I remember being a little girl…standing there upon a stage. The school stage that we all know about when attending a public school with the thick dingy burgundy curtains…maybe blue. Either way this stage is responsible for many moments of strong failures, fateful wins, and beautiful moments of finally putting yourself out there for people to see you…really see you. Everyone was looking at me in that moment…little, scrawny, nappy headed, unimportant…me. There I was in the talent show, ready to sing my ass off because I swore to my friends, my mother, and my father that I could sound exactly like Whitney Houston. Confidence was sometimes far fetched, but hell if I cared, because I was certainly the one that night. I had on this beautiful navy blue dress that was dripping in sequins. I think there were so many that I could have survived any maze or Hansel and Gretel story because there would be a shining trail leading me back the way that I came. I had made it myself and was so proud that I didn’t care about the faces my family wore when they saw me walk out of that room. The giggle that escaped my bratty little sister’s lips couldn’t deter me from my moment, because it was MINE. The only things I mostly remember…over the laughs, the cheering, the stares….was the announcement of the winner…that was not me.
I was devastated and it was MY first moment of knowing what real failure felt like. Up until this point I was not athletic or really for extroverted enough to get into a lot of clubs. This was my first moment of confidence and putting myself out there to see who I really could be…to go against all odds and just take that leap of faith…come what may. I felt like the universe snatched it from me and gifted it to this ugly ass girl that danced some really provocative dance in barely nothing and won over many others more talented than she.
My eyes watered as the oogling eyes of the judges looked on as she cheered with excitement, breasts bouncing up and down in a black leotard with no tights and took home her trophy and fifty dollar prize. I remember repeating that “it wasn’t fair” at least fifty times on the way home. My mother and father sighed while exchanging awkward looks. ” Well maybe next time honey, it will all work out with more practice.”
They are supposed to say that.
“And I know that you think we’re supposed to say that because we’re you’re parents but we really believe in you and that everything happens for a reason, even situations like this.” They continued smiling and staring ahead as our station wagon made it’s way down the street towards our home with more noise than needed. We were always so happy and I admired my parent’s love and relationship. They were so warm towards each other and in this moment of reminiscing on the past, tears began streaming down my face when I thought of what they could be doing now. I couldn’t even check in on them without compromising myself and my life and that was the hardest part of all of this. What if something happens to them? Or one of them dies? Everything was getting out of hand and I was overthinking everything when I really needed to be putting my plan into motion for the next move off of this ship.
I stood at the railing staring out into the ocean in deep thought when I felt a pair of eyes on me. I knew whom they belonged to and slowly breathed out slow streams of air when he walked up on me looking good as hell in another tailored suit. My mind raced to the moments that passed in my cabin earlier the day before and I clenched my legs together in an attempt to calm the feeling he produced down there whenever he appeared.
“I see you had the same idea as me…came to take in some open ocean air?”
He smirked like he knew he had me. Confident and arrogant at the same time while trying to play this game of making it seem like wanted me to come to him, but of course he knew I wasn’t stupid by a long shot.
“Yeah I guess that you can say that…I would have thought being on this ship was growing a little old on you by now.”
I teased him and looked over the balcony without making eye contact with him while he stood closely to my right.
“I have grown to love cruises, actually. Here we are…in the middle of nowhere. Wide open ocean…no land to be seen for miles and miles. Nowhere to run off to when it gets uncomfortable, it’s made for you to hate or love…it’s perfect and I’m on a mission.”
I swallowed nervously but kept my composure as I listened to the smooth bravado of his voice.
He slowly moved around my frame like a vulture while he continued. Stopping right behind me so that his pelvis was against my back as the bottom of my yellow sundress flew around in the night air. No one was in sight, yet he continued to speak in low tones.
He pressed against me and moved closer to my ear, smelling like the sweetest smell of man that I had ever inhaled. My legs practically trembled and I stared out past the horizon of the ocean, watching the bright orange sun slowly dip down out of sight.
“How long do you figure you have? Weeks?…Maybe months….you think you got a year?”
“For what?” I whispered without moving an inch.
“For this running around. It’s interesting to watch your strategy. At times, it would even take me months to track you…such a rush when I finally did.”
His hand moved up…beneath my sun dress, between my thick thighs in light strokes. My breathing sped up and his other hand swiftly came up and forcefully gripped the back of my neck while he slipped a finger past my panties.
“I am the only thing keeping you alive…and you were going to leave without even telling me goodbye?”
My eyes widened.
“What do you mean I was?-“
“I’m not stupid. We both know that neither of us are. So stop fucking playing with me and let’s just make a deal.”
Every muscle I had tightened in his grip and my legs buckled a little when he pushed his pelvis further into me. I could feel the bulge through his pants…slowly grinding and teasing me while the ocean breeze and mist blew across our faces in the evening light, slightly relieving my flushing demeanor.
“How in the hell do you expect me to trust you?? I am on the run right now, I am the most wanted woman on the run right now! And what do you want? You want me to just be “Bonnie and Clyde” with you traveling the entire planet? For you to get what you want out of me then just give me up for the reward later? You are not about the fuck the common sense out of me and bring down everything that I have worked to hide at this point. I am always living on edge while just being another damn assignment for you!”
My voice began to raise and it made him tighten his grip.
“Calm down and lower your voice.”
An elderly white couple strolled by with bright smiles on their faces because his sadistic ass was smiling right back at them and had let go of the grip he held on the back of my neck, transitioning it into looking as if he was playing in my long hair blowing in the wind and romantically holding me from behind.
“You have a lovely night.” He nodded his head towards them until they walked by and out of sight, continuing his pointless debate with me and trying to make me give in to his plan just like any man would that found a woman like me so interesting just because I’d outsmarted his ass a few times.
He continued in low tones.
“So when you planning on running this time? Where you headed?”
“Wow, you’ve never just straight out asked me. I thought I’d leave you a nice little challenge….”
I turned around and faced him now. He leaned in with the expectation I would kiss him as I moved into his space, then moved close to his ear.
“….just the way that you like.” I whispered then kissed the left side of his cheek and in one swift motion I kneed him in his groin, causing him to double over in pain and wince. I brought my entire elbow down on his head, causing his large frame to crumble to the ground. I grabbed a large bag from behind him and life jacket that sat on the deck.
He attempted to gain his composure and limp towards me, but I sat up on the railing of the ship, smiled, and flipped off backwards, landing into the water with a crash.
I could hear him calling after me and looking as if he wanted to jump in too for a minute but realized he had neither the gear nor the time. I floated in the water until the ship was completely out of sight and it was just me and all of the stars in the sky. I breathed slowly in the dramatically cold temperature of the water but remained calm, pushing through.
The bag I grabbed possessed only my essentials. I eyed my watch as I floated on the large duffel bag and just in time breathed out a sigh of relief as a small fishing boat with one bright light on the side approached and lowered a small ladder for me.
I quickly grabbed it and tossed my bag on deck, shivering and breathing through several sighs of relief.
“Got yourself into a bit of trouble, huh?”
I shook the ocean water from my hair and let out a sigh.
“I guess you can say that. Thanks for deciding to meet me.”
“Hey, I honestly can’t stand the guy and I’ve been out of the game a long time. You have nothing to worry about because the person I can’t stand more than Vincent is that stupid ass president that started all of this bullshit in the first place!”
I let out a light chuckle and shook my head. His southern accent was strong and made me a bit nervous, but he seemed harmless so far. He hovered over me with a cigarette in the side of his mouth, blowing out puffs of smoke and looking me over in amazement that I’d escaped.
Apparently Vincent wasn’t that smooth and dropped some type of book that had names in it before he left me flushed and horny inside of my cabin. My mind went back to me taking it from between the covers and eyeing it’s pages in fascination. The names included were some of the most infamous criminals and gangsters around the world and shocking jobs he’d completed for politicians and celebrities that no one would have ever known. I knew I had to get off of that ship some kind of way and what a better way to contact one of his known enemies just for them to have a rush and something over his head. To know that anything slipped through his fingers unknowingly enraged him and I knew what I’d just done was created the ultimate monster.
Hank Greisman was a retired assassin that never stayed home and never sat still, so when I contacted him and let him know what was going on and what was in it for him, he promised it would only take him until the following evening to find a jet and a boat to reach me and help plan the perfect escape. I realized I had found my first ally from a known enemy.
“Well we can’t sit out here for too long. No use in freezing to death.” He tossed me an extremely thick blanket.
“Thanks…I know it’s a little too late to be asking this…but how do I know that I can really trust you?” I clutched the blanket around my body and eyed him suspiciously.
He chuckled. “Well, I can tell you’re certainly new to this young lady, because this is the worst time to be asking something like that. And the fact that Vincent has not killed you tells me all that I need to know as far as reasoning. You’re a pretty little thing, I can tell you’re smart as a whip. Stop asking questions you already know the answer to and that you don’t want to know the answer to. Now pick up that thermos of coffee there, sit down and enjoy the ride.”
Without another word, he moved towards the front of the boat, grabbed the wheel and revved the engine. I slowly took a seat in the back and snuggled into the blanket. We took off into the night, beneath the stars in the amazing feeling of victory. Inside of my head I could see the little girl that thought losing would be her entire life…the one that stood with a look of disappointment in a homemade blue sequined dress she loved so much. She knew at that moment nobody could take the bursting adrenaline coursing through her body. That feeling of winning a battle in order to take over the entire victory.
She sipped the thermos of coffee in calm and peaceful thoughts as she looked out over the ocean…unsure of what direction she could be heading next….
“Hey, hey little lady, rise and shine.”
I squinted as the sun beamed down into my face, reflecting off of the waves of the ocean water. Hank could have easily killed me in my sleep but here I was.
“Would you like a little chow? It’s not much.”
I looked over and saw that he’d caught some fish or either already had them but they smelled pretty damn good to me.
I was starving and dug in like I hadn’t eaten in weeks. I felt drained by the sun and just wanted to lie back down but there was too much adrenaline rushing through my veins now that I was up and now that I had to keep an eye on Hank.
“I’ve done ya a great favor and need you to listen up carefully, you hear me?”
I quickly stared up at him in mid-chew.
What was this about?
“I have another friend that owes me a favor, he’s about to drop in any minute. His name is Taylor and he’s a great guy, pretty harmless and sure does believe in everything that you’re out here doing too.”
I perked up and cracked a confident smile.
“Seriously? That’s…um…thank you.”
I kept chewing then slowly looked up at him again.
“So…since you haven’t asked me…I take it that you’re also a rebel that didn’t get the chip inserted.”
He kept his back to me.
“I guess that you can say that. It isn’t easy being all alone because you’re not a follower isn’t it?”
I smiled and nodded my head in agreement and reminisced.
“Yeah…I can still remember the day he came on the news and announced it. I was in disbelief then and even more now that they’ve actually gone through with it. They own everyone now and they can’t even see it. American’s have become property right beneath each other’s noses…”
“Well, I guess we both had the balls-” He looked at me and cleared his throat. “And the vagina to not become anybody’s damn property.”
He gave me a fist bump and continued to steer after taking a long swig from a silver flask. I eyed my watch and saw that it was about 8 a.m.
Early starter, I see.
Suddenly I could hear a low humming noise that sounded like something chopping through air.
Hank smiled and looked to the sky.
“Taylor’s here.” He stated with a smile.
My eyes widened when I realized that Taylor was hovering over us in a large helicopter and quickly flipped out a ladder over the boat.
“Well little lady, I guess this is where we part ways. I honestly don’t want you to, but should you ever find yourself in a bind with that asshole then give me a holler.”
He handed me a small sheet of paper with a phone number. I looked it over for five seconds, balled it and swallowed it. I left no traces and I didn’t have a dumb ass book with everyone’s phone number inside of it to contact me for anything.
He smirked and gave me a fist bump.
“Be safe little lady.”
He delicately lifted me into the air to reach the ladder and handed me my duffel bag before zooming off the way that he came. I had so many more questions. Did he have a home or does he just live off the ocean all day just below Africa? This was getting more and more strange ever since the murder of my fiance and the capture of my client.
Once pulled up I looked in the face of a tall and handsome Hispanic man that eyed me over in admiration and looked as if he was honored just to be in my presence.
“Ah….here she is. My goodness, you’re so small. Not tough looking at all.”
“Well I’m a doctor so…nothing’s ever been tough about me.” I timidly sat down.
“Well hold on tight. I’ll get you to a place where nobody should ever be able to find you!”
I smiled and settled into the seats as I pulled the headphones on my head.
“That would be great, Taylor.” I shot him a warm smile. “Thank you so much.”
“Ayyyye, it’s no problem. I’m with you. Nobody was about to put shit in my body!”
He laughed as he zoomed off over the ocean and I looked down and out past the horizon. I felt more calm and at peace that I ever had since this all began and before I knew it I’d drifted into another deep sleep…
I breathed in the cool air as I looked on towards the horizon. Fisherman with tight dark skin and strong muscular arms tossed their nets and pole lines into Yawri Bay and talked back and forth to each other in Krio. Their skin glistened beneath the bright sun and I sat not too far away in dark shades and a black wide brimmed hat, adorning a simple sundress like I was a tourist with no specific purpose or destination. My brown hair lay in soft natural curls that I often twirled through my fingers when thinking. At this moment a lot of things were on my mind. I admired the fisherman and their strong physiques, remembering I had not had sex in more than five years or less. Memories of Will flooded my mind and I could feel every emotion now that I was in a calm location and able to sit down and think about all that had transpired in just the last 48 hours.
I sat up and looked straight ahead when a random Black guy came and sat down on the bench facing the other direction. I could see him through my peripheral and that he was wearing a dark suit, dark shades and had jet black hair cut into a fade. He was out of place in this location and in this weather and I wondered how many buckets of sweat he’d created just walking over here. One thing was for certain, he smelled good as hell!
He cleared his throat and continued to look ahead.
“Should I call you Doctor Hartley or Justice Young? I’m sure it’s changed once again…”
I froze and never said a word, maintaining my composure as I let him continue in his low baritone voice.
“You are quite to hard find when no one is really looking for you…but for a billion dollars…I certainly found you…again.”
“Well that’s because you know me by now…and how much I love water.”
Vince Cray had to be the only guy that could track me down and always came with the bullshit as if I cared that I was wanted and my head was worth a fortune…alive. He didn’t know whether he wanted to turn me in or remain fascinated by my skill and talented ability to stay out of sight and out of range for years at a time, because the crazy part was that for some reason he was the world’s top assassin and he had not killed me yet, nor had he told anyone where I was for the reward.
“It wasn’t that easy this time, you know. You’re getting better at hiding your scent.”
“Is there something in particular that you wanted to talk to me about?” I asked through gritted teeth while still smiling like everything was all good. This is always the worst part about being on the run, never knowing just how long you could be at some type of peace before someone came and crashed the entire foundation down. The one that I ever think is strong enough to completely shut everyone out. There was too much technology, too many cameras, and nerdy ass experts bored enough (some even rich enough) to hunt me down.
Then there was this guy! I can’t even put a label on him and he’s just really an absolute pain in my ass.. I couldn’t just kill him in the open and blow my cover and he never came around to kill me. It’s was as if he honestly just shows up to let me know that he’s watching me and that he had the authority to do whatever he saw fit with the most wanted target on the planet. A big ass cat toying with a mouse someone pumped with steroids. I knew at this point, he adored our little game and it’s what he lived for! So, therefore…how could he ever live without me? So trust I was never afraid, just irritated.
“Aren’t you just going to do it this time?” I glared at him, turning my full attention toward his solid physique. I found myself licking my lips when my gaze moved down the glisten of his strong dark neck. I watched the vessels move in and out, up and down as he breathed slowly and contemplated his response to my statement. His heart rate was heightening sitting near me and I wondered if he knew that he often did the same to me.
“I could have killed you an hour ago.” He stated it with no emotion, continuing to look on toward the water beyond the horizon.
“And yet…HERE I AM!” I practically shouted loud enough for the fisherman to look up and avert their attention our way. This was on purpose and I could see the perplexed look in his face at the risk I’d just taken. Something in me was amused and I could feel the goosebumps on my skin from being so anxious about what he would do about it…
With a shake of his head and a chuckle he tossed an index card and small envelope my way, rose from the bench, and walked away in the opposite direction that he’d come without another word. I waited at least five minutes before picking it up from the bench beside me and unfolding it’s contents. My face twisted into fear and shock as I read the words and eyed the photos that dropped into my lap, but I kept my composure and folded all of the documents before pulling a lighter from my pocket, setting it all on fire, and dropping it into the waste bin nearby, I could barely catch my breath and hyperventilated as I took a brisk walk around the bay before boarding the nearby luxury cruise liner I’d been waiting for the entire time. I stumbled near the docks and clutched my chest in an attempt to steady my breathing and relax before boarding a ship to take a cruise sailing around the coast of Africa for nearly two weeks.
The ship would take many tourist stops in other locations, but the only thing that concerned me was that it would make it’s final stop in Australia. That was my next destination and what was better than being “down under”? I figured that nobody could track me there but I was wrong before I could even know what being even a little right felt like. I boarded the ship with no luggage, no life, a fake I.D. and my dignity. My large shades hid my face, along with the scarf wrapped around my head like I’d stepped out of the 60’s. I awkwardly greeted everyone who came my way with a shy smile and head nod as I finally found my way to a beautiful and spacious suite with a large balcony that overlooked the entire ocean.
I exhaled and thought out my next move to become invisible again, but one thing was certain…Vince was going to always be my problem until I found a way to fix it. I cringed as I thought about the photos of Will that Vince obviously retrieved by making his way into my home after The Survs got to him. It was disturbing how close he’d gotten to Will’s deadened facial expression and limp body. He was tied to the chair the same way I’d left him, except with his head blown wide open.
I suddenly rushed to the bathroom when I felt the chunks of vomit rise in my throat. I’d endured seeing many things at this point, but seeing the man I loved and nearly married mutilated like that was something no one could ever prepare themselves for. I was really planning to spend the rest of my life with him and now he was only a memory and had gotten caught up because of the pain he felt from me suddenly leaving him and attempting to help the wrong people find me.
I wiped my mouth in exhaustion and let my head rest on my arm over the toilet after flushing down my small lunch of mango and melon from earlier. What in the hell was I supposed to do now? It was as if so many pieces of my life were being exposed and eliminated all for this damn chip! I rinsed my mouth and splashed my face with the cool water cupped in my hands from the faucet. I wanted to cry when I looked at myself in the vanity mirror above the sink. I looked drained and like I lived the life of a person on the run from EVERYTHING. There was nothing relaxed about me and every move I made was frantic, frigid, unplanned, and life threatening at this point.
I was becoming sloppy and desperate to just be out of everyone’s way that I didn’t realize I was only putting myself in more harms way.
I needed a long hot bath, food. and sleep just to make it through the next thought in my head. I never even made it to the food I ordered and when I sat on the bed, before I knew it my body slumped over into a deep and unexpected sleep that went on through the whole night and late into the next day.
I outstretched my arms and let out a long yawn before opening my eyes and emerging from beneath the thick white comforter to invite the sun into my cabin and onto my refreshed and freckled caramel face. I felt as if I’d gotten the best sleep ever with my natural messy curls all over my head like a lion. I smiled from ear to ear before turning over and shrieking in fright when I met the face of Vince sitting up in the recliner chair across the room. His hands were clasped and legs were folded like he’d made some observational notes about my sleep process like he was some type of physician.
“How long have you been sitting there??” I asked in astonishment. I brought the white sheets up to my chest and covered my breasts although I was still wearing my bra.
“Long enough to know that your dreams are going to haunt you the rest of your life.” He never cracked a smile or took his gaze from mine and slowly rose from the chair. I scrambled backwards towards the headboard and eyed his every move as he slowly walked over to me.
His tailored gray suit never moved an inch and was ironed so crisply I wanted to inquire about his dry cleaning.
“Get out of my room.” I bravely stated before I knew it. He looked at me as if I’d lost my mind and before I knew what was happening I was grabbed up by my throat in one swift motion and thrown against the headboard like a rag doll. I winced in pain and heard a ringing in my ears, then I realized he was standing over me with my neck still in one large hand…slowly pressing down my airway bit by bit and staring into my eyes so deeply while taking large grunting breaths that I thought my soul might have been stolen by his. Desperation entered my eyes and the room began to fade. I began flailing my arms and legs in an attempt to fight for my life and I realized I had only seconds until unconsciousness. I didn’t come this far to lose my life now…on a damn cruise liner.
“You know, I do believe I am the only thing keeping you from living this little relaxing runaway life you decided to live after becoming a terrorist and a traitor to your own country. You’re wanted everywhere and there were SO MANY times I could have taken your life and gotten it over with, but if I didn’t have you to track down, what else would I do with my life?” He casually shrugged like I was the only thing keeping him from being bored with everything about his life.
I was right.
My chest tightened and I could feel my oxygen being cut off as I thrashed and scratched at his arms, drawing small streaks of blood. He never moved a muscle. He suddenly let go of my neck in one motion and pushed me back on the bed. I rolled over and violently coughed, sucking in air and desperately gaining my composure while he watched me in a strange way. I scrambled away from him until I was backed against the headboard holding my neck with both hands and fear in my eyes for the first time in a long time.
I saw concern for a brief moment before his face turned to stone again. Emotionless. Numb.
“Look I’m sorry. I just wanted you to know…”
My eyes widened at his sudden empathy and my face grew heated with anger. I felt as if my cheeks were crimson red and certainly knew my neck was.
“What the fuck?! You wanted me to know what? You’re a fucking psycho?” I practically screamed at the top of my lungs now that I could breathe and speak normally again.
“First of all…lower your voice. Second…you’re the only assignment I’ve never killed.”
I looked up at him in confusion and shook my head.
He stood at the end of the bed now, pacing back and forth.
“You’re crazy and you just almost did kill me and since you didn’t…you need to leave.” I stated sternly in a low tone while pointing at the door.
“You’re a doctor, you know good and well the point you were about to lose consciousness and die. Low and behold…you’re still here.”
He straightened his suit jacket and grunted in sarcasm but he slowly made his way to the door before suddenly stopping.
He turned around in deep thought and walked to the bed like he had something else to say but never let a word escape his lips.
I looked at him as he slowly removed his jacket and eased up on me until he was only inches away from my face. He smells so damn good. He took in my hair and the features on my face like he was observing every detail…taking mental photos of each freckle, mole, and blemish. My breathing grew hollow and more noticeable as my breasts rose up and down in a rhythmic motion that made him roughly grab one with his right hand then touch on my pussy with the other.
I didn’t fight back or tell him to go, my body grew weak and excited at the same time and a deep moan escaped my lips immediately. I came in less than two minutes when he brought his hand to my neck again, this time only gently squeezing the sides…making my blood flow. He began caressing my clitoris in circles to the ultimate climax when he stared into my eyes and demanded me to come on his fingers and “let it all out”. I was getting so turned on I was ready! I gyrated on his hand and grabbed for his hard dick, which look promisingly thick and long through his pants; but as soon as I did, he strangely stopped everything out of nowhere, grabbed his jacket and rose from the bed.
I still sat back gasping and getting the sheets wet, leaking and wondering where the hell he was going. His dark eyes lowered when he looked at me and flicked the largest tongue I’d ever seen across my juices that were dripping from his fingers before walking out.
I nearly came again in that moment as I rushed to the bathroom to take a long shower.
What the hell was that??
I was at a loss for words as I touched on my body and thought of his tongue wrapping around his large fingers. That devious and dark “fuck me look” he gave me made it no better.
This was new. This sexual game we started was unexpected and I was questioning the entire situation now. He could have planned it all along to throw me off and turn me in once he fucked me into exhaustion. I shook my head in the shower, scolding myself for being so dumb and naïve.
“Get it together woman! We have a mission to complete.”
I then began trying to tame the tingles down my spine with my fingers…masturbating until I fell back to sleep with thoughts of what transpired in my mind.