Author: AmorVerdan PM
Agent Mary West is a dedicated CIA agent, intent on finding out the truth about her parents' death. She had never known another life apart from what her job had to offer. But when she is tasked to "babysit" a wealthy CEO's son, the secrets surrounding a past she couldn't exactly remember start to unravel. Will she be able to uncover the truth before they get to her?Rated: Fiction T - English - Crime/Romance - Chapters: 27 - Words: 115,783 - Reviews: 56 - Favs: 23 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 05-02-13 - Published: 12-20-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3084548
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Five days. Almost a week, actually, and he's still bothered. He couldn't just let it go. Truthfully, his father hasn't done anything else to shove what he seems to think is the truth in his face, but he figured it wouldn't be too long 'til that happened. In the meantime, he's left to think, and maybe admit to himself that he can't handle this on his own.
It was like getting hit over the head with an anvil, seeing her, hearing his father say exactly what he thinks about her and finding all those evidence proving that it's really her, Emily Rose, in the flesh. He has obsessed over that CIA file ever since his father first showed it to him, that day when he met Kate Johnson as well, and even though he agrees that everything in there seems to be airtight, he just couldn't shake this feeling that there's just something wrong about her.
It just didn't add up. It couldn't add up.
It couldn't because Emily's dead.
He's made his peace with that fact a long time ago. He knows she's not coming back, never coming back, and even though it hurts to think of it that way, there's really nothing he could do. She's gone and that's that.
And that's why it hurts all the more to admit to himself that maybe he's made a mistake. Maybe she's still out there, still alive and still hoping to be found. Maybe he'd given up on her too early and when she finds out, she'd hate him. So being confronted with Kate Johnson and the evidence his father handed over to him, it's just too much.
He loved Emily. She was like the little sister he never had. He doted on her like she was a princess. When they were kids, he always took care of her and his little brother and he really loved them both a lot. Emily used to stay with them for weeks at a time back then because her parents were more often than not away on business. His parents didn't mind. They liked looking after her. He didn't mind as well. He's always wanted a little sister.
That's why when one day their father sat them down when he was about eight or nine and told them that Emily was gone and would not be coming back for a while, he cried so hard like the world was about to end. His father promised him that they'd find her and bring her back, but it's been sixteen years since then and he's just stopped hoping. He found it's easier that way.
He runs a hand through his hair, frustrated as always. He's late again, he thinks to himself as he checks his watch. He's been waiting for almost half an hour and almost everyone in the hotel lobby are taking notice of him now. He smiles politely at the people who recognize him. They mostly don't talk to him but it's still epically weird, having people ogle him.
Finally, after five more minutes of utter frustration, he spots him closing the door of a cab and walking up to the hotel entrance. He's got no bags with him, which probably means he's dropped of his things at his place first. He stands and walks to the entrance to meet his little brother who's shaking the rain off of his hair.
"Took you so long?" He asks, checking his watch again.
Charlie looks at him like he's the most impossible human being on the planet. "This is why you never get laid." He says, deadpan.
He's tempted to raise his middle finger to welcome his little brother but decides against, thinking that it would be rather inappropriate for him to be seen to be that way in the lobby of their own hotel. "Seriously, what happened?"
"Plane got delayed, okay? And you should be thanking the fuck out of me right now. What's so important anyway that you had to drag me away from my own honeymoon?" Charlie says, now sounding annoyed.
He's pretty sure he already told him the gist of it over the phone. "Emily, remember? Let's just go to my office." He says, shaking his head.
"Why didn't you wait for there in the first place," Charlie mutters, and having no idea himself why, Eddie just chooses to ignore it.
When they finally reach his office on the top floor, he shuts the door carefully behind them and orders his secretary to hold all calls for him for a while. "You need to help me." He tells his brother as soon as he's certain that they're alone.
Charlie settles himself on a chair in front of his desk and sighs. "So dad found another one. That's nothing new. Eventually the truth will come out and she'll disappear. You know the drill." He says long-sufferingly.
He shakes his head, grabbing some papers of his desk and hands it over to his brother. "Not this time. I don't think so."
"What am I supposed to be looking at?" He asks, flipping through the pages.
"A copy of the DNA test dad's CIA friend—" he emphasizes, "—ordered to prove her identity. I read the files, man. It's… believable." He says instead because he doesn't want to say conclusive as hell.
Charlie is quiet for a while as he reads the document through, then he looks up, a genuine look of awe on his face. "Dad has a friend in the CIA? That's awesome."
"Would you focus? I'm saying she might be it. She might actually be it." He says firmly.
His little brother looks at him strangely now. "So what's your problem? If it's really her—and you say the CIA's involved—then we should be celebrating, right? I'm glad you called me. I'd want to meet her."
"That's not it! I called you here because I'm not convinced and dad's dead set on it." He says, flopping down on his chair. It's usually his brother who could talk to their dad and actually convince him about things. He listens to Charlie. He listens to him too, but usually about other stuff.
"Dude, the CIA? You really think they'd be lying to dad?" Charlie asks, putting his feet up on his desk and yawning. "He probably asked in a favor and they did him a favor. It's that simple, Eddie. You don't have to over-analyze everything. This is why you never get laid."
He wants to say, fuck you, I get laid plenty, but decides against it, knowing that they have more important things to do. "We're going to talk to dad whether you like it or not." He almost grins to himself, knowing that Charlie will do what he asks because he's still his big brother.
"Fine, whatever. So why don't you believe dad? Have you met this girl?" He checks the DNA test results again. "Kate Johnson? Who is she? Why haven't we heard of her over the past sixteen years? God knows you and dad followed every fucking lead, no matter how small."
"Apparently, when she was taken in, she couldn't remember her name, couldn't even speak so her whole life, she thought her name was Kate. She was adopted by Andy and Lori Johnson when she was fifteen." He explains without missing a beat because he practically has her file memorized from all the time he spent poring over it.
"Wow, so what, she's been shuffled from foster home to foster home ever since—when was she found?" Charlie asks, concerned.
It fits in with Emily, really, because Kate was found, "When she was six," and Emily disappeared when she was six too. The explanation's neat and it tied up the loose ends pretty well and it's so easy to just believe it, to just accept the fact that they've really found her and now they can go celebrate, but there's just something about her in particular that doesn't sit well with him.
"Tough life. Maybe you should cut her some slack? Have you met her?" His brother asks.
He nods. "Yeah, and that's the reason why I'm uneasy."
"Why? Does she look like she wants to kill you or something? Probably wants to murder our family?" Charlie says in an exasperated tone. "I'm telling bro. You're probably being overly annoying about this. Maybe give it a few more weeks? Probably talk to her a bit? How many times have you even talked to her, huh?"
Well, on that front, he's rather guilty. "Just that one time."
Charlie raises his hands in a gesture that says well there you go.
He buries his face in his hands then, unsure of what to say before he remembers that it must be time. He checks his watch and its time. "His meeting's done. Let's just go talk to dad. I'm sure he'll be glad to see you."
His brother snorts. "I'm sure he's not expecting me to be back until next month."
Eddie shakes his head and just grabs his brother and steers him out of the office. They walk to the other side of the floor where his father's office is. Aileen smiles at them, "You boys are just looking better and better whenever I see you. Charlie, aren't you supposed to be in Fiji or something right now?"
"Hawaii, Aileen," Charlie says fondly, "and, yeah, I'm supposed to be there. My brother seems to think it's fun to ruin my honeymoon, so…" he trails off.
Aileen laughs. "Your father's inside. He just got in."
"Thanks," Eddie says as he opens the door. Charlie follows him inside wordlessly and shuts the door behind him. "Dad?" He calls out just in time to find his father sitting on his chair behind the desk with his feet up on it.
Charlie laughs. "Good to see you dad."
He puts his feet down on the floor. "What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be back until next month?"
"Well, apparently Eddie's in panic mode. He seems to think you're making a big mistake with this Kate Johnson thing." He says straightforwardly.
Way to jump into the water, bro, he thinks to himself as his father looks at him with what could only be described as an expression annoyance on his face. "I can't believe you told your brother to come back just because of this." His dad says.
"Look, I'm sorry, okay. It's just, you won't listen to me and dad, really, you need to think about this." He says as he takes a seat on one of the chair in front of the desk.
"What's there to think about?" His dad replies harshly.
And there, that's it, he's had enough. "Don't you find it odd that we've been looking for her for sixteen years and suddenly, bam, she's here in London? Even studying in the same university as I am. She's been here, what? Two years? She's been under our noses all this time and we didn't notice? How the fuck did that happen? Isn't that just a little bit convenient?"
"We didn't notice because we've been looking in the wrong places," his dad answered. "She's been here for two years. Her CIA file said that she's been—"
"That's another thing, dad, you have a friend in the CIA? Why did you not tell us about this?" He asks, just finally wanting to know everything. "I mean, whoever your friend is, he could have helped then, right? When she first went missing? Isn't it easier to find a missing person the first twenty-four hours?"
"He didn't want to help. Not then," his dad says with a note of bitterness in his voice, as though he's remembering something that he was particularly enraged about. "As you may well know, it's not the job of the Assistant Director of the CIA to find missing girls. This is just a favor I managed to secure from him. That's all."
"And that's it? You trust him? Just like that?" He says in disbelief, because in such an important matter as this, he doesn't believe he could trust someone just like that.
He could see his brother from the corner of his eye, just watching the two of them, prepared pacify them if it gets too much, as it often got between him and their father whenever they're arguing.
His father looks at him then, a cold, firm expression on his face, as though he believes without a doubt in his mind that what he's saying is true. "Yes, I trust him, Eddie. And no, I won't tell you why. You're just going to have to trust me in turn on this one."
He falls silent then, thinking about what to say next. "I'm just worried, dad." He finally settles on that.
"What are you so worried about? If I'm wrong—and that's probably a big if—then we could just move on. Just like we used to."
That's just the thing. He can't. Not anymore. If they're wrong, he wouldn't be able to move on anymore. There have been way too many disappointments. He clenches his fists, trying to find the words to tell his father exactly just that, but his brother takes the words out of his mouth.
"It's just that," Charlie starts, "this isn't the first time that you're willing to accept that Emily's really come back to us. Don't get me wrong, dad. If you're right. I'm glad. I really am. She was like a sister to me, but… If you're wrong? Just like before? That would suck."
"I understand your concern," their father says then. "And believe me, I'm rather apprehensive too. But what else could we do? Could we maybe give this a chance? See how this pans out first? We've got all the evidence we need. We just need to spend some time with Kate, that's all."
Charlie looks at him then imploringly, saying without words, say yes, you moron. He looks away from him, unsure of what to say. The thing is, he doesn't want to. He doesn't want to spend time with her. He doesn't even want to talk to her. It has nothing to do with whether he believes that she's Emily or not. It's just that she makes him uneasy. He doesn't know what it is about her. And he's trying, really, not to be a judgmental little prick but he just can't take his mind off of it, off of her.
But his brother's still looking at him so he's forced to say, "Fine, sure. We'll see how this goes. But if this ends badly, I'm warning you. I'm saying I told you so."
Their father waves his hand dismissively. "Whatever you want. Now go away and apologize to your brother for disturbing his honeymoon."
Charlie punches him playfully on the shoulder then and he flinches. It might be playful but it still hurt. "Let's leave dad alone, c'mon." His brother steers him out of the office and back into his own office in record time. In there, Charlie gathers his backpack and his jacket, tossing both over to him. "We're leaving," he says as an explanation when he looks confusedly at him.
"Where are we going?" He asks as he dons his jacket.
"I want to meet this Kate Johnson. Where can I find her? And before you say anything else, you're fucking coming with me." He says, pointing an accusing finger at him.
"I think she works at a pub near St. George's," he says, remembering what he read in her file. "I forgot the name," he adds, shouldering his backpack.
"Fun," he says with a mischievous grin. "Wouldn't pass up a chance to drink you under the table. And Mandy's coming with us, I guess. She's pretty pissed at you, so be prepared. You ruined her dream honeymoon."
He takes a deep breath because, yeah, he's a little bit afraid of his brother's wife. She could be really intimidating when she wants to be. At the same time, he's quite glad that she'd be coming. He could ask her what her opinion of Kate Johnson is after.
"Hurry up," Charlie says, walking out the door ahead of him.
Eddie stands there, checking his pockets and looking around his office one more time to make sure he didn't forget anything. He thinks to himself that it wouldn't be so bad if their father is right. If Kate really is Emily, then that's something he should be glad about. But if she's not, well, he just can't stand the fact that someone's using her name, using her to get to them.
Getting over her death remains one of the single most traumatic things he had to go through as a kid. Even now, if they're wrong again, he doesn't think he'll be able to cope.
He closes the door and follows Charlie back to the lobby.