When Agent Westerly was gone I sat back up straight and shifted around. I went through the conversation in my mind and wondered if I had handled it properly. I shook my head sadly. Probably not.
Things were just getting more and more peculiar. If I was going to restore reason, I had to start working my way back toward the familiar.
I walked up to the mirror and looked at myself. I had done a horrific job cleaning up the blood on my face, it still smeared across my cheeks and my ears. There were flakes of it across my head and in my eyebrow hair.
I cupped my hands against the mirror. "Could somebody get me a wetnap?" I asked.
Feeling that I was making progress, I walked over and sat back down in the chair to further contemplate how to get out of this situation.
I was drawing far too many blanks.
The door opened and to my utter shock, Catherine walked in. Her red hair dangling seductively down her back. She was wearing a suit, but it was specifically tailored to accentuate her curves.
"Wetnaps for The Collator Man." She said with a small smile. She walked over and set them in front of me.
I managed a 'thank you' as I grabbed at the napkins and began rubbing it against my face. I stood up and walked to the mirror trying to get as much of it as I could.
"I'm not much a tweed person myself." She said from her chair.
I don't know why I was surprised that she had listened to my earlier conversation; but I was. "It's an acquired taste." I shrugged.
"I'm not a big fan of boring." She said sitting herself on the table with her feet on the chair. Her hands were on the table nonchalantly behind her. It was meant to look casual; at ease, but it also accentuated her...uh...assets.
"Is your name even Catherine?" I asked scrubbing at a particularly nasty smudge on my forehead. I was trying to concentrate hard on my own image, but Catherine's reflection was there, begging to be seen.
"Special Agent Layne." She said, "But you can call me Jane."
My brow furrowed for a moment and then I laughed. I couldn't help it.
"What's your middle name? Penny?"
"Penelope." She said with a small nod.
Jane P. Layne.
"No wonder you hate boring stuff." I said.
"I don't hate it." She smiled, "I just can't seem to get away from it, honestly. I wanted to be remarkable just to stick it to my parents, but whatever I do, it turns out so ordinary, you know?"
She had the exact opposite of my problem.
But instead, I said, "That sounds kind of weird." Because it seemed like something a normal person might say in the situation.
"Okay, for example." She said leaning forward and putting her elbows on her knees. Her hands were clasped in front of her. "So I get this job at the CIA and you're like, wow, that's pretty freaking amazing, right?"
"Right." I said trying to ignore the fact that I really hadn't known that she was a CIA agent.
"Then BAM! I get a job trying to weasel out spies in one of their cover facilities. I'm a CIA agent pretending to be a paper pusher in a pretend firm covertly looking for spies amongst the most mundane people in existence...no offense."
"None taken." I said with a smile.
"I'm in this kick butt job but forced to pretend a life of banality."
"Huh." She was on a rant, and I didn't want to disrupt her flow.
"Then, I do it! I find a spy and it's about to get Real. Capital R; Real. This is what I've been working towards forever. I'm working this spy, pumping him for information, I learn of a major thing happening today and BAM, some seemingly average schmoe...no offense..."
"goes and talks to my spy and apparently he's all 'Pip! Pip! Cheerio! Dismal weather we're having Mate!' and suddenly my spy just offs himself."
"I don't know if you were going for British or Australian there, but I'm neither." I said. "however, your point remains."
"Exactly." She sat back and ran her hands through her hair. "Listen, Mike, I don't suppose you'll tell me why you did what you did."
"I don't suppose you'll believe me if I say I was trying to defuse the situation as mundanely as possible." I countered.
"So where does that leave us?" I asked cautiously. I felt it. Something clawing at the base of my spine. I wasn't about to just walk out the door with my average life in tact. The curse was coming for me.
"It leaves us as partners." She said blandly.