Sunday, 27 May 2018

Episode 100: Strained conversations

John was adamant that Interpol, Scotland Yard the Vietnamese government and whoever else could help be brought in to find Lea.  The feeling of total helplessness was dulling his senses to the point of distraction.   

How could everything have gone so badly he asked himself?  And although he thought highly of Bill as a journalist he was resentful that he had ultimately been the cause of this entire and wretched situation.  

The conversations he'd had with Bill had been strained from the moment he arrived because he felt like he wasn't getting the entire story.  Maybe his journalistic intuition if you will, be he needed answers...and he needed them fast!

All that played over and over in John's mind was the conversation that he had tried to have with Lea when she had intially brought up the idea of coming to Hanoi to try again with Bill.  

Perhaps if he had been more adamant that she not come out here then none of this would be happening right now, "I should have just put my bloody foot down and blocked this from the start" he thought angrily to himself.

Inactivity seemed to rule the current situation, and as the hours ticked by, the more anxious and inwardly distraught he became...

Nothing but a bloody mess...but what he dreaded most was the call he had been putting off to his sister Glenda.  What could he say that wouldn't trigger a nuclear meltdown?   

Episode 99: Disturbing news...

Ever since John had arrived and now Lea was missing Phuong felt as though he was being pulled back in the old and familiar world.

To ensure he knew the playing field he had instinctively wire tapped Johns room soon after he arrived and had reviewed the transcript of his conversation with Rupert Palmer from the English Foreign office.  

Putting out his feelers via his network he also discovered that Alessio Mancino a.k.a Gino Fiorio was a small time arms dealer that frequented Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and southern Vietnam selling mostly to small bands of mercenaries, tribes and local warlords.

Phuong didn't know Lea nor how she had become involved with Fiorio, but what he had discovered disturbed him greatly...

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Episode 98: Impeccable!

Since meeting Bill, Mai had been spending less and less time as "Hanoi Rose", however as the centerpiece of her business it was difficult to fully extricate herself from all aspects of her old life.  

And although personally in high demand and in most cases with the money not an object for her clients she unconsciously had made herself even more exclusive as she significantly decreased her availability.

This only heightened the prestige of her agency and as it became the most sought after lotus of perfection in all of Hanoi and indeed Vietnam.

Thus she had began grooming a number of her other girls, looking for that one special protégé.

She was always on the lookout for that special mix of beauty, charm, coolness and smarts...ultimately looking for herself in each girl that she interviewed with only the absolute best being considered to work with her agency.

Mai spent much of the day surrounded by her small and intimate stable of girls, monitoring the social events in Hanoi through her booking agents, ensuring that the girls wardrobes and jewellery were perfectly matched for the event and that each girl's hair and makeup were impeccable in preparation for the evening ahead.  

She singled out each girl and discussed both the event and the intricacies of her patron for the event...including what conversation topics to engage him in, his favourite perfume, the style, cut and color of her lingerie and most importantly his sexual predilections.  

Depending on the patron she would also be assigned at least one bodyguard to ensure she was delivered exactly to the specifications as they had been requested.

Mai knew instinctively that to be with the man she loved she must become the figurehead of her agency and to leave the day to day business behind once and for all...

Episode 97: Intrigue

Lea had gleaned little from Alessio over the course of their time together and he remained a mystery man in many ways.  Initially this had been fine as it was nothing more than a fling but as the days together lengthened she became more curious about him as her feelings grew for him.

Trying not to come across as too needy or too much like a journalist, she played it cool and only asked questions around the edges that weren't too intrusive or more importantly color his opinion of her.  

However, the one response to a question he'd posed that stuck in her mind was when she asked about the type of business he was in.  

Her journalistic nose twitched when he said that he was a importer of Indo-chinese homewares for the European market.  And although she couldn't quite put her finger on it, there was just something that didn't quite seem right...she could feel it.

True, it was obvious that he was comfortable in Asia and obvious that he must of visited many times before, but when she had commented on their hosts beautiful homewares and in particular the statues and ornaments that adorned this magnificent home he paid scant attention and made no comment.

In addition, Lea had observed an intense discussion between Alessio and their gracious host, but from a distance she was unable to make out what was being said.  

Yet, this seemed so out of place for the man she thought she knew.

Episode 96: Traveling Companion

The phone rang loudly in John's ear, his nerves already highly sensitive thus waking him with a start.  He groggily reached for the receiver.

"Hello..." Nothing but static on the line, but just before he was going to hang up a voice from the other end of the line.

"John, are you there?"  it's Rupert Palmer from the Foreign office.  Yes, I'm here Rupert.  

I have news of your niece...Lea, Rupert went on quickly.

John sat up abruptly in bed and turned on the bedside lamp.  Yes, what is it he asked excitedly?  

Look, she's been detained in Bangkok in this bloody messy little Coup that they're having.  What?  How did you know she was there?

A passport check was made with the British consulate in Bangkok two days ago for both Lea and her traveling companion. you know an Italian national by the name of Alessio Mancino? the static chattering down the line.

No, why should I?   

Interpol has been tracking him for sometime he also goes under the assumed name of Gino either of these names ring a bell he asked solemnly?  

Do you know if she's been seeing this man prior to her trip?  Rupert went on asking question after question before John interrupted him.

Look Rupert I'm confused?  Lea left London before me on her way to Hanoi, and as far as I know she was traveling alone.  When she hadn't arrived I put a call into Craig at the Yard.  There was silence on the other end of the phone...

Listen what's this all about?

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Episode 95: Biding time

Life at the Chợ Đồng Xuân was slowly getting back to normal after Anh's recent run in with General Binh, and although still smarting from the loss of face and the increased monthly tribute she was determined that she would get the better of the situation and rid herself of the journalist once and for all.

However, it was also obvious that she was under heavy survellience and therefore in no rush to put herself in harms way...just yet anyway.

On the outside Anh was a picture of calm, but lurking underneath this exterior she was plotting an even more brutal way to get rid of the journalist.

Once and for all!  She was single minded about getting her old life back...

Episode 94: In Control

Lea grogily rolled over and onto Alessio's bare chest, snuggling into his warmth before falling back into a deep but broken sleep.

As the first rays of sun began to creep through the wooden shuttered windows Lea's hand ran across Alessio chest.  She always felt warm and safe in his arms.  
She was feeling aroused and began fondling his cock in her hand before sliding down the bed and taking him into her mouth.  
The feeling of him hardening in her mouth drove her crazy, and using her tongue she expertly made him hard within minutes  As she lifted his girth and began licking his balls she looked up into his loving eyes.

Keeping her eyes locked on him she ran her fingers through her dripping lips, coating them with her juices before thrusting them into his waiting mouth, as she knew that would drive him crazy for her.   

She hovered over him before sliding herself down onto his hardness.

She teased him by grinding and mashing her clit into his pubic bone, before taking his wrists and pushing them above his head, her supple breasts and hard nipples within licking distance of his tongue, but this morning she was in total control and not until she began to feel an orgasm build deep within her did she let him caress her sensitive breasts, his tongue teasing her hard nipples until she ground down hard and exploded in a shattering orgasm, her juices dripping from her sensitive pussy and down his balls as she shuddered breathlessly.  

Alessio was on the edge of his orgasm as he felt her explode, and holding her hips hard against his released his massive load deep within her.  

They were both drenched in sweat and gasping for air as she collapsed onto his chest, "fuck I needed that!"  she exclaimed, as they both began to laugh...

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Episode 93: Inevitable...

Mai swept into the Times building to pick up Bill at two minutes to noon, much like she had the first night they'd met at the Embassy.  
She was dressed in a stunningly beautiful traditional cream Ao Dai and cheekily called "NơI bạn có tình yêu của tôi không?" (where are you my love?) before turning and almost running directly into John who was coming to see what the commotion was all about.

John stood there, his mouth open and his eyes as big a saucers before Bill came to his rescue and smiling a little sheepishly introduced John to Mai.

As they spoke Phuong invisibly slide out of the room behind Bill and squeezed past the scrum in the hall before anonymously exiting the building.

Mai had brought a picnic lunch for them to enjoy down by the Hoàn Kiēm Lake and invited John to join them, blushing he could hardly refuse Bill's beautiful friend and accepted her kind invitation.

Instead of driving the short distance Mai sent her driver and bodyguard ahead to choose an appropriate spot for them to dine on the grass over looking her favourite spot - Tháp Rùa (Turtle Tower).

Like most days when "Hanoi Rose" walked on the streets everyone, men and women alike stopped to admire her beauty, it was as if the earth stood still until she had passed by. 

Episode 92: Pattaya

With her last ounces of energy Lea had been able to charm the taxi driver into taking them to Pattaya without the deposit, and upon arrival at Alessio's business associates home was able to quickly secure the funds to see him on his way including a fat tip.

They were completely exhausted after the four hour plus taxi ride from the airport, which on top of their detention and general ordeal was almost too much to bear and it was clear that Lea was completely frazzled and at the end of her tether.

Sensing a meltdown of major proportions, Alessio was able to coax her out of her damp, smelly clothes and then physically carried her to the outdoor shower, turning on the water he noted that the shower was surrounded by the most beautiful Frangipani bush, its flowers a deep, vibrant red, but Lea was just too exhausted to notice.

After 30 minutes he had begun to worry and so went to investigate.  He found Lea wedged into the corner of the shower in a fetal position sound asleep with the water still running.

Turning off the water he squatted down and took her in his arms, as he carried her toward the large guest bed she roused and put her lips close to his cheek a whispered...I love you. 

Alessio smiled

Episode 91: Torn

Since arriving into Hanoi John had been trying to decide if the best course of action would be to just close the Hanoi bureau altogether, especially after this latest incident.  He remembered the first correspondent that he'd sent to Hanoi only too well, the guilt remained ever present in his mind as he remembered Bill's predecessor and his still unsolved murder...  

He chided himself "I should have closed the bloody desk then..." he thought.  But now with both Bill and Lea in the line of fire it was almost too much to bear.

He was conflicted because he knew Asia was where the action was, and whether he liked it or not Bill was the only guy that could manage the intricacies and nuances of this country.  He'd proved it time and again with his insightful and clear commentary on the new Vietnam.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place again...

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Episode 90: South

It was clear that Lea wasn't getting to Hanoi anytime soon, particularly with all flights overbooked or cancelled due to the coup.  Alessio's business trip to Bangkok was in a state of flux and so suggested that they get out of the city, one of Alessio's business contacts was based in Pattaya, a fishing village south of the city.  He called his acquaintance and agreed that they would make their way to him.

Lea was in awe of Alessio, and couldn't have imagined how she would have survived without him being there every step of the way through her journey, particularly this last and most traumatic chapter...

Outside the airport he hailed a passing cyclo and instructed him to take them to the Hualumphong train station, the driver glancing at their baggage waggled his head and roared off into the traffic.  Although Alessio was frustrated he persevered and finally was able to flag down a taxi, who begrudgingly opened the trunk of the car and helped load the two large suitcases.

They sat sweating and smelly in the back of the taxi as it slowly made its way through the heavy traffic of scooters, cars and roadblocks of tanks that sat astride the road toward the train station. 

The progress was frustratingly slow and as they neared the station realized that it would be impossible to take the train, Alessio leaned over and asked the driver to continue onto Pattaya.  

The look of amazement passed over the drivers face, but smiling his toothless grin readily agreed.  Alessio and he quickly negotiated a price with the use of his fingers and gestures, of which the driver demanded half now.  Alessio reached into his pocket but realized his wallet and all his money had been taken by the military during his custody.

He sheepishly turned to Lea and asked if she had any money...

Episode 89: Date

Mai purred into the phone "Chào buổi sáng người yêu" (good morning lover) as Bill smiled to himself.  He still blushed whenever Mai overtly greeted him this way, and although he loved her fiercely he still wasn't used to someone being so open in the way they spoke to him.

"Tôi đang rất tốt đẹp, như thế nào về bạn?" (I'm great beautiful, how about you?) he replied, and although getting more familiar with the nuances of the Vietnamese language still spoke slowly and with a strong accent, and with his self consciousness kicking in quickly reverted to english.  Mai appreciated his attempts to learn Vietnamese and embrace the local customs more than he could ever imagine.

"Are you free for lunch darling?" she enquired.  He loved how she gave herself to him unconditionally, he felt a wave of warmth flood over him every time he thought about her.

Quickly looking through the day timer on his desk he noted that he was free until 3:00 pm, "I'm all yours love" he said smiling.

See you at noon she said...  

Episode 88: Conflict

Lea and Alessio embraced, both a little the worse for wear...  Alessio was sporting a deep purple welt under his right eye and clear bruising on his neck and although disheveled still sported his signature smile.  Lea sensed the smell that they both emanated, the pungent aroma evident with every breath.  She desperately wanted to get under a shower or into bath and clean off the grime and smell of fear that the last 48 hours had brought.

It was clear to both of them, particularly after their traumatic experience that they needed to leave Thailand as fast as possible.  After their release they were thrust out of the interrogation area, but not before Alessio had his watch and wallet confiscated by the over zealous guards that had beaten him during his detention.  

The last 48 hours of adrenaline infused survival had left her bereft of and energy or enthusiasm for anything Asian.  She wanted out as quickly as possible, but was conflicted in that she had promised Bill that she was going to visit him in Hanoi, but deep down didn't want to spend another minute in this infernal chaos.  

Alessio sensed her state of mind and wrapped his strong arms around her and pulled her into his chest... 

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Episode 87: Familiar ground

Uncle Duong was looking forward to seeing his old friend Phuong but was also aware that he was being watched at all times, and didn't want to raise the ire of the Revolutionary council so had his intermediary contact Phuong at the Times under the ruse of a news story.  Phuong was still versed in the code that he has used as Uncle Duong's operative all those years ago and quickly agreed to meet at the designated location.

It had been many years since they had used the safe house, but Phuong would never forget his first assignment working for Uncle Duong and the enormous confidence he had shown in him as a young boy all those years ago.  He remembered that this was his stepping stone to his illustrious career as a double agent during the American War.

He expertly navigated the teaming streets of the Old City on his way to the safe house, and as always, true to his nature he wove his way in circles around the old city before moving toward his destination to ensure that he wasn't being followed.  His innate sense of convert operations had automatically kicked in and he instinctively sank into his undercover identity.

Phuong's scooter slowed as he passed by the safe house to see if he could sense anything untoward...

Parking around the corner he crouched for sometime in the shadows of the Bougainvillea that grew so plentifully at the corner of the street to observe the comings and goings of the house...he was not surprised at who arrived...

Episode 86: Missing

Bill and Phuong walked into the office together after meeting at the Star.  Phuong was glad to see Bill and had briefed him on everything that had transpired during his absence including the fact that John had arrived and was desperate to see him, but also that Lea had not yet arrived from London and now long overdue.  Bill had missed the call with Lea during the time he was held hostage and so didn't have a clear timeline for when she was going to arrive into Hanoi.

He was now very concerned for her safety and worried that her disappearance may be linked to his kidnapping.

John arrived soon after 10:00 am and asked to speak in private, but Bill knowing that the only privacy in Hanoi was to walk led John out the door of the office and onto the street.  John was confused, but followed.  Bill explained that to have any privacy they needed to be outside amongst the cacophony of street noise to be completely free of anyone listening.  

As soon as they had begun to walk the streets of the old city John asked Bill if he knew where Lea was?  Bill said that he did not, given that had missed her last call because he had been kidnapped around that time and wasn't clear on her timing...  Bill was feeling remorseful but was honest with John.  "Look, I've met someone here but didn't know what to say to her when she called me out of the blue and said she was coming for a visit."   You know how she can be...his voice trailing off. 

"She's a damn fool" almost he said a little too loudly, the concern dripping from his voice...

Episode 85: Dropped

The phone jangled loudly as John sat up and blearily picked up the receiver.  "John is that you?" the voice enquired at the other end of the phone, but John's brain was still a little addled from being woken in the middle of the night.  He reached for the alarm clock and noted that the time was 2:00 am

His croaky voice "Yes, John here" he replied, quickly recognizing Craig's voice.  "Listen, I think we've tracked Lea but it's a bloody mess..."his voice trailing off into static.  

"Craig can you repeat?" he pleaded

But the receiver continued to crackle before dropping...   Craig, Craig are you there?   Nothing but the buzz of dial tone

Shit! John exclaimed as he reached for his address book on the dresser, flicking through the names he quickly located Craig and began dialing the ancient rotary phone.  

He noted his heart racing as he quickly tried to dial Craig's number, but in his haste realized he'd dialed the wrong number and had to start again...his frustration rose as his fingers fumbled with the keys.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Episode 84: Morning light...

Mai rolled over to Anh's soft touch as she slowly kissed her way down her shoulder and cupping her breast breathed into her ear, Chào buổi sáng người yêu (Good morning lover).

Mai roused from her sleep they kissed passionately, their tongues circling slowly and the heat building between their naked bodies.  Anh rolled onto Mai and slowly made her way down to her breasts, her teeth softly biting Mai's hardening nipples.  With every passing moment Mai's breathing becoming more ragged in anticipation of the orgasm that was building deep within her.

Anh teasingly circled her hard clit with the tip of her tongue, flicking it in the Mai loved so much...

Mai gripped Anh's hair and pulled her mouth into her engorged and dripping lips, Anh angled herself up to slide two fingers deep inside Mai, and thrusting onto her g-spot drove her to a powerful orgasm.

Her pussy pulsated as she came hard all over Anh fingers and tongue.

Anh pushed her dripping fingers into Mai's mouth as she tasted her sweet juices just the way she liked it.  Anh slipped from between Mai's legs and kissed her tenderly, her sweet taste lingering on their tongues.

After regaining her composure Mai pulled Anh into a kneeling squat over her face.  Anh held onto the headboard as she felt the urgent thrusts of Mai's tongue into her soaking wet lips, before she inhaled her lips and rock hard clit into her mouth.  The pleasure of her suction was too much to handle as she exploded in a shattering orgasm into Mai's sweet mouth.

Moments later they both fell exhausted and totally satiated onto the damp sheets, their breathing still uneven...

Episode 83: Questioning

The door opened abruptly and Officer stepped into the room followed by another soldier.  Pointing at Alessio he demanded that he stand before being roughly ushered from the room.

Lea was isolated and alone but steeling herself promised herself not to cry.  The Officer sat across from her and stared into her face.  After what seemed like an eternity he said "What is the purpose of your trip to Thailand?"  

Lea noted her reflection in the officer's sunglasses.   "I'm actually traveling to Vietnam for work, I'm a journalist" she went on a little more confidently.  

"And you have proof of this?" he replied sneeringly

"Yes, my airline ticket is in my bag."  He thrust out his hand, she bent and retrieved it from her bag, and although still shaking she handed it to him.

Without another word, he stood and left the room.  

The soldier continued to glare at Lea, his distaste evident...

Episode 82: Starting afresh

Bill's first night back in his apartment felt strange, his dissonance stemmed from knowing that one of Mai's bodyguard was keeping watch on him but it was more than that, his apartment now seemed strangely foreign yet it was the same as it always had been...  

He lay awake, the sweat cooling his body with the movement of air from the overhead fan, but sleep evaded him.  He noted the first rays of light as they began peeking through the floor to ceiling shutters.  After showering he decided he decided to walk to the Star Cafe, although it still wouldn't be open he could use the walk to clear his clattering head.

As he emerged on Cát Linh Đống Đa he noted Mai's bodyguard in the shadows before heading toward the old city and the Star.  He was hoping that Phuong would be there to greet him and was looking forward to seeing his old friend.

Crossing Nguyễn Thái Học was always hazardous although at this time of morning he successfully dodged the ever burgeoning sea of scooters that used this main thoroughfare.  

As he turned the corner onto Nguyen Thien Thuat he saw Bin Dong, the Star's owner unlocking the cafe and greeted him with the familiar Chào buổi sáng Bin (Good morning Bin), Bin spun around, a large smile creasing his face when he saw Bill walk toward him.  

Yes, it was good to be back in familiar surroundings he thought...

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Episode 81: Vindication

Although Uncle Duong had been pushed to the perimeter of the Revolutionary Council he was still considered a revered elder and when the kidnapping of the Australian journalist had surfaced with Anh as the chief suspect he drew a sharp breath.  He immediately put out word to his trusted network to ensure that his beloved niece was not involved.

As he watched the events unfold there was a sense of vindication "Mình thật sự đặt trọc cho tất cả để xem... (Her true self is laid bare for all to see) he thought to himself.   Though his operative network he also learned that Phuong was involved in some kind of clandestine effort to expose Anh, and although not common knowledge he smiled at the thought of his eager young lieutenant and the first role he had given him those many years ago to trail Anh and Mai in the Chợ Đồng Xuân.

With some admiration he noted the violence that had flared within the Chợ Đồng Xuân once Anh had been released, he recognized retribution when he saw it and had expected no less of Anh and her henchmen.

There was something more to this though, he could feel it and so asked his trusted advisor to contact Phuong and set up a private meeting with now prying eyes.  

He sighed and longed for the days of the American War and simple nature of a single enemy to fight... Ah, đó là những ngày (ah, those were the days) he reminisced...

Episode 80: Homecoming

It was late by the time Mai opened the front door to her house on Tây Hồ.  Quietly dropping her bags at the front door she slipped off her heels and let her dress fall from her shoulders as she softly tread down the hallway toward the bedroom, her nakedness warm and familiar in the humid evening air.  Without turning on a light she could see Anh's naked body stretched out on the bed in the moonlight as it seeped through the shutters by the bed and framed her athletic body in symmetrical lines.

Mai felt the familiar stirrings in her pussy as she watched from the doorway, her hand instinctively touched her hardening nipples.  Slowly rawing her fingers from her dripping pussy she put them into her mouth, and savoring the sweet taste which only heightening her sense of excitement as she crept silently toward the bed.  

Softly slipping the satin sheet from Anh body, she let her tongue slowly circle Anh's nipple, feeling it harden noticeably in her mouth as she traced it with the tip of her tongue.  Even in the darkness Mai could feel Anh's body begin to stir against hers, carefully lowering her body onto Anh's she felt the friction of her weight against Anh as she kissed her softly and felt Anh's mouth open and tongue reciprocate the slow, sensual kiss.

Anh spread her legs as Mai's thigh ground itself onto her hard clit and dripping pussy, quickly bringing her to a powerful and breathless orgasm.  Mai's was soaking wet as she inched her way up Anh's body and holding the headboard lowered her throbbing lips onto Anh's willing mouth and penetrating tongue.  She rode her mouth until she came hard, filling Anh's mouth with her juices.  Breathless Mai peeled herself from Anh's wet face, they kissed deeply to share her juices.

As the held each other in the darkness Anh whispered in an almost inaudible voice Tôi mất bạn nên tình yêu của tôi... (I missed you so my love...)  

Satiated they fell asleep in each others arms to the sounds of the quietly revolving overhead fan...

Episode 79: In the shadows

Alessio watched as the officer eyed them both suspiciously and noted that the soldiers closing in around them.  The officer demanded Alessio's passport, which he confidently pulled from his immaculate jacket pocket and handed to him, sensing trouble he pulled Lea into him.

Lea's tears continued to roll down her stained cheeks onto his jacket...  

Holding both passports, he barked orders to the soldiers around him and directed Alessio and Lea to follow him.  Taking Lea's hand Alessio confidently followed the soldiers through the crowded terminal to a nearby office where he directed them to sit.  He promptly left the room with their passports but left a soldier to stand guard on inside the room. 

The office was a small and airless 9 x 9 room, the overhead fan hardly moved the hot and tepid air as it slowly circulated overhead.   

Lea had pulled herself together and provided a half smile to Alessio as she continued to hold his hand tightly.  I'm so glad you came she said softly, a final tear glinting in the corner of her eye.  Alessio reached for his freshly pressed handkerchief and carefully dabbed it from her eye.  

He smiled and squeezed her hand in recognition, although deep down he felt a sense of foreboding as the soldier glared down at them...

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Episode 78: Familiar ground

Bill turned the key and pushed the door as Mai's bodyguard moved past him quickly and stepped into the apartment first.  Reaching for the light switch next to the door he flicked it on and moved quickly around the somewhat spartan apartment.  Mai held Bill's arm at the door, but Bill pulled free and stepped into the living room.  Realized that the airless space was oppressive after being empty for so long he reached for the master switch to the overhead fans he flipped them on as Mai stepped in behind him. 

Mai's bodyguard came from the bedroom and nodded almost imperceptibly that everything seemed clear.

Prior to entering Bill's apartment complex she had won a small concession from him by getting Bill to agree to have her bodyguards accompany them, but her whispered conversation to her team had seen them move stealthily in advance as they entered the complex much to Bill's chagrin.

To be safe Mai had positioned her body guards at the front gate and doorway to his apartment complex as well accompanying them to Bill's apartment.

She was less than pleased that Bill wanted to stay in his apartment, but also sensed that he needed to decide what was best without pushing him too far she acquiesced...but only to a point. 

She began planning their next move...

Episode 77: Investigations

It was the second day in a row that John sat with Phuong in the office, observing him go about his work.  There was something about this man that gave John confidence that Bill was in good hands.  Although quiet and somewhat reserved he noted Phuong's ability to digest, translate and summarize detailed news feeds into palatable and easy to read articles was astounding, it was as if he sensed what the intent was over the words and was able to capture the essence of the story.

Suddenly the phone rang breaking him out of his observation. John quickly reached for the jangling relic sitting on Bill's desk.  "Hello, The Times" he said almost too quickly.  However, on the other end of the phone the person was speaking in the unfamiliar Vietnamese.  John was perplex and quickly handed the receiver to Phuong who was standing along side him.

Phuong took it and putting it to his ear listened carefully to the voice on the other end, he nodded and hung up.

Turning to John he said that the call was from a trusted friend that had provided him with invaluable information that he needed to corroborate for a story he was following.  He went to his desk and gathered the small note pad from his desk headed to the door.  

Putting his head in his hands he unconsciously rubbed his eyes, noting that he still no word from Craig on Lea's whereabouts...   

Episode 76: Heat

As the aircraft touched down after its flight from Hue, a refreshed Bill and Mai deplaned onto the steamy evening air at Noi Ban airport.  After a short walk from the plane to the terminal she quickly found that she was surrounded by her familiar bodyguards who led them through the busy terminal to the car parked directly out front.

They eyed Bill suspiciously as they strode toward the terminal entrance, but given their loyalty to Mai there was not a flicker of emotion shown by any of them.  They had seen it all before, he would be just like the others they collectively thought...

Once ensconced in the car Mai leaned into Bill, and feeling his warm and familiar scent she smiled.  Where are you going to stay darling she whispered?  It's far too dangerous to go back to your apartment on Cát Linh Đống Đa.  "I'll be fine love" he said confidently.  No one will expect me to stay there, it's the perfect place.  

I know the kind of people who did this to you and they will stop at nothing to drive you away from Hanoi, you've seen what they can do, and I'm afraid that the next time...her voice trailed off as a tear glinted in the corner of her beautiful green eyes.  Don't be afraid he said pulling her into him and kissing her tenderly.  

Mai's heart melted every time he held and kissed her like this...