Page Ch. 06


"You've changed; I can't put my finger on it but something is definitely different about you?"

I shrug and repeat my point since she didn't answer my question, "I don't understand what you're doing here."

"Well, I tried to call, but it said your number was disconnected."

"I've got a new cellphone, but you could have called the home number."

"Why are you being so cold to me? Are you angry with me? Is there someone else to take care of you now?" she asks in rapid succession and looking around.

"Yes - um - no, just a lot of weird stuff has been going on lately," I answer, feeling the need to guard my words.

"Come sit with me," she says pulling my hand.

I feel really alone without Page here and against my better judgment, I follow Natalie to the family room. She takes off her coat and tosses it over the end of the sofa. She has on a tight top that accentuates her large breasts which are clearly unrestrained by a bra. Sitting down on the middle cushion, she pats the seat beckoning me to join her with her arms extended. I sit feeling awkward with her closeness and am instantly aghast when she leans over to kiss me. My mouth tightens and I push her away; inadvertently contacting her pillowy chest.

"No, Natalie; don't."

"What is going on with you?"

"We aren't together and I'm - uh - I -" I mumble, cutting my words off before admitting I'm with someone. "I think you need to go."

"You don't look like you're doing very well. Won't you let me take care of you tonight?"

"No, my Mom is coming and you and I aren't together anymore."

"I don't know, I think you might change your mind?" she says grabbing and rubbing my cock through my sweat pants.

"Maybe, but not tonight," I say stupidly, as I stand up abruptly and move out of her reach.

"Okay, well, may I at least use your restroom before I go?"

"Sure, just don't pull any of your old tricks," I say as I remember her emerging nude from my bathroom during her first seduction of me.

"You really are 'no fun' anymore; be right out."

I find myself suddenly sitting back on the sofa, I wait for her and think of all the reasons that led to our breakup. She'd kind of initiated it but I'd been neglecting our relationship during the hectic campaign schedule. There wasn't any cheating or anything I just didn't feel like she was the one. She was growing more and more distant as if she were feeling the same thing, so I finally asked her and she admitted she'd been thinking it was 'over' for a while. It seems like several minutes have passed and I'm about to go check that she hasn't crawled in my bed or something when she reappears at the doorway.

"Look, I'm sorry for doing that. The thought of you dying without ever seeing you again -"

"It's fine, I just need to get some sleep, Nat," I say, as I hand her jacket to her and start walking us towards the front door.

"So, no hard feelings?"

"No, but I don't have those feelings for you anymore," I say as I open the door for her to leave.

"Look, I'll call you in a week or so," she says, as she kisses my cheek again. "I still think I can change your mind, bye."

"I don't think that's a good idea," I say trying to be firmly negative. "Have a good life, Nat," I say closing the door behind her so there's no chance for her to respond.

Turning the deadbolt, I feel like I've just escaped a mauling. The thought of her kissing me had almost made me nauseous. Worry about Page fills my thoughts as I wandered back toward the family room, where something catches my eye down the hallway by the liquor cabinet. Suppressing my suspicions, I go back into the family room to get my glass. The array of new items on my network that Page had discovered when someone had gone for the 'honey pot', while we were at the cabin, came to my mind. Heading back toward the cabinet, I wonder if it is one of these new devices and how many there might be.

Standing in front of the cabinet built into the alcove, I go about making another drink I have no intention of drinking. I am studying every aspect of the shelves and surrounding framework. Something feels out of place, but I can't quite put my finger upon it. What had I seen and why had I even looked? The memory of the pale blue light flashing on the wet pavement came back to me in a flash and I suddenly wish Page were here to help. Having found Gary's secret server room should have me feeling a little more confident but nothing is immediately obvious. Then it hits me like a ton of bricks; I'd left my keys in my bedroom and hadn't hung them here and the hook, which they would normally hang on, is missing. I try not to stare, but want to figure it out, and notice that the hook is actually there, but on the opposite side of the key rack board. Someone had replaced it on the wall, but mounted it upside down.

Reaching up to the top part of the cabinet, I pull down the pack of cigarettes while continuing to search for other alterations. I take one out and start to put it in my mouth when there's another knock at the door followed by the ringing of the bell. Leaving everything on the counter, I rush to the door. Looking through the peephole, I see agent Jonson is there with Mom, so I open the door. As I let her in, I spot the first news truck pulling up on the semi-darkened street.

"I'm going to take off now that Rama's here, you'll be in good hands, Congressman Levik."

"Thanks for watching over him for me Donald."

"You know Agent Jonson?"

"Yes, I requested he stand watch until I got here, let's take this inside."

"I'll be back with my partner tomorrow unless I hear otherwise," he says heading down the sidewalk.

We go inside, she sets her large duffel bag on the floor and I take her coat after I close the door. Once free of it she hugs me lightly avoiding my burned side.

"Mom, I don't understand -"

She puts her finger to my lips, shakes her head 'no' and says, "Let's have a look at that noggin."

With that, she takes my hand and leads me back to the family room. There she takes several items from her bag and places them on the table. She takes another hand-held device and proceeds to go around the room looking at the indications as she holds it near various things: lamps, power outlets, TV, stereo, air vent and windows. When she reaches the entryway, she backs away to the edge and pushes it forward till it is just at the opening. She shakes her head and puts the device back in her pack. Then she takes out a roll of Velcro and a collapsible step stool.

"What is -" I whisper, but she cuts me off shaking her head at me and shushes me.

Standing on the stool, she peals the double stick paper of the Velcro and places it over the top of the doorway. She hops down and I watch in amazement as she pulls out a silvery-black woven cloth curtain, climbs back upon the step stool and presses the cloth up over the entryway. Then she pulls out a power strip with a long cord, goes to the outlet for the lamp, plugs it in and then connects several of the remaining items into the strip. One at a time they power up and their lights begin blinking. They are initially red, but they each change back and forth between red and yellow and eventually change to solid green.

"Okay, we can talk now."

"What are all those and the - um - curtain thing?"

"The curtain is an advanced material that absorbs light and blocks sound to an extent. This one is a random noise generator with some noise cancellation abilities which works well in conjunction with the curtain. The rest are signal blockers, scramblers and jammers of various types. We can talk openly without being overheard or seen."

"Who are you?"

"Well, I'm your mother, silly. Now, while we're on that topic, I already spoke to the doctor, but let me see that head."

I want to argue and find out what's going on, but I lean down to let her inspect it. Her fingers gently spread the hair away from the stitches and she too plants a kiss.

"They said it should be fine in a couple days," I offer speaking into my lap.

"What about your mental faculties?" she asks, encouraging me to sit back up.

"I'm still foggy - plus - I had a drink on top of my pain medication but I don't care about any of that, I need to know Page is okay."

"Ryan, you've just killed someone. Police officers or FBI agents often take time off to come to grips with that even though nearly all their shootings are justified and only a few are accidental."

"I know - I know and I feel sick about it, but after he'd fired at that van; I was sure he was trying to kill us both."

"Give me your gun; I'm here now and I'll keep you safe."

"Agent Jonson kind of suggested I carry it."

"I figured he did, but I'm your mother."

Unzipping my sweat jacket, I unbuckle the holster with the Glock and hand it to her. A feeling of relief comes over me as I realize how worried I'd been about being able to pull that trigger again.

"Okay, now you're safe; I'm not going to accidentally shoot you."

"Ryan, I'm not worried about you shooting me. You've just killed someone and you're going to be feeling depressed; it's a normal human response," she says as she removes the gun from the holster, ejects the clip and places the lot in her bag.

"But you've got to help me; I'm going crazy. There's all this insane stuff going on: the election, spying, sabotaging my campaign, hacking of my computers and then there's Page. You said, Page was being handled... What'd you mean by that? Where is she? I need to know she's safe. Is she really okay?"

"I'll answer as many of your questions as I can; I'm officially reading you in. Page should be here in the morning. She's getting debriefed and we're finalizing her new documents. We don't want this wrinkle to cause any issues."

"Mom, I love you. You're going to have to start simpler and further back. What's going on? Who is we? Who were the people that picked her up? How do you even know about this?"

"Let's start with this; I know about you and Page."

"Oh - um - what - what do you know?"

"Are you going to make me spell everything out to you? Did you think you could keep this kind of secret?" she asks incredulously.

She waits several moments and I don't reply because I don't want to admit what I - what we've been doing. "Okay, I'll put the words out into the open," she says with a little shake of her head. "I know that you two have been intimate and that she is very much in love with you. So much so, that she wants to quit."

"Quit what?" I ask worrying that she'll be done with me.

"She's been being groomed to be a very special kind of agent and you've nearly ruined it."

"That doesn't seem fair, I didn't mean for -"

"I didn't mean you alone, I meant the two of you. I know that you were dragged into this unaware. Page, as smart as she is, has no life experience. Relationships are where problems always rear their head and we'd been kind of worried about that Carl guy. We just didn't know your dumb fuck father was going to get involved with him. I guess we're lucky that when she found out, and went into a tailspin, that she ran right here into your arms."

"Yeah, she came here - I didn't know what else to do but let her stay. I didn't think I could renege on the offer I'd made to her. I'd told her to come back any time after she finished high school. I'd thought she might come to college here. I never meant -"

"Honey, she's been out of high school for nearly three years. She's been working with Reba getting trained on other skills in addition to her hacking."

"Yeah, she finally told me some of that at the cabin. I've been clueless on a lot of things and I feel like I still am but the one thing I know is that I love her."

"Yeah, we've got that; that's why we're working on getting documents together for you two."

"Who's we?"

"Your aunt and I work for two similar agencies. There's a sort of partnership between them, kind of a joint task force."

"Which agencies?"

"I can't tell you that yet."

"But you will eventually?"

"There are high level discussions regarding your inclusion due mainly to Page's insistence."

"Is agent Jonson FBI or something else?"

"He's FBI, but we've coordinated with him in the past and he's a friend."

"What kind of documents are you getting together for us?"

"We have access to some of the best official documents available. We'll get those to you in due course but right now we're working to finish our expunging of her records. We'd already begun, when she decided to join that other agency under Reba's guidance, but now there's some urgency."

"The news coverage?"

"Yes, and the police reports; why'd you have to go and tell them she was your wife?"

"I didn't, the officer made an assumption when he heard the last name and how desperate I was to get her back."

"Well, it looks like you two were probably headed down that path anyway, so all of these collateral activities have just sped up the time line."

"All of this stuff is crazy. I haven't got a clue as to why anyone cares about a nearly former congressman. What have we gotten into, Mom?"

"It is very complicated and Page's coming here just made it more so. She's been doing some very high level hacking for Reba's agency."

"Page told me to only call her Leda aloud."

"Yes, that's her alias and if it weren't for all this," she says pointing at the array of devices, "we wouldn't be using her name at least in this context. She's your aunt and that is no secret."

"So, why -"

"Are you going to keep interrupting or let me finish?"

"Sorry, I've just been in the dark on all of this and I'm used to asking questions during a briefing."

"Well, Congressman, this is above top secret, so just sit back and listen," she says playfully but with a dead serious look in her eye. "Page was doing some borderline hacking jobs before she got involved with Reba's agency. They were above board, but right on the fringe, if you like. She never stepped over the line, but there were definitely some blurry spots, okay?"

I just nod my head, so she'll continue, but expect she's talking about the money Page has gotten paid.

"Well, Reba got me involved in taking care of some of those that were a little too close and that's when we started expunging her records. We'd already arranged to create some parallel documents for her. Really, it was your aunt that arranged for those, but we've had the originals of nearly everything destroyed. So, Page is no longer your sister, you never had one and there's no record of a 'Page Levik' that isn't your wife."

"What about birth announcements and stuff?" I ask when she's taken a pause.

"Well, first of all she wasn't born here. You may not remember, but I was away on a business trip."

"You were in Florida."

"No, you were told I was in Florida. I was actually out of the country. There were no birth announcements and no birth certificate generated here. Your father doesn't know any of this, as far as he knows, I came home from Florida with a tiny baby."

I sit stunned as I think back over my memories. Page was born when I was nine. I remember not being able to go to the hospital, but I'd thought it was because I was too young. "Was she premature, like Dad told me?"

"Yes and no. She was very small and we think the doctors must have gotten the due date wrong by a month. I traveled a lot back then and it could have been one of two dates. When they guessed, based upon her size, they simply picked the wrong one.

"Anyway back to my story, you keep interrupting me reading you in. So there's been a huge effort to fix all of the different places that have records of Page's, schools, doctors and the like."

Unable to control my outburst, I ask, "What about her page job with Congress? And my friends that she's met?"

"She was already under her alias, Page Rubin."

"I didn't think she started working for Reba until after -"

Mom stands there with her mouth firmly shut and folds her arms across her chest. I can tell she's had just about enough of my interruptions, but I really want to know stuff in an order I can understand. I'm trying to remember if Page had worn a name tag that first day I saw her on the House floor and which of my friends she's met.

"I'm sorry to keep interrupting, the story you're telling isn't coming out in the order I understand it," I say apologetically while shaking my head.

"Sweetie, I know. However, there are a great many things that I can't tell you yet. If you understood how important Page is, you might understand the reasons for all the efforts we've gone through to make this happen. Her IQ is unmeasurable, her memory is nearly perfect, she's got an innate understanding of computers of all varieties and she was working on something BIG before all of this happened."

I find I'm a little envious of Page's abilities, but I know it's all true and I worry what this is doing to her. Suddenly, I'm saying some of my worries aloud, "Well, she's under a lot of pressure, I can tell you that. She doesn't sleep much and I worry that these agencies or whoever are pushing her too hard. She doesn't want to do the work, I can tell and she's said as much. She wants to have a life, and babies and -"

"She what? You didn't get her -" Mom cut me off at that and I understand my error and interrupt her before she goes ballistic.

"No, no, no, she's got the implant. She told me and showed me the tiny scar and how that led to all her piercings."

"It's news to me. Maybe I should be debriefing you," she says with a little smile.

"Well, I can tell you that things in my life have been completely turned upside down and I don't know if I was ever in control of any of it. There was all of this effort to make sure I wasn't reelected, and that started well before Page got here."

"I'm fully aware; as I said it got more complicated when Page tried to drop off the grid. People aren't going to let her run free with the knowledge she has in her head without some assurances."

"Wait, what? Say that again? Did you just tell me she was abducted by the good guys?"

"No, she was snatched because she phoned in an emergency pickup. You were supposed to be brought in with her."

Some of that makes sense as I recall her messing with her phone as she'd run across the parking lot toward the mall, but they'd arrived almost instantly. "How did they get there so fast?"

"She texted Reba about the shopping trip and the upcoming party, to let her know she'd be okay. Reba had a tail put on you from your condo."

"I didn't see a tail."

"You wouldn't have even if they'd been on the ground."

"I was tailed by a drone?"

"I'm not at liberty to say, but you were being watched closely."

"Did she tell you about the break-in here and the new devices she found on my network?"

"We'd detected the same, she had Reba checking on where the data is being routed."

"What am I going to do about that stuff?"

"Well, this room is going to be made secure. What I've done for tonight is temporary. There'll be a crew here in before noon to make this room completely secure."

"Won't it raise suspicions?"

"We're doing it as a renovation to your family room. We'll be showing off all kinds of high end home theater kinds of items. The room will be enhanced during the process."

"So you're leaving all the surveillance stuff in place?"

"I think that is the plan for the time being; it may prove useful to send false information. Look, I know you want to know every single thing that is going on, but I think you need to get some rest."

"The bed in the guest room hasn't been changed since Page slept on it."

"It'll be fine Ryan. You get some sleep and I'm going to do an inventory and a preliminary sweep of the place to make sure we've gotten all of the devices logged and what kinds they've used."

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