“Wake up Parker!” Natasha screamed and smacked my chest.
I woke and rolled over to turn off my alarm. It was early, too early. I wanted to sleep. The night before hadn’t been a great night. Natasha and I fought again. We’ve been dating each other almost six years now.
It’s been four years since I graduated high school with Natasha. (Yes, dad actually allowed me to stay in public school.) On my eighteenth birthday she and I celebrated it together. I had gotten a hotel room and we shared our first night of many together.
Five months later she and I moved into an apartment together.
Last night we were watching You Only Live Twice, Natasha’s favorite. I’m not too sure why. I love From Russia With Love.
Scroll to 7:01 (You Only Live Twice)
Natasha paused the movie and looked at me, “so this is where you get it!”
“Get what?” I asked, I was really confused.
“Tell me Bond’s password. Repeat the password Moneypenny gave him to me.”
I knew this is why she wanted to watch the movie with me. She wanted me to tell her those three words. “I’m not doing this tonight, Nat. We either watch the movie or we go to bed.”
That’s how the fight began.
Now, I’m up and dragging – Uhg! I hate this sometimes. I grabbed a piece of toast and headed towards work. I worked for the Sims Intelligence Agency in Bridgeport. They have a secure office deep under City Hall. I’ve been working with this department for almost four years. I started out slow. I knew I had to prove myself to them. They almost didn’t want to hire me, but my father – he paid someone off. I know he did. But that was fine with me. I could earn my footing after I got my foot in the door, and now I have.
At the office I make my way down to my small cubby hole. I am an intelligence officer and I stare at a bunch of screens in the room while I watch surveillance all over the world. Hardly anything is exciting to watch. James Bond is more exciting to watch. But I do it and I keep my mouth shut. The only time I really enjoy my job is when I know there is someone on the ground.
I was staring down at the middle east just watching sand blow in the wind when a woman walked in. I knew her, everyone in the building knew her. “Ellis” was the head of SIA, a true hard ass. Kinda like M in a way. I like her, most don’t – but I do. She walked behind me. “We need to talk Agent Rain.”
I stood and followed. No one talked to her, unless she directed it. I followed in silence hoping that she wasn’t going to end my dream job before my career even started.
I walked into the dark room. It was really dark. She had one light on at the desk and she sat down. “Parker Rain, age twenty-two. Born in Riverview. Parents Travis Rain and Rose Conner. Adopted at sixteen to Claire Morris Rain. Raised by your grandfather until he was killed in Egypt shortly after your sixteenth birthday. Is currently seeing a Natasha Crane. Your life ambition to be a secret agent like your fictional idol, James Bond. Is this correct?”
“Yes ma’am.” I said.
“Well Parker Rain, your dream is about to come true. I need an agent. One of mine was just killed and everyone is pointing at you. Do you think you can handle it?”
“Yes Ma’am!” I said. “Anything you give me, I can handle ma’am.”
“Very well. Speak to a guy name Graham down in the basement. He will give you your new identity.
“Very well ma’am.” I turned and walked out.
Graham did give me a completely new identity. My fingerprints were wiped. My old identity erased from existence. I was handed a gun and my new I.D. I was no longer Agent Rain, I was Agent Delta Nine – Delta being my very own “license to kill.” I walked out of work a new man.
I headed to the local market afterwards. I wanted to do something special at home for Natasha – one, because I really needed to apologize and two, I wanted to announce this promotion. At the market I bought what I needed for dinner, the pasta, the vegetables, the chocolate, and the candles.
When I walked out, my phone buzzed. I looked to see “Dad” on the caller I.D. and answered. “Sup dad?”
“Not much. You doing anything tonight Park?”
“I’m hoping to have a romantic evening with Nat. I have some huge news for her.”
“OH MY GOD! Are you. . . You’re not??? HOLY CRAP!”
“Relax dad, I’m not popping the question. God, you sound like mom. No, I got some really awesome news today that I want to share with her.” I smiled at how my life was finally fitting into place.
“And me?” Dad asked. “Aren’t you gonna tell me the news?”
“Well, um how should I put this dad. . . Bond, James Bondcomes to mind.” I did my perfected Sean Connery imitation.
“Uhhh. . . .”
“Dad. Bond, James Bond.”
Dad went quiet for a bit. I know he had to be figuring out the code. It was a no brainer. Grandpa would have gotten it a bit sooner than him.
But then again, grandpa knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember the very first movie we saw at the old Cineplex. They were showing old Bond movies at the theater. He took me to see Dr. No. It wasn’t my favorite one of the Sean Connery movies, but it was still pretty amazing. I remember watching a ton of Bond movies afterwards and telling grandpa – “I want to be Bond!”
Grandpa laughed at me, but tried to be very enthused with my dreams.
I continued to tell him the same thing after every movie I watched, “I want to be Bond, grandpa! I want to be an International Spy. I want to work for someone like M and get all those gadgets. I want to be Bond, James Bond.” That was the first time I imitated my on-screen idol.
I remember grandpa laughing at me and saying, “Then, go for it Parker. Be Bond and don’t let anyone stop you kid.”
It finally clicked for dad and his voice brought me back to the present. “You’re not serious?”
Dad went speechless again. “Promise me, you’ll be safe.”
“Dad, I can’t promise you that. You know I can’t.”
“Dammit, lie to me Parker!” He yelled over the phone. “I love you, and knowing that you’ll be out there doing who knows what, it scares me Park. It scares me to death. I just want you to promise me you’ll come home to me after.”
“I’ll try dad. I love you.” I hung up. I was really surprised at my father’s response. I knew he cared about me, but I just didn’t think he’d be scared for me. I sure as hell wasn’t scared. I was excited at the prospects of living a dream.
I went home, changed, and started dinner. I knew Natasha would be home late. She was trying to work her way into the movies like my Uncle Jake. She, however, wasn’t that great when it came to acting. She tried her hardest, but her acting always fell short. The only reason she got a job at the studio was because of a call I made to my uncle.
I cooked, I cleaned, and I set up the dining table. It was perfect for Natasha. I wanted her to know I did care for her and that I’d come back to her after every mission.
Natasha arrived shortly after I finished cooking the pasta. She looked at the candlelit room and the candlelit table. “What’s this?” She asked.
“Sit.” I pulled the chair out for her. “I made dinner especially for you.”
“What? A guy can’t be nice for the woman he cares about?”
She shook her head at me and took a seat. I knew why she was shaking her head. In the six years we’ve been together I haven’t actually said those words. She says them all the time, but for some reason I can’t.
I served us both a plate of dinner and together we ate. I found the candlelit dinner romantic, and I think she did as well. I looked up to her and smiled. “I’m sorry Nat.”
“Last night, and just now. I can’t do it Nat. I am sorry.”
“What’s the harm in saying it? I say it all the time!”
“I know. It’s just when I do say it, I want it to actually hold meaning. I’m messed up Nat, you know that. I didn’t have loving parents like you do when I grew up. I barely heard those words from my father, and it wasn’t until I was sixteen did I hear it from a mother – my mother. When I know I feel that way about you, I will tell you. I promise.”
“Then what are we doing Parker?”
I sighed and placed my napkin down. “Tonight? Well I wanted to tell you – I’m in. I did it.”
I gave her a glance. “I mean I’m in. As in Bond, James Bond.”
“You have got to be shitting me?” She dropped her fork and just stared at me.
Natasha screamed. She jumped out of her chair and ran to me and hugged me. “I am so proud of you Parker.”
“We must celebrate! Drinks at Waylon?
“Sure. I could use a drink.”
We went to Waylon’s Haunt, a small pub in town and sat at the bar together. I ordered a drink first. “Martini please.”
“Make that two.” Natasha added, “And make them shaken, not stirred.”
“You’re learning your movies.” I said to her.
“You only watch them a million times Parker.”
The bartender brought us our drinks and we toasted my new life – that’s what it was, a new life. No one new my secret identity, and that was going to stay that way.
I’m not sure what time Natasha and I left the bar. We were pretty smashed. In the elevator she grabbed my jeans and started to unzip them. I hurriedly punched the emergency button. I had her up against the wall, kissing her neck, holding her up. That was until she asked me again. “Parker say it. I want to hear it.”
I lost all interest. I was tired of the same fight. I may have been drunk, but I knew what she was asking of me. I wasn’t in love with her. I feel horrible to say that, but I always found her as a great woman to sleep with and a good friend, but that’s all. Man, my folks really did fuck me up.
I put Natasha back on the ground and hit the emergency button again. She stared at me for a bit, but didn’t say a word.
At least not until we got into the apartment. “Do you love me?” She asked directly. “Do you honestly love me, Parker? Do you ever see us in the future together, married, two kids, and a white picket fence?”
“I. . . uh. . . er. . .” I didn’t want to tell her the truth. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
“That’s what I thought.” She quickly turned and headed to the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. I looked around the place and sat on the sofa. I turned on the television and flipped channels till I found something worth watching.
At some point I fell asleep on the couch. I dreamt that night of adventures. Though my life was living the dream I have always wanted, to be a spy just like Bond, my dreams on the other hand were those of Indiana Jones. Of adventure, treasure hunting, danger, and tomb raiding – just like Indiana.
I woke with a start. “Are you freaking kidding me?” I asked to myself. The dream was so awesome, why did it have to end? Seriously! Why!?! I was about to face a mummy! I looked at the time and sighed. It wasn’t even dawn. My back hurt and all I could keep thinking about was my bed in the other room, going back there and finding myself back in that tomb! UHG! What gives her the right to sleep in there anyway?
I walked to the door and found it to be locked. She had locked me out of my own bedroom. I decided to eat some ice cream and turn on Diamonds Are Forever. I hadn’t seen it in a while, not like the other few movies I had in my collection.
“Don’t you ever get tired of those stupid movies?” Natasha asked as she walked out from the bedroom around six.
I was really into the movie, saying each and every line Bond said in the imitation I do so well. “I don’t know what your talking about.” I glanced back and winked.
“You need to grow up.”
This time I came out of my fun imitation and paused my movie. “What the hell is wrong with you Natasha!”
I stood and walked up to her. “I don’t fucking get it Nat! We’ve been fine for six years! You know how messed up I am in the head. What the fuck do you want from me?”
“I want you to propose to me, tell me you love me and marry me! I want to know that this isn’t as far as we are going to get!”
“I’m not ready! I’m not going to get on my knee and lie to you. That’s not how I want to propose to anyone. So, for now you are going to have to accept this.”
“No!” She yelled. “You know what, I’m done!”
“What do you mean your done?”
“I mean I am DONE! I can’t do this anymore Parker! I’M THROUGH!” She yelled and tears started to pour down her face. “You don’t love me, and I can’t be with a man that doesn’t love me!”
“You’re breaking up with me?” I asked a bit shock.
She sighed. “Yes. I am breaking up with you. I’m sorry Parker, but we’re over.”
I stepped back and felt my entire head spin. She was leaving me. “Fuck me.” I mumbled.
“I’m sorry.” Natasha said again to me.
“No, no. It’s okay Nat.” I said with a bit of a sigh. “You’re right. You deserve better Nat. I’ll be out of the apartment tonight.” I held in my own tears.
Natasha stormed out of the apartment crying. I wasn’t sure if I should go after her. I know I should, but a part of me didn’t want to.
I stood and stared at my television and I finally allowed the hot burning tears to fall from my eyes and down my cheeks. Six years with Nat, and one little phrase broke us apart. DAMMIT!
I stared at the television and wondered what I should do. What Bond would have done. I couldn’t even remember a time that a Bond girl broke up with him. It was always him and the girls he typically landed always were working for the bad guy. I turned off the television and took my DVD out of the player. My DVD’s were the first of many things I would pack.
I packed all day. I took my clothes, my DVD’s and the few pictures I had around the house. I left those of the two of us for her, knowing it would mean more to her than to me. I then made the hardest call I had to make.
“Travis Rain’s Office, Claire speaking.” Mom was my dad’s assistant. My great grandmother passed away a year ago after a stroke she had in the office. Dad wasn’t the same after that for a while. He didn’t want to hire anyone, but the stress almost killed him so mom forced herself into her old position.
“Hey mom.” I moped.
“Parker, what’s wrong?” She sounded too panicky. I hated it.
“Nat and I just broke up.”
“Oh my gosh! Parker I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, Nat’s a mess, but I’ll be fine. Could I crash at your place?” I crossed my fingers. I didn’t want to be a burden on my folks, but it was the only place I knew I could crash at.
“Of course dear. Your room is just as how you left it.”
“Thanks mom. I promise I won’t be in your hair for long.”
She sighed over the phone. “Parker, you know you are never a burden at home. We miss you, your sister misses you.”
“I know, mom. I’ll see you guys tonight then. I love you.”
“Love you too. See you tonight.”
I headed to my folks’ apartment and unpacked my clothes in the dresser. I placed the photos around the room. I hung the James Bond posters back up. Took a long hot shower and a shave. By the time I relaxed on the bed, I was pleased to be home. I just wished I had a bigger bed. Mom still had my bed from when I moved in here. I’m not use to sleeping in a twin size bed. I’ve been sleeping with Natasha in a queen size bed for four years.
I heard the door open and a back-pack thrown across the hallway and hit the wall. My sister was home. I walked out and scared the shit out of her.
“HOLY FUCKING CRAP! PARKER! YOU SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!” Leslie yelled at me in her most colorful language.
I looked at her and was shocked to hear so much cussing out of her mouth. “Where the hell did you learn how to talk like that?”
Haha. Guess she has me there. “Well you shouldn’t be swearing at your age, Les. If mom heard that she’d kick your ass.”
“I’m already grounded dumbass. I told dad off last week and mom heard every swear word I know.”
“Wow, that’s some balls you got there. Bet that was fun.”
“It was until mom went off at me. Then when dad got a word in he was pissed. He wanted to spank me – I told him to go to hell and slammed my door. That’s why if you look, I don’t have a door. He took it.”
I turned and notice the door was off her room.
“So what the hell are you doing here?”
“Nat and I broke up.” I told her which got a little gasp out of her. She liked Natasha a lot. “So, I’m moving in for a bit. That’s okay. I’m not gonna cramp your style?”
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I get to live with the troublemaker for a bit!?! Hell yea!”
My sister, if you can’t tell, still looks up to me. I find it weird, but I do love her. “Cool.”
“Can we go off on an adventure soon?” Of course this had to be the first thing she asks me.
“No. Mom would for sure kill me if I take you out of school for a day. If you want to go off on adventures leave me out of it.”
“Fine. You’re no fun.” She walked into her room and I know if she had a door it would have been slammed.
Mom and dad came home from work later that evening. Dad found me on the sofa and sat next to me. “So, she finally had enough of you.”
“Yup.” I agreed.
“Told you, you just should’ve said those words.”
“I’m not gonna lie to her dad.”
“And you shouldn’t either.” My mom added coming to sit with us. “But you also probably shouldn’t have led her on for all these years.”
I nodded, I did feel bad about that. “I know mom. I do wish that I could love her. I really care for her. She’s my best and closest friend.”
My dad patted my back. “I know you do. I guess I really screwed up not showing you love.”
“Your not the only one. Everyone I’ve ever been around had failed relationships. Grandpa loved only one woman and she – like me – never loved him back. It’s really not all your fault dad. It’s our heritage that’s all fucked up.”
Dad laughed. “Yea lets just blame mom for once.”
Mom made a home-made dinner that night and the four of us had a good evening together for once. My phone did go off and Natasha did call, but I decided to ignore it. I helped mom do the dishes and clean the kitchen. Dad helped my sister do her homework. It was like old times, before I graduated high school. I headed to bed after watching some television with my parents later that night.
It was in the middle of the night when my phone rang again. I was about to hit ignore when I noticed that the number said “Private.” Knowing it wasn’t Natasha, I answered – even if it was three in the morning! “Hello?” I asked in the most groggy of voices. I was really tired.
“Nine.” I shot out of bed. “We need you now.”
“You have twenty-minutes.” Ellis said to me. I ran out of the house and down the emergency stairs. I couldn’t wait for the elevator. There was no way I could. I had to get to SIA fast! I paid the taxi driver double if he broke the speed limit – he did.
Two guards escorted me to a secured room and forced my eye against the scanner. The doors open and I was in. Ellis was there waiting for me. She had satellite maps up on the monitors, more satellite photos of France, and a file on a man I didn’t recognize spread across the table. “We have a mission for you Nine.” Ellis said as she handed me a folder.
I looked through the file. Adrenaline spread through my entire body. My dream was coming true. “Who’s the target?”
“His name is Jules Fournier. He’s a guns dealer in France. We found him hiding in Champs Le Sims. We need you to go and locate him on the ground. You are to spy on him, not to get close to him. He must not spot you Nine. I just want to know what he’s doing and who he’s selling to.”
“That won’t be a problem.”
“This isn’t a movie, Delta Nine. Don’t try to be the super-spy you idolize. Just get this job done.”
And in that second, my life suddenly changed. . .