Author's Note: I own nothing. Not Covert Affairs or its characters. I do, however, enjoy continuing to make the characters come alive for those still missing the show as much as I do.
Simply reminder: Please review as you read and enjoy my work.
It was Annie's last day at rehab. She was incredibly nervous to leave, but also excited at the same time. She had all the tools she needed to be successful in the "real world". She was prepared to deal with dumb people, bad days, and frustrating situations. The rehabilitation center made sure she had contacts for therapists, doctors, and support groups to make the transition easier. Her car had been delivered to her the weekend before and she was getting comfortable with it. She had bought a house, but it needed to be renovated. She would be staying with Auggie until everything was ready at her house. She was a bit nervous about moving in with Auggie, who had been her boyfriend for two weeks, so soon after beginning their relationship began. But then when she really thought about it, they had basically been living together for the last 6 weeks of her rehab.
She couldn't believe it had been 6 weeks since she felt so hopeless that she tried to end her own life. She had learned so much, became someone new, and overcame countless obstacles. She wasn't ready to face the real world, but she was equipped with the tools she would need to do so successfully-at least that was the hope. Annie wanted so much to get back to life, to get back to really living. She just wasn't sure yet what that would include. One thing she knew for certain-Auggie would be there- every, figurative, step along the way.
She realized now that the suicide attempt was needed. It was needed for her to realize what she was doing before it. Before that day she had been trying to get her old life back. She had wanted to drive the same car, have the same job, live in the same house, be around the same people, and be the same person. However, that Annie Walker was no more. That Annie Walker had died with Simon Fisher at the hands of Lena Smith. She could not be that same Annie anymore. This new Annie Walker was not capable and should not be the same person. Not merely because she was paralyzed now, no, it was more than that. The whole experience-being shot, the hospital stay, the surgeries, the suicide attempt, and the rehab-they all made her a different person. Sure, she could do most of the same things she'd done before, but unlike what she thought before, she did not have to. That was not the goal anymore. She was different now. This Annie Walker had to learn how to do things her way, not simply the way she'd done them before.
And so that was the plan. She had to learn how to be this new Annie Walker. As it was, she would have nothing but time on her hands to do just that. She had not decided yet whether she would return to the CIA or not, or in what capacity she would return if she did. Joan had told her that a position would be found for her, but as of now, Annie had no clue what the options were. For now, the only things she had to do was go to physical therapy twice a week, therapy once a week, group therapy twice a month, and keep tabs on her contractor on how the renovations were going at her house.
It was weird for Annie to say that-her house. Not Danielle's house, not a safe house, not a hotel room she called home for the duration of a mission, but her house. A place she owned. She had significant trouble actually finding a place she liked and met all the requirements for a wheelchair user. Then once she did find something-twice someone else's offer had been accepted instead of hers. The third house she put a bid on didn't meet health code standards. But the owners were willing to do some work to it and knock the price down considerably for Annie. They needed to sale fast and had, quite frankly, pitied Annie when it was mentioned that renovations would need to be made on the outside and inside to accommodate a wheelchair. So now, the owners were doing work to bring the house up to code and Annie's contractors were doing work to meet her new requirements as a paraplegic. Her house was not scheduled to be "ready" for at least another month and that was if no other problems came up and the weather cooperated so that they could work.
On this last day at VCU rehab center, she was alone to take care of last minute therapist appointments. Auggie had left over the weekend to get everything ready for Annie to move in with him. Since they were dating now, the sleeping arrangements were settled. Of course they would share a bed, even if they weren't having sex yet. Auggie was a cuddler. He loved having someone to hold as he slept. Annie craved the attention more than ever. She felt more vulnerable now than ever before. Her therapist told her this would happen. She warned her that once she opened the metaphorical emotional flood gates that it would be difficult to contain afterwards. However, Annie was a spy, surely this didn't apply to her, she thought. So she completed the required component of psychotherapy as part of her rehab. She had thought she would easily be able to go back to the way things were. She was wrong. She had never been easily emotional or excessively needy. However, since being forced to talk about how she felt about things and what she felt, she found that now her emotions were harder to hide. She cried easier, angered faster, loved quicker, and trusted rarely. Auggie also knew this would happen. He had never seen a therapist after his accident in Iraq for this very reason. Auggie was patient with her though. When she cried, he held her. When she was angry, he waited for her to calm down. When she laughed, he laughed with her.
Annie went to each therapist on this last day. They all had reminders to give her. Reminders of exercises to complete for her mind, body, and spirit. Routines were important for her mind and body. Exercise was essential for her to maintain physical strength. And continuing to talk things out instead of letting them bottle inside herself was vital to her being able to keep her spirit. It was also recommended that she try yoga and continue learning how to defend herself despite being in a wheelchair. Annie took all of their advice to heart. She knew that many things would have to change from here on out. She had to learn how to live independently again.
Annie was just getting everything put into the car when Auggie called her around 4pm. She was supposed to leave at 2 and had forgotten to call him to let him know her last session with her physical therapist had been delayed.
"Hey Walker" Auggie said smoothly.
"Hey yourself." Annie replied.
"Weren't you supposed to call me before you left?" Auggie answered teasingly.
"Yes, I am. I haven't left yet. " Annie retorted as she held the phone to her ear as she strolled through the rehab center's hallway again. She had just one more bag to get and a few papers to get from the office and she would be heading home. "I'll probably be leaving here in the next thirty minutes, I just have one more bag to get and some paperwork for my next therapists."
"Nervous about the drive?" Auggie asked curiously after a moment of silence.
"A little." she admitted reluctantly. "It's my first big sole trip. I mean, I haven't had a single moment's trouble using the hand controls since I started driving, but well, it's just going to be different." Annie sighed not sure if Auggie could understand what she meant. It was a silly thing to be anxious about, but it's how she felt.
"You'll be fine Walker. I'll have dinner ready when you get here. If you call when you get here I'll come down to help you bring your bags in." Auggie said excitedly. Since they started their relationship, he was constantly doing little romantic things for her.
"Okay, I'll see you around 7 or 7:30 , depending on traffic." Annie said before hanging up the phone.
Annie heads down the hallway toward the last therapist's office she needs to see before leaving Picking up the paper work she has for her, Annie bids her therapist a tearful goodbye and promises to keep in touch if she needs anything.
Once on the road, Annie finds that she is still just as comfortable driving now as she was before. She turns the radio to a local jazz station and simply drives as she always has, well, almost. Using hand controls instead of foot petals is different, but not so terrible that she can't enjoy the drive from Richmond to D.C. where Auggie lived-where she would be living temporarily.
She enjoyed the mundaneness of it. It was something that had changed by her accident, but only slightly. She could still use a vehicle to get around wherever she needed to go. Of course, she was still upset that she couldn't drive her VW or Auggie's corvette either, but she could still drive. Unlike Auggie, her disability did not take the freedom of the open road from her. In her car she looked just like everyone else. No one could just look at her and tell she was different than the woman she had always been. Of course, the moment she went to get out of the car, that changed, but for now, sitting behind the wheel of this car, she felt normal, almost as if the past three months had not happened.
The early December afternoon was peaceful; despite the traffic she hit that left her at almost a standstill for thirty minutes. Annie enjoyed the scenery as she traveled down the highway. She'd forgotten how much she enjoyed driving. It was something she had been very skilled at before. No, she thought suddenly. Something I AM good at.
She needed to stop referring to old self and just accept who she is now. She was different now, but not as different as people might think. Now she simply could not walk. Just like Auggie could not see. It doesn't define him and it isn't who he was. It's just a part of who he is, like his hair color, height, or amazing tech skills. Annie is a blonde haired, brown eyed, linguist, who just happens to use a wheelchair to get from place to place. It was going to take her some time to accept this last fact about herself, as well as the fact that as of right now, she had no job.
Annie arrived at Auggie's apartment at 8:15. Significantly later than she had planned, but she had kept in constant communication with him so he didn't worry. Auggie was waiting for her as she opened knocked on the apartment door.
Opening the door he said, "Welcome home Annie."
When he stepped aside for her to come into the apartment she took in the scene slowly. Spaced out around the apartment were a few of her former colleagues from the CIA, Danielle, and her nieces. It was a small gathering, but it made Annie's heart soar to see them all gathered for her.
"Auggie, I'm all sweaty and nasty from moving stuff and sitting in traffic." She whispered to Auggie as she moved the bag on her lap and placed it by the doorway. "And I still have things to unpack from the car."
"Annie, it can all wait. I'll help you with it later. You're guests are waiting. They all want to see you. They all wanted to be here when you finally got to come home. Your nieces have been driving me crazy for an hour and a half wanting to know when you would arrive." Auggie finished with a smile.
Annie sighed. "Okay. Let's -"
"Hey you two, you can catch up later. Auggie you get her all the time, tonight you have to share." Danielle interrupted them.
Everyone had a great time. Katia and Chloe took turns riding on Annie's lap as she mingled with guests. Throughout the evening, she didn't feel like an outcast. She didn't feel like things had changed. She didn't feel pitied by people that had known her before. She did feel quite self-conscious about people seeing her in a wheelchair, but that was her issue, not theirs.
Danielle had catered the event, so the food was phenomenal. The small group of guests all made Annie feel loved. Barber kept everyone entertained with his endless chatter about nerdy topics most of the guests knew nothing about. Auggie was the perfect host ensuring everyone's drinks stayed refreshed as needed. Annie simply rolled herself easily among the guests. They all questioned her about her plans, how she was handling things, and whether she would be returning to the CIA. None of them brought up the reason she was in the chair. No one except Joan and Auggie knew the full story and even they didn't know every single detail.
As the party was coming to a close, guests began filtering out one by one. Danielle left with the girls around 10 pm, saying it was already way past their bedtime. She promised to return the next morning to help with clean up though. As almost everyone else had left, Joan approached Annie.
"Annie, I wondered if I might speak with you?" Joan asked as the last guest other than herself left.
Auggie busied himself with minor clean up tasks so that the next morning the mess would at least be contained to the kitchen.
"Hi, Joan. Thank you for coming. I'd be happy to speak with you." Annie said as she locked her wheelchair next to the couch. "Would you mind if we sat on the couch as we talk? I've been in this chair longer than I usually am."
"Of course, Annie. Whatever you need to do." Joan said trying not to show the pity she felt for her. It was difficult to watch her best operative now struggle to move around in a normal manner. Seeing Annie now tore a hole in Joan's heart. She watched as Annie locked the wheels of the chair she now used to get around. Then she pushed herself forward on the chair and hoisted her body from the wheelchair to the couch in one less-than graceful movement. Once on the couch, she maneuvered her already thinning legs into a more natural position and slid herself back on the couch.
Once Annie realized Joan had watched the whole action, she became embarrassed. "I'll get better at it." She said looking down at her hands in her lap.
"I know you will Annie. Don't be embarrassed." Joan said with more confidence in Annie than she actually had. She wasn't sure Annie could ever be the strong capable woman she once was, but she hoped she could. She hoped Annie could improve her life in the way that Auggie had. She wanted Annie to overcome the social appearances of her disability and continue to have a successful life. Auggie had adapted himself exceptionally well. She was counting on Annie being able to do the same.
"I will. I'll get there. It just takes time. This was my first transfer to this particular couch. I'll be a pro in no time." Hearing this made Auggie smile. He wasn't ease-dropping, just hearing bits and pieces of the conversation. It made him happy to hear her being so positive about everything.
"Annie, I wanted to talk with you about something." Joan began.
"What is it Joan?" Annie looked at her nervously.
"I have a job offer for you. Of course, you can decline or we can look at other options. Obviously you can't return to the CIA as a field agent, but I have spoken with the director about opening a linguistics department within the DPD. I would like you to be its head. This would mean a promotion and a rather substantial raise as well. You would have a team under you, of your choosing of course." Joan watched Annie's face carefully throughout the pitch she had been preparing all week. Annie's emotions were worn on her face much like Auggie's were these days. Perhaps going through such life altering events as they both had caused emotional reactions to reflect in them stronger than before their respective accidents.
"Wow Joan, I don't know what to say." Annie exclaimed after a few minutes. "Of course I'd like to come back to work at the CIA and working at the DPD is more than I thought could happen. But I do need to consider other options as well. I'm worried that returning to the CIA might bring up feelings within me of disappointment and regret. It was working for the CIA that put me in that chair." She said honestly. "I don't want to rush into anything. I still have a lot of work to do on myself before I can consider any job."
"Absolutely Annie, can you let me know by the beginning of the year?" Joan said. She sympathized with what Annie had been through. Many agents gave a lot for their job at the CIA. But most of what they gave was time away from family, maybe a gunshot wound here or there, and countless hours out of the country. Annie had given the use of her legs to the cause-in the name of patriotism. She had made a huge sacrifice, much like Auggie had. Joan tried very hard not to compare them. She knew Auggie was different than Annie. Their circumstances were quite different; the outcomes had both been horrible in their own ways. She only hoped Annie's expertise of the field, instincts with people, and language skills could all be retained for the benefit of the CIA. Her motives were selfish.
"That seems reasonable." Annie said. Joan started getting up from the couch. She made her way to the door to leave, but turned and said, "If there's anything you need between now and then, you know how to reach me." She reached for the door, but called behind her to where Auggie now sat at the breakfast bar, "Oh and Auggie, I expect to see you back at work tomorrow morning."
"Yes ma'am." Auggie replied with a smile, expertly hiding his disappointment. He had wanted to stay with Annie at least through the weekend to make sure she got all settled. He didn't want to leave her just yet. But as Joan left, he decided to keep his protests to himself for now.
Auggie got up and locked the door behind her as she left saying her good-byes again.
Auggie carefully made his way over to the living room, with one hand out, unsure where Annie was. Of course she let him know right away.
"I'm at the far end of the couch. Your path is clear; my wheelchair is at this end with me." Annie instructed him.
"Thanks." He said bashfully. They would have to come up with a method for him knowing where her wheelchair was at all times.
"No problem. We will figure this out." She said as he sat on the couch. Finding her easily he brought her to his side.
"Of course, we will Annie." He said kissing the top of her head.
"Did you hear what Joan said?" Annie asked as she moved closer to him, pulling her legs up onto the couch.
"I heard some of it. It's a great offer. I hope you will consider it. It would be just like old times to have you back at the office." Auggie said.
"Yeah, it was an unexpected offer. I will consider it. But Auggie, will you be disappointed if I decide not to go back?" Annie asked concerned. She knew things wouldn't 'be just like old times' if she went back to the CIA.
"Of course, I'll be disappointed, but Annie, you can't make the decision based on what I want. You have to consider what is best for you. You've been through a horrible ordeal. Take time to consider how you want to live your life from now on." He told her.
"I will Auggie. I have a lot of things to figure out. I'm honored that I'm still wanted there though. I just can't return there because it was what I did before. I have to do it because it is what is best for me now. I have to admit though, seeing you in your element would be a major perk. I've missed the hustle and bustle of the CIA, I'm just not sure I will be able to keep up now."
"Walker, you'll keep up. I have no doubt about that." Auggie said with a smile on his face.
"I sure will. No matter what I decide to do. I won't let this twist of fate hold me back."
"Twist of fate? What do you mean Annie?" Auggie asked curiously.
"Well, Auggie, when Lena shot me the first time, I twisted around foolishly for a knife. As if I could use it against her gun and well, I've wondered ever since I woke up paralyzed how life would have been different if I hadn't made that small twist?" She said sadly.
"Annie, don't do that to yourself. Don't question things like that. If you hadn't made that twist, you never know, things could have ended up much worse. We might not have ever caught Lena. You might have been tried of treason and been put in prison. You could have gone on some crazy mission that took you away from me. And Annie, you could be dead." He said matter-of-factly.
Annie sighed. Auggie was right. There was no sense regretting the past. She didn't know what fate had in store for her now. All she knew for certain, was Auggie would be there no matter what.
As they sat there, Annie became aware of just how tired she was. It had been a very exciting day full new things. Annie sighed as she imagined life ahead of her. She had a lot to look forward to. She was in the driver's seat of her own life. She just had to decide the next destination that she would be tempting fate with.
Author's Note: Well folks, that's it for this story. What do you think? Did everything tie up for you at the end? What disappointments did you have throughout this story? What would you have liked more of? This is the final chapter of Twist in Fate. BUT, don't worry, a sequel is in the works.
Thank you to those that have favorited, followed, and reviewed this story. Please consider reviewing if you have not done so. Let me know what you thought about this story and what you'd like to see in the next story. The more I hear from you guys on this, the more inspired I will be to work on writing more. I love hearing from readers :)
Tempting Fate will be coming soon! (Don't know how soon though, since summer vacation has come to an end for this teacher, I've already been working on things for next year and prepping my classroom.)