Save the Date!, p.1
Save the Date
By Heather C. Myers
Text Copyright © 2014 Heather C. Myers
All Rights Reserved
Cover Image/Design Copyright © 2014 Katya Sarria
All Rights Reserved
My teacher in so many different ways
The hotel was a bit seedy, the neighborhood the hotel was in wasn't exactly the safest place to be, and Gemma Harrison was almost certain that there was some sort of drug bust going on in the room next door, but none of those things mattered. She had attempted to escape from home, and this time, she succeeded! Not only that, but her best friend in the whole world had offered to tag along as well, so at least she wasn't completely alone. Although, now that Gemma thought about it, nobody was really going to be intimidated by two twenty year old women. And even if she did have some background in self-defense - thanks to that overprotective mother of hers - it wouldn't really matter because druggies usually had guns, didn't they? Gemma stifled a moan, frustrated with herself. She should know these statistics; her father was in charge of some super-secret department in the CIA, for chrissake. Then again, her mother was quite adamant that her father not bring up work at dinner, and technically, he wasn’t allowed to talk about it in the first place.
Brent Harrison, Gemma’s father, would normally be called in early or be required to stay late, even though, technically, he set his own hours. Gemma rarely heard about things concerning his job, not only because everything was confidential, but because she and her father rarely talked one-on-one. Now that she thought about it, she felt disappointed. She and her father had a strong relationship, if absolute silence counted. Of course, Brent often reminded her to protect herself and insisted she carry some mace., He would also bring her with him to Family Day at the department, but other than that, the two didn't see much of each other. While her father was busy with work, Gemma herself was balancing having a social life at community college while studying her ass off. Because her mother, Carlene, was a sociology professor there, she got to see her mother more often. Carlene always had dinner ready before Gemma got back from her afternoon class, and usually waited for Gemma’s appearance in the living room while watching telenovellas and grading papers.
The Harrison family lived in Virginia in a typical suburban house; two stories with four rooms, two and a half bathrooms, and a large, green backyard. It was the home Gemma had grown up in, and she cherished it because of the all the memories it held.
Gemma let a sigh escape from her lips and she ran her fingers through her hair. A familiar sense of regret was bubbling inside of her, but as usual, she suppressed such feelings. Honestly, she had only been gone for two days and one night. And, technically, this was just the second night. The first night was spent at Gillian's house where the two best friends got shitfaced and Gemma let it slip that she wanted to run away. She couldn't take the protection her father had forced upon her. He had given two highly trained agents the job of following her around, and she had had enough. Gillian suggested they run away to Los Angeles because she was obsessed with Dana Carvey and he was doing some comeback tour at local comedy clubs, and Gemma loved the idea.
But now, she was no longer drunk. She was quite sober, in fact, and quite surprised she and Gillian had actually gone through with this plan. They didn't bring much. All Gemma had was a couple of pairs of jeans, a few t-shirts, and her purse that held her wallet and other personal items. Gillian herself had only brought along an old Dana Carvey biography "to get her through the days," as she liked to say.
"I'm going to take a shower!" Gillian said from the foot of the small bed and headed into the bathroom.
Gemma turned off the small television, and plopped on the mattress, staring up at the yellow-stained ceiling. She had never seen a living space so… small. She would be the first to admit that she had a very secluded childhood. But really, this motel combined the living room and bedroom, and the bathroom was so small, she could touch the opposite wall of the shower. She really should write the motel corporation and complain. This was practically uncivilized!
When she heard the shower flicker on, Gemma decided to change into her pajamas, which comprised of plain, grey sweatpants that was one size too big for her and a loose American Psycho shirt. They weren't very fashionable by any means, but they kept her warm and comfortable, which was quite important to the young woman.
As she slipped on her shirt, her eyes narrowed in on the open window. Shit. She walked over to the window and glanced outside, hoping nobody had seen her change. Maybe her dad was right; she really did need to pay more attention to her surroundings. It would have been embarrassing to be caught topless, especially if people knew who she was. However, as her eyes darted around the dark exterior, she sighed with relief. No one. She was just about to close the curtains when she paused. Her eyes caught the silhouette of a man who appeared to be a few inches taller than six feet. And he had very familiar incredible dark blue eyes. Double shit. Quickly, Gemma tried to duck out of view and nearly banged her head on the windowpane. He hadn't seen her, had he?
Oh yes, he most certainly had.
Well, they couldn't stay there any longer. Gemma hastily rapped on the door of the bathroom. "We have a Code Blue!" she exclaimed, and then tried to stuff both her and Gillian's things in their bags, which had been left carelessly on the dark brown carpet. She really needed to put more effort into being neat.
Gillian stepped out of the bathroom approximately fifteen seconds later with soap still running down the side of her face. "Him again?"
Gemma nodded. "Yeah," she replied, and then tossed Gillian her stuff. "We gotta go."
Once Gillian was dressed and everything was packed, the two women exited the motel door. They tried to use as much stealth as their frames would allow as they headed down the stairs of the motel in the direction of Gillian’s car. Gemma knew better than to use hers; her father had a tracking device in it that he had no problem reminding her about on a rather consistent basis.
Their eyes got used to the darkness after a while, and just before they emerged from the stairway, they paused, taking extra precaution to ensure he was gone. When they felt it was safe, they began power-walking, hustling as silently as they could – save for Gemma’s heavy breathing – until a group of men in black suits suddenly blocked their way. Gemma recognized a couple of them. This was one aspect that definitely sucked about having a father who happened to be the head of a mysterious department in the CIA.
The chase wasn't exactly over though, was it? All they head to do was turn and run.
And then she saw him.
He was back, blocking her only escape path.
Code Blue and his blue eyes.
Okay, Gemma, think.
And before she fully processed it, she took a step forward and punche
"…absolutely ridiculous… and he told me he found you there… of all places you could go, Gemma, there?"
Gemma was currently in her father's office, sitting down in a chair. Two agents were waiting at the entrance of the room, standing stoically and staring in front of them. One of the agents happened to be Code Blue, who had since wiped any trace of blood from his nose. She was quite tempted to see if she could make them smile, like the royal guards in England. But the look on her parents’ faces nipped that idea in the bud. She was in so much trouble. Her mother was staring at her pointedly from her usual corner of 'Lecture Hall,' as Gemma had dubbed the place, while her father was doing his usual pacing, up and down the room, his face tomato-red. Instead, she focused her eyes on the dark oak bookcase that rested against the wall behind her father’s desk, filled with titles such as Huckleberry Finn and 101 Ways to Kill Someone Using Just Your Hands.
"…no reason why… you could've told us you wanted to go to LA… summer is much more dangerous than winter…"
Gemma wasn't really listening, to be honest. In fact, she was beginning to plan her weekend. She was thinking her copy of Public Enemies needed to be reacquainted with her Blu-Ray player. Johnny Depp and Christian Bale? Talk about a fantasy come true… One was the roguish bank robber while the other was a sexy FBI agent. Hmm. She couldn't choose a side.
"…we have no other choice… will be your body guard… don't want others to know… since you've had stalkers before… will be your husband."
"What?" Gemma asked sharply, her eyes going wide. Maybe she should have been paying attention.
Her father sighed his usual frustrated sigh through his noise. "I said, Gemma, that you've had trouble with stalkers before, and you know this. As head of my department, I have lots of enemies, and I can't have my only child running away into the hands of those enemies. They could use you against me, you know? As such, I've decided to assign you a body guard of sorts."
Gemma didn't have the strength to argue quite yet. She could've sworn…
"…but, of course, we wouldn't want anyone to know," Brent continued, "that you have a bodyguard. We still want you to be normal, of course, as normal as a girl in your position can get. As normal as you can get, really. So we're just going to disguise him as your husband. Your mother and I have discussed it already, and we think it's the best idea. We're going to have a ceremony and everything. Anyways, would you like to meet him? Dixon!" he called, staring at the door. "Come in, would you?"
Tons of questions and arguments flooded Gemma's mind, but they stayed perched on the tip of her tongue. Her eyes were focused on this Dixon fellow, and she couldn't quite believe it.
Code Blue, as Gemma and Gillian had dubbed him, was actually quite handsome, in an older, red-neck sort of way. He was a few inches past six feet, with longish copper hair that clung to his head and neck. His eyes were a ridiculously noticeable shade of midnight blue, and depending on his mood, it actually looked almost black. His face was clean-shaven, though Gemma had seen him with some scruff every now and then. His posture was rigid, but his body was definitely fit. She could see even through his suit that he worked out. His broad shoulders gave him away. There were wrinkles on his brow and a frown on his lips. She wondered briefly if he ever smiled.
"Agent Dixon Black," her father boomed with pride, walking over to the agent and patting him on the back. Dixon didn't even move. "This man transferred over a couple of years ago from the FBI on the recommendation of a prestigious former agent. I can’t specify who. He's talented in field work, all kinds of physical fighting and what have you, and, if I'm not mistaken, has the best shot in the whole unit."
He cocked his head to the side, his only semblance of a response. Was it Gemma’s imagination, or did he look a tad uncomfortable at the attention?
"If he's such a good agent," Gemma began, doubt tainting her tone, turning so she could look at her father, "why are you having him baby-sit me? I know, I know; get married, pretend to get married, whatever. But isn't this sort of job like a rookie thing? Why are you having a seasoned agent look after me?"
"I thought it would be obvious, Gemma," Brent said, astonished that his daughter didn't see it from his point of view. "You are the most important thing to me, along with your mother. If I didn't trust Dixon with my life, then I wouldn't be putting him in charge of yours. I don't trust rookies with you. In fact, I don't trust any agent with you, really, except him. And as such, you should trust him too. Now, stand together, you two." He walked over to his daughter and helped her up.
"What?" Gemma all but yelped. "Why?"
"I want to see how the two of you look together," Brent said, positioning her by Dixon's side. "You know, get a feel of your chemistry together."
"Oh, for goodness' sake, Brent," murmured Carlene, placing her head in her hand. Her gold bracelets clinked with every movement of her wrist.
"Well, it obviously has to be believable," Brent said to his wife, craning his neck over his shoulder to get a good look at her position adjacent to his desk. "I mean, we need people to actually believe they're together and have been for a while."
"But it's not going to be believable," Gemma pointed out. "He's kind of old for me, isn't he? How old are you anyway, Code Blue? Forty? Forty-five?"
"I'm thirty-five," he replied with a slight, Southern mumble, and cast her a steely look.
"That's fifteen years older than me!" she exclaimed. "That's, like, a decade and a half. Do you realize how old that is?"
"Oh, stop being such a prude," Brent said, crossing his arms over his chest. "I'm twelve years older than your mother."
"And Christian Bale is twenty years older than you," Carlene pointed out in a flat tone.
"That's a totally different story!" Gemma pointed out. "Christian Bale is…" She placed her hands over her heart and let out an incredibly content sigh. "Code Blue is…" She reached out her arms and gestured at him, making an uncertain face. "Don't get me wrong… I mean, he's good looking in a… mature sense, but –"
"Oh, for the love of God," Brent said, rubbing his temples. "Gemma, you are showing a poor sense of maturity. Maybe Dixon will rub off on you." Gemma pursed her lips, and from the corner of her eyes, she saw Dixon's lips twitch. There was no way he was actually fighting off a smile, was he? "And what is this 'Code Blue' nonsense? Some form of endearment?"
"No, it's not some form of endearment," Gemma said with exasperation. "It's like a code name for him. Gillian and I came up with it when we saw that he was catching up to us. You know Dad, if you don't want your agents becoming recognizable, you should have him wear contacts. His eyes are distracting."
"Was that supposed to be a compliment?" Dixon asked in his rumble, and Gemma could see clearly there was a smirk on his face. Maybe it wasn't exactly a smile, but it was definitely a form of one.
"No, that was not supposed to be a – " Gemma stopped in midsentence and tried to control herself. "Look," she began again, this time more slowly, "I don't know how this is going to work when everyone at my school knows that I have the biggest thing for Troy Carter, our quarterback."
"How come I haven't heard of this?" Brent asked, momentarily distracted.
"It doesn't matter," Carlene cut in. She uncrossed her legs and looked directly in her daughter’s eyes, paralyzing Gemma with her stare. "Listen Gemma, there are things we've kept quiet from you so you could live a normal life. I know you think it isn't necessary to have Rigsby and Fuller constantly following you around, but trust me, it is. I'm not telling you this to scare you, sweetie, but it has…" She paused for a moment, trying to find the words. "It has come to our attention that Rigsby and
Gemma thought about it for a moment before chewing her bottom lip. "What about him?" she asked, tilting her head up in Dixon's direction. "Doesn't he have a girlfriend or a wife… maybe a boyfriend, whatever?"
"No," Dixon answered, his words crisp. "I have none of those."
How was she supposed to successfully make fun of him when he wouldn't even react? For that matter, how the fuck was she supposed to get married to this guy anyways? He was totally, one hundred percent not her type.
"You have to be serious about this, Gems," Brent said, his voice softening. "You can't go around telling everyone you're getting married, but that it's not real. Please, just do this for us, hmm? For your protection. We'll arrange everything; you, my dear, have nothing to worry about at all, except playing the part of doting fiancée and then wife. Okay?"
Again, Gemma was silent. Finally, she looked up at Dixon. "Why are you doing this?" she asked him, and for the first time in the conversation, she was actually serious. "Doesn't this bother you? I mean, you don't get to go out with women, men, whatever. You actually have to pretend to like me."
"Difficult as that may be," Dixon said, meeting his blue eyes with hers, "this is my job. Whatever is required of me, I do."
Gemma blinked. So here it was. She really had no choice in the matter though, did she? Apparently, her life was in danger, though she wasn't exactly sure as to why that was or how, and she highly doubted her parents would disclose the information now. But what she didn't really understand was how she was supposed to pretend to be in love with this guy. She could probably be attracted to him because she kind of was. But to like him, let alone love him? He was already rubbing off her the wrong way – and speaking of rubbing, were they supposed to hold hands? Touch? Kiss? Oh, goodness, how was she supposed to… No, she wasn't going to think about it.