Joan was restless. She rolled around, flopping from side to side in bed. The clock said 4 am, and when she turned her back to the clock, she saw Arthur's sleeping face. He didn't look peaceful, like most sleeping people did. Even in his sleep, she could see the wrinkles in his forehead, and worry lines, and creases in the corners of his eyes.
Even in his sleep, he was anxious.
Moments later, Joan was asleep again. Drifting in and out of sleep, just like she drifted in and out of that feeling of security that a husband by your side was supposed to bring.
Arthur woke up at 4:37 am, almost positive he had worried himself awake. There was this thing with Henry, and Annie's wavering loyalty. The worst part was what Joan stood to lose if Henry succeeded. If Henry could discredit Arthur, he would discredit every decision Arthur had made as DCS. Including who he appointed as head of DPD.
"Wish we had…"
Arthur turned over to look at Joan. Her eyes were clenched shut, but there were little spit bubbles on her lips. She started to mumble again.
"I wish you felt safe, I wish…" She trailed off, tossing and turning. Arthur sighed. He could tell when Joan was having bad dreams. But she used to snuggle up closer to him out of instinct when her demons came for her late at night. Not lately, though.
"All I want is for you to be happy, Arthur," she whispered. "Maybe we aren't doing that for each other." She snored and turned over again, her arm falling over the side of the bed.
Arthur bent over her and stroked her cheek. His darling Joan was bearing his burden, and he couldn't let her do that anymore. It wasn't healthy for her. And if he broke her, he would never forgive himself.
When Joan woke up the next morning, she doubted if she had even slept at all. There was a note on Arthur's pillow that said, "Went in early, had things to deal with."
No "I love you." No "See you later, honey."
She felt a crack in her heart. It was scarred, and bruised, and some of the scars had healed, but it was still flawed and imperfect. She got up, feeling weight on her shoulders, and went into the bathroom to take a shower. She stripped off her clothes, and before getting in the shower, she grabbed a bottle from the depths of her purse and let a blue and red capsule slide out. She swallowed it dry and grimaced, her hand going to her stomach.
The stomach where her and Arthur's baby was growing. As she showered, she realized that once again, it was not a good time to tell him. She had been trying to think of a good time for 2 weeks, but then Annie had told Arthur about meeting with Henry, and life spiraled out of control, again.
Their lives were always spiraling out of control.
Why had he chosen a job that always made him feel powerless and out of control? He was the goddamn Director of Clandestine Services, a major division. But he couldn't protect operatives in the field, or even his own wife.
He picked up his desk phone and dialed Auggie's number down in the DPD.
"Auggie," he said gruffly, rubbing his temples. "I want to see you and Walker. Now."
"Yes, sir," Auggie said. He put down his phone and got up, flashing his cane.
He heard Annie's bright, cheerful voice and grinned.
"I was just going to come look for you," he laughed, holding his arm out. "Arthur wants to see us."
"Um, okay," Annie said, confused. She took Auggie's arm and led him out of the DPD.
A few yards down the hall, they stopped.
"Sorry," Annie said, squeezing his hand. "I'm just going to make a stop in the ladies room. Meet you by the elevators?"
"Okay," Auggie said. He kept walking down the hall and Annie stepped into the bathroom. She stopped at the mirror to fix her hair and heard what sounded like someone throwing up.
She turned around to peer under the stalls and gasped when she saw a very familiar pair of Jimmy Choos.
And sure enough, they were her boss's Jimmy Choos. The door swung open and Joan emerged, her face pale and her hair pulled back in a messy ponytail. Annie put her hand on Joan's arm.
"Joan, are you okay?"
Joan shook her head. "I'm pregnant," she said shakily. She walked over to the sink and griped the edge of the counter, staring down. She raised her head and looked at Annie in the mirror.
"I haven't told anyone yet."
"Not even Arthur?"
Joan shook her head. "No."
Annie sighed. "Funny… I'm on my way to a meeting with him."
Joan turned to look at Annie, her eyes pleading. "Annie, please don't tell him. I'm not ready yet."
Annie nodded kindly. "Of course, Joan. Your secret's safe with me."
Joan nodded and thanked her, then washed her hands and walked out of the bathroom slowly, as if every step was draining the life out of her. Annie watched her go, worried.
Since when did Joan become so broken and lost?
Annie and Auggie arrived in Arthur's office and immediately, Annie saw the sense of urgency in his eyes.
"Come in," he said, closing the door behind them. He locked it, and Auggie could sense the tension in the room.
"Henry is going to strike, soon. The only thing left to do is ruin my image and render his plan useless."
"What do you mean?," Annie asked fearfully, thinking of Joan. She hadn't just noticed the yellowish tinge in Joan's face from throwing up. There had been bags under her eyes, and those eyes were dulled.
Arthur looked straight at her, his blue eyes icy. "Annie, we need a scandal. A small one, but enough that I have no choice but to resign.
Auggie shook his head. "No, sir. No way. We will not let you do this."
Arthur put his hand on Auggie's shoulder.
"I'm not asking either of you," he said, his voice firm but kind. He walked over to his desk.
Annie turned around, her hair whipping Auggie in the face. At any other time, it would have been funny.
"Aren't you going to fight?"
Arthur shook his head. "Not anymore, Annie. This doesn't just effect me, it effects Joan as well. If I resign, she will still get to keep her job, maybe she'll even get mine. She deserves it. I'm not about to bring her down with me."
Annie's heart sank. He didn't even know about his child. Maybe if he knew, he would…
"Annie?" Arthur was looking at her seriously. "Do you understand me?"
Annie nodded. "Yes," she said quietly.
The next day, Annie sat at her desk, twirling a pen. She needed to figure out a way to get Joan to tell Arthur the truth, without giving away Arthur's plan. She knew Joan well enough to know that Joan would try to talk Arthur down off the ledge, and he would refuse.
She stood up, smoothed her pencil skirt, and walked to Joan's office.
Annie stuck her head through the open door and smiled. Joan was sitting at her desk, wearing black slacks and a crimson scoop-neck tank.
She smiled, and Annie saw the bags under her eyes were becoming more prominent.
"Hi, Joan." Annie closed the door behind her. "I wanted to talk to you about something."
"Go ahead," Joan said, nodding towards the couch. Annie sat down, and Joan sat beside her.
Annie took a deep breath. "I think you should tell Arthur. He's your husband, and he loves you. He will support you, no matter what."
Joan smiled sadly. "Marriage isn't always black and white, Annie. Actually, it never is. Especially when you and your spouse are both in the CIA."
"But Joan, this is a huge part of your lives. He will be happy, I know it."
Joan sighed. "I'd like to think so. But I need more time to process it, to figure everything out." Her sad smile came back and she looked at Annie. "When I was younger, I really wanted a family, did you know that?"
Annie shook her head. "What changed?"
"My life," Joan admitted. "I became a rising star in the CIA, and met Arthur, started an affair… by the time all was said and done, children weren't exactly an option."
Annie carefully took her boss's hand and squeezed it.
"But now you have the chance you always wanted. Take it," she urged Joan, a sparkle in her eyes.
Joan sighed again. "I love your optimism, Annie. Thank you."
Annie nodded, accepting that the conversation was over. She stood up and walked out of Joan's office, and impending feeling that everything was going to blow up right before their eyes.
It only took a week for Arthur's plan to work. The week went something like this: Tuesday, the plan was formulated; Thursday, the first step was executed and pictures of Arthur with a mystery woman (Annie in a very good wig with her face partially covered) were leaked. By Saturday, Auggie and Barber had done enough work on the internet that articles began to pop up about Arthur Campbell and his elicit affair. Later that night, more pictures were leaked, with Annie dressed up as a different woman, not showing her face. On Sunday morning, Joan and Arthur got in a huge fight, in which he barely tried to defend himself. By Sunday afternoon, he was in a hotel, and getting calls from his bosses at the Agency.
And Monday morning came. Arthur spent all day in meetings. Like a small animal in a dog's mouth, he just went limp and let himself be tossed around. That evening, he resigned. Tuesday morning, he sat in his hotel suite drinking scotch and watching the news coverage.
The headlines were creative, he would give them that. "Director of Clandestine Services takes on a whole new meaning"; "CIA authority figure's 'covert affair' revealed"; "DCS gets extra clandestine services."
It was messy and public, but that was the way it had to be.
Joan sat in bed at home, wrapped in a cocoon of sheets as she watched the news, tears spilling out of her eyes. She had been curled up on the floor weeping on Sunday when Arthur left, and had stayed home ever since. Her heart felt dark and cold, like it had frozen over.
Her phone rang and she grabbed it. "Hello?"
"Joan?," Annie said gently. "It's me."
"Hey," Joan whispered. "Listen, now's not a great time."
"Joan, not everything is what it seems. Go talk to him."
Joan was confused. "What do you mean?"
But Annie had hung up. Joan sighed and crawled out of the covers. She put a hand on her stomach, feeling a tiny bump. The tears started again.
She stared at herself in the mirror. Black yoga pants, purple tank top, gray cardigan, messy blonde curls pulled into a bun, with a few escaping around her face. Beautiful yet tragic.
Annie's words stuck with her all day as she numbly went through the motions – eat, do dishes, get some work done, clean the living room. At about 5 pm, she decided to go see Arthur, a tiny bit of hope in her heart. She pulled on a pair of flats, grabbed her car keys, and drove to The Mayflower Hotel.
When she kicked him out, Arthur had handed Joan a piece of paper saying where he would be. She clutched it in her hand as she took the elevator to the 8th floor and walked down the hall to find his room. She arrived at the door that said 'Room 824' and took a deep breath, nearly turning around and running back down the hall. But instead, she knocked.
Arthur opened the door and she could see how stressed and weary he was. He smiled when he saw her.
He made a move to hug her, but she backed away.
"I just want to talk, she told him, her eyes filled with hurt. He nodded.
He closed the door behind them and ushered Joan to the living room area of the suite. She sat down and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. Arthur sat down in the chair across from her.
Joan took a deep breath. "Arthur, our lives are crazy right now, and I know we didn't get to talk everything through on Sunday when the scandal broke. But there's something you need to know."
One more deep breath.
Arthur's eyes widened. "What?" She could see he was excited. Thrilled, actually.
Joan sighed. "But this doesn't change anything, alright? We have a lot to work out before we can move forward. Honestly, I don't think I can be the woman who looks past her husband's indiscretions."
"No, Joan, this changes things." Arthur slid off the chair and took one of Joan's hands in his, kneeling in front of her. With the other hand, he stroked her cheek.
"Sweetheart, the affair was faked." He was relieved to finally say it. But instead of being happy, Joan just looked confused.
Arthur jumped up and grabbed the original pictures off his bed. He walked back over to the couch and showed them to Joan. In one of the unpublished pictures, you could make out Annie's face.
"Annie and Barber and I did a little… photoshoot," Arthur said with a smile. "We leaked the pictures, and let the scandal break on purpose… so I could resign."
Joan looked from the pictures to Arthur, still confused. "Why?"
Arthur sighed and sat down next to Joan on the couch, taking her hands again.
"Honey, Henry was going to try and destroy my reputation. The only way to protect you, and others near me, was to ruin it myself. I knew if I told you, that you wouldn't let me do it. I've heard you talking in your sleep about how worried you are, and I couldn't make that worse for you. Especially now that you're…" He trailed off, glancing at her stomach.
Joan nodded and squeezed his hands.
"Oh, darling," Joan murmured. "You have no idea how relieved I am to hear you say that. But your career…."
Arthur shook his head. "No, I don't want to talk about that right now." He smiled and moved his hand to Joan's stomach, grinning at her with that twinkle in his eyes. She laughed and placed her hand on top of his.
"Hey, baby," he whispered. "Your mom is a warrior."
Joan looked at him longingly and pulled his face to hers for a kiss. When they finally came up for air, she leaned her forehead against his.
"Oh, I've missed you."
He smiled and kissed her again. "Me too. We have so much to figure out, but for now, I just want to enjoy this."
She nodded. "I do too."
She shifted into his arms and they laid on the couch, talking about how they were going to raise their child. It was refreshing, being a regular married couple instead of two CIA agents. It wouldn't last, but for now, it was enough.