Nick kept running up the escalator until he reached the last person between him and the sunny exit above, a pretty young woman. Nick stopped beside her and smiled, she returned his smile batting her chestnut eyes playfully. They engaged in light conversation. Nick’s plan was to walk out of the Metro arm in arm looking for all the world like a couple. These men wouldn’t be looking for a couple. He stripped off his coat turning it inside out to black and draping it over his arm. He then drew his hair back in one motion and fastened it into a ponytail. As Nick and the woman reached the top of the escalator, Nick offered his arm to the woman with a casual comment about always tripping off these things as a kid. She giggled at the familiarity and took Nick’s arm.
The plan working so far. She agreed he’d accompany to the building where her appointment would begin in ten minutes. As the couple emerged from the tunnel into the frosty morning air, he and the girl stepped quickly right up the sidewalk. Nick snuck a quick look left between the north and south Metro entrances where he expected the other man to be. Sure enough there he was standing beside a long, black town car trying to keep watch on both exits. His phone rang and he picked up. Nick turned and escorted his new friend up the street, keeping an ear behind for running steps following, they never came as the couple turned the corner ne looked back once and the two men were now huddled together at the exit he and the girl had just left.
A block later Nick left the girl at her building and he hailed a cab and jumped in happy to on his way to see Boris. “Pentagon” and the cab lurched forward. Nick had time to think now and he ran through the morning’s events. None of it made any sense. His phone rang, “Damn, Tony” Nick muttered to himself, he pushed the screen to pick up the call.”Nick here” “Nick, I’m waiting for you here, I thought you were coming in at 9” Nick knew he didn’t have any meetings this morning with Tony but it always took him off guard when Tony did this stuff. “Uh…I don’t remember a meeting…” “HA-HA-HA, got you again Sorrento, you’re an easy mark.” “Oh, yeah, that’s it Tony, you’re too quick for me, especially before I’ve had my coffee.” “Yeah-yeah it’s the coffee. So when am I going to getting the next grant draft?” “Well, something came up this morning. I’ll have it to you by 6 tonight.” “Hey, you were supposed to have it here by noon. I’m no night owl remember?” “Yeah I know, sorry Tony, can’t be helped.” “OK,OK, you all right Sorrento?” “Yeah Tony, I’ll explain later.” “All right Nick but no later than 6, I’ve got blank tapes waiting for you.” “Yeah, I bet you do” It occurred to Nick that only a couple of hours ago his biggest problem was Tony’s tapes. “All right Tony, catch you later.” The phone clicked off. Tony could see the Washington Bridge ahead, next stop Virginia and the Pentagon. Nick hoped Boris would have some answers.