Authors: Drew Sinclair
Katy stepped into the bathroom and looked at herself in one of the huge wall mirrors next the shower. Instantly her mood changed.
"What the hell am I doing here?" She asked herself. She began thinking about the scene that had just played out in the bedroom and then suddenly felt weak again.
"Oh no." She gasped, reaching for the wall. "Not again, not again, not again." She looked around, checking her vision but everything seemed okay. In all there were three large mirrors in the bathroom and they gave a full view of every angle her body.
She closed her eyes and stepped back from her reflection but it was virtually impossible not to see herself.
"I should get dressed." She mumbled and then turned to leave but something stopped her. Something in her reflection. As much as she didn’t feel like scrutinizing herself in anymore detail something just wasn't right. She approached the mirrors again and looked down to a spot on her lower back, just at the base of her spine. It was tiny, almost invisible but something just wasn't right. She tried looking over her shoulder but the spot was impossible to see without a mirror.
She went to the switch and turned on every light she could find in the room and then looked again.
"God damn it, there's something there."
She began examining the spot with her fingers now but there was nothing to the touch. That or she just couldn't locate the exact spot with her fingers.
She came more directly into the light and began rubbing the barely visible smudge with her thumbs but nothing seemed to happen. She applied her nails until the skin around the spot reddened but she still couldn't feel anything there.
But then she noticed it.
It was one tiny area of numbness, so small that it would go entirely unnoticed unless you were searching directly for it.
"What the hell
She went to the medicine chest and opened it up to see if there was something she could use, like a tweezers or a nail scissors to get this thing off her, but there was nothing.
She found a magnified mirror and twisted her head to the max to get a view of the tiny patch of discoloration. She pressed her finger to it but nothing happened. Then she held a finger tip above it, barely touching, just barely and when she looked again it was gone.
"Son of a bitch."
She held up her finger tip to the light and sure enough, there it was, right there under her nose, the tiniest little dark patch, stuck onto her like a nano-limpet or a second skin.
"That bastard. No wonder he was able to find me."
She began looking all over herself frantically for any more nano tracking devices. She had worked on tracking technology herself and on skin adhesive technology but she never seen anything so tiny or so sophisticated.
"He's been with me all the time."
She lightly brushed her fingertip over her other wrist and saw the tiny patch transfer itself there.
The realization came over her. It must have been when he had examined her for surveillance technology. He wasn't just looking to make sure she hadn't brought any with her, he wanted to make sure she would be wearing this before she left his home.
She marched back out to the bedroom but there was no-one was there. She could hear the muffled voices of Clayton and Dale outside in the hallway.
She pulled on her clothes again and thought about marching out into the hall to confront him in front of his brother but then she stopped.
"Two can play this game Hargrave and you just met the best player in town."
She finished dressing and then went to the drapes to draw them back. When she looked outside her breath was taken away by the view. This wasn't the house in Maine. The view outside of snow capped mountains was spectacular and the town far below in the distance looked familiar although she was pretty sure she had never been there.
When she turned around again Clayton had just entered the room.
"Nadia, we've got to talk."
The casual use of her old name had a disquieting effect on her. The memory of what he had needed to do to get her to even say it brought a flush to her face. The memories of all the bad things that had happened to Nadia Komerov darkened her mood.
"Is this Aspen?" She asked.
"We needed to get you to a safe place far away from the east coast so we brought you here, to a friend's house."
Katy sat down, framed by the incredible view behind her.
"A friend's house? More like a friend's palace."
"We have to talk about your mother." He said, walking around her to pick up his clothes from the floor. Katy stiffened at the mention of her vanished parent.
"That one is not up for discussion." She said quietly. "Anything else. But not that."
Clayton pulled on his jeans and sat down on the bed, his muscular torso still slick from their skirmish with love-making. He found his shirt, pulled it on and then faced her.
"Someone is claiming to know what happened to Louise Komerov. Is that possible?".
She stared back, more confused than ever.
"Anything is possible. The last person who said that to me was your so-called right hand man Angel. That's how he got me into his car last night."
Clayton dropped his gaze. It was true. He had gotten her into all this trouble. Instead of rescuing her he had put her directly in harm's way, but he was determined to make amends and be as good as his word. She had almost accepted his protection and this was more than sacred to him; it was something unbreakable at the very core of his being.
"They've got Angel." He said quietly. "I think his life is in danger."
"Good. I warned him. I hope you don't expect me to care what happens to that lying piece of--"
"Do you care about what happened to your mother?"
"Don't you dare try to use that against me. You're no better than him. I hope they give him a good old Russian Mafia send off after they've finished playing with him. That asshole had no idea what happened to Louise. I can’t believe I was dumb enough to fall for that."
"What about Mikhail Boyevik. Could he know?"
Katy felt her hands begin to tremble.
"I don’t give a shit what they have to say to me. My mother is dead and that's all that matters. I don’t need or want to know what those scum did to her."
"Wouldn’t you like to see those responsible pay for what they did to Louise Komerov?"
"Of course I would. I'd like to see them burn in hell. And not just for what they did to my mother but for everyone else they've ever hurt."
"Then tell me what you know. Everything. We can play these idiots. Do you really think they have even half the intelligence that you have? They're fools. The closer they get to you the closer they are to paying for everything they've ever done."
"That's not what it felt like in that shack in with a gun to back of my head."
"But look how that ended up - look where you are now."
She glanced around the room and out the window to the panoramic view.
"First you tell me how you found me. And I want the truth. No bullshit." She said.
"I tracked you."
"Why do I get the feeling that you already know how?"
"If I already know then why don’t you just come out and say it? Hell,
got nothing to lose in all this."
"I've got you to lose."
She looked away. He was so direct, always challenging her, making her confront her emotions and feelings were never her strong point, even less so after four years of living like a ghost.
"I've got Nadia Komerov." He said.
She felt herself begin to choke up and shook her head.
"Just tell me God damn it. If I mean so much to you then tell me the truth."
"I bugged you with a nano device that attaches to your skin."
"To my lower back to be precise."
"To the most beautiful little dip in your lower back, just above your cute ass."
"You put it there while pretending to examine me for surveillance devices when in fact you were getting your kinky kicks from feeling up my bones."
"That's it. When I was getting my kinky kicks off of your perfectly delicious bones."
He was able to turn her even when he was being a crazy asshole. This was a train wreck of an attraction - already a huge mess but impossible to tear away from.
"How did you make it all the way to the shack in the woods? Why did you set off the phones and throw that guy through the window?"
"I was following your electronic trail but when I started finding one hundred dollar bills along the road I knew I was close and I knew you were in trouble."
The paper trail. She had forgotten all about it. Her last, desperate cry for help.
"Scattered, crumpled one hundred dollar bills leading up to the back of my employee's car outside a shack in the middle of nowhere with two other cars parked outside - there had to be something wrong. I knew it as soon as I saw Angel's car gone yesterday morning. I knew you wouldn't go without saying something. I knew you wouldn't go. Period. When I saw the trail I knew I was right."
He stopped for a moment as the emotions he had felt at that moment flooded back over him.
"The thought of you so close to… to… Christ Nadia, why the hell won't you just trust me? If you had just stayed here."
"It's not like Angel gave me much choice."
"Angel." His jaw tightened. "What did that bastard say to you?"
"Do you really want to hear it?"
She took a deep breath. Truth or dare seemed to be the theme of their relationship so far, if you could call it a relationship.
"He told me that you were playing a game with me. A game that you played with all your women. He told me I was your type; geeky, smart and of up to my neck in trouble. He told me you have a fetish for getting the truth out of women, getting them to reveal their most personal secrets just before you…. before you fuck them."
She stopped there, waiting for his reaction. He hadn't stopped looking at her, never dropped his dark, confident gaze.
"If you're asking me if that's true then I'm not going to lie to you. In essence, Angel told you the truth, but Nadia… it's more than a game. And you made me realize that. I've been looking for something all along and I didn't even know it until I found you."
"Sure." She said dismissively. "Your trusted friend then told me I needed to give it up to you - make you a happy man - and then be out of there by the next day. If I didn’t satisfy you in every way then you'd never let go of me until you had what you wanted."
"So that's what you did? That's why you let me do those things to you? And why you did those things to me?"
"You tell me - are you 'satisfied' yet?"
He waited before answering, his mouth slightly open now, watching her every tiny movement. If he had ever wanted to fuck her, the compulsive desire he felt now was ten times anything it had been before.
"You were lying to me all along." He whispered.
"Was I?" She allowed a smile to cross her lips.
This fucking game has to stop Nadia.
She thought and let her mouth fall open. She had called herself by her old name; he was getting to her - using her old name again and again to bring up old memories and feelings that she had done everything in her power to expunge from her mind.
Clayton watched her mouth, entranced and failed to notice the phone buzzing on the bed beside him.
Nadia snatched it from the bed before he could take it.
"It's Nadia Komerov. Who the fuck are you?"
"Nadia, my little Nadia." The voice said in Russian.
"Speak English Mikhail. Tell me what you want."
"Such a little bossy boots Nadia. You always did think you knew better than everybody else, didn’t you?"
"Tell me what you want and why I should care. Before you ask, I don't give a fuck about that scum Angel. Feed him to the sharks if it makes you happy and I'll make sure you fry for the crime."
Mikhail gave a long harsh laugh.
"Ah, you would make such a good lieutenant Nadia - such things are in the blood - but you are much too smart for that. Of course you don't care about that slave Angel, however, I think you do care about FBI, NSA, and CIA. Correct?"
"I'd rather work for any of them than be associated with scum like you."
"Then you work for free. You would be true slave to them after you run from them. Isn't that why you run Nadia? To not be slave to your own government?"
Katy, or Nadia, as she was beginning to think of herself again, momentarily had no answer. Boyevik was right. If she feared the evil of the vor y zakone Russian mob, the dark world of the NSA and CIA didn't offer much more comfort.
"And Nadia, don’t forget, none of them can tell you anything about Louise."