Turning swiftly, Howard tried to focus his eyes to the book shelf from where the intruder's voice came.
There stood a female figure, dressed in a knee length pleated red skirt, white blouse with three-quarter sleeves, a belt that clung to her waist, and red patent heels. With a cigarette in hand, the small red glow, along with the cloud of smoke drew Howard's attention to the auburn hair that was, unfashionably, let loose. The wave of the hair framed a face that had a sharp jaw-line and pointed nose, but a heart-shaped curve that put the features into proportion. A slight hint of red lay on the lips, and they spoke once again.
"I'm afraid that I may have to report Jennings."
"Ex-excuse me?" stuttered Howard, taken aback by the British accent and casualness of her tone.
"Jennings. He let our best asset slip past him." The young woman walked towards the table, took a last drag on her cigarette and stubbed it out in the ashtray on the table. "Imagine if you hadn't returned, Mr Stark." she drawled, a slight smirk skipping over her lips.
"I wasn't leaving; I was just getting some fresh air. I-"
"Fresh air with Colonel Phillips? Didn't think he'd enjoy the sights of Regent Park."
A slight low giggle expressed the amusement of the woman stood across the table from Howard. He looked at her, smiling too, at the thought of being hand in hand with Colonel Phillips, skipping through the Chrysanthemums. Looking up as her eyes creased in amusement, they were of a deep blue, or shade of green; he could not tell from that distance.
Walking around the table towards her, he extended his hand and received hers in his, slowly shaking with surprising grip.
"I did not come here to talk about your hobbies, sadly. I came here to brief you on your imminent journey."
Taking several paces back and sighing, Howard took the back of a chair and pulled it from underneath the table, spinning it around to face his conversational partner, and sat down in expectance, crossing his leg so his left ankle rest on his right knee.
"Anything you could tell me about what I am doing here and where I'm to be going would be greatly appreciated, Miss...?"
The young woman cocked her head to the left and exhaled hard.
"So he hasn't told you anything? What a foolish, idiotic..." She trailed off, placing her fist up to her teeth, and biting her knuckle, shaking her head.
"Who? Colonel Phillips?" She nodded. "I wouldn't let anyone hear you say such things about him. I promise I won't tell." Howard cheekily smiled, leaning forwards towards her. She perched on the table to the side of him, throwing her unruly hair behind her back.
"Oh, I don't worry about him. I can say almost anything about him and he'd just laugh it off."
Confused and intrigued, Howard started to speak, but was quickly interrupted by a cry of indignation.
"You were going to let him get on that plane without telling him a single bloody thing? Honestly, your levels of compassion are beyond me!"
"Will you let me get a word in edgeways woman?!" roared the Colonel from the door, making Howard jump up from his seat in a flash. "The documents are here. Everything is fine. The ball's in motion. Jeese, you've definitely inherited your mother's impatient streak..."
Just as quickly as he arrived, Colonel Philips trhew down a paper bound file and turned on his heels out of the room. Howard, taking the file that was being handed to him by his new companion, stood in shock at the new reserved behaviour of the Colonel.
"Did he just...? I don't understand... You should be packing your bags by know!" Howard scoffed, amazed by the lack of anger and control of the Colonel relating to what just happened. A member of staff, much lower than himself probably, and a woman as well, had just completely undermined his authority. Gaping at the young woman, she just giggled once again and pushed her hair back off her face.
"Being a Colonel's niece has major benefits. One is that I can say almost what I like, knowing that if he goes too far he'll hear an earful from Mummy." Silence as Howard shook his head and laughed slightly himself. "But enough of that. You have some reading to do before your posting tomorrow. I'll arrange for a driver to take you back to your hotel. And please stay there tonight. Don't go wandering off again..."
Walking towards the door with a cigarette box in hand, she stopped and turned as Howard spoke.
"I'll only promise to stay in tonight if you tell me your name." bartered Howard, jumping around the table and towards the door also.
"I can't tell you my real name, but look at that file. That can be my name for now."
Howard looked down at the paper bound file.
"Top Secret?" he joked, giving a cheeky grin.
"No! Don't be silly. You can call me Bee."
Sorry it's been so long, but I've gone back to Uni! Thanks to my followers and reviews! I'd love for you to shape where this goes, so please review and tell me any ideas you may have! Thanks! Kitty xx