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Note - This is a 1x1 public RP between me, Sacha Antonova and Thomas Shaw. It tells of our first meeting and our work together. I have to tread lightly here as much is still classified. This is our story...

(CIA HQ, Langley MD)

Having graduated high school, I was given a job at the CIA as a translator. My father worked there and he set it all up. It was enjoyable work, but I didn't plan on making a career out of it. Then it happened. He saw me, and I saw him, and my life changed forever.

It was a minor thing dating Thomas. We were both young and employed by the U.S. Spy agency. I worked translations, he worked in cyber surveillance. Had I not been wearing that black dress and nylons that day I walked the tanslations up to cyber, I likely wouldn't have caught Tom's eye. Apparently he saw me and asked who I was, and suddenly he was walking through translations on his way up to his floor. Tom was a big flirt. Though I resisted his charms, he had a way of wearing me down. We went ot on our first date a week after we met. The rest, as they say, is history.

When I first saw Sacha, I was working on a break of a Talaban phone code. Sacha came up and dropped of some translated cyphers from an intercept of Russian intelligence. Her blonde hair and deep eyes caught me if only by a second from across the room. I asked questions, I wanted to meet her.

When I found out she worked downstairs from me in translations, I made it a point to walk by her desk every morning. A smile led to a hello, an hello led to a talk, talks led to a date, and dates got us noticed by Operations. It is how we got recruited from within to become field agents, and all that it took from us two 18 year olds. This is our story.

I would be lying if I said I didn't want to know the dashing man who was my age that took interest in me. I hadn't ever really been attracted to guys much through school, so the feeling I got from Tommy was something new for me.

Sure, I had a boyfriend through my years at Albert Einstien High, but Dave was more of a friend than a boyfriend. A star of the wrestling team, he got his fair share of attention with the cheerleader clique. I was part of that group my first year at the school, but quickly realized I didn't fet in to their 'mean girls' club. Dave and I would go to the dances and do things together on Friday night, and it helped that he was a fairly muscular guy. It kept the other guys mostly at bay. Early on he admitted to me that he was gay and was interested in her for public social appearances, and she was ok with that. It was a mutual understanding that worked for them both.

So when Tommy came by her desk and said hello, I tried to ignore him while I ws in the middle of keying in something. But he didn't go anywhere, so I took off my glasses and looked up at him. My heart lept into my throat. How could a single look do that to me? He asked if I wanted anything from the vending machine, and I told him I was craving those mini-crumb donuts, he gave me a sheepish smile and walked off. I let my eyes look him over as he walked away. I got on with my work, and practically jumped out of my chair when a pack of six crumb donuts landed on my desk

"Enjoy, Sacha."

He said as he walked away. I sighed and smiled as I toyed with the pack of donuts for a minute, then set them under my monitor. I wasn't going to break into them just yet.

A pack of Hostess crumb donuts. Who would have thought. I wanted to get to know Sacha, and looking for the angle was part of the chase. I don't know why, but when she came up to cypher, I could not take my eyes away. She carried herself with a fluid classiness that seemed to draw me in. The dress and stockings helped that along. When she was done speaking with Chris who took the translations from her, she glanced over and saw me looking at her. Those big gray eyes holding mine like magnets ever so briefly. Her slight smile before she turned and left had me just going 'wow'. Dan whacked me in the shoulder to get me back on what I was doing, but I had to figure out who she was.

A pack of crumb donuts, probably stale, from the cafeteria vending machine. She never opened them. I came by the next week and they sat there under her monitor. During that week I did sit and talk with her at break in the same cafeteria where she bought her own crumb donuts. She seductively ate them before me while I tried to drink coffee. I finally got my courage up enough to ask her out on a date. When she said yes, I felt giddy.

We were two eighteen year olds working at the CIA. How that happened is a story each would have to tell. For my part, I was just a kid from a troubled home playing with a computer. My gaming was my escape, along with my music. But I would search. and when my searching found a rabbit hole that I was uncertain I should enter, I wavered. But with my Red Bull and weed, coffee and honey-roasted peanuts, I jumped in to the dark web with both feet.

I found doors and stairways that led me to places I knew I should not be in. When the refracted light of Prism surrounded me, I should have turned and ran, but I didn't. I wanted to know more! When I discovered the depths of the secrets this country was involved in, I got scared and started to back-track. I could see the doors closing and the ways out being blockaded, and though I was able to hide most of what I discovered, the heavy knock on the door came, followed by the battering ram splintering the doorframe. What they found was a somewhat malnourished kid jacked up on coke and energy drinks having not slept for 38 hours straight. I tried to wipe my computer as I turned to them with my hands up, saying "God Bless the Fvcking USA" They were still able to get much of what I had seen from my hard drive. I was looking at decades in prison, if not life.

It was a veteran CIA operative Steve Frost who saw my file and pleaded my case that I would be "useful" to the CIA. It was he who got me out of prison, and it was he who secured my position within Cyber in the Agency. When I took interest in Sacha, it drew her into the sticky web that surrounded me.

I remember our first real date. Tommy wanted to impress me, and he went all out. He took me to an Italian restaurant where English was a second language. The pasta was sublime, and we talked and laughed and got tipsy on the Italian wine. We weren't even old enough to drink, but the elderly gentleman who managed the restaurant didn't seem to care. He said,

'When a love comes, who am I to inpede it.'

Tommy took me home and walked me to the door, and before he said goodnight, he gave me a kiss that I can still feel. It was right out of one of those cheesy American TV shows, and it was all perfect. How our idylic beginnings got so convoluted was still a mystery. Well, not really a mystery. It all could be answered by agent Steven Frost.

It was strange circumstances that both she and Tommy were working at the CIA at age 18 in the first place. That we connected in life like a normal couple would do was understandable I suppose, but to then get recruited from within into field work ... well Steve knew there were certain risks. But still Tommy and I were on top of the world. We had a good thing going together, and we had good paying jobs, and we served our country... Tommy country of birth, and my country of choice.

We were excited to be considered for this role. Our first mission as a couple was to Sophia Bulgaria. It was kind of a training ground. The Bulgarians tended to serve all out their strong allied country they were connected with. They were the most loyal satalite country of the old Iron Curtain communist bloc, and now served the Americans with the means needed to get to the end. That mission went off without a hitch, and it gave both Tommy and I a taste fo what to expect. We went from being a normal young couple to being a young couple working for the CIA.

Yes, it was the best of times. Little did we know it was the beginnings of the worst of times. Our budding relationship grew and suffered all at the same time. Sofia showed we could function together well as a couple, and we worked well together as we went through weapons training and the psyche courses. It was almost like we had the best life going, having our work and having our life.. our love life... getting as much of each other we could.

But all honemoons have to end. Our ended in Chechnya. We got in and we worked our team and we got the people we needed to get out out. It was a simple wrap up and routine closure when everything went down the toilet. How we didn't know that an uprising would happen is beyond me, for the whole business of the CIA is to knew these things. But it was a spontaneous thing, and that is hard to track.

First our primary extraction was cancelled, then as we went to the secondary point, a roadside IED went off near the markets. Had they left a minute earlier, they would have been killed. Instead, the were hurt, and everything became chaotic from then on. We made it to the secondary, but it never showed. It was up to us to get ourselves out, and it was a long way to any safe border.

After we walked twenty miles across a barren rocky terrain, a helocopter came. It was a corroded old Huey flown by a 'private' contractor that came in. I was sure Steve Frost had something to do with it. He called in a favor somewhere. We were grateful, but he wouldnt admit he did anything. I know better.

Things weren't the same between us after Chechnya. I don't know what it was, but the innocence of our relationship in life had been compromised by our relationship as a couple serving the agency. It is something that had gotten under my skin, and I still struggle with the thought of it.

(Groznyy Chechnya ~ 2016)

The hotel was probably the best we would get in this city, and we did their best to fit in. my fluent Russian helped us a lot, but it was obvious that Tommy was American. We had to be very careful. Even in the hotel room we had to assume the place was wired, so we would go into the bathroom and get in the shower to have our private talks in hopes we couldn't be heard over the running water.

It was a sate dinner that we had to get message to a general that was friendly to the USA that he was in danger. Our social graces served us well, and that was accomplished. The general and his family was safely extracted to Georgia. It was the closure when everything went to hell.

There was no way to know a bomb was going to go off when it did. The chaos of its aftermath did create cover for us, but Tommy was wounded, and we had to get to our extraction points. When it became clear we wouldn’t be extracted, we had to make our own way to the Georgian border, and from there to the Black Sea. It was a walk I wish never to have to do again.

The fact we managed to get out of Chechnya was a miracle not of the CIA's making. We did it on our own, and by a favor called in by our sponsor agent Steve Frost. The fact we found out the agency had written toem off as "acceptable losses" turned me from the missions. From that day on that boat in the Black Sea, I knew I could not trust the Agency. Yet, unlike Sacha, they had me by the balls.

The debrief in Sofia Bulgaria was a hard one. I couldn't look at those across from me and think straight. They would have left us for dead, or worse, capture. Sure it would have been orders from above, and that was what bothered Tommy so much. He couldn't tell them to go stuff themselves.

After Chechnya, I noticed a change in Sacha as well. Somehow, we had some distance fall between us. Still we still loved each other, but I think the enormity of what they had signed up for was coming to light. I only hoped Sacha would be able to cope.

The suddenness of it all... the explosion, the compression wave, the debris, the death and wounding of innocents... it was too much to take in so suddenly. But Thomas was stoic, as of it was typical of life for him. He took pieces of rocks and shards of metal as he covered me by instinct when the bomb went off.

As much as I wanted to stay and help the wounded, the children crying for their dead parents, the bleeding young woman who died on her fiance's arms... I turned and puked. I puked so hard at the visions I was seeing. Steve Frost never told us how hard this could be. Until that day, it was a charmed life I was living with Tommy. Now, the shit got real. If it wasn't for Tommy, I would have likely fallen in to myself and dispaired. Yet Tommy kept me focused, and though I believe the innocence of our love died that day, a casualty of that bomb, I love Tommy more for his demeanor through the harsh days we had ahead of us.

The morning had brought clouds and rain. This country need some rain. If anything it would keep the dust down, and was refreshing to our sweaty dirt covered bodies. But the trudge through the sticky red mud, which was before the fine windswept grit we had been covered with, made our progress hard going.

When the sound of a helecopter approached, I ducked low and covered Sacha who was shivering. It had the distinct sound of an old Vietman-era Huey, and the pop made determining its direction impossible. When it came over the ridge and sweptr down, I was torn between taking cover and jumping up and down. It had no markings and had a corroded grey look where the old army green had worn. Either that or it was a poor job of camoflauge paint. When it circled them and the pilot waved, I felt a little more at ease. Sacha agreed we should take the gamble on this feee ride.

Once aboard, the pilot took off and motioned me to sit as his second. Sacha crouched between the seats behind us. It turned out to be a friend of Steve Frost's, one he had to burn many favors to get him to come get us.

I don't know how I felt when that chopper picked us up. I was malnourished, dehydrated, and I clung to Tommy for support and all my hope that we would find our way and live rested on him. Now I don't like depending on men, but when Thomas and I were out there, it was something that reached across any gender lines. We depended on each other.

As much as I hate Steve Frost for getting me… us, into this, I would have given him everything in payment for that chopper ride out to Turkey. For me, nothing would ever be the same after that. Nothing! Not my relationship with Tommy Shaw, not my attitude toward my adopted country, nothing. The naivete that was me before, died that day in Chechnya.

The troubles began as soon as they landed in Ankara. Scaha had become withdrawn, and one could not blame her. I surely didn't. It messed with my mind too. Maybe it wasn't right for me to expect things to be the same between us. I should have been more understanding.

I had to get out of that hotel room. Sacha was spiraling and I didn't want to be around when the agency shrinks came, so I went out to a hookah bar. I came back three days later wher I was met by Sacha. She was calm and collected, and she told me as she left, "Goodbye Tommy."

I didn't know what I was thinking. I shouldn't have walked away from you. Why did we have to meet in the Agency? Why dod they have all the cards? You were always so kind to me Tommy, and you always looked out for me. Yet, I crumbled under the pressure and could not cope, and my defense threw up walls to help protect me. I never had any walls with you Tommy, you knew that.Yet I closed the door on your face when you just wanted to see how I was doing. I'm sorry Tommy, it was a mistake. I will always love you, and I miss being in your arms.

It would be some time later when they would again meet. It was a random meet at that. I was in Odessa on a holiday, trying to relax out of the realm of the usual places. I was walking out of the sea after a swim, and I spotted a blonde sunbathing. I didn't want to look at her too much, but whe she dropped her sunglasses and said, "Hello Tommy." I paused. I asked if it was ok for mr to sit with her, and we sat and talked and drank as if we were old friends who had lost touch.

I didn't see him coming. I didn't expect him. He was the last thing on my mind. The break I needed I was embracing after getting out of the German prison. I didn't want to think about work or missions or anything. I was just being a drunk on the beach, getting hit on by random passing guys.

So when I went to sleep in the sun, I was a bit shocked when I opened my eyes and saw a silhouette of a man approaching. When he got close enough to shade me momentarily, I could see it was Tommy Shaw. I should have just lay there unmoving, but I instinctively spoke, because it was Tommy and I was familiar with him.

When he paused and looked, I realized he didn’t recognize me, but now it was too late. For now, Tommy Shaw was in my life again, and as we talked, there was much I missed about the man. How could it be that I was falling in love with him all over again? Or maybe I never stopped loving him? All I know was I got that feeling in my stomach, and the longer we spent on that beach together, the more my resistance fell.

When we went to the bar and continued to drink and talk, I started to realize that Tommy had moved on. Why did I throw away the best thing that had ever happened in my life?

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