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Four Seasons of Love

Four Seasons of Love

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Four Seasons of Love

Länge:
246 Seiten
3 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Aug 30, 2019
ISBN:
9781393150732
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

A young woman with good education and some personal problems (like PTSD and unreliable boyfriend) gets an offer that is not easy to refuse. Her new boss is impossible, infallible, impeccable… Oh, is he?

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Aug 30, 2019
ISBN:
9781393150732
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor


Verwandte Kategorien

Buchvorschau

Four Seasons of Love - K.P. Smoh

Epilogue

Prologue

«PERSONAL FILE OF OLIVIA Campbell, date of birth: October 22, 1990, living at...»

After skimming the documents, Eugene Wright goes back to the first page of the 27th folder and looked at the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Sir Alfred Allan reclined in a chair, looking at the ceiling.

«So, why?»

«I`ve got no idea what you're talking about, Eugene.»

«You`ve got it perfectly well. I requested personal files of all MI6 employees hired over the past two months. However, you added Miss Campbell's dossier, although she was refused. Why?»

«Was she refused?» Alfred Allan pretended to be surprised, taking the folder from Eugene and glancing into it. «Indeed... How annoying.»

«It becomes more and more interesting...»

Eugene tapped his fingers on the table, then got up and slowly walked through his spacious office to the bar table and poured whiskey into the glass. After a short consideration, he prepared another shot for the chairman.

Both men moved to the cozy leather chairs near the fireplace, knowing that they didn’t need folders anymore.

«You`ve got information about Elizabeth from Coltridge, I presume?» asked Eugene a few minutes later, while examining his silver watch-chain thoroughly, considering if they should be cleaned up in the nearest time or it could wait for another two weeks.

The Committee chief whistled in admiration.

«You`re quick. Yes, that was him... How?»

«Miss Campbell looks superficially like my university romantic interest. There is a high probability that you are aware of my former engagement, as well as of my family`s decision on mariage de convenance. The poor idea it was... As a result, neither I got married, nor Elizabeth came back from the humanitarian mission in Laos... Miss Campbell is completely following my preferred psychological type, and I`m just a little bit curious if you`ve got any other motives apart from her appearance to put her in the list?»

«She is very clever, Eugene. She`s got brilliant education in Oxford, and high results in our screening tests, and no health issues. And she is very unique, considering the results of the frankness scale – a self-confident person with no holding back. We both know that you highly appreciate it.»

«Yes, we both know... Still, there are some hidden things. Her name, for example. She has changed it to ‘Amelia’ three months ago. What`s happened?»

«Her parents working in the Foreign Office have died. She was suggested manager position with good salary package in BP, but the next day after the funeral she changed the name and submitted an application to MI6.»

«To take revenge? Agnes and Jacob Campbell were killed, if I recall it correctly, in a car accident after the failure of our resident in Beirut.»

«Your memory never ceases to amaze me.»

«This would be hard to forget,» Eugene put watch-clock into his pocket. «But we do not refuse in employment because of personal issues. What else?»

«Oh, that`s the boring part,» Allan put the empty glass on the round table between the chairs and locked his fingers. «It's all about her boyfriend, Peter Crisper, unemployed from West London. As it turned out, he is a small cocaine dealer with friends in IRA. Our safety regulation does not recommend recruiting people with such unreliable connections.»

«There is no such regulation, not in written form.»

«But there is a verbal one. Anyway, we refused Miss Campbell six days ago, and she applied to BP. You still have a chance, Eugene, before she is enrolled.»

«I`ll think it through.»

«An excellent choice!» Allan got up. «Time to visit Lady Allison and to talk about our quarter budget.»

«I doubt she`s still here,» Eugene got up as well and shook Allan`s hand.

«It is worth checking. See you tomorrow.»

Eugene went back to the table to open dossier of Miss Campbell – a red-haired girl with blue eyes and pretty face. She looked sternly from the picture and, accordingly to psychological characteristics, was one of those proper and dutiful type-A overachievers, who never disappointed their teachers. But Eugene was well aware that still waters run deep, and this type of people are capable of anything, so that their «Yes, Sir» or «No, Ma`am» is often just the mean to dull vigilance.

He tried to estimate the number of people who had already tried to cope with the role of his assistant – it was more than fifteen, and decided that Amelia deserved her chance as well.

CONTRARY TO HIS OWN words, Alfred Allan didn`t go to Lady Allison but instead directed his steps to his office. His principal deputy was already there – Richard Barrows, who was 35 and dreamed of a more interesting job than writing papers and reports for Parliament. He was the same age as Eugene – the chief of Assessment Staff and another Alfred Allan`s subordinate. Richard Barrows and Eugene Wright played an equally important role for the Committee, but the Queen preferred Eugene Wright to participate in the board meetings of national security. And this fact was the greatest concern for Alfred Allan, who was already in his forties, as well as for his protégé Richard Barrows.

«Derek Wright is on the hook!» announced Richard triumphantly as soon as Allan closed the door to the reception room. «Now he won`t get off it.»

«Won`t he?» Allan sneered, heading off to his chair at the head of the table.

«I tell you! It was as good as it gets. Little Ami came to his agency, told her sob story about her sister Catherine involved in bad things – and that`s it, Derek Wright, a noble knight as he is, rushed into search. He will find Helmut’s cult, stir up hornets' nest – and this time he will not get away with it. And Eugene Wright will do everything for us to get his baby brother out of trouble.»

«Are you sure this will work?»

«Absolutely, sir! I re-checked it five times. Amy`s little sister Catherine is in this cult indeed. To tell the truth, she is one of the leaders there, not among deceived people. But for Derek, it will take a great amount of time to find it out. And Helmut will not let it pass.

Allan allowed himself a faint smile that made Richard pull his nose up.

«Fine, let`s see. If it goes well, Buckingham Palace will not get consulted by anybody but you. On the days of my absence, of course.»

«I agree, sir! I understand that it`s quite far for me to that, I`m not as well informed as you, and... That`s only that Eugene snot-nose who has his nerves to advise our Queen as if he is the intelligence and the government at once. What insolence!»

«You’re quite right, Richard,» said Allan steadily. «I`m sure, though, the justice to triumph and us to get what we certainly earned.»

«Sure thing, sir. And how does it go with Amelia, by the way? Was Eugene interested at all? He seems to prefer red-haired...»

«More than you think,» smugly smirked Allan. «That`s our great fortune that we find the girl that matches by appearance, intellect, and traits of character. I`ve got no doubts: they will be together.»

«But what about her boyfriend? The one with problems?»

«Eugene will take care of it. What cannot be denied to Eugene is his ability to solve the problems of near and dear ones. If Amelia would be accepted in this circle, he will do everything for her... And this will be our game, my friend. Our impeccable and unbending Eugene Wright will get his pressure point for the first time in his life. His detective brother doesn`t count, Derek can stand for himself, and Derek`s companion Logan is always at the place. But the vulnerable girl Amelia, possibly, fiancée – that`s another point...»

«Sir, but it will take quite a time,» said Richard wistfully. «Until they will become closer... Isn`t it more perspective to put the efforts into his brother Derek?»

«We will go in both directions, Richard. Starting from today.»

Chapter 1. Social distance

«SUNNY... PLEASE STOP it, baby...» Peter Crisper whimpered into the phone, trying to put on his shabby jeans while looking for his wallet to pay the last whore.

In Hyde Park, Amelia was angry and only by the effort of will (and thanks to good upbringing) found the strength to move to a lonely alley so that none of the passers-by heard her outrage.

«We agreed on twelve, Peter! It's half-past one. I stayed here for an hour and a half...»

«As I say, I have an important deal. A new contract.»

«Could you warn me?»

«Kitten, I was busy...» the wallet was finally found. «It was necessary to meet with suppliers. I earn money, baby. Do not be angry...»

«It's not the first time!» Amelia stopped near a high snowdrift and kicked it once, then again...

«I know, baby. But please understand that my work is important to me.»

Mary, receiving the money, was surprised by the bonus and smiled joyfully at Peter. She gestured that she would not mind having sex again.

«You never said where you work.»

Flakes of snow began to fly from the beaten snowdrift.

«I know, yes. But why put this nonsense in your pretty head?» Peter covered the phone with the palm of his hand, drowning the sound of the zipper pull-down. «Better let's go to the Crazy Fox in the evening. I'll buy you your favorite cocktail.»

«If you are too late this time...»

«I solemnly swear that I will be at your apartment at eight,» for a moment Peter closed his mouth with his fist, drowning out the groan, and hurriedly said goodbye. «We agreed, baby? I'll run, I have business here.»

«Bye.»

Amelia put the mobile phone in her bag, put on lilac gloves on frozen fingers, straightened her hat with a pompon, and continued to kick the snow with two legs, repeating: «I hate, hate, hate!» until...

«I believe this snowdrift is no longer dangerous to you,» a polite voice sounded from behind her.

Amelia turned around and almost buried her nose in a tall man in a dark blue coat. She backed away and lost balance, stumbling over the trampled snow. But the stranger dexterously grabbed her by the waist, helping not to fall. For a few seconds they looked at each other: he saw cheeks flushed with frost, ginger hair gathered in frivolous tails, frightened blue eyes and a hand that automatically gripped his sleeve. She saw icy blue eyes on an emotionless face with thin lips as well as the handle of an umbrella in his free hand.

«Umbrella? What for?» this thought flashed through her head, and then her hand opened, releasing the stranger from a strong grip.

«I'm Eugene Wright,» the passer-by introduced himself, straightening his back.

«I'm Oli... Amelia.»

She's not used to the new name yet.

«Believe me, Miss Campbell, I know about this.»

«Have we met?»

«No, but I have all the necessary information about you. What happened? Are you angry because of Peter Crisper's lies?»

Her anger flared with renewed vigor.

«Why does that bother you, Mr. Wright?» she exclaimed in passion, clutching the strap of her bag. «And... why did you decide that it was a lie?»

«Sincere reactions. A clear desire to get information even from an unfamiliar source... So, what about her analytic skills? We'll check it... Hmm, the personal characteristic in her file was made correctly,» thought Eugene, taking a black notebook from his coat pocket. 

«Because, Miss Campbell, that today his list of call-girls has replenished Mary Anne. Twenty-five years, divorced, provides intimate services in a brothel ‘Lilith’.»

Amelia snatched the notebook on the open page and looked into it. Surprised Eugene raised his eyebrows, watching her actions and the way her expression changed to the dejected... She squeezed her lips in displeasure.

Then he warned her, «Do not look at other pages.»

«I didn’t mean to,» it sounded sullen.

Amelia returned the notebook to the owner a minute later and began to roll from heels to socks, putting her hands in the pockets of the purple jacket. While she was pondering what she read, Eugene put the notebook in his pocket and took out a vibrating mobile phone.

«Yes, it's me... Let them wait for me at Downing Street, 10. I'll be there in an hour... I'm sorry,» he turned to Amelia and hid the phone.

«What do you need? And who are you?» she asked.

«I would like to hear it from you. The answer to the second question, I mean. I suppose you have an assumption.»

Amelia looked at him doubtfully from head to foot, not daring to answer. Then suddenly she looked up and froze, shocked at the sudden guess.

Eugene watched these metamorphoses with increasing curiosity, putting his left hand into his coat pocket and leaning his right hand on the handle of the umbrella-cane.

«I see that you have some kind of bright idea, share it with me.»

«I...»

«It will be better if you try to think aloud.»

Amelia took a deep breath.

«All right,» she agreed. «You know who I am and who my boyfriend is. That he is involved in the drug business, as I read in your notebook. I could assume that you are from the police, but your clothes and umbrella refute it. I could assume that you are an intelligence agent, but you do not look like an ordinary agent. I would suggest that you are one of the chiefs, however...

«This is extremely interesting, Miss Campbell. Continue, please.»

«Your phone conversation. Downing Street, 10 is the residence of the Prime Minister. But I do not remember your face in the Cabinet photos published in the media. And then, it seemed to me that you said to them what to do – the Prime Minister and the others... Well, maybe it sounds silly or like one of the conspiracy theories, but I guess that you are an eminence grise, even if I'll never be able to find out your official position. That's all.»

Having uttered this in one breath, Amelia lowered her head and raised it, only when she heard quiet applause.

«Bravo, Miss Campbell! So many conclusions and all are true. You are what I need.» Eugene took a business card from his pocket and handed it to her. «I'll be waiting for you at this address at 10 a.m. tomorrow. We will discuss working conditions. Now I beg your pardon, but I have a business. Have a nice day.»

He bowed and left unhurriedly, leaving behind a shocked girl, clutching in her hand a card with the address of the office of a modest British official Eugene Wright. 

AMELIA SPENT TIME BEFORE meeting with Peter at a laptop. She has not yet decided how to accept unexpected and very unpleasant facts about her boyfriend’s life (there were no doubts about their reliability) and decided not to think about them yet. Instead, Amelia Campbell typed a combination of the words ‘Eugene Wright’ in Google search.

Nothing...

Not a single result!

A search by the last name provided a link to the website of a detective agency owned by Derek Wright and Logan Hicks. As it was written on the About Us page, these two university friends studied together at the Oxford Department of Medical Sciences: Derek as a pharmacologist, Logan as a psychiatrist. Then Derek convinced his friend that a medical career is not the most interesting job in the world, they rented a house in central London, settled on the second floor, and opened a private detective agency on the first. Most often, Logan advised exalted ladies suspecting their husbands of having an affair, he did not disdain surveillance to get the facts. Derek investigated more serious crimes - murders, robberies, abductions. From time to time, police officers came to him for consultations, but more often there were ordinary citizens who did not want to bother Scotland Yard with their problems.

Amelia looked through newspaper publications uploaded to the site. Journalists wrote a lot about the Wright and Hicks agency, calling these detectives «the new Sherlock Holmes and John Watson». Gossip about celebrity secret clients, including even members of the royal family, sometimes appeared in the rumors column. Most often, either Logan or his twin sister, Sue, who settled in the same house, but on the first floor, answered questions from journalists. She kept a record of clients and paid bills. Derek Wright usually avoided reporters, and if he came across them, he would complain about the lack of interesting cases and he would practice observation: concluding insignificant details, he told others about their lives.

Having carefully studied publications and photographs, Amelia wondered if both Wright are relatives, and if so, who are they? Brothers? There was not enough data, because Derek Wright on the photo from the site was very little like her new friend from the park, even though both had short dark hair and blue eyes.

The second time an incoming call from BP was displayed on her mobile phone, but again remained unanswered. At first, she wanted to know the working conditions at Eugene Wright.

Amelia reached out tiredly, slipped her frozen feet into eared pink slippers and went to brew coffee. Then, warming herself with a cup of coffee, she spent several hours watching the movie ‘Doctor Strange’, from which she was distracted only by a doorbell.

Smiling Peter Crisper handed her a bouquet of pink roses and

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