Annie Walker leaned forward in her chair, elbows heavy at her desk. Lena was finally dead. Eyal was charming but she never really knew completely if he was playing her or not. And her relationship was slowly beginning to unravel with Joan ever since Annie came back from Russia. Auggie was still in her corner, though.
There wasn't any point in taking a break for a few days off. It would just lead her back to an empty house in Georgetown where nightmares of seeing Simon gunned down before her would repeat themselves every evening before sleep.
Annie privately winced for she had to get up and go to Arthur's office. It was probably for another new assignment. She stopped on the ground floor for a coffee first, thankful for the jolt of caffeine as she waited for the elevator doors to open.
Annie noticed Arthur was still in a meeting as she approached his secretary at her desk. Annie threw her empty coffee cup in the trash and took a seat. Arthur's secretary smiled at her and then soon waved Annie to go in.
Annie paused at the door for Arthur was still talking to someone sitting across from him at his desk. She silently motioned to Arthur if she should step out and he smiled.
Arthur needed to read her in on something new. Annie never heard a single word come out from Arthur's mouth as the man sitting with his back towards her stood up and turned around.
"Hello, Annie." A familiar voice filled the room. Jai Wilcox apparently was not dead. His original smile disappeared as both he and Arthur noticed Annie froze in place.
She nodded from time to time as Arthur went on, explaining that Jai's original investigation of Lena was above Arthur's pay grade; everyone from Arthur down was suspect in the various operations that had become compromised in the months leading up to Jai's supposed-death by a car bomb. Arthur could see Annie's jaw clench as she maintained her composure.
Arthur suggested she sit down after a moment of tense silence grew in the room. Annie turned towards him and slowly shook her head with a tight smile. She had other things to do and left before saying a word to Jai.
Annie didn't take the elevator, she slipped out the door and started heading down the stairwell. She heard footsteps behind her.
"Annie, I know you're pissed—" Jai began and then stumbled as Annie sharply turned around and grabbed his tie, jerking him downward so they were face-to-face.
He slowly closed his mouth, seeing that it wasn't anger coming from her. Annie bit her lip. The sadness shown in her eyes revealed a genuine wound by his past actions.
Annie waited. "You were dead and now you're not. Lena was my mentor before I knew she was a traitor. Eyal was my friend and then he played me. And Simon died."
Annie released her grip on Jai's tie and slowly exhaled. In the certain way she appeared in the stairwell light to Jai, he could see she had rings around her eyes, carefully hidden by applied makeup.
"Whatever, Jai." She muttered, shaking her head. She left Jai standing on the stairs. He called her name again, but Annie ignored him.
She drove home, her fingers gripped tight around the steering wheel. Annie was going up to the guesthouse and throw things in a duffle bag and drive on out. Maybe to the airport or maybe just keep on driving out of Washington, D.C. all the way to California. Her sister would be there.
She took a bath first and then looked at her bed. A short nap would be great if she could actually go to sleep. Annie blew air through her clenched teeth and fell into bed, forcing herself to close her eyes.
Apparently, every once in awhile, that old trick worked. A gentle but firm rap on the door outside by the main gate an hour or two later startled Annie into stumbling out of her safe cocoon and down the few steps to where a man was waiting for her.
Jai apologetically lifted up a few bags of take-out food and beer in his hands as a peace offering. Annie still didn't stay anything to him but relented and allowed him inside. He followed her up to the guesthouse where they started setting up paper plates and paper napkins once again on a rug spread out between her bed to her desk.
Jai began to open one of the various Indian dishes he brought over. "Honestly, you looked like you were going to hit me in Arthur's office." Annie glared at him. Jai shrugged, looking down at his food. "Or pass out." He watched her slowly chew a few bites and swallowed.
"You couldn't even trust me." Annie stared straight ahead of him, towards the wall.
Jai leaned forward in his seat on the floor. "I couldn't read you in then, Annie." He paused. "I did trust you to find the leak." He muttered more to himself than to her.
Maybe Jai had grown too much of a thick skin over the years in manipulating and exploiting people for intel that he had forgotten how it could devastate them. Or maybe it was just being raised by a callous ass for a father.
Jai was surprised to feel differently though when it came to Annie. He had imagined a different reaction from her in learning the truth about this operation. Instead, he was troubled that the events leading up to this had taken a brutal toll on his friend.
Jai looked around the room after a few minutes of eating in silence and remarking that Annie had already packed her things. "You going somewhere?" He tried a different tact.
Annie shrugged, picking at her plate. Jai sighed and set his plate down before scooting over next to Annie on the rug. He was well aware that she could choke him or gouge his eyes out at this close proximity with her fingernails.
Annie sighed and leaned her head back against the bed. "I don't know, Jai." She started shaking her head. "I thought you were a friend."
Jai exhaled. "I am your friend."
Annie turned towards him and Jai was sorry he suggested to Arthur in his office that afternoon that they should read Annie in now that Lena was dead and the investigation was closed.
Annie looked as if the last remnants of her cheerful, friendly, trusting personality were this close to crumbling away into a hardened, cynical operative. She was too young for that, just yet. Jai thought.
Jai briefly squeezed Annie's hand. "Annie… you should come with me this time."
Annie sharply glanced at Jai with wide eyes, remembering his exact words at the diner that started this whole thing. She started to say something as Jai smiled and held up a reassuring hand towards her.
"There's a beach house in South Carolina; we could drive down there for this weekend and I could explain everything then. You probably didn't get everything that Arthur was trying to tell you in his office anyway." He stopped. "You don't look so good."
Annie looked down to her hands in her lap. "You know Jai… My father could be an ass at times when I was growing up as a kid. And I didn't like seeing how your own dad treated you when I came by your table at Allen's Tavern."
She had a sad expression on her face as she glanced up into Jai's face. "That's what I liked about you Jai. You come across like a suave, smooth, cocky guy to everyone at the office but I got to see what was behind that at the table with your dad."
Annie then wiped her mouth with a paper napkin. "I found someone who was more like me vis-à-vis crappy parental relationships."
She paused and leaned towards Jai, studying the concerned expression on his face. "Are you that guy?" She sighed. "Or was everything about you just an act from day one in order to get to Ben Mercer?"
Jai swallowed hard. "That exchange you saw with my dad? That was real."
He began gathering up the empty take-out boxes. "I don't think you can ever fake that, Annie." He stood up, with the bag of trash in his hand.
Jai slowly left the guesthouse, throwing the bag of empty take out boxes into the trash bin nearby the driveway. He was about to start his car when he heard Annie tap on his window.
"For God's sake, we'll use my car." Her duffle bag was strung around her shoulder. "You already wrecked yours the first time around." She eyed the trunk of his car, noting the new license plates.
Annie was worn out from everything, but Jai could detect a small grin from her as he got out of his car. Some relationships apparently were worth preserving after all.