As Amy ran, he held the lift doors open. “Sixth floor please,” she said, her pulse rate normal, her face unflushed. They ascended in silence, his face creased with the aftermath of a grin. She’d seen him before, of that Amy was sure. The lift gave a slight judder, then the doors opened, he held back… as a gentleman, as an Englishman would. Well he’s definitely British, not Welsh though, too silent, Scottish, the grin, maybe not, what the hell, let’s find out she thought. “Good morning, thank you for holding the lift for me”. He nodded and walked beside her to their common destination.
Inside the glass sided room Sam stood, rocking from foot to foot. He couldn’t bear to wait for anything or anyone, a flaw, one of few he allowed to be seen. Exactly on time Amy entered, they exchanged kisses, both cheeks and to her surprise, Sam hugged her, albeit lightly. He never did that, unless… she needed his protection.
“Amy, Doctor Styles” Sam corrects himself “may I introduce Professor Claudio Almanti, head of the UN Task Group coordinating our more discrete activities.”
Amy’s eyes pinged, from Sam to the tall slim Italian, and back. “What the hell is going on” she thought as she replied “Good morning, Professor Almanti, I believe we have met before?”
“Please take a seat, Doctor Styles, indeed we have, and I don’t mean in the lift.” Amy did as asked, though annoyed at his abruptness, and all the more so to see that damn grin crease his face again.
Sam, sat anti-clockwise with, Almanti, clockwise to her. Both men face to face, at arm’s length across the round table, her future in their hands. And so it began, the end she never allowed herself to think of.
Less than an hour later, Amy and Sam walked slowly in Regents Park, London’s bustle ever near. Amy held his arm, he let her, he wanted her to; she at least knew that. They stopped and as if completely natural, briefly kissed, for the first time ever on their lips. Now they had to talk.
“Amy, believe me, you are ready, more than ready; you are beyond any need of me.”
Amy, agitated, demanded “Sam are you ill, are you not telling me something, there is something not right here, why are you giving up working with me, I thought we were the perfect team?”
“You are perfect, Amy, it’s time for you to lead a field team. Not quite as we were, two Brits doing things our way, but, as Claudio put it, to be seen to work in a more collective European way; while still hard wired to the Americans. You know the way this game is played.”
“But…” before she could continue Sam placed his left hand index finger on her lips… she looked him straight in the eyes as she moved it down to her third blouse button, the top two undone. If he blinked she missed it, he stared her out, let his finger find her skin, three buttons undone now.
Sam filled the silence. “You have the authority, the reputation, the energy; hell you even speak most of their languages. The Germans want you, the French love you, the Italians, well, you know how they feel about you. I’ve never known Claudio quite so nervous. Sure he hides it, apart from that grin and a slip of manners. Amy, he needs you, I need you, it’s vital you accept. You will won’t you?”
Sam sighs as he remembers when she first cast her spell. His finger feels a flutter from her heart. Amy sighs too, and then her heart stills as she remembers the tall Italian asking overly informed questions in Canada last autumn. That conference a front, a means to get a particular set of skills together, in full view, yet unobserved. No one takes much notice when scientists do their thing.
“Sam, you’ve never talked to me like this, you make out I’m your equal when we both know no one is. And you’ve never been like this with me. Don’t get me wrong, you are a breath of fresh air, just about the only man who didn’t try to use his status to touch me up… stop smiling, you’re making me blush. Seriously, Sam, you’ve always been a gentleman, even when I didn’t want you to be. You must know how I feel about you, you do don’t you? It’s why I reacted the way I did about Erin… sorry.”
“Amy, as I just said you’re perfect, a little headstrong maybe… don’t roll those gorgeous eyes at me… oh go on then … my God you’re beautiful.”
“Sam, don’t stop, please don’t stop, don’t let me go… hang on… you just said I’m beautiful… fuck you Sam… hey…”
Sam took her breath, his finger stroked her breast… fluidic activation of her willing body.
Her mind gave up a gesture “Is this because of Greenland, when you first saw my nanoprobes … stop it Sam … you’re laughing at me …what’s going on?”
Sam kissed her, slowly, gently, parted her lips, let their tongue tips touch, no words could ever say so much.