What We Feel
Later that evening, Steve headed to the offices of the CIA located just outside the city. Agent James and a few of his colleagues were there waiting for him, but he didn’t see anyone except one woman.
“You’re Katherine Davis? Jeff told me about you.” They shook hands.
“I wasn’t expecting to see you,” Katherine said.
“Oh, well, I had some time. Have you seen Jeff? I wanted to talk about our mutual problem.” He glanced at the device she was working on. “Is that the drone Jeff told me about? Does that thing work or not?” Steve asked.
“I don’t know; but we did manage to hear a few interesting sounds last night, but nothing conclusive,” she replied.
“Well, I need to find Jeff,” he said and turned to go.
Katherine sighed. “Steve, wait; Mitch called me about the wedding.”
Oh, so, this is 'Katherine,' he thought. “He did?” Steve asked, intrigued.
“Yes, Mitch and I met through a mutual friend, Angela Douglas; she’s an attorney.”
“Yes, I’ve met her husband. Are you coming to the wedding?”
Her eyes widened. “No, I’m not. Mitch and I are no longer seeing each other. Besides, Mitch will move on; he always does.”
Steve nodded, then thought of Mitch’s motives by inviting an ex-girlfriend to the wedding. Maybe Mitch wasn’t over her or maybe he wanted to distract his obvious attraction to Lisa’s sister, Carolyn.
Before she could speak again, Agents Brad Johnson and Jeff James came inside. Brad narrowed his eyes, becoming suspicious. He liked Katherine. “What’s going on?”
Katherine turned back to the device, but Steve didn’t have any guile, and so he lied, “Nothing.”
“Sure, and I’m Tinkerbell,” Brad deadpanned. "Who are you?”
Jeff spoke up. “This is Agent Steve Gilbert. He wanted to meet with me about locating a renegade agent. He’s a traitor and a murderer."
Steve held out his hand. Brad shook it. “I see you’ve met Katherine?” Brad asked still suspicious.
“Yes, we’ve met. Can we get started? It’s late.” Steve needed answers and quick. “I really need a lead of this guy. I need to find him, the former Agent Mark Anderson, you know the renegade agent who wants to kill me.”
“Yes, Jeff filled us in. We can help you,” Brad said.
“Hold on a minute. Did you hear that?” Katherine asked and turned up the volume.
Brad, Jeff, and Steve came closer. “What is that?” Steve asked.
The sound grew louder, but then minutes later, a high-pitched scream, a human scream filled their ears.
“Turn it down, please,” Brad said.
“Sorry,” Katherine said. The drone apparently recorded noises and images of recent missions.
“That was a man’s voice; wasn’t it?” Steve concluded but he wasn’t sure.
“Yes, I think it was,” Katherine agreed.
“But where did it come from?” Brad asked.
“Play it again, but not so loud this time,” Steve asked. He listened again, then, “It’s Mark.” He knew that voice.
“We should be able to track it,” Brad said.
“I’ll try my best,” Katherine said.
“Jeff, you're the expert on this equipment; have at it,” Steve said.
Jeff took his time and checked every area of the device, including audio as well as visual data, then after a few minutes, he managed to bring back the voice, but not just Mark. A few other voices came through but they were all screaming.
“What’s happening?” Katherine asked now terribly concerned for those voices and who they belonged to, and how to help them. “It sounds like they’re in agony. We have to do something.” Terribly upset, tears sprang into her eyes.
Jeff had an idea what was happening “They’re being tortured.”
“I had a feeling,” Katherine murmured. “Besides being a traitor, now he’s being tortured?”
“So, Mark is being tortured? Why don’t I have sympathy for him?” Brad asked.
“No one deserves to be tortured no matter what the circumstances,” Steve stated firmly.
“I can think of a few,” Brad said with a smirk.
“Alright, you two, we can agree that being kidnapped and tortured is not the answer,” Katherine said.
Jeff watched the play between them and he was enjoying himself. Without saying anything, he stood up and revealed a few things about his life.
“What did you just say?”
“I’m a psychic,” Jeff repeated.
Steve stood there stunned by his confession. Should I reveal the truth about my life? No, it wouldn’t matter, he thought.
“Well, I’ll be,” Brad said dumbstruck.
“Seriously, you’re a psychic?” Katherine asked.
“Yes, I am,” he replied.
“That could come in handy,” Steve commented thinking of his dreams.
“I’m happy you agree. Now, can we find this guy and anyone else being tortured?” Katherine asked firmly.
Later that night, Lisa and Steve’s apartment:
Steve slowly crept inside their bedroom, but to his surprise Lisa wasn’t there, then he heard splashing. Is she in the bathtub at this late hour? He wondered.
“Steve!?” She hollered. “I’m in here!”
Smiling, he opened the door. “Well, look at you,” he said. “Why are you in the bathtub at 10 o’clock at night?”
She smiled as she squeezed the bath sponge over her arms. “I didn’t realize there was a time frame for using the bathtub, and besides, it’s very relaxing.” He raised his eyebrows and waited for her to finish. “I can’t stay in here for too long, but it does help me think.”
He sat down on the edge of the tub. “Oh, you mean, the wedding plans and ‘the best man’ situation?”
She sighed and leaned back and closed her eyes. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
He frowned. “You’re not having second thoughts, are you?”
She shook her head. “No, not at all; I want to marry you very much.”
“Is there a ‘but’ in there somewhere?”
She opened her eyes. “To tell you the truth, I don’t need all this wedding stuff: a best man; a maid of honor; my Father giving me away, none of it. I just want you.” Her eyes spoke her love for him.
“I want you too, but I thought you wanted a special day?”
Lisa understood; he wanted a special day. “I’m sorry; I guess I’m just tired.”
“No need to be sorry; I know it’s a lot to take in with the wedding only days away.” He watched her eyes close. “Are you done?” He asked then she nodded; time for bed. He grabbed a towel then helped her out of the tub and wrapped the towel around her from behind. Pulling her without the circle of his arms, she leaned into him.
“This is nice,” she commented, loving his arms around her. His soft kisses flowed to her temple, down her throat, then back up to her cheek. Lisa closed her eyes and let him take care of her. He slowly dried her off, causing her to close her eyes enjoying it more and more. He stood in front of her then her breath quickened, needing his touch more than ever before. “Steve?”
“Yeah?” He asked distracted by her beauty.
“I never thought I would find you,” she said breathlessly. Needing him so much, the towel fell to the floor. “I’m feeling a little vulnerable right now,” she whispered heart throbbing against her ribs.
He smiled then he loosened his tie and removed the rest of his clothes rather quickly. She smiled as he picked her up, surprising her, and then she didn’t know anything else, but the way he made her feel. As amorous thoughts flowed through her mind, she kissed his cheek, then down his throat. The kissing continued until they needed more, so much more. She kissed him deeply, her hands grabbed handfuls of hair, pulling him closer, as her tongue slid between his lips exciting them both. The moaning became louder each enjoying the taste.
Blindingly walking toward their bedroom, he made it without bumping into a wall. She giggled when he laid her down and stood before her. He was obviously ready then his boxers came off. Her pulse pounded in her ears then she raised her arms inviting him in.
Steve wasn’t ready for that yet; he just wanted to enjoy her body. It fascinated him from that first time they lay together. He would never get enough of her; never.
“I know what you’re thinking.” She touched her breasts tweaking her nipples.
“What are you doing to me?” He murmured in surprise and hunger.
She answered him with a question. “What are you waiting for?” She pushed her breasts together.
“You drive me crazy,” he murmured as his hot mouth moved to her breasts kissing and stroking with his tongue stimulating her to the extreme.
“Oh, that feels… so good,” she murmured enjoying it.
Steve wished he had more mouths and hands because he wanted to touch all of her at once. While kissing her breasts, his hand moved to the juncture of her thighs. They opened for him then his fingers slid smoothly over her flesh moist with desire for him. He continued doing that until her hips lifted asking for it; and he was only too happy to oblige. His tongue moved over her folds, and Lisa thought she was going insane; she wanted him so badly. He continued loving her until she shuddered with rapture.
“Now, Steve, now!” She pleaded barely able to get the words out.
“As you wish,” he murmured and entered her slowly, his eyes closed as the feeling enveloped his entire being. Then he kissed her passionately, as her arms and legs pulled him closer. Unable to resist, her responses galvanized him as his movements brought her to a powerful climax and he was right behind her.
Then tender kisses flowed over her face, her lips and her cheek. Her hands pulled his mouth to hers as they kissed drawing out the sweetness of their lovemaking. Minutes later, and conscious of his heavy weight, he rolled to his back, taking her with him.
Not long after, Lisa lay within his arms thinking about marriage and what it meant. They were getting married. Then her concerns raised doubts about even getting married at all. Her parents had been deeply in love. Her Father was devastated when her Mother died. Their love was deep and all-consuming. As a child, she remembered how they treated each other, respected each other, and as she watched them, she learned about trust, honesty, commitment, and love.
After leaving her Father’s house, she wasn’t at all certain she knew how to love someone like that. She admired Steve, loved him with all her heart; she enjoyed being with him and his obvious devotion of her; but soon they would be husband and wife, but were they truly ready?
Steve realized she was wide awake. “What are you thinking?” He stroked her hair enjoying the softness.
“About you, me and our ‘marriage,’” she replied and snuggled closer.
“Yeah, as you said, it is a big step, but I think we’re ready.”
She thought of her parents. “I think so too,” she said.
“But you’re worried, aren’t you?”
“A little.” She leaned up on her elbow. “Marriage these days doesn’t happen as often as it did years ago, but our parents took that step and I don’t think they regretted it; not at all.”
“I know they didn’t and we won’t either.” He stroked her hair behind her ear. “I wanted to marry you even before I met you. I’ve wanted this since that moment in the office, when I saw you.”
“You’re serious?” She couldn’t believe it.
“Yeah, before you were assigned together, seeing you standing there, looking worried and upset. I knew working together would bring us closer, but I never dreamed that we would fall in love. You were so brave and determined to help me, then when I saw you almost kidnapped, knowing where you were, I just knew that I had to save you, and I did.”
Her eyes watered. “Yeah you did.”
“Please put these doubts out of your mind. We are not like other people.”
“That’s true,” she agreed and leaned into him.
“I love you Lisa, more now than ever before, and I don’t see that love diminishing. In fact, it will grow stronger and deeper. I truly believe that.”
He’s amazing. “I love you too and I do believe it.”
“So, let’s get married. Are you ready?” He smiled at her glowing face.
“I’m ready,” she said and stroked his chest.
“Good, now go to sleep.” And she did.
Steve lay awake thinking about everything Lisa has been through since meeting me. Sometimes I feel guilty about all the separations, of not knowing where he was, or how long he would be gone, it hurt to think of the darkness and heartbreak that came with loving someone like me. But then she smiles at me, or murmurs my name, then all the doubts flow from my mind, and there was only Lisa and my driving need to keep her safe at all costs, even at the cost of my own life.
The next day, Lisa met with Carolyn at the dress shop to look for a wedding dress and a bride's maid dress, and to talk about dinner plans after the ceremony. Carolyn had stepped up like a trooper to help her sister. In Carolyn’s mind, the stress of their lives could be held at bay for just a little while. Over the past few days, the arrangements with the hotel took shape, including: contacting the Justice of the Peace; dinner menu; flowers; wedding cake; and now their dresses.
After the entering the shop, Lisa immediately gravitated to wedding dresses. Carolyn followed her.
“May I help you?” An assistant came over to help.
“We’re looking for a wedding dress for my sister, and I need a maid of honor dress. The wedding is in two days.”
Stunned, she stared at her. “Two days?”
“Yes, two days,” Carolyn replied.
“So, what do you think?” Lisa asked and held up a lovely semi-formal wedding dress.
“Yeah, but, aren’t you going formal? Aren’t Steve and Mitch wearing tuxes?”
“Yes, but a formal dress would probably need to be altered. We don’t have time for that.”
“Is that true?” Carolyn asked the assistant.
“Maybe, maybe not; it depends on the fit.”
“Try on the formal dress, then it if it fits, we can get that one?”
“What’s your budget? These dresses run $5000 and up,” the assistant asked.
Lisa’s eyes widened and so did Carolyn. “Oh, dear,” Lisa said then returned it to the rack.
“Come this way.” The assistant led them to a less expensive area of the shop. "These start at $500 and up."
An hour later, Lisa found an a-lined, ivory colored semi-formal wedding dress, with lace over the bodice and down her back. “It’s beautiful,” Lisa said, staring at the dress in the mirror. It fit perfectly. “I think this is the one.”
The assistant brought over a veil and a pair of shoes. “How’s this one?” She asked and held it up. Lisa tried it on; perfect fit, as well. After changing, they found shoes that matched her dress. The assistant helped with her purchases.
Then Carolyn had a few questions. “Now about my dress and the color?”
“Well, which one do you like?” Lisa asked, staring at the long line of maid of honor dresses.
“Lisa, I have no idea what color to choose, but I don’t think that color would work for me.”
“It’s blue; everyone loves blue.”
“But it’s too dark; it won’t work. The color will swallow me up.”
“Okay, what about this one?” Lisa asked and pointed to a pale blue dress.
“Well, I do like the style, and it is like yours.”
“But the color isn’t right?” Lisa asked.
“I’m sorry for being so picky.”
“It’s alright; we’ll find something.” Lisa continued looking though a lot of dresses.
“Have you talked to Dad since Steve convinced him to give you away?”
“No, I haven’t,” she replied.
Carolyn picked up on something. “Are you afraid to talk to him?”
“No, of course not,” she replied but she couldn’t look at her.
Carolyn touched her arm. “You have to face him and soon.”
“I will when I’m ready.” Then Lisa had a thought. “Did you tell him about Steve’s mission?”
“No, I haven’t said a word, but he is leaving soon and Dad needs to know.”
“I’ll tell him after the wedding,” Lisa said. “How about this one?” Lisa asked, changing the subject.
Carolyn got the point. “I think we found the right one.”
“Great!” Lisa said. Carolyn tried on the dress and it fit. After leaving the shop, Carolyn asked about Mitch.
“What about him?” Lisa asked and headed to her car.
“Well, he is the best man and he does seem like a nice guy,” Carolyn asked.
Lisa took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, honey, but Mitch is kind of a playboy.”
“A playboy, seriously? Who uses that term anymore?”
“Well, if it fits?” Carolyn narrowed her eyes. “Look, all I know is that Mitch is more like his Father than Steve. Their Father died young, in his fifties. He died of a heart attack. He divorced their Mother, moved away, found a life, meaning drinking, doing irreparable things, but he made a fortune, then he died alone and unloved.”
Carolyn stared at her sister. “So, what you’re telling me is we can’t be different from our parents? No matter what we do, we’re the same.”
“No, that’s not what I meant and you know it.”
“Just because Mitch drinks and enjoys his life doesn’t mean he’s going to die young or alone, for that matter. We only get one; you know.”
“That’s exactly my point. Yes, he can enjoy his life, but he needs to change. Steve knows this and so does their Mother.”
“I can’t fault him for enjoying his life.” She paused. “Look, I think we got along fine at dinner. I’d like to get to know him, and that’s not saying that we’ll be in a relationship. I’m not a child, Lisa. I know about men.”
“Of course, you do, but I thought you should know, before,” she hesitated.
“Before I fall for him? Please give me some credit.”
“Alright, I won’t get into it again; just remember what I said.”
“I will remember. Now, I have to get to back to work.” They hugged each other close, then got into her car and drove away.
Lisa watched her drive off until she couldn’t see her anymore.