Agent Ted Nandi suffered twenty long, hard years of his life for the agency and never, in all that blind dedication, had a solo sting operation been more dangerous. He felt like he was in a dream. Oh, dues had been paid and scars bared the receipts, but he had never failed. That would never be questioned. Many times he’d tangled with the mob and swam up river with the fishes, always coming out head above water…sometimes saving a few. And what other agent could lay claim to climbing and infiltrating more infrastructures than he, within his time of service?
Agent Nandi would blindly serve another twenty and pour in the rest of his remaining years in honor of the den of his agency—tenfold. But this operation…. It was different. This sting risked more than just scars, more than just his life. It risked the one thing he never had to give and always held back.
And he detested it—no—he hated it, with every grain of his being, how he had to resist the temptation or risk the entire sting and fail the agency for the first time. It was the only way to stay out of trouble, save the mission. And damn, it hurt!
He tried playing by the rules, he did—he followed every one. Fought against every urge, every instinct and threw every trick in the book at it and still…. Agent Nandi had broken the very first rule: Don’t get caught.
No his cover hadn’t been blown, nor had he been captured, that would have been easier.
He’d fallen for the honeypot.
He was no fool. He knew by the very definition it was a setup, nothing but a trap. Seven months he watched agents come and go while she fed them info. And for seven months he let his heart get snared by that golden beauty of a namesake. She fit the bill like no other with gorgeous golden locks and curves right where they belonged. Those things he could forgo, beauts were a dime a dozen and he played them all well for their worth.
But this one was different.
It was her sweetness that caught his heart. It shined so bright for those seven months that he ached for a taste. Just to see if it was real. He never felt such a pull.
If it was all just an act, damned be it, he prayed the show never went on hiatus.
But how long could he go on playing his role before he slipped character? Fouled the ruse? Spilled the milk? His life was a cliché and he was trapped.
She played her part well, too well. If he found out it was an act, could he just walk away? Would his heart resume the beat?
He had to know, even if that meant risking the sting.
After all, what good is love if it isn’t real? That fool he’d never be. But would he be that fool to find out?
He saw her, just up the stairs in the place they always met. The agents were gone. She was alone.
It was now or never.
He shook his head, hard. Twenty years of service and never once had he slipped and now he was going to risk everything. How was she different?
Those sweet golden locks…
Damn the rules! Rules were made to be broken or they were just things to be overlooked and he couldn’t overlook what his heart was telling him to do.
He had to know…had to know if that sweetness was real or if the act played was truly on him.
Grabbing the railing, he took a careful, quiet step. He wanted surprise on his side. All the better for a true judgement.
Another step and the stair creaked. His head snapped up. Those golden locks hadn’t moved an inch.
He grabbed the other rail, firmly with both hands on each and he tested his weight.
Solid, no sound. He took another step.
He was almost there.
Just one more branch…he got it!
The dream popped!
The bear pulled the beehive into his chest and started licking the delicious, golden honey oozing out. Then the beehive began to rumble and a swarm of bees shot forth from the top and turned on him, violently stinging him until he dropped from the tree and landed on the ground in a world of hurt he’d never known.