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smitcompton

Ideal_Rock
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Madeline was slowly waking from the anesthesia. The nurses were moving about quietly , checking her vitals every half hour.. So many thoughts rushed through her mind. She wanted to forget about the day of the explosion. She wanted it behind her, never to have to think about it again. And now it popped up. She knew the investigation cleared everyone, but the authorities did believe the bomb was intentionally set off. A jewelry heist gone bad. That was the official report, but she knew some thought there was more to the story

Madeline felt abandoned, as she had many times during her marriage. Tears slipped down her checks. Oh, where was Tom?
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
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"Im here darling"
Tom stroked her hand
Was she dreaming ? Her head felt so foggy
But Tom felt so real
"Everything will be ok now" Tom continued "i have so much to tell you when you are more recovered
I am so sorry i couldn't tell you anything before"
 

smitcompton

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That morning after Tom gave Maddie a quick kiss he bounded down the stairs to his car. He was quite disturbed upon hearing that Maddie had seen the flashing lights through the trees . He grabbed his phone,, but put it down again deciding to give more thought to what needed to be done.

He drove past the Swensons farm, and gazed out the window at the undulating hills with small farms nestled between the hills. It reminded Tom of his time in West Africa, where he was on assignment a good number of years ago.. He missed the excitement of his life then. He mused. but life doesn't always turn out the way we want.

He turned the speaker phone on and let it ring. A voice answered and said, "leave your message>". Tom said, "We have a problem. Something is very wrong. Get our friends to stop signaling. They are being noticed. Get them to stop"

Tom caught the train to the city. He wanted to go to Macys to buy some new clothes, It was time for a new look.
 

Austina

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He deliberately chose clothes that would make him blend in, the last thing he needed was to stand out from the crowd. He took the clothes and headed for the safe house. He checked his GO back, everything was there, the passports with his numerous identities and nationalities, the hair pieces and glasses to subtly alter his appearance, and most importantly the $250,000 in cash, and several credit cards to match the passport identities.

He needed to make it very clear to his handler that Maddie had seen the lights, and she was mumbling something about Mrs Swenson seeing the lights too. He couldn’t be sure, because she had still be in the post anaesthetic haze.

Maddie, what was he going to do about her? He was beginning to find it more difficult to keep up the pretence, he’d needed her as cover, but things were starting to move towards his final goal.
 

Cerulean

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There was a time when Tom had actually felt a sense of fondness for Maddie. She had been quaintly pretty, certainly not a great beauty, but she had a warm smile, soft light brown hair and brown eyes that told of her childlike innocence…it was that innocence that made him feel guilty for all of the things he’d kept from her. It made her the perfect counterpart, unassuming and naive. He did sometimes like the comfort of her consistent presence. The squabbling, the puttering about the house. She was the most stable thing in his life, even if it was all a lie. He knew she had loved him once, quite deeply. She was so blissfully happy on their wedding day. But she must have sensed his coldness over time, he knew. He was dutiful in his own ways, he mimicked what he saw other husbands do. But he didn’t care, deep down.

Especially not now. Her brown eyes had gone dimmer, wilder in recent years, and he recoiled at the flashes of anger towards him that he saw in them. He felt so guilty, but the guilt didn’t make him love her.

The accident too, was his fault. When it happened, he resented that she hadn’t died then.
 

Austina

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Tom had really got in to trouble when the explosion had gone wrong and Madeline survived. He thought that would be it as far as he was concerned, but The Organisation had given him a second chance. He was very conscious of the fact that he’d messed up big time and had a lot to prove.

Whilst he had his Go bag ready, he was really hoping they wouldn’t send him away. All he had to do was make a success of his latest mission, and he was determined that he would. He was going to have to work harder to drive Madeline away, because he really didn’t want to have to explain her disappearance to that nosy old biddy Mrs Swenson.

He sat for a while trying to work on a strategy to achieve this, when his burner phone rang. That could only mean one thing.
 

smitcompton

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"Getaway plans cancelled", said the voice on the phone. "We have notified our friends to stop signaling until they get clearance from us."

Tom's shoulders relaxed immediately, and he lay back his head on the chair, letting out a deep breath. He wondered why he panicked so much. He knew he was so rattled when he saw her at Macy that he may have over-reacted to the events. But, there she was, in the children's department. His heart did something it rarely did. It felt something. He wanted to touch her again, kiss her again, and hold her in his arms again. But, that too was in the past Abby, still looked beautiful, She glanced up, but she didn't recognize him. She leaned down and kissed the little girl on her head. He wondered if the child was hers. He would never know.

That Damm explosion. Its come back to haunt us., both Maddie and me. Of course Maddie didn't know he was involved in the execution of the robbery, but had been directed to take care of Maddie as well.

The next few months would make him or break him. He could not stop thinking of Abby.
 
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elizat

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 23, 2013
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Sometimes, Tom did not know how he ended up where he was. He had enlisted in the military, straight out of school, in order to make something of himself. He wasn't one for "book learning" as his dad rightly had declared. But he was good with his hands, with mechanical things and with people. He had a certain charisma that allowed people to trust him and get valuable information. He never had expected to end up a tactical operator doing secretive reconnaissance work.

His work had taken him around the middle East, India and Africa. Tom has been good at what he did. Too good. He didn't leave trails, he delivered and he cleaned up any mess. Even if it meant he had to do it personally.

Eventually, Tom decided to leave the service. He was tired of not being in control of his own path. He was honorably discharged, of course, even though he had done things many would consider not honorable at all.

Tom intended to live on his pension and have some peace. He'd get a job, so he had more spending money and something to fill his time. A simple life.

He never intended to get into the business of private intelligence and mercenary for hire. The opportunity came to him, he reminded himself. He did not seek it out. That's how he had rationalized his next steps.

But, after a year of trying to work a normal work week as a mechanic or after his stint in construction, he had decided it was enough. The lure of easy money and an end to the wash, rinse, repeat of civilian life was a call he could not ignore.
 

Austina

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“I have good news Madeline” said Dr Glasser. ”The operation was a complete success, and you should make a complete recovery. There was one interesting thing though. Had you had any kind of accident before the explosion?” Madeline looked at his kindly face, “Not that I can recall Dr., why do you ask?” “Well, when we removed the piece of shrapnel, we found something curious that was hidden behind it. Don’t ask me what it is, because I honestly don’t know. I’ve sent it away for analysis, so perhaps we’ll hear back soon”.

”Do you think the shrapnel was the cause of my blackouts?” she asked. “Oh most definitely, it had been pressing on your brain, and I’m sure that any other symptoms you’ve been experiencing over the years will most certainly have been caused by that” he replied.

”Well thank you Dr., I’m so grateful you were able to operate and remove it. When can I go home? “ she asked. “If you continue to feel well, I think we can release you in the next few days, but I’ll want to see you in 2 weeks for a follow up” he replied.

When he left the room Madeline started to panic. Damn ,what if they discovered what the chip was they’d found? Was there any way she could retrieve it? She thought back to the time when they’d told her that she had been chosen to carry out an important mission, that she was special and would be doing her country a great service. Back then her name had been Elena Petrova, but that was a lifetime ago.
 
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Slick1

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She frantically tried to force her brain to work properly. She needed to figure out a way to warn the others…will she now be expendable? Will they send someone to “take care of this problem?” She felt very much like a sitting duck here bandaged up and confused in her hospital bed.
 

smitcompton

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+++++++++++++++

Dr. Martin S. Glasser. eminent psychiatrist and behavioral expert, sat in the morning room waiting for his wife to bring more coffee . He could tell she wanted to discuss the arrangements for their semi-annual dinner party. She so loved the planning process. He did too. They were both foodies and for many years prepared the recipes they found most interesting and then served them to their guests. He wondered what she was planning for this dinner party. He knew she wouldn't feel right if he did not approve, so he watched her settle down with her pad and pencil at the ready., waiting for the discussion to begin

"Martin, do you think 12 dinner guests is the right number?" "Sounds right," he replied.
"I thought we would do one cocktail on the veranda, no more than that, and then have dinner".
He said, "I'd like fresh fruit compote for starters. The best fruit is in season now.:

She nodded her head. "I haven't decided on the main course yet. I think I want to go simple".
"Check with me when you decide"

"Of course Martin. What guests are you thinking of.?"

"I'd lie you to invite a new couple I met a few months ago. Rosa and John Esposito. He's in hotels. The usual gang. Madeline will have recovered from surgery and Tom makes a wonderful guest. The Bakers, the Adams couple , and Jambi Lee and his wife as well, and Buck and Sandy. That will make for an interesting group."

Martins wife was pleased. She got up and said, "I have enough to keep me busy for a while" . She smiled at him.

Martin knew he had lucked out finding Judy. The both came from Russian immigrant parents who came to the United States in the late 70's. They were
Jews escaping Russian oppression. He was proud of himself and Judy and his children. They had come so far.

He was looking forward to the dinner party.
 

PinkAndBlueBling

Brilliant_Rock
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Judy Glasser sat down at her desk and began writing the invitations on her personal stationery. She loved these gatherings and the little details she put into them to make the evening special. While writing, she began reminiscing about the guests and the special connections they shared. She and Martin had known the Bakers since they moved to this town. They were such a warm and welcoming couple. They were the perfect people to invite and ensure the Espositos felt comfortable and enjoyed themselves at the party. The Adamses were nice, as were the Lees,but there was just something special about the Bakers. Judy was most excited to see Madeline. She found her to be fascinating and hadn't seen her in several months. She was especially looking forward to seeing what jewelry Madeline would be wearing, as she always wore an interesting piece of jewelry. Madeline's engagement ring was unusual and breathtaking, yet it always made Judy curious. Madeline told her it was a special piece that Tom found in a vintage jewelry store, or at least that's what he told Madeline. Judy was certain she had seen the unique piece before, but couldn't remember where.
 

mellowyellowgirl

Ideal_Rock
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4,698
Many years ago in the past......

"How many moves did I tell you to use to take her down Elena? How many?"

Eteri's voice reverberated around the room, amplifying her angry shouts as if to reenforce Elena's failure even further.

"Four," Elena mumbles, staring at her feet. She was in for it and she knew her meekness would serve to irritate Eteri even more, however she was too tired. Too tired to care, too tired to fight, too tired to carefully construct her every word and behaviour inorder to avoid the wrath of the formidable woman standing before her.

"And how many did you use to take her down?" Eteri barks at her again, her fury compounding by the minute.

"Seven," Elena replies quietly, this time looking up at the older woman in defiance.

In her early days at the Crystal Dome she'd tried so hard to please the woman before her. To be the best, to survive because one could only survive at Crystal by stepping on others and coming out on top. As the years went by Elena often caught herself wondering. What if. What if it was all over? What did she have to fear? Death. What would it be like to be on the receiving end of a snapped neck instead of being the one to do it yourself. Sure it would be the end. But it would also be an escape. Escape from the constant fight to survive.

"Seven is three moves too many. You will not survive," Eteri glowers at her ominously.

***

Madeline shakes herself out of her reverie and snatches her handbag. She needed to get out of here. To warn the others.

The others. For ten years she'd left them behind. Severed her links with not only the people who created her but also her.... she wouldn't call them friends exactly. It was a complicated relationship where one's survival depended on one's ability to kill at any given time and come out on top. And yet they were all young girls once, caught in the same web as each other. There was a bond, a chain of torment that could not be truly broken.

"You're looking well for someone who's just come out of surgery."

Tom's sudden appearance causes Madeline to flinch. Angry at herself for failing to control her movements better, Madeline bites her lip, the action inviting a fleeting look of irritation on her husband's face.

The look, brief as it was, had the effect of a full body slap. Madeline falters for a second as she backs up, her legs eventually hitting the hospital bed.

The impatience and sheer disdain on Tom's face was hard to mistake.

So this is what it came down to. She thought she'd escaped her past, built a new life, a respectable life for herself. It was in that moment that Madeline could no longer cling onto the lie that had served as her raft for so many years. She hadn't found love or peace. She'd simply swap one prison for another.

Not anymore.

Squaring back her shoulders, she raises her chin and looks Tom straight in the eyes.

"I'm tougher than I look darling. You didn't have to come pick me up. I was just about to head home myself."

At her prime she could take someone like Tom down with two fingers. If she was going to contend with Crystal Dome she needed to find that part of herself again, starting right at this very moment.

"My belongings have been taken care of. Let's go. I don't care to stay here for a minute longer."

One curt nod and she was out of the room, handbag slung casually on her arm, not caring whether Tom had followed her out or not. Tom who she'd once thought an integral part of her life no longer mattered. If she could escape Eteri, she could leave Tom behind. She owed it to herself to move forward.
 

elizat

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 23, 2013
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Madeline walked out of the cool, sterile hospital into the blazing afternoon sun. It was humid and like walking through a fog. They walked to Tom's pick up truck and got in.

It was a silent journey home. He didn't say much or seemed concerned. She found it hard to care about what he did or did not do lately. Or really for the past few years.

She suddenly spoke, with hesitancy. "Tom, Dr. Glasser found the chip." He looked at her in shock. They had agreed to never speak of it. Tom looked visibly agitated. He drew in a deep breath and took both hands off the wheel, then slammed them down again. She flinched. She had seen his rage before. He had the ability to act like a petulant child in a way that was maddening.

"What did you say? He found the chip? How could he have?," Tom said with a terse edge to his voice. "It was implanted very deep and wasn't scannable anymore. That's what you told me. That's why I agreed to help you. To hide you. To live with this farce of a life."

Madeline glared at him. She was livid. It wasn't her fault. "After the explosion, I guess it was not as stable as we thought. But time was passed and it moved. I told you about this risk."

Tom was so annoyed with having to pretend to love this woman and so tired, so very tired of the consequences of trying to protect her from her own people.

They had been on different sides of the operation. His employer had requested that the obtain certain objets d'art from a private collection while it was on loan to a museum with outdated security. Madeline or whatever her name really was, had been his contact. Her employer had agreed to trade weapons for the precious jewels, miniature paintings and sculptures.

Madeline had been double crossed within her team. It all went so very wrong. He never knew her story. But the events of that job going bad had haunted them both.

And know he knew why they had been being watched. The chip had been activated and had been picked up on surveillance. God damn her. She had been nothing but trouble since that day over a decade ago. He really should have finished her off when he had the chance years ago.
 

Austina

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 24, 2017
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“What are we going to do now?” She said. “Let me think” Tom replied, “We need to handle this carefully, or we’re both finished.

Maddie knew that Tom probably had his escape already planned, but she’d allowed herself to become complacent with each passing year. The blackouts and the exhaustion they’d left her with had dulled all her senses, and blunted her instincts.

She needed to start training again, relearn her survival skills, hone her defence skills, otherwise she was too easy a target, and it was obvious Tom wouldn’t hand around to protect her.

In the meantime, they’d received the invitation from Dr Glasser and his wife, and they just couldn’t disappear without questions being asked.
 
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