Vivian Riley Chapter 17
The door flew open when I arrived and Nate threw his arms around me, pulling me back into his apartment. “What’s wrong?” he asked and placed a soft kiss on my head, “I just got a strange call from a guy, telling me that I should pack a few things and get you out of New York for a while!” “Did you do it?” I asked out of breath and slowly sat down on one of the chairs. “I did,” he said and poured me a glass of water, “How did you run in those shoes anyway?”
“Don’t know, just did. Who called you? Who was that guy?” after quickly downing the water, we left the apartment with Nate’s stuff, grabbed a few things at mine and headed out of the city in his car. Nate wasn’t happy when I told him we had to ditch his car, but I promised him I’d try to get it back when everything was over or buy him a new one. He wasn’t happy about that either.
“So what happened anyway? Who are we running from?” Nate asked worried and put his arm around my shoulder. We had been walking a while to get a bus towards the airport. “Well, I had him, the man who’d created me, right in front of me! And I couldn’t do it! He told me things, things I couldn’t believe and that kept messing with my head and when he said you might be in danger, I ran as fast as I could in those high heels! My cover was blown anyway and now he knows what I look like!” I explained quietly, so the other passengers on the bus wouldn’t hear us.
“Ok,” Nate mumbled and leaned his head against mine, “But so do you, and he doesn’t know about your hair, you’re still wearing a wig, I hope!” “Oh, right, I forgot… Damn it! I don’t know what he’s doing to me! He’s throwing me off balance!” I said as I hit my hands on my face. Quietly Nate pulled me against his chest, gently rubbing my back and arm, comforting me, “It’s ok, do you want to tell me more about it? Like what did he say to upset you like that?”
“He said that he’s my father! But I didn’t believe him! It can’t be true! Right? Who would do that to their own child?” I asked confused, closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths, inhaling Nate’s scent, to calm down. “So we’re running from your dad now?” he wanted to know and placed soft kisses on my head.
“I don’t think we’re running from him actually!” I mumbled suddenly and buried my face in his neck now, “He could have killed me, in the short amount of time we’ve had, he had a few chances, and instead he just watched and even helped me like back when I was little and still training to become a killing machine!” “Why didn’t you take the chance if you didn’t believe him?” he asked quietly and stopped moving completely, “Why not end him right there? Why did you waist that chance to come to my place?”
“I don’t know…” I mumbled, realizing that I actually did know; realizing that those distracting things I had felt were something new to me, something that was normal for most people. I had feelings for Nate, warm and fuzzy feelings that made me do all kinds of strange things. It seemed like I actually was in love with Nate, the CIA agent who could have captured me, who did capture and unfreeze my heart.
“I think I really like you…” I whispered in a hushed voice so only Nate could hear. “You’re not messing with me now, right?” he whispered and pulled my head back, “Are you serious about that?” With his eyes piercing mine with intensity, I felt like I would melt in his arms and nodded, unable to form proper words. Nate held my head in place and finally kissed me properly, devouring my lips, my mouth, playing with my tongue and pulling me close to his body.
“I love you, Vivian, and I’m so happy that you got back safely!” I heard his voice close to my ear, before his lips kissed my neck, nibbling on my earlobe and tracing down towards my shoulder. “Nate…” I sighed all too happy about his attention, but remembered all the other people on the bus around us, “We’re almost there… the bus is almost at the airport!” Nate glanced past my head, out of the window and shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t care, I like it here!” He retraced my vein and let his head rest on my shoulder, nibbling on the skin of my neck and ear.
“Vie, can I ask you something?” Nate asked after a while, “Why are we going to the airport?” “We’re trying to get away from Alexander!” I said and smiled at him, “Somewhere nobody would expect us!” “There is a place like that?” he asked and I felt his skin getting colder. I knew he didn’t like flying… at all… so I wouldn’t have forced him to do it, but maybe just letting him believe we’d be flying to our next destination was enough!
Everyone got out at the airport, so it was easy to blend in with the crowd, disappearing amongst hundreds of other humans. We bought tickets to Africa, one way with a name I had used for some of the assignments that had only included questioning, and went through some of the check-in controls. We wouldn’t get far with my luggage, but I didn’t plan on checking in anyways. As soon as our tickets were registered, I excused my self and hid my bag in the space above the bathroom, a place I knew we would pass on our way out. It was above the ceiling, so nobody would find it by accident, and returned to Nate, smiling. He was pale and I had a hard time not to laugh and tell him more about my plan, but there were so many cameras that could pick up my words.
We went through security and walked towards the plane when I pulled Nate along a different hall and into a storeroom. I had used this place for distractions a few times, so I knew their security systems and the weak points of their cameras. In front of the storeroom, there was a window of about five seconds, where the door and the hall were out of view. I knew their rhythm, so it was rather easy for me to pick the right moment to pull Nate into the storage room and close the door before anyone noticed.
“What…” Nate tried to ask, but I stopped him, knowing the cameras couldn’t see us, but they could still record the sound. Quietly I removed one of the squares of the ceiling and motioned Nate to climb up. Surprisingly he nodded and followed my orders, using the shelf on one side as a ladder to reach the hole. I followed, put the square back in its place and moved past my boyfriend to get back towards my bag.
Silently we worked our way through the labyrinth of pillars and cables towards freedom. And fresh air! My enemies told me to leave New York for good, to stay away from them, so where would the safest place on earth be, if not in New York? Especially after pretending to fly to Africa! We had it on CCTV how we were boarding the plane! With the short gap in the camera system, we could have disappeared behind the corner, entering the cabin, just like everyone else. New York was most definitely the safest place for Nate right now! Anyways, with Alexander being in the Big Apple, that’s where I had to be! I had to end this once and for all!
Finally, we reached the place I always kept prepared, an electric rope, designed to wind itself up once released. Carefully I opened a secret door in the wall a tiny bit to check if it was safe, before opening it all the way. Relieved I took a few deep breath’s and told Nate to climb down with the rope.
“Has someone ever told you, that you’re awesome?” Nate asked as he tied the rope around his body. “Not yet,” I chuckled and pressed the button to get him down to the ground outside, “I’ll see you down there!” And off he went.
On the ground, he unhooked the rope and it went back up, where I tied it around my waist and climbed through the opening and down the wall with my bag and a few extras I had stored at the airport. Once I was out, the door closed, only leaving enough space for the rope and the hooks to get back in.
“So; where to now?” Nathan asked as we walked away from the airport, into an open field, “Where should we go from here?” “Home,” I said and turned to Nate. “What do you mean? I thought we had to hide and leave everything behind? If we go home, they’ll find us! He said confused and stopped, staring at me, “Where are we going?”
“I never said that we were going to your place, Nate!” I chuckled and took his hand, “I’ll show you the place I used to hide in just after my break out. It has nothing comfortable like in a hotel or something, but it doesn’t have electricity or a phone line or anything like that.” “So they can’t trace us!” he finally nodded and took a step closer, he let go of my hand, placed his on my ears to keep my head still and kissed me softly.
“What are you doing? We have to keep going!” I mumbled and realized my body moved towards him. “Just making sure you’re ok, I haven’t seen you for a while and ever since you came back, we’ve been on the run,” he explained and pulled me close against his chest, “I need to know that you’re ok, Vivian!” Sighing deeply, I chuckled and kissed him, “I’m fine, I always am! Don’t worry about me, please! But I think we should go, or someone might see us. Right now we’ll have time until that plane arrives in Africa and we won’t step out of it! It’ll take them a few hours to go through all of the video files to realize we didn’t fly away and when that happens, I want to be hidden in a safe place to gather information and put together a plan and a strategy. As much as I love just running into action, I’ve known Alexander long enough to know we should stay hidden for at least a week or two before moving in on him and his men!”
Although I said that, I knew I had to make a move on him now, not in two weeks. If I’d wait, Alexander would be gone, probably for good this time! I just wanted to keep Nathan safe! But for now I had to get Nate safe and that meant getting him to the place where I used to hide before.
“Let's get going!” I said and we moved further ahead, getting further away from the airport while closing in on the place I had felt safe in for a short while. I knew the way off by heart, knew how to find it in the dark or with my eyes covered. When we reached the cottage Nate’s mouth dropped open, “Wow, this does not look like a secret hideout” “I never said it looked gloomy or anything now did I?” I chuckled and opened the door, walking inside to open the windows to get some fresh air into the house.
“This is actually quite nice…” Nate mumbled as he looked around, “Doesn’t it belong to someone?” “It did,” I said quietly and dropped my bag on the couch to search the house, making sure it was safe. “Wait, what do you mean?” Nate asked, “Couldn’t the owners come by any time?” “I doubt that,” I said with a sigh, remembering how I had first come here.
“Why is that? What happened?” Nate asked, following me towards the last room of the cottage, “Why wouldn’t they come here?” “Well, it belongs to an old lady and she doesn’t have any family,” I explained and opened the door to my old bedroom. “She won’t come by either?” Nate asked, blocking my way out of the room.
“No, she died a few weeks after I hid here, and no, I did not kill her,” I explained and looked at him, “She died of old age.” “Where is she now?” Nate asked and looked around my old room, it seemed like he was expecting to find the corpse somewhere in one of the rooms. “I buried her,” I said amused and pointed over my shoulder and out through the window, “Outside!”
“I’m glad to hear that…” Nate mumbled and pulled me close to his chest, “I’m glad there is no creepy corpse in here!” “Never has been!” I chuckled and looked up at him, “How are you doing? I’m sorry I pulled you into this whole mess!” “Don’t worry about it, as long as you’re here it’ll be fine!” he said with a smile and kissed my forehead, “However, it was kind of lonely without you, so I’m happy to have you back in my arms again. And I don’t plan on letting you go that soon!”
“Oh, is that so?” I asked cheekily, when Nate held my hands behind my back, turning both of us around until my back was pressed against the wall, “What did you have in mind? Holding me captive?” “Keeping you busy for a while, showing you how much I have missed you!” “Sounds promising!” I said with a smile, thinking about how I could sneak out to find Alexander as soon as Nathan would fall asleep!
Careful not to wake him, I snuck out of his arms to get dressed and find Alexander. I wasn’t sure if I could believe him, but it didn’t make much of a difference, I wanted to kill him either way, no matter who he was! On my way, my phone suddenly started buzzing and I pulled it out, there was a text message.
“As soon as your little friend is safe, meet me where you came to find him.” An unidentified phone number, this could be him. It seemed as if he had known about my actions, about Nate and all… but he seemed to have been surprised when he saw me at the party. Maybe he only tracked some of my movements? But if he had, why didn’t he just send people to kill me whenever he knew where I was?
Why ever he sent me that text and information, this was my chance to kill Alexander! Prepared with a Smith and Wesson and a few magazines for it, a few knives and sunglasses, I made my way back into the city, to go to the Starbucks where I’d accidentally run into Nate.
I wasn’t surprised to see only a few guests in Starbucks, it was the middle of the night after all. There was one man sitting at a table with a large cup of coffee and a large book in front of him. Curious and quiet I approached and slipped into the seat across from him, “Why did you ask me to come here? You seem to be perfectly entertained already!”
“I wanted to talk to you in private, without any of my agents getting in the way,” he said without looking up at me, his eyes still interestedly studying the pictures in the book. “How did you know I was still here?” I asked and leaned back in the seat. “I’m the one who taught you, remember?” he chuckled and looked up at me, “Don’t worry, I’m not as willing to share this information with anyone right now, as I am to share this with you.” “What exactly is this supposed to be?” I asked and glanced at some of the pictures. It seemed to be a young woman with a baby in some of them; others showed him with the baby and others again only the child. It seemed to be the child from the other picture. It seemed to be me.
“That’s you,” Alexander said with a smile, “How you grew up. We have always kept our eyes open, always watched you, making sure you’re alright. We couldn’t just let you get hurt, now could we?” “No, you just raised me to be an assassin!” I mumbled and remembered my childhood along with the pictures in the album. “That is true, but in the way we were living, we had to make sure you are able to take care of your self!” he said still smiling, dreamily staring at the pages of my past.
Whatever... I thought and looked up as I heard screeching tires and breaks. “What’s that?” I asked, gritting my teeth, “This seems to an ambush!” “Take the book, it might keep you entertained and might show you that I meant what I said,” Alexander said and took another sip of his coffee. “You should be leaving as well,” I said and packed the book into my bag before I walked out of the door without another word.
Whatever his deal was or who the people were that seemed to be in a hurry to get here, I didn’t want to be in the Starbucks when they got there! Confused and a little frustrated, I went off to get back to Nate who was hopefully still sleeping in the cottage. On the way I picked up some breakfast rolls just in case he had woken up, wondering where I’d been. I didn’t want to hurt him, I didn’t want him to be in any danger.
Luckily I found the cottage to be quiet and Nate still sleeping, cuddled up in a blanket, just where I’d left him. I placed the bread rolls in the kitchen and returned to the bedroom to wake him up. “Good morning sleepyhead!” I chuckled and kissed his neck, quickly moving out of his way so he wouldn’t grab me. At least not before breakfast. “Where have you been?” he yawned and stretched. “I’ve brought breakfast, Nate,” I chuckled, escaping his grasp by mere inches, “Come on, I went through a lot of effort to get this without getting snatched by creeps!”
“I’m happy that you didn’t get snatched away…” he mumbled and climbed out of the bed to follow me, after putting on some clothes as it was still quite cold after all. This house hadn’t been heated for quite a few years, and it took a while for the stove to heat up the entire house again.
After breakfast, I pulled the photo album out of my bag and sat down on the couch. “You wanted to know about my childhood… about how I grew up… He gave this to me…” I said and opened it carefully, while Nathan sat down beside me. “Is that you?” he asked and looked at a picture of a tiny red-haired baby in Alexander’s arms, a familiar looking woman standing behind him. “I think so, it looks like a baby version of me when I was small, it matches the other ones,” I said and tried to remember the woman’s face behind Alexander.
The more I looked at her, the more did she remind me of a kind of younger version of Briana, she had the same strict and uncaring expression, but in the picture, I thought I saw a hint of happiness in her eyes. Alexander, however, looked totally different to before! His expression was pure bliss, he seemed so happy with that tiny thing in his huge arms! If that was real, how did he end up raising me as a heartless killing machine?
“And those are your parents?” Nate asked, “That’s the guy you met?” When I nodded, Nathan continued, “He looks really happy, like he would do anything to keep his baby safe! Are you sure it was his choice to raise you the way they did?” With that question in the open, we looked at the rest of the pictures and for some of them, I remembered the situations I had been in at those times.
Nate asked me about some of them, curious about all the things I’d never told him. “So, what do you think?” I asked when the book finally came to an end, “You still okay with all of that?” “It’s a lot of information, but I’m glad that you trust me enough to show me those pictures and your story. This really means a lot to me!”
When we finally flipped the last page of the album, I found an envelope glued to the cover. Carefully I opened it and pulled the pictures out of the brown paper. “No way!” I mumbled, only a tiny bit shocked, as I looked at multiple pictures of Nate and me! New Zealand, New York, the bus stop after Jeff’s murder, it was all there! Documented by pictures! Nate pulled one of the New Zealand pictures out of my hands and smiled, “I told you that I was on an early flight as well, when in fact, I had a late one! I was praying in my heart that there was any chance of changing to the earlier flight, as I had to just see you again!”
“I remember…” I mumbled and flicked through the rest of the pictures, “Still… This is unbelievable… That means that he had eyes on me the entire time! Where ever I went! He had a million chances to dispose of me and he didn’t take the chance! He never did it!” “Isn’t that a good thing?” Nate asked and gently pulled me closer to his chest, “Doesn’t this kind of mean that he does care about you?”
“I don’t know… but it also means that I can’t run from him! I’ve run from them when I was twelve, I tried to stay away, I had tried to hide, to not be found! And he knew where I was at all times! Or almost all the time! It means I can’t hide from him!” “From what I’ve heard so far he doesn’t want to harm you, he seems to be worried about you.” Nate said and gently rubbed my arm, “I think he might be trying to protect you.”