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Fanfiction: Duplicity - Part I

Fandom: Airwolf
Series: The Lost Season (Story 19)
Summary: A number of challenges arise as Hawke and Caitlin face a personal change.
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Hawke/Caitlin.  Michael/Marella.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.



Part 1

The first thought that shot into Caitlin Hawke’s brain was that she was going to throw up. She came abruptly awake, clamped a hand over her mouth and shoved the covers back as she climbed out of bed and raced to the en suite bathroom. She was on her knees, bent over the toilet pedestal retching when her husband Stringfellow Hawke appeared a moment later. He knelt down beside her; one of his hands rubbed her back gently in a soothing circle whilst the other helped to hold her long red hair out of the way. Caitlin hardly had anything in her stomach and the nausea left her shaken and surprisingly tearful. Hawke pulled her into a hug and she leaned into him, grateful he was there.

‘I hate being sick.’ She mumbled against his chest.

Hawke kissed the crown of her head and pushed the two of them off the tiled floor and to their feet. He pulled one of the bathrobes from the back of the door and wrapped his shivering naked wife into it before he put on another.

‘You go back to bed. I’ll go make you some tea.’ He said.

She nodded. ‘I’ll just clean up and brush my teeth.’

He gave her another hug and left her in the bathroom alone. She cleaned up around the toilet before she reached for her toothbrush, liberally coated it with toothpaste and cleaned her teeth vigorously, removing the pungent taste of bile. She rinsed her mouth with a handful of cold water and she splashed another over her face. She frowned at her wan reflection in the mirror. Her skin was pale under the stark freckles and there were new shadows that ringed her blue-green eyes. It was just as well Hawke was already married to her, she thought grumpily, because the sight of her would probably have scared him off otherwise. She sighed and went back to the bedroom. She changed out of the robe and into a sleep shirt before climbing back under the blankets, a strange fatigue stealing over her. It took less than a moment for her to fall asleep again.

Hawke came back to the bedroom with a tray carrying a mug of tea and a plate of toast. He stopped at the sight of her sleeping and slowly lowered the tray to the side table by the door. He padded over and tucked the blankets around her. Caitlin had started being sick a couple of days before, just after his return from Cambodia. At first they had thought it was something she had eaten but she had been unable to keep anything down the day before and he was beginning to think it could be a stomach bug. He swept a hand over her forehead and frowned; she didn’t seem to have a temperature. Maybe it was time they consulted an expert, he mused tiredly. He headed for the bathroom.

He set the shower on full and stepped into it, grateful for the rush of hot water that washed away the last of his sleepiness. He was worried about his wife, he thought. Caitlin had been through a lot in the last month. Hawke felt guilt knot his stomach. He should never have left her alone the last couple of weeks, he mused. She’d only just been coming to terms with the trauma of an attempted rape when they’d received the information that his missing brother might have been a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge. Hawke, and his surrogate father, Dominic Santini, had gone to search for Saint John in Southeast Asia. The mission had not been a total success; they had verified that two Americans had been held hostage but the locals had told Hawke that the men had been rescued.

Hawke sighed. He shouldn’t have been surprised; he had spent sixteen years searching for his brother and he was beginning to think he would never find him, that the harsh truth was that Saint John didn’t want to be found. He reached for the shampoo and began to lather the gel into his short brown hair. Until the year before, he had believed his brother had been MIA in ‘Nam following the end of the war. New information had confirmed that Saint John had made it out of ‘Nam; that he’d joined a Special Forces unit to perform covert missions and that after leaving the army he had continued these under the auspice of an intelligence agency. Presumably, Hawke thought, as he rinsed his hair, it had been the intelligence agency that had rescued Saint John from Cambodia and presumably, Saint John didn’t feel the urge to let his little brother know he was alright. The lack of contact bothered Hawke. His brother had chosen not to contact him in sixteen years and that simple fact sat heavy on him. Did his brother blame him for leaving him behind in the ‘Nam jungle? Hawke switched the shower off and reached for a towel.

Maybe, he thought as he dried off, he would find Saint John one day and be able to ask him but for now…for now he had a wife who needed looking after. He had married Caitlin O’Shaunessy two and half months before. They had come to realise that their feelings for each other were deeper than the friendship they had previously settled for. Hawke stood at the sink and brushed his teeth before beginning to shave. He liked being a husband, he mused. He wasn’t alone anymore and his wife was good for him. She understood him; gave him unconditional support and yet space when he needed it. She had encouraged him to head for Cambodia but he shouldn’t have listened to her. His guilt-ridden blue eyes stared back at him in the mirror.

Caitlin had almost been raped by a man called Kyle Hardy. The experience had left her badly shaken and she had only been beginning to move past it when he had disappeared to Cambodia. The attack had come hard on the heels of another trauma; she had killed two men, assassins, protecting the life of their friend, Marella. The stress and strain she’d been subjected to over the past month had probably led to her falling sick, Hawke thought as he patted his face dry. He should never have left her but it wasn’t too late to start taking care of her.

He padded naked back into the bedroom. His blue eyes swept over Caitlin’s sleeping form and he dressed in jeans and a sweater quickly, not wanting to disturb her. He added a log to the bedroom fire and grabbed the discarded tray. He closed the bedroom door behind him, headed through the old sleeping deck which now served as an upstairs landing and down the short flight of stairs.

He discarded the tea and ate the toast whilst he opened up the FIRM satellite phone and started making calls. The last one was to Dom at his air service. Hawke and Caitlin had been due to work with the older pilot who was a combination of friend, mentor and father figure to both of them.

‘String, where the hell are the two of you?’ The older man demanded furiously. ‘I’ve been waiting here…’

‘Dom, Cait’s still sick.’ Hawke cut into Dom’s tirade quickly.

‘Oh. Is she OK?’ Dom’s gruff voice changed rapidly from anger to concern.

Hawke sighed, running a hand over his brown hair. ‘It’s probably just a bug but I’m taking her to the doctor’s this morning to be certain. I wouldn’t expect either of us in for a couple of days.’

‘Don’t worry about that, you just take care of her, huh?’

Dom’s own worry travelled down the phone line and had a small smile tugging at Hawke’s lips. Dom might be a little grumpy at times but the older man had a generous heart; one that had led Dom to take in Hawke and his brother when they had lost their parents. Hawke knew he owed the older man a great deal. He murmured his thanks to Dom for his understanding.

‘And tell her I’m thinking about her.’

‘Will do. I’ll be in touch.’ Hawke replaced the receiver into the briefcase and closed it. He glanced around the cabin. His dog, Tet, wandered over and Hawke patted his head. There were plenty of chores to keep him occupied for a while, he thought. The hearth needed a clear out of the old ash; the back bedrooms that he’d had built in the new extension out the back needed cleaning and they needed more firewood. He patted Tet again and began his work. Most of the morning had passed when he made his way back up to the master bedroom.

Caitlin was still curled up on her side, her red hair in disarray over the pillow, the blankets tucked securely around her. Hawke sighed. He was tempted to leave her but it was going to be tight getting to their appointment with the doctor as it was. He sat on the bed, leaned over and kissed her. She stirred and opened her sleep-fogged eyes to blink at him.

‘Hey.’ Hawke said. ‘Time to get up.’

She yawned and stretched under the blankets. ‘What time is it?’

‘Just after eleven.’ Hawke smoothed her fringe out of her eyes. ‘I figured you’d want to grab a shower and get dressed before we head to the doctor’s.’

‘You made an appointment with a doctor?’ Caitlin asked shuffling to sit up and look at him.

He nodded and tensed ready for the argument.

It was a bug, Caitlin thought crossly, seeing a doctor wouldn’t make any difference to what she was doing to cope with it. She opened her mouth to argue but caught sight of the worry in the depths of his blue eyes. She sighed. She knew he was feeling guilty about leaving her and maybe this would ease that for him. She waved him back, threw the covers off and grumpily got out of the bed, heading for the bathroom without another word.

It wasn’t long before they were sat in the doctor’s waiting room. Hawke held her hand and checked the clock. The doctor was running late and they’d been waiting ten minutes. Caitlin tried to shake off the urge to lean her head against his shoulder and go back to sleep. A young Asian nurse appeared in the doorway.

‘Mrs Hawke?’ Caitlin nodded and stood up. Hawke got to his feet with her and Caitlin stopped him with a hand on his chest.

‘I’ll be fine. I’ll be right out.’ She kissed his cheek and before he could argue, left with the nurse.

‘Caitlin.’ Doctor Anna Peters greeted her with a sunny smile. ‘What brings you here?’

Caitlin slipped into the chair opposite her and smiled ruefully at the mature female doctor. ‘An overprotective husband.’ She gestured. ‘I’ve had some kinda stomach bug for the last couple of days and I guess he’s just worried I’m not shifting it.’

Anna nodded, her grey eyes gleaming with amusement. ‘Well, whilst you’re here we might as well pretend to be thorough. Tell me about your symptoms.’

‘I’m having trouble keeping anything down.’ Caitlin admitted. ‘Anything I eat, all day. And I admit the whole thing is tiring me out. I keep falling asleep at the drop of a hat.’

‘When did the symptoms first appear?’ Anna asked.

‘I was sick for the first time two days ago.’ Caitlin said. ‘We’d gone to a friend’s house for dinner, a welcome home surprise for another friend, and I just thought it was something I ate.’

‘Were you feeling well before then?’

‘A little tired. My husband was away, I was looking after the business, working long hours.’ Caitlin shrugged. ‘Missing my husband.’

‘Hmmm.’ Anna got up from behind her desk. ‘Come over and lie on the examination table.’

Caitlin sighed but did what Anna asked. She submitted to the physical exam of her abdomen with barely concealed impatience, informing Anna that there was no pain when asked. Anna stripped the gloves she’d worn and chucked them into a bin as she led the way back to her desk.

‘Your abdomen is a little tender but you’d expect that after a few days of vomiting.’ She regarded Caitlin thoughtfully. ‘When was your last period?’

Caitlin’s forehead wrinkled. ‘A few weeks back.’

‘Any problems?’

Caitlin shook her head. ‘No.’

Anna started scribbling on an official looking form. ‘I’m going to ask the nurse to take some blood. I think you’re probably right and you’re just getting over a stomach bug brought on because you were a little run down but I want to check a few things out.’


‘You could be running low on a few essential minerals or hormones, that kind of thing.’ Anna scribbled on her form again. ‘I’m going to have the nurse give you a vitamin booster too. I’ll call you with the results of the tests in a few days. In the meantime, get plenty of rest, keep drinking plenty of fluids, try just eating soups with crackers or dry toast until your stomach settles and call me if you develop any pain at all.’

Caitlin nodded and a nurse appeared to escort her to a treatment room to take the blood. She was returned to Hawke in the waiting room a few minutes later. She waited until they were outside before responding to the anxious question in his eyes.

‘She thinks it’s a stomach bug.’ She said, taking his arm as they walked across the car park to the back where they had landed the helicopter. ‘She’s given me a vitamin shot, told me to rest and drink plenty of fluids.’

‘She didn’t run any tests?’ Hawke asked helping her into the chopper.

Caitlin rolled her eyes. ‘She’s running some blood tests but they’re a formality.’

Hawke frowned and walked round to climb in the other side. He turned to her before lifting off. ‘Rest and plenty of fluids?’

Caitlin nodded. ‘Rest and plenty of fluids.’ She laid a hand on his cheek briefly and met his eyes. ‘I’m going to be fine.’

Hawke nodded and leaned over to kiss her softly on the lips. ‘Let’s get you home then.’ They were soon airborne and headed back to the cabin.

Part 2

Hawke was sat in the bedroom reading when he heard a chopper approaching; he recognised it as the one that usually transported the acting director of the FIRM, Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III. He sighed. They had last seen their friend at the welcome home dinner he had laid on for his former senior aide, Marella. The Hawaiian agent had just returned to LA after recovering from a gunshot wound she’d sustained saving Michael’s life. The friendship that had developed between them all still surprised Hawke at times but they were a close knit group and it had been good to celebrate the gang being back together.

Hawke glanced at Caitlin who was curled up next to him sleeping and frowned unhappily. She had been sick twice since they’d come back from the doctor’s and she had only managed a couple of mouthfuls of the soup he’d made for dinner. She seemed exhausted. He put his book down and gently eased away from her. Despite their friendship, if Michael was visiting it usually meant an Airwolf mission; Hawke had kept and flown the technologically advanced helicopter in return for the FIRM trying to find Saint John for the past two years. Whatever the mission was, Michael would have to forget it, Hawke thought; there was no way he was leaving Caitlin. He headed downstairs and walked out to the porch with Tet at his feet.

He watched the white chopper descend and land. Michael climbed out of the chopper and waved at his current aide, Lauren to stay with it as he made his way along the pier up the porch steps. The spy was dressed in his usual three-piece white suit with his black eye-patch adding a note of eccentricity. He was using a slim rosewood cane and Hawke knew it wasn’t just for show. Michael’s leg was still healing after surgery; his cane was a definite necessity.

‘Hawke.’ Michael greeted the pilot with a firm handshake and easy smile.

‘Caitlin’s not feeling very well.’ Hawke said quickly indicating the porch bench. ‘She’s asleep and I don’t want her woken up.’

‘Is she alright?’ Michael asked anxiously.

‘Just a stomach bug but it has her pretty wiped out.’ Hawke waited until Michael was sat on the bench with his leg stretched out in front of him. ‘If this is a mission you’ll have to find someone else.’

‘It’s not a mission and I promise I won’t stay long.’ Michael said. ‘It’s more of a courtesy call.’


Michael smoothed his silk tie. ‘Marella called me; the fake Airwolf is ready for testing.’

Hawke was silent for a moment. Michael had confessed that the FIRM was building another Airwolf earlier that year. The new ship would be more technologically advanced than the original Airwolf; it was going to be the next generation of her class. It had turned out to be a fortuitous project. Just after his wedding to Caitlin, they had discovered that the original Airwolf was developing artificial intelligence; she had rewritten a self-preservation code to choose her current flight team as her failsafe rather than her twisted creator, Charles Moffett. Their delight in the development was tempered by the knowledge that the FIRM would be merging with a larger intelligence agency, the Company.

Michael had realised that the Company was unlikely to honour the deal he had made with Hawke over Airwolf and they had decided to use the cover of Michael’s new Airwolf project to build a fake. They would hand the fake Airwolf to the Company; Hawke would keep the original. The only complication was that the Company was likely the same agency that his brother worked for and they seemed determined to prevent Hawke from finding out the truth. Michael had discovered that information about Saint John was systematically being removed from the intelligence network. It looked like the Company were planning to pretend to Hawke that they would honour the deal when in reality they were likely only going to use Hawke until Michael’s new version of Airwolf was completed. All of them were unsure what that meant for them; did they substitute Airwolf with a fake or not?

Hawke leaned back on the porch post and regarded Michael. ‘We don’t even know if we need a fake Airwolf.’

Michael shrugged. ‘It wouldn’t hurt to be careful, Hawke, and have the ship ready if we do.’

‘I guess.’ Hawke said unhappily.

‘It can wait a couple of days,’ Michael continued, ‘until Caitlin’s back on her feet.’

‘Good.’ Hawke sighed and rubbed a hand over his tired face.

‘You OK?’

Hawke started a little and he quickly covered his surprise at Michael’s question. ‘I’m fine. Just worried about Cait.’

Michael frowned. ‘I thought you said it was just a bug?’

‘It is but she’s been through a lot lately and then I went off to Cambodia…’ Hawke shrugged self-consciously.

Michael regarded the younger man. ‘It’s not your fault she’s sick, Hawke.’

Hawke shifted his weight from one foot to the other. He decided a change of subject was needed and gestured. ‘I didn’t think Marella would be back at work so fast.’

‘She was eager to get things returned to normal.’ Michael said.

‘Have you two gone on your date yet?’ Hawke asked mischievously.

Michael brushed his moustache and caught Hawke’s gaze with his good eye. He had definitely not confided his date with Marella in the other man which could only mean one thing; ‘Caitlin told you?’

‘Yeah,’ Hawke smiled and crossed his arms against his chest, ‘she said she’d tortured it out of you.’

Michael nodded. ‘Well, the answer to your question is no.’ He frowned and hesitated as though he were about to ask something else and then thought better of it.

Hawke’s eyes narrowed. ‘You might as well spit it out, Michael.’

‘How did you and Cait do it?’ Michael asked curiously. ‘How did you make the transition from friends to…a relationship?’

Hawke looked at him thoughtfully. ‘What’s the problem?’

‘There’s no problem.’ Michael denied.

‘Sure there is or you wouldn’t be asking me the question.’ Hawke said with a short laugh.

‘No,’ Michael said firmly, ‘there isn’t.’

They stared at each other for a long moment.

Michael sighed. ‘I should get going.’

‘Are you having seconds thought with Marella not being able to have children?’ Hawke asked bluntly. Marella’s gunshot wound in the act of saving Michael had cost her dearly.

Michael’s eye flew back to the pilot. ‘No.’ He snapped.

‘Then what?’ Hawke asked.

Michael gestured with uncharacteristic nervousness. ‘I just…’ he shifted on the porch bench a little and clasped his hands around the top of his cane, ‘Whilst Marella was in Maui recovering, we talked every day on the phone but now that’s she’s back home, we seem to clam up around each other, like we don’t know what to say.’ He sighed. ‘I don’t even know if she still wants to go out on the date.’

Hawke shoved a hand through his hair. ‘Michael, go talk to Marella.’


‘Talk to Marella.’ Hawke repeated. ‘It’s the only way you’re going to get your answer and it’ll be a whole lot less embarrassing for both of us.’

Michael opened his mouth to retort and then closed it again as he considered Hawke’s advice. ‘I guess you’re right.’ He agreed grudgingly. ‘Thanks.’

Hawke nodded. ‘Tell her hi from me.’ He took a step toward the cabin door as Michael got to his feet.

‘Tell Caitlin I hope she feels better.’ Michael said making his way back down the porch steps.

Hawke waited by the door until the FIRM chopper took off before he slipped back inside. He wandered up to the bedroom to check on Caitlin and found her sat up reading.

‘Hey.’ She put the book down. ‘I thought I heard a chopper?’

‘It was Michael.’ Hawke sat down on the edge of the bed next to her.

‘You didn’t invite him in?’ Caitlin asked amused. The laughter died in her eyes as she reviewed his expression. ‘What’s wrong?’

Hawke almost sighed in frustration; Caitlin was getting too good at reading him. He tried for an innocent look. ‘Nothing for you to worry about.’

Caitlin sighed. ‘You know I appreciate you taking care of me like the great husband you are, but if you treat me like a five year old every time I get sick, we’re going to have a problem.’

‘I don’t want you stressed.’ Hawke picked up her hand. ‘You just need to concentrate on getting better.’

‘I’ll only be more stressed knowing something’s troubling you and you’re not telling me what.’ Caitlin said forcefully. ‘Now what’s wrong?’

Hawke gave in to the insistence in her eyes and filled her in on the conversation he’d had with Michael.

She frowned during his explanation of the situation between Michael and Marella. ‘That isn’t good.’

‘No.’ Hawke agreed.

‘They’ll be fine once they’ve talked.’ Caitlin sighed. ‘I hope.’ She really wanted the couple to get together but she was concerned they would end up hurting each other.

Hawke kissed her fingers. ‘I’m sure they will be.’

‘So the new Airwolf is ready?’ Caitlin murmured. ‘Maybe you and Dom should go in tomorrow and take a look, even if I’m not back on my feet.’

‘We’ll see. There’s no rush. The FIRM and the Company don’t merge for another couple of months yet.’ Hawke leaned forward and kissed her. ‘We should have an early night.’

‘Sounds good to me.’

Hawke kissed her and got to his feet. ‘I’ll finish up downstairs.’


In the end it took Hawke almost an hour to clear up. When he came out of the bathroom she was asleep again, the book open on her lap and the side lamp still burning. He switched off the lamp, put the book on the bedside table and gave her forehead a chaste goodnight kiss before climbing in beside her. He was asleep within minutes.

Part 3

Michael paused in the doorway of Marella’s office and took a moment to look at Marella without her being aware of his presence. The office was in darkness apart from the cosy glow of a lamp by the seating area and the bright flood of light over the desk where she was sat. She was bent over some report and every so often she would scribble in the margins. His former senior aide was a beautiful woman, Michael thought; smooth café latte skin contrasted with the dark eyes and jet black hair in a fashionable short style. The gunshot wounds had not been Marella’s only injuries; she had also sustained a skull fracture when she had saved his life and he knew the new style had been forced on her after the necessity of some of her hair being shaved for life-saving surgery to remove a blood clot. Michael let his good eye travel over Marella’s slim figure as she rose from the desk to pin something on a notice board behind her. She was still wearing all-white even though her position as the director of the Airwolf project enabled her to forego the usual uniform Michael insisted his aides wear. She looked stylish and sexy.

Michael’s knee ached and he shifted his weight. The slight movement with its whisper of sound alerted Marella and she whirled around to meet Michael’s apologetic smile.

‘I’m sorry, Marella,’ he said, ‘I didn’t mean to alarm you.’

Marella resisted the urge to put a hand over her pounding chest. She waved at Michael to enter. ‘Come in.’

She walked over to the seating area and lit another lamp before gesturing at the small cupboard that held a small bar. ‘Would you like a drink?’

‘That would be great.’ Michael said closing the office door behind him. He limped over and sat down in one of the chairs.

Marella handed him a glass of bourbon and made herself a gin and tonic before she joined him, sitting in the chair opposite.

‘I’m sorry for the lateness of the visit,’ Michael began deciding that if he stuck with business first it might help relax them both, ‘but I wanted to make you aware that it could be a couple of days before Hawke comes in to take a look at the fake Airwolf.’


‘I’ve just been to the cabin,’ Michael explained, ‘Caitlin’s sick.’

‘Is she alright?’ Marella asked her eyes darkening with concern.

Michael took a sip of his drink. ‘Just a stomach bug, apparently, but Hawke wasn’t inclined to leave her.’

Marella nodded in understanding; Hawke was very protective of his wife. ‘I might go round tomorrow and see how she is.’

‘I think she would appreciate that.’ Michael said. He knew the two women had become friends. He took another sip of bourbon. ‘How are you?’

‘A little sore still,’ she admitted, ‘but I’m fine.’ Physically, she mentally added. The emotional and psychological wounds from her injuries would take more time to heal.

‘I didn’t expect to find you working so late.’

Marella shrugged. ‘There was a lot to catch up on.’ She said. ‘The new Airwolf is coming along.’

‘Is the frame finished?’ Michael asked.

‘This week. Dorothea has made some changes to the shell design so there may be a small delay there but nothing that will push us off the schedule.’ Marella confirmed. ‘Karen is convinced her team will be through with the changes to the programming design within the next month too.’

‘It sounds like everything’s on track.’ Michael murmured.

‘They’re a good team.’ Marella said and smiled. ‘You hired the best.’

Michael inclined his head. ‘I did.’

There was a subtle shift in the atmosphere; a tension that had Michael swallowing the last of the bourbon and Marella staring at anything but him.

‘Marella,’ Michael placed the glass down on the coffee table in front of him and leaned forward, ‘if you’ve changed your mind about our date…’

‘Have you changed your mind?’ Marella asked quickly, her dark eyes flying back to him at his words.

‘No.’ Michael was grateful for the dim lighting that hid the blush in his cheeks at his embarrassment of the speed at which he’d replied.

Marella sat back in the chair and her finger stroked the rim of her glass idly. ‘I haven’t changed my mind either.’ She confirmed.

Michael sighed in relief and brushed a finger across his moustache. He shifted seats, moving to sit on the neighbouring sofa to her chair and he held out his hand. He was gratified when Marella took it, sliding her own hand into his. His good eye met hers ruefully. ‘This isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.’ He admitted.

‘I know what you mean.’ Marella murmured. ‘I don’t know how Hawke and Caitlin made it look so easy.’

‘Maybe you ought to ask Caitlin,’ Michael suggested deciding not to mention his own disastrous question to Hawke.

‘Maybe I should.’ Marella sighed. ‘Although, I guess they didn’t quite have the same situation. I know my return has brought some of the complications of our…dating into sharp focus for me.’


‘Like, how are we supposed to act at work?’ Marella asked. ‘Do I still call you ‘sir’ when we’re at work or do I call you ‘Michael’? If I call you Michael, it will alert others to the possible change in the nature of our relationship.’ She gestured. ‘Do we want others at the FIRM to know we’re dating? And if not, how are you going to take me on a date without either Lauren, who’s driving you at the moment, or Taylor, who’s driving me, finding out?’

Michael opened his mouth to speak and closed it again. He pushed his wire-frame glasses up his nose. Marella was right; he remembered the speculative look Lauren had given him when he’d instructed her to fly to Red Star after they had left Hawke’s cabin. ‘I see what you mean.’

‘I’m a little nervous that if we’re too open and it doesn’t work out…’ Marella’s voice trailed away.

‘You wouldn’t be able to continue with your current position?’ Michael completed.

Marella nodded. ‘And I have to admit I’m a little concerned that the gossip will do a number on my reputation; that people will say that I got my position because we’re involved and always have been.’ She gestured. ‘And with the merger, I don’t want us to do anything that might jeopardise your position.’

He squeezed her hand reassuringly. ‘I couldn’t care less what the Company think of me but I want to remain looking after the Airwolf project and I don’t want to give them an excuse to remove me,’ his blue eye regarded her seriously, ‘ and I don’t want our relationship to be the topic of gossip anymore than you do. You got your position on merit and whether it works out for us or not, I would hope we’d remain good friends and you’d stay on the project. He smiled. ‘Although I would prefer that it works out.’

‘Me too.’ Marella said with an answering smile. ‘So what do we do?’

‘Well, I think we’re agreed that we’re going to have to progress for a while in secrecy?’

She nodded. ‘So I’ll continue to call you ‘sir’ when we’re in the office.’

‘And we don’t act any differently to how we would normally.’ Michael said. ‘We’ll be discreet.’

‘What about getting together for dates?’ Marella asked.

He rubbed a finger over his moustache. ‘We’re going to have to get creative.’ Michael said. His face lit with amusement. ‘We’re two of the best operatives in the business, Marella. We should be able to come up with a solution.’

‘Even if one doesn’t spring to mind?’ Marella asked ruefully.

‘We’ll think of something.’ Michael said. He made a face. ‘On the subject of keeping this between us for a while, I should tell you that Hawke and Caitlin already know.’

‘Oh.’ Marella’s dark eyes widened in surprise. ‘I didn’t tell…’

‘I know.’ Michael hastened to reassure her. ‘Caitlin picked up on you calling me Michael and…’

‘And tortured it out of you?’ Marella asked her voice lit up with laughter.

‘She has a very effective interrogation technique.’ Michael said defensively although his own voice held the hint of suppressed laughter.

‘Actually,’ Marella said, ‘it could be a good thing that they know.’

Michael glanced at her questioningly.

‘Co-conspirators.’ Marella suggested. ‘They might be able to think of a way for us to proceed and they have nothing really to do with the FIRM.’

‘Good point.’ Michael said.

‘What about Angelina?’ Marella asked nervously. Michael had discovered his ten-year old daughter the previous year and was a doting father to the bright little girl.

Michael shook his head. ‘She doesn’t know and I’d rather wait until we’re sure before telling her.’ He rubbed his fingers against Marella’s. ‘She’s had a lot of change this past year already.’

Marella nodded. It was his decision.

‘But we are a package deal.’ Michael concluded and Marella picked up on the hint of a question in the statement.

‘I understand that, Michael,’ she said, ‘and if we do get to that stage, I would be very happy to have Angelina as part of my family.’ She smiled. ‘She’s a beautiful little girl.’

‘Yes, she is.’ Michael said proudly. He smiled. ‘At least you might be able to keep up with her.’ Angelina’s high IQ and advanced intelligence was proving to be challenging.

‘She beat you at your last chess game?’ Marella asked amused.

‘She’s beaten me the last three games.’ Michael admitted a little chagrined.

‘You just need to make sure she doesn’t get bored.’ Marella advised.

‘She’s been asking me for flying lessons.’ Michael said. His face lit up with mischief. ‘I’m thinking about asking Dominic to teach her.’ He pictured Angelina’s incessant questions driving the older pilot slowly nuts with relish.

‘He’d probably love to.’ Marella said unknowingly ruining Michael’s fantasy. ‘He’s very fond of her and he did teach the Hawke brothers and his niece.’

‘Yes, he did.’ Michael frowned at the mention of Dom’s niece. ‘Hawke told me that he’s finally told Dominic about Jo Santini working as a freelance agent for the Company.’

‘How did Dom take it?’ Marella asked.

‘He believes his niece will have an explanation.’ Michael leaned back on the sofa, his hand still holding Marella’s.

‘He could be right.’ Marella said optimistically.

‘I hope so.’ Michael said. The older pilot had been through enough without his niece turning out to be a spy. A month before Dom had been kidnapped and tortured by a hit man trying to find Hawke’s father. It had led Dom to question whether Hawke’s parents had died in the boat accident as he’d previously believed or whether they had gone into witness protection. Dom had asked Michael to look into the possibility in confidence and Michael mentally reminded himself to check on the progress of the enquiries he had started. Michael shook himself and was a little startled to realise that Marella was regarding him with a curious expression.

‘Dom’s been through a lot.’ Michael covered hastily. ‘I hope his niece is on the level.’

‘Me too.’ Marella agreed. ‘I have to admit the whole incident with Zeus trying to kill us to get to Airwolf has got me jumping at shadows.’

‘I keep looking over my shoulder too.’ Michael sighed. ‘I can’t help feeling that we’re going to see another attempt by somebody to try and consolidate their position before the merger.’

Marella nodded unhappily. ‘I agree.’

‘We’ll just have to stay vigilant.’ Michael noted. He glanced at the clock. ‘I’d better get going or my visit will start to raise questions.’

Marella rose to her feet with him and they were stood closely together, their hands still joined. Their eyes met and Michael reached over to kiss her gently.

‘Be careful.’ He said.

‘You too, Michael.’ Marella said.

Michael let go of her hand and she watched him limp back over to the door. He turned and smiled at her in goodbye.

‘And Marella?’

‘Yes, Michael?’

‘Start thinking of ways we can go on that date.’

She was smiling as the office door closed behind him.

Continued in Part II.





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