Pierre Hotel, New York
Morgan was feeling rather claustrophobic in her hotel room surrounded by security guards. She was still in shock, confused by what had happened, but mostly she was worried about him. Is he okay? Where is he? Why will no one tell me anything? She turned to one of the security men at the door of her room.
“Should we call the police? Where is Gabriel?”
“Commander Warren is on his way. He should be arriving at any second now.”
“Commander Warren?” She was puzzled by the answer.
“Please don’t worry, ma’am. You are safe.”
The door opened, and Gabriel walked in followed by four other men. He had changed his clothes; he was now wearing boots, jeans, and a tight fitting blue jumper. For the first time, she was able to see the back of his hands, both inked with identical moon tattoos. He was sombre as he looked into her eyes. She smiled and ran to him.
“Are you all right?” she asked. She wanted to touch his face, but there were too many strangers around them. Her heart sank to her stomach, looking into his stern and desperate eyes. It must be grave indeed...
“Morgan …” His voice wavered. She noticed the dry blood that covered his right hand.
“Your arm … You're hurt,” she said as she reached towards him. He stopped her and shook his head.
“I’m okay. Please have a seat.”
“Morgan,” he continued, “the United States received some intelligence a few weeks ago. The data indicated that a group of fundamentalist men’s rights activists were potentially conspiring to kill you.”
“A few weeks ago? Potentially?” she repeated, processing the information.
Morgan was aware that, in recent times, she had become the target of media and online attacks by an extremist group of men’s rights activists who were unhappy with the success of her organisation. The backlash increased after a very public altercation with Walter Zanus on CNN. Her effective response to Zanus’ accusations and gross generalisations had gone viral around the world. The mainstream news mocked Zanus incessantly. This raised her profile with some of the most dangerous conservative radicals in the world. She had received several death threats, but she had never taken them seriously.
“You knew this when I arrived in New York?” she muttered, incredulous.
Gabriel’s jaw clenched, and his eyes closed for a few moments. “Yes, I was appointed to protect you during your stay. We have been focusing on your safety. I can assure you—”
“You knew I was in danger. You withheld this crucial information from me and allowed me to travel to the US? You put my life at risk …” she interrupted him. Her eyes showcased her inner turmoil, her strong eyebrows were lowered, and her fists clenched, the whites of her knuckles showing.
“Morgan,” he whispered. Her mind raced, reviewing the events of the previous days.
“You… lied about your identity and the nature of your work to gain my trust. You evidently gained access to information about my habits and preferences so that you could manipulate me to follow your instructions. Please leave, Commander. All of you, out.” She was distraught, and she fought to hold back the tears by raising her voice and speaking in an assertive and angry tone.
Gabriel stood quietly, his eyes set on her as the others left the room. “Morgan, there is more you need to know about Zanus.” She responded by turning her back to him; she couldn’t stand the sound of his smooth, reassuring voice.
“Very well. I’ll come back later.” He left.
She curled up on her bed, unable to process the information that had been shared with her. An avalanche of feelings went through her mind and gut. She punished herself, aware she was more affected by Gabriel's deception than the threats to her safety. How dare he? It felt so real.
Morgan slept for a few hours. James joined her for lunch on the balcony of her suite. She cleared her throat and announced she was ready to be briefed on tomorrow’s agenda. James’ jaw dropped and his eyebrows raised in alarm. He told her that he was planning to spend the afternoon cancelling all events, in particular, her speech at Central Park.
She spoke calmly, “I’m not going to allow a group of terrorists to stop me from doing my work.” James opened his mouth, preparing to interject, but she stopped him with the palm of her hand.
“Okay. In this case, I must go. We have a lot of planning to do. I will stop by during dinner to brief you on the plans for tomorrow.”
It took less than two minutes for Gabriel to knock on her door. “Surely, you’re not considering going ahead with the outdoor event?” He spoke faster, and his pitch was higher than usual. “It’s much too dangerous. We have no way to control the crowd or prevent an attack. I can’t allow—”
“You can’t what, sir?” she said, raising her voice. She was furious. Her eyes were spears ready to be fired without mercy. “Who do you think you are, to give me orders?” There was nothing he could say or do. This confrontation was not about the event. She needed to show him that she was the agent of her own destiny and that he had no power over her.
“Morgan, don’t risk your life for anger and pride.” He lowered his voice and attempted to reason with her.
“Great advice from the person who placed my life at risk in the first place. Why don’t you go and do your job instead? Aren’t you supposed to be leading my security team? Do your job! Neither you nor the MRD will stop me from doing mine. I will not allow manipulation or bullying.” Morgan’s tone was cutting, almost feral.
“I can’t let you risk your life,” his mouth twisted, and his voice held a cocktail of frustration and desperation.
A second later his expression cleared, he raised his right hand and grazed his index finger in the space between her eyes. His eyes opened wide, and the sea of blue and green flowed toward her. His glow, his beauty. I can’t breathe! She felt the desire to heed, to please him, to submit to him.
“No!” he murmured, abruptly moving his gaze away from hers. He shook his head and dropped his hand. “I won’t…” He vacillated, conflicted with something. His hands always gave away his uncertainty; he played with them, pressing his long fingers against each other. “Very well, madam,” he said, underlining every syllable of the word 'madam.' “Have it your way.”
He turned his back and walked to the door. Morgan took a moment to recover from his gaze, confused by the intensity of her feelings. She took a deep breath, attempting to fight the powerful grip he had on her. His looks, his eyes, those eyes. She remembered a quote from her childhood.
“L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux,” she murmured to herself, using the line from her favourite book as a shield against him. He stopped and turned around.
“Indeed, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” He smiled, and a tiny drop of his sea of cyan flowed from his eye to the corner of his mouth. She saw him hesitate, leaning in her direction before he turned around. Gabriel left the room and quickly closed the door behind him.
She felt a knot in her stomach every time he looked at her. She was hurt, so upset, ready to put him in his place, and yet … she shook her head, trying to keep her feelings at bay. She decided to be proud, proud for having stood up to him, to all of them, no matter the consequences. She lifted her arms hiding her head between them. Why was she so attracted to this man? She was not a needy teenager, she was not searching for external validation, she was not hoping for romantic love, and yet he was stuck in her mind, heart, gut. She struggled to think clearly. A few minutes later, she decided to work on her speech. She reached for the laptop and attempted to type and control her shaking hands.
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Chapter 1 - Beginnings
1 - Sky Falling: Read or listen.
2 - A Surprising Reception: Read or listen.
3 - I Will Find You: Read or listen.
4 - The Interview: Read or listen.
5 - Royal Orphans: Read or listen.
6 - Breakfast with a View: Read or listen.
7 - Water Angels: Read or listen.
8 - Perfection: Read.
9 - Alone: Read.
Chapter 2 - Gravitational Pull
Chapter 3 - Disillusion
18 - Allegiance: Read.
19 - The Revelation
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - Illustration - Public Domain. Photo by Jamie Le Fay.
©Jamie Le Fay, 2016. Reproduction is strictly prohibited.