I sleep a lot better these days than I used to.
It took another six months, but after confessing everything about my secret life to Connor that day in the farmhouse and then still trying to live a ‘double life’ as an agent, I’d found that I couldn’t take it anymore.
So, one day, without really thinking about it, I walked into Shane’s office and announced my intention to resign from Leukos, effectively immediately, and I was completely floored by his reaction.
“Thank god,” he’d said with a wide smile, coming around his desk to gather me in a tight hug. “I’ve been hoping you’d resign for months.”
“Why? Am I suddenly a crummy agent or something?” I’d asked, pulling away from him and searching his face for evidence that I’d disappointed him. I’d thought I was keeping things pretty well together, in fact just the week before, I’d single handedly brought down a rogue agent I’d hunted down in Budapest…
“No, Em. You could never be a crummy agent,” Shane had reassured me. “I just knew your heart wasn’t in it anymore. It’s time for you to resign, take up art dealing for real, and start building a life with my little brother. A REAL life,” he had amended as I opened my mouth to protest.
And here I thought I’d made a pretty good start.
But after I resigned to the powers that be and turned in my weaponry, I walked out of Leukos with a lighter heart than I had had in… years, I guess.
And I know I can credit a lot of that to Connor.
From the boy I’d thought was cute in a Sainsbury’s aisle to the man I was planning to share my life with, he had influenced every corner of my existence. It took another three months, but I finally agreed to us moving in together, and from there, time just ran together in a haze of happiness.
And then, in the same farmhouse in Normandy that we’d hidden out in all those months ago (thanks to a few pulled strings from Shane), Connor proposed during a firelit picnic dinner on the floor.
And then I’d accepted with a smile and a long kiss.
Just last week we finally bought our first home together – a rambling country cottage, just outside Eastbourne, on the Downs. Close enough that I can jog to the sea, but far enough away from the tourists, the seniors, and affording us the privacy I’d so often craved.
We’re getting married next week in a small ceremony.
Shane, of course, is best man.
Connor’s residency is almost done, and he’s been offered a permanent position in the hospital, which he has accepted. He’s happy in his work, and I’ve finally found LEGITIMATE work in an art gallery, and yes, I sometimes DO have to travel for business, but not as much as I did with Leukos.
And never with a sidearm.
Shane is still working for Leukos, but has mostly resigned from mission work. Though he won’t admit it, I think being shot and coming so close to death made him realize there is more to life than missions and profiles. I think he’ll stay in the spy game, just in the administrative side of it – which, frankly, is a comfort to me.
James Cross, now that he’s fully extricated himself from Vaclav Stepanek’s organization, has resigned from MI-6, and has reconciled with not one, but both of his sons. We recently had dinner together – the four of us – and it made my heart sing to see the men together, really talking, and even sharing laughter and telling jokes at each other’s expenses.
It’s what I’ve always wanted – for both Shane and Connor.
And so, my life seems to have worked out for the best – though I can’t seem the break the habit of sleeping with a loaded .38 under my pillow.
Connor’s gotten used to it.
Beyond that, Leukos is completely out of my life, and I’m the happier for it.
My keys jingle in my hand as I lock our cottage door, heading for my car. I’m meeting Connor for lunch at the hospital and am running a few minutes late. I brush my hair from my eyes, smiling to myself for the thousandth time at the news I have to tell him, instinctively curling my hand across my belly, though I know there is no sign yet…
As I glance out of my rearview mirror to check for traffic, I spot a familiar face in a car across the street, hidden mostly out of sight.
I sigh, and then roll my eyes. And then I wave to Leukos surveillance agent Jack Harkness, who tries to duck down in the front seat, finally giving up with a roll of his own eyes. He waves in return, and I laugh as I wind my way down the lanes towards the hospital.
Okay, so maybe Luekos isn’t COMPLETELY out of my life…