Ivy Lawrence ran across the street and ducked into an alley. The man that was following her did not hesitate. He chased after her as she ran around the corner of Sydney, Australia.
"Josh!" She yelled into her watch. "Now where do I turn?! That idiot had my sixth sense for directions all confused! I don't even know why he was following me!"
"Turn left!" A male's voice spoke from the earpiece. "Don't worry! You are almost home."
Ivy turned around the corner. She was relieved as she spotted her house on the other side of the street.
"Thank God." She muttered. "Now, all I have to do is run across the street, and get into the house without being seen." She could hear the annoying squeaking footsteps behind her. There wasn't a car in sight. "It's now or never." Ivy ran. She opened the door to her house and slammed the door shut behind her. She locked it and leaned on the door, panting and gasping for breath. Her honey colored hair blown into a mess by the wind.
"That was pretty good, Sis. Maybe you should give up the IMF and go for the women's track team. You have circled that building exactly five times. Who was he?"
"I have no clue." Ivy replied. "The only thing I noticed about him was his squeaky shoes. It was weird, it wasn't raining outside today."
"Maybe he has a hit on you." Josh said reasonably. Ivy rolled her bluish- gray eyes and walked over to the coffee table, where her brother, Josh, was watching the laptop screen on his lap, his feet on the table.
"Bro, you know I'll never give up my life as an IMF." She walked over to him. "What have you got there?"
Josh looked up at Ivy. "Nothing for a sixteen-year-old to see." He joked, brushing his chocolate brown hair away from his eyes. Ivy cast him a dark look.
"Just because you are twenty-one, that doesn't mean you are smarter." She answered hotly. Josh grinned at his sister.
Ever since he had joined the IMFs after finishing college at age nineteen, his little sister was his biggest fan. Josh would tell her about all the cases and missions he was doing. When Ivy was almost fourteen, she had solved the mission he told her about and save him from a death point. From that point on, the IMF commander, Swanbeck, who was hardly ever gets delighted over members of the IMF, was seriously impressed by Ivy, and inquired about her to their parents. He remembered little Ivy screaming and jumping up and down with joy and hugging his waist when their parents agreed the permission for her to work for the IMF under Josh's protective care for Ivy. It has been that way since. Josh had been the father to Ivy for three years, raising her up and moving from Melbourne, Australia, to Sydney, Australia, where the IMF headquarters are.
Josh was proud of his sister. Besides been amazingly intelligent and sharp, she was beautiful. She had matured a lot over these pass three years. Ivy has fine bones, deep intense bluish-gray eyes, rosy cheeks, an ivory complexion, naturally honey-colored hair with naturally red highlights, adorable little seashell ears, a generous and crowd-pleasing smile, and soft loving lips over perfect white teeth. She has a great figure, he also noticed as he was taking in the young woman standing in front of him. Her hands are slender and graceful and her fingernails long and sexy. Her feet are narrow and her ankles trim. When she walks in a skirt, the slit from the skirt would fall open to reveal her beautiful slender legs and delicate, daring stockings.
"Ivy," He said, snapping out of his little realm. "Sometime I do have a good mind to sent you back to school." His hazel eyes were thoughtful as he shut off the laptop and stood up. "You've got a good and quick brain. You should be studying to be a lawyer or something, not capturing dangerous criminals. I promised mom and dad I would take good care of you. Instead, I let you talk me into letting you help out at the IMF and not going to school when you were thirteen. Now you have decided not to go back to high school or college and wanted to become an IMF agent. Even though your IQ is as good as a college student, you can't live the rest of your life in the grown up world. You are trained as good as me but it's just too dangerous." He shook his head. "I never know what I was thinking that time, letting you help out. If you get hurt, mom and dad would have my pig-headed head in a bag." The handsome young agent put his arms protectively around his sister's slender, tall body.
"Now, Josh." Ivy slipped out of his grasp and faced him, smiling sweetly at him and fastened the two top buttons on his shirt. "I am not going to get hurt. I am not going to die. I am not going to get captured. I…am…not…going…to…quit." She emphasized the very last sentence. Josh batted her hands away and sighed.
"Someday you are going to get into a mess that you won't be able to get out of, Sis." He scolded. Ivy gave his six-foot frame a hug.
"Josh, nothing could beat the Lawrence team." She remarked.
"Oh, talking about the Lawrence team, this came for you while you were have the cat and mouse chase. It's a new mission." Josh held out a pair of sunglasses. Ivy gave a delighted squeal. She snatched the sunglasses and put it on.
"Good morning, Miss Lawrence." Mission Commander Swanbeck's voice came on. The computer screen showed her name––Agent Ivy Lawrence. His voice continued, "Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the recovery of a missing member of the IMF. Her name is Trinity Storm. It is essential that the second member of your team be your brother, Josh Lawrence. You have forty-eight hours to recruit Mr. Lawrence and meet me in Sydney, Australia to receive your assignment. As always, should any member of your team be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This message will self-destruct in five seconds."
"We have a new mission, "Mr. Lawrence." Our destination––Sydney, Australia. I have forty-eight hours to recruit you and meet him in the headquarters in downtown, half-an-hour drive from here." Ivy told her brother. He gave a whoop. Ivy took off the sunglasses and tossed it away from them. The sunglasses exploded in the air.
~Five Suspects, Five Lives~
"As far as we know, Miss Lawrence, Miss Storm's corruption reason was not for a ransom." Mission Commander Swanbeck informed Ivy as she stared into her computer screen. There, in the screen, showed a picture of an attractive brunette. Under that picture was the name, Trinity Storm, age 26.
"Miss Storm was captured three nights ago, on her way home. No notes for ransom or explaining where she went was found. Someone has to find out what exactly happened, the reason, and recover Miss Storm."
"And you want me to do this?" Ivy asked, just to make sure. This was going to be not that easy.
"Yes, naturally." Swanbeck replied. "You have a brain as good as your brother, which, he is one of our best man. And you have good natural instinct. Together, you and your brother, no doubt there would only be good results. This is your mission, should you choose to accept."
"Of course I accept." Ivy replied flatly. "Have you ever know me to turn down a mission?"
"That is another quality of yours." Swanbeck chuckled. "You never turn down a mission nor have you ever failed a mission."
"Any more leads for me?" Ivy inquired. "You don't expect me to go to every men and women in the whole world and question them, do you?"
"No, actually, we do have some leads for you." Swanbeck passed a black portfolio down to Josh and Ivy. "Five suspects. You'll be working yourself to meet them somehow. Talk to them, get to know them. That's when Josh comes in. Josh will be in charge of coordinating actions from a distance, surveying the areas, the usual. He would be recording every piece of valuable information, helping you get through streets, and give you good advises on how to charm a man. Basically, you do the action jobs, he is going to be your faithful assistance on the computer. Considering you are a young female, they wouldn't suspect anything. I wish both of you the best of lucks."
"Well, brother." Ivy remarked as they walked out of the IMF building into the sunny spring day. "Seems like you and me got ourselves a crazy job." She put on her sunglasses and looked around the busy Sydney streets. She spotted her silver sports car like convertible.
"Ivy!" A voice came from behind them. Both of them turned around.
"Oh, no. Not him, again." Ivy muttered as Kyle Walters ran enthusiastically toward the team. "When is he going to get the fact that I am not interested in him?"
"Hey, Ivy!" Kyle was a young man that had just finished college and got a job as an assistance for a member of the IMF. During these last few weeks, Kyle had been showing the greatest interest for Ivy, which disgusted her. He was good-looking, but unusually annoying, self-centering, and rude.
"Want me to beat him off for you?" Josh cocked his head at his sister. He knew how much Kyle had been bothering Ivy. His softhearted sister didn't have the heart to break the young man's heart. So she usually avoids or hides behind Josh's tall frame when Kyle comes along. To emphasize that he meant what he had said, Josh cracked his knuckles.
"No." Ivy sighed. "I'll handle this." She gave Kyle a tight smile. "Hey. What's up?" She tossed her glossy, shiny, honey colored hair.
"Oh, nothing much." Kyle practically tripped himself over Josh's feet. The two guys gave each other a cold nod of acknowledgement. In that infuriating way guys look at each other sometimes, like they have this secret. Josh gave Kyle a dark scowl behind his sunglasses. Kyle ignored Josh, after giving him a sneer.
"What are you doing this Saturday night?" Kyle asked breathlessly.
"I'm so sorry." Ivy apologized. "I am busy all this week. I got my new mission."
"Oh." Kyle looked disappointed, but turned his anger on Josh. "I know you are making your sister avoid me. I don't know why, since I am good- looking, dashing, and a kind person. I never put myself first. I feel sorry for your sister because you probably watch over her like a hawk and criticized every guy she brings home. You should give her benefit of the doubt. She just may know what she is doing. But no, you don't give her a choice. Just because the boss thinks you are one of the best members in the IMF, that doesn't mean your attitude doesn't prove you to be a not good jerk!" He snarled at Josh. Josh moved toward him menacingly. The two guys were merely centimeters away from each other. Their fists clutched at their sides.
"Josh isn't making me avoid you, Kyle!" Ivy protested, moving between the two boys. It was obvious to her that if they started fighting, Kyle would be mush in a matter of seconds. "Josh," She continued, "Do we have anything planned on Saturday night?"
"I don't think so." Josh muttered. Then recomposed his posture. "No, no, of course not. We don't have any plans. Go ahead and go wherever. Have a good time." Josh felt like maybe he should take out a cigar or a pipe and light up. He sounded like somebody's father, which, he basically is but doesn't have to admit. "Where and who do you want to go out with?"
"He's given you permission, Ivy." Kyle leered. If Josh had a gun right then, he would have shot himself in the foot. No, he would have shot Kyle in the foot.
"I think we could go for a short stroll on Saturday night if you would like." Ivy hastened to say to Kyle. Josh almost groaned out loud.
"Um, Ivy? I just remembered, I thought we were going to–" He started, turning to face Ivy, but Ivy gave him a look that shut him up.
"So is that a date?" She smiled sweetly at Kyle.
"Yeah." Kyle smirked at Josh. "I am so happy. We are a beautiful pair together. You beautiful, me handsome." Kyle straightened the collar of his shirt. It took all Josh's strength to control reaching over and strangling Kyle's neck.
Kyle reached forward to hold Ivy's hands. That startled Ivy so bad that she dropped her shoulder bag. It's contents scattered all over the pavement. Instantly, Kyle jumped forward to collect everything.
"I'll get it!" He shouted, shoving Josh out of his way. To Ivy's annoyance, he looked at each one carefully before dropping it into her purse. He opened her wallet and sneered at the picture of Josh and Ivy, taken together before his prom night.
"Your old boyfriend?" He sneered, ignoring the fact that it was Josh. "Isn't he a bit old for you?"
"Thank you for gathering my stuff." Ivy said flatly, taking her purse and wallet away. She noticed that Kyle's lips had been smirking a lot these days.
"Let's go, Ivy." Josh practically dragged Ivy across the street.
"Who does that little creep think he is?" Josh said angrily. "And to think, you even voluntarily made a date with him!"
"Josh. Let's not talk about that." Ivy interrupted. "Look at these names." She shoved the black folder containing the suspects' name under Josh's nose.
"Sean Ambrose––disavowed agent, Ethan Hunt––IMF still working, Hugh Stamp––pilot and plane-hijacker, Thomas A. Anderson a.k.a. Neo––computer hacker, and Scott Summers––lawyer." He whistled. "And you are going after these guys?"
"Yep." Ivy replied. "This is going to be fun." Looking back at the folder. She murmured to herself and analyzing the justifications that were written in the folder next to the name. "Sean––revenge for being disavowed. Ethan––jealosy for the agent. Hugh––afriad that she would report him for hijacking the 747. Neo––revenge for her from putting him in jail for hacking into TOP-SECRET confidential files. Scott––formal boyfriend, before she ran off and dumped him."
"Whatever you say, Sis." Josh muttered as he started the car. "Whatever you say."
"Ah, Mr. Summers," A sweet, musical accented voice said. Scott looked up from his file. Ivy extended her hand. "Hi. Your secretary would not be able make it today, so I am her substitute. My name is Trinity."
"Really?" The youthful lawyer exclaimed. "How perfectly unusual!"
"What?" Ivy asked him innocently, releasing all the charm she had, like Josh told her to. For this special occasion of spying on Mr. Summers, Ivy wore a dark, old-fashioned, tailored lady's suit with dark high-heels to match. She had swept her thick hair up in a bun and she wore a pair of dark, thick-framed glasses. Now she looked way beyond her age group.
"Trinity was my girlfriend's name." Scott told her.
"Oh, how absolutely divine!" Ivy gushed. "Start recording." She whispered under her breath.
"Copy." Josh's voice came back from the earpiece.
"And you say she was your girlfriend? Did you two break up?" Ivy questioned.
"Yup, she dumped me for another guy about a month ago."
"How mean!" Ivy tried to sound natural and sympathetic at the same time. "How did you feel?"
"Sad and angry at myself." Scott said sadly. "But there was nothing I could do. She doesn't love me." He sighed.
"Hard to believe there was someone in this world who doesn't love you." She pretended to wipe a tear off her eyes. "How do you feel now? I certainly hope you feel better."
"Yeah, I feel okay. There are some other women in the world that cares for men like me."
"That's good. Have you ever thought about getting even with her?" She pressed.
"I've thought about it." Scott said thoughtfully. "But the thought flew past within a second. Even though she doesn't love me, I still love her. It's natural. I'm not going to kill her just because she doesn't love me."
"You're such a sweet man, Mr. Summers." Ivy purred. "I suppose I should be getting to my work now."
"Nice talking to you, Miss Trinity." Scott called after her. The door slammed shut.
"So…how was your day, Miss Secretary?" Josh walked into Ivy's room with a cup of coffee that night. She was sitting in front of her laptop, listening to the information that Josh had recorded and typing it in.
"Fine. That lawyer made me type up twenty-nine pages of his newest case. Now my fingers are having cramps." She said, flexing her fine-boned fingers.
"What are you going to do tomorrow?" Josh wondered.
"Mr. Ambrose is next, and Mr. Stamp after that. Mr. Stamp has a plane leaving Sydney the day after tomorrow."
"Wait a second––" Josh stopped sipping his coffee and glanced at her suspiciously. "You are not thinking of boarding that plane are you?"
"Why," Ivy looked surprised. "Of course I am. Is something wrong?"
"Is something wrong!? Of course there is something wrong!" Josh stormed. "Ivy, that blonde guy hijacks planes! He doesn't just fly them, he hijacks them! You don't know when is the next plane he hijacks. What if it happens to be the one you are boarding?!"
"But, Josh!" Ivy protested. Josh fixed her with a stern look.
"You are not boarding that plane." He told her firmly. "I will not have you boarding a plane that could burn into ashes."
"How else will I meet him?" Ivy asked sullenly.
"Well––" Josh scratched his head. Then he grinned. "Your brother wasn't born an angel, you know." He teased. "I have a plan."
"Miss Lawrence, I must admit, you have done an amazingly good amount of work." Swanbeck commented briskly as he walked into the room.
"Do you have any idea on how to meet Sean Ambrose?" Ivy cut in. "I can't just go up to him and say, "Hey! I know you are a disavowed agent, I am one, too."" Ivy sighed.
"You are in luck, Miss Lawrence. As we know, Mr. Ambrose is a bachelor. He was never married." Swanbeck replied. "It is so that every other afternoon, Mr. Ambrose would have a house maid to come and clean up his house. Today is one of those days. Quite a nice house, I must add. He is quite rich. More than thirty-seven million."
"Are you suggesting that I go as a maid? Did you know how hard it was just to be a secretary?" Ivy demanded. "This mission is getting difficult." She muttered.
"Well, that's up to you." Swanbeck shrugged. "You have never failed a mission. This isn't "Mission: Difficult," Miss Lawrence, this is "Mission: Impossible." "Difficult" should be a walk in the park for you."
"That's not fair." Ivy muttered as she headed for the door. "You know my weakness and I haven't yet found yours."
"You know, Alice. You are working too hard." Ivy bribed. "How would you like a day off from working and cleaning Mr. Ambrose's house?"
"Oh, no, ma'am." Alice said in an Irish accent. "I wouldn't think of it. My family and I depend on the money."
"No, what I mean is you still get paid…by me and by Mr. Ambrose, and you can also take a day off." Ivy persisted.
"Who is going to work for him, ma'am." Alice looked doubtful. But Ivy can see that she was weakening.
"Here, just take this fifty dollars and give me your uniform." Ivy pressed the fifty-dollar bill in the girl's hand. Alice's eyes widened.
"This much, ma'am?" She squawked.
"Yes." Ivy said almost impatiently. "Go. Have fun today. Go on." As Alice skipped off, Ivy looked at the uniform and cleaning utensils in her hands.
"This should be a walk in the park for me." She muttered. "Boy. Do I look like an idiot." She looked down at her black dress with an lacy apron and cap. "Hi, there! My name is Jasmine. I will be Alice's fill in today. She is out sick." She faked a smile as she practices what she's going to say.
"This isn't just "Mission: Difficult." She grumbled. "This is "Mission: Impossible.""
"Morning, Mr. Ambrose." Ivy faked her practiced smile. "I am here to––Whoa!"
"Where have you been!?" Mr. Ambrose snapped, yanking Ivy into the house. "You are half an hour late, I have a friend coming over later, I am already late for a meeting, and this house is a mess!"
"I am sorry I am late…sir." Ivy cringed, thinking about the time she had spent on bribing Alice.
"Just clean up! Your usual glass of sparkling water is on the coffee table. I will be back in two hours, if my friend is here early, he has his keys to this house." He left in a hurry after grabbing his thin briefcase.
"That was not what I have expected!" Ivy cried as the door slammed shut and the sound of car pulled out of the driveway. She kicked the broom over. "I am here to spy on that darn agent, and he has me cleaning his house!?" Then she paused. "Did he say something about my usual sparkling water?" She echoed, her eyes searching around. Locating the water on the coffee table Ivy walked over to it. "What a weirdo. I didn't order water. Maybe Alice did." She added thoughtfully.
Ivy had no choice but to start cleaning the house. Half way through scrubbing the tiled floor, Ivy remembered she forgot her earpiece back in her car. She went out to get it. Meanwhile, when she was gone, a shadow stepped through the window and headed for the glass of water. Grunting with delight, the dark shadow took out a little vile and poured a small amount of powder into the clear liquid. Smirking with satisfaction, it once again stepped back out through the window.
Ivy, oblivious to what had just happened, came inside the door just as the shadow left. She once again regained to her cleaning. After cleaning for forty-five minutes, Ivy's become aware that her throat was getting dry. She spotted the water on the coffee table.
"I suppose it wouldn't be any harm." She shrugged. "Alice usually get this everyday and nothing ever happens to her." So she took a sip. The water felt ever so refreshing as she swallowed it.
She was fine for fifteen minutes, but at exactly when the clock hand set on the sixteenth minute, she began to feel dizzy. Ivy tried to ignore it, blaming it on all the soap and bleach she was using.
"I'll get better in a second." She decided. But after another ten minutes, she was feeling so nauseated and dizzy that it was hard for her to focus. A sudden thought occurred to her.
"I have been poisoned." She thought frantically. "It's Mr. Ambrose, it just has to be!" She stood up and tried to fish her cell-phone out of her purse. Before she finished doing that, she lost all awareness.
Ivy's mind slowly cleared. Her head was still dizzy. At once, she realized the exotic scent that permeates the sheets were not hers. She struggled to sit up.
"Easy there," A deep, rich Australian accented voice spoke. "Here drink this. It will make you feel better." His strong arm slipped under her neck and helped her up.
Ivy opened her eyes slowly, but her eyes wouldn't focus. She couldn't see anything but darkness and her body tensed. "No." Ivy murmured, trying to push the awful smelling drink away.
"Just a sip." That voice insisted firmly, holding something hot in front of her lips.
"No." Ivy flatly refused, her lips tightened.
"Young lady, you are not going to get any better if you don't have a sip of this."
"You don't understand." Ivy insisted. "I can't."
The voice sighed. "Have a small sip. Please, Miss Lawrence. Go on. Good. Good girl."
"I'll "good girl" you." Ivy thought, giving up and taking a sip. After that, she lost all awareness, and slipped into a dream, where there was no pain and no hurt. Only the sweet, wonderful sensation of floating up, up, and up into a quiet, cool realm of dark bliss.
"Ivy? Ivy, wake up." Ivy heard Josh's voice pleading in a distance. "Ivy, please wake up." Ivy's eyes flattered open. This time, her eyesight focused. She saw Josh's comely face above hers. He was holding on to her hand.
"Josh?" She whispered, sitting up.
"Ivy? Thank God!" Ivy saw Josh gave a sigh of relief. "Baby Sis, you are going to scare the hell out of me one day. What the hell happened to you?"
"What are you going here? How did you know where I was?" She saw an expanse of black material. She knew it was silk from where her body rubbed against it. Her entire body, she hazily realized.
"What––" She sputtered.
"Next time, if you want to spy on me, Miss Lawrence, you should reconsider that choice. Don't forget, I was an agent like you were." A rich voice startled her. Ivy pulled the black sheets around her as she sat up in the bed. Her head filled with pain and she reached a hand to hold it. The men watched as the sheet dropped slightly, exposing the smallest amount of soft, creamy skin.
Ivy turned around. Beside the huge bed, were two men. Mr. Sean Ambrose and a blonde man.
"Miss Lawrence, meet Mr. Hugh Stamp." Mr. Ambrose introduced graciously. "He was the one who found you unconscious when he happen arrived early. He was the one who carried you upstairs and also the one that tried to force the awful tasting medicine down your throat after coaxing you for nearly fifteen minutes."
"Now that we are formally introduced, may I inquire, Miss Lawrence, how are you feeling?" He asked in his luscious deep Australian accent, flashing her a gentle smile. "I'm sorry I had to…um…undress you, but they were wet and I didn't want you to catch a fever."
"Mr. Hugh Stamp? The Hugh Stamp? That pilot?" Ivy moaned. "This has to be a nightmare. It has to be!" Ivy fell flat back into the bed, pulling the sheets over her head. "Josh, Swanbeck is going to disavow me once he found out what I have done!" She gave a muffled cry under the sheets.
"Miss Lawrence, I'll have hot coffee ready for you downstairs once you are ready. You look like you need it. Your regular clothes are in that bag." Mr. Ambrose interrupted, pointing to a black bag. "I would like to know what have been happening in my house while I was gone."
"How did you find out who I was?" Ivy asked. Sipping the hot coffee was making her head feel much better. Her identity had already been found out, she doesn't see the point of hiding it any longer.
"Miss Lawrence," Mr. Ambrose sighed. "I was a disavowed agent. I know the system and passwords that Commander Swanbeck had so carelessly forgotten to change. I know who you are." He took a sip of his black coffee. "Once I checked out who you were, it was easy to find out who to phone as your guardian and pick him up from the headquarters." Ivy was silent.
"Now, do I get a question?" Mr. Ambrose raised his eyebrows. "What were you doing, spying on me? Was that a new mission?"
Ivy sighed and the men heard the defeated tone in her soft, flowing voice.
"Yes, it's a new mission." She stated tiredly and told them the whole story, leaving out the part of Josh. "And now I am going to get disavowed!" She wailed at the end.
"Not if I can help it." Sean declared.
"We should really get going." Josh set his cup of coffee down. "Thank you for the coffee, Mr. Ambrose." Ivy and Josh thanked them and headed for the door.
"Oh, Miss Lawrence." Mr. Ambrose called after them. "If you really get disavowed, I think you'll be okay. You do better cleaning than the actually agent job anyway!" Ivy could hear the smirk in his voice.
Ivy flushed a deep crimson as she hurried out the door.
"Oh, I hate that man." She grumbled, heading for her car.
"Ivy, do you have to finish this mission? It's getting dangerous." Josh begged. His soft hazel eyes looked into hers.
"Josh, I have to find out what happened to Trinity. She could be suffering terribly this very moment, we don't know! We can't just…give up." Ivy told him.
"Ivy, I would rather have you than all the young women in the world put together." Josh sighed. They turned around the corner and saw Ivy's car. To their surprise, there was a person sitting in the driver's seat. Kyle quickly got out as Josh and Ivy approached. His smirk disappeared. Ivy barely noticed when Kyle slipped a small flask into his pocket.
"Kyle!" Ivy was astonished. "What are you doing here? And you better not be doing drug in my car." She added. "Josh will do more than killing you, he'll––"
"What are you doing in her car?" Josh interrupted angrily. "You don't belong here!"
"Well, look who we have here. An idiot and…" Kyle whistled. "You look positively sexy, Princess Ivy. Very sexy. I love the way your jeans hug your hips and your sweater hugs your––"
"Why, you little…" Josh reached into the car and dragged Kyle out by his collar.
"My, aren't we feisty today." Kyle taunted. "There is a lady at presence, Josh, where is your little gentlemen act?" He sneered. He shut up right away as Josh's fist met his jaws. Kyle flew backwards and rammed into a tree.
"That was my sister you were talk to and about." Josh ran his hand through his hair. "You better watch what you say from now on."
Kyle wasn't about to be put down that way…especially by Josh. But Josh looked so determined to do what he had said that Kyle took all his anger out on Ivy instead.
"Well, Ivy." Kyle said coolly. "Looks like we won't have a date on Saturday night. Your brother needs a psychologist. He has mental sickness. He is nothing but a big, lousy, idiotic jerk!" Ivy gasped, then her face turned to a pinched white with anger.
"How dare you! How dare you say that to anyone at all, especially if he's my brother! Who do you think you are!?" Ivy slapped him, hard, across his face. She slapped him with all her might. She would have slapped him again if Josh hadn't caught her wrist.
"Ivy." He soothed. "Ivy. That's enough." Ivy jerked her wrist away.
Kyle, apparently in shock, saw that he wasn't about to get beat up anymore, yelled, pointing a finger at her face, "Don't think you are any better, Ivy! I never knew why I even wanted to date you! You are just a bloody whore!"
"Allow me." Josh said through gritted teeth. He turned away from Ivy and, without warning, punched Kyle again, catching him on his cheekbone this time. Kyle stepped back three paces and fell.
"Come on, Josh." Ivy was so angry that she couldn't see. Her face was flushed. She got into her car and started the engine.
"You Lawrence team is a big nobody! Just because the boss thinks you are the best team he's ever had doesn't mean you are the best!" She heard Kyle shout.
From a heat of anger, Ivy put her foot on the gas too hard. The car lurched back, throwing both her and her brother back against the seat. Josh covered his eyes with mock fright.
"Shut up." Ivy snapped, then moaned, "Josh, what would I do? Swanbeck is going to fire me and I can't just go back to 9th grade! I'm sixteen!"
"Well, Baby." Josh said thoughtfully. "Didn't that Mr. Ambrose said something about not if he can help it?"
"Yeah," Ivy replied. "He also might be the one that poisoned me. And don't call me Baby, you called me baby when I was like, twelve."
They had not gone more than a mile when Ivy's hands began to burn and itch. She scratched them instinctively, but it made them smart furiously.
"My hands are all red and they burn." She told her brother. Josh looked over at Ivy's long, piano-playing fingers. They were a deep red and they looked unusual. A sudden thought came to him. "Somebody must have put acid on the handle of the wheel! It's eating into your hands!"
Another minute, Ivy's hands became unbearable. She arrived to a drugstore. Josh grabbed Ivy and they ran into the store.
"My sister got acid over her hands by accident. Do you have any oil to put on her hands?" Josh barked at the pharmacist, sticking Ivy's hands under his nose.
The pharmacist looked at her reddened hands and immediately grabbed a few bottles of oil. However, those oil did not prove to work.
"This is very unusual." The little man scratched his head. "That must be a very special kind of acid you were using. However, I might not have the kind of oil you need. When I was a little boy––"
"Bring it over!" Josh demanded. "What if the acid was poisonous and already be going through her system?"
The man looked startled. From under the counter, he brought out a small bottle of mineral oil and poured it over Ivy's hands.
The oil appeared to work. Ivy's hands were soon back to normal and she felt fine when she tested it. She paid and thanked the pharmacist and they left the store.
"Ivy," Josh said worriedly when they stepped out of the drugstore. "What if the kidnapper decides to get back at you and do anything to get you to not finish this case?"
"Josh." Ivy whirled around and looked her brother into the eye. "I am fine, and I feel fine. I need to find out who the captor is. I am not resting until I do!"
"God." Josh sighed. "You are just like me. Bull-headed and as stubborn as a mule. Wouldn't give up the mission until you have it all accomplished. Well, who is next?"
"Obviously, I wouldn't have to go to Mr. Hugh Stamp's house and have a interview as a flight attendant anymore." Ivy grinned. "So…who's next?"
~Deep Into the Dark Waters~
"Mr. Ethan Hunt?" Ivy walked up to the office table where agent Ethan Hunt was working composedly on a mission. The keyboard click rapidly as his fingers flew on the keyboard. He looked up and saw Ivy. He stood up and slammed the laptop shut.
"Yes?" He asked sharply.
"So you are the famous Agent Hunt." Ivy exclaimed.
"Get to the point, kid." Mr. Hunt said impatiently.
"Mr. Hunt." Ivy purred. " My name is Ivy. I am stuck on this mission I am doing. I was wondering…" She trailed off as she looked coyly into his icy blue eyes.
"What?" He looked over abruptly. "What do you want, Ivy?" Then, his face softened as a look of hurt showed on Ivy's pretty young face.
"I was just wondering, since you are so clever at accomplishing missions, I was just wondering if you can help me on this mission I am doing." She spoke softly, looking very feminine and delicate. "You are, after all, a lot older than me and have had more experience."
"Of course I'll help you." Mr. Hunt said, his attitude changed immediately. "I'd be more than happy to help you." He sat down, but didn't turn on his computer. "What is the case about?"
"Oh," Ivy looked embarrassed. "You see, Mr. Hunt." She cleared her throat. "I was also thinking if we can get together for dinner and discuss it then. I know I should have worked on it yesterday morning, but I just had too much to do."
"I did a lot, yesterday, also. I went to––"He stopped abruptly. "I guess I could make time for the dinner, though." Mr. Hunt said after some thoughts. He didn't finish the sentence he was stating. "How about tonight?"
"That's great!" Ivy said brightly. "I'll be looking forward to seeing you."
"That was so clever of you!" Ivy laughed after two hours in the restaurant. "I would have never thought about that."
"Can you guys get to the point?" Ivy heard Josh whisper impatiently in her earpiece.
"Excuse me for a sec, Mr. Hunt." Ivy gritted her teeth as she left for the women's wash room.
"Josh!" She hissed, studying her looks in the mirror. "Ethan Hunt is still an agent. He knows this kind of stuff. Can you stop calling me every fifteen minutes? I have been to the restroom for like, ten times now. Mr. Hunt is going to think that I am constipated!"
"Okay, okay!" Josh sighed. Ivy walked back to the dining table and sat back down.
"Miss Lawrence, I am terribly sorry." Mr. Hunt checked his watch. "I have a very important meeting with someone. Might we discuss this case some other day?"
"Oh!" Ivy said. "Absolutely. I am so sorry I took up so much of your time."
"That is perfectly okay." Mr. Hunt reassured her before he left. Ivy sat in her chair for fifteen minutes, thinking about all the time she had wasted. During that fifteen minutes, a dark shadow had climbed into her car and pulled out a part. Smirking evilly, he tucked the part into his bag and ran away into the darkness.
"Oh." Ivy said irritably as she yanked open the door to her car. "I should have just started telling him about…about what? I can't just tell him about the case. What could I have done?" She started the engine. "This is so annoying!" She gave a cry to herself. "I think I'll go for a drive to the docks to cool myself down."
Ivy drove slowly, for it had just been raining and the road was slippery. She was slowing driving down the docks when she tried to make a turn to the parking lot.
Her car didn't turn. It went straight. She was about twenty feet away from end of the dock. Ivy tried again, twisting the wheel and turning it with all her might. The car wouldn't cooperate. Her brake had been tampered with! Her car was going full force and headed straight for the water. Ivy gave a scream as her car landed into the water. The impact was severe. Ivy's head hit the window from the impact. As water filled up in the car, Ivy was unconscious.
Ivy's mind slowly came back to conscious. She opened her eyes. She was in a hospital room. The room was a bleached white. She was numb. For a while, she just stared up at the ceiling, too paralyzed to move. She heard someone speaking lowly in the room. She strained to hear every word.
"But, Rob," She heard a Australian accent protest as quietly as possible on the other side of the room. He listened for a while. Ivy heard the man's voice shout.
"I want you to get her out of the way! Get her away from my work!"
"Okay, okay! I'll get rid of her as soon as possible." With an exasperated sigh, Ivy's heard the cell phone beep off.
"Ivy?" Ivy saw her brother's face came between her and the ceiling. "Can you tell me how many fingers I am holding?" Josh waved two fingers in front of her eyes.
"Two." Ivy answered absent-mindedly. "I'm not blind, Josh." Josh's voice lowered to a whisper.
"Did you hear what Mr. Stamp was talking about? He might have been talking about you."
"I know." Ivy whispered back. "Pretend we have no suspicion."
"This mission is going no where," Josh urgently whispered back. "So far, the suspicion is on everybody. Everybody."
"Oh, you are up!" Mr. Stamp, slipping the miniature black cell phone into his shirt pocket. "Young lady, you once again have given us quite a scare. I'd be lucky to stay alive between you and your brother. Luckily, Kyle was there when your care sank. He was the one who dragged you out of the water. How are you feeling?"
"Kyle? Dragged me out of the water?" Ivy echoed weakly.
"Yes." Another voice sounded from the room. Ivy looked behind her. Mr. Ambrose was seated right beside her bed, flipping through a car magazine.
"You have a problem of sitting right beside and behind me! I don't even know you are here." Then she looked confused, "Why are you guys here? What are you guys talking about? All I can understand is car, water, and dragged."
"Remember, your car lost control and you and your car went into the water?"
"No." Ivy replied weakly. "What happened?"
"Someone tampered with your car." Josh explained. "Don't you remember anything?"
"The slippery dock?" Probed Hugh.
"Dark water?" Mr. Ambrose pressed, his dark eyes fastened steadily on hers. "Car falling the water? Brakes––" Ivy's eyes flashed. She remembered. She turned paler than she already was.
"Yeah, I remembered. My brakes."
"You should thank Kyle." Josh added, hating to admit. "He's the one that pulled you out of the water."
"Thank God he's not here right now." Ivy sighed.
"Um, you only got half of that right." Josh started uneasily. "He's going to be––"
"The coffee's here!" A voice rang out. Kyle's voice. "Four blacks and––" He stopped as he saw Ivy sitting up in bed.
"Hey, Ivy. I'm really sorry that happened." He said, passing out the coffee and not meeting Ivy's eyes. Ivy detected a guilt in his eyes. "I'm sure it was an accident, though." He hastened to say.
"Accident?" Mr. Ambrose snorted. "Of course not! It was a set-up, more than obvious. The brake was cut off. Cut. Not ripped or fallen or whatever. The brake was nowhere in sight."
"You know a lot." Josh observed. "I suppose you have checked the car by yourself? Under water?"
Sean eyed him coldly. "I know about these things. I was also an agent once."
"You aren't an agent anymore, that may just be the reason we need." Ivy and Josh shared the same thought.
Within two days, Ivy was out of the hospital. Within the week, her car was dragged out and after several weeks of delicate treatment, it was as good as new. Within the next month, Ivy located the position of the last suspect. Thomas Anderson a.k.a Neo.
"You will need to find out where to put the cameras so that we can observe his computer and his apartment." Swanbeck explained.
"Sounds impossible." Josh commented.
"Sounds like fun." Ivy grinned. "So," She analyzed. "How am I suppose to meet this…computer hacker?"
"That will be your task." Swanbeck replied.
"Hi!" Ivy gushed. Mr. Anderson was taken back as he stared at the young woman standing outside his door. Ivy had on a dark red long and straight-as-a-board wig. Her had on a clingy bright red dress with a slit at the side and high-heeled red shoes. She and Josh had managed to layer enough make-up on to make her look older than her real age. Her dark sunglasses hid her eyes. She had a white shoulder bag on her shoulder. She looked exactly like a rich lady. "My name is Allison Rogers. Are you Thomas Anderson?"
"Yes." Neo replied, not offering her to come in.
"Oh, I am so glad I found you!" Ivy exclaimed. "I am have a computer problem, I was wondering if you can help me?" Ivy smiled, revealing her perfect, pearl-white teeth.
"Oh." Mr. Anderson looked puzzled. "Come on in."
"Thank you so much!" Ivy walked in and seated herself on the sofa. She opened her purse and took out a compact. She pretended to look at her image and rubbed some base on her cheeks. "I never use to have computer problems. You see, our computer was only used and fixed by my husband. But lately, he has been gone. So last night I turned on the computer and…it was just so terrible!" Ivy said dramatically. "Can I have a glass of water? The weather was just unbelievably hot!" She fanned herself.
As soon as Mr. Anderson left for her glass of water, Ivy pressed a tiny button at the side of her sunglasses. It was a camera. At her house, Josh's laptop lit up with the view of Mr. Anderson's house.
"Okay, baby." He pulled his feet off the coffee table and leaned forward, pressing the record button.
His screen reverted around the room.
"Look out the window, Ivy." Josh said to himself. After a second, the whole room was recorded. Ivy walked over to the window and looked out and up.
"Okay, we've got everything." Josh whispered into the headphone. "The call will come in now."
That moment, Ivy's cell phone rang. She picked up and heard Josh's breathing. Mr. Anderson was coming back with her water.
"I am so sorry to bother you." Ivy said after she hung up her cell phone. "That was the mechanics, he said he was ready to fix the phone. I need to go." Ivy picked up the white shoulder bag and went to the door. Mr. Anderson looked perplexed and opened the door for her. Ivy left breezily. She turned back and placed her hands on his shoulders and gave him a kiss. Her left index finger strayed to the middle of his chest. The piece of delicate disc stuck. Mission Accomplished.
"The first camera will be placed on top of the file cabinet. That way the lenses will be facing the computer screen directly. You'll be able to detect anything that is going on on the computer." Josh told her. "The second camera will be needed to be placed actually on Mr. Anderson. So we may observe what he does and anything else that is important."
Ivy saluted. "Yes sir." She and Josh already had a plan. "By the way," she called back. "I've already planted the camera on him." Swanbeck looked astonished.
"It's in the middle of his chest. We learned that he haven't' washed his clothes for three weeks."
"Ready?" Josh whispered as Ivy hooked the cable to her harness in the helicopter.
"Ready." Ivy's voice was steady. She looked steady. Her hands were steady. But her stomach and heart was not. Her heart was pumping so hard that she thought the whole world would have no trouble hearing it. Her stomach churned inside her.
"Okay, he would be out of the room getting his regular midnight coffee when you are in. You have only three minutes to lower yourself down and exactly two minutes in that room."
Ivy looked at her watch. It was four minutes and fifteen seconds to midnight. She took a deep breath.
"Ready for countdown,"
"Ready." Ivy replied.
"Five, four, three, two, one, GO!"
Ivy jumped from the helicopter and lowered herself from the cable wire down. Her hair whipping around her face as the wind thrashed around her. The wind was chilly at the height of twenty-eight stories. She looked at her watch. One minuet and forty-seven seconds to get to the sixteenth floor. She continued lowering until she was at the window of Neo Anderson's room. Mr. Anderson looked at his watch and stood up. He stretched and left the room.
"Go in, now."
"Copy that." Ivy replied as she expertly struck the crack of the window with a chisel. The lock broke and Ivy landed ethereally. She walked over to the file cabinet and arranged the tiny camera to face the computer screen with her gloved hands.
Ivy looked at her watch. She had thirty seconds to get out. She could hear a squeak from outside the window that must be from the roof. Jumping lightly back to the window, Ivy attached the cable to her harness.
"Rewinding cable." Ivy heard the pilot say.
Ivy closed the window and the cable started rewinding. The city lighted up beneath her like diamonds.
Suddenly, the cable gave a sickening lurch. Ivy's stomach sank. She heard the sound of the cable splitting. She looked up above her. The cable wire was ripping! Someone had sliced it! Ivy only had one thing to do to save herself, she started climbing. She was almost to the bottom of the helicopter when the cable ripped all the way. Ivy gave a thrust of power through her body and managed to grab one of the legs of the helicopter. She trashed in the air to get a better hold.
While she was thrashing and Josh was oblivious that his sister was hanging in midair, Ivy saw a figure ran across the roof. His shoes squeaked.
"He's the one that sliced the cable." Ivy thought desperately as she wiggled helplessly in the air.
"Josh!" She yelled, hoping that Josh could hear her somehow. "Josh!"
Moments began slip past and Ivy began to feel her strength began to wear out.
"Josh!" She gave one last cry. The fingers on her left hand began to slip off.
"You calling me, Sis?" Josh's voice came up. "What's up? Are you enjoying the view down below?"
"Land, Josh!" She screamed. "Tell the pilot to land this thing! I'm falling!"
"Say that over again, Ivy." Josh said back. "I thought I heard you say that you are falling. I think my earphone is failing me." He laughed.
" I AM FALLING!" Ivy screamed. Her left hand slipped. All she had to keep her from falling was the five fingers on her right hand.
She saw Josh stuck his head out of the helicopter and look down at her.
"Oh, my God!" She heard him yell. "Hold on, Ivy! You heard me? HOLD ON!" The helicopter above her gave a harsh turn as Ivy heard Josh yell at the pilot. Two of her fingers slipped. Now her life depends on three fingers.
"Josh!" She shouted.
"Don't you dare let go, Ivy!" Josh yelled back. "We are going to land really soon. If you let go, I swear I'll––"
Another finger slipped. Two fingers left.
"Hurry, Josh!" She screamed. Her arm ached and her muscles worn and torn. The helicopter gave another sharp turn. Ivy's fingers slipped. The last thing she saw before dropping out of the "safety" of the helicopter was Josh's frightened dark eyes. Then she dropped. She closed her eyes, her heart screaming inside of her from the drop.
Suddenly, she felt something. The strange force made her look up and opened her eyes.
Josh. He had jumped after her.
"I'm coming, Ivy!" He yelled. He had attached another cable on himself and had jumped.
Ivy reached her hand up. Josh was getting closer…the ground was getting closer also.
Two more inches. Their fingers are barely touching. The ground was getting closer by second.
Got it! Their fingers connected and Josh jerked Ivy into his grasp. The cable jerked them to a stop. Ivy almost slipped off again, but Josh wouldn't let her.
Ivy relaxed in Josh's grasp. She knew that he wouldn't let her fall. She soaked up all the security and reassurance he had for her in his grasp. All this time, she could hear him murmur something in her hair.
"It was almost over, Ivy." She heard him murmur. "Someone did that on purpose."
"Commander Swanbeck!" Josh stormed the next day. "Ivy was almost killed for most than four times the last two weeks!"
"This is all part of being an agent." Swanbeck shrugged. "If Ivy wants to quit, it's her decision."
"Ivy?" Josh looked over at Ivy.
"Hmm?" Ivy didn't looked from the document she was reading.
"Ivy." Josh insisted.
"What?" Ivy looked up and looked annoyed.
"Don't you want to quit this case?" Josh almost pleaded. This was getting too dangerous for his sixteen-year-old sister. Most girls that age would be worrying about nails and boyfriends, not getting killed.
"It's almost over, Josh." Ivy stated firmly. "And I want to finish it."
"But, but…" Josh stuttered, looking frustrated. Ivy interrupted.
"When all of this is over, Josh, I will be alive, and it will be Mission: Accomplished."
"Ivy, this is Kyle. I have found some clues to where Trinity is, I would like you to come over to my house tonight. The information is too important to tell you over the phone." The answering clicked off.
Ivy sighed. She was so close to solving this mission, but she would have to go to Kyle's house to get the information. She grabbed her handbag.
As she walked toward the door, she spotted her cell phone on the table. She stopped. Should she tell Josh where she is going? If something happens…
She closed that idea. She just needed one more piece of information to prove this person guilty. One more piece. Maybe she would be able to get it tonight.
She walked out the door and got into her car. The car roared off in the street as this unsecured feeling settled in Ivy's stomach.
"Ivy," Kyle slowly drawled. "I'm really sorry our relationship had to end this way."
"Kyle," Ivy interrupted impatiently. "I am here because you called me and said you have a clue where Trinity was. I'm not here to talk about our relationship."
"Just the same, I just wanted to tell you that before––" A depraved smile played on his face.
"Kyle…what is this about? Why did you call me?" Ivy was getting scared. She looked over his broad shoulders at the door.
"The door is locked, Honey. We are all alone. Just you and me." Kyle was apparently enjoying seeing Ivy fidgety. As quick as lightning, the fingers that had once been holding hers now closed on her wrist with sufficient force to snap it. "I want you to see something…the something of the reason I called you."
Kyle dragged Ivy down to what apparently to be the basement and stopped in front of a massive door.
"What you are going to see, Ivy, you would never get to reveal. You won't get to solve this mission, baby. But…before that happens––I've been wanting to do this for a long time." Kyle pulled Ivy over, his steel-gripped arms snaked around her slender waist possessively, and his lips closed in on hers.
"Ugh!" Ivy spitted and wiped her lips with her hand. "You…you…!" She slapped him. Kyle's eyes turned into cold and hard. He opened the door and shoved her in. "Feast your eyes!" He snapped.
Ivy staggered into the darkened world. When her eyes adjusted to the darkness, Ivy noticed a faint light at the other end of the room. She cautiously walked across the dirt floor over to it. Under the light, there was a chair. Ivy went around to see the person's face. Her hands went unconsciously to her mouth to hold back a scream.
"You are right, baby." The lights went on, blinding Ivy. "She is Miss Trinity Storm. And no, she isn't dead yet. But she is going to be. I expect a person that hasn't moved and who hadn't eaten anything except a couple sips of water for the last past one and a half weeks wouldn't last much longer. It was a shocking surprise that she had lasted so long."
"Why?" Was the only word Ivy could get out of her throat.
"Now, Ivy." Kyle chided. "With a brain like your, you should be able to figure that out. You figured everything else out, I bet…you just haven't gotten a chance to reveal it to that brother of yours."
"Why?" Ivy's brain would not comprehend to anything he had said. Everything is falling into place, except the why.
"Why? To impress you, of course." Now Kyle looked like he felt sorry for himself. He slowly walked and sat in a chair. "I was in love with you for the longest time, Ivy. You were beautiful. Everything about you. Your attitude, the way you talk and walk, your beauty, everything. You were like an angel descending from the heavens when you walked pass me. It was an obsession. You didn't even notice me. That went on for couple months. Then I had an idea. I though if I prove to you that I am more than an assistance, you would notice me for a change." He fumbled in his shirt pocket for a lighter.
"You planned to have Trinity kidnapped, then you would find her, and you thought I would be impressed." Ivy was disgusted.
"How in the world would I know that you would be assigned to this mission?" He lit a cigarette and looked at her sadly.
"You tried to stop me." Ivy continued, analyzing the whole mission. "You poisoned me and put acid on the wheel of my car at Mr. Ambrose's, you undo the brakes while I was having dinner with Ethan, you cutted the cable when I was putting cameras in Mr. Anderson's room. You put suspicion on every one of the five suspects except yourself. You didn't want me to finish the mission until you find Trinity and prove yourself to me. Each time was worse then the last because you were getting desperate. Until Josh almost killed you outside of Mr. Ambrose's mansion, then it was pure hatred that you did it from."
"You got it all figured out, babe." Kyle gave her a tired and misfortunate smile. "God, you are still beautiful. And I still love you deep inside of my heart. The obsession is too deep. I could never stop loving you." He whispered, taking in her hair and body. "Too bad none of us are going to last." He gave a bark of laughter.
"He is insane. He is delirious." Ivy thought desperately. "What do you mean?" She asked uneasily.
Kyle didn't answer. He walked over to the wooden crate at the corner of the basement. His shoes squeaked an everyday yet familiar squeak. Ivy suddenly remembered.
"You were the one that followed me that night when I got my new mission!" She exclaimed.
"Yep. You got that right." He continued toward the crate.
"Why?" Ivy said angrily.
"I overheard that Commander Swanbeck was going to give you the mission. I was trying to discourage you and scare you so that you wouldn't want the new case." Ivy wanted to run, but she didn't. She couldn't leave Trinity alone with this maniac. No telling what he would do.
"See this, baby?" Kyle opened the crate. "This is called "dynamites and explosives." We are all going to blow up in this basement. Both of you know too much and myself…" He shrugged. "I have nothing to live for…you don't love me."
Ivy's jaws dropped. "Kyle you've got to be kidding." She laughed shakily. "Just because I don't love you doesn't means no body else will."
"Don't try to talk me out of this, Ivy." Kyle snapped. He turned from the tired, heart-broken young man into a hard, heartless, cruel man. "All three of us are going to die."
"You can't be serious." Ivy said calmly, knowing the only chance they are going to survive was to play for time. She noticed the lighter on the chair and she inched closer to it. "You see, um…I happen to know someone that really likes you." She blabbered. Her hands closed on the fire lighter behind her. Now all she has to do is to find a place to hide it and keep on going with the time.
"I love you, Ivy. Not anyone else." Kyle laughed quietly to himself, gathering explosives and dynamites into his arms.
"Where? Where should I put the fire lighter?" Ivy thought to herself. She was way beyond desperate and scared, now. Any minute, Kyle would be looking for the lighter and ready to blow them all into pieces.
"Now, where is that lighter?" She heard Kyle mutter to himself. He turned to her and saw her standing by the chair, hands behind her back.
"Come here!" He snarled, getting up and rushing over to Ivy. He looked angry enough to kill her with his own hands. To kill her––the one he had loved for so long.
Ivy only has one choice. Run. But she just stood there, perplexed and dazed by Kyle's action as he hurried closer and closer. Her legs were as rubbery as jello. As Kyle's arm shot out to grab her, she then ran. She ran up the stairs and to the living room, where there was a window opened. She threw the lighter out as far as she could throw. She was almost out the front door when Kyle caught up to her and grabbed her.
"Let go of me!" Ivy demanded. Kyle paid no attention. Instead, he pulled her to stand in front of him at the window. "Do you see that?" His voice came close to Ivy's ear from behind. His hands were around her waist.
Ivy didn't see anything. All she was seeing was nothing. All she was conscious about was Kyle's warm breath on her neck. The closeness of it.
"Well?" His hands tightened around her waist. "Do you see it? Isn't it beautiful?"
"What's beautiful?" Her voice was hushed. Kyle gave a bark of laughter.
"I see that you can't see what I am seeing." He pushed her roughly back down the basement stairs. "What I just saw was our future if things had worked out our way. That's what I saw. I saw the stars shining in the heaven. I saw us…together. Living happily."
He pushed her beside Trinity. Placing the chair next to her, Kyle lashed Ivy firmly into the seat. He walked over to the wood crate. He pawed through the beige-colored crate and gave an ugly laughter.
"God, he is delirious." Ivy thought desperately. "He meant what he had said."
"We didn't need the lighter after all." Kyle said, holding up a box of matches. He prepared the dynamites and explosives. Using the longest fuse of a dynamite, he placed the dynamite in the crate and the fuse outside.
Ivy wiggled in her seat, trying to loosen the cord that had her tightly bound to the chair. She suppose she could loosen Trinity's rope behind her back, but what good would that do? Trinity has been out since about three days ago.
Kyle stuck a match. To Ivy's relief, before Kyle could lit the fuse, the match burned out. Kyle looked at the match disgustedly.
Kyle lit another match. Due to his shaking hands, the match dropped to the dirt and gravel ground and smothered. Kyle growled.
Another match lit up and burned. Ivy 's heart sank as this time, Kyle didn't drop the match. To desperate to think of another way to save herself and her comrade, Ivy gave a half-hearted blow at the match.
To her delight, right before the match made contact with the fuse, it went out. Kyle gave an enraged roar.
In two strides, Kyle came across the room and without warning, struck Ivy full force on the face. The blow made Ivy's head rang. She was shaking her head to clear her head and focus on her sighting when Kyle lashed out again. And again. And again. Until Ivy's head was ringing so loud that she couldn't think straight, hear anything, or even care what's going to happen to her.
Kyle slapped Ivy again, this time, so hard that the chair fell over and Ivy's head slammed into a piece of rock on the gravel ground. She was stunned and confused. Kyle aimed a kick at her. Ivy lied there on the ground, tied to the chair, her mind paralyzed. Her body froze with fear of what's going to happen to her.
"Stop!" Six voices hailed out as one. There were only six. If it was the authority, there would be more yelling and more people. But there was only six. Ivy's back was facing the entrance so all she could do was to listen and tried to concentrate. Her mind wouldn't cooperate. Her mind was a mind of her own. It wouldn't focus. From the blows, she went in and out of aware. All Ivy's managed to catch in the background was the sound of angry voices and hand-to-hand combat. It was a silent struggle between good and evil or maybe evil and evil. She didn't know what was happening.
Next thing she knew, her brother was untying her from the chair and picking her up. A police officer was untying Trinity and the paramedics were lowing her on a stretcher. Josh gathered Ivy in his arms tenderly, looking over her.
"Oh, Ivy." He breathed. "He had hurt you. Poor baby. Don't worry about a thing right now." He turned and headed for the door.
"Let go of me!" Kyle was demanding. "I have done nothing wrong! All I wanted to do was to blow the three of us up! Is that against the law?!"
"God," A familiar voice remarked. He was looked down at a screaming Kyle. The man straightened up and turned. That man was Mr. Sean Ambrose.
"Man, is he delirious or what?" Agent Ethan Hunt.
"I would say he is more than delirious." Pilot Hugh Stamp glared at Kyle.
"Beyond delirious." Neo smirked.
"Whatever, guess I got myself a new case. But I don't think he would need a lawyer." Scott Summers muttered. "He is going down to jail."
That was all she heard and saw before every conscious thought splintered from the impact.
Kyle was lighting the fuse. Ivy eyed him warily. The fuse lit up and started burning toward the box of dynamites. Before the fuse burned out, Kyle walked over to Ivy. With a smirk, he forced his lips on Ivy. Ivy struggled to get away. "Lips as sweet as honey." He mocked as he backed away. "Finally, a mission Ivy Lawrence couldn't accomplish, worse, you aren't going to live to tell about the first mission you failed." Ivy tried to kick him, but Kyle just laughed. Ivy looked back at the fuse. It was about one inch away from the dynamite box. All Ivy could hear was the ugly laughter of Kyle and the sizzling of the fuse burning. Ivy screamed. The whole house exploded. But she felt like she was not dead. She felt herself continuing screaming.
"NO! Kyle don't!" Ivy screamed out loud. "God, NO!" She thrashed around what she thought was her chair. Kyle's footstep was getting closer. The room lit up with light from the explosion. Kyle's face was right in front of hers, jeering, "––you aren't going to live to tell about the first mission you failed."
"Ivy?" Kyle shook her roughly. "Ivy, wake up. You were having a bad dream. Kyle is not going to hurt you anymore. He's in jail."
"Get away from me!" Ivy screamed and pushed the hands away. The hands found their way around her again, holding her tighter this time. She sat up straight in bed. She was drenched in sweat. Perspiration ran down her face. She was gasping for breath. Her eyes were wild.
"Ivy?" Kyle said again. "Wake up. It's me, your brother, Josh. Wake up!" Ivy's eyes and head finally cleared. She was in her own room, in her own bed. Josh sitting at the side of her bed, holding her. Ivy looked around. Her bed sheets were a mess, partly on the floor, partly tangled with her body. The footsteps of Kyle walking toward her were Josh's, turning on the lights in her room that must have been the explosion. Josh' handsome face must have been Kyle's jeering ones in her mind.
"It's okay, Ivy." He soothed. "It's okay." Ivy began to cry. She clinged on to him and sobbed into his toned chest. Josh held her tightly, rocking both of them back and forth. "It's okay. Everything is over. It's okay." He kept whispering.
"Josh," Ivy said after her tears had been dried up by Josh's shirt. They were both leaning against the backboard of Ivy's bed. The room was dark. Ivy's hair lay in a messy thick pile on top of Josh's chest. "Do you know what I saw when I was facing Kyle?"
"Ivy, you are okay, now." Josh tried to ease Ivy. But Ivy just can't ignore the fact.
"When I looked into his eyes, Josh." Ivy said in wonder. Her breath was steady and matched the raising of Josh's chest. "I faced death. His eyes," she tried to explain. "His eyes said everything. Hatred, love, sorrow, hopelessness, everything. But on top of all that, there was death."
"Yes, I know." Josh said quietly. His arm tightened around Ivy's shoulders.
"I have never seen anything like it." Ivy continued, snuggling closer to her elder brother.
"Ivy. Ivy." Josh said, sighing. "I know. I know everything. Many times, the same thing happened to me. But now, what you need is a good night's sleep. We can talk about it tomorrow. Try to set your mind at ease, Ivy. You are safe. Safe in this house, safe with me. I won't let anything happen to you." With a kiss on her forehead, Josh tucked Ivy in like when she was young. "Go back to sleep now." He closed the door and left. Ivy thought she would never be able to go back to sleep ever again, but within ten minutes after the lights were out, sleep claim over her mind.
It was after noon when Ivy bounded down the stairway into the kitchen. She skipped over to Josh and gave him a kiss.
"Morning, Josh." She said happily as she sat down.
"Morning. You seems a lot better." Josh said as he set down a plate. He was wearing casual clothing with a kitchen towel tied at his waist. He looks like he had no intention of going to the headquarters today.
"Hmm. Smells good." Ivy laughed. "When was the last time you cooked for me?"
"When you were sick in bed with the flu. I remembered you wanted nothing but pudding."
"I remembered that." Ivy said delightedly as she thought back.
"I know you remembered that." Josh replied, drying the pan with his so-call apron. "But did you remember that you didn't want instant pudding? I had to go find a pudding recipe on the Internet then make the pudding by scratch."
"I know." Ivy's grin got broader.
"But…you got so much better the next day. That was my only comfort after standing in front of the stove and mixing milk, sugar, eggs, and whatever else together for four hours straight. The milk just wouldn't turn into pudding!" His face was happy from the memory and a streak of annoyance shadowed as he remembered the pudding.
"I had forgotten you were such a good cook." Ivy replied, taking a big bite of the pancake. What a brother! It all began three years ago when a little sister was thrown into his hands after he had gotten his job. Big brother comes home from college and starts being both a mom and a dad to his little sister. Three years of laundry, stories, cooking, and teaching her techniques about solving missions. Josh, who picked up the pieces every time she made a mess of things, and sometimes showing up at school, and more than once did he clean up her vomit. More than once did he comfort her when she had nightmares. More than once was he there for her. He was there––always.
"Swanbeck called early this morning to tell you that he wanted you at the headquarters, but I told him you are going to take two days off and rest at home. And I am here to see that you are going to get your rest." Josh pointed a spatula at her.
"But, Josh!" Ivy protested, all of her good mood slipping away. "Today is the last day of the mission. I can't possibly miss that!" Josh gave her a look.
"You are going to stay home." He stated firmly. "I didn't have my say when it comes to the mission, now, humor me and rest for two days."
"Okay, fine." Ivy had no choice, when Josh talked like that, that's the end of the conversation. No changing minds. "But, tell me, how's Trinity?"
"She's in intensive care right now. The doctor said that she's going to be alright. It would be several weeks though. Think about it, Ivy, a woman that hasn't moved or eaten for about two weeks! She was beaten around, doesn't that take sometime to recover?"
"So, relax for two days, you were beaten around. And I bet you haven't been eating right ever since you got this last mission."
"So everyone is here?" Swanbeck counted. "Yep, except for Kyle, who is in Fairfax. Apparently, he's gone mad after Ivy turned him down." Ivy turned red as the roomful of men chuckled. "Now, Miss. Lawrence, you get a few questions before we close the mission. Start from the beginning. Take you time."
"Mr. Stamp, what were you talking about when I was in the hospital, recovering from the accident of the brake?"
"Were you worried about that?" Mr. Stamp laughed. "I was talking to my boss about my plane. He wanted her to be moved out of the runway."
"God, how humiliating." Ivy muttered. Then she cleared her throat. "How did all of you know where I was?"
"Good God, girl." Sean gasped. "What did you think all of us were doing when you came to us? Everyone was checking out the mission, which, I must add, Swanbeck, it's your fault."
Swanbeck glared at the formal agent. "You really should change the code to the confidential files. Anyone could get into it, not to mention…" He waved toward Mr. Anderson. "…the expert computer hacker."
Swanbeck sighed. "That could be arranged." He turned to Ivy, "Now, Miss. Lawrence, now that this mission is closed, what are you going to do? I wouldn't want to be searching for you like I did for Agent Hunt."
"Oh, maybe I'll go on a vacation," Ivy's lips curled up in a pretty smile. "This time I'll let you know where I am going…"