Vivian Riley Chapter 14
When I woke up, I got the feeling of déjà vu, as I felt my bed and Nate’s naked skin on mine. It had been an exciting night, Nate seemed to have enjoyed the action the night before, in the club. For a while, I imagined what it would be like to have Nate by my side, to have him watch my back during a fight.
But having him with me, meant putting him in danger and he would lose his job fairly quickly. That or his life. No… better not. Maybe I’d have to get a hold of someone able to do hypnosis on Nate to get him to forget about me, permanently! With a sigh, I cuddled up against his chest again and sighed. It would have been nice to have someone at my side but I guess I’d be like Nate, jumping in front of him to keep him safe.
After a while, I carefully climbed out of his arms and my bed to get some stuff for breakfast. With my apartment being deserted most of the time, I didn’t have proper food in my kitchen. Washed and dressed I left my apartment and walked down a block to one of the convenient stores close to my apartment to get bread, butter, jam and chocolate spread. On my way out I also got a small canister of milk for Nate’s coffee.
Smiling on my way back, I thought it really felt like a normal person, like a normal life. But I knew that was something I could never have. Not with the life, I led, not with my past! Still, even pretending felt good enough for me at the moment. Everything was better than having nothing and no one to care about or for!
“I almost thought you left me…” Nate mumbled and lifted his arm from his face, “You weren’t here when I woke up…” Chuckling I put the shopping bag into the kitchen, “Sorry, but I didn’t think you’d want to have air for breakfast so I got some things…” Suddenly Nate put his arms around me and I felt his naked skin on me, touching my arms and the space between my shoulders that wasn’t covered by my top. “Yesterday was exciting!” Nate continued and placed a kiss on my neck, “Is that a normal night out for you?”
“Mhmmm… Totally normal for me, especially because I don’t go out at night, only to do a job!” I chuckled and turned around in his arms, realizing that he really was only naked from his waist upwards, “You got dressed…” “I did…” he mumbled and kissed my lips, “You know… it’ll be hard to get used to you not being there when I wake up… Like when you’re off on a mission or something like that…” “I’m not going to leave that quickly… I think… I can’t reach my contact and I don’t know why… but I guess he’s just very busy at the moment, and I guess he doesn’t have any jobs for me right now… it’s so boring without my jobs and when you’re not with me…”
Nate started nibbling on my ear while pulling me closer to his chest. “Nate…” I sighed and leaned my head back, giving him more access to my neck, “We still don’t know what the numbers are for…” “Or what’s in that box… We totally forgot to open it!” he added and looked at me. “Right…” I mumbled, “Maybe we should go and check it out before someone else tries to kill either one of us! Maybe it’s important?”
“Did you leave the crest in your apartment?” I asked and placed a soft kiss on his nose, as much as I’d enjoy continuing where we fell asleep last night, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that the crest and the numbers were important! Before I could really relax and get back to my normal jobs, I had to find out what the crest and the numbers meant… “Nate… this is important…” I mumbled, heading towards oblivion with his touch, “I can’t shake the feeling that we need to find out about this crest and the numbers…” “You’re right…” Nate agreed, “It’s just hard to resist you…” He kissed me again and headed towards the bed to get his clothes as well, “But we do have time for breakfast?” I tried to catch my breath and nodded, “Most important meal of the day, isn’t it?”
During breakfast, we spoke about our theories as to what was inside the box and what the numbers were supposed to be. After that, we headed off towards Nate’s apartment to find out about the crest anyways. It wasn’t a bomb, at least as far as we had found out so far. And I didn’t think that Mullen would send a bomb to Nate! I just couldn’t believe it. So I was looking forward to finally opening it. “What’s the story with you and Mullen?” I asked after leaving my apartment, curious about their relationship and what Special Agent Montgomery had said about them being something like friends.
“Well, you could say we go way back…” Nate said with a smile and took my hand again, “We grew up in the same street and he was friends with my sister, he’d always been bullying me, but I also knew that I could rely on him. Since I only had a sister, sometimes it felt like he was my older brother, you know? Fun fact is, he actually helped me with my application to the CIA, and he made sure I got into his team. He was really looking out for me most of the time…”
“Sounds like a family to me!” I said with a sigh and smiled. “He always kept the dangerous things from me, I always thought he made fun of me… like he thought I couldn’t handle it…” I stopped and pulled his face close to mine, “After last night, that’s hard to believe… Sorry for just throwing you into the situation like that by the way! I believe that if I wouldn’t have been there, you’d have done great by yourself!” “Thanks…” Nate said and I kissed him gently, whispering, “I believe in you. I believe you’ll be a great secret agent whenever you want to!” My maybe not so fake anymore boyfriend chuckled at my choice of words, reminding him of our flight to Auckland.
“Here we go!” I said with a smile as Nate opened the door to his apartment. Carefully we sat down and picked up the box from the couch table. My heartbeat grew louder and faster as we stared at it for a while. Once it was open we might get blown to pieces or poisoned or whatever. Maybe it was nothing, really, but whatever it would turn out to be, now was the time to find out and there would be no going back!
Carefully I reached for the lid of the box when suddenly Nate pulled my hands away again. “Wait for a second! There is something I wanna say before we open this and might get blown to pieces!” “Ok,” I said and turned a bit to look at him, not the slightest idea what he wanted to say.
“Ok, well, here I go!” he took a deep breath and looked at me, “So ehm, from the start, I’ve liked you a lot, I thought you were very interesting and beautiful and I really wanted to get to know you. Maybe the fear had helped me to achieve that, otherwise I doubt I would have managed to really properly talk to you. But I’m glad I did. I’ve liked you right away, you know. And before we might end up dying, I wanted you to know how I feel… About you!”
Nervously, he looked around his apartment and back to look into my eyes, “I’ve been in love with you this entire time, I wanted you to know that… I didn’t sleep with you just because you agreed to be my fake girlfriend, I couldn’t have done that…” “Oh, ok… thanks…” I said, insecure, not knowing what I should do or say about his words, his feelings and what they did to me. Maybe a part of me was happy with his words. “You don’t have to say if you love me or not, I understand now that this is all very new to you and I wouldn’t force you to say something anyway. I just wanted you to know!” he said and leaned over to kiss me like there was no tomorrow. His lips crushed mine and he wove his fingers through my hair, letting me feel all of his emotions with it.
For the moment, I felt like my feelings, and his, were the same; that I felt the same for him, but I didn’t know what love felt like. Instead of protesting or stopping him, I returned his kiss, responding with my body as well as my pulse. When Nate removed his lips from mine, a protesting sound escaped my lungs and I scoffed quickly, “We should get this over with, so we can find out what that number is for!” “You’re not afraid? Or at least worried?” Nate asked, staring at the wooden box in front of us.
“No.” I said and smiled at him, “I know how to disarm all kinds of bombs, since this one here if it should be one, seems to be not activated, we’d have at least a few seconds. However, I doubt Mullen would put a bomb into something that could find it’s way back to you. Given that it belongs to you, he must have known it would be returned to you. So no, I’m not worried. If I were, I’d have taken the crest to my garden, I have special equipment there to disarm bombs and protect me from the detonation in case it blows up anyway.”
“Awesome!” Nate cheered, suddenly excited, “Can you show me someday?” “I guess I could,” I chuckled and looked back at the phone, “Let’s open this thing here!” Nate nodded and carefully placed his hands on the lid, trying to pull it open, but it didn’t budge, “Wait a sec… I have a key, I kept it in my drawer…” While the CIA agent disappeared into his bedroom to look for the key, I pulled out my hairpin and quickly opened the box with it, “It’s ok, I’ve got it!”
“Oh, ok,” Nate mumbled and put the key he had just found down on the table next to the crest, “Let’s do this!” Slowly he lifted the lid and looked at me with confusion in his expression, “What’s that doing in there?” “Why, what is it?” I asked as I tried to find out why Mullen kept his cell phone in a locked box in his car. “Well, that is one of Ron’s phones, the one he said was his lifeline to his niece, he said that phone was essential, it was sacred and if I ever dared to even touch it, he would murder me… slowly…” he shuddered at the thought and leaned away from it.
I rolled my eyes and took it out of my box, as far as my research had succeeded after my first encounter with Mullen, he didn’t have a niece and that was a fact. The only sibling he had was a brother and he was only fifteen years old. No aunts or uncles either. Maybe niece was something like a codeword for a contact person; that would explain the lifeline thing as well. But whose lifeline? Maybe the organization? Alex or Briana? Carefully I lifted it out of the box and turned it, opened the lid on the back and finally switched it on. “Did he have a girlfriend?” I asked seriously, looking at the screen of the smartphone, trying to see fingerprints or something to make out the code.
“Not as far as I knew of. He had a bunch of one night stands, but nothing serious. He had a thing for my sister though, I think that’s why he didn’t settle for anyone else. Told me he’d rip my throat out if I told anyone!” he mumbled and looked around the room as if waiting for Ron Mullen to jump out as a ghost and torture him. “So what’s your sister’s birthday?” I asked and placed my hand on his knee, trying to reassure him. “February, twenty-fifth 1987, why?” Nate asked confused, so I explained my theory. “Most people use birthdays as pin codes, their own, or of the person they love since it’s difficult to use a set of numbers that have no connection to the person at all. Because there is no way of remembering a code without reminders like birthdays or such, in case one forgot, they take dates and such.” I explained and typed the numbers 0225 into the phone and got through, “See?”
We waited for a few moments for the phone to turn on and immediately got a few text messages. Curiously I opened one of the older messages and froze. I knew those messages! They were the messages I had sent to my contact, worrying about those emotions and asking him for advice on what I should do with Nate! How did he get those? How did Mullen get access to my messages? Quickly I scrolled through the older ones and suddenly felt cold and shuddered. He didn’t just have my messages, but all the messages I had sent to my contact, including the ones he had written!
“What is it?” Nate asked as he looked at me, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” “Maybe I have… You said Mullen gave you a number, the one you should contact in case you found more of those codes? The one you shouldn’t loose under any circumstances!” I said, my voice shaking. Nate walked off to retrieve it from a drawer in the kitchen, hidden under the cutlery sorting box and handed it to me. “That’s impossible!” I mumbled and dropped the phone and the note with my own phone number, shaking my head, “It can’t be!”
“What is it?” Nate repeated and placed both, the phone and the note on the table again. “That number. It’s mine, how did he get my phone number and how the heck did he get those messages?” I asked aloud, playing with the thought of Ron Mullen, knowing all of that about me. Maybe he had known who I was when he came over to me in the bar, maybe he had known about my attempt to get some respect for Nate, or at least guessed it when he introduced me as his girlfriend. Or maybe he was just as clueless about what I looked like as I had been?
“No idea, but that phone was holy to him. He told me he only used it for his niece… Then again, his only brother is fifteen… I doubt he has a niece… That bastard was lying to me!” he mumbled, “I have no clue about how he got your number, but I think he wrote it down from that phone because he had it in his hands when he wrote it down.” “The messages in that phone, I wrote them! They are the ones I exchanged with my contact!” I said, regaining my poise.
“Oh… maybe he was your contact?” Nate suggested more as a joke, but suddenly I thought maybe he was right. Our messages had been encrypted so that only his and my phone could read them! “We have to find out about the number! Maybe it’s a locker at a train station or something!” I said and stood up, “And if I have to check out every single locker!” “That shouldn’t be necessary, I think,” Nate said and smiled at me, “There was one bus station he sometimes went to. He told me he’d eat my brains if I dared tell anyone.”
“He actually did threaten me quite a lot… I guess that’s the reason I never figured he was looking out for me…” Nate mumbled with a sigh and put his shoes back on, “We’ll need the key though…” “I don’t need a key, I can handle any lock!” I said enthusiastically and slipped my feet into my boots. “Really?” Nate wondered but smiled enthusiastically. “As long as you know where it shouldn’t be a problem. Anyway, where would we get the key from? I doubt Mullen would leave it somewhere with a tag!” I said with a smile and took the bag with all kinds of equipment back outside to take along with us. “I suggest we’ll take the jeep to get there…” Nate said with a chuckle, grabbed the keys to his jeep and pulled me back into his arms for a kiss, “I’m glad this is something normal we can do together!”
“Oh, I think there are a few more things we can do that are normal!” I said chuckling and put my arms around his neck, “We should get going though! If I’m correct and Mullen had something to do with me or with the organization, we have to make sure to get everything connected to it before anyone else finds out about it!” “Alright,” he said with a sigh, gently kissed my lips and opened the door for me, “Let’s go before I change my mind and keep you here for another while!”
Nervously Nate looked around the bus station, while I used my hair pins to open the door on the locker with a matching number. “Calm down, otherwise somebody might think we’re doing something we’re not supposed to!” I chuckled as I opened the locker, finding it filled with files. Carefully I loaded everything into one of the backpacks I had brought along in my bag and smiled at Nathan. “Well, we are kind of doing something we’re not supposed to, are we not?” Nate asked and smiled, “But luckily you’re great in doing that kind of stuff!”
Chuckling I loaded the last files into the bag and we closed the locker up again, we didn’t want to leave any suspicious traces and returned to Nate’s car. Although I was curious about the files, I knew better than to open them in public. After all, there were cameras all over the bus station!
Back at my place, I convinced Nate it would be the safest place with the files and whatever Mullen had hidden in there, we spread them out on the floor in my apartment. As I had suspected or feared, those files were partly about me, but mainly about my work, about the cases I had taken. Not just some, but all of them! Every single case I had taken since my contact had contacted me a couple of years ago.
“Wow! What is all of that?” Nate asked, curiously looking at all the case files trying to find a pattern somewhere within. “Those are all my cases! Everything I have done, every case I took!” I said shocked and couldn’t find another explanation other than Nate’s suggestion from before. Maybe Ron Mullen had been my contact? “What do you mean? Your cases?” Nate asked confused and couldn’t take his eyes off the numerous folders on the floor.
“Well, every case I took. This one here, for example, it was the first case I ever took!” I explained, feeling a little bit nostalgic, “I was fourteen and had a few difficulties in keeping proper jobs because I had been quite small, I was just a kid after all. I had a fake ID, stating I was twenty already, but even with the stuff I knew and all the tests I had to take, they were still skeptical. So one day, I was pretending to be a college student in NYU, I got a mysterious message on my phone. A phone I had only used for very important things because it had been hard to come by and hard to keep spotless clean so nobody would be able to trace it. So I read it and when I answered the job sounded interesting, I had a case file shoved through my door in an envelope. By the time I opened my door, there was nobody there.”
For a few moments, I stared at the file, remembering my first paid hit and smiled, “After that, I got more messages, but he never told me his name or how he had gotten that number, so we just kept our distance, but I knew I could trust him… most of the time.” “That was one of Mullen’s cases,” Nate mumbled, “He told me about it. I still remember that he was angry with the guy because everyone knew he had murdered the girls that had been found only weeks earlier, but there was no real evidence! Mullen was frustrated and when his boss told him he had to let it go and the file was stored in the cold case cabinets due to no evidence what so ever, he suddenly turned up dead. Mullen’s team diagnosed suicide, he’d hung himself in his room.”
“I know, I remember the sick joy in that bastards face when he saw me when I tied him up carefully. He was totally into it!” disgusted I shuddered and looked at Nate, the first guy, well, the first person I had ever invited into my apartment, ever. “It was the first time Mullen had ever accepted a suicide like that as a suicide without digging into it, he was happy about it I think!” Nate mumbled and shoved the file to the side, “So… all of this is you? Was everything meant to look like a suicide?”
“Nope, only some of my cases, while most others were simply what they were. Murder. I guess. Like the Senator, a clean shot through his chest, but no evidence found, no bullets, no hair no footprints, nothing. Only a lake between the senator and the shooter and that meant a good sniper, but there are a few and none the world knew of had been in New Zealand at the time I guess. So you tell me what happened after that.”
Nate chuckled and nodded, “Well, as far as I heard, they had a hard time looking for any traces, they even went around the underground, looking for arms dealers, to find out where the rifle came from, but well… their search remained unsuccessful and they had to file it because their traces brought no evidence. Nothing.” “See? That’s what I do. I do a job and you guys are having a hard time finding evidence.” I chuckled and put my head on Nate’s leg, staring at my ceiling. “All those files… it looks like a whole lot of work.” Nate said and gently pet my head.
“I guess they were… but I had quite a lot of free time over the last couple of years. After all, before I do a hit, I usually take about a week or two in preparation. Sometimes, if it’s urgent, a day will do as well, but the hit would be far from perfect, but well, even though I get a lot of quickie-hits I never got caught or had someone have a lead on me. Nobody ever caught me. Until you came!” I chuckled quietly and looked up at him, “Guess you already are a great agent!” “I doubt that…” Nate mumbled and smiled at me, “’Cause if I were, I’d drop you at my office first thing in the morning, maybe after one last night with you! But I can’t do that, hand you over, that is…”
Slowly he bent down to kiss me, so I pushed my self up a bit to return his kiss. “We should light a fire… it’s getting a bit cold, don’t you think?” Nate suggested after a while, as he pulled my t-shirt over my head. “It’d be the first time that stove would be used…” I chuckled breathlessly from his kiss and quickly jumped up. I had to admit I was glad that Nate wanted to get rid of that stuff, I didn’t want to tell him, that I had my files hidden in a vault in a bank, but those files… they could be used as evidence against me, so I quickly opened the stove and piled some of the files into it.
When I woke up in the morning, I felt a warm body, wrapped around me and Nate’s breaths in my neck. The feelings I woke up to, seemed so normal already, I didn’t even reach for my knife, didn’t even think about it. There was still a pile of files left next to the stove, but about half of it was burnt already. We’d planned on burning all, but we kind of got distracted halfway through. It was probably really bad that my focus was quite a bit off whenever Nate was concerned, but I couldn’t do anything about it.
With a sigh, I cuddled back against his chest, just wasting the time until he would finally wake up so we could go to get some breakfast and enjoying every second of it. During the day I tried to do some more research on Patrick Marshall Senior, with my contact… with Ron Mullen dead, I wouldn’t get any more hits through him, and Marshall was my only connection to Alexander and Briana. I had to get behind their defenses, infiltrate them and find out when he’d meet or contact Alexander again. I wouldn’t be able to see Nate during that time though, that would include me going undercover and that again meant endangering Nathan if I saw him.
He wasn’t happy about my idea, not in the least. “You’re insane, Vi!” he hollered, “They’ll make toast out of you! Only one second is enough to blow your cover! Especially if you’re right and they are with your friends, there is no way in hell I’d ever agree on you going in there by your self!” “My friends,” I used my fingers to mimic exclamation marks, “Won’t be there, they leave the dirty work to guys like Marshall. Easily replaceable! I doubt anyone of them would bother being there. It’s probably perfectly safe to go in without anyone noticing I’m not from their staff!”
“But what if they catch you?” he asked, still unhappy about my idea, but he seemed to realize I’d do it either way. “They’ll try to catch me, but I am much faster and I know how to hide and where to go. If they would really catch me and send forces down to get me before I can keep that someone from passing the information to my friends, I’ll do my best to escape from their grip, and go into hiding for a bit.” “Go into hiding…” Nate swallowed hard, “Sounds like a goodbye to me…”
“It would be for a little while if I had to hide. But I’d find you again, once it’s safe that is,” I mumbled and sat down on my bed, “It’s better for you, Nate, if I’m not around you while I’m going after them. They’d hurt you, they’d do it to have fun.” They’d hurt him to hurt me, to lure me out of hiding if they ever found out about him and me!
Nate stood by the window, staring at the passing cars, as he slammed his fist against the wall, “That’s bullshit and you know it, Vivian! That’s a suicide mission! You can’t go in there on your own!” “Whom should I take with me?” I asked sadly, reminding my self what it meant to join me on that trip, “Do you mean I should take you? Don’t take me wrong, I would put my life in your hands any day, but I’m afraid that with them that would only get both of us killed.”
“I’m not that bad!” he protested and I smiled, “No, Nate, you’re not bad or clumsy or whatever you might think, it’s just they are trained and ruthless assassins, and you have a conscience and you have a heart, a soul. They would do everything to break you, just to make me suffer before they’d make me watch you die. That is if they caught us.”
Nate accepted that and so I got ready to infiltrate the enemy, something I hadn’t done in a while. I left Nate the phone Mullen had used to contact me, knowing nobody would be able to trace those calls, with that he’d be able to contact me if anything happened or if he missed me too much.
I knew it would be a long time before I could actually meet him again; I started my mission, changing my character, my name, everything!