Part III

        Michael felt complete with Nikita sheltered at his side, as if she were a vital part of him.  He was unsure if he could have lasted in Section One as long as he had, if Nikita hadn't been recruited.  The emptiness he had felt after Simone's death had gradually been filled with the warmth of the woman at his side.  She was his opposite in everything, open where he was closed, warm where he was cold, and compassionate where he was inured to the constant requirements that he kill to survive.  He was in reality an animal, but Nikita had somehow with the magic of her smile and the goodness of her heart made him human again, if only for brief moments.  She was strong where he was weak.  It was no wonder he needed her beyond reason and loved her belief.

        "Where Michael?"  came Nikita's plaintive question.  "Where are we going?"

        Michael stopped.  They stood in front of Michael's nondescript blue Mercedes.  He smiled at her, unable to keep from teasing her a bit more.  "You'll see.  Get in."  He gallantly opened the door for her, but refused to say more.

        Nikita rolled her eyes in mock pique.  "All right.  All right.  I suppose I should let you have your fun."

        Michael smiled again... fun.  What a novel concept.  He hadn't had much ... fun lately.  He walked around the car and entered the driver's side.  "Want a clue?" he asked, trying not to touch her, but failing.  His right hand was already cupped around the back of her neck, and the urge to kiss her was overwhelming.  He resisted.

        "Yeah, I want a clue," she said. Her husky voice dropping an octave as she turned to him.
        Her azure eyes locked with his.  Her breath was warm as she reached to kiss him.  He didn't resist.  In fact, he deepened the kiss, his tongue battling with hers.  Then he broke the kiss.  "It will be warm, and we're late," he said, the corner of his mouth quirking upward.

        Nikita's eyes opened wider.  "Warm?  Late?  Come on, Michael.  Tell me."

        "You'll see."  Reluctantly he turned from her, turned the key in the ignition and revved the car's powerful engine.  Expertly, he maneuvered the car into the late morning traffic, and they were moving.
        Michael could tell the Nikita's curiosity was about to get the better of her.  He started to smile as her hand began stroking his thigh.

        "Tell me, Michael,"  Nikita cajoled in her most seductive tone, as her hand continued  stroking him higher along his thigh.

        Michael smiled and shook his head.  "No.  You'll see soon enough."

        "Ni-ki-ta, that's enough," Michael protested.  His hands gripped the steering wheel, as he attempted to concentrate on his driving.  Thankfully, the traffic was clearing as they continued on their way.
        "I don't think so," Nikita responded with a throaty chuckle.  She could see the increasing tightness in his jeans.  "I'm not stopping until you tell me where we're going."

        "M....." Michael mumbled incoherently.

        "What was that, Michael?  I don't think I could quite make that out.  Was that a destination or  a just a general comment?"  Nikita could not resist teasing him, with words or actions, now that she had him captive, so to speak.

        Michael cut his eyes toward her.  The blank stare was attempted, but failed as her hand continued to fondle his thigh and threatened to slide higher, he shuddered.

        "Like that, Michael?" she teased.  "I guess you did," she said softly to herself.

        "Yes.  Just not now.  We're late," he added cryptically.

        "Late?" she exclaimed.  "Late for what?"  Nikita was perplexed.  It was too early for lunch... unless he were the snack.

        "You'll see soon enough, Ni-ki-ta," he teased, drawing out the syllables of her name.

        Nikita snatched her hand away from his thigh and folded her arms in an attitude of pique.  "I will punish you for this.  I will make you pay, see if I don't."

        Michael turned his head toward her and smiled.

         It was a dazzling sight, one she'd seen too few times.  She'd never seen it in Section One.  He would've had to beat off the female operatives with a stick, if he'd ever used it there.  As it was, the female ops tended to stay away from him, but their respect for Michael's position did not stop the incessant discussions about him and his reputed prowess as a Valentine Op.  Only one green operative named Sally had had the nerve to ask Nikita how good he really was.  Luckily, it had been one of Nikita's good days, and Sally had only received a very stern look and no other response.

        Nikita was aware that rogue copies of the Armel tapes had circulated rapidly around Section, increasing Michael's reputation and allure.  She, too, had been the recipient of many speculative glances from both male and female ops, as well.

        "Have you decided to behave?" he asked, his voice as soft as a caress.

        Nikita's radiant smile spread across her face as she looked away from him and smugly pretended to study the scenery.  "I guess I'll have to.  I was afraid you were going to wreck the car."

        Their teasing interplay had distracted her from their location.  Now that she had a chance to re-orient to her surroundings, she could see that they were on the edge of the city.  Semi-industrial sites were everywhere, and Nikita gasped as Michael executed a left turn into a private airport.  "Michael?"

        "Soon."  Michael drove expertly toward a glistening white hangar.  Avion Aire was emblazoned on the side of a small Lear Jet that sat waiting on the tarmac, engines revving.


        The crisp blue of the azure sky was reflected perfectly in Nikita's eyes, as Michael led her up the short flight of steps to the private jet.  She was truly surprised, and she showed it with widened eyes and lips that parted with expectation as he seated her in the cabin.

        Nikita strained to hear as he spoke with the pilot.  Not a word.  Damn the man!  Soft-spoken by habit, Michael had never needed to raise his voice in order to command the respect of fellow operatives.  Well, he'd had to raise his voice with her, but that was more to get her attention than anything.  Now intentionally, Michael's conversation with the pilot was impossible to hear.   How much longer was he going to keep her in suspense?

        Michael returned to sit beside her.  "Ready?" he asked with a teasing grin that made the angular planes of his face less severe.

        "No, not until you tell me where, Michael," she replied jutting her chin at him in feigned defiance.  Then she turned to him and began to undress him with her eyes.

        Michael smiled.  "A room ... somewhere warm," he said cryptically, taking her hand in his.  "That's the only clue I'll give you."  Michael's crystal green eyes watched her expressive face as disbelief vied with excitement in rapid succession.

        "But I don't have anything to wear."

        Michael rolled his eyes in mock dismay.  "I knew you'd say that."

        Nikita began to sputter.  "Well, I'm glad I'm so predictable, but it doesn't change the fact that I didn't bring any clothes at all, much less suited for uh, did you say a warm climate?"  Men simply had no comprehension of the proprieties, and apparently, Michael was no different in that regard.  Another thought, a naughty one, occurred to her.  "Unless you don't mean for me to be dressed at all?" she asked with a rising inflection and a seductive smile.

        Michael took Nikita's hand and kissed the back of her knuckles.  "Clothes have been arranged, but you don't have to wear them, if you don't want to."

        His breath was warm against her hand, and it sent delicious sensations up her arm and traveled simultaneously to the pit of her lower abdomen where desired flamed with an ever increasing intensity.

        "What do you say?" he asked.

        Nikita's arms went around his neck.  "What do I say?  I say, Mile High Club."  She fastened her lips on his and gave him a searing kiss, allowing one hand to slip to his waist band and start fumbling with his belt.

        "Ni-ki-ta, the plane is taking off.  You have to fasten your seat belt."  He began, attempting  to regain control of the situation, or at least himself.

        "Now,  ordinarily I would concur, but Nikita, the pilot is right there," Michael protested vainly, motioning toward the front of the plane.

        Nikita began to giggle.  "He has on earphones, and he has to fly the plane.  I think he's going to be too busy to pay attention to us."  Nikita continued to attack Michael's belt.  She could feel his determination weaken in inverse proportion to the strengthening of his arousal.

         "I'm glad I wore a skirt," she managed to say between kissing and nibbling.  Nikita could feel Michael begin to shudder.  His eyes glittered like green jade polished to a high sheen.  She would have him.

        "I am, too," he managed to say as strategic articles of clothing began to be re-arranged by an insistent blonde.

Part IV