How I've changed.

During my weekly poker game, I was listening to Madeline and her girlfriends talking about some problem one of their kids was having. One of the "Ladies in Lilly," as I call them, kept going on about how shocked her son was about some situation at work.

"He's like a lobster in a pot of cold water. Little things started to happen. Never knew the heat was on until he was in trouble."

That's when it hit me, "that's me." You get into something and you think one way. Then, everything changes slowly and BAM, nothing is the same, especially you.

I came to Miami intent on making Michael mine. He walked away from me once, now he was trapped and couldn't escape. Of course, I would never confess that to Michael. "Old associates sniffing around," was the reason I shared. True enough, but I could've gone anywhere. Miami provide great cover, warm weather, tanning time, and finally my chance.

When I first came, I took on clients for one of two reasons. First, I took jobs for the cash. A girl's got to eat and I was supporting Michael, who has an issue with getting paid for jobs. Second, I took some of these jobs to drive Michael nuts. Like Thomas McKee or the guy who got mixed up with the loan shark, or even better, the two kids that who were being hunted by the car thieves. That was a great job. I loved watching Michael try to please me. I loved watching his frustration and many times, his admiration. For a while, it was the only way I knew he cared.

A third reason became clearer as I stayed. To be really honest, it was the work ethic. It's fun. I worked alone for most of my career. But with Michael, it is different. We tease each other, know each other's moves, plan operations, finish each other's sentences or make weapons together. I love making weapons with Michael. It is one of my greatest turn- ons. Some couples go golfing or out on the town. We make bombs and C4. Common interests, I guess. Like our subscription to Guns and Ammo. Why get Time when neither one of you is interested in politics? Aside from all of that, finishing someone else's thoughts makes me feel less alone. For an independent, passionate woman, that's a lot to admit.

Then there are the clients that Michael picks up. They get under my skin. April and her sons, Tommy, the hapless criminal, the Haitian gentleman finding justice for a dead child; and Spencer. These "projects" take on a different feel. I never looked deeply into the eyes of a client, into their lives, but these people help me find a standard of good. I see why Michael is so careful to make sure innocents are never hurt on a job. I see him in another light on these jobs. He hasn't changed that much. I just appreciate his view of justice, of right and wrong. I have taken it on as my own. But, let's be clear:. I have no problem taking a claw hammer to very nasty man. I have no problem shooting first and asking questions later. I just make sure that my aim is very, very good and very, very accurate and no one who doesn't deserve it gets hurt.

What I didn't understand is that I would change. I view the world from a new perspective now. With each client, I see a bigger picture. I see a different side of myself. Each client makes me reevaluate what I do. I have no problem being a bad ass, kick your teeth in because I don't like what you say, gun dealing, passionate woman. Yet, this other side of myself has amazed me.

I admitted something to Michael about this change before I almost left for Ireland. I don't know if he sees it. I don't know if he appreciates it. May be one day he will because I appreciate the effect he's had on me.