Even listing the reasons why Alex and she could never happen didn't help. This was not the time to lose focus and deviate from her mission. But she couldn't help the smile lighting up her face whenever she thought about him. Something she had never thought to feel again. Ever.
Cat had made her choice that fateful night eight years ago. She hadn't regretted anything until now... until him. She couldn't afford Alex ever finding out the truth about her or why she was really here. It was a dangerous game she was playing and she had no right to drag her messy past anymore into his well-ordered life.
So, after going round and round all the arguments in her head, she'd finally decided that for both their sakes she was going to be as professional and calm around him as possible. Since her plan to stay away and ignore him had failed, she was going to try and be cordial and professional with him, even if it killed her. No more kisses and no more touching.
She had finally gotten a few details of the mysterious Theta project yesterday. Going through the encrypted files she had stolen off Nate's computer the day before, she had come to the conclusion that he didn't keep anything of use on his office computer and certainly nothing about the Project. She knew him to be an ethical and responsible person so she couldn't imagine why he'd bothered to encrypt useless old data to store on his PC. Unless he was paranoid or stupid. Then another thought struck her... what if he suspected?
No. That couldn't be, could it? Also, how was Claire's death tied into all this? Or was it somehow something else entirely? But her gut said it was all related.
Alex's reaction to seeing Claire's body had made her incredibly uncomfortable and suspicious. It hadn't been the reaction of a shocked boss finding his secretary dead in the middle of his office floor. Now that she thought about it, his reaction seemed more...guilty and resigned, if anything.
That can't be good.
Max had gotten the information from an outside source that someone was using Knight Inc. funds and the privileged Government contracts it had gotten to illegally run terrorist activities in Libya and Turkey. Since Alex's company undertook sensitive U.S. Government contracts from building weapons and ships to providing cutting-edge technology and defense gear, it was essential that the traitor be caught.
Alex's decision to stop undertaking any new contracts and the lack of information she found on his PC, all pointed to signs that Alex knew or was at least suspicious of what was happening. The way he refused to answer any questions about the scrapped Project but then assigned watchdogs to guard her, got defensive over his past actions and what the hell was he trying so hard to keep her from finding out? It just didn't add up.
But since it was his company and a substantial amount of funds had been illegally appropriated, military contracts barely completed in time and other irregularities proved that it was an inside job. She had to find the person behind this and as much as she didn't want to think it, Cat suspected Alex could be the mastermind. After all, what better cover than the owner of one of the world's largest conglomerates for a traitor could there be?
Cat had to find the answers to her questions before time ran out and Alex found out why she was really here. She didn't know how long she could resist him and keep from answering his questions about the past. After all, she couldn't just face him after what she had done. How could she? She closed her eyes and took a deep breath when suddenly her mind transported her back into darkness.
Coldwater thrown on her face woke her up from when she'd passed out as Cam finally made an appearance. Had it been days? Weeks? Years? She couldn't even remember the last time she had had water to drink or something to eat.
She greedily lapped at the droplets flowing down her dirty, bloody face and felt herself completely hopeless and destroyed. She couldn't win against him. Her parents who had been trained agents and the whole CIA hadn't been able to prove anything against him. How could she a barely 19-year old girl with some training and lots of courage hope to take down an international criminal?
"How are you feeling Ms. Banning?"
She numbly looked at him with pleading eyes.
"How it pains me to see you like this," Cam exclaimed in a sad voice.
"Pl-Please." She croaks horrifically. Some days she was left alone without any human contact, any food or water, and just injected with adrenaline and drugs that kept her awake.
All she wanted was to close her eyes for a few moments. All she wanted was the constant torture and violence to stop.
"Mike will be here to visit you soon, my dear. I'm afraid I won't be able to stop him this time from going all the way if you don't agree to work for me."
"N-No," She moans as the thought of the hulking brute with pasty features and his friends literally brings her to her knees. "D-Don't. D-d-don't pl-pl-p-please I-I'll d-d-do it." She shivered violently in her linen shift as Cam came to stand over her.
"What was that, my dear?"
"I-I'll d-do w-what e-ever y-y-you s-say." She agreed to sign over her soul to the devil.
"That's very good news." Her eyes shot up as she sensed another man entering her normally dark cell which was only lit when Cam bothered to visit her.
"Your services won't be needed anymore, Mike. Go get someone down here to clean her up and get her some food and clothes."
"We'll get you checked out, Cat. Don't worry everything is going to be alright."