Sunday, September 9, 2018

I’m not a terrorist, I’m not a traitor

About an hour later, someone knocked at the office door.
“Come in,” she called out.
When Russ Quinlan walked into the room, Sarah couldn’t have been more surprised. Although he’d been doing the required work, he’d been avoiding her for the last two weeks. In fact, she didn’t even know where he was staying.
She cleared her throat and spoke. “What can I do for you, Russ?”
Rather than acting like the belligerent jackass that he had before, he was looking rather sheepish, so Sarah was even more puzzled as to why he was here.
“Is it alright if I sit down?” Russ asked.
“Ah…yeah. Sure,” Sarah answered.
When he sat in the chair across from her desk, his eyes met hers. “I’m sorry.”
Bemused, Sarah’s eyes went wide. “For what?”
“You have a prosthetic, Legs? Um, I mean Sarah?”
“Yeah. But you knew that,” she said.
“No, I didn’t,” Russ answered. “I thought…”
“You thought what?”
“I…can’t talk about it,” Russ said. “But…” He swallowed. “Is there a specific reason you’ve been off the radar for so long?”
She was becoming even more bewildered. “Why, because I was told not to talk about what happened to me in Iraq in public.”
Russ was staring at her with what looked like horror in his eyes. “Sarah, what did happen?”
“I…was held hostage. And…” her voice faded away as tears filled her eyes.
But she hated it when she started feeling sorry for herself. 
So swiping away the tears, she squared off her shoulders with her chin held high, just daring Russ to transform into his normally insolent self.
“Oh, my God,” he whispered, closing his eyes and standing back up. “Sarah…they told me…”
But suddenly, he seemed to come to a realization.
“They’re going to try and set me up,” he muttered under his breath.
Sarah was totally confused.
“I need someone to know. I need you to know. What happened to you wasn’t supposed to happen.”
“I don’t have a single clue about what you’re talking about, Russ.”
He began pacing the floor, and then looked at her again. “I can’t believe I thought…”
“What?” Sarah asked impatiently. This had to be one of the strangest conversations she’d ever had.
“You know I thought about asking you out when I first met you? But then I found out you were engaged.”
She blinked.
Russ continued, “I’ve always liked you. I’m sorry for the way I’ve been behaving these last few weeks.”
Sarah shook her head dazedly.
Russ started pacing again and then he halted in front of her desk, staring deeply into her eyes. “I need to tell someone, and somehow, I know I can trust you. If what I suspect might be happening actually does, you’re going to be hearing some really terrible things about me during the next few months. You need to hold off from telling Brand that I talked to you today.”
She reluctantly nodded her agreement.
“Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to lie. I just need time. Plus, I need someone to believe me and be on my side when the time comes. Tell him that I’m not a terrorist, I’m not a traitor, and I’m being set up by someone at the highest level of U.S. government.”
Set up for what, she wanted to ask. But that was obviously something he didn’t think he should tell her.
In a state of semi-shock, Sarah sighed deeply. But she wasn’t surprised to hear what Russ was saying, since she had little faith in the stability of the new administration. Maybe she was slightly bitter being treated so badly after fighting for her country. But she wasn’t the only one who’d lost confidence in the system. Most of the appointed officials were businessmen looking out for their own interests, rather than the welfare of the American people.
Russ gave her one last reassuring glance. “Good luck, Sarah,” he said, opening the door and slipping outside.
Sarah sat at her desk for the next few minutes, trying to make some sense out of everything Russ had just revealed.

Excerpt from Two Hearts Under Fire
By Tamara Ferguson
Included in Love Under Fire

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  1. This is an important moment in the series!! Thank you for sharing Uvi!!

  2. Looks like another winner for Ms. Ferguson! Thanks for sharing, Uvi! :)