Chapter 1

Caution: This Thriller Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Romantic, Slow, Violent,

Desc: Thriller Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Everyone has regrets in life, but Anne and Leonard have more than their share. Hoping to rekindle an old romance Leo comes to London to find that his old flame and her daughter are now in deadly peril with every second counting. Starts slow, as usual. A very old incomplete story now finished, eight years later!

It all started with a dream, or rather a nightmare.

Have you ever had a dream so utterly vivid that it just stays with you just like a recent past memory? You awake and feel as if everything in the dream had really had happened to you, but then slowly realize it hasn't – and that it was just all a dream?

I do ... often. I wake up and roll over to my wife, saying excitedly, "Anne, do you remember that time...", but of course, there was no Anne. There is never anyone in my bed, or almost never. I am alone, same as usual. It was all just a dream. Again. Damn it!

Awake and overcome with regrets, I shut my eyes, but it was no good. That dream feeling lingered on with me and only a hot shower was going to clear my mind enough to kick start me into the day without looking and acting like a zombie. Uck. This was the third night this week I'd had this particular darker dream and it was time to put an end to this once and for all. Unfortunately, I still had some very grave doubts as to whether the cure wasn't going to be worse than the symptoms, but it would at least be some closure.

My dreams of her, my phantom wife, used to be pleasant and sweet, but they have grown increasingly darker as of late, with my bride of Morpheus now seemingly to be lost to me forever, taken in terror each night by spectral figures into a gloomy and sinister world of shadow.

Looking into the bathroom mirror, I saw just what I expected to see, a scruffy fellow in his mid-thirties starting another day all alone – just as I had done for pretty much my entire life. Perhaps now I had one last chance to find her again, after all these years. But would she even remember me or remotely care? We were only together those three short hours; did they mark her soul as if by a brand as mine had been? Brought together by chance and then separated by thousands of miles, an ocean and the caprice of others. It was cruel then and still apparently heartbreaking nearly twenty years later.

At last, after all of this time, I firmly decided that I needed to attempt some possible means of finding her again, if for no other reason than to put my dreams to rest, and my life of regret might even perhaps begin to change, but I digress. Perhaps I should begin this tale at a more appropriate beginning.

I was born and raised an only child into a quite comfortable middle-class family. I never lacked for anything in material terms, I always had new clothes and pocket money for baseball cards or the latest comic book or whatever game I wanted, but love and outward affection were rare commodities. My parents both taught at the local State University and their jobs were by far the single most important aspects of their lives. Their marriage might have come in second, but it actually fell probably a good bit lower. Alas, I fell in somewhere between 5th place (the new color TV) and 9th place (an adopted dog named "Missy" which no one seemed to particularly like, but she didn't like any of us all that much either, so I guess that was fair).

My mother taught five different foreign languages and could read or speak more than a dozen more fluently, but her academic true love was classic English Literature. She could expound for hours on some trivial aspect of the Elizabethan era poets, but faced with any issue requiring an emotional response she would freeze up and then dither. She would rather have received a new book of poetry rather than a bundle of flowers or even an article of jewelry. Normal human emotions confused her, especially garden variety standard male behavior.

I'm absolutely certain she was utterly unsuited to become anyone's wife, let alone a mother. If I had to guess, I say that she felt that a successful career in academia in the mid 1960's (especially in our very conservative mid-western state) still required of women professors that they at the earliest opportunity acquire a husband and a child (definitely in that order, please), so she got them, much like getting a passport stamped ... and with about the same amount of emotional commitment. She must have had sex at least once in her life, as I was born two years after they married, but I doubt they repeated the experience much as they slept in different bedrooms. She was a committed lesbian and stayed firmly in the closet long after it became socially and politically acceptable to do otherwise.

In today's modern era, I'm sure she would have never bothered to marry at all, let alone my father. In fact, if I were to wager on the outcome, I'm nearly certain she would have been a happy and probably tolerably well adjusted lesbian, and probably all the rest of us would have been much happier as a result.

My father was equally complicated, and extremely bisexual and he also found the academic social protection he needed to appear to be a good family man while otherwise privately fucking everything that walked on two legs. Active and restless, he stormed about acting the pure alpha male, albeit with an increasing waistline, decreasing hairline and standing all of 5'6" even in shoes. He was the terror of his students and the eternal bane of his unfortunate graduate students and me, his only child.

Today, he would have been diagnosed as being manic-bipolar and (hopefully) medicated, back then he was just considered an intense perfectionist who could not tolerate the slightest flaw or imperfection of anything around him. His specialty was Paleo-Sociology, but invariably he was the one drafted to teach most of the various freshmen Humanities courses within the College, as most knowledgeable students invariably avoided taking any of his advanced courses whenever possible.

He had the reputation (entirely deserved) of being the #1 feared professor of whose classes should be avoided at all costs. At the start of a new term he would begin a course such as Western Civilization I with a fairly full auditorium of 100+ innocent students, and by mid-term he would have already failed about half of the class out of spite and driven most of the rest into dropping the course entirely (the smart ones usually quickly transferred to a different section and professor after his first lecture). By the end of the term, it was common knowledge that he would be regularly screwing at least five of his students (fucking for grades was apparently quite common even still in the 1960's) and there were rumors that not all of his victims were female.

When not in the classroom, he was invariably bullying somebody else; trying to get his name added to other researcher's publications, belligerently scheming for more grant money, fighting the faculty and the Dean of the College, etc. By every account he was a complete utter asshole who only kept his tenure due to his skilled success at obtaining grant money for himself and new donors for endowing the University and College of Humanities, some said by nefarious means of blackmail. His scholarly publications were frequent, well-researched, precise and ultimately very forgettable. If anyone remembers his name today it's only as a footnote.

Both mom and dad were rarely home before dark, and that suited everyone in the household just fine. Dad certainly never, ever came home before 10 p.m., usually displaying the effects of several stiff drinks and irregularly displayed obvious smudges of second-hand lipstick. Mother, with similar liaisons of her own, never noticed, or else she was really good at not caring. By the time I was old enough to really remember things, they were already encamped for good off into separate bedrooms and living quite separate lives, where they stayed apart like very indifferent roommates for the remainder of their lives. The only time they ever touched each other was during faculty cocktail parties, feigning an affection I'm certain was nothing but a well practiced act.

Both of them also smoked like chimneys, chain smoking one cigarette after another from dawn until bedtime, and both even smoked in bed – it was a wonder the house never burned down. Both developed and died of lung cancer not long after I left home, but that was an irrelevance – even slowly dying together probably didn't them a inch closer in their faux marital relationship.

We were all alone, together. Each of us having their own life, and with only minimal social contact with the others in the house. A house without human warmth or love. I can count all the number of deep, intimate conversations I ever had with either of them combined on just one hand, with a thumb left over. When I was younger, I was extremely resentful of this lack of 'family intimacy', but as I grew older I became somewhat more resigned to things. My parents were who they were, wishing for anything more was like wishing to touch the moon and stars, and equally unlikely to happen. I had pocket money, a few decent neighborhood friends and went to a fairly opulent summer camp for two months every year so I can't complain that my childhood actually sucked. A lot of kids had it far worse!

Enough about my parents. My regrets here are few, only that I wished I had belong to a real family and not a life-long cover for their then social unacceptable sexual preferences. As a youth, it certainly made the entire idea of sex disturbing, rather than attractive, and I learned that love was indeed very different than sex.

When I became a teen, I fared not as well with my increasing interest in the matters of courting the fairer sex. I had dated a few times in High School, but I was extremely shy and unfortunately appallingly inept in social affairs. I wasn't bad at all at most sports but I just didn't relate well to most of the jocks and preferred to remain outside of their locker room conversations. My few attempts at attracting a girlfriend were usually both laughably inept and occasionally emotionally disastrous. For this I definitely blame my home environment, as I had little experience in even mundane matters of interpersonal communication, let alone the gentle arts of seduction.

Eventually I discovered a similar small group of other misfit guys and gals, each also from fairly dysfunctional homes. Our little club of bookworms and nerdy social outcasts was popularly known as the "Library Losers', but we sort of referred to ourselves as "The Other Club". We met every day during lunch in the school library and again right after school when we went en-mass to another local public library for more books. We supported each other, learned (sometimes) from each others successes and failures, and more importantly learned to rely on each other as someone we could trust. We had friends, real friends – and we were no longer alone in the world.

During those high school years, The Other Club was probably more important to me than anything else I might have learned in a classroom. During my three years there our membership fluctuated a bit as older members graduated and new kids joined, but I can name from memory alone a good twenty regulars and another dozen or so kids that hung out near our fringes. My two best friends were Brian, who always doodled drawings into his everpresent notebook and Phil, who really hated school and wanted to get busy making money.

Our school group lasted for nearly another decade until post-Columbine school administrative politics pretty much broke up the club for good. By that point most of our true descendents were just gothy dressed kids acting out their angst and couldn't care less about shooting anyone, but the school didn't care ... and frankly neither did any of us original founding members. A couple of our more socially inept descendants were in fact beginning to study the Columbine High School massacre as a 'how to' lesson for the future and we all disavowed ourselves as mentors for our young more belligerent descendents.

As a statistical measurement of our post-school lives, most would say we have enjoyed tremendous success. Our ranks have created a Nobel nominee for Chemistry, a Pritzker award winning architect, two successful authors, a real estate tycoon, and a furniture store mogul. I'm none of the above. Most of the rest of my old acquaintances work for these more successful folks, but not me. I wanted to leave home (also with few regrets) and find my place in the world.

In fairness, I should also mention the four suicides that we know of from our numbers, and another four of our old friends that just disappeared and that no one has heard from in about a decade. Maybe they took that alternative career path to oblivion too. Money or not, most of us were all pretty damaged folks and despite what they say time (and money) don't heal all wounds. My richer friends often seem to be the most miserable ones in their personal lives. Actually, the reason a few of them got so rich was by working 18-20 hours per day so that they didn't need to acquire a personal life - like me.

Ok, I did pretty well at school; I was smart but uninspired. Thanks to my linguistically gifted mother, I could read and speak at least eight different languages before I was even in kindergarten, and this list rounded out a near dozen by the time I left High School. I had plenty of scholarship offers to go to college but I was just too scared of ending up exactly like my mother, or worse my father. Besides, I knew exactly what the academic world was like and it had little appeal to me. I would have gone straight into college and probably gotten a Doctorate of Linguistics in my sleep, but I couldn't pretend that I had even the slightest interest in spending the rest of my life trapped in academia – and risk becoming just like my parents.

I skipped my High School prom and graduation ceremony and let them mail me my diploma, while I began a long and very half-hearted search to find something to do with the rest of my life that wouldn't totally suck ass and make me regret waking up in the morning and going to work. I've never found that job ... but I did find two jobs that each temporarily suited me for a little while.

First, I worked for my Other Club friend Phil for about a year, as he started to work his way up the real estate selling ladder. We cleaned houses for showing and ran paperwork until I was bored to tears and walked into the first military recruiter's office that I passed, signed my name to anything they put in front on me, and asked them to send me anywhere but here! Phil stuck with it and had his own license a few years later and his first million the year after that. Then he got serious about making a fortune.

I think the Army bastards signed me up for 11B Infantry, but that was fine by me at the moment, until the day in Basic Training when we all had to take the DLPT, the Defense Language Proficiency Test. Naturally, gifted with my mother's linguistic talents, I scored the maximum '3' on both phases of the test. A few days later I had orders to bypass the rest of basic training and be sent instead to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

I had nearly completed my course in Russian (not my choice) when the impending start of Gulf War I (Desert Shield) made my already existing 3/3 proficiency with both Arabic and Farsi far more valuable to the Army than yet another Cold War language trained one-striper. Assigned to a front-line intelligence unit, I spent the Gulf War doing interrogations, interpreting and document translations. As I had learned both Middle Eastern languages from my mother, who was half Lebanese and had an authentic accent from northern Lebanon from her own mother, I soon put my keen ear to work and picked up the nuances of several different Iraqi regional accents.

This simple achievement alone was more than enough to gain the attention of the Army's elite Intelligence Support Activity unit, where I next spent the majority of the following four years performing various infiltration and uncover intelligence gathering missions that will probably remain classified long after I'm dead of old age. The pay still sucked, the danger was rampant, but still I enjoyed (sometimes) the thrill of gaining vital intelligence information that might otherwise cause a lot of decent people to be killed. Sometimes I'd make the coup and escape easy-squeezy, and sometimes I needed patching up afterwards, but I was apparently so useful that they patch me up and send me right straight out again, gaining desperately needed intelligence about terrorists, rogue Iraqi military officers and various other hot-headed nutjobs that wanted to light a powder keg under a lightly occupied Iraq still under the command of Saddam Hussein ... at least for now.

Certain that my ISA bosses were going to get me killed, infiltrating larger and more dangerous Iraqi political organizations, I decided I'd had enough of the Army, and despite the minimal bonuses of hazard and Foreign Language Proficiency Pay, I was making ready to make a clean escape into civilian life ... until 9/11 happened. Then I leapt right straight from the frying pan right into the fire, leaving Army ISA for the CIA, accepting an offer to join the elite Strategic Support Branch. With the Company, once again my superior language skills, and ability to pass as a native anywhere in the Middle East, soon earned me even more frequent trips to some of the dodgier and unfriendly places in the world, locating and infiltrating terrorist camps all over the Middle East and even Asia.

After several close calls too many, I demanded and received a promotion to a safer senior analyst position in Langley, Virginia, where now mostly reviewed reviewed reports and intelligence with my more than seasoned eye gathered by the computers and the poor shmucks still out in the field. There are sometimes loud hints that they'd like me to check out something in the field once more personally, but I'll usually pretend deafness until they go away. But once in awhile every month or three, I'll find myself with one of their elite strike teams, hitting some hotbed of Hadji misbehavior, to gather and review the intel in real-time, on-site.

Sometimes, when the weight of dealing with the terrorist world gets too much for me I'll fly back home and help out Brian, my old nerd friend from the high school 'Other Club' days, with his architectural design and construction business. He calls his company "The Other Builders" and is the go-to guy for any new commercial or residential building project that is decidedly non-cookie cutter. Brian has a taste for the avant-garde and his designs have won innumerable awards. He has turned down at least three different million dollar offers to join various big international architecture firms that I know of, but it wasn't even a slight temptation to him. Frankly, he hates the outside world even worse than I do, and has even less tolerance for idiots wearing suits. The number of people that Brian can stand to be in the same room with can be numbered on one hand – all are Other Club alumni, and many now work for him in some capacity or another.

Brian isn't rich but he pays a bit above local average. He doesn't work for the money, but for love of building something beautiful instead. It's his way of repairing his own damaged soul one tiny stitch at a time. He built his company the really old fashioned way ... he inherited it from his father, fired everyone, brought in his friends as employees, changed the company name and started all over again.

Brenda, Phil's executive secretary and top personal assistant (and another founding Other Club member) says I'm incapable of making long term attachments to anyone or anything. She says that as long as I work for the CIA, and indirectly with the rest of the alphabet soup agencies such as Homeland Security, I'll never leave my shell and rejoin the human race. I'll never need to make friends or create any personal attachments to co-workers. She's probably right, but she's in no position to talk, having been married and divorced now twice herself, just like Brian. They tried living and working with each other once but it was just too stressful, so they stuck to just having a business arrangement instead. At least I've never made that mistake. Sometimes there are slight advantages to having trust issues with people and I've never had any relationship that has ever blossomed enough for me to want to get married. Ok, definitely some regrets there. The worst part about returning home to ones dumpy tiny little apartment, sometimes after a stay in a hospital to patch a bullet hole, is that there is no one there to comfort you when you are at your weakest, feeling low and full of regrets.

I'd say that I've never met the girl of my dreams, except I have... once, long ago – and I've dreamed of her ever since. Lately, as I mentioned earlier, the dreams have become even stronger and more vivid, and turning into fearful nightmares now instead. It is near this point that my tale now begins in earnest.

Both of my parents had their long overdue lung cancer bouts while I was off in the Big Sandbox just after the Iraq War (or Gulf War II) playing terrorist wanna-be Hijabista (or Hadji, for short) out in the desert, complete with Keffiyeh, Bisht and Dishdasha, just like a modern Lawrence of Arabia, except complete with a AK-47. I'd never trust my life to a machine stamped piece of shit originating from Hungary or worse, Romania (as most export AK's are) and it took every contact I could beg, plead or horsetrade with to find the world's only reliable –and- accurate production model of the AK. No, not a late model Russian made /100 or /101 rifle, but a 1980's era Finnish hand-crafted limited production weapon that I could trust my life with both then and now. It looked (almost) exactly like the old eastern block crap, but my AK could actually be used as a marksman's weapon, accurately plinking off bad guys at 500 meters or more.

Looking just like any other Hadji, I was infiltrating a Shiite group at the time that was suspected of setting off lots of car bombs and preparing for a Holy War against the more numerous Sunnies in Iraq, and it wasn't at all convenient for me to break my cover for nearly another three months, so needless to say I missed the funeral. In fact, I just gave terse orders for my boss to send some movers to pack-up everything in the house and get everything ready to be put into storage so that the house could be sold later. Later ended up being now ... nearly four years later, and I had still never sorted out my parents possessions.

For two people that claimed to loath each other, the fact that they both died from lung cancer barely four days apart in the same hospital room next to each other is fascinating. I guess neither of them wanted to live on entirely alone ... nope, it couldn't possibly have been love, but just maybe they had some regrets of their own.

I decided it was time for a longish trip back home to take care of some long overdue business, and not fart around and just visit old school friends like Brian and Phil this time!

The beauty of being an experienced veteran senior intelligence analyst with an impeccable ten year track record of success is that when I ask for things, I usually get them, even if they don't appear to have any bearing upon my current cases. My boss, also ex-military who got his boots muddy and bloody on the ground on more than one occasion, also gives me more rope than I usual need and tries (usually unsuccessfully) to keep me out of Company politics. Not to mention that he had been bugging me to take some long overdue vacation time anyway. This all combined to give me an angle that I could use to get some help for my scheme later, if needed.

"Norm?" I casually inquired. "I'm going to take you up on that vacation request offer! It's been four years and I really need to get my parents house emptied out and the property put on the market. An old family friend in real estate has a ready buyer for it, and at above market value, if I can hurry and get it ready to move. On the other hand, I've come across an odd cross-reference in some recent intel about a terrorist link to a group in the UK, probably operating in London. I'm going to take my laptop with me and I'd also like to take a deeper look into this ... something about this is making me concerned for some reason. Can you email me a contact or two for MI:5 that I can ask a question or two of? Also, I might want to take a close personal look at this situation on the ground ... can the Agency get me an open ticket there? Also can I get a cover ID for that trip ... or else I'll use vacation time and use my own passport and call it a proper vacation – and keep my thoughts and suspicions more or less to myself."

The cover story was of course, all nonsense. Sure, I'd seen hints about some terror cells in the UK, but the links were very tenuous, at best, to the bigger groups I'd been monitoring lately. This was just a ruse to get some of my research time put on the company clock, rather than my vacation pool. I did want to talk to some MI:5 folks to ask a few simple questions, and I would prefer a free plane ticket with open travel dates rather than paying for it from my own pockets, but I hadn't the slightest notion of getting involved in any current terror investigations over on that side of the pond ... at least not this week! Really!

Thirty minutes later I was leaving the Puzzle Palace complete with my work laptop, an authorized 'fake' diplomatic passport that was virtually guaranteed to be a 'get out of jail card' anywhere I travelled, and also a round-trip open travel authorization (alas only business class) and the promise that at least one mid-level MI:5 domestic Brit spook would be giving me an email soon.

Things couldn't have been any better! Except that I still didn't know the name of the girl that I was desperately searching for! All I had was a first name, Anne, that's all. My memory is really pretty good but for the life of me I could not recall the last name of the English family we had stayed with for three days, during that vacation trip. I hoped a rummage through my mother's old correspondence would give me that first clue to get me right on her track!

Like a thief in the night, I unlocked the front door of my parent's house for the first time in nearly two decades, and resigned myself to the tedium of bringing some order to this mess. Phil had been as good as his word and there was a 'Sale Pending' sign on the front lawn. It was no surprise that the packers (obvious the low bidder and devoid of any meaningful supervision) had done a very indifferent packing job. Boxes, empty, half-full and over-stuffed were scattered everywhere, and none of the box labels appeared to have any bearing with the reality of their actual contents! It was going to be a painfully slow, box by box search ... exactly what I had been afraid of all along.

It took three days of searching and sorting box contents and performing a proper investigation of the rest of the house to finally find more or less what I had been looking for. Finding my father's old gay porn stash hidden inside a wall of the downstairs basement was hardly a challenge at all and I burned all of his secretly filmed home-made Super8 movies mostly unwatched. The stacks of Polaroid's chronicling his frolicking with his students and other young friends or older co-conspirators were quite disturbing enough, thank you very much! Mom's lesbian porn stash was much more discretely hidden behind a bookshelf and mostly consisted of love-letters and books of bad hand-written poetry. A few photos taken at some secret lesbian parties in the 1970's and 80's were vaguely educational (I admit enjoying most lesbian porn myself) but they too joined my father's collection and were burned in the fireplace, and I also deep-sixed the ashes. No grown kid should have to watch their parent's having gay and lesbian sex ... it's just too creepy!

The trouble with finding the name and the old address I needed to begin my search was more than slightly complicated by my mother's paranoia. She was apparently involved in several long term secret lesbian relationships and she remained in mortal fear until the end of her life that someone else would discover her secret life. Everything remotely sensitive was written in code, and her love letters mostly had no return mailing addresses, and even the first names of her friends and lovers were obscured, usually by pet names, like 'my dear Cat' or 'my sweet darling Violet'.

I knew what I was looking for, a name or London address for one of her colleagues who had taught Elizabethan drama at London City College and who had a nice little garden home in Kensington. That much alone I could remember. For the life of me, I don't think I'd once heard her last name mentioned during our stay. She and her husband were a similarly 'queer' gay/lesbian couple living together for protective camouflage and keeping their preferred vices private, much as my own parents did. I was just barely sixteen when we visited them in London for a few days, and even then I realized that the guest sleeping arrangements were a bit peculiar. I was on the parlour sofa, mostly, but that bit is a later on in the story.

In the end, I needed to unpack all of my mother's normal professional correspondence and separate out her potential London lovers of that time period out one by one. Unbelievably, she did have more than one. Eventually I came up with three decent suspects that could fit the role as our London hosts, and a bit of careful handwriting comparison with a few of the love letters with UK stamps finally narrowed my search down to just one very good suspect, Emily Grantham.

An email of enquiry to my helpful MI:5 contact, Edward Lipton, revealed that Mrs. Grantham, her husband and their daughter Anne did indeed live in Kensington in 1985, when I was sixteen. Like my parents, she had passed on a few years earlier (also cancer) but there was no current address for Anne. Interestingly, there were some notations in Met (Metropolitan Police) records that she had filed several local police complains recently. I asked my new best friend Ed to chase down every bit of documentation he could find on her and those complaints, and get back with me as soon as he had anything solid. It took him a day or two to find and photocopy the Met police files, but after a quick reading I thought I had several pretty good ideas about how and where to find her once again.

I'd let her go without a word of protest two decades ago, and I had regretted it ever since! Now I was going to find her once again, if for no other reason than to put my heart to rest ... and hopefully return my dreams to more pleasant ones. I just had the feeling that now, decades later, I needed to find her, that she was in some sort of trouble! Preposterous and improbable, but my dreams kept telling me that she was in mortal peril.

Living about fifteen years of my life as a field interpreter/translator and deep infiltration scout and spy, I'd learned better than most people when to trust my luck and when to get my ass moving, just upon the very slightest of hints, signs and even subconscious portents. To have worked for nearly every government agency that existed (and some that officially didn't) in the field facing torture, death or worse, I'd learned to believe in – and deeply respect my guardian angel. Since I was now having these dreams of Anne in peril virtually every night now, I knew I was being given a warning ... and a message to act now!

Now that I had the last name I'd needed for all of these years, I quickly repacked up everything in the house and put it on the porch for Goodwill to collect. I'd salvaged just barely three small boxes of old keepsakes from the house, mostly a few old family photo albums and some old favorite toys and my old sports-cards collection. Funny how I hadn't missed them at all until I suddenly saw my old things nearly twenty years later!

I briefly called Phil and also signed everything that he put in front of me. I didn't know the local real estate market but he assured me the market had been good lately and he'd gotten me nearly 20% above his expected sale price. He also waved his 4% commission, but then again to him I was family ... an old and extremely trusted friend. Closing would be in about two weeks but I would not have to be present. The earnest money was all paid, but I declined accepting that check now, I had way too many other things on my mind.

With my faux diplomatic identity and company flight vouchers, I wrangled myself on the next flight to New York with a red-eye connecting flight to Heathrow. I've always hated flying into Gatwick! Between flights I gave my old friend Brian a quick phone call. I'd been too busy while in town and too distracted to give my old friend the attention that he deserved, so I called to apologize.

"Hey Brian! It's Leo, calling from New York, heading for a quick trip across the pond."

"Business or pleasure? Please tell me you've found a swinging British Airlines stewardess who wants you to fly her friendly skies for the rest of her days!"

"Unfortunately, not quite, but it might involve a damsel in genuine distress! I'd say I was doing this little jaunt to play knight-errant entirely on my own nickel, except I've got the feeling 'Ace Tomato Company' is going to get involved in this mess somehow." That was everyone's pet name for the Company when you didn't want to outright say Central Intelligence Agency.

"This wouldn't involve that Brit bird that you banged on holiday fifteen minutes after you turned sixteen and then bored all of us at school to tears about her for the next three years?"

"Got it in one! I never could get anything past you!"

"That's true ... which is also why I get my nerves suddenly in a knot everytime you just 'call' before heading out of civilization for a month or six. Always gives me the willies as if you somehow know that your skinny ass is going to be on the line again. I thought you stopped doing that James Bond – action hero shit?"

"Mostly, life was even getting a bit boring parking my ass in that Langley cubicle. This isn't supposed to get even remotely 'interesting', I just want to track down that old bird, give her a wink and a kiss on the cheek and let her know that I've been thinking about her."

"About fucking time ... even when you came home on leave after joining the Army you were still bitching about tracking her down and declaring your undying love for her! Sounds simple, but you could fuck up the simplest dinner and movie blind date!"

"Well, that part hasn't changed much! Phil's got the old family hovel on the market and has apparently hooked a sucker. If Brenda has a few minutes let her keep me updated on the sale. He told me a few weeks ago that he had an eager buyer for it who wants to bulldoze the dump and the place next door too, and put up a McMansion on both lots. More power too him! Make sure he gets the contract closed and keeps my name out of it as much as possible. I'm starting to like the quiet life these days!"

"Will do! I'll see him for drinks tomorrow evening anyway. He's bought a bunch of land that he wants to do a big inner-city property swap with the city for, and for a sweetener, I've promised to design the seniors recreation center and the park monuments, if the deal goes through. Want Ed to find you a very private chunk of real estate to buy with the proceeds? You're certainly not going to keep living in that one bedroom dump of a condo forever?"

"For now, it's not quite like I'm ready to retire or entertain a Mrs."

"Still, keep your skinny ass low ... now you've got me worrying about nothing at all – be safe!"


Once the flight was in the air, I sent my MI:5 contact Edward my updated arrival information and I reviewed last set of documents that he just emailed me. Reading between the lines of every page I could start to smell trouble and now my guts were sure that I'd being facing some sort of trouble, and perhaps even some real danger. While I had left my guns (especially the Finn AK) at home, the local lads and lasses don't like for the Yanks to come in and solve their problems with blazing six-guns, but I had brought along a couple of items that could easily pass customs, especially with a diplomatic passport!

I slept most of the flight and my guardian angel spared from another dream of my long lost damsel facing mortal peril while calling out faintly my name from the enveloping shadows. I needed that rest, it was the only real sleep that I got for the whole next week!

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Romantic / Slow / Violent /