After finishing off the pizza, Annie and Scott sat on the couch, with the TV tuned to a cheesy rom-com. Scott had his arm around Annie, drawing her head down onto his shoulder. The movie had been going barely half an hour when Scott asked, "Do you really want to watch this?" He gestured towards the TV and added, "They clearly don't have a clue about love and the relationship is going to fail. He's already lying to her about his family."
"Hmm what?" Annie looked up at him. She had been absorbed in her thoughts. She knew if she was going to do this, it had to be soon. The situation with Liza and the Westistani government was getting way too serious and if her rate of involvement kept increasing it would be impossible to hide the truth from Scott much longer.
Scott's hand rubbed her shoulder and he chuckled, "I just asked if we could put it on something else, but if you're that engrossed in it, I'll put up with it for your sake."
"Um no, that's okay," Annie said when she realized what he'd been talking about, "Actually, could we turn it off? There's something I want to talk to you about." She withdrew herself from his embrace and sat up.
"Yeah, sure." He leaned forward to push the button on the remote lying on the coffee table in front of them. Then drawing one knee up onto the couch, he turned to face Annie. "What is it?"
Annie took a deep breath before beginning, "I- I haven't been completely honest with you." She paused, testing the waters and waiting for his reaction.
Scott merely nodded briefly then said, "Who is nowadays? Go on."
She continued, "I don't work in acquisitions for the Smithsonian."
"Well that's a relief!"
"What?" Annie's eyebrows furrowed. That was not the reaction she had been expecting.
"I mean, dealing with buying and selling and trading old things always did seem like a stuffy job for you. You've got too much energy for that, if you ask me."
Annie managed a little smile before it disappeared as she added, "Wait, there's more." Another deep breath. "I don't work for the Smithsonian, not really, in any department. I'm with the CIA."
She held his gaze for a few seconds before he broke the connection and glanced down at his hand resting on his thigh.
"Like the real CIA?" Scott asked, still staring at his hand.
Nodding slowly, Annie repeated, "The real CIA."
Scott sank back into the couch and stared at the dark TV screen, "Wow, didn't see that coming."
So far, so good, Annie thought. Well, maybe not good, she couldn't tell for sure yet, but it was definitely going better than when she'd told Danielle.
"If it's any help," she added quickly, "My job isn't like all that stuff you see in the movies. It's not all running around tracking down secrets from bad guys. I do spend a lot of time in the office."
"Well, that explains a lot of things, or at least I think it does," Scott said quietly, still not looking at her, "like why you're so good with so many different things."
"Part of that is because of my dad," Annie reminded him gently, "It just comes in handy now. And if it's any help, feel free to ask me whatever you want, and I'll answer if I can."
Scott let out a sigh, "Have you always been with the CIA? I mean, as long as I've known you?"
Annie answered in the affirmative, "And for about two years before."
"Phew," Scott whistled, before looking at her seriously, "Why are you telling me now?"
"Because it's been too hard trying to hide it from you. We've gotten so involved that you know whenever I come and go. And sooner or later you'd become suspicious, or something could happen to me, and I didn't want you to find out the truth that way."
"What do you mean, something could happen?"
Annie took a deep breath, stalling for a moment to work out a way to tell him that wouldn't make him worry, at least not very much, "My job has certain dangers involved. I can't tell you specifics, but we take every precaution we can to stay safe. More often than not, it's just minor cuts and bruises, if anything."
Scott withdrew his arm from the back of the couch and leaned forward, head in his hands and elbows on his knees, "Sorry I need a moment."
Annie held up her hands, "Take all the time you need. I'll go if you want me to."
Scott started, "No- You don't have to do that. Just give me a little time to process this." He paused and Annie nodded in understanding. Then he continued, with a hint of dry laughter in his voice, "I knew there was something mysterious about your Smithsonian job. All the sudden trips to all corners of the world. I attributed it to be a doctor being too caught up in medicine to understand such a different profession. But those trips, were they real?"
Attempting a small smile, Annie said, "They were, I was actually gone somewhere, sometimes doing real work for the museum, but not to the places I told you. And, I just to be clear, I can't tell you where I've really gone. Or where I go in the future."
Scott inhaled deeply and nodded. They sat in silence for a few minutes, Annie thankful Scott had taken her news so well, at least for now, and Scott trying to figure out where to go from there.
"Are you sure you don't want me to leave for the night? To give you some space to think?" Annie eventually asked.
"Yeah, I'm sure. I want to try to make this work between us, and if you go now I feel like it would be the first step to us slowly falling apart." Scott gazed into her face.
Annie reached over and curled her fingers around one of his hands. He squeezed them and the pair sank back into the couch in contemplative silence. Together they made it past the first hurdle, and the biggest one, in Annie's mind. Now when she had to keep secrets from him, at least he'd know why. He would still worry about her, but at least he would know what he was worrying about.