In the real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald
She should have felt safe, with the comforting smells and sounds of her childhood home around her. With her feet drawn up beneath her and the lights blazing to keep the shadows at bay, Caitlin refolded Lanie's letter and trailed her fingers over the sharp creases in the paper.
Let Lanie in? Open up the pain and the fear?
She shuddered, drawing her robe more tightly about her. She slipped her cousin's letter under the small stack of folders lying before her on the padded window seat. Lanie would just have to understand. It was too soon, the wounds and loss too fresh, the demons too strong, to open the door of what had happened.
Ignoring the way her fingers trembled, she lifted the topmost folder. Work. Immersing herself in work could keep the fear at bay.
It had to.
She flipped the file open, reading the background report on the young agent she would help prepar for a deep cover assignment. Georgia. She traced a fingertip over the letters. He was going to south Georgia. Other, bittersweet memories shivered over her, and she smothered them. That was all over now.
It had to be.
She frowned at the agent's assignment. He would have to give up his identity, take on a persona she was sure he'd never wished to wear. Her job was to help him learn to subjugate his true self, to hide who he really was. A bitter smile twisted her mouth. That shouldn't be too hard.
She did it herself every single day.