I wanted to write this little prologue because I thought it was a shame we didn't get to see this scene play out at the start of the episode. Face and Tawnia's friendship wasn't explored in the show, but I like to think it existed. This is definitely a friendship story, I promise I'm not suggesting any romance between the characters! If you enjoy it, please consider leaving a review. Thank you kindly.
"Face! Open the door! It's me, it's Tawnia!"
If the loud knocking on the door of the apartment he was currently 'borrowing' hadn't surprised Face, Tawnia's yelling certainly had. The last couple of months had been really hectic for The A-Team and, as far as he knew, none of the team had spoken to Tawnia for a while, apart from Hannibal's brief phone call to ask her for some information on a client and another just over a week ago from Face himself to let her know they were safely back in L.A. and give her this new address. He definitely hadn't expected her to show up unannounced today, though.
"Face, I saw the 'Vette outside, I know you're in there. I need to talk to you!"
"OK, OK!" Face shouted back, getting up from the couch and darting over to open the door before Tawnia attracted the attention of everyone in the building.
This apartment wasn't quite up to his usual standard of living, but after having scammed, amongst other things, two planes, a helicopter, an ice-cream truck, four hundred rubber ducks, twenty candlesticks and a water bed in the last two months for various plans of Hannibal's he had been happy to settle for the first apartment that he could get his hands on once he'd returned home to L.A.
"Oh, Face," said Tawnia, breathing a sigh of relief as she pushed past him to get inside. "Thank God you're here. I really need your help."
Face shut the door and rolled his eyes. "Don't tell me," he said. "You lost your keys again and you need me to break into your apartment. This is becoming a habit."
Tawnia frowned at him. "Once!" she snapped at him. "That happened one time, Face. Now please, just listen to me. This is serious!"
"You lost your whole purse this time?"
Tawnia took the bag she had slung across her left shoulder and waved it in front of his face to demonstrate how wrong his suggestion was before angrily throwing it onto the couch.
Face tilted his head slightly and studied her for a moment as he realised how anxious she really was. His brow furrowed in concern.
"How serious?" he asked
"Deadly serious," she responded. "I need to hire The A-Team."
Then she burst into tears.
"Hey," said Face, softly, surprised by her sudden outburst. He pulled her into his arms and held her. "It's OK," he said, soothingly. "Come on, let's sit down and you can tell me what this is about."
He led her over to the couch and sat her down. Tawnia clung to him tightly and he allowed her a moment to release all the emotion she had obviously been holding inside for a while.
"I'm sorry," she said eventually, in between sobs. "It's just... I'm so scared something bad's happened to him and... and I love him so much and... and I told him it was too dangerous to go sailing down the Amazon, but he was so desperate to find the... the Lost City and... and now he could be dead!"
"Woah, slow down," said Face, grasping her by the shoulders and lifting her head from his chest so he could see her face. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Who could be dead?"
Face hadn't been expecting that answer at all. "Fiancé?" he repeated, just to make sure he'd heard correctly.
"Yes," Tawnia confirmed. "At least, we're pre-engaged. His name's Brian and... and... oh, Face, if anything's happened to him I don't know what I'm going to do! Please, please call Hannibal, get the guys over here... the sooner we get to the Amazon, the sooner we can find El Cajon and rescue Brian!"
And then she burst into tears again.
Face wasn't really sure what 'pre-engaged' meant, but whoever this Brian guy was, Tawnia was clearly terrified for his safety.
He put his arm around her again and tried to soothe her as she sobbed into his shirt. "Sshhh," he said. "Alright, I'll contact Hannibal, but he's going to want some details," he said. "Why is your pre-fiancé sailing down the Amazon, exactly?"
"To find the Lost City of Del Rio," she replied in an exasperated tone.
"Right," said face, pretending he understood.
"He doesn't care about the treasure."
"Treasure?" Face's eyes lit up.
"And now he's been kidnapped," Tawnia continued, without missing a beat. "And he means everything to me and you guys are the only ones who can save him for me. Please, Face, please!"
Face let out a slow breath. He still didn't have a clue where treasure, or a lost city came into this, but Tawnia was very afraid that her fiancé was in real trouble and Face was determined to do whatever he could to help.
She was family, after all.
Face wasn't used to having friends other than Hannibal, BA and Murdock, but since Amy had come into their lives he'd started to realise that sometimes it was safe to let other people in, that other people could be trusted and he'd enjoyed having her around. He missed Amy.
Tawnia was different to Amy. Amy had quickly become a member of The A-Team - and Face still didn't quite know exactly how that had happened, but it had. Tawnia had never really seemed to want to be a fully-fledged member of the team - she was just happy to help out wherever she could, especially if she was rewarded with a good story for the paper - but it was clear to Face that she was part of the team now too, just in a slightly different way.
Tawnia was family and family looked out for each other, they protected each other and helped each other and it looked like Tawnia really needed the team's help right now. Whether Brian – whoever he was - was good enough to be her husband remained to be seen, but right now the priority was his safety.
"OK," he said. "I'm going to fetch you a box of Kleenex and a glass of water and then I'll get hold of Hannibal. He went straight onto the set of the new Aquamaniac movie, although from what BA told me he and the director are having some... um... creative differences."
Face rolled his eyes. They both knew how Hannibal had a habit of rubbing directors up the wrong way when he was fully immersed, so to speak, in one of his sea-monster roles.
Tawnia's lips twitched into a tiny smile and Face winked at her, relieved that she was still able to laugh and that she appeared to have calmed down a little. Then he left her alone for a few minutes before returning, as promised, with tissues and a tall glass of iced water. He placed them on the coffee table and went over to the telephone which was attached to the wall by the front door.
He flashed her a reassuring smile, then he picked up the receiver and punched in the number for the film studio which he had memorised in case he needed to get hold of the Colonel in an emergency.
A tired sounding woman answered the phone.
"Aquamaniac, please. It's urgent," said Face, in an uncharacteristically blunt manner. "Sure, I'll hold." Then he covered the mouthpiece with his hand and whispered to Tawnia. "She's gone to see if he's available."
Tawnia nodded and Face switched the phone from one ear to the other, watching her as she dried her eyes and sipped at the water.
"I really appreciate this," she said.
"You know you can't afford to hire us," Face pointed out.
"Brian can afford it," she replied, but offered no further explanation.
Face was curious to know more about this mysterious – and apparently rich – fiancé of Tawnia's. She'd never mentioned Brian before, but was apparently now head over heels in love with the guy. However, before he could ask any probing questions the woman on the other end of the phone returned and explained the film crew were in the middle of an important scene and couldn't be interrupted.
Face let out an exasperated sigh. "Well, can you get a message to him? Tell him to call Clive about the parrot. He's got my number."
Face hung up the phone and looked apologetically at Tawnia. "He'll call as soon as he can," he said reassuringly. Then he walked back over to join her on the couch.
"I take it 'Clive' and the parrot is some kind of code?" she asked him.
Face nodded. "We've gotta be so careful," he explained. "Decker has ears everywhere. Hannibal'll know it means."
Tawnia nodded... and then burst into tears again.
"C'mon, kid," said Face, as she fell into his arms for the third time since she'd arrived. "Don't worry. We'll talk to Hannibal and he'll have a plan, you know he will. It's gonna be OK."
Tawnia reached for another tissue and tried to pull herself together, but the sobs just kept coming. "I'm... sorry," she sniffed.
"It's alright," he replied, as calmly as he could. He'd never seen her like this before and he wasn't sure what else he could do to coax her out of it. "Take a couple deep breaths," he suggested.
She nodded slowly and tried to breathe.
"Now," Face continued. "Why don't you tell me more about this guy Brian you intend to marry?"
Face couldn't help but think there was more to Tawnia's new fiancé than she was letting on. Face realised she was upset and scared right now, but Tawnia was definitely keeping some details back and Face couldn't quite figure out why.
Tawnia's face lit up at the mention of Brian. "Oh, Face," she said. "You're really going to like him. He's funny and smart and he really cares about people."
"How long exactly have you known him?"
"A while," she replied. "But I never really got chance to talk to him properly until last month. Then we just... clicked. It was so special. He asked me on a date and he took me to this wonderful restaurant – Carlini's, I've never been there before and..."
"He took you to Carlini's?" Face interrupted her. He couldn't quite believe his ears. "Even I can't get a table there and believe me, I've tried."
"Brian knows some people," Tawnia replied, by way of explanation.
Face's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What kind of people? How much do you really know about him?"
Tawnia laughed. "He's not a mobster!" she exclaimed. "We met at work, he's an honest, decent guy. I promise you."
"If you say so," Face replied, but he wasn't entirely convinced.
He made a mental note to speak to Hannibal about this new man of Tawnia's. Tawnia was smart, but headstrong and she had a habit of rushing into situations without thinking. There was no doubt that her impulsive nature had served her well in her career as a journalist, but it had also got her into trouble occasionally and Face wanted to make sure she wasn't rushing into marriage with someone she knew nothing about.
"He's kind and loving," gushed Tawnia. "And he's the most handsome man I've ever met."
Face's mouth dropped open. "Are you sure about that?" he asked.
Tawnia giggled. "Yes," she insisted. "But don't worry, I guess you come a close second."
"Hmmm," said Face, feigning offence.
Tawnia shook her head slowly. "Boy, your ego is something else," she said with a smile. "Do you remember when we first met and you tried to kiss me?"
"How could I forget? You pushed me away!"
"You were trying to get information from me!" retorted Tawnia.
Face shrugged. "True," he admitted. "Pity, really. We might have had some fun otherwise," he added, with a smile.
Tawnia blushed a little and punched him playfully on the arm. "I'm glad Amy warned me about you," she said with a smirk. "And I'm glad we're friends," she added, not wanting to comment any further on what might have been. "I'm glad all of you guys are my friends," she continued. "Who else could I possibly turn to when I need help rescuing my fiancé from a dangerous gang of river pirates?"
Face looked at her with a puzzled frown. "River pirates?" he repeated, incredulously. "You didn't say anything about river pirates?"
"Yes I did!" she exclaimed. "El Cajon! He and his gang are notorious along that section of the Amazon and now they probably have Brian… that's if they haven't already killed him."
Then she burst into tears for the fourth time since she'd got here.
"Alright, alright," soothed Face, handing her another tissue. "Listen, I guess Hannibal hasn't got my message yet so I'm gonna head down to the set and talk to him. As soon as he hears about the river pirates he'll be all over this, I promise. Besides, he'll see just how much this guy means to you."
"I love him, Face!" sobbed Tawnia.
"I know you do," he replied, hugging her tightly and allowing her another moment to compose herself. "Hey, look at me," he urged and she lifted her head. "Why don't you go freshen up, fix your make-up and when I get back with Hannibal you can tell him everything."
Tawnia nodded. "I can't thank you enough," she said, her voice cracking as she spoke.
Face cupped her face in his hands and gently wiped her tears away with his thumbs. "Try not to worry," he said and he planted a spontaneous kiss on her forehead. "I'll be back soon."
A/N - If you enjoyed this you might like to read my other A-Team stories, thank you kindly.