This was the third time that afternoon that Nyssa was briefing her.
The ebony haired woman paced impatiently in front of Sara, brandishing a document, her eyebrows furrowed.
"So, as soon as we leave the compound and enter the airport, who are you?" she demanded a quick, intelligible response.
"My name is Diana Lorchester," Sara rehearsed, "and I am on an important business trip to Hong Kong. I was sent as a representative of my company in the States, and am looking to strike a deal on cyber-technology."
"Excellent," Nyssa confirmed. "And I am Lara Phillips, your Executive Assistant, who has prepared your statements and has accompanied you on your trip to make sure the entire process is documented."
Sara nodded vacantly. Nyssa scowled and swatted the back of Sara's head with the manilla folder. "Pay attention!" she snapped. "Once we arrive, there is no breaking character so you have to be as prepared as possible now. You have to live and breathe as if you are this person."
Sara inhaled, waiting for Nyssa to continue her eager diatribe.
"Here," Nyssa said, tossing Sara a pair of black pumps and handing her a nice grey suit and a purple blouse. "Change. We leave in five."
With that, she stalked off to speak to her compatriots.
Sara took the garments to the nearest women's restroom and shucked her current outfit. Once she slipped on the suit pants and blouse, she left the stall and went to the sink. She bent down to slip on the heels and then stared at herself in the mirror behind the sinks as she put on the blazer. She kept staring at herself, in disbelief with how put together she looked. She looked normal, like she really was on some sort of fancy business trip. If anyone saw her walking down the street, they would never know she was a prisoner of conscious, that she had a terrible burden that constantly followed her... that drove her mad some days.
Sara adjusted the bottom of the suit jacket and tucked a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear. More than anything, how she was dressed reminded her of her mom. Dinah used to take her and Laurel everywhere, while dressed up in professional garb. As a professor, you would think that she would wear more "teacher-y" clothes, as Laurel had always called them. But no. Dinah Lance did herself up in nothing less than a beautifully put together professional suit for her job, and oftentimes, she would take the girls on errands and out on the town in her finest attire.
Sara smiled at the thought, catching a glimpse of her strangely dimpled expression in the mirror. She remembered when her mom took them to the aquarium when they were little... that was one of her favorite memories of them all together! In the car, Laurel had been recounting facts she learned in school about all types of fish and underwater creatures. Mom and Laurel engaged in an in-depth discussion about why certain underwater animals migrated. Meanwhile, Sara had been staring out the window, gazing at the clouds; she was excited beyond belief that they were finally going to see some sharks!
Laurel had made fun of Sara when Sara let their entire family know that the shark was her favorite animal. "Why sharks?" Laurel asked, squinting her eyes across the table. "They're vicious and do nothing but kill other things."
Sara defended the sharks instantly. "No way, Laurel!" she shouted. "Sharks are so unique! Not only do they have an incredible sense of smell, but they are so agile and nimble in the water. Not to mention, they are incredibly patient and calculate when to strike!"
Laurel scoffed. "Well, I just think they kill because they're good at it."
Dinah had piped in with, "Girls, why don't we all go to the aquarium tomorrow and observe them ourselves?" Quentin smiled at his wife. Sara beamed, standing up from the table and grinning from ear to ear. "You mean it, mom?! We're going to see them tomorrow?!"
Dinah smiled at her youngest daughter. "Yes, we sure are! We'll pack our favorite sandwiches and everything!" Sara pushed her chair back suddenly and ran over to her mom's seat, squeezing her in the hug.
With her bright blue eyes staring lovingly at her mom, she declared, "Tomorrow is going to be the best day ever!"
Sara look back at herself in the mirror, the half-smile still lingering along her face. It really was one of the best days. She had even gotten her favorite stuffed animal, "Sharky," out of the adventure. Of course, Laurel didn't let her live the name down, sighing and explaining that naming a shark "Sharky" was incredibly boring and unoriginal.
The door burst open and Nyssa walked through. She surveyed Sara, a misty look plastered on her face.
"You look quite entrancing," Nyssa stated. Sara's eyebrows shot up at the compliment, the very forward compliment...
"The outfit suits your character nicely," Nyssa finalized her statement and adjusted the glasses she wore on her nose. It was so strange a sight to see the daughter of the terrifying Ra's al Ghul clad in a cobalt blue professional blouse, a knee length black skirt, heels and (of all things) wearing designer eyeglasses. Sara felt rude staring and was trying desperately to suppress the giggle that was forcing its way into her throat.
"You look..." she began, and broke into a smile, "somewhat ridiculous... but great all the same!" She managed. Nyssa turned to look at herself in the mirror, smoothing her hands down her skirt and adjusting her glasses playfully.
"Well it's certainly a little removed from my usual comfort zone." She turned, observing her figure from behind. "But I think I can manage just fine," the woman smiled, her bespectacled eyes twinkling with a devilish flicker.
Suddenly, Sara felt the same childish rush of joy when she looked at Nyssa. It was the same feeling she had when she learned about sharks when she was younger. Nyssa's predatory yet patient gaze sparked Sara's interest-- a fervent intrigue.
"What is it?" Nyssa asked.
"It's a bit silly," Sara admitted, as they both walked from the bathroom and to the sleek black car that would deliver them to their terminal.
"I just suddenly got the urge to hug you like the shark stuffed animal I had growing up," Sara said, strutting along in her heels and smiling.
Nyssa stopped and waited until Sara turned around.
"If you jeopardize our mission by hugging people like shark stuffed animals, we're as good as dead." There was complete silence between them. Sara's mood dampened a little.
Nyssa smiled, that knowing grin decorating her face. "I was just jesting," she said.
"But really, no hugs until we've completed our tasks and reached checkpoint."
Sara smiled and caught up with the assassin. They strolled together to their destination, and their car zipped off to the terminal.