I awaken from my trance to realize that time had slipped past me once again. I leave the aroma of fresh bread and coffee coming from the café to find myself among the sounds of cars rushing out of parking lots and the discourteousness of the cities people moving past me. Faint smells of cigarette smoke and gasoline begin looming in the air as I search for the nearest subway entrance. I'm going to be late again. As I realize how much time I have, I decide to call a taxi instead of continuing to wonder around the neighborhood aimlessly.
There is always a rush when you enter a cab. Not knowing who will be driving is only half the excitement. I tell him my destination but not without mentioning that I should have been there ten minutes ago. I begin to feel my head sink into the seat as his speed increases and the scenery quickly changes from an urban neighborhood into a metropolis filled with blinding lights. He makes a sharp turn and stops abruptly, quickly asking for his fee without an afterthought. I fumble out of the cab, almost leaving my belongings and quickly make it to the door of the building. At first glance, anyone would assume from the lobby that this building was for the financial elite and those known to the public eye. Brightly hanging chandeliers illuminate the room blinding most of the guest entering the lobby. Upon walking inside, my attire quickly catches the general attention of most of the staff. You wouldn't think that khakis, a button down shirt and a tie would be that ostentatious.
It's been two years since I moved to the city and still they have a tendency to glare at me negatively. Is it because my work is slowly becoming known or do they still see me as if I am a mere tourist? Either way, their gazes once made me feel both agitated and discerned, but I no longer bother with the pettiness of those who can not mentally pass through their state of immaturity. I rush to the nearest elevator to escape the gazes that have decided to multiply. Once inside, I tell the elevator operator I'm heading to the 15th floor for a meeting. As we begin the move, my alarm goes off on my phone. I'm late, again.
The doors then open to a hallway lined with pictures and mahogany flower stands. The color of the winding carpet, the usual blood red, looks slightly like housekeeping has not kept it up. "Enjoy your stay, sir," the operator said sarcastically.
"Thanks Frank," I replied.
I make my way down the hall. Two lefts. One right. First door on the left with the gold knob. It's become a never ending pattern returning to this place. Before even knocking on the door, I hear the knob turn as I place my hand on it. The door is yanked open and what replaced it was a dirty blond haired woman with striking blue eyes. It was obvious she just returned from a meeting by her attire. Her gaze pierced through me, reminding me of my tardiness.
"You're late again, Charles," she utters.
"Yea, I know already," I reply.
"It's not like I try to be, Anna. I just get distracted."
I make my way to the kitchen table, preparing myself for Anna's usually speech on me being late again. She looked more annoyed than usual.
"This is the fifth time," Anna declared. "I had to cover for you at work again and reschedule all your events. This is starting to annoy majority of your clients."
"Don't worry, they know I'll clear their files in no time at all and I never disappoint," I explain.
"Speaking of disappointment, you also forgot our date with Matthew and Amy today," Anna said. "You're lucky I've become a pro at covering for you at our meetings."
"Speaking of that, did you receive a file from them," I asked.
"Are you really gonna skip over what I'm trying to point---" she started abruptly.
"Anna!" I snapped, "Did you get the file or not?"
"Yes," she stuttered. "It's under the red files on your desk. It needs to be completed by next Thursday or you are not getting paid in full."
I quickly walk over to my desk to grab the file and begin to scan the contents.
"Has the weapons depot been replenished?"
"Yes and the company has refilled your funds," she responded sharply.
"Have you told your father yet?" I asked quickly.
"Yea, I turned in all your finished--wait, what are you talking about?" she asked surprised.
"Most of the Organization is still treating me like an outsider even though I've been working here for the past year and a half," I remind her. "It seems your father has not drilled how important I am for the Organization."
"No, it's mostly because you come in everyday looking like a ragged journalist," she explained. "If you actually wore a suit and tie, you would blend in easily, and you wouldn't have to worry about them."
This is how our conversations usually go. Anna Kavo has always been level headed and honest unlike most of the trigger happy staff in this business. Even when we were first introduced, I knew she was far more unique than any of the others in the Organization. Her wit and intelligence were only matched by her beauty and even that could kill a man in an instant. If the eyes are truly the windows to the soul, you would assume that Anna was from another planet. Her eyes were a sharp shade of blue with traces of green-orange and when she glared at you; you felt the world give away under your feet.
"Are you even listening," She asked. "Or are you going to use the excuse that you were looking at my eyes the entire time?"
"I'm not going to respond to that considering you know the answer already," I said sarcastically."Is there anymore information for this case or should I expect the same treatment I received in Russia?"
"That's not fair Charles," she scolded. "That was your first assignment and the Organization had to test your resolve."
"Yea, I call bullshit on that statement because when I came back; half the staff, including your father, made jokes about how you all 'accidentally' left me at Chernobyl."
"You always complain as if that was a difficult first mission," she said annoyed. "At least your father did not leave you tied up in a temple without any backup. His only words to me were, 'there are 15 assailants so I expect 15 bodies' and then he left."
That is not a surprise. Anna's father, General Mason Kavo, is both a wealthy business man and a ruthless leader. He started the Organization at the age of 35 after returning from the Third World War. In those days, the US had to restart the draft because too many soldiers were dying and our numbers were on a slow decline.
The regiment where a young Brig. Gen. Kavo was stationed was in Eastern China where all the activity had begun to cease. But, on the evening on August 25, 2019, they were ambushed and all 76 members of the regiment were captured. For the next three months, Kavo would watch every man in his regiment be tortured and killed in a 10x10 room inside the enemy camp. He would later be found in a forest 12 miles from the enemies complex but he would not rest until he told his reinforcements the exact coordinates of the camp and the phrase "One body for each lost comrade." What they found at the camp they did not expect.
Leading up to the entrance of the camp, there were 75 graves made next to the dirt road. 39 on one side and 36 on the other. Each had a handmade cross on top of them. When they made it to the entrance, they realized why Kavo had suffered many injuries and looked exhausted. Throughout the complex, the men found a total of 75 mutilated bodies and discovered one man still alive inside one of the chambers. He was found saying one word,"Kavo."
Upon returning to the US, Kavo was promoted to General but he remained silent about the final days of his capture. During this time of silence, he began building the Organization from the remnants of smaller regiments that retired after the war. He would then gather lawyers and other businessmen to help finance it's growth. He brought it before President Anderson who quickly sent them to Congress and they were cleared as a secret branch of the military with Kavo at it's head.
Since then, the Organization has taken charge of majority of the background assignments
inside the military. Only those in high positions of the government know of their activities, and workers are not allowed to speak of its existence. It was in this program where Kavo raised Anna into his personal weapon of choice.
Her life consisted of going to school during the day and learning military strategy in the evening. She would then be sent to military school in the 7th grade and would learn all the Organizations tactics and mission strategies. She graduated top of her class. Her father would find me in a military hospital in Southern California.
The first time I met Mason Kavo, the doctor had told me I would never fight in the field of battle again. Kavo had other plans. Apparently, he was impressed with my accolades and offered to pay for the best treatment in the country as long as I came to work for the Organization. I would accept his offer without question and he would introduce me to Anna five years later in New York. We would start dating after my first assignment.
"In your case Anna, that's a cake walk," I sneered.
Her voice began to change from kind and stern to threatening.
"You do realize that if you were anyone else, you wouldn't be conscious right now." The hair started to stand on the back of my neck, a feeling I only felt when I was in the field preparing for a target.
"Stand your ground Anna. I don't think your father wants to pay for another room filled with broken furniture." I was getting way to cocky. "You shocked even the hospital staff last time." Dammit, I just dug my hole further.
"Your talking pretty big for someone who walked out of that fight with 10 broken ribs, a concussion and a clavicle fracture." She snapped.
I walked to the front of my desk and stood in front of her. Our fists were both clenched and ready for anything.
I scoffed, "key words, walked out."
Without realizing, my body was sent flying over my desk and my head slammed into the cabinet. I glared up at her.
"Don't get up Charles. I'm tempted to beat you and let housekeeping clean up what remains after putting up with you today," she warned.
I started tasting blood on my lips and saw two of her for a brief moment.
"You're starting to lose your touch, that actually felt like I was being hit by""-" I started to taunt.
"Don't you dare finish that sentence," she said sharply as she landed on my chest. She had me pinned and she began her punishment.
After six solid jabs to my face, I quickly escaped her hold and put her right arm behind her back.
"You know I'll break it."
I felt her left elbow hit my face as I tightened my hold. She wasn't going to simply submit this time.
"I dare you. It wouldn't be the first time," she sneered. "Go ahead and tell me what you're going to do next so I can better prepare myself."
A loud crack resonated in the room. It didn't surprise me that she barely made a sound by it.
"I only took it out of socket, you know how to put it back in order." I said harshly as I let go of her arm. I walked in front of her tempted to repay those six jabs, but I started hearing a low sniffle. It sounded like Anna was actually crying. Even I never saw or heard Anna seriously cry before and I didn't believe she was now. At that moment while I was contemplating whether she was faking, she came from the ground and uppercut me with her good arm. Last thing I remembered was hitting the ground.
I woke up to a sharp pain on my left side. 1. 2. She had kicked three of my ribs in while I was passed out. Ruthless as always.
"That is 35 wins to your 34." she said happily.
"Those shots to my ribs are a low blow even for you. That includes that uppercut of yours," I said harshly as I tried to move. While I was out, she had let down her hair and changed into sweatpants and a tee shirt.
"Did you initiate that fight just so we could end the tie?"
She responded proudly, "technically, you started the fight when you decided to bring Russia back up and you losing is entirely your fault."
"Plus, there are no rules when a fight begins," she snickered. "That's the Organizations first and most basic rule, so don't whine about getting your ass beat."
"I just love how you quote the old training manual after the fight," I said sarcastically as I slowly picked myself up. "At least we didn't break anything in the room this time."
I slowly stood up as I started feeling every blow that Anna inflicted on my body. Thankfully, I can still hobble to the bathroom so I can get the first aid kit and body wraps. After making it there, I was able to grab them off the lower shelf and preceded to the bedroom so that the worst could begin. I sat down slowly as I prepared to try and wrap my midsection until I noticed that she was behind me. At that moment, I felt her small hands take the wraps from mine.
"Let me help," She said softly. "We'll call it sympathy for the beaten."
"Did you really just use your father's words from his speech during training?" I chuckled. "You're definitely his daughter."
Even though she is a legal weapon, she is gentle and knows her way around wounds; especially those that seem fatal. I honestly thought she would have cracked another rib just to remind me of her win, but she didn't. No matter how many physical fights or missions we've acted upon, Anna always comes back with this light of humanity basking in her presence. It as if she never killed a soul and I have seen her perform the act. I think that's why I was attracted to her from the beginning, I could never read her emotions, or thoughts, and I still cannot.
She rolls one more wrap around my sides but as she finishes; I grab her chin and guide it to my face. As our lips lock, I move the first aid to the side table then grab her waist. She stops and glares at me, except this was passionate. This was Anna with no reserves and nothing to lose. Only few men get the chance to see it and even fewer survive after seeing it. She only shows it two types of
people. Her targets and me. Except with me, it means I have to keep up and I can't slack off.
"You sure want to do this?" She said sarcastically. "You know this activity will definitely end in broken furniture and we can already guess how you'll feel with all your injuries after."
I smirk. "True, think we should call ahead and tell your dad he has to buy another suite?"
She lightly laughs as she throws her leg over to sit on my waist. I cringe from the pain and we lock eyes.
"Knowing him, he won't be surprised."