I’ll Be Waiting

0

It all started when I joined the spy world when I was 16. I was shortlisted as a candidate after a 10-day camp. All of us thought it was just an outdoor camp that was very different from the other courses.

So yeah, a lady posed as a principal from an elite boarding school in New Zealand and paid my parents a visit. All expenses paid, she said. My parents were surprised. Elite boarding school…

reflectionsAfter a bit of discussion, they agreed to let me go. When I got to New Zealand, I was told I wasn’t actually going to a boarding school. I was already assigned my first mission. They’ll take care of my schoolwork and extracurriculars.

The first mission was exhilarating. I already jumped out from a plane, scaled the cold mountains, been nearly shot..all within three months. I was good at it. Better than any of my seniors, my mentor once told me.

The people in the agency let me have a life for my own too. I was, after all, a teenager. I went to prom with my boyfriend, Caleb. I also managed to make some friends but we weren’t that close.

Then one day I was assigned to another mission. I was given a partner. All went well until my partner betrayed me and left me for dead.

I was badly burnt. I was beyond recognition. I had to go under the knife. It was painful and they wouldn’t let me go. I was too good at my job.

I had to leave everything that’s mine forever. I have to live with a new identity and cut any contact with my loved ones in order to protect them. That was the biggest sacrifice I’ve ever made when I’m 18.

CHAPTER 1: LIVING

I looked at myself in the mirror. It’s been five years and I still couldn’t accept my new face. My new face is beautiful but it did not feel real. I dropped my comb when my phone rang.

I stumbled to my phone in the bedroom. “Good morning Sam!” greeted my best friend, Sarah on the other line. Sarah is my best friend whom I met during my year in university.

“Morning, Sarah. What’s up?” I replied as I bent down to pick the other items that I’ve dropped. “My boss just called me in for a meeting and I can’t pick Sean from school today,” she said meekly. I smiled and shook my head.

“I’ll pick Sean up. He knows my car right?” I asked. “Yeah. He’s jumping up and down now,” Sarah said. I could hear Sean cheering. “I really got to go now. Thanks a lot,” she said finally.

I placed the phone back. I quickly changed into casual wear and headed out. I grew used to the stares I get from my neighbors every time I drove out. I own a simple red Suzuki Swift. It’s like every other car, well on the outside at least.

Maybe it was because I live in a rich neighborhood and I’m single. I’m not sure. I checked the time. It was still early. I drove to my favourite café.

The owner, who I call Aunt Marge, greeted me cheerily when I came in. I waved to those who greeted me. I sat at the counter.

“Let me guess. Blueberry waffles and hot chocolate with cream,” she said as she smiled at me. “You got that right,” I replied and gave an equal smile. She shook her head. “You should try something else, Samantha,” she said as she punched into the cash machine. “I prefer the usual Aunt Marge,” I said after she yelled my orders.

I looked around the café. I helped her decorate the café during one of my weekends off. I was placed on call ever since after the nightmare. While admiring the decorations, I saw a couple sitting at the corner of the room. I guess they were about sixteen. I turned away.

“You still haven’t answered my question last week,” Aunt Marge said as she placed my drink on the counter. “What was the question again?” I asked truthfully. I totally forgot.

“When are you going to get a boyfriend? You’re not that young you know,” she said. “Aunt Marge!” I exclaimed. “Okay you’re not old but most of your peers are already settling down,” she replied.

“One waffle and a cup of coffee please,” a man said beside me. I looked at him. He has dark and short straight hair, dark eyes and looked dangerously handsome. “Do you want your waffle with syrup or ice-cream?” Aunt Marge asked. “Maple syrup,” he answered and flashed a handsome smile. Aunt Marge gave me a look.

I chuckled and decided to entertain her. Suddenly, I heard him clearing his throat. I turned to look at him. “Are you Sam? Aunt Marge told me a lot about you,” he said. I looked at Aunt Marge. “Don’t blame her though. It was I who asked about you,” he said.

“Yes, I’m Sam. You are?” I said. “I’m Caleb Blacklin,” he replied calmly. Shoot. What is he doing here? I panicked and drank my hot chocolate. I quickly finished my food. “Sorry, I have to get going,” I said as I forked out the money. “I just remembered that I’m supposed to meet a friend. Bye,” I said to both of them.

I ran to my car. I drove away as fast as I could. A car horned at me. Memories from the past flooded my mind. I never forgot his face and voice.

Why did he come back? How did he find me? I wondered what Aunt Marge told him as I dialed my friend’s number. She works as a receptionist in the Tower, the headquarters.

“Caitlin? Why are you calling?” she whispered. “You’re not supposed to say my real name!” I hissed. Well, that’s my real name to Anne. Working as a receptionist has its advantages. For one, you get to know what’s going on with everyone. “I’m sorry. What is this about?” she asked in a normal voice. “Caleb just talked to me,” I said. At first she was quiet. “Shoot. I forgot to warn you,” she said guiltily. “Anne!” I exclaimed. “You knew?”

“They recruited him two years ago,” Anne said. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I screeched. “Look, I’m sorry Caitlin, I mean Sam,” she said. I sighed. “You know how I feel, Anne,” I muttered. She let out a sigh as well. “I really have to go. Boss in on the other line,” she said. “Bye Anne,” I said and ended the call.

I threw my phone onto the seat beside me and decided to drive to the beach. I got out of the car once I reached there. I walked along the bank to clear my mind. I took a deep breath.

*********************

Sean is a very beautiful child. He clambered into his seat beside mine when I held the door open for him. “I like your car, Sam,” he said. He was humming a nursery rhyme loudly. “Really?” I asked. “Yeah, it’s tall,” he said. “Your dad’s car is higher,” I replied. I saw his smile. He was shaking his head to a rhythm now.

“Why are you wearing the huge sunglasses?” he suddenly asked. I braked at the lights. “Doctor said I have an eye infection and I didn’t want to infect you,” I lied. He believed me. Actually, I have been crying and my eyes were swollen.

“Wow. Is it red and pussy like the cartoon?” he asked. I laughed. “No. It’s red but not pussy,” I replied and patted his head.

“Is it itchy?” he piped. “No, it isn’t,” I replied. We were near his neighborhood. “Is it itchy now?” he asked again when I stopped my car in front of his house. Sarah just got home. “No,” I said as I helped him unbuckle. “Bye Sam!” he said before running off to his dad. I decided to talk to Sarah for a while.

She came forward and gave me a hug. “Guess what?” she said in a cheery tone. “I got promoted.”

“That’s great. Congratulations,” I said. I was happy for her. She was aiming for the top post for a very long time. “Thank you. At least now I’ll have time for my family. I can work from home,” she said. I waved at her husband who was carrying Sean into the house. Sean was giggling when his dad tickled him.

“It’ll be good for your family,” I replied and smiled. “How is it going for you?” she asked and looked at me with a concerned expression. She knew I work as a secret agent so I couldn’t lie to her. I told her the truth and she promised not to tell a soul, not even her husband. “I haven’t heard from them yet,” I replied. The Tower only assigned simple missions to me after the incident. She nodded. “Take care of yourself,” she said. “Call me if you need help. I’m not an ordinary businesswoman,” she said and straightened her suit. I laughed. “Thank you, Sarah. I got to make a move,” I said.

I let out a breath before starting the engine. She waved as I drove off. I decided to turn on the radio. I drove towards the city. I didn’t want to go back yet.

“This song is dedicated to Samantha Smith from her friends Aunt Marge, Caleb, and Sarah. Happy birthday Sam!” I heard the local deejay say.

The song Amigas Cheetahs came on.

Wait? It’s my birthday?

I checked the date on my phone when I stopped at the red light. Just then, I felt like I was thrown forward. I hit my head on the steering wheel. I looked at the mirror. It was a black Ford Ranger. It didn’t look friendly. I sped up when the light turned green.

The Ford chased me. It rammed me several times. I turned the car around and sped through a busy neighbourhood. I was hoping someone would call the cops for me. My cell phone fell to the floor of the car when I was rammed again.

My cell phone rang when I swerved my car around another corner. “Screen,” I commanded. I managed to avoid a family on the pavement. “Sam! God, was that you speeding down the road?” I heard a voice yell. I glanced at the screen on my left. It was Aunt Marge. “Yes, I’m being chased!” I shouted.

A bullet shot my side mirror suddenly. “What was that noise?” Aunt Marge demanded. “Bullets!” I yelled. I drove through the park. The Ranger was persistent. I was running out of petrol. I saw a Vanquish overtaking the Ford. I couldn’t see who that was.

I exited at the end of the park. “Sam? Sam!” Aunt Marge was still on the line. “I’m running low on fuel!” I shouted. I crashed my car into a shop when I lost control. My car wouldn’t start so I quickly took out my gun from the glove compartment and ran down an alley. People ran when they saw my gun. I heard a loud screech behind me.

More shots were fired. I could hear footsteps behind me. I used up all of my bullets. I continued running.

It was a miracle when the same Vanquish turned up in front of me. The door was open. “Get in!” the driver shouted when bullets were fired at me. I jumped in. The car swerved violently in the opposite direction before I got to buckle in.

“I’m out of bullets,” I said to the man, who I just noticed was Caleb. The glove compartment opened. He continued driving. He swerved to dodge pedestrians. I loaded my gun and wound down the window. He pulled me back in.

“Hey, watch out!” I shouted. We were about to crash into the brick wall. He didn’t slow down but accelerated. I covered my head with my arms. I could feel the car flying before landing with a thump. We entered a bright room. An old lady was waiting at the other end. Caleb brought the car to a stop inches away from her.

“What was that all about?” I yelled at him. “Are you all right, Sam?” he asked. He called me Sam so he doesn’t know who I am. Well, two can play the game.

“I’m a little tired that’s all. Thank you,” I said. He got out of the car. I did the same. “I only saved you because the people in the Tower didn’t want to lose their best agent,” he replied.

I was only thanking you, dude. I rolled my eyes.

“She reminds me of her,” said the old lady, who led us into the lift. Caleb’s face muscles tensed, I could see it. “She’s not coming back Aunt May,” he replied coolly. “Please forgive him, Sam. He lost his girlfriend a few years back,” she said. I could see his face muscles twitch.

Girlfriend? I was beginning to feel jealous. We entered a living room. It was huge and it felt homely. They have everything that I always wanted to have in my house. I didn’t purchase the items because it wouldn’t fit into my house. He walked down the corridor.

“Please have a seat while I prepare your room,” Aunt May said. The old, petite lady walked after Caleb. She has gray hair which she kept it at face length. I take that she’s the housekeeper.

I studied the room. I saw a piano against the wall on my left. It was a black Yamaha. Like the one I used to have. On my right was a fireplace. Around the fireplace were two black armchairs and a long couch. Everything in the room was like how I pictured my house to be. I was about to sit down when I spied a picture on the mantel, above the fireplace. I moved closer to get a better look and regretted for being so curious. It was a picture of the real me and Caleb during prom. He was carrying me on his back.

“Can I help you?” he asked. I turned around to face him. “Sorry, I was just wondering whether this is your girlfriend,” I said when I saw his hard face. His face softened at the question. He strode forwards and took the picture. “Yes. She is. It was taken during our prom,” he said. “Then she just left,” he added. His face hardened again. He placed the picture back on the mantel.

“If you don’t mind,” I began. “Have a seat,” he interrupted. It was very awkward because he suddenly sounded friendly. “O…okay,” I said as I lowered myself onto the long couch. He sat on the arm chair. He poured a glass of juice for me that Aunt May had prepared. I watched her disappear down the corridor again.

“Actually I wasn’t asking whether I could sit,” I said. “No?” he said as he drank. He looked at me. I noticed that he changed into a long-sleeved midnight blue collared shirt and black pants. “I was wondering if you could tell me what happened to her,” I said slowly.

He didn’t say anything but continued drinking. “I’m sorry that I asked,” I said. I stood up. He shot up too. “Where are you going?” he asked, a little too loudly. “Trying to find my way out,” I said as I placed the glass on the table. At first he blinked in confusion, then he chuckled.

“You can try,” he said. I walked towards the lift. The lift needed a pass code to operate. I turned back to look at him. He folded his arms and laughed. “Please?” I said.

He came forward and entered the pass code. We entered the lift. We went back to the underground garage. His black Vanquish was still parked in its horizontal position. How I envy him.

“Well, what’s next?” he asked snidely. I looked around. There’s no way out. “Can you please just take me home?” I said impatiently. He shook his head. I wanted to slug him but I couldn’t. I love him too much. “Aunt May is right. You’re just like her,” he said.

Just then the intercom came on. “Will the both of you get up here now?” commanded Aunt May. “It’s not healthy down there!”

Caleb gestured towards the lift. I folded my arms and got in. He leant on the wall and smiled as we went up. My anger just washed away.

“There, both of you,” scolded Aunt May when the lift opened. “For a moment I thought our house was broken into,” Caleb joked. “It’s no laughing matter when I get a heart attack,” said Aunt May.

Way to go, Aunt May. Way to go.

Caleb just shrugged. “And Sam, you can’t go back to your house,” she said. Caleb gave a I told you so look. “Why can’t I?” I asked as I walked after her. Caleb walked beside me with his hands in his pockets.

“You just got nearly killed. It would be ridiculous to let you go back,” he said. I didn’t say anything. It made sense.

“This is your room. Your clothes just came in and we’ll get you a new car tomorrow morning,” Aunt May said as she held the door open. Somehow, I think they were waiting for me to come. A stereo was set up at the corner, a study table against the wall, a built-in wardrobe; practically everything that was needed was there.

“I’ll be sleeping downstairs and he’ll be just next door,” she told me. “It wasn’t funny last night,” she warned Caleb before going. “What did you do?” I asked him as he smiled guiltily. “I went downstairs to get a drink and accidentally scared her. She was convinced that I was trying to give her a cardiac arrest,” he said simply.

“I see so what is going to happen to my car? I need to call Aunt Marge too. She’ll be worried sick,” I said and frowned. Caleb gave a thought.

“You’re all over the news! By the way, happy birthday dear!” called Aunt May downstairs. “I’ll call her for you. We’ll talk tomorrow and erm happy birthday,” Caleb said. “Thank you,” I said. He went into his room. I closed the door behind me. I walked towards the bookshelf to check out what is in store. I saw my favourite books arranged all in alphabetical order. I picked up the Twilight Saga series and The Host. Both were written by my favourite author. I opened the first page of The Host and saw my real name. I closed the book shut and placed everything back in.

It was already late when I was done bathing. I could hear the door downstairs close. Aunt May must be getting ready to sleep too.

I snuggled under the covers and tried to sleep. I tossed and turned. Before I knew it, it was already 3 in the morning. I was plumping my pillow when I heard the piano being played. It sounded familiar. It captivated me. I laid on the bed silently to listen to the music. Immediately I felt at ease and gradually dozed off.

I woke up when I heard someone knocking on my door. “Who is it?” I said groggily. “Just checking up on you,” I heard Caleb say from outside the door. I looked at the digital clock beside the bed. It was already 10 in the morning. I groaned. “I was thinking if you would like to join me for late breakfast,” he added.

I thought about it. “Aunt May says the kitchen is closed,” he added. “Give me a few minutes to get ready,” I said. I stretched myself before making my way to the bathroom.

Chapter 2: Returning

Caleb drove us in his Vanquish. I looked around and marveled the interior. “We’ll get you a nice one later,” he said after awhile. “It’s a nice car,” I commented as I rubbed the seats. It was what I initially wanted but it would be a bit too much for my neighbors to handle.

“My late girlfriend would be happy if she heard that,” he replied. My ears perked up. I noticed that we were driving along the sea. The water was so blue. “Why is that?” I asked curiously. “She loved this car a lot,” he said. “Sorry, I mean why you said your late girlfriend. Not your ex or something,” I said. He looked out of the window for a second.

“She didn’t break up with me. She’s just not with us here anymore,” he said. He was uncomfortable. He was trying to avoid the d-word. “My apologies,” I mumbled. Boss did not tell me everything. I don’t even know what my faked cause of death was.

“How sure are you that I can be trusted? I could be a double agent,” he suddenly said. “I could be one too,” I replied and looked at him. He looked good with his sunglasses on. “Honestly speaking, I don’t really care if you’re a double agent or not. The worst that could happen to me is getting killed,” he said without hesitation.

It disturbed me greatly when he said that. “I think your late girlfriend wouldn’t like to hear that if she’s with us now,” I answered back. “Why wouldn’t she? If I die, I could be with her. She is everything that I have lived for,” he said calmly.

“Coming from a person who also lost her loved one, she would want you to continue living, to have a normal life. What about Aunt May? Have you considered her feelings?” I argued. “You had a boyfriend?” he asked. He was taken aback. “What happened?” he asked cautiously. “It’s a long story,” I said.

We pulled up in front of a restaurant. “We’re eating Italian?” I asked when I saw the name of the restaurant. Caleb locked the car and looked at the signboard. “It’s already 12 so might as well have lunch,” he said. He held the door open for me. We were seated in a private cubicle.

I flipped through the menu and glanced at Caleb occasionally. A waiter came to take our order. I ordered spaghetti bolognese while he settled for lasagna. “Drinks?” the waiter asked. “Orange juice will do,” I said when I realized that he was talking to me. “Make that two,” Caleb chimed in. The waiter nodded and went off.

“I’m curious,” I said. He looked up from his phone. He looked so adorable. “How did you join the agency?” I asked as I lowered my eyes. I played with the packet of salt and sugar. I wanted to hear his own reason or reasons since he was after all a champion debater in school. “I knew you would ask that,” he said and flashed his jaw-dropping smile. I held my breath. “It’s pretty simple. When I first heard about her sudden death, my first aim was to fulfill the promises we made together. I took extra jobs to save enough money while in college. After college, I bought a house that she always dreamt of,” he said. I was amazed at his determination.

He paused when the waiter served our food. “I began buying things that reminded me of her. When her parents heard about me collecting stuff that reminds me of their daughter, they agreed to give me some of her things. They wanted to migrate and couldn’t keep everything you see. I accepted the boxes containing her items that they sent to me willingly. Aunt May thought I have a compulsive disorder,” he laughed. “She was worried that my hobby might interfere with my health,” he added.

“You must really miss her,” I said as I dug into my food. He nodded as he pierced his food. “Along the way, I found out that my late girlfriend wasn’t exactly killed in a train crash. She was…” he trailed off.

I looked up. He was poking his lasagna with his fork. “Anyway, I confronted the officials. They shrugged me off obviously. Then one old guy told me to go for a holiday trip. He said I needed one so I just followed his advice,” he continued. Our drinks were served.

“You can pay the bill over there,” the waitress said sweetly.

“As luck would have it, there was a hijack on the cruise,” he said and scoffed. “It was quite a mess but I managed to pull through. It turned out it was a test for potential secret agents and I was one of the outstanding ones so this is where I am today,” he said. “I’m not finished yet,” he said when I was about to speak. “At first I didn’t want anything to do with the business. Then they gave me a mission. The aim was to find who left my late girlfriend for dead on her last mission,” he said.

I slurped my orange juice and pondered awhile. He paid the bills after we finished eating. We kept silent until we got into the car. “Did you find anything?” I asked, hoping that I could get a bit of information too. “It wasn’t easy because there were a lot of cover ups. They were real good, the enemies,” he said. “Boss wants you safe because according to him, you’re the only one who knew the case. He said you could help me,” he continued.

I stared ahead. Was Boss out of his mind? “Caleb, I would like to help you but I can’t do much,” I began. Disappointment was painted all over his face. “You can’t trust anyone who’s assigned to uncover that particular case. You can’t trust me either. It was the biggest mistake that the Tower had ever encountered,” I continued, trying to get my point across.

“You’re saying that it was an inside job?” he asked. “You already said that they were good at cover ups. Only people on the inside can do that,” I explained. At the same time, I was dying to tell him the truth. I changed my mind because I have no proof. The last thing I wanted was for him to push me away.

“We are assigned to a mission early this morning,” Caleb said. “I told Boss that I wasn’t sure whether you’re willing to take the mission after what happened yesterday,” he said. “What is it about?” I enquired. “We’re supposed to uncover some nuclear arms in Switzerland,” he said. I recognized the tone. He wants me on the case.

The word nuclear brought another flood of horrible memories. I hate nuclear arms, anything that has to do with nuclear. It might save the environment if used correctly but seeing how anyone can be so evil by bombing innocent people…wait, did someone call me by my real name?

“Sam? What are you thinking?” Caleb asked. I shook my head. It appeared that I was so deep in my thoughts to notice that we were looking for a car for me. “Sorry, where are we?” I asked. “We’re supposed to get you a new car. Remember?” he said. “Oh,” I said. I saw a white car in front me. I blinked.

“I can give you best price,” the salesperson said. He was a foreigner. It appears that my mind was elsewhere when Caleb filled me in on the mission along the way. I pulled Caleb aside.

“What’s wrong Sam?” he asked. “I’ll take the mission,” I said. He stared at me. “Are you sure that you’re up for it? We can give the mission to someone else,” he asked. He looked unsure. “I’m sure. I want to do it. Let’s go,” I said and walked off. “What about 50 percent discount?” I heard the salesman shout. Caleb jogged beside me.

“You don’t have to do this you know,” he said. I climbed into his car. “If I can stop nuclear trafficking, I wouldn’t mind giving up my life,” I said. “Think of the millions of people you can save. Couples and families can live in peace. Little children can grow up with both parents,” I blurted. It sounded so childish.

“I was thinking the same thing,” he murmured as he sped back home.

“How are we getting there?” I asked. “Aunt May booked the air tickets this morning just incase you agree. We’re leaving tonight,” he said enthusiastically. “All right,” I said. Surprisingly, I was also excited. I longed for the adrenaline rush. Finally, I could come face to face with my sworn archenemy.

*********************

Once we landed in Zurich Airport, we were chauffeured to our hotel. It was night time when we landed. We were posing as a married couple. “Before you go Mr. and Mrs. Stanhope, I want to tell both of you that I’m happy to be offering my service as your driver,” our chauffer said when we reached the hotel. “What do you mean?” Caleb asked. “I work in the Tower too. I’m Carl Mahoney. My brother, Gustave, I believe was killed by the same person who is connected to William Nicholson. Nicholson is the host of the party you’re attending tomorrow night,” Carl said. He sneered when he said our party host’s name.

“We appreciate your offer Carl but we can’t trust anyone except ourselves,” I said. He sounded sincere but looks can be deceiving.

“I understand miss but I’ll prove to you sooner or later,” he replied solemnly. “Thank you again,” Caleb said. Carl nodded before driving off. “He sounded sincere,” whispered Caleb. I didn’t pay full attention to Caleb. The name that the driver said didn’t sound right.

When we got to our suite, we pulled an extra bed out from the cupboard. “You take the bed. I’ll take the extra one,” Caleb said after he straightened the mobile bed. “I’ll go take a shower,” I said. He was already plugging on his laptop.

When I came out from the bathroom, Caleb was just thanking someone outside the door. He was carrying in one big bag which was black in colour. “From the Tower,” Caleb said when I gave a curious look. I dried my hair with a towel. “What is inside?” I asked. Caleb unzipped the bag and drew out a Glock. “Just as promised,” said Caleb. We couldn’t carry firearms with us because it could be detected so we made arrangements with Kevin, Caleb’s best friend, who also happens to be an agent as well.

“Too bad it’s not like the movies, where one can just carry a firearm without being detected,” Caleb said to himself as he dug into the bag.

I opened the wardrobe to check out the dress they got for me. “Oh no, I told Anne not to give me a dress with a plunging neckline!” I groaned. The dress is red in colour. It’s beautiful but I don’t feel comfortable with my cleavage exposed.

Caleb took a look at the dress. “Well looks like I have a sexy wife tomorrow night,” he said and grinned. I hit him. He stumbled into the bathroom as he tried to avoid me.

I looked at the dress again. I’m going to kill Anne if I get back alive. “How is the hotel?” a voice behind me asked. It was Kevin. His face appeared as one of the paintings in the room. “Very ingenious, Kevin,” I said. “Thank you. It was my idea,” he replied. “Is that you in the painting Kevin?” Caleb asked. He pulled a shirt over his head. “Yes, creative right?” Kevin said proudly as he twirled around in his seat.

“Very. What’s this contact about?” Caleb said and rubbed his hair with a towel. “Right, I almost forgot. Your host’s name is,” Kevin paused as he tried to search his papers.

“William Nicholson,” Caleb and I said in unison. “Right. How did you know?” Kevin asked. “Our driver, Carl Mahoney told us,” Caleb replied. “Carl is there in Switzerland?” said Kevin in amazement. “Why can’t I be the driver?” he grumbled. “So Carl is really from the Tower,” I said aloud.

“Anyway, I don’t have much time. Both of your new identities are in the table drawers,” Kevin said. I walked over to the table and took our passports and I.D.. “John Stanhope,” said Caleb and raised an eyebrow. “I managed to insert both of your names into Nicholson’s guest list under the category close friends. That should get you closer to him,” noted Kevin.

“Is that it?” Caleb asked when Kevin paused for a long time. “Yes,” he replied and grinned. “What about how we met, what I work as..” said Caleb. “That my friend, you have to cook up something yourself. I did all I can for you guys. Have a good night,” Kevin said before waving goodbye. His face disappeared into an invisible hole and the painting looked the same.

“That was very helpful of him,” I said as I placed my new I.D. into my clutch. “Dear wife, how did we meet again?” Caleb asked. I gasped. “How could you forget?” I said and pretended to get upset. He laughed. “We’ll figure everything out tomorrow,” I said. He agreed. “Night,” he greeted.

*********************

Caleb and I went through our identities one more time the next day. We just had breakfast that was delivered to our room. “Okay so we’re married for two years, you’re a CEO of a company and I’m an editor of a fashion magazine” I said. He nodded. “That’s settled then so how did we meet?” I asked. “How about you crashed my car?” Caleb said. “I think I’m capable of doing that,” I said after a thought. He looked away and smiled. “What are you smiling at?” I demanded. “I was expecting a different reply,” he said. “I guess we got it all done,” I said. He stood up from the table.

“Let’s check out the slopes now shall we?” he said as he held out his hand. We already planned to ski during breakfast. We walked hand in hand to the lift. His warm hand covered my small gloved hand. It felt nice. We smiled at an elderly lady who was with her husband when we got in.

We took a chairlift up to the mountains after renting ski equipments. The Alps surrounded us. Everywhere I looked was covered with a blanket of white snow. I covered my nose when it got real cold. “Beginner or intermediate? Your choice,” Caleb asked. “Beginner,” I said. “I daren’t risk breaking my bones,” I said, trying not to sound like a wimp. Caleb helped me down when we reached the beginner slope.

A lot of kids were skiing at the slope. I saw a few couples struggling with an instructor guiding them. “Do we need an instructor?” I asked Caleb when a guy approached us. “You said you didn’t want to break your bones,” he replied and greeted the instructor. I shook my head and let him drag me along.

The instructor taught us the basic steps. Caleb was definitely showing off his skills. I could ski well so I raced after him. Our instructor panicked when we went too fast but we were having too much fun to bother about him. He went after us. He almost caught up with us but he fell. We had to help him up.

“Both of you are real talented,” he huffed. “I don’t need to teach you,” he said and went off to guide another couple. “Thank you and bye,” we said. He just waved.

I haven’t laughed and enjoyed myself for years. We continued skating. Caleb did a few stunts that really got me worried and amazed at the same time.

“Where did you learn do those stunts?” I asked on the way back. “I was taught by my dad,” he said and smiled. “I miss him. He got injured when he was skiing in Alaska. He just didn’t wake up in the hospital,” he added. The cool breeze hit our faces. I remembered the day when Caleb got the call about his father’s death. I stayed up with him the whole night.

I squeezed his hand when he reached for mine. We walked back to our suite. “Time to get to work,” he said as he unlocked the door. I looked at the dress one more time.

“You look great in the dress,” he said when I came out of the bathroom. “I feel exposed,” I said as I helped him to tie his bowtie. I flattened his collar. “Thank you,” he said. We were very close. I broke away from his gaze and turned to get my shoes. He took a box out from his pocket.

“Wedding rings,” he said as he slid a ring into my finger. “Right,” I said. “Ready?” he asked. I nodded. “We’ll do great,” he said and opened the door.

*********************

“Can I ask you a question Mrs. Stanhope,” a woman named Miss Hearth said. She was a tall lady with long blonde hair and she wore a striking black strapless dress. “Yes you could,” I said. “How did a girl like you meet a nice guy like him?” she blurted. I looked at her up and down. Who does she think she is?

“Ah the young Stanhope! John, am I right?” a short and stout man greeted Caleb. He wore a white tuxedo and had a glass of wine on his left hand. “Yes, Mr. Nicholson. I’m John Stanhope and this is my wife, Marissa,” Caleb said as he shook Mr. Nicholson’s hand. “The beautiful missus,” Mr. Nicholson said and kissed my hand. It gave me the creeps but I just smiled. Miss Hearth rolled her eyes. Mr. Nicholson took Caleb aside. Miss Hearth and I glared at each other for some time before she was dragged away by her friends.

Caleb wrapped his arms around my waist and planted a kiss on my lips. “What did he tell you?” I asked. “He said to keep an eye on you because the men here can be a bit naughty,” he said. His eyes gleamed mischievously. He led me to the dance floor. “And your reply was?” I said as we swayed to the music.

“I said that it wouldn’t be a problem because I’m a bit territorial,” Caleb replied as he tilted me. The music got faster and faster. “Are you ready to take the floor?” he asked when he brought me back up. “I don’t think I have a choice do I?” I said. “No, you don’t. By the way, what was your reply to Miss Hearth?” he asked. “We just had a glaring competition,” I said nonchalantly. “You look beautiful,” Caleb whispered. “Thank you. You don’t look good too,” I said.

Caleb was a cut throat dancer. I felt exactly the same emotions I felt during our prom years ago. He certainly drew a lot of envy looks from the men when their women stopped to watch us. After a few spins, I decided to stop. “I need a break,” I hinted. He smiled and led me upstairs.

“Mr. Nicholas invited us to visit his work place tomorrow. He agreed to give us a private tour,” he said. It was very cold. He draped his jacket over me. “Don’t you think it’s a bit weird that he’s giving us a tour?” I asked. “Not really. I think he’s only giving the tour to his close friends. I overheard one of them talking while we were dancing,” he replied.

“Well, I was thinking of taking your parents for a holiday,” I said aloud and held his arm when I saw a couple straining to hear. I couldn’t believe how strong his arms felt. He raised an eyebrow but played along. “I think it’ll be a great idea since I have to go on a business trip,” he said. We walked passed the couple and went downstairs.

“John, do you think your parents would like to go to Rome?” I asked. “I think my mum would love to,” he said thoughtfully. “Excuse me, I heard that you wanted to go to Rome?” a man asked. “My wife was thinking of taking my parents for a holiday,” Caleb said. “I’ve been to Rome countless of times. It is a lovely country,” the man sighed. He was an old man with balding hair. I thought that he wanted someone to talk to. “Can you tell me about Rome? I wouldn’t want to disappoint my in-laws,” I said and sat down with the man. Caleb followed suit.

We talked and laughed with the old man til late into the night. “It was wonderful talking to the both of you. How do can I keep in touch with you?” he asked as he got up. “We are staying in a hotel. Do you have the number?” Caleb asked me. “Sorry, I can’t remember the number,” I said. I felt bad but I couldn’t risk our identities. “It’s such a shame,” he said sadly. “Why don’t you leave us your number?” Caleb piped up while stealing a glance at me. “That’s a sound idea,” the man cheered up. He gave Caleb his card. “Call me anytime,” he said before walking off with his driver.

“I think we should make a move too,” Caleb said as he slid in the name card into his pocket. Mr. Nicholson reminded us about the private tour tomorrow morning before we left. Carl was already waiting at the corner of the road for us. He drove up when he saw us exiting. “Have you been waiting for us?,” I said when I got in. “Incase both of you are in trouble,” said Carl. “So did you get anything?” he asked. “He invited us to his workplace tomorrow morning,” Caleb said after awhile.

“How are you going to get there?” Carl asked. “He’ll be sending a car to the hotel tomorrow,” Caleb said. I looked at Caleb in horror. “Uh oh,” Carl said. “Someone told him that we’re staying in the Swiss Alp Hotel,” Caleb said. “You mean the hotel opposite the one you’re staying in?” Carl asked. “Yes,” said Caleb. “Smart fellow, the one who got the wrong info,” Carl said and chuckled.

“You thought I would give away our whereabouts didn’t you?” Caleb asked me. He sounded a little disappointed. I looked away in shame. “I have a problem trusting people since I became a secret agent,” I said flatly. “Same case with everyone in the agency,” said Carl. It was a silent ride back.

*********************

I lowered the volume of the television when I saw Caleb dozed off. I kept hearing footsteps outside our room. I switched off the television when the news came on and covered myself under the layers of blankets. I could hear Caleb tossing on his bed. I closed my eyes and relived the moment when we both skied on the snowy slopes and danced at the party. I smiled when I thought about it.

My eyes grew accustomed to the dark gradually. I could see Caleb sleeping soundly. The length of the bed was just nice for him. It would have suited me better. Same old Caleb, always the gentleman, I said to myself. He looked so beautiful when he’s asleep.

Chapter 3: Sweet escape

I watched Caleb from the hotel room window. He was just entering Mr. Nicholson’s limo in front of the Swiss Alps Hotel. Caleb said it was better for us to go separately. He would tell Mr. Nicholson that I was feeling unwell during the night and got worse in the morning.

I began making my way down to meet Carl. He was already at the lobby. “I couldn’t recognize you,” he said when I waved to him. He helped me to take Caleb’s bag while I held mine. I was in a disguise. “We should get going,” I said to him. I followed him into a van. “We would be posing as news reporters,” Carl explained. “Thank goodness I dressed like one,” I said. “My cousin, Mort, will be acting as our driver,” Carl said when the van started to move. I smiled at Mort. Mort has the exact black curly hair like Carl.

“This is our I.D. tags,” Mort said and tossed two tags to Carl. I saw that my name was Kristal something. “Romush? What kind of name is that?” asked Carl when he read his tag. “Hey, be happy that you have a tag. My given name is worse,” Mort said. Carl looked at Mort’s tag. “Yup, yours sounds bad,” said Carl. I didn’t bother to ask. My mind was preoccupied.

“He’ll know what to do,” said Carl suddenly. “I’m sorry. You were saying?” I said as I snapped out from my daydream. “I said Caleb knows what to do,” he said loudly. I hope he does. The van bumped up the rocky hill. “You love him do you?” Carl asked. “His heart is with another girl,” I said and gave a small smile. “You don’t need to keep secrets from us. We know who you really are. We know what happened to everyone in the Tower,” said Mort. “I don’t understand,” I said. I looked at the both of them. I was confused.

“You’re the girl who was betrayed during a mission five years ago,” Carl said. “I thought that no one in the Tower knew about it. It was the biggest mistake Boss has ever done,” I said. “Not us who work as cleaners in the Tower,” said Carl.

I thought about what they said. “If that’s the case, can you tell me how is my traitor connected to Nicholson?” I asked.

*********************

“Security coming up,” warned Mort as we got nearer to the guardhouse. We had to go through security when we got to the gate. The guards ransacked our van before letting us in. Carl shouted curses at them for jumbling up his notes. We just reached in time for the tour. A couple of reporters were already there. I saw Caleb standing next to Mr. Nicholson and Miss Hearth. I felt like throttling her. I was relieved when Caleb ignored her.

“Focus,” Carl whispered when he saw my clenched fist. “She doesn’t know that you’re here,” he reminded me. Mort stayed in the van. Carl was holding a video camera. I was given a tape recorder. “It’s a useful weapon,” said Mort. I tested the recorder. “Hi, I’m Kristal from Russian News Network. How do I sound?” I asked Carl. “Very reporter like,” he said and snapped a picture of Nicholson leading the tour. I realized that we were in a theme park. Carl saw my frown and gave me a nudge forwards. “Sir? I thought we were visiting the nuclear plant,” a reporter asked. “Yes we are. The real thing is under the theme park,” replied Nicholson. The crowd murmured.

Nicholson continued explaining the benefits of nuclear power and how great it was for the environment while we walked into a tunnel leading downwards. “Why is the nuclear plant placed under the theme park?” I heard someone say. Mr. Nicholson did not reply to the question but continued talking to Caleb.

We stopped in front of a glass door. “Actually I intended this to be a private tour but it seems my secretary got the schedule mixed up. So would the reporters kindly follow my secretary, Miss Hearth?” Mr. Nicholson said. Miss Hearth smiled and lead the front row of reporters to the left corridor.

Miss Hearth led us to a showroom. There was a huge model of the nuclear plant in the middle of the room. Carl started taking pictures. I switched on my tape recorder. “This is the nuclear plant situated in Aargau,” Miss Hearth said when most of the reporters crowded around the display. “Watch it,” Carl growled to a reporter who pushed him aside. “All of you are free to browse around. I’ll be back in an hour,” she said as she checked her watch. She went out from where we came in.

“Romush, I left my extra batteries in the van,” I said. “I’ll go get them for you,” he volunteered. “No, no. You keep filming. Boss would not be happy if we missed everything,” I said. “Very well,” Carl said. I hurried off to the van. “Where are you going?” Miss Hearth asked when she doubled back. “I need new batteries,” I said. “Hurry along now. An hour isn’t very long,” Miss Hearth said with an irritated tone. I gave a nod and made my way out.

I quickly changed into the security guard uniform that Carl’s friend got for me. I put on a rubber mask that I had prepared last night. I checked myself in the small mirror. “Can I open my eyes now?” Mort asked. He was lying on the steering wheel. “Yes,” I said. “Gosh, you look extremely different,” he said. Just then, the back door of the van opened. “It’s just me,” Caleb whispered when he saw our spooked expressions. He quickly changed into the guard uniform. I managed to catch a glimpse of his pack. “You scared the hell out of me,” I muttered as I stuffed my reporter clothing into the video camera bag. “Kristal?” Caleb said as he picked up my reporter tag. I snatched it back from him and stuffed it into the bag as well. He proceeded to put on his rubber mask.

“Let’s go,” I said. We made sure no one was around before we got out from the van. “You know the way right?” I asked him. He nodded as he slung a G3 rifle over his shoulder and passed me one. I forgot about it. We saluted to the guard who first saluted at us. Caleb opened a door leading into a building after the guard passed. We went in.

I almost gasped when I saw what was inside. I could see millions of tube like things being produced. The workers were too busy to notice we were there. A few guards walked and lazed around. I saw four guards playing cards at the corner. I followed Caleb upstairs when we were motioned by a guard to follow him. Caleb took the guard out when we walked into an empty corridor. Caleb then proceeded to tie the guard up using the belt that the guard was wearing.

We then hid the unconscious guard in a storeroom nearby. “Did Boss say what were we supposed to look for?” Caleb asked as he heaved a ceiling panel in the storeroom. “We are just supposed to collect enough evidence to charge Nicholson,” I replied. I stepped on his shoulder and heaved myself up. I turned around to pull him up. He closed the panel again. “What were those tubes?” I asked as we crawled. Good thing that our uniform was equipped with a flashlight.

“Did you watch the movie where a genius intend to change the world by wiping out the world first?” Caleb said. “Oh no, the tube contains a virus strain?” I whispered when I heard people talking below us. He didn’t reply when a loud thump was heard. I froze. It wasn’t us but the sound could give us away. The workers dropped a crate of the tubes below us. I could hear the guards shouting angrily and hitting the workers with the back of their guns. I held my breath. “The tubes are empty,” Caleb said.

“How sure are you?” I said as we continued to crawl. He opened another panel and lowered himself down silently. I dropped on the floor silently and scurried behind a few crates with him. We ducked when a worker came to take a crate away. Caleb stuck a small black dot on the wall opposite us.

“I think the tube would be sufficient enough to take him to court,” he said. I nodded and peeked behind the crates. Suddenly, the alarm rang. “Chill. It’s their lunch time,” Caleb said when I tensed. The guards slowly went out of the building. The workers relaxed a bit. Then I heard a gasp. I turned around and saw one of the workers pointing at us. Caleb and I stood up slowly when they gathered around us.

“We are here to help you,” said Caleb to them. One of the workers said something in what sounds like Chinese. “Are they Chinese?” Caleb asked me when they were smiling. “I think so,” I said and proceeded to tell them that we were here to help them in their language. They understood me and willingly gave a tube to us. Then they said something over and over. “They told us to get these to the authorities,” I translated to Caleb.

“Hey you!” a guard shouted from the door. “Shoot!” I said as Caleb dragged me away. The alarm went off. The workers showed us the way out while some attacked the guards with the crates and empty tubes. I ran as fast as I could. Adrenaline pumped through my system. A few guards blocked our way and we ran in another direction. I managed to shoot a few of them down. Mort saw us running and knocked some guards blocking the entrance off with his van. Carl held the door open and fired at the guards behind us. We managed to jump in and Mort sped off. He drove through the metal gates.

The van was shot at a few times. We bumped our way down again. Then, I heard an explosion. Luckily I told the workers to get out. Caleb took out the tube. Inside the tube was another smaller tube that was brown in colour. “What is it?” Carl asked. “A mutated virus strain,” said Caleb. “Where should we go to?” Mort asked. I tore my mask off.

“We can’t go back to the hotel,” Caleb said. “The first people he’ll try to track down is us,” he said. “Our passport!” I screeched. Caleb took out two passports from his bag. “You genius!” said Carl and hit Caleb’s arm. “I packed it in this morning,” he said and passed me mine. “Thank you,” I said.

“I think we have no choice but to find grandpa,” Mort said. “He’ll kill us,” Carl said to Mort. “Our Grandpa loved Gustave very much. If he finds out that Mort and I are going undercover again, he’ll have a fit,” Carl explained to us.

“I’m sure if you explain the situation he’ll understand,” I said. Carl shook his head as he picked a bullet out from the seat he was sitting on. “Not our grandpa,” Mort said.

*********************

Carl and Mort’s grandpa owned a wine yard so it wasn’t a surprise when we drove pass rows and rows of wine yards and drew odd glances.

“Carl! Mort! What are you doing here?” the familiar old man asked when rang the doorbell. “Hi Grandpa,” said Carl nervously. “What happened to the van? Mr. and Mrs. Stanhope?” he asked. He looked at us with wide eyes. I looked at the van. It was ridden with bullet holes. “You know Grandpa Morris?” Carl asked.

“We met at the party yesterday. We were talking about Rome,” Morris said. “What is this all about?” he demanded to know. Carl and Mort looked so guilty. “Hide the van in the garage. Tell the men to dismantle it,” said Morris when he gave a glare at his grandsons.

“Thank you Grandpa,” they mumbled before hurrying off. “What did all of you get yourselves into?” he asked as we were invited to come in. His house was medium sized and very cozy. He threw in a log into the fireplace. “I was about to have tea,” he said as he poured four more cups. Carl and Mort scurried in and sat down simultaneously on the sofa. They were that scared of Morris.

“So what it is about this time?” Morris asked. He looked at each of us. “I think it’s my fault sir,” I spoke up. Carl covered Mort’s mouth when he was about to say something. “I convinced them to help us, Caleb and I, in our mission. We didn’t know about Gustave then and how you object them for joining the agency,” I said. “It’s part of my fault too,” Caleb said. “Really?” Morris asked as he stared at Carl and Mort. “I selected them among all the candidates that we were given,” Caleb said confidently.

“What’s your real name?” Morris asked me. Oh dear. “Samantha,” I managed to say. He nodded his head. He knew I was lying but he didn’t say anything. “There’s one thing I never told Carl and Mort,” Morris said and smiled. “There is?” said Mort. Carl shushed him.

“I’m part of the agency too,” Morris said and chuckled. “Grandpa!” Carl shouted in disbelieve. “I feel cheated,” said Carl. I gripped Caleb’s hand automatically. He didn’t flinch but covered my hand with his other hand. “It was fun scaring all of you. I am part of the agency,” he said and winked at me. “I wasn’t lying about Rome either,” he added.

“I told you Grandpa was tricking us,” I heard Mort grumble. “I thought you hated the agency after Gustave died,” Carl said. “No one loves the agency, Carl. Not even the big boss himself. We just do what we had to do,” Morris said.

“All of you remind me of my younger self,” he added.

*********************

“Interesting,” Morris said after dinner. We explained what happened earlier. “So grandpa, now that you know the story, can you help them?” Carl asked. “It’s going to be very hard. The guards would be everywhere now,” Morris said after thinking for awhile. “The first thing to do is to get all four of you out of this country,” he began. “I think I have to go too,” he mused.

“I think I have an idea,” I piped. “Caleb, we still have enough ingredients to make masks right?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied. “I have a wardrobe for disguises,” Morris said excitedly. “I’ve been waiting to show off my disguising skills,” he added.

“Great. Now the problem is that we need to forge passports,” I said. “We can’t stay here for long. They’ll be knocking any moment,” Morris reminded us. “If Mort and I work the whole night, I think we could produce the passports in time. You forgot your friend Anne in the agency,” said Carl. “Right, Anne!” I said.

I couldn’t believe that I forgot all about her.

“You always forget about me,” said a familiar voice. It was Anne. She stood next to Kevin. “It’s good too. You keep me safe,” she said and hugged me. Caleb exchanged a fist with Kevin. “How did you find us?” I asked her. “He’s my step uncle,” she said and placed her bag on the floor. “Hello, Uncle Morris,” she greeted. “Little Anne is all grown up,” Morris said and smiled as he kissed her on her cheeks.

“Let’s get to work shall we? We don’t exactly have the whole night,” said Carl and clapped his hands.

All of us toiled the whole night. We took turns to nap. Kevin and Anne already had their disguises done so we didn’t need to make extra. Morris was right. He was very good at disguising. He helped us to perfect our disguise in the morning.

“Let’s go,” he said as we climbed into a limo. “Remember, we are on a family holiday,” said Morris. “Got the tube?” asked Kevin. Caleb patted the bag he was carrying. Morris lent us a case to keep the tube. It would not show up in the scanning machine. “If anything goes wrong, just say it’s just my medication. They wouldn’t want an old man to die,” Morris said. We got out of the limo when we reached the railway station. We took the Glacier Express. The view was beautiful.

We were lucky because there was only a short queue. Morris was right again. The guards were everywhere. I saw Miss Pike too. She was holding a walkie-talkie and gave orders to a few guards.

All of us managed to get to the airport in time. I was relieved when we managed to get through the checkpoints without any problem. Caleb never showed any sign of worry throughout the whole journey home. He was deep in thought and I didn’t want to bother him.

We were greeted by Boss himself when we touched down. Caleb passed the tube to him and we were congratulated. I felt indifferent although we accomplished the mission. I felt empty and numb. I think all of us felt the same too. Boss was trying to hide his discomfort by telling us what were our rewards and all. I tuned him out. I didn’t want to hear anything from him tonight.

Aunt May greeted me with a hug when we got back to Caleb’s home. I was so tired that I went to bed straightaway. I wished I could tell Caleb who I really am.

Chapter 4: Beginning of a nightmare

Caleb and I walked out of the Tower. We just had a meeting with Boss. Both of us were given sabbatical leave. Morris stayed back in the Tower to have a chat with his old colleagues.

Carl and Mort caught up with us. “Why did you guys leave so fast?” Carl asked as he panted. I shook my head. “Need time alone to think,” I said. Caleb unlocked his car and held the door open for me. “I think I’ll walk around a bit,” I said. I couldn’t make out his expression. He wore his sunglasses. Mort pulled Carl away in another direction.

I turned to walk away and heard the car door shut. Suddenly, I was yanked back. “I can’t let you walk alone,” he said. “I need to think,” I said and tried to pry his fingers off. “Please,” I said when he refused to let go. “I’ll keep silent,” he said. I sighed.

“Sam!” Anne called. Caleb let my arm go when she ran towards us. “What’s up? You haven’t said much since last night,” she asked. I gave a look. She seemed to understand. “I’ll take care of her,” Anne told Caleb. Caleb couldn’t argue. He looked at us as we walked away. I mouthed sorry. He looked upset and slowly made his way to his car.

“I feel like my heart dropped,” I said to Anne. “You’ve been reading too much books,” she said. “I’m serious, Anne. You didn’t know what I went through the past few days,” I said. She kept quiet. “Let’s go to our hangout yeah?” she said as she unlocked her Porsche Boxster. “New car?” I asked her as I got in. “Yep. Kevin bought it for my birthday,” she said happily.

“Lucky you,” I said. Caleb’s car was gone, I realized. I felt bad for going out with Anne instead of Caleb. “If you don’t mind, I asked Kevin and Sarah to join us. Carl and Mort would be joining us too,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea. Caleb would think that I prefer hanging out with you guys instead of him,” I said. Just then, I saw a black Vanquish trailing behind us. “You were saying?” she said and grinned at me. I noticed that Kevin was with Caleb.

“I haven’t murder you for giving me the plunging neckline dress,” I told her. “I didn’t pick the dress. Caleb did,” she said. “What?” I exclaimed. “I faxed the type of dresses available to his housekeeper. I guess she must have showed Caleb the pictures,” Anne replied as she parked her car. Caleb parked his car opposite us.

Carl and Mort were already there with Sarah. They managed to book a long table at the back of the café. “What took all of you so long?” Mort asked as he pushed a bottle across the table towards Kevin who caught it in time. I sat in between Sarah and Anne. Caleb sat near the corner of the table beside Carl and Mort. They could sense the tense atmosphere between us both.

A band was invited to play in the café. They were setting up their instruments when we placed our orders. I couldn’t see Caleb. I tried to look for him. Sarah nudged me and motioned to the stage. Caleb seated himself at the microphone stand. “You set me up didn’t you?” I hissed at Anne. “Not her fault. I planned it years ago,” Sarah said. “You can’t run away forever,” said Kevin.

“Good afternoon to all of you in this room right now. Today I’m going to sing a song which I specially dedicate for a very special person who I lost and almost got her back. She’s sitting in this room right now but I won’t say her name,” Caleb said to the mike. The crowd was supportive. I think my friends bribed them earlier. I even saw Aunt Marge there.

Caleb sang and looked at me. I didn’t know that he could play a guitar. The lyrics that he sang made me cry.

Do I seem familiar, I’ve crossed you in hallways a thousand times, no more camouflage I want to be exposed, and not be afraid to fall.

I couldn’t take it anymore and ran out of the café. My friends tried to come after me. I continued running, his song still playing in my head.

Shout out your name so it echoes in every room I would That’s what I’d do, That’s what I’d do to get through to you

I wiped away the tears from my eyes. As I turned around the corner, I knocked into a man who wore a leather jacket. He clamped my mouth shut and jumped into a van nearby. I hit and clawed him but was knocked unconscious.

*********************

Caleb

I saw Tyng bundled up into the van. I tried going after the van but failed to do so. Anne’s Porsche chased after the van. I looked in despair as the van disappeared around the corner. “We need to tell Boss,” said Kevin as he caught up with me. I nodded. Carl stopped his van beside us. “Jump in,” he said. I tossed my car keys to Kevin and went into the van. “You get back to the Tower immediately,” I told Kevin. Sarah held the door when I was about to close it. “I’m coming,” she said and climbed in.

Kevin ran back. I flipped on my phone and turned on the tracking device I installed in Switzerland. I was glad when a red dot beeped on the screen. “What is that?” Sarah asked. “I managed to clasp a bracelet embedded with a tracking bug before we got to the café,” I explained. “Always the genius,” commented Carl. “What’s the plan now?” asked Mort as he turned back to face Sarah and I. Just then, Anne rang Sarah’s cell phone. “She lost the van,” Sarah said. “Don’t worry. Caleb managed to place a tracking bug on her,” Sarah said to the phone. She ended the call. “She said she’ll meet us in your house,” Sarah said.

Carl turned the car around and sped. Kevin was already in my house when we arrived. “Everyone is up and going,” Kevin said. Anne came in after us. “What is happening?” Aunt May asked.

“Aunt May, you were in the agency longer than any of us. Who would want to kidnap Tyng without leaving a note or something?” I asked her. “Wait. Who’s Tyng?” Anne asked with a confused look. “Sam’s real name. Caitlin’s real name,” I said quickly. Anne looked like she saw a ghost. My phone beeped again. The red dot has stopped moving. “I know that area,” said Sarah. “That’s where Chase Danvers lives,” said Kevin as took a look. “Chase Danvers? Nicholson’s business partner?” Carl said. His eyes widened.

“That’s him,” said Aunt May. “Who is he?” I asked. I received the impression that he’s bad news. Everyone looked at each other, even Sarah. “Why wasn’t I told about him earlier?” I demanded to know. I was angry.

*********************

Tyng

I felt a surge of pain at the back of my neck when I woke up. I was on a fluffy bed. I jolted upright. I scanned around the room quickly. The room was filled with flowers and bears. There was a large window on my left. I tried to open the window but it was sealed up tightly.

I plastered myself against the wall when I heard footsteps. I reached for a chair nearby, preparing to launch it at anyone who might enter. I raised the chair when I saw the door knob jiggle. I threw the chair when the door opened. I managed to hit the man. I tried to jump over him but he caught my leg. I fell and was dragged into the room again. He slammed my back on the wall. My pain intensified.

“Put her down! Boss gave clear instructions not to hurt her,” commanded the man who dragged me into the van. My attacker threw me onto the bed. I curled up in pain. “Boss is going to be real angry at you,” the man said to my attacker. “That bitch hit me with a chair,” argued the other man and spat.

The man who wore the leather jacket came in and poured a glass of water for me. I refused to drink and remained curled up. He drank from the jug and handed the glass over to me again. I eyed at the glass for awhile before accepting it. My throat was immediately soothed. “I’m going to get you another jug of water. I trust you to behave til I come back,” he warned me as he stood near the door. I shrugged.

I turned my attention to the flowers and bears around me. I felt like I was trapped in a madman’s house. The man returned with a different jug. He poured himself a glass and drank again to prove to me that it was not laced.

He proceeded to pick up the chair that I threw and placed it at the door. “You pack quite a punch,” he said as he sat on the chair. I didn’t reply. “You remind me of my girlfriend,” he continued. “Who is your boss?” I asked as I massaged my neck. I winced at the pain.

“I only know him as boss,” he said. That wasn’t helpful. “Why am I held here?” I questioned. I noticed a silver bracelet on my right wrist. “We just carry out orders without questions. Why don’t you check the flowers?” he asked. I hesitated. I didn’t want to check the flowers incase it was from someone who I didn’t want to meet.

“Boss is back,” said my attacker to the man wearing the leather jacket. “You’ll know who he is in a few minutes,” the man said to me. I braced myself for the worst.

My nightmare came true when I saw who it was. “YOU!” I screeched in rage. “Hello, Tyng,” the monster said. “Go away! I don’t want to see you!” I shouted when he stepped forwards. I threw the lamp shade at him. He managed to avoid the lamp shade and chuckled. “Very well. I’ll see you later when you’re in a better mood,” the monster said as backed out.

*********************

I couldn’t accept it that he was released from jail. I was forced to have dinner with him. He threatened to hurt my friends when I refused over and over again. I sat on the dining chair reluctantly.

I loathe every inch of him. I hate him. I despise him. He was once a very nice and good looking guy but rejection changed him forever.

“Why are you putting on that scowl?” he asked and smiled. I wanted to stab him with the knife on the table but held back my urge when I saw guards near the door. I didn’t touch a single food on the table although I was starving. He ate and watched me. “Aren’t you eating?” he asked after a few minutes. “I don’t take food that is earned with dirty money,” I hissed. “Oh Tyng, can’t you let go of the past?” he said. How can I? I wanted to ask. Because of you I lost everything, I wanted to tell him. My rage built up every second.

He put down his fork and spoon when I continued my silent treatment. “I’m curious. What does he have that I don’t? What does he have that you prefer him over me?” he questioned. He really wants to know why.

Just then, a man who dressed like a butler whispered to him. He nodded and looked at me. “We have to move you to a different location. Your boyfriend is coming,” he said calmly. I perked up. He’s coming!

I felt that my arms were grabbed from the back. It was the man who wore the leather jacket. He never took it off. “Where are you taking me?” I asked him when we passed my room. I saw everyone in the building rushing around.

“I need your bracelet,” he said and yanked it off. “Hey!” I shouted. “You’ll thank me later,” he hissed as I tried to get it back. “Trust me,” he whispered.

Chapter 5: The Rescue

Caleb

“The red dot is not following the road,” said Carl as he peeked over my shoulder. Carl, Mort, Sarah and Morris were with me in Sarah’s Honda CRV. She drove of course. She was an impeccable driver, super fast too.

“I know,” I gritted my teeth. “They are on air,” Morris said. “I called the police patrol nearby too stop the helicopter!” I heard Anne shout from the outside. Kevin was driving Anne in her car. I rolled down my window. “We’ll meet there!” I shouted back. Kevin nodded and sped off.

I checked the red dot. It remained stationary suddenly. “Morris, I find this odd. Really,” Sarah said as she drove. “Chase is a smart fellow,” was all Morris said. I couldn’t bear to hear his name.

First, he was a competitor to me. Second, he was the cause that Tyng got hurt. I can’t bear to imagine how much Tyng had suffered all these years. Sarah and Anne kept me updated with Tyng’s well being when we managed to get hold of her and it wasn’t really good.

Sarah drove through the park. Mort nodded in approval when Sarah took a shortcut by driving through the guardhouse. I saw Anne’s car parked in front of the mansion. I ran even before Sarah managed to brake. I ran to the roof.

Kevin and Anne checked the helicopter. Police surrounded the helicopter. Kevin shook his head at me. I slammed the door behind me. “Caleb!” Anne shouted. I turned to look. She held up a white package and the silver bracelet. The package was for me. It wasn’t in Tyng’s writing.

Sarah and the others were on the roof now. I tore the package open.

Inside the package was a small device. A piece of paper fell out. Kevin picked it up. “This is from Dan,” said Kevin. “One of our agents,” Anne said and looked shocked. I grabbed the letter from Kevin.

Caleb,

Do not worry because she’s in good hands. The device should help you to follow us. Before that, I need a favour. My girlfriend is held by Mr. Danvers in my own house. The guards are armed. That’s all I know.

Dan

“Well, Caleb?” Morris asked. “It’s your decision now,” said Kevin. “You leading us now,” Carl added. They looked at me. I looked at the silver bracelet and walked around. They left me alone to think. I weighed my chances of saving both Dan’s girlfriend and Tyng in time.

“Anne, you find out about Dan’s house. Kevin, check with the CIA to see whether we could see through the house with their new technology,” I said. They ran downstairs.

“Carl and Mort, I need both of you to follow Dan,” I said and handed them the device. “Where are you going?” Carl asked. “I’m going to Dan’s house. His girlfriend knows me,” I said. “What about me?” Sarah asked. “You follow Carl and Mort. Morris, you choose,” I said. “I’ll go with my grandsons,” he said. Mort already started the helicopter.

Kevin and Anne got everything we need once I got downstairs. They were typing furiously on the laptop.

“His wife is still doing fine. They have two kids,” Kevin said as he pushed the laptop to me. I saw Dan’s wife sitting in front what looks like a television with her kids. “I thought he wasn’t married,” commented Anne.

“How do we get in?” I asked Anne. Anne pulled up a layout of the whole house on the screen. “The guards are everywhere except this two places,” Anne said and pointed out the roof and at the backdoor. “Why didn’t the guards guard the back door?” Kevin asked. “I can’t find out more with this software. Try yours,” said Anne.

Tyng

The name of the man in the leather jacket is Dan. He knows Caleb and the others in the agency. He was sitting beside me in the car. The irony was that this was the car that tried to knock me off the road. We could talk normally because my most-hated person in the world is travelling by air.

The man who I threw a chair at was also with us, and he is also from the agency. In other words, both of them are double agents.

“Sorry about your car,” the man who drove said. I didn’t reply but looked out of the window. It was night time. The man who I threw the chair at before introduced himself as Mark. The driver’s name is Ted. The others liked to call him Teddy.

“So Teddy, where are we going actually?” Mark asked. He was sitting beside the driver’s seat. “Stop calling me that. Somewhere along the beach, I think his summer house,” Ted replied. “He just said someone will be waiting for us at the before the turning.”

“You know we could actually turn back,” Mark said. Dan hit him. “If we do that, my family is in danger,” he said loudly. “You have a family?” I asked. I looked at him. I noticed that he has green eyes. “I thought you said you have a girlfriend,” said Teddy. “We have a family. I got two kids. I can’t get married because of Mr. Danvers,” he said impatiently. I told him the name of his boss earlier.

“Sorry dude,” said Mark. “If my family isn’t held captive, I would be already returning you to Caleb,” Dan said to me. “How did you meet your girlfriend?” I asked curiously. I guess he had been keeping everything to himself, that is what most of us do after being recruited by the agency.

“During one of his missions in Italy,” said Teddy as slowed the car down. “She was an Italian agent, sent to assassinate him and he was also sent to assassinate her,” said Mark. “Let me tell my own story guys. It’s mine,” Dan said. He actually smiled a little.

“What happened?” I prompted. He looked at me. “It was like the movies. I was posing as her colleague in an office,” he said. “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” added Mark.

“We weren’t sent to kill each other then so we went out and all,” he continued.

“Then came the kill order,” I said. He nodded sadly. “When she refused to kill me, her agency sent someone else to do the work. We escaped,” he said. “Your boyfriend, Caleb, and Anne helped them,” said Mark, he turned his head to see me. I turned away and smiled. That’s Caleb, always helping people.

“Which is why I’m returning his help now,” Dan said. My brows furrowed in confusion. We reached our destination. It looked like a mansion. We passed by a mini fountain.

I was lead upstairs to my room by Dan and Mark. “Do you think that I could sleep now?” I asked and gave a yawn. I was really sleepy. “I think you could. Boss isn’t here yet,” said Mark.

They left the room. I washed my face before going to bed. My muscles ached.

I was in deep slumber when a few pair of hands grabbed me. I thrashed around and shouted. I couldn’t see where I was taken. I couldn’t see Dan, Mark or Ted anywhere. These were different men. They finally put me down. We were outside, beside the pool. Chase, the monster, was standing near the edge of the pool.

“What do you want this time?” I said angrily. The same men chained me up. It suddenly dawned on me that he was planning to drown me. “Are you out of your mind?” I said. “Tyng, if I can’t have you, no one else will,” he said and waved his hand. Before I could do anything, I was already in the water. My second death.

The pool was very deep. I struggled to breathe. I tried not to panic. The water was freezing cold. The last thing on my mind before I blacked out was of Caleb.

*********************

Caleb

Kevin and I managed to get into the house. Talia, Dan’s wife or girlfriend, saw me. I shushed her. She clamped her kids’ mouths shut. “What are you doing?” a guard asked her. His back was facing Kevin and I. “Their noses are cold,” said Talia with an irritated tone. I crept up behind the guard silently and stabbed a dart on his back. Immediately, the guard slumped to the ground.

“Thank you,” Talia said as she carried one of her boys. I carried another. Kevin shot a few darts at the unsuspecting guards. “These guards are useless but I daren’t take the risk for the sake of my children,” said Talia as she knocked a guard with her rolling pin as we passed the kitchen.

“We have to get to Tyng immediately,” said Anne when we got into the Honda. “What happened to her?” Talia asked as she strapped her boys in. “Held captive by Chase,” said Kevin. “Carl just called. It appears that something went wrong,” he added.

I panicked. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Dan and Mark were sent out,” said Kevin. “We got to hurry,” urged Anne. “We can’t take the kids,” Talia said. “We can drop them at my house,” I said hurriedly.

*********************

Sarah

“Should we go in?” Carl kept asking. We were flying over the house. “They know that we’re here,” Morris said. “We have to do something. There’s not enough fuel,” said Mort. Morris asked Mort to land us somewhere near. Thank goodness that there was a vast open field nearby.

Turns out it wasn’t a good idea because we were surrounded by the guards. “Hmph,” said Morris as we marched towards the mansion. The guard poked my back with his rifle. “Stop poking or I’ll stab you with my heels later,” I snarled at him. “She’s serious,” said Carl to the guard.

The four of us were tied up and thrown into a shed. “So much for saving our friend,” grumbled Carl. I tried to undo the knot of the rope. I remembered that I brought my pen knife along. “I got a pen knife inside the right heel,” I said to Carl as stuck out my legs towards him. “How did you do that?” Mort asked. “Tell you guys later. We need to untie ourselves now,” I said and knocked my heels. Carl scooted towards me and tried to pry my heel off. A pen knife dropped and he managed to catch it in time. He proceeded to saw the ropes tying my foot.

Morris was already untying his feet. Mort looked around the shed and saw a saw sticking out. He hurried over to the saw and began rubbing the rope against the blades.

Suddenly, my phone rang. Everyone stopped what they were doing. My phone continued ringing. “Answer it!” said Morris. The door of the shed opened. I jumped to my feet and gave the surprised guard a turning kick. Morris untied my arms quickly when we saw the guards running across the field. Mort threw us a few gardening tools. “Better than nothing,” he said. Bullets were fired at us. “You were saying?” I yelled over the noise. Just then, a tractor burst out of the shed. Morris was driving it and moved down some guards. “Is that our grandpa?” Carl asked when Morris knocked a guard with a spade like he was playing hockey. We ran after him, knocking guards along the way.

*********************

Caleb

We saw Morris on the tractor across the field with Carl, Morris and Sarah running behind him. Kevin drove across the gate and stopped in front of the tractor. We jumped out. Talia decided to follow us. “What was that about?” Anne asked her step uncle. “We were tied up,” Morris said and whacked a guard with the spade. “YAAAAA!” I heard Carl shout and whacked another guard with his broom.

“We don’t have much time,” said Talia as she took a rifle from the unconscious guard. We decided to split ways. I rushed upstairs with Sarah, Morris and Anne. We knocked down each door we passed and shot at unsuspecting guards.

I kicked down another door and was greeted with a gun pointing at my forehead. It was Chase. He gave an evil smirk. “Where is she?” I growled. “Where is she, Chase?” Anne asked. She held a gun at Chase. Chase just laughed. Anne shot at his shoulder when he continued laughing. He bent in pain but kept laughing. I held him up by his collar and slammed him against the wall. I pressed his wound with my gun. He yelled in pain.

“Where is she?” I shouted. “In a few minutes, my guards will take all of you out. One by one,” he said and smiled. I threw him across the room. The mirror shattered on him. He was bleeding but he seemed to feel nothing. He chuckled when I pulled his head up by his his hair. “Is that the best you could do?” he said slowly.

“He’s trying to delay us,” said Talia. “There’s someone in the pool,” said Sarah as she looked out of the balcony. “That’s Tyng!” said Anne when she went over. The girls rushed out of the room.

“You demon!” said Carl and kicked Chase. Chase just kept snickering. I kept banging his head on the nearby table. Kevin and Morris pulled me back when I overdone it. “He’s not worth it,” Morris said. “What are you waiting for? Just kill me,” said Chase and smiled in a daze. “You’re not mine to kill,” I said to him. “It’s ours,” said Carl and pointed a gun at him.

“Ah, Gustave’s brother,” Chase said and held his head back. “I missed him so much,” he continued. I walked out of the room in disgust. I hurried towards the pool.

The girls looked dejected. “What’s wrong?” I said when I got to them. “It’s not her,” Sarah said. “What?” I exclaimed. “It’s a mannequin that looks like her,” explained Anne. “I have a headache,” she added. “Dan wouldn’t lie to us would he?” I asked Talia. She didn’t answer.

Carl and Mort ran towards us. “Where is she?” Carl asked when they saw the wet mannequin on the floor. Sarah shrugged. Everyone kept quiet. I kicked the mannequin into the pool.

Chapter 6: Waiting

We were traveling back when Talia’s phone rang. “Dan!” she said loudly. I jolted upright. She held up a hand at me. “He’s here,” she said and passed the phone quickly to me.

“Dan!” I said. “Caleb, you got to come to the hospital quickly. She’s not doing well,” he said hurriedly. I heard a violent beep, a sign that the battery was going out. “Dan! Dan!” I said loudly when I could only hear scratches of his voice. “His phone’s dead,” I said to Talia after checking her phone. “Hospital,” I told Mort.

I sat impatiently in the car. “Can’t we go any faster?” Talia asked Mort. “Too many cars,” he said. We were caught in a jam.

I looked at the time. I couldn’t sit still. The traffic crawled slowly. I couldn’t wait anymore. I jumped out of the car and ran. “Caleb!” I heard Talia shout. I didn’t turn back. I continued running. I ran on top of the cars. I couldn’t be bothered with the angry gestures. I have something much more important and critical to think about.

I leaped over railings and walls. I took the shortest route possible to the hospital. It seemed that I drew a lot of attention. I could see cameramen racing after me as well. Boss’s limo was moving beside me. “Make way for him! Stop blocking!” I heard Boss shouting.

I ran across the park, the one that Sarah drove through. The sprinklers came on but it couldn’t deter me.

Please hold on for me, I prayed as I ran. The police cleared the way for me and wished me good luck.

Don’t let me down, I said as I picked up speed when I saw the hospital. The nurses held the door open for me. I burst into the ward. Aunt May came forward and hugged me. Mark and Dan stood up when he saw me. “I’m sorry, Caleb,” I heard Dan say. I heard the reporters outside the door.

I looked at him. “How is she?” I asked as I looked through the glass. Doctors were around her. She looked so pale. What hurt me most was that she looked so calm.

“I don’t know how bad it is. The doctors are trying to revive her,” Dan said. Suddenly he rose up from his seat and rushed forwards. Talia and the others came in. They must have been running after me because the slumped onto the ground once they reached. Talia hugged her sons as well.

A doctor came out of the room. Everyone gathered around him. “She’s stable but has entered a comatose stage,” he said. My spirit dropped.

“We’ll keep trying,” assured the doctor when Aunt May questioned the doctor. “Can I go in?” I asked the doctor. “I think it’s best that all of you go home and rest,” the doctor said. “All of you need sleep,” the doctor added before he walked away.

“We’ll come back tomorrow,” Aunt May said as she pulled me away gently from the glass.

*********************

After a hot shower, I joined the others in my living room. They took turns to shower in my house. Anne bit her nail as she sat curled on the couch. Kevin was whispering to her. Sarah placed a log into the fire before sitting on the floor next to Talia.

Carl and Mort came up with warm drinks for everyone with Aunt May’s help. Dan’s sons were sleeping in Tyng’s room. Dan and Mark went back to the Tower. Morris went to bed early after showering. He was sharing my room.

I held the warm cup and stared at the fire. I picked up the picture from the mantle before sitting down on the couch, just next to Kevin. “I should call my husband,” Sarah said and excused herself. “The Tower will pay for the car damage,” called out Aunt May. “Ours too?” asked Carl. “Yes,” said Aunt May as she seated herself on the piano seat.

“What really happened that day?” I asked aloud. “May was there when it happened,” said Morris from the corridor. “I thought you fell asleep,” said Aunt May. “I did but I woke up when I thought about Tyng,” said Morris and sat on the arm chair. “Now I can’t sleep,” he said.

“Aunt May?” I asked, steering the topic back. “Before I start, you need to know that Tyng is a very strong, loyal and faithful girl. She did what all of us could not and would not,” she began. “Do you believe that?” she added. I nodded.

“I need to hear you say that you believe and trust her,” she said firmly. “Yes, I do believe,” I said. “You need to be strong too,” she said.

*********************

I visited Tyng in the morning. She was still in coma. I sat on a chair beside her bed and held her hand. I could hear the machine beeping. I thought about what Aunt May said yesterday.

“Hello, Tyng,” I said softly and kissed her hand. She didn’t move an inch. I smiled a little. A tear formed at the corners of my eyes and it fell. “Aunt May told me what happened,” I said and stroked her hand. “You were a strong girl even after you had to leave everything. You were stronger than I was. You didn’t mope around but carried on with your life,” I said and choked back a little.

The machine continued its steady beep. I wiped away my tears. “I have been waiting for you to come back for a long time,” I continued. I don’t know whether she could hear me but I felt a light squeeze. “You can’t leave me again. I need you to wake up,” I pleaded.

I waited for a squeeze or something to show that she could hear me. Nothing. My visiting hours were limited and the others wanted to see her too. “I’ll be waiting,” I whispered in her ear.

Sarah patted my back as she entered. “We have to meet with Boss now,” said Kevin. “Are you sure with your decision?” he asked as we got into my car. “Affirmative,” I replied.

*********************

This was what I was told by Aunt May. Tyng took the job when no one wanted to do it. She knew the risks that had to be taken very well. To be on the safe side, the Tower assigned her an intelligent partner who to their horror would betray everyone later.

They worked on the case for years. Along the way, Chase developed feelings for Tyng. Tyng only treated him as a friend and turned down many dinner dates with him. What Tyng didn’t know was Chase has mental problems. His family didn’t accept him so he was very surprised when Tyng praised him everytime they accomplished something. That was Tyng, always trying to bring people’s confidence up. He liked Tyng more and more everyday. He even talked about her in the Tower.

Then, Chase found out why Tyng refused to return his love. Tyng told him that she already had me. Chase got real jealous. He thought that the only way to get her was to make her leave me.

At the same time, Nicholson managed to persuade him to join forces with him while he was working undercover. Nicholson promised him that he’ll get Tyng. Chase was already desperate for her love when he was approached so he agreed.

Things didn’t go according to plan. Tyng was caught in a fire and was burnt beyond recognition. Chase decided to get Tyng on his own. He was angry at Nicholson but he worked hard to build Nicholson’s trust. He was the one who tipped the Tower anonymously about the nuclear weapons in Switzerland.

A week later

I bought a bouquet of flowers from the florist early in the morning. As I started my car, I thought of ways to make my plan work. Tyng had recovered from coma and was being questioned by a representative from the Tower.

Tyng disliked the questions a lot. They even put her on the lie-detector. I strode into the familiar hospital corridor. Anne and Aunt May were waiting outside Tyng’s room.

The representative took me aside. I saw his name on his shirt. “I don’t know why the Tower is asking all these nonsense,” Joe said as he showed me the list of questions. I looked through the sheets of paper. An idea suddenly hit me.

“She does not like me very much,” he continued. “I think I’ll take over,” I said. His eyes widened. “Boss would kill me if he finds out,” he said. I just entered the room.

Tyng’s face lit up when I gave her the bouquet of flowers. “It’s beautiful,” she said after I kissed her on her lips. “I need to ask you a few questions,” I said and waved the clipboard at her. I settled into the plastic chair. She groaned. Joe came in and held his hands up when Tyng glared at him. “I’m just coming in to help him read the detector,” he said.

“Thank you. First question,” I asked and smiled when Tyng rolled her eyes. “Do you love Chase?” I read from the clipboard. “No,” she said firmly. I looked at Joe. “True,” he said. “Did you have sex with him?” I asked the second question on the clipboard.

Tyng’s head whipped around. “Are you serious?” she said loudly. “It’s in the clipboard,” I said, pretty much enjoying this. She muttered to herself. “NO. God,” she said. “True,” said Joe. I tapped the clipboard and looked at her.

“Who is hotter? Me or Chase?” I asked. “That’s not in the clipboard,” said Joe. “For once I agree with him,” said Tyng. “Just answer the question please,” I said. “Chase,” Tyng replied. I looked at Joe. “Lie,” he replied. He smiled a little.

“Do I have a six pack?” I asked. “That’s way overboard, Caleb,” said Joe. “Why are you asking me this?” Tyng asked. “I just want to see whether the machine works,” I replied and smiled. “No,” Tyng replied. “Lie,” shouted Joe.

“Do you love me?” I asked. “What question is that? Yes,” she said and glared at Joe. “True,” Joe said. I looked at him. “What? She isn’t lying,” said Joe.

Here comes the final question. I put the clipboard aside and held her hand. “Would you marry me?” I asked. Joe coughed when he took a drink. Tyng blushed. I waited.

The machine beeped rapidly. “Yes,” she said. The machine went berserk. “I don’t need to tell you what it means,” said Joe. “My job is done here. I’ll step out now,” he added and stepped out of the room. I kissed her lovingly.

A nurse rushed in to check the machine. “She told me that you wouldn’t let anyone near the tube,” Tyng said. I smiled when I remembered what I did to ward everyone away. “It’s true,” I said and kissed her again. “He guarded the machine like a lion,” the nurse said after making sure everything was working normally. I undid the wires from the lie-detector connected to Tyng. The nurse pushed the detector away before exiting.

“A lion huh?” Tyng said while deep in thought. “The lion and the lamb,” I quoted a line from her favourite novel. “Why didn’t you tell me that you knew me when we met?” she asked. “I was hoping you would come clean yourself. I was afraid to be let down if you’re a different person,” I said. It sounded lame right now. “To think of it, I should have told you earlier. It could have reduced our feelings of hurt,” I added.

“You should have,” she agreed. “Now if you would behave, I have yet to complete my song,” I said. “Is it the one you sang before I got kidnapped?” she asked. “No, this is a different situation,” I said.

Epilogue

Caitlin and I handed in our resignation letters to Boss’s dismay. He had to let us go because he knew we had been through a lot and wanted to end our suffering. Our files were also deleted. I even personally made sure the files can’t be retrieved at all.

We got married a few months later. Our marriage was also a reunion for Caitlin’s family. They didn’t believe it was her at first when we turned up at their doorstep. We did numerous DNA tests to convince her family.

Caitlin gave birth to twin girls. We named the older one Rosalie, after a character in a book, and the second one Sarah Anne, after Caitlin’s friends. Later, we had a baby boy who we named Jared, after Kevin’s middle name. It was only fair to Kevin.

We are still living in the same house. Aunt May was now both my housekeeper and nanny. “Rose, Sarah, please keep your toys,” said Caitlin as she entered the kitchen. She was carrying Jared. “Yes mummy!” said the twins as they rushed upstairs.

I offered to make milk for Jared. “Thank you honey,” said Tyng as she placed Jared in the baby stool. Jared began hitting the stool. Tyng talked to and tickled Jared. I could hear him giggling. He reached out for the milk bottle when I took it out from the cupboard.

“He reminds me of you,” said Aunt May as she passed by the kitchen. She was collecting the laundry. “He looks like daddy,” said Tyng and grinned. Jared grabbed the bottle and began to suck the bottle hungrily. I cleared my throat. Aunt May understood. “Let me carry Jared while the both of you talk,” said Aunt May as she lifted Jared up. “Thank you, Aunt May,” Tyng said. She watched as Jared disappeared upstairs with Aunt May.

“Have you decided?” I asked her. I could hear the twins playing the piano upstairs. “Yeah. I want them to have a normal life,” she said as she wrapped her arms around my neck. “What should we tell them when they ask us about our history?” I said. “The twins have been probing. They are also good in debating,” I added. “Well don’t blame me. They got that from you,” she replied.

Just then, the twins burst into the kitchen. “The twins want to have a picnic,” said Aunt May. “Daddy, please? You said we could if we practiced the piano,” said Rosalie as she climbed on me. Sarah kept pulling Tyng’s hand. “Well. You just bought a new car,” said Tyng. “Daddy, can you please, please, please drive us in your new car?” Rosalie begged. I looked at her. She looked so innocent, like her mum. Sarah came over and tugged my hand.

“All right. Let’s get ready,” I said and gave in. The twins jumped around and cheered. I carried both of them up.

Sarah asked me what car I bought when we got to the underground garage. “Ford Everest,” I replied as I buckled her in. Jared tried to pronounce the name of the car.

“Mummy?” began Rosalie when we got to the road. “Yes, Rose,” Tyng replied. “Sean said that mummy and daddy were spies a long, long time ago,” she said and dragged her words. “Maybe it’s because daddy has a big house with a lift,” Tyng said slowly.

“Is it true, daddy?” Sarah asked. We stopped at the red lights. I sighed. “It’s true,” said Rosalie and high-fived with Sarah. Tyng laughed out loud. “Coo…ol,” said Jared slowly.

I turned back. “Jared, what did you say?” I asked. “Coool,” said Jared as he pouted his lips. “Can you tell us the part where daddy ran to visit mummy in the hospital?” asked Rosalie. “Who told you that?” Tyng asked. The light turned green. “Uncle Kevin and Aunt Anne. They said daddy ran real fast and never stopped at all,” Sarah added.

“Well, looks like we’re going to have a family of secret agents,” said Aunt May. “Just when we thought of keeping them away from this,” said Tyng. I smiled.

about Tyng

Leave a Comment

                                                                                                                              Unique Pageviews for this article: 185