Excerpt: Dating A Spy Isn't All Fun And Games
"There's a mime convention in town," Mitch said to me. "That'll be fun to watch. I bet if you tell them you were a beauty queen, they'll put on fake crowns and wave."
My ex-husband was turned in the seat in front of me on the Metro while we rode from Northern Virginia to work in Washington, D.C., on a Monday morning in May. Mitch was gay, announcing it the minute after we said 'I do,' seven months earlier. The marriage was annulled the day after my 'new best girlfriend' and I shopped till we dropped in Vegas, so it wasn't a total loss. However, he did get better deals on women's bikini underwear than I did, and I'll never forgive him for it.
He looked up from the newspaper he was reading, staring behind me. "Hey, someone's watching you."
"Who?" I started to turn, but Mitch touched my arm, still staring behind me.
"Don't look," he whispered. "You're such a typical blonde. It's an older military guy, with dark hair and dark eyes. He's wearing business casual, an upper end dark red polo, and stone colored pants." He studied the man for a while. "He's wearing a wedding ring, or I'd be over there chatting him up." Mitch licked his lips and winked, making me scoot down in my seat.
"Any response?" I asked.
"Yeah. I'm feeling the heat, and it's in a good place."
"In him," I whispered. Mitch was so ready for a homosexual relationship; it was scary. He'd date anything.
"Oh, right." He studied the man for a moment. "He knows I'm watching." Mitch looked out the window. "I'm close to my stop. What will you do if the guy follows you?"
The subway slowed. "Ask him out, just to make you jealous."
"So? I'd be the kept mistress." I smiled. "Then I'd date Shawn on the side, keeping me very happy."
"Did you ever notice how much Shawn and I are alike? We both have dark brown hair, very blue eyes, and are both handsome and very sexy."
"He's straight. That's a major difference."
Mitch stood up. "Yeah, or I'd ask him out." He chuckled as he walked off the subway.
I was afraid to turn around, concerned because the seat beside me was empty. However, if the man wanted to talk to me, he certainly could've moved next to me at any time.
My stop to change trains came, and I figured I'd lose the guy as soon as I got off the first train. But, as I left the first train and waited on the platform for the second train, I felt his eyes watching me while I tried to ignore him.
After a few minutes, my next train came. I got on, heading east. I wanted to lose him, so I found a seat next to a very pleasant woman. Because she was reading, I acted like I was studying my calendar. If I didn't make eye contact with the man, he didn't exist, in my mind. Beauty queen training didn't prepare me for anything like this. Darned beauty queen training. World peace my foot. This was one guy I didn't want to meet or make world peace with.
The trained slowed, the driver yelling out the stop for Union Station, which was close to my work. I stood up, stepped closer to the door, and happened to glance behind me. The stalker stood two people back, watching me. The color red lit up in my head from the terror I was experiencing. I suddenly wished my beauty queen talent had been self-defense so many years before, instead of singing Jingle Bells while throwing fake snow into the air and wearing a parka in the middle of August.
Just as I got into the station and headed up the stairs, my cell phone rang. Once I checked the identification, I realized it was Mitch, so I answered it. "Did you miss me already, or are you having a pseudo-male ego crisis?"
"Very funny," he said. "Is he still following you?"
I glanced behind me. "Yes. Even after changing from the yellow to the red line on the Metro at Gallery Place."
"Don't take any back alleys to work to meet with your drug contacts."
I laughed at his attempt at humor. He knew beauty queens didn't do drugs. It would ruin their complexion. "Like I'd do that. Do you think I should worry?"
"Yep. I didn't like how he was watching you. Be careful and call the cops if he tries anything."
"Got it." We said goodbye and ended the call.
I suddenly felt very alone with someone following me to work. I didn't have to just feel it, because it was true, terrifying me.
I snapped back to reality. It was possible the guy worked in the same area where I worked and I just hadn't seen him before. I was probably overreacting. It was all Mitch's fault, because beauty queens could be naïve, according to Mitch.
With a major hair flip to show my self-confidence, I walked upstairs from the subway through Union Station, passing shops. I headed out to the street, a little over a block from my office. My phone vibrated and rang in my pocket, so I grabbed it and opened the thing. From the identification screen, it was my true love, Shawn, so I pushed the talk button.
"Good morning, sweetheart," I said. "How's work going?"
"I've been here since three this morning and nothing's going right. Tell me you're beautiful and wearing a sexy red dress with your diamond tiara from your beauty queen days? You are meeting me for lunch, right?"
I glanced around behind me, heading toward my office building. "Yeah, but no red dress. I left the tiara at home. Try black slacks and a light blue blouse."
"Close enough." He listened for a moment. "You're out of breath. What's going on?"
"I seem to have an issue."
"Issue?" I heard him take a bite of something, probably a breakfast bar. He loved breakfast bars, but to me, they tasted like cardboard and bark. He really needed someone to cook for him, and I really wanted to be that one.
"Someone's following me," I whispered.
"Where are you?" His voice sounded serious.
"I have about a block to go. I just left Union Station."
"Keep walking. I'll take care of it." He ended the call and I stared at my phone. What could he possibly do?
He worked as a computer analyst in a governmental contracting firm closer to Dupont Circle. Lately, his hours were horrible, working seventy or more hours a week with one day to completely crash, usually at my place so I could take care of him. I knew how to cook well, so he'd relax and I'd wait on him. It was kind of fun, because he was really a nice guy.
I headed toward the building where my job as a mathematical statistician for the Bureau of Labor Statistics was located. I may have been blonde and an airhead, but I wasn't stupid.
As I walked, I saw my building within running distance. However, I also saw the mime group heading toward me—white faced, gloved, and all wearing black and white striped outfits with black hats. Of all times for the tourists to interfere. There were at least fifty of the beasts heading my way, making believe they were pulling on ropes, stuck in a room, or walking across a tightrope. My life could be on the line and these people were acting stupid. I could run out into the street, but I'd learned that the fastest way from one point to another was in a straight line. Besides, there were so many mimes; they were also walking in the street and winding between stopped cars at the red light. I had to get past the mimes. Not a fun thing to do.
I quickened my pace and dodged mimes, certain the scary man was following me. Every time I looked back, he was getting closer and closer. As I made my way through imaginary ropes and balancing sticks, I realized these people were just weird. I hated mimes, now more than ever. They weren't on my 'world peace' list, either. So I kept my mind on the prize—getting away from the man stalking me.
As I glanced behind me, I saw the stalker getting closer. I kept walking as fast as I could, stopped suddenly by a stupid mime with some sort of weird fetish. He moved closer to my face, acting extremely surprised. He embraced me, and as I tried to get out of his grasp, he planted one right on my lips.
"Watch it, buddy!" I pulled away and glanced backward. The man on my tail was mere inches from me, his arm outstretched to touch me. But fortunately, he was being held back by a tickling mime. I took off running, glad I was wearing my required governmental sneakers every female employee wore, to save their good shoes from wear and tear on the sidewalks.
When I was about ten feet from my office door, I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Lauren McDonald." He spun me around and reached for my earlobe. Just as I tried to back away from his scary dark eyes, a black unmarked car screeched to the curb and two men in black suits jumped out. They grabbed the stalker, threw him into the back seat, and sped away.
Every single one of the mimes put their hands to their mouths, overacting their surprise, while the rest of the crowd, mainly governmental workers, began clapping for the mimes. The crowd cheered them on, not realizing my stalker had just been kidnapped.
I stared, not sure what to think. The man knew my name, he touched my shoulder, and he looked driven—scary driven.
My cell phone rang the familiar tone of Shawn's call, the talent song of 'Jingle Bells' from my beauty queen days. I reached down and opened my phone, still looking around to make sure I was safe. "Hello?"
"How are you doing, sweetheart?"
"I don't know. There were these stupid mimes—" One of them passed me, lifted his nose, and crossed his arms as if offended, but I continued talking. "This man just touched my shoulder, and now—"
"Don't worry about it," Shawn said. "I've got your back and saved you."
"What do you mean?"
"Nothing for you to worry about. I want you to do me a favor."
I looked up into the sky and at the streetlights, trying to figure out how he had my back. "How did you know to save me?" I thought it through. "No, how did you save me at all? Did you know those guys who stopped and grabbed the stalker?"
He ignored me. "Go to the brewery and restaurant on the next corner. I'll be right there to make sure you're okay."
Mimes suddenly surrounded me, making fun of me. I guess if you tick off one mime, they have this psychic link to let you know you're in trouble.
I kept talking to Shawn on the phone. "I'm fine, I think, other than these stupid mimes mimicking me." One wagged his finger at me, while another mimicked paddling me. If I didn't have this sense of style, thanks to the beauty contest, I'd be kicking their butts.
"I'll meet you in about thirty seconds." Shawn ended the call and I checked my watch. I had ten minutes to get to my desk. It was weird, to say the least, but I had to meet him or some other unmarked black car might hunt me down. For some reason, I had to think he was linked to the black car, but had no real way of knowing.
I moved out of the circle of mimes and headed to the brewery restaurant, where Shawn leaned against the outside wall with his arms folded and one foot crossed over the other. I even noticed a toothpick hanging out of his mouth as if he were relaxing on a porch after a huge meal with not a care in the world. He was dressed in his usual computer-geek outfit of jeans and an old white t-shirt, looking out of place with all the mimes and professionals making their way to work that morning.
I approached him as he grinned. "My sweetheart," he said. "You made it." He leaned over and wiped my lips. "Mime paint."
"One stupid one attacked me." I grabbed a tissue from my purse and I wiped my lips again, trying to get the thought out of my head. I'd have to fix my lipstick now. "The guy kissed me, the idiot. What I mean to say is that he doesn't understand the ways of world peace. There. That's more diplomatic. It means no kissing." Even though I was no longer a beauty queen, I had to keep the thoughts in my head. It was my duty to be the ambassador for the world, even though I came in third place.
I studied Shawn's brown hair and very blue eyes, seeing the man of my dreams, suddenly so mysterious that I didn't know what to say. I cleared my head and studied him, confused. "How did you get here so fast?"
He pointed toward the brewery restaurant, moving away from the wall. "I was hungry."
"But it's not opened yet. What's going on? Who was that man behind me and who was in that black car? Do you know what I'm even asking you?"
He removed his toothpick, took my arm, and gave me one of those toe-curling, heat-induced kisses that transcended all other kisses from any man I'd ever dated—or married. I backed off, lightheaded, and composed myself.
"Now, what were your questions?" he asked with a grin.
"That's not fair. You messed with my synapses. Let me think for a moment."
He dusted off my shoulder and massaged my back. "Done yet?"
"No." I studied his face. "Oh, I remember. Who was that man and who were those men in the black car?"
"What man? What black car?" He lowered his eyebrows in concern. "What are you talking about?"
"You said you had my back and…something else." I hated when he made me forget what I'd been thinking.
He kept rubbing my shoulders and kissed me again. "I do have your back. Feel that?"
My eyes were closed. "I feel something and I think it's hot."
"You're so easy," he whispered into my ear. "Go to work and meet me for lunch. I'm hungry today, and not just for food."
I backed away, staring at his face. "But I told you I wanted to wait. I have to keep up my innocent reputation. Remember, world peace and innocence? Beauty queen stuff?"
"I know. Just seeing if I can talk you into something." He checked his watch, then pulled me to his chest, his eyes mere inches from mine. "Have I told you today how much I love you?"
I grinned. "No. Do you love me?"
His kiss was sweet. "More than anything. And you're absolutely beautiful, even without the red dress and tiara. Now go to work and I'll see you at lunch at your desk."
"But you have to have a badge to come upstairs."
"Let me worry about that." He turned me around so I'd face my building. "I know I have an effect on your senses after just one kiss." He lifted his finger right near my face and pointed. "That's your building and watch out when crossing the road."
"Thanks." I shot him a grin. "I love you, too, Shawn." I walked away, and when I got to the other side of the street, I turned and shot him my queenly wave. He waved back as he laughed, then turned, going down the sidewalk in the other direction.
Once I got inside, I punched a speed dial number into my cell phone, put my badge up to the turnstile reader before walking through it, and headed toward the elevator with my phone at my ear. As soon as he answered, I interrupted him. "Mitch, I need to talk to you."
"I'm in the middle of going over a presentation. The agriculture numbers are due, and you know I have to help present it on Capitol Hill. Can't it wait?"
I stood at the elevator, watching the numbers above the doors. "Sorry. That guy was following me. Shawn called me and I mentioned it. Right when the guy said my name and touched my shoulder, a black car pulled to the curb and the guy was whisked away. Shawn called me back and met me, but acted like nothing happened."
"Time to get a new boyfriend. This guy sounds freaky."
"Or is he my knight in shining armor? What do I do?"
"Do you know anyone in the FBI?" he asked.
I shielded my mouth on the side, hoping no one else was listening. "No. But you know people who work there, right? If you play your cards right, you may even get lucky with one of them."
"You want me to have someone look up your boyfriend? Why not just ask him?"
I stared at my phone. What kind of man had I married and had an annulment with? Considering I was still a virgin, there was only one answer. I was stupid to think he could help me, but that wasn't a queenly thought at all. I put it out of my head. "I can't ask him or I tip my hand. Mitch, time to call in a favor. Find out." The elevator door opened. "I'm going to work now."
I ended the call and stepped inside the elevator. With a quick glance at the people surrounding me, I felt like I was being watched. It was going to be one of those paranoid days where you feel like everyone is out to get you. In my case, it was true.
The trip to my floor was long, with people getting in and out at every stop. I worked in the CPI, or Consumer Price Index, statistical area in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. My job was to help get the numbers ready for presentation later in the month. The economy was doing well, so it was fun to crunch the numbers to give to my bosses who presented them to Congress. I was a lackey who did the work behind the scenes. It didn't make me that happy, but at least I wasn't taking the heat if the numbers weren't good.
When the elevator stopped at my floor, I walked past our secretary and into my office.
As soon as I sat down to fix my makeup and get rid of the mime paint on my lips, Gina the gossip ran into my office. "Did you hear? Someone was kidnapped right outside this building not more than five minutes ago. Stacey, down the hall, saw it. Everyone thought it was a show for the mimes, but as it turns out, it was a real-live kidnapping."
I didn't look up from the mirror in my hand, still working on my lipstick. "She did?"
"She said these two guys jumped him, beat him up, and slammed him against the car before they threw him into the back seat. She called the cops, but they haven't gotten here yet."
I lifted my eyes from my mirror and smacked my lips. "Is that right?" I wasn't about to tip my hand. "Are they coming up here?"
"Yes." She looked out into the hallway. "They just walked in." She ran of my office, and as she did, I shut the door behind me and put my lipstick and mirror into my purse. I grabbed my phone and called Shawn, who was probably en route to his job.
"My adorable sweetheart," he said. "You must want to hear my voice or something."
"Something's right. I want an explanation and I want it now."
"What happened to world peace and the rose-colored glasses?"
"Forget that. The girl down the hall saw what happened and is embellishing it for the police right now." I opened my door a bit and saw a reporter and a cameraman beside the police. "Oh, and someone called the press. They're up here right now." I shut my door again, wondering how they all got through security to this floor.
"Don't worry about that." I heard him clicking at a computer. "It'll be taken care of."
"Wait. Are you at work already? I just left you, and it's at least a twenty minute drive to Dupont Circle from here in the morning traffic."
"I caught the Metro. It's faster."
I knew better. He was lying. "I want the truth. Shawn, what's going on?"
"I'll see you at lunch." He made a kissing noise into the phone and ended the call.
I opened my door again and saw the cops, the cameraman, and the reporter being forcibly taken out of the hallway by four men dressed in black. One of the men was from the car—the one who grabbed the guy who knew my name.
"But we have to investigate," one of the cops said.
"Freedom of the press!" the reporter yelled.
"Not here." The man dressed in black pushed the three out the door while all my coworkers stared. Whatever was going on, Shawn knew about it. It almost seemed like he called the black suit squad of men, because they showed up right after I told him about the visitors.
The office got back to normal and I began working. I was right in the middle of studying the data on my screen when someone knocked on my door.
"Come in," I said, never turning around from my computer. My desk faced away from the door for a reason, so no one would bug me. If they saw my face, they'd think I wanted to talk to them, especially since I was a beauty queen. I made it a point not to make close friends with the people on my floor, because they'd tell me everything about their lives, and I honestly didn't care or want to invest the time or energy into their problems. I didn't need to lie awake at night thinking about them, when I had my own life to deal with.
"Lauren, this is Special Agent Kirk. He'd like to talk to you."
I turned and saw my boss, Robby Galvin, standing next to a man dressed in black. I stood up and shook the man's hand, then pointed to a chair at a table near my desk. "Have a seat."
Agent Kirk glanced at my boss, who left, closing the door behind him. He sat down, looking at my screen. "Are those the CPI numbers for Congress?"
I clicked the monitor screen off and sat back down. "Yes, and they're confidential until released. I don't need to lose my job because of someone reading my monitor."
The man tried to grin, but it seemed tough for him. He didn't look used to smiling.
His face suddenly registered no nonsense. "I'm investigating a kidnapping of one of our own right in front of your building this morning. Do you know anything about it?"
"Not really." For some reason, I didn't trust the man.
"Well, he was following you to give you a message."
"What sort of message?"
The man leaned closer. "Stay away from the agency. We know you're working with a terrorist and we want you out of the picture. If we don't get what we want, we'll make sure you're gone."
"I believe that's a threat, sir," I said, getting to my feet. "What agency are you with, anyway?"
He stood up and reached into his pocket. If he had a gun, I was as good as dead. I stormed him, knocking him to the floor, hoping I didn't mess up my makeup or break a nail.
"Help!" I yelled. "Man with gun!"
My door opened and the secretary stood at the doorway, packing heat herself. "Don't move," she said, aiming at the man's head. "Or I'll shoot."
"I was just going to give her my card," the man said to her, his head turned to the side, while resting on the floor, so he could see her. "How can you have a gun up here? You couldn't have gotten it through security."
"How did you get your gun through security?" she asked.
I loved her sense of right and wrong. Jatara was an African-American woman with street sense beyond that of the normal Washingtonian. She was raised in New York City and decided to go to D.C. because it was more crime-friendly.
"I don't have a gun," the man said. "I was giving Lauren a card so she could contact me."
I got off the man's back and let go of my stranglehold on his wrists. "Sorry. I was sure you had a gun."
"No. They won't let you bring guns into this building." After standing, he turned toward Jatara, who had already pocketed her gun. "How did you get yours in here?"
Her hands flew to her hips. "My what?"
She glanced around her. "I don't see no gun. Now if you don't leave, I'll call security and they do have guns. I'll tell them shoot first, then ask questions later. I rule up here, mister, and I want you to leave."
"For giving Lauren a card?"
She pointed toward the door. "Leave."
He reached into his pocket and produced his card, handing it to me. "I want to discuss this further. Call me."
I looked down at the white card, tempted to rip it in half and throw it at his face, but thought twice. It only had 'Agent Kirk' and the number listed, not mentioning his agency. If Mitch could get me a contact at the FBI, I could find out more.
"What agency are you with?" I asked him.
His face stayed solemn as he put his hand on my shoulder. "It's a secret. Just remember, get out." He turned and walked away, then out the door to the suite of offices. Jatara and I watched him go.
"What was that all about?" she asked.
"I'm not sure. But if any more men dressed in black suits come up here, stop them with your gun that you don't seem to have any more."
She smiled. "It's fake. It's not even real. My grandson gave it to me after 9/11 in case someone tried to get in here."
It wasn't funny, but I laughed anyway. "Stop them with the toy, then. I don't want to be bugged, because my work is due to the bosses before the end of the week, and it's going to take that long to get it done."
"You got it." She closed the door behind her and I sat back in my chair. I wasn't sure how I'd taken the man down, because beauty queens didn't fight. That was against the well-known world peace rule.
Not more than five minutes into making sure the data was in the proper format, my phone rang.
Whoever it was, they were going to get the royal Lauren blow-off. "Hello?"
"It's me," the male caller whispered. "Mitch."
"Why are you whispering?" I caught myself whispering back and cleared my throat. "Why are you whispering?"
"I'm standing in the back of the Senate right now, and I don't think they want to hear my conversation."
"I can't. It's my job."
"Don't you have to go to the bathroom or something?"
He paused for a moment. "They're taking a recess." I heard the door open and the background noise intensified. He'd probably gone into the hallway. "Okay, I have a contact name for you. He wants to see you at lunch."
"I can't. I have a date with Shawn."
"Blow him off. You have a date with a hunky FBI guy."
I rolled my eyes. "Can't I just see the guy right now? That building's not that far from here on the Metro."
I could almost hear his head rattle as he shook it. "No. He doesn't want you in his building for some reason. Lauren, this is serious stuff. When I mentioned your name, he got really professional and knew exactly where you worked. I tried to describe what you looked like and the guy slipped. Lauren. He knows you're wearing black pants and a light blue top today. He also knows you've pulled your beautiful blonde hair up with barrettes—golden barrettes, and he knows you have blue eyes."
The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I could feel a chill down my spine. "I'm being watched?"
"It sounds like it."
I couldn't let this happen, and in true beauty queen fashion, I was going to take this on by myself. "Give me the guy's name and number. I'm calling him right now. I don't like this one bit."
"His name is Lowell Miller. He's a friend of a male secretary I know over there who owes me at least one date. It's a shame he's straight."
"I don't even want to know. Do you have Agent Miller's direct number?"
I heard papers rattling and someone whispered to him. "I have to go," he said.
I grabbed a pen, poised to write on the paper in front of me. He read off the number and ended the call.
I looked at the dead phone in my hand. "Thanks, Mitch." I dialed the number. I had to get this problem off my back or I'd never get the report ready for my bosses.
"Agent Miller," the man said, as soon as he answered. He sounded military, which made me sit up straight and concentrate so he wouldn't shoot me through the phone.
"Hello. My name's Lauren McDonald. I was told to contact you by my friend, Mitch—"
"You're not safe. This isn't a safe line. Meet me at the front of your building in a few minutes." The phone went dead and I stared at it, once again. I hated thinking what I'd gotten myself into, but knew there was no getting out quickly. Beauty queens didn't back off in the face of trouble.
Before leaving the office, I checked in with Jatara to tell her I was taking a break, then walked out. No sooner had I stepped onto the sidewalk, a man approached me and flashed his badge. "I'm Agent Miller. Come with me, Lauren."
"How do I know for sure that badge is real?"
He opened it again and I studied it.
"Do you have an I.D.?" I asked.
"They can be faked."
"Show it to me anyway, and I want to see your driver's license and any family photos you have in your wallet."
"Are you serious?"
I studied his thick wedding band. "Yep. It looks like your wife has you whipped, so show me the pictures she's forced into your wallet." Enough world peace. I wasn't happy.
He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket with a sigh. As soon as he flipped it open, he showed me his Virginia license, pictures of his wife, children, and two baby grandchildren. "Satisfied now?"
"I guess so. Where did you want to talk to me?"
"My car." He grabbed my arm, but I stayed still.
"No way. Some place public." My cell phone rang a familiar tone, the Jingle Bells beauty queen talent song. "Hold on a minute. It's my boyfriend and if I don't answer it, he'll be upset."
The man nodded and put his hands in his pockets.
I grabbed my cell and opened it. "Hi, Shawn."
"Where are you?"
I glanced over at Agent Miller. "I'm outside. Why?"
"Who's that man you're with?"
I looked all around me, but didn't see Shawn anywhere. "FBI. Why?"
"Why are you meeting with the FBI?" His voice seemed nonchalant, making me suspicious.
"Mitch fixed me up. Have a problem with that?"
"Yeah, I do. The guy's married, and he's definitely not your type."
"Where are you?" I asked, looking all around. "How can you see me?"
"He can see you?" Agent Miller asked, moving his hand to his gun on the side of his chest.
Shawn sighed over the phone. "I'll be right there. Don't move, and tell Mr. FBI I'm coming. I don't need to be shot." He ended the call and I stared at the phone. From as many times as I stared at my phone that day, I had the thing memorized, with the pink glitter all over it.
"What did he say?" Agent Miller asked.
"I think he's jealous of you. He's on his way here right now."
"Your boyfriend is jealous of me?"
"You don't know Shawn."
Agent Miller pulled out his phone. "What's his last name?"
"How old is he?"
"He just turned 33. He lives in Annandale and works near Dupont Circle for a governmental contractor. Anything else you want to know?"
"Not yet." He dialed a number and repeated everything to someone on the phone. "I see." He glanced over at me. "He doesn't exist. I should've guessed. Am I dealing with a ghost?"
"A ghost? I know he's real. I just hugged him this morning."
He nodded and returned to the phone. "Yep. I may need backup."
"For Shawn? I don't think so."
The man turned his back on me, but I could hear him. "It may be a more volatile situation. Call out the SWAT team and they have just a few minutes to assemble. Pronto."
I was in deeper than I thought.