This is the second installment of a previously posted story, Dreams Come True. The third installment will be published in February.
On my first day at my new job, I approached my company’s building. It was small portion of an strip mall with darkened windows and a sign smaller than the building’s address label announced the building was called “Integrity.” Squinting at the sign, I knew I was in the right place. Before I could reach the door, a guard in sunglasses appeared from around the corner. “Miss Camille Kenrick?”
“Yes. Call me Cammie.” I stuck out my hand, but he didn’t even bother shaking it.
“I will escort you inside to Mr. Adam and the rest of the team.” He ushered me through one set of darkened glass doors. “Finger, please.”
“Your fingerprint is your key to get in. Press your index finger here.”
I did so, the keypad beeped and the door buzzed open. I opened the door to see another dimly lit foyer, with another set of doors in front of me. “You will need to create an eleven digit code. It will serve as your second pass code to get in.”
“Right, of course. How am I to remember that?”
My escort rolled his eyes. “Find a way.”
After coming up with that code, and two more, I was finally able to get on an elevator and head to the right floor. The elevator’s doors dinged open. A sea of heads turned to stare at me. I picked out Adam’s face among them.
“You’re late,” he said with a wry grin.
“I would have been on time, but you failed to mention that security clearance takes almost half an hour,” I said sourly, yet with a smile on my face.
“I didn’t mention that?” Adam shrugged. “Remembering things like that isn’t my gift. You’re just in time for our meeting.” He turned to his room of employees. “Our newest member, Cammie Kenrick.”
The room erupted in vigorous, genuine applause. I made a little, anxious wave at all my new co-workers.
“She came to us from the inside – from Express itself. She’ll be a great asset here.”
The guard pointed me towards an empty chair and then disappeared into the elevator. I sat down slowly, next to a brunette girl with pin straight hair down to her waist. She smiled at me. I smiled too, but crossed my arms and gripped them tightly across my chest. I knew we were all supposed to be on the same side, but how was I really supposed to know who to trust?
“In the last few weeks, we’ve been focusing on mentoring the new dreamers and on any cases that might come up. With all that, Express went down, down in our priorities. Now it’s back up, right were it should be at number one. We need to shut that place down. Group 1, you will go undercover to Express, and pose as costumers shipping a package. Cammie will be available to answer any questions that she can about how they operate, and we want even more of us to know what it’s like inside that building. Group 2, contact the Integrity group in Korea and see if they have any hits on that bomb case. Groups 3, you’re our dreamers. Be hypersensitive to your visions this week, alright? Write every dream down, tell each other what you know. We need all the information we can get.”
The room broke up into soft conversations. The blonde girl grabbed my elbow. “I’m Skylar. You’re with us, in group three.”
I frowned. “How’d you know?”
“That you’re a dreamer?” She grinned. “You act like you have something to hide and something to lose. I used to act like that too, but I learned to open up.”
Suddenly Adam was beside us. “Thanks for taking her under your wing, Skylar, but I need to steal her away.”
He pulled gently aside and into his office. “You find our place okay?” He asked, rearranging files on his desk.
“Sure. I was looking for a bigger sign, though.”
“Yeah, yeah that’s the thing. We don’t want to advertise that we’re Integrity International: an Agency Dedicated to Stopping Hit Men and Hit Agencies.”
I shrugged. “Makes sense.”
“I just wanted to tell you how happy we are to have you.”
That was not what I expected. “Thank you.” Suddenly I noticed how beautiful blue his eyes were. I hadn’t noticed that the first two times I’d met him. He looked so young to be in such an important job like this.
“… if you ever need anything, know that we are all here to help.” He paused, thinking. “I’m going to be double assigning you. You’re in Group 3, with the other dreamers, but you’ll also be on the special task force that I’m creating as we speak.”
I nodded. “And what will that entail?”
“We’ll have to see, won’t we?” He answered.
The day passed by in a blur, as first days often do. I returned home that evening and collapsed on the couch. My brain was overwhelmed with operation plans and confidentiality agreements and undercover protocol. I must have fallen asleep – not a restful kind of sleep, but sleep nonetheless. Just like I did during most sleep, I had a dream. This one was odd.
Adam was leaning closer to me. His beautiful sea blue eyes watching me with sincerity and care. “Cammie, you’re a novel in a sea of magazines.”
“Baby, you’re too kind,” I said, staring into his alluring eyes.
And I woke up with a start. That tiny snapshot of the future gave me reason to pace around my living room for the rest of the evening. The way his eyes looked. “No, no,” I yelled to the empty room. “This can’t happen.” Already my dreams were diverging. I was supposed to dream about what those on my side wanted. Those on my side. My eyes grew wide. Adam was on my side. He wanted that dream to happen? He wanted that? I shook my head. There had to be a margin of error when it came to a dreamer’s dreams. This one had to be a fluke.
I was lost in my thoughts and did not realize someone else had entered the room.
“Where’ve you been?” It was my mother.
“I fell asleep.”
A pouting child, my younger brother, trailed behind my mother. “You didn’t remember you had to help your brother with homework tonight?”
“Mom, I can’t…”
“Well, it’s his bed time now. See if you can take off work early tomorrow. He wants you to help him with his math.”
My mom shepherded Austin up the stairs to send him off to bed.
I exhaled slowly. I loved my second grade brother dearly, but I was eager to have my own life. Eager to rent my own apartment. Eager to earn my first paycheck so I could do just that.