... If you dare to believe this dream is true...
Today, in one instant, everything ended.
Strange how, in the second before the impact, things seemed suspended in time, silent, almost serene.
Then it was reality again: the sickening sound of snapping bones; the last breath of the one person that made life worth living…
Her name echoes in my head. It's already shallow, muffled. Empty.
How do I go on living?
How do I breathe?
I don't think I can do this…
Logged January 12, 2028
I got a message from Dad on the visiophone. He looked fine, a little tired. Sean thinks I worry too much about him. But then, Sean always thought I was Daddy's girl.
Ok. I am Daddy's girl. What can I say? My dad is the most wonderful man I've ever met. I could do much worse than to think him awesome.
He wanted to make sure I was ok. Now that I've settled into my new job at the CIA, he's constantly calling to see if I'm alive.
I shouldn't say that. He only wants to protect me. After all that happened to Mom while she was an agent, he certainly has reasons not to feel at ease about this job of mine.
I know he hated it, the day I told him I wanted to join the Agency. Despite his misgivings, he gave me his blessing. That is, right after he imparted on me a "be careful" lecture even more severe than the one I received the first time I went out on a date.
Anyway, he just wanted to make sure I was ok, and also that I got his package. He sent me a bunch of old electronic files, the other day.
"You've always been curious about Mom, and the past. I thought you'd get a kick out of my old notes. Try not to laugh too much when you read what I wrote about Mom."
I admit, I was intrigued. Even though it was after-hours, I convinced Agent Winsfeld to accompany me to the tech center, since he has round-the-clock clearance because of a project he works on. Dave Winsfeld has been helping me since I started here and we've become good friends. Thanks to him, I was able to get in and convert the CDs to Crystallite right away. As usual, the conversion didn't work perfectly, but with a little tweaking, I retrieved all of the information. I even found the backup for several modified files and one file that had been completely erased.
I started reading some of entries when I got back home, skipping over most of the job stuff and hopping to the parts that talked about Mom. It wasn't really a journal. More like remarks and recounts written when the situation got to Dad, I imagine. Daddy seems to be this outgoing guy. You'd think he's got a ton of friends, but he really doesn't. In fact, he's told me many times I was his only friend. I asked once if Mom wasn't his friend too. He said that she was his true love, but not as much of a friend as I was to him. I have a feeling he's always been pretty lonely. I'm so glad I can be there for him. I feel incredibly lucky to be in his confidence.
So, I confess: I blushed a couple of times when I read this. I love my parents, but the idea of them being "physical" is still in Ewww Land for me. Those are images I would gladly live without. Then again, I can only blame my curiosity. After all, Dad did delete "that" particular file. I only had to leave it deleted… But noooo…
'Cause that's the thing with me: I picture situations. That's why I became an analyst. More than just profile, I have this uncanny ability to sense, for lack of a better term, what is about to happen or what someone is thinking or is about to do. It's eerie. It often scares people away when they find out. Daddy says I would make Mulder proud. When I asked, one day, if this Mulder was one of his old colleagues, he laughed and told me I would find out everything I needed to know about him at the entertainment section of the digital library. I checked it out. It was strange to see this old television show. Scientifically not very sound, but that Mulder guy was a cutie, which helped my appreciation of Daddy's joke a lot.
To get back to the entries, some of them referred to old cases. A name came back several times: Rambaldi. I tried to check it out, but all the information was classified. I need to learn more about the subject, though, since both Sean and I seem to be linked to this case. I haven't been in the CIA for long, but I already understand how crucial it is to become deeply aware of my strengths and weaknesses so that I can be an efficient player in the Big Spying game. That includes knowing my past, where I come from, what the mysteries of my life are. Dad knows this too, and I'm sure that's the main reason why he let me have a look at what are, after all, very personal thoughts.
So now that I know about Rambaldi's connection to my family, I'm on a mission to uncover all I can. I would ask Daddy about it, but every time he mentioned the subject in his journal, the context was very upsetting. I don't want to bring up bad memories. Maybe I'll go see Granddad this weekend. He was a high ranking officer in the CIA. He might know. I know everyone thinks Granddad is kind of scary, but I like him. I like that he doesn't say much, but what he says is always very meaningful. I know he'll talk to me. Just like Daddy, Granddad has always had a soft spot for me. He says I remind him of Mom. I hate the sadness in his eyes when he says her name.
Of course, there are tons of entries about Mom. I only had time to read a few of them so far. I bumped into the most difficult one as I was perusing the end of the second Crysta. The entry was short and it had been logged in two months after she died. I guess at that point, anger had replaced the deep depression Dad had fallen into immediately after Mom's passing.
In the entry, he wrote how he always knew she would go quickly. He'd assumed it would happen during a mission, or as she fell victim to some sinister plot. But he had never imagined she would die at home, breaking her neck as she missed a step and tumble down the stairs.
At first, he was very suspicious of what had happened. He asked the CIA for an enquiry and even enrolled an old friend from Op tech to find out if there was any foul play. I remember he mentioned hearing a noise before Mom called out his name as she was falling down. Was it the confusion of the moment, or the grief that made him believe he'd heard steps upstairs? In any case, neither the CIA team nor his friend found any evidence. Dad was left with the feeling that Mom's death was unfitting, too mundane for someone like her.
I love Dad, but I can't share that feeling. It's true Mom was an exceptional person and that spying was in her blood. She fulfilled that destiny by becoming one of the most decorated CIA agents ever. But her priorities changed entirely after her abduction. I don't have a very clear memory of the time she went missing. I was only five, and Daddy and Mami did everything they could to make up for Mom's absence. Yet, I do remember Mom delved into her role as a wife and mother once she was back. And I sensed without a shadow of a doubt that she wasn't putting an act on. She was taking pleasure in her new role.
It doesn't mean that our lives became "normal". As much as Mom hoped for a "regular" existence and fought hard to get her dream, we never truly got there. So, in a strange way, her wish was finally granted at the last possible moment. At least, that's how I look at it. And I think Mom would agree.
"Normal" was the reason why she married Dad, she told me once. Because he was a good man and he wasn't trying to be a hero. Said like this, it doesn't sound terribly exciting. But it's what she valued most in him. For years, her life had been plagued by so many dramatic moments. I got the distinct feeling that the normality of her relationship with Dad gave her solace in a way no other relationship ever had. He was her rock, her little corner of the world where things were constant, with love and caring always abundant.
That's why something really surprised me in these entries. After reading a fair number of Daddy's logs, I realized he had hidden from me and everyone else all the doubts he had about Mom really caring for him. What surprised me is that I never got a sense of that, and it's very rare that I don't pick up on things of this magnitude. Maybe Dad is slightly immune to my insights.
Whatever the case may be, the entries clearly showed that he thought Mom had chosen him because no one else was around. And particularly not that man, Michael Vaughn, who's mentioned many times throughout the entries and who was obviously very important to Mom, as well as Dad's best friend for many years.
Even though he was around for a month or so, I don't remember Mr. Vaughn very well. He visited us during the summer I was 13 or 14. I remember not liking him very much. There was something dark in him that scared me. I remember feeling sorry for him. But above all, I remember wanting him out of our lives. His arrival had cast a long shadow, obstructing the sun most of the summer. I was really relieved when he left never to return.
But to get back to Dad doubting Mom's love for him, he couldn't be more wrong. I know this because, one day around the time of my first night out, Mom told me something I'll never forget.
"Lila," she said, "I was never very lucky in my choice of men. I kind of always went for the wrong sort. You know… Good looking, mysterious, charming without even trying. I had some standards. I always went out with guys that were intelligent. Always brown hair…" She giggled at that, then got right back on topic.
"But it's when I wasn't looking that I met your Dad. And I didn't see him at first. He was just a friend of a friend for a long time. Then I went through a difficult phase. I disappeared for two years. Everyone thought I was dead. When I came back, my friends were all gone. I had no memory for the time I was away, no home, nothing left of my past; and the man I thought I was going to marry had already wed someone else. It took me almost a year to crawl out of that hole. And your Dad was there every day of it. Just there, helping me with little things. Being my only friend."
She took my hand and held it tight. "The person you're meant to be with isn't always who you think it should be. All I can say to you is this: take your time and don't forget to look at the people who are by your side. Because the ones that are right in front of you, that dazzle you, they might not be it at all." She pulled my hand to her heart. "The richest person is the one who loves and is loved back ten times more. Eric, Dad, has made me the richest woman on Earth. I hope you don't have to go through as much heartache as I did before you find the person who completes you perfectly. I hope you'll love him as much as I love your Dad. Never settle for less."
I never told Daddy about this conversation. At the time when it would have been natural to mention it, his speech to me on the pitfalls of dating was quite different. He didn't talk about Mom, only about how horrible men could be and I should be as picky with them as when I selected shoes. At the time, I thought that was a cheap shot at my already legendary habit of spending sometimes several weeks hunting for the exact pair of shoes I was going to buy with my allowance.
Anyway, all of this is to say, I need to talk to Daddy and tell him. I need to tell him that Mom really loved him with all her heart. And that she had no regrets other than not having noticed him before. And I need to tell him in person, because I know he will cry when I say this to him. And I want to be there to cry with him.
Wow… This entry is taking a life of its own. After I read Dad's notes, I decided this was a good idea and I should start taking notes in the same way.
But Dad is more concise than I am, obviously. If I don't pay attention, this is going to turn into a very boring account that even my children won't want to read!
Not that I have to worry about that just now. I don't even have a boyfriend, for crying out loud. In this day and age, eMags say you're more likely to take a trip to the Mars colony in the next 20 years than find a boyfriend after you get out of job training. So, according to this, my future as someone's wife is pretty much shot, unless the guy happens to be on that trip I'll be taking to the Mars colony…
Then again, I met this agent the other day at a briefing. Agent Winsfeld introduced him as Michael Thorne. He was the operative sent to Russia to retrieve a, get this, Rambaldi memoir that had been stolen from the CIA vaults some 20 years ago and that had suddenly resurfaced at an estate sale, of all places.
I only met Agent Thorne during the one briefing. I don't know much about him. But his green eyes are just… At some point, he looked directly at me for a few seconds longer than necessary, with this gentle hint of a smile… and it was like an electrical current ran between the both of us.
I think I'd like to know him better. My tingly sense tells me we would have much in common. And I'm rarely wrong about these things…
Logged September 16, 2031