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Two weeks after deployment, Commander Vivienne sat on her swivel chair facing the window in her office, when she heard the door to her office open without a knock, followed by footsteps. Then came that overly familiar, melodious voice,
“Good Morning… Vivienne.”
She slowly turned her swivel chair with a smile and then, in her rare, hard tone, she said, “Felix Gordon.”
The room was ruled by silence as the two commanders stood staring at each other until Vivienne broke the silence,
“What are you doing here Felix, or have you come to start taking over from this place?”
Commander Felix smiled his rare smile that spelt mischief. Then, moving closer to her, he said, “Maybe, maybe not, or maybe I have just come to see the ever-stunning you.”
Vivienne chuckled and folded her hand into a fist but still managed to keep her cool as she harshly replied, “I don’t believe you, Felix. I know what you want.”
He rewarded her with that charming smile of his that had first caught her attention a decade and a half ago when she first met him and fell instantly in love with him. She narrowed her eyes and looked directly into his as he moved to her side. He made a gesture as if to touch her hair, but instead, he took a newspaper that was on her desk and quietly said, “I don’t know, Vivienne. Why don’t you tell me what you think it is that I want?”
Vivienne smiled bitterly. Then in an even tone, she said,
“You think I don’t know you, Felix Gordon. I was your wife for seven good years, and I happen to know you better than you can imagine. You want to use me again as a shortcut to taking over my country.”

She paused and turned to face Felix, who was barely an inch away, and then moved in closer, so that they were almost nose to nose. In a bitter tone mixed with pain and anger, she concluded, “No, Gordon. Those days are over. They are long gone and washed away by the freshness of eight years of living in the loyalty and trust of my people. I am not about to make a mistake that will make me lose the trust, joy and happiness that I have struggled to gain.”
He let a few minutes pass by without saying a word and then, pushing the hair from her face, he said, “You are smarter than when I last saw you. I think negotiating with you is not going to be easy. I have a deal to propose.”
Vivian laughed. “A negotiation?”
Felix said, “Yes, Vivienne, a negotiation.”
Vivienne shook her head sideways. “You are unbelievable. Anyway, I am not interested.”
Placing the newspaper back on the table, he sighed lightly and then said, “Think carefully, Vivienne.”
Scoffing, she replied, “There is nothing to think about, but you should know that I am never going to sell my country again at any cost. I am no longer that overly trusting twenty one-year-old girl. I am, now, a thirty-seven-year-old woman who knows better because life has taught her lessons the hard way. So please, don’t waste your time and mine.”
Felix Gordon walked around the desk and, playing with the papers, he said, “You are still bitter. You have never forgiven me.”
“That is where you are wrong—I forgave you but I know better than to trust a traitor to do me any good.”
Felix Gordon stopped playing with the papers and looked directly into his former wife’s eyes and sighed sadly, “You don’t understand. I want to avoid a bloody battle for your sake, Vivienne.”
Vivienne burst out laughing, surprising both Felix and herself. She walked to her seat, folded her arms in front of her and then, seriously, she said, “If you were doing it for my sake, you will take your people, go back to your country, focus on building it and live in peace with your neighbours.”

For a moment there, Felix looked as if he was going to follow her advice and leave with his people. He walked to the door but before walking out, he turned to Vivienne, who was staring at his form walking away and then smiled crookedly.
“I am afraid that is not possible.” He placed his hand on the knob and unlocked it. “Before I leave, I’ll give you another chance. Let us negotiate: hand over your country peacefully and with cooperation and spare yourself an early death with the promise of taking the highest level in government.” He smiled mischievously, “Join me, Vivienne, and together, we shall lead.”
Fed up with his disgusting talk, she banged her fists on the table and stood from her seat.
“Felix Gordon!” she thundered. “It is my duty to defend my country and not even your charms will lure me to turn my back on her. It is a matter of loyalty and even if it kills me, I will defend her to the very end. Doesn’t matter what you offer but corruption has never been my path to take and it is not going to be my path now, nor in the future.”
Holding her gaze steady on his, she concluded with finality, “Leave, Gordon, because no words you use will make me change my mind.”
“Passion of a warrior to her country is what I see. Believe me: I have never anticipated that you and I will one day be rivals. Do not say that I did not warn you; we both know how ruthless I can be.”
He winked and then laughed softly, “Prepare to face battle, Vivienne. It will be so sad to watch you die.”
Vivienne rewarded him with a smile that did not reach her eyes as she gave him her farewell remarks. “I am not scared. Go ahead and bring it on; I am ready any day, any time.
Farewell, Gordon.”
“Very well, Vivienne. It will be as you say.”
He nodded and walked out, closing the door softly behind him, as Vivienne slowly sat on her chair, placed her head in her hands, and silently wept, for this has never been what she wanted. She also wept because it broke her heart to see that Felix had never changed because she knew very well that what he was doing would be the bomb that will destroy him.

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