Tune the Violin
The role of Assistant Director came with explicit responsibilities. Wesley knew what they were long before his appointment. Like many senior administrative jobs, there were implied responsibilities as well. They were woven into the mantle of exacting accountability, the burden of supervising subordinates under his command, and the inevitable curse of assigning blame.
When one of his agents was ill or injured, or worse, killed on the job, Wesley's ass was on the line. The Deputy Director laid him on the carpet, verbally stomped all over his wounded psyche, and then ripped him a new one. If the agent was dead or seriously injured, the Director took it one step further. He mouthed all the right sentiments to his hard-working AD, but still managed to convey his disappointment through some subtle gesture or facial expression.
At this hour, he should have been at home drinking a tall one, lying on the couch, watching a game or reading the latest James Patterson novel. Instead, he was at his desk trying to make a dent in the paperwork that awaited him while he was out of the office earlier in the day. The afternoon had not been pleasurable. Visiting the hospital bedside of a dying agent was personal and something he needed to do. It came with the onus of responsibility. It came with the integrity and compassion AD Schyler showed all his agents.
The man's cancer had metastasized before chemo or radiation could take turns at trying to eradicate the tumor. The man was going to die. Wesley stayed with him, holding his hand, speaking softly, assuring him that his family was in good hands. He would personally see the paperwork through the proper channels so that they would be financially secure. He said his final goodbye and went to the small waiting room where families gathered while taking turns spending time with their loved ones. He spoke comforting words to the man's wife and acknowledged the dying man's neighbors and friends. He turned to leave, when the woman spoke.
"My daughter is bringing coffee. Will you wait a moment? She's so worried about me, and how I'll get on. Please, a few words from you. Let her know she shouldn't worry about my finances. I think she... Oh, here she is."
Wesley turned toward the young woman and froze in place. I know her.
Myka Orlovsky saw her mother talking to the tall man with the broad shoulders. She smiled as they both turned to greet her.
She looked into Wesley's eyes and was instantly stunned. It was déjà vu. She felt time fall away as the past rose, and she was a little girl again. I know him.
Seeing her, Wesley's Assistant Director persona faded, and in his place came the young twenty-something marine home from Vietnam. Suddenly, he was on a subway in New York City, a brief stop on his way home to Texas. One hand held onto the pole in front of him, his body swaying with the moving train, his eyes and ears feasting on the sights and sounds of end-of-day commuters and the way they crowded and jostled him. He was alive and he was home, back in the good ol' USA. Nothing bothered him - everything made him smile. Even the young girl sitting near him. She was a pretty thing, maybe ten or twelve years old, clutching a violin case. For some odd reason he was drawn to her.
Must be the hair, he thought, admiring her dark brown curls, noticing the glints of red threaded throughout. Or maybe, the eyes. He couldn't remember if he'd ever seen such dark brown eyes. Hers had flecks of gold. Or there's a lech in me... a cradle robber I was unaware of. He sighed heavily at the thought.
Wesley blinked back to the present. "Do you still play the violin?" he asked the startled woman, thoughtfully focusing on her attractive face. His peripheral vision noted the lithe and curvaceous figure, and her gold brown eyes.
"Yes-s-s, I do," her voice quavered. "How did you know?"
"Your father," Wesley replied, the lie delivered smoothly. "I think he must have told me."
"Oh," she said relieved, certain she had made a mistake in thinking she knew this man.
"I'd like to hear you play some time."
"Come to the funeral," she said quietly, her composure restored. "I promised my father I would play his favorite piece as they lower his coffin into the ground."
Now, sitting at his desk, he wondered at the coincidence, and enumerated the facts as he remembered them. I first saw her years ago when she was just a child. After all these years, I see her again today. She plays the violin. Closing the file in front of him, he leaned back and folded his arms across his chest. If I wasn't dreaming, Raisa Orlov claims that she and I were lovers 163 years ago... okay, forget that. I must have been dreaming, or she's what I thought she was - crazy as a loon. He dismissed the notion of having a past life, and picked up his pen, intent on signing a few reports.
"Soon, Sergei," the voice whispered in the shadows of his mind. "Soon."
Wesley looked up, expecting to see someone, shook his head at the tricks his mind was playing and threw his pen down. Then there are the dreams... and the voice in my head and... He rubbed his eyes and blinked several times. This paperwork is going to have to wait. I need a drink and a good night's sleep.
He felt refreshed after his shower, a large steak and a glass of chilled wine. Relaxing on the couch, he pointed the remote at the TV, channel surfing, and paused on the History channel. Something the narrator said triggered his memory, and he stopped clicking to see what the program was about. A picture of Alexander II, Czar of Russia, flashed on the screen and Wesley heard himself murmur his name. "Alex Nicholoevich, you always did love the pomp and pageantry of royal affairs. Your father would have been proud of you. You brought much needed reforms to Mother Russia. How glad I am that fate allowed me to immigrate before the Revolution." Wesley sighed, reached for his wineglass and resumed channel surfing. He laid his head on the end of the couch, intent on watching the game when he suddenly sat up and shook his head. "What did I say?"
"You said Alexander II brought reforms to Mother Russia," the quiet voice of his memory replied.
"No, not that."
"You knew the Czar loved the pageantry that came with royalty. Must have read that in a book when you were in college." It sounded like a plausible explanation.
"No, after that," he groused, not realizing he was talking to himself. "I said something about my fate and immigrating before the Russian Revolution and..."
How glad you were that fate allowed you to immigrate before the Revolution, the voice of his dreams stated quietly. You missed that terrible time, Sergei. You and Raisa, and your family, along with so many of the gentry of that era, immigrated to the new land shortly after Alex Nicholoevich ascended to power. You were among the few privileged landowners who continued to enjoy life with your assets intact.
Wesley listened quietly, becoming accustomed to hearing the voice from his dreams talk to him without warning. He heard her words, but knew that if this voice got any louder, or began to speak when others were present, distracting him, he was going to have to break down and see a shrink. I hear this voice in my dreams, when I'm awake, at the Hoover, in the damn elevator and now, it's quoting Russian history. I am abso-f**king-lutely certifiable!
He dropped the TV remote, set his wineglass down, and headed for bed. "No dreams," he growled warning someone, something, the old woman in his dreams.
"Sleep, Sergei Nicholai, sleep... and I shall tell you of your time in Russia."
He was emotionally drained, but fought the voice, concentrating on Mahoney's exasperating expense reports, depending on them to distract him. His eyes closed, his breathing evened out, and sleep claimed him.
The firelight caught the red in her hair as her limber body twirled in front of him. He heard the violin, but couldn't see the man who played it, only his shadow highlighted by the fire.
This is a dream. I'll wake up. It's only a dream!
He concentrated on her nimble feet, noticing how small they were and how fast they moved. Slowly, his eyes moved up her body. She was small, but not too small. Her body was curves and firm calves, her arms graceful, her neck an ivory column, and when he finally focused on her face, he swallowed hard. It wasn't the old woman in her youth.
It was Myka Orlovsky, the pretty violinist whose father was dying. He stared at her lovely mouth which was curved in a seductive smile. He found himself smiling back at her and watched as she twisted and turned in her dance, circling him, his eyes following her movements. When the violin faded, her steps ended in front of him and she curtsied.
He applauded her dance. She smiled. He gazed into her face and stared again. It wasn't Myka Orlovsky; it was Raisa Orlov as she must have looked when she was young. How can that be? he wondered, his breath escaping in a hiss. He blinked several times as the woman stepped away from him, taking her seat by the fire.
"Now, Sergei," the voice he remembered spoke. "Come sit by me, and I shall tell you of other times."
He felt compelled to touch her, but hesitated to approach until she patted the place by her side. He sat - she took his hand. The skin was wrinkled. He looked into her face, and saw the old woman again.
"What is going on?" his voice begged for answers. "Have I lost my mind?"
"Nay, Sergei. You are just beginning to remember other times," she said gently, patting his hand.
"Tell me again who you are," he asked, bewilderment replacing his previous anger.
"I am your past, Sergei," her soft voice murmured. "I am your beginning. And I am your future life."
"What is your name?"
"Sinovia," she smiled, happy he had finally asked her name. It was the beginning of his acknowledgement that she was real to him.
"And we have met before?" he asked, needing assurance.
"Many times, Sergei, so many times."
"Throughout civilization, Sergei. Some recorded times, some unrecorded ones," she said enigmatically.
He let her comment pass. "Where?" he demanded, needing facts. "Where have we met?"
"Ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, Lapland, England, on several occasions, North Africa, Borneo, Romania, the American West - a number of cities in the United States, and of course, in various parts of Russia."
"Impossible," he said, shaking his head, positive he needed a break from work. Too much stress - wild, crazy dreams - definitely out of control.
"Well, not all in this lifetime, Sergei, but..."
"What do you mean, *this* lifetime? How could I...? I don't believe people die and are born again. How...?"
She turned to face him, her legs tucked under her full skirt, her hands grasping both of his. "Listen to me, Sergei, and listen well."
"Listen!" she said sharply. "It's time to remind you of who you were, and tell you who you are. Perhaps even to tell you who you are to be. You have evolved and are more civilized now. You will learn quicker this time."
It took a great deal of effort to remain quiet, to listen to this woman's words, to sit still and not break away from her. Her words astounded him, and he vacillated between sheer disbelief and reluctance to accept her story. Just parts of it... definitely not all of it.
"I have these things to tell you, Sergei. Listen well." She sat straighter, her chin up, her eyes looking directly into his. He looked back at her, his gaze unwavering as he took in her words.
"First, you have lived before Sergei, many times. I will tell you of some of your lives. Second, you have parallels."
"Parallel lives. Sometimes, your lives overlap." At his astonished look, she put a finger to his lips. "Just listen. Soon, you will understand. Will you listen?"
He nodded. He had difficulty believing her, but what she said was fascinating. It was the least he could do before getting the hell away from her. Then he remembered this was a dream and he was captive to it until he woke.
"Next," she continued, "many people, including you, have doubles. There is one, sometimes two or more on earth, who look like you. Sometimes, you live at the same time, in the same plane; other times, you and your double misstep in time and one of you is young, the other old."
Raisa said that.
"And of course, that is only possible because you share a soul."
"Share a soul?"
"Yes, a soul. Sometimes you share with... well, I will explain that another time."
"And where was it we first met?" He tried to sound stern, but failed, wondering what happened to his FBI interrogation skills, certain they had been flushed down the toilet along with the rest of his mental faculties.
"Where did we first meet? We met about eight thousand years before the Christian era," she said matter-of-factly, "In Atlantis."
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