Lots of errands today, starting with a doctor’s appointment and followed by a run to Costco. It’s important I have my Sobe Life Water and Alaskan Krill Omega tablets. I had a short night’s sleep–I hate going to the doctor–so I grabbed a nap and didn’t sit down to write until about 1500. However, I did manage 2,415 words in a little over two hours. The first total word count came to 66,667, but, of course, I had to go in and delete one word so the total would be a diabolical 66,666. Bwahahaha!
I finished Chapter 23, Recalled, and added Chapter 24, Partial Reunion. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 23:
“I need for you to understand something,” she began.
“I understand all I need to know,” he said.
“No, you don’t. Alexei and I didn’t marry each other for love. Well, I may have had a serious crush, but to him I was just another agent he was training, albeit one he was sleeping with, among several others, but there was no real love between us.”
“You were pregnant. He did the right thing by you,” Kolya said.
“Yes, he was rather old-fashioned in that aspect.”
“No, he was a man, living up to his responsibilities,” Kolya said.
Whatever, she thought. “I’m not going to debate that part of my history with you because I didn’t even know you existed then. Listen to me, please, without interrupting. I was Alexei’s partner, yes, and that came before being his wife; but he wasn’t beyond manipulating me, using me however he could to complete a mission. I wasn’t particularly happy about that then, but as I grew in operational experience, I understood it. He used me to cover up the fact he gave that map to Dostun, and he knew he could succeed because I was at the stage of our relationship where I’d do just about anything he wanted to keep his attention,” she said. “You seem to think he and I had this fairy-tale romance, but we didn’t. I loved him, then I didn’t. He didn’t love me, then he did. He broke my trust more times than I want to think about, but I never once betrayed his trust.”
Kolya gave her a skeptical eyebrow.
“Terrell doesn’t count because that was once and a long time ago,” she said. “Professionally, on a mission, I never once betrayed his trust. Then, I discovered he used me to back him up on that fucking map, and you know and Nelson knew, and Nelson let him do it. So, I’m not particularly happy with Alexei Bukharin right now, but what else is new? Regardless, I have a duty to him, and I’ll fulfill that duty.”
“And that’s all it is? Duty?” he asked.
“At this moment, right now, yes. He’ll get a chance to explain himself, if he doesn’t get himself killed before we find him,” she said.
“That would make it easier for you, wouldn’t it?” Kolya asked.
She wanted to hit him but didn’t have the strength. She settled for pushing him hard enough he almost slipped off the rock where he perched. “Be a shit, Kolya. I don’t want him to die,” she said.
“Why?” When she didn’t respond, he said, “You can’t even say it. Why is it so hard for you to admit you love him?”
“Because,” she began, feeling her throat tighten. She cleared her throat and tried again, “Because every time I do, something happens to damage my trust, and most of those times, he’s the one responsible for that. If I say it, I’ll jinx it, but you need to understand if I lose him, it will kill me. It will, quite literally, kill me.”