Disclaimer: This story is based on characters copyrighted by Warner Brothers and Shoot the
Moon Productions. This story is meant for enjoyment purposes only and cannot be redistributed
without permission from the author. I retain the rights to the plot, not the characters. No
infringement is intended. Situation and dialogue taken from "The First Time" by Eugenie Ross-
Leming and Brad Buckner.
Date Written: October-November 2000
Andrea, thanks once again for your input.
Synopsis: A secret agent implores a pretty stranger he meets at the train station to help him with
an urgent request.

First Impressions
by Linda
(email: [email protected])

The young agent was running for his life. And for the security of his country. Counter
intelligence operatives were just moments behind him, willing to do anything for the brown paper-
wrapped package he clutched desperately in his arm. He was supposed to be the intermediary.
He had come to the train station to pass off the package to Special Agent Guthrie. Of course, he
needed to lose these thugs first, but they were too close on his tail for him to board the train, the
agreed-upon rendezvous.

Okay, time for Plan B, he thought desperately. But he had no Plan B. There didn't seem to be
any options. He could never shake these guys before the train left the station. Then a memory
flashed across his mind. Munich. Dr. Forbisher's secret formula.

He desperately searched the platform. A likely candidate caught his eye. Trained to think on his
feet, he sized her up in the instant it took to approach her. Tall, slightly tousled shoulder length
dark curly hair, very pretty even though she wore not a trace of make-up. She wore a belted
camel dress coat with a dress (or surely it could not be a nightgown?) peeking out from below the
hemline and at the neck and sleeves. Gloves, a plaid scarf, and camel pumps with no stockings
completed her attire. Simple, unassuming, friendly-looking, walking along purposefully, but not
appearing to be in a great hurry to get to a destination on time. She glanced backwards over her
shoulder, as if aware of her surroundings. Intelligent. Perfect.

Now to put the impromptu Plan B into action. He knew that given time, he could convince any
woman to do anything. The devastatingly handsome agent was possessed with a great deal of
charm when it came to women. But now he would have only seconds to convince this lovely
stranger to help him. He rushed up to her as she came towards him from the opposite direction,
grabbed her arm, and whirled her around so she was walking with him.

The woman, taken completely by surprise, exclaimed, "Whoa excuse me!" She wasn't really
frightened of this man, just annoyed to be caught off guard.

He directed, "Just walk with me." The package in one hand, he encircled her closely in his other
arm.

"I certainly will not!" The man was wearing a waiter's uniform strange attire for so early in the
day. He appeared agitated.

"Please I'm in trouble!" If he could not convince her to help him, all would be lost.

"No, I've got to go!" She managed to break free from his grasp and took a few steps away from
him. What could be so important that he would accost a perfect stranger on the train platform?

"Wait, just one more minute. Please." He took her arm again. Her face was just inches from his.
Flawless porcelain skin. Delicate features. Lovely brown eyes a man could lose himself in.

"No!" What did this man want from her? What kind of trouble could he be in? She wasn't sure
she wanted to know. He was so close to her she could detect a hint of his cologne. She would
normally be put off by anyone, stranger or not, standing this close to her. But she was not
intimidated by this man. She was close enough to keenly observe his strikingly handsome face.
Boyish good looks. Wonderful hazel eyes. Warm brown hair. Smooth skin marred only by a hint
of early morning stubble. Had he been up all night? His appearance was enough to make any
woman's pulse quicken.

"I'm in trouble... please." A pause. His arm still embracing her, he could feel her body tension
subside a little. A good sign. "Please."

She momentarily closed her beautiful brown eyes, as if mentally arguing with herself. The agent
was trained to read people's body language. He thought, thank god, she's going to help me!
Give her the extra second she needs and she'll make up her mind to do it. Holding his breath, he
waited for her decision.

"What is it you want me to do?" Something told her she would regret this, but she couldn't
ignore his pleas. She felt strangely drawn to him.

He smiled briefly, partial relief flooding his features. After all, he was not home free yet. This
was only the first step. The goons were still chasing him. And the lady had yet to hear what it
was he wanted her to do.

He started walking again, one arm around her back, holding her closely to him as he pulled her
along with him. The other arm held the package in front of her. His face was close to hers as he
spoke hurriedly, yet emphasized each word. Seconds counted. "Just take this. Get on the train.
It's a matter of life and death."

"Life and death?" she asked, skeptical. Had she stepped into the middle of a detective movie?

"Hand it to the man in the red hat."

"Is this for real?"

The thugs were just seconds from reaching him. He was desperate and running out of time and
patience. "Look, just get on the train. Hand it to the man in the red hat. You can get off at the
next stop and forget all about this. But do it!" He frantically waved her into the open train door
to her right side as he continued to walk backwards away from her and the mysterious package.

Having successfully passed off the package, he turned and straightened his jacket, and walked
quickly with determined nonchalance away from the departing train as it picked up speed. He felt
relief. He knew instinctively he could trust the pretty lady to deliver the package. After a few
seconds, he couldn't resist a furtive glance behind him. He had been momentarily lost in the
crowd as he spoke to the woman, but the goons had spotted him again and were running after
him. He began to run, but they gained on him and tackled him across one of the baggage carts.

The woman picked that moment to peek out of the passenger car door, as if to see where the
mysterious stranger had gone. To her surprise and alarm, she observed him being attacked by
two other strange men. One held him from behind his back while the other savagely beat him. Oh
my gosh!!! The woman's entire body tensed with fear for the safety of the man she had met only
moments earlier. It was up to her to deliver the package as she had promised. His physical safety
was out of her hands, but she could still help him in this small way. She would not let him down.

The woman stepped up to the walkway of the compartment. She inhaled a deep breath to try to
calm her near panic. She surveyed the passengers anxiously looking for a man wearing a red hat.
To her dismay, ALL the men sitting in that compartment were wearing red hats! Whatever was
she to do now? She desperately wanted to help the handsome stranger and follow the directions
he had given her. But how was she to know which man was The Man in the red hat?

As she tried to decide on a course of action, she became aware of the train slowly pulling away
from the station. She knew she could not disembark now. What a mess! How did she get herself
into such a situation? Here she was dressed in her nightgown, for heavens sake, without a ticket,
on a train headed for New York in a car filled with men in crazy red hats. She pinched
herself this must be some weird dream. Ouch! Maybe not.

She used her feminine wiles to dissuade the conductor from collecting for a ticket. She got off at
the first station and boarded the next train back to her point of origin. She still clutched the small
brown package. Since she didn't know which man was The Man to deliver it to, she thought it
safer to keep the package until she could figure out what to do. She couldn't return it to its
owner, as she didn't know who he was and probably never would. But something would come to
her. She had good instincts.

Why had she agreed to help the stranger? She was a caring person by nature. She didn't mind
taking a few extra minutes to help someone who needed it. But usually they were more mundane
requests for help calling for roadside assistance, stopping to help an elderly person with their
groceries, helping a mother get her baby and all her packages into the car during a sudden
rainstorm despite getting wet herself.

What was it about this man that had convinced her to help him with his spontaneous appeal for
help? Her heart naturally went out to anyone in trouble, and this man certainly had seemed to fit
that description. Maybe it was his air of sincerity. Despite the odd request, he had seemed
sincere. She had not been frightened of him. She knew she could trust him. Perhaps it was the
look of desperation in his eyes, pleading for her help. Oh yes, those hazel eyes, those beautiful,
beautiful hazel eyes. With very tiny flecks of gold. She blushed to think she had been close
enough to him to observe that. She briefly closed her own eyes and mentally shook herself. She
was not usually so susceptible to a person's physical appearance. But this man... She couldn't
control the decidedly pleasant shiver which washed over her. This man was different. He was
handsome beyond words. His face was youthful, yet possessed a certain maturity. He had a
commanding presence, an air of being in control (he had, after all, achieved his objective of
securing her assistance), yet seemed vulnerable because of his desperate circumstances. She felt
bonded to him by the trust he had placed in her to deliver his package.

She made a silent plea for his safety after the beating. She might never see him again, but she
would never forget him. Never forget the feel of his strong arm around her body while he held
her to him as they walked. Never forget how he looked directly into her soul while pleading with
her to help him. Never forget the strange attraction he held for her. The encounter lasted but
moments, but she knew she would never forget this day.

~~~~~~~~~~

He sat back into the semi-comfort of the car's rear seat. The usually cool agent did not feel so
hot. His jacket was torn and his clothes and face were smudged with dirt. His gut hurt and his
head throbbed. He was holding an ice pack to his temple. Bruises were beginning to appear all
over his aching body. But he counted himself lucky to have escaped with his life.

And at least Billy would be pleased that he had finessed his way through this one. It was a
miracle that the lovely brunette appeared out of nowhere to help him. He'd never really believed
in angels, but.... And she looked like an angel as well, possessing an almost ethereal beauty. He
knew it was unorthodox, against all Agency policies, to involve a civilian in such a situation. But
she really was his only option. Billy would understand.

Two hours later, he was feeling much worse in both body and spirit. Billy did not understand.
And Dirk really did not understand. Dirk chewed him out for passing off classified information to
a civilian. Special Agent Guthrie was dead from a gunshot wound. And his angel had NOT
delivered the package to Guthrie as she was supposed to. He ran his hand through his hair as he
cursed in anger and frustration. He was trying to remember why he was in this business in the
first place.

He was also trying to imagine why the lady would not have given the package to Guthrie. He
saw her get on the train. He felt instinctively he could trust her to deliver it. It was as if they had
made a pact. Then why had she not carried out her part of the deal? Well he would find out, as
he had to find her and the package, and time was vitally important. Agents were being killed
almost daily and the package was supposed to contain some clue to plugging the internal Agency
leak which contributed to the murders.

Locating the lady would not be easy, but the Agency had ways, so he didn't doubt for a moment
that he would find her. He felt a small tremor go through his body at the thought of seeing her
again, learning her name, finding out more about her, perhaps touching her on her arm or her
back. Her face appeared in his mind's eye. Yes, he wouldn't mind seeing her again. He wanted
to look once more into those warm dark eyes that stared so trustingly into his. He wondered
what her smile would be like, her laugh. But he would probably never know. When he did find
her, she would very likely and very understandably be very upset and very angry with him. And
he felt the same towards her for not delivering the package. She had really loused this up for him!

But he had an even bigger problem on his hands. If the woman still had the package, she was in a
great deal of danger. He knew he needed to find her quickly for her own safety and that of her
family if she had one. She was vulnerable, an innocent in this situation. He had gotten her into
this, and he would get her out of it. She was his responsibility. He felt a bond with her because
of the trust she had placed in him. She agreed to his request because he made it sound simple and
safe. That trust must be upheld. He would do whatever it took to get the package from her, but
more importantly, to protect her. Her safety was of paramount importance to him.

He headed home to clean up. To re-group. To strategize how to locate the lady and how to
secure the missing package from her. And then to figure out how to get her out of his life as
quickly as she had entered it. The dangerous life of an agent was no place for an innocent civilian.
Especially one who looked like an angel...


The End