Where Eagles Fly
Copyright © Saggio Amante 2003, 2004
All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: See Part 1
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Part 8 - Parallax
The morning sun rose over two women huddled together between light blankets on a barren beach.
Lark had been awake for most of the night formulating plans that she would put into action when they returned to the mainland. She had fallen asleep briefly just before dawn but woke as the first rays of sunrise peeked up from the horizon. She felt the change in Lonnie's breathing and knew that her lover had also awakened.
Lark smiled contentedly as she ran her fingers up and down the spine of the small naked blonde in her arms. "I love you," she whispered as she placed a soft kiss on the top of Lonnie's head.
The smaller woman stretched languorously against Lark and let her fingers feather in circles against Lark's abdomen. "And I love you," she sighed. "God, this is heaven. I wish we never had to leave."
The two women lay in each other's arms watching the tangerine sunrise. When the final segment of the sun's circle lifted from the horizon, Lonnie and Lark rose and walked into the warm ocean to wash off the last vestiges of sleep.
Hand in hand, the two women returned in silence to the blanket on the sand and settled once again in each other's arms. They lay not moving, savoring the peace and quiet that surrounded them, until Lark gently pushed Lonnie from her arms and onto her back on the blanket.
Lark propped her head in her hand and looked down into Lonnie's eyes. "It will all be over soon, I promise you. When it is, we'll go wherever you want. Here, if you'd like."
As she spoke, Lark ran her free hand over Lonnie's breasts and stomach, smiling a self-satisfied smile as she felt the small blonde's body shiver under her touch.
"Can't get enough of me, huh?" Lark asked teasingly as she exchanged her mouth for her hand and began to place small, sucking kisses across Lonnie's abdomen.
Lonnie reached down to grab Lark's hair, urging her lower. Larks mouth gently teased her until she felt herself melting into it and surrendered to the sweet sensation.
"I'll never get enough of you," Lonnie cried as the first wave of a soft, achingly beautiful orgasm rolled over her. "Never."
Lark waited until Lonnie stilled then said the words they had both been dreading. "We have to go soon."
The haunting sound of a gull's cry filled the air echoing the pain Lonnie felt in her heart as she replied sadly, "I know."
Lark stood watching the door of the plane. She had dressed quickly and moved outside for some privacy. Lonnie was still inside dressing for the return trip to Fort Lauderdale, and Lark took advantage of the other woman's absence to place a call to Max.
When his phone rang, Max recognized the number on his caller i.d.
"Damn it!" Max groused when he answered. "You promised you'd keep in touch. Why the hell did you wait so long to call?"
Maxs anger was obvious, and Lark felt a momentary pang of regret for worrying him.
"I had other things on my mind, Max, as you well know," she responded lightly then quickly conceded, "I'm really sorry. You have every right to be angry."
"Forget it," Max said. "I'm sorry I snapped at you. I was just worried."
"Listen, I have to hurry before Lonnie gets back," Lark continued. "Max, I need you to meet our plane and take Lonnie somewhere safe."
"Aren't you going, too?"
"No. I have to meet with someone. I need you to make sure she is safe until I get back."
"Lark, you can't keep running off by yourself," Max said. "Where are you going?"
"Max, just do this one thing for me. I promise you I am not going anywhere that will put me in any danger. I just can't tell you what's up yet."
Max sighed. "All right. But you have got to quit being a cowboy. It's hard to have your back when I don't even know where your back is," he continued ruefully.
"Uh, Max, I do need one other thing."
"Uh huh," Max laughed. "Why am I not surprised?"
Lark was relieved to hear the teasing note return to her friend's voice. "I need another cell phone."
"I'll tell you when I see you. I've got to go," Lark said, closing her cell phone as she saw Lonnie step from the plane.
Lonnie stood at the entry door and looked down at Lark. She loved the line of the body she had come to know as intimately as she knew her own. Lark started up the steps to her, and Lonnie felt her center stirring again as she watched Lark's fluid movements.
Lark took the steps two at a time until she reached Lonnie and took her in her arms. The tall agent bent her head to brush her lips against Lonnie's. "Hey, baby," she said. "Are you ready to go?"
"No," Lonnie said, answering Lark's kiss with a light flick of her tongue. "But I guess we have no choice."
Lonnie looked out the window and watched their island paradise grow smaller and smaller in her sight. She reached over and placed her hand on Lark's thigh. "When this is over," she said, "I want to come back to the island, to Alcestis."
Lark turned to smile at her lover. "Alcestis it shall be, then."
The small plane landed smoothly and taxied to a halt in front of the hangar on the south side of the executive airport. Lark killed the engine, opened the door, and dropped the stairs.
"Hey, Joe," Lark yelled to the young man placing chocks under the plane's wheels. "Gas her up and check her out, will you? I'll be right back."
"I'm on it," Joe replied.
Lonnie overheard the exchange and looked inquiringly at Lark who smiled gently at her but said nothing.
Lonnie turned from Lark and noticed a black Lincoln driving across the tarmac. She felt her heart sink as the big car came to a halt and Max stepped out.
"What the hell is going on?" Lonnie asked angrily.
Lark looked at Lonnie sheepishly. "Look, Max is going to take you someplace safe. I have to go to a meeting. I shouldn't be gone more than a day."
"A meeting? What meeting?"
"I can't tell you."
"What the hell do you mean you can't tell me! Listen, Agent, I don't know who the hell you think you're dealing with, but you will not spend a day and a night making love to me and then run off into the sunset." Lonnie's voice rose to a high pitch.
Joe and Max looked at each other, then down at the ground with embarrassment.
When she realized what she had broadcast to anyone within earshot, Lonnie blushed bright red.
Lark was silent for a moment, then burst into laughter. "Believe me, Judge, I know exactly with whom I'm dealing."
Joe and Max looked out of the corner of their eyes at the two women, then winked at each other and walked toward the hangar door to give the women a moment of privacy.
Lark put her hand on Lonnie's shoulder. "Let's get into the car."
"No!" Lonnie growled.
"Please," Lark said, her voice filled with anguish.
The sadness in Lark's voice touched Lonnie. She shrugged her shoulders and got into the backseat of the Lincoln.
Lark followed and shut the door behind her. She took Lonnie's hands into her own and looked deeply into her eyes.
"If I tell you where I'm going it could put you in more danger than you already are," Lark said with regret. "Please trust me. I didn't tell you because I didn't want to ruin the time we would have together. I wanted to give you a little time free from worry. I wanted to give us time. I know I'm not doing this well. I don't do relationships well. But I love you, and I want you in my life forever. I need you to trust me and believe that whatever I do, I do it to keep you safe and make us a real possibility."
Tears flowed down Lonnie's cheeks as she looked back at Lark. "You don't understand," she said. "The thought that I might lose you terrifies me. If you can't keep yourself safe, then I don't want to be safe. If anything happens to you, my life wouldnt be worth living." worth anything anyway."
"Lonnie," Lark began.
Lonnie placed her fingers on Lark's lips to silence her. "It's all right. I trust you. I know that whatever you are up to, it must be important. I won't ask you to tell me now, but you are going to have to tell me. And when you do, no more secrets. Secrets won't make either of us safer or stronger; they'll only destroy us."
Lark nodded in silent agreement and placed a kiss on each of Lonnie's palms. "I love you, Judge," she said.
"I love you too, Agent, as if you didn't already know it," Lonnie replied, laying her head on Lark's shoulder.
"Yes, I know," Lark responded with a smile. "And after that little scene outside, so does the rest of the hearing world."
Lonnie giggled uncharacteristically. "I guess they do, don't they."
The women drew apart as they heard a knock on the door window. "Hey, is it safe in there?" Max asked.
Lark kissed Lonnie lightly on the lips and opened the car door.
Lonnie crossed her arms across her chest, hugging herself as she watched Lark step out of the car and close the door behind her.
Max handed Lark a cell phone. "I think you wanted this," he said.
"Where did you get it, Max?" Lark asked. "I should have told you to get me a clean phone."
"Not to worry," Max replied. "It's my wife's sister's phone. Nobody will think of checking that number. You owe me big. I had to promise half my retirement to get her to give it to me," Max joked.
"Thanks, Max, I owe you one .... again." Lark hugged the tall agent and began to walk away.
"I don't suppose you want to tell me where you're going," Max said.
"I can't, Max. It's better if you don't know," Lark responded. "Take care of her for me," she continued, nodding at the car.
"Don't worry, partner, I'll protect her with my life if need be."
"I know you will, Max. Now get the hell out of here before I start blubbering."
"That'll be the day," Max laughed.
Lark tapped on the back window of the car.
Lonnie put the window down, and Lark leaned in to kiss her. "I love you, baby," she said. "Everything is going to be all right. I'll see you in a couple of days."
Lark turned and walked quickly away from the car hoping that Lonnie had not seen the tears that had begun to well in her eyes.
"Is the plane ready, Joe?" Lark asked the young man.
"Yeah, all set," he replied. "You want me to file your flight plan?"
"No thanks. I'll do it myself," Lark responded.
Lark waited until the young man had walked back into the hangar before she pulled out the cell phone. She dialed a number and breathed a sigh of relief when a familiar voice answered.
"Papa," Lark said, "how are you?"
"Terry," her father replied using her childhood name. "To what do I owe this honor?"
"There's a situation. I'm on my way to Washington to see Sam. If I can't resolve it with him, I may need to ask your help."
Her father knew she never would have called, never would have done anything to compromise him, unless it was absolutely necessary.
"Anything, cara," he said. "I'll wait to hear from you."
"Thank you, Papa. I'll be in touch. I love you." Lark said.
"I love you too, cara," her father replied, replacing his phone in its cradle.
Lark started the plane engines and taxied out to her assigned runway. She replayed several scenarios in her mind as she waited for permission to take off.
The air traffic was unusually light, and Lark only had to wait in line five minutes before the air traffic controller gave her permission to take off. The flight to Washington was uneventful, and Lark touched her plane down easily. There was a rental car waiting for her, and she headed immediately for the home office of the FBI.
It was as if everything were falling into place. Traffic was sparse, and Lark made good time to the home office. A parking space opened just as she pulled into the parking lot. She parked and strode purposefully into the building. She showed the guard her identification and asked for a particular agent. The guard called the agent's extension, then told Lark to go on up.
Lark and Bill Porter had gone through the academy together and remained friends even after they were assigned to offices in different states. He had progressed up the line and was now assigned to the home office and on the fast track to management.
Porter met Lark at the elevator. "Lark," he enthused, "You should have let me know you were coming. We would have planned something."
"No time, Bill, I have to go back to Ft. Lauderdale today. Next time, though," she responded. "Listen, pal, I'm on my way to the Director's office. I just wanted to say "hi" while I had the chance. I'll try to check with you before I leave. O.K.?"
Porter looked disappointed but nodded. "Yeah, see you later," he said and headed back toward his office.
Lark continued down the hall and stormed into the reception area of the Director's office. She moved quickly toward the door to the office ignoring the secretary who yelled, "Wait, you can't go in there. You don't have an appointment."
The secretary tried to move around her desk to block Lark's entry, but Lark was too fast for her. She flung open the door to the Director's office door just as the young woman grabbed her arm. Lark pulled her arm free and looked at the Director.
"Sam, I need to see you now!" Lark exclaimed angrily.
The Director looked at her, and then waived his secretary off. "It's all right, Karen," he said. "I've been expecting Agent Mingye. Come in Lark. How can I help you?"
Lark closed the door behind her. "All right, you son of a bitch," she yelled. "What the fuck is going on?" The anger in Lark's eyes and voice filled the room.
The white-haired man behind the desk leaned back in his chair and watched her without emotion. "Sit down, Terry," he said coolly.
"I prefer to stand, thank you," Lark said. "I'm asking again, Sam, what the fuck is going on?"
'How much you look like your mother. So beautiful, so strong,' the Director thought. He stood then came around the desk to stand next to Lark. He put his hand on her shoulder and softened his voice. "Terry, please sit down. Tell me what's wrong?"
Twice in the same day, the two men she loved most in the world had called her Terry. Lark felt like a little child again and didn't like the feeling; it put her off balance, something she could not afford to be; there was too much at stake. "Call me Lark," she said coldly. "Terry is dead. I buried her a long time ago. You know that, Sam."
Sam smiled at her ruefully. He wanted to say 'Lark was your mother. No matter how hard you try, you will never be her.'
Instead, Sam replied, "I'm sorry. It takes some getting used to thinking of you as Lark. I still see the little dark-haired child with the big black eyes who used to call me Uncle Sam. Always gave me visions of myself as a tall man in red, white, and blue, wearing a big hat."
The tension in the room lessened, and they both laughed at the image. "Now, won't you please sit down?"
Lark took a deep breath and willed her body to relax. She acceded to Sam's request and sat in the nearest chair.
Sam sat across from her and leaned forward to take her hands in his. "Now, tell me what this is all about."
"You know what it's about, Sam," Lark said with true regret in her voice. "How could you?"
"How could I what?" Sam responded with a confused look.
Lark looked him straight in the eyes but could read nothing but concern there. 'Either you are one hell of an actor or you really don't know what I'm talking about,' she thought. She spoke with a tight voice. "You're my godfather for Christ's sake. You were my mother and father's best friend. How the hell could you place a tail on me, bug my home and god knows what else?"
A look of distress crossed Sam's face. "Terry ... uh, Lark ... I don't know what you're talking about. I haven't ordered any such thing."
He looked so sincere that Lark began to wonder if she was wrong; yet she didn't think any agent would have the cajones to tail or bug another agent without the Director's knowledge or approval. "Could I be wrong? She wondered.
"Tell me what happened," Sam continued.
Lark hesitated, and then iterated the events of the last few days. Sam listened attentively. It didn't take Lark long to lay out what had happened and, when she was through, the two sat in silence until Sam patted Lark's hand and rose from his chair.
Sam paced the room with his hands behind his back lost in contemplation. When he turned to look at Lark again, he spoke with sincerity. "Look, I will get to the bottom of this. I'm sorry it happened. I can only think we have some rogue agents on our hands. I don't know why, but I will find out ... and I promise you they will be dealt with."
Lark nodded. She had known this man all her life. She couldn't believe he would intentionally do anything to hurt or endanger her; yet in her gut, she knew that something was not right. A nagging voice told her that she had to be wary, that there was more to this than simply "rogue agents." That scenario made no sense.
Lark knew she couldn't tip her hand or telegraph her doubts, so she smiled at the tall man who stood before her. "All right, then. I need to get back to Ft. Lauderdale. Will you keep me advised of what you find out? Uncle Sam." She added with a teasing grin as she rose to leave.
Sam laughed. "Of course I will, my dear. Now, put this unpleasantness out of your head. I'll take care of it." He warmed at Lark's smile. "Have a safe trip, and say "hi" to your father for me. It's been a long time since we've been in touch."
"And we both know why," Lark responded dryly. "I'll tell him, Sam. I'm sure he'd be glad to hear from you."
"He's one of our best, you know." Sam said.
"I know," Lark replied.
Sam put an arm around Lark's shoulder and led her to the office door. He gave her a hug, then opened it and watched her leave. When she was out of earshot, he turned to his secretary. "Karen, get Bill Porter up here on the double."
"Yes sir," she responded, picking up the phone.
Lark headed to Porter's office to see if he had time for a quick coffee and met him coming out the door. "Bill," she began.
"Sorry, Lark, an emergency. Looks like I'll have to catch you next time," he said with a disappointed tone.
"That's okay. I understand. We both play for the same team."
'Do we?' Porter thought but responded, "I should be in Ft. Lauderdale in a couple of months. Maybe we can hook up then."
"Yeah, maybe we can. Good to see you Portly."
Porter forced a laugh at Lark's use of his academy nickname. "Portly Porter." The fat guy. He hated the name even now. He knew he was in tiptop shape, but the name still hurt. Still, Lark had always stood up for him and even stopped the other cadets from taunting him. He couldn't fault her now. She had always been a standup woman, and he knew she was just trying to be humorous.
"See you around tall, dark, and dangerous," Porter called to Lark's retreating back and smiled at the hand that flew behind her back flipping him the finger and the laughter that rang down the hall at him.
Sam sat down behind his desk and ran his fingers through his thick white hair. He was fairly certain that the meeting with Lark had gone well and thought he had handled any suspicions she might have had. However, experience told him not to be overconfident. He pulled open his desk drawer and touched the tapes lying inside. 'Too bad, Terry,' he thought. 'Your friend only thinks he got them all. You'll thank me for this when it's all over.'
He heard a knock on the door and called, "Come in." He smiled as Bill Porter stepped into the office. "Have a seat, Bill."
"What's up, boss?" Porter said as he sat.
"We've got a situation here. I'm going to have to reassign you until further notice."
"Reassign? Wait a minute, are you sending me back to the field?" Porter couldn't keep the disappointment from his voice.
"Like I said, we have a situation," Sam said. "I need somebody I can count on and trust. Can I count on and trust you, Bill?"
Bill Porter fought the myriad of emotions coursing through his body and thoughts racing through his mind. On the one hand, reassignment to the field would mean a delay in his plans for advancement and give the other agents in the office a leg up. On the other hand, successfully carrying out a special assignment for the Director could place him light years ahead of the other agents. Failure, however, could be the death knell to his career.
"Agent Porter?" The Director's voice snapped Porter out of his internal dialogue.
"Yes, sir," he said. "Absolutely. You can count on and trust me. Whatever I can do, I'll be happy to do."
"Good, good, my boy," Sam said. "Well you'd better get packing. I'm reassigning you to the Ft. Lauderdale office."
Bill smiled internally. 'Ft. Lauderdale. All right!' He loved South Florida. 'Well, Lark, I guess we'll be seeing each other sooner than we expected,' he thought.
"Now, here's what I need you to do," Sam began.
Continued in Part 9
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