Irene's Wrath, Auggie's Fear, and Annie's Care
Made this in mind of Hurricane Irene this past summer.
A One-Shot Story.
Disclaimer: All Covert Affairs is owned by USA and their writers. I have no claim on the rights. This is a tribute story. A.& A.
After a successful brush pass and gathering intel from a contact at the Harrah's Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., Annie and Auggie were prepping for their trip home.
"Auggie, I want to take a quick shower before we leave. I'll be 10 minutes. If you need me give me a shout ok?"
"What? I can't hop in?" There he went again. Typical, cheerful Auggie. Annie laughed as she grabbed a change of clothes from her duffle bag. "Try to be quick. I have a case of beer waiting for me at home." He started flipping channels.
As the hot spray helped wash away the stresses of her week, Annie was remembering what Joan said to her in the beginning. The only reason Auggie was with her was because she had no one else to keep an eye on him during Hurricane Irene. Even though he was her handler, Joan saw their bond and felt she could trust Annie. Annie relived those moments with Joan at her office.
"Annie, before I brief you on your assignment, I'm going to ask you a favor. I want you to take Auggie with you. I'll explain why, but in return you must keep this 100% confidential. No one else to know of what I'm about to tell you. Understood?"
"Of course, completely."
She was a bit confused at first but as Joan began to explain her eyes began to widen. When all was said and done, she knew what she had to do.
She finished up her shower and quickly blow dried her hair before she changed. Because they're cover had them set up only as a couple instead as business partners, they only had one bed. So Auggie slept on the couch, much against Annie's displeasure. She had ideas of taking turns or letting her because she was smaller than him; but he refused.
Putting on a pair of jeans and a lace camisole, she reviewed her mental checklist. She was making sure they had everything while she shrugged on her denim blazer.
She felt bad not letting him enjoy his vacation. He had asked for two weeks off. But then Joan had sent him with her on assignment to A.C. She said she would make it up to him but Auggie was against going with Annie. He had nothing against Annie, and she knew that. In the end, he caved and went with her. She slipped on her sneakers and found him on the bed listening to the weather. If they hurried, they could still make it back to D.C. before the hurricane got any worse.
"…Gov. Christie will be issuing a state of emergency later on this evening. At this time, a shoreline evacuation has been put in effect. All N.J. residents are to move inland and onto high ground as flooding is expected…in other news…the damages across Virginia…"
Maybe not…She saw Auggie start to tense up a bit as he turned off the TV. She then looked at her suitcase next to the bed. Good thing she came prepared. She gently put a hand on his shoulder.
"Hey, did you just get out? Governor is calling in a state of emergency. They're saying we wont be able head home until the hurricane passes through." He still acted like nothing was wrong. But she knew better.
"I'm gonna report to Joan. See if she can find us another place to stay. Why don't you take a shower? We may be a while and our new place may not have as nice a shower as they do here." She reached for her cell and called Joan as he hesitantly went to shower. He was really tense now. He tried to hide it, but she saw how hard his shoulders went. She explained the situation with Joan.
"Alright Annie, I'll try to see if they have anymore places open more inland. In the meantime try to head that way, the shore is dangerous right now. Also, try to make sure you have plenty of supplies. We done know how bad this can get and not all places will provide help. I'll have Barber contact you on further details."
"How's Auggie doing?" Annie glanced towards the bathroom. She still heard the shower running. Usually he'd be done by now.
"He's ok. But I don't think he was planning on sticking around during the storm. Especially with me."
"That's expected. The storm isn't as severe as we thought here. But Barber has told me the storm is to pick up a bit before it hits New Jersey and New York."
"So it may get worse?"
"Most likely." Auggie wasn't going to like this. "In the meantime head over into the mainland. I'll have Barber try to contact you once we find something."
"Be careful out there." Was that a tone of concern she heard from Joan?
"Don't worry, I've got it covered." She hung up and began to put away the last of her clothes.
"You've got what covered?" Auggie, out of the shower, was leaning against the wall trying to listen in. His hair was still dripping onto his face. He was wearing his black slacks and belt. His button shirt and socks were in his hands, leaving him topless. His skin was still damp from the shower. He was looking towards her direction. She could see his handsome physique was all tight. His muscles were flexed.
"Just filling Joan in. How was the shower?" She wanted to change the subject. Hopefully to ease his mind from their situation.
"It was fine. I noticed it was big enough to fit a room full of cheerleaders." She smiled. Anything to get his mind away from the storm. "Now what did Joan say?"
Did he really want to make this difficult for her? She knew what she needed to do, but trying to respect Auggie and keeping him happy was hard.
"She says the storm isn't as bad as everyone thought. But because of the precautions she's calling in to get us a place inland." Hopefully that'll appease him.
"Annie, you're not a very good liar." No dice.
"We'll talk once we get in the car. Now, we have to check out." With a grunt he went to the couch to pick up a navy blue shirt and his duffle bag. At least that will spare her a few minutes to plan out her next move. Hopefully, Barber found them a place.
I didn't know what was going on. First, Joan granted me my vacation; only to turn around and have me join Annie on assignment. Ok, when was I allowed on the field?
None of this made sense. And for 30 minutes I'm left to wonder. Annie and I checked out of the casino and started heading further inland. Earlier as we made it into the parking lot Annie's cell phone rings.
"Walker, what do you have for me?" With the wind blowing into my ear, I barely make out the conversation. Annie leads me towards the car while she keeps talking on the phone. "All right, we're heading over there. Try to get the deal. Keep me posted. Uh-huh. Okay, thanks Barber." She hangs up and loads up her Volkswagen as I take my seat in the passenger seat.
"Where are we headed now?" I asked her over and over again. But Annie was focused on the road. I give up after a while, frustrated. After what felt like 30 minutes of driving, I grow tense and fed up with waiting. If it's one thing I don't like, it's being left out of the loop. Especially on missions.
"Annie, can you please tell me where we are going?" I plead one more time. My hand is holding the handle bar grip tightly. My jaw is clenched with anticipation. It's hard enough being blind. But not knowing what I'm doing or where I'm going doesn't help matters.
"We're heading for Smithville," finally. My grip loosens.
"Smithville? You mean where the Jersey Devil comes from?" I reply, trying to smile. I hear a small chuckle from her. God, I love her laugh. Hearing it always makes me feel lighter than air. It sounds like a cluster of Christmas bells. It's contagious and it always cheers you up. I end up chuckling myself.
"Yep, Barber found an inn that may have a few slots open." As we continued to talk about the legendary creature I begin to heard a light patting sound. It becomes more frequent and I hear a whispered curse slip out of Annie's lips. I hear a small crank from her side suggesting she is handling the controls. I then hear what sounds to be windshield wipers. A few more clicks and a breeze starts to hit my face. She had turned on the fan.
It was cool out. But I had my blue t-shirt on and a leather jacket from my early years. So, I was comfortable. After a few more minutes the car starts to slow down and we turn into a parking lot.
"I have to run inside and pick up a couple things from the convenience store. Do you need anything?" I hear her seat adjust as she reaches for her purse and phone. I can feel her presence as she looks at me for a response.
"A bottle of sleep aids and a bottle of vodka," I said with a joking smile. But in reality I was serious. She goes quiet for a moment. Did she take me seriously? Hearing her shift in her seat makes me worry. Even though I was serious, I don't want her to think that. It'll be hard enough going through another few nights with the hurricane. But Annie can't know. I don't want her to see me like that.
I have always been there for her. I've been her rock while she was away on missions. I have always been the point of stability in her life. I was the calm, cool guy who always had her back. I couldn't risk having her change that image of me. Thinking fast I try to tease my way out.
"What? It was either that or a few new toys." I put on my best smile. A chuckle escapes her again. I was in the clear.
"Alright Auggie, I should be 5 minutes. I'll keep the car on for you. Just lock the doors til I get back." I hear her door open and the rain falling all around.
"Roger that," I call after her. I reached for the lock button on the side as her door closes. I press it and hear the click sounds indicating my task was done. I was alone. The patting of the rain, the purr of the engine, and the swishing of the windshield wipers were my only company. Already my body started to shake slightly. This was going to be a long night.
Third Person POV
Annie ducked out of the rain and made it inside the Mom and Pop convenience store. Grabbing a basket she went over to the snack section and grabbed some easy cooking snacks. Ramen, Easy Mac&Cheese, some canned soup, a few bags of chips, and few fiber bars.
She moved her way to the drinks. She grabbed a few bottled waters and a couple sodas. Snagging a box of tea and some honey, she made it towards the ready-made foods.
Checking out the contents she selected a handful of sandwich hoagies. She did grab a bottle of sleeping pills. There was a liquor shop next store so she can get the vodka there. Checking her watch, Annie saw she was making good time. She didn't want to take too long. Especially with Auggie waiting for her in the car.
Thinking she had about everything she needed Annie saw the young teenage girl at the register. She was possibly Israeli, with olive-tan skin and dark hair. Very pretty, couldn't be more than 15 years old. She wore a black shirt with a small nametag. Her jewelry was a simple Star of David. She was speaking natively to whom she thought was the girl's father. He had to disappear into the stock room for a minute and asked her to mine the store. As he left Annie spoke to her natively with a smile.
"(Excuse me, may I pay for these and add a bag of ice?)" The girl smiled and nodded, glad to have speak to her in her own tongue for a change. Annie was glad to put her language skills to good use. On her way to the register, Annie answered her phone.
"Barber, please tell me you got the room." Barber's sigh on the other end gave it away before he answered. Her face fell.
"I'm sorry Annie.."
"You couldn't find anything?" She furrowed her brow. This wasn't good. Glancing outside she saw Auggie was still in the car. He looked like he was on edge. She had to find a place fast. The rain was starting to pick up a bit.
"No, they booked the last room with someone that walked in while I was speaking with the manager. They were doing first come, first serve. All bets are off with this Hurricane coming."
"Well, keep trying. I'll try to find some motel or something but we're going to have to get off the road soon. The Governor here is forcing people to stay off the roads. I won't be able to drive around much further without getting into trouble."
"I understand Annie, believe me, we have everyone on this. Joan isn't letting us get away with you guys having no place to stay." Annie wasn't surprised. Joan would make sure she and Auggie could have a safe place to crash during the storm.
"You know, Auggie would have had my room ready hours ago if he wasn't with me."
"Rub it in why don't you Walker? I'm doing my best here." She sighed.
"I know, thanks Barber." She paid for her things and added the bag of ice. She then had to go get it from the cooler in the corner. While she did the father came back from the stock room. The girl looked at her and started to talk to her father in hushed tones. He looked up at Annie as she grabbed the ice and headed back towards the counter. As she approached she could hear the last part of their conversation.
"(But father, she has no place to stay. And you and I already have grandfather living with us. You just said the sign would be up once the storm was over.)"
"(I understand, Adria, but…)"
"(Didn't you always teach me that helping others help make us who we are?)"
The gentleman looked at his daughter, he was at a loss for words. He then smiled at her, and then looked up at Annie as she reached the register. He spoke to her in English with a heavy accent.
"My daughter has told me you are having trouble finding a place to wait out the storm."
"Well…yes, at the moment, but don't worry I'm sure my friend will be able to find a place for us soon." She may have said it a little too fast.
"Well, my daughter has suggested for you to use my father's house. At this time we have him staying with us and when the storm passes we were going to place it on the market. No one is using it so it wouldn't be much harm in letting you use it until the storm passes. It's a small cottage down that road. It has some furniture and two bedrooms to accommodate your needs." Annie could not believe what she was hearing. This stranger was offering her a place to stay.
"Oh, I couldn't…I..I mean.." She looked again outside. The rain was getting worse. And a vague image of an upset Auggie still in her car. He needed a place to feel safe. And a car wasn't going to work. But to impose into another person's house?
"Please say yes." Annie then looked at the young girl. Seeing her she saw a bit of herself. Annie couldn't help but give a sigh of relief and smiled at them.
Auggie was sitting in the warm car. The windshield wipers were not clearing up the rain. It was coming down too fast. And it was coming down hard. The sounds were numbing his ears. He was holding tight to the handlebar to his right. He started to look around warily. Where was Annie? She was taking too long. She could have been attack. No, not Annie. She was too tough for that. And even if she did he would have heard her. Same for burglary. No car came in the parking lot. But even then he wasn't sure.
The sound of the rain grew louder. Unknowingly, he closed his eyes. He started to see himself back in Iraq. The job. His team taking fire. The rain became gunfire in his ears. Him calling on to his team.
"Get out…get out…get out of the…"
Auggie jumped. He opened his eyes but he still couldn't see. Darkness and the pounding rain was his only company. His ears were pounding racing with his heartbeat. His head felt like it was spinning. What just happened? He could feel the cold sweat on the back of his neck. Knock Knock Knock. Was someone knocking the window?
"Auggie!" Annie was calling to him. He quickly felt for the unlock and opened his door. He couldn't stop shaking. His eyes kept darting around. He needed to find Annie.
"Annie…" She leaned in and hugged him tight. She was already soaked. Her wet hair dripped on his cheek. But the hug still felt good. He buried his face into her damp hair, breathing in her Jo Malone Grapefruit perfume. He raised his hands back up around her one arm in an attempt to hug back. He could feel the rain on his face as he looked back up. The cold air. It was noisy.
But then he heard a sound like shushing in his ear. Annie was calming him. She calmed him. His muscles relaxed. His shaking melted away at her touch. He didn't want to let go.
"It's ok now, we have a safe place to stay. Just sit tight while I load up the car, okay?" She pulled away and placed his head into her hands. "You trust me right?" He took it in for a second. He looked at her direction, hoping to look her in the eye, and nodded.
She disappeared but he still felt her touch tingling his cheeks. He heard his door slam closed and the trunk open. Feeling the weight change in the back and hearing the thuds as plastic bags found there spot in the car, Auggie began taking deep breaths.
He could still feel his heart racing. But not as badly, and not by fear.
What was this strange feeling? There was a slam as the trunk was closed. He could hear Annie talking to someone. Again the rain made it difficult for him to hear anything. Her door opened and she slid into her seat. As soon as it was closed he heard her call the agency.
"Annie I'm going as fast as I can.." It was Barber. He didn't sound happy but Annie cut him off.
"Barber, don't worry about it. I got us a place to stay. I'll text you the information once we're there. Have Joan know too."
"Oh..okay, great! I'll let her know right away."
"Thanks." Hanging up she placed the car into reverse and they left.
"It's ok now, we have a safe place to stay…." Although I was still feeling the initial shock from her sudden arrival, I still felt a wave of relief flow through me. There was a moment of quiet when she held me. All I could hear was the quiet sound of her voice in my ears. All I could feel was her arms around me, holding me close. She felt so warm, so soft, so…safe.
I couldn't think, nor speak. My body just relaxed and melted away. When she held my head in her hands, I felt a churning in my stomach, a flutter in my chest. I could feel her warm breath against my cold face. I could feel her bringing me to life.
Then she asked me: "You trust me right?" Trust Annie? In a heartbeat. Why would she ask me unless she was worried about me. Now realizing my delay I hopefully looked her in the eye and nodded.
Minutes later we left the store and Annie called in to tell them she found a place for us to stay. We were back on the road. Annie took a moment and held my hand. It was so warm. And I felt calm again. Trying to distract myself from the stomach churns and the fluttering of my chest I tried to talk to Annie.
"So.., where are we going?" I tried to maintain myself not to sound anxious.
"There's a small cottage close by. Some furniture, two bedrooms, and maybe a fireplace."
"What about utilities?" I asked. I would love to watch some football to help me with this storm.
"Save for water, none. It's a well water house so we can shower and use the bathroom but otherwise that's it."
"How are we going to eat and stay warm?" I wasn't trying to complain. Although I did wish to have some television or internet.
"My aren't you a little complainer?" She said it so teasingly. It felt so good. It stirred some longing in the innermost parts of my-
"What are you thinking? She's your best friend. She deserves better than that." Right, what WAS I thinking? Annie deserves so much more. She needs a guy that can look out for her. Someone who can keep up with her, who can see her the same way she sees others. Beautiful, inside and out.
"It's okay, I came prepared." What did she mean? What did she get in the store? Next thing I know we're turning right onto what I thought to be gravel. "Here we are Auggie. Our home for the next few days. We'll be perfectly safe." She said it so cheerfully. It made me believe her. I did feel safe.
Third Person POV
Annie hopped out of the car and ran to the door. This storm was going to get real bad. She knew it. At the moment it was light. The wind sent a chill down her back through her soaked blazer and camisole. She unlocked the door and went in. Trying not to dirty the floor she took a brief look from the door. She needed a few good key landmarks to help Auggie get around.
The layout was very simple and open. The floors were hardwood with carpets laid out in designated areas. There was the fireplace and couch with a matching coffee table making up the living area, framed by a simple white rug. The couch was closest to the door, about 10 feet away from the stairs directly in front of the door. The rest had to wait.
Running outside she went to get Auggie. He patiently waited for her in his seat. Guiding him quickly inside was easy enough. As they stepped through the thresh hold she realized she had to leave him alone for a few minutes in order to empty out the car. But if she hurried everything was going to be okay. She ignored the chill she had and gave Auggie directions.
"Okay, we're at the door, the stairs are at your 12 o'clock about 10 feet away. There is a couch and coffee table in front of the fireplace at your 10 o'clock. About 20 feet away. It's 10 feet away from the stairs. There's a beam at the end of the steps. If you get there the couch will be 10 feet at your 9. I'm getting the rest of the stuff. I'll be right back."
"Annie," as she let go he reached for her and caught her by the wrist. "Annie, before you go can you do something for me please?" A look of concern was on his face.
"Anything." She furrowed her brow. Was something wrong?
"Can you turn around and take off your blazer?"
"Just…trust me." He let go of her wrist and helped her take off her blazer. As quickly as it was off, he shrugged off his jacket and wrapped it onto her shoulders. "I could hear your teeth chattering and you were shaking like a leaf." He spoke calmly. She turned around and smiled at him.
"Thank you Auggie." She placed her hand on his cheek and left it there for a moment. Letting him cave his head into its caressing feeling. "I'll get our stuff and make us something to eat. Just relax okay?"
~ A Few Hours Later~
A small fire was cackling in the fireplace. Auggie and Annie were sitting on the couch, talking while finishing their sandwiches and sodas Annie got at the store. There were two empty mugs of what used to be soup on the coffee table. The storm was raging outside, but they didn't seem to mind or care.
"Annie Walker, you never cease to amaze me," Auggie said with a smile on his face. He had changed into a new grey shirt and traded his black slacks for black sweats. "How did come to bring all that equipment?"
"Well, my dad used to take me and Danielle camping during the summer. He always made sure we knew what was necessary. He told us that they were important, if not crucial, items whenever there is an emergency. I always have this kind of stuff on hand so all I have to do is get water and a few extra containers of propane." She also changed to get out of her wet clothes. She wore her black sweatpants as well and wore a purple sports bra.
"So Joan isn't just having you watch me, but she also 'motivated' you to have these items on hand eh?" He asked slyly. Annie only laughed.
"No. And even if she did, I don't think she'd mean it to be this extreme." She took their mugs and trash and padded her way into her armory of a kitchen. A series of propane stoves were placed in a specific layout. On the counter were a quantity of various snacks. There was a cooler filled with the ice she bought and their drinks to last them the weekend. "Do you want any more soup?"
"Didn't we eat it all?" Auggie called over his shoulder.
"Yes, but I can make more if you're still hungry."
"No, I'm good Walker."
"Alright, then I think we should turn in. The fire is about to go out." She finished washing out the mugs and grabbed a small battery operated lantern. She made her way to Auggie's faint silhouette. She wasn't sure how he was feeling, but she knew they needed to get some sleep. Placing her hand on his arm, she gently motioned him to get up. He followed suite and allowed her to guide him to the stairs. Stopping at the bottom she turned herself so she was in front and placed his hands at her waist. Turning her head she spoke quietly.
"It's 12 steps to the top. Just hang on to me okay?"
"..Okay." He whispered. She could feel him beginning to tense up a little as they proceeded. She slowly went up each step and waited for him to echo her movement. When they reached to the top she guided him to the bathroom to relieve himself. She pointed out where everything was including a few toiletries she brought along.
After a few minutes he came out and she guided him to the master bedroom. There was a queen size bed and two dressers. The bed was made, and she took proper care in folding it so Auggie could sleep comfortably. She got him seated and said she'd come back. He nodded. But she could see the fear in his eyes. So this is what Joan was talking about…
As she went to use the bathroom she remembered everything Joan had said, including something Annie couldn't ever forget.
"Irene will be in the area and you're the only one he trusts the most. You and Auggie have a special bond, Annie. A bond that goes beyond an agent and her handler. He trusts you, more than he trusts me even. And I've known him for years. It would be best to have you be there for him. So he doesn't feel so alone and vulnerable."
After she finished brushing her teeth Annie took a look at herself in the mirror.
"…You and Auggie have a special bond, Annie. A bond that goes beyond an agent and her handler…"
"What kind of bond Joan?" Annie whispered to herself. She looks in the corner of the vanity and picks up the bottle of sleeping pills. She grabs a water bottle and her lantern to head back. A sudden group of flashes followed almost immediately by clapping thunder makes her jump. She hears a thud and a yelp. Auggie.
"Auggie!" She dashes into his room to find him on the floor on his knees. His head in his hands. He looked very small. She puts down the bottles and lantern as she goes down in front of him. "Auggie." She spoke quietly and calmly. She knew yelling wasn't going to help him.
As she reached for his arms he flinched and trying to smack it away. But Annie wasn't going to give up. She had to help him. She didn't like to see him suffer like this. He didn't deserve it.
She tried again as another flash and clap of thunder broke. Auggie whimpered and tried to block her again. But this time she was ready and grabbed his wrist. As he swung his other arm she quickly blocked it and twisted her wrist to successfully grab his.
He looked around wildly, panting heavily. She saw he was starting to hyperventilate.
As soon as she got her opening, she moved in and wrapped her arms tightly around him. He was shaking violently.
"Auggie, it's okay. It's Annie." She spoke quietly into his ear. The shaking eased a little. But Annie didn't let up her embrace on her best friend. He needed her. Slowly she felt Auggie's head move from her chest to the side. A whisper escaped his lips.
"Annie?" His voice sounded so small.
"I'm here Auggie. I'm here." His muscled started relaxing again. A flash came. "It's just thunder, Auggie." As soon as she finished saying it another clap was heard. This time, it wasn't as loud. Auggie winced. He started to take a few deep breathes. "That's right Auggie, just breathe." She took her hand by his head and made small soothing circles around the nape of his neck. Another flash, another rumble which was much softer than before, and Auggie's breathing. It was all Annie heard other than the rain and an occasional howl from the wind.
After a few more minutes Annie started to loosen her grip. She gradually slid down to Auggie's eye level. She then lifted up Auggie's tearstained face with both of her hands. His eyes were shifting, trying to find her, showed so much sadness. They looked like they belonged to a lost child, trying to find his way home.
"Annie?" He reached his hands to her face. He held her back the same way. He tried to find the right words to say what he wanted to say.
"Shh, it's ok Auggie. You're safe. You've been safe with me this whole time. You knew I was here and I wasn't going to let you be alone." She slowly guided him up as she spoke. "And you have to tell me anything if you don't want to. I'll be here for you. I'll always be here for you."
"I know." No jokes. No criticisms. Just Auggie being honest to Annie when he needed her and she came for him.
Annie fixed the bed and got Auggie in. He almost fell asleep instantly. And as she got up to move the lantern on the floor, she felt him grab her hand.
"Please…stay…" His voice was quiet. His plea was barely audible. But she knew she wasn't leaving him alone.
"I'm not going anywhere." She couldn't help but smile a little. Not letting go of his hand she got under the covers next to him. She laid on her back. She felt the pillows give her a little tilt, which worked well as Auggie snuggled closer to her. He laid on his side next to her, his head resting on the crook of her shoulder.
Her arm in which his head was just about rested on his back and shoulders. Her hands went back to making soothing circles at the nape of his neck again. Her other arm overlapped Auggie's outstretched arm. His wrapped at her waist. Hers was on top of his and rubbed his shoulder with her thumb. Not just yet ready to sleep, Annie begins to hum a little lullaby she heard Danielle sing to the kids when they were scared or sad.
"..Annie.." She looked down at him as he raised his head up in her direction, eyes open, "..do me a favor.."
"Sure, what is it Auggie?"
"…don't ever change." It made her smile. Even if she didn't quite understand it, it was cute what Auggie said. "…Annie…" This time he kept his head down.
"..thank you…" he whispered as she heard him finally drift off to sleep. Her smile grew. She tilted her head down and kissed him on the forehead.
"You're welcome, Auggie.." And with that she fell asleep. Her chin resting above his head.
It sparked something in me. In those brief few moments when Annie held me as I lost myself. And in those brief moments when she laid down next to me. I felt several emotions flow through me.
Warmth, security, and most importantly, safety.
I felt safe in Annie's arms tonight. My fears and worries melted away while she held me close. Tonight I felt like I was going to sleep well tonight. After years of lack of sleep, I finally felt like I was going to sleep peacefully. I felt like everything was going to be fine. As long as I had Annie Walker by my side.