What Happens in Washington

A belated Valentine’s Day gift for my fellow #GH #RnA fans… Enjoy!

What Happens in Washington

She sat at the hotel bar nursing her second gin and tonic. Blew out a breath and shook her head, trying to shake off her nerves about facing the inquisition at the Department of Justice the next day. She didn’t notice him come in.

He spotted her the moment he walked through the door. He’d know that silhouette anywhere. And she was wearing a red suit. He liked her in red.

“Excuse me, handsome,” said a young female voice, followed by a series of giggles.

He stepped out of the doorway, allowing the gaggle of young women to pass.

“Thanks,” one of them smiled, wiggling her way past him in a low-cut blouse and something made out of so little material it looked more like a scarf around her waist than a skirt. If she was trying to show off the goods, it had little effect on him. He smiled politely, but his eyes never really left the dark haired beauty at the bar.

He sauntered over and slipped up behind her. “This seat taken?” he asked.

Her lips curved gently upward. Without turning around she answered, “I was saving it for my partner in crime.”

“I guess I should be on my way then.”

She tipped her head back to look at him and caught sight of his charismatic grin. “Like hell!” She spun around on her stool and hopped off, throwing her arms around his neck. “I didn’t think you were gonna make it,” she said as she rested her head on his shoulder.

“You didn’t think I’d really leave you to face this alone, did you?” he said, folding his arms around her waist and rocking her gently.

She didn’t answer, only held on more tightly.

“Anna?” he said, pulling back to look at her.

Her eyes glistened with emotion, but she tried to cover with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.

“Hey, now! Are you really that worried or just that happy to see me?”

“Bit of both,” she admitted. Her hands came to rest on his shoulders.

He pulled her back in. “No worries, love. We’ll get through it. Together.”

“Together,” she repeated over his shoulder.

“Come on, I’ll buy you a drink.”

“I’ve had two already.”

“Then you can buy me one. Or two. Sounds like I need to catch up.” He picked up her glass and took a drink. Gin and tonic? What? No Kir Royale?

“Somehow the thought of champagne in any form seemed inappropriate.”

Hmm. I’d suggest pousse-café, but since we’ve had no dinner, an after dinner drink is hardly—”

“I was going to suggest tequila.”

“Ha! Sure you were,” he said.

“What?”

“You can’t handle tequila.”

“I can too!” she insisted.

“No, you can’t. You never could. Don’t you remember that time in Laredo when we—”

“I remember it very well, thank you. You were obviously too drunk to recall—”

“Me?”

“Yes. You. Robert.”

“Put your money where your mouth is,” he said.

“Fine!”

“Fifty bucks says you’re out after two margaritas.”

“You’re on!”

“Fine. Bartender, two margaritas on the rocks, please,” Robert said.

“You got it. Cuervo?”

“No,” Anna piped up. “Patrón, please. Save the sour mix and give it to us straight. And make his a double.”

Robert glanced at her with his right eyebrow raised.

Her expression did not waver. “What? I’m just leveling the playing field, Robert.”

Robert eyed the bartender. The man’s face said, “This isn’t exactly a shot-of-tequila kind of establishment.”

“You heard the lady,” Robert instructed.

The bartender nodded. Returned a moment later and placed two glasses on the bar in front of them. He poured and walked away.

Anna chose one and raised it. Robert followed suit. “Two shots,” he said. “And when I win, I’ll see to it that you make it safely back up to your room, if I have to carry you myself.”

“Such a gentleman.”

“Always.” He smiled. “Cheers.”

They tapped their glasses together and threw back the shots. Anna slammed her glass down on the bar, then, since the bartender wasn’t looking, leaned over the bar and reached to pick up the bottle from behind the bar.

Robert couldn’t resist giving her behind a loving tap as it presented itself.

She shot him a cautionary look. When he answered with another charming grin, she gave up trying to look annoyed and moved on. “Right,” she said as she refilled their glasses. “So, what’s our plan for tomorrow?”

He shook his head. “No plan,” he said. “We play it straight. The truth. Appeal to their sense of reason.”

“That’s it?”

“It is what it is. What we did, we did for a reason.”

“A very good reason.”

“Exactly.”

“And if they don’t listen to reason?” she said, worry creeping into her voice.

“Then we pray that Frisco can talk some sense into his buddy, Mitchell What’s-His-Name.”

“The Assistant Inspector General?”

“Right,” he said, gulping down his second round.

“And what if he can’t?”

He shrugged. “We request adjoining cells and hatch a plan to make a break for it at the first opportunity.”

“Robert!”

“Then, we go dark, find a nice deserted island and brew up that bucket of Mai Tais.”

She shoved him, but couldn’t help smiling. “I’m serious, Robert. Come on!”

“Well, what else do you want me to say?”

“I don’t know.”

This time he poured another round and after downing his he continued. “Let me ask you this,” he said, concentrating on forming his lips around the words. He refused to acknowledge that the Patrón was beginning to get to him. “If you had it to do over again, would you do it any differently?”

She toyed with the shot in front of her, her lips pursed, face contemplative. “No. We did what was right. For Robin.” She picked up the glass and shot it.

“For us,” he said, taking hold of her free hand.

She turned to look at him. “For us,” she repeated, tearing up. “I can’t second guess that.”

“Well, then, there it is.”

She nodded. “I guess so.”

“So…” He hesitated, looking for the right words. He could see she was shaken right now and she was depending on him to be her rock. He wanted to give her that sense of security, but in reality, he was just as concerned as she was. He had to act calm and fake it well.

“What?” she asked, waiting for his words of wisdom.

“For now, we wait and see. And in the meantime…”

“Yeah?”

“We enjoy tonight.”

“What did you have in mind? A White House picture stop?”

“Ha! No. Are you hungry?”

“Hmm. Now that you mention it, I could use something to go with the tequila.”

“Shall we acquire a table?”

“No.” She wrinkled her nose. “I’m no longer in the mood to sit around and act polite. We could go up and order room service or—”

“I’ve got a better idea. Do you trust me?”

“Always.”

“You go on up to your room and I’ll make a take-out run. Meet you up there.”

She hopped off the stool and gathered her bag. She held up her arms as if to say, hey, Robert, I’m still standing.

He stood, smiled, took out his wallet. “Take that with you.” He nodded in the direction of the tequila.

“Really?”

He threw a fifty dollar bill down on the bar. “That ought to cover it.”

She watched him stroll confidently toward the door. “Oh, Robert,” she called after him.

He turned and flashed a knowing look. “Three oh two,” he said, tapping a finger to his temple. He winked and walked out.

She shook her head and smiled then, craftily slipped the bottle into her bag and sashayed coolly out of the bar without anyone paying her a second glance.

* * *

Thirty minutes later, Robert arrived at her door. He could hear music playing faintly beyond the door. Anna answered, now in a pair of black yoga pants and a matching tank. She looked feminine, but strong, Robert thought. Who ever said only men got better with age? She was still an incomparable beauty, even in workout clothes. He stared a little too long at her shapely form, prompting her to say, “Well, don’t just stand there, Robert. Get in here. ”

“Yeah, of course. Here you go,” he said. He held up a plastic take out bag as he brushed past her.

“Took you long enough,” she said as she turned down the radio.

“Sorry. I had to take a cab. China Town was a little too far away.”

“What? Chinese? You’re kidding!” She rushed over to the desk where he was unloading the containers.

“Nope. Moo Shoo Pork or Chicken Chow Mein.” He held a take-out container in each hand.

“Oh, my God, I love you, Robert Scorpio!” She snatched the box out of his hand and lunged for a pair of chopsticks.

He shook his head and laughed. He grabbed another pair of chopsticks and joined her as she sat cross-legged on the bed. “So,” he started as he flopped down against the head board and crossed one ankle over the other, “what’s new?”

“Ha! Well, not much. My boyfriend took over the mob, I lost my badge, and now I ‘m just hanging around waiting to find out if I’m going to be indicted. You know, same old, same old. You?”

“Oh, bailed Holly out of a jam again, got stuck in Wisconsin bored out of my mind on a bloody counterfeiting case of all things, and now I’m here waiting to find out if my ex and I are gonna get matching jumpsuits.”

She took the bottle of Patrón off the nightstand. “That calls for a drink,” she said,  taking a healthy swig directly from the bottle. She passed it to him.

He put down his Moo Shoo Pork and grabbed the bottle.

She watched his blue eyes sparkle as he took his turn. “You know something? I think orange goes better with your coloring than mine,” she said.

“Is that so?”

“Yes. I think you’re going to look a lot better in that jumpsuit than I will,” she laughed as she leaned her head on his shoulder.

“Maybe. But you’ll still look a lot better out of it,” he chuckled with a hand on her thigh.

“Robert!” she giggled, sitting up and putting on a shocked façade.

“Just the facts, love. Just the facts.” He looked over at her, his eyes still twinkling.

She was caught off guard. There is was. That old familiar feeling. That gentle pull in her core that spread through her body like a warm current. He felt it too, she thought. She could tell by the suddenly seriously, slightly wanton looked on his face.

He saw the pink in her cheeks and, he thought, her breath visibly caught. But then, maybe she was just feeling the tequila. He didn’t dare read too much into it, did he? He cleared his throat. “Are you okay?” he asked.

She shrugged and rolled her head around as if loosening up her neck. “Yeah. Sure. Why wouldn’t I be?” She leaned back on the pillows and took another bite of Chow Mein. “I told you, I’m not the one who can’t handle my liquor. You, Mr. Scorpio, you look a little peaked.” She glanced at him sideways.

He took another swig from the bottle. They sat in silence for a minute before he spoke again. “I’m sorry about you and Duke.”

“Are you?”

“I am if that’s what you wanted. But he hurt you, Anna. And I—”

“Again!” she shouted.

Surprised by the force with which she said it, his eyes got wide.

“Again, Robert! I’m an intelligent woman, aren’t I?”

“You’re brilliant,” he answered.

“So why do I do it? Hmm? Why do I fall for his lies over and over again? He plays me for a fool every time.”

“Look, Anna—”

“And what’s more, he tries to find fault with me, to draw attention to my mistakes in order to justify his own actions. Well, not anymore, Robert. I’m finished!”

“You won’t get any argument from me,” he assured her.

“I’m over him.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Oh, I’m so over him,” she repeated, nodding. “Hell, I kissed Sloane on New Year’s Eve!”

“Sloane! Really?”

“Yes. Though I can’t think why. Just convenience I suppose. ”

“What kind of kiss are we talking about here?”

“What do you mean? Just a kiss.”

“I mean, was this a peck on the cheek, or a full-fledged I’m in to you kind of kiss?”

A new emotion shone in his eyes. “Robert,” she asked, “You’re not jealous, are you?”

He shook his head. “Just curious, that’s all.”

“I could show you,” she said. She smiled at him and took the bottle out of his hand. After a rather lengthy swallow, she leaned in close. So close for a moment he thought she might actually be going to demonstrate. His heart fluttered. His lips parted in anticipation. Instead, she patted his cheek and whispered, “But, I’m not the type to kiss and tell, Robert.”

“Anna! You little tease.”

She laughed heartily, tickled by his obvious displeasure. She liked knowing she could still get to him.

He grabbed the bottle back and took another drink to wash down his disappointment.

They sat quietly again until Robert heard a song on the radio that piqued his interest. “This is decent,” he said.

“What?”

“The song.”

“Oh. Yeah. ‘Thinking Out Loud’,” she said.

“Hmm?”

“The song. That’s what it’s called.”

“Oh. It’s a nice melody. Almost danceable.” He nudged her. “Shall we?”

“What? Here?”

“Sure. Why not?” He stood and walked around the other side of the bed. Extended his hand.

“Why not?” She took his hand and followed him to what empty space there was in the center of the room.

He pulled her in with one swift movement that threw her off balance. She threw her head back and laughed again as she clung to him to keep from falling down. How he loved that laugh. It made him smile. She made him smile.

They turned and swayed to the music, forgetting, if only for a moment, the dreadful circumstances that had brought them together. When the song ended, he dipped her, and as he did, in her eyes he caught a glimpse of something that he could only imagine was tequila-induced lust. He was tempted to kiss her. Again. Still. But he didn’t. Instead, he straightened up and announced that it was getting late. And just like that, he was headed for the door.

“Already?” she said, shocked and a bit thrown by his abrupt departure.

“Well, I think I should probably let you get to bed, that’s all.”

“Yeah,” she nodded. She turned off the radio and walked to the door to see him out. “I need my beauty rest, right?” she joked.

He smiled with unexpected tenderness as he touched her hair. “No. You’ve never looked more beautiful.” He swallowed. “But it’s a big day tomorrow. For both of us.”

She nodded again. “Good night, then,” she said. She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. “Thank you. For dinner and for the dance.”

“Any time,” he said.

She closed the door behind him, exhaled forcefully, and set about cleaning up the leftover Chinese containers. But as she dropped the first one into the trash can she was hit with a wave of sadness and immediate clarity. For the first time in a long time she’d felt happy. Despite everything that was going on in her life, moments ago, with Robert, she’d felt happy. She was freer, safer in his arms than anywhere else in the world, and she didn’t want that feeling to end. Why fight it? She wanted… needed those arms to hold her. She spun around and ran for the door. “Robert!” she called as she opened it, expecting to find him half way down the hall. But there he was, standing right in front of her.

Her lips parted, her breath quick, her eyes pleaded with him. “Stay with me,” she whispered.

He didn’t wait for her to ask twice. He pulled her into his embrace and enveloped her in a kiss so deep and intense that an electrifying heat instantly spread throughout her entire body and her knees buckled beneath her.

“Oh, God, Robert!” She pulled away long enough to gasp for some much needed oxygen. “This is crazy, isn’t it?” she said as she slammed the door and tore off his jacket.

He shook his head. “Unexpected,” he said as he took her mouth again. He eased her backward toward the bed until they tumbled upon it and their lips broke apart as they both laughed.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked. He hated to ask for fear she’d change her mind, but between the dance and the booze, he had to be sure she wasn’t acting on impulse alone.

“I’m not sure of anything anymore, Robert.” Her fingers worked quickly to undo the buttons on his shirt. “Except that right now, I want to be with you,” she said as she covered his neck and chest with feathery kisses. “But if you don’t want to—”

Before she could finish the sentence, he took her face in his hands and said, as if he’d never had any doubt, “I want you, Anna Devane.”

“So, take me,” she said.

In truth, whether he took her or she took him was debatable. They both gave as good as they got, enjoying, pleasing, ravishing each other until every desire had been met and they came crashing down on the mattress in a naked, jumbled, satisfied heap.

They lay there entwined with one another each trying to catch their breath. Anna sighed as Robert stroked her hair.

“How do you feel?” he asked.

Her eyes closed, a smile spread across her face. She was half tempted to answer “like a woman”.

He felt her body jerk with silent laughter. “What?”

“Nothing.” She leaned in and kissed him softly. “I feel wonderful,” she said, then added, “At least for tonight.”

“Hey!” He shook her shoulder gently. “Are you trying to tell me you were just using me for a one night stand?” he teased.

“Ha! No. Well, I mean, I don’t really know. Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone next week, right?”

“And what if everything works to our advantage tomorrow? What happens then? Is this a thing, you and me?” He pulled himself up to a seated position, forcing her to do the same.

She pulled the sheet up to cover herself. “Do you want it to be a thing?” She ran her finders through her hair, nervous to hear his answer. She wasn’t sure she was ready for a soul-searching conversation at the moment. She needn’t have worried.

“If it were a thing,” he asked, “would we get to have sex more than once every decade?”

She rolled her eyes. Classic Robert. “If it were a thing,” she said, “I would think that sex would a regular part of it.”

“Yeah?” “Definitely.”

“Goody.” He rolled over so that he was practically on top of her. “Because… I really do… like… having sex with you,” he said between kisses.

“You’re such a romantic, Robert. It’s no wonder I married you twice.”

“And who knows where this… thing goes. Third time’s a charm.”

She could feel his grin on her cheek. “Ha! Please tell me you’re joking!”

“Anna! That’s it!” he shouted. A second later he was out of bed, scrambling for his clothes.

She sat up. “Robert? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong, love. I think I may have a solution to our problem.”

She stared at him, confused.

“Marriage.”

“Robert, what the hell are you talking about?”

“Marriage, Anna.”

“I heard that part.”

You, me, and J.D., we’re the only witnesses. Now, he sold us out, but without our testimony, they can’t build much of a case.”

Her brows still wrinkled and she shook her head. “So?”

“So? Don’t you see, Anna? If we’re married, they can’t make us testify against each other.

“Robert! That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Why? It worked for Sonny and Carly Corinthos. Hell, for that matter, you and Hayward—”

“Oh, no! Don’t bring him into this.”

“I’m just saying, if it worked then, why not let it work for us?”

“Because it’s ridiculous!

“Why?”

She flopped back on the pillows with a sigh. “Because, Robert, even if I were to consent to this plan, which is a huge ‘if’, how would we manage it? We’re due at the Justice department in less than eight hours.”

“Easy,” he said. “There’s an all-night wedding chapel in China town. I noticed it when I went to pick up dinner. I thought it was odd at the time, but now…”

She was silent for minute and, for a change, her face gave away nothing about what she was thinking.

He approached, sat on the edge of the bed. “What do you say, Anna?”

“Is that your idea of a proposal, Robert? You’re slipping.”

“Forgive me,” he said. He obliged her, getting down on one knee.

She dropped her face in her hands in a fit of laughter laced with disbelief.

He pulled one hand away and held it. Clearing his throat, he started over. “Anna Devane, I love you. You know that. And if you’ll marry me tonight, I promise to spend the rest of my life trying to make you happy, or at the very least… trying to keep you out of prison. I…”

“Okay. Stop!” she said. “Just stop.” She was practically snorting with laughter. “I’ll tell you one thing. This is a step up from the last hotel you proposed in.”

He smiled. “True.”

“Are you sure you’re not still married to anyone else?”

“Positive,” he said.

She shook her head at him. Bit her lip, but her eyes still shone with amusement.

“So, is that a yes? Anna, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife. Again?”

It was unbelievable. Stupid, even. But it just might work, she thought. She looked him in the eyes, swallowed hard, and said, “Yes.”

* * *

The following morning the two walked up Pennsylvania Avenue, neither one saying much of anything. They paused in front of the imposing neoclassic building.

Robert’s eyes followed the columns upward.

“The U.S. Department of Justice,” Anna said under her breath. She blew out a breath.

“You okay?” he asked.

She nodded, putting on a brave face. “I think we’re gonna surprise a few people, don’t you?”

“Ah, never under estimate the power of the element of surprise,” he said with an air of certainty.

She gave a hesitant smile.

“Ready?” he asked.

“After you,” she said.

“No.” He took her hand in his. “Together.”

Anna caught a glimpse of the shiny gold band on her finger as he raised her hand to his lips and kissed it. “For better or worse,” she said.

Robert gave her hand one more reassuring squeeze and together Mr. and Mrs. Scorpio ascended the steps to face their fate.

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The Saga Continues….

Finally…. Here it is #RnA fans. Enjoy!

All chapters also available on https://www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson

ENDGAME

Chapter 4

THE RETURN OF MS. DEVINE

Anna shook her head. She wanted more than anything to believe that their daughter was still alive. But she was afraid to venture down that road again. “Robert, don’t,” she said shaking, her head.

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t do that to me. Don’t say that. I don’t want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed again. I can’t.”

“They won’t be.”

“Please, Robert,” she begged, tears filling her eyes again. “You know I want to believe you.”

“Anna, you can believe me. You know that. Look, I don’t know exactly what happen here, but this note— it’s a clue.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because… before I left to find you after Faison—that bastard—had taken you, I sat her down to have a talk to her. I didn’t know what in the world to say to her. You know, you were always the expert with teenage girl stuff.” He paused, taking her hand.

“Yeah,” she said with a nod. Her eyes were watery again, but a tiny smile graced her lips.

“Anyway, before I left, I sat her down and tried to explain in not so certain terms what had happened. She was so smart, Anna. She knew exactly what was going on—even though I tried not to let her see it. She knew it was dangerous. But she also knew I had to find you. She knew how much I loved you.”

She heard the pain still evident in his voice even after so many years. “Robert—”

He went on. “My God, how I loved you, Anna. I didn’t want to leave her, but I couldn’t… I couldn’t leave you out there, alone, with that madman. So, I hugged her and kissed her, and promised to bring you back to her. To us. She told me that we should think of each other every night at midnight. I told her that wasn’t nearly enough, that I’d be thinking of her every second of every day. And she said…” He chuckled. “She said, ‘I know Daddy, but with time changes and everything, it’s always midnight somewhere, right? So we’ll be thinking of each other all the time.’ She was so grown up. So brave. It was the last thing she said to me before I closed the door. ‘Remember, Daddy. It’s always midnight somewhere.’” He paused again and gulped, trying to swallow the lump in his throat.

“Robert, do you really think…?”

“She’s out there, Anna. I know it. You know it. You can feel it. I can see it in your eyes.”

“No,” She pulled away from his grip and walked across the room, still forcing herself to deny what she so desperately wanted to believe.

“Come on, Anna! Listen to your gut”

“I can’t!”

“What do you mean, you can’t?”

“I don’t know if you realize, but my instincts—”

“Your instincts are just as good as they always were. The note brought you here to me, didn’t it?”

“Yes, but…”

“Anna, look at me.” He waited for her to face him again. “You are the smartest, most capable agent I know.”

“Please!” she said, walking slowly back toward the bed.

“Well, besides yours truly of course!” he snickered.

“Oh!” She swatted at him.

“Hey now!” He caught hold of her arm and wove his fingers in between hers, preventing her from walking away again. “Would it help if I told you that you are also the most beautiful agent I know?”

“Hardly. Flattery will get you nowhere, Scorpio. Anyway, I told you I’m not available.”

“Listen, just  ‘cause Lavery’s alive, that doesn’t change the fact that you… you still take my breath away.”

She tilted her head and gave him one her half smiling, half crying looks, a look that made him want to envelope her in his arms and take it all in, all the joy, all the pain, everything. It hurt him to see her doubting herself.

“Come on, Ms. Devine,” he said, flashing her a smile loaded with his distinct brand of Aussie charm.

She laughed.

“Trust yourself. Hell, trust me!”

She had struggled so many times over the past year and a half to put Robin’s memory to rest, to find the power to accept that she was gone and the will to go living without her. Now she stood staring at Robert, searching her soul for the strength to dive head-first back into the pool of hope. Instead, she found it in him. All of the courage and conviction she’d ever needed stared back at her in his cool blue eyes.

“You’re sure?” she asked with a sniffle, lips pressed together.

“Positive.”

She took a deep breath and licked her lips. “Okay,” she said, drying her tears on her sleeve.

“Does that mean you’re with me?”

“Robert, if you’re telling me our daughter is out there and this is your proof, you know I’m with you. So, what do we do now?”

“We start with the usual suspects,” he said.

“Faison?” she asked.

“Top of the list, but their keeping him at Steinmaur.”

“Right.”

“Helena?” he asked. “She was working with him for a while.”

“She’s dead.”

“You’re kidding!”

“Nope. She and Luke had a showdown on the Haunted Star.”

“And Spencer won?”

“That round, anyway.”

“The things you miss when you’re in a coma.”

“What about the Jeromes?” she asked.

“What?”

“A woman named Ava Jerome recently turned up in Port Charles. She claims she’s no relation to Julian, but Duke swears she is.”

“He would know.”

She gave him a stern look that softened quickly. “I hate to admit it, but I am a bit worried about a possible connection.”

“As well you should be. But even if it is the same family, what would they want with Robin?”

“I don’t know. Would they use her to get to Duke?”

“I don’t think so. She was gone before he ever resurfaced.”

“True. But Faison had him.”

“And now we’ve come full circle.”

“Of course we have. Why didn’t I think about it sooner? Damn!”

“What?”

“Liesl Obrecht—the monster that put you in a coma—she’s his partner in crime.”

“And if she was here and Robin was here—”

“Then it stands to reason that she—and he—”

“Are involved with Robin’s disappearance,” he said, completing her thought.

“Yes. But why?”

“Who knows why that demented Dane does anything he does? Other than because of his sick obsession with you, of course.”

“Dr. Obrecht is currently MIA. So, we’ll have to start with Faison.”

“When do we leave?”

“We don’t. I do.”

“I’m not letting you go alone.”

“You don’t have a choice, Robert. You can’t even stand on your own yet. You need time to recover and we don’t have time to waste.”

She had a point. Robin had already been missing for over a year. They couldn’t afford to let the trail get any colder than it already was. Still, the thought of her anywhere near Faison made his skin crawl. “I don’t like it Anna.”

“I don’t either, but I’ll do what I have to. For Robin.”

“What about taking Spencer with you? Or Mac?”

“No. Luke has enough trouble of his own right now. He’s off on his own wild goose chase. Mac is getting ready for the wedding. Though we should call him and let him know about you.”

“What wedding?”

“He and Felicia are getting remarried.”

“That’s a bit of good news, isn’t it?”

“Not for Frisco. Remind me to tell you about the Nurse’s Ball later.”

“Anna, I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but… What about Lavery?”

“What about him?”

“What if he were to go with you?”

“What for?”

He shrugged. “Backup.”

“Robert, ten months in a coma must have done a number on your mind.”

“What does that mean?”

“I love Duke, but we both know that’s the dumbest idea you’ve ever had. He means well, but he’ll only slow me down.”

“Are you sure?”

“Rule number one: don’t send an amateur to do a professional’s job, right? Besides, I’m a capable agent, remember? You said so yourself.”

“Even capable agents need backup.”

“I don’t want to bring anyone else in on this until we have more to go on. I’d rather not get Mac’s or Patrick’s hopes up just yet.”

“Fine. But we should at least know what we’re up against. I’d like to make a few calls.”

“I’ll check in with Frisco,” she said, pulling out her phone.

“I’ll try Sean. Is my cell here somewhere?”

“Here.” She fished it out of the bedside table drawer and turned it on. He reached for it and she held it out of his reach. “Your battery is low.”

“Anna,” he said, agitated, but not oblivious to the fact that she was bending over to plug in the charger.

“I can manage that. Would you just give it to me, please?”

“Yes dear!”  She tossed it to him.

He caught it. “Thank you, darling!”

“The pleasure is all mine.”

“I doubt that,” he teased.

“Dial, Robert!” she said, hitting send on her phone and waiting to be connected.

“Yes, boss!” he said, smiling. He liked what he saw. The Anna strutting around the room in front of him now was a complete change from the one who had stood before him only moments ago. This one was calm, in control, and in charge. She was back, and from his perspective, looking better than ever.

“Hi, Frisco? It’s Anna,” she said into the phone.

He turned his attention to his own phone and dialed. “Yeah, hello, Anna, Let me talk to your dad please. What? Tell him it’s Robert Scorpio. He’ll speak to me. Just tell him.”

“What have you got?” she asked once they’d both finished with their calls.

“Not much. According to their daughter, Sean wasn’t feeling well. She couldn’t get him on the phone, which concerns me.”

“And Tiffany?”

“She wasn’t home. I’ll have to see if I can get more info from him later. What did Frisco say?”

“Still no sign of Obrecht. He’s arranging clearance for me to get into Steimauer right now. Otherwise, nothing,” she sighed. “So, I guess I should get going.”

“Come here a minute, will you?”

“What?” she asked, approaching.

“Sit.”

She did.

He took her hand. “Before you go, I need to tell you…” He stopped, suddenly unable to speak. He inhaled sharply.

“What is it, Robert?”

“I wanted to tell you…” He cleared his throat. “Just… don’t let him get to you, okay? Keep your head in the game.”

“Don’t worry. I will. But you know that I will do anything I have to, to get our daughter back.”

“I know. But don’t compromise yourself in the process, okay? I want her back as much as you do, but you have to stay safe. ‘Cause she still needs her mother.” He gave her a concerned smile. “So do I.”

“Don’t go soft on me Scorpio,” she said with a chuckle. She tried to stand and walk away, but he held fast to her hand.

“I mean it, Anna. If anything were to happen to you while I was stuck here…”

“Robert, I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself.”

“I know you can, but…”

Her brow furrowed as she regarded him curiously. She hadn’t seen that look on his face since the cancer scare several years ago. When he threw his head back on the pillow still at loss for words, she took it upon herself to make the next move. She leaned in and hugged him.

He wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her hair. “I love you,” he whispered.

Squeezing him even tighter, she choked back her emotions and whispered back, “I love you too.” Then she pulled away and quickly wiped away a single tear from her left cheek. “I’ll be fine, all right? You just worry about getting well again.” She picked her bag and threw the strap over her shoulder, then checked for her phone and her gun. She turned and headed for the door.

“Anna,” he called after her.

She looked back.

“I’ll be waiting to hear from you.”

With a quick nod and one last smile, she closed the door behind her.

Previous chapters are available in archives or on   https://www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson