Eyal awoke to light streaming in through the closed, but lightly colored curtains covering the window in the hotel room. He glanced down, arms immediately tightening around the sleeping form of the woman next to him.
She started to stir as he stroked her hair. She flinched and sat up quickly, taking in her surroundings, analyzing the situation. But after a couple of moments of panic he could see she realized where she was and who she was with.
Immediately she relaxed. Scooting back down next to Eyal, facing him this time, grabbing his hand and pulling it into her chest, she closed her eyes, taking a deep breath.
Eyal just watched her knowing she would speak when she was ready. He could see the worry etched in her face. Clearly she was warring with herself about speaking aloud, or rather what to speak aloud.
"Eyal, I need to apologize" she looked up at him. She did just want comfort.
But he waited just the same.
"I was a disaster last night. It wasn't fair to make you come here to me. Risk everything. I'm sorry" she said, squeezing his hand.
"I told you I'd always come for you. Do not worry Neshama" Eyal smiled at her, just a ghost of a smile.
Annie smiled at him timidly. Then the smile slipped from her face and sighed. "Eyal…" she started only to be cut off.
"It is fine. I know you just wanted a strong shoulder to cry on. You needed a friend, I understand. Now let us get you ready for the next phase of your mission, whatever that is" Eyal said trying to sit up.
I need to distance myself. I need to protect my heart. She has found a way to worm herself inside my walls but as a friend. I need to remember she is just a friend. She is not a lover. She is just a friend.
Annie released his hand only to grab his arm to stop him for getting up. "I'm not done" Annie whispered.
"What more is there to say? He cheated on you. Okay, now we move on" Eyal said, successfully sitting up and getting out of the bed this time, breaking Annie's grasp.
"Eyal…" Annie said as he crossed the room to put his clothes on. She needs to understand.
"Annie, don't you see. I can't do this. We need to focus on the objective. Get this over with so you can go back to Auggie" Eyal said, pulling his pants on and reaching for his shirt.
"That's what this is about? That's where this coldness is coming from?" Annie laughed bitterly.
"Annie I am your friend, nothing more. I don't understand what you want from me other than support" Eyal said, finishing with his shirt and reaching for his socks and shoes.
"What if I want more?" Annie asked forcefully.
Eyal paused in pulling on his left sock. "What?" he asked, not turning to her, trying to quash the hope that was rising in his chest.
"What if I want more than friendship?" Annie asked again. Did she just ask…
Eyal turned to look at her. "What is you're saying Annie? You are involved. I will not be a rebound or an affair" Eyal told her, the truth blaring in his eyes.
"I don't want you to be…I would never consider you…" Annie fumbled over her words.
"Annie tell me what happened" Eyal sighed, giving up on his socks, staying barefoot.
"I mean I know when I went dark I didn't leave him much of a choice, but we were in a relationship and it's not like he thought I was dead. He knew I was alive. I think that is what hurts the most. He knew I was alive. I thought that meant something. I thought being committed to someone meant something. And then he went and slept with Helen. And then he took me to her apartment and I saw what they had been doing. That's how I found out. He didn't even have the guts to tell me himself" Annie stopped "I'm rambling. Sorry".
Eyal just starred at Annie, shocked. It was the most he had heard her speak since he had brought her back to life. And what she had just said had not been easy to hear. Why would Auggie do that? Why would he do it to Annie? He knew what was at stake, he knew what she was giving up in order to complete their objective, so why do that to her? He had thought the man had more respect for her than that. Eyal's view of Auggie had just dropped considerably. It was one thing to suspect. It was a different thing entirely to hear what had actually happened, and to know the parties involved.
"No I'm sorry" Eyal said, crossing to sit next to Annie on the bed. Annie leaned into his side.
"Don't be. What it made me realize was that he was the wrong man for me. I have always felt torn between what I have felt for him and what I feel for you" Annie paused, looking up at Eyal.
Eyal was holding his breath.
"And what I realized after choosing to go dark, and discovering Auggie's transgressions was that the man I have been with and the man I chose is not the man I want" Annie said looking up at Eyal, eyes never wavering.
"What changed? Other than the transgressions, surely a spy can overlook that" Eyal said, still trying to not hope for what she might be offering him.
"I changed. And someone who hasn't gone dark could never understand. You understand" Annie said earnestly.
"Annie…" Eyal started.
"Let me finish please. You have always understood me, and now you will be one of the few who will even be able to comprehend what I have been through. I need that. I don't need someone who sympathizes and smothers me, I need someone who just understands, who is there" Annie finished.
"If you love something set it free. If it comes back it's yours, if it doesn't it never was" Eyal whispers.
"But what Auggie?" he is almost afraid to ask.
"We're done" Annie said definitely.
"And you're sure this is what you want? Because Annie if this is the path you decide you want to take then there is no going back, not for me" Eyal challenged her, making sure she knew what she was deciding.
"I'm sure. I know what I want. You're what I want" Annie said.
Eyal had to take a moment to process that. She was really choosing him. She was giving them a chance. He leaned over her and brought her head up for a kiss.
They'd figure everything else out later what mattered was that they had definitely decided to give this a try.