Chapter Eight: Playing Dead
Lavender smiled and frowned at the same time. She was touched. “I can’t believe it, I always thought he thought I was a burden. But he didn’t…,”
“Can we save the family psychology for another time, we need to get to Bodrum,” James snapped. He shifted the gear of the parked luxury car into drive and began to speed away from the farm house.
“I knew you wouldn’t understand,” she snapped.
“This would be a lot better if you didn’t expect me to be Prince Charming!”
“You know your life would be a lot better if you let people in.”
“I let a person in once, she betrayed me.”
“Not everyone is like Vesper.”
“How did you know?”
“I could see the bitterness in your eyes whenever you or someone else mentions her. So what happened?”
“ I told you before, I’m not living in the past and neither should you,” he snapped as he began to speed up.
“That’s rich coming from you because that’s all you do is live in the past. You think because one person betrayed you, they will all betray you and that is simply not true…,”
“Coming from a woman whose father was involved in a terrorist organization and changed his name so he wouldn’t get caught by the government…,” At this moment, the disputing duo could hear and feel a small plane flying low.
“You forget the rest of the story, he was killed because he was trying to repent for his sins.”
“We don’t have time for this,” snapped James, knowing danger was near. He turned the car in a dramatic and violent fashion as the plane shot the back window of the Aston Martin, shattering it! “We have company now,” the 007 agent declared as he began an attempt to drive away from certain death.
“God, we can never escaped these people,” cried Lavender. More shots were fired at the racing car but missed.
“You can say that again!” He began to floor the gas pedal of the car. In the chaos of shots being fired, the car was now heading up a cliff
The thought came over James and Lavender at the same time. Shots being fired by the plane but seemed to be missing, almost as if on purpose. They came to the realization that the plane’s purpose was not to shoot them dead but to create enough chaos to push them off the cliff. A car falling off a cliff would look like an innocent accident. It was as the road ended and the drop of the cliff began, James realized this rare fatal error! The car plunged from the cliff! It fell with an anticlimactic plop into the snow. James was shaken but alive! Much to his horror, he discovered Lavender, the beloved great niece of his beloved M was knocked unconscious from the fall. He couldn’t tell if she was dead or alive! She was still clutching the laptop which appeared to be unharmed.
He weakly pushed open the car door and stumbled to the passenger side and pulled Lavender out of the car. He stared at her limp, almost lifeless body gathered in his arms. He heard the roar of another car engine . He turned and saw a black sports car approach and park. James looked incredulously at the car. The door to the car opened and Bond saw Ronson emerge. Ronson took one look at James and cried “I thought you could use some help. I couldn’t be sitting around in a hospital bed all day knowing you were without backup.” His eyes then turned to Lavender, “is she…,”
“I don’t know,” snapped James as he began to perform CPR on her.
“The boss will kill us if she dies,” commented Ronson.
James wasn’t paying attention to Ronson’s comments as he pressed and pushed against Lavender’s chest. His lips were pressed against hers trying to breathe life into her. He was instantly recalled to his failed CPR attempt on Vesper. He pushed back the pain of knowing that Vesper was gone from him forever and that he could never ask if her love was all a lie. He actually knew the answer. Her love was real, he knew and it made it all the more painful that he couldn’t save her. As he was getting lost in thoughts that had long stayed buried, he heard a large breath coming from Lavender’s mouth. He pulled away to give Lavender some air. She breathed another large breath as she began to sit up.
“Are you all right,” James asked?
Lavender nodded her head yes.
“Thank God, you’re all right,” Ronson commented.
“I could say the same about you,” she said weakly. “Enough about me,” she said looking at the laptop still in her hands, “Is the laptop and the list undamaged…,”
“Appears to be,” quirked James.
“What’s next, they’re going to keep coming after us until they have the list…,” Lavender said as she clutched the computer, staring into James’ eyes.
“Play dead,” James declared. With this remark Lavender and Ronson looked at him in disbelief. “They have wanted us dead from the start. Let them think they have succeeded. Let them think that Ronson died in the hospital from the poison and that you and I perished in a car accident.”
“I don’t know, what about Olivia…,” Lavender pressed reluctantly.
“She’ll know but no one else will. You can’t trace the dead, it will buy us more time to get to Bodrum.”
Lavender stared at the two spies before saying, “all right, you’re right you can’t trace the dead, I’m game! I’m living a lie anyways. Everybody loves a dead heiress.”
Before they left in the car Ronson had brought, Bond gave a long almost sentimental stare at the sight of his beloved car which was now destroyed. Ronson seeing this look resting on Bond’s face, stated “I’m sure it can be fixed.”
Bond sadly shook his head no.
The news could barely be heard over the sharp and fast click clacking of the wheels of a train traveling to Athens, Greece. “Heiress Lavender Rose, the daughter of recently deceased investment banker Jasper Rose has been killed in a car accident in Altaussee, Austria,” declared the reporter on the cable news station. “The death appears to be accidental, Austrian authorities believe there is no foul play involved. Ms. Rose made headlines recently by debuting a new love. That new love a British businessman by the name of James Bond with the mysterious corporation Universal Exports also perished in the crash according to the British government. Sources in the British Ministry of Defense were the first to report of the death of Ms. Rose and her companion Mr. Bond. These same sources also reported that Mr. Bond’s security guard a man called Ronson, died in Amsterdam due to an apparent overdose,” finished the reporter as they moved on to another story.
“A tragic story indeed,” said Lavender as she turned off the tv, while she sat on her bed of the moving train. She was sharing a cabin with Bond and Ronson. They were posing as three friends traveling to Bodrum on holiday. James had called M over a secure line telling her of the plan to play dead. M then called the Minister of Defense, an old friend of Lavender’s father, he and Lavender’s father had studied at Oxford together. M told the Defense Minister to announce to the world that Lavender, Bond and Ronson were dead and to ask no questions. She too agreed with James that the only way that they were going to ever attain the list was if they were untraceable. To avoid detection, James, Ronson and Lavender had caught the train in Vienna to Athens. Once in Athens, they would ferry over to Bodrum. Lavender had cut her light brown almost blonde locks. She was now sporting a raven colored bob that went to the nape of her neck. James detesting disguises had begrudgingly agreed to dye his sandy blonde hair, a grayish brown.
“That’s the circle of life,” quipped James.
“I suppose so,” Lavender smirked as she played with her newly dyed hair. She took a lock of her hair and examined it.
Seeing the sour look resting on Lavender’s face, Ronson offered up, “don’t worry you look lovely.”
“Lovely that’s a rare word coming from an MI6 agent,” commented Lavender. “And besides I don’t care about looking lovely, I care about what this represents. It represents the loss of my old life.”
“One of life’s great tragedies,” quipped James.
“You’ll get your old life back soon enough,” reassured Ronson.
“What are you Mr. Positive,” snapped Bond, this mission was getting to him.
“I’m not so sure if I want it back, at least the way it was. I think there are going to have to be some changes.”
“Whatever you decide, playing dead can be kinda fun,” James smiled at her.
Soon the three fell asleep in their respected bed scattered across the spacious cabin. Whereas the click clacking of the wheels lulled Lavender and Ronson asleep, it kept Bond awake. He stared at the roof of the train. His eyes then wandered to Lavender. She was, surprisingly fast asleep, in the adjacent bed. To James, Lavender was the impossible, nearly unsolvable mission. She was an enigma, that was for sure. She was almost like the human embodiment of Quantum. The second he believed he had her all figured out, he would discover something new that would completely change his opinion of her. However, he knew this for sure, she was no longer a rich girl that seemed to float through life with no care that had a schoolgirl crush on him, she was a strong, smart, and independent woman, who had nerves of steel. He respected these qualities in her and was almost in awe of them.
Knowing that sleep would allude him for the rest of the night, he rolled out of bed and began to get dressed. Dressed in a MI6 track suit, he crept out of the cabin and towards the train’s bar. Such an act had awoken Lavender. She too, rolled out of bed, got dressed and crept out of the room.
James was about to down his martini, when Lavender appeared at the bar. “What are you doing here,” he snarled?
She took a seat and temporarily ignoring the vicious comment, turned to the bar tender and ordered a scotch on the rocks. She then turned her attention to James. “For your information my dear Mr. Bond, you woke me up and I thought I would have a drink. And besides my dear James, I think we have already established numerous times that you do not trust me.”
Upon this the bartender returned with her drink. James gave a long cold stare to Lavender’s mystical eyes. “Vesper was the only woman I ever loved. She challenged me. Made herself a challenge, I liked that. Actually I loved it. Turns out she wasn’t who she said she was. She wasn’t even single. She thought her boyfriend had been captured by the enemy, turns out he was working with the enemy but she didn’t know that. She betrayed me the entire time, I thought she was on my side and I was blindly in love with her. I almost think that is what hurts more that I never uncovered the truth until it was too late, I just loved her without question.” Lavender couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“I guess that is true love, loving without question. Do you….,” she began to muster up the question….,”believe she loved you?”
He let out a heavy sigh and mumbled his signature, “hmmm…” To Lavender, it seemed like an eternity before he gave her his slow reply. “For a time she did, I guess. Though I hate that she did, it makes her harder to hate. She spared my life, she saved me. I wish she hadn’t. I would had rather died than discovered the truth about her, the truth about me that I missed her tell.”
“You never told anyone that before, have you?”
James shook his head no.
Upon this Lavender gently pressed her lips against James’. They kissed for a brief second before he pulled away. “ I think you hit your head in the car crash.”
“ I didn’t. It was my way of thanking you for trusting me. You wouldn’t have told that story to me if you didn’t trust me.”
Never one to be sentimental, James simply replied, “I like your way of thanking.” He then kissed her again.
“It should be over here,” Lavender declared several hours later. They had now arrived in Bodrum, Turkey and were in Lavender’s family villa. Lavender ran to her father’s old computer in the living room of the villa. “I think you mean here,” commented James as he went to a picture of Lavender and her father . He broke the glass that encased the picture. “Hey,” cried Lavender. James not replying pulled out a slip of paper. He read it before saying, “get the laptop out, the password’s spectre.” Ronson pulled out the laptop. “The first password is Lavender,” James ordered. Ronson typed in the name again. This time it took him to a second screen, that prompted list password. Ronson turned to Lavender and said “I think you should have the honor…,”
“Gladly,” replied Lavender as she took the laptop and began to type in the password spectre. As she typed in the final “e,” and pressed enter, she asked, “does spectre mean anything to you,” James shook his head no. The screen flashed and declared success as the list popped up. “I’m in! I’m in! I see the list but of course the crafty old man had to encrypt it.”
“We have people for that in Istanbul,” declared a raspy voice emerging from the entryway of the living room. The three turned and saw that this voice belonged to M. Seeing the look on their face, she cried, “don’t look so surprise, whenever you three and that list are concerned, trouble seems to follow. I thought I would oversee the list’s next steps before it falls into the wrong hands. And besides Lavender, we need to debrief you since you were in enemy hands. I personally want to debrief you! Ronson, I need you to take the list to Station T in Istanbul where it can be decoded.”
“What about me,” James snapped, slightly angry that Ronson had been given the duty of seeing this mission to its final conclusion.
“You are going to keep an eye on Lavender, I seem to remember that you two formed a fast friendship,” M said with a twinkle in her eyes.
“Ma’am,” replied James as he turned and gave Lavender a slight smile.
“You got the lucky assignment, I think I’ll be staying here for a few weeks while I decide what to do with my life,” added Lavender.
Three Weeks Later
The waves of the ocean made a gentle sound as they crashed against the sandy beach in Bodrum. A warm breeze gently blew the light blue curtains that hung in the room where James Bond was sleeping with Lavender gathered in his arms. The pair was awakened by the ringing of James’ MI6 sanctioned phone. James leaned over and snatched it from the white cherry wood nightstand. “M,” he said as he answered the phone.
“007, they’re after the list, they have been waiting for us to decode it and they must know our analysts finished yesterday. Station T has been evacuated. Ronson is at the safe house in Istanbul, go to him, retrieve him and the list, he is in grave danger!”