Chapter THIRTY NINE
. . o n e w e e k l a t e r . .
You sit nervously on the small plastic chair on the auditorium stage.. Dressed in your neatest black pantsuit with a silky white button down beneath a tight fitted blazer.. Your hair pulled up in a neat ballerina style bun and your makeup minimal, the only dash of your true personality is the neon pink pumps you had decided were necessary, if only to liven up the ensemble.. But mostly because they make you feel good.
Hundreds of eyes peer up from the audience as Jake Harrison addresses the room of FBI and Spectre agents, he stands, tall and confident behind the podium.. "Special Agent Devereux's dedication to justice, and her unfailing loyalty to the bureau should serve as a reminder to us all.. A reminder of what can be achieved through perseverance and determination.. Her actions should also remind us of the very reason each of us is here.. To protect our country, to serve its citizens and to stand behind your fellow agents.. She also teaches us the vigilance required to weed out corruption and ensure that the legacy of the bureau remains true.. Thanks to Miss Devereux, one of our own.. An innocent man, Special Agent Charles Everett can be entered into the history of our organisation and remembered for his efforts in the ways he deserves.. For all she has done, today we commend Miss Devereux, for her extraordinary actions in service of the FBI, and we honor you, with this, Medal for Meritorious Achievement.." He turns to you with a warm, genuine smile and you stand, crossing to stand beside him, he opens a long velvet box.. A beautiful blue and red medal is nestled on the cushion inside..
Harrison extends his hand to shake, you take it with a firm grip.. "On behalf of myself and the entire Federal Bureau of Investigation, thank you for your service, Special Agent Devereux.."
He hands you the box and you smile gratefully.. You feel elated to be recognised and appreciated, and also humbled by the experience.. "It's my privilege, sir.." He steps aside, motioning for you to say a few words..
Stepping up to the microphone, you cast your eyes out over the sea of faces.. There, in the front row, you see your team..
Not just Alpha, but both your teams..
The men of Alpha Team and Delta's Force grin up at you, each decked out in their finest dress blues.. Their decorated chests dripping with medals of their own, each standing rigidly at attention, a demonstration of respect.. They look the picture of perfection in their neatly pressed and polished formal uniforms and your heart squeezes at their show of support.. Your family..
"Thank you Director Harrison.. It has always been my dream to help others and to make a real difference, and for the longest time I felt like that responsibility was solely on my shoulders.."
You look down to see Jackson, he beams at you with such pride, warmth fills you from tip to toe at the sight of him.. Your handsome Marine.. Your fiancé..
"But the most important thing I have learned is that none of us can make that difference we are seeking to make alone.. When we cooperate, support each other and believe in our brothers and sisters. There is no limit to the positive impacts we can make and the goals we can achieve.. I would not have accomplished anything without a strong team standing behind me, so while I thank the bureau for this amazing honour.. I would also like to take this opportunity to formally thank Specter, for their support, loyalty and faith in me.. .. Thank you.." There is an eruption of applause and Harrison now crosses back to join you, shaking your hand once more..
"Thank you again Ellerie, consider me in your debt.. And if you change your mind about that chief of staff position, and I really hope you will, give me a call.."
You nod.. "I appreciate that, sir.."
As the assembly closes and you make your way down the stairs and off the stage, the Specter guys all move to greet you.. "Well done, El.." West gives you a stiff nod and a faint smile, but you can see the pride in his eye..
"You deserve ten of those damn things if you ask me!" Hunter places a hand on your shoulder before leaning down to peck your cheek sweetly and Ace whoops.. "Tasty chest candy, Devereux, you're putting us to shame here!" You chuckles, shaking your head at the expression 'chest candy'.. You knew he's talking about the medals but you don't think he realises how funny it sounds to a nonmarine like yourself..
"You guys! Stop it!" Their encouragement is almost too much for you to bear.. The sense of belonging you feel with this group now is all encompassing..
You all laugh together as Iris strides over and joins you after rushing off to catch Harrison for a conversation you had noticed out of the corner of your eye.. "Good, I have you all together! Firstly I have to say, Ellerie your achievement reflects the very embodiment of a Specter agent, I'm very proud of you.."
You nod, flushing slightly and beginning to feel a little giddy now from all the praise.. "That means a lot to me, Iris.."
She smiles briefly before her serious poker face returns.. "That's exactly why I cant have you taking that job working for Harrison.."
They all turn to you, stunned.. Each of their faces crinkled with concern.. Except for Jackson.. He just smiles that adorable half smile.. Like he already knew about the offer..
You were going to tell him about it, but.. You just hadn't entirely settled on a decision..
Well, until today..
"What job?" West and O'connor ask the question in unison, and Hunter shakes his head.. "You're really going back to the FBI, Ellerie?" There is a hurt in his tone that triggers a guilty rush..
"I, ah, I.. I don't know.. No? I don't think so.." You look at each of their faces.. The men you have come to trust, who have your back no matter what and who apparently, really don't want you to leave..
Iris interrupts.. "Of course she isn't.. Because she is going to become my second at Specter.."
Your mouth falls open.. Being promoted to second in command, over the entirety of Specter's operations, means that all of a sudden, you outrank each and every one of the incredible men standing before you..
Well this is going to be fun..
"And because I know you so enjoy your time in the field, I would also like to place you in command of Bravo Team.. If that is amenable to you, of course.." Iris adds..
You turn to West and Paxton.. "You would both be okay with this?" They look at each other before both turning to you with a grin..
"I see no issue.." West shrugs..
Hunter smiles "No issue at all, mam'.."
You chuckle.. Turning back to Jackson.. "And you?"
Jackson grins, nodding.. "Of course.."
Iris cuts in.. "Oh, This was Ford's idea actually, he always could see the future.. When he suggested it a few months back I wasn't sure if you were ready.. But seeing the way you were able to bring the Alpha and Delta units together.. That cohesion, it's exactly what we need.. I need a little help keeping these boys in line.. So.. What do you say, Devereux?"
Jackson thought you should have been in command all this time.. You almost can't believe it..
Every time you had doubted him had been wrong.. He really did respect you right from the beginning..
That means more to you than any award, any medal, ever could..
"I say yes. Definitely, yes.."
She smiles a sharp satisfied grin.. "Right, then your first order of business will be to assist Harrison in the recovery of Mack Fletcher.. They still haven't been able to locate him.."
The smile falls from your face.. Mack Fletcher.. Charlie's killer.. You couldn't let him get away with it.. He had to be punished..
"Mack Fletcher will never be recovered.. He's dead.."
Shock hits their expressions hard and you aren't surprised... You are two steps ahead on this one.. "How do you know?" West askes, one eyebrow arched high in curiosity..
"Because three weeks ago I provided Angelo De'lucca a copy of Elijah's ledger.. He will certainly have dealt with Fletcher by now.." There is no way De'lucca, the godfather, will have allowed Fletcher a painless death for his betrayal and for what Mack had done to Mikki..
No.. He will have made him suffer until his final breath. And you don't feel a shred of pity for the man..
Iris looks a little thrown momentarily.. But not displeased with your decision to allow the mob to see its own justice in this instance.. Hunter whistles, low and long.. "Jesus Christ.. You're kinda scary Devereux.. Remind me not to get on your bad side.."
Jackson claps Paxton on the back with a chuckle.. "You finally figured that out, huh brother?" Ford strides over to stand beside you, he takes your hand and smiles down at you.. "She's a goddamn force to be reckoned with.."
You feel a contentment you've never felt before wash over you..
A freedom you've never felt.. To be who you are, to do what you do.. All while surrounded by the people who you admire and with the love and support of a man so perfect your heart almost can bare it..
You spent so much of your life trying to prove you were good enough for exactly this, the self doubt that used to knaw on your conscious now gone..
There is no more doubt..
No more fear..
No this time you are certain..
This is exactly where you belong..
- THE END -
A note from the author
Thank you for completing Broken hearts & Coup D'etats , the third book in The Specter Series'. I have very much enjoyed sharing Ellerie and Jackson's story with you all and I always, always ALWAYS appreciate each and every one of you who reads, loves, comments and has continued on this journey with me from the first and second books. xx
Dedicated to the best friend a girl could have, H. The sun-shiniest woman in the room, wherever she goes.
Next in the series, Bad Boys, Betrayal, Bullets and Bombs in; Secrets of Summer..
A Marine who's seen your sins & knows your secrets.. Now, he's on your doorstep.. You should've known you couldn't hide from the hunter forever (18+)
BOOK FOUR - The Specter Series
Secrets of Summer
"You've always had one priority above all others.. Keep your sister safe.. Not as easy as it sounds when you're living life on the run, especially when your new home has been compromised and you're looking down the barrel of relocating, yet again.. At least that's the plan..Until one night of pure passion with a perfect stranger turns into a far more dangerous game than the one you signed up for..
Can you outrun your past or will you finally be caught in the hunters snare?"
"I've always been known for two things.. Getting the job done and being a ruthless asshole.. I've never had a problem with it before.. The two seem to go hand in hand when it's practically in my job description to ruin terrible people's lives..
Terrible people like her.. Kirby Carter..
But things aren't always as black and white as they seem, and sometimes the simplest answer isn't the answer at all.. Especially when it comes to this brunette bombshell.. I never used to care what anyone thought..
So why do I care about her?"
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