She will never know
Caitlin's flat – Washington DC – 8th of July 2002 (Caitlin's POV)
It had been a long day again, far too long to be exactly. Days as this had been the reason that I had almost no friends outside the USSS and from the small number that remained I hadn't seen any for at least three weeks. No wonder that I had started to date my co-worker Major Timothy Kerry. Until now nothing had 'happened', partly because I wasn't sure if I really wanted to jeopardize my job with this affair. But my last relationship had been a very long time ago and doubtless I wasn't the type for one-night-stands.
Certainly I wasn't lacking in proposals from my colleagues since I joined the team one year ago and as far as I knew even my boss William Bear normally had no qualms about such affairs if they maintained a low profile, occurred only once and didn't disturb the daily routine. But since Rome I had stayed on his 'black list' of agents to be under observation. I wasn't sure that his normal rules applied for me too. The reason I didn't know or understand. Perhaps it had been something I said or did. My working in Rome and Genua had been flawless at least in my opinion but perhaps he had another weighting.
After the day on the beach we had left for Genua and supported the presidential main team for the meeting of the heads of state. It had been very interesting, both to see so many of the most important men and women in the world and to work together with members of seven other agencies, agents from France, Britain, Germany and even Russia. Mostly it had been a … I hesitated in my thoughts. The week hadn't been quiet, no. But at least it had been interesting and mostly nothing special happened aside from the demonstrations. This had been true at least until the very last day. On the 27th of July an incident happened, not about us or the President, but still it overshadowed the meeting and even now had repercussions.
The G8 summit had been overshadowed by riots in Genua after a crackdown by police targeting anti-globalization groups. In one of the clashes between the Italian police and the demonstrators some shots were fired and one of them hit the 23-year-old Carlo Giulani. The firing officer had been acquitted from any wrong-doings but still it left a sour taste behind. As far as I knew the investigations were still going on.
A few days later we had left Genua and after another month of waiting for the result of Baer's assessment of my performance I got the order to join his team. Now I had been with the Air Force One Team for nearly a year and still I was treated as 'on probation'. Some days I felt the urge to cry or yell but that would surely not improve my standing. So I stayed silent, stayed calm and a model of composure, always the 'good girl'. To protect and serve, that's your motto.
A bit depressed I stared at the picture I had hung on the wall above the sideboard. The cherry-tree wooden frame I used for the sketch Tamara had given to me one year ago was relatively simple crafted but a nice contrast to the picture. I could stare for hours at the picture, inhaling how Tamara had been able to fetch the mood. And certainly the Caitlin on the picture was much prettier than the real one. I couldn't decide if this difference was the usual artistic flattery, a slight flaw of her sketching skill or simply how she saw me. I only wished I had a photo from her. This wish – beside others – had been the reason that more than once I started a search with her name. But equally often I stopped the search again before I got a result. So I had started to do sketches of her out of my memory. Several blocks with sketches of her on the bridge, eating eyes or on the beach were in the drawer of the sideboard. I even had one picture of her with that ridiculous minikini in her hands. But the most I liked was the one with her eating ice, a long-handled spoon in her hand, the ice melting on her soft red lips. Shortly I shuddered.
You can't press fate; you have to give it time. This was so much easier said than done. But I had to trust her, to believe her and to wait.
With a weak smile I touched the case that stood on the sideboard below the sketch. My fingers caressed the edge, stroked slowly above the painting on its lid. The lock still stayed closed. Twenty-four years I had to wait yet before I was allowed to open it. How often had my mind been playing games about the content: some jewelry perhaps or another picture? Some sand from the beach it could be or … as a kind of joke … the case could be empty.
I'll wait Tamara, I'll wait. But please don't let me wait too long.
Tamara's flat – Norfolk – 8th of July 2002 (Tamara's POV)
The ride from Norfolk's city to my flat in Ghent had been swifter than expected. It had helped that I left my bureau two hours earlier than on other days but today I couldn't stand my colleagues anymore. They all were so … sympathetic. And then even Jim, my otherwise so patient Savate trainer, finished the lecture and was unmovable as I wished to go on. Perhaps he had been right. My fist was numb and had started to swell. And I had several bruises on my legs. I only hoped that I didn't hurt him too much … again. Sometimes I lost reality in my training sessions and started to fight in earnest. It had been the reason that only a very few trainers were allowed to spare with me. And obviously today was one of 'those days'.
Opening the door the difference between the bright sun outdoors and the shadowy interior of my flat was stunning as was the difference in temperature. But I liked it this way nowadays. Shutting out the sun I closed the door behind me and slowly went to the kitchen. Shutters and thick curtains veiled the windows completely and even in the darkest nights I used only a few weak lamps. Unpacking my grocery bags I shortly pondered about Rachel. It was only thanks to her that I bought something to eat altogether, that I slept at least a few hours each night.
Rachel had been adamant about what she expected me to do and threatened to move in if I behaved otherwise. The bread slipped my hand and fell on the floor. Not really seeing it I looked down, tried hard to get my composure again. I couldn't stand Rachel or anybody else living with me. So I had to do my best to avoid the situation. Without any energy I filled the refrigerator. As every day in the past 10 weeks I had used any energy to survive the day and nothing was left for the evening. As soon as I left the bureau behind and entered my flat there was only a calm bitterness, numbness in my heart and mind. Even the tears that sometimes swept me away and let my body shudder felt something distant, impersonal, as if my eyes wouldn't belong to me.
With trembling fingers I unbuttoned my shirt as I went to my sleeping room, changing into a well-used tracksuit pants and the long-sleeved shirt I had worn one year ago, the shirt with the nearly unreadable logo of the Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky. For a second a smile crossed my lips. It had been happier times then. For the most part of my life I had lived in the vicinity of Louisville, even went there to finish my Bachelor. It had been a great party with my family, a few classmates and a handful of professors. It had been the last time that I had seen them all. After that I left my home for the first time – apart from some vacations and the three months I had spent for an internship in Dublin at least. The EVMS in Norfolk, the Eastern Virginia Medical School, had been a good choice. The studies had gone well, my mentor was … perfect, no other thing could be said about him. And now I had my master degree and doctor title as it should be.
In two weeks my superior would give his statement about my suitability to visit the program in Quantico. Then all would be perfect. Or at least all could be perfect if I would still think this to be the right future for me. But I had doubts and my superior seemed to sense this. He had given hints about his assessment and I didn't expect it to be positive.
Slowly I lifted the shirt, my hand shaking visibly as I tried to touch the scar. I remembered the expression on Caitlin's face as she realized …
Perhaps I should have told her that there was no 'Mr. Moore', no one waiting at home and warming my bed. That it had been Bryan, my brother-in-law and Rachel's sweet husband, who made a semen donation after I decided to live without a man at my side but not without a child. Perhaps I should have told her but of what avail? With this little lie – nothing else my silence had been – she had been much more relaxed and the day happier.
The sketches I made of her stared silently from their places on the walls, watching me crumble to the ground, tears soaking my shirt and blurring my vision. Slowly I curled on the ground, hugging myself and drawing the darkness over me like a blanket.
She will never know what I had felt in Rome; never know what happened two months later.
She will never know.
I hope you enjoyed this story. I'll go on with a story about season 1 next week. And then there will be Gibbs at last, Tony, Abby, Ducky and a hint of McGee too.