The Spy Who Loved Me

The Spy Who Loved Me

Part 1

The mouse scratched at the walls of the small Plexiglas box it found itself in. It didn’t seem to notice when the lights in the room dimmed or when a robotic arm with a laser scanner descended from the ceiling and bathed it in a red wave of flickering light. A slight electrical hum filled the room. Moments later a shining object looking rather like a giant sparkplug lowered itself over the mouse.

A slightly hollow sounding female robotic voice echoed throughout the room. “Sequence initiation in three, two, one. Initializing.”

A green shimmering light cascaded around the mouse, freezing the mouse in place. Moments passed as the mouse dissolved into nothingness.

“Recombination sequence initializing.”

Seconds later, another shining object began projecting a green light into another part of the room. Through the shimmering verdant waves the shape of a mouse began appearing.

“Recombination complete.”

I walked over to the Plexiglas box where the mouse had appeared and looked inside. The mouse was moving around and looked perfectly healthy.

“You did it, Professor!”

“We still need to confirm the mouse is healthy and its brain is functioning as before, but it looks to me like we accomplished the first successful teleportation of a living creature!” I watched the mouse inside the container and smiled. Years of research had finally brought me to this revolutionary and historical event. “Send the mouse for testing.”

Part 2

Several months later I stood at a podium in front of fifty students. I held up a jar with what looked like dirt inside. “All life on earth is made up of a collection of molecules. I hold in my hand the remains of a human body once the water has been fully removed. If I add water, would a living human spontaneously arise? Not at all. Aside from the fact that the water has been removed from this body, what’s the difference between this pile of molecules and me? It’s how the molecules are arranged. Our DNA holds the information within it to organize molecules in such a way to create a living being.”

The door to the stage opened on my right as two men in dark suits walked through. “Professor Mark Riley?”

“I’m teaching a class right now. Can this wait until later?” I turned back to the class.

“Mr. Riley, you need to come with us.” They flipped their wallets open to display official looking badges.

“What’s this about?”

“Sir, we can’t discuss this right here. Your presence is needed immediately.”

“All right then. Class dismissed.” I followed after the two men and once I was alone with them I asked to see their badges again. “Who are you and what do you want with me?”

“We’re with the CIA and this is a matter of national security. We have a plane waiting.”

“Exactly where are you taking me?”

“Alexandria, Virginia.”

“That’s halfway across the country! I’m not prepared to go with you without more information.” I stopped walking and turned to head to my office when I felt strong hands pull me back.

“Sir, we’re trying to avoid the use of force. We’re armed. We don’t know why we’ve been sent to retrieve you other than you’re not in trouble. The government needs your immediate assistance.”

Part 3

Between being yanked from my class, a flight to DC, and a long car ride to a secured warehouse building, I was tired, hungry, and irritated. I was led into the warehouse and carefully screened.

“Professor Riley. I’m glad you’re here. We’ll take him from here.” The man dismissed the guards, or thugs, that had escorted me. “I’m Stephen Mahone, Assistant Director of the CIA. Please come with me. I’m sure you have many questions and I have answers. I ask for a little more patience.” He led me to a closed-in wood-paneled conference room with large monitors on the walls. There were food and drinks on the table. “Take a seat and help yourself. I’ll gather the rest of the team.”

At this point my hunger was stronger than my irritation. I dug into a sandwich as the door closed behind him and indicated it locked with a red glow above the handle. A few minutes later Stephen returned with an older gentleman and a very beautiful young woman. I stood and extended a hand to the gentleman. “Professor Maxwell Harding. I met you once before at a lecture you were holding on biological transmutation.”

“The pleasure is mine. I’ve read some of your most recent research on teleportation. Brilliant stuff.”

Stephen took control of the meeting and introduced the woman. “Mark Riley, please meet Brooke Westerling, CIA Senior Analyst.” The woman stepped forward and extended her hand. I admit I was taken aback as I always pictured women in the CIA to look more Old Navy frumpy and less Victoria’s Secret model.

“Pleased to meet you, Professor Riley.” I turned her hand over slightly as we shook hands. I noticed she had a silver ring on her thumb.

“Let’s get started. Please take your seats. I’ve reviewed your clearance, Mr. Riley, and found you still have an active top secret clearance level. What we will share with you is top secret.” The screen turned on and displayed a picture of an incredibly stunning brunette woman. “This is Natasha Petrovich, twenty-four years old, Russian, and considered the most skilled spy and assassin in the world. Orphaned at the age of five, she was selected and raised within the Russian Sukhoputnyye Voyskia. Some say that’s Russia’s equivalent to our CIA. From an early age she was rigorously trained and released into service at the age of fifteen. She was captured on US soil a mere ten feet from the Secretary of State. She was found in a room next door. We believe her intent was to steal a top secret document on our involvement in the Middle East.”

“How does this have anything to do with me?”

Professor Harding took the floor. “Mark, since I last met you I’ve been working with the CIA on testing molecular manipulation of neural networks. I’ve come close to transferring the brain from one person into the body of another through electrical stimulation and brain wave exchange. However, I’ve run into limitations that I can’t overcome. This is where you come in. Your recent success in teleportation can give us the solution to our problem.”

“Wait… How did you know I had a successful test?”

“We’re the CIA.” I began to wonder just what other things they know.

Professor Harding continued. “We believe the mechanism you created to teleport can be merged with my research to safely swap brain portions while preserving portions of memory that would otherwise be overwritten.”

Stephen added, “In case you haven’t figured out what we’re trying to accomplish, we plan on swapping Brooke into Natasha’s body and sending her back to Russia with a fake document. Brooke would have all the knowledge and skills of Natasha and be in a perfect position to infiltrate Russia for us.”

I looked over at Brooke. “You want to attempt this?”

“It’s for the good of the country. Do I like the idea of swapping bodies? Not really, but she’s easy on the eyes and younger than me by a few years.”

I couldn’t fathom swapping bodies. “What about timing? Doesn’t Natasha need to check in regularly? How much time do we have?”

“She regularly goes dark on her missions for months at a time. I estimate we have about two months to pull this off. We need you here full-time to work with Professor Harding. Whatever you need, we can get.”

“Two months? What about my students and my work?”

“We already have a sub in for you.”

“I gather that means I don’t have much of a choice.”

“You have a choice, but we anticipated you might want to be a part of the greatest technological advancement in warfare since the invention of the nuclear bomb.”

Part 4

The previous seven weeks were a blur of activity. Once we completed the build of a larger version of my teleporter it became even more challenging to isolate the selective brain matter that would be merged and transferred. Integrating Professor Harding’s brain map data into my system was like trying to replace a carburetor with an orange and still have everything work in the end. Testing had been extensive and I’d been working nearly twenty hours a day non-stop. Finally we felt we were ready.

The day of the exchange came. Natasha and Brooke were led into the lab. This was the first time I’d seen Natasha in person and her photos didn’t do her justice. She was a knockout, even with the look of contempt she held on her face. Natasha and Brooke were both handcuffed as once the transfer took place, no one wanted the most skilled assassin in the world to be unsecured. They were both led to a platform in the middle of the room. There was no second platform required as we weren’t teleporting anything per say; it was more like realigning brain function maps from one to another. I stood before them both and the guards were told to wait outside. We were given the order to proceed.

Using my wireless device I activated the start sequence just as Natasha jumped behind Brooke and started strangling her with her cuffs. “Shut it down!” I screamed, but I knew it was too late. Brooke was going to die and I was the closest person to them. I dove for them and wrestled the surprisingly strong Natasha. I saw red laser light bathe us as I pulled her wrists away from Brooke’s neck letting Brooke take a raspy breath.

“Sequence initiation in three, two, one. Initializing.”

A green shimmering light surrounded us as we frozen in place, unable to move. My vision blurred and I had the strangest feeling of nothingness.

The next thing I heard was “Recombination complete” as we collapsed together onto the floor. My vision gradually recovered and I saw the strangest sight. I was looking at myself. I tried to process what was going on but my thoughts were muddy and sluggish. Memories of training in a Siberian winter came to mind. I heard the guards rush in and they lifted us to a standing positions. My hands were in cuffs and were around Brooke’s neck. Brooke started struggling until rifles were all pointed at our heads. Professor Harding and Stephen came into the room. I was starting to hyperventilate as I stared at my body in front of me. The next thing I knew, we were all injected with sedatives and whisked away to separate rooms.

Part 5

When I came to I was cuffed to a bed. I knew I was in Natasha’s body. I had all of my memories as well as hers. My mind began picking up details about the room and possible weaknesses in the security. Things I would have never noticed before where now the focus of my attention. I recognized the type of camera, the model of lock on the door, and the bed materials I was on. I was like a walking spy encyclopedia. I sat up and looked down, feeling comfortable in this body, but also freaking out inside. I was a thirty-year old man in the body of a young woman.

Eventually the door to my room opened and a guard, Stephen, and Professor Harding entered and sat down. The thought came to me that I could kill them all. I pushed the thought away.

Stephen began. “Professor Riley?”

“Yes, it’s me.” I almost said “Da.” My voice was sultry, sexy, and had a Russian accent.

“Professor Harding did what he could to verify brain wave functions of the others. When you tried to help Brooke, you created a three-way transfer. You went into Natasha, Natasha went into Brooke, and Brooke went into your body. I’m afraid we can’t undo it.”

“What do you mean you can’t undo it?”

“Biological transmutation has its limits.” The Professor chimed in. “We carefully balanced the amount of brain matter to transfer to make this work. You now have Natasha’s memories and yours mingled together. It’s incredibly complicated. In order to get you back into your body, we’d have to overwrite what’s currently there, which would kill Brooke. If we put you all back into the device at the same time the chance of extreme psychosis is high as you would likely carry three people’s memories. What you did was very brave and most likely saved Brooke’s life, but you’re stuck now.”

I shook my head, feeling my long hair move with me. “So now what?”

Stephen put his hand on my knee. I knew how to break his arm ten different ways. I suppressed the images. “Professor Riley, how would you like to work for the CIA?”

“You’re kidding me. You want to send me to Russia to complete a mission? I’m not a spy… Well, I guess that’s not entirely true… I have all Natasha’s training… You have no idea how many people this woman killed… Oh shit! She has a husband!”

“Don’t worry about her husband. From what we know of Natasha, they rarely see each other. We’re hoping you could deliver the fake documents and break out one of our agents in a prison in Saint Petersburg. All we’re asking are those two things. You’ve got twenty-four hours to decide.”

“We’ve got sixty-seven hours. That’s when Natasha’s next check-in is. Can you get me out of these cuffs?”

Professor Harding placed some electrodes on my head. “I just need to confirm whose brain is in control. Natasha’s will work at a subconscious level, your brain waves will be far stronger. This was intentional to allow Natasha’s brain to control her muscle memory. I’m scanning you now.”

“What happens to Brooke and Natasha?”

Stephen leaned back. “Brooke will stay on with the CIA, but with your memories she can also continue the work you were doing. She lost a few years of her life as she was twenty-seven and you were thirty. Surprisingly, she’s doing the best of all of you. Natasha, in Brooke’s body, will go to prison.”

“What about Natasha’s training and skills?”

“While she retains that knowledge, Brooke’s body that she’s now in was never trained that way. Think of it like a computer program. She has the skill, but she’d have to mentally translate the training into action with a body that’s never learned these things. Yes, she’s still very dangerous, but she’ll never be as fast or skilled again.”

“The scan’s complete. We’re good.”

Stephen nodded to the guard who unlocked my cuffs. I rubbed my soft feminine wrist and stood. Simply standing with this body was a graceful and athletic act. I felt the quickness and strength in my muscles. “I think I should see Brooke.”

“That would be a good idea. Your brain must come to grips with your new situation. We also need to have a guard around you for a day or two. It’s not that we don’t trust you, but in theory, you’re the world’s greatest assassin and the powers that be still see you as Natasha, an enemy of the United States. It’s hard for them to understand what just happened.”

“It’s hard for them to understand? I’m a male professor in the body of a female Russian spy. I should be scared to death, but my subconscious mind feels perfectly at home in this body.”

“I can’t guess what you must be going through. How do you think you’d feel if you didn’t have her memories?”

“I’m not so sure I want these memories. Natasha’s life was difficult and what she had to do for Russia... It’s as if she had to shut her conscious off to survive.”

One male and one female guard arrived. They’d be my escort for the next while. On the way to see Brooke I asked to stop in the bathroom. The female guard entered with me and stood by the door. My new mind was always on the move. Everything in the bathroom became a weapon to use. I stopped to look at myself in the mirror. A face stared back at me that was both familiar and not. I felt like I belonged in this body and yet I knew I didn’t. My long dark brunette hair fell below my shoulders. My blue eyes were brighter than the Caribbean and sparkled with intelligence and cunning. My skin was flawless and I had high cheek bones and full red lips. I glanced down at my athletic and curvy figure knowing what it looked like and yet never having seen it. I was breathtaking, which was why Natasha had made such a good assassin and spy. She could show a little leg and virtually any door would open. I turned and left the bathroom and soon I was standing in a room with Brooke. The guards waited outside so I guess they trusted me enough to give a little distance.

“Professor Riley, I presume?”

“Yes. Professor Riley with a heaping side dish of Natasha Petrovich. Or, rather Natasha Petrovich with a side dish of Mark Riley.”

Brooke laughed and reached to give me a hug. “Thank you, Mark. I swear she was about to kill me. If you hadn’t intervened… You’re my hero. Your bravery has caused significant impact to your life.”

I felt her strong arms around me and noticed for the first time I was a good five inches shorter than I was before. Memories of Natasha seducing men and making love to her husband sent a rush of warmth through my body. Was I getting turned on by my old body? How weird is that?

Brooke let go. “I was told this isn’t reversible. What are you going to do in Natasha’s body?”

“They’ve asked me to continue the mission.”

“You’re kidding me? They don’t waste time do they? Including the prison rescue?”

“Yes. I’m not sure how I feel about the whole thing. Do you feel odd in my body? Like it’s comfortable yet foreign?”

“That’s exactly how I feel! In a way, it may be more comfortable for me than for you.”

“How so?”

“I always believed I should’ve been born a man. This is like a dream come true for me.” She flexed and arm and stood all macho-like. “I feel so strong now.”

“You mean you thought you should’ve been a man and you still like men?” Picturing my old body making love to a man gave me the shivers.

“No, not at all. I love women.”

“So you were a heterosexual man trapped in a woman’s body?”

“That’s it! I look at you and… Oh sorry… I have your memories. You were a heterosexual man in a man’s body and now you’re in what? A heterosexual man in a woman’s body? That’s got to be confusing.”

“It is. Natasha appears to have been bisexual. Her memories of being with men and her husband are pervasive. Yet my brain is still very fond of women. I guess this is what it’s like to be bisexual, confused or excited by both.”

“Can you believe within minutes of being together we’re talking about our sexual preferences?”

“You and I are the first people in the world to truly experience life in the body of the opposite sex. I can understand how it would be a topic at the forefront of our minds.”

“For two months we worked side by side on this project. I have your thoughts and memories. You thought I was beautiful. You wanted to ask me out on a date. You never asked me because you were working so hard.”

I suddenly felt a little violated. “That’s not fair. I don’t have your memories.”

“I’ll tell you what I thought of you. You were kind and thoughtful. I thought that perhaps I could learn to live with having a male partner if it could be you. Can I do a test?”

“What kind of…” She leaned forward and kissed me. My new body melted into her arms and her kiss, responding automatically with a passionate response. I was having a hard time breathing as we broke away. My face was flushed.

“That was a great test. You’re a very good kisser. Can we try again?”

“Yes, I mean, no! What the hell is going on with me?” I was very confused.

“I’m sorry, Mark. It just felt so right.”

“It was as if my brain turned off and my body took over. I should go. I’m glad you’re alright.”

“You know where to find me.”

I practically stumbled out into the hallway. This body loved sex. Apparently Natasha used her body for more than killing.

Stephen was there. “How did that go? You seem a little out of breath.”

“Brooke’s doing very well. I think she’ll be fine.”

“And you?”

“It was hard seeing my old body. I’m glad it was Brooke that wound up in it though. I think she’ll take care of it. I feel like I just moved out of my favorite home.”

“We need to bring you up to speed but it’s getting late. Why don’t you head back to your apartment? I’ve sent over Natasha’s suitcase. Tomorrow I’m hoping you’ll decide to help us out. Get some food and rest and I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Spasiba.”

“Funny, Professor Riley. I’ve instructed everyone from here on out to call you Natasha. Mark doesn’t suit you anymore.”

It was a logical yet shocking statement. I wasn’t Mark Riley anymore. I sighed. “Understood. Good night.”

I walked back to my room with my guards flanking me. I already knew what was waiting for me in the suitcase. Skirts, a dress, pumps, fitness clothing, runners, a nightgown, and several blouses. Natasha, with the exception of mission-specific attire, almost always wore feminine clothing. Logically she wore them to drive men crazy, offer more maneuverability, and make her appear less threatening, but she also preferred the textures and feel of them.

Back at my room I stripped and examined myself in the mirror. Natasha’s body was magnificent. C-cup breasts, lean muscles, and a trim waist with nice hips. My male brain was incredibly turned on. I filled the tub with water as it seemed much more appropriate than a shower. I laid back in the tub and luxuriated in the hot water. It was so nice to have room in a tub. My old body would be squeezed into the tub like a sardine in a can. I closed my eyes and let my hands feel my body. I knew what to do and yet the feelings that were generated by my touch were new to me.

One hand slipped between my legs and the other massaged my breast. I closed my eyes and began to fantasize. The crazy thing was that both images of men and women were turning me on. It wasn’t long before I began shaking and moaning. The further I went with my fantasies, the more my body responded. I pictured a man entering me and I gasped and exploded. A throaty growl emerging from my lips. It was the most wonderful experience I ever had and my body was just getting started.

After three orgasms I was so filled with endorphins I almost fell asleep in the tub. I dried myself off and fell into my bed but the sheets felt so rough. I reluctantly pulled out the nightgown and slipped it on before climbing back into bed. It felt so much better and I fell asleep right away.

Part 6

The next morning I woke instantly to the slightest noise outside my door. Natasha had trained herself to sleep lightly. There was a knock at the door. I got up, feeling strangely awake. In my old body it would take some time to wake up. I opened the door to see Brooke, I guess now Mark, standing there. His eyes went wide as he looked over my body in the skimpy nightgown. It was hard to describe what I was feeling. Powerful, vulnerable, confident, sexy. He looked up and down the hall then stepped inside my room and closed the door behind him. He pushed me back against the wall and kissed me. My brain shut off again and my body took over, wrapping my arms around his neck. When he pulled away I almost pounced on him. I was so conflicted.

“I couldn’t sleep at all last night, Mark. Our kiss kept me awake and seeing you this morning…”

I was breathing heavily. “I’ve decided I have to take the mission. If for no other reason than to clear my head and give me time to adjust to my new condition.”

“I understand. I really do. The mission is vital to our country. But I’m being a little selfish in wanting to keep you here to explore if there may be something between us.”

“I liked you before Brooke. You know that as much as I do. But I don’t know if this attraction is just this body or me.”

“We also have to figure out other logistics. I’m now you. What happens with your place and your accounts? I have access to your passwords. What happens to mine? I suspect you’ll want your things and place and I want mine for now.”

I shook my head. “That’s too much for me to think about at the moment.”

“I was asked to tell you to change into fitness clothing this morning and meet everyone in the cafeteria for breakfast.” He leaned forward again and encircled my thin waist with his arm and pulled me into him for another kiss. “I can’t get enough of you. I think I’m going to burst.”

Gasping and my breasts heaving from the passion stirring within me, I pushed back. “We can’t do this. Not now.”

Reluctantly he stepped back. “I know... Your mission should take a few weeks. That will give us time to consider our positions.” He turned and left the room leaving me feeling emotionally bereft. Were these emotions I was feeling the work of female hormones, how the female mind processed things, or was there something more to it? I changed into my fitness clothing and headed to the cafeteria. My body anticipated exercise and having been cooped up for several months made it all the more eager. Natasha had exercised for hours every day in her room, but she loved the open spaces to run flat out for miles.

“There you are, Natasha.” It took a second for my brain to catch up with my body at the sound of my new name. “How are you holding up?”

“I’ve decided to take the mission, Stephen. I believe it will keep me from going stir crazy analyzing myself.”

“Then we’ve got a lot to cover. Get some food and we’d like you to head to the gym to make sure you’re fully aware of your abilities.”

“That would be good. You’ve no idea how different this brain sees things. I have every escape route memorized, I see more than a dozen weapons at my fingertips, I know that this guard here is favoring his left side, and I see three ways I can destroy the complex and everyone in it. It’s a lot to adapt to.”

Part 7

The soldier in front of me was close to twice my size in weight. He had stripped off his shirt to make himself look tougher, at least that was my assumption. His heavily muscled torso rippled as he moved. Right away I could tell he was well trained. Far from the gym brutes that built muscle and don’t stretch, this man had both strength and agility. His moves were graceful indicating he was a trained martial artist. He balanced on the balls of his feet. I noticed all these things in a single glance. He lunged forward with an all or nothing move more to intimidate than damage. I ducked under his arm and threw a right-handed uppercut just beneath his ribs followed by a left hand flat against his throat. I stopped short of the power necessary to break his larynx. He stood stunned and gasping, his hands moving to his throat giving me an easy time of sweeping his legs and bringing him to the ground. A second man, whom was commanded into the ring as I was distracted, came up suddenly from behind me. Before his arms could wrap around my body I had dropped low and sent my elbow into his solar plexus. I grabbed his thumb and pulled backwards, using my other hand to apply pressure to a nerve in his arm. With a painful scream he dropped his arms enough for me to drive his arm back and behind him. My free arm reaching around to his neck and apply pressure to his carotid artery, slowing blood flow to his brain and causing him to collapse on the ground.

I amazed myself at how quick and fluid my movements had been. These were automatic responses, trained into this body since early childhood. I didn’t think, I simply reacted. I wasn’t however, an assassin. I was Mark Riley. I reached down and helped the two men up, thankful that I wasn’t feeling the pure raw sexuality I had with Brooke. My body was attracted to them, but I could control it. Possibly the exercise helped release endorphins that took the edge off.

Part 8

By evening, I’d reviewed all the details of the mission. Natasha’s memories made it easy to fill in the gaps that the CIA weren’t aware of. The first part would be easy. Deliver the document to the head of the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia in Moscow. Natasha had an apartment in Moscow and a vacation getaway on the shores of the Black Sea in Sochi. Her normal routine was to travel to Sochi, make contact with the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia, then travel by plane to Moscow. All of Natasha’s travel documents had been restored to me. Natasha typically flew first class, so I arranged for a series of flights to Sochi leaving DC at 11:12 am the next day.

On this end, the CIA promised to connect me with an agent in St. Petersburg in a week’s time. Together we would infiltrate the Kresty prison, free the American agent, and escape through Finland. I, as Natasha Petrovich, would be officially received with asylum in the United States and granted citizenship. Think of it as a modern day defection.

I convinced Stephen to let me see Natasha, even though he seemed very reluctant. I don’t know why, but I felt there had to be some closure between us, after all, I was in her body. Besides, there were things in her memories I was trying to figure out even though I doubted she’d answer my questions.

Natasha’s cell was sparse and was designed as a cell within a cell. The guard gave me time alone in the outer cell. Natasha, in Brooke’s body looked up at me with wetness and pure hatred in her eyes.

“You came to gloat over your victory? That’s my body! I want it back, Brooke!” She was pulling against her cuffs to get to me.

“Things didn’t go quite as planned. I’m Mark Riley.”

Even though her eyes softened slightly, I could tell she was terribly angry and violated. “You made this possible! Undo it!”

“I wish I could. I really do.” I sat down on a bench and felt an overwhelming burden for what we’d done. “I’m sorry, Natasha. I was just as much a pawn in all of this as you it seems.”

For some reason she seemed to respond to my sincerity. Perhaps it was because she was so used to her body she saw true sorrow in my eyes. “Why can’t you put me back so I can at least die in my own body?”

“It’s not so simple. When you attacked Brooke and I tried to intervene, there was a three-way switch. The result makes the reverse transition impossible. I wish I could give you back your body.”

“I have Brooke’s memories. I assume you have mine?”

“Yes.”

“Then you know I was set up.”

“I know this was your belief. I’ve got nothing to substantiate it.”

“Can you get me out of here?”

“I don’t have that kind of authority. I realize you did what you had to do to survive and you were looking for a way out. You’re a victim here as much as I am now.”

“If you know those things, then you know I’m not the sordid assassin and spy people believe about me. Goodbye, Mark Riley.”

“I’ll put in a good word for you. I doubt it will make any difference.”

“Don’t trust them.” Natasha looked away from me as I stood to leave.

“Don’t trust who?”

“Anyone.”

Part 9

I sat at dinner in the cafeteria with Mark, deciding a public place would be helpful for keeping ourselves from doing something we’d regret. “Mark. It’s so hard to call you that. I feel like I’m looking in the mirror and expecting my reflection to mimic me. What are your plans?”

“With your knowledge and memories I’ll stay on with the CIA and work to perfect the teleportation and transference system. The funding will be greater and I’ll be able to possibly do some field work as well. Any thoughts of what you’ll do after this?”

I had many thoughts. Natasha had a place in the Cayman Islands that even Russia knew nothing about. She’d put away millions of dollars into Swiss bank accounts. For all her ‘spyness’, she’d been planning a way out for herself. Her desire had been to be free, but she needed money and resources to do so. She felt she was close to having everything she needed to take back control of her life. She wasn’t a ruthless killer, she was a slave that was ordered to kill. “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll like being someone like James Bond. Natasha, Natasha Petrovich, double-o-one.”

Mark laughed. “Don’t you mean, double-o-seven?”

I grinned. “James Bond can’t compare to Natasha Petrovich. I should have top billing.”

Mark stretched his hand across the table and took mine in his. I felt the blood rush to my face. “Well, double-o-one, please take care of yourself. I think there’s something between us and I want to get the chance to explore that.”

“I’d like that, but, let’s not make any plans until I return.”

“Agreed. Good night, Natasha and safe journey. I’ll not be here in the morning to see you off. Apparently they have a mission to prep me for so I’m heading to DC tonight.”

“You be safe, Mark.”

Part 10

Just before I went to sleep I logged onto my bank accounts and changed my passwords. I did the same with Natasha’s. I started to feel very badly for Natasha. She’d felt she was set up and that her capture here had been a trap. But who would have set her up and what was their motivation? Could it have been someone in the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia that suspected Natasha would try to leave her position? If so, then they would have to be in communication with someone at a high level in the US government. I shook my head, noticing the feel on my long hair. If I was Natasha, being forced to lose this body, it would be like the worst torture imaginable. I never thought about the ramifications. It would be different if the people were consenting, but I could imagine how she was feeling, being forcefully swapped out of my body, into one I did not want and knowing my body, my identity, would be used to hurt people I cared about. At least from Natasha’s perspective, there wasn’t anyone she cared for. Even her husband was a political partnership. She’d learned to enjoy her rendezvous with him, but it wasn’t by choice or love and killing him wasn’t a safe option.

Part 11

The next morning I showered, packed, and dressed as Natasha normally would for her trips. I wore a body hugging dress with a short hem, coming to mid-thigh. Black stilettos and sparse jewelry, just enough to make me look noticeable, but not enough to set off the metal detectors. A pair of dark designer sunglasses would keep my face from being picked up by most facial recognition cameras. When I checked myself out in the mirror I was blown away by my beauty and elegance.

After a quick meeting with Stephen I was driven to the DC airport. Moving through security with my fake passport under the name Natalia Cominsky didn’t set off any flags. I suspected the CIA had cleared my name and documents for the trip.

Flying first class had its privileges. I relaxed in the upscale waiting room with a free buffet and comfortable leather chairs. Aroma of freshly brewed coffee and cut fruit filled the air. This was a relief from the typical crowded herds of people waiting at the gate. The airport had been a new experience for me as I attracted a lot of attention from men and women. While Natasha had been used to the ogling stares, I wasn’t.

“Ms. Cominsky? We can take you to your gate now.”

“Thank you.”

Part 12

The flights were long and boring but it was nice to be able to pull a blanket over myself and lay the seat flat to sleep. My smaller size in combination with the larger first class seat made for a very comfortable rest. I arrived in Sochi feeling quite refreshed.

I cleared security and customs quickly and hailed a cab to take me to my home. Entering the house I was conflicted with knowing where everything was located and feeling comfortable, but never having truly been here before. I felt like I was having a long series of Deja-vu. The place was fairly large with about fifteen hundred square feet of space. It was nicely furnished in a modern style with clean lines and white marble floors. To my right was the master bedroom, to my left was an office with all the computers and communication systems I needed. I headed there first and sent an encrypted message to Sergei Kosolov, head of the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia. This message was short and cryptic but would be understood and within twenty-four hours I’d receive a response for time and place of my meeting.

With that done, I wandered into the bedroom and started running a bath. While that was filling, I went into the large walk-in closet and admired the rows and rows of beautiful clothing. At the back of the closet was a hidden door that led to a small room filled with rifles, handguns, knives, poisons, and every other spy gadget one could imagine. I confirmed everything was in place and picked up a 9mm handgun. My hands moved quickly and deftly over the gun, emptying the breech, removing the clip, checking the clip for bullets, and reloading it. I wanted to have this with me at all times. I kept remembering Natasha’s last word to me, ‘anyone’. If Natasha had been set up, then anyone here could have done it and my return could trigger an attack if the intent had been to kill her.

On the way back through the closet I grabbed a luxurious white robe and slippers. I turned on some music, suddenly finding myself partial to light jazz. Natasha loved jazz. Something about the unscripted nature of the music called to her desire for freedom. I found myself doing things I never did before. I danced my way around the room as I stripped out of my clothes. The longer I was in Natasha’s body the better I felt and more connected I was to her true inner feelings. Casting aside all the darkness of her life, she was a beautiful person and full of life. She had deep desires to be loved and even have a family. She cared about people. I was falling for this woman whom I now was.

I pulled up a chair next to the tub, placed the gun on it, and covered the gun with a large white towel. The gun would be within easy reach. The water was hot and the sudsy water parted as I stepped inside and sighed with pleasure as the hot water soaked away the stresses of the trip. It was now just after four in the afternoon Sochi time, seven hours ahead of DC time. I had flown through the night. For me, it felt like lunchtime.

After my bath I changed into a blue dress, put my handgun into a purse and strapped a knife to my thigh. It felt strange to be doing these things. My mind logically knew these were good precautions, but I’d never been a spy before. Walking around fully armed was a foreign concept to me. I left the house and walked down the street to a restaurant that overlooked the Black Sea. It was still a little early for the normal dinner crowd so I was seated at one of the windows. I recognized the staff and they knew me. I found it surprising that Natasha was so well loved by everyone. If they only knew what she did for a living I wonder if they’d be so warm towards her.

That night I lay in bed and reviewed my options. It was so nice to have a few moments to myself. So much had happened in such a short time. Did I miss my old body? Partly. I had been strong and taller, but had I really been better as a man? There was something about my male body that gave me self-confidence. Perhaps it was knowing fewer people would try to take advantage of me as a man that gave me those feelings. However, Natasha had no lack of confidence. It wasn’t arrogance, just a lifetime of training and knowing every nuance of her body. Could I live in this body for the rest of my days? It wasn’t that I had a choice in the matter anyways. People might scoff at me, but I was enjoying this body. The power it had over men. The feeling of being sexy and graceful. The beautiful clothing I could now wear. Yes, I could easily live as Natasha. Maybe not her career, but as her.

What about Mark? Funny how I’ve now started thinking of Brooke as Mark now. It hadn’t been that long yet it was becoming so natural. There was no question I became aroused at our kisses, but what did I really know of him? My body had responded, but why? I couldn’t put my finger on why, in the back of my mind, I felt something was a little off. How could someone fall so quickly into wanting a relationship as Mark had with me? Natasha’s worldly experience suggested an ulterior motive, but then again Natasha had never really known true love. Everyone had manipulated her for something.

I closed my eyes and drifted off. I was a young girl watching my parents being put into the back of a pickup truck. There was no ceremony. I stood stoic. Inside I was torn asunder, but I was alone now. I needed to be brave. A man took my hand. He had a scar that resembled a bolt of lightning on his hand. “You’re a very special girl, Natasha. I’m going to send you to some people that will make you even more special.”

My vision shifted and now I was older. I was ten years old and I was standing outside in bare feet and dressed in a light, coarse nightgown. The snow pelted my face, icicles formed out of my nose, and my feet were too cold to feel anymore. It was so brutally cold. A frightening man dressed in a thick jacket and heavy boots came to stand in front of me. His face was almost hidden by the fur hat on his head. He was shivering. I remember feeling disdain for him. “Just a few more hours until dawn, Natasha. If you survive the night like this, you’ll be rewarded. You must learn to control your needs. Everything is in your head. You can tell your body that it’s not cold outside.”

I was angry and defiant. Who was he to tell me it’s not cold when he’s standing there in a jacket and shivering. “If it’s all in your head, how come you’re not out here with nothing on?”

The force of the blow staggered me. I’d tried to block it but my body was slow to respond in the cold. I felt blood pool in my mouth. I should have known better. These people weren’t my friends, but they did make me stronger.

Part 13

I woke with the sky still dark. I hated time zones. It was three in the morning. I rolled over and my hand brushed against the cold metal of the handgun under the pillow bringing me back to the reality of who and where I was. I recalled the dreams as something from Natasha’s memories. What that poor little girl had gone through. It was criminal. I thought back to Natasha now in Brooke’s body. Brooke was beautiful. Five-foot nine, blonde hair with blue eyes. She was fit, not as fit as Natasha, but slightly softer. Natasha would normally have found her attractive with the exception she hated Brooke. I could imagine Natasha looking at herself in the mirror and seeing the person she hated, one of the people responsible for her capture. Brooke had been there in the hotel. So was Stephen when the trap was sprung.

I was drawing closer and closer to the person whose body I now inhabited. How could I be falling for someone that would have nothing to do with me? She’d be in prison the rest of her life, or used as a bargaining chip in some political negotiation. I pictured myself kissing her. I shook my head to clear away the image.

Part 14

I managed to sleep a little more and woke to a few rays of sunshine poking through the clouds. I walked out onto the deck and looked over the Black Sea. I realized I couldn’t be a spy. I’d finish the task at hand, but Natasha had been right. This wasn’t a life, this was slavery. I shuddered at the thought of having to kill people, at never being able to be close to someone because they’d be targeted. I pulled my robe around me tighter and looked back into the house. I knew what was important to Natasha. She loved her clothing and the odd trinkets she collected that lay around the house. In another few days, I’d never come back here again. I’d be considered a criminal against the state.

I went back inside and checked my email. The response was there. I was to meet Sergei at the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia headquarters in Moscow in two days. I’d fly to Moscow tomorrow. I didn’t need to reply as it was assured I’d be there. I made my flight arrangements and got dressed. I had a lot to do.

Part 15

It was late that afternoon that I had finished boxing up clothing and items and awaited the van to come pick things up. I was sending these items to the Bahamas where I had a contact that would send them on to the Cayman Islands. Over the years Natasha had built up trusted contacts around the world that she could use without being questioned. I wanted to leave no leads for Russia to find me.

For the rest of the day I researched the Kresty prison. Considered to be permanently closed, most people knew that it was still used for political prisoners. Bruce Langdon, was confirmed to be there. The prison faced the Neva River and as most of the riverfront properties were lit giving tourists a view of the river skyline at night, the walls leading away from the river were dark. Getting into the 1700’s build prison wouldn’t be difficult. The difficulty would be getting out with a prisoner that was likely in rough shape. The plan was to use the sewage system in the prison to escape into the river where a boat would be waiting. I had a few concerns, but nothing I was too worried about. Since the prison was officially closed there would be tight security only in the areas around where Bruce was held.

A small boat would take us into the Bay of Finland to Primorsk, where we would then use a car to drive to Toryanovka. We’d move by foot from there, cross into Finland, then get another vehicle in Vaalimaa. From there we would travel to a safe house in Helsinki and fly out the next day.

I’d had a busy day and tomorrow I’d be travelling again. I changed into running gear and went for a long run along the shores of the Black Sea. Natasha’s body was so fit that I wasn’t even breathing hard even after five miles. For the first time in my life I experienced the runner’s high. At least I thought it was a runner’s high, but it could have been the exhilaration of feeling this body move and bounce in ways that I wasn’t used to.

That night I continued to analyze Natasha’s capture. Sergei had given her the mission. That wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was that Sergei had contacted her with specific details of where and when the Secretary of State would be in the Hotel. This was highly unusual. Natasha had always been left to choose her time and place. Sergei had set her up, but who was his contact?

Part 16

The flight to Moscow was a short one and I had no problems navigating my way to Natasha’s Moscow apartment. The apartment had a view over Red Square and was only a few blocks away from the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia headquarters. I unlocked the door and took in the small room. Far from the modern amenities of the Sochi vacation home, this apartment was furnished in an older style. There was a very small kitchen and a table for two. The single bedroom fit a double bed. I looked around and noticed a few things Natasha would want to keep but there was little here that offered any sentimental value. She’d kept those in Sochi. This place had been her base when visiting headquarters.

I stepped into the kitchen and opened the small fridge. It had been recently stocked. I moved to the bedroom and noticed the sheets had recently been used. Ivan, Natasha’s husband must be in town. I started to panic and decided a quick retreat to a local hotel would be wise. I went to the mattress and lifted the corner up to expose a cavity underneath with a thigh holster and handgun. I had to leave my other one in Sochi as traveling by plane I had no choice. The gun was in my hand and I was turning to leave when I heard the front door unlock. I pushed myself flat against the bedroom wall and raised the gun. I could hear the footsteps coming closer. I turned into the doorway and leveled the gun just as the intruder was coming into the bedroom.

I stared into the eyes of Natasha’s husband. He was a large man, nearly six-foot four. Sandy blonde hair with ice blue eyes. He was thickly muscled and fit. He too worked for the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia but in a more political position. With the exception of his size, strength, and quick reflexes, he was still no match for Natasha in a fight. However one slight mistake would be all he’d need to gain significant advantage. Natasha didn’t love him. This was a marriage predetermined by the agency to keep an eye on each other. That Ivan was handsome and strong suited Natasha from a physical attraction perspective. Their love making was usually rough and lust-filled.

“Natasha, darling.” His eyes were filled with raw energy. He spoke in Russian. I lowered the gun and set it on a dresser, still within reach. I was dancing on a razor’s edge. If the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia wanted me dead, they could easily send Ivan to do the job. I felt Natasha’s body respond to his presence in a similar way that it had with Mark. “You’re slipping, my love. I knew you were here before I entered the apartment. I could smell your light perfume and you also left your suitcase in plain view.” He pressed himself closer to me.

“I’m only in town for a few nights. I just arrived.” I found myself taking a step towards him.

“And I’m only here until this evening. I’ve been missing your body.” He reached for me and roughly slid his large hand around the small of my back and pulled me against him. Natasha’s body responded out of a deep need, but not out of love. It was animalistic pleasure. In my mind I knew I should resist, but I also knew I shouldn’t. Ivan was a dangerous man and for my own sake, I needed to rely on Natasha’s wisdom which was telling me to do what I had to do to survive. I was somewhat frightened, even though I had Natasha’s memories of their sex, something she found some enjoyment from.

I found myself wrapping my arms around his thick neck and kissing him. He lifted me up, my legs wrapping around his torso as he pressed me against the wall of the bedroom. I could feel his bulge through his pants as my back collided against the wall with a thump, rattling the picture frames. His tongue gained access between my lips. His fevered arousal causing my body’s desires to ignite. His hand found my breast and squeezed. His other hand pushed the hem of my dress up as he slid his hand along my bare thigh.

We stayed in that position for a few minutes before he pulled me from the wall and fell on top of me on the bed, the headboard making a loud sound as it smacked against the wall. I briefly thought of what the neighbors must be thinking. I was pinned under Ivan’s massive body. He was almost out of control with his desires and I’d soon lose my nice dress. Strange to think I was a man in Natasha’s body about to have sex with her husband, and I was thinking about preserving my dress. I roughly rolled ourselves over finding myself straddling him on top with his back to the bed. I pulled my dress over my head and tossed it to the side as his hands found my bra snap.

My body was rocking back and forth over his swollen member. I could smell the faint odor of my wet vagina. I reached back and unhooked by heels and let them drop to the floor as his hands massaged my breasts. Turning back towards him I began quickly unbuttoning his shirt exposing his chiseled chest and stomach. My brain was still in rebellion mode until my first orgasm rocked my body. This was fairly common for Natasha to have multiple orgasms during sex. I was still shaking when Ivan rolled me onto my back and tossed his shirt to the side, then began unbuckling his pants. He quickly stripped and yanked my panties down my legs.

I looked down my body, between my breasts, to see Ivan standing before me. His erect member looked massive as he stared down at me greedily. He pulled out a condom and I watched him put it on himself. Natasha had always insisted he do this to protect her body from STDs and from getting pregnant. I was grateful for her wisdom as he pressed the head of his penis against my incredibly moist vagina.

His hands were placed on either side of my shoulders. His taught muscled body angled directly above me. My hands ran up and down his back. He didn’t take his time, instead, he plunged himself as deep into me as he could. I gasped and moaned loudly, my nails digging into his back involuntarily. I felt myself stretch wide and felt so filled inside. I almost came again right then and there. He began his deep thrusting into me. My back was arching and my hips rocking in rhythm to his movements. I felt my breasts move up and down in time with his strokes and the sound of the headboard hitting the wall.

This was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. I felt vulnerable yet immense pleasure. We continued for a number of minutes. I could feel myself building and felt the muscles in Ivan’s back beginning to tighten. His penis began throbbing inside me with each stroke he seemed to swell even larger. I screamed as I came, waves of orgasmic bliss coursing through my body. I gripped his penis with my vaginal muscles. He tensed, thrust deep, and then erupted inside me. We climaxed together for what seemed like minutes before he fell to my side exhausted, his penis falling out of me leaving me feel empty inside.

Ivan immediately fell asleep and began snoring lightly. I lay there a few moments, slightly shocked at myself having enjoyed intercourse with a man. I got up and grabbed some fresh clothing and went to have a shower. I showed quickly, changed, and noticed Ivan was still sleeping. I slipped out of the apartment to go find some food and hoped that by the time I came back Ivan would be gone. As much as I enjoyed the sex, it wasn’t something I wanted to do again if I didn’t have to.

Part 17

I returned to the apartment late that night having spent the evening away. Thankfully, the apartment was empty. There was no note left by Ivan. This was the nature of their relationship. They’d be apart for months at a time and briefly come together for interludes like we just had. I went to the bedroom and picked up my clothes from earlier. Knowing the mission I had coming up in St. Petersburg I unpacked and repacked with the clothing I’d use for the next week. I also added ropes and weapons I’d need for breaking into the Kresty.

Part 18

The next morning I took my large suitcase to a private courier that would deliver it to the hotel the CIA had booked in St. Petersburg. It would be there upon my arrival tomorrow. This allowed me freedom from the burden of traveling with a heavy suitcase.

I walked through the Red Square on my way to the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia headquarters building. My high heels clicked on the stone pavers as I weaved my way through the throngs of tourists. I paused momentarily to look at Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The church was a place Natasha liked to visit. Now, this may be both the first and last time I looked upon it. I considered the tourists and wondered what they would think if they knew I was walking next to them with a gun and two knives strapped on me. I had no idea what I might be heading into. The Sukhoputnyye Voyskia headquarters were located in a building next to the Kremlin. This was the center for Russia’s Cold War decision making.

The guards at the entrance to the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia had me remove my weapons to go through the scanner, but then gave them back to me. They knew me well and were very respectful towards me. I walked through the large, maze-like halls until I came to Sergei’s office. I checked the time and went straight in.

Sergei was a large man that has seen far too much caviar and vodka. His round belly had only become larger over the years. His hair was gray and thinning. To think he was one of the most powerful men in Russia didn’t ever phase Natasha.

“Natasha. Good to see you made it. Did you have any troubles?” His eyes were shifting quickly.

“None that I couldn’t handle.”

He raised his bushy eyebrows a little. “I heard you were captured.”

“The fact that I’m here with the document you wanted me to retrieve should remove any doubts that I failed the mission.” I handed him the document. Something Natasha had never noticed before was the lightning-shaped scar on his hand. My eyes widened with recognition. He noticed the subtle change in my stance but didn’t acknowledge anything.

“I hear Ivan was in town yesterday.” He was probing. He knew Natasha had been captured, further settling in my mind he was a part of the setup.

“We met at the apartment.”

“I’ll review this document. I should have a new mission for you within a few weeks. You earned a little relaxation. Why don’t you stay in town a few days and enjoy some shopping. I know how much you like new clothes.”

“I’ll stay a bit longer then head back to Sochi. It’s much warmer than here this time of year.”

He waved his hand as a dismissal.

Part 19

Back at the apartment I sat in a chair overlooking Red Square. Clouds had rolled in making dusk come early. I was just thinking that I was glad everything had gone smoothly when the door to my apartment burst open with men clad in black and carrying Uzis. They hesitated only a moment to get their bearings, find me, and opened fire shattering the window behind me. Bullets threw tufts of foam seat cushions up into the air from the seat I had been in moments before. Grateful for the lightning fast reflexes of Natasha I had dove behind a heavy wooden cabinet with my gun in hand. Two quick shots from my handgun took out the two that were at the door but there were more coming. I jumped up and ran for the bedroom only to have the glass shatter from another man coming in through the window. His momentum carried him across the bed and slammed me into the wall. Momentarily winded, I regained my footing and kneed the man in the face, then drawing one of my blades from my thigh, slashed his neck. The spray from his artery covered the wall, my hands, and my face. I dropped the man to the floor and dove over the bed as several more men opened fire through the bedroom doorway. Momentarily protected I reached under the bed and grabbed a shotgun and shot out the feet of the men in the doorway. They fell to the ground screaming. I ran back towards the main door to the apartment pausing to smash the butt of the shotgun into the faces of the two on the ground. I had to get out of here quickly.

As I reached the door Sergei and Ivan entered with guns leveled at me. I let off one shot of the shotgun catching Sergei in the chest who went down hard. The pellets tore through his shirt exposing a bullet proof vest over his massive belly. Ivan got a shot off which grazed my side as I launched myself at him. I kicked the gun from his hand then followed with another straight leg kick to his chest throwing him back into the fridge. He was winded but definitely not out of the fight. I swept his legs causing him to fall to the ground just as he got his hands on my wrist and threw me back and over the kitchen counter. By the time I scrambled to my feet he was back on his with a knife in hand and stalking me like a tiger after its prey. He was wary, but at this point, I was unarmed.

He swung a cut towards my midsection. I pulled back just in time to see the blade slash nothing but air beneath my breasts. With his swing he overcommitted himself as his arm continued across his body. A roundhouse kick with my left foot hit with enough force to spin him so his back was towards me. I followed my roundhouse with a back kick into his lower back with as much force as I could. My heel hit perfectly and caused a cracking sound from his back. It didn’t break, but he lost the use of his legs momentarily as the nerves were pinched. Grabbing my second knife from my thigh I plunged it into his back, between his ribs, and into his heart.

Turning, I saw Sergei staggering to his feet. His eyes were wide. I was furious with adrenalin-filled anger. I picked up an Uzi and shot him in the leg as I walked towards him. “You were there eighteen years ago. Did you kill my parents?” He held his hands up. “Tell me!” I yelled at him. He shook his head. I shot him in the other leg.

Through his screams of pain he spoke with spittle spraying from his lips. “You’re going to kill me anyways. I saw this day coming a long time ago. They both ran from the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia to have a life of their own. When I found them I killed them, only to discover they had given birth to you. What greater revenge than to turn their daughter into a weapon for the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia, the agency they rejected.”

I could hear sirens coming. “Who was your contact at the CIA?”

“Never!” I raised the Uzi and fired point blank into his brain. I was covered in blood, bleeding from the wound in my side. I was barefoot, and the Russian police were coming. I grabbed my knives and handgun and ran out the door. My only hope was in getting out of Moscow quickly before they locked all transportation down. It was now dark and the streets were wet from a recent rain. I ran down side streets until I could catch my breath in a small alcove. I hid my weapons under my tattered dress and checked the wound in my side. It was superficial and wouldn’t even leave a scar. I reached down to a puddle and washed my hands in the cold water. I splashed some on my face as well. There was a safe-house used by the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia a few blocks away. Natasha had stored a few things there in case she couldn’t gain access to the apartment. It would be a risky delay, but I couldn’t leave the city looking like I was.

I stealthily made my way to the safe-house and stood silently outside the door. I heard nothing within and carefully opened the door. The room was dark and silent inside. A quick scan of the room showed no one around. I grabbed a few clothes and shoes, and refreshed the bullets in my handgun. I stripped and cleaned myself off well using soap and water. I bandaged the wound in my side, changed, and left for the metro.

Part 20

Thirty minutes later I was in the back of a truck heading for St. Petersburg. It would be safer than the train and the driver had no idea I picked the lock and climbed in the back while he was filling up for gas. I sat amongst the boxes and crates. I’d just killed seven men. Natasha was a killing machine. I’d killed her husband and the head of the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia. I think Natasha would be happy knowing these men were dead. Not long ago I’d been a professor. Now I’m an assassin. I noticed blood under my fingernails and started crying. There was a difference seeing Natasha’s memories, and actually pulling the trigger.

Part 21

It was about seven hours later and nearly three in the morning when the truck came to a stop. I jumped out the back of the truck and oriented myself. I was on the outskirts of St. Petersburg. Natasha had a small apartment here, but it was likely under surveillance by now as it was known by the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia. I needed a disguise. I’d head to the hotel where my items were shipped to. From there I’d purchase a wig when the shops opened in the morning. My only hope was that the hotel didn’t already have my picture. I had to assume within a day my face would be plastered on every television and paper within the country. Assuming I met my contact from the CIA tonight, we could attempt the rescue later tonight and with that, help get me out of the country.

The hotel was located near the central core of downtown St. Petersburg and across the Neva River from the Kresty. I arrived at the hotel by four in the morning and booked a room even if it would just be for a few hours. When the person behind the counter looked away I managed to find what room the CIA had booked for me later in the day. I secured a room under an alias Natasha had rarely used and one different than the CIA had booked for me. My large suitcase was waiting for me and the porter brought it to my room.

Once in my room I started the bathtub and found some fresh clothing from my suitcase. I checked my wound and found it healing quickly. I long soak in a hot bathtub would do wonders for me. I turned on the news, and as in Sochi, pulled a chair next to the tub where I placed my weapons. All of Russia would be looking for me soon. One doesn’t kill the head of the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia and simply leave the country.

I sank into the hot soapy water and submerged myself completely. What a night. I was glad for Natasha’s memories as she’d been in many bad situations before. Maybe not this bad. I thought about where my mind had been when I killed all of those people. I’m pretty sure Natasha would be pleased Ivan and Sergei were killed, although I think she’d rather have done that herself. The water was getting cold and I looked at my hands. I’d scrubbed myself raw absentmindedly. I got out of the tub and started working on drying my hair when I overheard my name on the news.

‘Sergei Kosolov, Head of the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia was murdered last night in a Moscow apartment. The police had been called around 8:20 pm to reports of shots fired in an area just east of Red Square. When they arrived they found seven Sukhoputnyye Voyskia staff murdered, including Sergei Kosolov. The apartment belonged to Natasha Petrovich. Police identified her fingerprints on several of the murder weapons.’ They flashed a picture of me on the screen. ‘This woman is considered extremely dangerous and likely armed.’

Even a little faster than I thought. I quickly repacked my belongings and walked down the hallway until I found the room I was supposed to be in later that day. I was about to pick the lock as the door opened.

“Natasha!” Mark whispered. “What have you done? Come in. Quickly.”

Having no other choice and slightly confused as to why Mark/Brooke would have been there I wheeled my suitcase in and sat down on the bed.

“Why are you here, Mark?”

“After the transfer I was the only one that still had the experience and special training for the rescue. It was natural for them to send me. Obviously that’s not important now. What the hell happened? I’ve had reports from the CIA and have seen you on the local news.”

“Everything went as planned. I delivered the fake documents. Later last night the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia, led by Sergei Kosolov, attacked me in my apartment. It was clear their intention was to kill me. Perhaps something was in the fake document that tipped them off?”

“What are you saying? That the CIA tipped them off?”

“I don’t know. All I know is that Natasha had been set up two months ago. She never knew why.” I left out the fact Natasha was planning on leaving the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia.

“But you killed Sergei Kosolov and Natasha’s husband. How could you be so stupid?”

“I was in a fight for my life. It was either me or them.”

“Sergei was assassinated with a bullet to his brain. That’s not a ‘me or them’ scenario. You screwed up royally.”

“I’m not an assassin!” I paused a moment. “Sergei was wounded early in the fight. There was a lot of history between him and Natasha. History that needed revealing.”

“There are seven people dead and your telling me you’re not an assassin? I hope it was worth it. You’ve got the whole damn country after you right now. That’s jeopardized this mission and you’re putting me at great risk.”

“I can lay low until tonight. We push the rescue up a day.”

Mark reached behind him and pulled out a gun pointing it at me. “You’re such a stupid bitch! There is no rescue mission. You just don’t get it. Capturing Natasha was Sergei’s plan. He’d been wanting to get rid of her for years. What Russia really wanted was your technology. Combined with Professor Harding’s invention we now have the best weapon the world ever produced. We can replace leaders around the world. Natasha and I were to switch bodies as evidence the transference system worked. With my CIA background and Natasha’s knowledge, I’d make an even more impressive spy than Natasha ever did. And I’d at least be loyal to Russia.” She left that hanging with a hint of innuendo. “With the transfer fiasco, we had to come up with a new plan. We’d let Sergei get rid of you and I’d build a new transfer system here. It actually even works out better. In case you weren’t aware, the fake documents you carried had embedded within it the entire plan, and yes, it exposed you.”

I was listening and not believing what I was hearing. Professor Harding, and Stephen were both in on this too. I watched Mark carefully. He’d kept a healthy distance from me. I had to eliminate Mark, otherwise, the world would be in danger. I stalled. “What about us? You and me, we could work together. I… I realize now that we should be together. Your kiss still lingers on my lips.”

“Your feigned affections won’t win me over. Granted, I’ve wanted to feel myself pounding into you, to thoroughly dominate you in every way possible. You probably didn’t know that even Ivan and me as Brooke had a thing going. He was looking forward to me being his wife. For killing him, I’m going to make you suffer. But first I need to hand you over to the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia. That will garner my favor with them.”

If affection didn’t work, maybe antagonism would. “I can’t believe I ever liked you, Brooke. You’re as shallow and petty as they come. The Sukhoputnyye Voyskia will eat you alive. You may think you’ll garner favor, but they’ll milk you for everything you’ve got and when they’re done with you, they’ll throw your used carcass on the side of some desolate road in Siberia. It was funny that Ivan screamed out my name instead of yours two nights ago when we were having sex.”

I thought at first Mark was going to pull the trigger, but he obviously thought better of it and moved forward to hit me. This was the chance I was looking for. I kicked the gun from his hand and smashed a fist into his face momentarily stunning him. He circled around trying to get a hold on me, but I was too fast for him. I blocked his punches and followed those with hits to his ribs and face. He pressed forward, right into my side kick which caused him to stumble backwards. Losing his balance, I watched in horror as my old body fell through the hotel room window falling seven floors to his death.

I quickly grabbed everything that I needed and stuffed it into a small backpack before racing to the back stairs and out of the hotel. The sun was about an hour from rising as I worked my way from hiding spot to hiding spot. The cover of darkness providing me a chance to work my way down towards the river. I passed by the canal and the Savior on the Spilled Blood church, behind which was a tourist section devoted to tents selling Russian trinkets. I continued towards the Neva River where I spotted several boats. One man was just entering a twin engine boat. I wasted no time in knocking him out and jumping aboard. It would take me several hours to get close to the Finland border. I started out at a moderate speed but as I neared the Bay of Finland I went to full throttle. It wouldn’t be long before the noose would tighten.

As I entered the Bay of Finland and was passing Lakhta on my right, I caught sight of several Russian naval ships on the horizon. They were moving rapidly in my direction. They were still on the far side of Kotlin Island and appeared to be heading to the south of the island. I kept close to shore hoping the island would hide me from their sights. I was pretty sure they hadn’t seen me but I wasn’t taking chances on the open water in daylight. With the sun rising I pulled the boat into an inlet at Sestroretsk.

Ditching the boat under a bridge I quickly changed from my dress and into black pants and jacket. I stuck to the morning shadows until I found a motorcycle in a small residential neighborhood. Hotwiring the motorcycle took all of thirty seconds with Natasha’s skills and soon I was cruising down the E18 towards the Finland border at Vaalimaan. Several hours into the morning I noticed more and more military and police activity on the roads as I neared Torfyanovka, the last Russian city near the Finland border. Just before the Russian border stop I pulled off the road and headed down dirt roads angling southwest until there was no more road. This left me a five mile hike through thick forest and across two rivers to the Finland border at Metsola.

I headed due west through the forest, the sun now well up in the sky making my escape all the easier. The first river was easy to navigate and swim across but the water was icy cold. I kept pressing onwards, careful of not exposing myself in the small openings. I knew I was getting close to the border when I started hearing helicopters and dogs barking. I found a hidden area under some logs and rested there until darkness fell.

Part 22

I stood and stretched my aching muscles and continued towards the border. I still heard dogs in the distance and the occasional helicopter. I also needed to be careful of mines. I approached the second river on my journey and stood silent at the edge of the forest. The river periodically flooded around here so the mines were less likely. I was hesitant until I began hearing dogs barking from within the forest behind me. They’d found me and I had only a few minutes to cross the river. I checked my surroundings again and ran forward reaching the river’s edge in under thirty seconds. I dove into the frigid waters and swam across into Finland just as the helicopters careened overhead and military broke exited the forest. Just because I was in Finland didn’t mean I was safe. I scurried further away from the border as shots rang out behind me. I’d been incredibly lucky.

My remaining trip to Helsinki was uneventful. I stopped in a smaller town on the way and managed to find a blonde wig and a new dress. I had several passports with me and I would travel back to the US using my blonde alias Natalya Stenoko. I even purchased a carry on suitcase even though it was mostly empty. Getting through the stainless steel and glass Helsinki airport had been easy. I suspected Russia might have contacted Finland looking for my extradition, but Finland and Russia had never been the best of allies and thus, they would only look like they were searching for me.

Once on the plane to Washington DC I finally felt like I had a few moments to contemplate what I’d just been through and what my next steps would be. I sat back in my economy seat, still very grateful to be a smaller frame than I was before. The image of my old body crashing through the window to his death would haunt me for the rest of my days. What an odd feeling that was. I thought of Natasha and hoped she was adapting well to her new body. I cared deeply for Natasha. She was a part of me and I truly understood what she had gone through.

I had to try to help her escape. That’s why I chose to fly to DC. I didn’t care if she ever reciprocated feelings for me. I doubted she ever could. I was the person responsible for all of this. I also needed to see if Professor Harding and Stephen could be put away from treason. I wasn’t sure how I could do that. My last objective, was to destroy the machine. There was a safe house in DC which would have everything I needed to assault the warehouse. I’d use a tranquilizer rifle and handguns and wait until dusk.

I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep, waking just as the plane was landing. Natasha had a tremendous ability to move through customs, but I was a little nervous. She may have entered countries under aliases, but this was still new to me. I handed my passport to the agent and he pulled it through the scanner. I knew I was in trouble when his face gave off a slight red tinge from his computer monitor. Within moments two guards arrived behind me and another two guards blocked my way forward.

“Please come with us, ma’am.”

I was led to a small interrogation room and left there on my own for about thirty minutes. Finally two men wearing dark blue suits entered the room. “Natasha Petrovich. I’m Agent Donald Stevenson, and this is Agent Milton Hamilton of the FBI. Do you mind if we take a seat?”

“Feel free.”

“You’ve had an interesting week.”

“You’ve no idea.”

“Let me get to the point. For some time now we’ve had suspicions that Stephen Mahone has been acting as a spy for Russia. Over the past few months, we’ve been intercepting some rather strange communications. You are being hunted by the CIA and by Russia. I get the feeling you might be able to shed a lot of light on what is going on. Of course, if you don’t cooperate, it would be easy to hand you over to either one of them, a scenario I suspect you’d like to avoid. Why don’t you share with us what’s been going on?”

“No matter how strange this may sound?”

“Believe me, we’ve heard some strange things the past few weeks and you might be surprised at what we might believe.”

I pulled off the blonde wig and shook out my brunette hair. “Two months ago…”

Part 23

A few hours later Donald ran his fingers through his hair and let out a long breath. “So why did you come back here? You could have gone anywhere.”

“I came here for three reasons. Justice needs to be served to Stephen and Professor Harding, the technology needs to be destroyed, and I need to free Natasha Petrovich.”

“You took out seven Sukhoputnyye Voyskia agents single handed. I suspect you could potentially have escaped us today. Why didn’t you try?”

I raised an eyebrow. “I’m still planning on escaping. However, I’d like to know one day that I don’t have to constantly be looking over my shoulder from both the US and Russia. I believe I could be of help to the FBI in this matter. An ally would be preferred, but I’ll attempt this on my own if I have to.”

“And I’ve no doubt that you’d do some serious damage. I’m not sure we can free Natasha.”

“To the world, she is Brooke Westerling, a CIA agent. She’s suffered enough through her life. If you must keep Natasha Petrovich, then keep me, but let her go.”

“You’d be willing to go to prison for life so she could be free?”

“This will sound completely strange to you, but I love her, even though I don’t know her. I have her memories and her wisdom. Her entire life she’s been a slave to the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia. She’s caring and loving and I’ve not met anyone in my life that is more honorable. She’s no threat to the US. She only wants her freedom, and we’ve taken away her identity. Can you image how painful that must be for her? She deserves a chance at living a normal life.”

Donald got up and opened the door. “Bring her in.”

Two guards escorted Natasha into the room. She was crying. She looked me in the eyes. “You’d give up your life for me? You don’t even know me. How could you say you love me?”

I looked at Donald with a questioning glare. “We intercepted a caravan as they were transporting her from the warehouse to another facility. She was listening and corroborating everything you were saying in another room.”

I looked to Natasha. “I know you, Natasha. I have you inside me. Every memory. For the past week, I’ve dreamed your dreams and your nightmares. I’ve lived your life with your subconscious guiding me. You’ve suffered enough. I’ve lived a good and sheltered life. It’s not fair what happened to you and, yes, I’d be willing to go to prison to see you finally have a chance at life.”

“I was so wrong to judge you, Mark. If I never see the light of day again know that you’ve freed me. The chains inside of me have been broken by your kindness. That’s a debt I can’t ever repay.” She pushed by the guards and held me tightly. “I won’t let you go to prison for who I was.” She turned to Donald. “She must go free.”

“There are a few other things we need to clear up before we can make any decisions. Mark, or should I call you Natasha?”

“If Natasha is okay with it, I prefer Natasha. I hardly look like a Mark anymore.”

“And you can all call me Brooke to make things easier. I understand how Natasha feels. In this body, Brooke feels more appropriate.”

“Now that the naming convention is settled, I need to understand what transpired with Sergei. You assassinated him with a bullet to his head.”

I winced. Brooke looked at me questioningly. “Brooke, you might want to sit down for this. You remember the day your parents died?” She sat and nodded solemnly. “You never knew that they were once part of the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia, did you?”

“I didn’t know.” She looked at nothing in particular.

“During my fight in Moscow, Sergei and Ivan came in at the end to confirm I was dead. Since I wasn’t, they opened fire. I shot Sergei with a shotgun, but he was wearing a bullet proof vest. He still went down hard and I had a difficult fight with Ivan. Once Ivan was dead, Sergei was just recovering and getting to his feet. I knew you’d been setup and I wanted answers. I didn’t want him getting away without me confirming some things. Do you recall the memory of the man that took you away after your parents died?”

“How could I ever forget that?”

“I had a nightmare one night. The man that took you away had a scar on his hand that looked like…”

“Lightning. He had a lightning-shaped scar.” I watched as the sudden revelation came to her. “Sergei had that scar.”

“To make sure he didn’t escape, I picked up an Uzi and shot him in the leg. I then began questioning him. Your parents worked for the Sukhoputnyye Voyskia. When they found out they were pregnant with you, they went dark and ran away to raise you. Sergei was tasked with hunting them down. When he found them, he killed them. You know the rest of the story as to what happened to you.”

“It all makes sense now. My whole life was torn apart by Sergei.”

“Once I had that information, I questioned him about his contact in the CIA. He refused to answer. I had no time left as the police were coming. If I let him live, I would have had little to no chance of getting out of Moscow alive. I burned with so much hatred for what he did, I shot him in the head, taking the only chance we’d ever have to be rid of this man forever. Forgive me, Brooke.”

“Why would I need to forgive you?”

“Because I made a decision on your behalf. You had no say in it.”

“You know I never enjoyed killing. Their faces are with us both for the rest of our lives. But I thank you. Justice is finally served. Not only did you free me from him, but also Ivan. I owe you a huge debt.”

She reached for me again and kissed me on the cheek. She whispered in my ear so that no one else could hear. “I could easily love you. If an opportunity arises, we need to get out of here.”

“One more thing. You killed Brooke Westerling, in your old body. You do realize that regardless of the story that’s been given, the US government sees you as the murderer of an American citizen?”

“I do. Brooke was planning on selling the secrets of the transference machine to Russia. The plan was to take over the heads of government around the world. He tried to kill me. I didn’t mean for him to fall through the window. It was like killing myself.”

“I think I’ve heard enough. Perhaps we can use you both. You’re very highly skilled, probably more than any of my men. Natasha, you know how to destroy the machine. What do you say to an assault on the warehouse?”

Part 24

The plan was for the FBI to surround the warehouse and hopefully get the place to stand down. I would go in with Brooke to destroy the machine and notes, while they would seek to find Professor Harding and Stephen.

Brooke and I were dressed in all black with large yellow FBI letters on the front and back. We were stationed together with several more FBI agents across the street from the warehouse. Brooke looked behind us at the two agents and muted her mic. I muted mine as she whispered to me.

“Not everything is on the up-and-up here. I don’t trust the FBI to let either of us go after this. I suspect they also want the machine. I’ll watch your back.”

“I agree that it makes no sense that they would willingly let Natasha Petrovich simply walk away. Russia must be pounding on the US’s door to hand us over. Once politicians get in the mix, the FBI would have no ability to truly protect either of us. If anything happens to me, I hope you can get to the Cayman Islands. I changed the passwords on your accounts. They’re…”

“Shhh. I don’t want to hear them.”

“But they’re yours.”

“No. They’re ours. I’m not leaving here without you.”

“Your freedom is the most important thing to me. Promise me you’ll not sacrifice yourself if it comes to it.”

“No. I’ll not promise that. We’re either free together or we die together. You don’t know how much you mean to me, the one person in this whole damn world that ever cared for me enough that you’d give your life for me.” She pulled me close and kissed me. “I’ve been wanting to do that. It seemed like the right time.”

“Then you don’t mind me telling you I love you?”

“I don’t recall anyone ever saying that to me before.” She kissed me again

I smiled. “Maybe we should just escape now?”

“You know as well as I do that the machine must be destroyed. I don’t care what happens to Professor Harding and Stephen.”

I pulled my handgun from my hip and opened the clip. “They gave me blanks.”

Brooke checked hers. “Mine too.”

“It’s another setup. We both get killed breaking into a CIA facility. They keep the machine. Russia knows nothing about it. Tensions are resolved.”

“What do we do now?”

I nodded to the two agents behind us. “We’re still thirty minutes from go time. We get a head start on things.”

Part 25

The two agents that had been assigned to us took little effort to subdue. We swapped out weapons with theirs and confirmed we now had live ammunition. Neither of us wanted to kill anyone. We’d both seen more than enough for our lifetimes. Brooke and I worked flawlessly with each other as we both shared a common set of knowledge. Our communications were silent and efficient. We reached the warehouse wall and snuck inside while the guards weren’t looking.

The place was quiet as we worked our way to where the databanks and the machine was. These were in rooms right next to each other. I approached a computer console as Brooke watched the door and hallway behind me. I logged is as Mark, but my password had been changed. It had been worth a try. I moved into a smaller room that contained the servers. While they could have taken backups offsite, the warehouse had been intentionally isolated from the Internet to prevent potential for hacking. I pulled the rack mounted KVM from the rack and tried to log into the main data storage server. I’d set this system up and recalled I had a local user account. If I could get into the server, I could initiate a wipe of all the data. Luckily my account was still there and I quickly initiated a zero-byte erase against the entire storage system. It would keep writing ‘0’s across all storage drives until someone stopped it, but everything would be wiped out in under ten minutes.

I turned back to Brooke who was watching me intently. Her eyes conveyed warmth. I squeezed her hand as we moved to the room with the machine where this all began. It was still so quiet that I started to get a bad feeling about things. Our headsets sounded with the “All go!” command.

“How do we destroy this?”

“Fire would be best but I have another idea. This room seals airtight. Those tanks over in the corner contain liquid nitrogen. If we open them, there would be rapid heating of the liquid nitrogen, expanding the air pressure in the room. If the room is sealed, it will eventually explode. No fire, but it would ruin everything inside.”

“Let’s do it.”

We ran to the tanks and opened them, staying as far away from the liquid as possible. We just left the room and sealed the doors behind us when Stephen and Professor Harding can around the corner. On the opposite side of the hall the FBI entered. We were caught in the middle. Brooke already had her weapon trained on Stephen who had also pulled his weapon. I turned towards Donald and the FBI team and leveled my gun at them.

Donald looked at me with steely eyes. “What have you done?”

“What we all intended to do. Destroy the data and the machine.” There was a groaning sound from behind us as the pressure within the room continued to build.

“Brooke and Natasha, stand down. You’re both under arrest.”

“We’re fully aware you had no intentions on letting us leave here.” More groaning from the room behind us. Stephen and Professor Harding glanced fearfully at the door to the room. There was a total of six people, five with guns pointing at us.

The pressure from the room caused the building lights to flicker and go out briefly. Brooke and I were immediately on the move. We ran full speed through the darkness towards Stephen and Professor Harding. By the time the lights came back on we were behind them with guns to their heads. Brooke disarmed Stephen as the lights flickered again. We left them all standing in the hallway. We threw off the headsets as it was obvious that the FBI were using separate channels. Moments later a massive explosion rocked the building, throwing us to the ground. We got up and made it to the outside entrance and paused there.

I looked at Brooke. “Let’s try not to kill anyone.”

She nodded as we burst out of the building into a half a dozen FBI and CIA agents. We worked quickly with the element of surprise. I took down the first agent with a kick to his stomach and a knee to his head. Brooke swept the feet of another who landed hard on the asphalt parking lot. A gun was raised towards me, I dove low and grabbed his wrist, wrenching the gun from his hand at the same time as pulling his arm up behind his back. I slammed him face-first into the brick warehouse wall. Brooke had taken another agent out but a third was about to shoot her from behind. I dove at the agent just as the gun fired. I elbowed him in the head and followed that with a punch to his face. Brooke staggered but got up. The final agent turned and ran.

I ran to Brooke’s side and helped her across the street and into a running FBI vehicle. I floored it, and drove towards Alexandria city. Knowing the vehicle had tracking systems, we would have a short time before everyone converged on us. I grabbed Brooke’s hand. “Hang in there.”

“I’m all right. It hit the vest. Just knocked the wind out of me.”

We drove to a neighborhood, left the vehicle and ran off on foot.

Part 26

It was late in the morning that we found ourselves at Brooke’s Alexandria home. There we could get changed and rest briefly before trying to get out of the country. Brooke knew there was no alarm and where the hidden key was. We didn’t want to take much time so we rummaged through Brooke’s clothing and selected items we thought we could use. I chose a dress and Brooke found a pair of jeans and a blouse.

“I’ve got an idea. It would be risky to use a credit card from Mark or Brooke, but we have access to their bank accounts. I suggest we withdraw funds, convert those funds into a prepaid credit card. Use the credit card to purchase a cruise out of Florida. We get off the ship in Jamaica, then hire a private charters to the Cayman Islands.”

Brooke placed her hands on my face and kissed me. “We’ll need some bikinis and a few other clothes. But it’s a great idea. Let’s go.”

Getting the cash was easy. It took a couple of days to pull enough funds to fully fund out trip and, being in the spy business, procure new identification. We skipped around, using ATMs in different locations and directions, knowing the FBI would be running all over the place. By the time we carefully maneuvered ourselves to Miami, a week had passed.

Part 27

We were dressed in trendy tourist sun dresses, sandals, and sunglasses as we registered ourselves at the cruise dock. Everything went smoothly as we entered the ship and found our stateroom. We spent a few minutes unpacking and went back to stand on the deck as the ship pulled away from the dock. Brooke held my hand as we watched the Miami skyline disappear. For the last week we’d been constantly on the move. While I felt us drawing closer, neither of us felt safe. We spoke little of our feelings, concentrating on what was needed to leave the country.

We walked by the boisterous departure party by the pool as the sun began to set as we looked for a quieter spot to chat. We stood with our hands on the rail looking out over the ocean. Brooke placed her hand on mine. Since Alexandria, I don’t think there were many minutes where we hadn’t been touching each other. It felt comforting and natural.

Brooke angled towards me. “We made it this far. I think the rest will be easy. We’ve been so busy covering our tracks and sneaking out of the country that we’ve not really had a chance to talk much about other things. No one has ever shown so much concern for me as you have. You know me almost as well as I know myself. You know I’ve longed for someone I could love.”

“I hope you realize you can trust me. I’d do anything for you to have a life.”

Her eyes were moist. “I know I can trust you, even though I’ve never trusted anyone in my life before. I also know you aren’t saying these things because you pity me. No one would give up their live for pity, but they would for love. I believe you truly love me.”

“I do love you. I love that you like to listen to jazz. I know you like the sensual feeling of silk against your skin. I know your favorite foods.”

“I love you, Natasha. I don’t ever want to let you go.” She pulled me close and kissed me long and gently. All I could do is moan softly.

Brooke led me back to our cabin. By the time our door closed behind us her hands were all over me as mine were over her. Off came our sun dresses, our bras, and our panties. We fell into each other’s arms on the bed. This was nothing like the sex I had with Ivan. That was raw and animalistic. This, was love making with my emotions and passions so intertwined with another person that I’ve never felt so fulfilled in my entire life. Brooke knew my body so intimately that I orgasmed a half-dozen times. She knew every place to touch me and every sensitive spot on my body. I reciprocated every touch and every caress.

We had four days on the cruise before get off the ship in Jamaica. With the exception of sunbathing, dining, and dancing together, we kept to our cabin and in each other’s arms the entire time. We departed the ship in Jamaica and took two charter flights and a boat to get to the Cayman Islands using different aliases. We felt the additional hops from Jamaica would make it increasingly hard to track us.

When we finally arrived at the house on Grand Cayman we found several large boxes on the front steps. “What are these?”

“A gift for you.”

“Open them.” Brooke started opening the boxes and pulled out the carefully packed clothing and items from the Sochi house. I helped her out and pulled a particularly special item from one of the boxes. I held it up for her.

“You did this all for me?” She took the item from my hand and stroked it lovingly with her fingers before placing the picture of her parents on a mantle inside the house.

“I didn’t think either of us would ever be back to Sochi. I knew these were highly sentimental items for you and I took the opportunity to pack them up and send them here.”

Brooke wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me as I dabbed her tears with my fingertips. “I thought I’d lost these things. Thank you!”

Part 28

Several months later I was lying on a chaise lounge on our deck overlooking the Caribbean. The sun was bright and warm. A gentle sea breeze brought hints of fresh salty air. I heard a sound from behind me and looked to see Brooke wearing a stunning and highly revealing bikini walking towards me with a pair of drinks in her hands. She snuggled up next to me on the extra-large lounge chair. “I’ve never been so happy in all my life, Natasha. I finally feel free.”

“How are you feeling about me being in your body and you being in Brooke’s?”

“I admit that at first I felt terribly violated, but now, there’s been something freeing about it. It’s hard to explain. As Natasha, I’d lived my entire life one way. My identity had been wrapped into who I had become. In Brooke’s body, I’ve been totally free to become anyone, to drop the façade that I had made. Does that make some sense?”

“I completely understand. Did I ever think I would enjoy life as someone else, even a woman? It never crossed my mind. But, like you, I’ve never been happier. I feel released to remake myself. As for being a woman, I had no idea how wonderful it would be. I love being a woman, but, more than anything, I love us together.”



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