Part One: Hidden Objectives

As the Learjet 45 descends into Granada International Airport, the wind starts to pick up. The warm and clear night becomes chill as the private jet lands and Guillermo Rocarin steps off. Guillermo can feel the chill settle within his bones, and he begins to suspect with a sixth sense he has developed over the years that tonight is different. His habitual flight between his homes in Seville and Granada is peppered with anxiety, causing Guillermo to worry. He usually has a sense of when trouble is coming.

A gun is aimed directly between Guillermo Rocarin's eyes, and he begins to see that his premonition is correct. His life flashes before his eyes, or so he thinks it should since he believes his life to be like a movie. But this is no movie and, he, the star, will not escape.

The girl in front of him seems to be very pissed, an intense concentration lighting her dark eyes, as she keeps her gun leveled steady at his forehead. His assassin seems vaguely familiar, but he cannot quite place her striking features. Indistinguishable from the many beauties of Seville, his murderer will forever elude his memory. The last thought in Guillermo's mind as the bullet strikes the grey matter that is his brain is repentance for all his sins.

* * *

Olivia Samuels awakes with a start as the persistent ringing of a telephone pierces the silence. Streaming rays of sunlight filter into the dark bedroom, blinding her temporarily. Olivia looks over at the alarm clock; it reads 7:30 AM. Sighing, she picks up the receiver.

The voice on the line speaks in a deliberate baritone, whispering with authority. "Turn on the Rhyme connection." A click, then silence.

Scrambling out of bed, Olivia quickly dashes to her pants hanging on the bed banister. Pulling out the silver cell phone inside her pants pocket, she quickly turns it on. Within seconds it begins to ring.

The same voice. "Olivia I told you to open the connection once your task was complete. Understood?"

She smiles at the familiar admonition, picturing the speaker furrowing his brows as he says it. "Yeah, Pickett, I'm aware of protocol. But if you want the scoop you have to be a little nicer than that."

Hearing the audible grimace, Olivia snickers. The speaker continues, "What happened?"

"The Rat Mouth escaped." She hangs up, not wanting to hear the oncoming yells.

Ten seconds later, her phone rings again. Olivia ignores it. Rhyme is very persistent, and she knows Pickett will not stop calling until she answers. She continues to ignore it.

Leaving the ringing phone behind, Olivia pulls on some jeans and a modest white shirt, and proceeds to exit the ambassador's home. The ambassador, Gregory Hughes is her husband, but the thought of Gregory so early in the morning puts a horrid taste in her mouth, so she stops thinking about him.

She strolls along the cobblestone avenues that line old Seville, the light breeze twisting her russet hair. The bustling marketplace is crowded with a mass of brown bodies, all haggling for a better price. Side-stepping the cutthroat bazaar, Olivia continues down the main road, enjoying the sunny summer day. She trails along the alleyways, strolling through the cooling shadows made by the stucco row houses, slowly making her way to her intended destination. Then she sees it, the sign for the Barrio del Aguacate. Named after the bright green paint resembling avocados, the barrio is home to rows of colorful dwellings. Located in the artisan district, the barrio exudes old charm and artsy warmth.

Coming to a stop at a row house with a red Spanish tiled roof, Olivia knocks on the door.

* * *

Rosalind James whispers to the man across from her, even though nobody is in earshot. Her home does not feel completely immune to hearing devices, and she turns on the radio to drown out her conversation.

Rosalind tilts her head closer to the man across from her, the filtering light playing shadows across her obsidian hair and golden face. "It may be a surprise to you, but I know who killed our parents." Her brother turns away and winces at the memory, he was thirteen when it happened and Rosalind was his guardian at sixteen. She tries to calm him, placing her delicate fingers upon his shoulder.

He turns back, his dark blue eyes clouded with emotion. "Did you find out from Rhyme?" He says it a little too loudly for her taste, and she turns the volume of the radio up.

She smiles, but it is without joy, more like a snarl. "Rhyme?" She laughs as if this is an absurd joke. She had mistakenly told her brother about Rhyme recently, putting his life in danger.

Working for the Ministerio del Interior, Spain's equivalent of the CIA, Rosalind had been approached with an offer to join a new organization. Rhyme would be its name and it would take down the drug rings of Europe. At the time, Rosalind had hoped Rhyme would lead her to the drug kingpin that was responsible for her parents' murder. Vowing to avenge their deaths, she joined Rhyme last year. Things had changed since then.

Her brother looks deploringly at her, waiting for her reminiscence to pass. "Rosalind, tell me. I am not a child anymore; I am a man of twenty-five years of age. I deserve the truth!"

Though hearing her brother's pleas, it takes several minutes before she answers again, thoughts of Rhyme drifting from her mind. "I only found out recently. Have patience my joker."

He grimaces at the old nickname. My name is Larker, he thinks, but I am not the joking type. In fact, his given name belies every characteristic he possesses. Solemn, aloof, and honest.

Rosalind looks as though she wants to say more, but then a knock on the door resonates throughout the small abode. More jumpy than usual, Rosalind looks as if she is in trouble. She shushes Larker, as she creeps to the door. No eye-hole, she is forced to open it with a crack.

On seeing his sister's shoulders slump in relief, Larker stalks to the door.

His sister's body blocks the view of the person in front of her. "Olivia! What a nice surprise, please come in."

Thinking this his cue to leave, Larker turns to walk out the door. But he is stopped in his tracks as he takes a glance at whom his sister is speaking to. The infamous Olivia, he had yet to meet her but his sister had said she was beautiful, but that was an understatement. Standing in the beating Spanish sun, she seems to be of an angelic beauty, possessing porcelain skin and auburn hair. But those eyes, like a kaleidoscope of greens of wild kapok leaves and crashing Caribbean waves, are what captivate him. He lingers to gaze openly at her, tracing the scar outlining her left jaw line that mars her perfect skin, with his eyes.

His thoughts are startled by his sister's hand upon his back, ushering him out into the open air. He waves goodbye, his reflexes taking over, as he follows the path home via muscle memory.

* * *

Kissing both of Olivia's cheeks, Rosalind gestures her inside.

"What's with the Beethoven?" Olivia covers her ears as the unusually loud music fills the space. "I'm surprised you could hear me knocking!"

Rosalind smiles, warmly, and turns down the radio. Its ruckus is replaced by the gurgling of the center patio's water fountain. Olivia proceeds to follow the noise outside into the familiar garden. It is filled with lavender and other fragrant flowers, just as she remembers. Rosalind continues to the kitchen to put tea on. Like clockwork, taught by her British father, she makes tea for her guest.

Olivia sits down at the wrought iron table, it is either rusting or the paint has begun to fade from its usage. Olivia believes it to be the latter, as she and Rosalind sit here everyday for tea.

Minutes later Rosalind returns with a tea tray and pours Olivia a cup. Steam rises from the hot fluid, and Olivia begins to blow on it.

"So, Pickett called. Olivia, what did you do? He sounded really angry."

Olivia rolls her eyes, "The man called here already?"

"Yeah, just now. I told him you weren't here. He obviously knows you visit me everyday, because he didn't believe me." Rosalind says this into her drink as she gingerly takes a sip.

"I shouldn't get you involved in this, Roz. I'm in the shit right now, had a rough night."

"The whole Rocarin thing?"

"How did you know? That was a secret assignment."

"I know more than you think. In fact, I know more than a lot of people, Rhyme included." She says this nonchalantly, more a statement of fact than a bragging rite.

"Music's not on." Olivia quickly reminds her.

"Hell, I'm your partner, I should know these things. I mean you could have casually mentioned it to me yesterday as we drank tea,"

"Are you trying to get me in trouble?"

Rosalind suddenly looks as if she has stepped out of a dream. "I'm sorry. I think I was babbling just then."

Olivia takes a sip of her coffee, careful not to burn the roof of her mouth with the scalding liquid. "Perhaps."

The phone rings in Rosalind's kitchen, this time plainly heard by Olivia.

Rosalind looks at her partner, asking permission. "Shall I answer it?"

Olivia waves her hand in mock resignation. "What the hell."

Rosalind gets up, taking the tea tray with her. Olivia takes a last mouthful as if fortifying herself with courage, though the drink is no scotch.

She doesn't need the courage, it's Pickett, but this time he doesn't have a reprimand, just an urgent message.

* * *

John Pickett sits at his oak desk furious with indignation at the way he is being treated by the Olivia-Rosalind duo. He has just hung up the phone, exhausted by the amount of information he divulges to them. He begins to settle down, recalling he has a meeting later and he will be sure to report their indiscretions.

Leaning back into his plush leather chair, Pickett begins to lose himself within the dark office atmosphere, and slowly drifts asleep. A nice nap is in order after all he has done, and he bathes in the fact that he has set off a chain of events that is crucial to Rhyme's operation. It doesn't bother him he needs a nap, even though his years are starting to catch up with him. At forty-eight years of age, John Pickett believes himself to be in great shape, but sometimes a rest is needed, especially after talking with Olivia and Rosalind.

The cat nap is interrupted by a knock on the door. It startles Pickett, and he looks in the mirror to adjust his groggy appearance. He smoothes out his graying hair, and fidgets with his red tie, he then walks to the door not expecting a visit.

John Pickett is knocked over, in a position of submission. The perpetrator of such an ungainly act is Gillian Knisely, one of Rhyme's head directors. She is not mad at Pickett, on the contrary, she is very pleased.

After locking the door, Gillian Knisely bends over the spread-eagled Pickett, a grin on her face. Her crimson hair dangles over her bowed face, creating a tent over her beautiful features. Gillian looks much younger than her forty-three years. Her ruby lips curl into a smile, as she sits upon Pickett's torso.

Pickett is not smiling, he rarely smiles. But his large hands grope Gillian's firm buttocks, and he squeezes them like grapes. She pretends not to notice, and puts on a fake smile of pleasure.

She rocks back and forth, pleased at the protuberance she creates at the base of Pickett's abdomen. "I know you did what you were told. Good job." She praises him like a dog; she knows he likes such mundane approval.

She unzips his pants, "You gave my command word for word."

* * *

Olivia rolls down the windows of Rosalind's black Citroen Xsara as her hair whips in a windy frenzy. The breeze feels cool against her hot skin, glowing warm with excitement. Pressing the accelerator, she feels the familiar sensation of power surge beneath her as the car rockets off down the road.

Rosalind is sleeping, as she usually does before a mission. She collects herself within her dreams, preparing for the arduous task ahead. Olivia recognizes this preliminary action, and smiles at her sleeping partner, patting her raven hair with affection.

They arrive at an abandoned warehouse, on the outskirts of Puerta de Jerez. They park inside. Looking out over the Guadalquivir River, Rosalind shivers, the sun sets leaving a striking distorted image upon the surface. The air around the river town suddenly turns frightfully cold, and the two women are forced to huddle together.

They slowly make their way to the discussed meeting point. The night emerges, causing the street lamps to gradually brighten the lonely avenue. They walk with a purpose, seemingly knowing their way around the old port area.

La estatua de San Felix. Beams of light glow upward, casting shadows over the prominent features of the statue. This is the place. With a menacing austerity, the statue glowers with darkened eyes. A bench in front of the effigy allows a place to sit for Olivia and Rosalind as they wait for the Messenger.

The Messenger mysteriously drifts by the couple's side. A pause, brief, not long enough for anyone to suspect they have talked. The mission given out in a single breath.

They move forward, toward the dark alleyways that snake around the abandoned buildings. They do not speak. Olivia is first to approach their destination.

Whispers float around the seemingly empty building, revealing the secret operations that progress inside. A thin slit of light escapes a boarded window, showing signs of life within. Perhaps a scuffle has occurred or the meeting has dispersed because shadows start to dance from the one light source. Whatever the reason, voices escalate, and Olivia and Rosalind sense it may be time to show themselves.

* * *

The piercing, slanted eyes of Fausto Rocarin penetrate the muted room, swiveling towards the entrance where he hears faint noises.

He finds it suspicious, but he knows the committee is awaiting special guests that are late, but they will be able to give information dealing with who may have murdered his father.

Fausto squints his dark eyes, causing his rat-like face to become even more rodent-like. Tonight is the night he will avenge his father's death. Willing to sacrifice his life, Fausto is determined to make his family's power well-known.

When the door opens, Fausto is surprised to see two women standing at the entrance. Thinking the two informants would be large men, towering over them with wisdom and height, he gasps at their evident opposite appearance.

The one on the right is a dark Spanish beauty, the one on the left is noticeably American with her dull style and auburn hair, but beautiful all the same. Through their beauty he senses deceit, for there is no way women like these are involved in the drug trade.

They enter the room, taking up the small space with their presence. Their authority is commanding considering their small size, causing the whole room to quiet.

The first to speak is the Spanish woman, "Qué occurió? Sus madres se murieron?" She is speaking of the deafening silence, which is blatantly present.

"Nothing is wrong," Fausto answers in English for the benefit of the American. "We are just surprised by your appearance, we were expecting you sooner."

An elderly man scowls at Fausto, he should not be answering, he is not head of the Rocarin family yet. Ricardo Rocarin, the next in line behind Guillermo, and Fausto's uncle, has taken over.

Ricardo is graying at the temples, and his influence is felt over Fausto, as he speaks. "I am Ricardo Rocarin, we are pleased to welcome you to this meeting. Disregard my nephew's impoliteness," He smiles with affability, "Please join us, and divulge any information you wish."

The two women accept and sit down at the readily offered chairs, pulled out by Fausto.

His hospitality is not without vain as he directs questions at them, "Any information regarding my father's death would be appreciated."

Olivia halts; trying to hide the fact that she does not know the Rat Mouth is dead. Instead Rosalind answers. "First, we would like to discuss Circulo."

Ricardo Rocarin pauses as he hears her request, Circulo is not widely discussed. It has been in existence for the past year as a sizeable tax trap for the drug trade, and Ricardo wants it to remain a secret from others, so he can solely benefit. He regularly donates to the "charity", and makes a tidy sum for the family in the process through black market investments Circulo is kind enough to distribute.

"I have never heard of Circulo."

But Olivia knows he is bluffing, "Then we did not know that Guillermo Rocarin was murdered." This is not entirely a lie.

Fausto answers, looking at his lap. "I know."

He pulls out a MAC-11, in the same lap he was just staring at. The MAC-11, like a mini machine gun, starts spraying bullets around the small enclosure, destroying friend and foe alike. His anger overrides common sense, even when he sees his uncle fall, while the intended targets run.

Olivia and Rosalind miraculously stumble out of the building relatively unscathed. They run, and running on adrenaline is not hard when being pursued by bullets. They run on experience, this not being the first time they run from bullets, and odds are not the last.

Wounded people from the edifice stagger onto the street, mostly clutching a body part, or running for their dear life. Fausto had made a choice, a costly one, and now his surname will never be honored again.

* * *

Fausto rushes outside, trying to follow the two women. He can barely see above the chaos, regard or remorse for his fallen peers and elders does not enter his mind as his squinting eyes search beyond them.

Suddenly he sees them retreating through the narrow road, fading shadows through the faint streetlights. He desperately tries to follow them, but a motorbike swerves to their side, and as they mount he feels them slipping away.

* * *

Olivia is surprised to find herself on a motorbike, along with Rosalind, hanging onto the driver. She is not thinking of the dangers of riding without a helmet, too concerned over Rosalind and her safety. Plus, the driver seems to have the situation under control, smoothly traveling along the cobblestone, down toward the river.

The motorbike skids to the side of their initial destination, the abandoned building where Rosalind's car sits.

Olivia turns to thank the driver, but he is already speeding away. She doesn't think twice about this, Rhyme's aides never receive thanks.

She turns back to Rosalind, who shakily sits on the ground. Olivia cannot fathom why, this is not the first time Rosalind has been in a dangerous situation like that.

Rosalind seems to read her mind as she explains. "It was a set-up."

Olivia hangs her head, a set-up by whom? She wants to say more, but is interrupted by her partner who shakes her head vehemently.

"I never thought they would go after me. Or at least it hasn't hit me until now."

Olivia stoops to cradle her partner, swaying back in forth. She believes Rosalind may be cracking, not such an unusual thing for those working for Rhyme.

She shushes her, "Shh, Roz. Who's coming after you?"

Rosalind sits up and walks toward the abandoned warehouse, searching for her car. Olivia follows, not knowing what to say.

The night stars streak past the car windows as the two travel toward Olivia's house, upon Rosalind's insistence.

They arrive at the house as the clock chimes twelve. Rosalind is visibly exhausted as she stumbles up the stairs, shepherded by Olivia. They find their way to the guest room, away from Gregory and his questioning glares.

Rosalind appears exhausted through Olivia's eyes, but she has never felt more aware. She knows the truth, and she wishes to preach it to Olivia.

As she concentrates on Olivia's intense face, she feels a familiar longing to tell her all. But she does not speak, and Olivia gently puts her to bed, snuggling in comfortably next to her.

The sheets divide them, more than Rosalind anticipated, and she struggles to lean in closer to Olivia.

Olivia reciprocates, but is disturbed by the change in Rosalind's eyes. "What's up, Roz. You can tell me."

Rosalind wants so badly to believe her as she strokes her cheek, but she doesn't want to jeopardize her life too. Rosalind is not sure how long she will be able to escape her hunter's grasp.

She closes her eyes, hoping to make reality disappear, and she almost achieves this while feeling safe within Olivia's arms, warmth spreading throughout her body. But in the corner of her mind, she knows she does not have long.

This is when she realizes she must take action. Rosalind is not used to being a cowering little girl, and she doesn't intend on being one while she still has time.

She is keeping more than one secret from Olivia, and she knows it is time to share it. If she can gather courage, she knows what the next step should be.

Olivia thinks Rosalind is asleep, but sees her eyes moving underneath her eyelids in thought. She assumes it is REM sleep, brought on by the hectic night and Rosalind's unfounded worries. She looks on, scanning Rosalind's beautiful olive face, knowing she will do anything to keep her safe.

But the reverie which Olivia is in is broken by Rosalind's opening eyes. She seems to question Olivia's gaze, looking deep within her soul.

Olivia closes her eyes, sighing inwardly. "Roz,"

Her confession is stifled by Rosalind's hand upon her face. She senses Olivia's thoughts, and Olivia shivers with pleasure.

Rosalind does nothing as Olivia leans in to kiss her. Olivia initiates the intimate caresses, and Rosalind deliciously gives in. They both ride upon a wave of deep emotion, tasting each other for the first time. Their scents linger upon one another as they rhythmically make love. They melt together as one, giving into their desires for the first and last time.

* * *

Part Two: Revealed Truths

Coming Soon