Forging Forever

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Chapter 38

The sun was setting when Cameron got home from work. It had been a short but productive day. He had finished all of his paperwork by lunch. Once he was done he ran two important errands. The first was to his solicitor’s office to make provisions for his future. He intended to spend his future, wherever it may be, with Annie. Unfortunately though, life did happen. And if something happened to him he wanted to make sure that Annie and the baby were well taken care of. The second, and far more enjoyable trip, was to the jewelers. He had spent hours there, painstakingly looking over and finally choosing a ring for Annie. The ring he finally chose was a large, square cut sapphire surrounded by a ring of diamonds. Once he purchased the ring he left and returned to the boardinghouse. He would ask her to marry him tonight, in the garden among the orange and red tinged leaves and the blooming hydrangeas.

He stepped through the front door and went in search of Mary. She found him first. “Mary, have you seen Annie,” his tone was light and happy.

“She’s out in the garden reading. Would you like me to get her for you,” she replied.

“No. I’ll go get her myself.” Cameron gave a half bow to Mary then went to the garden to find Annie. He found her in her usual spot on the bench. Her body was curled up. One of her arms rested on the back of the bench, atop which was her sleeping head. An open book sat next to her hand. Cameron looked closer. It was a copy of Gulliver’s Travels. He smiled to himself, his Annie would choose satire. Quietly, he shrugged out of his coat and wrapped it around Annie, then he sat down next to her and pulled her close to him until her head was resting on his shoulder. A few minutes later she stirred. “Hello love. Did you have a nice nap?”

“What time is it,” she asked. Her voice was husky and alluring.

“It is a quarter ’til seven,” he smiled. “Are you hungry?”

“A quarter ’til seven? Oh my. I’ve wasted the whole afternoon away,” she declared ruefully.

“Nonsense, you needed the rest.”

“I guess. Did you have a good day?”

“Yes I did. How was yours?” Cameron smiled. It was nice just having a normal conversation about the events of one’s day while sitting out in the garden. It almost made him forget about the turmoil pervading their lives.

“It was okay. I went over to Madison’s this afternoon. She called me over around noon,” Annie replied.

“Did you discuss the matter you heard about the other night?”

“Yes. She recruited me. As of now there is no set date. She’s going to contact me when she has more information,” Annie whispered.

“I see.” Cameron’s gaze had grown serious.

“We don’t need to worry about that right now. There’s nothing we can do but wait,” Annie smiled. “Tell me about your day.”

Cameron nodded then smiled. “Well, the morning was rather uneventful. I returned some correspondence and signed some contracts. Nothing exciting. The afternoon however was far more enjoyable and productive.”

“Oh, how so?”

“Well, straight after lunch I made a stop at my solicitor’s office to change around some aspects of my will.”

“That doesn’t sound very exciting,” she frowned.

“I know. It wasn’t. But I wanted to make sure that you and the baby were well taken care of, just in case something does happen to me.”

“I see,” Annie whispered.

“Annie, it’s just a precaution. Nothing’s going to happen to me. I promise,” he assured her.

“I know,” she nodded. “What did you do after that?”

“Well, I could tell you. But I’d rather show you.” Cameron reached around Annie into his coat pocket and removed a small, velvet box. “Annie Elizabeth Johnson, you know I love you with all my heart. I cannot imagine my life without you. I promise to take care of you and treasure you for the rest of our lives, no matter where or when we are. Would you do me the great honor of marrying me?” Once the question was out he opened the box.

Annie stared down at the shimmering sapphire and diamond ring. Her heart beat frantically against her chest and a single tear fell down her cheek. She felt a million things explode in her: love, happiness, even a bit of panic. What she did not feel was fear or uncertainty. Finally she delivered her answer in a soft whisper which was only loud enough for Cameron to hear. “Yes.”

Cameron kissed her triumphantly then slid the ring on her finger. “You have just made me the happiest man alive,” he whispered to her.

“I’m glad,” she smiled at him. He smiled back. “Can we talk about the details later though? I’m hungry and tired.”

“Of course love. There’s no rush. Let’s get this mission done with first then we’ll figure out our future together.”

“Thank you,” Annie replied then gave him a soft kiss.

“You’re welcome,” he replied. “Now, let’s get some food in our stomachs. Did you eat some lunch today?”

“Yes. I had some soup and biscuits. So far it’s stayed down.”

“Good. Let’s hope dinner does the same.”

They ate a quiet dinner of chicken, vegetables, and strawberries which Annie was gracious enough to share with him, granted he had to promise that he would buy her more the next day. Once they were done they snuck up the back stairs and into Annie’s room where they watched movies until the early morning hours. Neither one of them thought about this new mission or the danger that was yet to come. Finally, Annie’s eyes slid shut with exhaustion.

Cameron did not sleep that night. He just held Annie in his arms. One hand rested on her stomach, marveling on what was happening inside her body. The other hand stroked her head, back, arms, pretty much every surface of her body. He watched as the sun rose in the sky. Blessedly Annie slept late. The morning sickness did not visit her.

At eight o’clock Cameron reluctantly got out of bed to prepare for work. Only one day left then the weekend would come. He kissed Annie on her forehead then whispered goodbye. She sighed and rolled over. He was at the office by nine.

Nissequogue, NY

October 6, 2015

Catherine got out of bed and went down to the kitchen. It was a little after eight in the morning. Her parents were still asleep. She turned on the Keurig and made herself a cup of coffee. She savored the bittersweet taste of the dark roast. Maybe later she would go get herself a pumpkin spice latte.

Despite the fact that she had been back for a month, her parents still refused to leave her alone. Their constant presence was driving her insane. Furthermore, Katelyn Tanner, Annie’s best friend, had arrived home nearly a month ago. Her parents had shooed her off, saying that Annie wasn’t feeling well and that she would contact Katelyn when she was feeling better. Catherine knew that Katelyn had not believed their story. She was far too smart for that. Surprisingly though she had stayed away. Still, her appearance had worried Catherine. Deep down she couldn’t help but wonder if Katelyn suspected her of something.

Between that and the lack of any sort of meaningful activity, Catherine was about to explode. The first few days back had been bliss. She had showered every night then watched hours of TV down in the entertainment room. But now, weeks later, even that had grown monotonous. It was time to find something else to do. She left the kitchen and wandered around the first floor of the house. Eventually she entered the library.

The library here was huge. The walls were covered with packed bookcases. Catherine had never been much of a reader, but hell, it was something different to do. She wandered over towards the shelves but stopped when she saw a leather bound journal sitting on an end table. It looked old and well worn. Curious, she sat down in an armchair then flipped through the journal. The handwriting belonged to Annie, that much Catherine knew. Now she was even more intrigued. She read the first entry of the journal. Rage filled her as she read Annie’s accounting of the night she brought Catherine home. No wonder her parents’ had looked less than outraged when she had told them her story. They must have read the journal.

Catherine ignored the suggestion to not read the whole journal at once. She spent hours there in the library reading through Annie’s recordings of the past. She smiled triumphantly when she found out that not only had Annie been raped, but she was also pregnant. Oh what justice! Still she needed more. Annie explained the reason why she could not return home as soon as she had anticipated. She was going to stop an assassination attempt on General Washington. How noble of her. If she had been smart she would have given the task to someone else then came home. But Annie was not smart, well, at least not in the self-preservation department. She was far too self-righteous to put her own needs above those of others. Still, Catherine thought Annie’s pregnancy would have tempered that self-righteousness. After all, she was caring for two people now.

She made it through the journal in record time. For the most part it was pleasant reading, at least for Catherine. All the pain and loss that Annie had detailed made her heart leap. She felt no guilt at her sister’s situation. She was getting what she deserved. The final entry though did not bring a smile to her face. It was far too happy. Something had to be done about that. Carefully, Catherine sat the journal back where she found it. She grabbed a random book from the shelves just in case her parents saw her coming out of the library, then she went up into her room to devise a plan. She would have to go back in time again and do away with her sister. But she couldn’t go now. The timing was not right. As much as she hated to admit it, Annie did need to stop the assassination of George Washington and ferret out other traitors. The country’s existence did depend on that. If she just waited until the second week of November she could go back and ensure Annie’s downfall. By that point in time, at least according to the journal, Annie would be deep inside the camp of the Continental Army and would have ferreted out most of the traitors. It would be easy for Catherine to get into the camp and do away with her sister. Then she could come home and life would be perfect.

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