Fate is how you end up somewhere… Destiny is where you end up but both terms acknowledge man's inability to comprehend so many things, so read on and decide whether it is fate, destiny or both that conduct this story!
Chapter one – Getting to know one another
Annie and Auggie were sitting in Joan's office waiting for two guests to arrive. Joan had been tight lips about the object of this meeting. All she had said was that this mission was special, off books (but CIA sanctioned somewhat), would probably involve a long term cover and collaboration between other spy agencies.
Annie couldn't say if Joan was smiling or smirking but one way or another she was definitely acting mischievously and diverting all questions that Annie or Auggie tried to ask. Very out of character for Joan!
Auggie was fidgeting big times and starting to get on Annie nerves.
While Joan seemed to be searching for something on her corner desk, Annie whispered "Auggie what do you think Joan has up for us?"
"Don't know but I can't, for the likes of me, read Joan in any way, this is strange. We'll just have to wait and see, I guess"
"You're not handling the waiting part very well, why are you so nervous?" Annie said.
Auggie didn't have time to answer, Annie just let out a "What's he ….!" She had just caught a glimpse of a known tall, confident, stylish and handsome figure of a man making his way to Joan's office. She lifted her gaze to eye level and saw another pair of mischievous eyes locking in with hers… Oh those eyes…
"Auggie, Auggie… Eyal Lavin is walking towards this office" Annie whispered again. She looked at Joan and now she was definitely smirking!
Joan came to welcome Eyal. Gallant as always, he greeted Joan by making eye contact, offering her his wonderful sexy smile that would entice any woman to give him her hand for a small kiss. Then he shifted his attention to Auggie and greeted him with a surprise hug.
"OK Eyal, I know you like me and I do to but we should stop the hugging thing, people are going to talk. This being CIA and a glass walled office!"
Eyal responded with his wonderful laugh and turned his attention to "his" Annie. That confident look and allure could turn on any women; it was completely endearing and simultaneously sexy. "OK Annie get a grip and focus. You are now a taken women and your boyfriend is in the room, stop those flirtatious thoughts!"
No hugging, no hand kissing, no Neshema but just a simple nod of the head, his trademark smile and a husky murmur in her left ear "You look wonderful and happy, I'm glad for you". Joan notices the look but also saw his eyes darkening when he greeted Annie. He was a master spy, reading people was his tradecraft, so he sensed that Annie was comfortable and confident with her relationship. Joan guessed that this saddened him but if he had accepted to come, he must also have accepted the Annie/Auggie situation. She hoped that his attention would be on the mission at hand and not a personal mission he wanted to have! But she trusted his professionalism. She had to because the CIA really needed this team to succeed.
A knock at the door and the fourth member of this "special" team entered. "Sorry I'm late, I got sidetrack by a couple of old friends on the way in."
Auggie shot up and yelled "Mouse, is that you?" With that he opened his arms and she jump into them. "Hey, Mouse, be careful with the blind man!"
"Never was before and I'm not going to start today and besides knowing you, you'd be the first to quip at me if I treated you differently because you're blind, so Captain Anderson pucker up …. Remember you owe me a kiss … a bet is a bet and you lost!"
Auggie's cheeks reddened and he gave her a tender Eskimo kiss. Annie made a note to inquire about "that bet" at a later moment.
"OK", Joan said "I think presentations are in order at this point:
Annie, Eyal, here is Sharon Welby. She's a longtime "acquaintance" of the CIA, MI6, KGB and if I got my facts right even Mossad. Sharon, you know Auggie and this is Annie Walker one of our best young CIA agent and Eyal Lavin, former Mossad but now, like you, freelancing and helping us out on this mission."
Eyal head just jerked up and looked at this woman. She did not fit the Mossad profile in any way: 5'2", white Caucasian, freckles – lots of them, long auburn hair and the girl's next door looks. She seemed to be about his age so it was impossible that she could have been with Mossad, he would have known or seen her sometime, somewhere!
Sharon added "Oops Joan, you forgot an important fact, I'm not a member of any of those spy agencies, I'm just a freelancing friendly Canadian"
"OK Mouse, you're a bit more than a freelancing Canadian" Auggie said and turning to Joan and asking "Can I read them in on this little person, her history and her family"
"It's all in the files that I prepared for you but yes, you may" Joan answered.
"Annie and Eyal, hold on to your hats: This girl was born in Canada and directly into spycraft. Her mother, Elisabeth Jackson was a master MI6 spy and died on a mission when Sharon was just 8 years old. Her father, Howard Welby, was an army doctor that sideline secretly for the CIA. Not as a spy but he treated and saved many of us. When her father passed away, she was taken in by her uncle, Robert Jackson, now the head of MI6 and his wife Anna Dotsenko, a retired Russian spy that freelanced for MI6 and Mossad. Sharon and her "sister" Robin Jackson have been freelancing as spies since they were teenagers and they have been and still are quite good at it. Our Mrs. Welby, here, is a certified public accounting (her boring but paying job as she likes to call it). She is also a graduate of the Juilliard School with a Bachelor degree and academic majors in singing and dancing. The most interesting part, she is also a pretty good hacker and teck op! My type of women… we're just friends Annie! Her father tried to get her interested in medicine but she only could manage a two year sting finishing up with a Bachelor in administration and finally answering her true calling "The Arts". Her spycraft specialties are reading people, voice imitation, singing, dancing and turning assets. She has a way with people, they trust her naturally. (Sound familiar Eyal, Auggie wink at him). She also has a knack for being stubborn, anti-protocol, very very street smart she speaks fluently French, Russian and English.
Sharon added "I had time on my hand and started to learn German, I'm finding it quite hard to master, but no worry I'll get there."
"She not your typical spy, Auggie continued. In 2002, she took a leave of absence after being gravely wounded in a mission, got married, took time for her two kids, divorced and now, my guess is, she getting back in the knack of things.
To that Sharon added "Yes, a 11 year sabbatical… no such thing for a spy but let's say I was less active… we'll leave it at that, O.K. But don't fret; I was not out of touch or shape." Joan, if I got my facts right my sister Robin will be joining us at some point in this mysterious mission?" Joan nodded affirmatively
"Ah yes, she is also a marathon runner (Augie turning toward Annie and say, "The bet was that she could beat me at the Washington Marine Corps Marathon and she did with flying colours). She can also drive a racing car with the ease of a professional. Warning if you get in a car with her… be the driver or be prepared to jump out of your shoes!
Eyal was intrigued but at least he knew why he didn't know her. He had joined Mossad in 2002, the year his sister Sarah died and Sharon had "retired" that same year. Noticing that Sharon seemed bored with this meeting or eager to get on with business, he put his attention on her body language. It told him that she did not like being the center of attraction but since she was the "new kid" it had to be done! … Eyal even knew Anna and Robin quite well (he'd just learned that they were mother and daughter… this could be quite awkward for him later in this mission). Auggie was right, she was born into spyhood. Her background was pretty impressive! Eyal couldn't imagine such a life. She must be quite a character. He decided to try his "seductive specialty on her". Walking up to her, he put on his best mysterious and adoring smile, eyed her with genuine concerned and took her hand to plant a light kiss on it.
"I'm Eyal Lavin, happy to meet you and anxious to get to know you better. You're quite a lady"
With a naughty or up-to-no-good smile she said in a teenager's voice "Wow, you are well trained… perfect handbook execution of 'How to Kiss a Woman's Hand' and she proceeded to recite:
1- Extend your hand so that your palm is facing up, she'll naturally drop her hands into yours
2- Make eye contact. Confidence is a real turn on for women
3- Bring her hand slowly to your lips without losing eye contact.
4- Plant a single "dry" kiss on the back of her hand, at this point don't overdo it.
5- Return her hand slowly to her while tilting your head slightly and give her your best "look and smile."
"Rivka must have been your boss, you're her type. If she was, she'll be proud of you. I'll be sure to tell her about your performance the next time I meet up with her.
But please, put the flirting aside, I'm sure - I know - I will like you just as you are. My first impression is that you are very intelligent, observant, caring, meticulous and mysterious person but guarded and a multi layered type of guy. A very good liar with a strong and confident personality. You aren't perfect but only you know your limitations. Like all of us you've been trained to exploit your assets and hide your weakness - A Casanova with a classy/charming attitude! You like the "finest" things that life has to offer and at times you can be quite funny. In French we say 'Un pince sans rire.' Now a bit about your personal life: You've been deeply hurt by love and promised yourself that you would never fall in love with a woman again. You squirmed when Auggie mention the death of my mother, making me think that you might be a father, but for your child's sake, I'm guessing, you have stayed away from him. You're comfortable and thrive in being in a situation in which the outcome is unknown. You try to hide your deep compassion by being cocky and arrogant but it doesn't work with me… been there … seen that often in this spy world!
Do I get an A for my analysis and no I haven't been read in on you? Your turn now, because I know you have been observing me" and that smile of hers was now so cocky, it really unnerved him!"
Annie could not hold her laughter any longer. She just let it go; Auggie and Joan just had to join in also. Eyal face was… was… she had never seen him look this 'surprise' so to say. Annie finally manages to speak "Looks like you've met your match Eyal Lavin". No "one quip" remark from him…Sharon I'm impress! I'm so looking forward to working on this mission and getting to know more about you, Sharon and how you, Mister Flirtatious, are going to manage yourself!
Eyal was thunderstruck. OK this girl was not a fake, she had spunk, experience and was quite good at reading people. Eyal was curious to get to know more about this seasoned Spygirl that seem to be coming right out of a Cracker Jack CIA box! This promised to be an interesting mission.
Annie was intrigue by one thing "Joan, Eyal and Sharon, are not CIA, so why aren't the orange lights flashing."
Joan smiled and said: "Very observant of you Mrs. Walker. Eyal has been truly scrutinized and is now cleared as a viable asset for CIA. Sharon is a longtime partner with CIA and helped us in numerous missions. She is part of the 'A team' and being loaned to us for this mission. To that Eyal lifted his head and took another but more serious look at this girl. The A team was a group of hand picked spies of different agencies. They would, on demand, regroup to resolve some very difficult, dangerous, mostly political, shoot to kill or finishing mopped up missions something like the Mossad Kiddon squad. The members on this team were the best of the best. He definitely was going to have to learn more about this girl.
Joan put a stop to the bantering that was mounting between her four special agents. She had to keep them in line. Eyal and Sharon were not her typical spies. She knew she would have a hard time keeping them in "protocol" line. But she needed their expertise, experience and off book connections. "Okay, you guys have each other history in the files before you. Now, I would like you to take the rest of the day off (so to speak), read those resumes and report back in my office tomorrow morning. If you accept this mission, you'll need to be able to work well together. In order to check this out, you'll all be staying in a safe house "together" for a couple of weeks and you will have a couple of small missions to run. If you can stay alive, behave yourselves and get along during those two weeks, we'll deduct that you have what will be needed to possibly succeed on this mission. You'll only be read in on the mission after you passed this "test". Are you OK with these terms?
Sharon was the first to say "Yes", Annie, Auggie and Eyal followed suit.
Joan dismissed them but Sharon wanted a word with her, so she stayed behind.
"Joan, I have to tell you that I have met Eyal Lavin before and we were briefly, how can I say, very intimate. I don't yet know what this mission is about but I thought that you should know."
"What, that's impossible, he didn't even let on that he knew you! Why didn't he say anything and you also didn't say anything as a matter of fact?" Joan said in one breath.
"Possibly because he doesn't remember. We were both just 19 years old and I was on a mission to uncover a student-spy that had a knack for bombing foreigners. He was not Mossad but a normal and very sexy student. I was posing as a Canadian exchange pre-medicine student attending the Tel-Aviv Sackler Faculty of Medicine. I guessed my cover and disguise were good or I didn't leave a lasting impression on him. Let's say I had to leave very rapidly after that mission was completed. I'm sure he doesn't have a clue of who I am."
"Well Sharon, you'll have another challenge besides getting to know him and Annie in the next two weeks. You have to read him in on how he was deceived or conned by a teenage Sharon. Hope his ego can survive it. I don't have time right now, but girl I want to hear the full story."
"Sure, it's a date, happy to be doing another mission with you Joan. And don't worry, Eyal, will be just fine. I promise to handle him with great care!" Sharon putting on another of her devilish smiles. And by the way, is Annie Walker with Auggie, if so, sorry to inform you that she also has feelings for our Mr Lavin. And Mr. Lavin has feeling for Annie. Hope this will not be a problem; I really don't want to be caught in a second Bermuda triangle!
Joan frowned and said: "I will have a word with Annie tomorrow, it is also my concern. This is one on the reason there is a "test run" to sort things out. It didn't take you long to capture the whole picture, you really are the right person for the job ahead of you."
Joan thought to herself, "Boy's I'd like to be an agent on this mission instead of a boss… something tells me Sharon and Eyal are going to stir some very interesting occasions. Only hope it doesn't get in the way of this mission….this is not a time for a 'two company, three is a crowd' situation!