The Warrior Gets Schooled By His Heart



The pain in Jackson Day’s right thigh eased off toward nothing as he jogged along the Emmastraat.

What the hell are you doing?

The what came easily: after leaving Mira, he checked out of the Schiphol Sheraton and into the Leideseplain Marriott.

The why eluded him.

He told himself the move got him closer to his mission.

He knew he was lying.

After check in, his leg pain headed for unbearable. So, he changed into running gear and charted a killing pace past the Rijksmuseum, the PC Hooftstraat, down the Valeriustraat.

He looked up at her windows, saw nothing, kept running.

Cut her some slack. She saved your life.

Ten paces.

You just saved her life. Score’s even.

Everything logical told him to quit. Emotion urged him on.

Emotions get people killed.

Feelings simmered like old nitroglycerine, just sitting on a shelf, waiting to go off at the lightest vibration. Or for no damned reason at all.

The second time he jogged past Mira’s apartment, she stood by the front windows. He watched her, referring to a sheet of paper, pacing thoughtfully, framed by first one window, then the next.

Buried deep in shadow, he stopped. Followed her every movement, tried to steady his breathing.

Emotion and logic flip-flopped in his chest. He had been wrong to hold on to a fantasy for so long.

She needed to be his mission and nothing more. Longbow was world-class brilliant and likely the only person on the planet who could make sense of the thumb drive.

In the next instant, all of his best efforts to elevate reason over emotion collapsed.

Mira looked down and seemed to connect directly with his eyes. Day knew he was unseen and deep in the shadows, but it seemed like her eyes had somehow drilled right into his own.

His heart tripped over itself. Fell. Fell again.

Then she turned away.

And left his heart as empty as the window that had framed her.

Day ran. Faster. Broke into a sprint. Trying to outrun what might have been.

He wondered how different things might have turned out had he mailed any of the letters he had written to her.

Shoulda-coulda-wouldas are for losers, pal.


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