Mulholland Books Popcorn Fiction Popcorn Fiction - Honeymoon, Part II by Leslie Bohem
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A new bride discovers the truth and fights back in Part 2 of this international spy-thriller from screenwriter Leslie Bohem.

Honeymoon, Part II

"Aww, fuck!" Andrew said as he floored the car. Amy was screaming now. There was blood and brain on her. She leaned over and vomited. Another bullet ripped through the hole where the window had been. If she hadn't been bent over, it would have taken out her head.

She looked through the blown out window. She could see a blue late model Fiat racing up behind them. Annaka was leaning out the window, holding a rifle.

Andrew turned them in at the construction site, racing up a dirt driveway. A truck loaded down with heavy-gauge pipes barreled towards them. He swerved round it as its horn blared. Annaka fired again. Her shot went wild but it terrified the driver of the truck who swerved too quickly. The truck overturned. The pipes rolled out and the guy driving Annaka's car had to brake, stop and back up to go around.

It gave them a moment. Andrew pulled them onto a busy street and moved them expertly through the traffic. As he settled in a lane, he pounded his hands on the steering wheel. "Motherfucker," he shouted. "Fucking Peter Stone!" He looked in the rear view mirror, then back ahead. There was a cross street just coming up. The Fiat came barreling out of it as they passed, sideswiped them. Sent them careening across two lanes of traffic. Andrew took the hit and rode it, regaining control of the car as they flew into oncoming traffic.

The cars came at them without slowing down. Just an angry blur and a lot of honking. Andrew caromed through them expertly, looking back in the mirror once or twice.

The Fiat was following. "Come on...come on," Andrew said. He clearly had something in mind.

Up ahead of them was a roundabout. Cars and buses coming in and out in all directions. Andrew counted quietly to himself, watching a taxi coming straight for him. At the last possible moment he jerked the wheel to the left, sending them up on two wheels off the monument in the center of the roundabout. Behind them Amy heard the squeal of brakes and the collision as the Fiat collided head-on with the taxi. She turned to see Annaka out of the car and the cab driver yelling angrily at her and the guy with her, oblivious to the rifle she was holding.

Andrew pulled them down another street, slid the car into a parking place. Up the street was a bus. "Come on, hurry," he shouted, already out of the car.

They were on the bus and he had paid their fares when he spoke again. "Are you all right?" he asked her and then he smiled. "Stupid question. Sorry."

"Did we lose them?" she asked.

"I think so," he said, looking out the window.

"Are you..." she felt stupid, even under the circumstances, asking him this, "are you a spy too?"

"I'm just a guy who works at the embassy. Stone, he was the spy. CIA, been here since the Cold War."

"So what he said, about Bobby, all of that? Was it true?

"I have no idea, but if I were you, I'd give them what they want."

"I don't know what they want."

"Then I'd run really hard and really fast."

They rode for the next few minutes in silence, both of them watching out the bus windows. Amy was wet and cold and there was blood on her blouse, but no one on the bus seemed to notice.

After they'd gone a few stops, Andrew said, "This is us." It was the Memento Park exit. They got off the bus, crossed the street and went quickly into the park. "This place was built in 93, right after the Russians left," Andrew told her. "They took all the statues from around the city, communists were big on statues, you know, and they put them all here. I guess the idea was a sort of "never forget." But the truth is, no one gives a shit. No one comes here."

It was hardly a park. Flat, desolate, with high-tension towers and wires running from the electrical plant nearby, and huge statues of Marx and Engels, of struggling workers, of the hands of freedom, all sitting like the relics of some ancient civilization. "Weird, huh," Andrew said. "But they'll never find you here." There was a cold, bitter wind. Her clothing was still damp. The dead Gods of communism stared down at her.

"You want to take another moment," he said, "think about anything that Bobby might have said or done, anything he left with you or in the hotel room."

"He didn't leave anything in the room. That's why I came to you. Because he and all his things had disappeared." She was shaking again with the cold. He took off his jacket and wrapped it around her.

"Look," he said. "You came to the embassy, you didn't talk to anyone but me. With Peter dead, they don't know who you are. Why don't you just go home?"

"I'm supposed to meet my friends tomorrow in Vienna. It's what we agreed on when I married Bobby. What we'd do if it didn't work out."

He looked at her, almost amused. "I'd say," he said, "that it didn't work out."

She nodded.

"I'm going to leave you here for a while now," he said. She saw him recognize the desperation in her eyes. He sighed. "Give me your room key."

"I don't understand."

"Like I said, I'm just a guy who works at the embassy. I didn't sign on for any of this Bourne shit. I've got a family at home. I've helped you about all that I can." He had his phone out and was checking something. "There's a train to Vienna leaving at seven in the morning. You can't go to Austria, or go home for that matter without your passport. I can get it for you if you like. I can bring your clothes, your backpack, if you like."

He was right. She couldn't go anywhere without her passport. "Thank you," she said. He nodded, took another moment, and then walked back out of the bar towards the bus stop.

She huddled under the Béla Kun Memorial, the sharp angles of revolution, and waited for dawn. It was the longest night she'd ever spent and it was not good to be alone with her thoughts and her fears. How had she been so stupid? Two assholes in one year. What if Annaka knew how to find her? What if it were all a lie and Bobby was somewhere right now, in trouble, needing her help. She played out every single thing that had happened. Every moment she and Bobby had spent together, everything he'd said and done. Everything that had happened that night. She went down every road in her mind. A few hours before dawn, she fell into a sort of doze. When she woke, she was staring at her left hand, stretched out in front of her. There it was. Her wedding ring. Bobby's grandmother's ring. The only thing he'd given her. She took it off. Examined it by the spotlight that illuminated the monument at night. Was there microscopic writing inside the band? A place for a computer chip behind a diamond? She had no idea. But they all said that Bobby had given her something and this was the only thing that he had given her.

Just before dawn, Andrew came back. He was carrying her backpack. "That woman, Annaka, was at the hotel with the one who followed you into the river. His face was pretty cut up."

"How did you get my things?"

"The Embassy has a relationship with the hotel. I used my diplomatic ID and the manager sent someone up for your things. Do you have any money?"

"A little. I have my credit cards."

"I wouldn't use those," he said, matter of fact about it.

She checked her pants. She had thirty Euros in her pocket. He reached in his pocket and gave her what he had. "You can keep the jacket," he said. "Good luck."

She made her way through the giant statues and out of the park. She took the bus to the train station. She bought a ticket to Vienna and boarded the train. It was crowded and the passengers all made her nervous. Any one of them could be working for Annaka, for Peter Stone, for someone else who thought that she had something and was willing to kill her for it. She used the restroom on the train to clean herself up as much as she could and to change. She bought herself a breakfast and a coffee from the cart. Her phone was in her backpack. She got it out and texted both of her friends that she would meet them at the airport in Vienna. She was going home with them. She would tell them about it when she saw them.

In Vienna, she took the tram from the station to the airport. Every step of the way, she was frightened, a cloud that never left her.

Was there someone following her? Did they know who she was and where she was? When her passport was scanned at the border did lights go on in some super-secret basement where spies or terrorists or both knew her exact location? That couple with the baby in the stroller coming towards her as she left the train and headed for the tram, were they really the parents of a new-born baby or were they assassins who would pull a machine gun from under the baby blankets, shoot her dead, abandon the stroller and board the next train out of the station?

She retrieved her ticket from a clerk in the terminal, instead of using her credit card at the e-ticket stand. She checked her backpack, went through security and started for her gate. She could see Susie and Emily already there waiting. Susie had her phone out, probably checking for another text from her. Emily was pacing. She turned, saw Amy, and waved. She said something to Susie and Susie turned. Amy waved. Then she saw Annaka, Gunter and the other guy who'd been with them in Budapest. They were standing right behind her friends. Annaka caught her eye and she waved as if Amy had been greeting her.

The implication was clear. Come with us quietly or we'll kill your friends. She stopped where she was. She had absolutely no idea what to do. Then someone came up behind her and grabbed her. She was face to face with Andrew.

"Come on," he said. She saw her friends' surprised faces. She saw Annaka and the two men start to run. She turned and followed Andrew. There was a door behind him that he must have come from. It was still open. He led her in and they ran down a long, neon-lit corridor. Andrew had a baggage cart waiting there. They jumped in and he drove them off. Behind them, the door opened. Annaka and her guys. There were gunshots. She ducked as several bullets pinged off the walls, then there were some shouts and she turned to see half a dozen security officers closing in on Annaka and the others.

Andrew drove them around a corner. The tunnel opened outside, near the gates. Andrew stopped the cart. They got out and started to walk, headed for a door that looked as if it led back into the terminal.

"Where did you come from?" she asked.

"I lied to you," he said. "I am a spy. An agent. But I'm the good guy in all of this. I was ninety-nine percent sure you were just an innocent by-stander, but I had to be certain. I let you run. You would either come here, to meet your friends, in which case you were clean, or you would take me to Anton, to Bobby. So I lied to you. Peter Stone was lying too. All of that about Bobby selling weapons, nukes, that's pure movie shit."

"Bobby wasn't selling weapons?"

Andrew shook his head. "He brokered in names. He and Peter had partnered up. They were willing to sell names of terrorists to the CIA—or vice versa. We deal with bad people to catch worse ones. The rest of what Peter told you was true. He did kill Bobby Stone and set this plan in motion. Annaka is a German terrorist and Anton was going to sell her the names of the agents in her group and several others. These names are impossibly classified. I work this sector. Eventually, these people will answer to me, and I don't know their names."

"So why did this man, Peter, bother to lie?"

"It's the way it's done. 'Need to know' they call it."

"I still don't understand. Why did Bobby marry me?"

"We were looking for a solo agent, not a married couple. He got from Italy to Hungary without anyone asking any questions."

"And that's what this Annaka thinks I have? The names?"

"For what it's worth," he said, "I believe you."

They had reached a door that led back into the terminal. Andrew opened it for her. Inside it was crowded, normal. People coming and people going. "Thanks, I guess," she said. And then her phone rang. He looked at her, surprised.

"Go ahead," he said.

She answered the phone. She expected Susie or Emily, and when she heard Bobby's voice say, "Amy, baby," she could barely move. Andrew was watching her. She was not sure if he'd heard Bobby's voice. "Yes," she said.

"Are you with a guy who says his name is Andrew?"

"Yes," she said, her voice tentative. Andrew looked at her, expectant.

"Get away from him as quickly as you can. He's not Andrew, he's a Serb named Anton Nenezic—he killed Andrew and took his place. He's working with the woman you met in the bar in Budapest. Remember? Her name was Annaka."

Andrew was waiting. She looked at him, held up a finger. 'One second.'

"No, Susie, really," she said. "I'm all right. I just won't be able to make the flight. I know it looked weird, but it's really OK. I'll explain it all to you when I get back home."

"Amy," Bobby said. "I'm sorry, just know that. The truth is, I'm an agent with the CIA. I am really and truly sorry that I got you into this. I thought it was over in Venice, but when I saw that woman, Annaka in the hotel bar, I knew that it wasn't over. You have something of mine that they want."

Andrew was watching her. "I know, Susie," she said. "He's a friend. I didn't mean to worry you."

"Amy, I love you. Remember my father. Come find me. Get away from that man."

She looked at her wedding band, closed her hand in a fist around it. "I will, Susie," she said. She ended the call. "My friends," she said, "wanting to know why a strange man grabbed me and I disappeared instead of getting on the plane with them to go home."

He started towards her. "My car's in the loading area," he said. "That diplomatic thing again. Lots of privileges. Let's head over to the field office and we'll talk about getting you home."

She nodded. "How did they know I'd be here?" Amy asked. "Annaka and her friends."

"They have people. Your name on an airline ticket. It's not that hard."

She looked at him, confused. Everything about him was right. He was kind and concerned. He kept showing up at just the right time. He'd even gone to get her passport after he helped her escape. "We should get out of here," he said.

An airline porter was wheeling a cart full of luggage past. She took a small suitcase from the top of the cart and in the same motion swung it into Andrew's head. The blow knocked him to the ground. As he fell, she ran around the cart and then kicked it as hard as she could. The porter was shouting at her as all the bags fell. She took off at a run.

"You little idiot," she could hear Andrew yelling behind her. "I'm your only friend."

She ran through the terminal and outside. She pushed to the front of the line of people waiting for cabs and got into the first one. She took her entire wad of Euros from her pocket and waved them in the driver's face,

"I want the bus station," she said. "I need enough money for my ticket. You can have the rest." Even as a guard was coming over to tell the driver that he had to take the next passenger in line and not her, he pulled out of the cabstand and away from the airport. Looking back, she could see Andrew coming out of the terminal. He was on his phone. "I think," she said, "I want to go to the train station instead."

At the train station, she bought herself a ticket on the Orient Express, which was about to leave for Istanbul. She used her credit card to buy the ticket. Then she bought candy and some magazines, again using her credit card. As she boarded the train, she took off the jacket that Andrew had given her. She went into the dining car, draped the jacket over the back of her chair and sat down. When the waiter came, she ordered a sandwich. Then she left the train, went back outside and took another taxi to the bus station.

The town where Bobby's grandfather had grown up was in Romania, in Transylvania actually. It was a village called Paulish, close to the town of Arad. There was a Zoran Reisen bus leaving in ten minutes that went to Belgrade. From there, she could get another to Arad and then a third to Paulish. She boarded the nearly empty bus. It smelled vaguely of boiled cabbage.

It was late afternoon now and the bus wouldn't get to Belgrade until early the next morning. The ride gave her a lot of time to think. By the time she got off the bus in Belgrade, she had a pretty good idea of what her situation might be. She knew what she wanted to do.

She had paid for the ticket to Belgrade in Euros. In Belgrade, she exchanged more of the Euros for Dinars and paid for her ticket to Arad with those. She had two hours before her bus left. She got a locker in the bus station. She put her phone and her wedding ring in the locker. She asked a woman at the ticket kiosk if there was prepaid Internet service here. The woman told her that there wasn't, but that there was at the train station next door. She went there and paid for half an hour on-line in cash. She logged onto a website for backpackers than ran free personal notices. A sort of Craig's List for travelers. She predated a post. It would run next week unless she cancelled it. Then she went back to the bus station and boarded the bus for Arad.

In Arad, she found the schedule board in the station. She had taken French in high school and enough of the Romanian words looked familiar and she could decipher that there was one bus that stopped in Paulish on its way up into the Carpathians. There was no exchange in the terminal and it was a bit hard for her to convince the woman who sold her the ticket to let her pay in Dinars. Finally, she added several of her Euros, said "please" and "s'il vous plait" and tried to look like a helpless tourist. The woman sold her a ticket. The bus into the mountains left in an hour. She was starving and there was no restaurant in the station. She went outside. Arad was a drab, industrial place. It was very cold and even the wind that blew through the streets felt grey. She ate cold sausages in a greasy restaurant by the terminal, then went back in and boarded the bus.

The only other passengers were a group of English Goths taking a Dracula tour. A couple of them actually wore red-lined capes and one of the girls had filed her incisors to sharp points. They were all headed up into the mountains to see Vlad the Impaler's castle. Amy was the only one who got off in Paulish.

Paulish was a town of probably three hundred. The streets were old and cobble-stoned. The houses looked even older. It was the middle of day, and there was no one on the street. She saw the church tower and its clock immediately. Where Bobby's grandfather had learned to tell time. She walked up the narrow street towards it. A dog barked from somewhere. A woman in the kitchen of a house looked out at her dully. Then she reached up and closed her window.

As Amy neared the church she looked up at the clock, at the tower. She looked up the street too, half-expecting a blue Fiat to come around the corner, Annaka at the wheel, guns blazing. She fingered her ring finger as she walked, feeling absently with the thumb for the ring she'd taken off. When she reached the church she stopped and she stood there, waiting. It was cold and she didn't have Andrew's jacket anymore. In the distance, she could see the Carpathians, rimmed in snow. It was easy to imagine the sun going down behind those mountains, the shadows lengthening, and the vampires rising from their graves to feed. Amy's demons were so much more tangible. And they were better armed.

She waited for at least a half an hour. Once, a horse-drawn cart went past. Another time, she heard a car somewhere in the distance but didn't see it. The wind blew. The sun went behind clouds. Then some pebbles fell near her and she heard a whistle.

It might as well have been the howl of a wolf on the wind. It startled her that badly. She looked up. She could see someone, waiting in the church tower. She started inside.

The church was cold and dark and moist. There was one candle burning in front of a painting of a saint. Past it, there was a winding stone staircase. She crossed to it and started up the stairs. Her footsteps rang off the stone. Shadows played up from the candle burning in front of the saint. The walk up those stairs seemed to her to take as long as the ride from Vienna. Finally, she was there. An ancient wooden door led to the clockworks. It was open slightly. She pushed it further open.

Bobby was standing there, smiling. He took her in his arms and he kissed her.

It was so familiar. The smell, the taste of his mouth. It had only been two days since he'd kissed her. Two days and a different world.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he said. "I should have told you everything. I thought it was over. When we're done with all this, I'll spend the rest of my life making it up to you if you'll let me. God, Amy, I'm so sorry." And then he noticed. "You're not wearing your ring," he said.

"And I didn't bring my phone with me either," she said, coldly.

The look on his face was almost worth everything she'd been through. His realization that she knew, that he'd been outmaneuvered, that the rules of the game had changed.

She'd figured it out on the bus from Vienna to Belgrade. The ring was a ring. It was too James Bond to think that there were secrets hidden in it. So what else did she have? What could he have given her? She played their time together for herself. She saw them in Milan, in Venice, in Prague, in Budapest. She saw them laughing, making love, getting dressed, eating dinner, stopping in a bar for a drink. It was like watching the slideshow feature on her laptop, the pictures coming up one by one. And that was when she saw it. He was downloading her photos from her phone to make a slideshow, he said, and she had seen something odd on his screen for a moment. "I've got to stop dropping this thing," he had said. But he hadn't been downloading from her phone; he'd been downloading to it. The list was on her phone. And now her phone was in a locker in the bus station in Belgrade. Something else had happened to her on that bus ride. She wasn't frightened any more. She wasn't hurt or sad or ashamed of what had happened. She was angry. Emily and Susie laughed at her, thought she was naïve and romantic, that she lived in a fantasy world full of Prince Charmings and dreams that came true. But it wasn't a fantasy that Bobby had destroyed. He had taken something very real from her. It would be a long time before she allowed herself to believe in happy endings again, and it was that belief that had made her who she'd been. She was going to make Bobby or Anton or whatever the fuck his name was pay for that.

"You have no idea what you've done," he said. "No idea at all."

The look on his face was one of absolute fury. If she had any remaining doubts about Bobby, that look removed them all. "I suppose you gave it to that prick, Andrew."

"Andrew," she said, "is in Istanbul by now, turning the dining car on the Orient Express inside out." She had him now. She had him and it felt good. "Why don't you tell me the truth this time?" she said. "It would give me closure."

"I was telling you the truth. Most of it. How do you know Andrew is in Istanbul?"

"Your friend, Annaka, tried to kill me. Did you know that?" She didn't wait for him to answer. "She was with two men and they tried to drown me in the Gellert baths. You know, the ones we 'had to try.' I managed to get away. Andrew helped me. I wasn't dressed for the Budapest winter and he loaned me his jacket. I think he put something in it to track me with."

"He probably did."

"What did you mean, most of the truth?"

He took a breath and she realized that he was exhausted. "Let's see if I can tell the story from the other side and make it make sense," he said. "Andrew is an operative based out of Budapest. He works with a man named Peter."

"Peter Stone," she said.

"Yes."

"I met him. He's dead."

He took that in. "No great loss there," he said. "The Agency doesn't pay very well. That can cause some loyalty issues. Peter and I went into business together. I had what we call "special access" to certain information, the names of all of the agents who were in deep cover with various terrorist cells. I deleted the names from the CIA databanks. Once I'd done that, I was the only one with the information. Peter approached Annaka and they agreed on a price. A fantastic price. The plan was for me to deliver to Annaka in Budapest. But we had to be careful. If anyone at the Agency noticed that the names were missing from the databanks there would be hell to pay. I needed a cover, a way to get into Hungary that would keep me under the radar."

"Newlyweds," she said.

He shrugged.

"How much did you pay that guy to grab my backpack?"

He didn't answer the question. "We were being watched," he said. "We knew that. That's what Peter and I were arguing about when you saw us in Venice. Peter had been sloppy and I wasn't happy about it." He looked at her, his expression sad. "All very clever," he said. "Except for the part where I fell in love."

"Fell in love, put the list on my phone, ran away and left me out there for bait." She could not believe that he was trying to use that shit on her again.

"It wasn't like that. When I saw Annaka in the hotel bar, I assumed she was there for the exchange, the money for the names. But that wasn't it at all. She was there to kill me."

"That's the first thing you've said that I don't have a problem believing."

"It was Andrew. Peter had found out how to get to Annaka through him. That was the sloppy bit I told you about. If our bosses found out that Andrew had been involved in a leak, he'd be out, maybe even dead. He'd come up with a tidy way of dealing with the problem. He would go to Annaka, tell her I was a double agent and have her clean up the mess. Then he would sell her the names himself. She had no way of knowing that he didn't have the names. That I was the only one who did."

"So you ran away?"

"...live to fight another day, right?" He smiled.

What a mistake, she thought. You have no idea how much I hate that smile.

"I needed time to think. Without the money from Annaka, I was broke. I had the Agency and Annaka to deal with, and Andrew as well. I knew you'd be safe, as long as you didn't know you had the list."

"You piece of shit motherfucker," she said. Then she punched him. One shot. In the face. She broke his nose. It felt fantastic. His face was covered in blood. He grabbed his nose and looked at her, surprised and hurting.

"Now," she said, "we're going to have a little party."


Amy believed Bobby's story for one reason. He hadn't tried to tell her he was a good guy. He'd been matter-of-fact that he was selling secrets, basically killing the men whose names he gave up. It wasn't the sort of lie people generally told. She believed him but she didn't care about the details. What she knew: Andrew wanted the list. He would do just about anything to get it. Andrew wanted the list and Annaka did too.

Bobby had a rented car and she had him drive them back to Arad. At the train station there, they bought two prepaid phones with cash. She called Andrew and asked him how he was enjoying Istanbul. "You're making a big mistake," he told her.

"Not the first time I've heard that today," she said. "I have something you want. We'll come to you."

"We?"

She told him that she and Bobby were together. That he had told her everything. That they had decided to give him the list. They wanted to get away, to be left alone. They would give him the list and then disappear. He could sell it to Annaka and blame it on Bobby, or he could put it back in the databanks and pretend that nothing had happened. They didn't care. They were in love. She said this all with Bobby right there in front of her. He had torn a large strip from his shirt and was holding it up to his shattered nose. "We're in love. We want to be together." She was looking at Bobby with nothing but cold anger in her eyes and a sense, not of loss, but of betrayal.

"Your turn," she said when she was done. She handed him the phone.

Bobby called Annaka. He told her that what Andrew had told her was true, he had been a double agent, but now he wanted out. "I've fallen in love," he said. "I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I don't want to keep looking over my shoulder. I will give you the list for free. Take it, use it, leave the two of us alone." He looked at her and then he quickly said something in Hungarian. She recognized the name Gunter. That was all right. She'd expected him to do that, but she made a show of it, snatching the phone from his hands. "My little linguist," she said. "You're so very clever."

She handed the phone back to him for a third call. A number in Washington. He dialed, waited, said a few code words. "Yes, sir," he said finally. "That's right, sir. Yes. I'm Anton Nenezic."

She heard him and realized that she was hearing him say his real name for the first time. She wondered if that should have made her sadder than it did. She listened as he explained to the man in Washington that there was a problem with the Kreust/Nordhausen group. They had arranged a meeting with Andrew Lowe from the Budapest office, and he, Anton, believed that Lowe was selling information. Istanbul, the courtyard in front of the Sultanahmet Mosque, after first prayers.

She had explained it to Bobby, she would always think of him as Bobby, like this. She had the phone, the only copy of the list, and she was not going to give it up. What they were going to do was simple. They were going to get everyone together in one place and they were going to throw a great big net over them. When everyone else was taken care of, she would tell him where to find the list. That way, she could get back to her life, be done with this shit once and for all. What Bobby did after that was his own business. She was going to go home. What she hadn't told Bobby was that she would not be satisfied unless he was in that net along with the rest of them.

What he had said to her was that she was crazy. They would kill him if he showed up tomorrow without the list. Kill them both. "And if we go to get the list first," she said, "you'll kill me. I'll take my chances with the clusterfuck."

She took the phone back from him when he was done. "You'd better get rid of that," he said. "Just in case."

She nodded, walked over to a trashcan, and palmed the phone, kicking the can at the same time to make it sound as if something had fallen in.


They left the car in Arad, took the train to Bucharest. From there, they would take another train to Istanbul. They barely spoke. A few times, Bobby tried to say something, but the way she looked at him made it clear she didn't want to hear a word from him. It was late when they boarded the Istanbul train in Bucharest. She rested her head against the window as soon as they found seats and pretended to sleep. She waited until she could hear Bobby's even breathing. It had only been a few days ago; she'd heard that sound beside her in a hotel bed in Budapest. Asshole. She'd opened up to him, told him about the married guy, about how it felt to be lied to, and she'd told these things to another liar. When she knew he was asleep, she got up and went to the bathroom. She took the prepaid phone from her pocket. She found the first number he had dialed, Annaka's, and dialed it. Annaka answered on the fourth ring. She sounded sleepy.

"Did I wake you up, you fucking bitch?" Amy asked. "I sure as shit hope so."


It was still dark when they arrived in Istanbul. They took a taxi to the center of town, got out and walked towards Sultanahmet square.

"Been here before?" Amy asked. "Gonna tell me the best place to eat, where to get the coolest rug?"

"Let's just get this over with," Bobby said.

They could hear the call to Morning Prayer as they neared the mosque. The streets were already busy. They saw people in some of the shops, kneeling. The prayer produced an odd sort of calm, a quiet full of anticipation. When the prayer was over, the day would begin.

People were already filling the Square. There were tour groups, following their guides. There were three young men on bikes doing stunts for the crowd. Crazy acrobatic spins and wheelies.

"Your show," Bobby said. "What do we do now?"

"You do what you do best. You lie through your teeth."

She told him to go out there in the square and wait for Andrew. Then she handed him the second prepaid phone.

"This isn't going to work," he said, looking at the phone. "What if he checks it?"

"Bummer for you, then" she said. They were standing by a café. The waiters were taking the chairs off the tables, setting them in the square, opening up. She took a seat; smiled at him with all the "fuck you" she could muster and gave him a "go on out there" gesture with her hand.

"When this is over, you'll tell me where your phone is?" he asked.

"Run along," she said. "Your little friend will be waiting."

He waited for one more moment, and then he walked out into the square. Dawn was just breaking, the sun glinting off the minarets of the mosque. She watched Bobby move into the crowd. He stood there, waiting for a long moment. Behind him, a man faced the mosque, still praying. A waiter came. She ordered tea.

She watched Bobby. He looked nervous, as if he expected to get shot at any moment. Good. The waiter brought her tea, pouring it in a huge arc of scalding liquid into a small glass cup.

She sipped it, watched the square. She waited for several more minutes. Then, from out of the crowd, Andrew approached Bobby.

They stood, talking for a moment. Andrew looked around, saw her, and smiled. Bobby handed him the phone. Then several things happened at once. The praying man stood and turned. She recognized Gunter immediately. She was pleased to see that the cuts on his face from the ice were deep and looked to be infecting. He was holding a gun with a long tube attached to the barrel. There was a silenced popping sound and then Andrew fell over. Blood began to seep out on the ground around him. Several people in the tour group nearby noticed. Someone screamed.

That's when the three young men on bikes moved in. One spun his bike into Gunter. The second kneeled behind him. The third pushed him over. A moment later, a car drove through the square. The young men hustled Gunter quickly into it. The car drove out of the square. The young men retrieved their bikes. They were gone in an instant.

Around the square, people were staring, not quite sure what they'd just seen. Bobby walked quickly back over to her table.

"Can we go?" he asked.

"I haven't finished my tea."

"For Christ's sake, Amy. Tell me where your fucking phone is or take me too it."

"If I tell you," she said, "are you gonna have another one of Annaka's boys come swooping in and shoot me." She looked right at him. "I'm not an idiot. We'll go together."

They took a taxi back to the train station and they took the train to Belgrade. She was exhausted. She slept in little fits, waking up to find Bobby staring out the window, awake and, she thought, despondent. She wondered if he was trying to think his way out of this situation or if he was brooding over having gotten into it in the first place. He was someone—she was sure of it—who was used to having the upper hand. It was not sitting well with him, having to do what she told him to do. It had really been simple, getting him this far, and it had been simple because he thought she was stupid, a dumb, seducible girl who could be led around by the heartstrings and blinded with some decent sex. It hadn't occurred to him that she would think of anything on her own. Well fuck him. God, she wished that Susie and Emily could see her now.

When they were about an hour out of Bucharest, she got up to use the bathroom. She took out the prepaid phone and called the second number Bobby had dialed. The man who answered said she had dialed a pizza parlor in Georgetown. She explained herself very simply and clearly. "I am with a man named Anton Nenezic. I believe that he is an independent agent working with your undercover terrorist division in Eastern Europe. He has stolen a list of the names of double agents. He has deleted those names from your database. If you have somebody check, you'll see that you now have no record of who your agents are. Anton has arranged to deliver the one remaining copy of those names to a member of the Kreust/Nordhausen group. He will be making this delivery at approximately nine o'clock tonight in the Bucharest Central Bus Station." She gave himtime; he was probably taking notes by now and would need to catch up. "Let me ask you something," she said finally. "Can you really trace a cell phone that's turned off, or is that just nut job stuff?"

The rest was also simple. As soon as they were in the terminal, she handed Bobby the locker key. "In the bus station," she said. "Next door." He looked at her and at the locker key. "Look," she said. "You've made a fool out of me. I've got to go back to the States and face my mother and my friends and relatives. I just want to get that over with." It was simple and he believed her, she could see that, but there was more that she needed to say. "I loved you, you motherfucker." The words came out of her in a wail and she realized that she was practically crying. But she held the tears back as best she could. Her voice was flat and cold when she said, "Now I don't give a shit about you or your stupid list. I just want this to be over."

He nodded, then he reached out and grabbed her wrist, pulling her to him. With his free hand, he reached in her pants pocket and took out the prepaid telephone. "I think," he said, bending her wrist back until she thought he was going to break it, "that we'll go over there together."

Amy saw Annaka as she came walking from behind a kiosk, saw her hand come up holding a gun. She shot Bobby twice in the head. Amy had a moment to watch him fall, to see the side of his head blow out in a spray of bone and blood and brain. A woman carrying a large bundle of clothes dropped the bundle and began to scream. Security guards looked up from across the station and started towards them. One of them yelled something in a language that Amy didn't understand. She looked down, saw Bobby looking up at her. There was recognition in his eyes. He was trying to say something. Pink spittle bubbled from his lips. She knelt down to hear what he was saying. "Izvini," he muttered. Then again, "Izvini."

"It means, 'I'm sorry,'" Annaka said. "First time the bastard ever apologized for anything." She put her hand gently on Amy's shoulder. Looking at the approaching guards she said, "we have to go."

Amy stood. She saw that a luggage cart was approaching from the other direction. The guards and the cart both reached Bobby at the same time. One of the guards nodded to Annaka. They lifted Bobby and put him on the cart. He looked up at Annaka, started to say something. He couldn't form the words. He looked at Amy. His eyes went blank. He was dead.

"We have a car waiting to take you to the airport," Annaka said. "You certainly thought of everything. I'm tempted to offer you a job with us. You're better than half the people we have in the field. You run circles around poor Andrew, for example." She looked at Amy, a half-ironic smile on her face. "Wouldn't you like to serve your country?"

"No, thank you."

Annaka shrugged. "Maybe someday. May I ask, at least, how you made me? Perhaps I can keep from making the same mistake again."

"The airport. First of all, you could only have known I was going there if you had access to some really grade A spy shit. You had to get into an airline database. Then, it was a little too easy for you to get those guns past airport security. Someone let you in."

"I'm sorry about how I've behaved to you," Annaka said. "I had to find the list and destroy it before any of them found out. I couldn't take any chances."

"You'd kill me now if you could," Amy said.

Annaka didn't deny it. "As I said, you thought of everything. A pre-paid post, set to run unless you cancel it. What did it do? Out me as a double agent? Very tidy. If we wanted to, we could find the message board, eliminate the post. Then we could kill you, anyone else who'd stumbled into this. Frankly, I was in favor of that, but it's simply not in our budget."

Amy nodded. "In the locker with my phone," she said, "There was a ring."

"I almost forgot." Annaka reached in her pocket. She took out the ring that Bobby had given Amy. His grandmother's ring. She looked at it. "The Lithuanians are so very clever," she said.

"I don't understand."

"They do a multi million dollar business in these fake antiques. Before I went into counter-terrorism, I was with Interpol. I worked several Lithuanian fraud cases. You get so that you can spot the silver-plate, and of course the zirconia has so much less sparkle than a real diamond. If you were to drop this ring into a glass of plain water, it would disappear."

"Would it?" Amy said. Across the room, she could see the baggage cart with Bobby's body on it. They were just taking it out of the train station, taking it to wherever it was, in Belgrade, that they took a body no one wanted.

About the Author

Les Bohem is an Emmy winning screenwriter. He still has not found work as a bass player. With his second story appearing on Popcorn Fiction, he is thinking of throwing it all in and joining the circus.