Cape Canaveral Air Force Base Cape Canaveral, Florida
Kilmer watched as the plane containing Brilnikov and Kashkov along with Mo and Mia as escorts lifted off the tarmac toward Gitmo. He turned away from the window and back to his ex-wife who was putting the finishing touches on the paperwork before they returned to D.C. He pursed his lips knowing now was as good a time as any to continue their previous discussion, but uncertain as to how to broach the topic.
Frankie saved him from coming up with a plausible entry. Her writing complete, she laid her pen down and folded her hands in front of her on the table. Reading the look in his eyes, she nodded, silently agreeing that they had to talk. "I know what you want here, what you want to happen between us. You've made that perfectly clear, John." She paused, gathering her thoughts and words. "But every time you left without warning, it was yet another reminder of my second place status in your life. Your work always came first."
Kilmer shook his head as a feeling of dread washed over him. "And it still has to come first, now more than ever."
She dipped her head in agreement and replied, "But we're both on the same detail so work comes first for both of us."
Kilmer didn't answer. He had a sudden premonition that their future would be determined by whatever words came next.
Frankie closed her eyes, blocking his intent expression. She took a quick fortifying breath, then continued, "As much as I hate to admit it, part of me still loves you, regardless of all else." She lifted her lids and read the hope that lit his eyes. In a rush, she finished, "But you have to know the other part of me has some awfully good reasons for not loving you."
John braced for another diatribe on his crimes against her and was shocked to watch the tremble in her lower lip. He balled his hands into fists staying them from pulling her out of the chair and into his arms. With a heartfelt plea, he said, "Come on, Frankie, you've gotta give me something to go on."
She smiled at his impatience. It was as if he could sense victory a mere few steps away and was itching to claim it, to claim her. "The thing is," she continued, masterfully maintaining an even voice. "In the argument over what is best for me, the part of me that loves you is winning. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm willing to give you another shot."
Relief flooded his face rather than the triumph she had expected. She didn't often admit she was wrong and was sure that John would hold it over her. In fact, the old John would have done so. Maybe he had changed as much he wanted her to think. A warm glow washed over her at the thought.
John relaxed his hands and sank to the edge of the desk they had been using. Lacing their fingers together, he brought one of her hands to his lips. Frankie watched him as he placed a delicate kiss on each of her knuckles. She waited until his eyes returned to hers then warned, "Just don't screw up this time, Kilmer. I don't think I could take it again."
He nodded and with a smile that she hadn't seen in months, he answered, "Come on, Mrs. Kilmer, let's get out of here."