HOW CAN I...?
This story starts at the end of a job in a sleepy town in South America, where Claira Phelps is a part of her father's team and is waiting to meet up with him and the other members of the team to go back home to the states. Claira looks up and down a street scene and consults her watch that Jim had bought her weeks before in a jewellers as keep sake. Claira turns it over and looks at the inscription and smiles as she reads the words placed on it.
At that moment a large truck was coming around the corner too fast and hit an oncoming car which mounted the kerb in front of Claira knocking her over the bonnet and onto the floor where she hit her head and fell unconscious.
An ambulance was soon on the scene and put Claira into the back and sped away to the nearest hospital just as Jim arrived with the rest of the team to collect Claira where Jim had told her to wait. Jim got out and looked up and down the street.
"Maybe she's late." Rollin said.
"Or maybe we're too early." Cinnamon said watching Jim.
"I gave her a watch to make sure she..." Jim said looking at an everyday street scene around them.
"Can she tell the time?" Rollin said.
Jim looked at him.
"She's nine, not a baby; she can tell the time alright."
"I was just asking."
"Maybe she saw something she liked. We all know what Claira's like." Cinnamon said touching Jim's arm.
"Claira would still be here on time, she wouldn't.., unless" Jim said jumping back into the van and drove away.
Claira awoke in a local hospital bed and looked around to see a white curtain around her. She tried to get up but she got a sharp pain in her stomach which made her cry out. At that moment a nurse walked in and pulled one of the curtains back to reveal a row of beds with people of all shapes and sizes occupying them. The nurse started to talk in Spanish which Claira could not understand.
"I don't know what you're saying, I'm American." She said holding her stomach.
"American?" A doctor said behind the nurse.
Claira looked at him.
"Yes. You can speak English?"
"Very, as I'm also American. You could say that I'm a kind of exchange student around here." The doctor said as the nurse started to check her over and report back her injuries. "Don't worry, she's only telling you your injuries. You're a very lucky young girl." He said watching the nurse picking up the chart at the end of her bed. "Now she's asking for your name."
"My name, my name is Claira, Claira Reese." She said now looking at the nurse as she started to play with the watch on her wrist.
"How do you spell your surname?"
"R,E,E,S,E." Claira said as she watched the nurse write it down then left them.
"Well now that I know your name, I can tell you mine. I'm Matt Davis." He said sitting on the bed. "Could I check that stomach of yours?"
Claira nodded and watched the doctor pull up her top and noticed she was touching the watch.
"Is that a keep sake?"
"You're watch. You keep touching it."
"My watch?" She said looking at it.
"Hey, it has something written on the back." He said turning the face over as Claira read it.
"To my daughter, something to remember me by, with all my love, dad." She said still staring at it.
"Are you alright?"
"I'm not sure. Why would dad give me this watch? I mean, I know I'm the oldest but he does have my twin baby sisters."
"I wouldn't worry too much about this at the moment. Temporary amnesia is a common complaint after what you have been through."
"What have I been through?" She said looking at him then at the watch again.
"Maybe a call to the local sheriff wouldn't go a miss at this moment in time. You just relax, I'll be back soon."
Claira watched him go but continued to play and look at the watch on her wrist.
Jim drove to the local sheriff's office in town where the place was totally packed out with locals moaning about nothing.
"Jim, you're not going to be seen for hours here." Rollin said pulling Jim aside.
"Claira is late and anything could have happened to her. We have to start here, maybe they know something." Jim said joining the back of the queue again.
Some hours later Jim was seen by the staff at the desk but because of all the bureaucratic channels Jim was asked to leave his details and was forced to take a hotel in a neighbouring town until someone could deal with him properly.
Jim left with Rollin and the others members of his team and drove away just as the call came in from the hospital about Claira.
Claira tried to fight the pain in her stomach and stood up and slowly headed for a toilet on the ward. Once finished she went to the sink to clean her hands where she noticed a mirror and looked at the reflection looking back at her.
"Who are you?" She said stepping back and realising it was her and started to scream and fainted.
The nurses soon found her and took her back to her bed as the doctor walked up to.
She looked at him.
"Do you see this face...?"
"I don't know what you've all done, but that's not me." She said pointing to her face.
The doctor looked at her then grabbed a mirror from the table.
"We haven't done anything. You came here complaining of stomach pains after you were knocked over in the street, don't you remember that?"
"No!" She said then took the mirror from him and looked into it. "I don't know who this person is doc, but that is not my face." She said handing back the mirror and turning her head away.
"Look, I've called out the local police over this because you have slight memory loss."
"Slight? Well, how long did it take for you to change my face?"
"You only came in this morning; we couldn't pull a face change however good or bad in only a few hours. I did notice something though when I examined you earlier."
Matt pulled her arm over for her to notice a scar.
"I think you have more to worry about than a new face. That looks like third degree burns."
"You tell me, but it looks like someone has gone through a lot to get you to this stage in say just six months."
Claira looked at the burn marks.
"I'm going to check on that sheriff."
Claira stopped him.
"Who am I?"
Matt looked at her.
"You're Claira Reese; you know that much and so do I now. I'll go get that sheriff." He said stepping away.
Claira watched him go then shyly looked to the mirror again at a strangers face staring back at her and she turned her head and slowly started to cry.
Jim walked around the area where Claira was supposed to meet him and talked to some locals who had witnessed the car accident Claira was involved in and gave him the address of the hospital Claira was now staying in. He quickly collected the other members of the team and headed out to the hospital just as it was getting dark.
Claira looked out of the window as she held her stomach to see the sun setting.
"Claira?" Matt said behind her.
She turned round and noticed Matt with the local sheriff.
"This is Captain Elvira of the town's police station. He's here to take some information about you and to try and see if we can help you remember anything important. Did you want me to go?"
Claira made a grab for him.
"No! Please stay, I, I don't know who I am anymore." Claira said pulling Matt into him.
Matt sat down on the bed and picked Claira up and put her on his knee.
"How's that stomach of yours?"
"Don't worry, in a few days that will be all better."
"There was also a head injury...?"
"Yes, just a bump but as you will hear, she's has lost her recent memories." Matt said as he watched the Captain take out his note book.
"Okay, and your name is?"
"Err, Claira Reese, that's R,E,E,S,E," Matt said.
The Captain looked at him.
"Can the child speak for herself?"
"I'm sorry, but she is so young and vulnerable." Matt said looking at him.
"I'm sure her parents must be frantic at this time."
"Mum and dad..."
"Ha?" Matt said looking at her.
"I remember now, mum and dad, my brother and twin sisters, we were, we were on holiday somewhere."
"On holiday here in South America?" The Sheriff asked.
"I'm not sure. Mum and dad are, I think mum wants a divorce, or dad..." She looked down and started to play with her watch Jim had given her.
"You said your dad gave you that watch." Matt said looking at her.
"I can't remember, he must of but I just don't know." She said looking down.
"Okay, so you can't remember much." The Sheriff said doodling in his book. "What are your mum and dad's names?"
"That's easy, my mum's name is Sandra and my dad's name is Jim, Jim Phelps."
Matt looked at her.
"I thought you said your last name is Reese."
"Yes, that's right it is."
"Well, who's Jim Phelps?"
"That's my dad, didn't I just say that?"
"Miss Reese, you said your family name is Reese, not Phelps." The sheriff said looking at her.
Claira looked at him.
"Well, who's Jim Phelps?" She said looking around.
"How would we know?" Matt said looking at her.
"I think we're getting more questions than answers here." The Sheriff said putting away his notebook and standing up.
"But you've got to help me remember who I am." Claira said jumping off Matt's lap and going to the sheriff.
"Maybe if you gave yourself a couple of days to relax you might be able to answer some of those questions you've posed. Are you staying here at the hospital?"
"I don't know." She said looking down.
Matt stepped forward and pulled her into him.
"I could take her back to my place and if she remembers anything or her parents come for her you will know where to find her."
"That's a good idea. She could do with a friendly Yank around the place. There are too many of them here at the moment. I understand there were a few in my office this afternoon probably lost and just asking for directions, in English please." The Sheriff said raising his voice trying to make a joke while looking at Matt then Claira looking back at him still puzzled.
Matt soon dressed Claira and carried her out of the hospital towards the car park as Jim and the other members of his IMF team arrived at the hospital and went up to the reception area.
"My name is Jim Phelps and I understand that you have a child here by the name of Claira Phelps, my daughter."
"Would you kindly wait here and I will call someone to see you." The receptionist said stepping away.
"Thank you." He said as he turned away and looked around the entrance as Matt left the car park and headed into the night.
Jim was taken to the ward where Claira was and met the nurse who had seen her but as she could only speak Spanish Cinnamon had to translate for him. Jim soon picked up the name Claira Reese and looked at the nurse.
"Wait a minute, you said Claira Reese..."
Cinnamon carried on talking to her.
"Claira was bought in here complaining of stomach pains and concussion."
"Concussion, how severe?" Jim asked as Cinnamon translated.
"A mild concussion but, enough for her to think that she is Claira Reese."
"Where is she?" Jim asked as Cinnamon carried on talking.
"Apparently there is a doctor here from America and he's taken pity on her. Claira has been released into his care and he has taken her to his home." Cinnamon said.
"Where?" Jim said as Cinnamon told him.
Matt carried Claira into his hotel room and put her down into a chair.
"There we go. I've got a stir fry dinner if that's alright with you."
"As my doctor, would you allow me to eat greasy food?"
"I think one night wouldn't hurt you. It looks like your parents have looked after you so far."
"My dad makes sure I'm fit for the possibility that he might allow me to join him on a job at any time. I couldn't believe it when dad allowed me to come to South America; I have never been here before."
Matt looked at her.
"Your dad, Jim?"
"No Adam, Adam Reese, who's Jim?"
"Back in the hospital you said that Jim Phelps was your dad?"
Claira looked at him.
"I don't know any Jim Phelps, who?" She said looking down and started to get scared. "I don't know who I am with this face, this is not my face!"
"Hey, take it easy. Look, your going to remember soon enough and when you do everything will fall into place as to why you have a different face and why you have burn scars to your upper body."
"But why is my face different? Why was my original face not kept?" She said looking down.
"When you finally remember these questions will mean nothing to you. Claira, you're mum and dad knows your missing. The police and the hospital both know where you are. They could be here any moment. Now I have to make us some dinner, so just relax, okay." He said watching her play with her watch on her wrist again.
Later that evening Jim and his team pulled up outside the hotel where Matt is staying and obtains his room number. Claira is relaxing on Matt's bed as he watches the tele. There is then a knock on the door and Matt gets up to answer it.
"Yes?" Matt says facing Jim.
"I understand your Matt Davis."
"I am, yes."
"My name is Jim Phelps; do you have my daughter Claira with you?"
Matt looked back to Claira still on the bed.
"You're daughter? Claira says that..."
"Mr Davis, I can imagine what my child has said to you and I guess it's pretty incredible. Is Claira there, with you?"
Claira now moved aside from Matt and Jim notices her.
"Claira!" Jim said moving forward to touch her.
Claira quickly stepped away and put her head into Matt's side.
"I don't know you, Matt, I'm scared."
Jim knelt down to her.
"Sweetheart, I can understand why you can't remember me. The nurse said you have concussion, look can I come in? I can talk to her, help her and yourself understand a few things that might be confusing the both of you at present. Mr Davis, I am Claira's father, I assure you of that."
Matt looked at him then allowed Jim into the room. Claira stayed with Matt watching Jim.
"The nurse said you had a lucky escape. She said you have stomach pains from where the car hit you."
"Yeah, it came right out of nowhere." She said looking at him.
Matt looked at her.
"You said you couldn't remember the crash."
"Hurh? I did, well, I don't remember how..." She said looking down then touching the watch again.
"Did you give her the watch?" Matt said looking at Jim.
"I did yes, just before we flew here."
"That's your inscription on the back if it then."
"Then why does Claira say her father's name is Adam Reese and yet she has a watch that you gave her where it clearly says "dad", even though your name is Jim Phelps." Matt said looking at him.
"The truth." Matt said looking at him.
"Because Claira's real parent's, along with her brother and twin baby sisters were murdered in a hotel fire in Poland nearly a year ago."
"A hotel fire. That accounts for the burn scars on her arm and upper body. Is that why she needed a new face?"
"Only partly, well what else is there to answer why Claira goes from Claira Reese to Claira Phelps with a face change."
"The reason why Claira had to have a full face and identity change is because the people who killed her family believe that Claira is also dead and as long as they believe that I know that my child is safe."
"Would you mind telling me who believe Claira is dead?"
"The KGB." Claira said looking at Jim.
Jim stood up and went to her.
"You remember that?"
"I remember the name and the hotel but, I'm sorry, not you." She said looking down.
"That's alright sweetheart, at least I've found you, that's what really made me worry for you so much, that you're safe and alive." Jim said giving her a hug.
"So, you're telling me that the local KGB mob in Russia killed Claira's parents, for what, exactly?"
Jim looked at him then stepped away from Claira.
"I sort of got on the bad side of them and even though the cold war has been over for a long time, I know that they would just love to get their hands on us again, to tie up their loose ends."
"And with Claira not knowing who she is and in a foreign country..."
"The KGB could be anywhere, and I can't take the risk with the child not knowing who she is while we're here."
"So, now that you've found her, you intend to take her back to the States the first chance you get." Matt said looking at him.
"Wouldn't it be best to wait until she is better? Her stomach is very sensitive at the moment. She's not eating properly yet as her doctor I would ask you to keep her here for at least another 48 hours until she can eat with no pain."
"I'm sure that Claira would be better in my care after all she is my daughter, I know her, what she can eat."
"You've not dealt with a child that doesn't know who she is. I would insist that she continue to stay here until she is better at lest physically."
Claira looked at Matt then Jim who was looking at her.
"I have a plane booked for California tomorrow night."
"Tomorrow night, okay, but I believe that as Claira is not in a good state mentally and physical that she stay with me until you are ready to take her back to the States. You must understand that if you push her she could forget you altogether because she has not known you for long."
Jim went to Claira as Matt watched her.
"Sweetheart, do you want to stay here with Matt until tomorrow night or would you like to be with me?"
Claira looked at Jim then Matt then back to Jim.
"I am in a lot of pain, and I'm sorry I can't remember you, but I would like to stay here with Matt to see if I could remember some more things if at all possible."
Matt looked at Jim who agreed and then looked at her playing with the watch.
"Claira, you have the watch I gave you. If you feel scared or worried, you just look at the watch and read what I had written for you. I am sure that if anything does happen though Matt will contact me at the hotel, yes?"
"Of course, but I am sure nothing will happen between now and tomorrow night except for you to get some rest, young lady." Matt said going to her and putting her on the bed.
Claira watched as Matt led Jim to the door and watched him leave. Matt then went back to Claira and checked her stomach.
"He seems like a nice man."
"That man, Jim Phelps. Do you think he is telling the truth, and that he is my, my dad?"
"I wouldn't know. Look, you get some sleep; I am going to make a phone call downstairs."
"Alright, but what about this phone, can't you use this one." She said looking at it.
"I need to make an international call, this phone only goes through the town and I can't be certain that this phone is..., after Jim. Look, you just get some sleep, okay."
Claira looked at Matt as he grabbed his jacket and went out. She looked at her watch and started to play with it again.
Matt walked out of the hotel and to a pay phone on the corner. He grabbed his wallet and took out a card and looked at it. He picked up the receiver and put some money into it and then dialled the number. It rang for some time until someone answered.
"My name is Matt Davis, let me speak to Vasilentov. I have some information on Claira Phelps. I have reason to believe that she is Claira Reese..., Claira Reese, yes from the Russian border job." He said as he looked at the card in his hand. "Yes, I have her but she won't be here for long. Jim Phelps is here in South America with his team and they are booked on a flight to the States in less than twenty four hours..., lets just say you don't have much time if your still looking to clear up this mess over six months later than planned."
Matt then left the phone booth and looked around then headed back to his hotel room where Claira was already asleep. He moved up to her and checked her over.
"I'm sorry to do this to you Claira, but I need the money and your face means nothing anymore but, your amnesia speaks volumes to the right people who have been looking for you all over the world." He said then tucked her in.
The next morning Claira awoke with a little less pain in her stomach and starving hungry. Matt had already been down to the local deli and to also receive more orders regarding what to do with her before Jim collected her for the flight back to the States that evening.
"Hey, you look better than you did last night." Matt said looking at her walking towards him.
"Thanks, I feel better, like a bright new button as my mum would say."
"You see, that memory is getting better and better everyday."
"Yeah." She said then looked at her watch and touched it.
Matt watched her doing this and quickly broke her attention.
"You feel up to trying a sandwich?"
"What's in them?"
"Ham and mustard or just plain tuna sandwiches." Matt said pushing the plate towards her.
Claira looked at them.
"Hey ham and mustard, dad can make a mean sandwich especially for my lunch box at school. A teacher commented on the way dad placed them into my sandwich box once. It was so great watching her check the contents." She said chuckling to herself.
"You're dad, Adam?"
"Adam? No, dad dad..., Jim, dad." She said looking at the sandwich then took a bite. "Not the same, but I can't expect them to make sandwiches just like my dad."
"What about the tuna sandwiches?"
"No, I..." She looked down then played with her watch again.
"Something happened with Tuna sandwiches too?"
"Well, back at the hotel with mum and dad..." She turned away.
Matt stood up.
"Claira, I'm sorry if, if I."
"No, it's alright." The phone started to ring in the room. "That's dad, it's got to be."
"I don't think he has this number." Matt said answering the phone.
Claira watched him talking then there was a knock at the door and Claira quickly opened it.
"Dad!" She said giving Jim a hug.
"Well, you look and sound better than you did last night." He said kneeling down to her.
Matt finished his conversation on the telephone and moved behind Claira.
"She tried a sandwich too and she gave me a very interesting anecdotal insight into your life with her."
"Is that so?"
"I told him about the lunch box." She said moving closer to him.
"You are getting better if you remember that." Jim said kissing her. "So, she's alright for flying back to the States tonight then, Matt?"
"It certainly looks like it, but a quick examination couldn't go amiss though."
"Sure." Claira said stepping back and went over to the bed. "Who was that on the phone?"
"The phone call before dad..."
"Oh, wrong number. I told you these phones in here are no good."
"I seem to remember dad bought me a mobile phone. You can't get any better than that."
"I'll try to remember that." Matt said taking her top off as Jim moved around the bed watching them. "Okay, how does that feel?"
"It's still hurting."
"It's going to hurt for a bit longer darling. When I get you home you will not be leaving the house for a week or so."
"That's one thing I wouldn't mind because I can't really recall it at the moment." Claira said looking at Matt as he checked her stomach.
"You remembered Jim is your dad so remembering your home will soon come to you too." Matt said looking at her.
"I hope so." She said touching her watch.
Matt looked at Jim at the foot of the bed.
"You'll be okay when I get you home sweetheart, you'll see." He said touching her to reassure her.
"Let's just get her ready first." Matt said then put her top back down.
"Well doc, what's your verdict?" Claira said sitting up.
"First of all, I am not a doc, I'm a kind of male nurse and if you knew my other job, I'd have to kill you." He said pointing his hand at her like a gun.
"Well...?" Claira said.
"You just relax that stomach and work on your memory and you'll be fine for tonight's flight."
"That's good to hear, nurse." Jim said looking at him.
"Claira, do you want to check if I have any mail at the front desk as I'm expecting a letter on my future to arrive soon."
"Does that mean you're leaving too?" Claira said jumping to the floor.
"Claira, don't pry." Jim said.
"Okay." She said then went out.
Matt closed the door behind her.
"Are you alright?" Jim said.
"I'm fine. Look, I'm not one to tell people their business but Claira, she's a great kid and from the scars on her body we both know she's been through a lot."
"If you're telling me that something like this could easily happen again..."
"She lost her life when she lost her family..." Matt said sitting on the bed.
Jim looked at him.
"How much has she told you about her family?"
"You don't survive a fire without scars mental or physical."
"What are you saying?"
Matt looked away.
"Ah forget it; you wouldn't have done what you have done already if you didn't have feelings for her."
Claira now burst through the door.
"No post but one message from someone in the lobby who looks like he's willing to wait."
Matt looked at her then took the message from her.
"Maybe I should take Claira now, get her out of your hair, so to speak." Jim said pulling Claira into him for a hug.
"What's up?" Claira asked looking at Matt.
Matt read the expected note then looked up.
"Nothing, everything is fine."
"Good well then, I will take Claira back to the hotel and we will leave you to carry on with whatever you're planning for the rest of your day." Jim said looking at Matt. "I would like to thank you for taking care of my child and helping her in every way." Jim said shaking his hand.
"Do we have to part now? I mean can't I contact you, see you again sometime?" Claira said stepping forward.
"I tell you what. I am going to go out now and get a mobile phone and you're number will be first on its call list, what do you say to that?" Matt said tweaking her nose.
"But what about that guy in the lobby? He looked very, well very..."
"Alright, getting a mobile phone will be the second thing I'll do today."
"Dad, where's my mobile phone?"
"Right here." Jim said handing it to her.
Claira checked the number then grabbed the note from Matt and went to the table.
"I'll use the note and pen over here."
Matt grabbed the not back. "Here, use this old calling card instead."
Jim watched Matt quickly hide the note then Claira writing down her number.
"There you go." She said handing him back the old card with her number on it.
"Thank you." He said looking at it. Claira now hugged him. "Hey, what was that for?"
"For helping me find out who I am." Claira said stepping back into Jim as he held her.
"You found out that you are Claira Phelps, I just helped you along the way." He said putting his hand on her head.
"Matt, thank you. I hope to hear from you soon, if Claira is anything to go by." Jim said shaking her hand.
"I look forward to it. I'll follow you down to meet this guy who's waiting for me." Matt said following them out and closing his door.
Jim and Claira left the hotel already under surveillance as Jim led her back to the team's hotel.
"How much can you remember of the team?" Jim said looking at Claira as he led her to their hotel.
"I'm still a bit fuzzy on names but I did alright remembering a lot about you."
"Except that I'm your father."
"Dad, what do you expect after head butting a pavement after kissing a car?"
"Alright, alright. Just let me keep hold of your hand because you are not going anywhere without me no more."
"I'm not going to be run over every day of my life dad I can assure you of that."
"Are you sure about that sweetheart?"
Claira stopped and looked at him which made Jim now pick her up and hold her.
"Now I know you're you." He said kissing her.
A car arrived and waited outside the hotel the team was in. Unknown to anyone Matt also waited around the corner to the same hotel looking at the mobile number Claira had given him that morning.
Claira got some sleep on Jim's bed but was soon awoken as the mobile phone Jim had bought her started to ring. Jim moved over to it and answered it for her as Claira sat up rubbing her eyes.
"It's Matt, do you want to speak to him?"
"Matt, already? What's the matter can't he be without hearing my voice or something."
"Do you want me to say you're trying to get some sleep before flying home tonight?"
"No dad, I'm fine." She said taking the mobile phone from him. "Hi Matt." Claira said watching Jim moved back to the seat checking his suitcase. "What's up?"
"Nothing is up. I'm just checking that you gave me the right number because knowing you're memory at the moment."
"My memory is fine. I was just taking a rest before dad and I fly home tonight."
"Well, at least I've got the right number." He said looking at the hotel with the car sitting outside.
"Are you alright?" Claira said as Jim looked at her.
"Yes, I'm okay."
"Where are you?"
"I'm, I'm just heading back to work. No rest for the wicked, you should know that." Matt said looking up to her hotel room.
Claira finished her conversation with Matt and moved over to Jim.
"I'm not sure. Matt has just gone back to work and he said he was just checking that in the light of my memory lately that I gave him the right number." She said looking at Jim. "Dad."
"Do you think I will ever get the whole of my memory back?" She said moving into him for a hug.
Jim held her and made sure she was okay.
"I think you're handling it very well sweetheart and if you do falter you know that I am right there to help you." He said then kissed her and picked her up and put her on his lap for a big hug. "You try and get some more sleep for me darling please; you're daddies here holding you and I'll never let you go."
Claira closed her eyes and moved her head into his jacket. When Claira was finally asleep, Jim put her back on the bed and moved to the window and noticed a car outside.
That afternoon Jim and his team had a take away meal and Claira looked at the rice sitting on the side. Claira moved in closer to Jim trying not to upset everyone.
"Did Matt say I could eat this with my stomach? I mean, we've got a long plane ride home and I, what would Matt say?"
"Do you want to phone him to get his opinion?" Jim said looking at her.
"I think he's still working."
"Do you want to try just a spoon of my rice?"
"Okay." She said as Jim fed her.
Everyone laughed at Jim feeding her.
"Claira, you're still such a baby." Cinnamon said.
"I've been ill. Anyway, mum and dad still spoon feed my twin sisters."
"They were not even seven months old, of course you're mum and dad had to feed them and don't forget, past tense." Rollin said looking at her.
"Why past tense?"
"Forget it Claira, just try some of this sauce." Jim said offering a spoon to her.
"It doesn't matter; I'm not hungry any more." She said jumping up and going out of the room.
"Claira!" Jim said after her.
"I thought you said her memory was getting better." Cinnamon said looking at Jim.
Jim looked at her then the door.
"Obviously not when it comes to family it would seem." Jim said then carried on with his dinner.
Claira went down to the small lobby area and out to the front of the hotel and started throwing some stones into the road. Matt noticed her and was about to go up to her when Jim appeared and sat down next to her lighting a fag.
"Are you okay?" Jim said putting his hand on her shoulder.
"Of course, I'm... They talk about mum and dad like..."
"Like their not here?"
"Yes. I don't like it dad, they, mum and dad are the best, you know that."
"Who needs reminding here, you or me?"
Claira pulled away from his grasp and stepped towards the car that has been parked there all day.
"This is the first time it hurts up here as well as in here." Claira said touching her head then her chest. "I can't remember things that must seem so trivial to me in the past."
"Claira, it will come back to you. You've shrugged off many jokes before and you know that Cinnamon and Rollin were just making conversation."
Claira looked down.
"Then come back upstairs and have something to eat before we fly home, for your dad, please?" He said stepping up to her.
Claira looked up to Jim looking down then hugged him.
Matt watched him hugging her then as he carried Claira back in to the hotel out of sight.
A car came for them at the time they needed to catch the plane and took them to the private air strip to meet the chartered plane. The car was driven by one of the men hired to watch them. The plane was late so they waited in the car until the plane landed and taxied towards them. They then all got out as the plane stopped and turned its engines off. The door opened and the steps were released to the ground.
At that moment Jim recognised the man standing in the doorway and stared at him. Claira couldn't see much through the landing lights but she could feel Jim's hand tighten.
She turned round as Matt ran up to her.
"Matt! What are you doing here?"
Jim turned round to see Matt moving up to them.
"You sold us out, you told him who Claira was, didn't you?" Jim said looking at him.
"Sold who out? Who's the guy on the plane?"
"Vasilentov, head of the KGB in Russia and you called him to inform him where we all were, didn't you?"
"I had to; I need to survive around here. I needed the money."
"You couldn't just do with my daughter's unfaltering respect for you, my respect for helping find my kid."
"The KGB's bounty for Claira Reese was no holes barred." Matt said looking at Jim.
Claira let go of his hand and moved to Matt.
"Why would you do this after, after...?"
Matt knelt down to her.
"I never wanted to hurt you Claira, you're father's team are, are bigger than anything we could ever imagine. The KGB could not live with that, no-one could live with that and your family paid for that knowledge."
Jim looked at Matt as he passed a gun between him and Claira.
"You have to know you have a new family now, a new life. Claira Reese is dead but you are very much alive, Claira Phelps, yes?"
Claira looked at him as Matt pulled her behind him and then threw a grenade towards a waiting gas tanker. Everyone was knocked to the floor with the blast as Jim and Matt started to shoot Vasilentov's men. There was now firing from all angles and Matt pushed Claira under the car as they tried to knock off the men. The plane now started up and started to move down the runway pushing the heat from the gas tanker explosion towards Jim and the others.
Jim finished off the last of Vasilentov's hired help and quickly went round collecting all the guns from them. Matt pulled Claira out from under the car and checked her.
"There, not even a graze." He said as Jim walked towards them. "Do you see that man Claira?"
She looked at Jim moving up to them and nodded.
"He's your father, the only father you will ever need. Do you understand?"
"Aha." She said nodding forcefully.
"Then go to him and let him hold his daughter." Matt said as Claira now let go of him and went to Jim and placed her head into his side.
Jim knelt down to her as Matt watched them look at each other.
At that moment a single shot rang out as a car sped away from the runway. Everyone looked to the sound of the car speeding away into the night. Matt now fell onto the bonnet of the car and looked at the blood in his hand.
Claira quickly went to him.
"What?" She said looking at him.
He looked at her and grimaced. Jim went to him and helped him to the ground.
"I guess I had to pay for selling somebody out in the end."
"Somebody call an ambulance, we can get you to a hospital." Claira said looking at Jim standing in front of her. "Daddy!" Claira said then turned back to Matt who sat on the floor so silently.
"You can't die, you're my friend."
"Claira Reese died; you had to let her go..." Matt said taking her hand. "You can let me go just as well."
"No, no... Daddy!" Claira said spinning round and pushing herself further into Jim as Matt finally died.
Jim held Claira so tightly as the rest of his team looked on.
Another plane finally landed in the States the next day and Claira stayed rooted to Jim's shoulder as he carried her down the steps and into a waiting car. Jim took Claira's mobile phone and deleted Matt's number from the memory as Claira slept on Jim's chest like she was born to be there from day one. Jim lightly kissed her as she gave him a smile and carried on sleeping. Jim now looked out of the window towards the coming day.