The Bureau

The Bureau

Sean Stafford pushed himself away from his computer and leaned back in his office chair. At fifty-five, he was one of the oldest field agents at the FBI. Most agents his age had already moved up the ladder into director-level roles, but not Sean. He had lost his drive and it showed. His wife left him many years ago. She wanted a family, but Sean's work kept him fully consumed, and having children was never a priority for him. After she left him, he poured himself even more into his work. He had gained weight, which slowed down his reaction times and allowed the younger rookies to pass him rapidly by. Sean’s director appreciated his experience, but could see that Sean was past his prime and losing his value to the Bureau. He had even told Sean that unless things improved on his upcoming recertification and fitness exams, he would have no choice but to find some dark, dank office for Sean to sit in for his remaining years.

Sean sighed heavily and looked out his office window. It was 10:12 pm, Friday, September 4, and the office was very quiet. Only he and some of the rookie upstarts were still there. Resigned to the fact that next week’s recertification would not go well, Sean knew he’d be put on file duty. He had given his life to the Bureau and, yet, that was simply not good enough for them. After one last look at his current case, a monotonous and boring case that Sean felt was given to him in a punitive way, he logged out of his computer, grabbed his things, and headed for the elevator.

Arriving at the ground floor, the elevator door opened and Sean looked out into the entry area. He stalled momentarily as he saw a beautiful, young, vivacious brunette. She could not be more than twenty-three, and her badge and fake, red firearm indicated she was an agent in training. There was no doubt that under the polished business attire, her body was curvy and athletic. He watched the spring in her step, and could feel the vibrancy of youthful life that emanated from her. The elevator door started to close on him as he stood there mesmerized. He held out his hand to stop the door then continued on his way to his car.

Pausing, he could not help but watch the young woman as she stopped at the guard desk and handed a box to the guard. “Hi Sam!"

"Amanda! It is so good to see you! You know, we've missed you ever since you moved out of the neighborhood. I understand you graduate next week?"

"Hopefully, if I pass all the tests. The academy cut us loose this weekend and I just had to stop by and say hello on my way home. I got this just for you to help keep you going tonight.”

“You are too good to me, Amanda. If I were twenty years younger and not married, you’d be in trouble.”

Sean watched her laugh casually. “You’d be a good catch, Sam. Except I think of you more like the father I never had. Don’t tell your Ellie I got you that for you or she’ll blame me for blowing your diet.”

"That was the sweetest thing you ever said to me. You really think of me like a father?”

"Absolutely! Have to run. Good night, Sam!”

Sean watched her turn towards the exit. By this time, he had caught up to her and held the door open to let her out. She smiled warmly at him, “Heading home?”
Sean nodded.

“I’ve been putting in lots of hours lately preparing for my final exams at the academy next week. It’s so exciting thinking in one week I’ll be a Special Agent just like you, although, I doubt I'd be lucky enough to get a headquarters position.”

“One hint of advice I can give you after thirty years here, is to make sure you have a proper balance in life. The Bureau can be all consuming, and sooner than you realize, you’ll find yourself a thirty-year veteran with no spouse, kids, or life.”

She reached out and touched his arm. That action startled Sean at first, but one look in her eyes showed a depth of empathy and caring he had rarely seen before. “Good words of advice that I will take to heart every day.” She smiled again and headed across the street to the parking garage.

Something stirred deep within Sean. He was a good man, but life had simply taken the wind out of his sails. He’d walked past that guard for ten years and never knew his name; yet she had taken time to go out of her way to make the guard feel special. It was in that moment that Sean decided a change was needed in his life.

Sean exited the building and followed on the heels of the young trainee. He wasn’t stalking her. She just happened to be going the same way he was. A slight mist and a bit of fog hung in the air. The roads were wet from a recent cool rain. As they approached the middle of the road, he heard a revving engine. A white pickup truck was speeding towards the intersection and appeared to be heading straight for them both. Sean started running towards the young woman and shouted a warning. She turned, startled, her hand rising automatically towards the speeding truck as if to hold it back. In what felt like slow motion, Sean reached her side and pushed her out of the way. He saw her fall hard to the pavement and hit her head. It was the last thing Sean saw as the truck slammed into his body.

Sean opened his eyes to a soft white light. Everything around him was white. He thought, perhaps, that he was in a hospital, but, when he sat up, he could not see that he had been laying on anything solid. He started to panic until a voice spoke that brought solace and reassurance to his soul, “That was a brave and selfless act you just did, Sean Stafford. It is unfortunate, however, that it was in vain, as it was Amanda Sterling’s time to leave earth and join us.”

“I’m dead? I feel surprisingly well for being dead if that is what you are saying.”

“Yes, and no. While your body dies your soul lives on. Without your body to feel pain, you will feel very much alive and well. We do not have much time, and you need to make a decision.”

“What decision?”

“The decision is whether or not you want to go back to earth. As I said before, it was Amanda Sterling’s time to die. Even though you pushed her out of the way of the truck, it was still her time. She died and came here to us, though her body is physically fine. The problem is with you. It was not your time to die, but there is only so much damage a physical body can take, and thus, you are here with us now. Had you not slowed when you left work, you would have been slightly ahead of Amanda. She would have yelled a warning, and you would have been able to get out of the way, just in time.”

The voice continued, “Your untimely death has a causal effect, and a new chain of events will now unfold. This new chain of events will ultimately lead to millions of innocent lives lost. Now comes the moment of your decision. Because of your courage and selflessness, and that many lives are at stake, we are giving you a choice. You can choose to return to earth, and hopefully prevent the loss of all these lives, or, you can choose to remain here with us. There is nothing wrong with either choice, as in the grand scheme of things, we all wind up here. I do need to warn you that your life would be very different from the life you have had up to this point, as we cannot return you to your old body. Another physical host would be chosen. Time is of the essence. I need your decision now.”

Sean hesitated momentarily as he felt wonderful where he was. It would be easy to stay and not have to go back to the drudgery of his old life, but if he did not, then many people might die. “I choose to go back.”

“Then Godspeed to you.”

Sean heard distant sirens as awareness slowly crept upon him. “Amanda! Amanda!” His eyes fluttered open and he was looking into the eyes of Sam, the front desk guard. Sean felt a sense of familiarity about Sam, yet he knew he had not ever really met him before. “Amanda, are you okay? The ambulance will be here soon.” Sean was sitting on the curb with Sam supporting him. He looked down to see his long slender legs exposed.

“Sam, what happened?” Sean’s voice sounded very strange to him yet also familiar. Then he remembered the woman, the truck, the place that was all white, and a decision. Even as he tried to recall the events of the white room, the memories began to fade quickly. He knew he was Sean Stafford, and yet he also knew he was Amanda Sterling.

“It appears as if an out of control truck almost hit you. If it was not for the brave actions of Special Agent Stafford, you would be dead now.”

Sean was frightened and shaking. Suddenly words sounded in his mind, “I do need to warn you that your life would be very different from the life you have had up to this point, as we cannot return you to your old body. Another physical host would be chosen.” He now knew for sure what had happened. He was Sean Stafford, he died trying to save Amanda Sterling, and now, since his body no longer functioned, he was sent back to earth as her. He stood unsteadily on his feet, with Sam’s hand to guide him up. He turned towards the intersection and could see his old body there, mangled and in pieces. He walked over to it and bent down. In the bloody mess that was his previous life, Sean’s old face remained intact. He reached out a shaking, feminine, delicate hand and stroked his old face lovingly.

The ambulance arrived and the paramedics ushered Sean away from the scene. Sean’s old body was quickly determined to be a lost cause, and a sheet was placed over it. There was something final in seeing his old body covered with that sheet. A chapter had closed, and a new chapter had begun. Words sounded in his mind again, “Because of your courage and selflessness, and that many lives are at stake, we are giving you a choice...” Even as the words eroded from his memory, Sean felt a determination and a sense of urgency that he had never felt before. Looking down at his slender hand and well-manicured nails, he resolved that he would do what it would take. He needed to live Amanda’s life, graduate next week as a Special Agent, and save the world.

Sean looked up into the eyes of the paramedic who was tending to the spot where Amanda had hit her head. “He was a good man, Sean Stafford. Please treat him with the respect he is due. He saved my life today.”

“We will, ma’am.”

Gently brushing the paramedic's hand away, he stood. “I’m fine. Just a bump on the head. If I experience any after effects, I promise to go see a doctor.”

“Okay, ma’am. Please take care of yourself.”

Sean walked over to Sam who had stayed close by. Suddenly emotional, he hugged Sam and thanked him for his support. The police arrived and he gave a statement to them. When everything was completed he headed home. Luckily, he seemed to have memory of where Amanda’s car was and the address to her apartment.

It was very dark and in the early hours of the morning by the time Sean arrived at Amanda’s apartment. As Sean entered the entry hall, he automatically placed Amanda’s purse and keys on a small table. He looked at himself in the small hallway mirror. Although disheveled and with a small red bump on his forehead, he was extraordinarily beautiful. He had a flawless complexion, big, bright, blue eyes, high cheekbones, full red lips, and his face was framed with lush, long, dark brown hair. Sean’s brain suggested he should be panicking, after all, he just saw his old body mangled on the pavement, and he was now in the body of a woman. Sean was, however, oddly calm and at peace. He remembered his old life well, yet he also remembered Amanda’s, most of it anyways. He knew she lived alone and had no immediate family. She had been raised in foster homes her entire life, even living for a brief time as neighbor to Sam and Ellie. She excelled in school and received top honors from the University of Virginia. Sean knew who her friends and acquaintances were, and where she had stored the sugar. He even knew how much of some things were in the refrigerator. All of these things helped put Sean’s mind at ease, but everything else was still shocking and foreign to him.

Sean walked down the hallway towards the bedroom. As he walked, he absentmindedly slipped off his low-heeled pumps as if it was the most natural thing to do. When he got to the bedroom he looked at the pumps in his hand realizing he did not even remember taking them off. He set them aside and walked into the bathroom and turned on the water to fill the tub. He was never much of a bath kind of guy before, but now it felt more natural. A nice hot bath would rejuvenate him and allow him time to think. He reached under the sink and pulled out some bath salts and poured some into the water. Sean unzipped his skirt and undid the buttons on his blouse, letting both drop to the floor. He stood before the bathroom mirror looking at the beautiful woman reflected back. Where he had stood over six feet tall, he now was closer to five-foot eight. He knew his bra size, which sort of amazed him. 36C. He reached behind his back and his fingers seemed to know where and what they needed to do to unclasp the hooks. He let the black, lacey, bra fall to the ground. The weight of his breasts, now unencumbered, noticeably pulled against his chest. He bent down to remove his black, lacey panties. The feeling of his breasts swinging freely was both disconcerting and yet arousing at the same time. He tried not to think about it.

Looking at himself in all his glory for the first time, Sean stood awestruck by the beautiful woman before him. His breasts were full and perky, yet not ponderous or sagging. He had a narrow, trim waist and his extremely flat stomach showed hints of his abs. The space between his legs was noticeably void, with neatly trimmed pubic hair and a slit with moist vaginal lips. Sean's carnal mind was turning himself on by looking at himself, and yet the logical part of his brain refused and rejected this new reality. He reached a hand to one of his breasts and felt its weight. He was amazed at its suppleness and sensitivity. He was torn between exploring his new body and coming to grips with his predicament.

Sean stepped into the tub and laid himself back in the hot water. He could feel his breasts float and move with the small waves. It was all too much and too fresh in his mind. He pushed back the new sensations and tried to allow the hot water to relax him.

When the water had cooled, Sean drained the tub and turned on the shower to wash his long hair. At first, the spray from the shower shocked him. His new body was so much more sensitive than he was before. He let the hot water thoroughly wet his hair and reached automatically for the shampoo. The shampoo smelled of fresh fruits and flowers. It took him a long time to wash and put conditioner in his hair. Sean stepped out and wrapped a towel around his hair and another one around his body. His almost automatic movements continued to bring a sense of comfort to his racing mind.

Sean moved into the bedroom and went to the chest of drawers. He pulled out a sheer, black silk nightgown and looked at it carefully before putting it back in the drawer. He could not bring himself to put it on. Sean climbed into the bed, noticing how rough the sheets felt. Ignoring everything, he closed his eyes and oddly, drifted immediately off to sleep.

Sean woke late that morning. He felt incredibly refreshed, and there were no aches or pains that had been a traditional part of his previous life. He was still confused, as waking up in a different bed, in a different apartment, and in a different body would do that to most people. It took a few minutes to process where he was, what had happened, and all the new feelings and sensations he felt. His long hair was everywhere, including over his face, wrapped around his neck, and in his mouth. He reached over to the night stand and found a few hair scrunchies that Amanda had likely used at night to keep this from happening. As he rolled out of bed he felt the weight of his breasts shift. He felt his nipples become hard and erect at the coolness of the air.

He walked into the bathroom to relieve himself and automatically sat down on the toilet. He felt the rush of urine escape and his lack of ability to direct the flow was disconcerting to him. He grabbed some toilet paper and wiped himself. He stood up and looked back at the toilet, realizing that he was now forever chained to sitting when going to the bathroom. Sean glanced in the mirror and felt an immediate sexual response from the slightly bed-slept look of the woman staring back at him. He tried to brush his hair out, but he found that would be a difficult challenge. Instead he grabbed his hair and put it into a ponytail so he could get some food and get started with his day. He needed time to think.

He found a robe and put it on so he would be warm and comfortable. He wandered into the kitchen, fully aware of the way his new body was moving. There was such a grace about his movements, and the feeling of his breasts moving without support under the robe was an ever present distraction. Sean moved into the kitchen and prepared himself some breakfast. He found himself reaching for tea instead of coffee, which suited Sean just fine. The fridge was sparsely stocked with organic fruits and vegetables, most of which had gone bad. The last time Amanda had been here was several weeks ago at the last academy break. Sean was grateful Amanda had not been a vegetarian. He made himself a nice omelet with toast and settled himself down in front of the TV to catch a little news. At this point he just wanted anything to take his mind off the fact that every move and touch made him want to explore himself further.

The news was pretty standard fare. The CDC had noted that the Ebola virus was being brought into the United States for study at several ultra-secure laboratories on the east coast and Atlanta. Weather over the weekend would be a balmy fifty-five degrees for the high with little chance of rain. There was a brief clip about a hit-and-run accident near the FBI headquarters that left one man dead and one other person injured. Sean turned off the TV after that one; his breakfast going a little sour in his stomach.

Sean cleaned up from breakfast and went back into the bedroom to change for the day. He had a lot of energy and felt a need to exercise. Exercise would help him cope and think through things. Looking through the drawers, Sean found an exercise bra and some running clothing. His mind was both repulsed and intrigued by the clothing. He realized that this truly was his life now. He needed to get on with things. He dropped the robe to the floor and struggled a little getting his breasts to cooperate while squeezing into the bra. Once on, however, he understood why women used them, as he felt much more supported and with a whole lot less was bouncing around. Sean had found some running tights and pulled them up his smooth, soft legs. With a top, socks, and running shoes, he was ready to go.

Amanda's apartment was located across the Potomac River from Washington, DC in Arlington, VA. It was conveniently located close to restaurants, grocery stores, parks, and trails. Sean stood at the door to the outside world and hesitated at first, feeling rather exposed. It was as if he expected someone to point their finger at him and call him out for impersonating a woman. He forcefully took one step in front of the other until he was on the sidewalk. Taking a deep breath to center himself, he started a slow jog over towards the Potomac Heritage Trail that ran along the banks of the river. He found there was something exhilarating about the feel of his ponytail and breasts bouncing up and down in rhythm to his running. There were many people out on the trail, and Sean also noted how many men nearly ran off the trail when he ran by. Amanda's body was extremely fit, and Sean found himself not even breathing hard after an hour of jogging. This was quite a change for him, considering he probably would have failed his recertification exam next week.

After his run, Sean jumped into the shower and found some comfortable clothing to wear. He needed to orient himself to Amanda's life, and there was no better way than to touch, feel, and dig into every nook and crevice of her apartment and belongings. Starting in the bedroom, Sean went through all of the drawers one by one. Amanda's memories triggered with each item he found and touched, helping Sean connect more deeply to his new life. Touching and seeing each item was like the difference between reading about the Great Wall of China, and actually visiting it. Running his fingers over items Amanda had purchased, wore, and stored away made her memories somehow more tangible to him. It all helped him adjust to his new circumstance.

The first drawer was filled with panties. Sean pulled them out one by one. Many were for casual wear, but most were silky, somewhat transparent, and elegantly beautiful. The next drawer had sports bras and regular bras. Some had straps and some were strapless. There were drawers of fitness clothing, negligees, camisoles, socks, and stockings. Moving to the closet, Sean ran his hands along the clothing. All the clothing appeared very feminine and delicate. There were clothes for work on a separate area within the closet. Everything from pant suits to business skirt suits. Dresses were in abundance, including many formal ones. He had to get used to this. It would be like getting on a horse that had just bucked him off. He needed to force himself, build his courage, and take a bold step into his new life.

To that end, Sean picked out a short, mid-thigh length, black dress with spaghetti straps. He found a strapless bra, panty hose, and black stiletto heels and changed into them. Sean stood in front of the mirror and whistled at himself. Stunning would be an understatement. He ran his hands over his body and felt the sleek, silky, smooth fabric. The feeling of the air as it flowed across his legs and the way the panty hose felt cool against his legs was truly amazing. He chastised himself for feeling sexy, but then smiled. He chose to walk around the apartment in the outfit for a while to get a feel for what it would be like to wear it for any length of time.

Sean headed into the bathroom and looked through the mirror cabinet and drawers. There were no prescriptions, only cleansers and makeup. If he did not have Amanda's memories, he would have been overwhelmed by the quantity of the creams and what purpose each one might have. One drawer had pads for his menstrual cycle. Sean sighed as he held up a maxi pad. The thought of having to use those every month made him a little nervous. Apparently he still had three weeks left before his next period. Putting the pad back, he wandered into the main living area and emptied out Amanda's purse. He was pleased with the efficiency and limited nature of the items inside. He looked at Amanda's checkbook and reviewed the last expenses and income credits. Financially, Amanda was doing well. Her frugal nature had allowed her to put thousands away in savings, and yet she had maintained a healthy lifestyle. Sean spotted a gym card and made note that he should go to the gym tomorrow.

Having gone through the entire apartment, Sean felt much more confident than he did before, knowing where everything was and having touched and felt them. The dress he was wearing was driving him crazy, as every time he saw his reflection, or could feel the brush of the material against his thighs, he became aroused. He questioned how he could feel excited looking at himself. The thought of sex with a man seemed revolting to him. Could it be his sexuality had stayed with him? He looked at himself in the mirror again. He felt beautiful and powerful in many ways. He knew what a body like this could do to break the will of any man.

It was getting late and Sean was getting hungry. He needed to do something to keep his mind off his new body. His dress outfit was something you could easily go to a casual dinner in. He grabbed his purse and decided to walk down the street to a small restaurant.

Sean entered a small cafe and the owner smiled warmly at him. The owner's name came to mind and he waved at the owner. "How's business tonight Mr. Caldwell?"
"Doing great, Amanda. You look absolutely beautiful tonight. Do you have a date?"
"Not tonight, Mr. Caldwell. Just hungry. What specials do you have?"
"For you, and for you only, as my favorite customer, I have a seared, wild-caught tuna steak with wasabi butter, rice almandine, and a side salad."

"Sounds absolutely delicious."

"Sit down and relax, Amanda. Would you like a little red wine with that?"

"Mmm, yes, that would be wonderful."

Dinner was amazing and Sean admired the way Amanda knew so many people. Amanda was well loved, and it was clear that she truly cared for and loved others the same way. Sean suddenly felt the loss of Amanda. She should have been the person to live. He thought about what Amanda would have done to thank the owner for the meal, and realized that he was Amanda now, and that this was his choice. "I'll be right back, Mr. Caldwell." Sean exited the restaurant and went next door to the florist and purchased a small bouquet of flowers. He brought them back to the restaurant and gave them to the owner. "I want you to know how much I appreciate the extra effort and care you give me every time I come here." The owner was clearly touched and hugged Sean.

"For you, Amanda, I would do anything. As long as my wife would allow it."

On the way back to the apartment Sean received a phone call. The caller ID showed 'Marina' as the name. In his mind, Sean pictured a beautiful, exotic looking Middle-Eastern woman. She was Amanda's friend and workout partner and Sean could sense that Amanda had romantic feelings for Marina. "Hello, Marina! How's my favorite workout partner doing?"

"Hey, Amanda. I was actually calling to see if you will be at the gym tomorrow. Maybe we could take in some lunch afterwards?"

"I'd love to. How about we meet at the gym at 10:00 am?"

"Sounds like a plan then! See you tomorrow!"

Marina had recently started her career at the CIA, and she and Amanda shared a lot in common. Sean was looking forward to getting to know Marina better. Sean went through Amanda's routine of getting ready for bed. This time he remembered to put his hair back. He also pulled out the nightgown and slipped it on and felt the silky smooth fabric slide against his skin. He had never known just how sensitive a woman's body was until now.

Sean found himself filled with anxious energy the next morning. He woke up early, had his gym bag ready, and decided to wear the same sexy, but casual, black dress he wore the day before. When the time came to leave he walked to the gym, excited for what the day had in store for him. Marina was there waiting for him at the entrance. Seeing her face-to-face helped him connect to Amanda's feelings and memories. They hugged and chatted on the way into the change room. Sean could not squeeze enough glances at the medium-skinned, dark-haired beauty. Having a similar body shape to Amanda and about the same height, they were the envy of the other women in the gym. Several times while changing Sean thought he saw Marina glance his way to check him out. He hoped there could be more to their relationship than just being friends.

They started out with a thirty-minute warm-up jog on the treadmill. Sean and Marina chatted casually back and forth. He could feel there was a little sexual tension between them. The men in the gym could not take their eyes off of either of them. Sean found being the object of so many staring men to be both flattering and upsetting at the same time. After the warm-up came weights. Sean found it difficult to not stare at Marina's breasts as he spotted for her. He understood why Amanda used to workout so long when she was partnered with Marina. When the weights were done they moved over to a large room filled with thick padding for the floor. The room was used for sparing. Marina cocked an eyebrow at Sean making her look a little mischievous. "You have your final exams this week, don't you?"

"Yes, I'm looking forward to them. I can't wait to become a full-fledged agent."

"I know you were struggling with the hand-to-hand fighting techniques. Would you like to give it a go? Let's see how good you are since two weeks ago when I whooped your pretty butt." The innuendo in Marina's voice was strong. Amanda's memories of a few weeks ago was tantalizing. Marina beat Amanda soundly, but the close contact had made Amanda very aroused. With Sean's thirty years of training and real-life experience, he wondered if it would he would fare better in such a lithe and fit body that he now had.

"You're on! But, let's make it a little interesting. Whoever loses pays for lunch."

Marina smiled, "Okay, but I think you want to lose on purpose because you like being on the bottom and you want to buy me lunch." Sean felt moistness form between his legs at the thought of lying underneath Marina. They took their positions and gathered no small crowd of lustful and cheering men.

"Come one, sexy. Make the first move." Sean taunted Marina. Marina lunged forward hoping to catch Sean off guard, but Sean grabbed her wrist, turned, lowered his hips, and managed to throw Marina over his shoulder. He followed up by straddling Marina and holding her hands down. The temptation to kiss Marina was incredibly strong.

Marina's eyes were smiling and intense, "You've been practicing. Shall we make it best of three?" Sean nodded just as Marina bucked her hips and threw him off of her. Marina caught his hands in hers and used the momentum to roll him completely over on his back with her now on top. Sean was enjoying the position so much he forgot entirely where he was. The jeers from the men on the sidelines helped him regain his focus.

"One apiece. Let's start again so I can show you it was not luck the first time." Marina got up and pulled him up. They stood close to each other and Sean fought the urge to crush his body against hers.

Marina had spent time in Israel and her hand-to-hand training was some of the best the world had to offer. Sean was relying on his years of experience. Marina teased him, "Let's see what you've got." They went back and forth for fifteen minutes, neither one gaining a hold or ground on the other. Their arms and legs moving so quickly the bystanders were getting an eyeful in more ways than one. Marina managed to get her arms around Sean from the back and had pinned Sean's arms to his side. Sean dropped lower, let his right leg and foot sweep between Marina's, then pushed back with all he had. Marina was thrown off balance as they fell backwards onto the floor. With his arms free, he grabbed Marina's wrist and leg and pinned her tight.

"You've been holding out on me. Not fair!"

"Didn't you tell me to never underestimate your opponent?"

"True. Are you going to let me up now?"

"Only if I have to. I kind of like having you completely under my power."

Marina whispered back, "You've had me under your power for weeks now." Sean pulled Marina to her feet amidst cheers and applause from the onlookers.

A large man walked up to them both and congratulated Sean. "Well done, both of you. I've been involved in mixed martial arts for the past few years. Care to give me a try? I'll even make it worth your while. If I lose, I'll pay for your lunches."

Marina winked at me. "Go for it, girl. Whip his ass."

It was all over in a matter of seconds. The man was face down on the floor with his arm held tight to his back. Sean had used the larger mass of the man against him when he had rushed towards him. Sean simply stepped out of the way, jumped up, scissor legged him, and used his body mass to force him to lose his balance. Marina clapped and hugged Sean. Sean turned back to the man and said smugly, "Keep your money, this time. I earned my lunch from Marina today and I'm holding her to it."

Marina sat across the table from Sean at lunch. "You really were amazing today. You are going to ace those tests this week. Since joining the CIA I've never been taken down. You should be proud of yourself."

"I am. I guess our little bet just motivated me today." Sean had been enjoying himself so much that when he thought about what all had happened since Friday he felt a little guilty. Within forty-eight hours he had taken over Amanda's life and was now seriously thinking about a romantic relationship with Marina. The picture of his old body lying on the ground caused a sudden melancholy to come over him. He looked away from Marina and wiped a tear. "I'm sorry, Marina. I was enjoying our time together so much when I remembered what happened on Friday night. A truck almost ran me over. An FBI agent, Sean Stafford, pushed me out of the way just in time. He was killed instantly. I guess I'm still shaken up over it and feel guilty it was not me lying there and that I have been enjoying myself so much."

Marina reached across the table and took my hand. "I'm so sorry, Amanda. That must have been terrifying. Let me take you home." On the way home Sean remained quiet. He had been coming to grips with this new life, and suddenly everything seemed to lose their focus again. Marina stayed close to his side and invited herself up to his apartment to make sure he was settled. When the door closed behind them, Sean was feeling a little vulnerable. He turned and wrapped his arms around Marina for a close intimate hug. Marina responded in kind and they stood holding each other. After a minute, Marina pulled back and searched Sean's eyes. Sean wanted her to stay and yet, at the same time he was afraid. Still holding his hands, Marina squeezed them gently. "I'm sure you need to get back to the Academy tonight and, as much as I would like to stay, I think we should plan on a celebration dinner next Friday."

"I'd really like that, Marina. Thank you for taking me home. Dinner next Friday sounds wonderful. Hopefully I will pass my exams and we can really celebrate."

"Oh, you will pass. You are as intelligent and kind as you are beautiful and, after today, I know you will pass your self-defense exam. Besides, I'll give you some extra incentive." Marina leaned forward and gently pressed her lips to Sean's. Sean's lips sent signals throughout his body. He blushed deeply and felt his body respond with a sudden urge to latch onto Marina and not let her go. Marina smiled. "If you pass, I'll give you another one of those."

Sean wanted to kiss Marina back in the most powerful way but held back, not wanting to be simply caught up in the moment. "I'll pass now for sure. That's the best incentive I've ever had."

"Then I'll see you Friday night. It's a date!"

"I like the sound of that."

Marina gave Sean another lingering hug and left, leaving him feeling very alone. He touched his fingers to his lips, which were still on fire from the kiss. He did not want the feeling to ever leave him. More than anything he wanted to explore a deeper relationship with Marina. It was clear to Sean that his sexual preferences had not changed. He checked the time and realized he needed to head down to the Academy at Quantico, VA. The drive from Arlington to Quantico would take about an hour with regular traffic.

Sean thought about the changes that had occurred in his life over the past few days as he drove. He had a completely new life, and an opportunity to make fewer mistakes this time. He had gained back over thirty years of life and seemed to have a growing romantic relationship with Marina, someone whom he was immensely attracted to. Sean looked down at his chest and felt his long hair tickle his neck. He wanted to learn so much more and explore all that his new body had to offer.
Sean pulled into the FBI Academy parking area near the dorm-styled rooms. He looked up at the facility with a mixture of excitement and determination. He walked into his room and began meeting many of his classmates. Even though he had memories of them, it was still unnerving. Sean felt like he was a forged painting just waiting for someone to discover what he was, an imposter. Some of the male recruits seemed overly eager for conversation with him, whereas some of the female recruits wanted nothing to do with him. He had a few close friends in the group that were anxious to hear all about his weekend.

Sean was mingling with a few fellow recruits when the Academy Director approached him. "Miss Sterling? May I please have a word?"

"Certainly." The fellow recruits gave Sean an appraising look. The Director pulled him aside to a private room.

"I have been filled in on the tragic events from Friday night. I trust you are all right?"

"Yes, sir. I still feel somewhat guilty. Special Agent Stafford saved my life, but lost his. Whenever I think about it, I get emotional."

"Understandable. Special Agent Stafford's funeral is set for Thursday. Your exams will take you through Wednesday and graduation is on Friday. I want you to know that you can take time Thursday to attend the funeral if you so desire."

"I appreciate that, sir. I would like to attend."

"One more thing. I've been watching your progress very closely these past twenty weeks at the academy. You are an exceptional student and will make a top notch agent. You are highly regarded by your fellow classmates. If you do well on your exams, you could be in line for the Director's Leadership Award."

"That would be a great honor, sir. I'll do my very best and hope to make you proud."

"I'm sure you will, miss Sterling."

Sean headed to his room to get ready for bed. He shared a room with another female recruit so there was never much privacy at the Academy. He decided having an opportunity to explore himself further would have to wait, even though the desire was strong.

Monday morning Sean entered the classroom for the written exam. It was a four-hour exam and covered the entire curriculum, including law, ethics, behavioral science, and forensics. Sean knew the curriculum very well and, even more important, what the leadership was looking for in answers. Many questions were trick questions, that, over the years, he had written some himself. Sean quickly completed the exam in under two hours, and the exam moderator merely shook his head sadly, knowing no one could do well in such a short time.

That afternoon, Sean had to complete his physical fitness test. He knew he was weaker as a woman, but he was also much lighter, and Amanda had kept in phenomenal shape. The fitness test was scored by the total of points awarded for a variety of exercises. Sit-ups came first and Sean scored nine points out of a possible ten for completing fifty-five sit-ups in a minute. The 300-meter sprint was next. Sean scored a ten for a 48.7 second sprint. He found he was a little weaker on push-ups and achieved a score of six for thirty-five in a minute. Finally, he scored another nine for running 1.5 miles in 10:37. His total score was a very respectable thirty-four out of a possible forty. He only needed twelve to pass.

Sean had the evening off and spent time in his room. 'Sean, I want to have children. Can't you take a different job so that we can spend more time as a family?' Sean winced at the memory. 'I have an important job that helps save lives. You want me to give it up?' It had always been either that excuse or something else. He remembered the day he came home and there was a note on the table. His wife had left him. He had not even fought to keep his marriage. Until now, he had never considered his wife's perspective. The loss and devastation he had caused her. He felt so different in this body and with Amanda's life and memories. He could feel the desire to be cherished and nurtured, and something even more profound, the desire to bring a life into the world. Struggling with his new female hormones and the emotions surrounding the loss of his old life, Sean wept into his pillow.

The next morning Sean found himself walking slowly and carefully through a city block. His gun was drawn and aimed at the ground about twenty feet in front of him. He used the cover around him well to shield himself from threats. A tree here, a short brick wall there. He kept his breathing steady as he worked his way towards the bank. Out of an alley to his left, a man with a gun stood. Sean faced the man and quickly shot two rounds into the man's chest. He turned back towards the bank. His senses on alert. There were two more known targets somewhere ahead. A woman carrying a baby exited a building ahead to his left. Sean had aimed at her when he spotted the movement, but quickly realized she was not a threat and lowered his weapon. He continued moving forward. A car raced in front of him, screeched to a stop, and the doors flung open. Two men jumped out and began firing at Sean. Quick on his feet, Sean dove for cover behind an old station wagon. The gunshots continued, pinning him down. He rolled while prone until he could see the feet of the gunmen. Taking careful aim, he shot at their lower legs. Both men went down and Sean could now shoot at their exposed bodies. With those threats neutralized, Sean carefully stood back up while maintaining his cover. He made his way to the side of the bank's front door. It was possible there was another gunman, and there was no backup coming. He was on his own. The bank's front door burst open right next to him. A man holding a gun to a woman's head stood no more than three feet away. The gunman had not yet seen Sean. He had a clean shot, but it would be too risky as he watched the man's finger twitched on the trigger. Sean launched himself at the man, his right arm coming up underneath the gunman's gun hand, lifting the gun and arm up and away from the woman's head. The gunman was startled and let go of the woman, allowing Sean to sweep the man's legs, disarm him as he fell, and pin the gunman to the ground with Sean's handgun to his head.

A voice came over a megaphone. "Excellent job, miss Sterling! You can let him go now." The live test at Hogan's Alley, the Academy's real-world training ground, was over. Sean handed his realistic paintball gun to the team that reset for the next recruit. Sean sighed his relief and took a deep breath. He had done well.

Sean was next ushered in for the range shooting exam. He had donned his ear and eye protection and stood within the barriers that separated the range's aisles. The shooting exam consisted of still targets at various distances. Amanda's body had amazing motor control and perfect eyesight, and when combined with Sean's years of experience, he breezed through, achieving the highest marksmanship score he had ever earned.

That afternoon, Sean took time to reflect more on his current situation. He had changed into some running clothes and headed to the trails for a long run. With every step he felt the sway of his body and the way his breasts moved and bounced. He realized he was feeling more and more comfortable in his new body. He loved the feeling of being beautiful and how people responded to him. Amanda had been much more extroverted than Sean ever had been. Simple things like a light touch, a hug, or a warm smile were so much more accepted when coming from a woman. Sean felt himself becoming more extroverted and kind. For someone that rarely smiled, he loved the dazzling smile that flowed so easily from his new lips and mouth. Sean paused his run and took out his cell phone to text Marina. 'Doing well on my exams. Only self-defense exams left tomorrow. Are we still on for Friday night? Can't wait to see you!'

He only had to wait a moment before Marina's response came back. 'Friday, 6pm. I'll pick you up at your place. Wear something special.'

A warm feeling coursed through Sean's body. He could not wait to see Marina. There was a tugging on his heart and a flutter in his stomach when he thought of her. It reminded him of how he felt when he met his wife for the first time and yet, it was also different. He wanted to be the one to be held and cherished. To be swept off his feet and carried into the bedroom. Sean felt his body flush and a warm, moist sensation formed between his thighs. He decided a cold shower was in order.

Wednesday morning came with the promise of being the final day for exams. Sean had dressed in workout tights, exercise bra, workout top, and had put his hair in a ponytail. The first round of self-defense exams would be against a single opponent. Sean squared off against a twenty-five-year-old male recruit that was just as anxious to beat Sean and he was him. His opponent easily had sixty pounds on Sean. They grappled back and forth for a while until Sean was able to get both hands on his opponent's wrist. He lifted his arms high and spun underneath, causing the man's arm to twist behind his back. Sean added an extra twist on the wrist to force his opponent forward to release the pain which played right into Sean's move to bring him to the ground. In the end, Sean felt he had done well.

The next round was against two assailants. Two big, highly trained men who had just seen her beat their friend. These men wanted to make sure he knew who was the weaker sex. Sean did manage to pin the first man, but he had spent too much time doing so and the second man came up behind him and lifted him completely off the ground. The man licked the back of his neck and Sean could tell his assailant was enjoying having the power over his smaller feminine body. The man's hands moved lower to squeeze his breast and whispered in his ear. "Hey, babe. We should get together tonight." Sean was furious and struggled against the man who continued to grope him. Finally he was able to get a little leverage and he thrust his head back into the face of the man. A resounding smack could be heard when Sean's head collided with the man's nose. The man let go enough that Sean was able to throw back his elbow into the man's solar plexus. At that point, Sean was completely free. The man was doubled over, gasping for breath with blood dripping from his nose. Sean moved in for a quick takedown and made sure he struck the man in his groin on the way down.

Several hours later Sean stood in the office of the Academy FBI Director, Milton Swanson. "Sit down, miss Sterling. I want to congratulate you on passing your exams. I was told your written exam took you under two hours and you received a 99% mark. That is the highest score any recruit has ever received, and you did it in the shortest time. I'd be suspicious if we had not been keeping an eye on you and seeing how intelligent you are. You also received top marks for your Hogan's Alley real-world test, and you aced your shooting exam. You must have been practicing because you went from a 60% to 98% in just a few weeks’ time. Well done again. You passed your self-defense tests with an overall score of 94%. This was the highest score ever achieved by a female recruit and amongst the highest overall. I'm not sure what has gotten into you, miss Sterling, but you took the top mark overall of any previous recruit. With that said, you will become a full-fledged Special Agent on Friday at the graduation ceremony."

Sean had to smile. Amanda's fitness and youthful energy, combined with his years of knowledge and training had set him further along in his career than years of work before. "One more thing, miss Sterling. I watched the recordings of your self-defense exam. I'd heard you really took it out on agent Minsk. Now, I recognize that agent Minsk was completely out of line, and he will be reprimanded. You, however, need to learn self-control. You are a lethal weapon, and you let your anger control you. What agent Minsk did was wrong, but this was an exam, and he is a fellow agent. You broke his nose, cracked two ribs, and agent Minsk will have weeks of recovery for his... Anyways, he was not your real enemy, and you let his actions put you out of control. I don't want to see that happen again. Understood?"

"Yes, sir."

"Just a reminder that Special Agent Stafford's funeral is tomorrow."

"Yes, sir. I'll be there."


Sean was bubbling over with joy and energy. He texted Marina. 'The Director just told me I passed all my exams. I'll graduate on Friday!'

'That's awesome, sweetie! I knew you could do it! Do you know where you will be stationed yet?'

Sean had not even thought that far ahead. He wanted to stay in the DC area to be close to Marina. 'Not yet. I'm hoping I get to stay in DC. I'll get my assignment at graduation.' He paused then added, 'I want to stay close to you.' He knew when he sent the last text, it must have sounded odd and desperate to Marina.

'Me too. More than anything! I'll see you Friday night, Special Agent Sterling!'

The next morning came altogether too soon. Sean drove back to Amanda's apartment so that he could select an outfit suitable for his own funeral. He found a conservative black dress and low-heeled black pumps. After getting dressed he checked himself out in the mirror. It seemed even conservative dresses flattered his shape. Sean went straight to the funeral from his apartment. As he entered the chapel, he noted how few people were there. A regular contingent of FBI agents and some old friends, but not what he had expected. The eulogy was short and to the point. The Washington DC FBI Director praised Sean for his courage and years of dedicated service.

Sean followed the procession to the cemetery, where another short internment service was held. Sean walked up to the casket that held his old body. He placed a hand reverently upon it. Tears suddenly flowed from his eyes. There had been no more than twenty people at his funeral. Thirty years of service. Only a few old friends. Not a single relative. No children or wife. Sean realized he had led a lonely and isolated life. He had not meant to. This was just the way it had happened.
Sean turned away from the casket and leaned against a tree. Sean could not hold back the tears, and he forced himself to not throw up. He was more than ever determined not to repeat his past mistakes. He wanted long-lasting relationships, love, and children. He wanted to influence hundreds of people in a positive way. His next funeral would be different. Sean took one last look over his shoulder at the casket being lowered into the ground, turned, and with tears streaming from his eyes, ran for his car, as if running away was the only way he could change his life.
Sean drove straight back to the Academy. He had not even changed. He went to his room and packed the few belongings he had there in preparation for graduation tomorrow. As he packed, he found himself wishing and praying for everything he had lost.

That evening all the recruits had a major party to celebrate the conclusion of their days at the Academy. Sean had a few glasses of wine and found just that small amount made him tipsy. It was nothing like what he could consume before. For a little while he became melancholy. After all, this should have been Amanda's victory, not his. He did not spend weeks in training and studying. She had. He felt like he had stolen her joy and her life.

Sean walked outside to get some cool night air and get away from the commotion inside. He looked up at the stars and wondered, at that moment, if Amanda could see him. What would she think? He would give up his life for Amanda so she could have hers back. He squeezed his eyes tightly closed, fighting back the tears that once again seemed to want to come. When Sean opened his eyes, a shadowy image of Amanda hovered before him.

"Do not fret, Sean, for I am in a better place." He did not hear the words as much as sense them. "You have done well and I can see the changes within your heart. You do me a great honor, living my life here. Be free." With that she vanished taking along with her the burden of guilt Sean had held onto. At that moment Sean knew this was his new life, forever.

Sean walked back inside the Academy. The party was in full swing. "Amanda!" His friends had swarmed him. "You need to dance with us!" Sean, having removed the guilt, began to truly enjoy himself for the first time in years. He laughed, he danced, he shouted, and he hugged his friends tightly.

Graduation day arrived with bright sun and a bit of a headache. Sean had so much to look forward to today. Graduation was from 10:00 am until noon, leaving him a lot of time to get home and get ready for his date tonight. He smiled at the thought. He was almost giddy with excitement. Something he decided was definitely a feminine reaction, but he liked it. He chose a dark blue skirt outfit with a white blouse. It flattered his body and yet also appeared business-like.

The Academy Director made a brief speech and each of the trainers also spoke. The theme of their messages was that the people of the United States needed them. That these new agents had been hand-selected out of thousands of applicants and represented the best of the best. As Sean listened, the urgency within him returned in full-strength, as if the fate of the world rested on his shoulders. He was keen and eager to restart his career.

One by one the recruits were invited to the stage to receive their graduation papers and their assignments. The new agents were being sent all over the United States. Sean became nervous as they approached the time to call him. Where would he be stationed?

"We now call Special Agent, Amanda Sterling." Sean walked towards the podium. His pulse raced. "Special Agent Sterling, it has been a great honor to have you here with us. You have received the highest marks of any previous recruit in the history of the FBI academy. I have received dozens of memos regarding how you cared for your fellow recruits. It is my pleasure to award you the Director's Leadership Award. Congratulations!" The entire student body erupted into applause with many 'Way to go, Amanda!' rising from the crowd. Sean was handed his assignment and headed back to his seat, receiving many hugs along the way.

"You are dismissed, Special Agents!" Another cheer followed and many more hugs and promises to stay in touch. Sean headed to his car and sat in the seat for a while, fingering his assignment. When he built up his courage sufficiently, he tore the envelope open and pulled out the letter.

'Special Agent Sterling,
It is with great pleasure to welcome you into the FBI as a full-fledged agent. It has come to my attention that you have received the Director's Leadership Award, and the highest marks of any recruit. Well done! We can use an agent of your qualities and abilities at our Washington DC headquarters. As you are well aware, we recently lost a veteran agent, Sean Stafford. We would like to invite you to fill that position at our DC headquarters.
We thank you for your commitment, and will speak to you first thing Monday morning. Welcome to the FBI!
Director Angus Hotaling.'

Sean smiled and gave a little whoop for joy. He fought the urge to text Marina right away, preferring to share the good news in person later that night.

Sean arrived back at his apartment around 2:00 pm. He headed straight for the grocery store to stock up on much needed groceries and to buy some flowers for Marina. He did not know what might happen later, so he cleaned the apartment the best he could in the time he had. Sean had a shower and, while his hair dried, he picked out his clothing for the evening. He found the sexiest bra and panties he could find and chose a spaghetti strapped red dress that showed ample cleavage, clung tightly, and would snug tight against his upper thighs. A black belt would accentuate his narrow waist, and a pair of high-heeled matching black pumps completed the outfit. He put on some eye shadow, eyeliner, and a subtle red lipstick. A few quick curls of his hair and he was ready.

At precisely 6:00 pm Marina knocked on her door. Sean opened the door and Marina greeted him with a warm embrace and kiss on the cheek. "You look absolutely ravishing, Amanda."

Sean produced the flowers for Marina. "These are for you. You simply take my breath away, Marina."

"I believe I owe you something." Marina closed the door behind her and stepped inside, carefully putting the flowers aside. She reached out and ran her hand to the back of Sean's neck and pulled him towards her. Marina's lips ever so lightly brushed his several times in a very sensual way.

"Mmmmm." Sean's passions ignited and he found himself pressing his body against Marina's.

Marina kissed Sean more passionately now in a long lingering kiss. Sean felt Marina's fingers stroking the back of his neck. She pulled back and away and Sean stood with his eyes closed for a few moments longer. His breath came in light, quick gasps. No kiss had ever moved him in such a way before. His body was a fire that could not be put out. He opened his eyes to see Marina staring at him with eyes full of passion and love. He reached for Marina and kissed her back. He put every ounce of emotion he could in that kiss. All of his yearning and desires were focused, as if this one kiss would determine their relationship forever.

This time it was Marina that gasped. "Amanda. That was the most wonderful kiss I've ever had. My heart felt like it would burst forth from my chest. I love you, Amanda. I always have. I pray you love me too and that you have good news on your assignment."

Sean dabbed a tear from his eye and grabbed Marina's hands in his. "Yes! I love you like I've never loved anyone before. And I have good news for you!" He handed Marina his assignment letter and watched anxiously as she read it.

"You did it! You are stationed here in DC! You earned the highest marks ever and the Director's Leadership Award. I don't think you will ever cease to amaze me, Amanda. This is the best news I could have ever heard, because, I was not sure what I would do if you had to move away." Marina pulled Sean into a hug and kissed him again. "I'm tempted to have us skip dinner altogether, but I'm famished. I could not eat anything until I heard."

"Then, let's go celebrate, my love!"

Marina took Sean's hand and led him to her car. They drove to Madeline's, a cute, out-of-the-way, little restaurant that offered a romantic, yet private setting.

"It would not be a proper date if you don't let me get your chair." Marina pulled the chair out for Sean and helped him scoot in to the table.

Marina sat down and raised a glass of wine. "Congratulations on passing all of your exams. I knew you could do it."

Sean raised his glass and gently touched Marina's. "Thank you! I did very well, but I did get a slight reprimand for how I reacted during the two-on-one self-defense exam." Marina raised an eyebrow. "I had the first agent down when the second grabbed me from behind in a bear hug. He used the opportunity to grope me."

"I can see this did not end well for him."

"Not at all. I lost my temper, broke his nose, two ribs, and kicked him in the groin. The Director says I need to remember this was a training exam and the agent was really not my enemy."

Marina smiled and laughed. "He had it coming. I would not want to get on your bad side. Did they assign you a mentor yet?"

"Not yet. I assume I will get one Monday. It's not a requirement, but they like to have someone assigned for mentoring purposes."

Sean felt Marina's foot rub up and down his bare calf. Every touch elicited small shocks, enflaming his passions all the more. They moved on to other conversation topics and ate their meals leisurely. It was almost like the meal was an extended foreplay. They held hands and their eyes lingered on each other. It was after 9:00 pm when they left the restaurant.

Sean invited Marina up to his apartment and he was grateful that Marina accepted. He hoped that Marina wanted him as much as he wanted her. He turned the lights on low, lit a few candles, and offered Marina a drink.

Marina declined the drink. "There's only one thing I want to drink of tonight, Amanda. That is of your lips and your gentle touch." Marina wrapped her arms around Sean's waist and pulled them together. Sean felt Marina's thigh press between his legs, his breasts crushed against hers, and her hands squeezing his butt. They rocked back and forth together, kissing and touching.

Sean took Marina's hand and led them both into the bedroom. Marina wrapped her arms around his slender waist from behind. She held him tightly to her. He could feel her breasts pressing against his back. Marina kept her left arm around Sean's waist and with her right hand pulled his hair back and away from his neck. She began kissing Sean's neck. Marina's hand moved up to his breast and lightly kneaded it. Sean let out an involuntary moan. Every touch inflamed his passions. He reached behind him and let his hand press between Marina's legs. His fingers traced her moist lips through the fabric of Marina's skirt.

Marina began whispering into Sean's ear, letting her lips brush his earlobe as she did. "I have waited for this moment a long time. You are all I can think about. I want to feel your skin next to mine."

Sean turned his head so his lips could touch Marina's. "I'm all yours, and yours alone."

Sean removed his belt and tossed it to the side as he felt Marina's fingers on his dress's zipper. The coolness of the air on his exposed skin tantalized him, sending chills through his body, as she slowly unzipped the back of his dress. Marina slipped the left shoulder strap off his shoulder and began lightly nibbling down his neck and across his shoulder. The feeling of having Marina pressed against his back, her lips on his skin, and her hand on his breast was highly erotic. Sean's hips began rocking ever so slightly, pressing his butt against Marina's body.

Marina moved to his right shoulder and slid the spaghetti strap down his arm. The front of his dress fell away from his breasts but the rest remained clinging to his hips. He felt her fingers slide across the skin of his stomach while Marina continued to nibble his shoulder and back. Her fingers moved lightly under his dress and played with the top edge of his panties. Marina kissed her way down Sean's back. When she reached the small of his back, Sean felt his dress being pulled down over his hips. He stepped out of the dress on the floor and turned to face Marina. He stood in only bra, panties, and his pumps.

"You are so beautiful, Amanda."

Sean embraced Marina, pressing himself against her and kissing her passionately. He began unbuttoning her blouse. Each button exposing more and more of Marina's beautiful cleavage. Sean began kissing her neck and chest. Marina's hands stroked his hair and held him close against her. When the last button of her blouse was undone, he slipped his hands under the blouse and against her skin on her chest. He pushed her blouse over her shoulders so that it could drop freely to the ground. Sean started kissing Marina's neck and shoulders while his fingers found her bra clasp. He unhooked it and slowly pulled it forward, exposing Marina's incredible breasts.

Marina pulled Sean up against her and slipped her tongue between his lips. Sean's hand went to Marina's breast. He played with her erect nipple and felt Marina shudder and emit a light gasp. Sean felt Marina's hands on his back and his bra released. Marina tossed his bra to the side as they fell onto the bed. Sean reached down and unclasped his pumps as Marina did the same. Marina rolled Sean onto his back and began caressing his cheek.

"You are cherished by me. I want you more than anything I've ever wanted in my life."

Sean placed his hands on Marina's face and kissed her. "I would wither and die if I did not have you in my life. I have never given my heart so fully or so quickly to anyone before."

Marina smiled and kissed her way down to Sean's breast. Her lips gently began sucking on his erect nipples. Sean moaned and arched his back. Marina's hand slid over his wet panties and vaginal lips. Sean had never felt anything so wonderful. The tenderness of every touch, silky smooth skin against silky smooth skin, the deep emotional tie to love making that he had never experienced before. Marina slipped her fingers under his panties and in between his wet lips. He gasped and pushed his hips up to meet her hand.

Marina continued to suck on his breast and ever so gently stroke his swollen clitoris. His passions rose to such heights that it felt like every cell in his body needed release. Finally, in a wave of unsurpassed ecstasy, he had his first orgasm as a woman. He felt his vaginal muscles clamping down on Marina's fingers. His nipples became taught, enlarged, and extra sensitive. His entire body released and shook. Marina slowed her ministrations and moved to kiss Sean. Sean's breath came in gulping gasps, his breasts heaving. He had never experienced anything so wonderful. It was as if his body and emotional state were bound together. If possible, he felt a deeper love and bond than ever before.

"That was, undoubtedly, the best orgasm of my life. I love you so much, Marina."
Sean rolled Marina over and onto her back. He took a moment to remove his soaked panties and do the same for Marina. Now, both totally naked for the first time, he used his lips to examine Marina's body. She was so beautiful. He kissed his way to her breasts and sucked each of them in turn. He slid his hand down to her wet lips and felt Marina shudder with desire. He continued to kiss his way down until his tongue met her vagina. He reached up and massaged Marina's breast as he pressed his tongue into her sweet folds. Marina's back arched and she held his head gently. Marina moaned and rocked back and forth as Sean stroked her clitoris with his tongue. He could feel her body begin to tense, and could hear her breathing in small gasps. When the moment of her orgasm was upon her, Sean pressed his lips around her clitoris and slipped a finger inside her. Marina screamed softly and squeezed Sean's head between her thighs. He kept twirling his tongue slowly until her shaking subsided and Marina pulled him back on top of her.

She slipped her tongue deep into Sean's mouth and kissed him with more passion than he ever was kissed with before. They held each other tightly for a moment. Sean wrapped his body around Marina's and lay his head on her shoulder. Marina's arm came around her, almost protectively.

"I want you to know, Amanda, that I've never experienced anything so fulfilling in my entire life. I've had male lovers before, some that I felt I was in love with. None of those experiences have ever compared to this. This was absolutely incredible."
Sean continued to touch and caress Marina. He rubbed his vagina against her thigh and could tell he could easily have another orgasm. Marina rolled onto her side and pressed herself against Sean, rubbing in time against him. Sean moved his thigh between her legs and felt her wet lips press against his skin. They stroked and caressed each other, their lips never separating. Several minutes later, Marina pulled Sean to her tightly as Marina had her second orgasm. Holding Marina as she shook was an incredibly intimate experience for Sean.

When the waves of pleasure subsided for Marina, she pushed Sean onto his back. Sean was again very close to orgasm and yearned for Marina's touch. Marina kissed Sean's thighs and slipped two fingers inside him. Feeling Marina's fingers inside him, truly made him feel like a woman. He felt vulnerable, yet it allowed his emotions to drive his passions. Marina, while moving her fingers in and out of Sean's wet lips, began licking his clitoris. This was far more powerful a feeling than just the finger was before. His hands massaged his own breasts, which added to the total pleasure his body was feeling. Moments later, Sean screamed out in orgasmic bliss. Marina's fingers buried deep inside him as he clamped down. His body shook with the intensity of the waves that crashed through him.

Marina kissed him and he tasted his own vaginal juices on her lips. It was a sweet and wonderful taste. They kissed and whispered their love to each other as they drifted off to sleep.

Sean awoke the next morning still entangled in Marina's arms and legs. He brushed Marina's dark hair from her face and brushed his lips against hers. Marina stirred and moaned softly. "I love you, Marina."

"I must be in heaven, because the most beautiful of angels told me she loved me." Marina began nuzzling Sean's neck.

"Heaven is where you took me last night. Why don't you rest a little longer? You will need your energy as I can't get enough of you. I'll go shower and make us some breakfast."

They stayed together through the weekend, making love three more times. Sunday afternoon, Marina finally left to go home, change, and head to the airport for a conference. Sean had tears in his eyes as he watched her leave that day. His attachment for Marina had grown greatly over the past few days.

On Monday morning, Sean headed into work at the DC office. Reception took him in to see the FBI Director, Angus Hotaling. "Nice to meet you, Special Agent Sterling." He extended his hand then offered a place to sit. "You come to us highly recommended, and we are very grateful for you to be able to join us here. As I mentioned in your invitation letter, we recently lost Special Agent Sean Stafford. You will be taking over his case files and, with any agent death, we launch an investigation. Since you were there at the accident, we only felt it fitting that you follow through on the case of his death. I've also assigned you Special Agent Brunswick to be your mentor through your first year here. You should meet him later this morning. Do you have any questions?"

"No sir. I'm anxious to get started and I want to thank you for the incredible opportunity."

"You are welcome, Special Agent Sterling. Welcome aboard. My assistant has your office assignment. You can get that on your way out. Welcome aboard."

Sean stopped by the assistant to receive his office assignment. He had assumed it would be his old one, but he was wrong. New recruits were typically given the worst accommodations. It did not bother Sean much. Nothing could after such a great weekend. He smiled dreamily thinking about it. When he found his new office he was surprised at the view from the window and how spacious it was. In all his years, he never had a decent view. Sean's old case files were stacked on his desk as well as one new one for Sean's death. Sean stood there and browsed through his old files. As he reviewed the case files a male agent came to his door. He knocked casually and introduced himself. "Special Agent Sterling, I presume. I am Special Agent Brunswick. Matt Brunswick. I will be your senior mentor." Matt extended his hand and Sean could feel Matt giving him the once over.

Sean shook Matt's hand. "Pleased to meet you, Special Agent Brunswick. I look forward to working with you."

"I've heard a lot of good things about you, Special Agent Sterling. I'm sure we will work well together." With that he turned and left.

Sean called Marina and was pleased when Marina answered his call right away.

"Why hello, angel."

"I was just thinking about you."

"And I, you. You make it very hard to think about anything else."

"I wanted to invite you to dinner Friday. My treat this time."

"That sounds like you are asking me on a date."

"I guess I am. Is it a date then?"

"Mmmm. Let me check my social calendar. Yes, it looks like I can squeeze you in."

"You're funny. I can't wait to see you again. Wish you were here."

"Me too, sweetheart. I've got to run! See you Friday! Love you!"

"Love you too!"

Sean settled into his office and hesitantly opened his own death case. There was very little to go on. Sean had to be the first Special Agent in history to ever follow-up on his own death. He sighed as Matt Brunswick reappeared.

"You know, I just had to say, you look far better in person than the photo on your dossier, Special Agent Sterling."

Sean was in no mood for the compliment, even if it had been meant sincerely. "Special Agent Brunswick. You do realize I am working on the case of the man that was killed saving my life? We should be thinking a little about how each of us can leave something of a legacy, not how each other looks."

"I'm sorry, Special Agent Sterling. You are correct. It was insensitive of me."
Sean looked into Matt's eyes and was surprised to see a true sense of contriteness.

"No, Special Agent Brunswick. I am the one that is sorry. I should not have responded to you that way. I guess it is not every day you come face to face with death that touches you on a personal level."

"May I help you with a quick review of your open cases?"


Later that afternoon, Sean had been left on his own. He went down to see Sam at the front desk. "Hey, Sam. How are you doing?"

"I'm doing better now that I see my favorite Special Agent. Congratulations, by the way. I heard last Thursday was Special Agent Stafford's funeral. Did you attend?"

"Yes. It was a somber event. Sam? Do you ever think about your life? I mean, think if you have touched enough lives, made a big enough difference?"

"I know what you are saying, Amanda. I know I do not think enough on such things."

"I need my life to mean something, Sam." On impulse, Sean hugged Sam.

"No need to worry your pretty little self about that, Amanda. You are a beam of light in this world, and I know you are destined for great things."

Sean smiled. "Thank you, Sam. Listen, I've got Special Agent Stafford's accident case. Can you direct me to the surveillance room?"

A few minutes later, Sean arrived and knocked at the door to the surveillance room. A man opened the door and stepped outside careful to close the door behind him blocking any view of the TV monitors inside. "I'm Special Agent Sterling, and I am investigating the death of Special Agent Stafford, on Friday, September 4. I would like to review the recordings from the cameras pointing towards the intersection.

"Sure, let me just confirm your authorization."

Several minutes later Sean was reviewing the accident footage. It was all rather surreal watching himself get hit by the truck. "Can you zoom in for me and try to see if we can get a license plate number?"

"We can try, but it will be rather grainy."

As luck had it, the license plate number was clear enough for Sean to write it down. "Thank you. This is all I need for now."

Back at his desk, Sean opened up his software connecting him to the local DMV. He typed in the license plate number and retrieved a name and address. Unfortunately, the plate did not match the description of the truck. Sean looked up the name associated with the plate and placed a call.

"This is Frank."

"Hello, Frank. This is Special Agent Sterling from the FBI. I was wondering if you had a moment for me to ask you a few questions?"

"Is this a crank call?"

"No, sir. I'm happy to give you my badge number if you want to call and confirm."

"Okay, no problem. It's just I don’t get calls from the FBI every day. What can I do for you?"

"Just over a week ago, a white pickup truck was in an accident that killed an FBI agent. It was a hit and run. The plate on the front of the vehicle was registered to you, however, the truck did not match the description. Can you shed any light on this for me?"

"Yes, I think I can. On Wednesday, September 2, I came out of my house and noticed my plates were missing. Damn expensive to replace plates these days, and I hate waiting in line at those blasted DMV offices."

"Did you ever find out who took them?"

"Hell, no. But some of the other neighbors also had their plates stolen. They mentioned a blue van was sneaking around the neighborhood the night before. I bet if you talked to Bruce a few doors down from me, you might be able to check out his security system. Funny I never thought of that before."

"What was his full name?"

"Don't recollect. But I can give you his address if that helps."

A few hours later, Sean pulled up in front of a modest home several doors down from Frank's. Walking up to the front porch he noted several surveillance cameras were pointing in various directions. It was clear the owner was concerned about his security and privacy. Sean knocked on the door and a gruff, grizzled man of about forty-five opened his chain-latched door to peer out. "Good afternoon, sir. I am Special Agent Sterling with the FBI. I spoke with your neighbor, Frank, several doors down regarding some license plates that had been stolen from the neighborhood. He suggested you might have some surveillance footage of the night that this happened."

"FBI, huh? Why would the FBI be interested in plates being stolen? Hell, the police did not even come out here."

"On Friday, September 4, there was a hit and run accident that killed an FBI agent. The vehicle plates were registered to Frank down the street. For me to track down the actual driver, I am hoping I can find out who stole the plates. It is a routine investigation for any agent involved in this type of accident."

"Happy to help, ma'am. Please come in."

Sean was led inside the home to a small closet where the DVR system was located. "Do you have footage from around September 2?"

"Yes, give me a minute. Here you go. I noticed this blue van double parked for a short time in the middle of the night. You can see a man get out and take the plate."
"Can we see if we can spot the plate number on the van?"

"Sure. It is a little obscured, but the first five letters and numbers are pretty clear."

Sean wrote them down and an accurate description of the age, make and model and whatever he could glean from the footage. "Thank you."

"Any time."

Sean headed back to his office and plugged the plate information and van description into his system. He managed to get a hit off it, and a name, John Leonard, with an address in Springfield, VA. It was nearing 4:00 pm and Sean had made a promise to himself to live a more balanced life. He would drive out to the address and if he could see if the truck or van were there. If either were, he would call in the local police to assist in the arrest.

Monday evening rush hour traffic in the DC area was always a nasty mess. It took Sean nearly two hours to get to the address. This was a particularly seedy part of Springfield. Sean parked across the street and, although the view was partially blocked by a mostly closed garage door, he spotted the back end of a white truck inside. He called the police and requested a cruiser to swing by to assist. Unfortunately, they could not come out for several hours. Without a warrant, Sean could not check out the truck. He considered his options and decided to simply see if the owner was home.

Sean knocked on the front door, prepared for anything. You never could tell with these types of situations. A woman opened the door. It was clear she had seen better days and was most likely a meth user. Her teeth were rotting, her eyes hollow, and her hair dirty and matted. "What you want?"

"Ma'am, my name is Special Agent Sterling of the FBI. We have reason to believe the owner of a truck involved in a hit and run accident last Friday may live at this address. I have some questions..."

"Who is at the door, woman!" Sean could see a man in a torn t-shirt and jeans coming down the home's hallway toward the front door. When the man met Sean's eyes, the man pulled a handgun from the back of his pants and started firing. Sean scurried for cover and rolled into a squatting stance with his gun at the ready. The man burst through the front door with his gun firing. Sean squeezed off two carefully aim rounds. The man was dead by the time he hit the ground. The woman ran out onto the front porch and began screaming as she bent over the man.

Sean, being careful, kept his gun at the ready and called in the incident to the police. He wanted backup before heading into the home. The police arrived a few minutes later. Sean let them take over the scene as he contacted his Director, Angus Hotaling.
"Director Hotaling? Thanks for taking my call. I wanted to let you know in my follow-up on Special Agent Stafford's accident case, I was led to the home of one John Leonard in Springfield, VA. When I knocked on the door, I was met by a women and then, the man I assumed was the driver of the truck, open fired on me. I managed to get out of the way, but my returned fire killed the man."
"You are all right, Special Agent Sterling?"

"Yes, just a little shaken up. The police are here processing the scene."

"I'm sending Special Agent Brunswick your way. Stay there until he arrives. I will want a full report in the morning. I'm glad you are all right."

"Thank you, sir."

Matt Brunswick arrived and hour and twenty minutes later.

"You don’t waste any time do you, Special Agent Sterling?"

"This certainly was not what I was hoping for on my first day as an agent. He took one look at me and began shooting."

Sean and Matt spoke with the police and confirmed the identity of the man that shot at Sean. He was John Leonard and had a fairly large rap sheet, including drug dealing, theft, domestic violence, and extortion.

"Great shooting, Special Agent Sterling. In such an adrenaline-filled situation, it is hard to get the tight grouping of shots you had. We are pretty much wrapping things up here. We confirmed that the white truck did have damage on the front grill, consistent with the hit and run accident you described. We will impound the truck as evidence. Let us know if we can do anything for you, Special Agent Sterling."

It does not matter if you have been with the FBI for thirty years, or not. Being involved in a shooting and actually killing someone, is never easy. Sean slumped down to sit on the front steps of the house, his hands shaking.

Matt sat down next to him and placed a comforting arm around him. "You did well today, Special Agent Sterling. As well as any one of us could have done. My only concern is that you were here on your own. I should have come with you."

"I had called the police for assistance, but they were busy and could not make it for a few hours. I saw the truck and did not want to risk waiting that long. It was a mistake on my part. It won't happen again."

"I would have done the same thing. An agent was killed by this man. This case needed closure and you had no idea that the suspect would do what he did today. Are you okay to get home?"

"Yes. I'm fine. I'll see you in the morning. Thanks for coming out here tonight. I really appreciate it."

Sean drove to his apartment and thought about the series of events from the accident until the present time. Why had John Leonard switched plates on the truck unless he knew he would be up to no good in advance? A drunk does not think to steal plates several days before he gets drunk in case he gets into an accident. You switch plates to avoid being connected to something you plan on doing. Could it be that the accident on Friday was planned? If so, who was the target? It took Sean quite a while to get to sleep that night.

The next morning Sean was preparing his report for Director Hotaling. Since last night additional resources were opened up for Sean. Sean was able to review John Leonard's credit and banking history. What sparked Sean's interest was one transaction several weeks ago. A deposit was made on August 21, in the amount of $15,000. Considering John's account averaged only several hundred dollars at any point in time over the past year, the deposit looked suspicious. It was quite a stretch, but could John Leonard have been paid to kill either himself or Amanda?
A short time later, Sean and Matt entered the Director's office.

"Please, sit down, Special Agents Sterling and Brunswick. I've reviewed the police report and they have collaborated your account from last night, Special Agent Sterling. How are you holding up?"

"I'm a little shaky, but otherwise I'm fine."

"Why don't you tell me a little more about the case and how you got to John Leonard's home."

Sean explained how he had traced the license plate from the FBI surveillance footage to the man that had stolen the plates. "Director Hotaling, something is bothering me about this case. I found a $15,000 deposit into John Leonard's bank account dated several weeks ago. The fact that John stole license plates prior to the accident, leads me to believe there is more to this case than we see on the surface. I have no proof yet, but I suspect that John Leonard was hired to kill either Sean Stafford, or, possibly even me. I just have no clue as to why."

"According to the police record, John Leonard was involved in many crimes. It is understandable that you might feel this way, but the reality is, that it is exceptionally rare for an FBI agent to be targeted. Just in case, I want agent Brunswick to work with you on closing off this case. Follow up on the deposit, but if it does not lead anywhere, close the case and move on. I am authorized to give you several weeks of paid leave if you feel you need it to recover. It is a frightening thing to be involved in a shooting. If you have nothing else to add, then you are both dismissed."

Back at Sean's office, Matt began to explain various possibilities for the deposit and that Sean was most likely too close to the case to see clearly. Sean was a little annoyed in that he had more years of service than Matt, and that his gut feelings about things were rarely wrong. Of course to Matt, Amanda Sterling was a fledgeling agent. "Let's focus on the case so I can get out of here at a reasonable hour."

"I'm all yours, Special Agent Sterling." The innuendo was heavy. As a woman, Sean was unsure if this was common. He was finding it hard to read whether agent Brunswick was trying to be friendly, something more, or someone to not be trusted. At this point, all options were viable.

They worked together on tracing the deposit. The funds came from an offshore account. No surprise there. Offshore accounts were difficult to trace back to owners as some countries did not reciprocate with federal U.S. investigations. Such was the case in this situation. It turned out that the case had just gone cold.

"That's the end of that case. Time to move on."

"I'm not giving up, Matt. I owe it to Special Agent Stafford to do a thorough investigation."

"We can't get the offshore account owner's name and there is no way to link the accident to these funds. It's a dead end, Special Agent Sterling."

"What about John Leonard's phone records? We can see who he was calling. We can track his GPS coordinates from his phone. We can dig and find more."

"And spend hundreds of man hours and thousands of taxpayer dollars to discover he was nothing more than a drug pusher, which we already know. I'm sorry, Special Agent Sterling, you need to let this go. You are a couple of days into being an agent. You need to realize that most new agents have a honeymoon period where all cases seem to lead to some big conspiracy. The truth is, very few ever do. Some agents never get a big case in their entire career."

Sean looked into Matt's eyes to try to read the man. Matt seemed to be pleading with him to move on. Sean tried to remember the white room and the words that were spoken. He could no longer remember them. Only a sense of urgency remained. "Fine. But I am not giving up on this case. I'll take it offline and do it in my own time."

Matt looked exasperated at Sean. "Don't do this, Special Agent Sterling. Trust me and my experience on this one. You are new to the FBI. Don’t blow all your effort and chances on this one case. It will get you nowhere."

"I'm sorry, agent Brunswick. I just would not feel right if I let it drop."

"It's your career. I'll see you later."

Either Matt was pissed off with Sean and needed space, or he was not interested in working with Sean. Either way suited Sean. Sean sent off a quick text to Marina.

'Looking forward to our dinner, VERY much.'

Back on his computer, Sean sent a request for the GPS, voice, and text logs of John Leonard's phone. He knew that could take some time so he browsed through his remaining open cases. The first case he looked at was a simple financial audit for a company called GenTec, a non-profit biotech company. This was the last case he had been working as Sean. All non-profit bank transfers of greater than $10,000 were tracked by the government. These types of monotonous, boring cases were often given to new agents. Sean scanned through the records over the past six months. He had found his notes regarding two very large transactions totalling over $2.5M. This find had caused Sean to begin speaking with the GenTec's accountants about three weeks ago, specifically regarding these transactions. He would definitely need to follow up on those. He was about to close the case folder when his eye caught something on an updated bank transaction statement. August 21 there had been a $15,000 transfer to an offshore account. Chills went down Sean's spine when he realized it was the same account number that had transferred the funds to John Leonard. Was it possible, that his digging into the $2.5M transfers, caused a contract to be placed on his life?

Sean brought up GenTec's website. They were one of the primary manufacturers of the flu vaccine. What could that company be doing that would cause them to be so concerned over a few financial transactions?

It was Thursday afternoon when Sean pulled up to the GenTec offices in Bethesda, MD. Matt had all but ignored him the past few days, which was fine with Sean. GenTec's offices had a new, modern look to them, typical of prosperous biotech firms in the area. Sean headed to the security desk. "May I help you, ma'am?"

"Yes, I am Special Agent Amanda Sterling of the FBI. I was hoping to meet with Jeff Hamilton in accounting."

"Let me call up to his office to see if he is available."

As Sean waited he looked around the building. He noted quite a few people of Middle Eastern decent worked at the facility.

"Jeff is on his way down, ma'am."

"Thank you."

"Special Agent Sterling. How can I be of service?"

"I'm following up on a routine case Special Agent Sean Stafford was working on. I believe he contacted you several weeks ago. He requested some additional information on some large financial transactions."

"Oh, yes. Special Agent Stafford. I've been working on those transactions for him. Why don’t you come with me so we can discuss them?"

Sean followed Jeff through the building. At one point Sean paused at an open room. Looking in he saw carpets on the floor. Turning to Jeff, Sean commented, "You know, I've never seen a business have a room dedicated for Muslim prayers. Some would consider that very progressive of you."

"We have a high number of Muslim believers in the company, Special Agent Sterling. It is the least we can do for them. Here we are. Please, have a seat. So, I've reviewed the two large transactions noted and can provide you with a little more information. As you have seen, we have a high number of visa workers from the Middle East. We've found that their schooling, in particular, with a focus on vaccines, has greatly improved our product and efficacy. The fund transfers in question were to a staffing firm in Pakistan. We recently hired twenty-five new employees from that region of the world. These funds pay for relocation, bonuses to the new employees, and fees to the staffing agency. As you can see, everything is completely in order."

"I'm surprised at the amount of $100,000 per person for those fees. I'd like to request a list of names of the employees that were hired, any invoices from the staffing agency detailing the expenses, and additional information as to why you used an offshore account for the transfer."

"That will take about a week for me to compile, Special Agent Sterling. I can tell you that the reason we use an offshore account for the transfers is that Pakistan and the United States don't always get along very well. It is easier to work through an intermediary bank so that funds do not get held up in process."

"I'll return in a week then. I appreciate your time."

"My pleasure, Special Agent Sterling. Happy to be able to help."

Back at the office, Sean stayed late to do a little more research. He looked up visa records for GenTec over the past year. Only thirteen existed, and yet, they had said they just hired twenty-five. Sean decided to give Special Agent Brunswick a chance and would tell him what he had found out. He found it challenging to play the role of a rookie and had to remind himself to ask for help once in a while. He called up Matt who came by a few minutes later.

"You rang? How may I be of service to the lovely lady of this office?"

Sean was frustrated about the continued innuendos from Matt, but tried not to let it get to him. "I've was working on a monetary transfer case that Special Agent Stafford had been working on. I found a transfer from GenTec in the amount of $15,000 on August 21 to an offshore account. That happened to be the same offshore account that deposited $15,000 on August 21 to John Leonard, the driver of the truck that killed Special Agent Stafford. Do you think these cases could be connected?"

"I can't believe you are still digging into this. Seriously, is this what you've done with yourself the past four days? Stop looking for cover-ups and conspiracies." He was about to turn and leave when Sean's phone beeped with a text message.
Matt picked up Sean's phone from his desk before he could get to it.

Matt read the text aloud, "'Looking forward to dinner tomorrow night. I get in late. Meet me at Madeline's at 7:00 pm.' Some secret admirer I need to be aware of, Special Agent Sterling?"

Sean grabbed his phone from Matt. "That's none of your business!"

"As your mentor, we should not keep secrets from each other. You never know when those secrets can hinder an investigation."

"I guess I'll take my chances." Sean was upset. Matt had no right to know anything about his personal life.

"I'll remind you, Special Agent Sterling, that you still get reviewed every six months. I've not been impressed by your attitude. You need to learn respect for the people that have gone before you." Matt turned and left.

Sean texted Marina. 'I really can't wait to see you. Lots of news. Not too happy with my mentor right now. See you tomorrow night, my love!'

Friday started out to be an uneventful day. Matt stayed away again, which pleased Sean. Sean had spent the day running through various scenarios regarding the accident. His most plausible theory was that the fund transfers could be linked to terrorist activity. GenTec, wanting to squash the investigation, paid John Leonard to kill Sean. There was just no proof of any of it.

Sean looked at the clock and realized it was after 5:00 pm. He needed to get home, showered, changed, and to Madeline's in time to meet Marina. As a guy, this would not have been a problem. As Amanda, wanting to make an impression, this would be a challenge.

Sean rushed home and jumped into the shower. He quickly washed, shaved his legs, and shampooed his hair. He found a sexy dark blue dress to wear and rushed to the car. Sean texted Marina, 'Be fifteen minutes late.' He thought a moment and added, 'I'll make it up to you.'
Moments later he received the following, 'Were we meeting tonight?' Then another, 'See you soon, love. Looking forward to how you will make it up to me.'

Sean found Marina sitting at a table in Madeline's. He didn’t care about showing Marina affection in public and kissed and hugged her tightly.

Marina giggled. "Wow, you really did miss me."

"More than you will ever know. I've been thinking, and I know this may come across as a little forward, but how would you like it if we moved in together? I just can't imagine my life without being as close to you as possible."

Marina smiled. "I thought you would never ask. However, might I suggest you move in with me? My parents left me a home in Arlington's suburbs. It's fully paid off, has a lovely garden that I get almost no time to spend in, and way too much space for just me."

"Sounds absolutely wonderful. I've not stopped thinking of you since last weekend. If you looked up 'smitten female' on Google, I'm sure you would find a picture of me."

Marina laughed. "You have a few months of being smitten before you will catch up to me then. It was all I could do to attend the conference and not fly home to be with you. How's the first week as a Special Agent going? Tell me about your mentor."

Sean frowned. "That would be Matt Brunswick, weasel extraordinaire. Sometimes he seems nice, but other times, I feel like he has a cruel streak. The way he looks at me sometimes, like he is tearing my clothes off. He also seems to want to dissuade me from continuing on the Sean Stafford case."

"He may be just trying to get used to you. It is hard getting used to someone new. You know, you are very beautiful and he must feel conflicted when around you because of your beauty. You should try to give him a chance."

"I will, but there is something very odd about this whole case. I know I can trust you, but right now, I don't feel I can trust Special Agent Brunswick. I found the driver of the truck. I went to his home on Monday, and when he saw me, he opened fire on me. I wound up shooting and killing him. Tuesday, I dug into his bank accounts and he had a large deposit made to him on August 21. The depositor's account is offshore and that led nowhere. Then, I was going back through some of Sean's open cases, and one case he was investigating dealt with large money transfers from the non-profit company, GenTec. Sean had flagged several very large transfers and had spoken to them a few weeks ago. Then, on August 21, they transferred the same amount of the suspect's deposit, into the same offshore account. Maybe I am paranoid, but it feels like GenTec paid the suspect to kill Sean. I've also been wondering if now that I am taking over these cases, that I'm also at risk."

"You were in a shootout on Monday? Amanda, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. Promise me you will be careful. I don't ever want to lose you!"

"I'll be careful. You know, in our line of work, anything can happen. Have you ever thought of giving it all up to lead a normal life? To settle down? Maybe have kids?"

"I've never thought about it until I met you. Lately it has been on my mind a lot. I can't believe you were nearly killed two weeks ago, then Monday you were in a shootout. You definitely need to be careful and follow up on those leads. Maybe you could use a personal bodyguard from the CIA, twenty-four seven?"

Sean smiled at Marina. "Are you volunteering? If so, then that would be more than acceptable. Of course, I only have one bed. We'd have to share." Sean felt Marina's hand rub against her thigh.

"That would be more than acceptable. Are you done, sweetheart? Would you like to follow me over to my place?"

"Love to. My apartment is closer though and I'm not sure I could wait that long."
"You're on."

They kissed outside of the restaurant. "See you in a few minutes, Amanda."

Marina turned the corner and Sean watched her go. He could not believe how his life had changed. Everything was going his way. He had his youth, was in love, and had someone he wanted to settle down with. He stood pondering his good fortune but the cold night air sent a chill down his spine. Sean pulled out his car keys used his remote start to get it warmed up as he walked towards it. As he clicked the start button, the car exploded into a blazing fireball throwing Sean back and down to the sidewalk. Shattered glass and metal flew through the air, some larger chunks barely missing Sean. He was cut up and bruised, but mostly unharmed.

Having heard the explosion, Marina ran to his side. "Amanda!"

"I guess I am not so paranoid after all. If I did not use the remote start, I would have been killed."

"Are you alright?" Marina helped Sean to his feet and found some napkins to dab at the cuts.

Sean was shaking. "I think so. I'll have some nice bruises. Someone wants me dead and I need to figure out why." Marina hugged Sean as they waited for the police, fire, and ambulances. "I should call the Director. He will want to know about this."

It was several hours later when the scene was finally cleared. Marina offered to take Sean to his place, which he gratefully accepted. Marina walked him to his door, pulled out her handgun, and made sure the apartment was safe. "Amanda, get some of your things and stay with me. I'm not letting you out of my sight."

"You are so wonderful, Marina! It will just take me a few moments to gather what I need. I'm sure tomorrow I can get a car rental."

Later that night, Sean stepped into Marina's home for the first time. It spoke volumes to him about who Marina was. She had pictures of family on the walls and nick nacks of sentimental value all around. Marina led him to the bathroom where she removed his dress and carefully took care of every cut and bruise. Sean looked up into Marina's eyes and felt so close to her. It had been a long time since anyone cared so much for him.

"Let's get you to bed, sweetheart."

Sean woke up to the sun streaming through the bedroom windows. Marina lay sleeping next to her. With the exception of what happened last night, Sean felt more secure and comfortable than he ever had before. Marina's house was adorable. It was older, but remodeled to have an open, spacious design. It felt light and airy. Sean got up carefully to not disturb Marina and put on a robe. He wandered into the kitchen and made himself a cup of tea. This place, felt like home.

Sean stood looking out the plate glass window into the backyard, his cup of tea in his hands. He felt Marina's hands wrap around him from behind and her lips pressed against the back of his neck. Sean turned to face Marina who loosened the front of his robe and slipped her hands around his naked hips. He set his cup down and ran his hands over Marina's lower back, pulling her closer to him. They kissed each other.

"This place is unbelievable, and you are absolutely incredible. How could I ever have lived without you?"

"Waking up and seeing you here in the kitchen, gave me more of a sense of home and family than I've ever had before. It feels so right to me." She tugged on Sean's hand leading him back to the bedroom.

Early that afternoon, Marina and Sean sat together at a small kitchen nook table discussing the events of the past two weeks.

"I just don't get why anyone would want to kill you. GenTec makes the flu vaccine for crying out loud."

"I know. I just can't fit all the pieces together. Obviously GenTec is hiding something, and those funds transfers can't be for just relocation and bonuses. I'm thinking they are sponsoring some terrorism group. I asked for a list of detailed invoices from them and the names of those they are hiring."

"How did they know where you would be last night? Your car was not set to explode when you first drove to the restaurant, so the bomb must have been placed while we were eating dinner."

"There is only one person I can think of that knew I was going to be there, but I am having a hard time believing it was him."


"Special Agent Brunswick. He read your text about our dinner yesterday at Madeline's."

"From what you've told me about him, he may be a sleazy guy, but is he capable of murdering a fellow agent?"

"That's what I can’t understand. It would be more plausible if I had simply been followed. We really have no proof of anything. Let's go get me a rental car and swing by a store. I'd like to make you dinner tonight."

"I did not know you cooked."

Sean had, of course, learned to cook quite well in his years since his marriage ended. It was one of the reasons he had gained so much weight. "How does lasagne sound?"

Marina gave Sean an appraising, yet loving look. "You know, Amanda. I could get very used to this."

That evening Sean was putting the final touches on their dinner. He was wearing a cute, spring dress with an apron. He was truly enjoying this rare glimpse into a normal family life. Playing the domestic role for Marina brought a warmth to his heart. He could just imagine kids running around the place and being a more nurturing person. Marina walked up behind him and hugged him close.

"Smells wonderful."

"I've set the table in the dining room. Why don’t you go pour us some wine and I'll be right there.”

Sean took off his apron and brought the food to the table.

"You constantly amaze me, Amanda. I've never had such good lasagna. You relax, and I'll take care of the dishes."

"No way. I want to be right by your side. Besides, if we work together, that means I can get you to bed sooner."

When the dishes were done, Marina led Sean into the bedroom. They slowly removed each other's clothing and snuggled on the bed together. Last night, after the bombing, it was all they could do to simply hold each other. Even though they have been apart for a week, it was not until the next morning that they made love. This evening, having satisfied each other well earlier in the day, their love making was much more relaxed and casual. The night was filled with slow caresses and lingering kisses.

Sean was still amazed at his new body that seemed insatiable when it came to making love. As a man, it had almost always felt the same. A quick powerful surge, then it was done. Amanda's body seemed to be on a slow simmer at all times, capable of spontaneous combustion at the slightest touch from Marina. It did not matter if he recently had an orgasm, he could go on and on for one after the other.

Marina rolled off the bed leaving Sean reaching after her. He had been close to another orgasm and her sudden departure made him feel bereft. "Come back."

"You do not know how adorable you are. I would not leave your side unless I had something special in mind."


Marina pulled an object from her nightstand.

"Oh my gosh! That's huge! I can't believe you have one of those."

Marina held up the eight-inch vibrator. "Before you and I got together, I had to do something. Every time I worked out with you at the gym I came home so flustered, it was the only way I could get to sleep. Besides, it's not that big."

"But, I've never..."

Marina smiled mischievously. "You mean you have never used one of these before?"

"No. Never." Sean stared at the vibrator with a mixture of excitement and fear.

"You know I would never hurt you or force you to do anything. I love you more than my own life. I've been happier in the past week than I ever have. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but I can't be without you."

Sean looked into Marina's eyes and teared up a little. "When you left me last weekend for the conference, I cried. I've never done that before. With anyone. When you leave my side, just to go into another room, I feel a loss. I need you, every minute of everyday."

Marina laid back on the bed next to Sean and kissed him. "I will never leave you. Which, brings me back to this..." Marina held up the vibrator. "There is nothing two women can't do that a man and a woman can do. In a way, we can have the best of both worlds."

Sean giggled. "Okay. But you'll stop if I ask?"

"I promise."

They started kissing again and massaging each other, quickly returning to the place they were a few minutes before. Marina began rubbing the vibrator against Sean's wet lips and clitoris. The hard, yet also flexible tip penetrating him just slightly made him moan for more. Marina whispered, "Just relax. I'm going to turn it on." She turned on the vibrator and Sean heard the soft hum and felt the pulsing hardness against his clitoris.

"Ohhhh. Oh my. That's amazing." Sean fought the urge to come right then and there. The instantaneous build up of pleasure was almost overwhelming.

"Hang in there, sweetie." Marina pushed the vibrator inside Sean very slowly. Sean felt his lips expand as the large device slid in. He moaned loudly as Marina pushed it in further and further. When it was all the way in, Marina slowly began pulling it out then back in. Sean gasped for air with each stroke. It filled him up completely. He was writhing in ecstasy, totally absorbed in the feeling of being penetrated. Marina continued moving the vibrator in and out at a faster and faster pace. She used her thumb to stroke Sean's clit at each stroke. When the vibrator was in all the way, Sean cried out and came. He held onto the vibrator with his vaginal muscles. Every muscle spasm bringing more and more intense pleasures to him.

"Oh my God. That felt so different. It was amazing! Your turn."

"If you liked it so much, maybe we should get a bigger one."

"Oh you!" Sean tackled Marina and began kissing her all over.

That night the two slept soundly in each other's arms.

The next morning, Marina woke and watched over Sean, brushing his hair from his face and kissing him on his forehead. Sean woke to the loving touches.

"Good morning, my love. How long have you been awake?"

"About thirty minutes. I've been watching you sleep. I've never loved someone so much that I would cry just thinking about something bad happening to them. I'm worried about you. I need to keep you safe."

"That's so sweet. Do you want to have children someday?"

"I love children."

"I know two women don’t necessarily have the right parts to conceive, but there are other ways."

Marina stroked Sean's cheek. "What are you suggesting?"

"That we, you and me, could have children of our own. Not right away, but in a few years."

Marina smiled broadly, her eyes twinkling with moisture. "If you only knew what I felt in my heart, Amanda, you would know what those words mean to me."

"I think I do." Sean snuggled into Marina's arms further.

Monday morning found Sean back in the Director's office. They reviewed the cases and discussed events leading up to the explosion. "Special Agent Sterling, I am now convinced your instincts were correct. Somehow Special Agent Stafford's and the GenTec cases are connected. I'm tempted to get a warrant and raid their offices, but I feel that there is something much larger going on. If we go in too early we risk the opportunity to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. I want you to lay low for a few days while I figure out what we should do. You will be assigned full-time to Special Agent Brunswick."

Sean frowned, which did not go unnoticed by the Director. "Sir, what about my follow-up with GenTec? If we do not want to expose that the FBI is looking more closely at them, shouldn't I continue as if nothing has happened?"

"You are correct, however, if what you told me is accurate, you do not need to see them again until Wednesday or Thursday. That will buy me some time and I'll get more resources on the case. Now, I saw your frown when I assigned you to Special Agent Brunswick. Is there something I should know about?"

"No, sir. I'm sure it is just us trying to get used to how each other work. There is no problem."

"Good. That's what I like to hear. You are dismissed."

It was not long after Sean got back to his desk that Matt showed up. "I'm starting to wonder if maybe you are a walking natural disaster." Sean was stuck with Matt so he tried to make the best of it and laughed at the joke, even though he did not find the inference funny.

"You sure you want to be around me then? Who knows, we could be travelling down the road together when a hurricane hits?"

"At least I'll die in the company of someone better to look at than any of the other agents that work here."

Sean rolled his eyes. "I see you have a set of company vehicle keys in your hand. Are we going somewhere?"

"Yes, I have a high priority case. Last night, someone broke into a medical facility in Baltimore. They stole a case of Ebola virus."

"Oh my God. Terrorists?"

"Unsure. That's why we are going up there. Get your things."

It took about an hour and a half to get to the Baltimore Infectious Disease Center. The center was on lockdown to all but the FBI and local authorities. Sean and Matt split up with Sean heading to review surveillance recordings and Matt going to oversee the forensics collection. The security staff whom Sean was working with were very apologetic. "We're sorry, Special Agent Sterling. The recordings were destroyed. Whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing."

"Okay, but do all your cameras feed to this one DVR system? What about a backup or a secondary system?"

"Damn. I guess that's why you are in the FBI and I'm just a security officer. The backups get recorded around 2:00 am every night, automatically. It is possible we may have some footage. It all depends on what time the theft took place. Here, just a moment. I'll bring up our backup from last night."

"Go back to 10:00 pm and scroll forward until 2:00 am."

"Here's something. It is at 1:52 am. An external camera aimed at the drive-through gate caught the hand of someone tampering with the camera. Then everything went black."

"That's something anyways. That hand does not look like it was wearing a glove. Can you show me where that camera is?"

Sean and the security guard walked to the outside gate. The camera was low enough to get video of vehicle license plates. It was clear that the cable had been cut. Sean put on some gloves and moved his hands into position as if he would cut the cable. "This might be a long shot, but there could be some fingerprints on this camera. I'll be right back." Sean went to the car and grabbed a fingerprinting kit. He carefully dusted the camera and cable and was able to get a single print. He photographed the print and sent it in by phone to the FBI labs with instructions to send any findings to his FBI email account. He did not like withholding information from Matt, but Matt was also the only person that knew he was at the restaurant Friday night.

Sean went back inside and located Matt in a control room. Matt was overseeing agents gathering data with hermetically sealed suits in the area where the Ebola strain had been stored.
"Did you come up with anything, Special Agent Sterling?"

"Not really. The DVR recordings were wiped out."

"That is to be expected in a sophisticated theft like this."

"I did manage to restore a backup from 2:00 am last night. I saw some activity on an external camera around 1:52 am. No faces, no plates. The camera had its wire cut." Sean was not positive, but he thought he saw a flicker of concern on Matt's face. "Has anyone been gathering possible DNA samples from the lab area in there? I'd be happy to get in a suit and help out."

"No harm intended, Special Agent Sterling, but you are here today only because I'm supposed to babysit you since the explosion. This is an important case and I can't have you running around, potentially misplacing or messing up evidence."

Sean glared at Matt, but, at the moment, there was nothing he could do. He turned and walked towards the lobby where he could at least sit and check his emails. He found a quiet spot where he had a good signal and sat down, his suspicions of Matt growing by the minute. Sean scanned his work emails and was surprised to see a response from the lab regarding the fingerprint already. It belonged to an Ahmed Saheed with a registered address of Bethesda, MD. His work visa was registered to GenTec. "This is not good." Sean whispered to himself.

He sent a quick email to the Director. 'New information on the cases. Will be back at the office in a few hours. MUST speak with you right away but need a secure line or face-to-face.' He then sent a quick text to Marina. 'I might be in some trouble. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. Love you!' Sean reviewed several more of his emails. The phone records came in from John Leonard. He started to browse through them when Matt came out.

"We need to head back to DC right away. Apparently Director Hotaling needs to speak with you, and I'm stuck playing chaperone and chauffeur in the middle of the biggest case of my career."

"Okay. Give me a minute. It's a long drive back. I'll meet you at the car."

"Just be quick about it!"

Sean headed to the women's bathroom. He texted Marina. 'Damn, I'm in real trouble. Track my phone. Love you!' Torn between not feeling like he could trust Matt and not having any proof, Sean felt stuck. His gut told him to run, but his head told him that nothing would happen. His head won and he headed to the car.

Matt was quiet on the way back to DC. Sean continued to read through the phone records. He noticed that John Leonard called a number about fifteen minutes after when the hit-and-run happened. Sean plugged the number into his phone and dialed it. Matt's phone rang.

Matt reached into his pocket and pulled out a track phone. It was not his normal work phone. He looked at his phone and swore. "You just could not leave it alone!" He swerved off the highway and pulled into a side street, slamming on the brakes. Sean tried jumping from the car but his seatbelt got him hung up. Matt's fist slammed into his face.

Sean was not aware that any time had gone by. He opened his eyes, only to find his left eye was swollen and he was no longer in the car. The side of his face was hot and in a lot of pain. He tried to move but found he was tied to a chair. He started to panic. He struggled against his bonds but there was no give to them. He was in an old warehouse. His mouth was not bound so he screamed as loud as he could.

"Scream all you want. It will do you no good. There is no one around here for a mile in all directions. You really messed things up. Do you know that?" Matt came and stood in front of him. "Because of you, we have had to move up the timetable."

It was tough to speak as Sean's whole side of his face was swollen. "You were the one that had Sean Stafford killed. A fellow agent. For what?"

"Money, miss Sterling. It all comes down to money. In a week's time I will be living the life of luxury on the Mexican Riviera with ten million dollars in the bank. You would think after so many years of working for the Bureau I'd have something to show for it. A comfortable retirement, perhaps? No! Nothing! A small pension, that in today's market, would barely cover the basic necessities. Every year our benefits get cut more and more. You'd think we would be treated better."

"So, because you are upset over your retirement, you are planning on killing millions of people? You are insane!"

Matt backhanded Sean across the face. He felt blood on his lips. He spat some blood out onto the floor in front of him and tried to talk more. It was painful. "GenTec makes the flu vaccine. They are a front for radical Islamic terrorism. They stole the Ebola from the company in Baltimore. Am I wrong?"

"It is a real shame you are going to have to die, miss Sterling. You are very beautiful and as smart as they come. You are correct. The flu vaccines will be infected with Ebola and distributed all over the United States. Two weeks from now, as many as ten percent of the U.S. population will be dead or dying from Ebola. Oh, in case you are thinking your little girlfriend from the CIA is coming to rescue you, think again. I shattered your phone and left on the side of the road many miles from here. It is just you and me." Sean glared at him. "What, I work at the FBI. You don’t think I know all about you? It would have been so much easier had you died last Friday when your car blew up."

Matt walked up to Sean and put a large knife to his throat. "No sense wasting such a pretty thing like you. At least not yet." He cut the ropes that bound Sean to the chair, leaving Sean's wrists bound behind his back. Matt grabbed his arm and hauled him to his feet. He dragged Sean over to a corner in the warehouse where an old, dirty, and torn mattress lay. He threw Sean onto the mattress and rolled him over onto his back, his hands pinned beneath him. Matt grabbed a handful of his blouse and tore it away, leaving nothing but his bra.

Sean closed his eyes and fought back the tears. He felt so helpless and frail. Matt grabbed the hem of his skirt with both hands and tore his skirt, exposing his thighs and panties. "My oh my. You are sure beautiful. Have you ever had some good rough sex?" Sean struggled. He realized he could not give up. He would be dead anyways. Matt leaned over him and roughly grabbed one of his breasts. "Ohhh. These are natural!" Sean turned his head to the side and did his best to relax and appear that he had given up. "That's right, girl. No sense making it harder on you than it is going to be." Matt leaned back and started to unbuckle his pants then reached forward to grab Sean's panties.

Sean began to whimper and shake, knowing there was nothing he could do. Just then the doors to the warehouse crashed open. FBI with tactical gear rushed inside. Rifles with laser sights were trained on Sean and Matt. Matt reached for his gun as five bullets exploded through his chest, covering Sean with blood. The FBI agents dragged Matt's lifeless body off of Sean and helped Sean to his feet. He stood, partially naked, beaten, with his hands tied behind him. "Let her go!" Sean looked up to see Marina running forward. "What did he do to you?" Marina was crying as she held him. He felt someone cutting away the ropes that bound his hands.

"I'm okay. He never... I love you Marina. I never thought I would see you again." Sean started to tear up as he held onto Marina.

FBI Director Angus Hotaling draped an FBI jacket over Sean's shoulders. "You are safe, Special Agent Sterling. It's done. We knew you had been with Special Agent Brunswick and we managed to track his GPS in the car. It got us close. It's all done now."

"No! It's not done! We have to move on GenTec right now!"

"What are you talking about?"

"I found a fingerprint of one Ahmed Fareed at the Baltimore Infectious Disease Center. He works for GenTec. Matt was going to kill me anyways so he felt he could talk. GenTec is a front for a radical Islamic terrorist group. They stole the Ebola virus to infect the flu vaccines that will be shipped all across the United States. We have to stop that shipment!"

"Marina, I want you to take Special Agent Sterling to the hospital and then straight home. She has done enough today."

"Sir, all do respect. I need to see this through. Get me some clothes, a flack jacket, and a tactical rifle and put me on the ground with our team."

The Director looked into Sean's eyes. "All right. But you and Marina will stay back with sniper rifles. You've been beaten and abused and I'm not letting you get close to any hand-to-hand combat in your condition." He pointed to one of the FBI agents. "You, find Special Agent Sterling some clothes, and they'll need a pair of sniper rifles. I need someone on the phone to the local police. We need the entire area around GenTec sealed off immediately. I need someone checking all shipments into and out of GenTec in the past week. I also need a biohazard team standing by. Move it!"

An hour later, Sean was lying next to Marina a hundred yards away from GenTec with a clear view of the building and surround parking lot. The director's voice came over the radio. "We move in five minutes!"

Sean's face was bruised and swollen, but the pain had diminished somewhat. He brushed Marina's hair from her eyes and kissed her. "Oww..." He winced as his swollen lip twinged with pain.

Marina, who had not left his side for a moment, stroked the back of his neck. "You ready to save the world, my love?"

"Not yet." Sean kissed Marina again, ignoring the pain from his lips. "Now I am."

The radio blared again. "Move in! Satellite imagery is showing several hundred heat signatures. Expect a fight."

Marina and Sean watched as an armored vehicle plowed through GenTec's main gate. Five hundred police, and FBI converged in unison on GenTec in a coordinated attack from all sides. Sean spotted movement from inside the GenTec office. A man holding an RPG was preparing to fire. "Sniper one here. RPG spotted in the main building. I'm on it." Sean spoke into his radio. He lined up his shot and squeezed the trigger. The building glass shattered and the man dropped to the ground with a round through his chest.

Sean heard Marina speak into her radio microphone. "Sniper two here. Got more movement on the east plaza. Three men with what appears to be AK-47s. We've got them in our sights." Sean sighted one of the terrorists in and waited for Marina's first shot. He saw one of the three men fall to the ground and he followed up taking out the second. The third dove for cover and sprayed the roof where he and Marina were at. Bullets and debris flew all around them both.

"Snipers one and two here. We are pinned down! One man left on the plaza. Can someone on the east flank take him out?"

"Roger. We got him in our sights. Firing now." The spray of bullets suddenly stopped and Marina and Sean regained their position.

Sean radioed in. "Sniper one here. We're seeing about a dozen armed men coming around the back of the building. Two RPGs and AK-47s. We will try to take out the RPGs."

"I'll take the one on the right."

"Got the one on the left. Ready in three, two, one." They fired simultaneously and watched the two men carrying RPGs fall to the ground. They then moved on to other targets. The FBI and police were closing in fast. The open areas were cleared and Marina and Sean's job was done.

The radio in Sean's ear cracked. "We are in the building." Sean could hear flashbangs and gunfire throughout the complex. Thirty minutes later the 'all clear' announcement came.

Two hours later, the biohazard team had accounted for all the Ebola and flu vaccines. They had stopped the shipments in time.

It had been a long day. The Director came by to congratulate Sean and Marina on a job well done. Not a single FBI, police, or civilian casualty occurred. Marina and Sean sat on the back of an FBI truck. "You know, Amanda? You look really cute in tactical gear."

Sean looked down at himself and considered the rather manly clothing he was wearing. After all that had happened to him, he no longer had any regrets. He stared at his feminine hands and smiled. "If I were honest, I think I prefer a dress." At that moment Sean finally considered himself a woman, emotionally, physically, and mentally.

Amanda took Marina's hand. "Maybe you could take me home now?"

A week later, Amanda and Marina were eating at Madeline's restaurant once again. Marina took Amanda's hand in hers and looked her in the eyes. "I want you to know just how much I love you, Amanda. In every way, you have touched my life and my heart. Nearly losing you several times in the past weeks has made me realize that I cannot live without you."

Marina got down on one knee and presented a ring to Amanda. "Will you, Amanda, make me the happiest woman alive and marry me?"

Amanda stood up and with tears in her eyes pulled Marina into her arms. "Yes! Absolutely!"

Several weeks had passed since the shipments were stopped and Amanda was now fully recovered. She had been invited to Director, Angus Hotaling's office. "Please sit, Special Agent Sterling."

Amanda sat down, her knees showing slightly as her skirt lifted up when she sat. She looked down and smiled. The exhilarating feeling of the hem of a skirt against her legs would never grow old.

"I see you have recovered well, Special Agent Sterling. How are you feeling?"

"I feel great, sir. I appreciate the time off you gave me."

"It was well deserved. We've never had someone crack such a large case in their first few weeks of work as an agent. You went through a lot. It has been an honor working with you."

"Excuse me, sir? You said 'has been'?"

"Yes. Unfortunately for me, you have been transferred."

"Transferred? Where?"

"Having been told of all that you did for the country, the White House has specifically requested that you be transferred to a high-level position within the Secret Service."

"That is quite an honor, sir. I'm afraid, however, I must decline."

"I don't understand. Why would you decline such a thing?"

"Because, sir. We, Marina and me, decided one person in the family is all that is needed to serve the country. I'm going to stay at home, and, hopefully, in the next few years, have children. We are getting married, December 31. I actually have an invite for you. We'd both like it if you and your family could join us."

"But, Special Agent Sterling, you are an excellent agent. Would you not be throwing away a great career?"

"I know this may sound crazy, sir, but, I've already had enough of a career. Besides, Marina has convinced the CIA to use me from time to time on special projects, should I ever feel the need to. I have my letter of resignation for you. Please do not take it personally."

"I won't, Special Agent Sterling. I admit, I'm rather jealous of your decision. I'll speak with my wife and hopefully we will be able to attend."

"Thank you, sir. For everything!"

"It has been my honor."

Amanda stopped by the front desk on her way out. She took a small package from her purse and gave it to Sam. "Hey, Sam! It's great to see you!" Sam's eyes glistened with moisture at seeing Amanda.

"We received an invite for your wedding. Congratulations! I can't believe you asked me to give you away."

"Why not, Sam? You are the closest thing to a father I've ever had."

"I'd want to be nowhere else in the world that day than at your side."

Amanda leaned over and gave Sam a kiss on the cheek. "We'll have your family over for dinner soon."

"Looking forward to it, Amanda!"

Amanda turned into the driveway of her and Marina's Arlington home. She looked down at the engagement ring Marina had given her last week and smiled. She felt the cool fall breeze against her legs that lifted up her dress a little. She smiled and grabbed the groceries from the car. She was to make a French meal tonight. They would share some wine, some dancing, and, a blush appeared on Amanda's face, make love all night long.

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