A house on Long Island
I, Melissa Baudoin, who, in our school days, loved Julian more than my own life, is now charged with his, and his lovely wife Sarah’s, protection. I am standing at JFK’s airport, just behind the Emigration line, and their plane landed half an hour ago. I don’t expect them to have a huge amount of luggage, they are here only for a few days.
Gabrielle and Elga will meet with them at our Brooklyn safe house tomorrow. In-between they are my flock to look after. But perhaps I should tell you who I am, really. Last time you saw me I was with Julian on that strange military base near the German border where we attended a media circus organised by the Alliance. Then Julian noticed Elga there but I did not have the courage to explain to him the reason for Elga’s presence in the middle of the Alliance’s top brass. Now I will, when they meet again tomorrow.
I report to the Coven, the collective who, ultimately, was responsible for my rebirth, after I got murdered by those thugs, all those years ago, after Julian abandoned me. No, please don’t think I have a grudge, he did what young men then did: go to war, us, the mothers, the sisters, the lovers, stayed behind, that was how it was, then. In what you may call their Air Force I have the grade of colonel, and my mission is to ensure our human witnesses are kept safe. Above all Julian and Sarah. Here in New-York they will get appraised of the plot that we are trying to unravel and defeat. The step after that is for Julian and me to go to Berlin, so that we meet with the centre of power that will soon decide our fate on this planet.
But I see Julian and his wife now going through Emigration. They are such a lovely couple, and despite the inherent frigidity of this body, my heart swells at the view of that man, for how I loved him, the virgin boy who was my platonic lover, and yet I never truly possessed him. Here they are smiling as they walk toward me. I hugged Sarah first, and, yes, we kiss, long, on the mouth. Then I hug Julian, and I am aware of a tear running down Sarah’s face.
“Come, I say, I have a car, I am driving you to your house.” I have arranged for a nice place for them to stay, on Long Island, a hundred miles from here. In the car I explain the plan. Tonight peaceful evening at home. Gabrielle will join us, I have dinner all sorted out, then they have the evening for themselves, once we have briefed them on the schedule. I will stay in the house, watching over them, discrete, invincible. You see: I need no sleep. As I sit down at the wheel of the Mercedes I check the holster down my thigh and the 9mm Heckler & Koch handgun in it. I cannot be too careful. In the car we chat, Sarah next to me, Julian at the back. I pulled out of the airport traffic quickly and take the main highway to the north. Sarah’s talkative, I share with them my experience here. Julian is silent, smiling, observing me. Sarah’s telling me about their last stay in the US, some five years ago in Chicago. They are both keen jazz lovers. I smile: Julian was already that at school. I recall us two discussing Miles’ and Juliette Greco’s relationship.
A black van overtakes us briefly flashing its lights: our US Air Force guardian angels. We get to the house, which is some distance from the main road, behind high walls, and close to the shore. As I stop Julian makes his first statement of the evening about the sight of tall sail boats in the bay. We laugh. As I park the car I notice the front door is open. I tell Julian and Sarah to stay near the car and walk to the house, the H&K drawn. One of the US officers appears at the door and apologizes. We have been a little faster than they expected: they had to scan, again, the house. He salutes and disappears behind the house, where I expect their van is parked. Still holding the gun I wave to my friends to come in, while I get their suitcase from the car. As I walk back to the house I see Julian and Sarah hugging in the hall. I smile and say cheekily: “Plenty of time later, let me show you your room.” Soon we are chatting in the lounge, comfortably sitting on the huge leather arm chairs, savouring bourbon on ice. Then Gabrielle arrives and there is a clatter of greetings, hugs and kisses, while I rush to the kitchen and get the cook going. The H&K is quietly back to its holster, fully loaded.