As If You Had A Choice?
Sofia and Alex finished their meals in silence; Alex had a vegetable lasagne followed by a creamy, strawberry sundae with real strawberries and a couple pieces of white chocolate on top sprinkled with chocolate. While Sofia chose a yellow Tai chicken curry littered with pieces of mint followed by rich chocolate sauce and smooth whipped cream. Alex and Sofia left the posh restaurant with Alex glancing warily about for any adversary. Alex opened the passenger door of the old turquoise four seated car for Sofia making his message clear – I'm driving. Alex took the steering wheel of the old Bug making sure the cloth was still in place so that none of the cameras could see what was going on inside the car. Alex drove him and the beautiful (in his opinion at least) young artist to his workplace in the middle of London.
Sofia got out of the car gracefully smoothing her white skirt out nervously looking pale and sad. She was remembering the last time she had been here her father had been killed. On top of that one of her best friends in the whole world had been kidnapped to get to her. Alex joined her locking the car up and took her by her slender wrist not covered by golden bangles. He led the dark girl along the corridors ignoring the stares she was getting by the fact that her eyes hadn't the haunted look all spies possessed so she was either a newbie or was no spy. He led the young woman to the reception desk where a boy wearing tight fitting glasses, a navy blue suit and with lots of dark hair combed into a perfect parting sat behind a computer. Alex introduced himself showing the young man, Max, his identity card. But then they came across a problem; Sofia was not an employee of MI6 so did not have any clearance to go any further. Alex instructed the young man to phone up to Mrs. Jones. Max only then allowed the two young people access to the upper levels of the building. Passing Alex's own office they headed up the top floor. Arriving on the top floor Sofia looked like she was having a panic attack or something whilst staring at a spot by the alcove. Alex too looked at the alcove and sudden understanding hit him too late. This was where Stanley D'Alton; Sofia's father had died so many years before. Alex put his arm around the shaking girl and quickly pulled her into Mrs. Jones office. Alex pushed Sofia onto one of the black, leather seats in front of his boss' desk. Alex took the other leather seat and watched as Sofia's breathing returned to normal. Mrs. Jones didn't look surprised at the two's behaviour as she sucked on yet anther peppermint. Alex wondered if her pockets were just full of peppermints. She seemed to have an endless supply of, in Alex's opinion, the foul sweet.
Alex explained to the woman with the bad hair cut exactly what he and Sofia had found out about what Peter Jarvis was doing and the situation involving Molly West and Teresa Angel. When Alex had done explaining the situation Mrs Jones looked pensive. Alex knew that the woman was working out a plan to stop Jarvis primarily without risking the bad press of a whole load of dead civilians.
'Okay Miss D'Alton I don't want a civilian involved with this but as it appears that you are involved in this then you have to stay,' she said. 'Agent Rider will be there to look after you and he is number three he only answers to me and my second in command so you don't have to worry about your safety.'
'I'm not he saved my life once I have complete and utter faith in him doing it again,' smiled Sofia honestly.
Alex looked at the younger woman surprised; it had been a long time since he'd trusted anyone the way Sofia obviously did him. He wondered if it was just him or it was everybody. He hoped it was just him. He really did love this woman and that scared him. Give him a nutter with a bomb any day of the week true love that scared him. Quite apart from the normal getting your heart broken there was also the dangers that came with marrying in this job. His own mother was little more than collateral damage as far as spying was concerned and that was when his father had quit and John Rider who was a legendary spy was decidedly less high up than his son. In fact Alex had been higher up than John since the day he decided to become a full time spy at the age of fifteen.
'That being said you will still have to be careful don't say anything that will give you away that is what could get you killed,' recommended Mrs Jones.
'Remember Sofia no matter how good you are you can never truly be counted as infallible there may some day somewhere be someone who has the one up on you. But I hope its not today,' Alex said gently.
Sofia looked between the two spies and despite their genders, their age gap, and race she could see a hard, coldness, and acceptance that came with being a spy. She shuddered and wondered who in their right minds would willingly become a spy. Alex didn't know anything else as he had been blackmailed into it at the tender age of fourteen maybe they didn't know what it was going to be like until it was too late for them to stop. This was before spies would become addicted to the adrenaline, the danger, and the constant fear of their high risk jobs. Why chose to become a spy before they could no longer cope in normal society. Or maybe it was before they saw the evils of the world and vowed to do their best to protect those innocents from ever seeing the darkness of the world.
But why did her father join up? The pay; to provide for his young daughter when being a single father was hard. Or maybe he had dreams of being like James Bond? But she knew – like Alex – she had lost her father to the world of espionage and could never in this life ask him these questions. Sofia sighed wishing there was a simple answer to all this. For Sofia knew she loved the spy but hated what he did for a living. Maybe she could convince Alex to get a regular job. But no she knew that was impossible Alex would never be happy having a normal job, a normal life. He was do-gooder always wanting to make the world a better place. Plus he loved adrenaline; he needed it more than he needed air.
So what then?
Leave Alex. She imagined what it would be like leaving Alex maybe finding a husband a kind provider who would look after her and allow her to continue her painting. She imagined a life with two children; a boy and girl. But no Alex! Sofia hadn't so much as looked at a guy since Alex even with all the blind dates and hook ups that her friends tried to get her to go on. She knew she would never get married to anyone but Alex. Whether it was in high school with the most popular guy in school or university with a friend of a friend she would always compare them to Alex. She knew in her heart of hearts that Alex was the only guy for her!
So maybe she would become a spinster doing art living off her own doing another job at the same time. She'd have friends to rely on and her aunt. And maybe she could adopt a child or two. But the idea of living without her true love truly scared her. She'd be broken hearted like she had been all this time. Okay she loved her new life but when she was on her own she would think back to Alex. When she first thought Alex no longer loved her everything would remind her of him. But she had moved on because she thought there was no hope for them. But now she knew that it had all been a terrible misunderstanding she knew she couldn't bare to leave him knowing they could have lived together on love.
So what about the third option? Going out with him…. Oh he'd show her the sights probably knowing Alex's travel broadened mind everywhere from Tokyo to Paris. He'd easily woo her. And she'd know how much he loved her. They could have children; dark eyed like both their parents. Their skin would be a caramel colour not quite Sofia's black but darker than Alex's tanned physique. The boys would be well toned and girls petite. Blonde or with dark hair Sofia knew they would have their fathers surreal beauty. She imagined Sofia's curls and Alex's carless mess. She knew she would be happily provided for on a spy's wage so she could spend her days doing what she wanted; painting.
But what would she do about Alex's dangerous job? Waiting at home when he was off doing lord knows what in lord knows where. Wondering whether her brave charming, courageous husband would ever come home. Wondering if she would become an all too, young widower when Alex was killed in action. Always being in danger because of her husband's job! What about any children she had! Would they too be in danger because of him? What if they were kidnapped and killed! What if they decided to follow their father's footsteps like he had his? There would be so many uncertainties in the life they could build together.
Was it worth it?
Was he worth it?
The decision was simple he was. Sofia wondered if there had ever really been a choice!
'Sofia,' Alex asked frowning at the woman.
'Huh,' Sofia blushed realising she hadn't been paying attention to Alex.
'We're going,' Alex said, 'do you want to stay with me?' he asked sounding insecure for once which Sofia loved despite everything Alex Rider was still a human being! 'For old time's sake,' he said cockily sounding very much like the spy she knew and loved. Only Sofia could ever get into Alex's mindset. 'And for your safety,' he said quickly.
Mrs. Jones smiled softly she knew Alex as well as anybody could know Alex. She had seen him from the day they'd forcibly recruited him to the day he came to work for them. And she knew that he loved the girl with all his heart but was scared to show it. She had seen them together not only today but seven years ago. So the Head Spy decided to put in her input, 'you should stay with him,' she agreed.
Alex gave his boss a suspicious look so that the two spies were boring holes in each other. If looks could kill, thought Sofia. Alex then got up and Sofia followed the young man throughout the halls of "the bank". He nodded to those who greeted the man. Except when one man came running up behind him, 'hey Alex didn't know you were on a mission!'
Alex firstly looked around when realising they were alone grinned, 'Ben hey this is Sofia she's got herself mixed up on my mission.'
Ben gave her a knowing look, 'well look after her or I'll kill you.;
'Jee thanks Ben I thought I was your friend not the civvie,' laughed Alex.
Soon as they were out Sofia couldn't help but ask, 'who was that?'
'Ben Daniels we trained together when I was fourteen and have gone on many missions together,' smiled Alex. 'He's one of my best friends I'd say,' then cursed himself for saying too much what was it about Sofia that made him forget his rule of not saying anymore than he needed to.
'I'm staying with you,' Sofia said.
Alex beamed forgetting to remain unattached to his mission.
'There's something I have to tell you,' though Sofia said this calmly Alex could here the nervousness in her voice.
'Is something wrong?' asked Alex.
'No it's just Iloveyou,' she said in a rush.
Alex heard what she said but couldn't take it in because he felt the same. He could deal with psychotic mass murderers and terrifying criminals but being in love. What if she left him? What if she was killed to get to him? What if she was kidnapped and used as a hostage? What is she betrayed him? What if she broke is heart? What if she made him stop being a spy? What if she couldn't deal with his life? What if she had secretly joined a terrorist organisation and was trying to get to him/ What if she saw the real him and couldn't handle it? What if she – like her mother – left him? There were so many what ifs!
Did he care?
He knew he should but he just couldn't. This was one of the times Alex Rider the once teenaged superspy would take a risk that wasn't calculated. And this time it was with his, own heart and emotions. Sofia was standing nervously waiting for Alex's response thinking his silence was rejection. But then surprised when she felt a pair of soft lips against hers!
The kiss was soft and gentle with tones of underlying passion to accompany it.
They knew how dangerous their relationship was but both found they couldn't care less.