October 1964, Tokyo
Seeing her was startling at first, like it had been every time he'd seen her since that first unexplained disappearance, but this time there was no confusion, no twist of emotion.
He'd loved her once, but he knew without a doubt those feelings were long gone. So much time had passed since the last time he saw her, nearly a year now, that it was odd to see her and think back, after all that had happened. The last time he'd seen her he'd told her good-bye.
He heard the knock at the door and hoped it was Colette. They had returned home from Moscow two days ago and he hadn't seen or spoken to her, and being away from her was like slow torture. He should have known better.
"I haven't heard from you," she said with a smile when he opened the door, breezing past him into his apartment.
"Bridget. What are you doing here?" Dean asked, wondering why her demeanor was so pleasant. As he closed the door he said a silent prayer that ending things with Bridget would not play out like it had with Ginny.
She turned to look at him. "I thought we could finish our conversation from the other day." Truth was, she'd hoped what she'd told Laura was true – that she and Dean would be okay. She was trained to observe; she saw the way Colette reacted after Dean told her about their…moment of weakness…in London, and she hoped with that relationship out of the way, Dean would realize the two of them were meant to be together. But as she saw him shake his head, his eyes remaining aloof, her hope dwindled. Then his words came and she felt each one like a blow to her chest.
"Bridget, I'm sorry. The other night was a mistake." He looked her right in the eye when he delivered his final blow. "I'm in love with someone else."
She narrowed her steely gaze on him. "And if she won't have you back?"
"That's my cross to bear." She noticed the look of pain that crossed his face and felt jealousy boil up and fill all the holes he'd just shot through her.
"I can't say I'm not disappointed." She let her gaze wander around his apartment, saw the subtle signs that told her another woman had been here, she caught hints of perfume lingering in the air that wasn't hers. She soaked up every painful detail.
"There were too many lies, too many disappearances," he explained.
She stood in front of him, beseeching him with her words yet again. "That was before. I told you, I'm free of MI6. It'll be different now. We can be married. It will work, you'll see." She reached for his hand.
He gave her hand a small squeeze and let it go. She knew he was letting her go.
"It already is different, Bridget. I've moved on."
She was feeling the loss of him all over again, and she wondered how she could have been so stupid. She'd put so much on the line to come back here for him, things he'd never know or possibly even understand, and she was starting to feel the weight of her decision. And in the end she wasn't even getting him. There would be no husband, no family, no façade of a normal life. Her sense of loss was huge, but she kept her tone casual.
"Then I guess there is nothing to keep me from transferring to the London base."
He shook his head. "I'm sorry."
She nodded. "I thought it would be the same. I suppose I shouldn't have." She started back toward the door. "Goodbye, Dean." Then with one last backward glance, she was gone.
It had been a relief to close the door behind her and let her walk out of his life.
And now, here she was again.
"Are you here for the Olympics?" she asked, bringing him back to the present.
"We just flew in," he said. "And you?"
"I flew over yesterday. From London." She took a step closer to him and he resisted the urge to take one back. "How have you been?" She didn't give him a chance to answer, but looked around and stated, "You're all alone."
"For now. The girls are debriefing. Kate was a passenger on our flight and she's joining them so I imagine it'll take longer than usual."
"Kate's here?" she asked, surprised by this information.
"Yeah. She got us tickets to go to the basketball game tomorrow," he told her, and he felt a bit guilty, remembering that she and the other girls, Kate especially, used to be such good friends. "I could let them know you're here, if you want to catch up."
"That would be–"
"Elizabeth!" Bridget spun around as a man speaking quick French approached her. His face looked stormy and Dean wondered what kind of business Bridget was caught up in now. The man didn't seem to notice Dean at all.
Bridget answered him curtly in French, than looked at Dean.
"It was nice to see you, Dean," she told him, looking at him like she wasn't ready to leave, before she left with the French man.
Dean left out a breath he didn't even know he'd been holding. The whole encounter left him unsettled, and brought him back to a time he'd rather not remember, tried not to remember, but the memories were persistent.
"Why are you here?" Colette asked, removing a pair of sunglasses from her bag and putting them on.
The sky was overcast and the daylight was fading, and he knew there was no reason for those big dark glasses except to act as barrier between them. Dean had caught a quick glimpse of her dark eyes, the bottom lids curving upward slightly making the crescent shape they did when she was mad or upset.
"I've been calling and you don't answer," he explained, his eyes soaking in the sight of her, even if she was distant. "I want to talk to you. To see you."
She didn't respond, just stared at her building, letting him know she wasn't offering an explanation or initiating a discussion.
"I made a mistake. I'm sorry," he told her, searching her face. "I'm sorry," he said again emphatically.
She shook her head.
"Colette, I love you."
"What about Bridget?" Her words were cool, her face a smooth, emotionless mask to his declaration, but inside the hurt was raw, suffocating; she wanted to believe him so badly but she didn't.
She closed her eyes behind her glasses. She wasn't convinced; she'd heard it before. "I won't be one of your girls. I don't want to end up like Ginny."
"You're nothing like that," he reached for her hand but she pulled away, took a step back from him and crossed her arms over her chest.
She knew she couldn't let him touch her – she had no defense against anymore, and she wasn't about to dissolve in front of him. Being this close to him was tearing her up inside.
"What do I have to do to prove that to you?" he asked, frustrated and faltering, wishing he could see her eyes.
"You already did. With Bridget." Her words were clipped, but each one of them hurt. She finally turned to face him. "Please. Leave me alone."
"Colette…" They stared at each other for a long time, him pleading, not quite sure how to explain himself to her, her hiding behind the sunglasses, just barely holding herself together. After he couldn't take her silence anymore he whispered, "I miss you."
She wanted to scream at him, that he did this to them, that he caused them to be set adrift from each other, for it to hurt so much when she looked at him because she still loved him and he'd shattered her heart. Instead she said, "Maybe you are in love with two women, but you made your choice a week ago. In London." Her voice broke as she said it, giving away her emotion, and she knew it was time to go inside.
She started up the steps, hot tears filling her eyes and threatening to spill over, and made her way inside. He felt like he was being ripped in two as the door closed behind her.
"So, Kate, tell us all about your adventures at school. Is it like being back in college all over again?"
The girls were all gathered around the table in a Tokyo bar, having drinks and appetizers, where debriefing turned to quizzing Kate for details on her very private personal life. Without them even realizing it, the more questions they asked, the more vague her answers became.
"It's not like college at all. They expect me to work," she laughed, enjoying the casual and fun company of her friends and sister. It was a nice break from the intensity of being an agent – for now. It wasn't a coincidence she'd taken this flight over and happened to get tickets to the basketball playoffs, but that part of the her mission could wait until tomorrow.
"I can't believe you got us all tickets to an Olympic game," Laura said, ever excited for new experiences, and happy to have her sister traveling with them again.
"Being in and around Washington does have its advantages," Kate told her. "Now, what have I missed at Pan Am? Who is dating who these days?" she asked, leaning in to hear all the latest gossip.
"Well, Maggie's still dating Mike Ruskin," Laura told her, with a meaningful raise of her eyebrows. She didn't know much about the relationship, but she did know they saw a lot of each other.
"We are not dating," Maggie clarified, holding up a hand to dispel that theory, even though she and Mike had been kind of dating, or something, since Dean and Colette's wedding five months ago.
"Getting serious, Maggie?" Kate asked, teasing now.
"Hardly. He's easy to be around, that's all." She said defiantly, taking a sip of her drink, but hide as she might behind the glass, her blush gave her away. She really did like him. A lot. And she wasn't sure how she felt about that. Five months was starting to feel like a long time.
The girls giggled and nodded in faux agreement and indulged her delusions.
"And what about the Sky God?" Kate asked, noticing Captain Broyles on the flight over and now here in the background of the bar they were in.
"That was never anything worth talking about," Maggie responded quickly, brushing it off. "That man is too infuriating to be around for very long."
New York to Tokyo
"What are you doing here?" Maggie hissed, when she finally had a moment to corner Broyles on the plane.
"I told you, this deal is big." He gave her a pointed look. "You need me."
"I would have been fine on my own. You're the one who needed me," she reminded him.
"It's an equal partnership then," he offered. "The Olympics are going to make people crazy. Look at the size of you. I'm just here to protect you, Maggie. Make sure everything goes smoothly."
Maggie looked at him with narrowed, suspicious eyes. "I don't want you getting any ideas…"
Broyles held up his hand in surrender. "Everything's professional. You handle it, and you choose the jobs you want. I'm just here for support."
Maggie gave a short, quick nod of her head and started to brush past him. "So long as we understand each other."
"Don't worry – your boyfriend isn't going to find out how you afford all that extra time off from me."
She spun around quickly, shooting daggers at him with her eyes. "Are you threatening me – again?"
"So, who else do we have to fill you in on?" Maggie asked, ready to move the topic of conversation away from her and the two very different men in her life.
For once she was pleased to have Elaine seated beside her as the other woman piped up and said, "Colette and Dean are still going strong."
Maggie rolled her eyes. Perfect, from one dubious activity to the next, she thought.
"You two are like an old married couple," Kate said with a wink in Colette's direction.
"Almost," Colette said with a laugh.
Kate guessed Elaine had not been clued into the couple's marital status. She puzzled over what Elaine must think of the ring Colette wore out of uniform, but turned her attention to her sister and away from Colette just in case there was a reason they were keeping the secret from her. "And what about you, Laura? Seeing anyone lately?"
Laura played with the straw in her drink. "Well, there is a man from my photography class…"
"Laura! You've been holding out on us," Maggie said, wide-eyed in surprise and bumping Laura's leg under the table. "I want details."
All eyes were on Laura, eager for news. "We just met at the beginning of the semester. He asked me out last month," she said primly. "We been out a few times."
"He's…" Laura trailed off, a big smile on her face. "He's – it's – been really great. And, I don't want to say anything else yet." Truth was, it was going really well and she liked him a lot, but after what happened with Ted she'd put walls up to keep herself from getting too close too fast. She'd decided that for her, despite how strong she might feel for someone, slow and sure was better than fast and devastated. She looked over at Elaine thinking it was time to toss the hot potato. She thought it seemed to be flying around the table tonight, none of them really wanting to divulge too much information, and she wondered why that was. Still, she was eager to move the conversation away from herself, so she asked, "What about you Elaine? Are you still seeing that man from your building?"
Elaine scoffed. "No, that's done. His ex-girlfriend came back and it seems they are going to try to work it out."
Colette put her hand over Elaine's. "I'm sorry."
Elaine shrugged. "It's nothing. Although I may have to move." She gave them a wan smile, trying to play it off with a joke, but Colette could see that it was bothering her. She knew first hand how bad it could be when an ex came back into the picture.
"I have to tell you something," Dean told Colette later that night.
He hesitated, looking into her sparkling eyes, unsure of how she would react. For the longest time he dared not even mentioned Bridget's name because it upset her so much, but he didn't want to keep it from her.
"Bridget is here," he said, keeping his eyes focused on her face.
Colette's eyebrows knit together. "How do you know this?"
"I saw her, while you were debriefing," he explained. "She flew over from London for the Olympics, too."
"Hmph," was all she said, and she turned around, focused on unpacking.
He came up behind her and put his arms around her. "Is that all you have to say?"
She wondered what she was supposed to say. Should she admit that even though they'd been married for nearly six months she still got an uneasy feeling when she thought about Bridget? That she felt like there was still something about that relationship she didn't know and understand? Or that the thought of Dean and Bridget together last year still made her sick to her stomach? And she couldn't stop herself from wondering what he felt when he saw her again.
"What is it you think I should say?" she asked, carefully unfolding a dress and smoothing out non-existent wrinkles.
He shrugged and moved her hair to one side so he could kiss the side of her neck, never wanting anything to come between them again. He felt her relax into him, and was relieved; he didn't want her to be hurt by old memories. "Nothing, I guess. I just wanted you to know she's here."
"In this hotel?" Her hands stilled as she absorbed that information.
"This is the hotel Pan Am uses when we fly in," he told her. "It's possible there are a few crews here right now because of the Olympics."
"That makes sense."
He stared at the side of her face. "It was odd," he said, as he thought back on the exchange. " A man came up to her while we were talking and I'm positive he called her Elizabeth."
"What did he say?"
"That's the other strange thing – he spoke to her in French."
Colette shrugged. "Who knows? Bridget has friends all over the globe." The inflection she used when she said the word friends let him know exactly what she thought of Bridget's friendships.
But what Colette didn't know, the part he'd never told her about, was Bridget's confession about being a spy. He wondered if what happened today had anything to do with that, or if her spy days really were behind her like she told him last fall.