Chloe knows all about impossible odds. Impossible odds kept her alive when she should have died. Impossible odds got her job offers with the best papers in the nation, offers she didn't take.
Chloe knows all about impossible odds.
When the shots fire past her window Chloe knows it is finally time to leave the city. The tracer fire is no longer a distant show in the night sky. She lives to get the story, but she also likes to live to tell the story. There are stories worth dying for, she feels, but this is not one of them. Besides, there are plenty of people that will be able to tell the tale long after she leaves. Over the years Chloe has learned that is all that really matters.
It isn't the fall of Saigon; people are not clamoring at the gates of the US Embassy trying to get the last helicopter out of the city before it falls. Most people -- rational people her editor had said -- paid attention to the State Department brief and left weeks ago. Her own network had pulled out its staff early last week, but Chloe chose to remain behind.
She races to the embassy, still in a relatively safe part of the city, and reaches the gate out of breath. She shows her passport to the Marines guarding the gate and they let her through.
The lobby is in disarray and it is a few seconds before the clerk at the desk even notices that Chloe is standing there taking it all in. She timed it just right; today is the last day to get out. She is just about to ask the clerk where she should go when she hears a familiar voice echoing down the hallway. The man's voice carries authority but it is not harsh. Chloe can almost hear him laughing over the din around her.
Chloe knows all about impossible odds. When the familiar voice, now attached to a body, enters the lobby she feels like she could go to Vegas and hit the mother load because impossible odds are part of her lifeblood.
"Whitney," she breathes.
The clerk stops packing and looks up. Suddenly the two random people in front of him are far more interesting than cleaning out his desk or answering phones.
They don't try to catch up on old times and Chloe appreciates that. Not because she is embarrassed about her life or uninterested in his, but this is not the time for idle chitchat and they both know it. Instead he takes her down a hallway to where the coffee machine is still brewing some of the strongest coffee she has tasted outside Turkey. Whitney lays a hand on her shoulder and says that he will be back to get her, he smiles as he turns away and then he is just another retreating figure cutting a fine form in fatigues.
Chloe is grateful for the earplugs when she reaches the tarmac. She has been on helicopters before but this time the noise just seems that much more. Whitney's hand is on her back, guiding her to the craft and he helps her onboard before taking the seat next to her. They lift off and she peers out the open space, beyond the soldier with the fixed machine gun -- just in case, Whitney explains -- to look out over the city. She can see scorch marks on some of the buildings while some are entirely rubble now. And in the distance, if she looks hard enough, she can see the rebel troops marching into the city.
Many men have held Chloe during her life. Held her in comfort, loss, love, protection and lust, but until Whitney's hand tightens around hers she has never felt truly safe. It could be the adrenaline or some other biochemical response but Chloe doesn't really care. She leans her head on his shoulder and knows that Whitney is still the All-American kid she knew a lifetime ago. He's grown up now, and so is she and Chloe thinks maybe that's why she feels so safe with him, safe right down to her toes.
He pushes her towards the plane. A gentle nudge on the small of her back. She clutches her leather satchel to her body and turns back to look at Whitney one last time. A smile stretches across his face and his eyes crinkle just a bit as he looks at her.
There are impossible odds that they will ever see each other again, but Chloe knows all about impossible odds. The look on Whitney's face tells her that maybe he does too.
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