The heart ache has become too much.
Pain seared through Lucy’s heart each time she thought about the “what ifs” when it came to Garcia Flynn. But they could only be “what ifs” because he was gone. No, not gone. He was dead. He sacrificed himself to save Rufus, leaving only a letter that said without saying that he did what he did because he loved her, and that he believed that her life would be better without him in it.
He was wrong.
The guilt weighs heavily on her shoulders.
Not one night has passed in the last five years when she has not thought about other ways that they could have tried to save Rufus as a team. And there were so many other things they could have done that wouldn’t have meant Garcia giving his life to restore the other.
They could have sent Agent Christopher and Connor Mason back to Chinatown to warn Rufus. They could have gone back and brought with them a bulletproof vest for him to wear. They could have gone back to the night Jessica was killed and instead of ensuring her death, they could have saved her life. They could have talked to her, recruited her to their side. They could have brought her with them back to 2018 since she wasn’t meant to exist after February 11th in the first place.
Or perhaps they should have just let it be.
Maybe Rufus was supposed to die.
The thought of not even trying to save Rufus breaks her heart, but sometimes bad things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it, just like with Amy. After the Hindenburg, Lucy returned to the present and her mom was healthy, but she still died. Was that Fate taking control of things that changed that weren’t meant to have been changed?
Lucy believes in Fate.
Lucy also believes in taking your life and maneuvering Fate to your desired result. If you’re sad, do something that makes you smile. If you’re unhappy, examine what it is that is making you unhappy and change it. If you’re bored, get up and do something that stimulates your mind. You don’t have to sit around and be static in your present condition if it doesn’t fit with the vision of what you want your life to be.
That’s not what Fate is.
Fate is about making your life what you want it to be.
Decisions and actions, that is Fate.
Lucy rolls onto her side and looks at her husband, Wyatt Logan, as he sleeps peacefully at her side. His life has been bliss since Flynn sacrificed himself. Wyatt has believed all these years that his marriage to her has been ideal. He’s also believed all these years that their daughters, Flynn and Amy, were his. For five years, he’s believed that he “won” Lucy when he read Flynn’s letter that said that he knows that she would forgive Wyatt because she loves him. He still ridicules her for having developed feelings for Flynn before his passing. Telling her how ridiculous it was that she was falling for a terrorist, the man who murdered Jessica on Portero Road. And that’s what Wyatt actually believed happened, even in their original timeline. That Garcia Flynn, all this time, had been Jessica’s original killer.
Lucy closes her eyes and sighs.
Wyatt sleeps peacefully at her side every night. Sleep comes easily to him due to his being completely unaware of what is really going on around him. Once, she dared to express her unhappiness in their marriage and he berated her about how wrong she was. He lectured her on how happy they are together and that it was absurd to think otherwise. Since then, Lucy learned to fake it with him. To not let him know how she really feels for the sake of avoiding another useless argument with someone so self-absorbed. Not once in the past five years has he expressed grief over losing Jessica again. Not once has he shown sincere thanks for everything Garcia Flynn sacrificed for them.
Garcia died so they might be happy. He died so she wouldn’t lose Wyatt if his body couldn’t handle the side effects of traveling within his own timeline. Wyatt didn’t care about what sacrifice Garcia made, instead he treated it like a gift and acts like he had always been entitled to his happily ever after.
Lucy rolls onto her back and covers her mouth to quiet her cries as tears stream down her face. Her heart aches more with each beat. Garcia deserved better than this. She deserves better. And more importantly, her daughters – hers and Garcia’s – deserve better.
She loves him, that’s all there is to it.
Somehow, in his absence, she has fallen in love with Garcia Flynn.
How can she continue to pretend that she is all right? How can she continue to act like she’s happy with Wyatt when she is not? Outside, everything is perfect, but inside she’s falling apart.
Why didn’t you tell me that we were going to be together?
Honestly? I didn’t really believe it. I’m not exactly your type.
Garcia’s voice echoes in her memory every night. She closes her eyes and can vividly picture standing underneath the tree. He held onto the reigns of her horse as she pet its nose, gazing up into Garcia’s eyes as he smiled down at her with adoration, and a sense of his own heartache for thinking he could never be loved by her, and that he shouldn’t be loved by her.
In the future, I must have seen a different side to you. I guess I’ve already started to.
Then stop. Because if you read the rest of the journal, that affair we have. It ends badly because your heart always belonged to someone else.
These memories make her so angry.
She tried to tell him, without saying it directly, that she was falling in love with him. And the idiot pushed her away. He pushed her away and suggested that she go back to Wyatt. Wyatt, the man who stomped all over her heart and treated her as if he had the right to have her as his mistress while trying to work on his marriage to Jessica. Wyatt, the man who believed that he had a say in her life when they lived in the bunker. Wyatt, the man who now controls every aspect of her life. Wyatt… the man who – to this day – continues to be jealous of a dead man.
What the Hell was Garcia thinking?
She’s had five years to think about this.
Five years and all she can come up with is that Garcia was afraid. He was afraid to love again. And in true Garcia Flynn fashion, he fucked up. He pushed her away. He pushed her back toward Wyatt instead of facing his fear of loving and being loved again.
Lucy’s tears have stopped falling and now her heart is racing with anger. She feels blood flush her cheeks and she sighs in frustration.
Garcia had assumed that if he were out of her life that she would find happiness with Wyatt. This was the same man who she had overheard tell Wyatt in the bunker restroom that she wasn’t Wyatt’s wife and Wyatt had no control over her. The same man who she heard say that Wyatt should talk to her if he has a problem with her spending time with Garcia. The same man who told Wyatt that she is perfectly capable of making her own choices.
You were the one good thing in my life. The one thing that I couldn’t hate after I lost my family.
And he was the one thing that brought her happiness when it seemed the world was doing all that it could to crush her and break her heart. If she meant that much to him why would he not try to do everything to get back to her? To at least see what the future could bring if he dared to risk everything to love her and she to love him?
They could have had everything together.
Not long after he died, she found out that she was pregnant from one night’s indiscretion in his room. She recalled the time she told him that he could be a father again and how he seemed desperate to accept complete darkness in his life in order to destroy Rittenhouse and save his family. Even if that meant leaving them and being alone, to allow the darkness to swallow him. That night in 1780, she saw in him what he refused to accept still resided within himself. She saw a good man who had been hurt. She saw a man still capable of love. She saw him as a father, a husband. And though at that time they were on opposite sides of the war, she wanted him to heal. She wanted him to find happiness again, to be a husband and a father.
If he had only come back from his trip to 2012.
If only he knew he was going to be a father again.
A father to their twin girls.
And she knew without a doubt that Garcia was the father, despite having slept with Wyatt not long after they returned from North Korea to try to ease the pain of her broken heart. Before their trip back to 1888 to save Jiya in Chinatown, she was late and suspected she might be pregnant. Since she had only slept with Garcia months after her one night relationship with Wyatt in Hollywood… if she was pregnant, without a doubt, Garcia was the father.
Lucy stared at the results of her pregnancy test for a long time and cried.
She cried for the “what if.” She cried because the father of her unborn child wasn’t alive to share the moment with her. She cried because she was furious with Garcia for taking things into his own hands without talking to her first. She cried because she was angry with him for taking his own life because he thought that would make her happy. She cried because she knew that in time, she could have loved him the way he deserved to be loved. She cried because he didn’t know what he had left behind when he sacrificed his life for her and Rufus. She cried for the loss of his love. A love she deserved. Love without expectation of molding herself into being the perfect woman and wife as she has done for Wyatt.
Sitting there on the bathroom floor of her new apartment, she grew angry with Garcia. She screamed into her hands and cried so hard she couldn’t lift herself up from the bathroom floor. Her heart pounded so hard in her chest that she thought she might die. The anger rushed violently through her veins with each thought of what could have been if only Garcia had come back to her alive. She ached to feel his arms around her, to feel his comfort. She was alone but the thought of him brought her comfort, as if he were somehow sitting there on the bathroom floor with her.
And she hated him.
She hated him for abandoning her.
She hated him for killing himself.
She hated him for being a coward.
She hated him and she loved him with every fiber of her being that night.
And it was her anger with him that pushed her back into Wyatt’s arms.
The next day, she told Wyatt that she was pregnant.
Everything that happened next was a whirlwind.
Wyatt was so excited that he was going to be a father that he promptly asked her to marry him. She said “yes” and in a blink of an eye it seemed she was saying “I do.” And during the wedding ceremony she prayed that Garcia was there, somehow, watching her. She prayed that Garcia knew how much it hurt her that he had left her. She hoped that he knew how much it hurt her that he thought he knew what she wanted and what was best for her. She hoped that somehow, he knew that she was marrying Wyatt to spite him, to hurt him for assuming that she loved Wyatt when she did not. She hoped that marrying Wyatt would make Garcia realize just how wrong he had been in his assumptions.
She hoped that in death he felt regret.
She hoped that he felt the pain she felt being without him.
She didn’t take Wyatt’s name after the wedding, and she never told Wyatt he wasn’t the father of her twin girls. He just assumed that he was the only one she had slept with. And she hoped that Wyatt taking claim as the girls’ biological father angered Garcia, wherever he was after his death.
Reflecting back on all of this tears her apart.
Her entire life is a lie.
The only good thing that she has in her life is her daughters.
Little Flynn and Amy.
They are the only thing she can never hate.
Garcia lives through them.
Lucy sits up in bed and covers her mouth as she lets out another cry. She struggles to keep calm so that Wyatt doesn’t wake up and try to “soothe her pain” by “making love” to her. She runs her hands over her face and stares at her nightstand. All these years, she has kept the journal in its drawer.
She breathes deeply, in and out, then quietly drapes her legs over the side of the bed. She opens the drawer and removes the journal. She holds it delicately in her hand, brushing her fingertips over the LP that has been branded in the lower corner of the worn leather cover.
She flips through the pages of the journal, with only the dim moonlight shining through the bedroom window to provide light to read. She looks at the words she never wrote, but reading memories that she’ll cherish forever: meeting President Lincoln, meeting Benedict Arnold and George Washington, volunteering to help Harry Houdini during his show at the Chicago World Fair, spending time with Garcia as they witnessed Robert Johnson record his records, chasing after a young John F. Kennedy in 2018, having a starring role in Ian Fleming’s 1964 film Weapon of Choice, and even playing a small role in the suffragette movement. Lucy smiles and wipes away a tear with the back of her hand.
She flips through the pages of the journal and stops on what has become her most frequently read entry.
I sat wrapped in a blanket lost in thought and then Flynn kissed me and finally the pain I’ve felt for so long dissipated. So I kissed him back… again. And again.
Lucy bites her lower lip and tries hard to keep from crying again. This was supposed to be her future. Garcia was meant to be in her life.
I could see it in the way he took me in his arms, the same arms I used to run from – but not anymore. That night I felt safe, and protected, and loved.
He was meant to love her, and she to love him.
Her heart hurts, still feeling the void left in it when Garcia didn’t return from 2012. Her soul aches for the “what if” of Garcia Flynn. They were just getting to be close friends when he died. But with him, things were surprisingly natural. Sometimes awkward, sometimes comfortable, but it didn’t matter because with Garcia she could let down her guard. She didn’t have to pretend to be someone she was not with him. She didn’t have to pretend that everything was all right. She could just be herself, something she can never be with Wyatt.
Lucy glances behind her shoulder.
Wyatt is still asleep.
She stands up and leaves the bedroom, being careful to shut the door softly behind her.
She hugs the journal tightly against her chest as she makes her way down the hallway. She pauses to look into Flynn and Amy’s bedroom, they too are fast asleep in their beds. She leans against the doorframe and sighs, closing her eyes, wishing that Garcia were here with her now. That he was standing behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist, and kissing the top of her head as they watch their little girls sleep. She wishes that he was here to be their father, to watch them grow up. She wishes that her girls could know their real father.
And then the thought crosses her mind again…
She knows that Wyatt doesn’t want her to go back in time to give Garcia this journal. His jealousy of the man has been the cause of their few marital disagreements. He’s even asked her to throw the journal away or burn it in the fireplace so that “we can finally be free of Garcia Flynn.”
But… they kept the Lifeboat.
All she has to do is call Agent Christopher and tell her that in order for everything to work out as it has that she needs to go back in time to give Garcia the journal.
And if she does that then…
Lucy hurries down the stairs, passing the living room and its sparkling Christmas tree as she makes her way down another hallway to her office. She turns on the lamp at her desk and sits down, pushing un-graded papers out of the way. Her heart pounds in her chest. She’s scared and excited about what she’s about to do.
She opens the journal to its end.
There are no more pages to write on, only the blank lining of the back cover.
Her eyes fall on a small framed photograph underneath the desk lamp. A photograph of her and her daughters posing together among redwood trees. She takes the frame and removes the photo, using Scotch tape to attach it to the back cover of the journal so that it can easily be flipped to read what is written on the back: Lucy, Flynn and Amy – 22 January 2023, the girls’ 4th birthday – Sequoia National Park.
There’s not a lot of room left for her to write on the back cover with the picture taped to it, but she has to write something so that maybe Garcia will make a different decision that will change their future. She must be brief. She inhales and exhales slowly. Her hand shakes as she picks up a pen and hovers over the blank canvas. She’s thought about what she could write so many times before that she’s not sure she knows how to begin. She closes her eyes and takes a breath, pressing the pen to paper.
December 21, 2023
When we go back to 1848, do not take the Lifeboat and go back to kill Jessica. We can find another way. I know we haven’t figured out how to save your family yet, or my sister, but you’re a father again, to our twin daughters and I want you to know them. I want you to be here with us, as a family. I can’t keep pretending that I’m happy with Wyatt. I want the choice to choose you, please don’t take that away from me.
I love you,
She signs her name and hates that the final entry in the journal is vague and without any elaboration to explain things further. She wants to tell him how she really feels for him. She wants him to know how much it hurts not having him in her life. But she knows he’s not stupid and that he will be able to read between the lines.
She glances at the clock on the wall as it ticks closer to three in the morning. She shakes her head at herself as she picks up the phone and dials Agent Christopher’s number. She waits as the phone rings on the other end and hopes that Denise isn’t upset that she’s calling at such an early hour in the morning.
“This is Denise.” She answers, groggy.
“Denise… it’s Lucy… I need to use the Lifeboat. I have to go back and give him the journal.”
The conversation is over as soon as it started.
She will go back, and history, their history, will change.
Lucy hangs up and stares at the receiver, blinking her eyes. She shakes her head and looks around her, wondering what she is doing downstairs in her office. She stands up and looks at the framed photograph of her and her girls at their birthday party at aunt Amy’s from earlier this year. She smiles and glides her hand over the top of the frame. She sees the journal laying on top of a piece of paper that contains the dates and times for her daughters’ The Nutcracker dance rehearsals. She picks up the journal and places it back in the bottom drawer of her desk.
She turns off the lamp and heads back upstairs.
From the twins’ bedroom, she hears the soft voice of her husband singing a lullaby.
“Ljuljaj mi sine, ljuljaj mi nado moja, ljuljaj mi unučiću moj. I tvoja će baka spati, i na krilo tebe zvati, nunaj mi golube moj…”
Lucy smiles and leans against the doorframe of Amy and Annie’s bedroom and watches Garcia as he sits on the edge of Amy’s bed, singing her back to sleep. The young girl yawns and rolls onto her side to cuddle with her toy horse. Garcia gently covers his little girl with a blanket and stands, making his way toward Lucy.
“Did I wake you?” He whispers as he leans down and kisses Lucy on the top of her head.
“No,” she shakes her head. “I was… I was downstairs and…” Garcia places his hand on her lower back and leads her out of their daughters’ bedroom. “I… I was hanging up the phone at my desk and…” She shakes her head not really knowing what she was doing downstairs in the first place.
“It’s three in the morning.” He pauses then smiles as he asks, “You weren’t prank calling Gabe again, were you?”
“No.” She lightly nudges him with her shoulder as they enter their bedroom. “And I only did that the one time when I was drunk on New Year’s Eve, no thanks to Connor.”
“Gabe thought it was the funniest thing in the world.” He chuckles at the memory of his wife stumbling her way through trying to make a dirty joke, in French, to Gabe a couple years ago on New Year’s Eve.
“Funny that I prank called him or that I suffered the consequences of that call with a hangover that essentially ended my drinking days forever?”
Lucy crawls back into bed and faces Garcia as he turns off his bedside lamp and lies down next to her. She reaches out and touches his face.
Her heart aches.
It aches for how much she loves this man. Her husband and father to their beautiful daughters.
She inhales sharply and bites her lower lip, her eyes shimmering. Not one day goes by that she’s not thankful that they survived their fight against Rittenhouse, and that they both risked everything when they chose to defy the odds – and everyone who doubted them – to be together. She wipes a stray tear from her face with the back of her hand. The struggles they faced to be together and to love each other, were worth it.
Garcia reaches out and pulls her into him.
“I love you, Lucy.” He whispers into her ear, his fingertips lift her chin so he can kiss her on the lips. He rests his forehead against hers. “I know you didn’t write it, but… not a day goes by that I’m not thankful to your journal for giving me hope that I could love again… be a father again.” He rubs his nose against hers and pulls her closer.
Lucy melts into his arms and kisses him again.
“I ja tebe volim.” She whispers, pulling away to look into his hazel-green eyes as she gently strokes the scruff of his jaw. She sighs. “I really need to get back to sleep, I have to be up in a few hours to get to the theatre to help set up the girls’ Nutcracker dance recital for tonight.” She nuzzles her head into the crook of his neck. “Did I tell you that I spoke with Jiya and she and Rufus are going to be able to come to our Christmas Eve party on Sunday after all?”
“You say that as if we don’t already see them weekly.” He chuckles.
“Well… you know they were going to go to Lebanon to visit Jiya’s mom, but she flew in a couple days ago to surprise them for the holidays.” Lucy pauses. “Her mom will be coming to the party too.”
“The more, the merrier.” He mumbles. “Oh… don’t forget that I’m picking up Gabe and Juliette from the airport this afternoon. Their flight from Paris is expected to land around two o’clock.”
“I’m the one who reminded you of that yesterday.” Lucy yawns as she closes her eyes, feeling Garcia place another soft kiss on top of her head before he settles in to fall back asleep.
Lucy gives one last thought as to why she might have been downstairs hanging up the phone at three in the morning. She sighs and shrugs it off as her staying up too late thinking about how nervous she is that her little girls will be performing in their first Nutcracker ballet later today.
She drapes her arm across her husband’s waist and drifts back to sleep.