Duty Calls
by Maidenjedi

She started packing, shoes first. She put her favorite black pumps in the bag. Then her blue-and-beige pair and the navy suede flats. Red stacked heels, brown pumps, gorgeous gold-buckled beige pumps that she was wearing the day she met him.

She left the pearl-beaded heels from their wedding in the closet.

She wasn't surprised to realize she didn't own many practical things. She had no utility white panties, no sweatpants except the pair she was issued at the Academy. She had t-shirts, but they were all silk or linen. She was an F.B.I. agent, but she'd never done field work in the true meaning of the phrase.

Looking down at the shoes she was wearing, another pair of black pumps stained with sticky brown mud, she knew that wasn't entirely true. Surely grave digging and four-day stakeouts of abandoned houses counted as field work.

She folded blouses that she could always iron later, and placed them to the side to go in after pants. Black slacks, a pair of Guess jeans that had seen better days, navy linen, and chinos.

The jeans had paint stains on the cuffs, from a weekend spent out at Teena Mulder's place. They'd painted the porch for her, a uniform sand color.

In a hanging bag she placed the skirts and dresses she owned, all but one. That one had its own bag, and she shoved it to the back of the closet. Shouldn't wear white after Labor Day anyway, she thought.

That was everything.

Her life, packed into a few bags, ready to put on a plane. Everything she didn't have she would find waiting for her in a Berlin apartment. The key was already in her pocket.

Her husband came to the door, leaning heavily on the frame, his arms at his sides. She didn't look up at him. She fussed with the pillows on the bed.

"You don't have to do this. We can work it out."

His voice was small, pleading, and if she looked at him she knew she'd see his pouting lips and sad eyes, and she'd never leave.

"I have to. Itís for the best."

"The best of what? He means that much to you?"

She thought of the man with the cigarettes, offering a trade. Her soul for her husband's life. This life for the future one.

So in a way, he did mean that much to her.

She nodded.

If he was going to cry, he wasn't going to do it while she was there, wounding his pride like this. She knew him well enough to know that. She wondered if the next woman would.

"Where will you be?"

She shook her head. "I can't tell you that, Fox."

If you know, they will kill you.

"Fine. How can I reach you?"

She closed her eyes and squeezed a pillow hard enough to rip the edge. "You can't. I'll contact you when...when the papers are ready."

Divorce. They had demanded it.

A couple of months spent lying to him, having to explain randomly delivered flowers and hotel receipts, skipping out on assignments and pretending it was to rendezvous with a lover. She was glad that part was over.

He still stood in the doorway, but a knock at the front door let her know her ride was there.

"I have to go."

He stood his ground, staring at her as though that might make her stay, tie her to him somehow. She stopped next to him at the door, their shoulders brushing as she turned to move past. She chanced one look up at him.

One look into his eyes to remember what it was like to

wake up to him watching her. One look at his nose to remember the night he proposed, with vanilla ice cream all over his face like a kid. One look at his lips to remember their first kiss, their last kiss, and that kiss on the altar, 'you may now kiss the bride...'

This is what she was going to fight for. He never would have understood that.

She leaned forward, just a little, and tipped her face up to his. He didn't budge, and that stung. She kissed his chin instead.

"Goodbye, Fox."


When she climbed into the car waiting for her, a call was placed from the payphone across the street.

"He is alone, sir."

"Good. And Ms. Fowley?"

"On her way to the airport."

"Excellent. Tomorrow we will proceed as planned."

A click, and in a building somewhere in D.C., a man smoking Morleys told his colleagues the good news.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style