"Walker, I have to say, I'm beginning to tire of your interruptions," Arthur sighed, looking up from his desk. He took his glasses off. "What is it?"
Annie swallowed and took a deep breath. "Henry – he's coming for you. And Joan."
Arthur stared at her, trying to tell if she was lying.
"Henry left me a note to meet him at Vesta Diner. The same diner –"
"... the same diner that Jai was killed in, " Arthur finished. Now she had his attention. He exhaled. "Okay, tell me everything."
Annie sat down in the chair in front of Arthur's desk, smoothed her black pencil skirt, and continued.
"He appealed to me as a weary father who had lost something dear to him, and then revealed what he knew about my missions, my work in the field. He praised my spycraft, and then said he "knew I was the right person" for what he wanted. He gave me a file, which I refused to read, but he pushed it. Gently, but enough to make me curious. That file – it was incriminating. Henry assured me it was all accurate, so I told him I was in."
"What was in the file?," Arthur asked coolly. He was immediately panicked at the thought of Joan in harm's way, but he didn't show it. Annie pulled her hand out from behind her back and handed him a file. The file.
Arthur flipped it open and started to scan it. A shiver ran down his spine. He looked up at Annie.
"Did you read all of this?"
Annie nodded somberly. "Twice."
"And you are going to go against us?"
Annie shook her head. "I told him I was in. But I'm on your team, no matter what. I owe it to Joan, and furthermore, I don't share Henry's weird grudge against you."
Arthur smiled. "Glad to hear it, Annie."
"So, what's the plan?," Annie asked, with a determined glint in her eye, leaning in towards Arthur's desk.
"Joan? Sweetheart, I need to talk to you."
Arthur and Annie had started to formulate a plan of attack against Henry, but Arthur didn't feel right keeping it from Joan. He had always had her best interests at heart and tried to protect her, but this time was different. Henry was coming for her, too.
He was making his way up the staircase when Joan came running down. She tripped, flew down a few stairs, and landed in Arthur's arms.
He chuckled. "Smooth."
Joan laughed, her grey-blue eyes gazing up at him and her pale blonde hair falling in her face. "I've missed you, that's all."
"I'm glad you decided to take a few more days off once everything with Khalid was sorted out. One day is not a vacation," he said, pulling her up to stand. She kissed him passionately, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"I'm glad too," she whispered. He smiled and kissed her again, then took her hand and walked up the stairs with her.
"Why are you home early? As excited as I am to see you before 10 pm, I figured you would have a lot of paperwork to do," Joan said, sitting down on their bed. Arthur undid his tie, trying to decide on the best way to tell Joan.
"Annie came to me this morning with a file. Henry Wilcox gave it to her at the Vesta Diner last night."
Joan frowned. "That's dreadfully morbid. What's in it?"
"Oh," Arthur sighed, frowning. He sat down on the bed and put his hand on Joan's cheek. "Everything. Brussels, Rome, Mumbai…"
Joan's eyes widened in horror. "What? But how did he…"
Arthur shook his head. "I don't know. But he's coming for us, Joan."
"I don't understand," Joan fretted. She jumped up from the bed and started to pace. "Can this really damage us now? It's been 11 years."
Arthur looked upset. "I guess things have a way of backfiring. I've seen it before, countless times."
"But Arthur, if Mumbai is in there, then he's tying other missions that we had nothing to do with! It's going to make us look deceptive, possibly traitorous! Those were his dark ops, and he manipulated this so that its our asses on the line, not his."
"Well then I guess we need to fight back, hard," Arthur said. A smile came across his face. "I'm got enough dirt on Henry Wilcox to bury him underground. He wants to play rough, I'll play too."
Joan looked worried. "Honey…"
"No, Joan, this is the last time," Arthur said, shaking his head. "Henry Wilcox won't know what hit him."
Dun dun dun…. Had no idea how to end this, so I went with a cliffhanger. What up.