Here is the second scene of the free write. I hesitated to call them chapters, because I may flip things around in the final book. In any case, enjoy this scene. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
Moscow, USSR – United Kingdom’s Embassy
Nicole sat staring at the television screen. She was watching WNN cable news network to catch up on the latest happenings in the United States. As photographs of a large protest march in Bonn, West Germany scrolled across the screen, Nicole was thousands of miles away, deep in her thoughts. It had been months since Sean experienced the nightmares and the Katrina incident—as Jack Kensington had referred to it. Nicole couldn’t get Katrina Natalsky’s mocking voice out of her head. Had Sean and Katrina been intimate while she was away in Washington? The question began to nag her day and night. Could Sean’s anger toward Nicole during that time be associated with his indiscretion–a folly that afforded Sean one last opportunity to be with his wife—the wife he failed?
While Sean’s nightmare had ceased, his short temper flared from time to time. Nicole felt like she was walking on eggshells. The only time she felt comfortable in Sean’s presence was when they were in London for the royal wedding. But that quickly turned sour after the discovery of Line X’s objective and the meeting with Jack. The director of SIS made it clear that Nicole’s actions were not acceptable. She was a guest of the British government at the embassy and Sean made it clear on the flight back that Jack would have no problem insisting Nicole leave if she caused any further problems.
She sighed as she turned her head and looked out the window. The days were getting shorter and grayer. Soon, snow would be arriving along with the cold that she found confining. She smirked when she realized that she didn’t venture outside much during the summer either. The embassy felt like a prison, and she was its prisoner. She had no official duty and too much idle time. Whenever she asked Sean what she could do to help, an abrupt and ill-tempered snippet was Sean’s response. One secret—Katrina Natalsky’s appearance as Sarah—led to more secrets between them. Sean buried himself in his work and kept that work from Nicole. She felt isolated.
She turned her attention to a familiar voice that was coming from the television set. President Jenkins was walking from Marine One to the White House when he stopped, much to his press secretary’s dismay, to answer a few questions from the press. Jenkins’s voice pulled Nicole out of her thoughts. “I think the protests are great,” Jenkins responded to a question from a reporter about how he felt regarding the protests against the US deploying the Pershing II nuclear missiles in Europe. “I wish deploying these missiles weren’t necessary. I understand that these missiles will be in their backyards, and frankly, if they have a better solution for their protection, I would like to hear it.”
Nicole cringed at Jenkins’s use of the words their protection. Most of Europe didn’t see it the way Jenkins did. They didn’t feel the need to be more protected by adding more nuclear missiles to the ones already deployed.
“Are you saying that if our allies don’t want to deploy—,” one reporter started.
Jenkins cut off the questions by raising his hand before he spoke. “Our allies want our help, and these missiles are one way we provide it. All I’m saying is that we negotiated the placement of them with each country. Unfortunately, it is a done deal. However, I believe in the people’s right to speak. It is not easy to come up with answers. It is easy to say that they don’t want them deployed there without a plan regarding the safety and security of our nation and theirs.” The press secretary leaned in to whisper that he needed to leave for a meeting. “I’m sorry, I have to go now. Thank you for your questions.”
Nicole smiled as she thought about Jenkins’s job offer. The idea of being the White House communications director was tempting in light of what she was currently doing, which was nothing. She let her mind wander. She could see herself in the White House Oval Office, helping Jenkins shape policy and forming bullet points for consumption by the media. She thought about the current divisiveness in the United States, and she wondered what she could do to help ease the divide. She smiled when she thought about the press secretary begging Jenkins to stop having impromptu press conferences with reporters, and how his communications team was now scrambling to clean up what Jenkins had said. She knew she could be a great help in Jenkins’s administration and to Jenkins himself.
She shook her head, flipping her long cinnamon red hair out of her face. She tried to clear the thoughts of being in the White House. She admitted the call to serve her country was great. Could she leave Sean? She looked down when that thought crossed her mind. She turned her head and looked out the window again. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could stand being a guest in Sean’s life. She began to wonder how many secrets Sean was keeping. If she asked, would he tell her if he slept with Katrina? Seared in her brain was the image of the intimate moment she caught them in upon her return from Washington. Would she ever be brave enough to broach the subject with Sean? How would she react if the answer was yes? Could she stay with him if he did? She knew there was only one way to end this torture. She had to ask him.
Sean was sitting at his desk reading a memo on his computer. Elliot’s job of upgrading the United Kingdom’s embassy was coming to an end. The mainframe was running and as secure as Elliot could make it. Sean knew it would only be a matter of time before Elliot returned to SIS headquarters. Or would it? Jack liked having Elliot in the embassy, keeping tabs on Sean. Sean couldn’t decide if he welcomed the idea of Elliot returning to London.
Nicole knocked on the door that separated their offices interrupting Sean’s thoughts. “Are you busy?” She asked as she peered around the door.
Sean pretended to finish reading the memo, glancing over the last few sentences. He looked up at her. “I’m not sure I like these electronic memorandums.” Nicole smiled at his distrust. “Is there something you need?”
Nicole walked to a chair across from his desk. “I need to talk to you.” Sean gave her a confused look. “Ever since we returned from London, I feel like a stranger here.”
“Jack made it very clear that you are our guest,” Sean responded. He could she was hurt by his honesty and added, “But that isn’t how I see you.”
“No, you still think you are my bodyguard. I don’t need a bodyguard.”
Sean was even more confused. “I want to protect you, yes, but I don’t see myself as your bodyguard. I don’t think that’s a very fair assessment.”
“It’s not?” Nicole questioned. Sean nodded his head. “A lot has happened since we’ve come here. There’s been a secret or two—“
“Not this again,” Sean interrupted her. He was irritated by Nicole’s comments. “I don’t know what you need to hear from me, Nicole. I was trying to determine who placed her here.” Sean was referring to Katrina, the spy placed in the embassy who looked like Sean’s deceased wife, Sarah.
“We know Colin Stewart brought her into the embassy. Alistair told you that.”
“I mean beyond Stewart,” Sean shot back.
“Valesky,” Nicole countered.
“We don’t know that for sure,” Sean quipped. “That confession was under duress.”
Nicole chuckled. “You think she would have told you otherwise?” She saw Sean sigh heavily. “This isn’t the direction I wanted to go with this conversation, but it is where our conversations end up lately. It’s been torture for me not to ask this. I’ve got to know. While I was in Washington, did you make love to Katrina?”
Sean took in a breath slowly and hesitated. He blinked his eyes. His brain was trying to process the question. Nicole broke their eye contact when he didn’t answer immediately in the negative.
“I see,” Nicole said as she started to stand up. She turned away from him not sure where she wanted to go.
“I didn’t answer you,” Sean said. “I’m trying to understand why you think that.”
Nicole turned back around to look Sean square in the eyes. “Because Katrina said that you fucked her. The only time that could have occurred was when I was away, in Washington, with Bobby.” She paused a moment. “Upon my return, I caught you in an intimate moment, and I truly believe if I had not said a word, I would have witnessed you kissing her.” She could see Sean’s anger growing.
Sean tried to quell his temper. He tried to speak calmly. “How dare you accuse me—”
“Defensiveness? That’s how you want to answer my question? You want to portray yourself as the hurt victim here?” Nicole shook her head as she turned to walk out of Sean’s office. “That was worse than honoring me with a direct answer—even if the answer is yes.” As she reached the door, she grabbed the doorknob. “In fact, it is the same as a confession,” she accused as she opened the door. She looked at the man she loved, the hurt evident on her face.
“It didn’t—“ Sean began.
Nicole smiled through the tears that were forming in her eyes. “Don’t even say it.” She closed the door behind her. Nicole stood by the open door for a second, feeling every emotion that accompanies a betrayal. She truly believed that Sean was going to end his sentence with the admission that the encounter didn’t mean anything to him. She brushed some of her cinnamon curls to cover her face as she walked from his office to the residence. Could she forgive him? That was the question she was now asking herself. It was quickly followed by another question. Could she stay in Moscow with him?