Blogger's Note: For the next three weeks, I'll be blogging about the main characters in the novel Loose Ends. First up is Alex Thornton. Learn what's happened since Panama Deception, especially the code that she swears is her protection.
Wait. I’m supposed to tell everyone what I’ve been up to since Panama Deception? Not a lot of time has passed. Okay. Maybe five months or so since we had our showdown with Ed DuBois. Now that I think about, a lot has happened, just stuff that seems more run-of-the-mill to me.
When we left Costa Rica after that little bit of vacation we had, it was hard to part from Jabir. I think that deep down, I worried that if I let him go, I wouldn’t see him for four more years. Hah. What a far cry from 2013 when he left without even a goodbye. At least this time, he kissed me good and hard and said he’d see me on the first of July.
He kept his word. We had two glorious weeks with him. He stayed with my brother Josh, and we did lots of things together. We talked. Took long walks in the warm summer nights. We took in a couple of minor league ballgames. And yes, we romanced. We also started letting ourselves dream a little on the business of becoming subcontractors with Unit 28. I'd made sure to remind Tiny, my former boss at Unit 28, that I wanted to get back in.
That was a process. Mounds of paperwork. Form after form after form. Dad helped us out a lot, especially with establishing the legal side of our business. It also cost money. Fortunately, Jabir had built up a significant savings account which began draining.
The hardest part was when I met Jabir in Washington, DC for my clearance interviews. Setting foot inside Unit 28 Headquarters stirred up lots of memories, not all of them pleasant. All told, Tiny had done a great job in clearing the way for us to serve as contractors. At least I didn’t have to go to Capitol Hill. We also talked some about Panama.
As we did so, Jabir got that worried look on his face. I brushed it off as I returned to Weatherly to await his move down a couple of weeks later. When his furniture arrived and he got set up, I came over that night. Once more, he wore that worried look that had all but disappeared when he’d been my escort for Melanie’s wedding. Why now?
Hashim al-Hassan. That’s why. I get that. I know what I did to him ten years ago. I know the role I played in bringing him into the hands of Ed DuBois. I led him into a trap. But he’s a world away now, supposedly in Beirut while I’m here in Weatherly. The biggest thing is that where I live is sacred information. We have rules and regulations in the covert community, plus an unwritten code of honor that no one’s personal information—like where they live—is revealed for any reason. That’s what allows people like Tiny and hopefully in the future like Jabir and me to have families without the constant worry of retribution.
So that’s it. I’m safe. No worries. Now if I could only convince Jabir of that.
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