Free Write Wednesdays! Scene 5–What is Jack up to?

Timing of this part of the free write is the continuation of the last scene of Cloaked. Jack has arrived at Gillian’s cottage. 

  

Inverness, Scotland – Gillian’s Cottage

Jack Kensington sat on the couch waiting for Gillian to return with their drinks. The only thing he had managed to say when Gillian opened the door to her cottage was that he had bad news. Gillian surmised that by the looks of him.  He had not slept a wink since the assassination of President Seddik of Egypt, which happened just under twenty-four hours ago. Internally, Jack was fighting with himself. He knew the rules he would break if he told Gillian about Maggie’s capture. He knew he could be fired. After all, it was top secret information. But, he couldn’t bear the thought of keeping this information from Gillian. If he didn’t tell her and she found out somehow, he knew he would lose her again. He finally justified telling Gillian by convincing himself that if it were his child with his wife, Mary, he would tell her. 

Jack sat on the couch, still having doubts about the forthcoming conversation he was about to start with Gillian. His thoughts turned to Maggie. He hardly knew her. He only knew that she was one of his agents and a feisty one at that. He remembered her long, thick blonde hair, but in his mind’s eye, he couldn’t recall her face. He started to panic. He chided himself for not being able to recall his only child’s face. He turned his head to look at the picture of Maggie on the mantel. The very picture that prompted Sean to tell Jack that he had a child. He heard the ice that Gillian was extracting from its metal holder clink into the glasses. The photo and the noise brought him back to the present. He closed his eyes when he realized he had to tell Gillian. 

Gillian returned to the couch with their drinks. She handed Jack his whiskey and soda. Jack’s hand shook as he brought it to his mouth. “What’s the matter, love?” Gillian watched Jack as he sat forward to set his drink on the table. “What’s got you shaken so badly? Did Mary find out about me again?” Gillian smiled as she noted that they had been seeing each other for just under four months. 

Jack’s smile danced across his lips so quickly that Gillian didn’t notice it. He placed his hands between his legs, palms facing each other and fingers interlaced. “Gillian, you have to understand what I’m about to tell you—well it’s top secret. I could be fired—” Gillian’s face grew sullen. She didn’t have to ask the question that Jack knew she wanted to ask. “It concerns Maggie. I want you to know. I can’t bear this alone.”

Gillian placed her gin on the rocks on the table. She seemed to recoil from Jack. “I don’t understand. How could you know anything about Maggie? Her advertising firm sent her to Australia.”

Jack turned his head and looked at Gillian. “No, they didn’t. Maggie is with MI6. She was on a highly classified mission.”

Gillian recoiled further from Jack, facing forward on the couch now. Without turning her head, Gillian softly, but coldly asked, “Is she alive?”

“We don’t know,” Jack replied. “She was in Cairo with a person of interest. During Seddik’s assassination, terrorists captured her.” Gillian let a horrified gasp leave her lips. She looked at Jack, tears welling up in her eyes. “We only know about the capture because the Mossad passed information to the Americans, who informed us. We are still piecing everything together.”

“You can get her out of there, can’t you? You won’t let our daughter stay there. Tell me you won’t!” Gillian was becoming hysterical. She began to weep uncontrollably, and when Jack reached for her, she slapped his arms. “Damn you! Ruining my life wasn’t enough for you. You had to recruit her. You had to bring her into your life.”

Jack tried as best he could to wrap his arms around her while calling her name: ultimately accomplishing this feat when they both stood up. “Gillian! Gillian! Listen to me. GILLIAN!” When Jack shouted her name, Gillian stopped struggling. “I didn’t even know Maggie existed until recently. How could I have recruited her? If I knew she was my daughter, I never would have assigned her this mission.” In a calmer voice, “When Sean told me, there was nothing I could do to recall her. She was well into her mission when I found out.”

“Her last name didn’t tip you off?”

“She isn’t using your last name,” Jack confessed. “Had she done that, I would have at least wondered if there was a connection. Besides, I’m not in the position to know every agent personally. Maggie crossed my path because of a proposed working relationship between her and Sean. That didn’t materialize when Sean decided to go a different way.” Jack paused and looked at Gillian. “You have to believe me. I didn’t know.”

Gillian put her head on Jack’s shoulder. When her sobs slowed, she pulled away from him. She vacated Jack’s embrace, and walked to the bathroom, returning a box of tissues. She sat down on the couch as she dried her tears and blew her nose. Gillian was never dainty. She didn’t acquire the trait over the years either. “What are you going to do?”

“There isn’t much I can do, frankly,” Jack said. “I’ve asked Charlie to follow up with Mossad directly. Hopefully, we can get more information from them.” Jack didn’t want to add what he was about to say, but he had to do so. He didn’t want to give Gillian false hope. “Don’t expect the Mossad to jeopardize their mission for one of our agents. I will do all I can, but for now, we don’t have many options. First, we have to establish whether she is dead or alive. After that, we might be able to discuss a plan to extract her.”

“Can Sean help? Can’t he go after her?” Gillian asked. 

“No,” Jack said. “He knows nothing about the Middle East. We have people who are better suited for this.” He scooted over next to Gillian and stroked her cheek. “I’m sorry it has to be this way. There is nothing we can do but look for more information at this point.” 

“Sean would do anything for me. You know he would this if you asked,” Gillian pleaded. 

“There isn’t anything Sean can do. He is an ambassador now,” Jack snapped. “I would be in more trouble if Sean showed up in the Middle East looking for her.” Jack was poorly covering the fact that Sean’s connection to MI6 in his new role was never to be spoken about to anyone. 

Gillian got up from the couch irritated by Jack’s resistance to ask for help. She stormed to her bedroom, and slammed the door. Jack remained seated, only tilting his head up to look at the ceiling and then at Maggie’s picture again. He closed his eyes and rested his head on the back of the couch. It was only then he realized how exhausted he was. He tried to fight off sleep, but in the silence of the cottage, sleep eventually won. 

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