to Part 3
The Spy Who Love Me
He'd been looking for he for over three years. It was like a hole in his heart that could never
be filled. It had started as soon as he woke up in his office and found her gone. Maybe she'd gone for coffee.
Maybe she was hungry, or she'd gone home. Mike hoped any one of these things had happened. He had a sinking feeling
that it wasn't so simple. He was right.
"I can't help you." Shane's face was like a stone. Mike thought he would try one more thing.
"I love her Shane." Mike said, vocalizing his feelings for the first time in years. "The night she disappeared, we were together. I think I'm the reason she left.
"Go on." Shane said seeming more interested.
"She's in my soul Shane. I can't get her out, and I know she's not dead. I can feel it right here." Mike put his hand over his chest. "If I could find her, I could figure out what I did wrong. Why she left. . ."
"What if she doesn't want to be found?" Shane asked, his face serious. "Can you accept that? If she hasn't come back after three years, there's a good chance she doesn't want to be found."
"I guess so" sighed Mike, "but I don't really believe it."
"Listen, I can't help you. You'll have to trust me that what you're asking is really beyond my jurisdiction." Shane paused and looked Mike squarely in the eye. "I suggest you do something to get your mind off her. Leave Salem, do some volunteer work. If I hear of anything, I'll throw it your way."
Mike nodded. Maybe Shane was right. He needed to get away.
"Thanks Shane." Mike extended his hand and shook Shane's strongly. "I'll take your advice into consideration."
Shane watched the door shut as Mike Horton left. There had been something in his manner that had touched Shane. He picked up a folder on his desk labeled "Angola Project".
"Carrie, I hope you can forgive me for this." Shane said as he picked up his phone. "I think it's time for you to stop hiding and go home."
The voice on the end of the line picked up.
"Donavan here." Shane said curtly. "It's about the Angola Project. I want to give it to Katrina Bradley."
The call had come four months later. The Peace Corps needed a doctor to go to Angola, and Shane Donavan had given them his name. Mike agreed. It was time for him to get out of Salem and away from his memories. In three weeks, he'd resigned from the hospital staff, sold most of his things, and stored what was left at Jen's house. Then he was on his way. He would fly into Angola and was to be met by the nurse intern at the site.
She was running late and it was hot. Mike had walked around to the shady side of the "airport" to see if it was cooler. It wasn't much better and he returned to the front to find a slender woman squinting in the sun. He walked up behind her.
"Ms. Bradley?" Mike asked. It seemed she didn't hear him, so he raised his voice and tried again. "Katrina Bradley?"
She jumped a little, then turned around, and Mike felt the bottom of his world fall out. It was Carrie. Her hair was short and brown-gold from the sun; her arms bulged with muscles, she was leaner than her remembered her and her eyes looked tired, but it was Carrie. Mike tried to keep from staring at her as his mind raced.
Shane. Mike's mind clicked. It was Shane who had given his name to the Peace Corps. Carrie must have been working for the ISA. But why was she calling herself Katrina Bradley. Mike was momentarily confused. His mind raced as he tried to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, and quickly. There must be a good reason that she was using another name. What if she was in danger? Taking her in his arms like he desperately wanted to might be the worst thing possible. Mike decided it would be best to act like he didn't know her.
"I'm Dr. Mike Horton." Mike said, extending his hand. His voice seemed far away, and as Carrie reached out and took his hand, Mike felt an electric shock go through him. He barely managed to keep it all together as he stood in the dusty airfield shaking hands with a woman that he almost given up on ever seeing again.
"I hear you've got some sick kids in your village. The Corps sent me to help out." Mike said, trying to concentrate on the business at hand. Carrie didn't react. "Ms. Bradley?"
Mike's voice seemed to jolt Carrie into action. She grabbed his bags, walked over and threw them in dusty Jeep that was parked by the building. She then vaulted into the Jeep without opening the door and gestured to Mike. She'd changed so much, thought Mike. There was something hard about her that hadn't been there before. Mike walked over to the Jeep and opened the door to get in. Carrie started the Jeep and they started down the road leading away from the airport.
"I'm sorry Dr. Horton." Carrie said loudly over the roar of the Jeeps' engine. "The village is about fifteen miles away. We'll get you in there and out quickly. This area is pretty dangerous for foreigners."
It was the first thing she'd said to him since he'd arrived.
"It's dry here."
The sound of Mike's voice sounded strange and out of place to Carrie.
"If you go south, you'll find a better climate, but down here in the south, desertification is a serious problem, especially since we are on the border of the Namib Desert." Carrie tried to keep her voice business-like. "There's not much food either. The rainy season will hit around November, but there's not much chance our area will see as much as we need."
"Oh." Mike paused for a second. "Ms. Bradley. . ."
"Katrina" Carrie interrupted tersely "Please call me Katrina, Dr. Horton."
"Okay, Katrina, but please call me Mike."
Carrie tensed up. As long as she called him Dr. Horton, she could stay somewhat distant. To say his name would be too much.
"I think I'll stick with Dr. Horton." She said, flashing a quick, sarcastic smile. Carrie looked back at the road and tried to concentrate. She was doing her best to send signals to back off towards Mike. Keep it distant, keep it professional, and get him out of there. That was the plan.
"Dr. Horton works too." Mike laughed, but it sounded forced. "I was wondering, how long have you been in the Peace Corps?"
Carrie held her breath. What should she say?
"Not long, but your not here to talk about that, Dr. Horton. We've got some sick kids to take care of."
The Jeep bumped along the road and Mike didn't ask any more questions. Carrie was glad. She just wanted to get to the compound and get away from him. Being so near him was wreaking havoc on her nerves. The drive had never seemed as long as it did that day.
They pulled into the compound close to dusk. A loud wailing indicated that another child had died. Damn, thought Carrie. Mike followed her as she jumped out of the Jeep and walked towards the Medical hut. Emily ran out to meet them.
"Kat, thank God you're finally back. We've. . ." Emily's voice trailed off and her mouth hung open a little as she stared at Mike standing behind Carrie. Carrie looked back at Mike. With a thin layer of dust coating his face his eyes seem even bluer than usual and he was very handsome. Carrie felt her heart clench a little.
"Ummm, Emily, this is Dr. Horton." Carrie said, gesturing behind her. Mike walked forward and held out his hand.
"Very nice to meet you." Emily said, taking his extend hand and shaking it vigorously. Her face was covered with a huge, brilliant smile as she continued shaking Mike's hand. Carrie had had enough.
"Let me show you the children." Carrie said curtly, pushing Mike towards the hut and breaking up the prolonged handshake.
"See you later Dr. Horton." Emily called after him.
Carrie stooped to enter the medical hut and gestured towards Mike to follow her. He immediately went to the first cot and squatted down. A small boy lay there.
"He's malnourished." Mike said, looking up at Carrie. It was all business now, Carrie thought with relief.
"There's not much food available in these parts, Dr. Horton. Ever since the war, the farmers are afraid of working the fields. That means the country has to import most of its food, and some go without." Carrie was glad the ISA training for this mission had given her an extensive overview of Angolan history.
"Well, this boy is burning up with fever and he's obviously dehydrated." Mike turned to Carrie. "Have the children being brought in been vomiting?"
"Yes. It's been pretty messy."
"What about diarrhea?"
Carrie nodded. Mike turned back to the boy and picked up his hand. After a moment, he turned back to Carrie.
"I think you're dealing with a Cholera outbreak here Katrina." Mike said, standing up and moving close to her. He was so close that Carrie could feel the heat of his body, smell his familiar scent. She felt her knees go weak. With a quick step she moved away from him.
"Just take care of it, Dr. Horton. I'm sure the Corps will provide all the medicine you need." With that, Carrie turned and left the hut. She had to do something to get her mind off Mike.
The modem whined as Carrie connected to the ISA web site. The old days of spying were over. There were no more mysterious figures in the shadows whispering orders. Now each agent was given a lap top computer that included a device that scanned the user's eyeball. Instead of receiving mysterious packets, the agents dialed into the Internet and accessed a well-protected web site. It was high-tech stuff.
Carrie typed in her password, then went to the area where she would receive her orders. Her eyes widened as she quickly interpreted the code. Her operation had been moved up. She was to infiltrate the camp that night. Damn. The backup that was supposed to arrive had been cancelled and she would be picked up at 0600. Something must have gone down, Carrie thought, as she switched off her computer. The timing couldn't have been worse. The last thing she needed was to go into action with Mike still there.
Carrie reached under her cot and pulled out a black case. She opened it and pulled out a packet, a Glock 17L semiautomatic pistol, a lightweight black jumpsuit, a pair of night vision goggles, and a tiny camera. Carrie pulled a map out of the packet and looked at it. It was 3.5 miles to the terrorist compound, making it a 7 mile round trip. Carrie would run across the dry landscape in the dead of night. She was in excellent shape, so the physical endurance shouldn't be a problem. Once she reached the compound, she would break into the main building through an air duct on the top that had been identified by a satellite. She would take the pictures, then sneak out of the camp and return. It should be an easy assignment.
"Well" Carrie sighed out loud. "It's ShowTime." She pulled on the jumpsuit over a black tank top. As soon as it got dark, she would make the run.
It was definitely cholera. Mike would talk to Carrie tomorrow about checking out the area wells. Unchecked, Cholera would soon start killing people. Mike turned over in the small cot he was given to sleep in. He wasn't used to the heat, and it made his usual state of un-sleep abnormally uncomfortable. In addition to the heat, every time he closed his eyes, he saw Carrie. She'd changed so much. Gone was the somewhat uncertain girl he'd known, replaced by a hard, tough woman. She'd given no indication that Mike was anything but a stranger to her. Had she forgotten that night? Mike hadn't. It still haunted him.
Mike turned over again. Being so close to her in the hut earlier. Close enough to reach out and stroke her face, touch her hair. . .close enough to lean down and touch his lips to her mouth. It had almost been too much to maintain control; almost too much not to reach out and take her in his arms.
"What if she doesn't want to be found? Can you accept that?"
Shane's voice echoed in Mike's head. He'd dreamed of find her, of the day she would come running into his arms, and now she pushed him away. Maybe Shane was right. Maybe Carrie had never wanted to be found and his sudden appearance was just an annoyance. Maybe the images and feelings of making love to each other weren't burned into her mind like they were his.
"I'll leave tomorrow." Mike said aloud as he sat up. "If that's what she wants, I'll do it." But, he needed to know it was what she wanted first. Mike got out of his cot. He would talk to her, and if she said it was over, he would leave. Mike dipped his head and walked out of his hut. It was still dark, but a slight dusky light was emerging over the horizon. When he arrived at Carrie's hut, he called her name quietly, and when she didn't answer right away, he ducked in. The room was empty. Mike's mind raced. Maybe she had gone for a walk. Maybe she'd gone to the bathroom. Mike sat down in a chair next to her cot. He would wait until she returned.
The guard thought he saw something move in the darkness that surrounded the terrorist camp. With a shout he fired his gun into the nothingness, but nothing happened. Must have been a rat or something, he thought, as he returned to the business of watching the camp.
Carrie hit the ground when she heard the shouting. Until now the mission had gone without a hitch. Carrie lay low and hoped the watchman would think it was an animal, never guessing that the camp had just been infiltrated.
A gun went off and Carrie felt a terrible burning in her right thigh. Sonofabitch, she'd been shot! Carrie clenched her teeth and tried not to whimper as the pain shot through her leg. Any move and they might think they'd shot at something besides the darkness. After about twenty minutes, Carrie stirred a little. Her leg was bleeding badly and it hurt to put much weight on it. She quickly unzipped her jumpsuit and tore off the black tank top she had on under it, ripped it in half and tied it tightly around her injured leg. That should stop the bleeding, Carrie thought. She stood up gingerly, testing her weight on her leg then moved as quickly as she could back towards the camp. She didn't think she would be able to make it back before dawn, so she decided she would bury her night vision goggles as soon as she could see her way. It'll be okay, she repeated to herself over and over. It'll be okay. It would be a long three and a half miles.
Mike had been waiting a couple hours when Carrie finally stumbled into her hut. She was breathing hard and blood had stained the front of the black jumpsuit she was wearing.
"Dammit Mike." She grunted as she fell onto her cot. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Mike was stunned. He couldn't tell if it was from seeing Carrie wounded and bleeding, or from hearing her say his name. A tiny part of him had worried that she had simply forgotten him. Carrie reached under her cot and pulled out a black case. She deposited something in it, then pulled out a first aid kit.
"Let me do it Carrie." Mike said as he rushed to the side of her cot, shaking the surprise off him. Carrie stared at him. "You'll have to get out of that jumpsuit."
Carrie continued to stare at him.
It was hearing her name. Carrie hadn't heard her real name for years now. Even Shane called her Katrina, and she'd just started to become Katrina. Hearing it from Mike's lips made her think of a time when life hadn't been so hard, and neither had she. Years in the ISA had toughed Carrie until she had a hard time knowing where Carrie Brady ended and Katrina Bradley began. Sometimes she wondered if there was any Carrie left in the tough, scarred soul that she carried around with her.
Hearing Mike say her name brought all the old feelings rushing back. The pain of betraying Austin, the ecstasy of lying in Mike's arms, making love, then the shame afterwards. Carrie shuddered a little. She couldn't let this happen. Not now. Not when she was hurt and weak. Carrie found the toughness she needed to get through.
"I'm fine Mike. I've been trained to handle this, so why don't you get the hell out of here. This isn't any of your business." Carrie opened the first aid kit and pulled out a bandage. She gingerly peeled off the blood soaked tank top and the wound started bleeding again. She took out her knife and cut the jumpsuit leg around the wound then started bandaging the wound. "I'm being picked up soon anyway and they'll have doctors to help me. Of course, if you keep me from finishing my business, they'll just leave me here."
"You don't understand Carrie. I. . ."
"The one thing I understand," Carrie interrupted, "is that you shouldn't have come here. You shouldn't have come after me Mike. Not now, now ever. Now, leave."
Carrie's heart was breaking with every word. Don't leave me, she was screaming silently even as she heard the words come out of her mouth. Carrie reached under her cot again and pulled out her laptop. She needed to tell the pick-up crew that she was injured and would need a doctor.
Carrie's head jerked up from the laptop to see Mike standing over her.
"I'm not going anywhere Carrie." Carrie opened her mouth to disagree but Mike cut her off. "You don't' understand. My life has been on hold since the day you left. I've had to live with only memories. This isn't about me, or about you, it's about us. I need you Carrie. I need you so much that it hurts, and I think you need me too."
Carrie felt tears well up in her eyes. Her heart echoed Mike's words.
"If you really want me to leave, I will. But not now, and not like this. I love you Carrie. Something in my heart just has to give that a chance."
Carrie felt a tear spill down her cheek, the feeling strange and foreign. She realized that she hadn't cried for a long time. Mike squatted next to the cot and traced the tear with his finger. Damn him for making her cry. Damn him for coming here and dredging up all the feelings she'd fought so long to cover up.
"Okay." Carrie said quickly, gathering her composure. "The pick-up crew will have to deal with one more person, but we have to hurry."
Carrie heard the chopper blades in the distance and knew there was no time to finish sending the message. She slammed her laptop shut, grabbed her black case and stood up. The weight on her leg sent searing pain through it, and Carrie's breath caught as it gave out a little. Mike put his arm around her, and Carrie pulled out her Glock with the other.
"Run!" she yelled when they emerged from the hut. The helicopter was landing in the center of the compound, kicking up dust everywhere. She and Mike ran full force towards the chopper, Carrie dragging her injured leg a little. Carrie scrambled in, then leaned out and gave her hand to Mike. As he climbed in, Carrie went up to the cockpit to talk to the pilot, leaving Mike in the back part of the helicopter.
"I've got a flesh wound on my right thigh. I'm pretty sure it's a clean wound, no broken wounds. Sorry I didn't have time to send a message out."
"S'okay. I'll call back to headquarters and have a doctor waiting. By the way, who's than?" the young man asked, his Irish accent coming out a little as he looked back at Mike. "You aren't the type to pick up souvenirs Katrina."
"He's a civilian Declan." Carrie said. "It's a long story, but I think we'd better give him the usual."
Declan nodded and reached into a bag and pulled out a needle.. Their eyes locked and Carrie told Declan silently that she could handle it. He nodded and gave the needle to Carrie. Carrie returned to where Mike was sitting. He had his eyes closed and he looked tired. I'm sorry my love, Carrie thought as she stuck the needle in his arm. Mike's eyes flew open as he realized what she'd done.
"Carrie, what the. . ." Mike sputtered as he slipped out of consciousness.
"It's really for the best." Carrie whispered as she watched his eyes fall shut and body go limp. She leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on his lips, then turned back to the cockpit. I'm sorry that the first kiss we share after all these years has to be like this, but it's really for the best, she thought again as they sped across the brown desert of Southern Angola. They would deal with Mike when they reached headquarters.
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