Michael paced back and forth in Operations aerie. He was being left in charge while everyone else in Section One was going to infiltrate the con. He liked the idea of being in charge, but the reason bothered him. He knew he would be taking his life in his hands if he tried to go to the con, but now he had no choice, and Michael didn't like not having a choice. He had already decided that he would go in deep cover, eschewing the mission pants and HKM hair for the infiltration, but now Operations had interfered with his entire plan. He had to stay behind in headquarters on the biggest mission to see the intervention of Section One in ages.
Operations obviously didn't trust his field mechanics in deep cover, and Michael had already cut his hair for the mission. It was short and severe, nothing like the romantic locks of the year before. He had planned on wearing brown contact lenses to disguise his changeable gray-green eyes. He had planned on being a bus boy at the opening banquet and ceremonies--all the plans were all for naught. Plus Nikita was really pi$$ed about his hair cut!
The fan fic writers were going to be there, except for poor Marie, who managed to break her leg three weeks before the con. He really wanted to grill her, especially because of her delving into his deeply tormented psyche. No real man wanted to see his guts spilled daily on a message board. There were others just as bad--Lorraine who was always placing him in ‘questionable' situations, to say the least. Ghost and Shelly who were always finding ingenious ways to kill him or Nikita and break hearts all over the story board--there was no end to the imaginations of those women. He wished he were half as good as they made him to be. Merde! It was a LOT to live up to.
Since Marie and her broken appendage were likely stuck at home, maybe he should give her a little call.... Maybe he could clear the air with at least one of those nosy writers and get her to lay off the psychological profiling for a while. He dreaded the day that Madeline came across some of her writing.
Michael accessed an outside line. Calling Tennessee could not be
that difficult. He had even visited and warned her once after the
big tornado, but apparently she hadn't taken him seriously.
Marie sat at her computer, finishing Chapter 51 of Ambition. After posting it, she wheeled herself into the kitchen for the homemade spaghetti and meatballs that a friend had sent over the night before. Marie looked at her unwieldy rt leg, encased in a knee immobilizer. If only...... All her online buddies were already in Toronto, and she would have been to, if only.... Her reverie was interrupted by the telephone--again. She had no idea how many times the damn thing rang with no one there--5-6 times a day. It was pretty annoying to say the least.
This time her Mom was closer and answered it for her. "Marie? No, there's no Marie here."
"Whoa, Mom, that is for moi. I am Marie to my online friends, you know. Remember, I told you?"
Mom rolled her eyes at the idea of computers, screen names and all the silly LFN stuff.
"Hello," was Marie's bright response. It was probably LFNMarti or Unofemmina wanting to know how the leg was progressing. They were already in Toronto!
"Marie?" asked a soft voice with a sensual French accent. No Mar-eeee for this one.
Marie's heart thudded. No, it couldn't be! "Y-yes, " she stuttered.
"It's Michael," he said softly.
"I recognize your voice," Marie said. No need to tell him that he spoke to her daily from downloaded .wav files that she had added to her sounds portion of her computer. He might think that was a little sick or ‘obsessed.'
"I heard you had an accident. I'm sorry."
"Uh, like Section One didn't have anything to do with that steel girder being in the wrong place at the wrong time, did it? Because if they did, I want you to know that having a broken leg really sucks, you know?" Marie was always suspicious, but maybe that was stretching it a little to blame her accident on Section One.
"Of course not. If they were, I would have to cancel them for you."
"Talk is cheap, Michael, but thanks for calling. I know you're not the heartless automaton they make you out to be."
"And how do you know that?" he asked softly. Maybe he could wear her down and obtain her true source of intel.
"Michael, you are all under surveillance. Section One is not the only organization that has nifty spy equipment. Why even Helix...."
"Helix was eliminated last January. They cannot be a factor," he protested.
"Wrong again, Michael. Helix is alive and well and in very deep cover. Just check out the Internet if you don't believe me," she suggested with a triumphant air.
Michael sighed into the cell phone. "Well, your intel is good.
I remember that you told me I would be making love to Nikita again, and
you were right. What you didn't bother to tell me was that Section
One and the SOTW would be monitoring our every
"Well, according to Betsy, you two did quite well by anyone's standards of field mechanics."
"Betsy, she's another one that knows too much about me! You women are too knowledgeable about my life. I am a very private person."
"Oh, yeah. Private person--I saw those Armel tapes. You didn't look to shy to me!"
"Well, you must understand, I cannot resist Nikita. I was going nearly crazy all those nights with her in the same bed, and nothing. I am not made of stone."
Marie snickered. "Maybe that's not the best analogy you could have used, Michael, but believe me, we understand about you and Nikita most of all."
"Well, if you know so much, it would have been nice, if someone had warned me that Nikita was working for Operations to bring down Adrian. I could have used a little clue in that situation, instead of driving myself crazy trying to save her."
"I know. I'm sure that was very difficult for you, Michael, but it was such a great story line, we hated to spoil it. By the way, we all loved the kitchen scene, where you slammed Nikita up against the wall. We all wanted to be the double on that one."
Michael said, "Yeah, that was pretty intense, but I was in agony while all you women were fantasizing. It's not fair."
"Well, Michael, if you kept in closer touch with some of us, we might be able to clue you in a little more often, but you have this security thing down pretty well. We sort of have to wait for you to contact us," Marie suggested.
"I will have to think about it."
"It's your choice, Michael. By the way, I hear they are all leaving you behind and you won't be at the con. It's going to be a lot of fun. I hate to miss it," Marie said softly.
"I hate to miss it, too. I had big plans. Guess I have to go now. Something in Asia seems to be heating up."
"Okay, Michael. Thanks for calling, bye," Marie said wistfully.
"Au revoir, Marie. I really am sorry about your leg."
"Me, too, Michael. Me, too.
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