Oh bloody hell...
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Must get out.
Have to think.
He slung the backpack over his shoulder and leapt over the balcony railing, deftly landing on his feet like a cat and crept away silently into the night.
This wasn't going to go away. Whoever this girl—girls he reminded himself were, they were the key to something or why else would he have gotten that phone call. But key to what? Was she indeed and innocent victim, in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was she connected to the operation somehow?
Or worse, what if she was connected to him? The thought made him shudder.
Something wasn't right. There was a disconnect. Say a man walks to work the same way, every day, for months and then one morning stops and wonders, "was that sign always there like that?" He knows something is different, varied, or out of place, but isn't quite sure what. Gregor felt as if he were looking at a fake Mona Lisa, but not able to say how he knew it was a forgery. It was a nudging sensation that was growing into a full blown gnawing. His object d'art was people, places, and details, and using them to make decisions in the blink of an eye, but here he missed something.
How could their intel have been so wrong? The people at OPS are never wrong. There was no ambassador there. It was almost as if they'd walked into an ambush—but it was too sloppy. If they wanted to take out Gregor and Johansen they could have easily done so with the explosives which they obviously had. Instead they engaged them, why? The answer was in his mind somewhere.
The plea was fainter but still there, clouding his judgment. So was the drink, Gregor decided and stood; the shift in weight made his knee crack. He carried the glass over to the kitchen sink, where days of dishes sat with crusted oyster sauce and rice. He thought back to the morning before, when he looked at the image of a pathetic, washed up man in the mirror. Twenty years ago that man would never have lived in filth; every hair was in place, his shirt pressed, and the sunglasses he wore hid a twinkle that could charm his way though a locked door, not eyes red from drinking himself blind. That man never slipped. Things had to change, now. He poured the scotch into the sink with a ceremonial flourish and dropped the glass into the pile where it shattered.
"Fuck." So much for grandeur.
Gregor reached into the sink to pick out the bigger shards, and sliced his finger along a jagged edge in the process.
A drop of bright red blood now marred the snow white terrycloth robe. Gregor stared at the splatter pattern.
They came out hot.
Check the street.
(Look at his face!)
(He paused and smiled.)
I know him.
Gregor wasn't sure whether he felt anger, repulsion, or fear; it was probably all three at once. He began to pace about the small apartment, now ignoring the cut and the droplets of blood that still fell from it. Alex Portrivov. How did he manage to find him? Did he escape or was he released? It had been, what, over ten years since he left him to rot in a Pakistani prison? It was a fate Alex should be grateful for since Gregor could have and would have killed him with his bare hands for what he'd done…
Oh Aaliya, you always deserved so much more.
Portrivov's presence at that apartment building only meant one thing: revenge. He was here to settle a score. Now Gregor just had to figure out how deep it went. Did Alex get himself involved with these radicals knowing that Gregor would be the one coming after them, or is this completely unrelated? Was the girl with him?