Disclaimers: All characters and images associated with The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum belong to Universal Pictures, Doug Lyman, Paul Greengrass, and the Ludlum estate. The use of these characters is for fun, not profit. This story is for entertainment purposes only, not profit. No harm is intended.
Caveat: This story was not beta'ed, all mistakes are mine (I'll clean them up as I find them). This story is dedicated to Frust-Sheep for her encouragement of my 'pregnant Nicky' plot bunny, and to Robin, for her constant and kind encouragement. :)
When Mars and Venus Collide
Chapter 4, Part 1: Twin Moons
David shucked off his damp boxers and stepped inside the shower stall. He braced his hands against the pink tile and bowed his head beneath the showerhead, registering the flow of warm water over his body. Vivid images of Nicky and their night in Paris flowed through his mind in a cascade—a sensory waterfall that threatened to drown him in emotion. Shifting his weight away from the wall, he surrendered to the images while his hands moved with practiced ease, shampooing his hair and then working soap against washcloth against body.
Through the whirl of images, his mind, always on alert, registered the latest trend of hotels in providing botanical and aromatherapy toiletries for their guests. The soothing scents of eucalyptus and spearmint surrounded him in fragrant steam as he stood beneath the showerhead and rinsed lather and soap down the drain. By the time he stepped out of the shower onto the bath mat and wrapped a towel around his waist, the images and memory of Nicky had settled in his mind with brilliant clarity.
David padded over to the sink and wiped fog from the mirror. He sagged against the porcelain and choked back tears as he caught sight of his reflection in the glass. After three years of excruciating disconnection, all of his memories had finally clicked back into place. The realization was overwhelming. He pushed away from the sink, smoothed his hands back along his wet hair, and closed his eyes in blessed relief. Then he opened them in concern. The release of one anxiety brought another one to the fore.
He rubbed his face, removing any hint of tears, and then reached into his shaving kit for his razor. He glanced over at the watch he'd tossed on top of a folded towel while he lathered his face with shaving cream. It was 3:30 am. The Cronin's had a 6:30 am flight. He'd planned on waiting until after Tom's family left for the airport before showing up at the hotel. But he remembered Paris now, and everything had changed.
David thought about Nicky as he shaved his face and neck with quick strokes. He wondered what had gone through her mind when he'd showed up that night at the safe house. Surely some part of him had recognized her, because he'd paused and stared. He'd taken in her appearance, gauged her skill potential and quickly dismissed her as a physical threat.
She was terrified at first; probably thinking he'd suffered some kind of psychotic break after the Wombosi incident. But then her fear segued into something else. She was relieved to see him. That caught his attention, made him pause. He'd given her an extra look before turning his full attention to Conklin. Later he'd looked at her again, with Conklin unconscious on the floor and a threat on the other side of the door, noting the look in her eyes and her deep inhalation of breath.
He saw her again, three years later in Berlin.
Of course they brought Nicky with them, and of course she'd helped them all she could, to find him … to kill him. It was her duty to help them and he wouldn't have expected anything less from her. But she'd also been all that was left of Treadstone, all that he could connect to the agent in India and Marie's death. From the moment he spied her through the rifle's scope, she became the focus of his anger. He knew Landy would send her, knew they'd give in to his demand if he asked, do anything to get him.
David closed his eyes and griped the edge of the sink. He could still hear the safety release … see the gun against her head … feel his finger easing the trigger back with steady pressure. If not for the pleading voice and image of Madame Neski flooding his mind with guilt, Nicky would be dead.
But he couldn't think of that now. He rinsed his razor in the sink and used the hand towel around his neck to wipe away residual shaving cream. Nicky wasn't dead, and she needed him.
Sweet Nicole …
He'd whispered those words to her in Tangier without knowing why, unaware of their meaning. He could still feel her lifting his weight, just enough to search his eyes in the mirror. He recalled his puzzlement at the hopeful light in her eyes and how it had died, replaced with sadness. She'd turned then, breaking the spell, thrusting them back into the real-time of haste and danger. At the time, his body was all that he could give; the only comfort he could extend to her, because Marie had the rest of him.
He dried his hair with another hand towel and moved into the other room to dress and pack, wondering if Nicky would ever forgive him … wondering how he could ever have forgotten her … wondering how to explain his love for Marie; not the same as what he felt for Nicky, but nonetheless real.
He was so consumed with thoughts of Nicky that he blinked in surprise to find himself fully dressed with his black duffle slung over his right shoulder. He started to drop his bag on the over-stuffed easy chair by the window and wipe down the room. But then he remembered his temporary reprieve from the CIA. He hit the light switch before the door clicked shut behind him. He took the stairs down to the small front lobby and dropped his key off at the desk. The sleepy desk clerk barely glanced at him when he handed David his receipt and thanked him for his stay. He heard the man snoring before he made it to the front door.
The two-mile walk to the Four Points Sheraton Hotel was uneventful at 4 am, save for a lone mugger who shadowed him for the first half-mile. His shadow left him once he turned right onto Julio Boulevard, signaling the boundary between the low rent part of the city and the tourist district. He walked for another mile and a half and then turned right onto Ejido Boulevard, bypassing several large resort hotels until he stood in front of the Sheraton and was greeted by the Doorman.
Family-friendly four star resort hotels were the rage of the new millennium, and hotel chains were reaping the benefits. The spacious lobby of the Four Points Sheraton was an interesting mix of palm trees, sepia glass, huge grey floor to ceiling pillars, black carpet and black, white, and red retro leather chairs and couches that would have been chic in an early Bond film. The ceiling was rich polished wood with round porthole lights. Despite the early hour the lobby contained about thirty jet-lagged people. They sat on couches reading books or sat around small tables in groups, talking quietly or playing cards, winding down before going upstairs to their rooms to get some sleep. Several small children kneeled before a low coffee table with a board game, while two other children worked a puzzle and one child colored in a book.
He was pleasantly surprised to see several Boutique stores down a wide corridor on the left-hand side of the lobby, about halfway between the door and the front desk. He walked into a Boutique called Un Poco de Elegancia with the English translation, A Touch of Elegance, written directly beneath it on the ornate sign above the door. The store contained everything from tastefully elegant silk, lace, and linen unmentionables for men and women, fresh cut flowers in a refrigerated case, perfume, makeup, clothes, gourmet food, and jewelry. His eyes lit with interest as he walked over to the jewelry case. Although Uruguay was the least stringently catholic country in South America, it was still way south of the equator. If Tom told the hotel staff that he and Nicky were married, it would be better for them to have some visual proof to that effect. A half-hour later he left the store with a large basket—prepared by the proprietor—filled with crackers, cheeses, chocolate, five bottles of Ginger Ale, and pink roses. It had been a while since he'd given anyone flowers, but he supposed that he ought to present some to the woman who was carrying his child. He'd also purchased a 14 carat gold wedding band set. He sat the basket down behind one of the grey pillars and slipped the larger gold ring onto his left-hand ring finger, and then walked up to the front desk.
There were no sleepy front desk clerks here. Even at this early hour he was greeted with a pleasant smile and a cheerful greeting.
"Buenos días, Señor! How may I help you?"
"Good morning," David replied, handing the desk clerk his passport. "I believe you have a reservation for me."
The clerk typed into the computer. "Sí, Señor Nielsen. Your wife arrived yesterday. Señor Cronin told us to expect you. Just one minute, please, while I activate your key card." He handed David a guest registration form to sign and then punched more keys and ran a card through a small black box connected to the computer. He inserted the key card inside a holder and wrote in a room number. He eyed the large basket. "Would you like someone to bring this up to the room for you?"
"No thank you. Have the children and Señora Cronin left for the airport?" He made sure to place his left hand on the counter as he signed the reservation form and accepted his key card.
"No, Señor. They have requested a bellhop for 5 am to help bring down the luggage." The clerk pointed to his right. "You can reach the Suite by taking any of those three elevators. Enjoy your stay, Señor."
He adjusted his black bag and picked up the basket, and then he walked over to the bay of elevators across from the restaurant entrance. A couple with a sleepy child in tow got on the elevator with him and exited on the twelfth floor. He rode up to the twenty-fifth floor and stepped out onto plush tan carpet. He walked down the corridor, coming to a stop in front of a double-door suite.
David heard the distinctive click of a gun's safety release the moment he opened the door.
(To Be Continued)