Here it is folks: Chapter Ten. (We made it to the double digits. woot!)
I swear I intended this story to be like 5 chapters max... but the first three sentences of my original plan were as follows:
1. Ben dies in Sri Lanka, and Annie goes rogue (sort of)
2. Annie uses her get out of jail card and calls Auggie who lets her stay with him.
3. Sex ensues.
And that took 9 chapters. So it looks like we're all in this for the long haul together. Once my classes are over, I should be able to get more written. I've refined my plan a little, but I do have a plan.
This chapter is so long because you guys deserve a long chapter. Thank you everyone who reviewed and alerted. It really does encourage me to write more.
Okay let's get to it.
"Wow," Annie sighed contentedly laying back on the floor between the couch and the tipped over coffee table. She breathed heavily after the latest round of mind-blowing sex with Auggie. They had spent the better part of the week helping one another to forget about all the shit they had going on in their lives. There was none of that initial awkwardness left in their sexcapades by this point, but a hint of doubt still floated around in Annie's peripheral consciousness.
She'd seen the movies; this kind of thing never worked out. She wasn't even really sure if this "Friends with benefits" thing would work between them. She did know that this thing, whatever it was, was helping her to not think about Ben.
Ben... holding up the bracelet telling her she was the most important thing that had happened to him... Ben's tear stained note "The truth is complicated... Forgive me." ... Ben running to the helicopter an the shock and pain in his eyes as the gunshots sounded... the doctors trying to revive him...
Well, she was lying to herself a little bit. She had thought of Ben more than she would have liked, but Auggie could make her forget for a little while and dull the pain the rest of the time. She couldn't believe Joan and Arthur had used her to draw him out.
She almost wished she had never been pulled from the farm early. Would she have eventually gotten a position at the DPD? Without Ben's first betrayal, would she have ever even applied for CIA training? Would she have met Auggie, Jai, Stu, any of them? Would she still be traveling alone, or maybe with Ben?
She loved her job though. She hated the lies and the secrets, but she really did love going out there every day to stop bad people from doing bad things.
"Contemplating tomorrow?" Auggie asked from beside her on the floor, pulling her out of her thoughts.
"Yeah," she responded noncommittally, rolling on her side to look at him. He was certainly good looking, and man, did he know it. She smiled at his cocky grin. How did he always manage to get inside her head so well? Wasn't she supposed to be a crafty super spy?
She gestured towards their bodies. "I was just trying to decide what to wear, I don't think Joan would appreciate my current fashion choices." She said dryly.
"I happen to like your outfit right at the moment," He said, "Even if I can't see it, I know it looks good on you. You should wear this to work every day."
"Har, har," she said sarcastically. "Well, I should probably call Joan soon. Let her know that I'll be back into work tomorrow if she takes the surveillance off by tonight. I wonder where she thinks I've been all week?"
"Well I'm thinking the lack of tanned skin will exclude beaches," as he said this Auggie trailed his hand over her shoulder lightly as if he could actually see her tanned skin, or rather, lack there of. It wasn't that she was particularly pale, but Auggie was right. If she'd spent the week in Sri Lanka, on a beach somewhere, she would probably have more of a tan.
"We'll just have to leave her wondering, I guess," she said, secretly doubting that Joan didn't already know where she'd spent the week and whom she'd spent it with. Annie somehow felt that Joan would have eyes and ears everywhere. But she trusted that she and Auggie had been careful enough not to be caught. Annie didn't care so much about what consequences her impromptu vacation would have on her. She did wonder though, if Joan found out, how much trouble would Auggie be in. He had as much as used agency resources to sneak her out of Sri Lanka.
She didn't know how she would ever repay him for that, for any of it. Annie got up and righted the coffee table that they had knocked over. She began getting dressed in sweats and a loose t-shirt which she found draped unceremoniously across various pieces of furniture in the living room. It didn't feel quite right to talk to Joan while naked. As she dressed, Auggie stayed where he was, sitting up and leaning against the couch with a self satisfied look, as if he was actually watching her get dressed.
"I wonder if she'll keep her promise and keep me informed?" Auggie said. He leaned back imagining the visuals that would accompany the sounds of fabric rustling that he was hearing. Now that he had explored every part of Annie's body, he could better imagine what she looked like. He refrained from commenting on the fact that she was getting dressed to make a phone call, because he knew if he said anything he was likely to get a pillow or something thrown at him.
"Well," He heard her take a deep breath. "I'm going to make the call." He knew Annie was nervous to go back. He knew she was worried that everyone would know and he would get in trouble for her. He knew that, there was a small chance of any of that happening. He knew exactly how people would react to her being back. They would all walk on eggshells, they would all be so worried about her that not a single one of them would think twice about where she had been for the week.
He heard Annie's voice coming from the other bedroom, all business talking to Joan. Joan might notice Annie's lack of a tan, but he knew Joan well enough to know that whatever Joan was thinking, she would keep it to herself. The farthest she would go would be to tell Arthur off the record.
He decided that he should get dressed as well. He felt around for clothing and grabbed a pair of sweat pants to put on. When he grabbed a t-shirt off the floor, he caught a slight scent that was purely Annie. This must be the shirt that Annie had been wearing earlier; she must have grabbed his shirt instead. It wasn't as if the two shirts were much different. Auggie was pretty sure, between the two of them, they had worn every pair of sweat pants, and every t-shirt he had at least once each.
He lifted the shirt closer took a deep breath through his nose. Annie hadn't worn any of her regular perfumes all week, but there was something about the scent that he had always been able to identify beneath the perfumes. He did love Joe Malone Grapefruit though and he was glad when she wore it. It complimented her well.
He shook himself from those kinds of thoughts and pulled the shirt over his head quickly. He couldn't think like that if this was going to work between him and Annie. He chalked it up to the most resent round of excellent sex they'd just had. They were friends, they just happened to have great sex together. It didn't have to change things. They needed this right now what ever it was.
Neither of them was emotionally stable. Hell, her ex had just died, and he had to deal with the fact that he would never see Tosh again. If they wanted to use each other for stress relief or to forget about things for a bit, what was wrong with that?
Auggie had just started to fix the couch cushions when Annie came back into the room.
"How did that go?" he asked.
"Not bad. I didn't really give her much of a chance to speak. I figure, I'll let her berate me in her office tomorrow. I basically just asked her to take the surveillance off so I could get home and have a good nights sleep before returning to work tomorrow." He heard her let out a breath, he imagined her running her hand through her hair. "I'll wait till she calls you to give you the news before I head home. How long do you think it will take for her to call off the watchdogs?"
Before he could say what he thought, the phone started to ring. "Joan" said the electronic voice on his phone.
"You should answer that," said Annie.
Auggie picked up the phone and hit talk. "Joan." He put some enthusiasm into his voice as if he didn't already know why she was calling. "Any news?" He tried to sound worried and excited.
"Yes Auggie. She just called in. Seems you were right; she'll be in tomorrow," Joan responded, Auggie couldn't quite tell whether she was angry or relieved.
"Where is she? Is she okay?" he asked quickly, knowing she wouldn't have an answer.
"I don't know much. She was on a burner phone, and the trace only had time to narrow it down to somewhere in the DC area. She sounded okay, and she asked me to call off all surveillance we have looking for her so she could return home tonight. In about half an hour, I'll have it all called off, and it seems our flags with transportation were useless if she's already in the city."
"Thank you Joan," he said sincerely, and hung up. He put the phone back in it's charging station, and thought for a moment how he would actually feel if he'd spent the week not knowing where Annie was. It was a frightening thought.
"You okay?" Annie asked. "What did she say?" Annie was worried for a moment that Joan wasn't going to call off surveillance and she would have no way sneaking home. The look on Auggie's face was strange, sort of worried and thoughtful.
He snapped the look off his face and replied, "Everything's fine, and she's doing what you said."
"Then what was that look?" she pushed. She knew he would be honest, and she was curious.
"I was just thinking how that phone call would feel if it was really news," he admitted. "And I realized something."
"What's that?" she was full of questions wasn't she.
"If it were real, I wouldn't wait for tomorrow to see you, and Joan knows it. If she does keep someone watching your sister's house, as I expect she will, she will expect me to go see you. If I don't she'd know something is up."
"You're right." Annie smiled. "Well you'll just have to come visit later. Danielle thinks I've been held up by bureaucracy so you can bring over some fake paperwork or something that absolutely has to get done tonight." She knew that Danielle would believe it. She worked all sorts of weird hours, why couldn't others who worked at the Smithsonian.
"Sounds like a plan," he said. "In the meantime, Joan said it would be about half an hour."
"Well, I'm going to have a shower, and get dressed in something a little more appropriate." She said. She thought she saw a little flash of hope or lust cross Auggie's face. She wasn't quite sure. Was he thinking about her in the shower, or was he hoping to join her? Showering together was something they hadn't done yet. It seemed a little too coupley for what they were going for with their non-relationship. They hadn't talked about it, but they had silently agreed up to that point that showering together was to too far.
She couldn't even explain the reasoning, but some limits had to be set. They had already done the cuddling thing that first night, and that had seemed too far as well. Since then, cuddling after sex had been strictly off limits to avoid awkwardness.
He had comforted her a few times by holding her when she cried over Ben, but that had been on the couch and completely unrelated to sex. The lines were starting to blur though. She didn't want to screw this thing up. So, it was best that she showered alone, and that she would be leaving after that. She trusted Auggie to get her home after missions, and she trusted him enough to tell him the truth, but she couldn't trust him with her heart. She'd been hurt too many times by Men, who claimed to love her. She didn't know if she could ever trust a man not to hurt her, not to use her like that. If she allowed her self to feel for someone, it would only give them power to use her.
Auggie mentally slapped himself. What was he thinking? First smelling the shirt she'd been wearing, then thinking about what he would do if he didn't know where she had been, and now thinking about showering with her. What was wrong with him? They were friends, nothing more.
Maybe it was the fact that their week was over. Maybe he was still on the rebound after Liza and Tosh. Whatever it was, he decided that those kinds of thoughts could get him in a lot of trouble. He wasn't worthy of a woman like Annie. He used women to get intel. He had used Tosh. He had used Liza. He couldn't do that to Annie. He couldn't let himself feel things for her, because in the end, he would only end up hurting her like he had hurt others, and like Ben had hurt her.
He couldn't trust himself to not hurt her. He couldn't make assurances that his job would not force him to hurt her. So it was best if he didn't feel those things.
He wouldn't deny that they were close friends and that they both happened to be very attractive people who had great sex together, but that was all it could ever be.
When Annie had showered, packed up and left for home, he decided to have a shower himself. He got dressed in something a little museumier, cleaned up his apartment, and did one more load of laundry. He gave it a few hours before calling his driver and heading over to Annie's house with a file full of fake documents that she "needed" to go over for tomorrow.
When he got there, he told the driver to return in half an hour. He knocked on the front door and Danielle answered. "Oh, This is unexpected," She said surprised. "Auggie was it? I guess you're looking for Annie?"
"Yeah," He smiled charmingly. "Boss needs her to go over these documents tonight." He held up the folder sheepishly. "Our work is never done—
Chloe and Katia who quickly attached themselves to his legs interrupted him. "Oh I remember you, you work at the museum with Aunt Annie," Chloe blurted.
"Yes I do." He patted her on the head. "I just needed to drop something off for your Aunt."
"That's enough girls," Danielle said in full mother mode. "Back to your homework." She turned back to Auggie. "Follow me I'll take you to the guest house." She led him out the kitchen door and up a small set of stairs.
Annie had been waiting for the knock, knowing that Auggie would come to see her. Danielle had escorted him right up to her guest house. When she opened the door she acted surprised. Auggie explained again the file that he had. As much as Annie could tell that Danielle wanted to stay and talk, she had to help the girls finish up their homework and get them to bed. Her sister left to get to her mothering, but Annie knew that Danielle disapproved of Annie's weird work conditions and she would no doubt have something to say about bringing her work home with her.
Once Danielle had left, Auggie stayed for an appropriate amount of time in case Joan had someone watching the house. Annie showed him around the small guest house and introduced her cat, Rosetta, who was sleeping unawares on the bench seat by the window. The cat didn't even flinch when Auggie stroked her soft fur.
After Auggie had left, Annie went down to the kitchen to say goodnight before heading to bed. Danielle seemed to have a different idea and she pulled out a tub of rocky road from the freezer and two spoons.
"You've had a long week. I figure you could use some ice cream before bed." Danielle said passing her a spoon. "And an opportunity to talk it out if you want."
"Thanks," Annie responded. She was always surprised at how supportive Danielle was. Even if she didn't know all the shit that Annie had to put up with, she could still tell when Annie was having a hard time. "It was a long week, with a lot of paperwork and a lot of red tape, but I got what I went for." She said, hoping that Danielle wouldn't ask too many details about her cover. She didn't want to have to explain what kind of red tape could get in the way.
"And what about your boss sending you paper work for tomorrow? You just got back. Couldn't you just have a little time to yourself to unwind?" There it was, just as Annie had expected. Danielle found it odd that Museums couldn't wait one more day for something.
"Well at least my boss didn't bring the paperwork here herself." Annie said. She gave a shudder at the thought of Joan coming over to her house.
"She certainly sent a friendly face." Danielle said, arching her eyebrow at Annie in implication. Annie tried not to react too much; the last thing she wanted was to let her sister know what was going on. Danielle couldn't possibly understand.
"Yeah," she said non-commitally, "he's okay." She didn't want to downplay too much though so she followed up with a bit of the truth. "We're good friends. He's great to work with." She relaxed when her sister nodded. She didn't suspect a thing. Danielle did seem to get the hint though, that Annie didn't want to talk about work.
"That reminds me, what ever happened with that Jai guy that you brought over for the barbeque? He seemed really nice." Little did she know, that Jai was just another piece in the puzzle?
"Oh. He wasn't who I thought he was." She said, sort of telling the truth again.
"Well then we'll have to see if we can find someone else, won't we?" She said happily, ready as always to set Annie up with someone.
Annie scoffed. "Of course." Annie said. She loved her sister and she wanted to tell her everything, but to talk about Ben would be to talk about her job. Danielle set her up with guys because she didn't know any better. Annie understood that she did it out of love.
She thanked Danielle for the ice cream and the talk but apologized that she was much more tiered than she had thought and that she had to get those paperwork finished before bed.
Walking into the bullpen, Annie felt like a fish in a bowl, without any of those plastic castles to hide in. Those who didn't see her right away were tapped on the shoulder and looked up from their work. She strode through the room confidently walking towards Joan's office. If they were expecting her to be an emotional wreck, she would prove them all wrong.
As she passed by tech ops, Auggie looked in her direction and smiled reassuringly. She still hadn't figured out how he always knew it was her. She would have to drop in and see him when she was done; that is if she still worked for the CIA.
Joan's office door was closed, so she had to knock. She knew she should feel like a child going to see the principal, but she didn't. She let anger and betrayal feed her confidence and bolstered herself with the knowledge that Joan, Arthur, and Jai had used her to draw Ben in. Jai had gotten close to her for the purpose of getting to Ben. Well they had gotten their wishes. They had gotten to Ben, and now he was dead.
A muffled "Come in." came from behind the door and Annie steeled herself before walking in...