As the laptop’s clock crawls towards 22.00, 004 sits alone, watching the uplink software refresh every fifteen seconds and wondering how 007 has been, uncertain of how this moment might play out. She’s certainly not expecting the satellite’s transmission to kick in early: as protocols establish a connection there is sound from the inbuilt speakers that causes the most arousing of double takes. About to check the connection, uncertain at what’s being heard, picture abruptly resolves as audio makes perfect sense. The reason for both becomes immediately and amusingly apparent, and all Ronni can do is stare in disbelief.
Bond’s got bored waiting, and is very much involved in a more creative way of wasting time.
The fact she’s caught him in flagrante is a surprise too glorious to interrupt, even if his position to camera doesn’t give a totally unimpeded view. The soundtrack is enough to make her entire body liquefy in short order, but this moment’s all too brief. His gasp at orgasm tells the story: he’s done, probably the perfect moment to announce her presence.
‘Can I assume you’re finished?’
There’s panic from bedside as Bond registers the webcam is on, before losing balance completely, vanishing from sight with a thump. Ronni’s laughing, despite herself, embarrassment and pleasure combined as he clearly scrabbles off camera for composure before hitting something against furniture with a thump, emitting a loud ‘FUCK.’ Finally there’s a response, ignominy apparent from thousands of miles away.
‘Can I assume you found my efforts entertaining?’
‘You didn’t know the line was live, did you?’
‘I wasn’t really concentrating on the laptop.’
Finally he appears, towel hastily wrapped around midriff, and Ronni knows they’ve crossed a previously untrodden path. Masturbation could well be considered as recreationally acceptable for a 00 agent, but hardly activity you’d report back to London whilst undercover. She has to ask though, if only to prolong the torture a little longer.
‘You’ve never done that for an audience, have you?’
‘I wasn’t aware I was then, but I’m assuming you saw everything?’
‘There was enough context, imagination did the rest.’
‘This is not how I expected this exchange to begin.’
‘We both enjoyed it, that’s all that matters.’
Staring at the man he looks far better than expected, mostly because Bond’s in control, freshly showered and on a real bed. Ronni wishes she could will herself through the ether just for those luxuries, quite apart from the company.
‘I’m sorry, I’m not at my best right now.’
‘I don’t know, you look amazing for a woman who’s been dead nearly two months.’
‘I’m glad you knew the truth.’
‘As am I, having to spin that lie with conviction was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.’
‘I saw the news reports, Q played me the funeral. You’re a very credible actor.’
‘Tanner wanted to make sure we didn’t give Spectre even the thought that you might both still be alive. If we did…’
‘Did you write my obituary?’
‘That was Moneypenny’s job. It was outstanding. Words have never been my forte, I’m a deeds man.’
‘Yes, you are.’
‘Happy Birthday, Veronica. You can have that opening five minutes as an extra gift.’
They can both laugh, while the silence that follows is comfort and reassurance. Ronni sits, staring at him, grateful he’s capable and active. If that wasn’t true MI6 would not have sent him after his ex-girlfriend’s half brother, and that means that she can probably broach the subject without overly worrying over consequence.
‘When did you know Maddy was a fraud?’
‘The morning before the Stag night. I’d had my suspicions, that was when I was certain. I should have told you myself and not left it to M.’
‘You never have to apologise to me, really you don’t.’
‘That’s not true. I was selfish and rude at the restaurant, neither are ever warranted. I missed you. I still do.’
The simplicity of his admission is a surprise, and Ronni’s impressed her body’s continuing to be aroused, but there it is, as he leans back on the edge of the bed, inviting her gaze. Leaner than she remembers, there is undoubtedly more definition to muscles apparent even on camera, and only then does it register that he might be pushing himself again to make a point.
‘There are a lot of things I should have said to you before all of this happened, but only one is really important. When I was recovering after you saved me, there was a lot of time to think. After we first met I couldn’t compromise your position, even when I wanted to. This job doesn’t normally give you the luxury of getting to know your lovers. Most of the time you’re forced into action by circumstance. With the exception of Moneypenny, who I have never slept with, I now understand you are the only other female friend that’s ever mattered. I think I’m more scared of losing that than of anything else in my life.’
‘I promise I won’t go anywhere, you have my word. When Q stuck us together for my last assignment before I became a 00, I think he made a mistake.’
‘I always thought I’d never need anyone to celebrate with. I’d assumed this job was about being alone, but now I know I’m wrong. I can do it on my own, but it doesn’t make me happy.’
‘Having you to do it with. Knowing someone truly understands.’
The honestly is brutal and necessary, providing immediate relief. This is not a conventional relationship by any means or definition, but that’s what they have. The tears fall without a thought and she just wipes them away, watching him stare with the same vulnerability recalled when positions were reversed, the day her predecessor and his mentor were buried.
‘Yes, our employer thought of everything, made the whole dance both rational and acceptable. Friendship plus. I hear Q even made a briefing.’
‘He loves to use up to date metrics, is brilliant and caring in the field and undoubtedly the best handler I’ve ever known. You’d be proud.’
‘His heart and commitment have never been in question. I wasn’t sure how to deal with him until he turned up unannounced in Austria. We need more agents like you both and no more like me.’
‘Does that mean you’re really done?’
‘If I survive? Absolutely done.’
Everything related to James Bond (007) belongs to Eon Productions and Danjaq LLC, except the bits in here that are mine and I made up. I get how this works.