Forging Forever

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Chapter 43

Annie walked along the chilly streets of the city towards the Carter’s townhouse. The sun had just begun to rise. Her cloak and long sleeved dress did little to shield her from the cold. She found herself longing for her North Face jacket and gloves. Soon, she thought to herself, soon you’ll be home and everything will be back to normal. Her hand clutched the note that Madison had written her the day before, requesting that she meet Madison this morning before breakfast. She was instructed to tell no one. Annie had complied and had not even told Cameron of her plans. She would have plenty of time to speak to him after she spoke with Madison.

Finally she reached the townhouse and climbed up the front steps. The door was open before she even had time to knock. “Good morning Annie. Come in, please,” Madison pulled her into the house then locked the door. The house was silent. It appeared that even the servants had not arisen.

“I suppose the clandestine nature of this meeting means it has something to do with the task you and I discussed earlier,” Annie stated.

“Yes. I have news,” Madison replied then looked nervously around her. “Come with me and we’ll chat.” She led Annie into the sitting room then locked the door behind them. “I have a date,” she blurted.

“When?”

“General Washington is moving to New Windsor on the 8th.”

“That’s only six days away,” Annie said.

“I know. You won’t be going on the 8th. My sources say that he will be too heavily guarded on the trip there for you to complete your task and escape. They said the best time to go would be on the 10th, after everyone has had a chance to settle in.”

“Very well,” she nodded. “Is there anyone I should be contacting once I arrive?”

“Yes. There are two men there who will aid you in any way they can. Their names are Oliver Hughes and Connor Donnelly. They are my sources and currently travel with General Washington. Do not worry about finding them though, they will find you,” Madison instructed.

“Very well. What is the plan exactly?”

“You are to join the group in the capacity of a nurse. Oliver will assert that you are a close friend of the family and bring you in. That will be your cover.”

“Very well.”

“Once in the camp you are to find a way to give this to General Washington,” Madison said then placed a vial in Annie’s hand.

“Is this poison,” Annie whispered.

“Yes. It is the most discreet way to accomplish this. It will make his death look natural and it will give you enough time to escape,” Madison assured her. “I want you to come back to me safe and sound. You have a bright future ahead of you,” she smiled.

Annie smiled back. “Thank you for your foresight and concern.”

“If anything should go wrong or if you should need any further assistance tell either Oliver or Connor and they will contact me.”

“I will.”

“Thank you Annie. You are doing your country a great service,” Madison gave her a tight hug. “I will see you before you leave. I promise.”

“I look forward to it Madison.”

“Go get some rest. You’ll need it.”

“I know.”

“Would you like to take the carriage?”

“No. I have a stop I need to make before I head home. But thank you for the offer.”

“You’re going to see Cameron,” it was a statement.

“Yes. I didn’t get to see him before he left this morning. I figured since I’m so close to his office that I would drop in. I’ll take his carriage home.”

“Well, you have a safe trip then Annie,” Madison smiled. “I’m so happy for you.”

“I will and thank you again,” Annie waved then left the house. It was a short walk from the Carter’s to Cameron’s office. She walked in the front door. James was standing at the counter.

“Good morning Annie. Is Cameron expecting you,” he smiled as he stepped from behind the counter.

“No. If he’s busy I understand. I just didn’t get to see him before he left this morning and I wanted to say hello. But if he’s otherwise occupied then I’ll just leave a note and see him later tonight,” she was babbling, she knew it.

“I believe he’s just looking over correspondence at the moment. He does not have any appointments until after lunch. Let me go check. I’ll be right back.”

“Thank you James.”

“It’s my pleasure,” he replied then disappeared to the back of the store. Annie looked out the window, admiring the rising sun. The streets were busy now with women shopping and men heading to work. She thought about asking Cameron to take a long weekend since this would be the last weekend they would be spending together before they left. It would be nice to have some time alone.

“Annie, what are you doing up so early,” Cameron asked from behind her.

“I didn’t get to see you this morning before you left. I just wanted to say good morning,” she turned and smiled at him.

“I appreciate the visit, but you didn’t have to get up and come all the way here,” he gave her a soft kiss on the cheek.

“May we talk in your office,” she whispered.

“Of course.” Cameron took her hand and led her back to his office. Once they were in there he locked the door. “Is something the matter?”

“No. Yes. Well,” Annie struggled. The enormity of what she was about to do finally struck her. Up until now the assassination plot had just been an idea that would take place in some vague time in the foreseeable future; but now that she had a date and specifics, things had changed. “I had a meeting with Madison this morning,” she declared.

“Oh, I see,” he replied then sat down and pulled her down on his lap. “Are you all right?”

“Yes, I think so,” she nodded. “It’s odd, I’ve known what my role in this was to be for weeks, but now that I have a date and a plan I feel utterly overwhelmed. That must sound silly to you.”

“No, not at all. Remember, I promised that nothing will happen to you,” he whispered.

“I know.”

“What day are you supposed to go?”

“Next Friday. He is making his winter camp at New Windsor. I’ll be going in as a nurse.”

“I see.”

“I already have the names of two sources. It should take me less than two days to determine if there are any others and expose them. Once I’m done we can go home.”

“Okay.”

“Are you sure you want to leave?”

“Yes.”

“Will you have enough time to make arrangements between now and then?”

“They’re already done. I’ve had everything ready for weeks.”

“Good,” she nodded. “Do you have any appointments tomorrow?”

“No. It should be an easy day. Why?”

“I don’t suppose I could persuade you to take the day off and spend a long weekend with me,” she smiled.

“I’d love to,” he smiled back.

“Excellent,” she gave him a quick kiss. “I’d best be going and let you get back to your work.”

“Okay,” he replied then released her from his arms.

“Would you mind if I took the carriage? I walked this morning and it’s dreadfully cold.”

“Of course not. I’ll summon it for you. Just send it back when you’re done.”

“I will. Thank you.” Annie followed Cameron out of his office. She waited inside while he called the carriage around. He gave her a soft kiss when she was safely ensconced in the carriage.

“I love you. Get some rest,” he whispered.

“I will. I love you too,” she smiled. Cameron closed the carriage door. The ride back to the boardinghouse was blessedly short. Despite the fact that she had skipped breakfast, she did not feel at all hungry. She decided to bypass the kitchen. She would eat lunch later. Instead, she climbed up the stairs and went into her room where she changed back into her nightclothes then went to sleep.

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