My Dad taught me to shoot when I was about 14 years old. He was a lovely man, gentle and popular. He had learned to shoot during a long and highly decorated career in the army and it was a passion of his, one he could not share with my mother who was always unkind to me, mainly I think, because she resented my relationship with him. I was good at shooting pistols and long guns and he encouraged me a lot. At University I joined the gun club and became even more proficient.
When I was old enough, he took me shooting deer and wild boar in Central Asia. I was, he said, a natural at stalking and shooting. I felt as proud as I ever had.
When he left the army he took up a position as a lecturer in Fine Art at the local University. His students loved him but not as much as I did; nobody could.
My sexuality never bothered my father. He was not remotely surprised when I told him but we both knew that it would be another nail in the coffin of my relationship with mother and so it proved to be.
I left home, bought a flat with Dad’s secret help and lived, briefly, with a woman which was fine until I caught her in my bed with another woman. I had come home early from a course I had attended in London, hoping to surprise her and I certainly achieved that particular aim. I sneaked up to our bedroom and thought I could hear the TV. I was wrong. When I opened the door, there was Sylvie, her legs wide, her mane of golden hair spread across the pillows and a red head bobbing between her thighs. The situation was made worse when I realised her companion was wearing my nightdress – the special one I wore because it made Sylvie so horny. I watched, unable to move as the red head moved and hands went over Sylvie’s, my Sylvie’s breasts and squeezed the nipples I had squeezed. I saw Sylvie’s face and then, damn her, I heard her say the things she had said to me. I slammed the door and ran to the sitting room where I sat on the floor, back to the wall and cried like a baby.
Sylvie moved out and I cried for a week.
Dad’s office at the University was fairly typical; books everywhere and works of art, some valuable, some by his students, lining the walls. I was sitting in a leather chair sipping a glass of his egregious sherry. I was twenty-five years old and single. Dad went to the door and locked it. This was unusual. Her returned to his seat.
‘What I am about to reveal to you will shock you. Please, Mel, hear me out, don’t interrupt.’
He handed me a piece of paper which was statement from a Swiss bank. I immediately recognised the name of the account holder but it was not Dad’s name but the name of a character in the stories he used to extemporize for me before I went to sleep. There were very few entries on it and all were deposits of large sums, the balance was just under four million dollars.
‘This is how I was able to help you buy your flat. I have another life, Mel. The name on that account is false of course as you know but the money is very real.’
‘Be patient, I am going to explain but you must, you absolutely must hear me out. When I was in the army I was not just good at shooting. I leaned many skills and operated in a famous regiment. You knew none of this but I promise it is true. Since I left I have continued to use my skills, sometimes for the government, sometimes for private clients. I kill people, Mel. I am a hired gun. I am approaching retirement, the eyes and reflexes begin to let one down at my age.’
This is, of course, the sort of conversation one has with a parent every day. You may imagine my surprise; no total incredulity. It was clearly obvious to him and expected. He continued calmly.
‘I know this is a lot to take in but I assure you it is true and I am telling you now for a very good reason. I want you to join the family business. You have all the skills and one particular talent that is of huge importance.
‘I do not kill for reasons of anything other than national security. I am not a butcher. I am more like a surgeon, removing cancers. I have absolutely no qualms about my work and, when I show you a few things, nor will you.’
He passed me a file with an instruction to read it carefully. I did so and as I did he began marking some essays and sipping his sherry.
I asked, ‘Do you by any chance have a gin and tonic or a scotch?’
He smiled, took away my glass of sherry and replaced it with a large balloon of brandy. I read. I read of terrorists shot or blown up; of businessmen who had sold fake drugs to third world countries; of paedophiles who had escaped justice. One case was a judge who had taken bribes to free prolific murderers. Another concerned a head of state who had been involved in the systematic torture and destruction of opponents of his regime. The catalogue of vile individuals, small satans, was long and impressive. The file was made up of press reports and a few official looking documents. I still could not believe these were the work of my lovely Dad.
As I placed the file back on his desk he smiled at me. ‘You still don’t believe do you?’
‘Are you surprised?’
‘Not at all. I swear it is true and that apart form three other people in the world you are the only person whom I have told.’
He took the file and placed it in a safe that I had never seen, concealed as it was behind some books. He replaced the books and sat again. He took a sip of sherry.
‘Tomorrow, Mel, we are going to London. Bring an overnight bag. We are going to an hotel where we will meet two of those other people. One of whom you will recognise, one you will not. Now, come on, let’s go and get some dinner. I will answer any questions I can over a steak.’
By the end of dinner I was convinced. I had never known him lie and I knew he was not now. My Dad was an assassin, albeit one on the right side. Why did he need me? That was the one question he could not answer all evening, despite my repeatedly asking him.
The following day we went to London. The hotel was just off Pall Mall and we made our way to a private meeting room. There were two people already there, coffee pot and cups on a table between them. The man stood to greet us. The woman, whom I recognised as a very senior government Minister remained seated. The male was, it was explained to me, the head of a very secret department of the Ministry of Defence. I will call him Mr Smith. I shall refer to her as Ms Jones.
Thus it was that I learned that what Dad had convinced me of the night before was entirely true as, by then, I knew it must be.
Smith, tall and urbane, explained why they wanted me to join the ‘family business.’ If Dad said I had the skills it was accepted. His imminent retirement meant that others would be needed to replace him and although the military could find plenty there was a need for a female and urgently.
‘Tonight,’ said Smith, ‘you will stay here in this hotel. You must decide tonight if you are willing to join us. Whatever you decide we will respect but on no account must you say anything to anyone; understood?’
Oh, I understood alright. They wanted me, a simple art restorer to follow in father’s footsteps. So, nothing odd about that. I agreed. There and then on the spot. The file Dad had shown me had revealed awful crimes. Crimes which would never have been brought to any justice system. My sense of injustice is very deeply embedded in me. I had no qualms. Dad looked quietly pleased.
Ms Jones then explained that I would, the following day, be introduced to the third person Dad had mentioned. She would meet me at another hotel and then I would return home and await instructions. I was allowed no further questions nor given any additional information. I had signed up although there was no record of that of course.
I went alone to the other hotel after breakfast with Dad in the hotel. He was obviously delighted with me and that gave me confidence that I was doing the right thing but he did not talk further of the matter. I asked if the file was safe in his rooms and he asked what file I meant. So that no longer existed, I assumed.
The second hotel was discreetly placed in a side road and had a certain faded glory about it. As I entered the lobby a flunky in a uniform asked if I was Miss Keen. When I confirmed that he directed me to room on the first floor and there I met a Miss Lennard who was tall, willowy and quite beautiful. She wore a dark grey business suit with a white blouse, black stockings and quite high heels. Her hair was thick and black, her nails beautifully manicured, long and slender. She invited me into the room and closed the door behind me, turning the deadlock.
I was briefed by Jay, as she insisted I call her. We sat at a low table, close together. I could smell her scent and her hair. My mission was not fully explained but my training would be comprehensive over the next three weeks. My flat would be taken care of by Dad. Everything I might need would be provided, clothes, a passport, a bank account, credit cards cash and, of course, a weapon. When she had finished explaining, and it had taken a long time, she had taken my hand.
‘We will become very close, you and I, Mel. It is important for those of us in the secret world to have someone in whom we can confide, with whom we can share our fears and our insecurities. You will need to be able to be very open with me. Do you think you can do that?’
‘We will become very intimate, very intimate indeed. I will be your confessor, your counselor, the only person in the entire world you can talk to without worrying. You can get drunk with me, cry with me.’
She kissed me then. Her mouth was, one minute, distant from me and the next it covered my own. I was taken completely by surprise but she held me firm and I found myself responding. It had been a while since Sylvie had left and what with the surreal nature of my last two days and her being, so to speak, my guide and mentor I just found it impossible to resist. Her kiss was insistent and it aroused me so that I was disappointed when it ended.
‘Will you be with me for the training?’
Jay smiled. ‘I will be with you right up until you have to be alone. Come now. A car is waiting to take us to the next stage. Everything you need, everything you want will be there for you. I will be there for you, Mel.’
She kissed me again, harder and her hands roamed over my back. I felt safe with her.
We changed cars twice en route to our destination and a third time into a van marked with an Electrician’s advertisements. I sat in the back with Jay, unable to see out until I was released and could examine my temporary home which was a country house in a large secluded estate. The house itself was drab and tired looking but the room I was taken to was beautifully furnished with a large double bed, en suite bathroom and views over the well-groomed grounds and the fields and woodland beyond. I looked through the wardrobes and drawers and found clothes of all sorts but all looked to be my size. Jay had told me to be ready for a bit of schoolroom stuff that afternoon before a quiet dinner for two at 7.
I went downstairs and found Jay with a tall man in the sitting room. I sat and my training began. The first session was my target but more of that later.
Dinner was served by a drab Scottish lady with her hair tied in a tight grey bun and ho wore woolen stockings and a tweed skirt. She barely spoke.
When she had gone I felt Jay’s hand cover mine. I looked up into her eyes.
‘Helen will not be back. We are alone. Do you feel safe, Mel?’
‘Good. You are satisfied that your target is a wise choice. You understand the need for this mission and your selection for it?’
‘I understand perfectly, Jay. This needs to be done. I do not relish it nor am I afraid of it. But I must say I do not think it is easy.’
‘Of course it is not.’ Her hand gave mine a squeeze. ‘Your training and my support will make it work though. You are perfect.’
I ate very little and drank almost nothing. We held hands as we climbed the wide staircase and went into my room. There, Jay slowly undressed me, kissing me where skin became exposed. She held me to her and slowly disrobed herself as our movements allowed. Naked and standing in the low light from the moon outside of the otherwise unlit room we kissed each other and I felt as if I had known her for as many decades as I had hours.
The bed gave a quiet groan as we first sat and then lay on it, holding each other, her mouth on mine. Her hands moved lightly over me and mine reciprocated. She was half across me, her thigh between mine, her knee bent and she pressed herself up against me as we kissed. Slowly she licked down my neck until she found my small breasts and erect nipple which she sucked. Her hand went between my legs.
Did she make a noise when she found I was already wet and open for her? I hope so but I cannot be sure. It might have been me. Her finger curled into me and I lifted my knees to make it easier for her; to show her I was willing, eager; desperate even.
She licked around her finger as it worked its magic and then I felt a rising sense of orgasm imminent and my back arched off the bed. Her finger withdrew and she crawled up me, back to my mouth.
‘Oh, no, Mel. You don’t get to heaven just yet. We have lots and lots of time.’
She lay, face down upon me, my legs spread and lifted around her. We kissed, gently at first but with increasing hunger and she began to rock her hops between my thighs, her wetness on mine and slowly the tension in me welled up and this time she allowed it and I arched and groaned into her mouth. As I slumped back, my orgasm leaving me shaking, so she continued to rub herself against me until she too started to make a curious, deep throated growling noise which grew louder and louder. This brought me back from my post-orgasm stupour and I reached down to run my fingers between the cheeks of her arse, finding her rear hole and stroking between it and her pussy as she pressed herself to my pussy.
That seemed to push her over the edge and her head went back, her mouth open in a silent scream which suddenly ceased to be silent but came like a torrent of words, not comprehensible, but a mixture of sounds.
We lay, side by side and she held my hand.
‘It will be like this for us, Mel. I knew we would share everything.’