Hero Inside

Chapter 6

Joan and several other CIA operatives, including Jai Wilcox, arrived at Auggie's apartment within twenty minutes. They drove up quietly, so that they wouldn't draw attention to themselves. Joan was the first to walk in and as she did, she and Jai walked over to where Annie stood waiting to explain what was going on. Everyone else began to look over Auggie's apartment, which was now a crime scene.

"Annie, I need to know whatever you know," Joan said. "How did you end up here at Auggie's apartment? Please do not tell me that you have been continuing to have him join you on some of your assignments after I specifically told you both not to."

"No, Joan, I promise he hasn't been," Annie replied. "As a friend, Auggie offered to join me for a party that my sister threw at our house earlier tonight. She's been constantly setting me up on dates and Auggie was trying to help me out. After the party, I drove him home and we somehow ended up in a fight. He went inside and I went home. However, I couldn't sleep because I couldn't leave things that way. I came back to apologize to him, but I found the lights on, as well as the burner with a kettle on it and some blood on the kitchen floor. Auggie wasn't here. My guess is that the blood belongs to Auggie. Oh, and it was me who kicked in the door. It was locked when I arrived. I'm not sure how the kidnappers got in."

Joan watched Annie as she spoke and when she finished, she asked, "What was it that you and Auggie got into a fight about?"

Annie sternly responded, "Our argument had nothing to do with what happened to him. It was just between us. Who would want to hurt him?"

"Has Auggie been doing any field work that you know of at all, Annie," Jai asked? "He's been having trouble letting go since his accident."

"I don't know," Annie replied. "But you would have a hard time letting go of everything that mattered to you if you were to go blind as well, don't you think so, Jai?"

"Annie," Joan interrupted. "Jai was only asking a question. Let's get back to the issue at hand. We need to find him. I'd hate to lose the best tech ops operative we've had in a long time."

Annie looked at them both and replied as she walked away, "Auggie is more than just a tech ops operative. I would have thought that you of all people should know that, Joan. He's been loyal to you for years."

Joan and Jai just watched as Annie walked off to observe the others in Auggie's apartment, when Joan said, "Annie, I want you off this search. You are too close to this and I need everyone to keep a clear head. We will handle things from here. I want you to continue on with your own assignment. Everyone, make sure that you check over everything. Even the smallest clue may be of importance. He's one of our own and I want him found yesterday."

Joan and Jai both left the apartment and headed back to CIA headquarters where she would run things as always. Annie was angry that Joan ordered her to stay away from finding out who had taken Auggie, but she ended up staying behind until the last tech left around six o'clock that morning. She didn't want to follow her orders, but knew that she needed to. Not doing so would get her fired. As she left, she headed back to her place to change her clothes and grab a bite to eat. It was going to be a long day.

It was then that she decided that she needed to tell her sister that she had been asked to go on another business trip by her boss at the Smithsonian. Annie knew that she looked terrible and she couldn't handle her sister constantly asking her questions about whether or not she had resolved her problems with Auggie, until he was back safe and sound.

As she was packing, Annie saw the scrap book filled with things between her and Ben still in her trash can. When she finished packing her bags, she put her bags in the trunk of her car, walked out into her back yard, dug up a big enough hole in the ground for the book, and buried it. It was what she did with everything that she let go of so that she wouldn't have a reminder of what she lost. It was her way of permanently saying goodbye.

As she was doing so, Danielle came walking up to her and said, "You are finally ready to let someone else in. Auggie must be someone very special. I am so happy for you, Annie."

Annie replied sadly, "Yeah, he is."

As Danielle knelt down and took a good look at her sister's face, she asked, "What's wrong? You look terrible. I assumed that you went back to his place last night to talk to him when you left here after one o'clock. I saw you leave."

"Actually, I forgot something at the office yesterday that was pretty important," Annie responded. "When I got there, I found a letter from my boss that I was going to be leaving today to check out a new artifact that might be coming to the museum from Athens. I need to go to authenticate it. I'll be gone for a few days."

"All right," Danielle said. "Just promise me that you are going to make up with Auggie when you get back. If he can get you to let go of Ben, then he is worth fighting for."

"You have no idea," Annie replied. "Don't worry about me. I will call you later. Tell the girls I love them."

When Annie left, she drove off toward Don Richert's home and parked across the street at the park. She sat down on a bench that gave her a good view of his driveway, so that she would know if he left. This assignment was tedious because they did not have enough evidence that said for sure if he was guilty, but the little information they did have from the snitch inside Richert's circle of friends was enough for the CIA to be suspicious.

After sitting there for over an hour, someone came up from behind her and sat down on the seat next to her. From the photos she had taken, she realized it was Richert's right hand man. Annie tensed, but didn't get up. She wasn't sure if Richert was on to her, or if this guy being here was just a coincidence.

"This park sure is beautiful, isn't it," he asked? "You seem to think so since you come to sit on this bench every morning. Is it the park you're observing, or is it me and my friend?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," Annie replied. "I come here every morning to watch the sunrise. It is beautiful."

He responded, "You see, I don't believe you. I have it on good authority that you are here to watch us to see if we are doing something illegal. I take it that you haven't found anything yet, am I right?"

Annie stood up and said, "Look, I don't know who you or your boss are, and I certainly don't know of anything illegal, but I assure you that I am just here to watch the sunrise. Now that I have, I'm leaving. Goodbye."

"Look, you can stop with the charade," he said bluntly. "We know that you work for some government agency, but we just don't know which one. The snitch in our circle who gave you your information about us, told us everything, except who you work for. He died before he had the chance. We've been observing you ever since. Now, I suggest you come with me now. My boss wants to talk with you."

"I don't plan on going anywhere with you, thanks," Annie responded.

The guy pulled something out of his pocket and handed it to Annie as he replied, "If you want to see your boyfriend again, you should come with me and leave your cell phone behind."

When Annie looked closely at the object in her hand, she realized it was Auggie's watch that he wore. It had a voice box that told him the time. The CIA had it specially made for him. Annie should have known that it was Richert who had taken Auggie, but she didn't know until now that her cover had been blown. She knew that something seemed off as she observed them because they weren't doing anything suspicious. If only she trusted her instincts. If she did, Auggie would be safe.

Annie spoke up saying, "Bring me to him, now!"

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