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“Girls!” Lucy exclaims as she struggles to keep an eye on her two seven-year old twins simultaneously as she’s trying to pick out the best batch of strawberries. “Girls, stay here!”

Flynn, Lucy’s eldest daughter squeals with delight as she grabs a peach from the fruit bin and tears off running. Amy, the youngest and the shy twin, looks up at her mother and shakes her head.

“Flynn ran away again,” she tattles.

Lucy lets out a frustrated sigh. She loves her little girls, but it is a daily struggle keeping them under control, and Flynn is the wild child who loves exploring on her own. Lucy picks a random batch of strawberries and places it in her shopping cart, heading off in the direction Flynn ran. Amy walks next to her mother obediently, grabbing onto her navy blue dress.

Flynn turns the corner to the bread and chips aisle. She giggles and isn’t looking where she’s going as she tries to bite into the peach she stole. She looks behind her to see if her mom and sister are following her. Satisfied that she’s made her getaway, she focuses her attention ahead of her and runs smack into a  tall man who is reading the nutritional information on a bag of honey wheat bread.

Flynn hits his leg hard and falls to the ground hard. The peach falls out of her hand and rolls across the      aisle. Her eyes begin to fill with tears.

“Hey,” he says gently. “Everyone falls down. It’s ok.” He rests his hands on his knee, not wanting to touch the child in case she’s scared.

“Do you fall down?”

The man chuckles and nods his head. “I used to fall down all the time when I was your age. Ran away from my mom at the grocery store too.”

Little Flynn nods her head and looks behind her, hoping that her mom and sister have found her.

They have not.

“I like running,” Flynn tells the man quietly, then with more confidence adds, “I scraped my knee during recess yesterday. Wanna see the blood?” She doesn’t wait for his response and rolls up her jeans and shows him her playground battle wound.

“Are you supposed to be wearing a Band-Aid?” He asks.

“Yeah, but my mom doesn’t know I took it off.”

“Flynn!” Lucy’s voice rings through the air as she and Amy round the corner to the bread and chip aisle.

“Mommy!” Flynn hops up from the ground, and runs toward her mom.

The man watches as the little girl runs toward her mother. He slowly rises to his feet as the child points in his direction, then points at her knee. The man gasps as the child grabs the hand of her mother, a woman he knows and expected never to see again.

She hasn’t looked in his direction yet, and he wonders… Then Lucy looks at him and their eyes meet and he knows that he can’t walk away from her again.

“Flynn?” Lucy asks in disbelief, directing her question at the man she’s thought dead these last eight years.

Lucy blinks her eyes and lets go of her daughter’s hand and steps toward him. Another little girl who looks almost identical to the other, still grasps onto her dress.

“Lucy.” He nods his head, not breaking eye contact with her.

“I thought you were… Denise showed me…” Lucy shakes her head in disbelief. “What are you doing in Colorado?” Lucy shakes her head as if to shrug off things that she wants to ask him about later. She smiles as she wraps her arms around him instead.

Garcia hesitates for only a moment and returns the gesture. For the millionth time in eight years, he feels guilty about leaving her and the rest of the team. But he did what he had to do. He did what he did for her, for Lucy’s happiness.

Lucy kisses him on the cheek and looks up at him, still shaking her head, still not completely believing that he’s here and that he’s alive.

“I moved here last year.” He tells her, stepping back and running his hand through his hair nervously. “You?”

“The girls and I moved here this summer.” Lucy smiles up at him, her eyes bright with happiness. “Flynn… I…” Lucy looks down at Amy who is still clinging to her dress, and she looks behind her as Flynn is trying to crawl into her grocery cart. Lucy’s eyes go wide and she walks away from Garcia, and picks up Flynn and sets her back down on the floor.

“Lucy… I… if you want to-”

“I’m busy this afternoon, but if you want… I’m sorry, you were saying?” Lucy says to him as she has to stop Flynn from trying to climb back up the grocery cart.

“No. Lucy. You go ahead.” He gestures for her to say what she was going to say. He smiles down at her other daughter who is waving at him shyly.

“No, you go ahead.” Lucy tells him. She directs her attention to her daughter, “Flynn, stop trying to climb into the grocery cart.”

“But mom!” Flynn whines.

“I said, no.” Lucy tells her wild child.

Garcia knows how it is with kids so he continues their conversation even though Lucy’s attention is on her daughter, and she’s now picking her up in her arms in order to stop the child from climbing on the grocery cart. “I know that there’s a lot we have to talk about and-”

“There’s this quiet Chinese restaurant that we can-” Lucy stops herself, not meaning to interrupt him. Little Flynn rakes her dirty hand through Lucy’s hair and messes it up, tugging at her hair to loosen it from its ponytail.

Garcia continues, “If you want… tonight I could…”

“You can pick me up around six.”

“Mom! Put me down! I wanna find the candy!” Flynn shouts right into Lucy’s ear.

“Six is good for me.” Garcia smiles.

He knows that Lucy must feel mortified that one of her daughters is not behaving. He can’t stop himself from smiling at her as she gives in and sets Flynn down inside the grocery cart. Lucy looks at him and nervously tucks her messy hair behind her ear as she digs into her purse. The other child, the shy one hanging onto her dress, turns to look at her sister in the cart. She sticks her tongue out at her.

“Here…” Lucy scribbles an address down on an old grocery receipt.

“Mom!!! I don’t wanna be in the cart! I wanna find the candy!” Flynn whines and pretends that she’s on the verge of crying.

“I’m sorry.” Lucy tells him, stepping toward him. “I’m so sorry they’re-”

“It’s ok.” He tells her as he takes the piece of paper from her. “I used to have a little girl myself, remember?”

Lucy’s heart stops and she swears she feels the blood drain from her face.

“Lucy…” Garcia steps closer to her and places his hand on her shoulder. “It’s been twelve years… since… since all that happened.” He wets his lips. “We’ll talk more tonight, ok?”

Lucy nods her head and looks up at him. She wants to hug him again and tell him how much she missed him, and how horrible she felt for not trying to go back and save his life after he sacrificed himself to save Rufus, but…

“How are you even here?” She whispers, narrowing her eyes.

He bends down and gives her a hug, then whispers in her ear, “I’ve missed you, Lucy.” He pulls back and smiles fondly at her as her eyes seem to scan his face. He knows that he has a lot to answer for, and he never expected that he would see her again, yet here they are. “What’s the dress code for the restaurant?”

“Casual, nothing fancy.” Lucy says quietly.

Garcia nods his head, “then I’ll see you at six.” He gestures behind her to let her know that her daughters are now both up to no good.

“Six.” Lucy says, nodding her head.

She looks behind her and Flynn is now out of the grocery cart, Amy is in it, and Flynn is pushing it as fast as she can down the aisle and if Lucy doesn’t run to stop them the cart is going to smash right into a display of canned vegetables. Lucy smiles at Garcia and takes off running. He watches as she catches the grocery cart just inches away from the display, avoiding disaster.

-----

Garcia pulls up into Lucy’s driveway about ten minutes until six. He looks at his reflection in the rearview mirror and fixes his hair. He gets out of the car and runs his hand down the front of his burgundy turtleneck. He hopes that it’s not too casual of him to wear jeans, but then he reminds himself that this dinner is between two old friends. One of which faked his death and made the decision to walk away from the other forever so that she might be happy without him.

He knocks three times on the door and hears the giggling and squealing of little girls. He braces himself, expecting Lucy’s husband, Wyatt Logan, to open the door and tell him to get lost. Instead, her daughter Flynn, opens the door. She smiles up at Garcia and has glitter all over her.

“Hi, mister Flynn. My name is Flynn too.” She tells him. “Mommy isn’t ready yet because I like glitter and got it all over her dress.” Flynn gestures to the glitter all over her own clothes and all over the floor. “The glitter is for a school project.” She explains. “Do you want to see it?”

“I would love to see it.” He tells her as she steps aside to let him into the house.

Flynn closes the front door and takes his hand into her own as she leads him through the house. Garcia looks around as he’s led toward the kitchen. There are Barbie and Ken dolls all over the floor of the living room.

“My sister’s name is Amy, and she’s the baby. I was the first-born twin. We’re twins, you know.” Flynn tells him. They stop next to the living room where Amy and their babysitter sit, playing with the Barbie dolls.

The babysitter stands up and approaches Garcia.

“Hi, I’m Gracie, the girls’ babysitter.” She extends her hand to greet him.

“Garcia Flynn.”

“Lucy is upstairs, I can go get her.”

“Gracie!” Lucy shouts from upstairs. “When he gets here… I don’t know… tonight might not be the best night and I didn’t get his phone number and-” Lucy’s running down the stairs in her bathrobe and her hair wrapped in a towel, and no makeup on her face. She stops in her tracks when she sees Garcia standing there in the hallway.

“Flynn!” She exclaims.

“Yes, mommy?”

“Hi.” Garcia says, knowing her exclamation was aimed at him.

“Oh my God…” Lucy says as she enters the living room. “I’m so sorry, but… I hate to postpone-”

“It’s ok, Lucy. It’s not like we have a reservation.” He pauses. “I can wait. Besides… Flynn has a school project she wanted to show me, maybe I can help her out, maybe help clean up as you finish getting ready?”

Lucy looks from him to her daughters, then to Gracie, and back to Garcia. She nods her head.

“Is Wyatt home?” Garcia asks, not really wanting to reconnect with the man. He’s being polite. “I’d love to chat with him, catch up, you know…”

“Wyatt… he’s…” Lucy starts and looks at her daughters. She just shakes her head at Garcia and he nods his head, understanding that whatever this is that it’s sensitive to her daughters. “Go help Flynn with her project and I’ll be down as soon as I can, ok?”

Lucy heads back upstairs, feeling like things are better under control now that Garcia is here to help Gracie get them settled down. Her daughters always act up and get hyper when they get a babysitter for an evening. And it has been that way since before they moved to Colorado that she’s needed to get a babysitter for them. Well, they had Gracie a couple times when she went out for dinner with her friends, or that one time she actually went to see an adult movie at the movie theatre.

Lucy closes the door to her bedroom and hears Garcia laugh loudly downstairs. She smiles to herself.      However it is that he’s still alive, she is happy that somehow, they managed to run into each other. She opens her closet and now has to start all over again to pick the perfect dress for the evening.

Awhile later, and with almost all of the glitter out of her hair and off her skin, Lucy makes her way downstairs where things have quieted down. She finally decided on wearing the white polka-dot burgundy dress that she wore when she, Wyatt and Rufus used the Lifeboat to travel back to São Paulo on Christmas Eve 2014. She played around with her hair longer than she should have, and decided to just let it down around her shoulders.

She passes the living room and sees that all the Barbies and toys have been put away. She walks down the hallway and is happy that it seems Gracie – or maybe even Garcia – got her daughters to pick up their books that had been piled up on the floor. She enters the kitchen where the glitter disaster happened nearly an hour ago. The glitter has been picked up, the glue wiped away, and Flynn’s school project is laying out on the kitchen table. Lucy walks over to look at it and smiles. For Flynn’s history class she got to choose a historical figure and create a poster that included three interesting facts. Flynn chose the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova because she loves the 1997 animated film, Anastasia.

“Gracie?” Lucy calls out.

“I sent her home.” Garcia says from a room just off the kitchen.

Lucy walks toward the TV room and sees that Garcia is sitting on the couch with her daughters asleep on either side of him. He’s sitting there with them, watching the Disney movie, Sleeping Beauty.

“Why’d you send Gracie home?” Lucy asks quietly, not wanting to wake up her girls.

“Because…” He moves carefully so not to wake the girls as he stands up. “… I thought it might be weird to talk about what we need to talk about, in public.”

“Did you pay her?” Lucy asks.

“I gave her a twenty.”

“I’ll pay you back.” Lucy starts toward the kitchen, but Garcia gently takes hold of her arm to stop her.  

“You don’t have to pay me back.” He pauses as she looks at him with her soft brown eyes. He wets his lips and adds, “I hope you don’t mind, but I called in Chinese delivery.” He checks his wristwatch. “Should be here soon.”

“How did you get them to fall asleep?”

“A trick that always worked with Iris… I put in Sleeping Beauty and forwarded to the part where the fairies put the kingdom to sleep.”

“Did they have dinner?”

“I made them mac and cheese.” Garcia steps closer to her, placing his hands on Lucy’s shoulders. “And before you ask… yes, they helped me pick up the living room and kitchen.”

Lucy looks at her daughters, asleep on the couch. She sighs.

“Thank you so much. I don’t even know how to thank you for-”

“No need to thank me, Lucy. I enjoyed spending time with your girls.”

Lucy looks back at Garcia and places her hand on his arm.

“After we came back from the Murrieta mission, I wondered where your turtleneck had gone. It wasn’t in the Lifeboat where you left it…” Lucy says with a hint of sadness in her voice.

“Is there someplace else we can go to talk?” He whispers.

Lucy nods her head and takes hold of Garcia’s hand and leads him to the living room.

“I have so many questions… I don’t even know where to start.” She tells him as she sits down in the corner of her couch. He sits next to her.

“Then let me…”

He looks at her with a softness she hasn’t seen since that day in Chinatown when she asked him why are you here?

“Lucy… I saw what the fight against Rittenhouse was doing to you, and… I… I wanted to take that away from you, to protect you. I didn’t want the fight to destroy you as it destroyed me. So, I wrote you that letter, and I meant everything that I said in it-”

“Flynn…”

“Please, let me finish.”

Lucy nods her head and listens.

“I… I loved you, Lucy. I only stayed with the team in that bunker because of you. Everything I did after I got out of prison was for you. Yes, I wanted to stop Rittenhouse and I could have easily done things my way, but… I… Lucy… I needed to be there for you. I felt guilty for what happened to your sister. I felt guilty that Rittenhouse brought back Jessica and ruined your chances to be happy with Wyatt. I didn’t feel I deserved your friendship, not after everything I had done-”

“Shut up.” Lucy says, lowering her head to conceal her tears. “Just shut up, Flynn.” She’s angry.

“Lucy?” He’s confused as he watches her wipe her eyes.

“You did not have the right to make that decision for me!” She is angry and struggling to keep her voice down. “Do you have any idea what I’ve been through?”

“I… I checked up on you… Denise told me that you and Wyatt got married, that you were happy and had twin girls. I had to make myself stop checking on you so that I could… let you go.” He shakes his head, still confused. He looks around the living room and notices that there are no pictures of Wyatt anywhere. There are pictures of Lucy with her daughters, but no other pictures of any other family members, and that really shouldn’t surprise him. Her sister, Amy, never existed in this timeline, and her mother betrayed her. “Did… did something happen with Wyatt?”

“I divorced him a couple years ago.” She’s short with him. Her eyes are red from crying and she stares him down.

“Your letter, your stupid, goddamn letter…” She seethes, standing up while he remains seated. “I thought…” She closes her eyes and inhales. “I thought that because you wrote that in sacrificing yourself, for me, for Rufus… that… that you knew my future, and you knew that I could find a way to love Wyatt again. Because, Flynn, at the time I realized that it wasn’t love that I felt for Wyatt, that I was just clinging to him because my life was falling apart, that I convinced myself that what I felt was love, but your stupid letter!” She shouts and immediately stops herself and takes a breath to calm down. “You wrote that I     loved him and would forgive him, so that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. So, after I thought that you had died, I… I threw myself at Wyatt because I thought that was my destiny. I thought that you meant that that was what I was meant to do.”

“Lucy…”

“No. Shut up.” She tells him. “You wanted me to be happy and I tried. Goddammit, I tried. I was pregnant, I married Wyatt. I had a family of my own, as you hoped I would.” She shakes her head and sits back down next to him. “And I was miserable. Yes, when I was among friends, I pretended that everything was perfect, that I was happy. But behind closed doors, Wyatt and I barely spoke and when we did it was because we were fighting. He started drinking again, he cheated on me. He’d disappear for days and come back smelling of cheap perfume and whiskey. He’d promise he wouldn’t do it again and that he’d change. And for a few days, things would be better and then it would happen all over again.”

“Lucy, I had no idea…”

“And I didn’t… I didn’t want to divorce – not at first – because I kept hoping that things would get better then one night we were fighting and it woke up Flynn, she came downstairs to see what was going on, and he grabbed her and…” Lucy covers her mouth to muffle a loud cry. Garcia moves to her and wraps his arm around her shoulder.

He has never hated himself more.

“He berated me for naming one of his daughters after the man who murdered his wife. He shook her and she was crying and… Flynn yelled at him to let her go, and he spun her around and hit her across the face before throwing her across the room.” Lucy looks at him, her eyes carrying in them so much hate for Wyatt. “So, Flynn is screaming and crying on the ground with a dislocated shoulder, Amy comes downstairs, already in tears, to see what’s going on and Wyatt’s yelling at her to go back up to bed. I try to push past Wyatt to check on Flynn and he hits me and… I hit him back because I’m not going to let him get away with that shit. He grabbed me by the throat and slammed me up against the wall. I couldn’t breathe… I thought he was going to kill me, Flynn.” She sobs, looking into his eyes. “Amy, bless her little heart, ran back upstairs as Wyatt told her and she called the police.”

“Where is he now?” Garcia’s voice cracks.

“I don’t know.” Lucy tucks a strand of loose hair behind her ear. “I think he moved back to Texas.” She wipes her eyes. “Anyway… the police show up, they’re his friends, of course, so he only gets away with a slap on the wrist as usual. I’m upstairs packing my bags. I called Rufus and Jiya to come pick me up so I could stay with them after we take Flynn to the ER to get her shoulder looked at. Wyatt comes upstairs, calm… he apologizes to me, says he loves me, and promises that he’ll never hurt me or the girls again. And I told him that it was over, our marriage, over.”

“Lucy… if I had known…”

She shakes her head, “I don’t blame you for what happened between me and Wyatt. I got myself into that mess-”

“Because you got pregnant with his kids?”

Lucy’s breath catches as she realizes that he doesn’t know.

“Flynn… they’re not his kids…”

“Oh? I’m sorry, I just assumed that-”

Lucy looks at Garcia. He’s staring down at his hands and can’t bring himself to look at her. She tilts her head to try to catch his eye. He hasn’t figured it out, so she places her hand on top of his. He looks up and their eyes meet.

“They’re your daughters.”

Garcia’s heart stops and he feels a lump in his throat. His first thought is that he could kill Wyatt for laying a hand on his child, for laying a hand on Lucy. His mind races and he thinks back to the night before Jessica kidnapped Jiya. He and Lucy had been sharing a room since the night they returned from their mission to San Antonio in 1936. Lucy only let him sleep in a chair for two nights. On the third night, she got out of his bed and dragged him to lay in bed with her. For two weeks, they simply laid in bed together, arms around each other, and talked.

They talked about everything: what they wanted to be when they grew up, favorite books, where in history they would want to visit if they weren’t chasing after Rittenhouse. They played the movie quotes game, and Truth or Dare – where there were no dares because they just wanted to know more about each other. He told her everything he could remember about Lorena and Iris, and she told him everything about Amy.

They laughed together and they cried together.

But in the nights leading up to the night they made love… they didn’t speak often. Instead, they gazed into each other’s eyes, caressed each other’s arms, rubbed noses. Lucy warmed her hands underneath his shirt and entangled her legs with his. They came close to kissing more times than he can remember, but held back because neither one of them trusted that taking that leap was the responsible thing to do. Not when they had to prioritize fighting and defeating Rittenhouse.

But then the night before Jiya was kidnapped… he was laying in bed alone, engrossed in a book that Lucy had recommended to him the week before. The door to their bunk opened and Lucy walked in. Her hair was still wet from her shower, and she was wearing her bathrobe. She sat down next to him on the edge of the bed and took the book from his hands and set it down on their nightstand. She placed her fingers underneath his chin and lifted his lips to meet hers.

And they kissed.

It took him by surprise, because according to her journal, they weren’t supposed to kiss until the night of the sinking of the Titanic, but it shouldn’t have, based on how tuned in to one another they had been the last few weeks. The journal said one thing, yet here she was, kissing him.

He slipped his arm underneath her bathrobe and discovered she wasn’t wearing anything more. She moved her shoulders so that the robe would fall from her body. In the dim light of their room, for many nights, they had been exposing their innermost thoughts and fears, feelings and desires, to one another. They had already seen each other naked. But that night was the first in the flesh. Overwhelmed by their growing emotions, they gave in to one another physically, stripped one another from their clothing. With one touch, one caress, and one stroke after another, they stumbled forward together, knowing that in the morning that everything would change between them. They found peace together, happiness that neither one of them thought they would ever have again. They welcomed the change to their relationship and enjoyed each other. Everything about that night felt right, as if it had been their destiny to stumble into each other’s lives all along. They knew things between them had changed forever.

And the next morning, everything had changed for everyone.

Jessica had kidnapped Jiya. Rittenhouse had the Lifeboat and they were stranded, incapable of chasing after Rittenhouse or even saving Jiya. To make things worse, Wyatt revealed that he hadn’t been truthful with the team. That he had suspected Jessica, that her brother had been saved. Red flags were everywhere.

“Flynn?” Lucy’s voice interrupts his thoughts.

Garcia looks at Lucy and doesn’t know what to say. They had only been together that one time and… he shakes his head and looks Lucy in the eyes.

“How…? We were only together that one time?” His voice, fragile.

“To be honest with you, when I found out I was pregnant I wasn’t… I wasn’t sure that you were the father. After you died, I…” She winces. “I threw myself at Wyatt and-”

“So, they could be his? You don’t know for sure?” He asks, reaching out and taking her hand to let her know that no matter what if she needs him to be a part of her daughter’s lives, he’ll be here for them.

“No… in the divorce, Wyatt wanted joint custody and I didn’t want him around Flynn and Amy. I told my lawyer that there was a slight chance he might not be the father and… I had a paternity test run against Wyatt and the results were negative.” She pauses and squeezes his hand. “You were the only other man I had been with, Flynn.”

“Garcia.” He corrects her. “You can call me Garcia, Lucy.”

Her heart pounds in her chest. For eight years, she’s believed he died. For eight years, she has wondered what her life would have been like if he had returned from 2012. And here he is now, alive and well, sitting here holding her hand.

“Garcia…” Her voice is meek. “I know that we can’t just pick up where we left off before everything      happened, and I’m still upset and angry at what you did. For all I know, you’ve remarried and have more kids of your own, but… and you can say no if that’s what you want, but… I want my girls to know their father.” He opens his mouth to speak, but she continues. “They’re only seven years old, and they’re still so young, but all they remember of a father figure is Wyatt and he hurt them in the end, and Flynn, she… she saw him hurt me and they deserve happy memories, and I know that you would be a good father to them, but only if that’s what you want.”

“Lucy, I-”

“And I’ll understand if you don’t want the responsibility, or if you don’t want to be a father to them, but I’m asking not just for my girls, but for myself because I thought you were dead and I’ve thought so much about what could have been if you had lived and-”

“Lucy, sweetheart…”

Lucy stops talking and looks at him. She’s so afraid of rejection. She’s afraid that in the last eight years that too much has changed that he might not want anything to do with her. She blames Wyatt for this. For five years, she was married to Wyatt and he broke her down, destroyed her confidence in herself so that she fit into the pretty little box he wanted her to fit in as his wife. She’s fought hard the last two years to find herself again, and with Garcia sitting here in her living room, she hates that all she feels is doubt.

“If they are my daughters…” He lowers his head and smiles, then looks up at Lucy, “… I want to know them and I want to be their father.”

“I named Flynn after you.” She sniffles and smiles through her tears.

“I noticed.” He chuckles. “She’s kind of your wild child, huh?”

Lucy nods and then shakes her head at how much her eldest twin takes after her father. Garcia leans forward, not letting go of Lucy’s hand, and kisses her on the forehead.  

“Do the girls know anything about me?”

“After the divorce, Amy and Flynn came to me and asked if they had to divorce Wyatt so he wouldn’t be their father anymore. I told them that he wasn’t really their dad. They were only five, but… I didn’t lie to them. They asked questions like who is their dad, and I told them that Flynn was named after him, and that their daddy died in a war, and that he never got to meet them.” She swallows hard and looks him in the eyes then adds, “that I never got to say goodbye.”

Lucy cries again, not caring if he sees her tears. She reaches out and touches Garcia’s face, caressing her thumb across the stubble of his jawline.

“Lucy… if I had known what was going to happen, I never would have gone back to take care of Jessica for him. I would have stayed there with you, and I’m so sorry.” He lowers his head. “I hope you can forgive me.”

Lucy’s holds onto the back of his neck and she rests her forehead against his.

“I may have been angry with you, but I forgave you a long time ago for leaving me and pushing me towards Wyatt.” She pulls back, still holding onto the back of his neck and looks at him, her eyes shimmering with tears. “But… to find out that you’ve been alive all these years. That you made me, that you made everyone, believe you were dead…” Lucy bites her lower lip. “Garcia, I…”

“I loved you too much, Lucy.” He whispers hoping that she can find a way to forgive him for this betrayal. “The only way I thought I could move on… to take the burden away from all of you in the fight against Rittenhouse… I was the cause of so much pain.” He lowers his eyes. “It wasn’t easy, Lucy. It hurt me to know that I left you. That I left you thinking that I was dead, especially after everything that had happened between us.”

Lucy shakes her head. She can’t bring herself to look him in the eye, “I fell in love with you, Garcia… I know we didn’t get to talk about what happened between us that night, and then you… you pushed me away, saying that you weren’t my type and that I should stop having feelings for you... I hated that we never got to properly discuss things… that we never had another moment alone to-”

The doorbell rings.

Lucy looks into his eyes. She sees that he too, has been crying.

“That must be Chinese delivery…” He says quietly, wiping his eyes dry.

He reaches out and holds her hand, and they stand up together. He watches as she wipes the back of her hand across her face. She goes up on her toes and kisses him on the cheek as if to tell him that in time she’ll forgive him, and that will be sooner rather than later.

“I’ll go get a couple bowls. And make sure the girls are still asleep.” She says.

He nods his head and watches her disappear into the kitchen, still wiping tears from her eyes.

When he comes back with the food, Lucy is sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table and has set out a couple bowls, forks and chopsticks. He opens the plastic bag and takes out red and gold takeout boxes of sticky rice, fried rice and orange chicken. He sits down on the floor next to Lucy.

“Are the girls still asleep?” He keeps his voice low.

“They are.” Lucy opens the box of rice and shovels some of it out into her bowl. “I’ll have to wake them up to get them up to their own beds later.”

“I can carry them up to bed.” He takes the box of rice from her. “I used to carry Iris to bed all the time. She and Lorena always fell asleep in front of the TV watching movies.”

Lucy scoops out some orange chicken and offers some to Garcia. He holds his bowl out to her.

“So… what brought you to Colorado?” Lucy asks, wanting to move on to a lighter topic of conversation.

“Just looking to start over.” He says, as he lifts chopsticks to his mouth.

“Where were you before? What were you doing?” Lucy asks as she nibbles on her meal.

“I stayed in California. Worked alongside Denise and Connor to take down Rittenhouse. Used the Lifeboat a few times.” He takes another bite of food.

“I still can’t believe that Denise kept that from me, or that you…” She shakes her head. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to keep insinuating that-”

“It’s ok, Lucy. Knowing what I know… I wish I hadn’t faked my death and kept fighting Rittenhouse without you. Anyway, I never could figure out how to destroy Rittenhouse in the past. Too much had changed from what you wrote in your journal.”

“It always bothered me how easily it seemed to have defeated them when Emma was shot by some random sniper in Korea. I mean… we came back and by morning we were told that Rittenhouse was defeated and that we were free to leave the bunker. And now to know that we hadn’t really beat them, and that you were still working with Denise and Connor and…” Lucy sets down her chopsticks and looks at Garcia with wide eyes. “Wyatt, he… he was assigned to special projects with Denise, did he work with you to take down Rittenhouse?”

“Wyatt?” Garcia laughs. “No. We decided that Wyatt was too much of a loose-cannon and kept him out of it. Denise did want to bring him on board but Connor and I outnumbered her. I was the only one who remembered that he kept his suspicions about Jessica from us, and Connor didn’t trust that Wyatt wouldn’t try to go back and save his wife. Apparently, the Wyatt of their timeline was still obsessed with her death even though he and you were… you know.”

“Wyatt barely ever mentioned Jessica unless it was to bring up again and again how you were her      original murderer, which we know isn’t true,” Lucy says. “He would pretend that he respected you or could have been your friend if you hadn’t died. He was so jealous about how much I missed you, you know.”

Garcia nods his head as he swallows his last bite of food.

“Did you… I mean… were you able to defeat Rittenhouse?” Lucy asks, afraid of the answer.

“Last year.”

“How?”

“I worked alongside Benjamin Cahill.”

“My father? He helped?”

“Do you remember The Doc?” Garcia asks. Lucy nods her head. “Well, after she disappeared, Cahill was her replacement. He had to start from scratch in nineteen-seventy-two and learn the full roster, took him years to do it, but by twenty-eighteen he knew the full membership roll. It was just a matter of hunting them all down and… taking care of them.”

“How many were there?” Lucy’s afraid to ask because she knows the answer is the number of people that he killed to destroy the organization.

“Not as many as you would think.” He says, not wanting to give her a definitive answer. “I was able to find Karl… you remember him, the skinny guy?”

“The one who manhandled me in Paris?” Lucy smiles, yes, she is actually smiling at the memory.

“Yeah, that guy.” Garcia stands up and takes their dirty bowls and heads to the kitchen. Lucy follows him. “He was able to help out overseas. He had a lot of contact with questionable mercenaries and I sent them the hit list and they took care of business, providing proof along the way that the men and women targeted were… disposed of.”

“Oh…” While Lucy is thankful that Garcia and his men worked to defeat Rittenhouse. It hurts her that he didn’t contact her to help him. “I assume that you took care of everyone state-side?” She knows the answer to her question before he can answer it, and it pains her to know that he had to take care of eliminating Rittenhouse members himself, especially since she knows how much it destroyed his spirit to do so before.

“You’ll be happy to know that there weren’t as many Rittenhouse members left here. Thanks to your grandfather, most of them had already been arrested and are locked away in prison.” He places the dirty bowls in the dishwasher and turns to Lucy, leaning against the kitchen counter. “It’s over, Lucy. All of it.”

Lucy steps toward him and places her hands on his hips.

“Thank you.”

“You don’t have to thank me, Lucy. I was only doing the job you asked me to do back in twenty-fourteen.”

“Were you able to save your girls?” Lucy whispers.

“No.” He swallows and wets his lips. “But to the end, I never gave up hope that I’d save them. And I’m sorry that I couldn’t find a way to save your sister.” Lucy says nothing, only nods her head. “They live in our hearts and memory now, and as long as we remember them, and share their stories, they’ll never truly be gone.”

“Flynn and Amy know about their Aunt Amy… I tell them stories about her all the time. She’s the reason why Flynn is enrolled in karate.” Lucy smiles.

“Tell me about… my girls.”

Lucy looks up at him as she leans against his body. There’s so much to tell him about his daughters, but before they settle in to talk more, she wants to get the girls up to their own beds.

“The girls have school tomorrow. We should get them upstairs.” Lucy steps back and takes Garcia’s hand in hers and together they walk to the TV room where the twins are still asleep on the couch.

Then there’s a giggle.

Followed by another giggle.

The twins are awake.

Flynn’s head pops into view from the couch. She looks tired but has a smile on her face nonetheless. She yawns and rubs her eyes and looks at Garcia.

“Are you our dad?” Flynn asks.

Garcia looks to Lucy, thinking that they need to hear from their mother first. He nods at Lucy to let her know that he’s all right if she wants to tell them now. Lucy lets go of Garcia’s hand and walks around and sits down on the couch between her daughters. Garcia follows and sits on the edge of the table in front of his three girls.

“Is he?” Flynn looks at her mom with wide eyes.

“Cause… he said to Gracie that…” Amy adds, with a yawn, “… that his name is Garci Flynn… and Flynn’s name is Flynn, and you…” Amy yawns again.

“You said I was named after our daddy.” Flynn finishes her sister’s sentence.

Lucy looks at Garcia, it should be so easy to just tell them that he’s their father, but for some reason she’s struggling. He nods his head to assure her that it’s ok, that she can tell them.

“Girls… this man here… Garcia Flynn… he’s your daddy.”

Amy jumps off the couch and throws her arms around Garcia and kisses him on the cheek.

Flynn, looks up at her mother, blinking her eyes and asks, “Why did you say he died in the war?”

Lucy opens her mouth but doesn’t know what to say. She looks to Garcia for help.

“I had to pretend I was dead so that I could stop very bad men from hurting other people.” Garcia answers his daughter’s question.

“Did you win, daddy?” Amy asks, her arms still wrapped around Garcia.

His heart soars hearing one of his little girls call him daddy, “I did. And now that I’m back…” He looks to Lucy and she smiles. “… I’ll be able to see a lot more of you girls.”

“Are you going to marry mommy?” Flynn asks him, suddenly acting all shy, crawling into her mother’s lap.

Garcia and Lucy’s eyes meet, and they smile. It’s much too soon for talk of marriage.

“I want a little brother.” Amy chimes in. “Mommy once said that dads are the only ones that can help complete the order form for the stork. Like… mommy can read the form, but daddy has to write it out and send it to the stork.”

Garcia looks at Lucy and laughs, “marriage and storks, huh?”

“Ok, girls…” Lucy stands up, carrying Flynn in her arms. “I think it’s way past your bedtime.”

Garcia stands up and carries Amy and follows Lucy upstairs to their bedroom. Lucy instructs Garcia to get their pajamas out of the top drawer of their dresser, and to make sure they wear matching pajamas because they like to do that because they’re twins.

“If you marry daddy, does that mean my name will be Flynn Flynn? Because that’s funny.” Flynn giggles as Lucy helps her into her pink unicorn pajamas. She wiggles trying to stop her mom from getting her dressed for bed. “I want to wear it backwards.” She argues.

“Why do you want to wear it backwards?” Lucy asks.

“Because.”

Lucy looks behind her and sees that Garcia is picking up Amy by the waist and lifting her up into her top bunk bed. Amy is always so obedient, reminds Lucy of herself when she was younger. And then there’s Flynn who has managed to take off her pajama top and struggles to turn it inside out.

“Flynn, stop stalling.”

“I’m not tired. Plus, I think I just saw the monster hiding in the closet and…”

And topless, with her pajama top in her hand, little Flynn runs toward the closet and swings the door wide open and yells, “HIYAH!” and proceeds to karate chop the clothes hanging in the closet. Lucy goes to her and turns on the light in the closet.

“I think you scared it away, Flynn.” She says.

“Hold on…” Garcia says as he walks toward his girls.

Amy sits up in her bed, holding her blanket up over her nose as she watches on, terrified that the monster is going to come and scare her in the middle of the night.

“Years ago, I had another little girl named Iris, and she had monsters in her closet too…” He explains.

Flynn looks up at him, “Really?”

“Really.” He answers.

“Hold on!” Flynn exclaims and runs out of the bedroom.

Lucy shakes her head and gives an apologetic look to Garcia, even though she knows that he’s loving every minute of this. She chases after Flynn.

“I think Flynn went to get her water gun.” Amy whispers from the top bunk. “She used to keep it in our room but got in trouble once and mom took it away from her.”

“I GOT IT!!!” Flynn squeals with delight as she runs back into the room and fires off two rounds of water from her hot pink water gun, at Garcia.

He lowers himself to one knee and places his index finger over his lips to shush her. He holds out his hand and Flynn hands her water gun to him.

“When daddies hunt monsters with water guns, the monsters go away forever. Did you know that?”

Flynn shakes her head “no,” and looks back at her mom for confirmation.

Lucy stands in the doorway of the girls’ room and watches as Garcia helps Flynn pull on her pajama top and walks her, hand-in-hand, to her bed. He tucks her in and Flynn gives him a kiss on the cheek as he runs his hand over the top of her head. He stands up and carefully approaches the open closet door.

“Be careful, daddy…” Amy whispers, afraid that the closet monsters might hurt him.

“Kick its butt!” Flynn shouts.

Lucy watches on as Garcia inspects the closet, taking his time to prove to his daughters that it’s all clear. Her heart aches. In the five years that she was married to Wyatt, he would do the exact opposite of what Garcia is doing now. He would tell the girls to get over their fear of the dark, and if they got out of bed that the monster would hurt them. She lost count of how many nights she had to get up because she heard Amy crying herself to sleep. And now… Amy’s watching as Garcia shoots off a few rounds of water into the depths of the closet. He presses his back up against the wall and peers back in, then quickly checks the closet, left then right.

“All clear…” He says as he turns around to look at his girls. “No monsters.” He squirts the last of the water out of the gun, and places it in his back pocket.

“What if it comes back?” Amy asks.

Lucy steps toward her daughters’ bed, touching Garcia’s arm as she passes him.

“We’ll be here to protect you, ok?” Lucy tells Amy, tucking her in.

“Does that mean daddy is staying the night?” Flynn asks.

Lucy looks back at Garcia, and he looks at her with a slight nod of his head.

Lucy turns back to Amy, “He’ll be here in the morning.”

“Yay!” Flynn exclaims. “Did you see that he helped me finish my Anastasia poster?”

Garcia senses that Flynn is stalling so to help move things along, he goes and turns off the bedroom light and stands in the doorway. Lucy looks back at him and smiles. She kisses Amy on the forehead, then sits down on the edge of Flynn’s bed and tucks her in, kissing her goodnight.

Lucy goes to Garcia as the girls settle into bed. She places her hand on the ribbed fabric of his burgundy turtleneck and they step out of the room, leaving the bedroom door open just a crack.

They’re quiet as they head back downstairs.

Garcia checks the time on his wristwatch.

“It’s only past eight o’clock.” He wets his lips nervously. “Did you mean what you said back there? That you want me here in the morning?”

“You don’t have to stay the night if you don’t want to, Garcia.”

“It’s not that. I mean… I don’t know what…” He shakes his head, not sure what he’s trying to say.

“I don’t know either. But what I do know is that those little girls love you and it would mean the world to them if you were here when they wake up.”

“What about you?”

“Me?”

“How would you feel if you woke up and I was here?”

“What are you asking?” Lucy nervously places a strand of hair behind her ear.

“Why are you avoiding my question?” He smiles. “Look, I can go home and-”

“Oh.” Lucy is disappointed.

“And can pick up a change of clothes and come back…” He finishes. “But only if you’re ok with me doing that.”

“Of course… of course, I am. I just… isn’t this a little weird for you too?”

“Not weird.” He says. “It was weird running into you at the grocery store. It’s weird that somehow you and I managed to move to the same town in Colorado. But Lucy… I know it’s been years since you and I shared a bed, but-”

“You want to sleep in bed with me?”

“Isn’t that what you were suggesting?” He rubs his hand on the back of his neck.

“I wouldn’t say ‘no’ if you wanted to, I just thought that… I don’t know… that because it’s been so long, and that I thought you were dead that-”

“That we should take it slow?”

Lucy nods her head.

“I can sleep on the couch.” He offers.

“No. That couch isn’t comfortable to sleep on.”

“What about the couch in the TV room?” He asks. “It looks like a foldaway couch.”

“No, there’s a bar that runs diagonally across it, it’s uncomfortable.” Lucy says, realizing that she’s only contradicting his suggestions because she wants more than anything for him to sleep beside her in her own bed. She’s thought back to their nights in the bunker so often over the years and missed the sound of him breathing as he slept, and the way his arms wrapped around her body. The intimacy they shared without being physically intimate with each other.

“The floor…?” He asks, not knowing where else he might sleep. “Unless there’s a chair in your bedroom.” He winks at her. “I’ve managed to sleep in uncomfortable chairs before for you.”

Lucy steps toward him and since she can’t make herself say it aloud, she decides to tell him in another way what she wants. She goes up on her toes, holding onto both his arms with her hands, and she kisses him on the lips. He’s stiff at first, as if he can’t believe that this is happening. Then slowly, Lucy feels his hands on her back. His mouth opens to her and they kiss as they did the last night they spent together in the bunker. Before everything unraveled and tore them apart. Lucy cries into his mouth and he stops, looking down at her, afraid that he’s taken things too far.

“Lucy, I’m sorry…”

She shakes her head, “No, it’s not this, it’s… do you remember the talk we had when we went to Sutter’s Mill?”

His heart breaks. How could he forget? That was when he tried to push her away, less than twenty-four hours after they had consummated their relationship. Where he informed her that their relationship would end badly because – and now he really hates himself for saying this to her – her heart always belonged to someone else. The fact was that he had lied about that. He lied to try to protect his own heart. Everything in the journal had changed and the future no longer held the certainty that he thought it had. After their night together, as good as it was, he was so afraid to lose her that he decided on his own that he would walk away. It was a stupid decision, but he made it. And the only good thing that came from leaving her and faking his death was defeating Rittenhouse.

“I remember.” He says.

“Garcia… I had already chosen you.” She trails her fingers down the front of his turtleneck. “Even with you trying to push me away after what happened between us… saying I wasn’t your type, or that I should stop falling in love with you… after the night we had together, the night that gave me our little girls… I chose you and you left. And now you’re back and… it’s been eight years, Garcia and the rational side of my brain is telling me that you’re right and we should take this slow, see what happens, but my heart is screaming at me to just take the chance and pick up where we left off.”

“I want to, Lucy, but-”

“I’m forty-three years old now, Garcia. I don’t want to wait another month or year. Neither one of us is getting any younger, and it’s obvious that we both want this so why are we fighting it?” She tugs on his turtleneck and pulls him to her. “The girls were asking about if we would get married or have another child, and the whole time they were asking those things I was thinking to myself how much I want those things with you.”

Garcia hears her. He takes her hands into his and kisses her knuckles. He holds her hands against his chest as he leans down to look her in the eye.

“I’m going to go home and pack my overnight bag.” He kisses her knuckles again. “Give me a key to the front door and when I get back… be upstairs waiting for me…” He kisses her forehead. “Do you still have that burgundy chemise that you wore when we were in the bunker? You know, the one where the strap kept falling off your shoulder?”

Garcia places a hand on her shoulder and kisses her neck.

Lucy nods her head, unable to speak.

His voice has deepened and what he’s asking her to wear… that burgundy chemise she had Denise order for her specifically for her to wear for Garcia. She only wore it a few times, with the intention to seduce him in it, and oddly enough it wasn’t what she was wearing the night they first made love. That night she went to him in only her bathrobe, and after they laid together, she changed into one of his old grey t-shirts and her black pajama bottoms.

Garcia’s hand slides down her arm and holds onto her firmly, his lips nip at her earlobe, and she feels her knees going weak with the sensation of his breath in her ear as he whispers, “I want to make love to you, Lucy.” He kisses her lips. “I want to make love to you for the rest of my life.”

Lucy closes her eyes and exhales with a smile. She wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him again and again. Their tongues meet and mouths open wide, wanting as much of the other as they can. Lucy pulls at his turtleneck sweater and pulls it up over his head. She holds the shirt in her hand as she trails kisses from his lips, down his neck and to his chest. She stops and looks at him. He looks her in the eye as he slowly unbuttons the front of her dress, pulling back the fabric to reveal her burgundy lace bra. He hesitates, so Lucy takes his hand and places it on her breast. She tilts her neck so he can kiss her there again, and he does.

“I don’t think I’m going home tonight.” He whispers with a chuckle.

“No… I don’t think you are.” Lucy says with a smile.

With his burgundy turtleneck in one hand, she leads him upstairs to her bedroom where they will spend the next hours – days, weeks, months, years – right where they belong…

… with each other.