Stopping at the library was nearly a revolutionary act; their handlers were too busy speaking with one another to closely monitor what the pair were doing in the front of the computer lab. Aidan had suggested to Tasha that he sit the front row while no one had been listening. As well as they knew each other by now, after a decade of marriage, a few lip read words were all they needed to communicate. Pretending to be strangers in public as commanded by their superiors, Tasha sat a row behind Aidan and paid him no attention, although the ease with which they logged into a messenger service was nearly laughable.
Tasha longed to do the normal tasks one may perform on a computer, such as checking and replying to personal emails without encryption, downloading music or even ordering Christmas presents for Aidan as the chill in the air told her that the holidays were coming closer. She did some of the last task surreptitiously, arranging for the gifts to be sent to the safe house via Max’s credit card. He was a friendly authority who had given her permission to do so. Even agents deep undercover needed a little bit of joy.
Aidan tapped on his keyboard and sighed. Why wasn’t Tasha responding to his message? He dared to turn around for a split second. What he saw put a smile on his face. Tasha’s eyes were intent on the screen and she appeared more relaxed than she had since they’d entered the safe house. He had no idea what she was actually doing, but the expression she wore was enough to lift his spirits.
Busy? He wrote a quick message. You’re smiling. I like it. A lot.
You’ll have to wait and see, she replied. Didn’t you notice the date? How cold it’s become? The lights on the houses?
I see, he answered. I’d best prepare as well.
You’re all the present I need, she told him before typing a profusion of heart emojis that made him silently laugh.
You’re good for my ego. Please tell me more while there’s time. I feel like we’ve sneaked away from the high school dance to make out behind the gym or something.
I like your imagination, Tasha started to give a detailed description of what was contained within her own imagination as her handler opened the door and gave them both a start. She quickly logged out of the messenger and stood up to follow the handler back to the armored car. Aidan would leave in five minutes as it was too dangerous for them to go at the same time. She ran a hand through her auburn hair, wondering when she’d be required to change it as a disguise. It was a change she dreaded because her hair was one of Aidan’s favorite parts of her appearance. She distracted herself by thinking of how nice it felt when he stroked her hair as they lay in bed at night, taking refuge in one another.
The nights are cold, Tasha thought, but at least there was some comfort left for them. What she would do if they were separated was beyond the scope of her mental resources. Perhaps that was why they’d been allowed to remain together so long. Even though it seemed as if their superiors were heartless, everything they did was to protect the couple. They had only today. Tomorrow could be totally different. But tonight she would look forward to those unmonitored moments they had before drifting off to sleep. Aidan’s presence made her dream of better things, like Christmas morning or walking hand in hand on the beach. This assignment was tough, but it would not last forever.