Chapter 27

Kendall stalked out of his office where he'd been keeping himself busy for the last two hours. He pretended to look over the file in his hands while he scanned the room for Jack. He wasn't there, only a few agents were. He clicked his tongue and remained where he was. If he could offload both an international threat and his own greatest risk to moving up the corporate ladder, there was little which would remaining his way?

All he had to do was formulate a plan to convince Jack it was in his best interests. How the hell he was going to do that was beyond him. In the week since Jack had returned from their misadventure in Thailand, he'd made it perfectly clear that his disdain for the woman still ran pure. He'd been to see her a couple of times a day, appearing obsessed just with watching her, but the cameras had provided only pictures of few words and dark glares from both.

Whatever had happened while they were away, neither was prepared to talk about it, still, it was perfectly clear that their relationship had not improved.

So how was he going to convince Jack to live with the woman he hated? There had to, in his opinion, be a solution, and when he found it, he was going to be promoted and the famous Agent Bristow would be nothing more than a housewife.

Biting his lip, he flipped the folder shut and scanned the room again, with narrowed eyes. Jack had just entered, smug look on his face as usual, lips pursed as he was immediately confronted by a harried agent who spoke for a few seconds and shoved a pile of paper towards him.

Jack nodded curtly and turned to walk in the direction of his desk. Kendall, taking a deep breath, moved in to corner him. He was in his own little world as he stalked towards his prey. Jack looked up and nodded in his direction before turning to his computer where he had obviously just started typing something up. Kendall came to a stop in front of him, his hands clenched into fists at his sides.

Looking up expectantly, this time, Jack swivelled around in the chair and waited, with arms crossed. It was all he could so to stop himself from laughing at the sheer lack of comfort on his boss's face. After the awkward silence had stretched on for several minutes, Jack's brow creased and he turned back to his computer, shaking his head and looking slightly bemused.

The moment his fingers went to move over the keyboard, a hand was placed on his shoulder. Jack turned back, "What?" he sounded exasperated and confused, not the way Kendall had wanted the conversation to start.

"I spoke to Derevko..." Kendall let his words hang in the air as he watched as the expected dislike flickered over Jack's face.

"And?"

"And...we came up with a realistic compromise." Kendall felt like a little kid asking his parents for an expensive toy, already knowing the answer, but determined to try anyway. He felt stupid. Jack's expectant look signalled he wasn't about to start talking, he was playing this smart, keeping his mouth tightly shut. "She's agreed to house arrest at a big property with no guards in sight of the house, no cameras but I think she'll surrender phone and internet records, no wire taps though."

Kendall waited; Jack was not looking convinced, "She's playing you," his words backed up his facial expression.

"She's not," Kendall insisted, "She'd agreed to have an agent live in with her."

Jack stared at him, an eyebrow raised. "She's agreed to live with someone who's fully trained?" Kendall nodded. "What about a tracking device?"

He shrugged, "I can't see her being in a position to complain about it." Jack nodded, as though finally thinking about it.

Eventually, he shrugged, "It sounds failsafe, it probably isn't but we've got the house out east, enough paddocks and trees to keep her happy. Put as many men on the perimeter as you can manage and send an armed, fully- trained agent out to live with her."

Kendall hadn't thought of that, it was a huge farm but no one ever used it as a safe-house any more. Too much open space around the actual house and no real escape routes. But it suited this perfectly. He looked back to Jack who, thinking they were done, had gone back to typing. He didn't wonder for a second how Jack had known about the neglected house.

"There is one other, small matter." Jack turned back, "She will only live with an agent she is familiar with, otherwise she won't agree to the deal." Jack's eyes narrowed and the look was good enough to make Kendall cringe and draw the attention of the two people who'd been loitering by the main entrance for the last ten minutes. Jack threw a quick glance at them and watched Sydney pull out her mobile and dial a number.

That dealt with, he looked at the man in front of him who'd stepped back and now looked as though he was preparing to have a piano dropped on him. "Who, exactly, did she have in mind?" Jack emphasised each word and watched his adversary recoil further.

"Well," Kendall stalled, "She really didn't have a preference," he lied.

"I am not letting you take he near my daughter." Jack dangled the bait in front of him.

Kendall grabbed it whole-heartedly, "Well, if you reject this, I'm really not going to have much of a choice other than to move on to her, see if she's interested in getting to know her mother a little better. It is a matter of international security that we bring in Sark."

Jack clenched his teeth, letting out a slow breath and, in a low dangerous voice, asked, "Are you telling me that if I don't live with Irina Derevko, you will allow my daughter to take on the job."

Kendall smiled, puffing up his chest, "Yes."

Jack stood up, glaring at him, "Are you trying to blackmail me?"

Kendall smiled again, this time, knowing he'd won, the Cheshire cat grin only winning him a powerful punch to the jaw and the coppery taste of blood in his mouth.

When he'd recovered, he could only watch Jack's retreating form as Sydney and Vaughn, who had apparently just walked into the office, moved over to question him. "What was that?" she asked worried, the blood showing as Kendall rubbed the back of his hand over his mouth.

He glared at the young woman and said, "My office. Now."

Sydney and Vaughn sauntered in after him and took their seats. What they needed now was for Sark to call. It had easily been five minutes since Sydney had called her home phone. Sark hadn't picked up, but that had been the plan. So what hadn't he called the CIA?

Kendall took his hand away again and spat blood into the waste paper bin to his left. He turned back to Sydney, glowering at her as though her father's rash actions were somehow her fault. Fighting back the urge to yell, he quickly began to outline to the two of them the proposal Irina had put to him and was just explaining to them Jack's decision to hit him when his phone rang. Opting to ignore it, Kendall continued talking. However when it hadn't stopped ringing a minute later, he snatched it up and forcefully asked, "What is it?"

"Mr Sark is on the line. He says it's important."

Kendall's face fell and he asked to be patched through.

To be continued, in the near future, I hope, no major school work due for two weeks, so I should be able to update a little more often.