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Chapter 1 [Allied Command—London, June 1942]
A warm breeze billowed over the rooftops on that late spring day. The British guardedly went about their business while listening for air raid sirens and watching for yet another incursion by the Luftwaffe. The low overcast hung heavily signaling the possibility of showers. Pigeons congregated in Hyde Park and in the countryside.
Deep in the bowels of the Allied Command, Peggy Carter focused on her latest project. She was tracking Hydra's movements across the Continent for Colonel Phillips and US Intelligence. She saw that the cracked Nazi codes revealed clues to the Red Skull's strategy. Her hand had recently moved yet another marker indicating a fallen enemy base in Alsace-Lorraine along the French eastern border.
It seemed that the Captain and Howling Commandos were making up for lost time….
Captain…Steve…. She took a heavy breath and grimaced to herself. She regretted her impulsive jealousy on their last meeting. She went red at the sight of Steve apparently kissing the blonde corporal. She clearly demonstrated that by shooting her pistol at him in a "demonstration".
Since that time, she'd realized that he wasn't guilty of anything other than being ambushed. She felt silly about the whole fiasco. She worried he would never speak to her again.
"Hey, Agent Carter," a familiar voice called.
Now what? She turned to see a slender black haired man with a thin mustache and suave eyes approaching her. "Good afternoon, Mr. Stark. How's the latest invention coming?"
Howard Stark considered her carefully. Besides his inventions, he lived to wine and dine the ladies. Of late though, the war effort precluded that. While he'd offered her fondue during their flight to drop Rogers into occupied Austria, her assertiveness made her a less than desirable target despite her beauty. "Getting the kinks out of it. Phillips should be happy…if he's ever happy."
She arched her eyebrow. The colonel never seemed satisfied. "Comes with fighting a dangerous enemy. When one lets their guard down, disappointment follows." She turned toward the large wall map of Western Europe on the wall.
"Just like with Rogers. Wow…" he started.
She turned very brusquely, snapping a perfect 180 degree turn so that she was in his face. Her eyes blazed with dark fire. Her eyes sparked angrily. "Just like with him WHAT? He shouldn't have let that tramp kiss him like that. You are the last person to talk about him like that."
"Wow. Really hit a nerve didn't I? Didn't think he got to you like that," he presumed.
"The Captain has many admirable traits. He's still learning about certain things though. And I know he regrets it," she informed him. "If that's all, I do have this report to get out."
He shrugged. "Sure. Just keep within the lines. Can't have allied command getting in a snit as well, Agent Carter." He walked away figuring to let her work off her latest mood. Wish Rogers wasn't out fighting. If he got it under control, she'd be bearable.
Peggy shook her head. "That man! Honestly!" She sipped torturedly on a cup of coffee. Her eyes combed the analysis. Her hand scribbled notes onto another sheet of yellow paper beside herself for a good hour. "Wonder where the bloody manners are around this place?"
"Good question, Agent Carter. I often ask the same thing."
She set her report down and rose to her feet. She saluted Colonel Phillips who watched her placidly with a gruff look on his face. "Colonel, I didn't hear you approach. Terribly sorry."
"It's okay. You're hard at work. Just keep your eye on the prize," the superior officer assured her. He handed her a sealed envelope. "Not usually in the practice of delivering mail, Carter, but this one came straight from the front. Figured after three Hydra bases went up in smoke, I could get you a letter for him."
"Him?" Her heart skipped a beat even if she kept her eye on him. "Thank you, Colonel. I appreciate this. I'll have the report to you in a couple of hours."
"Sounds great especially if it turns that fire up under Schmitt's ass," he concurred. "Rogers is on a hot streak. Maybe you might reply and let him know things are okay." It was not a request.
She straightened herself. "I understand, Colonel. I do owe him an apology."
"Private Nelson knows she screwed up. Let's just leave it at that." He fixed his eyes on hers. "Don't be getting distracted on me, Agent Carter. Rogers doesn't want it. Neither do I. I need your butt focused. Got it?"
"Perfectly," she relented.
"Good. I'll expect that report later this afternoon. As you were." He departed through the west door and headed back up for Command Central.
She slumped back into her chair and rubbed her forehead. "Oh, Steve." She wouldn't let any tears go in that public place but she wasn't sure if there was a still a chance between them. One thing was for sure: she wasn't going to let him go without a fight.
First things first though. A report needed to be written. Then she could write that letter.
Getting a charge from that, she began drafting her words carefully.