There’s an old oak table that sits in the middle of the safe house debriefing room. Over the years, it has witnessed the many trials and tribulations of the War with Rittenhouse. It has followed the soldiers who had been recruited in 2016 by Garcia Flynn, as well as the soldiers who joined the fight later, from one bunker or safe house to another.
It’s been stained dark, and it’s long – seating four people on either of its sides, and two at its ends.
It has stood the test of time, and survived countless attacks by Rittenhouse over the years.
Etched into its cracked and peeling varnish are the names of hundreds of soldiers whose lives were lost in the war: Anthony Bruhl, Stiv Casey, Lorena Flynn, Amy Preston, Stanley Fisher, Emma Whitmore, Rufus Carlin, Tamyra Parris, Connor Mason, Maria Thompkins-Flynn, Dave Baumgardner, Noah Cantù, Jiya Marri, Iman Fadel, and…
Fingertips slowly graze over the names Lucy and Garcia Flynn.
Lilijana Maria Flynn closes her eyes, and takes a deep breath as she thinks back to that night, the night she lost her mother and father.
It was Christmas Eve, 2023, and she had just celebrated her sixth birthday six days prior.
It was the night her father tracked her and her mother down in Point Pleasant, Ohio, where the two of them had been living under the assumed names: Lucy and Lily Shakesman.
It was a time in her life she barely remembers. A time before her father tracked them down. Before she had to learn to adjust her life to accommodate the War with Rittenhouse. She had a mother she adored, a father she had never met, but loved nonetheless. Her life was happy, and safe.
She remembers Barbie dolls, My Little Ponies, playing dress-up, but she can’t remember anymore the sound of her mother’s laugh. She’s been dead for so many years that her echo has faded, taking with it the memory of her voice, or how it felt when her mom would run her hand through her hair before tucking her into bed at night.
The grief she feels has changed in the past seventeen years, but it never ends.
She remembers crawling on the floor at night, sneaking out of bed just for the sake of mischief, and seeing her mother sitting alone in her room, staring at the photos of her sister Amy, and Lilijana’s father, Garcia Flynn, that Lucy kept close to her heart inside her locket.
When her mom thought no one was looking, she let sadness overtake her. Lily overheard her mother quietly sobbing herself to sleep so many times, and on the worst nights, she crawled into bed next to her mom to comfort her.
Lilijana had only met her father once. She has learned enough about him as a child to give her hope that one day he would come back, and that they would be a family. To this day, she can retell stories her mother told her about her dad to anyone who will listen.
His name was Garcia Flynn, and he had no middle name. He was born in Split, Croatia, back when the country was still called Yugoslavia. He spoke fifteen languages, seventeen if you counted Latin and Greek which he had studied in school, but didn’t practice. He loved horses, just as she does. He was tall, and she has his eyes and nose. Her mom told her that he was a soldier who had fought in many wars to help people. She explained to her at a very early age that dad couldn’t be with them because he was fighting in a war that she wasn’t sure would ever end.
That her daddy was a hero.
A hero fighting to make a better world, a world that would be safe enough for him to find them, and to finally meet his little girl.
Her mother told her every day that he loved them both very, very much.
Lily wipes a tear from her cheek, and bites down gently on her bottom lip to stop herself from crying.
She imagined her dad as a superhero, like Superman. Out fighting the bad guys so that she and her mommy would be safe. And she dreamt so often of what life would be like when he’d return that her dreams began to feel real. She could feel the soft mane of her father’s horse as he helped her learn how to ride. The fresh, cool breeze of the mountain air would gently caress her face as she ran down the front steps of their house to greet her mom when she got home from work. And she could smell her father making her grandmother’s spaghetti sauce, same as if she were awake and making it herself.
Her mom made sure she knew the kind of man her father was, and the kind heart he had.
And Lilijana loved him with every inch of her soul.
She named her stuffed animal horse after him so she could pretend cuddling with it at night was cuddling with her daddy.
Her hope that one day they would be a family was shattered the night she met him.
Shattered and torn apart by Rittenhouse.
Christmas Eve, 2023, had been like all the other Christmases she remembered from her first five years of life. She and her mom attended the annual Christmas show at the local high school. Her mom promised her they’d drive through neighborhoods to look at all the houses decorated with colorful Christmas lights after they got back from a Christmas party at one of her coworker’s homes.
They lived in an upstairs apartment, and despite not having a front or back lawn, the two of them always made sure that snowmen were scattered all over the apartment complex’s property – complete with scarves, hats, carrot noses, charcoal eyes, and small sticks for arms. Their balcony was decorated for the holiday with colorful, twinkling Christmas lights.
Lilijana closes her eyes and smiles, remembering how her mom had bought her a brand-new Christmas Eve party dress just for the occasion. It was a velvet burgundy dress – dad’s favourite color. She twirled around in front of the full-length mirror in her mom’s bedroom, admiring the dress as her mom got ready for the evening. She leaned against the doorframe of the master bathroom and watched her mom apply makeup, and put her hair up into a messy chignon. She commented that she didn’t think her mom would be warm enough because her burgundy dress had no sleeves, and exposed her back. But her mother assured her that she would wear a coat while outside, and that she’d be fine. It wasn’t like they were going to the park to go ice skating, or sledding in the snow.
Downstairs, their Christmas tree sparkled in the dim living room light as Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker played quietly. Lily had begun taking ballet lessons that past summer, and for her birthday the week before, her mom had taken her to see The Nutcracker ballet in Cincinnati. And oh, how she had loved it. And oh my gosh, how badly she wanted to be one of the Rat King’s soldier mice.
Her mom entered the living room, and Lily remembers thinking she looked like a princess. She had been so beautiful that night.
Her mom kneeled in front of her to help her put on her snow boots since earlier that day, six inches had fallen, and being a six-year-old child – with her father’s DNA – meant she was bound to run around in it even though she was all dolled up pretty for a Christmas party.
Lily had been excited.
She’d known that her best friend, Jill, was going to be at the party, and they had planned to sneak outside to search the night sky for Santa and his reindeer.
There was a knock on their apartment door, and for a split second, Lily thought that Santa had come early, and she had squealed, “Santa!” and jumped off the couch, to sit by the tree to watch Santa place presents under it.
Her mom assured her, of course, that Santa only came once all little children were fast asleep. She had kissed the top of her head before going to open the door.
It was him.
Lilijana will never forget the shriek of joy that came out of her mother’s mouth when she had opened the door, nor the way her mom wrapped her arms around her father’s neck, and kissed him on the cheek as he lifted her in his arms. But her mom’s happiness had been short-lived when she asked him, ‘is it over?’ He had shaken his head, and had opened his mouth to speak, but then he had seen her.
His little six-year-old daughter, sitting at the foot of the Christmas tree – attempting, of course, to look for presents that might be hers.
He had left her mother’s side and come to her, kneeling beside her, asking her name. Lily remembers taking hold of his hand, and holding it in hers as she asked him if he was her dad because he looked like the man in the picture that mommy kept in her locket, and the daddy that she had seen in her dreams. With tears in his eyes, and unable to speak, Garcia had nodded his head, and excited to finally meet her dad, Lily jumped into his arms, kissed his cheek, and squealed DADDY! into his ear.
If she closes her eyes, she can still feel the way he held the back of her head in his hand as he held her in his arms. She remembers him whispering ‘I love you, my little girl,’ and kissing the top of her head, then whispering something in a language she did not know. He carefully set her down, wiping tears from his eyes, and went back to her mom.
Lucy’s eyes were red from crying, and her jaw was tight as she struggled to contain her emotions.
Lily watched them as they spoke in whispers.
Her dad attempted to hold onto her mother’s arm, but she angrily moved out of his grasp. She thinks she remembers hearing him say something about how it was Christmas, and that he had waited long enough to find her, and that he should have done it years ago.
The joy Lily felt when she realized that her dad had come to see her on Christmas was short-lived as she watched her parents fight. They did their best to remain quiet, and she knows that neither of them meant to upset her, but the fact is they did.
Lily remembers watching as her mother opened the apartment door, and gestured for her dad to leave. And there was another man standing outside, smoking a cigarette. A man she would come to know as Uncle Karl. He took one look at her parents, shot them a dirty look, then came inside to her.
Karl told her that he was going to take her to look at all the Christmas lights in their neighborhood. She had been afraid of him, not knowing who he was, so she looked to her mom to make sure he was safe.
And he was.
Uncle Karl let her ride in the front passenger seat of the car, something her mom never let her do. She had gazed wide-eyed at all the twinkling colors of Christmas as they slowly drove up and down every street. Karl didn’t say much at first, but once he got comfortable with her, he had asked her if her mommy ever talked about missing her daddy. He had asked her if her mommy was married, and since she wasn’t, he then asked if she was dating anyone right now. Back then, Lilijana had no idea what ‘dating’ meant so she told him, ‘No,’ which was the truth.
They returned to the apartment parking lot, and she had run back up the stairs, wanting to ask her dad if he wanted to help her build a Christmas snowman – surely, with him visiting them they were no longer going to go to that party. She stumbled and fell when she arrived at the open apartment door, finding both her mom and dad lying in pools of their own blood – dead.
She crawled to her mom, and threw herself onto her, begging her to wake up. Then Karl was pulling on her shoulder, trying to get her to follow him. When he wrapped his arm around her, she grasped on so tightly to her mother’s necklace that it broke from her neck, and she kept it clutched in her hand as Karl swooped her up into his arms, and ran as fast as he could back to his car.
He buckled her in, and quickly sped away.
That was the last time she saw her mom and dad.
Dead, on the floor of hers and her mom’s second floor apartment.
24 December 2023.
Lilijana closes her eyes.
That was seventeen years ago, but sometimes it feels like only yesterday.
She stands up and runs her hands through her long brown hair, and pulls it up into a sloppy ponytail. Karl tells her that she looks so much like her mother with her hair pulled back. That she has the same jawline, and forehead as her mother, Lucy. But she inherited her nose, hazel-green eyes, and her six-foot height from her father, Garcia.
The night they died; was the night she became a soldier in the War with Rittenhouse at the tender age of six. She didn’t go on missions, or fight until she was a teenager. That was the one thing Karl was most adamant about, often saying things about how if he let her fight any younger than age thirteen, that the ghost of her dad would haunt him until the end of his life. But at age six, Karl taught her about weapons, martial arts, and did his best to teach her as many languages as he could. Then, on her tenth birthday, he finally taught her how to shoot a semi-automatic.
She makes her way out of the debriefing room and walks barefooted to the common area of their current safe house -slash- headquarters.
She’s lived in so many different bunkers and safe houses in her twenty-two years that she doesn’t feel like she has a place to call home. No hometown. No childhood home to reminisce about when she thinks back on her youth. All she knew was that apartment.
The apartment where her parents lost their lives.
Home is wherever she sleeps at night – in this bunker, in the backseat of a stolen car, or in a cheap hotel room in 1962, 1893, 1972, 1941, or wherever their time travels take her.
While she understands why her parents were at war with Rittenhouse, and why she and the others continue to fight them, she still wonders what her life would’ve been like if she had grown up in a world where there was no war to fight through time.
What would it be like to have a mother who greeted her as she got home from school? What would it have been like to wait anxiously for her dad to come home from work? Would they have had a pet dog or cat? What sports would she have played in school? Tennis? Softball? Equestrian?
Is equestrian even an option offered in public schools?
She has no idea.
Lilijana takes a bottle of water from the refrigerator, and sits down on the couch. Her parents’ journal lies on the table in front of her. She’s read it so many times since Karl gave it to her on her fifteenth birthday. She’s even memorized some of their entries. Reading it is the only way she can ‘hear’ the voices of her parents.
The only way she can know them.
She picks it up, and opens where she left a bookmark.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
I’ve never felt closer to you than I do right now, dušo. Now, when I close my eyes, I can feel the way you moved against me. I can hear your breath in my ear as I pleasured you. I can imagine the way your hand pressed against me as your fingers curled inside, stroking me as you asked if I was sure that I didn’t want you to get me off. But next time, I meant it when I said: svrši mi duboko unutra…
Anyway, I’m watching Saturday morning cartoons on the Cartoon Network. You’re still upstairs asleep. I thought about waking you, but you looked so at peace that I couldn’t. You fight so hard in this war and need your rest.
I’m thinking about what you said, and yes. Whenever we get pregnant, I want us to go back into the past to have our baby. You mentioned taking me to see Anna Pavlova in Russia, and then spend the New Year in Paris. Maybe we can stay in France to have our child? Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, or perhaps Cassis near the Parc national des Calanques, would be great places to raise a child. Summers aren’t too hot, and winters aren’t too cold, they’re all close to beaches, and close to the larger cities of Marseille and Montpellier if we wanted to take a train up to Paris. We both speak French, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to settle and have a life there, and to teach our child to speak French, English, and Croatian (which is something that I still need to work on).
We’d only stay there for five years. Well, five years unless I get knocked up again. Even then, I can’t imagine either of us wanting to go back to the war with a young child in our life. How would we raise him or her? In the five years that we’ll be in France, we will need to come up with a foolproof plan on how to defeat Rittenhouse immediately upon our return to the present because I do not, under any circumstances, want our child involved in the war with Rittenhouse.
And I’ve been thinking. The only logical way we can save Lorena and Iris is by going back to 2014, and bringing them back with us to the future. They don’t exist here now, so it would be safe for them. They wouldn’t suffer any of the side-effects that we did when we went back to 2003. Now that I don’t exist in this alternate 2017, I would have to be the one to go back to 2014 to bring them back here to you. I don’t want you to risk more exposure to side-effects of traveling back to a time where you already exist. We know that the Garcia and Lorena in this reality’s 2014 understand time travel, and I think it wouldn’t be difficult to convince your younger self to let his girls come back with me because it would save their lives. Yes, things in this present day 2017 would change, they’ll have disappeared for a few years and then show up with me when we step out of the time machine, but they’ll be alive.
This afternoon, after you left for the bunker with Jiya and Karl, your mom and I went to the store to pick up what we need to make spaghetti tonight. I also… picked up some lube and condoms. I know, I know… I’ve said if I got pregnant now that I’d be happy, but there’s still a little part of me that worries what traveling through time could do to an unborn child. So, once you’re back, we’ll use protection, and we’ll be responsible and plan when (and where) we’ll start our family.
Monday, 27 March 2017
I am so angry with you. Don’t you dare come back to Houston until she’s safe.
Friday, April 14, 2017
I just found out I’m pregnant.
I don’t know what to do. You don’t talk to me about anything anymore. If I sit down, and try to hold your hand, you pull away. How am I supposed to tell you that we’re having a baby if you refuse to be alone in a room with me?
I’m scared, Garcia. I pray that you’re reading these entries. If you are, please mark this page with the pen, or write an entry of your own. I need to know I’m not alone in this.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
It breaks my heart that you’re not reading our journal.
You can’t even look at me. You don’t talk to me. The night you came back, you told me Amy died in 1934, and you held me in your arms until I cried myself to sleep. I thought you were going to be here for me, but instead the next morning it was as if we were complete strangers. I even thought that maybe Rittenhouse went back and changed something in your past that changed you in our present. But I don’t think that’s what happened.
If you’re blaming yourself for what happened to Amy, don’t. This is war. I understand that there will be casualties. I love you, and you can talk to me about anything. I’m here for you, dušo.
Monday, April 17, 2017
Maybe you feel obligated to stay here with me since you’re the one who promised you’d save Amy and bring her back to me safely. If I’m such a goddamn burden to you then why don’t you just leave and go fight Rittenhouse without me? That’s what you want, right? Don’t let me hold you back.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
I miss you, Garcia. You’re here, but I miss you. I wish I could curl up in your arms, and feel safe again. I hear you fight with your mom about the way you’ve been since you got back. You’re fighting with her right now, and I hear the fear and anger in your voice. I wish you would just talk to me about whatever it is that you’re going through. I know you’re afraid of something, and I want to help you, but you won’t let me. Is there something more about Amy’s death that you haven’t told me? Is it something so horrible that you’re keeping it from me to protect me? Did Amy not die, but instead she’s like my mother – a true believer in the Rittenhouse ideology? Does Amy want to take me back to 1725, too?
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
I can’t do this anymore, Garcia.
I’m leaving you and starting my life over from scratch.
Five days ago, I found out that I’m pregnant, and I have to do what’s best for me, and what’s best for our unborn child. I’ve tried to fight for us. I’ve tried to talk to you, but all you do is push me away.
I don’t blame you for Amy’s death. I knew when I told you to go on that mission that there was a risk that something could go wrong. It’s not your fault that she died. I know you kept your promise and did everything you could to try to save her from them.
I know it will break your heart to read this and find out that I’ll be raising our child without you. I meant it when I said that you could be a father again. I wanted that for you so badly, dušo, and it breaks my heart that it’s happened and I cannot stay with you.
If it’s a boy, I’ll name him Jonathan Asher. If it’s a girl, Lilijana Maria.
If one day you defeat Rittenhouse and want to meet your child, find me. I want you to know that our child will know the kind of man you are, the kind of heart that you have. I will tell him or her that you’re a hero who loves them very much. And I promise you that our child will be happy.
I’m scared to step into the future without you, but my mind is set on becoming, if not happier, at least wiser after everything we’ve been through. I will miss you terribly, and will always wonder what it would have been like if things had been different.
I’ll always dream of you… of Montana, and what should’ve been.
Jako te volim, dušo moja.
I love you.
Lilijana wipes a tear from her eye.
There were no more entries in their journal after that.
Her mother left her father, and he tracked her down before the war was over, and Rittenhouse killed them both.
She glances across the room at her Grandma Maria’s time machines.
The only option she has to try to save their lives.
She’s often thought about following in her father’s footsteps and stealing the time machine while Karl and John – her boyfriend – are asleep. They’re the only three left fighting this war these days. They know fighting is pointless, and that years ago, Rittenhouse won. But she and Uncle Karl are stubborn, and have lost so much that giving up is out of the question.
But what more can they do with only three people?
Lily looks behind her at that old oak table.
Hundreds of names of those lost fighting are etched in its wood.
She fights in their memory.
She refuses to give up because it’s in her blood to want to make the world a better place.
She could steal one of the time machines, and go back and talk to her parents, work with them to figure out where things went wrong so that Rittenhouse doesn’t murder them, so they can go forward with a better understanding on what they can do to destroy those bastards once and for all.
She’s thought about going back to 2016 – the night her father stole the Lifeboat from Mason Industries with the help of Rufus Carlin and Jiya Marri. To beg him to help Aunt Amy leave Rittenhouse and enter into Witness Protection, or perhaps something safer since she has no doubt that Rittenhouse has agents inside WITSEC that would report on Amy’s new name and whereabouts.
Or maybe… she should go to her mother when she needs her the most.
Lilijana looks at the dates of her mother’s last journal entries.
If she goes back to Saturday, March 25, 2017 before her mother’s journal entries indicate that things went terribly wrong between her and her dad… if she goes back before everything fell apart and talks to them, then maybe she can prevent her mom from leaving her dad, and maybe that will be enough to save them.
On March 25, 2017, Lilijana knows that her mother is in Houston. She knows where her Grandma Maria’s house was back then too. After her parents were killed, Karl introduced her to her grandmother, and Grandma Maria looked after her as the team prepared the safe house for her arrival.
She stands, with the journal in her hand.
Her eyes rest on one of the two time machines.
She turns her head to look down the hallway where this bunker’s dormitories are located. She laid with John until he fell asleep, and though Uncle Karl claims he’s still ‘young enough’ at age fifty-eight, he went to bed around nine o’clock.
It’s two in the morning now.
Lilijana bites gently on her bottom lip and grins.
She knows she shouldn’t.
So, she asks herself: what would mom and dad do?
And that answer, as Rufus used to put it, is:
Flynn it up.
The Lifeboat jolts as it lands violently at the safe house.
The dash in front of the pilot seat flashes today’s date repeatedly:
Saturday, 25 March 2017
Garcia lets go of the bottom of the seat which he had to hang on to in order to not get jostled inside the time machine as it transported everyone two states eastward to northern Wisconsin.
The Lifeboat settles and Garcia groans as he sits up, covering his wounded shoulder with his hand.
It is bleeding a lot.
And it fucking hurts worse than the graze he sustained from Emma in Salem a few weeks ago.
Will I even be able to go on more missions? Will I be able to fight?
What is he supposed to tell Lucy?
He told her he’d be back in Houston in four hours.
This was supposed to be a quick visit to the Montana bunker to get his duffle bag, and make a plan with the team about how he and Lucy can assist them while they take a few weeks leave to recuperate.
But Rittenhouse has captured Amy, and there’s no way he’s going to go back to Houston without saving her.
“Everyone ok?” Jiya asks, turning around in the pilot’s seat.
No one answers – shell shocked.
Karl stands, and angrily pounds his fist on the wall of the Lifeboat. “How the fuck did they find us?”
“She must have been making her way to the bunker and was followed,” Noah offers, knowing his answer will do nothing to calm Karl, or ensure that Amy is safe.
With his hand over his shoulder, Garcia struggles to stand.
Once he does, he places his gun back into its holster.
His hand is covered in blood, and he wipes it on his jeans as he makes his way to the hatch. He looks at the Lifeboat’s control panel for the first time and asks, “How do I open it?”
Tammy – The Doc – unbuckles her seatbelt and tells him, “The green button.”
Garcia flinches when Tammy places her hand on his back, and she removes her hand from him.
The hatch hisses open, and Dave Baumgardner is rushing a ladder to them. He looks up and makes eye contact with Tammy, then he looks at the others. “Didn’t expect to see all of you here so soon. What happened?”
“Rittenhouse,” Tammy answers as she comes down the ladder.
Dave takes her into his arms, and holds onto the back of her head as he kisses her cheek. He looks up at Garcia, and his smile shifts to concern when he sees the blood seeping through the sleeve of his grey t-shirt, and trickling down his arm. He goes to Garcia. “Tell me Iman and Noah made it,” he says.
“We’re here!” Noah shouts from inside the Lifeboat.
Stunned, Garcia starts to walk away, but Dave stops him.
“How bad is it?” Dave asks.
“I’ll live,” Garcia tells him. “Need to make sure there’s no bullet, then disinfect and bandage it.” He pauses to quickly glance around his surroundings, then adds with a weariness in his voice of a soldier giving up on hope that the war will ever end, “I need to be functional.”
Dave nods his head, and turns his attention to Jiya as she makes her way down the ladder. He gives her a soft smile, and then Jiya wraps her arms around him.
Garcia walks away from the Lifeboat and spots a shelf nearby that holds a First Aid Kit. He rummages through it and rips open a package of gauze, moving the sleeve of his t-shirt up on top of his shoulder. He grunts and holds his breath as he rolls the bandage over his wound as tight as he can to help stop the bleeding. He sets it in place with medical tape.
He exhales, bending at the waist as he lets out a soft cry to try to relieve the pain he’s in.
He can’t fucking deal with another goddamn injury.
The number of scars he’s accumulated since the night Rittenhouse sent Wyatt Logan to murder his family is unimaginable. He gently touches a scar above his fresh wound, and closes his eyes. It’s the first gunshot wound he sustained the night Lorena and Iris were killed. On his other arm is a more recent scar from when Rittenhouse first found Lucy and him at the hotel near Las Vegas. Then there’s the still-healing gunshot wounds on his other arm and torso from his fight with Wyatt in Salem.
But this gunshot wound?
He swallows hard.
It is going to take all his strength and determination to push all physical pain aside to keep fighting. He can’t stop. Not when Rittenhouse has Lucy’s sister. He needs to be able to fight. To travel through time, and to figure out a way to put down Rittenhouse once and for all. And he can’t fucking do that if he suffers a worse blow than this.
How would Lucy look at him if he was unable to fight? What would she say if she saw how much worse this gunshot wound is than others he’s suffered?
He squeezes his eyes shut, trying his damnedest to keep his emotions in check. He takes a long, deep breath, and exhales slowly to force himself to push through the pain.
He turns around, and for the first time he feels like an outsider in this timeline.
The others interact as a well-oiled machine.
Karl and Dave hover over an oak table, obviously in the beginning stages of planning Amy’s rescue. Rufus has been joined by Jiya in front of the TV – and though Jiya said things with them are complicated, they seem to enjoy each other’s company.
His eyes fall on Tammy, this alternate timeline’s historian.
Back before his arrest in February, he had taken the Mothership back to 1972 to steal the tape that contained the missing eighteen-and-a-half minutes of a recording inside Nixon’s Oval Office of the President and his Chief of Staff, Bob Haldeman.
In those missing minutes, President Nixon revealed that he was deeply involved with Rittenhouse, and that he had to get ‘the doc’ back. Back then, Garcia thought he had been referring to documents that were important to Rittenhouse, and he wanted to get his hands on them. But it turned out that ‘the doc’ Nixon spoke of was a woman, known only to him as The Doc.
One of his men reported back to him in 1972 that he thought he saw Lucy and Rufus make their getaway with a tall African American woman. It was then that he realized ‘the doc’ was a person. A former member of Rittenhouse who had memorized the full Rittenhouse roster from 1778 until 1972.
She would’ve been a great asset in those first months of time travel.
The names she could have provided him might have helped him succeed in destroying Rittenhouse long before Agent Christopher had him arrested.
He looks at her now.
She’s standing next to Noah, and is a couple inches taller than his six-foot one-inch height. Tammy tilts her head in Garcia’s direction, and says something to Noah that makes the man glance back at him.
Garcia looks away.
Everyone here has their place. Before the trip to 1912, he had only been inside the bunker for no more than fifteen minutes. He hadn’t had a chance to figure out who he is to this team.
Yes, he knows that he is their leader.
But how do they look at him?
As an unapproachable boss, or a friend?
His friendship with Karl is almost exactly as it had been in his original timeline. That’s comforting. But the way Jiya has treated him, it almost seems that they have a sort of father-daughter dynamic. They’re obviously not related, but she’s comfortable enough with him to touch him, smile at him, and hug him after he had disembarked the Carpathia.
Then there’s Noah.
The last man Lucy slept with.
Garcia doesn’t easily get jealous, but he looks at Noah, and he can see that he is Lucy’s type. Tall, dark, handsome, and maintains a five o’clock shadow. He knows Lucy never loved Noah, but he also knows that a timeline exists where the two of them met, fell in love, and were engaged to be married.
Once Lucy is brought to the team, will there be sparks between them? Will they become fast friends? What if there’s a cosmic something that connects them, whether that’s romantically or platonically?
He knows he has nothing to worry about, but still… how exactly does Fate work?
He sighs and looks around.
He’s in the basement of the safe house, and it’s nothing like an ordinary basement. It’s more like a secret military bunker. The walls, floor, and ceiling are concrete. The common room looks like a military debriefing room – complete with a whiteboard, projector, and an oak table that is covered with paperwork, blueprints, and laptop computers. To the side of the Lifeboat’s landing pad are several doors labeled: interrogation, holding cells, weapons, body armor, costumes, and props.
Garcia passes the rooms and turns down a hallway.
Here, there are doors for showers, toilets, and a locker room.
“How far down are we?” he asks, speaking up to address Dave who has made eye-contact with him as he steps back into the common area.
“Two-hundred feet,” Dave answers. “And the walls are four feet thick, and are made of metal sheet and concrete. It’s built to survive a nuclear bomb.”
Garcia looks at everyone in the room; none of them know that in his timeline, he and Anthony rigged the Mothership with a nuke to act as a battery. He wets his lips, and asks, “How is the Lifeboat powered?”
“She’s nuclear,” Rufus answers, standing up to join Garcia. “The first trip we made after we helped you steal the Lifeboat from Mason Industries, was to Las Vegas, 1962. Anthony was supposed to go with us, but uh… he died the night of the M.I. raid, so I had to uh… figure out how to install it.”
Garcia eyes Rufus, not entirely sure that Rufus is confident in his installation of the nuke as a battery.
“Our Garcia had Maria check it over,” Jiya says, turning around on the couch. “It’s safe.”
Garcia nods his head, and then checks his watch. He told Lucy he would call her thirty minutes after his arrival at the bunker – to give her and his mom enough time to quickly drop by the grocery store and to get home. Fifteen minutes have passed since they left NOVUS Innovations in Houston.
Garcia looks at the team: Jiya, Rufus, Tammy, Dave, Noah, Iman…
“Where’s Karl?” he asks.
“Stormed off when I said he needed to get his head on straight before focusing on planning a rescue mission,” Dave says.
“He’s pissed off, and he needs to get patched up,” Noah says. “I saw him disappear into the armory.”
Garcia nods his head and heads to the weapons room.
He opens the door, and sure enough, Karl is inside – strapping on as many guns as he can.
“We’re going to get her,” Karl says without looking up.
“You need to get your arm looked at.”
“Yeah, and so do you.” Karl glares at him. “Besides, I’d rather bleed to death than waste one more second while Amy’s their prisoner.” He gestures to his injury. “It’s just a graze. Your arm looks more fucked than mine.” Karl shoves a handgun into his shoulder holster. “You do know they kill those who betray Rittenhouse, right?”
“I’m aware,” Garcia says, carefully eyeing Karl. “But it’s not good to go in without a plan.”
“I’ll make it up as I go,” Karl says as he exits the room.
Noah meets him, and presses his palm against Karl’s chest. “You’re not going anywhere until I have a look at your arm,” he tells him.
“Fuck you,” Karl says, and shoves Noah off him. He makes his way to the Lifeboat. “Rufus!”
Rufus is pouring himself a bowl of cereal in the kitchen. He stops. Looks wide-eyed at Garcia, and quickly shakes his head. He doesn’t want to pilot a rescue mission with no plan in place. He hurries to the couch in the common room, plops down next to Jiya, picks up the TV remote, and starts flipping channels –hoping not to be seen.
“Karl…” Garcia goes to his friend. “Take a breath, ok? Amy isn’t a random member of Rittenhouse. You said she holds a seat at their Table of Elders, yes?”
“And she’s Lucy’s sister, Karl,” Garcia says softly. “Think about it. They want to get Lucy, what better way to do that than to capture her sister, and threaten Amy’s life so that Lucy might come out of the woodwork?”
Karl closes his eyes and huffs. “Fuck,” he says, running his hand through his hair.
Garcia watches as Karl squeezes his eyes shut, and quickly turns away from him. Garcia knows that Karl and Amy are involved. He suspected that Karl cared for her, but fuck… he’s never seen Karl like this. Amy is his world. The woman he would burn his way through time to save, and protect. She’s the woman he loves.
Karl goes to Dave, and grabs him by the shoulder, leading him back towards the oak table.
Garcia looks back at the Lifeboat. He left his duffle bag inside it. He covers his injured arm with his hand, and heads towards the time machine. Gauze might have helped stop the bleeding, but goddamn it doesn’t eliminate the pain. He makes his way up the ladder to retrieve his bag.
He unzips it and takes out his phone – one of two that he got himself and Lucy before he left for Baku. He makes his way across the basement with his head down, checking his phone. Lucy has his number, and he checks to see if she’s sent him any texts, or left a voicemail. There’s nothing, so he opens his text messages, and sends her a quick text:
G: I’m here. Mom usually takes longer than 30 minutes to pick up groceries. I’ll call you at 6. I love you.
He sends the message.
He places the phone in the back pocket of his jeans, and feels it vibrate. He smiles, and looks at the incoming text from Lucy.
L: Good idea. We’re stuck in traffic [ laughing emoji ] Is there anything you want me to pick up for you?
G: Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Epsom salt.
L: I meant food [ winking emoji ]
G: Mom keeps a well-stocked fridge.
He waits for her to respond as he sits down on a couch at the far end of the basement – away from the others.
L: Condoms? Lube? More coconut oil? Candles?
G: Are you planning something special for when I get back?
He waits to hit send, trying to figure out how to include a winking emoji, but he has no idea how to do it. He hits send, and then adds:
G: How do you do the winking smiley face?
L: [ laughing emoji x7 ]
G: I’m serious.
L: I’ll show you later tonight [ winking emoji ] And maybe a little [ kiss emoji, eggplant emoji + butterfly emoji = spark emoji, water emoji, wow emoji ]
Garcia wrinkles his brow, what the heck do those mean?
L: Your mom is trying to peek at our conversation [ laughing emoji ] We probably don’t want her seeing what we’re talking about [ kiss emoji ] So I’ll let you go [ wink emoji ]
G: Ok. I’ll call you at 6.
L: Ok. ILY [ heart emoji ]
Garcia shuts off the screen of his phone and sets it beside him. He winces as he unintentionally moves his injured arm.
He just texted Lucy and acted as if everything was normal.
As if he hasn’t been shot again… as if the bunker hasn’t been destroyed, and… as if Rittenhouse hasn’t captured her sister.
He closes his eyes.
His texts aren’t lies.
He’s just keeping information from her.
He’ll call her at six o’clock, and by then he’ll figure out what to say.
He doesn’t want to worry her, and isn’t sure he should even tell her that he’s been injured.
But should he tell her the bunker was destroyed? Does he make things worse for her and tell her that Rittenhouse took her sister? He’s kept the truth about Amy from her because he wanted to speak with Amy face-to-face first. To determine for himself if she was truly on their side. That she wasn’t loyal to Rittenhouse in this alternate timeline.
He has promised Lucy, no more lies.
But should he keep this from her?
Does he lie to her one more time to keep her mind at ease?
To not worry her?
She’s been through so much, and he doesn’t want her to hurt anymore.
And what excuse will he make to stay here with the team?
His fucking arm will need to heal which could take weeks, or months depending on how bad his muscle has been damaged. And it’ll be damaged further, no doubt, when he helps Karl rescue Amy.
But he has promised Lucy that he will be back with her in Houston tonight.
He knows he has to stay here, and to do it and not worry Lucy, he will have to lie to her.
Iman Fadel – Lorena’s best friend since grade school, and one of Garcia’s good friends – approaches him. His eyes are dark brown. He has short black hair, and a well-kept beard. He’s dressed in black slacks, and wears a tucked-in light-blue dress shirt – no tie. He carries with him a medical bag.
“Well, if it isn’t the La Bamba King,” Iman says with a smile, referring to an embarrassing incident in Garcia’s life, years ago in Bahrain.
Garcia tilts his head and raises his brow, not understanding the reference.
“Iman,” Garcia forces a smile through his pain. He stands and puts his hands together, and then kisses Iman on the cheek. “Ahlan. Min aljamil ‘an ‘arak maratan ‘ukhraa ya Iman… it’s nice to see you again.”
“Ahlan bik,” Iman returns Garcia’s greeting, kissing Garcia on his other cheek. “I’m sorry I missed you before you went back to the Titanic. I was in town getting supplies.” He smiles, and holds up the medical bag. “You’ve got bruises on your face, and your arm is covered in blood,” he observes. “Can you remove your shirt so I can get a better look at what we’re dealing with?”
Garcia grunts as he struggles to pull his t-shirt over his head. “Got the bruises during the Titanic evacuation,” Garcia says, then points to the darkest bruise under his eye. “That one hurts the most.”
“And the cut on your lip?”
“Hand-to-hand fight with a man on the deck of the Titanic.” Garcia winces as he tosses his bloodied shirt onto the couch. He sits back down.
“Tayb allah,” Iman says in stunned disbelief. “What the Hell have you been through?” Iman looks up into his friend’s eyes, concerned about all of Garcia’s scars, cuts, and bruises.
“For starters, surviving the Titanic wasn’t as easy as Hollywood leads you to believe.” Garcia winces as Iman starts working on his arm. “And in my timeline, I was locked up in prison for six weeks with guards who treated me as their personal punching bag, so there’s that.”
Iman carefully unrolls the gauze bandage that Garcia haphazardly applied. He inspects the wound, and shakes his head. “I think I want Noah to take a look at this. He has more experience with gunshot wounds than I do.”
Garcia nods his head. “Is the bullet still in my arm?”
Iman uses a small flashlight to inspect the wound. He shakes his head. “Hard to tell.” He looks up at his friend. “But if it is, I’m not sure the safe house has the proper surgical equipment to get it out.”
“You think I need surgery?”
“Noah could tell you better, but in my opinion… your arm needs a lot of work, and you need to take some serious downtime to heal.”
“If it’s just a bad graze-”
“That would take weeks, and I’ve functioned with being grazed before.”
“Garcia… sadiqaa…” Iman shakes his head. “I understand you want to fight, but you also need to know when to slow down. When to rest, and allow your body to fully recover.”
Garcia looks at him, his jaw tight. “I need to save Amy, and I can’t let some fucking gunshot wound keep me from doing that.”
Iman looks behind him at Karl. He’s marking up the whiteboard as he speaks with Dave and Tammy.
“I think Karl and Dave have the Amy situation under control.”
Garcia huffs, and shakes his head. “She’s Lucy’s sister, and there’s no way I’m sitting out on her rescue.”
Iman nods his head.
He knows that the Garcia next to him is from another timeline, and is involved with Lucy Preston, perhaps the same Lucy Preston who wrote the journal that his timeline’s Garcia was obsessed with.
“I’m sure Lucy will understand that you can’t risk further damage to your arm by going on the rescue mission,” Iman says.
“I don’t even know if I’ll tell Lucy what happened,” Garcia says. “She’s been through enough shit, Iman, and I don’t want to make things worse for her while I’m here.”
“You don’t intend to go back to her while you heal?” Iman asks.
“I will, but not until her sister is safe.”
Iman nods his head. He knows once Garcia Flynn has his mind set on something, he’s dedicated to its bitter end. There’s no use in arguing with him. Instead, he redirects their conversation, and asks, “What is she like? Everything I know of Lucy Preston is based on the journal, and childhood stories Amy has shared.”
Garcia smiles sincerely, happy that his friend changed the subject. “Ah… as impressive as Lucy is in the journal, my Lucy, she’s…” Garcia smiles. “She’s intelligent, can think on her feet… she uh… she can outsmart me, and has done so several times. She isn’t afraid to put me in my place. She cares about others to a fault. She’s self-sacrificing – willing to put everyone else’s needs ahead of her own.”
Iman smiles at his friend. It’s nice to see him relaxed and happy speaking about Lucy.
Garcia wets his lips, and smiles. “And God, Iman… she’s… she’s beautiful, and stubborn. And even though she doesn’t trust easily, she instinctively believes there’s good in everyone she meets. She’s survived everything this war has thrown at her. She struggles, and she’s been hurt, and she’s unafraid to be weak and vulnerable with me, and… I’m so goddamn proud of her, Iman. She’s the strongest woman I know.”
“You love her?” Iman observes.
“Lorena would be happy to hear that.” Iman smiles. “You know, um… before Lorena died, she was dedicated to helping Amy save her sister, too.”
“When Lorena met you in Afghanistan, she recognized you as the man she had met at the hospital on the day Stiv and Megan had their son. She remembered speaking with Lucy, and seeing you with her.”
“So…” Garcia runs his hand through his hair. “Lorena figured out we were from the future?”
“I think for a while she thought that the guy in the hospital had a twin brother that looked a few years younger.” Iman chuckles. “After you two got married, you told her how you had come face-to-face with your future self, and a future Lucy.”
“The journal,” Garcia says. “Did my counterpart tell her about the journal? I ask because-”
“Lorena read it, too. And she knew that one day it was possible that she could die.”
“What about Iris?”
“Did Iris know about all this, you mean?” Iman asks for clarification.
Garcia shakes his head. “No, um… did Lorena know that… I mean, of course she knew Iris was killed, too, because Lucy mentioned them so many times in the journal.”
“Lorena was in this war to fight to save Iris’s life. She supported you and your decision to want to destroy Rittenhouse, and to help Amy save Lucy, but… I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother her a little that Lucy wrote about how you and her fell in love, and were expecting a child together.”
“And she stayed with me?” Garcia asks, pinching the bridge of his nose. He looks at Iman. “It’s my understanding that my counterpart was in love with the Lucy who wrote the journal, the Lucy that died in 2003. Did he not love Lorena as much as I love her?”
“You have to understand, Garcia.” Iman looks into his friend’s eyes. “This timeline’s Garcia Flynn loved his wife and daughter very much.”
“But Lucy wrote in that journal the day and time that Rittenhouse came to murder them. How could he let it happen?”
“They tried to avoid it,” Iman says. “On the night they were killed, you and Lorena, and Iris stayed out late. You told me that the three of you sat on the hood of your car, and you taught Iris all about constellations.”
Tears threaten to fall from Garcia’s eyes, and he looks down at his hands, rubbing them together, feeling guilty. Guilty that he hasn’t been able to find a way to save his girls, and how being in an alternate timeline means he might never get back the same Lorena and Iris whom he loves. He looks up at Iman. “When did they die in this timeline? Was it December 10th?”
“It was,” Iman looks at his friend, seeing the unbearable pain in his eyes, as he thinks back to the night he lost his girls. “It was later in the night than what Lucy wrote in the journal. You and Lorena woke up when you heard a single gunshot.”
Garcia shakes his head, and stares at the concrete floor.
“Lorena didn’t wait for you to grab your gun, and she ran into the hallway, and-”
“Stop,” Garcia closes his eyes and shakes his head. “I… I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to… I can’t…” He looks into his friend’s eyes. “I relive the night I lost them almost every night. What you’ve said is different, but… I… I can’t.”
Iman nods his head. “He loved her,” Iman assures him. “And they both loved you.”
Garcia’s wipes away a tear, and though he’s in the company of a dear friend, he wishes that Lucy were here with him now – if only to feel the warm touch of her hand on his back.
“Lorena always understood that she could die, Garcia. And if it happened, she also knew that you could love again. If not Lucy, because she was dead, then someone else.” He places his hand on Garcia’s knee. “It hurt her, but she understood, and she was able to come to terms with her fate because she knew you would be ok without her.”
“Sounds like she confided in you,” Garcia observes, feeling the slightest pang of guilt for not being the man Lorena could turn to when she needed someone to trust to talk about her fears.
Iman nods his head, and looks away from Garcia. “It wasn’t easy for her to be married to our Garcia. He loved her, and he loved his little girl, but…” he shakes his head, and looks up at Garcia. “Lorena needed a husband, and our Garcia did his best, but ultimately his raison d’être was fighting Rittenhouse, and being a soldier above anything else.”
Garcia swallows hard, and his heart feels as if it has stopped.
In this timeline, his counterpart prioritized the war with Rittenhouse over his own family.
That goddamn son-of-a-bitch, he thinks back to telling his 2003 self to promise that he’d go on as if running into him and Lucy never happened.
Always a liar, he thinks, accusing himself.
Why the Hell didn’t his younger self listen to him when he told him that in 2003, he had his own battles to fight? Why did he stray from what he was supposed to do, and instead began fighting Rittenhouse the same night that Lucy’s younger counterpart lost her life?
He takes a deep breath.
I read your classified file. Lucy’s voice repeats in his mind. You saved people in Kosovo. You helped a family in Iraq. You used to care about people. You used to be good.
Garcia knows without doubt that his younger counterpart couldn’t walk away after everything he had seen. He couldn’t walk away after reading Lucy’s journal. There were lives at stake, and not only the lives of Lorena and Iris – but the lives of every man, woman, and child on this planet.
Garcia has always chosen which wars he fought in. And it was never to help further any political or religious agenda. No. He chose to fight in wars to help people who might not be able to help themselves. He injected himself into war as a way to deal with the torture he endured when he was held captive by the Yugoslavs. He chose to get involved so that he could save others from being hurt.
The pain and suffering Lucy wrote about in that journal would be enough to convince any version of himself to fight for a better world.
It’s not lost on him that he’s following the same path.
He’s here at the safe house while Lucy is back in Houston, waiting for him to come home to her.
Amy has been captured by Rittenhouse, and everything Lucy told him about her time as their prisoner indicates that Amy will be tortured. He’s determined not to return to Lucy until he himself saves her sister.
But he recognizes that there are times when he prioritizes fighting Rittenhouse above everything else. And if he’s not careful, he very well could put Lucy in the same position Lorena found herself in this timeline – married to a soldier who places this war with Rittenhouse over the life they have with each other.
Garcia looks at Iman. “I’ve been a soldier for twenty-six years,” he says. “I’m not that different from the Garcia Flynn of your timeline. And I can’t help but feel like somehow, I’m going to screw things up with Lucy because I care too goddamn much.” He sighs, thinking again of his wife and daughter. “All the pictures of my girls at my mom’s… we all looked so happy. It hurts knowing that beneath all that, Lorena knew it wouldn’t last forever.”
“Lorena was happy with you, and if I made it seem like she wasn’t, I apologize.” Iman gives a sympathetic smile. “You know Lorena. She made the best out of everything. She lived every day as if it could be her last.” He rubs the back of his neck, then asks, “Is Lucy the same?”
Garcia shakes his head. “No, she isn’t, but she tries. She uh… she carries a darkness in her, just like me, and… we’re both trying to figure out how to leave that darkness in the past, so it doesn’t follow us into our future, but I don’t know if-”
“You intend to marry her?”
“Of course.” Garcia smiles. “And I’ve told her that I’d walk away from all of this if she asked me to, but uh… I know she’d never ask that of me because it would mean giving up on saving Lorena and Iris. And I love Lorena, Iman. I’ll never stop loving her, and Lucy understands that. And… and she loves them, too, but…” He lowers his eyes. “There have been times when saving them seems impossible, or times when I’m giving up hope that it could happen, and Lucy, she… she believes that somehow, some way, we’ll save them. She wants to save them, Iman. She thinks of them as her family, and…”
“So, in your timeline, you were actually trying to save them?” Iman asks. “Because as devastated as our Garcia was, after they were killed, he accepted it was their fate, and he only wanted to destroy Rittenhouse to avenge their deaths. He never considered the possibility of trying to save them.”
Garcia looks at Iman, but can’t find the words to respond.
He shakes his head.
In this alternate 2017, everything is falling apart. Somehow, Lucy’s death in 2003 changed things so drastically that his other self wasn’t even trying to save the lives of his wife and daughter. That is unimaginable to him. This timeline’s Garcia is him. Which means that under different circumstances, there is a part of him right now that would, and could, give up on saving his girls.
He clears his throat.
“Lucy, she… she struggles finding her purpose in this timeline,” he says. “She thinks that she’s nothing. That she has no importance here, when the truth of the matter is she’s more important than she can imagine.” He sighs. “I met your Garcia the night of Lucy’s accident, and he was me. He was the same Garcia Flynn that happened across a car floating down the river, and pulled off on the side of the road to help. But uh… after Lucy died… it sounds like that’s where his life took off on a completely different path than the one I lived.” Garcia shakes his head. “I can’t imagine not trying to save my girls. That’s not who I am,” Garcia says. “I set out to fight Rittenhouse. To find some way to save my girls, and to save Lucy and our unborn child. I don’t give a damn if that means erasing Rittenhouse from existence, or simply eliminating enough of them so that I return to the present and my girls are alive again.”
“You sound like you have your priorities straight,” Iman says.
“And yet, here I am. Shot in the arm, in the basement of this safe house while Lucy waits for me in Houston, and I’m considering lying to her just so she won’t be worried about her sister.” He shakes his head at himself. “As if being shot in the arm again would be devastating to her, when the truth is that… I know she can handle it. I mean, goddammit, she’s figuring out how to exist in a timeline where she died, Iman. She isn’t supposed to exist in this 2017.”
“I can’t imagine how difficult that is for her,” Iman says. “And for you. How can you know what to say, or what to do that will make her feel better, or feel that she belongs here?”
“I… I have to be there for her. I have to support her.” Garcia shakes his head. “And right now, I’m failing her by being here, and by wanting to stay here until Amy is back.”
“I think you know what you have to do,” Iman says.
“Telling the truth about this isn’t that easy. I’ve known about Amy since we got back from 2003. That’s two weeks, including the nine days we spent in 1912.”
“And you think the longer you wait, the better it will be?”
Garcia huffs and shakes his head. “I want to protect her, Iman. And I’ve lied to her before, and my lies hurt her so much, and I promised her I’d never do it again, but-”
Noah clears his throat to announce himself, then kneels down in front of Garcia, interrupting him. “You don’t know when to stop, do you?” he says. He turns on a flashlight to examine the gunshot wound on Garcia’s shoulder.
Garcia and Iman share a look. Then Garcia speaks to Noah. “I assume my counterpart also charged head first into gunfights?” Garcia grimaces as Noah gently examines the skin around his wound.
“Looks like both Garcias are reckless,” Noah says as he sits next to Garcia on the couch. “Can you move your arm?”
Garcia winces as he moves his injured arm.
Noah nods his head. “I don’t think you have a bullet lodged in there, but it is a deep graze, so I’ll go get a room set up, and then I’m going to clean it up and get you bandaged. Sound good?”
“We don’t have any local anesthetics,” Iman says, then asks Noah, “How far is it to the closest pharmacy from here? I can head out and see if they carry any lidocaine.”
“My guess is the closest pharmacy is thirty to forty-five minutes away,” Noah says. “Dave really chose a place out in the middle of nowhere to build this safe house.”
“I don’t need anesthetics. I’m used to pain,” Garcia says.
“As your doctor, I insist on using a local anesthetic when I patch you up,” Noah tells him.
“How’s Karl?” Garcia asks. “I think he got grazed too.”
“He’s in a mood, and working on a plan to rescue Amy,” Noah answers. “Thought I’d check on you until he cools down.” Noah looks back at Karl, then shakes his head, and adds, “If he cools down.”
Garcia grabs his blood-stained t-shirt and stands. “I’m going to take a shower and change into clean clothes.” He pauses. “Are there clean clothes I can change into?”
“Our Garcia kept clothes in his room,” Iman says. “He was helping Dave set up the security system.”
“Can you show me?” Garcia asks.
“Follow me,” Iman gestures. “I’ll show you around the place.”
Garcia smiles, and nods at Noah to let him know he’ll be back to get patched up shortly. Then he follows Iman to the safe house’s elevator.
“I was thinking instead of spaghetti tonight, that we make it tomorrow for dinner,” Maria says, keeping her eyes on the road ahead of her. “I think it tastes better when it has a full day to simmer in the pot, and since Garcia will be back in a few short hours, well… maybe we could order a pizza or Chinese?”
Lucy stares out the passenger-side window at the Houston skyline. “That’s fine,” she says, turning her head to smile at Maria. “But we can still drop by the grocery store to pick everything up. That way we don’t have to do it tomorrow.”
“Exactly.” Maria turns on the blinker, and slows her car as she turns into the H-E-B. parking lot. “The parking lot is always such a mess,” she says, scanning the rows of cars for an open space.
Lucy sits up and points to an open spot, and Maria speeds up just enough to beat another car to it. She looks at Lucy and laughs as she puts the car into park. “I love beating others to parking spots,” she says, smiling.
Lucy gets out of the car and closes its door.
The warm Texas spring breeze brushes against her face.
She closes her eyes and breathes deeply.
Last night with Garcia was one of the most erotic moments of her life. The trust he had in her to reveal his vulnerability… how he had confided in her that he hadn’t been touched in years as he wiped tears from his face. The eroticism wasn’t only in the way he ceded control of his body to her as she brought him to climax. It was in the way her heart ached when he would tense under her touch because he had been deprived of physical intimacy for so long, or in the way he asked her to touch him gently because his recent wounds still caused him pain. Pain that he ignored in order to protect her in Salem, or in 2003, or the night they survived the Titanic.
There’s an ache in her heart now as she thinks of how he will suffer in silence in order to keep her safe. What he’d sacrifice to protect her. How he’d do anything he could, without regard for his own well-being, to keep her alive. And how she would do the same for him.
A man so sure of his strength and power, who knows he can set aside his pain to protect the ones he loves. A man who could be dangerous, and lethal, gave himself to her last night. He revealed his weaknesses, and admitted that yes, he feels pain when injured. He trusted her to be there with him as he experienced sexual pleasure for the first time since he lost his wife.
Lucy closes her eyes, recalling the way he lost control under her touch. The way he cursed under his breath as he thrust himself in the palm of her hand. Lucy exhales, feeling her face flush red as she remembers the ache between her legs as his semen soaked her hand and his body collapsed on top of hers. And how he continued to move against her with complete abandon.
Lucy… draga moja…
The way he whispered her name as his thrusting slowed. How his breath felt against her skin as he buried his face into the crook of her neck, and cried.
How touched she had been when he wanted to clean his semen from between her legs. How he worried that his loss of control might get her pregnant. The look on his face when she assured him that it was ok because… it’s you and me.
Maria startles her out of her reverie.
Lucy touches the base of her throat and swallows as she fingers Garcia’s ring on her necklace. She hopes Maria hasn’t noticed the red flush of her face.
“I’m sorry, Maria, I was just uh… thinking about Garcia.”
“That natural blush on your cheeks tells me you and Garcia have already started to try to make a baby,” Maria says with a huge grin on her face. “Do you want to have a boy or a girl?”
Lucy looks at Maria.
It seems the more she gets to know Garcia’s mother, the more she becomes the Maria she first met in her original timeline. She smiles at Maria, and places a strand of hair behind her ear. “One, things happened, but there was no…” How does she put this? “… we didn’t have sex.” Lucy bites her bottom lip and smiles to herself. “We haven’t discussed if we want a boy or girl, and it doesn’t matter because,” she chuckles, “we’ve already decided on names for either sex.”
Maria stops and looks at Lucy, taking hold of both her hands. “Oh, please, Lucy.” She smiles. “You have to tell me what you are going to name my grandbabies.”
Lucy smiles, and looks to the side with a sly-eye. “Umm… no.”
“You’ll find out when it happens, but until then, some things I want to keep between Garcia and me.”
Maria rubs Lucy’s lower back as they continue walking towards the store entrance.
“It’s been years since I took part in the dating game, but if my Garcia is anything like his daddy, you two are going to need a little something to make the sliding in-and-out more comfortable.”
Lucy chokes on air, and exclaims, “Maria!”
“Oh, Lucy... Surely, by now you’ve seen how well-endowed Flynn men are.” Maria winks. “Of course, I haven’t seen Little Garcia since he was a child, so I’m only assuming that he’s developed like his father-”
“I can’t believe we’re having this conversation,” Lucy says, shaking her head, her face crimson. She’s horrified. Why is Garcia’s mother like this?!
“I may be seventy-one years old, Lucy, but I still remember how enjoyable sex can be. With large men, it might take some getting used to the extra stretching, and filling. Using lubricant to help is nothing to be ashamed of. It’ll help make things feel good for you, and if I know Garcia, if you’re in any kind of pain, he’ll feel badly about it. And sex is supposed to be pleasurable.” Maria smiles at Lucy. “I want that for you, and for my son.”
“I understand that, but um… do you have any idea how uncomfortable I am right now?” Lucy runs her hand through her hair, and wishes that Garcia were still with her so she could suddenly dart inside the grocery store, leaving him behind to deal with his mother.
“I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” Maria says. “I’m just so happy that my little boy has fallen in love again, and that he is wanting to get married and to have children with you.” Maria holds Lucy’s hand. “I know that you don’t know this timeline, dear, but… the Garcia I knew,” she shakes her head, “I wasn’t sure that he’d ever let anyone get close to him again after he lost Lorena and Iris. So, when he stepped out of that time machine with you, and held you, and looked after you so tenderly, Lucy… when you become a mother, you’ll understand. All you want is for your child to be happy. And I know that things aren’t ideal right now, but despite that, I see that my little Garcia is so very happy with you.”
“Maria, I…” Lucy smiles and squeezes Maria’s hand. “He makes me happy, too.”
They enter the store, and Maria steps aside to get a shopping cart.
An older woman passes Lucy, and comments to her about wearing a turtleneck sweater when it’s getting to be so hot and muggy out. Lucy smiles politely, but doesn’t bother to respond. The fact is, it seems no matter how many warm showers she takes, or how warm Garcia’s arms feel around her, or how warm it is outside, she still feels the phantom chill of having been in the freezing cold water when the Titanic sank. She’ll be wearing Garcia’s burgundy turtleneck sweater for as long as she pleases, not caring that other people think it’s too warm outside, or that it is huge on her tiny figure.
She looks down at the turtleneck.
God, she really must look ridiculous wearing it out in public.
“Ok,” Maria says. “It’ll be easier for you to find what we need in produce, so you can pick up a large white onion, and celery. Then find me in the canned vegetable aisle.”
Lucy watches as Maria walks away, stopping to pick up a honeycrisp apple just to smell it.
Lucy smiles and walks back to the entrance to pick up a handbasket.
A tall, young brunette woman enters the store.
Her eyes scan her surroundings, and she stops in her tracks when she sees Lucy.
The young woman is Lilijana Flynn.
She nervously runs her hand through her hair, and smiles at Lucy. This is the first time she’s seen her mother in seventeen years. It’s startling how everything she had forgotten about her mom is rushing back. She wants to say ‘hi,’ but when she opens her mouth, nothing comes out.
Lucy looks at her and gives a polite yet awkward smile, and walks away.
When Lilijana had left the bunker, she thought she knew exactly what she was going to say when she found her mom, but now… she’s speechless. All she can do is watch as Lucy places a white onion in her handbasket, then as she places a stalk of celery in a plastic bag.
Lily follows Lucy discreetly, watching her as she adds a bag of cherries to the basket, as well as a couple honeycrisp apples, and bananas.
She follows her as she makes her way to Maria – Grandma Maria.
She hasn’t seen her grandmother since her tenth birthday, four months before Maria was killed by Rittenhouse on their mission to 1921 during the Tulsa Race Riots. Her heart is in her throat, and all she wants to do is run to her grandma, and to her mother, and hug them both as hard as she can.
Lucy glances back at her with an air of caution, so Lily turns down a different aisle, understanding that her mom would be paranoid if she thought someone was following her.
Lucy approaches Maria, who is placing two large cans of crushed tomatoes into her cart.
“Did you monitor the local and national news last night, or this morning?” Lucy asks her.
“I watched Good Morning America in my office,” Maria answers. “Why?”
“I’m probably just paranoid, but…” Lucy shakes her head. “In my timeline, Garcia and I made the news when I helped him escape prison,” Lucy says quietly. “I know I’ve been dead in this timeline for years, but um… I don’t know. What if Rittenhouse knows that I survived the Titanic? They must know because our time on board that ship seems to be well-documented, and well-integrated into pop culture, and… what if they try to use news outlets to try to locate Garcia and me? You know, to get local civilians to rat us out to law enforcement?” Lucy looks back over her shoulder. They’re still alone in the aisle. She lowers her voice. “What if… what if we’re being followed?”
Lucy closes her eyes and shakes her head. She knows she can’t let paranoia get the better of her. “I’m probably just paranoid.” She knows she can’t live like this – always looking over her shoulder, afraid that Rittenhouse will capture her again.
“Lucy, sweetheart,” Maria touches her arm. “You’re safe here. I promise.”
“I know.” Lucy shakes her head. “If it wasn’t safe here, Garcia would have insisted that both of us go back with him to the bunker.” She sighs. “I’m just paranoid. I’m sorry.”
“We can talk about my future grandbabies again,” Maria suggests with a smile in her eyes.
“Of course, just… not names.” Lucy smiles.
“You wouldn’t mind if I started knitting baby blankets, would you?”
“I don’t mind.” Lucy glances behind her again, and thinks she saw someone quickly dodge out of sight. “Can I ask how Garcia was when he was an expecting father?”
“Lorena got annoyed with him so quickly,” Maria laughs. “She’d call me and ask me to call him, and talk to him for hours so that he would stop reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting to her.”
Lucy laughs. “So, he was attentive?”
“I’d never seen my little boy as happy as he was when he found out he was going to be a father. Well… not until the day Iris was born, and he first held her in his arms.” Maria smiles at the memory. “Once he and Lorena made the announcement, it was all he could talk about.” Maria smiles and it fades. “Have you two discussed how you would raise a child while you’re both fighting in this war?”
“We have, and… the details haven’t been ironed out, but the plan is to go into the past. Garcia would help deliver the baby – which, I admit will be weird. We’ve talked about having our baby in the early 1900s, and there’s no way that we want early twentieth-century doctors to do that, so…” Lucy smiles.
“I think giving birth then would be horrific.”
“And because traveling isn’t safe for children under five years old, we’d stay in the past for several years, and ask you to pick us up at a later time. Years would pass for us, but only hours or days for everyone here.”
The smile fades from Maria’s face. As badly as she wants to be there for Garcia and Lucy when they have their first child together, she understands that their current circumstances render the present unsafe.
“We’re also worried about the effect our trips might have on an unborn child, or even our ability to conceive,” Lucy says softly. She fidgets with her necklace, and curls her pinky finger through Garcia’s ring. Her worst fear would be to find out that Garcia’s fertility, or her own, has been compromised because they travel through time.
“Did you want to pick up condoms?” Maria asks. “They’re on the other side of the store, in the pharmacy section.”
“I’ve told Garcia that if we got pregnant it wouldn’t be a bad thing,” Lucy says softly. “That I’d be happy, and when it happens… it happens.”
Maria places her hand on Lucy’s arm, and kisses her cheek.
“I need something to look forward to, Maria,” she says. “And Garcia will be back tonight, and…”
“You don’t want to wait any longer to have your baby girl or boy?” Maria asks. “When we go to pick him up at NOVUS, I’ll take the machine to the bunker and spend the night there. I am awfully curious to rewatch Titanic now that I know the movie is about your time on board the ship with Garcia. And I think Jiya would want to watch it with me too.”
“Just know that not everything depicted about us in that movie is accurate,” Lucy says, nervously running her hand through her hair. “There’s this… sex scene between our fictional characters, and… I promise you; your son and I have not had …”
Lucy closes her eyes, nods her head, and can’t believe they’re talking about this.
“I would definitely pick up lubrication, then. If tonight will be your first time copulating.”
“I’m sorry, I’m just quite open to discussing natural human functions.” Maria smiles. “I am serious about the lubrication, though. It takes a little more time to warm up to larger men, and-”
“And, uh, yeah… he’ll be the largest I’ve had, so um… I should probably, you know… lubricant, and uh…” Lucy nervously fidgets with her locket and Garcia’s ring. Has his mom always been like this? She thinks as she points in the direction of the pharmacy. She turns, and promptly trips over her own two feet. She has to place her hand on a shelf to keep herself from face-planting right there in the canned vegetable aisle.
“Go get what you need,” Maria says with a smile. “I’ll make my way to the checkout.”
Lucy nods her head, and without a word, she quickly makes her way towards the pharmacy. She’s practically running when Lilijana steps out in front of her from another aisle – running right into Lucy.
Lucy has to grab onto her arm to steady herself again. “Sorry,” Lucy says. “I get really clumsy when I’m nervous.”
“It’s ok,” Lily says. “I um…” She looks down at Lucy’s hand which still rests on her arm. Her heart is in her throat and it takes all her strength to keep tears from welling up in her eyes. Lucy’s touch is just as she remembers – soft, warm… like home. “I’m kind of a klutz too,” she says. “My name is Lily.”
“I love that name,” Lucy smiles up at the young woman. “It’s one of my favourite flowers, too. And uh… I’m all nervous because my future mother-in-law has been asking about my sex life, and inquiring about children I haven’t yet conceived, and then I said I needed to get lubrication because her son is so thick, and um…” Lucy shakes her head at herself, she becomes quite the Nervous Nellie whenever sex between her and Garcia comes up in the presence of his mother. Especially when it’s brought up by his mother. She takes a breath to compose herself, and says, “My name is Lucy, and I have no idea why I’m telling you all that.”
Lily smiles adoringly at her mother.
It’s weird and awkward that her mother told her this, but at the same time, Lily understands that Lucy has no idea who she is. “It’s ok, um…” Lily nervously wets her lips, and rubs the back of her neck.
Lucy looks at her, and can’t shake the feeling that she might know this woman.
She looks to be in her early twenties. She has dark brown hair, and hazel-green eyes. She’s several inches taller than Lucy, probably close to or at six-feet tall, and… Lucy’s sure if she had met her in her original timeline that she’d remember. Maybe she was a student in one of her classes?
“I’m sorry,” Lucy says. “But I have to ask… have you ever taken United States history at Stanford? I ask because you look familiar, and not too long ago I was a history professor there, and-”
“No, I’ve never been to California.” Lily smiles. “I mean, one day I’d like to go because I want to see Yosemite National Park – it’s my dream to walk among the sequoias. And I want to see the Golden Gate Bridge, and maybe check out Chinatown, and Pier 39.”
“Sounds like you have a preference for the San Francisco area,” Lucy smiles, thinking back on her childhood and all the day trips she, Amy, and their mom and dad took over the years. “And if you plan on visiting Pier 39, plan to spend an entire day there. There’s so much to do, but I have a soft spot for walking and enjoying the weather, the street performers, and the musicians.”
“I’ll remember that, thank you.”
“Oh, and I’m not one to enjoy hot dogs often, but if Wipeout Bar and Grill’s hot dog cart is still there, you have to try one. I’m not even kidding. I’d usually get a jumbo dog, but every few trips I’d get their polish sausage, and...” Lucy smiles, closing her eyes. “I want to go back one day, and take Garcia with me. He’s from the area, so he’s probably been, but you know? To build our own memories there.”
“You don’t hesitate to talk to strangers like they’re your best friend, huh?” Lily asks, smiling – and wishing she could have grown up with her mother, and her father. And wishing she could know how different life would have been if her parents had chosen the road less traveled.
Lucy runs her hand through her hair. She really shouldn’t be so quick to open up to people. Not with the threat that Rittenhouse could still be after her if they have figured out that she survived the Titanic. Which, considering how easily researchable she is on Wikipedia, and that Titanic movie from 1997, they absolutely know she is alive again in 2017.
“Yeah… as I said, I talk a lot when I’m nervous,” Lucy says. She smiles, and looks towards the pharmacy. “Any chance you know which aisle I can find lube?”
Now it’s Lily’s turn to blush, run her hand through her hair, and nervously wet her lips – just like her father. “I actually don’t know, I’m uh… I haven’t been in this H-E-B. since I was a little girl. I’m back in town for a short visit.”
“Kind of,” Lily smiles. “My grandma used to live near here, and I drove by her home earlier, and…” Lily looks into Lucy’s eyes. “You know that feeling you get when you return to a place you haven’t been in years that should be familiar, but everything has changed?”
“I know the feeling.” Lucy offers a sympathetic smile – returning to a present day after another version of yourself has been dead for years is similar. “Where are you visiting from?” she asks.
“I’m from Point Pleasant, Ohio. It’s a little southeast of Cincinnati, across the river from Kentucky.”
“Oh my gosh!” Lucy exclaims, remembering that there’s a high school in Point Pleasant named after her 1865 alias, Juliet Shakesman.
“You know it?”
“Yeah, um… there was an actress from the 1860s who had a high school named after her for her role in saving General Grant when Lincoln was-” Lucy stops suddenly, remembering that her trip back to 1865 didn’t happen in this alternate timeline which means there is no high school named after Juliet Shakesman.
Lily can’t wipe the smile off her face. She has vague memories of sitting on her mother’s lap as she read children’s history books to her. So, seeing her mother light up, and get so excited talking about history is very much welcome to her. “Go on,” Lily urges, wanting nothing more than to take her mother out for a long talk over coffee. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have time for that.
Lucy shakes her head. “It’s not that big of a deal, really. But I… I’m familiar with where Point Pleasant is located.” She smiles.
The two women look at each other – Lily is grinning from ear-to-ear, enjoying every second she’s sharing with her mom.
Lucy runs her hand through her hair. “I should uh… I need to get what I need to get; you know… for the sex, and…” She rolls her eyes at herself for telling this poor woman this information. “I’m so sorry. I suck at ending conversations with people I don’t know.”
“That’s ok,” Lily says. “I’m kinda the same way.”
“Well, then… it was nice talking to you,” Lucy says. “Enjoy the rest of your time in Houston.”
Lily watches as Lucy walks away from her.
She sighs, and glances down at her wristwatch. It’s not a modern-day wristwatch. Its band is transparent aqua which changes to pastel pink at different angles. With the tap of her finger, it lights up a translucent display on top of her wrist. She swipes her finger across it, and it shows a countdown.
Fifteen minutes and fifty-three seconds… fifty-two… fifty-one… fifty…
She closes her eyes and pulls a necklace from beneath her shirt.
She opens a locket.
The same locket that Lucy wears around her neck today.
Lily opens it and looks at a water-damaged photo of her Aunt Amy, and a photo of her father, Garcia.
She takes a deep breath and exhales.
She has fifteen minutes to do what she came here to do.
She lets go of the locket, and it slides down the necklace chain, clinking softly against her father’s silver wedding ring.
She makes her way towards the pharmacy – to Lucy, who is standing in front of the wide selection of condoms.
Lucy’s heart races as she thinks about what could happen tonight. If she decides to buy condoms, they have the opportunity to hit the brakes on starting their family. If she only picks up lube, well… that will send a clear message to Garcia that she is ready, and wants to start trying to have a baby immediately.
But… she’s still afraid of what could go wrong once she’s pregnant. Perhaps they need to be responsible about this, and take their time to plan when to try. She grabs one box of condoms and another, looking at both boxes to determine which one will fit Garcia, if she should go for ribbed, lubed, or ultra-ribbed. Or maybe there’s an option with lubrication and spermicide…?
Her heart is racing thinking about how it will feel when Garcia is finally inside her.
Honestly, it has been a while since she’s had to worry about this. It wasn’t even something she thought about when she spontaneously slept with Noah back in November – they didn’t use protection.
She takes out her phone and sends Garcia a text:
L: I’m at the store. What size condom fits you best?
She feels her cheeks warm as she hits send.
Her eyes close as she thinks back to last night. About how many inches long is he when erect? And how thick? She thinks about how he felt in the palm of her hand, and how she couldn’t get her thumb and index fingers to touch while stroking him.
Her phone vibrates, and she checks Garcia’s reply.
G: Please tell me my mom isn’t helping you pick out condoms.
Lucy laughs out loud.
L: She’s not. But seriously, size?
G: Standard fits snug, but large offers a bit more space.
Lucy smiles from ear-to-ear as she fans her hand in front of her face.
L: Does snug feel better for you?
G: I’ll enjoy feeling you snug around me.
Lucy wets her lips, and exhales sharply.
L: I can get one of each? That way you can decide which fits best, or feels best
Lucy waits for his response, which takes a little longer than the others. Hopefully, Karl isn’t trying to snatch his phone from him so he can text her back some crude and inappropriate text about Garcia’s size.
G: Do that. Get one of each.
G: Karl’s giving me strange looks. I think I should put my phone away before he takes it from me to see what we’re talking about.
L: Ok. I’ll talk to you at six [ kiss emoji ]
G: Love you.
L: [ heart emoji ]
Lucy searches the boxes of condoms and finds two in the sizes he prefers. Then scans the lubrication for something water-based or silicone since oil-based lubes can break condoms. As much as she loves the scent of coconut oil, a coconut-oil based lube is out of the question. Well, unless, of course, they decide to forgo condoms to try for a baby.
“Lucy…?” Lily says cautiously.
“Hm?” Lucy looks up and smiles. “Oh. Hi again.” She places one box of condoms back on the shelf, and holds up a box of lubricated Ultra Ribbed condoms – a twelve-count pack. She blushes and smiles at Lily. “My uh… Garcia… he’s um… he’s big.” Lucy regrets her words as soon as they fly out of her mouth. “Oh. My. God.” Lucy shakes her head. “I’m sorry, again. I don’t know why-”
“I… I don’t have much time… mom,” Lily says, stepping closer to Lucy.
“Excuse me?” Lucy asks, she knows she heard this woman call her mom.
“My name is Lilijana Flynn, and I am your daughter.”
Lily leans down to Lucy, and their eyes meet.
Lucy narrows her eyes as she looks into Lily’s, and she recognizes immediately that Lily has the same hazel-green eyes as Garcia. She pulls back, blinking. She knows time travel is real, but that still hasn’t prepared her to be visited by her daughter from the future.
She slowly studies the young woman standing in front of her, searching for other similar features to either herself or Garcia. Lily has Garcia’s eyes, his nose, and his height.
Lily gives her a soft smile, understanding how startling this is for her mom.
And Lucy sees dimples, similar to her own, as she smiles. Lily’s hair is dark like both her and Garcia, and with the humidity in the air, she looks to have a natural curl despite her hair being pulled back.
Lucy blinks and steps back, unable to take her eyes off of her.
“I’m from the year 2040, and um…” Lily’s eyes fall on the box of condoms in Lucy’s hand. She winces, and tells her, “I’m pretty sure you won’t need those for a while.”
Lucy’s eyes are wide. “Why are you here?” she asks.
“We’re still fighting Rittenhouse in twenty-three years, I need you and dad to stay together, and we need you to destroy Rittenhouse once and for all,” Lily tells her. “And I don’t mean stopping them. I mean erase them from existence. And I understand that means you and dad would also be erased, but as you know if you’re in the past when something like that happens, you are preserved. You don’t disappear into thin air.”
“What do you mean you need me and your dad to stay together?”
“And when you destroy them, when you come back to the present, you need to destroy the time machine, or time machines that you take back with you to the past. Time travel, along with Rittenhouse, must never exist.”
Lucy looks at the young woman in front of her. Before now, she could only imagine what Garcia must have felt when Journal Lucy came to him in São Paulo. It’s confusing, and it’s frightening to meet someone who obviously knows something about your future of which you are still unaware.
“I know this sounds crazy to you, even though you know it’s possible,” Lily says, digging into her purse to retrieve a photo. “Here.” She hands it to Lucy. “It’s your favourite picture of us. You can keep it.” Lily smiles. “And please, show it to dad.”
Lucy’s hand trembles as she takes hold of the photo.
She looks at it.
A little girl – Lilijana – around five or six years old, is sitting on top of a ballet barre in a dance studio. Lucy stands next to her, her hand on Lily’s back to make sure she doesn’t fall. Lily is in a ballet-pink unitard and white tights, her hair pulled back in a bun, and Lucy is wearing a burgundy unitard, with a matching wrap skirt – her hair in a low chignon.
“Take it from me,” Lily says. “You age surprisingly well.”
Lucy’s eyes are wide, hearing the same words come out of this woman’s mouth as Garcia said to her when he handed her the journal moments before Agent Christopher had him arrested in February. She looks back up at Lily. “When was this taken?” she asks, her heart pounding in her chest.
“Summer, 2023.” Lily pauses to control her emotions. “Miss Jennifer took the photo after dance class, and um…” Lily wipes a tear away, and glances down at her translucent wristwatch. Eleven minutes. “I only had you for the first six years of my life, mom. And… and I was a happy girl, and I don’t want you to think that I wasn’t, but… I’ve read yours and dad’s journal, and I’ve read the journal that got dad involved in the war, so I know that you understand wanting to somehow save the people you love.”
Lucy’s eyes fall on the silver wedding ring on Lily’s necklace, immediately recognizing it as Garcia’s.
She steps towards Lily, and takes it into her fingers. She reads the inscription, which is different than what is on the ring around her neck: Garcia & Lorena & Iris & Lucy & Lilijana. The inscription fills the entire circumference of the inside of his ring. A part of her is touched, and another part of her is surprised that Garcia didn’t get a new ring when he married her.
Lucy looks up into Lily’s eyes. She asks, “When did we get married?”
Lucy blinks, and steps back.
“Did he die?” Lucy asks, terrified of the answer.
“You both did.”
“What?” Lucy searches her daughter’s face, hoping she has come here to tell her how to prevent this from happening. “How?”
“Christmas Eve, 2023.”
Lucy looks at the photograph of the two of them in her hand, and asks, “And this was summer, 2023?”
Lucy shakes her head and looks at the ground, and mutters, “Goddammit,” under her breath. She looks back up at Lily. “So, in 2023, we’re still at war with them?” She shakes her head, and asks, “How old are you now?”
“I’ll be twenty-three in December,” Lily answers.
It’s all so overwhelming that Lucy can’t do the math in her head. She lowers her hand to her abdomen, thinking to herself, am I already…? She shakes her head. She can’t be pregnant from last night’s hand job. Of course, when he finished, he- Lucy shakes her head again, dismissing the thought. She looks up into Lilijana’s eyes and says, “If you’re here to save us, I need to know as much as you remember about how and when we died.”
“I only met dad once on the night you were killed. In a few weeks from now, you will write in your journal that you’re leaving dad, and that you’re… pregnant. Something happened between you two that had to do with your sister, my Aunt Amy, and how she died on a mission to 1934-”
“Wait. Amy’s involved?” Lucy furrows her brow, not entirely surprised to discover this. Nonetheless, it’s still startling to hear.
“She is,” Lily answers. “I never knew her, but Uncle Karl loved her so much.” She checks her watch. Nine minutes. “He told me stories about all the different ways that Amy was trying to figure out how to save you after you died in a car accident in some other timeline. How she manipulated her way through the ranks to sit at the Table with her mom.”
“She’s…?” Lucy shakes her head. Is this what Garcia is withholding from her? The thing that he said he needed time to look into before telling her? That her sister is not only involved in the war, but is a member of Rittenhouse, with a seat at the Table of Elders?
Her heart aches, and feels like it’s breaking into a million pieces.
On one hand, Lucy understands why Garcia would keep this from her. She understands that if Amy was involved with Rittenhouse, he would want to make sure Amy could be trusted before reuniting them. But on the other hand… it doesn’t matter if this information would have broken her heart or not, it is something that she needed to know.
“Mom?” Lily’s voice breaks. “I don’t have much time to get into all the details about her. And I honestly don’t know what to tell you to prevent them from killing you and dad. All I know is that the final entry in your journal, you tell dad that you’re leaving him, and starting your life over. That you found out you’re pregnant, you don’t blame him for your sister’s death, that you’d always wonder what would have happened if things were different, and that you’d dream of him and wonder what could have been.” Lily pauses, and closes her eyes. “Even I have always wondered what it would be like to grow up with both of my parents, in a world without Rittenhouse.”
Lucy looks at her daughter, and says, “I… I don’t want to leave him, Lily.” She touches her daughter’s shoulder. “I can’t imagine anything he could do or say that would make me walk away.”
“Well… it happens, so no matter what he says, or how much he pushes you away, promise me that you’ll stay. That you won’t give up on him, or on us being a family. Because as happy as I was with you in Point Pleasant, I wanted so badly to know my dad, and I want to know what life can be like if-”
An alarm sounds from Lily’s wristwatch.
Lucy looks down at it, and immediately recognizes that the wristwatch technology is from the future. She smiles, and says quietly, “Just like your dad…”
“I have to go,” Lily says, wiping tears from her face. “Karl and John don’t know that I’ve taken the machine out without them, and Karl always said that if we ever traveled back on our own timeline that we can’t stay any longer than thirty minutes.”
Lucy steps towards Lily, and wipes a tear from her cheek. “Sweetheart, you’re not back on your own timeline now. It’s ok.”
“We don’t know if it counts if I’ve just been conceived,” Lily says. “And even if that didn’t matter, I… I can’t stay. I wish I could because I want to help you and dad fight them, but…” Lily knows she has to leave, but she doesn’t want to go. She wants to spend more time with her mom. Lucy looks so unsettled that Lily decides to do what she can to put her at ease. “Um… I was born with a time travel-related genetic anomaly. When I was three, I started having really vivid dreams about visiting Grandma Maria when she was younger, or playing with Iris at a playground, or dad teaching me how to ride a horse, and uh…” Lily looks at her mom. Lucy is holding her hand over her abdomen. “Mom... if you’re pregnant with me right now, there’s nothing you can do to prevent me from having this anomaly. Not unless you find a way to go back and make it so you never take a single trip in a time machine, and that would mean allowing Rittenhouse to manipulate history – to take over the world.”
“How do you know it can’t be prevented right now?”
“I remember meeting with um… Doctor Cantù. We didn’t see him in a doctor office though. He came to our apartment, and uh… he checked both of us over, and explained that he’d seen similar symptoms with other women on dad’s team. That your body had been permanently altered from traveling through time, and that the alterations to your physiology played a part in how I developed in your womb.”
“Noah…?” Lucy says his name quietly, wondering if the Lucy from the future Lily comes from had tried to make a relationship work with him again. After all, Karl did tell her that Noah is a good guy, and that if she had been engaged to him in another timeline, that wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
“He stuck around for a while after to keep an eye on me. Lived with us, and I think you two dated, but…”
“But your dad is the love of my life?”
Lucy sighs as she presses the palm of her hand on her abdomen. She squeezes her eyes, trying not to cry. “And there’s nothing I can do to keep that from happening to you?” She asks. She never wanted to have children whose lives would be affected because of her travels through time.
“It’s ok, mom. I don’t mind it. I’ve been able to know my half-sister, Iris. Been able to know Grandma Maria when she was young, and I think a few times that I somehow traveled into a timeline where you and dad were alive, and we were living as a family, and there are horses, and mountains, and-”
“Montana,” Lucy says quietly.
Lily looks into her mother’s eyes, and sees a longing.
A longing for things to be different.
For the future to be safe, and happy.
“Mom…” Lily holds Lucy’s hand “I have to go.” She gives her mother’s hand a gentle squeeze. “Um… me and Uncle Karl, we’ve talked a lot about how Rittenhouse could be erased, and we think it comes down to taking them out in 1725. I know dad didn’t want you anywhere near them that year, but… Karl believes that if our Rittenhouse bloodline is destroyed back then that-”
“Could we go back earlier than 1725?”
Lily shakes her head. “No. We looked, and there’s no record of Byron’s parents, or where he grew up. All we know is that he was at the mansion you and dad had been to in 1780, and we know he was there in February 1725 because it was his winter home.”
Lucy lowers her head.
Going back to 1725 poses a serious threat to her, and to… she moves her hand across her abdomen… to her unborn child – Lilijana Maria. She looks up, and asks, “If I go there with your dad, and they don’t capture me and take me there themselves, will… will my pregnancy… will you be safe?”
“I don’t know,” Lily answers.
“I can’t lose you, sweetheart,” Lucy’s voice wavers. “I’ve already lost everything I had, everyone I love, except for your dad. If I lost you, too… it would break me.”
Lily wraps her arms around Lucy, resting her chin on her shoulder. “I’m scared, mom…”
“I know… but hold onto faith that your dad and I will do everything we can to protect you, and to stay together so we can be a family. We haven’t had you yet, but you are the most important person in our world, and we will burn our way through history to keep you safe.” Lucy kisses Lily’s cheek, and strokes her hand over her head. She pulls away to look her in the eyes. “I want so badly for you to return to 2040, and for us to be alive-”
“And I’ll have missed out on seventeen years with you,” Lily says, wiping a tear from her cheek.
“Unless your dad and I succeed, then… maybe you leave here, and your timeline resets, and you’ll have no memory of our deaths, and the world will be as it should – without Rittenhouse.”
Lily nods her head and wipes away tears. She glances at her watch. “I really have to go. Um… just remember that dad can, and will be a stupid man, and that no matter what happens, he loves you, mom. Please, don’t give up on him.”
“I know.” Lucy sniffles, and rises on her toes to wrap her arms around her daughter. She places a kiss on her cheek. “I love you, Lilijana.” She pulls back, and runs her hand through Lily’s hair. “And I promise you, we’ll figure this out.”
“I love you, too, mom,” Lily says. “And tell daddy that I love him.”
She steps away from Lucy.
Looks at her one last time.
Then she turns and runs away.
Lucy stands still, watching as Lilijana runs as fast as she can through the store and out of view.
She closes her eyes and sighs.
As angry as she should be with Garcia about what she’s learned about Amy, that doesn’t matter.
Nothing matters more than the fact that their little girl just came to her from the year 2040, wanting desperately to save their lives. If anything, she’s more determined now than ever to fight Rittenhouse, to erase them from existence. To make this world safe, and a better place for Lilijana.
Lucy looks down at the photograph of her and Lily at the dance studio.
She swallows hard, and wipes away tears with the back of her hand.
Lily said that she’ll turn twenty-three in December of 2040.
Lucy closes her eyes and does the mental calculations.
That means Lilijana will be born in December of this year.
It’s the end of March.
In nine months, it’ll be… December.
Oh, my God.
Lucy looks down at the box of condoms which she dropped to the floor at some point while talking to her daughter.
She picks it up, and places it back on the shelf.
There’s no reason to use protection if their daughter might already have been conceived, or will be conceived shortly – perhaps even tonight when Garcia returns from the bunker.
Lucy walks down the aisle.
She checks that she’s alone, and then grabs a couple bottles of lubricant because if she and Garcia are going to conceive Lilijana tonight, she wants to thoroughly enjoy every moment that the two of them share while conceiving their little girl.
Lucy sees Maria waiting in one of the backed-up checkout lines.
She looks up at Lucy, and puts back the Better Homes and Gardens magazine she was flipping through. “Did you find what you were looking for?” Maria asks, eyeing the two bottles of lube that Lucy has in her hand.
Lucy’s eyes shimmer with tears, and she’s smiling from ear-to-ear.
Maria looks down as Lucy hands her the photograph of her and Lilijana.
“That little girl just paid me a visit,” Lucy tells her.
“In the condom aisle?” Maria asks as she looks at the photo. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for a little girl to-” She pauses, realizing that next to the little girl in the photo, is Lucy. “Wait one second…” she lowers her voice, and asks, “Is that little girl yours and Garcia’s…?”
“She is,” Lucy says, unable to keep herself from smiling. “Her name is Lilijana, and she came to me as a young woman, and um… I’ll tell you more when we get back in the car, ok?”
Maria nods her head as the cashier begins scanning their items.
It’s almost six o’clock by the time Maria and Lucy get home – thanks in part to Houston rush hour traffic.
Maria pulls into her driveway, and they unload the paper grocery bags from the trunk of the car.
“You and Garcia are going to have your hands full as she grows up,” Maria says, digging her keys out of her purse. “If she has even a smidgen of her father’s youthful mischievousness, she’ll be climbing trees, chasing squirrels, and climbing out her bedroom window at age six to sit on the rooftop to read comic books.”
“He did that?”
“That’s how he broke his arm the day before his seventh birthday,” Maria unlocks the front door and the women enter. “He would catch lizards in the backyard, and bring them into the house as pets. He tried to set paper on fire in the living room using sunlight and a magnifying glass.” Maria looks at Lucy and laughs at the horrified expression on her face. “And yes, the carpet caught fire, not the paper.” Maria smiles. “He did the same thing when he stayed with his Grandma Jana in Mostar in the mid-1980s.”
“Oh my… um… compared to your son, I was a very obedient child.”
“His recklessness sometimes worked out for the best. He climbed a tree once to save our neighbor’s kitten who couldn’t get himself down. He stood up to bullies at his school playground. Came home with black eyes, too, because he refused to fight, and just took the beatings.”
“I think he still behaves that way today,” Lucy says, setting an armful of paper bags down on the kitchen counter. “I can’t tell you how many times he’s been injured, or shot in the arm since we began traveling through time.” She starts unloading the produce, and opens the refrigerator to put them away. “The number of open wounds, scars, and bruises all over his body is jarring.” She sighs, her heart aching. “I can’t imagine the pain he’s endured on the trips we’ve taken. Last night, I gave him a massage, and he asked me to use a softer touch because his injuries from Salem still hurt.”
“And that was ten days ago for you two?” Maria asks.
Lucy nods her head, and becomes quiet.
Lost in thought.
Maria looks at Lucy, and sees how much it hurts Lucy knowing that Garcia will suffer in silence to protect her on these missions.
“I wish I could take away his pain…” Lucy takes a deep breath. “I wish there was something I could do to end this, so that he doesn’t have to worry about me anymore.”
Maria goes to Lucy, and hugs her. “He’s always been a worrier, Lucy… It’s in his nature to fight for, and to protect the ones he loves. You know he fought in wars to protect people he didn’t even know, too? After what he went through during the war in Kosovo, he said he never wanted innocent people to hurt because of hateful and greedy warmongers.” Maria kisses Lucy on the cheek. “He has such a big heart. And he will always look out for you and your little girl.”
“I know,” Lucy says quietly, wiping away a tear. She remembers what Garcia told her this morning when they sat at the edge of the pool. He told her things that he hadn’t shared with anyone except her. So, even his own mother doesn’t know what he went through that made him decide to fight wars, to help people. She steps out of Maria’s embrace.
In silence, they finish putting away groceries.
Lucy goes to the living room and takes the RMS Titanic blanket with her as she heads to the back patio alone. She takes a deep breath, enjoying the sweet floral scent of Maria’s wisteria as she sits down on a wicker chair in front of the pool. She covers her knees with the blanket, holds her phone in her hand, and stares out at the water.
She closes her eyes, and can hear the groan of the Titanic’s funnel as it began to fall into the cold North Atlantic water. She can feel the wave caused by its collapse pick her up and push her further away from the sinking ship.
It’s so cold.
The screams around her were a loud and terrifying hum that must have carried for miles.
The dim glow of the red emergency lights as the stern of the ship rose out of the water.
Lucy squeezes her hand tightly around the blanket.
Montana, she thinks, Lilijana…
She sees in her mind’s eye that she’s driving down an empty, snow-covered road that leads towards a lone ranch situated in the foreground of the Bridger Mountain Range in Montana. Lucy’s heart skips a beat.
This visual is new.
She takes a deep breath to remain calm, and in the moment.
She relaxes, like Stanley told her to do to go on a mental trip.
And she focuses on thoughts of Garcia, Lilijana, and Montana…
I’ll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents by the tree
She smiles, and her mind transports her to a darkened theatre.
Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker ballet - The Battle Between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
She looks to her right.
Garcia’s eyes are joyful as he watches the performance on the stage.
Lucy turns her head and sees on stage, a little girl dressed as one of the mouse soldiers in the ballet. She’s stopped in the middle of the stage and shields her eyes from the spotlights. Then she jumps in place, and waves her hand.
Next to her, Garcia waves back at her.
“Lily…” Lucy whispers.
Garcia leans towards her and whispers, “You can’t blame this one on me, you’re the one who famously waved to her mom during a Good Ship Lollipop recital.” He nudges her playfully, and takes her hand in his. “And don’t worry, Lorena is secretly recording this with her phone.”
Lucy sits up taller to look around, and… she’s cold.
Then someone rests a hand against her abdomen.
“Merry Christmas, draga,” Garcia says as he leans down to kiss her.
“I love you, Garcia…” she whispers.
He smiles and…
Her hands are bound to the headboard of a bed in a candle-lit room. Her heart is pounding in her chest, and she looks down. She’s wearing a white chemise and corset. Frantically, her eyes dart across the room.
Emma Whitmore is there, speaking with her mother, Carol.
Wyatt sits down on the edge of the bed Lucy is restrained to. He gently brushes hair from her forehead, and tucks it behind her ear. His hand rests on her shoulder, and his thumb caresses her skin. He leans down with an arrogant smirk on his face, and tells her, “Don’t worry. If he shows up, I’ll kill him.” Wyatt places his hand on her abdomen. “He’s the reason you have to have this abortion in the first place, Lucy. Not Rittenhouse. Not your mother. Flynn knocked you up, and what I can’t believe is that you let him.”
Lucy’s eyes snap open, and she’s back in the present.
She runs her hand over her face, and takes a deep breath.
What the fuck is going on with her?
Why can she close her eyes and imagine the life she wants to live in Montana, and feel like she’s there? And why didn’t she stay there? And… she shakes her head, not wanting to think about the last vision she saw.
She leans forward and takes her phone from her back pocket, and checks the time.
It’s 6:47 P.M.
Garcia told her that he’d call her at six.
She needs to hear his voice. He has a way about him that calms her when he speaks, or makes her smile when she sees a smile on his face.
She’s not too worried about why he still hasn’t called her. She’s sure that the team is holding him up, or maybe it’s hard to get a signal in a concrete bunker.
She opens her text messages to him and types:
L: Everything ok?
She hits send, and almost immediately her phone rings.
“Hey,” she answers. “Seems like we were both thinking of each other at the same time. I literally just sent you a text message and my phone rang.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t call right at six. I uh… got caught up with the team here, and Jiya insisted that I join everyone for dinner.” He pauses. “How was grocery shopping with my mom?”
“It was, uh… it was interesting.”
“Something happened, and I uh… it’s something that I want to tell you in person when you get back.”
“About that… I won’t be coming back tonight as I had hoped.”
Lucy closes her eyes, and presses her lips together.
When he left, there had been a little voice inside her head telling her he’d find some way to stay at the bunker longer than he promised. She takes a deep breath, and asks, “Why?”
“Dave, he… my other self was helping him set up the security system at the team’s safe house, and he called here, and asked if I’d be able to help him finish it before I come back to you.”
“So… you’ll be back tomorrow?” Lucy asks, raising her brow.
“It might be a week or two.”
Lucy swallows hard, shaking her head.
She has no idea what to say, and she doesn’t want to fight with him.
He knows where she stands with him when it comes to telling the truth, and keeping promises. Her heart knows she can trust him, but her mind is screaming at her that he keeps saying one thing, and doing something entirely different.
His actions need to become more consistent with his words.
“Could Karl help him finish setting it up?” she asks, taking a breath to remain calm.
“No, uh… Karl, he… he has to uh… head back to Baku in the morning. And um… we have team members over there, and I think he was-”
“You’re lying,” she interrupts.
There were one too many ‘uh-s’ and ‘um-s’ for him to be telling the truth.
Lucy hears Garcia sigh heavily on the other end of the call.
“I can’t believe-” She stops herself, and runs her hand through her hair. “You know what, Garcia?”
“I’m so sorry, Lucy.”
“You know what?” She stands up and paces by the side of the pool, raising her voice. “Stay there as long as you want.”
“Why do you continue doing this to me?”
It’s dead quiet on the other end of the phone.
“Why is it so easy for you to change your mind once you’re away from me?” she asks, anger building in her voice. “You did this when you went to Baku, and you’re doing it again. Only this time, you made up some lie about Karl needing to go back to Baku, and… Goddammit, Garcia.” Her voice weakens. “If I had known that you were going to be away for a week or longer, I would have come with you.”
“Come back and get me,” she demands.
More silence on his end.
“Garcia?” Lucy looks down at her phone to make sure the call hasn’t disconnected.
“You’re right. I’m lying,” he says.
“I’m well-aware of that fact.”
“No… I’m… I’m lying about why I can’t come back tonight. I’m lying about why I could be gone for a couple weeks.”
Lucy closes her eyes, shaking her head in disbelief. “Are you going to tell me what’s really going on, or are you going to leave me in the dark?”
“The bunker was under attack by Rittenhouse when we got there. It was on fire, and Emma set a bomb. We got everyone in the Lifeboat, and we’re at the safe house now.” He pauses. “The bunker… it blew up.”
Lucy holds her hand over her heart, and sits down. “Oh, my God… Garcia…”
“I got shot, and-”
“Are you ok?”
“I thought a bullet got lodged in my arm, but it was just a deep graze. Noah patched me up, but he and Iman have ordered me to rest.”
“And you can’t come here to rest because…?”
“A member of our team was captured by Rittenhouse.” He pauses, still not wanting to tell her that her sister is heavily involved. “She’s our mole… and it’s important that I’m here to help plan the rescue mission, and to run point from inside the safe house when it is executed. I have limited mobility of my arm, and I would be a liability to the team, so I promise you that I’ll be here at the safe house when it goes down.”
“Is the person who…” Lucy shakes her head. She’s not going to play this game with him, not after Lilijana told her that Amy is involved with the war. “Does Amy know the location of the safe house?”
He’s quiet, and Lucy hears him clear his throat.
“What are you talking about?” he asks, just in case he heard her wrong.
“Amy. My sister. I can’t imagine who else on the team Rittenhouse would want to take. She’s betrayed them, and if anyone could get me to walk through the front door of Rittenhouse-”
“How did you find out?”
“A little bird told me.”
“How I found out doesn’t matter.”
Lucy closes her eyes and thinks about what Lilijana said to her.
No matter what happens, no matter what he says, or how much he pushes you away, promise me that you’ll stay. That you won’t give up on him, or on us being a family.
“If they have Amy, they’re going to hold her in their cells. Just like they did with me,” she says. “I want to be with you at the safe house when the rescue mission goes down. I know where the holding cells are located inside Rittenhouse headquarters.” She sniffles and wipes a tear away with the back of her hand. “I can help.”
And she’s certain he’s going to find some excuse to deny her.
“I’ll text you the coordinates you’ll need to enter into my mom’s machine so you can get here. Before you leave, I’ll ask Jiya and Rufus if the coordinates need to be altered so that you don’t crush the Lifeboat when you arrive.”
“Thank you.” Lucy’s voice breaks.
“Draga… I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Amy earlier. When I found out she was on our team and a member of Rittenhouse, I wanted to make sure she was safe. That she wouldn’t turn you over to your mother, or take you back to 1725 herself.”
“I know, and I understand that, Garcia,” she sniffles. “But… she’s my sister. You should have told me immediately.”
“I know, sweetheart… It was killing me, keeping that from you. I just… I needed to be sure.”
“It’s ok,” she says. “I understand, and I’m not angry with you about it.”
“She and Karl are a thing,” he says, hoping that he’s telling her something she doesn’t know that might make her smile.
“I figured as much,” she says, appreciating that he’s attempting to bring a smile to her face – and she is smiling, even if through her tears. “Tonight, once we’re alone, I’ll explain how I found out, ok?”
“You could tell me now?”
“It’s um… it’s really something I want to tell you in person, Garcia.”
“Ok.” He’s quiet for several seconds, then he tells her, “I am sorry that I kept that from you, Lucy. And I’m sorry that I tried to lie to you again.”
“No. It’s not,” he says solemnly. “And I promise that there’s nothing else that I’m keeping from you.”
Lucy takes a deep breath. “As soon as you send me the coordinates, I’ll have your mom drive me back to NOVUS. By the time I get there, you should know if they need to be changed, right?”
“Yes,” he answers. “Will Mom come with you?”
“Do you want her to?”
“She doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to, but knowing my mom… she’ll be here.”
Lucy leans forward in the chair and takes the photo of herself and little Lilijana out of her back pocket. She runs her fingertip over the image of hers and Garcia’s daughter.
“I um… I didn’t buy protection, Garcia.”
“Oh?” he says, surprised. “I was looking forward to seeing what type of condom you picked out for us.”
“I want to start trying to have a baby. I don’t want to wait.”
“Can’t guarantee much privacy here, but if…” he lowers his voice, “… if you want to… while you’re here, we can, you know… quietly.”
“I’m not going to hold back, Garcia,” Lucy says, trying to imagine the look on his face. “If something feels good, I’m going to make sure you know. Even if that means being on the receiving end of Karl’s wiggling eyebrows the next morning.”
He clears his throat, and lowers his voice. “I’m a bit more shy about it, draga… If I think I can be heard, I try to keep quiet.”
“You were uh… noisy last night, which, by the way, was incredibly hot.” Lucy smiles.
“Last night, we were alone.”
Lucy chuckles softly, and asks, “How many people are there?”
“Eight, including me. Ten total when you and mom get here.”
“Come to think of it, we’ll be on the receiving end of not only Karl’s wiggling eyebrows, but also your mother’s.” Lucy waits until Garcia’s laughter stops. “Anyway… I’m gonna pack some of our clothes, and what I bought today, and uh… I guess I’ll see you in an hour or two.”
“I’ll get the coordinates to you after we hang up, and Lucy?”
“I don’t mean to hurt you like I have. I just… for so long I was alone in this war, and I don’t know, maybe I’m finding it hard to adjust to us having become quite the team.” He pauses. “I’ll do better, draga. From now on, it’s you and me, together in this. Fighting side-by-side, ok?”
Lucy looks at the photo of her and Lilijana, knowing that soon it will be the three of them.
“I love you, Garcia.”
“I love you too, Lucy.”
Lucy ends the call, and stands up, draping the RMS Titanic blanket around her shoulders.
She heads back inside the house.
Maria is at the kitchen sink handwashing dishes, pretending she didn’t notice that Lucy had gotten upset outside while speaking on the phone to her son. She’s happy that at least it looked like the call ended on a good note.
“Should we head out to pick him up?” Maria asks.
“The bunker was attacked, and he and the team are at the safe house,” Lucy tells her. “He’s going to send me the coordinates so we can take one of your machines to it, so I can be there with him tomorrow to help them run a rescue operation.”
“What happened?” Maria asks, turning off the kitchen faucet.
“Rittenhouse got Amy, and we’re going to save her.”
Lucy hangs onto the straps of her seatbelt as the air in Maria’s time machine begins to warm, and vibrate. The machine jolts, thrusting both Lucy and Maria forward in their seats. They are slammed back as everything settles.
“I really should figure out why the machine rattles so much,” Maria says.
“At least it doesn’t get too hot in here when it’s not traveling backward in time,” Lucy observes.
Lucy stands, and presses the button to open the hatch.
It hisses open, and Garcia is making his way to her as fast as he can without running.
She drops her duffle bag to the ground as Garcia reaches up to her, grimacing because of the pain in his shoulder. He lifts her by the waist, and doesn’t set her back on her feet. Instead, he holds her in his arms as tightly as he can.
He’s so thankful that she’s here, and in his arms.
Before she told him that she knew about Amy, he had worried she would be so angry with him for keeping that information from her. But she wasn’t. She understood his reasons. And now, finally, there are no more secrets between them.
Lucy’s arms wrap around his neck as he holds onto the back of her head.
They kiss, and unbeknownst to them, their curious team is gathering behind them.
This is the first time any of them – save for Karl and Jiya – have seen Lucy Preston, the woman that their Garcia Flynn had fallen in love with by simply reading her journal.
Garcia groans, the pain in his arm has become unbearable.
Their lips part, and Lucy rubs her nose against his as Garcia lowers her to her feet.
Lucy’s eyes fall on the crowd that has gathered as Garcia bends over to pick up her duffle bag. She nervously runs her hand through her hair, and makes eye contact with Jiya.
Jiya smiles and waves at her.
“I um…” Lucy wants to say something, but… it might be easier to let them ask questions.
Jiya looks back at the rest of the team, and then she goes to Lucy.
“Good to see you again.” Jiya hugs her, and says softly, “The others are a bit gawky right now, but they’ll get over it.”
Lucy pulls out of Jiya’s embrace and looks around. “This uh… Garcia said it was a safe house. I was imagining an actual house, but… this is another underground bunker?”
Rufus steps forward. “Oh, it’s a house, this part just looks like a poor man’s 10 Cloverfield Lane. The homeyness is upstairs.” He offers Lucy a smile, hoping to make her feel welcome. “I’m Rufus, by the way. One of the resident techies, and pilot of the Lifeboat.” He extends his hand to Lucy.
But she doesn’t shake his hand.
She steps towards him and wraps her arms around him. “We were friends in my timeline, and…” Lucy struggles to keep her emotions in check. “I thought you had died when Rittenhouse blew up Mason Industries, and… and then when I finally saw you again in Salem, everything went wrong, and…”
Rufus shifts his eyes to look at Jiya. She shrugs her shoulders, not knowing what Lucy is referring to. So, he awkwardly wraps his arms around her, accepting her hug instead of his handshake.
Lucy steps away, a huge grin on her face as she wipes away tears.
She glances over at the others.
She recognizes Noah, and Dave, and… she squints her eyes and swears that she sees the woman she met in 1972, The Doc. She looks at Garcia, silently asking him who this woman is. He doesn’t quite understand, so he squints his eyes to ask her to clarify.
“Excuse me,” Lucy looks at The Doc. “I um… In my timeline, I met you on a mission to 1972. I never got your name, just that you were called The Doc?”
“I’m Tamyra Parris, but you can call me Tammy.”
The women shake hands.
Lucy smiles, and tells her, “Once I get settled, maybe you and I can tell Old Man McNeil stories over coffee.”
“Old man?” Tammy chuckles, shaking her head. “Right… you knew him much later in time than I did.”
“I did, but still… the way that he would point his finger while emphasizing something important we’d need to know for an exam.” Lucy mimics Professor McNeil.
Tammy laughs, “Yeah, that’s him, all right.”
Dave steps toward them, and offers his hand to Lucy. She shakes it.
“I’m Dave, um… I’ve kinda been stuck here, out of action, for the better part of the last couple years building this place from the ground up.”
“Bam Bam?” Lucy says, with a sly smile. “I knew you in my timeline, but only for one mission, and uh… I never got the chance to ask how you got your nickname?”
Dave laughs, and rubs the back of his neck. “You know the Flintstones?”
“I was raised by my grandmother, and when I joined the Army, all the guys thought I was a bit old-fashioned.” He rolls his eyes. “From the stone age, so they called me Bam Bam, and it stuck.”
“And uh…” Lucy looks at Rufus. “In my timeline, Rufus and I wondered if…” she glances at Garcia, “… if Wyatt had a nickname?”
“Yeah,” Dave answers. “Pebbles.”
Lucy nearly snort-laughs. “You two were Pebbles and Bam Bam?”
“No offense to the cartoon character, but Wyatt got the nickname because he was a child-like bitch who followed me around.”
Lucy raises her brow, surprised by Dave’s choice of words, but she understands now that she knows that the Wyatt she thought she knew well had really been an ass-kissing member of Rittenhouse, and the son-of-a-bitch who murdered Garcia’s wife and daughter. She glances up at Garcia to see if he’s bothered by her mention of Wyatt.
He seems ok.
Garcia looks at Lucy, wetting his lips. “Ah… Karl’s around here somewhere, and um… I don’t know where Iman is.”
“I saw your mom wander off that way, muttering something about needing to talk to Karl,” Jiya says, pointing down one of the basement hallways. “Lucy, I don’t know if you’ve had anything for dinner, but there are a few slices of pizza leftover if you’re hungry.”
“I am, actually.”
Jiya motions for her to follow her to the basement kitchen area. She opens the refrigerator and pulls out a cardboard pizza box.
“Dave went into town and picked up five large pizzas, so… we have pepperoni lovers, extra cheese with pineapple, veggie lovers, and supreme.”
“I’ll have a slice of pineapple and veggie lovers,” Lucy says as she sits down at a table.
Jiya places the pizza in the microwave, and takes it out when it’s ready. She sets the plate in front of Lucy along with a glass of water, and sits down across from her.
“Have things been easier for you since I dropped Garcia off in Houston?” Jiya asks. “Back in 1912, you looked so… sad, and unhappy.”
“Things aren’t perfect, but we’re good,” Lucy says, taking a bite out of her pizza. She chews and swallows. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Shoot,” Jiya says, leaning back in her chair.
“Your visions, um… how do you tell the difference between a vision and a dream?”
“At first, I couldn’t tell the difference,” Jiya says. “But once I started to realize that the dreams I was having were coming true, my other senses started to kick in, in ways they don’t when you’re dreaming. I could smell the alcohol on the breath of one of the men at the tavern in Salem as he whisked me away. I…” she lowers her voice, and leans towards Lucy, “… I could feel the orgasms when I slept with Dave…”
Lucy’s eyes are wide.
That was unexpected.
“You and Dave are a thing?” Lucy asks, taking another bite of pizza.
“No… and I’m with Rufus, and… my visions with Dave have complicated things with us-”
“But you’ve seen that you’ll be with him like that?”
“I don’t know when, and… sometimes my visions are just visions, not all of them come true. But when the day comes that they do actually happen, they can change. Like, with my visions of Salem. Before Rittenhouse went there, I had this vision that I was in a tavern, seizing on the floor, and I saw you – and I only recognized that you were Lucy because Amy had shown me photos of you before, and… in my vision, I saw the vision I was going to have in Salem… and that what I saw was important to you.”
“You said ‘save him… let me go…’ and something about how without Rittenhouse, she never remarries, and never has-”
“Never has Garcia, and if he wasn’t born then he would never meet Lorena, and Iris would cease to exist?” Jiya asks, her eyes wide, surprised that Lucy actually seems to know what she’s talking about.
“I think you not only travel through time with your mind, Jiya… I think you’re able to see into other timelines, because… what you just said, that’s exactly what happened when I went back to Salem.”
“I…” Jiya closes her eyes and exhales loudly. “I swear, all this Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey crap just gets more and more complicated every day.”
“Tell me about it,” Lucy says, taking a sip of water. “After the Titanic sank, I met Stanley Fisher. He pulled me out of the water onto the top of an overturned lifeboat – saved my life.”
“Yeah, Stanley,” Jiya says. “Rittenhouse has had him locked up since before we helped Garcia steal the Lifeboat.”
“He explained to me how his visions work before he left.”
Rufus sits down next to Jiya, and takes a slice of pepperoni pizza.
Lucy smiles at him. “I was just telling Jiya how I spoke with Stanley after the Titanic sank.”
Rufus has a mouthful of food, so he nods his head and gestures with his hand for her to continue.
“He said that he time travels with his mind. That he can’t physically transport to any place in time. He has to take over the mind and body of someone else. He said he remembers different timelines that he’s visited, too. And something about how focusing on forbidden colors can help him stay longer when he takes his mental trips.”
“Everyone is affected differently by time travel,” Rufus says, eyeing Garcia as he sits down next to Lucy. “Jiya has visions of the future, but in the past-”
“And apparently visions of different timelines,” Jiya adds.
Rufus looks at her, his face awash with concern. “Um… so far, I just get physically disoriented and feel ill for the first few minutes after a jump. Our Garcia, he uh…” Rufus looks at Garcia. “I think he was starting to confuse memories. He’d get up some mornings and ask if Lorena had made breakfast yet, after she had died.”
Lucy looks at Garcia, checking that he’s ok hearing this. She rests her hand on top of his for support.
“Karl has been lucky so far, though. He hasn’t reported anything out-of-the-ordinary before, during, or after trips. And Tammy, after a few trips, she started having recurring dreams that we think are her traveling back to her past, and reliving traumatic events that happened to her while she was a member of Rittenhouse. But she only has them when she’s asleep, not when she’s awake.”
“What about Iman, Noah, and Dave?” Garcia asks.
“Iman is the smart one,” Rufus says. “He refuses to travel back in time. To be honest, I’m a little surprised he managed to get himself into the Lifeboat before the bunker blew up.”
“Dave hasn’t been on many trips,” Jiya tells them. “Not yet, anyway. He’s been busy getting this safe house ready for the team. But the couple times he did go on missions, he didn’t even feel nauseous. Made everyone really jealous.” Jiya smiles.
Lucy shifts her eyes to look at Rufus, to see how he reacts to hearing Jiya talk about Dave, now that she knows that Jiya has traveled forward to a time where she’s had apparent orgasms with Dave Baumgardner. Rufus keeps his head down, and holds his hands out in front of him on the table. It’s obvious that he’s uncomfortable, and has no idea how to deal with what he knows.
“Do you know why time travel affects us like this?” Lucy asks.
“There was a design flaw in the Lifeboat that exposed its passengers to time travel-”
“Timey-Wimey Radiation,” Jiya interrupts Rufus. “That’s what I call it. We think that exposure to it over time alters the way our brains perceive time and space. From what Amy has told us, no one at Rittenhouse who has traveled in the Mothership has had these issues. Well, she said something about Emma developing fertility issues, but Emma was one of the first pilots to test the Lifeboat back when we all worked at Mason Industries. She had never been inside the Mothership until Rittenhouse started making these trips.”
“And my mother’s time machine? Is it safe?” Garcia asks.
“It is,” Rufus answers. “Your mom wasn’t under the time crunch that Connor imposed on us because Rittenhouse had given him a deadline to get the Mothership up and running.”
“Where is Connor?” Lucy asks. “Is he… he’s not still with Rittenhouse, is he?”
“No,” Jiya says. “Like Amy, he’s pretending to be on their side, but reports back to us when he can. Last we heard from him, the five additional time machines that Rittenhouse had ordered were only a couple weeks away from being fully operational.”
“Five additional?” Garcia looks at Lucy with concern. “If they have six time machines, how will we be able to follow them? To stop them from changing history? With the Lifeboat, and my mom’s machines, we only have three.”
“We haven’t figured that out,” Rufus says.
Garcia rubs the bridge of his nose with his fingers, and lets out a heavy sigh, muttering under his breath, “One goddamn thing after another.” He looks at Lucy. “It never ends.”
She sighs, and rubs her hand on top of his. “How about you show me where I can unpack?” She squeezes his hand. “And I can tell you what happened at the grocery store.”
“Knowing his mom,” Rufus says, “She probably picked up an eggplant and wiggled her eyebrows suggestively at Lucy, then asked when you two were gonna get married and pop out little…” He pauses, considering, “Garcy babies.”
Jiya rolls her eyes, and playfully nudges Rufus.
Lucy gives them a polite smile, stands, and follows Garcia towards the elevator.
“Five more goddamn time machines, Lucy. How the hell are we supposed to defeat them when they have the upper hand?”
“I don’t know, dušo… but um… there’s something I need to tell you that might give you, us, a little extra motivation to defeat them.”
He stops and looks down at her, his thoughts flashing back to last night. “You’re not pregnant, are you?” His voice is hopeful, desperate for good news.
“Even if I was, there’s no way to know the day after.” She winks at him, and holds his hand as they approach the elevator.
He leans down to ask her, “Are you doing all right? I know you were concerned about being a curiosity to everyone here.”
“I’m ok.” She assures him. “Things are different, but I’m ok.”
In front of them, Karl storms out of a hallway, followed closely by Maria. She makes eye-contact with Lucy, and mouths, ‘I’m sorry.’
“Lucy,” Karl goes straight to her, without so much as a glance at Garcia. He wraps his arms around her and tells her, “I’m so sorry that tall buffoon asked me not to tell you about Amy.” He lets go of her. “I’ve been trying to work on a rescue plan, but everyone here isn’t at the same level of panic that I’m in. I’ve got men coming in from all over to help. Fifty in total, and… she’s your sister, so I know you’re just as eager to save her as I am, and… Garcia said you could provide insight into where they might be holding her?”
Lucy glances at Garcia – telling him about Lilijana will have to wait. She nods her head. “Yes. Um... I think I told you before that I was held captive by them for six weeks in my timeline. I can’t imagine that the building’s interior has changed just because I died fourteen years ago.”
Karl places his hand on her back, and leads her towards the oak table where a laptop computer displays a satellite image of Rittenhouse’s headquarters in San Francisco. Lucy glances back at Garcia, as he follows them. She sits down as Karl pushes hand sketches of what he’s planned for tomorrow’s rescue mission.
Garcia leans down and tells Lucy, “I’ll be right back, gonna put your bag in our room.” He kisses her cheek, then walks away.
Lucy watches him, then turns to Karl. “I’m not an architect, and I don’t think I can sketch to scale, but give me blank paper and a pencil and I’ll draw up what I remember of the inside of that building.”
Karl smiles. It’s good to finally have Lucy here with the team. He grabs a stack of paper and sits next to her. “Amy would sometimes talk about where offices were, or the atrium where they kept the Mothership when it wasn’t at Mason Industries, so I could imagine what the inside of that place looks like, but to have your inside knowledge to map it out,” Karl touches her shoulder, “what you bring to the team is invaluable.”
Lucy nods her head, and blinks back tears.
Karl’s appreciation for her means so much.
She takes a deep breath and starts drawing. “The first floor is basically a front for some corporate business in case someone randomly walks in off the street to see what the building is used for. It’s a long hallway, with five offices on both sides.” Lucy draws ten rectangles and labels them ‘office.’ “The second through seventh floors are offices of executive Rittenhouse members. My mother’s office was on the third floor, and my biological father, Benjamin Cahill’s office was on the seventh.”
“It’s safe to assume that place is packed with security officers and soldiers?” Karl asks.
“Yes.” Lucy takes a breath. “And every member of Rittenhouse is trained for combat from the start. I was there six weeks and got extensive weapons training. This mission has the potential to be extremely dangerous, if not deadly.”
Karl nods his head. “And where are the holding cells?”
“Not where you’d think they’d be.”
“I assume they’re in a basement?”
“They’re not,” Lucy says, looking up at Garcia as he sits down beside her. “The ninth floor is dedicated to housing for members who are there from out of town. Those rooms can also double as luxury holding cells. They’re like hotel rooms, but the doors only lock and unlock from outside. I was held in one of these rooms for my first three nights, but I wasn’t obedient enough, so… they put me into solitary confinement. Those cells are on the tenth floor. They’re small cells – six-foot ceiling, maybe five feet in width.”
“Do you think that’s where they’ll have Amy?”
“That depends on how obedient she’s been with them since they took her.”
“So, she’s in solitary confinement,” Karl says, his knuckles go white as he balls his hand into a fist.
“There are surveillance cameras all over this building. Even if you can’t see them, they’re there. Every room, every hallway.” Lucy swallows hard, and closes her eyes. She’s forcing herself to remember everything she went through while she was their prisoner. Garcia rubs his hand on her back to help ground her to the here and now. She opens her eyes, and looks at Garcia. “Water?”
“Can we get some water over here?!” Karl calls out to no one in particular. Then he asks Lucy, “What do you think they’re doing to her?”
“She holds a seat at the Table of Elders, um… she was our team’s spy. She betrayed them. If Rittenhouse wasn’t after me…” Lucy closes her eyes, and swallows hard. “Worst case scenario… she’s already dead.”
“You said you think they might use her to get to you,” Garcia says. “They know you exist in this timeline, Lucy. And they have that journal from 1725, which means they are going to try to take you again.” He wets his lips and looks Lucy in the eye. “It’s a safe bet they’ll keep Amy alive until they have you.”
“I agree,” Lucy says, her voice weak.
“Here,” Noah sits down across the oak table from Lucy, and slides a bottle of water to her.
Lucy looks at Noah, and though she saw him briefly in 2003, the last real memory she has of him is when she had called him to come patch up Rufus after Al Capone shot him in 1954. She didn’t know Noah well, but it still broke her heart to end their relationship because she understood how much he loved another version of herself.
Noah clears his throat, unable to read the look on Lucy’s face. He tells them, “Iman says he’ll go with Karl on the mission tomorrow. I offered, but Iman was a field medic, and has the experience we’ll need when our soldiers get wounded. Which, of course, I can’t argue against because my background is in emergency medicine.”
“Hopefully, no one gets hurt,” Lucy says, knowing the chances of that happening are slim.
Noah looks at Lucy, shakes his head, and asks, “Is this… is this weird for you too?”
Their eyes meet.
Noah is looking into the eyes of a woman whose life he tried to save fourteen years ago. The woman whose time of death he called after her own mother had suffocated her to death on his watch.
Lucy is looking into the eyes of a man she knows could love her. The first man she had been ‘involved with’ who told her that if she needed time to figure things out, she should do it. And that he would be there for her once she was ready. She looks into his eyes now, and realizes if she never met Garcia, and had met Noah in a world without time travel and Rittenhouse, that she could love him too. She feels lightheaded, and somewhat guilty for these thoughts since she’s with Garcia.
She blinks to break their eye-contact and tells him, “Yeah… it’s weird, but uh… for reasons different from yours.” Lucy offers Noah an awkward smile, then shakes her head at herself.
In another timeline, he had been her fiancé.
He was the doctor who treated her after her accident in 2003.
She slept with him hours before the Bonnie and Clyde mission, and it had been good.
Lilijana suggested that after she left Garcia, she and Noah had tried to be together.
He really does seem like a nice guy. Someone she’d be attracted to under extraordinarily different circumstances. And yes…
He is a very attractive man.
But he looks at her as if he’s seeing a ghost.
Yes, it is very weird.
She looks away from Noah, and focuses on drawing out a map of the ninth and tenth floors of Rittenhouse headquarters for Karl. She pushes the paper to him.
“Any chance you know where the keys to these rooms are?” Karl asks.
“I don’t, but um… if you have a battering ram, you might want to take that with you.”
Garcia stands at the oak table and looks up when he hears Lucy laugh.
She’s sitting on the couch with Noah, laughing, and leaning forward to playfully slap his shoulder.
He knows that Noah poses no threat to his relationship with Lucy. But it’s weird knowing that in some other timeline the two of them fell in love, and were engaged to be married.
The best part about this is that Lucy is reaching out to everyone in this safe house, wanting to be their friend. When she came to him in prison weeks ago, he had been the only person she could spend time with, the only person who could be her friend. It wasn’t until they arrived in Houston that Lucy began to find her place with his mother, and even that – with changing timelines, and all – had been difficult.
He watches as Tammy sits down on the coffee table in front of Lucy and Noah. She has three empty wine glasses, and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. She hands them the glasses, and pours all three of them a small sampling of the low-alcohol wine.
Karl eyes Garcia.
“If you’re distracted, go get some rest,” Karl tells Garcia, following his eyeline to Lucy. “And please don’t tell me you’re jealous that Noah’s got her giggling like a schoolgirl.”
“No,” Garcia says, looking at Karl. “I’m happy to hear her enjoying herself. You have no idea how rare that is.”
“Lucy told me that in some timeline she and Noah had been a thing,” Karl says, watching Garcia for his reaction. “If you’re feeling threatened, or jealous… go over there and make sure he knows she’s your girl.” Karl shrugs. “I mean, he knows, but… the two of them are really enjoying each other’s company. I don’t think it would hurt to plant your flag in her, so to speak.” Karl smirks. “The walls upstairs are super thin, you fuck her, and he’ll know she’s off-limits.”
“Not everything with Lucy and me is about sex, Karl.”
“Right, right… Mr. and Mrs. Celibate.” He raises his brow. “Despite how crude I can be about it sometimes, I think if you two would just relax, let go of inhibitions, and just enjoy each other, that it might help clear your minds.” Karl looks and sees that Garcia is seriously considering his words. “Besides, imagine the stress being lifted after you cut through that UST and uh… pound it into the ground, so to speak.” Karl smirks, trying not to laugh at his choice of words.
Garcia gives him a look, and tells him, “I’ve thought about what it’ll be like to be with her for so long-”
“That’s the other thing that messes you up,” Karl interrupts. “You build up your fantasy of what sex will be like with the women you love so much that you’re afraid to disappoint her, or, I don’t know, maybe disappoint yourself.” Karl shakes his head. “Just effing take her to bed, and kiss her, work your way from there, and see where it goes. Don’t light candles, or put together the perfect playlist-”
“Lorena told me about the rose petals you had on the satin sheets, Garcia.” Karl chuckles. “And the Kenny G album you played one Valentine’s Day.” He shakes his head. “Kenny G?”
“I admit. I’m not always the brightest when it comes to the fairer sex.”
What Karl has brought up is not only embarrassing, it’s the truth.
He imagines the perfect setting, and takes his time to make sure it comes to fruition. But with Lucy, so many of their intimate encounters have been spontaneous, which has made what they’ve done so far much more exciting than other sexual encounters he’s had.
Garcia shakes his head and refocuses on the plan he and Karl are drawing up for tomorrow night’s raid of Rittenhouse’s San Francisco headquarters. He can’t be thinking about making love to Lucy right now. He needs to focus on the plan to rescue her sister.
Lucy has made her way to Garcia’s room in the upstairs living area of the safe house. The room is small, but comfortable. There are no pictures hanging on the wall, and there are no curtains. The only furniture is the bed she’s sitting on, and a single nightstand to her left. Sounds of a video game, and the laughter of Jiya and Rufus seep through the room’s paper-thin walls.
In her hands, she holds a journal that was written by the Garcia Flynn of this alternate timeline. She opens it, and starts reading from the beginning.
26 November 2003
Time travel is real. I was supposed to go meet Stiv’s new baby tonight, but got sidetracked by some crazy red-head who slashed my tires, and then I thought a woman needed my help to get away from an abusive boyfriend, but instead this woman (Lucy) knew my name, and pulled a gun on me to tell me to walk away. Then one thing leads to another, I get shot in my damn shoulder, and I’m face-to-face with a man who looks like an older me, almost like dad. And I’m wanting to ask if he is me, but it seems impossible. And he’s telling me that I’ll come across information in November 2014, and that I have to report it to my NSA contact.
“You found his journal?” Garcia interrupts Lucy.
She nods her head, and closes it. “It seems both of us have a knack for writing. Maybe when all this is over, I’ll write books instead of teaching history.” Lucy sighs heavily. “I’d love to continue teaching, but so much history has changed that I don’t think I could do it anymore.” She looks into his eyes. “Have you thought about what you want to do when our fighting Rittenhouse days are over?”
Garcia sits down on the edge of the bed, and rests his hand on her knee.
“Honestly, I haven’t given it any thought.” He pauses, and kneads her leg with his thumb. “I didn’t think I’d have much of a future when I set out to steal the Mothership, you know?” He offers her a smile, but his comment has only made her sad. “But since we teamed up… one thing I know for sure is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you… and start a family.”
Lucy runs her hand through her hair and smiles at him.
Now, all she needs to do is figure out how to segue this conversation into a discussion about how their twenty-two-year-old daughter came to talk to her at the grocery store today.
“I’m surprised you decided to settle in for the night,” he says. “I thought you wanted to talk to Jiya and Rufus.” He wets his lips, then adds, “I noticed you spent more time talking to Noah and Tammy.”
“I don’t know… um, for some reason talking to Noah felt easier than getting to know this timeline’s Jiya and Rufus.”
Garcia wrinkles his brow, not quite understanding.
“I knew both of them so well in our timeline,” Lucy says. “Maybe I’m afraid that they’ll be too different from the Jiya and Rufus who were my friends.”
“You knew Noah.”
“I didn’t know him well, and uh… I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious to know more about him. He treated me so well in that timeline, Garcia, and I was… I was terrible to him. I broke his heart.”
“I know you said you were engaged to him in the timeline after we came back from the Hindenburg, and that he was the last man you had been with…”
Lucy looks at Garcia, and sees in him a hint of worry. She tilts her head and shakes her head, sighing. “Garcia… dušo…” She rests her hand on his. “I’m not going to fall in love with him.”
“You two get along really well-”
“And so do Karl and I, Rufus and I, Jiya and I, and your mom and I.” Lucy smiles. “Getting along with someone doesn’t mean falling in love with them is bound to happen.”
“If you did, I wouldn’t blame you,” Garcia speaks quietly. “You get a fresh slate here, Lucy. A chance to not make mistakes. Maybe you being involved with a man who has killed-”
“I thought we were past this?” She lowers her head, and squeezes his hand tight. “I know you’re a good man, Garcia. I’ve chosen you despite everything you’ve done trying to destroy Rittenhouse.”
“Lucy…” He looks into her eyes. “Why me?”
“Because I love you.” She inches towards him and touches his cheek. “You respect me, you don’t expect me to be someone I’m not… You make me happy.” She smiles. “And… you’re my best friend, and um…” She swallows. “You’re going to be a father.”
Garcia looks into her eyes.
He holds his breath as he registers what she just said.
“Are you… are you saying you’re… pregnant?” he asks, moving his hand to cover her abdomen.
“Not yet,” she says. “But… you know how I told you that the trip to the grocery store was interesting?”
He nods his head, his heart pounding in his chest.
“Our… our daughter paid me a visit while I was there.”
“What?” Garcia inches closer to Lucy.
“We name her Lilijana Maria, and… she came from the future. She was twenty-two years old.” Lucy smiles as tears well in her eyes. “She’s beautiful, Garcia. She’s tall, like you, and she has your eyes and nose.”
“Why did she…”
He presses his lips to her forehead, and sighs.
“We die when she’s six years old,” Lucy tells him, lowering her eyes. “Apparently, something goes horribly wrong between us, and I leave you to start my life over.” She places her hand on his, over her abdomen. “That means that we will conceive her soon because she said enough so I could figure out that she will be born in December of this year. She said I might not need condoms, and that she was going to celebrate her twenty-third birthday in December of 2040, and twenty-three years before then, that’s nine months from now, so…”
“I promised her I wouldn’t leave you, no matter what stupid thing you do,” Lucy says. “And she said something about how we need to go back to 1725 to erase Rittenhouse from existence.”
“If you’re going to be pregnant, I’m not letting you get anywhere near 1725, Lucy.”
Lucy rises to kneel next to him, cupping his face in her hand. “I wanted to make love to you tonight, but… the walls here are really super thin. You can hear everything.” She pauses and points at the wall where they can hear Rufus and Jiya playing a video game. “And… I am so worried about Amy that I don’t think I’d be able to enjoy it, and it would be our first time, and...”
“Draga… if we wait to conceive, wouldn’t that mean that you’d become pregnant with another child? Not Lilijana?” He looks into her eyes. “Different egg, different sperm… that would make a genetically different baby.”
“My mind isn’t in the right place either. I feel so overwhelmed by everything.” She sniffles, and wipes away a tear. “I just want to go back home to Houston. I don’t like it here.”
“Hey…” He pulls her into his arms, kissing the top of her head. “I know this life isn’t easy, draga… I don’t like it here either, but this is what our life is right now. It won’t always be this way.”
“I know, but… she said that she and Karl are still fighting them twenty-three years from now, and she came here to not only save our lives, but to ask us to erase them from existence, to end the war, and I don’t know if we can.”
“We’ll find a way,” he says. “We have to.”
Garcia holds Lucy against him, cradling her head in his hand as he listens to her sniffle.
“Are you…” He swallows, not sure if he should ask her this. “Do you think you can let go of the idea of having the Lilijana you met at the store, and wait to conceive a child later?”
“I loved her from the moment I realized she really was our little girl, Garcia.” She looks up into his eyes, shaking her head, feeling a surge of determination. “It doesn’t matter if I’m in the right state of mind to do this,” she says, as she tugs at his shirt. “We have to conceive her now, before my next period.”
“Hey… hey…” he takes hold of her wrist and looks into her tear-filled eyes. “Slow down, draga…”
Her lips quiver, and she shakes her head vehemently.
Garcia caresses her cheek, and gently holds her wrist. “You’re tense…”
“Let me help you relax, and we’ll see what happens…” He kisses the inside of her wrist. “And we can be quiet so no one hears us…” He uses his good arm and lowers them both onto the mattress. Tears are threatening to fall from her eyes. It breaks his heart to see her like this – so upset. He runs his hand slowly through her hair, and kisses her forehead. “Take a deep breath, Lucy…” He holds his hand over her heart. “Close your eyes…”
Lucy trembles as she takes a deep breath. Then, she parts her lips and closes her eyes.
Garcia places a soft kiss on her eyelid and adjusts his position next to her to relieve the pressure on his injured shoulder. “We call her Jana, don’t we?”
This elicits a soft laugh from Lucy.
She opens her eyes, and tells him, “She introduced herself as Lily.”
“What else can you tell me about her?”
He places his hand on Lucy’s stomach and gently caresses the fabric of his burgundy turtleneck sweater, slowly lifting it up until he can slide his hand onto her bare skin.
“She wore my locket around her neck, and your ring…”
“The inscription was different,” Lucy runs her hand along Garcia’s arm. He winces as she applies soft pressure over his newly acquired wound. She quickly pulls back. “Oh, I’m sorry… I forgot.”
“It’s ok,” he whispers. “I’m used to pain.”
She shakes her head and exhales. “I don’t want you in pain anymore, dušo.”
He leans down and kisses her cheek, then her lips, and murmurs, “How was the inscription different?”
“You added my and Lilijana’s name to it, after Lorena and Iris.”
He smiles, “So, we get married, huh?”
“No. Um…” Lucy feels her muscles tense again. “Lily said that I end up leaving you.” She picks at the fabric of his shirt, unable to look him in the eyes. “I don’t want to leave you, Garcia. I’m in this for the long-haul. If problems come up, I want to work through them.”
Despite the excruciating pain in his shoulder, Garcia lies on top of her, supporting his weight on both arms. Their eyes lock, and Lucy synchronizes her breath with his.
Lucy moves beneath him, wanting to take off the turtleneck sweater. “Hold on,” she says. “Can you lie on your back for a second?”
“Need help?” he asks, rising to his knees between her legs.
She nods her head, and sits up, and Garcia pulls the hem of the sweater over her head, and tosses it to the floor. His eyes take in her bare breasts, and he uses his good arm to lower her back onto the mattress.
He holds her wrist above her head, and kisses her shoulder as he moves his hand from her wrist down the sensitive skin of her arm. “Your skin is so soft,” he whispers as he trails his fingers lightly against the side of her breast. He kisses her neck, and parts his lips against her collarbone. He moans quietly as he gently sucks her skin. “What turns you on, Lucy…?” he murmurs, shifting his body to accommodate the filling sensation in his dick.
Lucy moves beneath him, and spreads her legs. She arches her back as Garcia takes her nipple into his mouth and gently sucks it, flicking his tongue across the tip. “Mmm… I like the warmth of your hand covering me…” She moves her hand to rest between her legs, covering the fabric of her jeans.
He looks down, and smiles before kissing her lips.
His hand moves slowly down her stomach, and takes his time to finger her pubic hair once he’s slid his hand beneath the waistband of her jeans, and into her panties. Lucy closes her eyes and takes a deep breath to help her relax. She wants more than anything to conceive their daughter tonight. And to enjoy every moment with Garcia as it happens.
His hand slides further into her panties, and he groans feeling that she’s become wet for him. He covers his palm firmly against her sex, resting the tip of his middle finger against her opening. He applies a soft, pulsating pressure against it, and kisses her again.
Lucy reaches down to unbutton and unzip her own jeans, to give him more room to work his hand and fingers against her.
Garcia removes his hand from her centre and strips off her jeans so all she’s wearing now is her white cotton panties.
“Take your clothes off,” Lucy tells him, her voice hoarse with arousal.
He stands, and strips his t-shirt from his body – wincing as he raises his injured shoulder – and then carelessly drops it to the floor. Lucy sits at the edge of the bed, and grabs him by the waist, pulling him towards her. She hastily undoes the button and zipper of his cargo pants, releasing his hardened cock which remains confined inside his boxer briefs. She pulls at the waist as he steps out of them. She holds onto him, and gently strokes his balls with her fingertips.
“There’s lube in my bag,” she says, standing up to get it.
Garcia hooks his thumbs around the waist of his boxers, and begins to strip them off his body. But he stops. He looks at Lucy. Her back is to him as she rummages through her duffle bag. He goes to her and takes hold of her waist as he kisses the back of her neck. She stands up straight, and wraps her arm behind his neck as she presses her back against his chest.
I know, draga… I’m feeling this too…
She moans as his erection presses against the crevasse between her ass and leg. She reaches behind her and begins stroking him through the fabric of his boxer briefs. He grunts, and moves his hand around her, and slides it inside her panties, dipping his fingers into her silken folds.
Lucy gasps as he presses and gently rubs her clit with the tip of his finger.
“Mmm, s’good…” he pants, squeezing his eyes shut as her hand moves even faster along his shaft. “Draga… slower…”
Lucy understands, and releases her hold on him. She lowers her hand to press against his inside her panties, and helps guide his fingers to places that only she has stroked. To places no other man has touched long enough to bring her to orgasm.
He uses his chin to move her hair from her back, and then he sucks at her earlobe, and murmurs quietly, “I want you to be more than ready to take me inside… I want to get you off several times before I enter you…”
Her clit is swollen, and wet, and he gently uses his fingertip to apply the lightest pressure to the tip of it. Slowly, circling around it until her back arches and she’s whimpering his name. She’s close. So close. He releases pressure, and dips three fingers towards her entry.
Lucy’s hold on the back of his neck is weakening, so he wraps his free arm around her waist to hold her against his body.
HRRNG! HRRNG! HRRNG!
Lucy cries out.
She spins around, her face flushed, and her breathing labored.
She looks up into his eyes.
Her entire body is trembling, having almost reached climax.
“Jebote…” Garcia mumbles to himself.
“What does the alarm mean?”
Now there’s fear in her eyes, and before he can even come up with a theory on why a goddamn alarm would be sounding in the safe house, she’s across the room pulling his turtleneck sweater over her head, trying not to fall down as she slips back into her jeans.
Garcia swallows hard, and blinks his eyes to refocus. He puts his cargo pants and t-shirt back on, and retrieves his firearm from the nightstand.
If Rittenhouse somehow tracked them here, he’s going to be ready to protect Lucy – to protect everyone.
“Is there another gun?” she whispers.
“In the shoebox, on the shelf in the closet,” he tells her. He looks behind him to watch Lucy as she retrieves his second gun, and unlocks its safety.
She stands behind him and holds onto his waist. “I’ve got your back,” she says.
He opens the door swiftly, and points his weapon to the right, as Lucy aims hers to the left.
The hallway is clear.
Garcia turns to Lucy, and pulls her behind him when the door to Rufus and Jiya’s room opens. He aims his gun, as Rufus and Jiya peer out into the hallway.
Rufus holds his hands up and approaches them. “Guys… you probably don’t need your guns drawn, ok?”
“Why did the alarm go off?” Lucy asks, turning her back to Garcia to check behind her, down the other half of the hall.
“Rittenhouse either took out the Mothership, or Dave is testing the security system,” Rufus says.
Lucy nods her head, and lowers her weapon.
She touches Garcia’s arm. “Garcia… your shoulder.”
He looks down and realizes that at some point in the last few minutes, the stitches that Noah applied have been torn. Either his arousal for Lucy numbed him to it, or getting the fuck scared out of him did the job.
“HEY!” The four of them hear Dave calling out to them. “You guys might want to get down here!”
Lucy and Garcia share a look, and he places his gun into a pocket of his cargo pants.
So much for trying to conceive their daughter tonight, so it seems.
Stanley Fisher stands in front of the oak table in the basement of the safe house wearing what can be described as white scrubs, possibly pajamas. He fidgets nervously as he tries to explain how he found their location.
“I… I see things… in my head. Like… visions.” Stanley looks at Jiya, and then points at Lucy. “Ask her… she… I pulled her out of the water on the night the Titanic sank, and I… I…” He presses his hand against his forehead. “Their drugs are s-still… in m-my… my system. I’m sorry.”
Karl and Garcia share a look. They’re both concerned that Stanley showing up in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin could be a setup by Rittenhouse to attack them.
Dave stands, and pulls a gun from his waistband holster. “I’m going to go check the perimeter.”
Maria watches as Dave leaves the room. She looks at her son and Lucy, then stands and makes her way to them. “I’m going to go pack my things. I need to get back to Houston. If Rittenhouse discovers that I’m involved in this, that would make my home unsafe for all of us.”
Garcia nods his head, and looks at Lucy.
He knows she can fight for herself, and he knows that he would fight to the death to protect her. But all he wants is for her to go back with his mother in order to ensure her safety. He rests his hands on Lucy’s shoulders, wanting to keep physical contact with her just in case Rittenhouse shows up and blasts their way in here.
Lucy looks up at him, and holds her hand on top of his.
“I wasn’t…” Stanley groans, widening his mouth until he’s silently screaming. He bends at the waist and stomps his foot on the concrete floor. “The drugs, they… they’re meant to make it easier for me to… to… to slip into mental trips. And I…”
Lucy looks at Stanley with sympathy. She gives Garcia a look, stands up, and goes to Stanley.
She carefully touches his shoulder, and he flinches, pushing her away from him.
“Don’t… don’t touch me because it will create a stronger connection from my mind to your… physical whereabouts in and throughout time.” He looks at her with wild eyes, and whispers forebodingly to her. “They can’t find you.”
“You don’t need to explain how you found us,” Lucy says. “Tell us why you’re here.”
Stanley looks into Lucy’s eyes. “I like you, Lucy. You understand the important things in this war.” He glances from Lucy to Garcia. “That… p-people… loved ones are… are worth fighting for.” He smiles.
Lucy returns his smile.
“They… I… I got a-away when they wanted to… to transfer me from Mason Industries to New York.”
“Why New York?” Garcia asks, carefully approaching Lucy and Stanley.
Lucy looks back at him, and holds her hand out to stop him. She wants him to keep his distance since Stanley seems to view her as the safe person in this room. Garcia nods, and stops in his place. He refrains from crossing his arms so that Stanley doesn’t think he’s questioning the validity of what he’s telling them.
“In my timeline,” Lucy says. “They were getting ready to move from their San Francisco headquarters to a new headquarters in New York. Is that what they’re doing here?”
Stanley nods his head. “Yes.”
“How can we help you?” she asks.
“T-the drugs will wear off in a few days, and I… I… I might slip into a mental trip. B-but once,” his entire body shivers, “But once the drugs wear off, I can… I can control them. Right now, I-I can’t.”
“Do you know where their headquarters is located in New York?” Garcia asks. “And is that where they have Amy?”
Stanley looks at Garcia, seemingly calmer. “Blackish blue.”
“But with… but together, you’re bluish red.”
Garcia looks to Lucy, and asks, “What’s he talking about?”
“Forbidden colors,” Lucy answers.
“You’re mostly black n-now,” Stanley tells Garcia. “Your soul is exhausted, but you… y-you feel great responsibility.” Stanley looks at Lucy, and tells her, “Connor snuck me a b-book about color.” He smiles, as he touches Lucy’s face. “And your blue is… is stronger now than your green.” Stanley looks at Garcia. “T-that could mean that sh-she… carries more trust in you…” he squeezes his eyes shut, “… more trust in you now than before.”
Jiya cautiously joins Lucy, and looks at Stanley. She smiles and tells him, “I see their colors, too.”
Impatient, Karl looks at Lucy and Jiya. He appreciates that they’re keeping Stanley calm, because that most definitely was not the case when he picked locks and made his way into this safe house. It took both himself and Dave to calm him down, and for Stanley to stutter enough words for them to understand that he hadn’t been followed.
Karl goes to Garcia with a scowl on his face.
This is taking long enough.
They need concrete answers.
Garcia leans down as Karl whispers into his ear. He nods and goes to Lucy, touching her shoulder to get her attention. He speaks quietly to her and she nods her head.
“Stanley,” Lucy says. “Did they take Amy to New York? And do you know if she’s ok?”
Stanley looks at Lucy, then he looks at Karl. He takes a few steps towards Karl, and says, “Karl Borsok? Are you named after the eighteenth-century author of the same name? Or is he you?”
“No, and um… what?” Karl answers, even though he’s never heard of this author.
Stanley’s eyes go wide, and he looks around at the others, wondering why they’re not as panicked as he is. He covers his ears and screams, and falls to the ground.
Lucy steps back, and Garcia places his hand on her shoulder as he moves to stand between her and Stanley.
Iman stands up from his seat at the table, and rushes to Stanley.
“DON’T YOU HEAR THAT?!” Stanley screams.
And then, it happens.
The safe house alarms sound, and the lights in the basement dim and brighten.
Tammy runs over to the computer monitors with Rufus not far behind.
They both look at each other, their mouths agape. Unsure how to read the information that is being received.
Rufus turns to the group behind him, and rubs his hand on top of his head. “Mothership jumped,” he says. “And uh… it looks like all six of their time machines are operational.”
“How are we receiving signals from all six?” Karl asks.
“Mason,” Stanley says. “Connor Mason. H-he… helped me escape, and he tagged their machines so when th-they are used they would alert you, same as the first Mothership.”
“We haven’t heard from Connor in weeks,” Tammy says. “If he helped you escape-”
“They killed him,” Stanley says bluntly. “Saw him helping me escape, a-and shot him as he ran. B-b-but I didn’t stop. I kept running, and…” he whispers, “quiet as a mouse until they passed.”
Iman steps forward. “What are the six locations?”
“Al-Khobar, June 25th, 1996,” Tammy reads back the locations to the rest of the team. “Beirut, October 23rd, 1983… London, August 31st, 1888… Wallingford, Connecticut, September 17th, 1934… Munich, Germany, September 5th, 1972… and Washington, D.C., August 28th, 1963.”
“Um…” Lucy closes her eyes, thinking. “I’m not familiar with Middle Eastern history, so I don’t know the first.”
“That was the Khobar Towers bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia,” Garcia says. “If I remember correctly, the building served as the barracks for a coalition of forces supporting a no-fly zone operation in Southern Iraq. Some terrorist organization used a truck bomb to blow it up.” He pauses. “But that was in 1996, and unless they got some kid on their payroll who was born after it happened, I don’t know how they’re able to go back safely.”
“Unless Rittenhouse is looking to bring members of the Hezbollah Al-Hejaz or Al-Qaeda into their ranks,” Karl says. “I don’t know how desperate Rittenhouse could get, but waving large sums of money in the faces of terrorists could get a few of those whack-jobs to join them.”
“Yeah,” Noah says. “That’s just what we’d need, our team sustaining injuries from truck bombs, here or elsewhere in time.”
“We went back on our timeline for several hours,” Lucy reminds Garcia. “If Rittenhouse doesn’t spend too much time there, they could get enough done to… I don’t know? Cause more damage to history?”
Tammy speaks up. “They might be in London in 1888 because of the Jack the Ripper murders, but I couldn’t begin to explain why that would hold any kind of significance to them.”
Jiya perks up. “Unless Rittenhouse knows that maybe the Royal family was somehow involved, and wants to use that to bribe them to do horrible things. Well, worse things than they’ve already done.” She looks around the room, no one seems to think this is a probable reason. “What? I have an interest in the Jack the Ripper cases, and all the conspiracy theories behind it. Sue me.”
Rufus gives her a playful nudge with his shoulder.
“Anyway,” Garcia continues. “Beirut ’83 was when two truck bombs exploded outside a building that housed members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon. The attack killed around three-hundred people – military, and civilian.”
“Wallingford, Connecticut is where the Choate preparatory boarding school is located,” Lucy adds. “President John F. Kennedy began there in 1931, and his brother Joe Jr. was already there two years before him.” Lucy huffs, amused. “Jack was notorious for his rebellious behaviour. Once he even exploded a toilet seat with a firecracker. The headmaster referred to the culprits as ‘muckers’ and Kennedy took it as a cue to name his group of friends The Muckers Club.”
History untouched by her death in 2003.
It feels good to be able to offer the team information.
She continues, “While at Choate, he developed health problems that landed him in the emergency room at Yale New Haven Hospital in 1934. Doctors suspected leukemia. He graduated Choate in June 1935.” Lucy looks at Garcia. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but Rittenhouse has deep hooks inside American politics. You targeted both Lincoln, and the future president, General Grant, in 1865. We know that Nixon was deeply involved with them-”
Tammy raises her hand, and says, “I can attest to that. That son-of-a-bitch Nixon tried to hunt me down at the Watergate Hotel, later Rittenhouse passed it off as the Nixon administration break-in of the Democratic National Committee. Truth is that they were after me, and needed a cover story since the media had gotten their hands all over it.”
Lucy gives a sympathetic look to Tammy. She knows all-too-well how terrifying it is to be hunted by Rittenhouse.
“Munich,” Karl says, his calm is unsettling, “has to be when the Black September terrorist group infiltrated the Olympic Village, killed a couple members of the Israeli Olympic team, and took others hostage. My uh… my dad used to talk about it. How he thought about leaving the Games to go home because he wasn’t sure it was safe. And how if he had done that, he never would have met my mom, and… I wouldn’t have been born. They uh… they had seats next to each other for the gold medal football match at the Olympic Stadium on September 10th. That’s how they met.”
“What if they’re targeting you, then?” Jiya asks, easily reading into Karl’s nervousness. “They tried to take me out when I was a kid on 9/11-”
Lucy looks at Jiya, her eyes full of concern. “Nine-eleven?”
“My dad and I were… we were in New York that day, and we stopped for bagels, and that basically saved our lives because we had planned to go to the top of World Trade Center, the uh… South Tower, that morning. If it weren’t for bagels, we would’ve been inside the tower when it was hit.”
“How did they-”
“I hate to break it to you all,” Karl interrupts, “but while we’re here trying to figure out which Rittenhouse time machine to go after, they’re probably busy getting shit done.”
“Lucy!” Maria calls out as she re-enters the room. “I got your bag too! Let’s go!”
Maria is scurrying towards them. Obviously, this is the first time she’s been with the team when alarms have sounded and dangerous missions are being discussed. She’s scared.
Lucy looks at Garcia, and she sees in his eyes that he wants her to decide what she wants to do: stay here to go on a mission with him, or return to Houston with his mom.
She knows he wants her safe, and safe means staying in 2017.
Tammy clears her throat. “Washington, D.C. in 1963 is Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream’ speech.” She looks at Lucy. “I think Rittenhouse can do the worst damage in Wallingford, or D.C. What do you think?”
“I agree, um…” Lucy looks at Garcia. “Did the journal say anything about any of these locations?”
“The journal had an entry about JFK coming to 2017 from 1934. I’d put my money on that being the most impactful hit Rittenhouse could make among the six options.”
“What if they want to assassinate MLK Jr. before James Earl Ray does it a few years later?” Rufus asks, glancing at Tammy, who often sides with him when race is involved.
Lucy glances at Garcia. “We take both the Lifeboat and Maria’s time machine back to Houston. We get there, and we will have three machines at our disposal. Maria’s machine operates on auto-pilot, no training needed. Rufus or Jiya can pilot the Lifeboat.”
“Tammy and I will go save MLK Jr.,” Rufus says.
“Hopefully, we’ll get that done quickly,” Tammy says. “I’m not too thrilled about traveling on my own timeline, but I don’t want them to do anything to hinder the progress MLK makes.”
Dave re-enters the room. “Perimeter is clear. It doesn’t look like Stanley was followed.”
“Dave and I will take the Lifeboat to 1934,” Jiya says.
Garcia’s eyes are on Lucy, watching her as she struggles to keep her breath steady. He goes to her, and leans down to ask, “Are you ok?”
“No.” She shakes her head. “Lily, she… she said something about how Amy died on a mission in 1934.” Lucy gently rubs her hand just below the gunshot wound on Garcia’s shoulder. “What if this is when that happens?”
Garcia takes Lucy’s hands in his, and holds them against his chest. “Do you want me to go on that mission? I know I promised I wouldn’t go back in time without you, but-”
“And you’re going back with my mom?”
Lucy nods her head and looks down at their hands.
A tear falls from her cheek onto his wrist.
“Save her, Garcia…” she whispers. “Save her, and bring her back safely.”
He lets go of her hand, and runs his hand through her hair, kissing the top of her head. He rests his forehead against hers. “I promise you, Lucy,” he cups her face in his hand and looks into her eyes. “I promise that I’ll do everything I can to bring her back.”
It has been three days since Lucy watched Garcia climb into the Lifeboat with Jiya and Karl.
Three days that he’s been in 1934.
To test the theory that her mind remains unaffected by changes made to history in this timeline since she technically no longer exists here, she’s spent every afternoon in the Houston Public Library checking her memory against this timeline’s resources for each of the six locations that Rittenhouse jumped to.
The team took out both of Maria’s time machines, and the Lifeboat.
Garcia, Jiya and Karl – who replaced Dave because Karl insisted that he go on the mission to save Amy – are still in 1934. Nothing has changed in history that she remembers of John F. Kennedy’s time at the Choate School. He was sworn in as the 35th president at noon on 20 January 1961.
The very fact that nothing about Kennedy has changed suggests that Rittenhouse took Amy to 1934 in an effort to lure her to them. She has no idea if Amy is ok, and she has no idea if Garcia is all right. She spoke on the phone the day after they left with Garcia’s friend, Iman Fadel, and he told her how concerned he was that Garcia’s shoulder might not hold up well in a fight, or if he had to have quick reflexes with a gun.
She’s been worried ever since.
The other two time machines transported teams to Washington, D.C. on 28 August 1963 and to Munich, 1972. The first was to stop Rittenhouse from doing something terrible to Martin Luther King, Jr. five years before he is meant to be assassinated. Rufus and Tammy went on that mission, and Lucy was surprised – though she shouldn’t have been – to find out that Tammy is another one of the team’s tactical soldiers. She’d received training at Rittenhouse from the age of thirteen, in 1957, until alternate Garcia Flynn brought her from 1972 as a twenty-eight year old, to 2016.
Dave went alone in Maria’s second time machine to Munich, 1972, to keep an eye on Karl’s parents in case Rittenhouse is targeting them for certain death to prevent Karl from being born.
But the other three locations: Al-Khobar, 1996; Beirut, 1983; and London, 1888? They have no means to travel to them, so had to abandon them.
Lucy wishes she knew more about the Al-Khobar and Beirut bombings because what little information she got from Garcia simply isn’t enough to know what Rittenhouse has changed. And nothing with the London, 1888 Jack the Ripper case has changed.
Lucy sighs, and sets down a book about Jack the Ripper. She glances at her phone to see if Garcia has sent her a text message that he’s back, and that Amy is with him. There’s only a text from Maria saying that she picked up items at the store to make homemade peach ice cream tonight when they get home, and that she’s on her way to the library to pick up Lucy.
There’s nothing from Garcia.
She reaches into her purse and takes out hers and Garcia’s journal.
She opens it to the last part of the entry she made last Saturday.
After you left for the bunker with Jiya and Karl, your mom and I went to the store to pick up what we need to make spaghetti tonight. I also… picked up some lube, and decided against getting condoms because our daughter came to me from 2040 and indicated that she’s meant to be conceived soon. I pray that we haven’t missed the window of opportunity to conceive her, Garcia. I want so badly for you to meet her too.
We were interrupted at the safe house when Stanley Fisher arrived, and this evening, you went back to 1934 with Karl and Jiya, to try to save my sister.
Lucy leans back, resting her feet on the front of her chair, and her shins against the edge of the library table. She begins writing.
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
You’re still not back from 1934.
I’m going out of my mind worrying about Amy, and if you’re ok. I just have to keep telling myself you are doing everything you can to save her, and that you won’t give up until you bring her back to me.
I am scared something has happened to you, or that Amy died as Lilijana said when she spoke to me the other day. Iman said he’s concerned about your shoulder holding up. I worry that Emma or Wyatt could kill you if your injury slows you down. I wish there was some way that I could contact you while you’re in the past, while I wait for you here in 2017.
The not knowing is the worst.
When will you return? Are you alive or dead? Did Rittenhouse do something to the Lifeboat to strand you in 1934, and we have no way of knowing?
After our trip to Houston in 1969, I talked to Rufus because I was worried about him since he had killed a man at NASA. He told me then that he would do it again, and shoot Anthony so you wouldn’t have a pilot, and would be stranded in 1969. Now the thought of you being stranded in the past terrifies me. If you don’t come back soon, we’ll never conceive the Lilijana Maria that I met.
And she loves you, dušo. She only met you once, but whatever I told her about you, made her love you. I need you to come back. We need to make our beautiful little girl, and do everything we can to give her a happy life.
Lucy gently closes the journal, and places it back in her purse. She gathers up the small pile of books she accumulated, and returns them to their shelves.
Four days, five days, six, seven days have passed since Garcia left for 1934.
Lucy can only hope that Garcia is playing a terrible April Fool’s Day joke on her, and that he’s back in 2017, and for some ungodly reason has decided not to let her know. He wouldn’t, but it’s better than the alternative – he died, and is never coming back.
She sits in the corner of Maria’s couch with the burgundy and cream Titanic blanket draped over her legs which are curled up beneath her. She’s been having a hard time keeping down meals, feeling sick to her stomach due to her anxiety because Garcia has been gone so much longer than anyone expected.
Nothing has changed with John F. Kennedy.
He still gets elected president, and he still gets assassinated in Dallas on 22 November 1963.
Maria quietly joins her, sitting on the other end of the couch. “What are you watching?”
“It Happened One Night,” Lucy answers. These days, she doesn’t feel like talking very much.
“I haven’t seen that movie in decades,” Maria says.
“Garcia and I watched it the first night we were here…well… we did, in our timeline.”
Maria nods her head, and turns her attention to the TV, allowing awkward silence to hang in the air between them.
Even her bed is no longer comfortable.
Lucy rolls onto her side to look at the digital clock on the nightstand.
It’s four o’clock in the afternoon, and she has no desire to get out of bed.
For the last three nights, she’s barely been able to sleep.
But last night, she excused herself from Maria’s company at seven in the evening, came upstairs, crawled into bed, and was asleep once her head hit her pillow.
She dreamt of Lilijana.
And in the dream, the two of them were in a dance studio. Lily was in her ballet-pink unitard and white tights, and Lucy in burgundy, just like the photo. An older man sat at the piano and played music as the dance instructor demonstrated to the class a détourné turn at the barre. It seemed Lucy was taking part in a beginner ballet class with her daughter.
The two of them were laughing, and enjoying themselves.
And just like that, she woke up.
Lucy holds her hand over her abdomen, and groans.
Her period isn’t due until April 10th, five days from now, but apparently mild cramping has come early.
Maybe her dream of Lilijana was her subconscious needing to spend time with a child that she’ll never have. A way for Lucy to say goodbye to the little girl who grew into the beautiful young woman who traveled back in time to try to save hers and Garcia’s lives.
Lucy rolls onto her back, and presses her hands against her abdomen.
She squeezes her eyes shut, trying not to cry.
But it doesn’t work.
In the few short minutes that she spent with Lilijana, she felt a connection to her.
She loves her.
But now that she and Garcia missed the opportunity to conceive her, she’ll never be born.
Lucy gasps for air and sobs.
She covers her mouth, not wanting Maria to hear her.
She knows that Maria cares for her, and has been worried for her since Garcia left for 1934, eleven days ago. But it’s not Maria’s comfort that she needs.
She needs Garcia.
Friday, 7 April 2017
I’m trying not to believe that you’re dead.
I’ve called the safe house several times, asking if anyone knows anything about what has happened to you, Karl, Jiya, and my sister in 1934. And no one has answers. You’ve been there two weeks from tomorrow, and I don’t know what to think anymore.
Your mom made me go shopping with her today. I didn’t want to go. I don’t want to do anything except wait for a call or a text from you, so I know you’re safe.
I wish I had gone with you to 1934.
I hate that I didn’t.
Sunday, 9 April 2017
I think you’re alive.
Your mom and I were talking about President Kennedy during lunch, and I was fidgeting with a half dollar coin. As your mom was talking about Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs, the coin changed from Kennedy’s profile to Nixon’s right before my eyes. Normally, I’d be scared about what that meant for history, and how it affects our present, but instead I gasped out loud, and covered my mouth as I began crying, and laughing.
Your mom has never heard of John F. Kennedy, and his name appears in reference to being related to other members of his family. From what I’ve read at the library, in 1934, he was kidnapped from Choate School, and his body was found washed up in a river three weeks later, on October 8th. Normally, I would be out of my mind concerned about what the implications of his death mean for history, but I’m not. For starters, I’m much more concerned about when you’ll come home, and that I’ll finally be able to see my sister again. I’ve also learned that history will find someone else to replace him. That Kennedy’s accomplishments as President will be handled in one way or another.
I can’t wait to see you again, dušo. My PMS symptoms are something else right now. I’m sure that’s due to the stress I’ve been under while you’ve been gone. My breasts are more tender than usual, and I’ve had headaches every day. And your mom is making me get out of bed in the morning now, when before I wouldn’t get up until late afternoon. I’m so tired, but hopeful that you’ll call or come home soon, with Amy.
Rufus sits in front of the computer monitors at three in the morning because it’s his turn to keep an eye on the Lifeboat vitals since Garcia, Karl, and Jiya have been in 1934 for sixteen days now. He runs his fingers across the bruise on his knuckles. A nasty bruise that he sustained while he and Tammy were in 1963. He and Tammy had separated so that she could get a better view of potential sniper positions Rittenhouse might take, Rufus stood ten feet from Martin Luther King, Jr., posing as one of his bodyguards.
Unfortunately for Rufus, Rittenhouse didn’t send a sniper to try to kill MLK Jr.
That would have been easy for them to handle as Tammy is quite the skilled sniper herself.
Instead, Rittenhouse had infiltrated MLK’s entourage with one of their sleeper agents who must have arrived years before in order to gain the minister’s trust. Rufus saw the sleeper agent remove a revolver from his coat pocket, and since Rufus had no weapon of his own, he was forced to punch that fucker as hard as he could to take him out. And without using proper technique, he totally messed up his hand, but at least his actions saved MLK Jr.’s life that day.
Unfortunately, five years later, on April 4th, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, Martin Luther King, Jr. was still assassinated by James Earl Ray.
Rufus hears footsteps behind him, and turns around to see Dave approaching him with two mugs of coffee.
“Thought you might need a caffeine fix,” Dave says, handing Rufus one of the coffee mugs.
Rufus sips at the coffee and scans the computer monitors.
“I’m worried about her, too, you know?” Dave says. “We all are.”
“Jiya’s a better fighter than me, and Garcia and Karl have given her basic firearm training, but…” Rufus shakes his head. “They’ve been gone over two weeks, and I have no idea what that means for the kind of violence and chaos that can ensue when Garcia and Karl are together.” Rufus sips his coffee. “That and the fact that Jiya is getting more and more confident about taking part in said violence and chaos the longer this war rages on.”
“They wouldn’t do anything to put her in danger,” Dave says. “Plus, she’s a good fighter.”
“I know that, but I worry that Jiya might feel the need to jump in to try to save their asses if they got into a situation they couldn’t handle. I just… I don’t like the idea of her turning into one of them.”
“You mean turning into a soldier?” Dave raises his brow, and sips his coffee.
“Yeah,” Rufus says, focusing his attention back on the monitors. “If it weren’t for this war, she never would have needed to learn how to fight. It isn’t her.”
Dave raises his brow; he can’t argue with that.
Rufus perks up when he feels a slight breeze brush against his face.
He stands and looks at the computer monitor, seeing an alert that the Lifeboat has been activated.
The air vibrates around him and Dave.
Both of them set down their coffees, and rush towards where the Lifeboat lands.
Time snaps, bends, and with a puff of air, the Lifeboat is back in 2017.
Rufus runs to it, followed by Dave, who is pushing the ladder.
The hatch opens, and Rufus jumps to try to peer inside to see if Jiya is all right.
“Rufus!” Jiya calls out to him. She forcefully pushes Garcia aside, sits down, and slides off the Lifeboat and runs into his arms.
Dave looks up as Garcia slowly limps down the stairs. There’s dried blood all over the sleeve of his shirt, cuts and scrapes on his visible skin, and he has a blackeye.
He looks like shit.
“It’s been sixteen days. What happened?” Dave asks, glancing up into the Lifeboat.
“Rittenhouse kidnapped JFK. We had to hunt them down, and… they had Amy, and…” He motions to his face, his arm, and the dirt on his clothes. “Things got rough, but…” Garcia looks at the Lifeboat’s hatch as Karl emerges, with his arm wrapped protectively around Amy’s shoulders. “We saved her, sacrificing Kennedy’s life to do it.”
Garcia looks behind Dave, hoping that maybe Lucy has returned to the safe house since he’s been gone for so long. But she’s not there. All he sees is Rufus and Jiya making their way to the elevator to go upstairs to their room.
“What day is it?” Garcia asks.
“Three in the morning, Monday, April 10th,” Dave answers.
“Fuck,” Garcia mutters. “Have you heard from Lucy?”
“She’s called several times, asking if we knew anything about you.”
“Is she ok?”
“Seemed more upset every time she called,” Dave tells him, eyeing Karl and Amy as they turn down the hallway leading to the medical area of the basement. “I know it’s three in the morning, but you might want to give her a call,” he says, nodding his head to excuse himself to see if Karl needs help with Amy.
It doesn’t matter that it’s almost four o’clock in the morning.
Garcia has showered and allowed Noah to re-stitch and re-bandage his arm. It still hurts, of course, but not nearly as much as it did a couple of weeks ago. He opens a drawer of the dresser in his room and looks at the clothes his alternate counterpart kept. He grabs a few t-shirts, underwear, socks, a couple pairs of jeans, and grey cargo pants. He shoves them into his duffle bag.
He opens the drawer to the nightstand, takes out alternate Garcia Flynn’s journal, and crams it into the bag as well.
Then, he looks at his phone.
If Lucy’s asleep, he doesn’t want to wake her.
He knows Rufus is still awake because he can hear him with Jiya in the room next to his.
Once they finish, he’ll knock on their door and ask Rufus to take Karl, Amy, and him back to Houston.
So fucking tired.
The sun will rise soon, but maybe he should try to get a few hours of sleep before contacting Lucy. He’s been gone sixteen days, a few more hours won’t make any difference.
He sits down on the edge of his bed and turns on his phone, opening it to their last few text messages.
G: How do you do the winking smiley face?
L: [ laughing emoji x7 ]
G: I’m serious.
L: I’ll show you later tonight [ winking emoji ] And maybe a little [ kiss emoji, eggplant emoji + butterfly emoji = spark emoji, water emoji, wow emoji ]
L: Your mom is trying to peek at our conversation [ laughing emoji ] We probably don’t want her seeing what we’re talking about [ kiss emoji ] So I’ll let you go [ wink emoji ]
G: Ok. I’ll call you at 6.
L: Ok. ILY [ heart emoji ]
He closes his eyes and lets out a relieved sigh.
Then he looks at the last text she sent him two days ago, while he was in 1934.
L: I love you
He can’t imagine how worried she has been while he was gone.
But he saved Amy.
And he’ll be able to bring her back to Lucy today.
A lot of things went incredibly wrong in 1934, but the one thing that mattered the most went right.
He saved Amy.
There are three quiet knocks on his bedroom door.
His heart skips a beat, hoping that somehow Lucy has come here to him.
He stands, and straightens his shirt.
He opens the door slowly, and looks down.
“Hi,” she says. “We need to talk.”
Without a word, he steps aside, motioning for her to enter his room.
He closes the door.
Amy’s arms are wrapped around him before he knows what is happening, and it doesn’t seem fair that he, Garcia Flynn, should feel the warmth of her embrace before Lucy. But in this timeline, Amy is his friend, and together they lead this team in their war with Rittenhouse.
Garcia keeps his arms wrapped around Lucy’s sister, thanking God they were able to save her.
Amy sighs, and rests her face against his chest. “Thank you,” she whispers.
She pulls away from him, and wipes a tear from her face.
Her eyes fall on his duffle bag.
“Um… I know you want to get back to my sister as soon as possible, but before you go, I need to ask you to do something for me. Something to keep her safe.”
“You’re not coming with me?” he asks, looking intensly into her eyes.
“I’m not, and… I need you to lie to her, Garcia.”
“Karl told me what she’s been through, and I don’t want her to risk her life to see me. Not until we figure out how to stop Rittenhouse.” Amy lowers her eyes. “I want to see her so badly, Garcia, but if she comes here, if she… risks her life to see me now…” Amy takes hold of Garcia’s hand for emphasis. “I need you to tell her that I died in 1934, that way she’ll be so upset, and grieving my death, that she won’t have the strength to fight them.”
Garcia snaps his hands out of hers, and shakes his head. “That’s manipulative, you know? Just like Carol.”
“I know, but I’m willing to break her heart, and to hurt her, if that means she’ll be safe. Don’t you love her enough to do the same?”
Garcia shakes his head.
He can’t lie to Lucy, not now that everything he had been keeping from her is out in the open.
Amy gently touches his shoulder. “Listen, if Lucy knows I’m alive, you know her. You know how stubborn she can be. She will put herself in danger to see me.” Amy looks at him, serious. “Look, if Stanley Fisher found his way here, that means Rittenhouse could find this place, and if she’s here then they could get her.”
“Sixteen days, Amy,” Garcia says. “We’ve been gone sixteen days, and Stanley is still here. If Rittenhouse was tracking him, don’t you think they would’ve,” he shakes his head, “I don’t know, destroyed this safe house, and taken him back?”
“Rittenhouse thinks before acting, Garcia. They intended for you to come to 1934 to save me. They expected my sister to be with you, and since she wasn’t… I don’t doubt that they’ll try to find this place, thinking that she’s here, and if she knows that I’m here… nothing will keep her from-”
“Do you not understand that your sister has lost everything?” Garcia asks, on the verge of shouting. “Telling her that you died will take away the only family she has left. For months, she believed that you had been erased from existence because of something I did at the Hindenburg when the truth was that your mother arranged things so you were locked away, and it only looked like you had been erased.”
“Lucy has you, doesn’t she?” Amy asks. “Aren’t you also her family now?”
Garcia looks at Amy, and angrily runs his hand through his hair.
He knows that he is Lucy’s family.
That he intends to marry her as soon as this fucking war allows.
“We’re trying to have a baby,” he says calmly. “And when we become pregnant, which should be sooner rather than later, we intend to live in the past for several years before returning.” He looks at Amy with desperation. “Can’t that be what I do to keep her safe from them? To keep her out of this war? Why do you think the only option is to lie to her?”
“I love that you two want to start a family, Garcia. I do. But if she knows that I’m here, she will ask you to bring her here, and I see it in your eyes now that you won’t deny her.” Amy touches his arm. “She will not be safe here. If she thinks that I’m dead, she’ll have no reason to want to come to this safe house.”
“I can’t lie to her, Amy. You don’t know this, but she and I have had serious issues with lying and withholding information – all of it on my part. I’ve promised her that I won’t hurt her like that again. I’m not going to do it.”
“Do you know about my sister’s journal from 1725?”
“I know Rittenhouse wants to take her there to become the Mother of Rittenhouse, but I’ve not read a journal from that time.”
“I have.” Amy swallows hard. “They abort your unborn child, Garcia. Byron beats her, and violently rapes her every night until he impregnates her. And it doesn’t stop after David is born. Byron wanted more children, but only sons. So, when my sister gives birth to baby girls, he kills them. He keeps her locked in his bedchamber, naked, her hands bound to the bedposts.”
Garcia blinks away tears, and bites down hard on his lower lip as his face flushes red with anger.
“She gets held down by Byron’s men, who watch as he violates her. And our mother is there, and in between his vicious rapes, she tells Lucy how proud she is of her for doing this so that Rittenhouse can exist.”
“I won’t let anything bad happen to-”
“She kills herself, Garcia.” Amy pauses to let that sink in. “She endures six years of violent beatings, and rape, then gives up on the hope that anyone will save her, and she kills herself.”
“I can protect her-”
“Against all of Rittenhouse?” Amy shakes her head. “If they found her, they’d show up with several dozen soldiers, kill you, and there’d be nothing you could do about it. You’d be dead, and she’d spend six years enduring-”
“Then what the fuck am I supposed to do, Amy?” Garcia growls, turning away from her. He looks around for something, anything, to throw against the wall. “I promised her that I’d save you, and bring you back to her. I made good on that promise, and here you are telling me to lie to her?”
“Neither me, nor Lucy belong in this world, Garcia.” Amy touches his back, and he flinches, stepping away from her. “You’ve seen what Rittenhouse has accomplished, even without the aid of time travel. They’ve done horrible things so David Rittenhouse’s bloodline can control the world.” She sighs. “I don’t know… maybe you could take her somewhere else in time, before she was born, and that way when we destroy them, she will be preserved, and-”
“And still tell her that you’re dead?”
Garcia angrily paces the room, with his hands on his hips. He glances at Amy, and shakes his head.
“Do you love my sister, Garcia?”
He stops and looks at Amy; what the Hell kind of question is that?
“Because if you do, then you should want to do everything necessary to protect her from them. And that includes lying to her, and breaking her heart so that she stays out of this.”
“And if you actually die before the war is over? Then she never sees you again.”
“If that happens, then it happens.” She shakes her head, and says quietly, “I don’t belong here. None of us do. Not her, not me, not even you.”
Garcia shouldn’t be surprised Amy knows that Rittenhouse is a reason why he was born. His mother’s first husband, Mark, was a member of Rittenhouse, and they killed him in a car accident in 1967 when he tried to leave. If Mark never died, his mother never would have met Asher Flynn – his father.
Garcia closes his eyes. He can’t erase the mental images of what Byron Rittenhouse is supposed to do to Lucy. And he knows that when Lucy finds out her sister is alive, nothing – not even he – will be able to keep her from coming here immediately to see her.
He loves Lucy.
She’s the most important person in the world to him.
And if lying to her about Amy until this war is over is what he has to do to keep her safe, goddamn him, he knows he has to do it.
“Fine,” he says, defeated. “I’ll lie to her for you, to keep her safe.” He sniffles, and sits down on the foot of his bed. “I don’t know how the Hell I’m going to be able to look her in the eye because making her think you died, and that I couldn’t save you, is going to break her in ways I can’t even imagine.”
“She’ll have you to help her through it,” Amy says. “And you can stay with her as long as she needs. If you don’t want to return to this war so you can stay with her… I understand.”
“I’ll have to come back without her,” he says, wiping a tear from his face. “If I didn’t come back, and didn’t figure out how to save Lorena and Iris, after Lucy thinks I couldn’t save you…” He shakes his head. “Godammit, Amy… I’ll do this to keep her safe, but if she finds out… I’ll lose her. I know her… telling her you’re dead when you’re not, and her finding out… she will leave me, and she will never come back.”
“I don’t want that, Garcia. And that’s just one more reason why we’re going to fight Rittenhouse until we destroy them. Once that happens… then I’ll tell her that I asked you to lie for me because the last thing I wanted was to lose my sister again.” Amy chokes back tears. “My mom killed her, and said she did it for Rittenhouse. I hate them just as much as I hate my mother.” She sniffles. “I want a better world for my sister, and I know with enough bullheadedness and determination, we can win this war. I don’t know how long it will take, but I believe one day it will happen.”
There’s a knock on the door, and it slowly opens.
Karl stands in the doorframe, and waves a journal in the air.
“Here,” he says, handing it to Amy.
She turns to Garcia, and hands him the journal.
“It’s her 1725 journal,” she says. “I know you want to get back to her, but before you do, I need you to read this in its entirety so you know exactly what you’re protecting her from when you lie to her. So, you know how important it is to continue to lie, even if you’re tempted to tell her the truth.”
Garcia nods his head, and looks down at the journal.
He runs his fingertips over its dry leather cover.
The door to his room closes, and he is alone.
He opens the journal.
Friday, 12 February 1725
Mom is making me write in this journal so that Rittenhouse has a record of the conception of their leader, a man I’m meant to give birth to in November of this year. I’m locked in Byron’s bedchamber, allowed only to wear my chemise and corset. Apparently, corsets help get Byron excited and turned on more easily so he can perform properly as he rapes me. Wyatt is sitting across the room; he’s been assigned to keep an eye on me while Emma and my mother go back to 2017 to bring back a qualified surgeon to perform an abortion on me.
G, I won’t be able to stop them from killing our baby.
It’s past midnight on Tuesday, April 11th, when Garcia pulls his mother’s car into the driveway of her house.
He had wanted to return to Lucy yesterday, but instead he spent the entirety of the day reading the journal from 1725. He can’t get the mental images of what Lucy could go through if Rittenhouse manages to capture her again. The beatings, the torture, starvation, and the violent rapes.
He doesn’t want to lie to Lucy, he has to.
To prevent everything that he read from happening to her.
When Rufus dropped him off at NOVUS, he had texted his mother, and asked her to pick him up. She was there when he stepped out of the time machine. She told him how worried she and Lucy had been since he’d been gone. That she didn’t understand why he didn’t want her to wake Lucy to come with her.
Then, he lied to his mother.
He told her that Amy had died in 1934.
His mom wrapped her arms around him, and promised him that though Lucy would be devastated, she would understand that he did everything he could. That she wouldn’t be angry with him for trying to save her sister.
Then she told him that she would give him and Lucy the house for the next few days, so they could have their privacy. So, Lucy could grieve her sister’s death with him.
She kissed him on the cheek, and stepped into the time machine with Rufus, then went with him back to the safe house – where she will find out that he lied.
Garcia quietly closes the door to the car, and makes his way to the front door.
He fumbles with the keys, and enters the foyer.
A light is on in the kitchen, and his heart stops.
Is Lucy awake?
Does he have to lie to her right now?
He sets the keys down on a table in the foyer and heads to the kitchen.
Lucy’s not there.
He knows his mom wouldn’t have left the house without making sure all the doors and windows were locked, but he checks them anyway.
Not wanting to go upstairs to her.
To lie to Lucy.
Wanting only to delay breaking her heart.
He jiggles the handle of the front door, then turns and looks up the staircase.
Lucy is standing there, watching him.
Her hair is messy, and she’s wearing a new black drop-shoulder nightgown.
In her eyes, he sees hope.
He stands there, saying nothing.
Wanting to etch the way she looks into his memory forever.
He breaks eye-contact with her, and lowers his head.
Then slowly makes his way to her.
She looks up at him with both hands resting on his chest.
She rises on her toes, and gently kisses his lips.
But he can’t bring himself to kiss her back, not in the way he had wanted to when he first returned from the mission.
He pulls away, and cups her face in his hand.
“I love you so much, Lucy…” he whispers, and his voice reveals that something is terribly wrong.
She leans to the side, looking behind him.
Looking for her sister.
“I’m sorry…” his voice breaks. “I… I tried, Lucy…” He holds her hands in his, and is unable to make eye contact with her, so he stares at the floor. “I… I fought for her, draga… for two weeks, we hunted them down to find her…” He lifts her hands to his lips, and kisses her knuckles. “I sacrificed JFK’s life to save her, but…”
“No.” Lucy backs away from him, not wanting him to say it.
“Lucy…” He doesn’t have to say the words aloud, his eyes lie for him.
“Amy…” Her voice is barely a whisper, but carries an unimaginable sorrow.
She grabs onto his shoulders as her knees give out.
She opens her mouth to speak, to ask more questions, but can only gasp for air as the sobs – the agonizing sobs – pour out of her heart. She falls to her knees, her hands grasping onto his shirt.
Garcia lowers himself to her, and takes her into his arms as she lets out a cry he hopes to never hear escape from her again. “Lucy…” her name is a soft whimper on his lips. He kisses her forehead, and hates himself for doing this to her.
He knows if she discovers this lie before Rittenhouse is destroyed, she will hate him.
He knows with this lie; he risks losing her forever.
He deserves whatever consequence comes from his deception.
But what other option does he have to protect her?
He read the 1725 journal, and in it, Lucy included graphic descriptions of what Byron will do to her if Rittenhouse takes her to him. There is no way in Hell Garcia will let that happen. If Lucy knew her sister was alive at the safe house now, she would find a way to go to her immediately.
And the safe house isn’t as safe as it should be.
Stanley Fisher was able to find it, and enter it without prior notice.
If Rittenhouse followed him, or somehow has a way to track him… and if Lucy was there when they did… they would get her.
He hates that he has to lie to her, but he does it because it’s the best way to keep her safe.
He grunts as he lifts her up into his arms, and carries her back to their room.
Her arms clasp tightly around his neck, and her tears soak his shirt.
He gently sets her down in bed.
She rolls onto her side, her back to him.
He steps out of his shoes, and crawls in beside her.
He wraps his arms around her, and holds her.
Then Lucy turns to face him, pushes him away, and sits up to look at him.
There’s anger in her eyes.
“You promised you’d do everything you could!” she cries. “How could you…?” Her voice breaks, and she no longer has the strength to sit, so she collapses into her pillow, and wraps her arms tightly around it instead of him.
Garcia’s face contorts as he holds back tears.
He never wanted to hurt her, and now he’s lied to her again.
A lie that will break her spirit.
That will destroy her.
A lie that could destroy them.
He lays down next to her again, and carefully rests his hand on her waist. He kisses the back of her neck, and whispers, “I’m so sorry… Lucy…” He wraps his arm tightly around her as her body trembles uncontrollably as she sobs. “Bože, molim te oprosti mi što sam joj slomio srce…” He closes his eyes – God, please forgive me for breaking her heart.