She had taken the time to hide the other items in both the straps and in the lining of the bag that she was carrying. They would not be things easily detected, found, or if found, that anyone would care about. In one part she had put her favorite item, a small package of rat poison. It had gotten her out of quite a few fixes in the past, easy to hide, easy to use, and easily replaced. Inside the bag she had included her favorite lock pick that she had once loaned Ward. When Ward had returned it to her, she had placed it in her apartment and left it there. On her last assignment she was almost sure she had lost it forever, but somehow, Ward had gotten it for her. To anyone else it would look like an old pen, but it had been a lifesaver for her many times, and a keepsake given to her by an old, and dear friend. Jan had taken the time last night to haphazardly sew the bag with one package of dental floss, twenty-five feet long, which only added to the authentic look of the bag as well as adding to her supply of tools that she may need. She had been careful not to cut the floss, as she never knew just how long of a piece she might need. After glancing at the bag, Jan gave Ward a quick affirmative nod to let him know she was ready. Before he put the car back into drive, Ward leaned over and let his finger gently trace her face and then cup her chin with his hand. His hand rested there for only a few moments before his hand moved farther down her body and at the same time he kissed her with a passion that she could feel deep inside both her mind and her body. Then, pulling away from her, he put the Explorer back into gear and drove back onto the road without a word. The transformation between lovers into working partners was just getting started.
Ward and Jan pulled into the small town of Hermosillo early in the afternoon. Hermosillo was where they had decided that Jan should catch the bus up to Nogales, the border town in which she would try and hire the right coyote to take her across. Being dropped off in Hermosillo would cause less suspicion than if he dropped her off in the border town itself. This way she looked as if she was on her own, and alone. It made her a much better target. It had been a long ride from the cool Pacific coast of the Baja to the warm dry mainland of Mexico, but a necessary trip that they both hoped would prove profitable.
As they pulled up to the small, old and dirty building that served as the bus stop, ticket booth, and information desk, she turned to look at Ward. His thoughts were open to her. She could tell that there was a plurality in his thoughts. This was not a new feeling. The one problem all mind readers faced was that people could, and often did, think of many things at once. It wasn’t something that was planned, but weeding through it was the skill, not reading the thoughts as some people presumed. He was beginning to prepare himself for his transformation into his legend, character, as well. Ward was both exhilarated and worried about what was going to transpire and it wasn’t something that Jan was surprised to read from him, she had the same feelings. The idea of working again was intoxicating to her in one way, but on the other hand it would mean that the person she most loved and trusted would be in danger. She had the same plurality going on in her head. His thoughts were also busy going through his plans for the rest of the day, wondering if he would make the small, informal border crossing he used before the officer he had become the most friendly with went off duty. They sat stopped for a few minutes watching the people around them before Jan got out of the Explorer. Leaving the personality of Jan behind, and adopting the role of Isabel completely, she walked the ten feet up to what was left of the old iron bars of the ticket window. Ward watched as she talked to the man on the other side of the barred and glassless window. Ward listened in to both Jan’s and the attendants thoughts, and quickly knew that all was going well. The guy on the other side of the window had already decided that she was in a business type relationship with Ward, the oldest business most likely by his thoughts, and now she needed to get back to where she worked out of most of the time.
Jan’s thoughts were predictable, focused on duty. She was amused by the attendant’s thoughts, but careful not to let on. She was also glad that they had decided on this as the drop off place rather than the border town where they would have drawn even more attention, and suspicion. After she completed the transactions for the ticket, she then placed it all in her bag.
Jan turned and returned to the Explorer. Getting into the passenger side of the vehicle she wore the little smile on her face that Ward knew so well. It was the smile of satisfaction of being on a job. What was on her thoughts she didn’t say out loud, but she did share them with Ward and found out that he had picked up on the entire conversation she had had at the ticket window. She could feel the eyes of the man who had sold her the tickets on her, so she leaned over to Ward and French kissed him. Not wanting to waste the moment Ward returned the kiss, and after a couple of minutes they pulled away. They stared at each other lost in the moment. It only took a couple of minutes before Jan broke the silence, her voice sounding just a bit out of breath.
“The bus will be here in twenty minutes,” she didn’t finish the thought out loud, she didn’t need too. Jan leaned back on the seat, mentally preparing to step out of the Explorer and into the world of Isabel until the job was complete. Ward turned to look at her and what he saw never ceased to amaze him. They had learned how to blend into any situation, or any environment, when they had been trained, but Jan had always had a special knack for it, and he loved to watch her prepare for her role in the moments before she left. He didn’t know if it was her college studies that had made her so good at this, or if it was just a talent she had. What he saw before him was not the Jan he knew. She was there, but buried deep inside, keeping her feelings safe from others, and only barely accessible to him. Of all those people that could and would see her, all would truly believe she was a native of Mexico. She looked the part, her clothes, her hair tied back into a ponytail, and although she would be considered a light skin Mexican of mostly Spanish decent, he knew that when she got out of the car, she would put on the rest of the act for all to see. There would be no question if she was authentic or not by anyone outside of this vehicle. By reading the minds of those around her, she could change her actions, mannerisms, and expressions all in a split second to fit with the area or to adjust the character as needed. She could tweak her role to fit anything she would need. That was one of the many reasons why mind readers were so valued, and a top-secret commodity within the government. The government had put a lot of training into each of them and wanted to reap the benefits of it. With the training each reader had received and continued to get, they could work with any military or clandestine service that had access and knowledge of their department, maybe not the skills, but the department. That’s one reason they were not happy to have two leave the fold. The numbers of readers weren’t that great to begin with, and the years of training a costly investment.
“You know my number if you need me. My phone number is the same as always and I’ll keep it on. Don’t hesitate to use it,” he knew she wouldn’t need it. She was as good as he was at this, if not better, “If you need to contact any of the departments or local authorities, remember to go through my friend, it will keep your identity safe. If you aren’t in Phoenix, give me a buzz and I’ll see if we have anyone friendly near,” with that said, he took a good look at her. He looked through her facade and reached back into who she really was. Their minds touched and what was expressed could never have been said with words.