Did the sky fall? Let's all check. Oh, no, it's still there. But.. is this... real? An update?
Okay, so first.. THANK YOU to people who reviewed and kept on reading this story. 70 reviews guys? Really? I love you. xD
Against all odds, namely real life and… that's about it, I'm updating! Yay!
I want to get this story finished, and then we will see what would happen. :D thanks again guys, and I hope that you'll like this chappie. :)
They decided to go on with their plans for the day. There wasn't much point in stressing the children out. They were supposed to have fun as a family. And despite everything that was going on, Riley was determined to make it happen.
"I won't let him cripple my life, Ashley. I won't give him the satisfaction." Riley told his wife. Ashley placed a hand on his, and for a minute they sat there.
"So what are we going to do now?" Ashley asked.
"Smithsonian, I guess." Riley said, standing up. He took off his tie, and headed into their bedroom to grab a new shirt. "The children really want to go there. They have been talking about it ever since we got here."
Ashley nodded, following Riley into the room. She grabbed his Converses and placed them in front of him. "I think we should tell the children about all this." She said slowly.
Riley raised an eyebrow. "Why? They don't need to know this. They won't understand, anyway."
Ashley shook her head. "I think they would if we try to get them to understand, Riley. And it's for their protection. They need to know what's happening, or else they might do something that would just aggravate the situation because they don't know what's going on."
Riley frowned, mulling it over. He slipped the shirt on, and adjusted his collar. "You're right. They have the right to know. This concerns them, too." Riley sighed, and took Ashley's hand in his. "I'm worried. I can't have him wreck my life anymore, Ashley. I love you all too much."
Ashley gave him a kiss on the cheek. "We can do this. We can pull through this, okay?"
Riley smiled, and gave her a kiss back. With a voice full of determination, he said, "I know."
They were a picture of a perfect family. Matt rode Riley's back while Tori tugged on the hem of Riley's shirt, wanting a turn. Ashley kept a tight grip on Tori's wrist and was short of being dragged along by her daughter.
"So I figured that we should get something to eat first, before we head to the Air and Space Museum." Riley said, his voice calm and steady. His expression betrayed no fear and apprehension even if he constantly looked around, checking to see if they were being followed.
Just thinking of Ed made his blood boil. Riley knew the man was out to get him (for what exactly he didn't know) and there was no stopping him.
But Riley would never, ever, let his family down. He never had; and he never will.
"Burger King Burger King Burger King!" Chants from his children brought his attention back to the present. He lowered Matt down to the steps, and the child hopped up and down while tugging at his hand. "Burger King Burger King!"
"Burger King it is!" Ashley said with a small laugh. His wife was doing a great job of covering up her fear, too. Riley looked at her, and Ashley gave back a knowing glance, her lips curled up in a semi-fake smile for the sake of the children.
Her eyes conveyed only one question: how are we going to tell the children?
A few minutes later they were munching down on whoppers and onion rings. The fries steadily disappeared and so did the rings, so Riley volunteered to get some more. Tori tagged along, following behind Riley as she chatted about the last macaroni artwork that she and Matt did in the hotel. "I don't think he can glue the macaroni right yet dad. I keep on trying to teach him how, but he just presses the glue and smears it all over the place. He doesn't even stick any macaroni on!"
Riley caught his daughter's hand with his own. "Just keep teaching him what you know. I'm sure that he'll get it – I mean, my Tori's such a good teacher like her mom!"
The child beamed, and went up to the counter. She reached a hand over the counter, and waved at the cashier. The cashier smiled, and asked Tori for her order. Tori turned to Riley and tugged at his hand, but he was rather preoccupied with something.
He stared at someone outside the window. A man with white, wispy hair waved his hand, a nasty-looking grin on his face. Riley gritted his teeth, and resolved to ignore Ed as he tried to get his attention.
"Daaaaaaad it's our turn!" Tori said, and tugged on Riley's hand again. "Dad? Dad. Dad. Dad dad dad dad dad – "
"Alright alright, here we go." Riley said. He smiled what he hoped was a nice, happy, worry-free smile at the cashier, and did what he needed to do.
All that was left to do was wait, and Riley did all he could not to look out the window again. He turned his attention back to his daughter, who was now busy telling him about an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants that she saw.
Then he heard something that he did not want to hear.
"Justin, don't tell me you're just going to ignore me. I was trying to get your attention out there."
Tori had stopped talking, and pressed herself shyly to Riley's side. Riley didn't turn around, and instead grabbed the tray of food that the server slid over to him. He said his thanks and proceeded to walk – to where, he wasn't sure yet, because he was deciding whether he wanted the family to meet his worst nightmare, or worse, for his worst nightmare to meet his family. He decided that it didn't matter anyway. Ed knew about his family, so why bother? At least his children would see the face of the man that they should run away from, and it would be a nice starting point to tell his children about the current situation.
"Oh, I'm sorry." Riley said, his words clipped and controlled. He hated Ed, but it didn't mean that he should be impolite. He should set an example to his children, after all.
But that also did not mean that he should entertain him. "Look, mister, I don't want any trouble. Could you just leave me and my family alone? Or else I'll be forced to tell the management and their security."
Riley gestured at his daughter to slide back into the booth, and then sat down himself. He glanced at Ashley, who stiffened when she heard Ed's voice. Riley's wife placed a protective arm around her son.
"Justin, Justin, Justin. Are you sure you want to play this game? You haven't even heard my proposition yet." Ed pulled a chair over, and sat down. He fished an onion ring from Riley's pile.
"This is not the time, Ed. I'm having lunch with my family, and we have plans for the day. Call my secretary back in my office and make an appointment." Riley looked up. "Please."
"How about we just have lunch tomorrow. Right in here. Same time – I'm sure you could make a little time for an old friend, eh? We'll talk. I'll give you this one. Have good day, Mr. Carpenter." With that, Ed left, and Riley slumped a little in his seat. His stomach tightened a little from anger and fear, and he found that he lost his appetite. He kept on eating though, trying to reassure his family that it was okay.
"It's okay, guys, we will talk later, okay? Let's finish our lunch first, then how about we go sit under a tree in the park while eating ice cream for dessert? Then we'll talk, and then head into the Smithsonian. What do you think?"
"Sounds good, Justin." Ashley answered for all of them. She slipped her hand into Riley's and gave his hand a reassuring squeeze that told him that she was behind him all the way. Riley squeezed back, and continued eating.
He wouldn't know what to do without his family.
Tori knew that something was wrong. Her parents were trying their best to cover things up – smiles that didn't look like smiles, laughter that didn't sound right… Sure, there were times when her dad seemed actually okay, and sounded okay, and that was when she and Matt were around. So, Tori decided that she would keep her dad company until everything was right again.
She did wonder what was up though. Her parents didn't share much, but she can always tell if it was really bad – they get all fake-smiley and weird.
And she was getting some ice cream after lunch instead of some bowl of fruit: there must be something important going on, and they were going to talk about it. Tori was not sure it was a good or a bad thing – but it should be good, she thought, since her parents are talking, and good things happened when they talk. She got to understand what was going on, and that made her feel less worried.
She took Matt's hand and they both ran to the ice cream truck, with their parents trailing behind them. They were walking hand in hand, she noticed, and thought that it was both sweet, like in the movies, and gross, since, well, they were holding hands. She got herself a nice chocolate ice cream bar, and helped her brother with an ice cream cone he was fumbling with. Tori then followed her parents to that tree in the park her dad was talking about. She wondered if she would see a squirrel. She liked squirrels.
Some part of her wondered how her dad could know a million things about Washington D.C. She had never been to Washington D.C., and everything was just interesting and fascinating. Tori thought that her dad was pretty awesome because he knows a lot of stuff. As far as heroes go, her dad was the best.
They sat under the tree, and for a moment everything was quiet, except for the sound of her licking the bar, Matt trying to gobble up the ice cream, and the birds and the people and the wind. Her parents watched as she ate, but she didn't really care. Parents did that a lot – just watch their children do things. She thought it was kinda boring, but that was okay – she asked about it once, but they just told her that she would understand when she grew up.
She wiped the chocolate off her face when her mom handed her a towel. Mom ended up wiping her face anyway. Dad gave a sigh, and Tori took that as a cue to stand up and place her arms around him. It looked like her dad needed a hug.
Dad started to cry, and Tori let go, concerned. She thought she did something wrong, but her dad just smiled despite of the tears and asked if she could give him a hug again, because it felt nice. And so Tori did, and patted her dad on the back so he would stop crying. It always worked for her friends, and it seemed to be working for her dad.
"Dad, what's wrong?" Tori asked, frowning. She wasn't exactly sure what was going on. She glanced at Mom, who gave her a small nod.
"Tori, Matt, I need you to listen to Daddy very carefully." Dad sniffled, and Mom handed him a handkerchief. Tori tried not to go yuck as Dad blew his nose, seeing as they all seemed so serious. She turned to Matt, and Matt made a small face at her showing his disgust, and Tori giggled.
"Okay, kids." Dad started, and Tori nodded to show that she was listening. "Do you know those bad guys we watch – like Darth Sidious – that old guy, in Star Wars?"
Tori shuddered. "That old man is creepy." Tori had nightmares of that creepy guy for a while when she was a little younger. His teeth was awful and nasty. He was just… Bad. He killed all those people. Just awful.
"Do you remember that he was the one who made Anakin into the guy who's in black – Darth Vader?" Dad continued. He stopped crying, and now had a little of his story-telling voice on. He still looked sad, though, and that made Tori uneasy. Her dad was never sad.
"Yeah." Tori was scared of Darth Vader too, but she would not admit that to anyone, not even Matt. Matt liked Darth Vader. She wasn't sure if Matt even understood the movie, but Darth Vader was the bad guy – he was trying to defeat the good guys. "He was trying to blow up and kill the good guys. He was bad."
Dad nodded. "Well, the person who went to our table earlier, Mr. Wells. He wanted to make dad like Darth Vader."
"He wanted to make you a robot?" Matt asked. Tori had to shake her head – silly little kids. Vader wasn't a robot. She wasn't sure what Dad was getting at, though.
Dad shook his head, smiling a little. "No Matt, but close." His face looked sad again. "He wanted Daddy to be bad. He wanted Daddy's help to do bad things."
"But Dad, you're not like that. You can't do those things." Tori said. It was true. She had never seen her dad do anything wrong in her entire life.
Dad smiled a little, and shook his head. "Mr. Wells almost made Daddy bad. When I was young, I did not know what I should do because I had no mommy and daddy. So I did what Mr. Wells told me to do. But Daddy stopped."
"But you're not bad, right Dad?" Tori asked. She asked because she already knew what the answer would be.
Mommy, who was silent and just giving Dad nice pats on the shoulder, spoke. "Of course your Daddy is good. But Mr. Wells, that scary man earlier, remember?"
Tori and Matt nodded.
"He wanted Dad to do bad stuff for him. But Dad didn't do it, and now Mr. Wells is mad and still wants Dad to do bad things."
"What kind of bad things?" Matt asked.
"Things that we should not do – lie, steal, and everything against the rules that we have. And now he wants to take you so that he could make Dad do these things again." Dad said. "Matt, Tori, I need you to listen. We are still going to stay here, in Washington, but when you see Mr. Wells, you immediately tell Mommy and Me. And you immediately hide. Hide with Mommy, or with Daddy."
Mom continued. "Or with Aunt Abigail. Okay? Remember. Or if something bad happens and you're really really scared and Daddy and Mommy aren't around, what do you do?"
Tori raised her hand, and Mom nodded at her. "Call 911 or a police officer, right Mom?."
"That's my big girl." Mom said, and gave Tori a hug. "Remember, children. If it feels really bad and weird, if it feels wrong, and if everything becomes bad and weird, never forget – you should always stick together."
Dad took Tori in his arms. "You and Matt must always stay together unless we say so, okay?"
"Okay Dad." Tori noticed her Dad cry again, and she frowned. "Are you okay, dad? Still sad, still feel like crying?" She went to him and gave him a hug. Dad wouldn't let go again.
"No, I'm not sad, Tori. Daddy's scared. Daddy's really really scared that Mr. Wells is going to do something to take you and Matt away from me." Dad hugged her a little tighter until it hurt a little. She squirmed until Dad let go. "But he would never, ever let anything happen to you. Ever."
Ben was not going to give up. He didn't give up when people called him a lunatic, and he found the templar treasure. He didn't give up when people accused his ancestors of killing a president, and he found the Cibola.
And similarly, he would never, ever give up even if Riley Poole, his best friend himself, told him to quit. He would do anything to get Riley back.
Whenever he needed to find an artifact, what Ben would do was look into the past of the item. Look at where it has been, why it was made, when it got lost. Research.
And similarly, that was exactly what he was going to do. Research.
He looked up at the FBI building, went in, and asked for Special Agent Peter Sadusky. They ushered him into some random office room.
Ben tapped his fingers as he waited. Peter entered the door after a couple of minutes. "Ben? What are you doing here? How's Abigail and the kids?"
"They're fine." Ben answered, and stood up just as Peter was about to sit down. "Look, Peter, I need a favor…"
"Ben, if this has something to do with a felony I'm having none of it –"
"It's about Riley."
With those words, Peter's face fell and turned grim. "Ben, I'm sorry, but I cannot waste anymore resources on looking for him. The trail has gone cold. The kid really knows how to hide. I cannot do anything."
"I found him." Ben answered. He then added wryly, "or maybe he found me."
"How? Where?" Peter asked. His hand went up to his forehead in a surprised manner, and he looked astonished.
"He was working under Richard Reed, a friend of mine. We met at some dinner." Ben leaned forward. "Peter, he changed his name and buried his tracks. He's now Justin Carpenter, and he has a family."
"Justin Carpenter. The name rings a bell." Peter thought for a moment. "The guy who invented Parashield?"
Ben nodded. "That's him."
"I never looked into that thing. Not in my department. But hell, I should have known." Peter answered. "Well Ben, you found him. What do you need me for?"
"He refuses to talk to me."
"You want me to talk to him?"
Ben shook his head. "No. I need his past, Peter. I need his files."
"I can't just tap a few keys on the keyboards for this, Ben. There're procedures, protocols – plus you need his consent…"
Ben sighed. "Please, Peter. Look, Riley couldn't be just instantly good at this, at hiding. I bet there are other names. A dozen. I don't know. Please, just look into it. I don't have to see all the files. Just… I need to understand…"
"It's not even my division if he commits a felony. I'm in the Counterterrorism division, and unless he is a terrorist Ben, I can't do anything about it."
"Please, Peter. As a favor. Please."
Peter stood up, shaking his head. "I don't know Ben. I don't know."
"Peter, come on. I need this." Ben said. "Please, Peter. I came to you."
"Look…" Peter exhaled. He paused, thinking, and then shook his head. "Maybe I can run Riley's picture through the facial recognition program and see what comes up."
Ben nodded and stood up. "Thank you. I owe you one."
Peter chuckled, and shook his head. He sighed. "I don't even know how I'm going to collect, Ben."
The rest of the day was a blur to Riley. They went to the Museum, with his children gawking at the exhibits.
Riley mostly stared blankly ahead, focusing on a general point in front of his eyes, smiling at the right moments with his kids, and nodding at his wife when needed. He smiled for the camera, but the expression didn't reach his eyes.
He could see that his wife's worried glances. He could feel apprehension in every little squeeze Ashley gave him, even if it brought him some comfort.
He sighed. Tomorrow was the day. Tomorrow was the day he would find out what Ed wants. Tomorrow was the day.
Tomorrow he would meet Ed. Tomorrow.
Tomorrow was when the nightmare officially begins.
SO, I just have to say that I don't know what division Sadusky is really in, but when I googled someone there said that it is a terrorist act to steal the Declaration of Independence, so I figured he'd be in Counterterrorism. I know that if it really is then the Homeland security and other agencies would be there, but I'm just basing this on the movie so…
AND I do NOT claim to be an expert on this. I don't even live in the US. I'm sorry if I got it wrong, but it's fiction, and I did what I can to research.
AGAIN, thanks for STILL READING, and let's all hope that I'm going to update again soon. College is pretty hectic, especially since this is my last year and all. :D Anywaaaaay, reviews would be awesome. :) thank yooou!