Oscar Goldman was almost finished with a headache filled week. He had been deep in meetings with the Secretary and Bill Parr. They had finally agreed on the jurisdiction of the OSI and the NSB. The OSI would be involved in more research and development projects. The field agents would investigate cases that did not involve espionage.
"You do realize that the OSI will be sent to investigate every crackpot with a UFO or Bigfoot story." Russ was frustrated at the thought of meeting people who didn't have a firm grasp on reality.
"Ah, keep in mind that we found out that Bigfoot was not only real but controlled by aliens from another world." Oscar remembered how the agency was when he first joined. "I'm sure there will be UFO claims to look into and hard telling what else but there is still the Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. Each side is developing technology that will require investigation."
After seeing Russ relax a little, Oscar told him with all seriousness, "Of course there will be the occasional rogue mad scientist or little green man that will need to be dealt with." Oscar had to stop himself from laughing at Russ' wounded expression.
"When are you going to announce all this? Tonight?"
Oscar glanced at Russ over his glasses in a slightly irritated manner, "No, Callahan is writing up the draft now. I will send it to all departments during lunch time so everyone will have a chance to hear about it. Tonight I will address the changes."
On his way out the door, Russ muttered under his breath, "Merry Christmas."
Jaime and Callahan had joined forces to plan the OSI Christmas party. Since both knew that changes to the department were coming, they wanted to have a special party that would be encouraging. They decorated 2 large Christmas trees and plastered the ballroom with streamers, holly and even some mistletoe.
As Callahan watched Jaime work she giggled, "Do you make house calls? I mean, having a bionic cleaning lady would be fantastic. In five minutes flat my entire apartment could be completely cleaned and organized."
"Ha Ha." Jaime replied then made a face to her friend as she jumped down from a ledge along the wall. "You know this is going to be a great party."
Callahan grinned really big and had a dreamy look on her face, "Yeah, it is."
"Spill it? Who is he?" Jaime's face lit up as she could tell by Callahan's look that she had found a new boyfriend.
With a sigh, "Eric Williamson from Treasury. Last week Oscar sent me over there to drop off some files. He's blond, tall and hopelessly romantic."
Jaime smiled, "I know you're going to have a great night. Don't forget where the mistletoe is."
Oscar greeted everyone at the door with a handshake and a bonus check. It was one of the personal touches he did for his employees. Most of the people only met him at Christmas so he went out of his way to be gracious.
Jaime walked over to him after the line of people had moved into the ballroom. She batted her eyelashes then glanced up at the mistletoe, "You forgot to greet me."
"Well hello Miss Sommers. Welcome to the OSI Christmas Party. I do hope you'll have a good time." Oscar then took her in his arms, looked at the mistletoe then kissed her. "I'll give you your…bonus…later."
Once everyone was settled in their seats, Oscar stood up to address them. He hoped to relieve worries the employees had about the first of the year changes. He repeated the memo then added words of encouragement and support.
"In closing, ladies and gentlemen, a new decade is coming soon. The 1980's will bring new and exciting advances in medicine, technology plus new discoveries. Our work will take on a new…positive outlook." As Oscar sat down there was a round of applause. Jaime could hear a mixture of agreement and grumbling. She decided to not mention either.
Rudy jumped up to Oscar's surprise. "Ladies and gentlemen, as Oscar said, the future looks positive and there is nothing more positive than…a wedding. Please join me in offered up congratulations to Oscar and Jaime Sommers for their engagement." To the applause of the group, a grinning Oscar stood up and held his hand out to Jaime. She had turned a bright pink and giggled as she stood up. There was a very loud wolf whistle from Steve that made them both laugh. It was a high spirited party that lasted long into Saturday morning.
The morning flight to Tampa gave Jaime and Oscar time to get into relaxation mode. Both of them were tired from the prior evening's party plus from Oscar giving Jaime her bonus. For the last week Jaime had been preparing for the spring semester that started in January. She had met with councilors and attended a new student orientation. She was excited about starting down the path of her new career even if the prospect was a little daunting.
"So, how did orientation go?" Oscar asked. Jaime had attended the meeting earlier the morning before but they had been too busy to discuss it.
"Wonderful. I met a number of the other students. It was a relief to see that there were others my age. I picked up some of my books." Jaime made a face that Oscar laughed at. "It's a good thing I'm bionic otherwise I wouldn't be able to carry them!"
"You'll do great." Oscar gave her a smile and squeezed her hand.
They arrived at the ship mid-afternoon. It was going to sail at 4pm. After settling in and changing clothes, they began exploring the ship. Jaime and Oscar had been given schedules of shipboard activities and shore excursions.
Both were amazed at the huge selection of food during dinner. They were to eat at the Captain's table on their third night. In the meantime they shared a table with two other couples. John and Josephine were on their honeymoon. Allen and Susan were on an anniversary trip. They were a very lighthearted group. There was a great deal of marriage, wedding and honeymoon talk.
"So, what do you think about the excursions on offer?" Oscar asked after they returned to the cabin.
"I want to do as much as we can. Looks like there are plenty of opportunities for snorkeling."
"Great", Oscar took her in his arms, "that will give me lots of time seeing you in that new swimsuit," frowning a little at her, "you refuse to show me."
"Oh yeah?" Jaime blushed, smiled and put her arms around his neck.
"Yeah." Oscar replied then kissed her.
The ship sailed for two days before arriving at the first port of call at San Juan. Their days were filled with swimming, sunning and enjoying each other. After an intense afternoon love making session, Oscar decided to broach a subject they hadn't discussed for what seemed like months. "I suppose we should start planning our wedding otherwise people will think we've given it up."
"Not likely." Jaime snuggled closer to him.
"So, do you want a big wedding with everyone we've ever met or a trip to the justice of the peace or…something in the middle?"
Jaime propped herself up on an elbow then gave him a quizzical look, "It's your wedding too, ya know, not just mine."
Oscar put his arms around her shoulders to pull her down for a kiss, "Babe, weddings are for women," after another kiss he said, "Honeymoons are for men."
"Is that so?" Jaime smiled as she kissed him. "Well, in that case, I'd like a wedding with family, including yours, and close friends. You know, we've known each other for years and I've never even heard you talk about your family, except your brother, much less visit them."
Jaime noticed Oscar's face change to an emotion she couldn't quite read. "Well…there isn't much to tell. I really…haven't seen my family since…since my mother died 8 years ago."
"Why? What happened?" Jaime gently prodded.
"It's a long…and painful story." Seeing by the look on her face, Oscar knew he wasn't going to get out of telling her. Then again, she was just the person who would understand and, well, maybe it would be good to share it with her. His family wasn't anything he'd ever discussed with anyone.
"My father was the third of six sons. They were all strict Jews then my father married my mother, who wasn't Jewish. It made a gigantic riff within the family. Sam and I were given family names, Jewish ones but we were introduced to the religions of both our parents. Sam chose to be Christian." Oscar paused as he remembered. "That sent my grandparents and uncles in a rage. They refused to see my mother or Sam ever again. I only saw my grandparents with my father. They tried very hard to influence me to be Jewish. When I turned 12 my grandparents stepped up their plan for me to choose their religion and have a Barmitzfa on my 13th birthday. I had overheard my parents talking one time – that's how I found out about my grandparent's intolerance. From that point on I hated seeing them. I only went because my father made me. One visit they were pressuring me and it made me angry so I blurted out that I was choosing to be Christian. My grandmother cried as my grandfather slapped me then threw my father and me out of the house. After my grandfather died, my grandmother relented and saw us again - even my mother. My uncles, however, were as inflexible as their father. The last time I saw my father's family was at his funeral 18 years ago. None of them came or even sent condolences when my mother died."
Jaime had tears running down her face. "Oscar, that's…that's horrible."
"That's just my father's side. There was similar discrimination on mother's side. They weren't as bad but the family was not happy when my mother married a Jew. They were civil but not kind to my father. They insisted on calling Sam and me by nicknames instead of our Jewish sounding names. I was never close to my grandparents as they lived a distance away so I only saw them a couple of times a year. They died shortly after the war. My mother had two brothers and one sister. I've not seen any of them since my mother's death. I occasionally receive Christmas cards from a cousin in Rhode Island but that's all."
"I'm so sorry – I had no idea." Jaime caressed his face.
"I've long since reconciled myself to it all but…well…I'm going to have a beautiful wife who I love more than anyone in the world. That's what's really important."
"I love you and I'm proud to be Jaime GOLDMAN."
Later that night Jaime put on a stunning silver gown for dinner. They seemed to be the favored guests at the Captain's table as Jaime sat on his left and Oscar on his right. Dinner and drinks flowed as easy as the conversations.
"Mr. Goldman, what is it that you do?" Captain Harrison asked.
"I'm the director of a government agency called the OSI. We investigate cases of scientific interest."
"That sounds interesting. How did you come across a former tennis star to marry? Yes, Miss Sommers," the Captain explained after noticing Jaime's surprised expression, "I do know who you are. I'm a big tennis fan and remember you from the circuit."
"Thank you Captain, you've got a great memory. It seems like a lifetime ago. Oscar and I met through a mutual friend."
Moments later a Navy Lieutenant excused himself from the table which caused a break in the flow of hilarity at the table. Jaime and the Captain talked much about the world of tennis. Oscar was extremely proud of himself for not being jealous. He was used to Jaime attracting whatever male that happened to be around and much to his displeasure Jaime liking the attention. But that was all in the past as he knew she would be leaving with him when the evening ended.
The next day the ship arrived on time to San Juan. There was a great deal of sight seeing during the short stay. A bus took the passengers to various sites including the Coca Waterfall which was thought to have been the origin of the Fountain of Youth.
"Maybe I should dive in, knock a few years off. What do you say?" Oscar teased Jaime as they stood by the edge.
"You better behave or Santa won't visit you tomorrow." Jaime replied in a whisper.
There was a Christmas Eve dance that night. Jaime and Oscar spent much of the dance cheek-to-cheek no matter what song was being played. It was a beautiful night with Santa coming in the room bearing gifts for the party goers. There was champagne, Christmas Crackers and other party favors for everyone to enjoy. The dance music stopped around 10pm to make room for carolers. The entire group enjoyed singing Christmas carols until the clock struck midnight.
"Merry Christmas, Babe." Oscar said as he put some mistletoe above their heads then kissed Jaime.
"Merry Christmas, I love you."
The beautiful scene turned to a panic when the ship violently lurched to the left. All the passengers were thrown off balance and some landed on the floor. The mood changed for a few minutes as people began to wonder what had happened. Oscar immediately looked for the Captain. He was on the phone to the bridge. With Jaime in tow, Oscar walked over the Captain.
"Ladies and gentlemen - that was a big wave. There's no damage to the ship and seas seem to be calm again." The Captain announced to the passengers.
Jaime listened as the Captain again went to the phone. Oscar watched her and stayed silent. To Jaime's relief, the Captain still spoke about the freak incident and advised the officer on the bridge to look out for other large waves.
"Well, now that's over, where were we?" Jaime smiled as she put her arm through Oscar's.
"The party seems to have wound down here. How about we…celebrate in our cabin?" Oscar lifted his eyebrows and gave Jaime a hint of a smile.
Once back in their cabin, Oscar went to his suitcase. Taking her cue, Jaime went to hers. Each took out finely wrapped gifts. Shyly and a little nervously they gave each other the gifts. It was their first Christmas as a couple – an engaged couple. They wanted it to be very special.
"You go first" they both said in unison then chuckled.
After Jaime said, "Please," Oscar turned pink then replied softly, "Okay".
Inside the box was a new gold bracelet to replace the one that had been lost months during their raid against the island of mercenaries. Underneath it was engraved "Love always, Jaime, Christmas 1979." Oscar put the bracelet on then kissed her "Thank you. It's wonderful – you're wonderful." He then glanced at the box in her hands.
Jaime slowly unwrapped the present. It was a gold necklace with two entwined hearts. Each heart was covered in small diamonds so they glittered in the light. Engraved on the back of one heart was OG and on the other heart was JS. At the join of the two hearts was 12-25-79. "It's beautiful. I love it, thank you." Oscar helped her put it on then took the hearts between his fingers. They then took a few hours to unwrap each other.
Bright and early Christmas morning Jaime and Oscar went to the local excursion office in St Thomas. They decided to rent their own small boat, take some scuba equipment and a picnic lunch. Oscar received a list of places to go and a map of how to get there. The couple set off on their own private launch. It was a beautiful day and the water clear. They didn't recognize the man standing by the dock nor did they see the other two men going into the office.
"Jaime, let's go to this island. It is far enough away from the tourist spots to give us some undisturbed diving."
Oscar headed for a likely spot for diving after they arrived at the island. It had only taken them an hour to get there so they had plenty of time for exploring. Oscar found Jaime's new bathing suit distracting so getting his gear on took a little extra time. They swam around the reef into a school of fish. Off they went to look at an old boat that had sunk years earlier. It was covered with coral.
Suddenly out of the corner of Jaime's eye she saw two men swimming toward them from above. The men had practically landed on top of them which puzzled Jaime until she saw another boat parked next to theirs. The men appeared to have large knives in their hands. Oscar saw and observed the same things seconds after Jaime did.
The two men got within a few feet then motioned for Oscar to go with them. The men were in black scuba suits. With their masks on, only their eyes showed. They looked determined and sure of what they were doing. One of the men motioned again this time sticking his arm out a little further. Jaime took advantage of this by kicking at the arm. It wasn't as easy as it would have been on land but it got the job done. The man's arm was pushed away from Oscar but the knife didn't come out of his hand. Jaime grabbed him before he could recover. After a brief struggle, she ripped the knife out of his hand then threw it as far as possible away from them. Just after Jaime had kicked the one man, Oscar lunged at the other. The two men struggled as Oscar tried to keep the knife away. The attacker tried to bang Oscar's head onto the wreaked boat but he wasn't able to push him hard enough to do any damage. Jaime's attacker turned away from her then swam to his boat. Jaime looked around to find Oscar still struggling with the other man so she swam as fast as her bionic legs would go towards them. The attacker saw her out of the corner of his eye then pushed away from Oscar and swam for the surface. Before Jaime and Oscar could get to the surface, the boat sped away.
As they surfaced both asked, "Are you alright?" then they got in their boat.
Jaime asked as she inspected a cut in Oscar's shoulder, "What do we do?"
"I don't know, OUCH. I think it was a kidnapping attempt. Jaime, what did you hear or see?"
Jaime told him what she had seen of the boat and the men. "There wasn't much to see. They were white. The man I struggled with had blue eyes. They both appeared to be tall and strongly built. I didn't see any tags or identifying items. What about you?"
Oscar frowned, "About the same." With furrowed brow, he paced around the boat a few times. Jaime knew to keep quiet as he was deep in thought trying to analyze the situation. "They were professionals." Oscar sat across from Jaime then continued, "The tactics they used were taught in the Navy. Listen, we're safe for now."
"Don't you think we should get back to the ship?"
"Yes, we need to call Russ. The kidnappers will wait until they have an advantage again. That won't be until we're home. We need to find them before…they can try again."
They were on alert for any threats or people watching them as Jaime and Oscar returned to the ship. They went to the Captain to tell him what happened and asked for permission to call Washington. Russ was most unhappy to hear what happened and advised them to return home. Oscar said no and Jaime agreed. Because Oscar's safety was a national security issue, the NSB and OSI would have to work together on it.
"Russ, check the passenger list for any military or former military, especially Naval. Someone had to know where we were and be able to put something together quickly."
Jaime and Oscar returned to their cabin in silence. Jaime's immediate concern was Oscar's safety but she was also a little angry. Again their life was disrupted by the OSI. Oscar could feel Jaime's mood but his concern was for her. He knew she would not leave his side but he was terrified that she would be a target because of their relationship.
"How's your arm? Maybe you should see the ship's doctor." Jaime tried to smile at him when they got inside.
A quiet "No." was all he could muster. Merry Christmas! Now what are we going to do? Who are they? What do they want? How can we get married…No, I can't think that way. I can't live without her but how do I keep her safe? Oscar was so lost in thought and looked so depressed that she just sat there for a minute before rubbing up and down his arm.
"We'll get through this. Russ will find answers. Come on. The ship sails in an hour. I figure you're all mine for a few days." Jaime tried to reassure him.
The ship sailed for home. Oscar breathed a sigh of relief as he believed that the would-be kidnappers would not be able to act while they were onboard. They spent time by the pool, read a book and relaxed. Each knew their vacation would be over sooner rather than later in more ways than one.
"So," Jaime ventured on their last day at sea, "I've decided I want to get married in Washington. I'll ask Callahan to be my maid of honor. Who…who will be best man?"
Oscar was distracted by his dark thoughts but finally registered what she'd said. "Best man? Steve or…Rudy. Maybe…both. How would you feel about it being Steve?"
"It would be fine. It is kind of funny though – same bride with the groom and best man switching." Jaime tried to make light of the past when she was going to marry Steve four years or so before.
Oscar looked deep into her eyes then took her in his arms. "I'm so sorry for all this. I wanted our vacation to be…memorable."
"I know. It's not your fault." Jaime started to breakdown. "I'm so worried about you."
"You're angry too."
"I just wish…I just wish we didn't have to face all this…STUFF all the time."
"I know, I know." Oscar kissed her which started a chain reaction and very shortly they were making love like there was no tomorrow – both afraid there wouldn't be a tomorrow.
Disembarking from the ship, Jaime and Oscar found Russ with a group of agents.
"Oscar, you were right. There was a Naval officer onboard when the ship sailed but he seems to have disappeared. He was last seen at St. Thomas."
Jaime grabbed Oscar's arm, "That Navy Lieutenant at, at the Captain's table. Remember?"
"Yeah, yeah, I do. He excused himself from the table after the Captain asked us…asked me what I did. He heard I was with the OSI."
"As it happens, Lieutenant Jeff Johnson is a follower of Col., now self proclaimed, General James Lane."
Oscar turned pale as Jaime's eyes went wide open then she looked up at him. "So, Lane found out who raided his compound. The question is does he know about Jaime and Steve?"
"I've informed Steve. We're still looking for Johnson."
"Lane is the one we need. It's interesting that he wants to kidnap me instead of kill me. What does he want?"
"There will be guards at your house and," Russ was interrupted by Oscar.
"I'm not going to live like that. Lane will wait until the situation is right. He won't rush. It could be months before he tries again." Oscar put his arm around Jaime, "Let's go home, Babe. We've got a New Year to celebrate…and a wedding to plan."