Vivian Riley Chapter 11
I spent the next day researching Patrick Marshall and the drug scene Kozniac had mentioned and came across a name I had heard before. It was one of many names Alexander had used for some of his “jobs”. Maybe my contact had known and that had been the reason for giving me that job. He couldn’t have cared less if Kozniac would have lived or not because Kozniac would have been killed either way, and even if he would have talked about me, he wouldn’t have found me, because of the wig, the skin coloured gloves I always put on before a hit like that and because he never had the chance to really remember my face properly.
Anyway, Kozniac was dead. End of the story!
For the following days, I tried to get a clear perspective about the whole Patrick Marshall Senior business and the possibility that he had a connection to Alexander and Briana while executing my other jobs. For some reason I had those strange feelings whenever I tried to think about him, my heart started to ache and sometimes, my lungs felt like someone was squashing me. I had no idea about that, I couldn’t tell what kind of emotion that would be, so I ignored it until Nate called me during his official working hours.
“What’s wrong?” I asked as soon as I heard his worried and sad voice, saying my name, “Are you hurt?” He took a deep breath and whispered, “It’s Agent Ron Mullen… he’s… gone… He’s downstairs! He’s… he was only thirty-five years old, a good agent and, probably, a good person!” “Nate! Why won’t you take the rest of the day off? Meet me anywhere you like and you can tell me what happened!” I suggested in a soothing tone, feeling a little bad myself, he had probably been a good guy, but I didn’t really feel sorry for him.
Nate agreed to meet me at his apartment, so I took off to go there, worried about him and a little confused about myself as well. I had felt relieved when Nate had told me he was alright and it was Mullen who wasn’t fine. I was happy that Nate was ok, that he was fine!
“It’s ok,” I whispered into Nate’s ear, gently putting my arms around his neck. Nate’s face was pale, his hands were shaking and the pain was written all over his face when he had come home. “You can cry if you like, it’s ok to feel hurt,” I said while pulling him closer to my chest, trying to comfort him. I felt his arms tightening around my torso, his face buried in my neck and his body tight against mine. Suddenly he lifted me up, carried me over to the couch and sat down with me on his lap, making weird sounds in my hair and neck, when I felt tears close to where his eyes reached my skin.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have expected to get Nate to actually cry for Mullen, and I felt really helpless and insecure having a grown man, crying like a baby. Then again, I thought it was actually really sexy that he had the guts and the emotional strength to show that side of him to me.
But even if he was sexy like that, I still didn’t have any idea how to handle a crying man, how to comfort him or how to behave. The only chance I had was to follow my instincts and so I pet his head, shoulders and back, not saying a single word, only sharing the pain he felt, letting him know that I tried to understand.
Gently I kept petting his back, holding on to him closely until he gently pushed me away, using his sleeve to dry his eyes and cheeks, “Sorry…” “It’s fine; I’m sorry about your friend, I’m really sorry!” I mumbled, kissing his forehead, “Are you hungry? I could make something for us!” But Nate shook his head and started to play with my hair, “Thank you, for being here for me and that you helped me to calm down.”
“Do you want to tell me what happened?” I asked curiously as to how he had died. “We were out going to pick up a suspect to interrogate him, when there was the sound of a shot, right through Ron’s forehead. He was dead immediately. Everyone took cover, but there was nothing else. Special Agent Montgomery and Agent Smith went in to arrest the suspect while I stayed with Mullen, waiting for our forensic doctor and to be back up to Montgomery and Smith!” he said and looked down onto his hands.
“Where did the shot come from?” I asked, “Did it come from the house?” For a second Nate looked at me really confused, swallowed hard and averted his eyes, “No… it actually didn’t, it came from a higher place actually… We thought it came from the house!” “So you think it might have been someone else? You mean someone was trying to murder Mullen specifically?” I asked, sounding worried and trying to sound a bit scared.
“Maybe…” Nate said, gently stroking my cheek, “He was acting weird a while ago, telling me there was something fishy going on, he seemed to be scared, he seemed to be worried about whom to trust. Maybe he found something that he shouldn’t have, something someone was willing to kill Mullen for!” “That’s horrible…” I said and put my head close to his heart, against his shoulder.
“He mentioned some numbers I should look out for…” he said and looked at me closely, “Numbers on the back of peoples heads…” Nate moved his hands gently, touching my neck when he suddenly held on tightly to my hair and pulled me frontwards. For a little, while my heart seemed to stop beating, I held my breath as Nate held me down, pulling my hair up. I felt something stir inside of me; it seemed to choke me from inside…
“Numbers like those!” Nate said and gently let his fingers run over the four digits, inked into my skin. I felt a few single tears run down my cheek as Nate let go of my head and pulled me up again on my shoulders. “What is the meaning of those numbers?” he asked and I couldn’t answer, I just didn’t have the air in my lungs to do it… “Mullen told me to text them to a phone number… he threatened me, that I wouldn’t live long enough to regret losing it! What’s the story with those numbers?” Nathan asked and I saw a hint of anger and doubt in his eyes, “What’s the meaning of all of this, Vivian? 1396 what does that mean? Or is that even your name?”
For the first time in my life, I was unable to behave normally, I wasn’t able to react at all! “I didn’t mean any harm! I honestly just wanted to know more about you, because you never talked about yourself, whenever I asked, you would just wind out of it and say something else just not to answer the question!” Nate said and lifted me off his lap, putting me on the couch and stood up, pacing through the room, “Who are you? Really!”
Silence… It seemed like ages that I wasn’t able to speak. I should have known from the beginning! I shouldn’t have become friends with him, I shouldn’t have been with him for so long! It was probably my fault as well that Mullen was dead! He’d seemed like a suspicious person anyways, maybe he had suspected something and wanted Nate to look out for the codes for someone else? Someone within the organization, because they knew about the numbers and the positions and only wanted to know where the person was and the number itself! That actually did suck!
“Whose number is it that he gave to you?” I asked with a rough voice and had to clear my throat. “That’s all you have to say?” Nate asked upset and turned to me, “With all the things I’ve said, that’s all you want to know?” I sighed and leaned back, maybe the day had come sooner than I had thought to tell him at least a little bit of the truth, or to kill him. But I just couldn’t do that, so the only other possibility was to tell him something about me.
“My name is Vivian, at least I think so. I’m not surprised you didn’t find me though!” I said and closed my eyes. “Why?” he asked seriously and returned to pacing the room. “Because I don’t exist!” I said calmly, pulling my knees against my chest, “I never did exist and probably never will.” Nate dropped himself onto one of the chairs I guessed when I heard the scraping of a chair. “So what’s the story with the numbers?” he asked and I felt his eyes on me. “You shouldn’t know about that, it will cost your life if you let the wrong people know that you know about them! That you know what they mean!” “I’m not afraid of that!” he said and I felt a gush of air moving, as Nate stood up, walking over to me again. With my eyes still closed I smiled, “Maybe you should be!” Quickly grabbed his arms and pushed him face first onto the couch before he was able to do anything, I sat on his back, holding him down with his hands pulled up towards his shoulders and opened my eyes again.
“Mullen said I can trust you, he was sure about it!” Nate said, while his heartbeat had increased rapidly, “I’m not afraid of you!” “You should be!” I said a bit more clearly, “I can be whoever I want to be, you’ll never know I’m coming! And you do know me, your heart knows me, but if I don’t want to be found you wouldn’t find me, even if I would be standing right in front of you! But your friend was right, you don’t have to be afraid of me, but there are more like me!” “I’m not afraid of them either!” he said and took a relieved breath as I let go of him, returning to my comfortable position beside his feet.
“That’s a huge mistake!” I said with a sigh, covering my face with my hands, “They are dangerous and very hard to find, even for someone who’s trained!” “And you were trained?” he asked coming closer again. “You actually like being pinned down to the couch?” I asked chuckling as I felt his breath on my face, “Yes… I was trained from birth! Does that frighten you?”
Still gently he pulled my hands out of my face, “I’m not scared of you!” His free hand moved towards my face, wiping something out of my face, kissing my eyes and pulling me close against his chest, “I’m not afraid of who you are! And neither should you!” Nate pushed me back on the couch, “I love you, whoever you might really be! To me you’re the gentle, happy Vivian, nothing else matters to me!”
It was only then that I realized that there were tears rolling down my cheeks, tears I couldn’t handle. Quickly I wiped them away and took a deep breath to force them to stop, “What if that’s only an act to get your trust?” “I don’t care!” he said, placing soft kisses on my eyelids. “That’s who you are to me, and I don’t think there is anything you could do to change that!” he said and for some reason, I wanted to tell him everything.
“The numbers are like a code, they are our identification. It’s like the numbers Jeff had on the back of his head!” I said after a while and looked into his brown eyes. “How do you know about them?” he asked skeptically and sat down beside me again, “You’ve never met him, have you?” “I’ve known him since I was a little girl,” I said with a sigh, “He was one of the guys who’ve trained me. He was a jerk though.” “So… if he was like you, with those numbers… what’s the connection between you?” he asked, sounding a little bit jealous. “There was nothing, he just trained everyone in the camp. He was a prick but he used to be brilliant with languages,” I explained, “Do you remember the weekend I went off on a wellness weekend with my friends? I went after Jeff.”
“So… you?” he asked trying to find the right words, “You did that?” “Technically I didn’t blow up his house, I only asked him a couple of questions, trying to get some information out of him!” I said and lifted my hands, “The one who blew up the house was another member of the organization, he’s kind of the head of everything. He is THE spy! He installed a security system and once he found out Jeff was dead, he detonated the hidden bombs that were placed everywhere around the house.” “Why would you… to someone of the same organization?” Nate asked, obviously confused. “I’m not one of them!” I said and covered my face to try not to remember my childhood, “I used to grow up with them, getting trained and used as a weapon, but I’ve escaped and I’m going to hunt them down before they get the chance to find me!”
“Haven’t they tried to get you to come back?” Nate asked, but he didn’t seem to like the subject very much though. “They’ve sent men after me, assassins just like me, but I fought them off, killing every single one of them because they would just keep tracking me until they would have managed to get rid of me,” I said and tried to smile. “How old were you when you got out?” Nate asked and let his hands run through his dark brown hair, “And who are they? Who tried to train you?” “I was twelve when I ran; I had to kill everyone who stood in my way. They didn’t try to train me, they did. And I really shouldn’t tell you who they are. If you start to dig into it, you’ll end up like your friend. I’m sure he’s a clever guy, but he must have done something stupid to get their attention because they are as good as to kill someone right in front of your eyes and make you believe someone else did.”
“Are you afraid of them?” Nathan asked and put his hand on mine, holding on to me tightly. “I used to be,” I admitted, “I thought they’d keep coming at me, but when I was gone for almost a year, there were no other assassins coming after me. I waited and waited, I didn’t think they would stop, so I hid and started to take a few jobs to get rid of people. Soon I got contacted by someone, he told me about a few jobs, and I took them. He kept contacting me about those kinds of things and I started to trust him although I had never met him in person and on the phone, he’d change his voice. He knows about my search for revenge and justice and safety for everyone. He’s one of the few who knows about my past and everyone who knows is in great danger, so the more you want to know and the more I tell you, the chances that you’ll die are getting higher and higher.”
“So why are you telling me all of that?” Nate asked and took my hand, holding on to it in his lap. “I don’t know!” I said honestly and looked at him, “I knew from the beginning that being with you wouldn’t be good for either one of us. But I told myself it would be very useful to know someone on the inside. I guess I overestimated the advantages because I couldn’t ask you directly. So far the only good part about having someone on the inside was to hear that a few of my hits have been successful without having to check it out myself!”
Nate swallowed hard and walked over to his fridge, getting a bottle of beer. “Do you want one?” he asked, holding up the bottle. “No, thank you, Nate, I actually don’t drink any alcohol,” I said with a smile and pulled my knees to my chest again, “I’ve always ordered alcohol free beer before, alcohol is not very good for someone like me, I’d get very unfocused and sloppy and might miss something essential.”
“So you knew what you were doing the entire time? Have you planned all of that? Did you know I was working for the CIA before I even told you?” Nate asked getting upset, “Were you just nice to get me to like you? So you’d have an informant?”
“My first thought was to get rid of you!” I said and laughed without meaning to and walked over to Nate, “Having someone from the CIA know my face is really bad for me! Do you remember the day you met me in Auckland? In the café? I was hoping you wouldn’t recognize me, but you actually ended up giving me useful Intel on my previous target. When you wanted to take me out to see Auckland, I was thinking about possibilities to lose you!” I took a deep breath while placing my finger on his lips so he would let me finish, “But I actually enjoyed myself! I was really happy to be able just to let go while being with you, it was the first time that I had actually had alcohol so I honestly couldn’t remember what had happened after waking up next to you. My first impulse was to reach out for my knife but I realized it was you so I hid it so I wouldn’t frighten you or stab you by accident!”
Nate’s face was pale and he walked around me, back to the couch and dropped down. “You probably never planned on actually meeting me once we returned to the states, right?” he guessed and I stood still, “Was it actually a coincidence that you met me again?” I shook my head, “I found you and tracked your cell, so I knew you were there. The case you were working on, it wasn’t an accident. I caused it. Billy Grant, he was a dick, using drugs, using women, using his friends. I don’t know, I was supposed to take a break because one of my clients had tried to kill me because I didn’t want to take another hit and use the same method with another guy. So I took the chance and went to meet you!”
For a while, we were both really quiet, and I thought about how that must have sounded for Nate. I felt bad for doing what I had done to him, how I had used him, kind of… “But what I’ve done will only bring you trouble, so it would probably be best for me to disappear, just forget or ignore what I’ve told you, do not dig into the organizations business and I won’t bother you anymore, so you should be safe!” I said and took a deep breath. I wanted to be gone before Nate would see the tears that had fought their way out through my eyes again.
“Would you please stop running away?” I heard Nate’s voice coming from the couch, “If you leave now, I guess I won’t be able to find you unless I dig into that organisation's business and copy Mullen by typing one of those numbers into a computer at work and hope for you to show up because you actually do care about me. I am… upset, but I don’t want you to leave! It’s enough that I lost that idiot of an Agent this morning, I don’t want to lose you as well!”
I heard footsteps and tried to force the tears to stop again, but if I’d wipe them away, Nate would know that I had cried, so I just ignored them, hoping Nate would understand why I hadn’t been able to tell him any of that earlier. “I told you that I love you, and I told you there was nothing you could do to change that!” he said and sounded really close, “So why do you seem to be afraid I wouldn’t love you anymore just because of what you told me?” “I’m not capable to love, I don’t know what to do with my feelings, I’m not supposed to feel! Me being here with you is going to get you killed!” I finally said and wiped my face with my palms, “I’ll get you murdered in no time and that is something I don’t want to happen! Can’t you understand that?”
“I understand!” Nate said and pulled me around and into his arms, “I’ll make sure you’ll understand as well! I don’t want anything to happen to you either! And I think I do understand your feelings.” Gently he kissed me, lifted me up and carried me over to the bedroom while switching off the lights on the way, “It’s late, let’s get some sleep.”