Did some more writing today at work, and it's a short scene, but a telling one, I think, from Romeo and Juliet But Without Teenagers or Death...Well, Okay, Some Death. I think it'll probably be more confusing than telling, actually. So...my apologies. In advance.
9 Months After Chapter 1
An alert for a new email message popped up in the corner of her screen right as Sarah reached up to close the lid to her laptop for the night. She might have ignored it, but it came through her CIA-sanctioned email account, which meant it could be a new mission. Given that her last two jobs had kept her stateside and dealing with handsy foreign dignitaries in compromising situations she’d rather not recount, even alone to herself, she wasn’t sure if she was pleased about that or not.
She’d rather be hunting her so-called Ghost. At least he kept the game interesting.
Still, she clicked open her email server. They’d likely bugged her computer and would know if she was putting off receiving orders. Her eyebrows drew together.
Okay, so it wasn’t an order. An old fear, jittery in the base of her stomach, that she might open the email and see her own face there, rose. She quashed it. She’d done nothing to earn a burn notice. And being in cahoots with the director of the CIA meant that if she had, she wouldn’t be finding out from an email.
The face that did stare out at her from the email, however, made her forget everything. Sarah blinked, refreshed the message just to be sure. The face didn’t change.
“What the hell?”
Perhaps it was ridiculous to speak aloud when she was alone in her own apartment, on her couch with a glass of wine. She didn’t care.
The email didn’t list particulars behind the burn notice, just that the agent in question had been blacklisted and was considered persona non-grata by every intelligence agency. Since the email had come from Graham’s office, however, there was a secondary attachment that she suspected was just for her. When she clicked it, a series of photographs opened across her computer screen, followed by a single line of text:
I’m sorry to be the one to tell you. I didn’t know.
Dual stabs of shock and betrayal all but froze her to the couch. The photographs were explicit—one in particular made her shudder and wish they’d at least closed the damn blinds because that image was going to be forever burned into her skull, possibly with an iron brand—and told a very stark picture, one she couldn’t deny, no matter how hard she tried. She picked up her wine and downed the whole thing before she closed the email.
It took only a few seconds of deliberating before she picked up her cell phone, never far out of reach, and called the home office. “Agent Walker here. I need you to locate an agent for me. Yes, it’s important.”
Two days later, the little crop-duster plane touched down in a back field in the Congo, in a town that nobody would ever remember—CIA reports would see to that. It took a little wheedling with the pilot, and a good half-day’s hike with only her pack to reach her final destination, but Sarah forced herself not to mind. She knew exactly what she had to do, and she would have walked a hell of a lot farther to eat crow, in this case. She found the base the team was using—a hut, really—thanks to her contacts in the home office. A quick flash of her CIA badge was all that she needed to get through the mosquito nets and into the hut.
Inside, the air was roughly the same consistency and temperature of overheated soup, but she’d already been sweating for over half a day. She didn’t pay it a single lick of attention. No, instead, her gaze immediately found the brunette in the corner, separated from the rest of the group and their game of cards. Sarah ignored the speculative looks from the rest of her ex-partner’s team and crossed the hut.
“Turns out I owe you an apology,” she said, and pulled out the copy of the burn notice she’d printed out. The hike, the humidity, and her own sweat had wilted the paper, but the face, and the pictures, were still clear.
Zondra looked down at the pictures of Amy Monroe wrapped in a very torrid embrace with Augusto Gaez and said, “Figures.”