Thursday, October 19, 2017
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Copyright ©2009 Annay Dawson
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author, except for brief inclusions in a review. For more information contact the author at email@example.com.
Mind the J’s and W’s is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Sunday, October 15, 2017
“It’s my job to keep the assets as safe as I can, and,” he paused, “I just want to make sure you’re okay,” Rob seemed to have calmed a little. He had told her the words he had had to say, and he had told her he was giving her room to hang herself, “Guess that means I’ll see you at the airport.”
“Thanks, and I’ll be careful,” smiling again she continued as she looked for Ward, “of both of them.” Disconnecting Jan looked around for Ward only to find that he was standing beside her, his hand extended.
“Shall we get started?”
They were only a mile from the airport when Ward pulled in and then behind the back of a local convince store. This morning had been one of the best mornings that he could ever remember. He had almost felt like a normal human. All that he had read in her file, plus a couple of the reports on jobs she had filed that he had gained access to; well none of it did her justice. Right from the start of the training operation he had known that she was something special and he would enjoy getting to know her, but, and that was when he stopped thinking.
The most he could ever have from her was friendship if they followed the rules. Not that friendship wasn’t’ good, and he would give his right arm for it with her, but for the last few months he had thought of no one else. It was crazy, even he recognized that, but there was something here to explore, if, and that was the issue, if they hadn’t been agents. Just how far she was willing to bend the rules he didn’t know. For her it could just be a fun fling; he didn’t think so though. Ward, on the other hand, was more than ready to bend those rules and give it a go. After all he had seen over the last six months Ward knew if she was the one he would do anything to discover it. And here was his problem, he knew he was crap at relationships, had been even before he had been recruited and now they weren't allowed. Secretly he had always been happy about that rule, took full advantage of it as well, until a few months ago.
Ward had been with a friend when his wife had died in his arms. An assignment had gone wrong, horribly wrong. Against all better judgment Ward had stayed in her head to let them communicate until the end. She had given him complete access to her thoughts and feelings, memories and wishes. He had felt her regrets. Most of all she had let him feel what it was like to love some one that much, and to have connected with that one special person. That had been a powerful drug. Coming back from that mission he had seen Jan and something changed right then and there. At first he had just thought it was fatigue, but as time passed he suspected it had to have been something more.
Now after working with her and sharing a morning he knew it would be more than just a few hot nights. She was funny and smart, quick witted and even though some may think she was ordinary, she played down her features so as to not stand out.
"Something you wanted to say?" Jan wasn't going to rush him. As much as she didn’t want to admit it there was something worth exploring here. She had taken his hand in the restaurant and casually touched him as they walked out to the car and the heat she had felt earlier exploded again and again. Being with Ward had been easy, fun. Something her life had never been. Staring at him she waited and watched as he looked straight ahead at the concrete block wall.
"This is," and he stopped, and again time dragged on. Taking a final breath, he thought if he didn’t say it now then the clock would run out and he might never get the chance again. He opened his mind and continued, "I know what the rule book says and God as well as everyone else in the department knows my reputation, but I think we might have something between us. This morning has been great. I, we didn't have to be anything but ourselves for a change. I really enjoyed that, I enjoyed being with you. But there was something else. Back in the diner and at the car when you touched me."
"Yeah, I know," and now she realized that he was allowing her to see his thoughts. Surprised he had let her into his head this soon she also realized how serious he was. It made for a heady combination.
"If you’re willing to bend a few more rules," he paused so she could understand just how much he was asking for, and it was a lot. It was in those moments that he felt their minds touch. If he had thought touching her had been intense, then there were no words to describe this. It wasn't as if either of them had never had contact with other mind readers, but this, this was different. His mind suddenly imagined all the other ways they could connect until, slightly embarrassed, he looked her straight in the eye.
"This is new for me too," she had never expected to be so attracted to another human being. It was almost automatic to shy away or be distant. She had never believed in happy endings, "but I'm willing to see where this will go."
"Okay," Ward's hands relaxed and his jaw loosened. Funny thing was he hadn't realized how tense he had become. Rookie mistake, but that was what he liked most about her, all his guards were down. "Let's do this right then and take it slow," he started the car and pulled into traffic. "After your assignment's done message me."
"I should be wrapping things up in a week or two. We'll meet up when we can and see what happens," Jan was feeling nervous, a good nervous, but it was way out of character.
"What will you tell Rob?" Ward knew Rob, had even worked with a team of his once. In general he was a by the book type of guy. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Jan lean back into the seat, but he could feel her thoughts. He could tell that she wasn’t too worried about what Rob thought, but the rest of her thoughts were really distracting.
"He'll be fine," she replied as Ward pulled up to the curb and stopped. Opening the door she placed one foot out of the car before she continued. "He just doesn't know it yet," she looked quickly at Ward and she couldn't help but smile. Taking it slow meant that they wouldn't be getting to some of those things in his thoughts for a while. Too bad, she thought knowing he had heard it too. Without thought, she leaned over and kissed him, really kissed him. She wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that, but she did know that time had stopped for both of them. When he pulled away it was more out of fear that they would be seen and her mission compromised.
Ward watched as the Jan he knew left his car, and by the time she was standing up she had become her assignment once again. He hadn't even seen her pull her hair free of the ponytail or put on the wraparound dress she was wearing now. Watching as she walked into the terminal he had to marvel at how this everyday girl had morphed into a bombshell in just a few seconds. Slowly he smiled as he drove away all the while knowing that from this point on his life had just gotten way more complicated and so much better.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
"She meant a lot to you," Jan's tone was soft and gentle.
"It was a senseless car crash on her way in one day that killed her," staring off into space for a moment he continued to talk almost as if it was yesterday, "I tried to make sense of it, but," and he stopped. Jan had placed her hand over his. It was more than just a touch. They both felt the connection even though they hadn't opened their minds. The warmth spread up from their fingers and made a mental connection that surprised them both.
"I'm sorry," didn't seem to cover it, "you seem to have had to deal with loss way too much lately," she was picking up on the man he had walked in with months ago when they had first made eye contact. She knew both men had experienced a great loss but could feel the depth of it now. He looked up and into her eyes and with an intensity she had never experienced, their eyes locked. It was just a few minutes until the waitress came over with their food and the spell was broken.
"So, tell me how a desert dweller comes to love water," the spell was broken as they pulled their hands apart to eat. For the next few minutes they both ate and talked not sure of what had just been shared. It was almost as if they had been reading each other's minds; yet it had been a far more intense experience and definitely nothing either one of them had ever experienced with someone else. The conversation meandered from her love of water because of a trip to the ocean when she was very young, to his love of climbing and what's now called base jumping as the only thing that had made him feel free. It wasn't until her phone beeped that they were brought back to reality.
"Damn," she looked at the message on her phone.
"Being called in for an assignment?" He wanted her to say no, but was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen. As casually as he could he scooped up a bite of the omelet he had order.
"No, more like being caught playing hooky from one," at that information the fork stopped midway to Ward's mouth. "Before you say anything more, I fixed it the same way you made sure I would be included in this training."
"Your cover?" He wanted to be mad, angry. She had jeopardized a mission and maybe a bunch of people's safety to be with him. Yes, he wanted to be angry but what he really felt was flattered.
"Still good. The bodyguard assigned to me for my special trip to the States won't be waking up for a couple more hours and when he does he won't be telling his boss about it," she took this moment to put a bite of food in her mouth. "Raul will wake up in a seedy hotel, an awful headache, and more than enough proof happily provided by a well paid lady to show how good of a time he had."
"Really," Ward almost laughed. She had taken a chance, but had set it up brilliantly. Problem was it had still been a dangerous move.
"Assignment's heating up, I needed a break, and you ship out on diplomatic duty in a week," placing the fork back on her plate she crossed her arms on the table in front of her and stared at him.
Ward smiled. Jan had managed to surprise him once again. Instead of answering her unspoken challenge right away he also crossed his arms on the table and leaned in just a bit. They had both just proven they could and would bend the rules for the right reasons; he wondered just how far she would go.
"How about you send a message back to Rob that you already have a ride," the smile grew wider and his eyes sparkled, "I'll drive you back and we can spend that time figuring out how many more rules we want to break."
Jan put the last bite of omelet into her mouth savoring the flavor. He had been right this was a great place to eat. She was just about to reach for the cup of coffee when her phone chimed. They both half smiled as she looked at the offending object. It wasn’t hard to guess who was calling, and if she was completely honest with herself, she had gotten away with this for longer than she had expected.
“Excuse me,” Ward slid out of the booth silently pulling out his wallet at the same time. He was giving her both time and space to take the call, and wasn’t that sweet. Something else she could like about him. Jan watched him walk to the register, and she wasn’t ashamed to admit she was enjoying the view.
“Yes,” she said with a sigh. Jan wasn’t ready to come back to the real world.
“Are you crazy?” Rob, her handler or partner, was trying hard not to let the anger seep through but she could tell he was losing by the deep rumble and controlled tones. He must have sweated through at least two shirts by now. She almost felt guilty.
“No,” but before she could continue he jumped back into the conversation. Leaning back against the booth she readied herself for the verbal tongue-lashing she was about to receive, and if she thought about it, deserved.
“Then why in the world are you jeopardizing all the work you’ve put into this operation as well as your personal security? And let’s not even mention what you might be risking back at the department,” this time he wasn’t hiding the frustration, “I can’t keep you protected from everything you know.”
“I’ve got our assignment covered, and you might say that that big lug of a bodyguard Carlos sent along with me is uncovered,” she could almost hear Rob grind his teeth, “as for the department. They don’t really care who I sleep with as long as I don’t make any attachments. This may be a little out of the norm but…”
“There is still the matter of who you are spending your time with. You don’t realize how much of a player he is?” Now she could hear the worry in his voice.
“Aren’t we all players in this business?” Jan heard him suck in air on that one and wished she could take it back just as soon as it left her mouth.
“You know what I mean my girl, and let me tell you he’s been through a number of ‘friends’,” making sure that he stressed the last word, “don’t think you are any different than the rest of them, and by the way you are better than that, or that either of you could be different than who you are or,” and this was where Rob ran out of ands, ors, or buts. To his credit he didn’t stutter or growl.
“Alright Papa,” Jan couldn’t help but smile now. Rob may be her partner, and the person who kept an eye on her for the department, but in the end he acted more like her father. He had been more of a father, and better one, to her than her real father had been. But when he started into the father mode she would always smile, secretly she liked it, but she couldn’t help but tease him about it.
“Aghh,” his exasperation was evident, “I know what that means I lose. You’ve had this set up for a while haven’t you?”“Yes and no. I needed to blow off some of the steam that’s been building up on this assignment. This sounded like fun, and it was. I’m now more than ready to go back and take him down,” it was her turn to take a breath and sell the next statement, “And as you stated we can’t make any real commitments so that works out well for the both of us. We have a little fun and then we both walk away, friends. At least this time we are with another person who already knows the rules,” she glanced up and noticed that Ward was taking his time at the register. She really hated this smiling thing that was happening to her, but she couldn’t help but smile when she looked at him. He smiled right back at her as he slipped the wallet back into his pocket and made small talk with the cashier.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Sunday, October 8, 2017
He leaned against the outside of the building, under the eves to stay out of the rain. It was the only door out of the makeshift barracks that they had used to clean up in after the training operation. The session had finished about thirty minutes ago and it was now about five in the morning. He was tired. By all rights he should have crawled into the dorm and gone straight to sleep. Instead he was standing outside waiting to drive back into town, hopefully with company. Ward had showered and changed in record time. He had left the locker room and had been standing in the rain for fifteen minutes waiting for her. Even if the dorm rooms were just fine for him, he had already checked and knew she had arranged to go back into town. He hoped he would find a better spot to sleep today.
Glancing at his watch he saw that it was still an hour before sunrise. They were ten miles out of town and deep in the woods. He watched the drops of water drip from the edges of the roof, and wondered just how much longer he would have to wait for her to come out. His skin began to tingle, the hair rising on his arms. For some odd reason, he couldn’t read her mind, but he knew she was near. Ward could sense her breathing and her heartbeat, just not her thoughts. It was an odd, yet compelling feeling, and in some ways far more personal. He turned just in time to see her walk out of the door and out from under the cover of the roof into the rain. She turned to smile at him, and stopped. Her hair was still wet from the shower, and she had brushed it back off her face into a ponytail. Her face was free of make-up. Even without the conventional trappings she looked wonderful.
“That’s how I did it,” and he immediately knew what she was talking about. She had listened in on their conversation in the locker room without them knowing it. It wasn’t fair but he should have expected it, she was that good. How much she had seen he began to wonder about, but not for too long. Ward had intrigued her as much as she intrigued him. She had felt that invisible pull the first time she had seen him. When the training mission had been assigned she had also done her work and known he had had a hand in setting it up and including her. From that moment on the game had begun.
“Interesting,” may have only been one word but it covered the array of feelings and thoughts he was having. He hadn’t moved from the side of the building. Jan took a step closer, intentionally increasing the heat between them. “Be interested in discussing it some more over breakfast?” Ward didn’t move, just smiled. Yes she was his match in more ways than one.
“What do you have in mind?” Jan stood in the rain and Ward watched the rain dribble down the side of her face, all the while she ignored it. Ward was having a harder time ignoring it. He wanted to reach out and wipe it off of her cheek. She must have known because all she did was smile again as she looked him in the eye waiting for an answer.
“In about a half an hour a great little place in town will open up. It will serve just about anything you have in mind. We can catch the sunrise as we go in,” Ward couldn’t read anything in her mind. For that matter he wasn’t allowing her to read anything from his mind either. At least he thought he wasn't. The word play was getting to him though, and for some odd reason she seemed to be enjoying the banter just as much as he was.
“How’s the coffee?” Jan ran her hand through her hair, pushing the pieces that were beginning to wash back into her face behind her ears.
“Better than most, worse than others,” Ward stood up and took the keys from his pocket. He wanted to pull her under the eves and out of the rain. Somehow she seemed to thrive standing in it, and she looked at home in it as well.
“Then shall we go before the rest of the genetic freaks get out here and they have to come along,” she smiled and started to walk to the small parking area. With that one sentence she allowed him in on a secret as to whom she had been reading in the locker room. "By the way. . ." was all he got out before she continued talking.
"If you get lucky I just may let you pay the bill," she had driven one of the department’s cars and assumed Ward had done the same. To her surprise they climbed into a small nondescript, but adequate four-door sedan. Most likely a department car, but of a different class altogether. As they drove off Bobby walked out of the small building that housed the locker rooms. Neither one of them saw him. He took a few minutes to watch Ward drive away with his prize, and a curious feeling he couldn’t quite identify went through him.
They hadn’t said a word since they had left the training area. Jan sat at the table across from Ward waiting on her order. It was a waiting game now to see who was going to talk first, and she didn’t have time for it.
“So, were you wondering just how good my hands were as well?” and she smiled. It was a flash of something that crossed his face and the sudden stillness of a hunter that had been discovered that let her know that his thoughts had not been about her training. They had been purely about other things.
"The water pipes make great speakers," she continued. Slowly it dawned on him and he laughed.
“I should have known,” he picked up his coffee. "I'll keep that in mind for the next time though."
“I take it that this was the first time you included a girl in your little group,” it wasn't a question. Picking up her cup she took a small sip of the hot liquid as she looked at him over the rim.
“Not so,” and he smiled back mischievously. He waited while she put her cup back down and then continued, “My first handler was a woman and she trained with us a few times out here. Obviously she didn't want to let that little secret slip.” It had been a long time since he had been able to talk about Melissa without being overwhelmed with sadness. They had never been anything more than friends, best friends. She had always been there for him. More to the point they had always been on the same track when they were working together. He hadn’t had that for a while. His new handler, Gregg, had been a waste of time and as soon as Ward could he had requested someone new. Not something that was normally done, but Ward had proven himself enough of an asset that they had done it. Normally once assigned a handler there had to be something of a catastrophe for a change to occur. Even though he knew it would happen sometime, Ward wasn't going to wait for that to happen.