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There didn't seem any way around it. The Berlin Wall was going up and more than a few of his people were trapped behind it. Damn!
Control sat at his desk reproaching himself. He had gotten sloppy and sentimental and look what happened - death and disappointment.
He started to fill out the myriad of reports that would be filed with the appropriate departments within the Company. Everything he wrote and did about the Berlin Wall would become part of history. Correction, almost everything he did. A number of events would never make it into those reports. Those incidents, of a personal nature, would be reserved for his own history and torment.
He found failure very hard to live with.
It all started a little more than two years ago. He had been on the fast track at the Company and had been very satisfied in every aspect of his life, until... he met her.
He had been ordered by his superiors to make closer contact with some of the men who held the real power in Washington by attending a cocktail party being held in the private back bar of one of the better hotels. He had attended, wearing his best party persona, intent on persuading those men to follow his lead.
It had been going well. Born with the talent to juggle men and situations, he was rumored to be next in line for the title of Northern Control. He would be the youngest Control in the short and very successful history of America's most covert agency and, by God, he was going to prove that he was the only man who could handle it.
He had been glad-handing Senator Robert Williamson, a powerful and respected force on the Hill, when she walked into the room. It was almost too painful to remember.
She was a tall brunette, slender but round of hip and breast. She was a woman who looked as if her spine was made of iron, with a mind that was just as strong. Intelligence shone from her like a welcoming beacon. He remembered that it had felt as though a lightning bolt had hit him the moment he had set his eyes on her.
She swept into the room and immediately took charge of the men in it. No simpering flirt, she looked each man in the eye and seemed to challenge each one to show her the best and most brilliant side of himself.
He had stayed where he was, across the room from her, and managed to get a sweet eyeful before she saw him and their eyes locked for a long satisfying moment. She seemed to be drawn to him. And strangely, for the first time in his life he wanted to be the center of a woman's attention. They held each other's eyes and he knew at that moment that he never wanted to let her out of his sight.
She started to walk towards him and involuntarily, he took in an excited breath... until she walked straight past him and kissed Senator Robert Williamson on the cheek.
Williamson smiled proudly and turned to him, "I want you to meet my daughter Susan. She's been working with me as my campaign assistant ever since she was in diapers," he said jovially.
A picture of her clad in only a droopy diaper flashed in front of him and his face grew hot with the effort to pull his mind away from the thought. Managing to paste on his usual charming smile, they shook hands. As their skin touched, the electricity that passed between them was a shock to his system. She smiled at him for a moment before pulling her father away, insisting that he say hello to the Secretary of State.
He hadn't expected to see her again and the disappointment had pushed him into a weekend long funk that was relieved only by varied outlandish sexual activities and massive doses of whisky. As usual, no one at the Company ever suspected that he'd been on one of his rare binges and he was at his desk early Monday morning, none the worse for wear. He was quite annoyed that the sight of a single female had unhinged him to such an extent. He told himself a hundred times that she was nothing special. He still had hopes that he would begin to believe it soon.
Just before lunchtime Senator Williamson barged into his office with a growl of "Where the hell were you all weekend? You don't have a woman hidden away, do you?"
He did his best to reassure the Senator that he had been, as always, working for his government long and hard that weekend. Well, he had been long and hard most of the weekend anyway - just not for the government.
Williamson pulled him up from behind his desk and barked that they were having lunch together. Since Senator Williamson had most of the politicos on the hill in the palm of his hand, he knew that refusing to go was not an option.
As is the custom in Washington, when someone's being set up to be asked for a favor, Williamson had them seated at the table of power at the best restaurant in DC. Lunch was pleasant enough, and the first hour or so was wasted in unimportant pleasantries. He was still in the dark as to why Williamson was setting him up as a fatted calf.
Williamson was one of the richest and most powerful men in Washington. He was a permanent addition to the Hill and there didn't seem to be any reason to think that the man wouldn't continue in that seat of power until he decided to retire, or until death itself pulled him away from the senate
Without a doubt, he knew that whatever the senator requested of him would have to be thoroughly considered before he refused. Williamson was a powerful ally to have in his corner, and a hell of an enemy to be pitted against. He wasn't afraid of Williamson; it would just be problematical to work around the man.
The senator took a long swallow of his scotch and smiled at him. Control went onto alert. This was it. The deal was about to be pitched.
"Son," Williamson radiated good will at him, "I think that you have a wonderful future ahead of you in government service."
Williamson was going in for the kill. He felt himself get the calm feeling that came over him when something big was about to be disclosed.
The Senator then took off his glasses and in an avuncular tone said, "Do you remember meeting my daughter Susan at the cocktail party last Friday night?"
He continued to stare dispassionately at the older man while his heart started racing. Did he remember Susan? He hadn't thought of anything else since he first saw her. "Yes," he answered evenly.
"Well my boy, I want to discuss a proposition with you."
After he heard what 'Bob' had to say, he thought that he was the luckiest man alive. The senator explained that Susan was his eldest daughter and had been swept into the world of politics from day one. His younger daughter Amy, had never been interested in public life and had married right out of collage to a now successful lawyer. In fact, they had recently moved to Washington from their home state. Susan had just left his state headquarters to move to Washington too. Now the whole family was at the Capital.
Williamson was worried that Susan was too involved with him and his world. He was afraid that Susan might never give herself the time to meet the right man and become a mother. He wanted her to be happy, he insisted. He wanted his daughter married to a man he admired, a man he could trust, who was going somewhere within the government.
He sat there floored. Williamson was offering his daughter - the one woman that he had met in years that made him yearn for a normal married life - to him on a platter! Showing no emotion, he sat quietly, thinking.
The Senator had obviously expected him to be very excited, for good or bad, and his long silence had unnerved Williamson so that he continued on with his sales pitch.
"I've been watching you young man. I like your style, your competency and your resolve. I can see that you're my type of man."
"Oh really?" All the aspects of the situation had to be quickly assessed, "What about my politics? Do you approve of my politics?"
Williamson was a strict conservative Goldwater Republican. They usually had narrow ideas of right and wrong, and most of the world was wrong according to them. But Control knew that Williamson didn't have an inkling of his political affiliation. It was one of the details of his life that was very well hidden, from everybody.
"I don't need to know your politics, man, I can see that you are an upstanding citizen and a patriot." The senator looked sincere.
He countered immediately. "And you also know that unlike ninety-nine point nine percent of the men in Washington, you'll never have to be afraid of me running for a political seat against you. My position in government is not a political one."
Williamson smiled slyly. "You do have your head on straight, my boy."
"And you also know that it looks downright bad for a man in your position, who upholds the ideals of a conservative lifestyle, to have an unmarried daughter." He immediately softened his voice, "And such an attractive daughter at that. Having her running loose around Washington can be a tricky situation. She's ripe for some unscrupulous politico to use to get to you. Isn't that so Senator?"
Williamson's face took on a darker hue. "That's true. You do understand my dilemma. I don't want anything unseemly to happen to my daughter. She's very important to me."
"And to your campaign organization." He gave Williamson one of his deepest searching looks.
"True" Williamson didn't flinch at all under his gaze but returned the hard stare with one of his own.
It didn't take much to figure Williamson's angle out. "And you also know that I travel a good deal, and so it would be prudent for your daughter to continue to work for you since it's unlikely that I would be around enough to fill up all of her time as her husband. And it also would also be a great benefit to you to have a daughter married to someone in the intelligence community."
Here the senator broke out in a full knowing smile, "Well, I must protest..."
"And a son-in-law with access to every bit of inside Washington information - for that matter, world wide information - might come in handy to you someday. Right?"
Williamson's face became hard, "Listen here, you'll benefit from this transaction also. I am a powerful presence in this community. I can be a great help to you." He sat forward. "And I am a wealthy man. Your future will be assured as a member of my family. I couldn't get any information on your background, but I doubt that you came from as much money as I have."
The conversation was going in the wrong direction; he'd never care about money. He softened his voice. "I admit, above all else, that Susan is a diamond, a woman that any man in his right mind would be grateful to have as a wife."
Williamson was flustered for a moment and then smiled. "Then you're interested."
Making a show of it, he raised his eyebrows, "Well it is time that I settled down. A man of my age needs a wife and family. Don't you agree senator? I should be married."
"Then it's a deal." Williams extended his hand
"Not yet, what about Susan's feelings?"
The Senator nodded approvingly, "I got this whole idea from her. You caught her eye Friday at the cocktail party. It seems that she's attracted to the tall, dark and handsome type. She's been asking me question after question about you the whole weekend. I think that with just a small effort on your part, you'll be able to capture and win her heart. "
So there was mutual attraction there! He did feel electricity pass between them. He thought so!
He smiled at the senator, and the two men shook hands on it.
The courtship flew by. He remembered he had never been as happy as he was in Susan's presence. She was everything he had hoped for in a woman, almost everything he needed. Bright, intelligent, funny and beautiful, he felt blessed and content with her.
When they married he made every effort to become what Susan wanted in a husband. All right, she was sexually inhibited, but he had always known that his own sexual appetite was unusual, so he had curbed his passions and had put all his effort into being the non-aggressive lover that Susan wanted.
After they had gotten married, his career in the Company continued on the rise and he was appointed Northern Control. He knew that the promotion had nothing to do with Williamson, who had no real power inside the Company. No, it was that he was doing the best job any man on earth could have done; his marriage to Susan had helped focus and put him at his best.
As Northern Control, he was constantly on the move, crisis solving all over the world. He and Susan had been married for over two years, but in actuality they had spent less than ten months together over that whole time.
When he and McCall had finished with Gerhardt in Pamplona last week, he had acted impulsively and made arrangements for Susan to join him in an impromptu vacation. He had surprised her with a phone call and told her to fly out and meet him there. They were going to spend two weeks together, in Pamplona, one of the most romantic cities in Europe.
The first five days with her were miraculous. He had never felt more content in his life. They went to see the bulls run and he had even thought about signing up for matador school. He forgot who he was, what he was really there for.
He and Susan spent the fifth day together walking around Pamplona, peeking in small shops, buying anything that interested her. Susan loved to spend time shopping, and he had learned to love it too. For her.
After dining in a small café they had gone back to the hotel together. He made love to her, being as restrained as he could manage. Susan didn't like to spend much time fussing with sex, but that was all right with him. Just to be lying next to her made him happy.
Later that night he had been awakened by something and without thinking he grabbed for the gun that was always hidden by the headboard. He immediately realized that Susan's wasn't in bed with him. Without a sound he moved through the dark room toward the light that he saw glowing from the sitting room. Dressed only in the loose, bile green pajamas that Susan had given him as a gift, he pressed himself onto the wall and moved toward the lighted room. Then he heard Susan's voice, whispering.
"Is Amy still up at the cabin with the children, Doug?"
Relieved that Susan was on the phone talking to her sister's husband Doug, he was going to go back to bed when he heard her say. "I know we had everything planned so we could be together Doug, but you know that Daddy insists I leave everything at once when my never loving husband wants me to join him."
Her voice sounded bitter and harder than he had ever heard it.
"Yes Doug we have, once every night since I got here," She laughed harshly, "Well, I have to, no matter how repulsive it is to me. He is my husband. But it's nothing like what you and I do together, Lover." The room was silent as she listened. "No I can't get a divorce, for the same reason you couldn't get a divorce before I had to marry him. Daddy would cut me out of the family and I wouldn't get a dime. And remember, I work for him and if daddy says that I have to marry a boring, dull man, then I marry him or I lose my generous salary and I'd never collect any inheritance money."
Control had almost lost it in that moment. In a flash he realized that nothing was as he had thought. He had been duped from the very start.
Susan had been having an affair with Doug before she had ever met him. That's why she had moved to Washington in the first place - to be near Douglas. And then she had made sure to find a chump to marry. Someone who wouldn't be around much to interfere in her lifestyle. And he had been that sap.
Susan continued to speak and laugh in a voice that was deep and sexual, a voice that she had never used with him. Silently, he went back into the bedroom.
Illuminated only by the light from the other room, he glanced at his face reflected in the dresser mirror. He looked haggard. The truth that he had been taken for a fool, hit him like a physical blow.
As he stood there staring at his reflection, rage overtook him and he watched his face rearrange itself into the face of Control, the newest man of power in the Company. A plan began to form in his mind and he moved around the room collecting what he needed to get it started.
He was lying in bed, snoring gently, when Susan walked into the room and slipped back underneath the blanket. Control acted as if he had been disturbed in his sleep by her movements and he languidly turned over and moved closer to her. He glided his arm over her body and sighed as if he was content to find her there, as he knew he had done so often over the past two years.
It took a moment to assess where she had placed her hands. In a split second he grabbed her wrists, looped restraints over them and hooked her to the headboard. She barely had time to register confusion before he stuffed a bunched up undershirt of his into her mouth gagging her securely. He grabbed two more restraints and bound her legs, spread eagle, onto the foot of the bed
He turned away so as not to look at her as he caught his breath. He actually felt shaky as he stepped to a lamp and turned it on. Still not looking in her direction, Control sat down on a chair to pull himself together.
Susan was making ineffectual screaming sounds from behind the gag, and the sound of her fear and her panic acted as soothing, familiar music to his ears. He had never had a beloved wife cheat on him before, he didn't know how to deal with that, but he did know how to deal with a woman who was gagged and afraid. He could deal with her as he had dealt with any traitor.
He took a deep breath, and braced himself for his first full view of his false wife, the woman he had once adored. Any love he had for her had been eradicated the minute he realized that nothing was real; nothing that he had so cherished was true. Damn it, he was Northern Control. He was supposed to be the one pulling strings. He didn't like being the puppet, and he vowed he would not be a puppet for one minute longer.
He glanced at his hands to check that they weren't shaking. Then he saw the cuffs of his pajamas. They were flannel and an ugly shade of green, but he had worn them religiously whenever Susan and he slept together. She had bought them for him and insisted that he wear them, and to please her he always did. Now he pulled the top open, popping all the buttons. Then he got up from the chair and pulled the bottom down and stepped out of it. He threw the hated cloth away.
He turned to face Susan.
Her lips were the first thing he saw, obscenely stretched open by the large gag that filled her mouth to bursting. Her skin was blotched, red and pale. She was sweating and he could smell fear coming off her in waves. Her eyes were wild, open and terrified. Tears trickled down her face.
As he studied her, she struggled harder to free her body. He noticed that her wild movements made the hem of her nightgown ride up high over her thighs. Then he saw her eyes open, wider then he ever thought possible, as her vision locked on the area of his groin.
Control looked down and was surprised to see that he was rock hard, iron like, and huge. Susan started to scream even harder behind her gag when Control moved toward her.
He put a hand up in front of him, making a settle down gesture. "Calm down Susan," he said soothingly. "Quiet down. If you continue to cry with the gag on, your nose will clog up and you won't be able to breathe. You'll asphyxiate, and that's a horrible way to die. Settle down now." Then he added, "Dear." The same thing he had called her only hours ago, when he still loved her.
Susan made an effort to calm herself and Control couldn't help but admire that unbending will of hers. Yes, she was that kind of woman; made of iron with a velvet cover. She was strong and determined.
It suddenly occurred to him that she had strictly regulated how he should act with her. Yes, she had been to one to dictate their life together. She was the type of woman who used people and then liked to make them pay for the privilege of being used.
He was beginning to hate her now.
He walked into the other room and came back holding a large pair of scissors. When Susan saw the sharp tool she started to fight the restraints even harder.
He waited, calmly, until she tired herself out. Then, without a word, he leaned over her and cut off her nightgown. Having her naked was the last step in breaking down her sense of self. He barely noticed her body at that point. From the moment he had seen her fighting the restraints, he had known that he wasn't going to fuck her again. Not in this lifetime.
In his whole, long, diverse sexual history he had never forced himself on an unwilling partner. And he wasn't going to start now. He only felt hate, and he no longer had any interest in touching her. His powerful erection started to retreat.
He pulled the pieces of the gown off while Susan's eyes gleamed at him in the lamplight and her breathing started to change. Then she started to tug at the restraints again.
First she pulled wildly, still staring at him, but then she closed her eyes and started to writhe. She pressed her head into the pillows and strained all of her limbs against the bindings that held her, almost pulling her body up off the bed. Her movements became frenzied; she spread her knees wide apart and her hips started to rhythmically hump the air. She was no longer screaming but gasping and moaning. She was making herself come!
He looked at her in disgust. This was what he had loved?
He turned his back on the writhing figure on the bed and started to put his clothes on. After a minute Susan's eyes opened and when she saw that he was getting dressed, she started to thrash and scream again, but this time in frustration.
He felt empty as he looked back at her body. What had once made him mad with adoration and hungry with desire, now made him feel nothing at all.
He saw that her eyes were narrowed in anger at him. When he realized she was furious that he wasn't going to violate her, he shook his head sadly. "I never noticed how ugly you were before."
He thought that she actually looked shocked for a second.
He stepped over to the phone, and checked the time on his wristwatch. It was after midnight. He dialed a number and when the phone was picked up, he gave the hotel name and room number, then set the phone down.
He set the chair near the bed and slumped in it comfortably. Susan's eyes were blazing at him.
"I hope that the last time you fucked Douglas was memorable Suze," he began, "because that was the last time you're ever going to see him. Intimately I mean."
She looked surprised, he thought.
"To the world you are going to continue to be the doting daughter, loving sister and faithful wife that you have led everyone to believe that you are. But I warn you, if you ever pull Douglas' dick again, you won't be alone with him, there'll be someone taking pictures of it."
Susan continued to stare at him.
He knotted his tie around his neck and made sure it felt straight. "You must have an idea what my job is. I have the means to have you followed, everywhere you go, for as long as I want you shadowed. If you so much as place a hand on your sister's husband, your family will receive a copy of those photos. We both know what would happen to you and your career then. Your father, that bastion of propriety, the man who decries immorality whenever he so much as smells it, will cast you out of his empire faster than you could spread your legs."
It looked, from the expression in her eyes, like she was listening to his every word.
"We both know that if that sort of scandal ever got out, you would have to forget those long term plans of yours to step into your father's Senate seat. Pictures of that nature would ruin you. And I can assure you that every member of both parties in the legislature will get copies of the photos."
He checked his watch. It was the right time. He stood up and opened his briefcase and took out a small bottle. He let Susan look at it.
"And my backup plan Suze - and I assure you that, unlike my personal life, I'm on the ball when it comes to my professional life," he lifted an eyebrow, "My backup plan will guarantee that you will follow all of my orders for as long as I want you to."
"In about ten minutes, someone that we call a Valentine's Operative is going to pay you a visit. A Valentine's Operative is someone who is very good at placing cameras around beds and having extremely photogenic sexual interaction with avidly willing partners, who have in fact, been drugged into a state of smiling complacency. This is going to be your experience tonight.
"Those photos will show you breaking most of the written and unwritten rules of our society. They will be delivered to me and if, at any time, you do not follow my directives about how you are to act, I will make sure that the whole world sees them. Your father will turn his back on you. In fact the country will turn its back on you. You'll be as good as dead in the eyes of the world."
He opened the small bottle in his hand and filled an eyedropper with fluid. He walked to the bed and, although she thrashed her head around, he grabbed her face with one hand, and with the other he emptied the eyedropper into her nose. Susan gagged as the liquid trickled down into her throat, but Control saw that the choking was minimal. The pupils of her eyes reacted almost immediately, contracting to pinpoints, and he let her head fall loose onto the pillows.
Within moments she was no longer fighting. She lay calmly on the bed. He removed the restraints and packed them into his briefcase, along with the bottle of long lasting knockout drops. Susan's eyes were open, but she didn't even try to remove the gag. When he pulled it out of her mouth, Susan only licked her lips and smiled as a reaction to being more comfortable.
She would be smiling in every picture tonight, he knew, no matter what was being done to her.
Then he heard knocking on the door. Without looking back, Control walked to the other room and let the Valentine's Operative into the suite.
He had nodded to Lucille, then he closed the door behind him and left the hotel. He didn't need to stay, he trusted her to do a good job because she was one of the best. She was a tall, slender woman whose dark, black skin always photographed well against the lily white Southern Segregationists that the Company wanted held in check.
When he returned to the hotel room the next day, there was no clue that his life had fallen apart the night before. The desk clerk told him that his wife had purchased an airplane ticket back to the United States and rushed out of the hotel. When he had heard nothing from her, or from the shadow he had assigned to her, for the next two days, he had known that her sense of self-survival had kicked in.
Then he had been given the order to get to Berlin and do something about Company agents still behind the Wall.
Now in his office in Berlin, he was filling out forms for the higher ups in the Company. When his private phone rang, he picked it up without thinking.
His secretary's voice asked. "Will you take a call from Senator Williamson, sir? He insists that it is urgent that he speak to you."
If anything had gone wrong with his plan, he needed to know about it right away.
"Put him, through." he said, and then he waited for the connection to be made.
"What a God damned disaster!" Williamson shouted.
Control pushed some papers to the side and opened his desk safe. "I wouldn't say disaster," he answered, taking out the unopened large envelope that contained Lucille's latest Valentine pictures.
"Don't try to hide it from me son." Williamson barked. "I know that the Wall going up is a bad situation and I want you to know that I will do anything for you," Control could hear him clear his throat over the phone. "I want you to know that most of us here on the Hill know that you have done a superlative job under the most difficult of conditions. We are behind you one hundred percent. When you get back, I'll fill you in on all of the details."
"Thanks Senator," Control said as he replaced the unopened envelope back into the safe.
"Call me Dad, Control. How many times must I insist? Call me Dad. I can't tell you how proud I am of your work there."
"Thank you again, but I need to go now sir," Control slammed the door of the safe shut.
"Oh I understand, you're a busy man, I know, " Williamson said. "By the way, Susan is at the Senate today, helping out with the madness there. She told me to tell you she sends her love."
"I feel the same way," Control said into the phone. "Dad. I'll speak to you soon,"
"Thank you Control, I appreciate that you took my phone call in the middle of all this. I know that you're a busy man and I just want to say..."
Control interrupted sharply, " I need to get off the phone now."
"Sorry," the Senator sounded meek, "Yes of course. I'll look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time."
"Of course Dad. You're family. I've got to go now." He heard Williamson saying another obsequious goodbye as he hung up.
Concentrating on the only important problem to him now, he went back to his paperwork, and tried not to think that he was missing everything in life.