By Holly-Batali

A/N: Hello everyone! This is my newer novel, Continuity. It's mostly written, but will be undergoing revision at some point. Just so you know.

Chapter 1

It was seven o'clock in the morning, and Secret Agent Annabel Lee was running late. Not that it worried her; Agent Lee, though always running late, had an uncanny knack for being places on time.

Linkin Park played quietly through the speakers in her apartment as she pulled her white hair back into a ponytail and inserted a single pair of onyx and silver stud earrings into her earlobes. She straightened her black pantsuit and white shirt, slipped on her combat boots, fed her fish, and walked out the door.

As she was locking the door, her cell phone vibrated in her pocket. She pulled it out of her pocket. "Agent Lee."

"Annabel," a voice on the other side whined. "Where are you?"

Annabel rolled her eyes. "I'm on my way to the office now, Madame President."

"Well hurry up, the SOB won't shut up—"

"The abbreviation for the Secretary of Defense is SOD, Madame President."

"With him there IS no difference."

Choosing not to even try and argue that one, Annabel switched the conversation to a new topic. "And I'm not late, so you have no real reason to call me right now."

"You mean I can't just have a conversation with my favorite secret agent?"

"Madame President, I'm your bodyguard, you talk to me every day." All day, every day, she added silently. Which was true; the president was a happy-go-lucky thespian whose idea of 'fun' was to try and lose her bodyguard in the middle of a busy crowd. The said bodyguard failed to be amused by this.

"Ooh, a hit, a very palpable hit," said the president.

"Madame President, I need to hang up or I'm going to be late," Annabel was already at her car (a small black civic) and pulling out her keys, her bag slung over her shoulder.

"Oh come on Annabel, you can talk and drive at the same time. I've seen you do it."

"There's a difference between a police radio and a cell phone, Madame President."

"Then just get a car cell phone dock or something."

"I have no need for such a thing, Madame President."

There was a sigh of frustration on the other line. "How many times do I have to tell you to just call me by my freakin' name?"

"You might as well stop telling me, because I'd rather not. It's a breach of protocol anyways."

"Jeesh, Annabel. Enough with the effing protocol! Look, for once in your life, you need to hang protocol—"

Annabel hung up and climbed into her car, pulling out of the lot.

"Give me a break," Annabel muttered, turning left on Fourteenth Street. Annabel was Secret Service, the best of the best. She lived by the guidebook, and it always worked for her.

Not that anyone appreciated the effort anymore. Annabel had thought that being the president's bodyguard would be the best job out there, but once she had started working for her, she had eaten her words one by one. The president purposely disregarded every security measure just to 'give Annabel a bit of a challenge'. And while it certainly kept the agent on her toes, it also annoyed the hell out of her.

She pulled in across the street from the House of Representatives and got out of the car, locking her car and heading to the nearest crosswalk. Even jaywalking was too insolent for Annabel.

After going through security and signing in, Annabel walked over to the elevator and proceeded to travel up to the third floor. As soon as she got out of the elevator, however, someone had grabbed her by the shoulders and used her as a shield. The only thing that stopped her going for her Beretta was the bobbing blond ponytail and sparkly necklace of the perpetrator.

Annabel sighed. "Madame President," she said in a patient voice. "What are you doing?"


"…May I ask why?"

"Are you kidding me? The SOB—"

"Secretary of Defense, Madame President."

"—Is trying to get me to sign more papers. I've already signed a whole stack. I think I've got tendonitis. In both hands."

"If you have tendonitis, Madame President," Annabel said, removing the president's hands from her shoulders and pushing her gently away, "it's because you stayed up until two in the morning playing Rock Band, not because you were signing papers."

The president sighed, her hazel eyes pouting. "You're mean." Was all she said.

Annabel raised an eyebrow and, in a rare moment of humor, said, "And I haven't even had my coffee yet." She walked away, the president walking beside her.

"So, Annabel. What's the roster for today?"

"You have a meeting with Senator Chan from Michigan in thirty minutes. After that, there's a meeting with security and then lunch. After lunch—"

"We'll cross that bridge when we get there," the president said hurriedly. "So, how long is lunch break?"

"An hour, Madame President."

The president groaned. "Just an hour? But that isn't long enough to—"
"Flee the area and hide out in a desolate tourist stop where you hope security will never find you as you play your DS? I'm well aware of that, Madame President."

"Meanie." This was followed by the sound of a loud raspberry.

"Please act your age, Madame President."

"I'm a thespian, I can act whatever age I want," was the smug reply. A plague on all actors.

"…thinking we could go back to my place for lunch; it'd be way fun! I already called Tony—you know Tony, the chef?—and he said that he'd make chocolate cupcakes."

Annabel perked up. She was a sucker for chocolate, and Tony's cupcakes were the best of the best. It wouldn't be a bad idea, she thought. And I'd be going with her, so she wouldn't be running off anywhere…It's only a seven-minute drive…

"…do you say?" Madame President was looking at her expectantly.

Annabel caved. "All right," she agreed. "But you're coming straight back to work after lunch.