The Recruit

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Rebecca Sawyer lives an uneventful life in her small town until a stranger enters her life. After meeting him, Rebecca finds out more than she expected, including a secret society in charge of protecting humankind from the supernatural. Now, Rebecca is forced to choose between the safety of her old life or the adventure that awaits in an unfamiliar world she has been invited to join.  

“My name is
Anton. Anton Mayflower,” he stopped to bow, placing one hand behind him as he
did. When he raised his head, he was smiling handsomely. “Wonderful to meet
your acquaintance.”

A vampire…
a
real vampire, that was all Rebecca had really heard.

Hearing his
silky and seductive voice made a shiver run down her spine. She was terrified
of him. This flawless man looked more dangerous than anything she had ever seen
in her life. He intimidated her; his charm and self-confidence made her unsure
of her own abilities.

“Why are you
here?” She dared to ask another question, hoping the answer would be as
straightforward as the first.

Anton
replied, smiling gently, “Why do you think?”


1. MEMORIES

 

SUMMER, 1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Meet Rebecca Sawyer.

Dancer.
Teacher. Human.

Human.

At least
for the next ten seconds.

She feels
the pill in her mouth and wonders…

There
shouldn’t be any doubt. This is what she wants. This is what’s meant to happen;
what she
should
do. Life will never offer another chance like this. Closing her eyes, she holds
her breath as she swallows the little red pill.

There is
no going back now and she knows it, and as certain as she is, deep down she is
terrified. A knot quickly forms in her belly and a queer smile appears on her
lips. Is it that she feels proud of what she’s doing?

What is
there to be proud of, really?

The
sudden scream is from the pain; she opens her eyes and her plethora of emotions
comes down to just one:
agony.

And thus,
the first day of her new life begins.

 

       She remembered.

She
remembered like it was yesterday.

She could
still see the image clear in her mind; her best friend in her perfect white
dress and her perfect golden curls pinned on top of her head with a silver
crown that helped keep the veil in place.

The day
Coleen Anderson was to be married had been a joyous one, but her memory of it
didn’t really feel like joy to her. Maybe she wasn’t looking hard enough. Maybe
she was confusing the memory with another; focusing on her feelings instead of
the bride’s. Selfish. What a selfish thing to do. She remembered that feeling; the feeling of thinking
no one should have happiness because you don’t have it yourself. So selfish. It
was wanting something so bad but knowing it could never be yours that made all
those negative feelings come forward. The feeling that made you want to take
what others had and make it yours even when, once you had it, it would never be
enough. To realize it was not what you were really looking for in the first
place. Yes. That bitterness that made you walk away from friendship because
life had made it very clear that happiness just wasn’t for you and all you did
was make it worse and worse.

Her best
friend’s image popped into her head right in the middle of her remembered
self-pity. It was funny how she had a different image for different people
every time she thought about them. With Coleen, she always pictured her face
with a smile, her sky blue eyes sparkling with an simple carelessness she would
never understand. In her image of her, she pictured her best friend with her
golden hair held back by an invisible headband; her gaze staring into the horizon
as she dreamily stared into the unknown. Perhaps much like a yearbook picture.
That’s what it was, the picture she kept in the album up in her head, a file.
She was strange like that. She always had been. Most of the time things that
made sense to her really didn’t.

Her memories
shifted to the small little room where the bride waited. It was her best
friend’s wedding day and all she had been required to do was sit on a small
white stool in the back corner of the room. She had followed instructions – she
was at least good at that. From there, she had looked at the bride who didn’t
seem to have much need of her chosen Maid of Honor and so, she sat playing with
her fingers and stopping herself from peeling the nail polish she had gotten
the day before over her bitten nails.

Part of her
felt she should have been a little more important during this day. Yet, this
would probably be the first and only time she would ever be the Maid of Honor
to anyone and she better not
complain. At least she had gotten to live the experience.

She had
definitely felt honored to have been chosen, she remembered that feeling clearly, too,
just… if only there was something more to the moment. Just like she always
thought there would one day be some magnificent future she still couldn’t see
because it would surprise her when it came and it would make everything all
right. Something life had been keeping as a surprise which would come as a
reward to surviving all the obstacles it had put in her way so far.

Because, if
life had to offer something else, then it surely had to me grand. It had
to be wonderful. It just did.

That was when he had come.

 

       Rebecca Sawyer watched the wedding in the
sleeveless satin purple dress Coleen had chosen for her. With her cheek resting
on one hand, she watched quietly as the guests danced the night away from the
chair at her assigned table. While watching the normalcy around her, she was
tempted to pretend she was really someplace else; perhaps in bed reading a book
or dancing one of her choreographies around the empty studio like she
frequently did during the night. She stopped herself from those thoughts and
tried to enjoy the moment.

The wedding
had been perfect so far and it had been purple. Purple flowers, purple candles,
purple mantelpieces; even the music felt purple – if that was even possible at all. How the groom had agreed to
the purpleness of it all was beyond
her understanding.

Brushing her
hand over the table, feeling the smooth texture of the tablecloth, she realized
the perfection of it all was what was bothering her. Had her bitterness gotten
to the point where she envied her best and only friend’s happiest moment? Was
that all she would do from now on? Find excuses why she detested the joys that
awaited her in her matrimony?

She knew
Coleen, or she thought she did. She wanted to believe she knew her better than
anyone and this shallow party did not feel a lot like her. More like what she wanted the world to think she was. Perhaps
very like the fact that the man she had chosen to marry wasn’t really a match
for her, only a match for the woman she liked to show the rest of the world. If
only her best friend wasn’t afraid to show the world who she really was. Why
couldn’t she be more like the wonderful human being she knew her to be? Or how
about more like she was? Or… wait, so far that hadn’t worked well at all, had
it? Perhaps it was Rebecca who needed to be more like Coleen. Perhaps she
needed a permanent mask to make her feel happy.

Either way,
Bob wouldn’t make her happy in the end, he couldn’t. She knew it. It would be a
good enough heaven for a while and then…

Not that her
opinion mattered; it hadn’t mattered eight months ago and it certainly didn’t
matter now. Coleen had married him regardless of her advice and there was
nothing (and no one)  who could take that
moment back. It was done. A complete and utter done deal the second after she
had said – I do.

The dance
floor became alive with clapping as one song ended and a new one started.
Rebecca sighed and wondered if she would ever
agree to a ritual like the one she was witnessing now. Her lip curled in a
smile as she came to realize she could not deny how much she wanted it as much as she denied it. If
only she could be the center of attention for just one day. She could do it.
She could pretend to be normal for twenty-four hours. She could marry someone
that wasn’t perfect just like Coleen had. It would work. Even when that kind of
future didn’t seem to be in her cards at all, she knew it would work. She would
make it work and that would show
everyone.

No, life had
something different in store for her, and up to that moment, Rebecca was still
unaware of how her world was about to be changed forever. If she’d known what
her future would actually be like, then maybe she wouldn’t be wasting
her time sulking and regretting what she didn’t have and what could be. Maybe
if someone could have given her a clue about what was about to happen to her
that night it would have made it more enjoyable – or frightful.

And that
moment came then, that night, as she watched her acquaintances dance until the
wee hours of the morning.

Months after
this night, as she curled in pain in a little white stretcher after swallowing
a red pill, she would always remember how, when he did finally come, she did not even notice when he sat down beside
her.

The music
had stopped and had promptly started again with a new tune, this time one she
didn’t recognize. Around her, the lighting had shifted to a brighter and more
colorful pattern to illuminate the dancers she had regained an interest on.

His voice
had been low when he had first spoken and he had needed to repeat himself to
get her to hear over the loud music. “You don’t mind if I join you, do you?” He
had sounded totally unfamiliar, with an accent she couldn’t quite place. He who
had asked the question was sitting motionless before her, his body language
signaling he did not much care about the dance floor himself.

A surge of
anxiety suddenly pass through her. The though of having to talk to a stranger
had not been in her plans for the night.

Regardless
of those feeling, as soon as she laid eyes on him, she began to study him
carefully, a bad habit she had and which she knew made people uncomfortable. He
was a stranger, after all; a foreigner to the small town where she had lived
her entire life.

Quickly, her
eyes scanned his shoes, his clothes, his dark brown hair, but when he stopped
to look at his eyes, which were also dark brown, she realized he had been
staring straight at her calmly while she studied him, almost amused. 

Gulping with
difficulty, Rebecca quickly broke their eye contact and looked awkwardly at the
table, quickly spotting a crumpled napkin and focusing her attention on it as
she said, “I don’t mind at all”.

On the other
side of the table, the man did not move an inch. Eventually, she had no other
choice but to make contact with him again, this time catching him analyzing her movements very much
like she had done with him.

An
uncomfortable moment passed, yet he did not seem to be disturbed by it. The
light from the dance floor reflected on his dark suit, which made Rebecca doubt
if it was truly blue or black.

Clearing his
throat, the stranger leaned over smoothly as he extended his had. “Dylan, my
name is Dylan,” he introduced himself, “Dylan Torrence.”

Right. His
name. Of course this man needed a name and now he was giving it to her. An
ordinary name for an ordinary man. A man that had nothing that could interest
her and yet she couldn’t keep her eyes off him. The enigma he brought to her evening
intrigued her. Or at least, that’s what she was beginning to tell herself for
there wasn’t another reason why she was suddenly so fixated in a single man;
she, who was supposed to not really care about anyone.

If Coleen
had been there, she would have told her to stop over-analyzing everything like
she usually did and just start a conversation with him.

Maybe the
imaginary Coleen was right. Maybe she should listen to her advice by turning
the monologue into a dialogue.

Over-analyzing.
Right. She was doing it. She always did it and that always made every
conversation even more awkward.
Normal people weren’t used to waiting for the other party to take too long
before continuing with their agreed part of a conversation.

“Rebecca
Sawyer,” her voice cracked as she blurted out her own name just as she offered
her hand for him to shake.

The way the
man smiled quietly as he took her hand with a firm grip made Rebecca stiffen in
surprise. Perhaps noticing her reaction, he relaxed a bit, letting her go. His
hand had been just as cold as hers. Rebecca knew an easy way to fix that,
although she did not dare to ask him to dance. Dancing was the only thing she
still enjoyed in life, after all, and the one thing she hated to do in public;
but with him, she had a feeling, it would be different.

It was clear
the stranger felt awkward, because his smile faded away watching her stare at
the dancing floor quietly. Eventually he turned to look at them, as well. It
wasn’t long for the song playing to be over and this time, a popular country
song began. The crowed cheered and clapped, quickly starting to go over the
steps everyone knew by heart.

The
stranger’s eyes narrowed with interest as he watched them go. Leaning back and
crossing his arms Dylan Torrence began to shake his head, smiling with
amusement. “I have never seen that before, that dance,” he commented. Rebecca
instantly found that strange; in what part of the world could he possibly live
not to know about this song? Even she who seldom got out of her house to join
any social gatherings knew this one by heart. Perhaps he had been hiding under
a rock or… “You don’t dance, Ms. Sawyer?” he interrupted her thoughts.

Dance. Sure,
she could dance. She was good at dancing, or at least she had once been. Now,
all the dancing she ever did was for her eyes only.

It wasn’t
her intention to stare at him open mouthed for as long as she had. Not that it
mattered, she had been doing that ever since he had first spoken and if he had
decided she was a crazy person he was more than free to leave the table and go
look for someone more interesting.

It had been
a while since she had had to recite her tragic story to anyone. In fact, the
entire town had lived it first hand and none of them needed an explanation from
her. This was clearly not the case with this foreigner. For a moment she
thought about all that it would entail to get this stranger sitting across from
her up to date with her present and thought better of it.

“It’s a long
story,” was her short reply. Immediately, her eyes turned once more to the
dancing floor, yet unable to focus on anything.

Nodding,
Dylan Torrence joined her in staring at the dancers blankly before looking at
his watch with interest. “I have time for a long story. Unless you have
someplace else you need to be?”

She hadn’t
meant to snort at his remark, “I’m the Maid of Honor,” she said instead of an
apology, “Even if there were places I needed to be, I would still need to be
here.”

“I was aware
of that,” he said as he tried to suppress a smile, “that you are the Maid of
Honor, I mean.” Then, he said, “I am enjoying your company and I am not much of
a dancer myself, but if you’d like to me go
then I could-“

Panicking,
she quickly motioned him to stay where he was, “No, don’t go,” her voice had
sounded desperate and she had hated herself for it, “I mean, I’m, uhm, enjoying
talking to you, as, well, Mr… Torrence.”

“Dylan,
please,” he said.

That had
made her smile, that and the fact he wasn’t going anywhere yet. She said, “I
have an injury, in my knee. I never really recovered from it. I went through a
series of surgeries, but… it’s just not the same.”

“I see,” he
said, simply.

Leaning back
on the chair, she turned back to the safe scene of the guests dancing, dancers
who seemed never to get tired of having fun. “You’re different,” she muttered
loud enough to make sure he heard her.

Ignoring her
last statement, Dylan apparently had more to say, “I didn’t know you were still
in pain.”

“I’m not in pain
pain,” she didn’t want to give him the wrong idea, “Not like it was. Not
while I’m sitting here without doing much of anything.” Then, “Don’t
worry about it, and I do dance, only
very sporadically.”

Nodding,
Dylan took the glass closest to him and drank its clear water, “I’m not
worried.”

Right. “You
might get better luck looking for another dancing partner.”

Immediately,
he frowned, “I’m not much of a dancer.”

“You said
that before, didn’t you?” she said as she remembered the fact.

“It is my
understanding you are the dance teacher in this town. Am I wrong?”

This last
statement raised a red flag within Rebecca, for he had revealed he knew about
her, at least more than she knew about him. Not only was this one of the most
out of the ordinary conversation she had ever had, she was having it with a man
who had apparently been invited to her best friend’s wedding and who had heard about her. Where had he come from?
Did he ever say if he knew the bride or the groom? Coleen had certainly never
spoken about him; she would have remembered if she had. That meant it had to be
someone Bob knew. Only that didn’t make any sense either, because knowing Bob,
someone like Dylan would be the last person on Earth he would ever befriend.

But, then…
why had he been invited to a private wedding like this one in the smallest town
in the state?

Knowing it
would sound rude, she asked, “Who did you say you were, exactly?”

“Dylan
Torrence,” he said quickly, not seeming to understand where the question had
come from.

“Are you a
friend of Bob’s or…?”

The way his
eyes lit up told her he knew exactly what she wanted to know and so he replied
instantly: “Oh, no. I know Mr. Anderson.” The father of the bride? “Old
acquaintance, actually.”

“Really?” Old acquaintance? Rebecca frowned in
disbelief. This guy couldn’t be any older than she was – and maybe even
younger – it was impossible for him to have known Mr. Anderson for long; unless
he had known Coleen’s dad as a child and then… that seemed improbable, too.
Maybe they had met someplace else, but Mr. Anderson rarely left the town for anything.
“I’ve never seen you before. You’re not from around here. You have to
understand, everyone in this town knows everyone.

Clearing his
throat, Dylan fixed a tie that didn’t need fixing. “It’s my first time here in
a long time, to tell the truth,” he confessed as if he were revealing a
forbidden secret.

“You’ve been
here before?”

“Yes,” he
said. “Like I said, I know Anderson. It’s been a few years since I last saw
him, actually.”

Rebecca
grunted, “You know Mr. Anderson,” she repeated this as a fact, not a question.

“Right. I
do.” Searching the table, Dylan found another glass of water, empting it in
seconds. Rebecca wondered if his thirst was an indication of how nervous he was
now that she was close to discovering the terrible secret he had been trying to
hide. Because, why would he be nervous unless he was hiding something?
She watched as he placed the glass back on the table, swallowed the water with
difficulty and continued, “Work. I know him through work.”

Nodding suspiciously,
Rebecca persisted with her interrogation, “Are you a cop? When were you in town
before?”

He was quick
ignore the first question, “A while ago. Years ago.”

Was this his
way of avoiding the same questions? “I don’t get it,” she told him.

“You don’t
get it,” he looked away annoyed as he repeated what she had just said. It
didn’t take him long to gather his confidence again, “Just, what’s with the
twenty questions, Ms. Sawyer?”

“I’m sorry,
but I just don’t get how you know Mr. Anderson,” she insisted.

He was quick
to explain, his tone harsher than she’d liked, “I’m sure Thomas Anderson
doesn’t introduce you to all of his acquaintances, Ms. Sawyer. Not even if you
are his daughter’s best friend,” at hearing this, she sneered at him in
contempt. He was finally showing his true colors. “But, you don’t have to take
my word for it; we can ask him.” As he was speaking, the music in the
background had stopped. The murmur from the crowd increased as they walked in
pairs back to their tables. Rebecca spotted Coleen, who immediately winked at
her and gave her the thumbs up. From the other side of the room, Dylan Torrence
had spotted Mr. Anderson, who was walking determinately to join them.

Their table
began to fill with the rest of the guests, forcing Dylan to give up his seat as
he waited to his acquaintance to
arrive.

Thomas Anderson
had been forced to stop at a nearby table to talk to another guest, but he soon
made eye contact with Dylan letting him know he had interest in talking. The
Chief of Police finished his conversation with his friend and continued his way
to meet Dylan and Rebecca.

“Who are
you?” Rebecca asked him again, not sure if he could hear her. She could not
understand why Mr. Anderson had decided that Dylan Torrence deserved to be a
guest in his daughter’s wedding. Dylan held her thoughts with his index finger
and turned to wait on Mr. Anderson who now appeared to be trying to reach them.
As she followed the old man walk across the room, she asked: “Wait, what did
you say you did for a living?”

“I didn’t
say,” Dylan replied as he waited.

“Are you a
cop?” Why didn’t he turn to look at her? What was his problem? “What in
the world…?”

It was too
late, Mr. Anderson was in earshot. “Hi, Becca,” Coleen’s dad started right as
he stopped before the young man, who confidently shook hands with him, “I see
you’ve met my good friend, Dylan Torrence.”

It really
was like entering an alternate universe. A universe in which the Chief of
Police called a young man in his twenties his good friend. Really, this
guy couldn’t be older than she was.

“We’re
getting to know each other, Tom,” Dylan told him as he patted the old man’s
shoulder.

Tom? They were on a first
name basis, too? When had this happened?

“Well, like
I said when we spoke on the phone, Ms. Sawyer is my daughter’s Maid of Honor.”

Nodding, he
said, “I am really glad I came.”

Mr. Anderson
himself nodded awkwardly before clearing his throat. “Well, I hope everything
is all right. Are you having a good time? Is there… anything I can help
you with, Dylan? You know I want to make your stay here as comfortable as
possible. Everybody is being nice to you, I hope?”

Really, what
was going on? Could someone explain why the Chief of Police was treating
a stranger like him like royalty?

“Thank you,
Tom. As a matter of fact, I’m truly enjoying myself,” Dylan added, “I was
telling Ms. Sawyer here about the time you and I met.”

Was that a
nervous smile on Tom Anderson’s face now? “Uhm, you were coming from Texas,
weren’t you? Dallas? You were in pursuit of a criminal if memory doesn’t fail.”

Dylan’s
smile showed triumph, but Rebecca dismissed him immediately, “Wait a minute,”
she said, “what criminal? They came here? To this town?” There had to be more
than that.

Chief of
Police Thomas Anderson glanced at Rebecca nervously while Dylan watched the
exchange. “First time I helped in a federal investigation,” added the father of
the bride.

“A federal
investigation?” asked an open mouthed Rebecca as the truth dawned on her; this
just kept getting weirder and weirder.

Mr. Anderson
nodded, but he quickly shrugged as he said, “I’m not really supposed to talk
about it. Sorry, kid,” he told her.

The two men
now looked at each other and laughed together awkwardly as they were surely
remembering the case they had worked together long ago.

“Wait a
minute,” Rebecca stopped their camaraderie, “why can’t you talk about it?”

“I work for
the federal government,” Dylan clarified. “Not all of my cases are cleared to
the general public.”

Mr. Anderson
elaborated, “Dylan is an FBI agent, Becca.”

“I am,” he
added.

Rebecca had
figured as much, but she was still incredulous. She had never met someone who
worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigations before and the presumptuous
Dylan Torrence suddenly intimidated her. She was, after all, only a ballet
teacher.

Although his
story made sense… she still believed there had to be more to him.
Something still had to be missing. A man didn’t become so important so
young, which could only mean this guy was either very well connected or had something in his blood that made him
special.

But, what
was that secret talent?

“If you’ll
excuse me,” Mr. Anderson said, “I see my wife calling me.”

“Of course.
Always wonderful to see you, Tom,” Dylan told him, never moving from his
standing position beside Rebecca.

“Take care
now. And let me know if you need anything. Anything at all, all right?” They
shook hands again, if only briefly, and Mr. Anderson departed.

His grin was
a little annoying, but it was what Rebecca cared about the least. Sitting in
front of him, her arms crossed over her chest and a frown on her face, she had
to ask, “So, an FBI agent, are you?”

“That’s
right,” Dylan said as he changed his weight between his feet.

“And you are
here because you’re intimate friends with Mr. Anderson?” Her tone had been
meant to be sarcastic.

“Not
exactly,” at last he was being honest, thought Rebecca, “To tell the truth I’m
here because I needed to get away. A change from my daily routine. That’s why I
asked to be invited.”

Her laughter
surprised even her and she knew she had to stop it quickly. “What do you mean
you asked to be invited? What are you, three?”

In turn, it
had been her last question that made Dylan laugh. “No, I’m not three,” he
stopped for a minute to compose himself. “Anyway, I’m glad I got to meet you. I
like you. I’m glad I came.”

“Well, I’m
glad I met you, too…you’re weird, to say the least, but nice,” she told him.

“I’ll take
the compliment,” Dylan smiled bashfully, but then said, “Although, I could say
the same thing about you.”

She frowned,
“I don’t think that I am-”

He stopped
her mid-sentence, “I’m not the only one not joining the rest of the
guests in joyous dance.”

She should
have felt offended, but she wasn’t. Instead she was amused. Realizing she
really liked him she chose another compliment instead of a clever remark
for a reply, “You’re an interesting man, Dylan Torrence.”

Right then,
she heard a beeping sound which seemed to be coming from his jacket. Dylan
produced a little black phone from his pocket; it was a device she wasn’t sure
she’d ever seen anyone she knew own. It took him a moment to read a message on
it. “I have to go,” he announced seconds later.

Rebecca
looked genuinely disappointed when she said, “Such a shame. I was really
enjoying the company.”

Smiling
shyly, he took his hand back to his pocket and this time, he produced a card.
“If you wouldn’t mind, Ms. Sawyer, I’d like to request the honor of your
company again.”

“Call me
Becca, that’s what most people call me,” she said as she took the card.

“Becca,” he
repeated.

“Although, I
should be the one giving you my number, Dylan.”

Taking the
card, she flipped it over after having found a pen in her small purse. She gave
him his card back after she had jotted down her number. Taking the card, he prepared
to leave. “I’m glad I came, and I’m glad I met you,” the card disappeared in
his pocket, “Thank you and good night, Ms. Sawyer.”

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CLAUDIA SILVA

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