Looks like it’s time for another promptly penned. Warning, Will Robinson… I might change this one to third person, though I can probably make it work as dialogue. Anyway, here’s the prompt and the story…and it’s actually a short one. Woot woot.
They say I’m a traitor. Maybe I am. All I know is that I did what I had to do.
“We’re gathered here today to pay our respects to Daniel Holt.”
The preacher’s words droned on, the monotone voice blending into the steady patter of rain against the umbrellas, as the crowd stood in silence around the closed casket. Grey fog swirled amidst the headstones, small tendrils creeping through the rows of people like ghostly fingers. Isabel stood several feet back from the last row, wanting to venture closer, but aware she wouldn’t be welcomed.
The thought made her sigh. Of course, she wouldn’t be welcomed. In fact, she wasn’t sure why she’d even agreed to come. To say it was a colossal mistake was an understatement. She’d half expected the others to protest the moment she stepped out of her car, but all she’d gotten were sullen glances—whispered voices as family, friends, and co-workers walked past her.
Not that she blamed them. Parker Stevens had been her partner. Had been the closest thing she’d had to family for the past seven years. Knowing he was the one who’d pulled the trigger—had killed his fellow agent in what appeared to be cold blood—had put her on the wrong side of the investigation. Standing there… It was an open invitation for Holt’s family—hell, for the entire Bureau—to question her loyalty. To question her honour.
She wrapped one arm around her chest, shivering when a gust of wind whipped icy drops across her face. This had to be a mistake. A nightmare she needed to wake up from. She’d examined it from every direction. Had spent endless nights going over every piece of evidence, including the video from the interrogation room—she’d watched it frame-by-frame so many times it played on in her mind when she closed her eyes. But despite the overwhelming proof, Izzy just couldn’t shake that things weren’t what they seemed. That Parker hadn’t killed Daniel because he’d been bought. That there were deeper motivations at work—ones where the man she’d fallen for wasn’t a spy and a murderer.
“Didn’t expect to see you here.”
Izzy turned, staring at the man beside her, the collar from his black trench coat hiding his face. “Excuse me?”
He didn’t turn, his attention fixed on the casket. “You’re the only one who doesn’t think Agent Stevens betrayed his people. His country. Would have thought you’d sit the funeral out.”
“An agent is dead. Regardless of the circumstances, that’s cause to pay one’s respects.”
“Is that why you’re packing?”
The hairs on the back of her neck prickled, and she slid her hand beneath her coat, grazing it across his gun. She hadn’t planned on bringing it but she’d felt naked without it. Or had she been worried she’d have to defend herself? She drew herself up. She’d checked her appearance in the mirror a dozen times to make sure no one could tell.”Do I know you?”
The man chuckled, drawing a deep breath before turning to stare at her. Dark eyes held her gaze, the familiar curve of his chin nearly taking her to her knees. His hair had been dyed nearly black, and his thick beard hid the scar along the left side of his cheek. “Better than anyone else ever has. And I know you.”
She took a step back, one hand instinctively covering her mouth as she willed herself not to scream. Panic cooled her skin, dropping her stomach into her boots. She scanned the grounds, but everyone’s gaze seemed focused on the preacher, his voice still blending with the rain. Words collided inside her head, but all she managed to do was whisper Parker’s name.
Parker smiled as he closed the distance between them, pressing his body against hers as he slipped his hand into her pocket. His mouth grazed the shell of her ear, sending another round of shivers coursing down her spine. “You’re the only one I trust. If you care for me half as much as I love you, you’ll have my back.”
She looked up at him, but he walked away, quickly disappearing into the dense fog. She wet her lip as she pulled the folded note out of her pocket, scanning the crowd, again, before slowly opening it. Parker’s distinctive scrawl glared up at her, the black ink smudging beneath the raindrops.
They say I’m a traitor. Maybe I am. All I know is that I did what I had to do. But not for myself. Your life’s in danger. Trust no one. I need you, Izzy. If you have even a hint of love left for me, you’ll meet me where it all started. Tonight. Midnight.
Isabel glanced over her shoulder, searching the fog, but nothing moved. She folded the paper and shoved it down her back pant pocket, then gradually distanced herself until she’d reached her car. Her heart thundered in her chest as she slid behind the wheel, wondering what move to make next. Parker’s face wavered inside her mind, refusing to vanish.
The engine growled as she started the vehicle then pulled into the lane. Danger or not, she needed to know what the hell was going on. And there was only one person who had the answers.
And that’s it for me. Go and enjoy the other ladies participating this week…