When we arrived in France, Agent Wednesday wanted to head to the local shops. She said I needed a new make-over. Like hell I did. What was wrong with what I was wearing? I look good in a suit, dammit!
“Agent Rain, stop diddle-daddling, and come on.” She called out as she walked up the stairs. I was still hesitant. In the plane she said this was going to happened no matter what. She told me the suit made me too conspicuous and that I needed something a bit more laid back and not screaming Secret Agent.
“I don’t need new clothes Wednesday.” I said to her as we got into the shop. I found her already pulling stuff off the racks and holding them up to me, guessing my size.
Wednesday rolled her eyes. “Yes, you do. If we are going to do this thing Rain, then you are going to look a bit more like a husband and a lot less like James Bond.”
I chuckled a bit. “And what’s wrong with looking like Bond?”
She just smiled and handed my clothes and completely ignored the argument. The girl didn’t like Bond movies, that was clearly visible on her face. “Just try these on.”
Okay, so maybe I have to admit that I like my new clothes that Agent Wednesday picked out. I still held that sex appeal that I was going for. I’m not totally into my looks, but damn I look good. With a swipe to my hair and a wink to the mirror, I went back to find my partner – scratch that – my wife. Just thinking about that makes me shudder. A wife? What was Ellis thinking? There was no way I was going to get laid in France. Damn.
“Well?” I asked as I walked out. I did the spin and the hands on the hips thing. “How do I look, now?”
“You need a haircut.” She answered.
Oh hell no! No one messes with the doo. “Yeah, never gonna happen.” She tried to touch my hair and I stopped her hand. “Don’t even think about it. Clothes I can change, you touch the hair and I have no qualms with hurting you.”
“Fine.” She pouted and walked out of the store. At least my hair was still intact.
At the hotel we were given our key to the room. I shouldn’t have been surprise that we were given a room with just one bed, but I was. I looked over to Wednesday. “Rock, Paper, Scissors?” I asked.
“Sorry, but I get the bed.” She stated.
“Like hell!” I yelled. “I’ll play for it, but I’m not giving up a bed just because you said so.”
She smiled and tossed her bag on the bed. “Rain, I get the bed and no matter what you say is gonna change that.”
Who does this woman think she is? I’m sorry, but I may just have to shoot her by the end of this assignment, she’s already getting on my nerves. “We’ll see about that.”
Oh shut up.
Luckily I packed my sleeping bag. Though sleeping on the floor is crap. My back hurt, my pillow barely kept me from getting a freaking headache, and I was still cold even under the insulation. Yet Agent Wednesday, she got the warmth and comfort of a five-star hotel. Damn, I hate her.
I woke early and headed out of the room. Wednesday was still asleep – figures. I wandered around town a bit and ran into a few nice locals. My French wasn’t great, but I could somewhat follow a conversation. I didn’t even know where to start looking for Fournier or what Wednesday and I should do to keep our cover. Finally I asked the few locals around town.
“Pardonnez-moi, Monsieur, is there anything going on around town? I’m looking to take my newly-wedded wife somewhere special.”
“Oh, oui! Oui, there es de Masquerade Ball et Fournier Estate dis weekend.”
A Ball, the man is hosting a Ball? I wouldn’t have ever considered Jules Fournier a type of man to throw an event like that. I always picture him at home drinking a bottle of brandy and surrounding himself with naked women and men with guns, big guns.
“Merci.” I said as I ran towards my hotel room.
I found Wednesday downstairs eating in the kitchen area. I made myself a plate and sat down next to her. “There’s a party this weekend, Fournier’s hosting it.”
She nearly choked on her food. “And how did you find this out?”
“It’s the talk of the town. I think we should go. It’s a Masquerade Ball. It may just be our ticket to get to Fournier.”
She nodded. “Just don’t do it in public Rain. Your gonna have to get him alone to do it. Any other way and you’ll be dead alongside him. He’s well protected.”
I nodded. I already knew that the man kept a butt-load of guards around him. I knew he was going to be hard to get alone and that I may as well give up now, but I wanted to get him. He sent three assassins at me, I wanted him.
After lunch, Wednesday handed me a piece of paper. It was an address. She said it was the last known address on Yan’s list. So, we obviously headed straight to the little chateau. It was pretty nice considering the last place looked like a shack. “You sure he’s in there?” I asked.
“It’s what was on the computers. The internet placed him at this address.”
I nodded and headed straight for the door.
“Bonjour.” A woman greeted after I knocked.
“Bonjour, The name’s Smith, James Smith. I was wondering if a Mr. Yan is in?”
“Mr. Yan doesn’t live here anymore.”
Crap, another bust. “Uh, do you know where he moved to?”
“May I take a look around. I need to figure out where he went and this was his last known address.”
She was hesitant at first. “Oui, just please no touching the delicate relics I collect.”
I waved Wednesday over to follow me inside after thanking her. The house looked fairly modest and the woman as I could tell had amazing taste. Wednesday, who speaks better French than I do, started chatting away with the new owner while I searched the house.
And dammit, another fucking tunnel! I was beginning to wonder if all the tunnels in all the different countries all met up someplace. I mean, really, is this how the man travels – underground? I couldn’t imagine living my life like that. I need the fresh air.
I wondered down the tunnels for a bit. They just went on and on, up until this point. It was an underground garden of sorts. It looked as if Yan used it for meetings or something. I wasn’t too sure though. There were old, abandoned, dead and broken cigarette butts on the floor and I found a couple of bottles of beer with plant life growing inside. The place hadn’t seen life besides the plants in years, I assume.
After grabbing Wednesday, and telling her there was no sign of Yan we headed out and let the woman live in peace once again. At least there wasn’t someone waiting to kill me like all the other tunnels.
Wednesday and I decided we both really wanted a drink so we headed to this winery she was told about. It looked promising, though I don’t really care for wine, I did enjoy the prospects of having a nice drink to calm my nerves. I don’t know why, but all day I felt on edge.
Okay, maybe I do know why. Fuck me. As soon as I walked into the bar area I spot Jules Fournier browsing the wine racks. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
I wasn’t ready to confront him. I mean I was ready to put a bullet inside his head, but not in a public place like this.
My heart started to race and I had to close my eyes and keep a calm and steady head while I was visiting.
I felt a tap to my shoulder and I turned around. “Hey, you okay?”
“Behind me.” I whispered. “Black man, six-two, dressed in a black suit.” She nodded that she had spotted him behind me. “That’s Jules Fournier.”
“Shit. What’s he doing here?”
I shrugged. “We need to leave.”
“No. I got a better idea.” She winked and before I could stop her she headed straight for Fournier. Shit.
I watched as Wednesday poured a few glasses of wine. I walked to the table and sat down. Might as well make my presence known if I was going to be there with Wednesday. This was by far the worse idea I think this woman has ever had.
“Care for a glass sir?”
Okay, scratch that – THAT’s the worst idea she’s ever had! Who the hell asks that to the guy your spying on for a drink? God help me if he comes and joins us.
At first Fournier declined, but one of his lackeys stayed and grabbed a glass. “Mind if I sit?” He asked me. I shook my head no and watched as he sat next to me. I looked at him and couldn’t help but notice the bulge under his shirt at his hip – yup the man was packing. This was not a good place to be in.
I watched as Wednesday drank fast. She was probably just as nervous as I was. I mean what was she thinking? And more importantly, what the hell was I thinking by agreeing to this? I must have a death wish, cause this could very well be my last day here on Earth thanks to the very incompetent Agent Wednesday.
Oh God help me.
Thu-thump, thu-thump, thu-thump.
My heart started to race a mile a minute as Fournier picked up the glass of wine. I watched in horror as he took a seat across from me.
He raised his glass to me, but kept silent.
Thu-thump, thu-thump, thu-thump.
Save me. I couldn’t control my heart, my sweat, or my nerves.
I raised my glass to his and drank. I shot that glass and finished it in one giant gulp. Don’t even dare try to judge me either! I needed something. I was in hell sitting across from Fournier. My heart still raced and I felt the sweat run down my back. I needed to get out of there. I needed to survive another day.
I put my glass down and looked over to Wednesday. “You ready dear?” I asked. She nodded and we both stood.
“It was a pleasure.” She told the men at the table. I half-smiled while I tried to keep my body from running like a scared little dog.
As I started to walk out Fournier finally decided to speak. “Oh and Rain, hope you make it to the party.”
I was out of there at lightning speed. Behind me I could hear Fournier’s deep laugh as I ran. I pushed people out of the way as I headed out of the wine cellar. I needed fresh air. I needed to puke my guts out and regroup. I needed to get the hell out of France.
As soon as we got to the hotel, I ran to the nearest bathroom and emptied the contents of my stomach. I had never been so nervous or scared in my life. I tend to think of myself as a brave man. I’ve done a lot of things that no one else would even attempt, but this was beyond my comfort zone. I never wanted to be in that type of situation again without my firearm at the ready.
For three whole days I locked myself in my room and withdrew from the world. I didn’t shave, I didn’t sleep. I just sat there shaking in my bed. I held my gun and waited for the worst. I waited for the assassin to walk in and kill me in my sleep. I was not going to die, not yet anyway. I wasn’t going to let Fournier win.
Wednesday kept busy while I locked myself up in my head. She did reconnaissance outside and worked from the desk that was provided in our room. She didn’t say much to me, and if she did I probably didn’t hear her. I was trapped in my own little worried self.
Finally on the third day Wednesday shook me awake. “You need to get out.” She told me. “You can’t lock yourself in here all day and expect him to make a move. It’s been three days.”
“Three?” I asked in shock. “It seems like a year.”
“That’s because you haven’t slept, shaved, hell you haven’t left that spot since we got back from the winery.” She sighed when I didn’t respond. “Dammit Parker! You need to get up!”
“And go where?”
“Anywhere.” She tugged on my arm. “Come on, get up, shower and get dress. We are going out weather you like it or not.”
After agreeing to Wednesday’s demands, I showered and got out of the hotel. She drove us in our rental to the wine country. We walked the vineyards and the groves around the place. I looked around and smiled. The one thing I missed most of all of my old life was grandpa’s farm.
I started to point to the different trees and the different fruits claiming I know what each one is. I then started telling Wednesday about how I grew up with grandpa on his tiny little farm.
“You miss him, don’t you?” She asked as we walked hand in hand.
“Yeah, I do.” I admitted. “He was a great man. Taught me a lot.”
“How’d he die?”
“Snake bite in Egypt. We didn’t even see the Black Mamba there till it was too late. I got grandpa out of there and called for help. It was no use, he was dead even before we got to the small hospital in Cairo.”
“I’m sorry, Parker.”
“Yeah, me too.” I wiped away the tear in my eye. I always hated talking about how grandpa died.
After that Wednesday and I really started to hit it off. We would sit around outside under the stars. It was peaceful, nice even. I’d cuddle close to her and lightly pet the small of her back. It was as if we were really a couple. Heck, if things worked out in France, I was even contemplating on asking her to go out for real.
“So, you got anyone back home?” I asked her laying out on the grass.
“No. How bout you? You have someone holding that sweet heart of yours at home?”
I smiled. Only one person had my heart, but she didn’t even know it. “No.” I finally said, giving up my fantasy of ever being with the Egyptian that I loved.
The night before the party I decided to take Wednesday out for a drink. I was so nervous about the upcoming party and I needed something to keep my nerves in check. We laughed and drank, telling each other wild stories about our past missions and our past relationships. It was shaping up to be a great date.
As the night wore on we got even more comfortable. She leaned up against me after having maybe a bit too many. I didn’t mind. I liked having her wrapped around my arm, even if it was a pretend relationship. Though, I was beginning to fall for her. I liked her a heck of a lot now. I snuck a kiss on her temple and whispered, “Ya know, we won’t always be working on the company’s dime.1”
She looked up at me. “What’s that suppose to mean?”
That’s when I kissed her. I slowly but soothingly kissed her lips. When hers parted I delved in to a deeper kiss, a more passionate kiss. It was hot. She was hot.
She finally broke the kiss for a bit of air. “Wow.” She mumbled.
“Yeah, wow.” We kissed again and this time with more force and more passion. “Hotel?” I finally asked breaking away again. She nodded.
We couldn’t get to the hotel fast enough. Hell, we couldn’t get our clothes off fast enough. The passion in our veins took over as we shed the clothes off, piece by piece. I struggled with her bra while we kissed and I felt her laughing. I laughed too and parted enough to actually look at what I was doing with the bra clip. There, finally I managed the clip off of her and I threw her to the bed.
That night was more than just a quick fuck. It felt right. It felt great to be around Wednesday’s body, making passionate love. Afterwards, we stared at each other and smiled. We couldn’t stop looking at each other. I watched her battle her eyes for sleep. “It’s okay, sleep.” I whispered. “I got your back.”
She closed her eyes and snuggled up against my bare chest. I held onto her tighter as I too succumbed to my own sleep.
In the morning I felt a hundred times better than I did the last few months. I was calm, collective. I was a whole new me. I began my early morning meditation and sorted my feelings for both the Egyptian and Wednesday. I loved the Egyptian, there was no denying that. The problem was that I couldn’t even go after her. She was married and looked too happy. As for Wednesday, she was here, and she felt right in my arms. I wasn’t sure if I could fall in love with another woman, but I had to try.
After meditating, I looked over to the mirror and looked at my new self, and still saw parts of my old self in me. Some things had to change for me to change. I needed this.
When Wednesday got back from breakfast I stood and walked up to her. “Okay, so I’ve been thinking. Maybe you are right, maybe I need a whole new look.”
She nodded. “I know.”
“So, I was thinking, er, well, hoping that you could, maybe, give me a haircut. It’s the last thing that needs to change. I feel like a different person than when I left Bridgeport, and I think that I need to get rid of my old self, before I can feel good about my new self. So what do you say? Would you. . . Please.”
After gathering all the needed supplies she sat me down in front of the dresser in the room. She took the scissors from the desk and a comb. “Now are you sure, Parker?”
I looked up at her and took a deep breath before nodding. I closed my eyes as she worked. I couldn’t believe I was having her cut my awesome hair. I kept telling myself this was for the best.
After she was done I stood and took a look in the mirror. “Well?” She asked.
“Looks good.” I nodded my approval. “I really like it.”
“Are you gonna shave?”
I looked again at myself and decided that I liked the five-O’clock shadow on me. It made me look more. . . I dunno, more manly, I guess. I looked dangerous, and that was kinda awesome. I was happy with my new look.
I turned to Wednesday, “Go get ready. We’ll need to leave soon if we’re gonna make it to that party.”
She nodded and walked out of the room with her bag in hand.
I took my time as I donned on my tuxedo, I dug through my baggage and grabbed what I really needed. First the matching GPS embedded cufflinks. I snapped them both on the sleeves of my jacket. I took the surveillance camera and pinned it just under my tie, turning it on just before. Ellis would be watching. Next I grabbed the small container of contacts that also had a GPS chip embedded in them. Last, I grabbed my gun and placed it in the holster right under my jacket.
I took one look at myself and I couldn’t help it, I had to go there.
“Bond, James Bond.” I said and tried as hell not to giggle. Though behind me I heard Wednesday giggle. I put on a small grin on my face and turned around.
And what I saw made me gasp. Oh my God, was she gorgeous. I didn’t think it was possible for Wednesday to even get any prettier, I was so wrong. With a dress that barely held her breasts in, and her hair up, she looked as if she should be counted as one of the true wonders of the universe.
I grabbed the bouquet of flowers from my bag and turned again. “I, uh, bought you something.” I said. I was so nervous to be around Wednesday.
I handed her the flowers and she smiled as she smelled them. She was exquisite. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her.
“We need to head.” She told me which snapped me out of my trance. I nodded and grabbed the two masks on the bed, handing the red one to her.
Taking my rented Austin Martin, we pulled up to the biggest house I have ever seen. It was a house that I could never imagine living in. Both Wednesday and I looked up and took in the sight together. We watched as people entered the house. “I guess this is it.” I told her as I squeezed her hand.
She took a deep breath, “Lets do this.”
I got out of the car and walked around to help her out. I gave her a small peck on the cheek and winked at her. I really hoped that after this mission we’d be seeing more of each other. Our business strongly encourages relations among each other. That way we’d always have each other’s back. I squeezed her hand again as we walked up to the awaited doors.
Inside we were met up with one of Fournier’s goons. I wasn’t sure if it was Lyle or Frankford. “Ah, Mr. Rain, I’m so happy to see you’ve made it.”
I didn’t even pretend that his recognition bothered me. Of course Fournier knew I would come. “Wouldn’t have missed it. This is my lovely wife, Wednesday.”
“A pleasure.” He took her hand and kissed it before turning his attention back on me. “This way, the Boss has been expecting you.”
“Well, lets not keep him waiting.”
We followed the goon till he stopped in front of a doorway. “Right through here Mr. Rain.”
I turned and looked at Wednesday to say something to her. “Mr. Rain, he is expecting you.” The goon said even before I spoke.
“I heard. He can wait a few more minutes.” Heck, he’ll probably cherish them considering I was about to go kill a man, even if I was risking my own life doing it. I turned to Wednesday. “Whatever happens, I want you to leave as soon as I enter that room and call Ellis. Tell her that I got Fournier and that. . .” I took a deep breath, “That I took care of him, and. . . shit. . . tell her to send my love to my family.”
She nodded and I took one last kiss.
I walked in and spotted what I was up against. Four men, Lee, the goon that walked me here and the other goon from the museum. I also spotted one other man I couldn’t put a face to.
“Mr. Rain.” Fournier said with a gleeful smile. “So wonderful to see you made it. And might I add, that it a lovely suit.”
“Cut the bull, Fournier, you know why I’m here.”
“Yes. Please take a seat. Make yourself comfortable. Eat first. Have a party, put off the inevitable for a while and dine with me Rain.”
“How bout I just shoot you.” I aimed my gun right at his head and heard four guns come and aim my way.
Fournier waved all of them off. “Rain, this is a party. Sit, enj. . .”
I didn’t get to hear the rest of his thoughts. All I saw was. . . darkness.
1. Connery, S. (Actor). (1963). From Russia With Love. [DVD].