Heart or head... Which came first?
“The assassination of the governor is very crucial to our mission,” David’s voice rang my ear. “This is our last chance. If you fail, you’ll be dead before you can even apologize.”
“She’ll be under strictest security,” Benedict mentioned. “How the hell are we…”
“You are the agents,” David cut him short. “You figure it out.”
That was all twenty seven hours ago. Now, Benedict and I sat inside the black car watching the rain water streaming down the windscreen and listening to the pitter-patter of the rain outside. The mansion on the far end of the road was cast in darkness. We could barely see it against the overcast sky. Benedict picked up the nightglass and looked through it. After a few moments he put it back down.
“not there yet.” He said shaking his head. “I’m hungry and that little restaurant in the corner is tempting me.”
I nodded with a smile. Poor old Benedict. Can’t resist the aroma of good food. The little restaurant with its lights shining through the window was really inviting. But there had been times when he had gone without food for days.
“Ah Jenny,” he called all of a sudden.
“I’d been meaning to ask you this for long. Would you like to go for a dinner with me sometime?”
It took me a couple of seconds to process the question. When I turned to him he smiled and looked away.
“its okay. I was just…” he shrugged and dismissed the matter with a wave of his hand. “just asking.”
A spec of light appeared on the window glass. It grew in size superfast and before splitting in two. They approached our car in speed and went past us like a bullet.
After a few yards, a pair of red lights appeared. The massive gates of the mansion parted and the red lights went through them. The gates closed as silently as before.
“what was that?” I asked.
“his highness made his presence,” Benedict said. “Let’s go.”
We both turned and reached for the only umbrella in the car.
“oh,” he said and retreated his hand. “you take it.”
Benedict and I left the car, me in the shelter of an umbrella. By the time he came round the car raindrops were sparkling like dews on his spiky hair.
“Man! its pretty cold,” he said, wiping his face.
I extended the umbrella. “I can share.”
With his arm around my shoulder we cuddled together and strolled towards the end of the road.
The rain continued drumming on the umbrella. My left arm was getting wet. I was sure so was his right hand.
We took a left turn just before the mansion and went around it. The front gate was lost behind the protesters who had gathered to show their discontent for the present governor. They believe that the poor condition of the state was her fault. Unfortunately the truth was way beyond them.
We passed into the crowd. He folded the umbrella and dropped it. It was instantly lost among the thongs of feet. Benedict took off his coat, turned it inside out and shrugged into it. In a second his oilskin had transformed into a blazer. We excused our way forward and reached the front gates. They were as huge as the rear ones. Five officers stood guard with guns in hands barricading the entrance. A sixth one asked for ids. Tonight the governor was having a special party where all the other governors, kings, princes and rulers of other estates were invited. Included among them were members of several clubs that the governor frequented.
We emerged from the crowd and approached the gate. Benedict produced both of our ids. The guard bowed and showed us in. He as a member of governor’s favourite club and I as his fiancée, we didn’t have any problem in getting in. Besides, the guards were more concerned with the growing mob than the men getting in. Moreover none of us were carrying weapons or any other gadgets, so to speak.
We were led down a corridor. Benedict took my hand on his arm and we walked behind the courier.
“How do we look?” I whispered.
“quite genuine,” he said with a smile. I looked up at his eyes and he looked down at mine. We smiled. I lowered my eyes. I hated that pang in the chest.
As we approached the hall we could see more guests talking and roaming about. The courier stopped at the doorway.
“Mr. Benedict McGlenn and his fiancée Miss Jennifer Aniston,” he announced making everyone turn their heads towards us and left.
We bowed which was reciprocated before everyone went back to their discussions and drinks.
A tall slim lady of fifty approached us. her cream coloured gown traced her perfect figure and flowed to the ground.
“Good evening, Mr. McGlenn,” he shook hands with Benedict.
“good evening governor,” Benedict replied. “all looks good.”
“good evening Miss Aniston.” He bowed a little his eyes never leaving me. I returned the bow and wished him well.
“please make yourself comfortable,” he said showing us in the hall. “excuse me. I’ll be attending the other guests. Do have a look around.”
So we looked around. There were many known and unknown faces. None knew us.
A few moments later music started to play. The governor invited everyone to the dancefloor. Few couples went to the floor. Benedict stepped out and laid his hand in front of me. I smiled and took it. Our eyes connected for longer than required and again I had that spam of pain. Damn! What’s happening? He looked away and straightened. I followed his gaze and found 'his highness'. Our mission just shifted to forth gear.
Silently we walked over to the dancefloor, took position and started to dance. Nothing fancy. We kept to the beats and swayed with the flow.
Like all other couples we had eyes on each other but out the corner of the eyes we watched the governor and 'his highness’.
Once I caught the sight of the governor. Her face was straight, eyes still. She gave a slight nod before turning to speak to her guests with a warm smile on her face.
“Jenny?” Benedict called under his breath.
We were just a few feet from the governor when suddenly my head seemed to give a spin. The legs folded under me and I slowly descended towards the ground.
“Jenny?” Benedict cried and for a moment even I believed in the surprise in his voice. “Jenny? What… what happened?”
His grip around me strengthened and I could feel his pumped up muscles against my shoulder.
“My… my head…” I stammered. “water.”
“Hang in there,” he said. I could feel hundreds of eyes on me. People have gathered around us.
“Get her in here,” the governor cried and went in through a door.
Benedict slipped his free hand under my knees and picked me up. Effortlessly he carried me out of the hall.
Once away from the crowd and inside a private room he put me down on a bed.
“Jenny?” he call so softly that I almost believed his concern. “are you alright?”
“I am calling the doctor,” the governor said.
“no need for that,” a forth person said.
I sat up and faced 'his highness’ aka David Benz. He closed the door and locked it.
“Let’s get over with it,” he said and turned to us. Ben stood up and I followed.
“Oh dear!” the governor exclaimed. “what is the… what are you doing?” her emerald eyes had gone wide at the sight of the gun in David's hand.
“Please don’t panic and don’t try to call for help,” Benedict calmly explained. “we are here to assassinate the traitor who had been giving out classified information and compromising the safety of our organization.”
David raised his hand and shot. The bullet hit the governor in her stomach. She looked down at the burnt opening in her dress and smiled. The shiny titanium plate peeked from inside.
“What the hell?” David stepped back and shot again and again. The repeated shots ripped the dress off the Android and left behind the machine to stare at us.
“we knew you would come,” Benedict said. “we would kill the governor and then you’d kill us. Then you’ll mark us as traitors and become a hero. Like you done with John and Mike. And many more. But not this time. This time your dirty deeds have been recorded.”
I pointed at the pendent that I was wearing.
“Shut up,” David yelled. “where is the governor?”
“Safe,” Benedict said coolly. “but you are not.” A gun magically appeared in his hand which was hidden in his belt.
David took a step back. He couldn’t leave the way he came. A party was going on there. This was he knew we wouldn’t let him go. He had one choice and he was desperate.
“Give up,” Benedict asked. “you know you had been under suspension for years.”
“How the hell did you…?”
“The governor wanted to be sure of the traitor in the organization. She could trust me but no one else. She brought in Jenny from outside. Being an outsider she had no interest in whatever in our organization.”
David snarled at us. Then like a cat he sprang upon me. I stepped back to avoid him but he was too fast pinned me down to the floor. In a swift motion of his wrist he tore the pendent from my neck.
Benedict made to jump but David pressed the muzzle of his gun into my shoulder.
“wanna lose a partner?” he sneered.
Benedict stopped short in his track. His gun remained pointed at the man but his eyes moved to mine. I understood his delemma and so did David.
“cons of working with one partner for so long and that too so pretty,” David laughed out loud.
Benedict was panting in tension now. He waved the gun.
“Get off her,” he said while his eyes remained on me.
I looked at David and then at Benedict. No wonder I had that pain in the chest whenever I had looked deep in his eyes. It was never to be. I never wanted to become his weakness.
I grabbed David’s gun and pressed the trigger.
My body gave an involuntary jolt and went numb. Things became dark in front of my eyes.
“Jenny,” I heard Benedict cry and then there was the staccato of the repeated gunshots.
One year later
I sat on a bench at the edge of a park and thought of my last mission. What had happened to Benedict. It wasn’t his real name as Jennifer wasn’t mine. I wanted to but never tried to find him. Not. I couldn’t become his weakness.
“That was a stupid thing you did.”
I jump of my skin on hearing the voice. A tall man sat by me, his face covered in beard. He was wearing a blazer and propped his hat on his knee.
“but brave,” he continued. “I’m Rick by the way.”
I smiled. The eyes were just as same and so was the smile that peeped under his moustache.
“I’m Suzan.” I said.
“jenny suits you more.”
He got up.
“does that mean the dinner invitation …”
“See you at eight,” he said and left putting his hat on as I nodded approvingly.