Michaela headed straight to Al Aqubar, stopping only once at the town checkpoint for the guards obligatory paper check. At the back of the café she parked her truck. Yes, it was good to be back. Michaela went through the door and into the kitchen. Marie was at the counter making bread.
"Well chèrie, did not think you'd be back so soon."
"Yes, a problem came up and I thought it was better for me to come back here." She paused for a minute and continued, "I wish I could tell you more, but it would be safer if I don't."
"That is fine chèrie, when you feel you can tell me, I'll be here to listen." A frown crossed Marie's brow. First Maurice would not tell what was going on, now Michaela.
"I'm going upstairs. Need me to help with anything first?"
"No, go ahead and get some rest. I'll call you if I need you," Marie replied, as she wiped the back of her hand across her forehead.
Michaela ran upstairs to her room and surveyed the mess with some dismay. "Well looks like I have some cleaning to do before Marie sees this." Michaela picked up the papers that lay on the floor and placed them in a neat pile on her table. She glanced over at her dresser, That's odd, I don't remember getting into that drawer last time I was here. Someone had been in it, her sweaters were a jumbled up mess. She pushed them back into the drawer and went into the bathroom to take a quick sponge bath. Michaela laid down on her bed, hoping her mind would clear itself and she'd be able to think straight on the events over the last two days. Drifting off to sleep, her thoughts turned to Captain Dietrich.
As the Rat Patrol pulled into their cave, Troy noticed at once someone had been there. He snapped his fingers and motioned for the others to search the cave. All they could find was a cache of fresh supplies, more ammo and fuel. A large crate and folding chairs had been left in the cave. On one of the folding chairs was a brown envelope. Troy picked it up, pulled out a sheet of paper, and began to read aloud. 'Welcome to your new home gentlemen. As you can see, we have brought more supplies to hold you through and possibly beyond this mission. Major Andrews'. He looked around as his men began to open the crates and pull items out. "Find anything useful? According to this, we're to settle in here."
"Sarge," Tully called to get his attention. "This crate has canned food, coffee and, well looky here." Tully held up a bottle of whiskey in his hand, grinning from ear to ear.
"Moffitt, you find anything useful?
"This crate has Jerry uniforms and Arab clothing," Moffitt said as he continued to look through the crate.
"Hitch, fix some coffee and something to eat." Troy sat down at the large crate and lit a cigarette. He checked the envelope to see is there was anything else. There, with his name on it, was a white envelope. He stuck it in his shirt to read later, the 'for your eyes' bothered him.
After they all ate, Troy ordered Hitch to stand watch and Tully to clean up. "I'm going to get some shut eye." He went over to a cot, sat on it, and as he bent over to take off his boots, abruptly remembered the white envelope. Casting a glance over at Moffitt and Tully, he opened it.
'As you know by now things may have taken a different route then we had previously talked about. At this time Miss Mercer should be getting the German Commander to trust her. It is time you know; we have a contact in Al Aqubar. He has been behind the success of your last few missions. You are to contact him. He will be your key to make sure nothing happens to Miss Mercer. You will note the cards inside this envelope, these are your contact code. The queen of hearts, is Miss Mercer, the king of diamonds is you, and the king of hearts is your contact. A meeting is set up for tomorrow afternoon in Al Aqubar at the Duvoe cafe. Once there sit at a table and play a game of solitaire, keeping these cards visible. Your contact will place his same three cards on top of yours.'
Troy took a deep breath, folded the letter up and stuck it in the inside lining of his hat. Glancing at the three cards, placed them in his shirt pocket. He could hear Tully and Moffitt talking.
"Sarge, your cousin, is she always so headstrong?" Tully settled down in a chair next to Moffitt.
"No, something is going on that I cannot explain. She told me that she knew what she was doing. The Michaela you saw last night was not the young lady I grew up with. Something has happened." Moffitt continued on, "I noticed it a few days ago, she looked scared and then in the cave…something is up, something she doesn't want to tell me about."
"Sarge, I just hope she knows what she's doing. Sure hate to see anything happen to her." Tully drank the last of his coffee. "Guess I'll grab some shut eye too, so I can replace Hitch in a couple of hours." Tully stood and patted Moffitt on the shoulder.
Troy was thinking the same thing. He still remembered the odd look he saw the two exchange as they left Andrew's office. So that's it, a change from the original plans
Michaela was woken by a knock on her door. "One moment," she called out, a glance at her watch told her that she had only been napping for an hour. Michaela opened the door to find a young corporal standing on the other side. She recognized him as Dieter who worked across the street in the German office.
"Excuse me, Fraulein, I have a message for you from the new Kommandant," Dieter handed her the message. "I am ordered to return with an answer, Fraulein."
She quickly read the note. 'Please see me at your earliest convince and bring all your identification papers.' There was no signature. "Tell your commanderI will be over in one hour." The corporal nodded his head and ran down the stairs. Michaela went over to her closet and picked out a white blouse and a khaki skirt. She glanced at her watch when there was another knock on her door; walking over to it, she opened the door. On the other side was Gruber.
"Ah, Fraulein we need to talk," he placed a hand on the door to prevent her from closing it .
"I can't talk right now. I'm expected at your Commander's office." she pushed against his arm to so she could slam the door.
Gruber grabbed her arms. "I said we need to talk. You're coming with me." He pulled her out onto the landing and over to the door leading to the roof. Gruber dragged her up the stairs. "I think we will have more privacy here than downstairs, don't you?"
Michaela hurriedly gathered her thoughts. Keeping calm, she attempted to get Gruber to slow down. "Look, take it easy. I'll listen."
"Gut, I knew you would," he said as he pulled her onto the roof. "First let's start with a little kiss." He leaned in to kiss her. Michaela pushed him back, causing him to hit the roof edge and knocking his hat off. Getting his balance back, he stood there. "Now, this is not the way to play nice is it?"
Captain Dietrich stood at his office window and glanced at his watch, the hour was up; looking back out the window to see if she was coming; he saw something fall from the rooftop across from him. At his angle it was hard to see what it was. He raised his headand saw the figure of a man straighten up and move away from the edge. "Was that Gruber?" he said aloud as he made his way to the door. "Bauer, follow me," he ordered as he began to run out of the building. Stopping a hat laid on the ground, he picked it up. Yes, it was Gruber's.
"Sir, there are stairs in the back that lead up to the roof," Bauer pointed to the alley and started walking to show the way.
As he got to the top of the stairs, he could hear Gruber laughing and the girl was asking him to stop. As they came into view, he reached for his Luger. Gruber had Michaela by her arms, attempting to pull her closer to him. Dietrich was about to yell for Gruber to free her when Michaela gave Gruber a shove, he stumbled backwards, Michaela fall to the surface of the roof. As she fell, Gruber's feet tangled in her legs. Losing his balance, Gruber went over the edge of the roof.
Rushing over to Michaela, he bent down to gather in his arms. "You're safe now. Corporal, see to Gruber," he ordered. "I'll see to the Fraulein." Lifting her up, he walked down the stairs to her room.
Bauer came in just as he set her on the bed. "Sir, Gruber is dead."
"Get Madame DeVoe and then see to the body." He kept a hold of her letting her rock herself back and forth. "It's alright now, your safe. Ah, Madame DeVoe, there has been an accident. Michaela needs you. She is not hurt." He continued to tell Madame DeVoe what happened on the roof.
"Ma chèrie, I am here." Marie traded places with Dietrich. "Merci Captain. Go downstairs to the bar and get the bottle of Cognac that Maurice has stashed behind the wine." She held onto Michaela, who was beginning to calm down. Glancing up as the captain came back into the room. "Pour her a glass, over there on the table." Marie still did not know if she could trust this Boche. She watched him fill the glass then sit next to them on the bed. He was talking to Michaela in German, helping and encouraging her to take a sip of the liquid. Michaela looked into his eyes, blinking back the tears in hers.
"What is going to happen to me?"
"Nothing, you have two witnesses who saw what happened. You will be okay." He placed an arm around her shoulder. "Now take another sip, then rest." Glancing over Michaela's head, "Madame, if she needs anything, do not hesitate to send someone for me." He stood as she lay down on the pillow and brushed the hair off her ear.
"Merci, I will." Marie placed a hand on his arm and smiled, yes she could trust this one. She stayed with Michaela until she was asleep. Jack needs to know what happened. "Oh chèrie, how do I find him?" Marie left the room with the door open so she could hear if Michaela needed help.