Annie had walked them through the story almost the same way she had McQuaid. This was with facts and not feelings and truths.
They again didn't comment to much, but kept peaceful through dinner occasionally both feeling a slight uncomfortableness.
Annie felt like the whole thing had went about as well as it could go, which was not good at all.
"Would you like anything for dessert?" A waiter came to ask.
"It's on me" Ryan nodded in direction of Joan and Arthur.
"We'll share the number 3 on the brownie menu."
"Anything else I can get you?" The waiter ask, then directed his question toward Annie, "Do you need more water?"
Annie looked up thoughtfully, "Could I get a beer instead?"
"Do you have a preference on the brand?"
"No, just whatever you have."
"Why beer, at 2 in the afternoon?" McQuaid asked.
"Eh, why not?"
Annie would have been having a shot of tequila if she could, but she thought that really would have been a bit excessive while dining with her current and ex bosses.
Mainly just because talking about her daughter still effected her more than anyone would ever know. The more she opened up about it the more guilty she felt for the last 16 years.
"Annie!" Danielle let out in distress shaking her shoulder. Annie blinked open her eyes and saw the shadow of the 5 month old baby in her older sisters arms, and suddenly became acutely aware of how loud the infant was screaming.
Danielle, who Annie had always assumed had the most innate maternal instincts of anyone she had ever met, and had been caring for Annie since she was 12, looked like she was on the verge of a panic attack.
It took Annie less than a minute to get out of bed, gently take the baby with its blanket out of Danielle's hands, and lead her sister back into the kitchen.
"Dani calm down, what's going on?"
Even before she had said it Annie knew from the hot, wailing baby laying on her shoulder the little girl was definitely sick with a fever.
"She's been crying for over an hour, she has a fever, a-and I think we should take her to the emergency room.. I-I don't know," Her older sister let out, trying to refrain from hyperventilating.
Annie thought briefly, "Why don't you go lay and calm down for a minute, and let me see what I can do?"
Dani nodded, complying. Annie was always the better one under pressure.
"Oh baby," Annie cradled her head standing up to walk and bounce, "you're okay, shh." Her eyes darted to the clock that said 1:47am.
She wasn't sure what exactly was wrong with Chloe but she wouldn't be finding out unless she got her to calm down.
Continuing to whisper gentle nothings and bounce Annie walked into the nursery and found the pacifier. Even though the baby had it in her mouth she was still whining, but her shrieking had ceased.
Finding the thermometer, and getting her temperate of 100.5 Annie decided if it wasn't better in the morning then they would handle it, for now the baby just needed some sleep.
She laid on the couch and the moment they quit moving crying began again. So she got back up and rocked and bounced again. Checking on Dani to find her asleep.
Annie gave her baby a small smile. She liked being able to do these things. Around 2:45 finally the baby eased into a small slumber. Annie not wanting to risk another episode stayed still in the rocking chair also dozing off a little.
She was awoken at 4:30 by a small whine and the girl tugging at her ear. Repositioning her so that she was laying on her side in Annie's arms with said ear against Annie's side away from the air Chloe quieted down. Annie sighed, her ear was bothering her.
"Ma'am," She snapped her head toward the young man holding her drink.
"Sorry, thank you," She replied, taking it. The look McQuaid gave her not going unnoticed.
"You've been in dream land a while now," Arthur commented.
Annie narrowed her eyes at him.
Joan, who had been particularly quite the whole time, broke in "Well what was it..." At that point her phone began ringing.
"I'll be right back" Joan stepped out of their private dinner room onto the balcony.
Annie caught the glimpse of Barbers number on the phone, so she had a good idea of what the call was about. They had been working on a side case for a while, and Eric was suppose to finishing it up this weekend.
"What was it about?" The guy on her left said.
"Nothing important, Ryan," She said simply.
"Oh, got it," He noticed how intense she had been. How into it she was, but in a strange peaceful way. Not like with how scared, lost, and tense it had been when she would think of Henry. She was thinking about her niece he assumed.
TBC: Please review