ext_15707: (Default)
[identity profile] aqualegia.livejournal.com
Title: Undercover Tourists.
Author: Aqualegia
Artist:
Fandom: Once a Thief
Characters/Pairings: Victor/Li Ann, Mac/Jackie
Rating/Category: NC17/Gen
Genre: Pretend romance
Word Count: 16,510
Warnings possible major character death.
Summary: People are disappearing, and the Agency has been asked to help investigate the problem.




Chapter 1
Monday, August 15th


Agency Headquarters, Toronto.


Victor sat at the table in the briefing room idly wondering what mission the Director was going to send them on this time, and who else was going on the mission with him.

Hearing footsteps approaching he swung his chair around just as Mac walked into the room and asked, "Do you know what this is about?"

Victor shook his head. "Nope. Dobrinsky wasn't very talkative when he phoned; just a terse message to be here before ten o'clock this morning."

Mac sat down in his usual chair with a sour expression on his face. "Yeah, that's all I got as well." He drew a deep breath and looked at his watch. "We have still got ten minutes before ten o'clock; I wonder if anyone else will be joining us."

Victor shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine - but I wouldn't bet against both Li Ann and Jackie being involved as well."

Mac nodded thoughtfully. "You're probably right... I don't know why, but I'm getting the feeling that we could be going undercover again: Like we did in Leggett Falls."

"I was pretty much thinking along those lines as well," Victor admitted. "I can't see any other reason for this meeting to be held in the large conference room, instead of the small briefing room which we normally use, unless we are going to have visitors who want our help."

They both heard the swing doors at the far end of the corridor being pushed open to bang against the wall, and two pairs of footsteps making their way towards them. As one, Victor and Mac swung their chairs around and focussed on the only pair of doors on this level which allowed access from the corridor to the large conference room.

Neither of them was surprised to see both Li Ann and Jackie enter the room and take up their usual seats, Li Ann between Victor and Mac, with Jackie taking her seat on the other side of Mac. They exchanged greetings, then focussed their attention on the doors on the opposite side of the room.

As the clock started to strike the hour, the highly polished doors that they had all been watching so intently, opened and the Director walked in to the room accompanied by three men; two men they had met before, Brian Fawcett-Smythe and Captain Taylor, but the third man was a complete stranger. Without saying a word the four newcomers took their seats on the other side of the table from the four Agents, as the doors through which they'd entered closed silently behind them.

The Director cleared her throat to gain everyone's attention, then said, "I am sure you remember Brian Fawcett-Smythe and Captain Michael Taylor." Her four Agents all nodded. "They have brought along a friend, Captain John Fletcher, who has a problem with some missing people, and it is their hope that we can find out what has happened to them." She turned towards Fletcher and asked. "Captain, please would you give us two examples of the kinds of problems you are facing; so that my agents can get some idea of how we may be able to assist you."

Fletcher nodded his head, and faced the two men and two women sitting opposite him. "Until recently I was stationed near Banff, in Alberta, so when Captain Morris, who was stationed near Vancouver, died from a heart attack, I was not expecting to be transferred there to take his place. I read through his files of outstanding cases and was rather taken aback by the number of people who have been reported missing listed there, and no trace of them has ever been found. I have to admit that I felt very much out of my depth, so I contacted Michael and asked for his help." He gestured towards Captain Taylor.

Taylor leaned forward. "I have to admit that I was also somewhat horrified that so many people had just disappeared, almost into thin air. For instance: A couple arrived in Vancouver from New York and checked in to the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. They did some local excursions, the ticket stubs for which were found in their hotel room. After they had been there nearly two weeks, they hired a car so that they could make some longer journeys and return to the hotel each night. After setting out early on their eighth excursion using the car, they didn't return to the hotel. No-one at the hotel was particularly worried as tourists often stopped off at guest houses for the night when they wanted to explore more of the surrounding area before returning to the hotel.

Obviously, when the maids entered their suite the beds had not been slept in, and this was reported to the hotel management immediately. When they still hadn't returned after another two days had passed, the Hotel Manager, Alan Newton, reported them missing to the local police and to the R.C.M.P. The eighth journey, the last place they visited, was Whistler and they had spent most of that day there. We haven't been able to find anyone who has seen them since."

Fletcher took up the tale again. "Captain Morris put out an A.P.B. on the car, and the people driving it. Naturally he contacted the police in New York to see if they had sent postcards or letters to their relatives there, hoping it might shed some light on where they were thinking of going next. Apparently a few had arrived, saying how much they were enjoying their vacation. The last postcard they received was from Whistler, postmarked for the day they disappeared. Unfortunately, there was nothing written on any of the cards which shed any light on where they were going to visit next. There were no clues in their hotel room either. There was a receipt for a Lonely Planet guide book, but the book was nowhere in the room, so they must have had it with them.

"That was five years ago. There haven't been any more letters to relatives, and neither the car, nor the two people who hired it, have been seen since. There are a few more incidents like that; but there are also those vacationers, both foreign and domestic, who have gone on sight seeing tours and disappeared within the Vancouver area. A slightly different type of disappearance has occurred with Vancouver residents going across the border into the United States on a touring vacation and disappearing. Some have driven their own cars across the border into Washington State and beyond, others have taken flights to various cities throughout the lower forty-eight. Places like San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Miami to name but a few."

"And none of them have returned? None of their cars have been found?" Victor felt compelled to ask.

Fletcher shook his head. "No. Once again no trace of the missing people, or cars, have been found. I have a feeling that the disappearance of Captain Morris' niece Christina McKenzie, her husband Neil, and their daughter Elizabeth, may have contributed towards his untimely death."

"I think you're probably right," Victor replied, sounding very sad: He then looked straight into The Director's eyes and asked, "Are we going to Vancouver as undercover tourists?"

The Director gave him a wry smile. "Yes, and no." she replied. "Mac and Jackie are going to be tourists in Vancouver, as Mark and Jackie Johnson. They are going to drive across country from Regina in Saskatchewan, to Banff where they will stay for a few days, visiting a list of places which they will copy, taking the written list with them. Only when all places have been visited, and photographed, will they drive to Vancouver.

"They will be staying at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel and visit the list of places they will be given to copy. They, their car and luggage will all have inert trackers inserted. This is so that if necessary we can locate them at any time without giving away the fact that they can be traced. Once you have visited all the places on your list, check out of the Hotel and return to Regina. Is that understood?"

Jackie and Mac both confirmed that they understood.

"Victor Mansfield and his wife Li Ann (which will be spelt L.e.a.n.n.e for this mission) will be flying from Vancouver Airport to Los Angeles. You will also have inert trackers inserted in you, the car and your luggage. We will be providing a book of maps with a list of places we want you to visit, and please make sure you visit them all in the order you've been given. DO NOT skip any of them, or visit them out of order. Before you leave here, Victor, I want you to copy the list in your own handwriting and return the typed list to me."

"Yes, Ma'am," Victor affirmed his understanding, and so did Li Ann.

"When do you think you will be able to put your people in the field?" Captain Fletcher asked.

"Hopefully, no more than two weeks from now," the Director replied with a slight wince.

"Why so long?" Fletcher queried, looking a little angry.

The Director frowned at him for a moment, then said; "We have a lot of paperwork to produce and file in the correct places. Birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports. School and college records. A House, or apartment where they are supposed to live. Marriage Certificates.... We can't just make these things magically appear." The Director paused, and lifted an eyebrow towards Victor, silently inviting him to speak up.

Taking this cue from his boss, Victor picked up the thread, adding to the list of things to do. "Don't forget driving licenses, there are also doctor's records, and hospital records to be amended. Wedding photographs to be taken, and income tax records to be adjusted. Employment records will also have to be amended where necessary - and any other records which could cause problems if they were discovered. We don't know how thorough these people are in doing their background checks. We also need to get wedding and engagement rings for Li Ann and Jackie, plus wedding rings for Mac and me. Then, of course, there are bank accounts to be set up for those with new names, plus debit and credit cards, where applicable. To be honest, we're going to be lucky to get all that done within the two week window. Whilst some of Mac and Jackie's paperwork can be done here; for Li Ann and I however, a great deal of the paperwork will need to be done in Vancouver, starting with acquiring the houses and/or apartments for Li Ann and I to live in before we get married. One of them will become our 'home' once we are married, and the other one will become empty again."

Victor grinned at their visitors' stunned expressions, before starting to talk again. "In my case there are some things which are already covered: There is no point in changing my name as I was born in Vancouver and went to both school and college there, so it shouldn't be too difficult to re-integrate me within Vancouver's systems. Also, Li Ann lived in Vancouver for nearly two years so quite a lot of her paperwork is already in situ; however, both her first name and her surname will have to be changed on all of them. On the other hand, Mac was in Vancouver for only a few months before the Agency was relocated to Toronto, therefore most of his paperwork is stored in Toronto's systems. Of course his name, as well as Jackie's, will have to be changed on all the documentation and filed in all the right places."

He leaned forward and looked towards where Jackie was slouching in her chair. "Jackie, have you ever visited Vancouver?"

Jackie shook her head. "No. I hadn't actually visited anywhere else in Canada until I joined the Agency. I was born and raised here in Ontario, so all my paperwork is filed in the appropriate archives here in Toronto."

Victor turned back towards The Director and raised an eyebrow, silently asking if he should carry on talking. She placed her pen against her lips and he sat back in his chair.

"Thank you for your report Victor," The Director said with a smile. "This is what I propose we do with the information Victor has presented to us.

"Since Mister Mansfield and Miss Tsei have the longest journey and already have most of their documentation filed in Vancouver, we should send them on their way so that they can complete the rest of the forms which are necessary for this assignment to be a success. However, before you leave Toronto because you're changing jobs, you will have to buy an engagement ring for Li Ann. It would look suspicious otherwise." She raised an eyebrow at Victor who nodded his agreement.

"The Agency still has the original office space in Vancouver, so I suggest you go there first to meet your main contact, Assistant Director Jack Price. There will be a car waiting for you at the Airport to enable you and Li Ann to get around the city without having to use the Transit System, unless you are going to a place where parking is restricted. You'll find details of the houses and apartments to which we still have keys and which have a dedicated housekeeper to look after them. Once you've been there a few days, it will be time to go shopping for Wedding rings and to start making arrangements to get married. A.D. Price will make sure that Li Ann's old documentation is amended to show her new name. He will also look after the arrangements for passports and the other documents, plus the hired car which will be waiting for you to collect in L.A. Those documents will also have to be close at hand on your arrival in Los Angeles. He will make sure that there are no discrepancies. He will also introduce you to the teams which will be guarding you whilst in the United States. If either of you do have any concerns about any of the arrangements, either before or after they have been made; please speak to A.D. Price immediately."

She looked down at the paper in front of her, then went on, "Agent David White, Jack's deputy, will help you with the actual Wedding ceremony at the Register Office, and will be your Best Man Victor; Ana Wong, the next most senior Agent, will be Li Ann's Bridesmaid and second witness for signing the register."

The Director paused for a moment to see if there were any comments forthcoming. When neither Victor nor Li Ann asked any questions, she continued with the briefing. "No more than five days later, you will be catching a flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles. Please make sure you have all your paperwork with you at all times."

She cast a stern look between Victor and Li Ann before continuing. "Please follow the itinerary you will be given for your honeymoon meticulously. I realize that there may be some places listed that don't interest you. However, these are places which were visited by the missing people. So buy postcards and send them to your best man and bridesmaid, and don't forget to write on them how much you are enjoying yourselves."

The Director paused and took a sip of water from the glass in front of her. "Once you have arrived in Vancouver and are under Jack's care, we will get Mac and Jackie sorted which, with the help of Captain Taylor's people, shouldn't take very long.

Once Jackie and Mac are married, they will take a helicopter flight to just outside Regina, where a car will be handed over to them. A map of the route to the house, and the keys to it, will be given to you by the pilot. You will stay in Regina overnight then start your honeymoon. Amongst the mail waiting for you on the desk in the house's study you will find an itinerary to follow." She glared meaningfully at Mac. "Do not deviate from it. The drive will take you from Regina, to Banff where you will stay for a few days, and then onwards to Vancouver. Once your list of activities has been completed, you will drive back to the house in Regina, where you will stay for five or six days; this is in case you are being followed. You will get a telephone call from the Senior Agent guarding you, to tell you if you are being tailed, or on which day you will be picked up again and brought back to Toronto."

The Director took some more sips of water from the glass in front of her, before opening up a folder she had brought to the table with her when she and the three men had arrived. Picking up the top sheet of paper, she said, "Because of the missing Americans we are coordinating our operations with two specialist departments from within the F.B.I. and the N.S.A, who will help with looking after Vic and Li Ann. In return we are going to provide assistance to a couple of Agents who are looking for three people from Chicago, two adults and their baby daughter, who seem to have disappeared while on vacation here in Ontario. Steve Peterson's team will be assisting them."

She glanced at the contents of the folder, then said, "Another pair of Agents will be working alongside our people, Jack Price is going to provide us with names and photos of the Agents, both his and the Americans, who will be looking after Jackie and Mac, while they follow the path taken by the Americans from New York."

Closing the folder, she looked around the table, then said, "Does anyone have the slightest concern about any of these operations?"

Victor raised his hand. "Do Li Ann and I get to meet any of these people before we go undercover - otherwise we might mistake them for the 'bad guys'."

"Jack Price will have some videos to show you and Li Ann, because they will only become part of your surveillance team once you have arrived in Los Angeles."

"Thanks. That should work." Victor replied, then added, "One last question: You mentioned buying Li Ann an engagement ring before we leave Toronto. Do you have a particular Jeweller you want us to use?"

"No, we do not have any preference; it is entirely up to you and Li Ann where you shop, and what ring you buy," the Director assured him. She then looked around the table, and asked, "Does anyone have any more comments or suggestions to make?"

The other seven people in the room all shook their heads, murmuring "No" as they did so.

"In that case I declare this meeting closed. Mac and Jackie, please stay here with Captain Taylor to go over what needs to be changed. Victor and Li Ann, please follow me to my office so that we can get your journey under way." She rose to her feet and started towards to the double doors behind her. Victor and Li Ann hurriedly got to their feet and followed the Director out of the conference room, and up to her office.

Once they were all inside, the Director closed and locked the door, then said, "Take a seat. Agent Dobrinsky and his team have been busy while we were in the conference room, getting your names changed on the few files that are stored here in Toronto." She picked up the package which had been placed in the center of her blotter and slit one end open so that she could empty contents on the spot where the package had been. Once she was certain that the package was empty, she discarded it then sorted the result into two piles, eventually pushing one towards Victor and the other towards Li Ann.

She waited patiently whilst her agents looked through the documents, then said, "As you can see, large sums of money have been transferred to your bank this morning. You will also find letters from the 'company' which you can show at the Bank which will confirm that the company has closed down its Toronto Branch and that the money transferred is your severance pay, with a generous bonus for the short notice."

"If you need help to pack up the things you are taking with you, contact Dobrinsky and he will provide you with helpers, since her was in charge of moving people's possessions to here. Victor, do not forget to write to your sister Alice to let her know you are moving back to Vancouver."

"Once you have completed your business at the bank, your next task is to buy the engagement ring, as you must have that before you leave Toronto. The wedding rings can either be bought here or in Vancouver, whichever you think is best."

"I think Vancouver would be the better option," Li Ann replied. "We do not want to seem in too much of a hurry as we won't be getting married here in Toronto anyway."

"I agree," Victor seconded. "It could cause people to look where we don't want them to."

The Director nodded. "Yes, I too think that is the wisest choice." She opened the drawer by her right hand and withdrew two envelopes, one brown one white. "The white envelope contains the new passport for Li Ann, with the new spelling and, of course, the new surname of Sayer, which will be valid until you get married in Vancouver where your final passport will be issued. The brown envelope contains your tickets for the flight to Vancouver which will take place on Thursday afternoon. They were bought for you by your new employers in the Vancouver office to which you are being transferred. Please do not lose them, because if you do, the whole investigation is going to lose time."

Li Ann picked up both the envelopes and put them in her cross body bag. "I'll make sure we have them with us all the time," she assured the Director. "This strap, which goes all the way round the bag as well, has a metal chain in it designed to prevent theft." She then collected all their documents and put them in a different compartment in the bag.

The Director passed over two more envelopes from her drawer. "These letters have been prepared for you to sign which will transfer your bank accounts from here to a branch in Vancouver. You will need to take those to the bank yourselves, early on Thursday morning which is the day you are leaving the city. You will probably have to sign documents for the bank's records while you are there as well. Once that is done, I would recommend that you travel straight to the airport, to make sure that you are there well in time to get a meal, which will last you until after the check in, because the meal served during the flight to Vancouver may not be to your taste."

"I will put these with the other papers," Li Ann assured her, as she picked them up and placed them in her bag with the other documentation.

There was silence for a few moments, then the Director asked, "Do either of you have any more questions?"

Victor shook his head, and said, "No. I can't think of anything at the moment."

"I don't have any questions either," Li Ann responded.

The Director smiled. "In that case I want to wish you good luck." She stood up at the same time that Victor and Li Ann did, and after escorting them to the door of her office, she shook their hands and wished them good luck, before opening the door and letting them out into the corridor to start their new project.

They made Agent Dobrinsky's office their first port of call. Victor knocked on the office's door, and they waited until they were bidden to enter.

Victor opened the door and followed Li Ann, after waving her to go inside first. He then made sure that the door was securely closed behind them.

"Take a seat," Dobrinksy gruffly told them. Once they were seated in front of his desk, he asked, "How can I help you today?"

"Well, as you know, our jobs are moving to Vancouver," Victor replied. "When we moved here, we brought furniture from our Vancouver apartments with us which is now amongst the furnishings in our current homes. Since you were in charge of the movement of our possessions from B.C. to Toronto, the Director suggested that we should come to you so that those possessions could be returned to us in Vancouver, as the information about what was moved to where would still be in your files. Obviously they'll have to go into storage in Vancouver, until we have a place to house them."

"I was expecting you both to come here for this very reason," Dobrinsky admitted. "We do have a safe storage facility within the Vancouver office in which your possessions can stay until you are ready for them. Also, I assume that you will want your vehicles to be transported there as well."

Li Ann and Victor both nodded and said, "Yes, please."

"As you've got a lot more experience with this kind of thing, is there anything else you think we should do?" Victor asked.

The senior Agent shook his head. "I think you've covered everything; and as long as you follow the orders The Director gave you pertaining to the next few days, you should have done all you needed to worry about."

"That's good to know," Victor replied, losing the slightly worried look he'd had on his face when they had entered the office. He stood up, and held out his hand. "Thank you for all your help."

Dobrinsky, stood and shook the outstretched hand. "I've no doubt we shall meet again sometime in the future."

Meanwhile Li Ann had risen from her seat and also shook Dobrinsky's hand."Thank you," she said with a smile.

"You're welcome," was the Agent's reply as he led them both towards his office's door, and ushered them out into the corridor. "Be careful, and look after each other." he said quietly, as he closed the door behind them.

Victor looked at his watch, then said, "I think we ought to save going shopping for your ring, and any other things we might need, until tomorrow. One thing I do need is a new suitcase. I think I'll get one of those which has four wheels on one end, and an extendable handle on the other. They seem to be much easier to manoeuvre than the ones you have to carry. I think I'll make a list this evening of all the things I need to buy tomorrow, because some of my stuff is showing it's age with all the travelling we have been doing recently."

Li Ann nodded. "I've got pretty much the same problems as you have with luggage and clothes. So, definitely shopping tomorrow. Get the Ring first, then the new suitcases which we can use to store all the other things we buy."

"Yes! No bags to get crushed, dropped or lost, and the wheeled suitcases means we'll be able to use the subway easier."

Li Ann just grinned. "Shall we get a meal before we go home to start sorting our stuff out?"

"I think that's an excellent idea. Lead on."

They used the Subway to travel to a favourite restaurant which they often patronised to enjoy the beef steaks and vegetables which were all cooked to perfection. After they had eaten, they did a bit of window shopping on their way back to the Subway station from where they caught trains going in opposite directions to get to their own apartments, after arranging to met up at the same station the following morning at 9.30.

"One of the things I must do when I get home is practise writing my new first name with the different spelling. It would be embarrassing if I go to write my name and spell it incorrectly."

Victor nodded. "I'll do that as well, just in case I need to write it for some reason. It's spelt L e a n n e isn't it?"

"Yes."

"Right, I must remember that."

"Leanne, your train is approaching the platform over there, and mine is coming in on the one over here." He pointed in the opposite direction. "I'll see you tomorrow!" Victor called over his shoulder as he hurried towards the train he needed to catch.

"Okay, see you here tomorrow morning," Leanne called back as she hurried towards the train she needed to catch."

__________


Chapter 2
Tuesday, August 16th

Victor and Leanne arrived back at the station the next morning within a few minutes of each other. They hugged one another and shared a quick kiss, before making their way towards a Jewellers shop which they had looked at the night before whilst window shopping. It had been closed then, of course, but it was definitely open now with all the lights on inside the shop as well as those illuminating the window displays.

They walked inside the shop and started looking at all the rings on show in the glass cabinets. They looked at one display and it was obvious that they both liked the same unusual coloured and shaped design which held the diamonds on the otherwise gold ring. The two shop assistants were occupied by other customers at the moment so they had to patiently wait their turn to ask about seeing the ring and finding out if it, or one very similar to it, would fit Leanne's slender fingers.

Eventually their patience was rewarded as a couple walked out with their purchases, and the man who had been serving them walked towards where they were standing and asked, "Can I help you?"

"I hope so," Victor replied. "My Fiancé and I were walking past after dinner last night, and saw a ring in the window that we both liked very much."

"Would you care to show me which one, sir?"

"Sure, it's in the middle of the main window." Victor lead the way outside and pointed to the ring which he, and Leanne, had admired the night before. "We liked the look of that one very much, and we'd like to find out if it would fit."

"Of course, sir. I'll get the keys and take it out of the window for you." He walked back inside shop and into the room at the back. A couple of minutes later, he came back holding a small bunch of keys with which he opened the back of the display unit and withdrew the cushion on which the ring they liked was mounted. He locked the back of the display, then lead them over to the counter so that they could get a close look at the ring they were interested in buying. He removed the ring from the cushion, and handed it to Victor.

Victor, in return, turned towards Leanne, and said, "Do you want to try it on?"

Leanne held out her left hand, and Victor placed the ring on her finger. He took a deep breath, and looked disappointed. It was definitely too big. He took it back, and gave it back to the assistant. "Unfortunately, that one is too big. Do you have something like it that would fit on my Fiancé's finger?"

"I believe we do have another couple of rings which were made using the same materials. Bear with me and I'll see if I can find them." He put the large ring back on the cushion and returned it to the window, then went though into the back room to look for the other rings. After what seemed an age, but was only about ten minutes, the man returned holding two rings. He placed them on the counter in front of his two customers, then said. "As you can see, these are made from the same metals and precious stones as the one in the window, but they are both lighter and more delicately made. You're welcome to try them on to see if you like either of them, and if they will fit."

Leanne looked closely at both of them, then tried them on. Victor also watched closely, and was relieved to find that at least both of them were a good fit, so it would be up to Leanne to choose which one she liked best.

After a few minutes, she lay one back down on the counter and put the other in Victor's hand. "I like this one best," she said. "It's not a flashy as the other two, and will be more comfortable to wear."

The assistant nodded. "I agree," he said. If I was the person choosing, that's the one I would buy."

"I like that one best as well," Victor replied. Unzipping his jacket he removed his wallet from an inside pocket and presented the assistant with his credit card. He signed paperwork where the assistant told him, then returned the credit card to his wallet, and put that and the copies of the papers he'd signed in the pocket from which he had originally taken his wallet, then zipped up his jacket again.

Taking the ring from the counter, he took hold of Leanne's left hand and placed the engagement ring on her finger. She kissed him on the cheek, and whispered "Thank you, very very much. It's truly beautiful."

They thanked the assistant for his help, then walked out of the shop hand in hand. When they were further along the road, Victor steered them into a coffee shop, and ordered coffee and a snack for both of them, which enabled them to regain the rest of their composure after the almost trauma of choosing the engagement ring.

After their coffees and the snacks, the wandered over to a large department store and went in search of the luggage department looking for large suitcases on wheels. After about half an hour, they came across a manned information desk. Victor described to the clerk what he was looking for, and was told that the type of luggage he was looking for was in the basement, along with steamer trunks and other large capacity luggage.

After profusely thanking the clerk, Victor and Leanne stepped into a nearby lift and selected the button for the basement.

As there was another manned information desk near the lift, Victor asked the clerk there where he could find suitcases on wheels, and he was given a map of the floor, on which they drew an arrow pointing to the location of the luggage he required. They both thanked the clerk, and followed the arrow on the map until they reached the type of luggage they wanted.

They tried out various case heights to find the most comfortable, and investigated the pockets and straps inside the cases to make sure that they would keep the clothes, and other contents in their places so that they wouldn't be left with all their stuff crushed at the bottom of the case. Then having bought their wheeled cases, they went back to the upper floor to buy a cabin bag for each of them to match the colour of the wheeled case that they had chosen.

Having then paid for the cabin bags, they put them inside the large cases and wheeled them away.

The department store seemed to pretty much everything they wanted, so they were able to get new clothes, shoes and other accessories, all of which disappeared into their wheeled suitcases.

When they had bought everything that they required, they took a taxi to Leanne's apartment, and repacked her wheeled case with all the gear she had bought, plus the items from her apartment that she was going to take to Vancouver with her.

They both felt very tired after packing up Leanne's stuff, which was marked on the chests which ones were going to Vancouver and which were to be offered to a nearby charity. When that was done, they decided to take their cases to Victor's apartment and sleep there rather than in the chaos of Leanne's much smaller one.

_________


Chapter 3

Wednesday, August 17th


Most of the morning they spent packing up Victor's apartment, most of the things he owned were going to Vancouver with him, which made packing easier, and sometimes more difficult when it concerned some larger items which didn't fit into any of the chests that had been provided.

When they had run out of things to packs, they went out and got a late lunch at a nearby restaurant, then picked up a few things they realized that had been forgotten the day before.

After that they went through the check lists to make sure that nothing important had been forgotten, and then contacted the Agency to confirm the time they were going to be picked up the following morning to keep their appointment with the bank; and confirming that they were both going to be sleeping at Victor's apartment as it was closer to the bank and therefore easier to get both of them there on time.

It was still early in the evening when they decided it was time to get some sleep, as they were now much too tired to try to stay awake. They set their alarms for the morning, and went to bed, just about remembering to switch the lights out as they went.

_________


Chapter 4

Thursday, August 18th

They dragged themselves out of bed when the alarms woke them up at a time which seemed much too early. They quickly had breakfast, then did the last of the packing into either the wheeled cases which would be goiing on the plane with them, or the movers chests which would be going overland to Vancouver and put into storage there until they were wanted.

The limosine arrived on time to take them to the bank, where they handed over the papers that had been prepared by the Agency so that their money could be transferred to Vancouver. They then spent a lot of time signing things and explaining why they were moving so far away which got very boring after a while as evidently the words "We're changing jobs" didn't seem to register with these people. Eventually though, everything seemed to have been taken care of, and they were allowed out of the bank.

With a feeling of relief they got back in the limosine and on their way to the airport. Once they arrived there, they took possession of their wheeled cases again, and went to the check in desk to present their travel documents and, after the contents of the large cases had been inspected, the wheeled cases were sent through the conveyer system from where they would be transferred on to the plane.

From the check in, they went into one of the restaurants and followed the Director's instructions to have a hearty meal, which they both enjoyed very much especially as they were eating some of their favourite foods. Having eaten, they were checked through the gates into the first class departure lounge and made themselves comfortable while they waited patiently for their flight to be called. It was very quiet and comfortable in there and they were able to browse through the newspapers and magazines which had been left out for the first class passengers to read.

Eventually, they were called for boarding, and they made sure that their cabin baggage was closed and locked, before making their way to the front of the plane, and the very comfortable seating in there.

Not long after they had fastened their seat belts, and made themselves comfortable, the outer doors were closed and they could hear the engines being started. Eventually, the plane started moving forward as it joined the queue for their turn to use the runway. After about fifteen minutes, the huge aircraft swung around and the brakes were engaged. The sound of the engines ramped up, then there was a slight forward jerk as the brakes were released and then the aircraft was rumbling along the runway... and then they were in the air, climbing higher and higher until they were at the optimum height, then they were turning westwards towards their destination. The seat belts light went out, and the stewardesses were making the rounds to see if anyone wanted a drink of tea, or coffee, or even an alcoholic beverage.

Both Victor and Leanne, asked for coffee when it was their turn to answer the "What would you like to drink" question. Later, after declining a second cup of coffee, but answering yes to having an omlette and coffee when the meals were ready, Victor pulled down the shade on the window beside him, and settled down to sleep for a while, as he was still feeling tired from the arguments which had taken place in the Bank. After all, it wasn't his fault that his job was being moved from one province to another.

Leanne, seeing and hearing what Victor had done, copied his actions of declining a second cup of coffee, but saying yes to the omlette and coffee when the meals were going to be served. She rested her head on the headrest next to Victor and went to sleep as well. Later, when there was a little turbulence, Victor moved slightly and Leanne's head slid off the headrest and on to Victor's shoulder, but neither of them woke up until the stewardess came round to tell them that their meals were being served.

They both straightened in their seats and were now well rested enough to enjoy their meal and coffee.

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