? Renee knew nothing about me yet she looked at me with hatred.

    ‘Do you know why you are here?’ she asked briskly.

    I honestly didn’t know why I was here besides the basics I had been gathered on my own the other night. I was about to tell her that but then Thompson caught my attention from the side of my vision. I looked over at him quickly and noticed he was nodding his head. ‘Yes, ma’am,’ I answered and he smiled at me.

    ‘Are you here willingly?’

    ‘Yes.’

    ‘Strip out of your uniform,’ she told me and for a minute I thought she was joking but the hard look in her eyes told me she never joked about anything, ‘and hand me your dog tags.’

    Feeling a little embarrassed I stripped out of my combats, folded them and then neatly placed them on an empty portion of the desk she was pointing to. Standing in only a pair of boxer briefs and green tank top I pulled my dog tags over my head and then slowly placed them into Renee’s open hand. I had been wearing those things for so long it felt like I was giving my life away to hand them to someone else. Then again that was probably what I was doing.

    ‘Do I need to sign anything?’ I asked as the chill of the room penetrated my body and I tried not to shiver.

    ‘This operation is completely off the books,’ Renee answered and she put my dog tags into a plastic baggy and tossed it with the rest of my clothing.

    Renee stood and had me follow her out of the small room and back into the dizzying hallway that I was really starting to hate. Thompson remained in his corner of the room and didn’t move a muscle as the door was closed behind us. I was about to ask what he was going to do in there all on his own but I thought better of it. Whatever that spook was going to do was not something I ever wanted to know.

    I was led a little ways down the hall and then Renee stopped and opened a heavy steel door, using her thumb print to unlock it. I walked into the room and found myself standing some where I knew very well, a place most people knew very well; a doctors examination room. There was a tall thin table in the middle of the room complete with stirrups and everything. Various medical machines lined the walls, IV stands, a defibrillator, heart monitors, blood pressure machines, and a fully stocked medical supply cart with a frightening display of needles and other horrifying tools. The only thing different from this place and one you would find in a doctor’s office was that there were no diagrams or diplomas hanging off the wall. They were completely bare and it almost felt like they were closing in on me as I stood there.

    ‘Have fun,’ I heard Renee say dryly and the door closed a moment later. The exact moment the door behind me closed another at the far wall opened and a thin elderly man walked out wearing a nice dress shirt and a stethoscope. I had been so freaked out by the sight of all those needles I hadn’t even noticed the other door until it had opened and closed.

    The man walked further into the room and pulled up a stool on wheels to the long doctors table in the middle of the room. He had a small folder in his hand and once he sat down he opened it up and pulled out a pen before looking back to me.

    ‘I’m Dr. Rashid,’ he said with an ancient voice that belonged in a crypt, not in a doctor’s office, ‘Please have a seat.’

    I did as I was asked and jumped up onto the tall table. Dr. Rashid went through the file for a few more minutes and then remembered that I was even there in the room with him. For the next hour or so I was put through a full physical including an eye exam. I hated going through these things but being in the military I was forced to do one every year so it was nothing new to me. I was pretty sure I was in peak physical condition but there’s always that fear in the back of your mind when going through a physical that the doctor will find something horribly wrong with you.

    After every test the doctor would write his finding down in the file and I was dying to know what it said. I have to admit that the worst part was having his knobbly old hands on my testicles while I had to turn my head in cough. It felt so wrong. I swallowed those feelings though and was thankful when I was told to pull my underwear back up to my waist. When the bulk of the tests were completed Dr. Rashid led me into the room he had come out of earlier and proceeded to put me through a hearing test.

    I knew I didn’t do very well with this one because I had partial hearing loss from the military, but honestly it wasn’t that bad to affect my everyday life. From time to time I would have to ask Evee to speak up or repeat what she had just said but other than that it didn’t bother me. There were a few frequencies I couldn’t hear at all but I hoped this was the norm for the test, like how dogs could hear certain ones humans couldn’t.

    Once I finished that test I was expecting to hear about the results right away, but instead the doctor brought me back into the first room and then left through the door back out into the hallway. I sat there by myself for at least a half an hour trying to figure out what was going on. Had I passed the test or not? Did I actually even care if I passed the test?

    I was in the middle of reliving the kiss with Gillian in my memory when the door suddenly opened and Renee walked into the room, her high heels clicking against the hard floor with each step. She looked at me and then quickly looked away. Supressing a laugh I pulled my shirt back on and told her I was decent again.

    ‘So what’s the news?’ I asked as she finally looked back at me.

    ‘Surprisingly well,’ the young woman sneered, ‘Follow me.’

    Renee led me ever further down the long hallway and ushered me into another room that looked remarkably like the interrogation room they had upstairs. A single low light hanging directly above a large metal table flanked on two sides by uncomfortable steel chairs and the walls were painted midnight black and gave no reflection of the light. It was like walking into a black hole with a flashlight.

    A man who looked to be in his late forties sat in the chair furthest from me with yet another manila folder open in front of him, peering down through thick horn-rimmed glasses. He wore a thick brown tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows and his face was framed with a neatly trimmed brown beard that gave him a college professor look.

    The man introduced himself as Dr. Simpson and said he was a psychologist. I was to undergo a psychological evaluation for field duty. I had been through two of these in my life before, once when I first was inducted into the military and the second time after I had been wounded in Afghanistan to see if I was ready to go back to active duty. Those had been laid back compared to this one though. Dr. Simpson probed my mind like it was a puzzle, touching on my worst fears and horrible nightmares. He learned things about me that no one else ever knew and it made me feel extremely vulnerable, like being laid out on a medical table while doctors poked and prodded me with sharp instruments. He asked me about growing up, what my friends were like, what my relationship with Michelle had been like. He even touched on the subject of taking my niece in and being a parent for her when I was barely an adult myself.

    I steered clear of talking about Gillian though as the memory of kissing her so passionately that morning still felt fresh. That was something I didn’t want to share with anyone. That was my private little moment and the more I thought of it the more I regretted taking so long in getting to that point with her. She had always been there hiding in the wings and I never even thought about it.

    Thankfully I seemed to pass that test as well and Dr. Simpson left the room to tell Renee and whoever else the results of the evaluation. A few minutes later Renee walked into the room and closed the door behind her before dropping a thick file onto the table and taking the seat opposite me. Without a word she opened the file and pulled out a slip of paper with a photo attached to it, passing it to me.

    It was Michelle’s service record with CSIS and the same picture I had been shown the first time I was asked about where she was. I quickly pulled the picture off in disgust and turned it upside down before sliding it back to Renee. Everything looked pretty normal to me on the record, but I had never seen one before so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. It had her height, weight, hair colour, eye colour, education, known associates (which I was surprised to see my name there), date of birth, place of birth, and about a hundred other little things about her.

    ‘You know Franklin,’ Renee said as more of a statement than an actual question, ‘That’s why you are here now. It’s not because of your service with the military or your meagre education. You are here because you know her better than anyone else.’

    ‘I highly doubt that,’ I growled but then elaborated, ‘I don’t think she’s the same person I… I-’

    ‘Loved?’ Renee finished for me and for a split second I could swear her angry look towards me softened up just a bit.

    ‘Past tense,’ I assured her. She nodded like she understood and then took the record out of my hands, putting it back into the file and then pulling out another. She slowly handed out the paper to me but hesitated a moment like she still didn’t trust me. If anything I should be the one that didn’t trust her.

    After a few moments of hesitation she handed me the paper and began to tell me what I had been so desperate to know; why Michelle was being hunted by a government intelligence agency. Michelle had been brought into the agency two and a half years ago after she had finished some college courses and immediately placed on active duty. According to Renee she had been an exemplary agent and quickly rose through the ranks until she was given her own case to work on alone. Apparently that’s when shit went wrong and they lost contact with her when she was out in the field.

    Two weeks passed and they heard nothing from her. Another agent was dispatched to ascertain what had happened to the mission and Michelle’s whereabouts but just like Michelle the agent never checked in when he was supposed to. A full investigation had been opened about the mission and what they found labeled Michelle as a traitor and a standing kill order had been placed on her. What that meant was if any agent came across her they had prior orders to kill her on sight.

    ‘What did she do though?’ I asked because none of this made any sense.

    ‘The mission she had been tasked with was to infiltrate an international arms ring and gather Intel on members, load outs, and their locations. To make her cover seem legitimate she was given access to a large stash of both Canadian and American firearms to help her look the part of an arms dealer. The weapons were supposed to be tagged for later extraction but something went wrong and they were given to her without it,’ Renee explained and a lump was starting to grow in my throat.

    ‘She walked off with them didn’t she?’ I asked thinking I had figured it out but Renee shook her head.

    ‘It’s not as simple as that. Franklin sold off the weapons yes, but that’s not the worst of it. We had no idea the extent of her betrayal until a few months ago when she resurfaced on the grid in London. Two agents who tried to intercept her disappeared and their bodies were recovered a week later after Michelle had already disappeared again. According to sources inside MI6 she stole critical information on various Intelligence Services from their databanks and we believe she intends to auction the Intel off to the highest bidder.’

    I leaned back in my chair and took the whole story in. This was a hundred times worse than I had imagined and I was sure now more than ever that I had made a huge mistake putting myself right into the middle of it. At least three agents were dead, their blood on Michelle’s hands, and she had stolen data that could probably cripple a dozen countries if it got into the light of day. I hated these types of agencies but I knew they were a necessary evil.

    ‘What Intel did she steal?’ I asked.

    ‘That’s above your clearance,’ Renee answered, ‘We need to know where it is and time is running out. The longer we wait the more chance Michelle has at selling it to someone. I can tell you that if the information was leaked agents across the world from CSIS, CIA, MI6, and a couple others would be in danger.’

    ‘What do you need me to do?’ I asked.

    Renee shuffled the papers back into the file and held it out for me to take, ‘Read this file cover to cover tonight,’ she answered.

    ‘After that?’

    ‘You’ll be let out into the field with as much information as any of our other agents to track Franklin down. You’ll be given a secure phone and expected to check in every two hours. I’ll be your handler so everything goes through me, travel, lodging, even your meals. If I say no then you go hungry.’

    ‘Gee,’ I sighed, ‘you can’t be seriously letting me out there on my own can you?’

    ‘I have a feeling you’ll stand a better chance at finding her than anyone else we have out there right now, considering your long history with the subject. You’re the only person in the last six months to see her and live to tell about it, and you’re the only one who truly knows how she thinks.’

    I sighed once again, the action starting to become routine in these last few days. I ran both hands over my face, obscuring my vision for a moment trying to wrap my mind around what I was being asked. ‘So will my pay checks be from CSIS or the military?’ I asked trying to make a joke.

    ‘Like I said this whole thing is off the books. Technically you’re not actually working for CSIS. You report directly to a shadow organization made up from Intelligence Agencies from G8 countries. We have no official name or title but it’s best to just consider us a revamped Interpol.’

    ‘That makes me feel better.’

    Renee stood up from her chair and headed back towards the door, stopping just before it and looking back at me, ‘Six doors down from this room you will find a room you can stay in for the night with a bed and fridge with food. Tomorrow morning I will come and see you one last time before you leave. Welcome to the team.’

    She left me sitting there alone, a feeling I was starting to get used to now after the kind of day I had been having. I was still dressed in only my underwear and the cold air circulating in the room was starting to make me shiver. I thought about getting up and seeing if there were any clothes my size in the room Renee told me about but I felt both physically and emotionally drained. I opened up the folder sitting on the table in front of me and delved into the world of blood and mystery I hated so much.



    The next morning came way too early for my liking. I had a migraine starting to brew behind my eyes and thankfully I had found some pain killers sitting on top of the small fridge in my room. Renee had been true to her word and came by to give me one last run through of when I was supposed to check in. I was given a set of new clothes (dress slacks, a dress shirt, a blazer, and a tie), a secure cellphone, and some cash in case I needed it for anything, a standard issue pistol almost exactly like the one I had at home with a shoulder holster to hide under my jacket, and a new passport with a fake name.

    I had actually thought that agents with fake names were a myth or urban legend but according to Renee they were a necessity with in this section of the agency. I committed the name James Robson to memory and stuffed the fake passport into the inside pocket of the blazer. After I was told everything in triplicate, a common practice for the government, I was handed the keys to a vehicle that had been requisitioned for me and told I could leave the building.

    By the time I got outside into the light drizzle pouring down from the thick clouds above it was already past ten in the morning and I had a thought about Evee sitting in one of her classes not that far away from where I was in the heart of the city. Thinking of here sitting there with twenty other students her age taking notes unlocked a memory in my mind that I couldn’t believe I had forgotten. I could still hear Evee’s voice as she pointed to a picture of Michelle in my old yearbook and saying I had gone to school with her substitute teacher.

    Panic gripped my heart and I almost ran back into the building behind me to tell Renee what was going on, but then I remembered I was out here pretty much on my own. How in the world could I have forgotten what Evee had pointed out a few days ago? If I believed Evee, which I did because I had never known her to lie to me, then Michelle had posed as a teacher at her school. I had no idea what it could have been about but in that moment I didn’t care, Evee could have been in danger.

    I rushed to the parking lot across the street from the government office and clicked the automatic starter attached to the key ring I had been given. Three rows back and eight cars in I found a mid ‘90s black sedan that looked a little worse for wear. I didn’t exactly expect a car like the spies in the movies got but I had been hoping for something a little newer than this piece of junk. I ignored the fact that this was probably another shot at me by Renee or Agent Smith and hopped into the driver’s seat and sped off down the street towards Evee’s school.

    I was driving pretty recklessly, weaving in and out of traffic and even running a few red lights and stop signs in my haste. For a brief second I wondered how much shit I would be in with Renee if I got pulled over and ticketed, or even arrested. It would probably be a stack of paperwork for her to fill out and I had to grin at that. Anything to make her job harder sounded like fun but I had more pressing matters to attend to right now.

    I made it to the large brown high school in record time and jumped out of my still running car in the middle of a fire lane as I dashed into the front of the building and into the office. Secretaries were milling around, typing on their computers of filing papers on various students as I burst in. The larger and older woman at the front desk nearly jumped out of her chair when I showed up but she quickly gathered herself and looked at my face.

    ‘May I help you sir?’ she asked like I was some kind of criminal.

    ‘My name’s Ty Anders,’ I said totally forgetting I had a cover name now, ‘my niece goes to this school and-’

    ‘Ah yes, Evelyn Anders,’ the large woman said like she had just remembered something, ‘A Ms. Rogers came and picked her up about ten minutes ago for a doctor’s appointment.’

    ‘I need to ask you about a substitute English teacher that should have been working here last week,’ I started to say but then the woman’s last statement sunk in, ‘Wait, Evee has a doctor’s appointment?’

    This was news to me. Evee had already had her bi-yearly check-ups and as far as I knew there was nothing wrong with her. She hadn’t been sick in almost eight months and I could swear her immune system could fight off the plague no problem. Why would Gillian make an appointment for her?

    Without even thinking I left the office and pulled out my phone, dialling the doctor’s office that Evelyn went to. I got through right away and asked what time her appointment was but the receptionist on the other line said they had no record of it and asked if I wanted to make one for the next day. I hung up without saying another word and rushed back to my car as I tried to call Gillian on her cell. When I got no answer I tried to call the landline she had in her apartment but again there was no answer and now my heart was beating a mile a minute as I began to freak out.

    Sitting behind the wheel of the car I took a deep breath and tried to calm my mind and body down, struggling to figure out what to do next. Two of the people closest to me were now missing and I had no idea where I should begin looking. Evee was obviously not at school and Gillian didn’t have any classes today. If she wasn’t at home then she could be at work, maybe picking up an extra shift or filling in for someone who couldn’t make it in that day. I would head there and see if I could find her, it was the best lead I had right now.

    My heart still racing I left the school property and pointed my car in the direction of the large record store Gillian worked in at the mall. I had trouble finding a parking spot even though it was a Monday and still pretty early in the day so I was forced to park near the very back of the lot. Not even bothering to lock the car, hoping that it didn’t get stolen, I burst into a full out sprint towards the nearest entrance. People who were just getting to the mall or already starting to leave having already done their shopping stopped and watched me like I was some kind of mad man, stepping back away from me as I passed in fear that I might tackle them or something stupid like that.

    This was one of the largest malls in all of North America and could take you hours to see everything it had to offer. I had been here enough times to know exactly where I was going so I pushed through the throngs of people until I found the store Gillian worked in, a two floor music store that sold a little bit of every medium. Thankfully Gillian was working on the second floor till when I raced up the escalator and when she saw me charging towards her all sweaty and out of breath she took a step back like she was afraid I was there to hurt her or something.

    ‘Why did you take Evee out of school? Where is she?’ I demanded through gasps and her frightened look turned to one of bewilderment.

    ‘What are you talking about Ty? I dropped her off at school and then came straight to work!’

    ‘The office said you came by to take her to the doctors!’

    ‘Trust me I didn’t take her to the doctors Ty,’ she said and began to ring someone’s purchases through, never taking her eyes off me as I sucked in oxygen like I had just been held underwater longer than what was normal.

    ‘No,’ I gasped making Gillian jump and drop a handful of changed she handing to the customer.

    ‘What?’ she asked.

    Before I could even answer the phone next to Gillian rang and she quickly answered it, eyeing me suspiciously. Suddenly her eyes went hard as she said, ‘Evee where are you?’ My heart leapt into my throat and I reached out to snatch the phone way from Gillian but she took a step out of my range. ‘Just stay right there we’re coming to get you!’

    Gillian put the receiver down, reached under the counter to grab her bag, and started to walk at a brisk pace towards the exit. I quickly caught up to her and asked her where my Evee was but she didn’t answer until we were already back out in the car and pulling out onto the road.

    ‘Where am I going?’ I asked her rapidly.

    ‘Winston Churchill Park,’ she instructed and I pointed us in the right direction, ‘She said she was with her teacher and that she was told to call me and tell me where she was. Do you mind telling me what is going on now Ty?’

    I glanced over at her from the corners of my eyes and saw the scared look in her eyes as she looked at me, her mouth ajar slightly and her knuckles white as she clutched her hands tightly in her lap. ‘Evee’s in danger,’ I said sadly, ‘Michelle has her.’

    ‘Why? I thought you were working with her!’ she scolded but I could hear the quiver of fear in her words. The thought of Evelyn being in any kind of danger was horrifying and just like I had come to be a father for her Gillian had come to be a mother.

    I wanted to tell her the truth but we were already pulling up to the large cement slab across the street from City Hall. Dozens of people who worked in offices downtown were sitting at various picnic tables eating their lunches or reading books they had gotten from the library that was on the other side of the block. Without even waiting for Gillian I rushed out of the car and dashed through the square until I heard a squeal of delight coming from the top of a set of stairs leading out of the park.

    Quickly turning I saw Evee standing at the top with Michelle right behind her. Michelle’s face held a smile but one of her hands was in the pocket of her tight fitting jacket and I could barely make out the shape of a gun. Evee tried to rush down to me but Michelle caught her around the waist with her free hand and whispered something in her ear that I couldn’t hear.

    ‘Let her go Michelle!’ I demanded and a couple of people nearby cocked their heads to see what was going on. Instead of answering Michelle held out her hand and motioned for me to come closer. Before I had even taken one step up the stairs Gillian rushed past me, her red hair like a ball of fire, and clutched Evee in her arms and holding her tight. Michelle had let go of the girl but only took a single step back, her hand still firmly around the grip of the pistol hidden in her jacket pocket.

    ‘What the fuck is going on?’ Gillian growled pushing Evee behind her body. She must have seen the pistol in Michelle’s hand as well because she took a defensive stance between them. I could feel my own pistol like a heavy rock weighing me down and I had to fight the urge to reach for it. One false move could end in disaster.

    ‘It’s nice to see you too Gill,’ Michelle said with a wink, ‘How’s life?’

    ‘Fuck you!’

    A flicker of genuine pain flashed across Michelle’s face at the sudden outburst and she grimaced at Gillian who was standing before her defiantly. I came up and stood next to her, trying to angle my body to protect her just in case shit hit the fan. Once Michelle looked into my face she smiled again and the action gave me the creeps a little. She was acting so sure and certain of the situation that I wondered if she had something up her sleeve.

    ‘What’s going on Ms. Atkinson?’ Evee asked peeking her head out around Gillian only to be shoved back out of the way again.

    ‘Gillian get her out of here now please,’ I said but Michelle quickly twitched her hand hidden in her pocket to remind them that she was in control of the situation. More people who had been eating their lunches in the park had suddenly become interested in what was happening at the top of the steps and a few had brought out their cellphones to catch everything on film just in case something really interesting happened.

    ‘Come on guys,’ Michelle said lightly, ‘we’re all friends here aren’t we?’

    ‘You and I were never friends you bitch,’ Gillian spat with venom.

    ‘That’s right, I’m sorry. I forgot the only reason you were around us was because you were secretly in love with my boyfriend,’ Michelle answered and it stunned me to hear an actual caring edge to her words instead of hatred. I could feel Gillian fidget behind me and I had to resist the urge to look back and see what was going on.

    ‘Michelle,’ I said gently, ‘Look at what’s going on here. This isn’t you.’

    Suddenly the cellphone in my pocket rang and the realization that I had forgotten to check in every two hours hit me. I moved my hand towards the pocket on my jacket to grab the phone but then I thought better of it, Michelle might think I am going for a weapon.

    ‘Let me guess, that’s Renee seeing where you are?’ Michelle asked and I blanched. I was no spy and this situation was making that much very apparent. Sure I had weapons training but it was all geared towards following orders and working with a group of other soldiers to get a task done. Michelle was the real master spy here having been involved with the agency for a few years. I felt like an idiot standing before her.

    ‘Ty what is going on? Who is Renee?’ Gillian asked but it was Michelle who answered.

    ‘Ty was sent here to kill me,’ she said but smiled softly, ‘Renee is his handler.’

    ‘That’s not true!’ Evee said loudly, ‘Why would my uncle want to hurt you?’

    ‘Gillian get her out of her now!’ I breathed but once again Michelle twitched her hand and Gillian froze behind me.

    ‘Not just yet guys. I promise you will leave here unharmed if Ty cooperates.’

    ‘What do you want?’ I demanded.

    ‘Gillian and Evelyn are free to go if you come with me,’ she said sweetly and instantly I felt Gillian’s arm wrap around mine and dry to drag me away from Michelle.

    ‘Don’t do it Ty,’ she whispered into my ear. Michelle seemed to hear it because she cocked her head to the side and looked Gillian dead in the eye as the grip around her pistol seemed to tighten.

    ‘I don’t have much time,’ she said looking back towards me, ‘So what’s it going to be? Are you going to take a ride with me or will I have to bring someone else instead?’

    My decision was a pretty simple one; I would never let any type of harm come to Gillian or Evee. If that meant putting myself in a dangerous situation I was perfectly fine with that. I pulled my arm away from Gillian and turned towards her, our faces a few inches apart. I could see the tears in her eyes and I wished it had never come to this. I had already said goodbye once to her today and I hated to put us both through it again, but their safety was more important.

    ‘Please Ty, come home with us,’ she cried and I pulled her close to me. She buried her head into my jacket and let loose a sob that shattered my heart. Behind her Evee wrapped her small arms around both of us and hid her face in Gillian’s back but I didn’t hear a single strangled sob come out of her mouth.

    ‘I won’t let her hurt either of you,’ I said softly into her ear and she held me tighter, ‘I am so sorry for everything I have put you through Gillian.’

    I could feel the words ‘I love you’ starting to claw their way up my throat but I choked them back as hard as I could. Those had been the words Michelle had said to me right before she dragged me into her web and I refused to use them here knowing it could have the same effect on Gillian. I kissed her gently on her forehead and gave one of Evee’s arms a meaningful squeeze before extricating myself from them both. Before I could get completely untangled Gillian leaned up on her tippy toes and planted a gentle kiss on my lips as her eyes remained closed so I couldn’t see the anguish she was in.

    I quickly returned the kiss and then turned back to Michelle who was smiling at us innocently. ‘Your weapon please,’ she asked and I begrudgingly moved closer to her and pulled my weapon out under the cover of my jacket. With a trembling hand I handed it to her and she quickly put it into her empty pocket, her hand never leaving it.

    ‘I’m sorry too Gillian,’ she said turning back to the short redhead clutching Evelyn for all she was worth, ‘this was the only way though.’

    Michelle motioned for me to walk past her and with one look back at my girls I did, Michelle following close behind never taking her eyes off me. I was directed to a small sports car parked on the edge of the park. She told me to get into the passenger seat while she got behind the wheel. I looked back towards the park but noticed that Gillian and Evee had already taken off now that they were safe.

    ‘You probably won’t believe me,’ Michelle said, ‘but I’m glad you have Gillian in your life.’

    ‘Just shut the hell up,’ I groaned. I heard Michelle sigh beside me and a moment later a searing pain stabbed me in the neck, digging deep into the muscle. The long needle she had just struck me with released a cold liquid into my blood stream and I instantly started to feel the effects.

    As I looked over at Michelle my vision suddenly went blurry and I could feel my heart beat start to slow down in my chest. My entire body relaxed even though my brain was screaming at it to lash out and strike my attacker. The last sight I had before I passed out was of a blurry vision of Michelle looking at me with pain across her features.

    I don’t know how long I had been out but when I opened my heavy eye lids we were no longer in the city. The car door on the driver’s side was open and Michelle was no longer sitting behind the wheel. Groaning I surveyed my surroundings and found that we were sitting on the side of an old farm road in the middle of nowhere with the sun setting in the background. The pistol that I had been forced to hand to Michelle sat on the dashboard in front of me and I quickly snatched it up.

    My head hurt so badly that there were black spots clouding my vision and it felt like every muscle in my body was on fire. I pushed all the pain away though like I had been taught and let the adrenaline course through my body. I opened the car door and scrambled out into the grass as the cool autumn night air washed over my aching body.

    I found Michelle standing about a hundred yards away from the side of the road in a field of grass overlooking an abandoned looking farmhouse. Her back was turned towards me and I seized the opportunity to raise my gun and point it directly at her, using all the strength I had in my body to keep my arms from shaking. Very slowly I started to make my way through the tall green grass towards her, but she must have heard me coming because she titled her head to the side and gave me a half smile.

    ‘I bet you feel like shit,’ she said loud enough that I could hear her over the distance between us. A soft breeze blew through the field and the grass swayed hypnotically back and forth.

    ‘You forgot something!’ I said looking towards the gun.

    ‘Did I?’ she asked but she didn’t seem too surprised because she kept facing away from me, ‘I’m so forgetful sometimes.’

    Michelle might be a lot of things now but she had never been a forgetful person. Thinking I was playing right into another one of her traps I quickly ejected the magazine from the pistol and checked to see if the rounds had been removed. They hadn’t though. The gun was loaded with twelve armour piercing rounds that would render any cheap bullet proof vest useless. I put the clip back in and readied the weapon, pulling a round into the chamber and flipping the safety into the off position.

    ‘What are you playing at?’ I demanded and now she finally turned to face me. That’s when I noticed the gun in her hand held limply at her side, a trickle of blood running over her forearm and dripping down into the grass. ‘You shot yourself?’

    ‘The round came from your weapon,’ she said matter of factly and I suddenly remembered that the clip for my pistol carried thirteen rounds and not twelve.

    ‘What the fuck is going on!’

    ‘It’s time for you to make a decision Ty,’ she said weakly, ‘About what happens next. I used your phone to send a text to Renee that said you had found me so you can expect the cavalry to show up any minute now.’

    ‘What are you talking about?’ I asked as my head swam, ‘Why would you let them know where you were? Why would you shoot yourself? What the fuck are you up to?’

    ‘I have to finish what I started,’ she answered simply but it cleared nothing up. ‘You have two choices in front of you right now. You can hear me out and help me stop what is happening or you can take me into custody.’

    ‘I can kill you also,’ I said through gritted teeth and my finger moved to trigger.

    ‘Yes you can also do that,’ she smirked, ‘Hell who knows they might even let you go if you did that. I doubt it but you never know.’

    ‘What are you talking about?’ I screamed and she flinched slightly, her false bravado failing.

    ‘You’re in a lot deeper than you think Ty,’ she started to explain, ‘Renee, Thompson, or whoever else you have been dealing with doesn’t want any loose ends. Once they have me, dead or alive, you become just another problem and they will take you out of the game.’

    ‘You’re lying!’ I shot back and stopped walking when I was only ten feet away from her, my gun still pointed at her chest, ‘You’re the murderer not them! I saw the pictures of the men you killed in London! I know what you did!’

    ‘You’re right, I did kill those men but it was in self-defence. I didn’t want to but they had been sent to kill me!’

    ‘Because you’re a traitor! You stole files and are trying to sell them on the black market! I know everything Michelle!’

    Whatever hope she might have had about being able to turn me quickly died and her eyes dropped to the ground as her hand around the gun twitched. I could see the defeat written in her body language. All the hard thought out and perfectly laid plans she had were crumbling around her and she had no one else anymore. She had lost.

    ‘Well if you know everything there is to know about it then you might as well kill me now and go back to your niece.’

    ‘I’m not going to kill you,’ I said in a determined voice. I may have hated her guts in that moment but I was no killer. Sure if someone was shooting at me in a firefight I would shoot back, but this was different. Michelle was already wounded. ‘Toss your gun to my feet!’

    For a split second it almost looked like she was going to raise it and fire at me but at the last second it flew out of her hand and landed a few feet beside me, sinking into the long grass and out of sight. I could now hear the sound of a helicopters rotor chopping through the air and getting closer and the squealing sound of cars racing over the roads nearby at high speeds. Michelle had been telling the truth about sending a text to Renee about having found her.

    That thought made me even more nervous though. She could have just killed me and ditched my body somewhere it would take weeks to find and then gone off and hidden again. Why was she willing to risk turning herself over to the people who she claimed were trying to kill her? She honestly couldn’t have thought her plan to turn me was going to work so why do this?

    ‘What’s your endgame?’ I asked softly as the sounds of backup grew closer and closer in the darkness.

    ‘My endgame?’ she asked, ‘My endgame is to stay alive. The agencies endgame is to leave no survivors and recover their data. I know I no longer have the right but can I ask you a favour?’

    ‘What?’

    ‘Wait for me,’ she said with a sly grin and I couldn’t help but shudder. She was definitely up to something and I had a feeling I had just played into her hands exactly the way she had wanted it. I felt like a puppet on strings.

    I never shifted my position or let my gun drop and after two minutes of silence the sleek black helicopter crested over the horizon and pinned us down with a bright white spotlight. The light was so bright and powerful I had to shield my face with my free hand to keep my eyes on Michelle and make sure she didn’t use that distraction to try and flee. In the back of my mind I highly doubted that she would try and run but with Michelle you just never knew.

    The helicopter hovered high above us and the dark figure of two men sat in the open doors with sniper rifles trained on both of us. I was more than a little surprised when I noticed a red dot from the laser sight hovering over my chest but I figured it must have been just a precaution. But the warning Michelle had given me kept replaying in my mind and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing straight up as my body wanted to start running away.

    I didn’t get the chance though.

    No sooner had the helicopter showed up on the scene a dozen vehicles with flashing blue lights screamed towards us and came to a screeching halt by Michelle’s car on the side of the road. Men and women dressed in full tactical gear armed to the teeth with shotguns, rifles, and fully automatic assault rifles poured into the night with their weapons trained on us. There was screaming and yelling as orders were given and for a minute I thought they were talking to Michelle, to put her face in the ground or something. A second later though I felt someone smash into my back with a tackle and knock me down to the ground, kicking the gun out of my hand and twisting my arms around my back as a pair of handcuffs cut into my skin a moment later.

    I was quickly hauled back onto my feet and I caught a glimpse of Michelle a few feet away being frisked and handcuffed. She looked me right in the eyes and smiled knowingly, almost like she was trying to tell me she had been right. Anger surging through my heart and mind I spat in her direction and was quickly pulled towards the road and stuffed into the back of a long black SUV. The instant the door closed the driver in the front seat stepped on the gas and we shot down the dark road and back towards the city.

    I no longer had the energy to demand what was going on and why I was being arrested when I in fact was the one who had caught the woman they were after. So I sat there in silence instead trying to process everything that had happened. I must have been the worst spy in the world. I had only been in this world for less than twenty four hours and already I was being hauled away like a criminal. I should have known better than to get myself involved in this world.

    Half an hour later the SUV pulled into an underground parking lot at the government building downtown and the door on my right side flew open. A man dressed in full tactical gear grabbed me by the jacket and pulled me roughly out of the vehicle. I was led towards an elevator and shoved into to it as the man who had me by the jacket took out a key and unlocked access to the lower levels. Once again I found myself down on B3 with its long hallway but most of the lights had been turned out this late at night and shadows reigned supreme.

    Five minutes down the hall a door was opened on the left side and the man tossed me in, causing me to trip over my own feet and land hard on the cement flooring. The door slammed shut behind me. I pulled myself to my knees and looked around expecting to find myself back in a similar room to the one I had stayed in the night before. I wasn’t though. The room was small and almost completely empty. There was a rusty looking toilet on the wall nearest to the door and the smell emanating from the bowl was foul, like raw sewage. A small lumpy mattress was lying on the floor near the far wall with no blankets or sheets. I guess they thought I was a suicide risk or something.

    In the corner right next to the door I could see a small black box that hummed with electricity. It was a closed circuit camera which I guess meant I had an audience. I did my best to ignore it and started to pace around the room trying to figure out what was going on. I didn’t exactly expect a ticker tape parade for capturing Michelle but a little gratitude would be nice at least. I had no idea what time it was or what had happened to Michelle but a sickening image flickered through my mind as my imagination tried to fill in the gaps. For all I knew they could have executed her right there in that open field and then left her body to rot. At this point I really wouldn’t put it past these people.

    Through the thick cement walls and the massive steel door I couldn’t hear anything that was going on outside my cell. I had no idea if everyone in the whole building was trampling around out there or if I was utterly alone. After a few hours of pacing and fretting my question was finally answered as I heard the magnetic lock click open and the door swung in on silent hinges. I had expecting to see Renee coming to tell me I was free to go or to be debriefed.

    It wasn’t her though. Dressed in black slacks and a white slightly wrinkled dress shirt walked in Agent Smith with a grim smile on his lips and a scary glint in his eyes. He seemed extremely proud with himself and I desperately wanted to punch that smile right off his face, but provoking him would do no good. But damn was the desire strong.

    ‘Why am I being held?’ I demanded and his smile grew wider as it threatened to split his entire face wide open. He displayed a set of perfectly placed teeth that sparkled so white it almost looked ridiculous. Those couldn’t his real teeth; they were just to perfect looking to be real.

    ‘I must say I have been looking forward to this day,’ he grinned and stepped into the room as the door closed and locked behind him. I took a step closer to him but Smith quickly moved his hand to the gun holstered at his side and slipped it out, pointing it to the ground with one hand while holding the other out to stop me from advancing.

    ‘Whoa there,’ I said and brought my hands up to show him I meant no harm, ‘I just want to see my family and put this all behind me.’

    ‘Oh don’t worry your niece and girlfriend are being looked after,’ he sneered and the way he said it made my skin crawl.

    ‘What the fuck have you done to them?’ I demanded loudly as my anger got the better of me.

    ‘Who me?’ he asked, ‘I didn’t lay a finger on them. Renee was the one sent to deal with the brat and whoever else was with her. I believe it’s her first kill order actually. Should I send her your congratulations?’

    ‘You son of a bitch!’ I spat and took another step closer causing him to raise his gun and point it directly at my chest. He was only two feet from me now but I sensed if I made another move he wouldn’t hesitate to fill my heart and lungs with hot lead. ‘I swear to god if either of them even so much got scratched I will hunt you down and rip your ugly head from your shoulders!’

    I had been expecting his smile to falter at my threat but he only beamed at me more intensely now and his finger moved from the guard to the trigger. ‘That would be a scary prospect if things weren’t so simple. I have to admit I was mildly impressed when you tracked Agent Franklin down and even wounded her. I figured she would have killed you on the spot. But your job is done now and I’m here to tell you your services are no longer required.’

    His finger over the trigger tensed and I knew that in a split second I would be dead. I tried to think of something, anything that I could do to get the gun out of his hand but I was still too far away. Smith looked me dead in the eye and I could see the pleasure he was going to get from killing me like this, completely unarmed and at his mercy. If I could just get a little closer I could use my extra weight and physical strength to wrestle the gun from his hand.

    With one last wink he tightened his grip on the pistol and moved to squeeze the trigger as his eyes lit up, but at the last second something happened that changed the entire situation. The faint sound of a gun being fired rippled down the hall from my cell and in a moment of either panic or curiosity Smith looked behind him like he was trying to see through the door. The shot hadn’t been part of the plan I guessed but I didn’t worry about it right then. I had just been given a chance, a chance to get things on even footing with this killer.

    With Smith’s attention elsewhere I quickly side stepped into him, grabbing the arm holding onto the gun and slinging it over my shoulder. I had intended to use his own body against him and toss him over my shoulder so I could pull his arm into an arm bar and hopefully snap it and put it him out of commission but at the last second Smith realized the danger and planted his feet firmly on the ground and brought his free arm down onto the back of my head. The blow wasn’t that powerful but it was very precise and hit me right on the spine causing most of my muscles to spasm and release the hold I had on him.

    The gun was still pointed away from me so I focused on his next attack instead and brought both my hands down to block the knee to my stomach. Another blow to the back of the head struck me a second later and black spots burst across my eyes as I started to feel a little woozy. Smith straightened back up and started to bring the gun back towards me to finish this off now but I was far from just giving up. The second I saw the flash of the gun at the side of my head I grabbed his wrist with both hands and applied a pressure lock I had been taught in the military, pushing his hand towards his wrist until the gun was pointing directly at him.

    From here I could have snapped his wrist easily but I saw another option so with the gun pointed right at him I moved my weak hand towards the trigger and with all my might squeezed my finger over his causing the weapon the discharge. With a massive bang that ricocheted off the walls and felt like my whole body was getting punched a bullet screamed out of the barrel and caught Smith in the thigh. He screamed out in agony and released the gun so it fell to our feet.

    I could see the dark blood stain on his pants and knew the wound was pretty brutal. If left alone he would bleed out but right now it was nothing more than an annoyance and I had to end this fight now. I slammed my shoulder into his gut while he was momentarily dazed from the pain and pulled the arm I had in my grasp over my body, pulling him onto my shoulders. With a move you would more commonly see in pro wrestling I dropped onto my back and landed on his body with all of my weight, knocking the wind right out of his lungs.

    Before Smith could even catch his breath or try to pull me into a headlock I moved off his body and repositioned myself under his shoulder, wrapping my arms around his neck and my legs pinning his arms down by his sides. Without even thinking about what I was doing I applied all the strength I had left in me onto his neck and started to pull it away from his body. I could feel every muscle in his body tensing under the strain and his eyes bulged in their sockets. It only took three seconds for it to be over at that point and when I felt his skull detach from the base of his spine all his struggling stopped. He was dead.

    Like all soldiers in the military I had been trained in hand to hand combat but until that moment I had never found myself in need of those skills. I had never taken the life of someone with my own hands but I had often thought about what it would feel like. I had expected to feel guilty or horrible about what I had done but sitting there with my arms still wrapped around Agent Smith’s neck I felt no pity for him. He had been ready to kill me in cold blood so I had absolutely no qualms about killing him in a fair fight. He deserved what he got.

    My lungs screaming for oxygen, my arms feeling like dead weight and a massive pounding headache just behind my eyes I gave Smiths neck one more good squeeze and then released him. I got back to my feet and picked up the discarded gun, the feel of the grip digging into my sore hands. Two more faint popping sounds of a gun being fired echoed through the hallway just outside and I knew I was still in grave danger and I was still locked away in my little cell.

    I checked around the door looking for some way to open it but when I couldn’t find anything so I figured it could only be opened from the outside. Standing right in front of the door I suddenly heard the magnetic lock slide out of place and I quickly jumped to the side behind the door and beside the toilet. I brought the gun up and readied my nerves for another fight as a slim woman walked into the room, her eyes darting right to the body of Agent Smith lying lifeless on the ground. I instantly recognized the woman as Renee and the remark Smith had said about her being the one sent to kill Evelyn and Gillian struck me.

    I lost control of my anger and rushed her, forgetting I even had a gun in my hand as my body slammed into her small frame and tossed her to the ground like a sack of potatoes. She landed hard and the gun she had been carrying was tossed from her hands as it skidded across the cement floor and out of her reach. Without letting her get her bearings I quickly jumped on top of her, pressing my knee to her windpipe and pointing the gun right into her face.

    ‘WHAT DID YOU DO TO THEM?’ I demanded loudly and her eyes bulged as she saw the predicament she was in.

    She tried to say something but I was putting too much pressure on her throat so all she could manage was garbled and strained gibberish. I pushed down with my knee hard and I could feel her wind pipe strain under the pressure before finally letting up a bit so she could talk. She choked on her own spit for a second and tried to reach up to wipe her mouth but I quickly swatted it away with my free hand.

    ‘TELL ME WHAT YOU DID WITH THEM!’

    ‘They’re safe!’ she wailed but I didn’t believe her. She was one of them! She was here to kill me just like she had killed the people I loved.

    ‘I don’t believe you!’ I screamed and put more pressure on her throat again. My finger found the trigger on the pistol and I got ready to squeeze it. I wanted to avenge Evee and Gillian and she was the one who had hurt them. She was going to pay for their murders with her life.

    As my finger tensed on the trigger I suddenly felt eyes on me from the open door and I shifted my gaze slightly to find Michelle standing there with an open leg posture and a gun pointed right at my chest. There was blood trickling down from a gash on her hairline and bruises were forming on her cheeks and neck where she had been hit by someone. Her eyes swam with tears though and the hurt look on her face brought me back to my senses.

    ‘What’s going on here?’ Michelle asked with a small fake smile and raised her eyebrows as she took in what was happening in the small dank cell. My knee was still over Renee’s throat and the finger I had over the trigger of the gun was twitching like it had a mind of its own and wanted to end this horrible person’s life.

    ‘She killed Evee and Gillian,’ I growled but Michelle’s smile only brightened.

    ‘Let her go Ty, you’re no killer,’ she said but I quickly nodded towards the dead body just behind me, ‘Alright well he deserved it. I always hated Smith. Renee didn’t kill your niece or Gillian.’

    ‘Yes she did! Smith said she was sent out to kill them!’

    ‘Yes she was sent to kill them but she didn’t Ty,’ Michelle explained softly, ‘She saved their lives.’

    That didn’t make any sense to me at all. She hated my guts so why in the hell would she go and save my loved ones? She was one of these murderers and she had been given orders to kill them! I tried to wrap my mind around all of this but I just couldn’t make any sense of it all.

    ‘Let her up Ty and she can explain it all to you,’ Michelle urged and Renee began to furiously nod her head. ‘We don’t have much time Ty; more people are going to come down here to see what has happened.’

    I really didn’t want to let her go but I needed answers to everything. I slowly removed my knee from her throat and took a few steps back, never taking the gun off her. I held it tightly in my fist and kept it trained on her chest as Michelle helped Renee up to her feet.

    ‘Start talking,’ I hissed.

    ‘They’re alive Corporal,’ she said roughly through a thick throat, ‘I made sure they weren’t being followed and then took them to a safe house where no one could find them. They’re a little shaken up but fine.’

    ‘Why the hell would you do that?’

    ‘Michelle asked me to,’ Renee answered and looked towards the bruised blonde, ‘we’re working together to bring this section down.’

    ‘Ty everything you were told was only a fraction of the truth,’ Michelle stated, ‘Yes I killed some agents but like I said it was in self-defense. Yes I stole vital Intel on the agency but did they ever tell you what it was? Did you ever ask?’

    ‘What does it matter? That’s a breach of national security Michelle! What the hell were you thinking?’

    ‘We don’t have time for this Michelle,’ Renee said gently as she rubbed her throat where a massive bruise was starting to form from where I had nearly crushed her windpipe.

    ‘He needs to know the truth Renee,’ Michelle said quickly and then peeked her head out the open door to check down the hall, ‘The data I stole is a list of all wet work operations done by this joint agency. Who was involved, who was targeted, what the outcome was. Everything you could possibly want to know about an operation. The thing is that a lot of those operations were never approved by any of the governments involved.’

    ‘They were illegal operations that took the lives of mostly innocent people. Men and women who had no real connection to this world. Some were activists or high ranking officials who are trying to crackdown on the free reign most Intelligence Agencies have. There are hundreds of recorded missions that targeted these types of people Corporal,’ Renee explained.

    Michelle nodded slowly and then started to move towards me, holding her hand out to move the gun I was still pointing at both of them aside. I didn’t really want to put it down but the intense glare Michelle was giving me told me I was being told the truth, at least part of the truth anyway.

    ‘Then why did you let me capture you? Why did you come here? If you had all this evidence why didn’t you release it to the media or something?’

    ‘The data is encrypted,’ Renee explained and fumbled in the pocket of her jeans to bring out a small black flash drive. ‘We needed to get the program that will unlock it or else it meant nothing. Our original plan was to go into a less fortified office with one of the other countries to get it but Michelle insisted on her plan.’

    ‘The plan that included me?’ I asked even though I already knew the answer.

    ‘It was really the only good option we had,’ Michelle said standing only a few inches from me. I wanted to move away but I was engrossed in their story so much I ignored it, ‘Renee was already working at this office for Thompson so all we needed was a way in.’

    ‘So that’s why you came to see me that night,’ I said slowly as it was starting to make sense.

    ‘Michelle was certain her plan would work but I had my doubts. I thought she might have pushed you too far that when the time came for you to make your decision you would have just killed her.’

    ‘You should have seen her surprise when I was walked in here under guard,’ Michelle laughed but I felt that this was no time for jokes. We had been sitting there too long that I was surprised men with assault rifles hadn’t shown up already and killed us where we stood.

    ‘So what’s next in your little plan?’ I asked.

    ‘Oh don’t you worry about that. Just try and keep up will you,’ Renee said with a smile and I was a little glad that she was starting to warm up to me now that I hadn’t killed Michelle like she feared.

    Renee quickly picked up her pistol from the ground and then her and Michelle walked back out into the hallway and disappeared out of my sight. Not wanting to be left behind and get picked off by some guard I quickly followed them out and broke into a run as we rushed back down towards the hall. We were going in the opposite direction from the elevator back that led to freedom and I was about to ask where they were taking me when a shot rang out behind me.

    A section of the cement wall off to my left shattered in a cascade of dust and debris as a bullet smashed into it. Another shot rang out behind me and narrowly missed my head. Without turning around I held my pistol behind me and fired off three shots hoping I was at least close enough to the shooter to make him jump out of the way. Michelle was yelling something from a few yards ahead of me but with my heart beating in my ears I couldn’t make out the words.

    A second later Michelle and Renee jumped into an open door on the right side of the hallway and I quickly wheeled around to get in behind them when another shot rang out. For the second time in my life I felt a searing pain shoot through my body as the bullet shot through my lower back and burst out my stomach. I fell just feet short of the door as my legs gave out and the pain pounded through my body. I tried to crawl through the open door but my body wasn’t responding and a sickening thought struck my head; what if my spine had just been shattered?

    I was starting to lose consciousness as more shots rang out and someone grabbed me by the wrist. Renee was pulling me into the room while Michelle laid down cover fire. Everything went black and fuzzy after that. I heard screaming and felt pressure on my stomach as someone was trying to stop the bleeding. More shots rang out and a scream of agony ripped through the halls as someone had been shot far away from where I was. I tried to open my eyes wide to see what was going on but they refused to comply.

    My whole body was starting to feel cold and I could barely feel my blood pooling in a warm sticky puddle around my body as I lay there on the floor. Michelle was yelling something to Renee but I couldn’t make any sense of her words. The pain was so intense I blacked out a few times and totally lost track of time. I heard the sound of a heavy zipper opening and the sound of liquid being poured on the ground.

    The last thing I heard as my life started to ebb away was Michelle’s voice telling me to stay with her, and then everything went black.



    My funeral was held ten days later at a military cemetery. The day was bright and warm as the sun stuck around just long enough to shine down on my casket draped in the national flag surrounded by men and women dressed in pristine dress uniforms and white gloves. A cover story had already been implemented and the news stations of the world had taken it and run, making me out to be some hero and protector of freedom.

    I was buried with full military honours and a twenty one gun salute as the flag was folded up and handed to the person closest to me that they could find, Hitchens. People from the general public had been allowed to view the procession and even a few major news networks had set up massive cameras with long range viewing ability on the outskirts of the graveyard. Speeches were given saying how great of a man I was, what I had given for my country, and the ones I left behind.

    Neither Gillian nor Evelyn were at the funeral and the military had been told that they were mourning their loss in private away from the media’s gaze. Medals were handed to Hitchens for my exemplary service and he had to brush tears out of his eyes as he stood by my coffin, which had been closed the entire time. A fire had broken out during the operation I was working on and my body had been lost in the flames. What was left of me was in that casket.

    After I was laid to rest in the cold ground the networks that had been covering the funeral switched to a program that chronicled my life and what had happened that cost the nation a hero. For nearly two weeks my picture had been circulating around the globe in newspapers as information started to come out about what had happened, even though everything that was said was a complete lie.

    You’re probably asking yourself how I knew all this considering I had just been buried, which is actually a pretty good question. I know all of this because I was watching my funeral. I survived another gunshot wound with the help of Michelle and Renee.

    Michelle’s plan was a stroke of genius once I learned all the details. It was so masterful that it was a bit frightening and I wish I didn’t have to know all the details. Once I had passed out Renee had managed to stop the bleeding enough to move me and they both set to work on implementing the final prong of their plan. I don’t want to go into too much detail but it included dressing up a corpse in my military uniform with dog tags, and setting it on fire so the ME would have a hard time identifying it. Two other bodies had been readied as stand ins for Michelle and Renee so it would look like no one got out of there a live.

    As far as we could tell it had worked out but only time would truly tell. Michelle moved me to a secure location where I could recover from my wounds. The first thing I saw when I came to was a crying Evee standing over me, tears streaking down her face as she clutched my hand tightly. Gillian was standing on the other side of the small bed I was on and had her face buried in the covers like she was too afraid to look at me.

    It was a tearful return and we stayed in each other’s arms for close to twelve hours before Michelle came in to update me on what was going on. I have to admit watching my own funeral on television is a very creepy thing and I never want to see that sort of event again. I wished I could call Hitchens and tell him I was alright, that I wasn’t dead but right now we just didn’t know what the backlash would be for what happened.

    It was late in the evening one night and Michelle was standing over my bed checking my bandages while Evee ate dinner and Gillian had a much needed shower. Michelle was getting ready to head back out into the world and poke around a little to see what was going on. I had on numerous occasions asked her about the data and cipher she now had in her possession but she would always shake her head sadly and change the subject because Evee was nearby.

    Now that we were alone I hoped she would finally answer me so I decided to ask her again as she played with the ugly looking stitches Renee had messed up on my stomach. ‘This isn’t over is it?’ I asked and she looked up into my eyes with a determined look.

    ‘For you it is,’ she answered with a small smile but it did nothing to reassure me. Renee swore that the cabin we were now living in was off the grid being in the middle of the Rockies past the American border but I still felt like someone was watching us.

    ‘What about you?’ I asked.

    ‘No it’s a long way from over,’ she answered with a shake of her head. Her golden blonde hair swayed under the motion and for a moment I had a flash back to better days when we were nothing but teenagers with too much time on our hands. ‘The cipher we stole is apparently only one piece of the puzzle. We have access to some files but not all of them.’

    ‘So you guys are going out to get another cipher,’ I decided.

    ‘It should be easier than trying to get my hands on this one,’ she said fishing the USB flash drive out of her pocket.

    ‘How long until I am able to get up and walk around?’ I asked her and her sombre look quickly turned ice cold as she gazed down at me.

    ‘Out of the question,’ she answered with a hint of anger in her words, ‘I am truly sorry for everything I have done to you Ty but this is not your fight.’

    ‘They almost killed me,’ I stated but she shook her head and moved closer to me.

    ‘You are staying here and that is final! Think about Evee, what would she do without you? You’re the only family she has left! Thanks to Renee’s computer skills you all have new ID’s and passports with access to enough cash to start a whole new life far away from all of this!’

    ‘I can’t just let you go out there on your own!’ I spit back and could start to feel my anger rising under my muscles. I knew everything she said was true but I just couldn’t let her take on these people by herself. She would die.

    ‘And what about Gillian eh?’ she asked and I felt the wind get taken out of my sails, ‘Are you going to just saddle her with a teenage girl and leave? That’s not you and we both know it. Look Ty what you and I had all those years ago in school was great and very special to me, but we’re both a lot different than we were then. Be with Gillian. She’s been waiting a long time for you to notice her.’

    I didn’t know what to say to that. I knew I had feelings for Gillian but until recently they had been pretty innocent. After that kiss when I was about to leave her though I realized they were something much more powerful than that. I opened my mouth to say something but Michelle quickly looked to the open door and my eyes followed her finding Gillian standing in a bath towel with her hair wrapped up in another.

    I don’t know how long she had been standing there but from the look in her hurt eyes I guess she had been there long enough. Michelle stood back up and pulled my shirt over the wound so Gillian couldn’t see it; she always excused herself from the room when the dressings had to be cleaned. Seeing her standing there with her eyes locked onto my mine my decision was instantly made for me and I opened my arms up and motioned for her to come to me.

    I held her tightly as Michelle whispered a hushed goodbye and left the two of us alone. No words were spoken as we clung to one another. I could barely hear the front door of the cabin open and close as Michelle and Renee left, probably for good. I ignored it though knowing this is where I belonged. A few minutes later Evee came into the room to see where everyone was and jumped up on the bed beside me as she threw her arms over both Gillian and I.

    I knew I could never leave my family again, they meant too much to me and as long as we were safe things would be perfect. But life is never perfect and it will try to beat you into submission the second it thought you had more than your fair share.

    If you remember the start of my story I said my life was ruined by Michelle and her actions in using me to get what she wanted from the agency. Well we’ve gotten through my funeral and I wish I could tell you that the pain ended there and the three of us lived our lives happily. That would be a lie though. Even tougher times were coming just over the horizon.

    For now though we basked in each other’s love and felt like nothing could tear us down. How wrong we were.
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  8. #8
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    A gritty spy masterpiece. As I said after part one, it so reminds me of Donald Hamilton's first Matt Helm novel "Death of a Citizen". You really should expand on this and publish. Give the world a real Canadian hero. Fantastic writing here. My hat is off to you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELaken-Palmer View Post
    A gritty spy masterpiece. As I said after part one, it so reminds me of Donald Hamilton's first Matt Helm novel "Death of a Citizen". You really should expand on this and publish. Give the world a real Canadian hero. Fantastic writing here. My hat is off to you.
    _________

    Thank you. I've never read anything from Donald Hamilton but I will have to hit the book store soon and find this novel you are talking about.

    I'm actually working on another project for publication at the moment but I am getting pretty engrosed with this story so you never know.
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