Garcia Flynn stirs in his sleep.
“Daddy… wake up.”
Garcia opens his eyes.
He was dreaming.
He couldn’t see his little girl in his sleep though.
He could only hear her voice.
He looks to his side to check that Lucy is still asleep. He turns on his side and drapes his arm across her. His hand rests instinctively on her abdomen as he nuzzles his head into the crook of her neck. He still feels like he’s in a dream-state, so he closes his eyes in hope of drifting back to sleep.
His heart jumps when he hears Iris speak to him again. Only this time, it sounds as if she’s here in the room with him and Lucy.
His hand caresses Lucy’s bare shoulder as he turns around in bed.
He’s certain that he’s awake now, and that he’s actually seeing Iris standing at the side of his bed.
Her smile is that of her mother’s, alive and vibrant. She reaches out to touch his arm. Her touch is palpable. Warm. As warm as when she was alive. But this can’t be.
She isn’t alive.
She’s been gone for five years.
In the blink of an eye, Garcia sits up. His bare feet land solidly on the ice-cold concrete. He looks at his daughter in disbelief. He wonders if Rittenhouse has brought her back. He wonders if something they did on their last mission to stop Rittenhouse from preventing the New York Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers in June 1971, changed things so that her and her mom were never killed. His mind scrambles to try to make sense of this.
But does it matter if it makes sense?
His daughter is standing in front of him now, grinning from ear-to-ear.
He reaches out and tucks a strand of hair behind Iris’s ear.
And, oh my God. His heart aches. He hasn’t heard that sound since the night she and her mother were taken from him. He smiles as he looks at his daughter.
“How are you here?” He asks. “Where’s mommy?”
Garcia lowers onto his knees and wraps his arms tightly around her. She does the same and pats the top of his head as she rests her head on his shoulder.
“I’m not really here, daddy,” Iris whispers. “And shhh… be quiet or you’ll wake up Lucy.”
Her words feel like a knife running through his heart. In this moment, he wishes that he had been asleep with his arm around Lorena so that his little girl wouldn’t see him with another woman. But Lorena is gone. He accepts this fact. He pulls out of his daughter’s embrace. He looks into her eyes – she has her mother’s eyes – and thinks that somehow, he needs to explain Lucy to her.
“Don’t worry, daddy,” Iris smiles. “I like Lucy.”
“Am I dreaming?” He asks aloud, more to himself than to Iris.
“Kinda.” Iris giggles again. She takes Garcia’s hand. “C’mon. I have to show you something before it’s too late.”
“Too late for what?” Garcia whispers.
“For her,” Iris says, her eyes shifting to Lucy who remains asleep in bed. “And for my sister.”
Garcia blinks. Did Iris say her sister, as in a sister that Iris has? Or did she mean Amy, Lucy’s sister?
He doesn’t have time to clarify before Iris is tugging on him, heading toward the door. Garcia glances back at Lucy before stepping out into the bunker hallway with Iris.
As he walks down the corridor, it’s no longer the bunker hallway. Instead, he’s walking in downtown San Francisco. While there’s no calendar to tell him, he knows that it is Christmas Eve. Not Christmas Eve of his present day 2019, but rather of a time before time travel changed everything. Though he’s still barefoot, and in his black t-shirt and sweatpants, he’s not cold.
Ahead of them, is the outdoor ice rink of Union Square. He looks down at Iris. She’s gazing up at the night sky above, and looking all around her. Her eyes are as wide as her smile. Garcia bends down and picks her up in his arms. He carries her toward the barrier of the ice rink. It’s crowded here tonight, but they are able to walk seamlessly through the crowd. No one notices them, as if they don’t exist in this reality. All around them multi-colored Christmas lights sparkle. And now that they’re close to the ice rink, they can hear Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You playing over the speakers.
I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
And I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
Normally, Garcia would prefer to hear The Chipmunks Christmas song over this overrated – and in his opinion, highly obnoxious – Mariah Carey Christmas tune, but not right now because Iris is bouncing in his arms and singing along with it.
I don’t need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won’t make me happy
With a toy on Christmas Day
Garcia smiles at his daughter and kisses her on the cheek.
“Look!” Iris squeals, pointing at two young women skating at the centre of the rink.
“Do you think they’re Olympic figure skaters?” Garcia asks, remembering how much Iris enjoyed trying to mimic the skaters she saw on TV in their living room during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“No.” Iris laughs, shaking her head.
The taller woman laughs in a way that seems to carry directly to Garcia’s ears.
He knows that laugh.
It belongs to Lucy Preston.
It’s a laugh that has become more infrequent over the past few weeks because she’s been missing her sister. He squints and looks at the two skaters again, and sure enough it is Lucy and her sister. Lucy’s wearing a black coat over what looks to be a burgundy cocktail dress, and her hair is done up in a pretty bun. Amy though, it looks like she decided to go ice skating in snowflake patterned fleece pajama pants, and a navy-blue sports jacket. Her hair is in a simple ponytail which whips around her as she does a spin on the ice. Both of them are wearing white ice skates, unlike most of the other skaters who rented the ugly plastic blue skates.
“Lucy!” He calls out.
But she doesn’t hear him. Instead, she throws her head back and laughs at something Amy said to her. Her arms wave wildly in the air, but before she can fall down, Amy grabs hold of her. The two of them clutch onto each other’s arms and laugh even harder.
Garcia looks at Iris as if she might have an answer as to what he should do, and why they’re here, and the reason why they’re watching Lucy when she was younger. But Iris is mesmerized by them as they hold hands and start to spin around on the ice together, pulling in closer and closer to each other, giggling and laughing. All Garcia can do is watch and wonder. There has to be a reason why he’s dreaming about this.
As if hearing his thoughts, Iris turns her head to look at him. She smiles softly and tells him, “She loves you, daddy.” Garcia can only nod his head. “And you love her too,” Iris continues. “But things are about to take a turn for the worse, and if you don’t do something to-”
She’s interrupted when Lucy skates to the rink barrier directly in front of them. She looks straight through Garcia, not seeing him. Garcia tries to place his hand on top of hers when she places it on the border between them. And for a second, it seems as if Lucy can feel him. She gasps and looks directly at him before withdrawing her hand.
Despite looking at him, she still doesn’t see or hear him.
“She’s happy here, daddy,” Iris says. “Happy skating with her sister.”
He looks out at Amy who is still in the middle of the rink. She’s skating backwards, and then steps into a one-foot spin. Garcia raises his brow. The spin actually looks pretty good for someone who isn’t skating in the Olympics. Lucy never mentioned before that Amy knew how to do tricks on the ice. In fact, he didn’t even know that Lucy used to ice skate either.
The two of them have been together for almost three years. They’ve talked about their lost loved ones, about what they wanted to be when they grew up, her favourite cartoons as a kid, his favourite issues of the Tex Willer comics, how he once tried ballroom dancing, how she failed her home economics class because she couldn’t cook, how she played varsity tennis and studied ballet during high school, and how he loved to ride his horse at a gallop in open fields back in Croatia as a teenager. But somehow, Lucy’s obvious ability to not fall down while ice skating has been avoided. She seems so happy skating. He wonders why she never told him about when she and Amy did this.
Of course, everything he sees could just be a manifestation of his own imagination.
It’s possible that this never happened.
But seeing her in his dream, happy and laughing. He wishes that he could just wake up, and take her to Union Square to ice skate. However, living in the bunker doesn’t allow any of them to indulge in a normal life, and that includes getting out to enjoy the holiday season. And as it’s 2019, it is unfortunately their third Christmas in the bunker.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
Lucy starts humming along with Bing Crosby’s White Christmas as she watches her younger sister speed through the crowd, backwards, launching herself into the air, jumping. Amy falls and rolls onto her back, laughing. Lucy shakes her head and pushes off toward Amy, telling her, “That’s not how you do that. After the three-turn you need to reach further back, and keep your back straight. Otherwise, you’re picking too close to your skating foot. You were leaning to far forward as you went into the air which is why you were off axis; therefore, you fell,” Lucy tells her. “Here, let me show you-”
“You’re going to try a double jump in that little cocktail dress?” Amy laughs.
Lucy tilts her head to the side, nods her head, and starts skating backward. And just as she’s about to demonstrate – at a much safer speed – what Amy should have done to land a double rotation jump; the world starts spinning around Garcia. Iris wraps her arms around his neck and closes her eyes.
They’re back in the bunker, but it’s no longer nighttime.
Actually, it’s yesterday afternoon.
Garcia knows this because yesterday, Lucy wore his burgundy turtleneck sweater. And she’s here now, sitting on the couch wearing it, sipping hot cocoa.
Wyatt enters the room and loudly makes himself known by asking, “Hey, Lucy. Are you ready for it to be Christmas again?”
Lucy doesn’t do well hiding the fact that she’s rolling her eyes at him. She takes another sip of her drink then answers, “I’ve already wrapped all the presents I got everyone, if that’s what you mean.” She turns around on the couch and watches Wyatt open the refrigerator. She lowers her head in disappointment as he takes out a can of beer. She continues, “I can’t believe that it’s two days until Christmas and Denise still hasn’t brought us her spare decorations from home.”
“You sound disappointed,” Wyatt says.
“Christmas is fun and all, but most of the décor is just annoying.” Wyatt shrugs.
“The décor, the music, the movies… I don’t understand how people can get into this holiday.”
“Well, I just happen to really enjoy all those things,” Lucy says.
“It’d be nice if we could have one Christmas without all the pomp and circumstance here in the bunker, that’s all.”
Lucy eyes Wyatt, deciding if she should say anything more about this, or change the subject.
Garcia sets Iris down and makes his way to the chair next to the couch. He sits. Yesterday, he was with Rufus and Jiya when this Wyatt-and-Lucy conversation happened. And though the day started out just fine, by the end of it, Lucy was no longer in a good mood. He suspected Wyatt was to blame, but they never got around to talking about what had made her so unhappy.
“Do you have to be such a Grinch?” Lucy asks.
“No.” Wyatt sits down next to her on the couch and asks, “Do you have to flaunt your little crush on Flynn by wearing his clothes all the time?”
Lucy’s brow wrinkles in disgust, her mouth is agape.
Wyatt continues, “You know, I really wish that you would take my feelings into consideration every once in a while.”
Garcia has half the mind to stand up and tell Wyatt off, but he’s not here to interact. He can’t. Whatever it is that Iris is showing him through in his dream state, is meant only as observation.
“Your feelings?” Lucy asks, defensively.
“You know how I feel about Flynn, Lucy.”
She opens her mouth to defend Garcia, but Wyatt stops her.
“And you know how I feel about you, even after all this time. After Jess abandoned me, I… I really thought we would pick up where we left off in Hollywood.” He caresses his fingertips against her arm. “I was disappointed that you didn’t come to me the night we lost Rufus in Chinatown. Especially since I had told you that I love you.”
“It doesn’t work like that, Wyatt.” She brushes his hands off her arm. “Never mind the fact that me and Garcia are-”
“And you shouldn’t be spending the night in Flynn’s room,” Wyatt interrupts.
“I’ve been sleeping in his room since Jessica was still here. And since it doesn’t seem to have penetrated your thick skull, I’ll remind you that it isn’t always sleep that we’re doing when we’re in bed together. We have sex, and we have been having sex since the night Rufus died in Chinatown.”
“So, you are his fuck buddy? Just as I suspected after the first time that I saw you leave his room.”
Lucy stands up, glances into the hot contents of her mug. She decides not to make things worse by throwing the rest of her hot cocoa right in Wyatt’s face.
“No, Wyatt. Me and Garcia are a couple. We have been for well over two years. And my God! I wish you would figure out a way to let me go because you and I aren’t ever going to be anything other than friends.”
“Oh, come on, Lucy!” Wyatt leans forward on the couch, slamming his beer can on the coffee table. He stands up and goes to Lucy. “You can’t really be in love with a murderer and a terrorist, can you? I thought you had standards.”
Tears sting Lucy’s eyes and she bites down on her lower lip, lowering her eyes to the floor. She takes a deep breath and says, “I really wish that you would stop calling him that when you know damn well that Rittenhouse murdered his family, and that he is not a terrorist.” She looks back up into Wyatt’s eyes, adding, “I don’t understand how you and Garcia can work so well together when we go on missions, but the moment we’re back in the bunker, you change. Treating him as the enemy.” She pauses. “He is not your enemy, Wyatt.”
“I’m just… in all the official reports about him, he is technically classified as a terrorist, and is considered the man who murdered his family. Do you really think that once this war is over that he’ll just be able to walk out of here and never see the inside of a prison cell again?” Wyatt steps closer to her. “You have no future with him, Lucy. And the sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be.”
Wyatt walks away from Lucy, leaving her standing alone in the common area.
Garcia stands up and goes to Lucy.
He knows that she can’t see him, but maybe – somehow – she can feel that he’s there.
Her eyes shimmer with tears as she bites down hard on her lower lip to try to stop herself from crying. Her hand starts shaking and she drops her mug to the floor. It shatters, scattering around her bare feet. She raises her hands to her face, muffling her cries.
For the last two years, they have avoided the inevitable conversation about what happens to them once the war with Rittenhouse ends. Agent Christopher has told him time and again that she’ll recommend a full Presidential pardon for him, but that is not guaranteed. The fact is that he will probably have to return to prison when all this is over. And the dreams that he and Lucy share about life together will simply fall apart.
Garcia closes his eyes and places his hands on her shoulders. Whether she can feel him or not doesn’t matter, but his touch is followed by her breaking down. She leans forward, sobbing, almost as if she feels him there and wants to lean on him for support. Instead, she collects herself, carefully steps around the shattered glass on the floor, and leaves the room. Garcia follows her and watches as she disappears into the bathroom.
He looks back at Iris who is sitting cross-legged by the bare Christmas tree.
She’s watching him.
He goes to her and sits next to her.
“I’m sorry you had to see that, Iris.”
“It’s ok. Where I’m at, I know a lot of things. Even grown-up things.” Iris rubs her arm underneath her nose. “I think everyone needs to be better to each other. Promise me you’ll try.”
Garcia nods his head.
He knows that he hasn’t exactly extended an olive branch to Wyatt since he arrived. He wouldn’t consider the man his friend, but whenever he wakes up from this dream, he vows to himself that he’ll be more friendly towards him. Maybe if he does that, Wyatt will be able to more easily accept his and Lucy’s relationship. Maybe Wyatt will stop calling him a murderer and a terrorist. Above all, maybe Wyatt will stop treating Lucy poorly.
Iris crawls into Garcia’s lap.
He runs his hand over the top of her head.
“You know daddy loves you very much, right?” Iris nods and rests her head against his chest. “And I want more than anything to save you and your mommy. And that I miss you, and think of you every day?”
“And even though I love you both with all my heart, that daddy has fallen in love with…” Garcia needs to tell Iris that while he loves Lucy, that he’ll never stop loving her and her mom.
Iris kisses his cheek. “Mommy likes Lucy too, and she didn’t come with me tonight because she knows that you moved on. She wants you to know that’s ok, and she’s happy that you and Lucy found each other.”
Tears sting Garcia’s eyes.
“Don’t cry, daddy,” Iris says, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“I just… I want you to know that I’ll never stop loving you and your mom,” he says softly. “And Lucy loves you too.”
“We know.” Iris pets the back of her father’s head. “But daddy…”
Iris points behind him as she wipes a tear from her eye with the back of her hand.
Garcia turns to see what she’s pointing at.
They’re no longer in the bunker.
They’re in the hallway of some house that he’s never been in.
It’s rundown and there are no photographs hanging on the wall. The overall vibe is ‘unsafe.’ He stands up and holds onto Iris’s hand as they hear footsteps creaking up the stairs at the end of the hallway. He steps protectively in front of Iris.
Lucy rounds the corner.
She’s dressed in a dirty white tank top, brown cargo pants, army boots, and a rifle is slung over her shoulder. Her hair is shorter than it is in 2019, and there’s dry blood on her arms. She looks behind her to make sure she’s not being followed. Then she places her hand on the dirty wall to steady herself. She’s gasping for air as tears fall down her face.
She cries silently.
“Lucy…” He whispers her name.
Of course, she doesn’t hear him. A loud sob escapes her. She slams her hand against her mouth and braces herself against the wall as she makes her way to a room at the other end of the hall. Garcia and Iris follow her, and Lucy shuts and locks the door behind her.
Garcia looks around the room, studying it.
There’s water damage on the walls. No carpet on the floor. There’s a small bed with a nightstand and lamp next to it. And beside the window on the other side of the room is a desk. And on that desk is a journal.
If he were physically here, he would open to its first page and see if this apparent future is the one from which Lucy came when she found him in São Paulo in 2014.
He shakes his head in disbelief. When he wakes up in 2019, it will be Christmas Eve morning.
Five years to the day that Lucy sat down next to him at that bar, and handed him her journal.
Lucy kneels on the floor, reaching underneath her bed. She pulls out a box, and from that box she retrieves his burgundy turtleneck sweater. It looks much worse for wear, as if no one has washed it in at least a year, maybe more. She wraps it in her arms, pulling it into her body as she crawls into bed. She clutches the sweater and uses it to cover her face to muffle her cries.
Garcia takes his eyes off of Lucy when Iris makes her way to the desk. He watches as his little girl kneels on the chair and despite not actually being here, she manages to flip through the pages of the journal. She motions for him to come see what she’s found.
Garcia stands behind his daughter and reads the journal entry to himself.
December 19, 2023
I can’t believe in just a few months that it’ll be four years since I lost you and our unborn baby. I can’t sleep again. I suppose that’s to be expected since things keep getting worse and worse. This year we didn’t even put up a Christmas tree. What’s the point when there’s nothing to be joyous about? I keep thinking how it might be easier to just let Rittenhouse win, but then I think about how they killed you, and consequently our unborn child. I try not to blame myself that it happened, but I should’ve been stronger. I should’ve tried to not feel anything after you died. The stress and heartache were too much, and… I can’t help but blame myself for losing the only thing you and I cared for. Our unborn child.
I know you want me happy, Garcia, but I’m not.
Tomorrow, we have a plan to go back to 2020 to try to save you. We only tried one other time a couple years ago, when me and Rufus went back to the day you died in September 1920. We risked everything knowing we were going back into a timeline where we had doubles of ourselves. While we succeeded in leaving the history of the Wall Street Bombing essentially the same, even with our knowledge of what Rittenhouse did to make it worse in order to kill you, we still couldn’t stop them. It made me think about Fate and what’s meant to be. Time travel took away my belief that things are meant to happen, but maybe I am wrong. Maybe there is such a thing as Fate, and maybe I’m not meant to save you. Maybe you were always supposed to die.
I have so many regrets.
We so rarely told each other ‘I love you’ when you were alive. I think we were afraid to say those words to each other because we had both lost so much. We were afraid that if we said it aloud that we would be admitting to ourselves that we can love again. That we would completely give ourselves over to love, and if that happened. If we made that a reality then I think we both feared that it would be taken away. We weren’t wrong. I only wish that I had told you that I love you every single day that we were together.
I’m lonely without you. Wyatt and I no longer talk unless we have to during a mission. Rufus and Jiya are exhausted from how frequently they have to work at repairing and upgrading the Lifeboat to keep up with Rittenhouse. I doubt they each get more than eight or nine hours of sleep per week. Connor does his best to keep the safehouse livable. And after her divorce, Denise has been harder on all of us. I wish that I could just go-
Garcia tries to turn the page, but can’t.
Iris does it for him.
The entry is incomplete.
“Maybe she fell asleep writing it,” Iris offers.
Iris hops off the chair and goes to Lucy. She is still sobbing uncontrollably into her pillow; Garcia’s turtleneck sweater is still tucked in her arms. Iris closes her eyes and reaches out and places her hand on Lucy’s back. Tears sting Garcia’s eyes as he watches Iris’s lower lip quiver and a tear falls down her cheek. Iris never knew Lucy when she was alive, but like Lucy today, it seems Iris loves her in some way.
He goes to them both.
He sits on the edge of Lucy’s bed and closes his eyes. He prays that somehow this future Lucy can feel him as he rests his hand on her shoulder. Even he feels a surge of energy as his incorporeal hand touches her skin.
Lucy’s body trembles.
She stops crying.
And she takes a deep breath to calm herself.
“Garcia…?” She whispers as she slowly turns around, sensing him.
Her eyes lock with his and he’s jolted off her bed, unsure if she actually saw him or not.
Gasping for air, Garcia sits up straight in bed.
He’s back in his and Lucy’s room at the bunker in 2019.
He looks down at Lucy who has woken up.
She lifts herself up onto her elbow.
“You ok?” She asks, her eyes reflect the concern in her voice.
Garcia shakes his head, “I… I just had a dream. That’s all.”
“What about?” She asks, stroking his arm to soothe him.
Garcia looks around their room, searching for Iris.
“Doesn’t matter,” he says and he lies back down next to Lucy. She rests her head against him. “Actually,” he takes a breath, “it was about some bombing on Wall Street in 1920. Like we were on a mission or something. No information about why Rittenhouse was there, just…” He hesitates.
“I died, and somehow that made me feel like I had abandoned you.”
Lucy’s quiet as she inches closer to him, resting her hand on his chest. “I don’t want to lose you, Garcia,” she whispers. “That reminds me… um… me and Wyatt sorta got into a fight the other day.”
“He called you a murderer and a terrorist again, accused me of being your fuck buddy. You know, the usual.” She closes her eyes and sighs. “I’m so tired of him hating you, and hating us… or saying that we have no future together.”
Garcia is quiet as he kisses the top of her head. He thinks back to his dream, and how he had witnessed this fight that Lucy is telling him about.
Lucy chuckles to herself.
“What?” Garcia asks, raising his brow.
“I pretty much told Wyatt flat out that we have sex though.”
“You mean he hadn’t figured that out yet?” Garcia laughs.
“It’s why he called me your fuck buddy,” she says, rolling her eyes. “I think he’s in denial because he still thinks he and I have a chance to be together again.” Lucy rolls her eyes. “Anyway…” Lucy’s ready to change the subject, “At least Denise brought the decorations for Christmas today,” Lucy says, trying to lighten the mood. “I love that none of us could stop laughing at the squeal Jiya made when you lifted her up so she could put the star on top of the tree.”
Garcia laughs out loud, and quickly covers his mouth. It’s still nighttime, and there’s no need to wake everyone else up. He adds, “Or the look on Rufus’s face when he didn’t know he was standing under the mistletoe and I offered to give him a peck on the cheek.”
Lucy rolls her eyes and laughs quietly, “There’s a reason he still refers to you as the bunker’s creepy uncle.” She jabs him gently in the ribs.
“Hey, he’s fun to pick on.”
“And so are you, Garcia.”
“When?” He asks. “No one ever picks on me.”
“Well then… maybe I will,” Lucy says as she turns toward him, allowing the sheet to slide off her body, exposing her bare chest. She places her hands on his shoulders as she swings her leg over to the other side of his body. “How would you like a little Christmas hickey to show off in the morning?”
She’s attempting to tease or pick on him, but her tone is way off base. It’s obvious that whatever she initially intended to do has turned into something else entirely. Something that they had already engaged in earlier tonight. She leans into his neck and kisses his collarbone, then leaves a trail of sweet little pecks on his skin as she makes her way to the long muscle of his neck. She gently starts sucking his skin, moaning his name when she pauses to take a breath.
“Lucy…” His breath catches as her cold hand moves underneath his black t-shirt, her fingertips brushing against his nipple. “Draga…”
“Hm…” She moans, running her hand slowly down his abdomen. Her fingertips tease his skin just beneath the waistband of his sweatpants. “Why did you get dressed, Garcia…?” She whispers.
Whatever it was that he wanted to say to her has left his mind, and all he can do to respond to her question is moan into her mouth as her lips press against his.
He removes Lucy’s hand from his sweatpants. Holding her hand. His fingers weave with hers as he rolls her onto her back. He hovers over her, placing his thigh between her legs, coming into contact with her centre.
Lucy arches her back and looks into his eyes. “Take your shirt off,” she instructs him.
He kneels above her, and does as asked. He takes hold of the hem of his shirt and peels it from his body. He throws the shirt to the floor then lowers himself to her. His hand resting on the side of her torso beside her breast. Her hand is on the back of his neck, and she doesn’t have to pull him toward her because his lips are already devouring her mouth. His hand moves to caress her ass, then back up again to hold her breast, gently squeezing it and teasing her nipple with his fingertips.
HRRNG! HRRNG! HRRNG!
Both Garcia and Lucy let out loud and frustrated sighs.
Garcia presses his forehead against hers.
“Damn, Rittenhouse,” Lucy says as she moves out from underneath him. She sits up and immediately grabs onto the mattress. She shakes her head. “I’m so sick of these dizzy spells I’ve been having.”
“That’s still happening?” He asks as he sits next to her on the edge of the bed.
“They don’t happen all the time,” she tells him. “Probably means that I’ll be getting a headache soon. So that’s great since Rittenhouse just took out the Mothership.” She looks around. “Where are my clothes?”
“I’ll get them.”
Garcia stands and retrieves his burgundy turtleneck and her jeans from the armchair. He hands them to her. As she slips on the sweater, he picks his shirt up from the floor and puts it on. Then he offers his hand to help her to her feet.
“I can’t believe they’re taking the Mothership out the night before Christmas Eve,” he says as he sits down in the armchair and puts on his shoes and socks.
He glances over at Lucy.
She is on her knees, retrieving her own shoes and socks from underneath the bed. She stands and tries to balance on one foot while putting on a sock. And of course, considering she was complaining of being dizzy mere seconds ago, she falls back onto the bed with a little “oof!”
Garcia erupts with laughter and goes to her, kneeling in front of her. “You should know better than to try to balance on one foot in the dark, Lucy.” He picks her sock up from the floor, taking hold of Lucy’s ankle.
“I can put on my own sock, Garcia.”
“I know, but…” He traces his fingertips slowly around her ankle. “But maybe I want to put it on for you.” He looks up at her in the darkness and winks. “Are you sure you’re feeling up to going on this mission?”
“I’ve been on every mission. Why would I not go on this one?” She asks. “I mean, I missed out on the Kennedy mission that one time, but I was sick so…” She watches as he slides her foot into a sock. For some reason – obviously, because he’s a very sexy man, especially when he takes care of her – him placing a sock on her foot is quite arousing. She wets her lips as she watches him do the same with her other foot.
“I’m concerned about your dizzy spells, the headaches, and-” He stops himself thinking back to his dream, and what he read in future Lucy’s journal about how she lost a baby after he died.
He swallows hard, deciding not to ask her if she might be pregnant. He knows the risk is there since they made the decision not to stop themselves one night a few weeks ago when there weren’t any condoms available in the bunker. A discussion about whether or not she’s pregnant, and if she is, what will they do about it, isn’t something they need to get into right now. Not with Rittenhouse setting out to change history.
“Garcia…” She says his name, hushed. She lowers her eyes. “What if I’m-”
The door to their room flies open and Wyatt pops his head in, flipping the light switch. Garcia and Lucy squint their eyes and glare at Wyatt.
“C’mon you guys, Rittenhouse jumped and you’re in here…” He looks at them, trying to figure out what exactly is going on. Garcia is on his knee in front of Lucy. Wyatt’s face contorts with disgust. “Oh. You have got to be kidding me.” He shakes his head and walks away.
Garcia and Lucy share a look.
Lucy giggles, “Do you think that he thinks you’re proposing?”
“If he does, we can’t really blame him for the assumption.” Garcia motions between them. “It kinda looks like that’s what’s going on.”
The smile fades from Lucy’s face. She takes Garcia’s hand in hers, running her thumb over his wedding ring. “Not that you’re in a place where you’re ready to even think about marriage or… or anything else again, right?”
Garcia looks down at their hands, and at his ring.
“You know why I still wear it.”
“I do,” she says. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to-”
“It’s ok,” he tells her.
He lifts her hand to his lips and kisses her knuckles.
Lucy watches as he steps out into the hallway.
It doesn’t bother her that he still wears his ring. It’s the only thing he has left to remember his girls after all, and she would never want him to be without it. But it’s been in the back of her mind since he told her that when he does remove it, that will mean there’s reason he’ll be looking forward to wearing another ring.
She stands up, slips on her shoes, pulls her hair up into a ponytail, and follows Garcia to the common area to discuss with the others where Rittenhouse has jumped to, and why.
It’s only been five hours since the team returned from the mission.
It’s three o’clock, Christmas Eve morning.
Wyatt Logan rolls over in his bed.
He can’t sleep. There’s too much on his mind so he sits up. There’s light leaking into his room from underneath the door.
Everyone should be asleep by now.
Curious, he throws his legs over the side of his bed.
He hopes that it’s Lucy who’s awake.
Ever since their argument the other day, he’s been wanting to apologize. He never meant to hurt her with his comments about Flynn, but he had. After he left her in near tears, he sat in his room and thought about what Jessica would think of who he’s become as a man because of his jealousy towards Flynn. Jessica would be disgusted with him, and in that realization, Wyatt decided that maybe he should stop being such an asshole toward Flynn, and treat Lucy the way he treated her before they slept together in 1941.
He rubs the sleep from his eyes as he exits his room. He makes his way quietly down the hallway. The furnace is on, but in the winter, it doesn’t do any good. It’s still freezing. He rubs his hands up and down his arms as he rounds the corner.
Garcia Flynn is sitting on the couch, a book in his hand, but he’s staring at the lights on the Christmas tree. From the looks of it, Flynn attempted to get some sleep. His hair is a bit messy, and he’s wearing his usual t-shirt and sweatpants that he passes off as pajamas. For extra warmth, he’s also bundled up in the grey Tesla hoodie that Rufus gave him for his birthday a few months ago.
Wyatt sighs, hesitating. He’s uncertain if his presence is welcome.
It’s not like he has been civil with Flynn since he joined them in the bunker. But after his fight with Lucy, he’s given some thought to what he could do better. And he decided that maybe it’s time he gives Flynn a chance. Because he has to face the fact that he lost Lucy and he’s not getting her back. And Wyatt does actually know that Flynn isn’t a murderer, and he knows that he isn’t a terrorist either. He just says those things to try to make Flynn look like a worse person than he, Wyatt Logan, already is.
Plus, it’s Christmas Eve, and you don’t have to wait until New Years to get started on your resolutions. Wyatt takes a breath and walks into the kitchen area.
Garcia looks over his shoulder, sees Wyatt, and nods his head to acknowledge him.
Wyatt gives him an awkward smile before opening the refrigerator. He takes out a beer. He pauses, reconsiders. He instead grabs a soda.
“Can’t sleep?” Wyatt asks, sitting down in the chair next to the couch.
“Been thinking about what happened in 1906,” Garcia says, leaning forward to place his book on the coffee table. “You didn’t have to shove me out of harm’s way when the side of that building collapsed. I had plenty of time to react. Plus, between the two of us, you’re the one who has the most to lose.”
“You can still save Jessica and your daughter. They might be with Rittenhouse, but Wyatt, every time we see Jessica on these missions, it’s in her eyes that she still loves you. And when there’s love, there’s a way.” Garcia is quiet as he gazes again at the tree.
“Couldn’t risk you being killed in that earthquake,” Wyatt says. “That would’ve devastated Lucy, you know.”
An awkward silence.
Things never go well when Lucy is the subject of their conversation.
Garcia clears his throat then asks, “Can I ask you to do something?”
“Stop harassing Lucy.”
“Stop calling me a murderer and a terrorist to her face. You’re not stupid, despite how hard you try to come off that way, and you know she and I are together. And you know that what you say hurts her. All she wants is to remain your friend, and Wyatt,” Garcia realizes that he’s been raising his voice, he lowers it. “If you don’t stop, you’re going to lose her friendship, and I know you don’t want that.” Garcia looks at Wyatt, glaring at him. He’s upset with how long both he and Lucy have allowed Wyatt to go on like this without any serious attempt to stop it. “I also know that you still think you have a shot with her, and-”
“I don’t, actually,” Wyatt interrupts.
Garcia stares at him, unsure if he heard him correctly.
Wyatt takes a deep breath. “Look, I love Jessica, and I love my daughter, Chloe, even though I’ve never met her. Lucy is… she was…” Wyatt shakes his head. “Look, without Lucy I would’ve died at the freaking Alamo. She saved me, Flynn. How could I not fall in love with her after that?” Wyatt pauses, then adds. “I’m sure at some point before you two were a thing that you fell for her for the same exact reason, right?”
Garcia huffs in resignation.
What Wyatt’s saying isn’t wrong.
He fell in love with Lucy from reading her journal. He had been one drink away from leaving that bar in São Paulo and taking his own life, but she sat down beside him and gave him hope that things could change. That things would get better. He read that they fell in love with each other in the journal. And just knowing that one day he would be loved, and that he himself would love again… that meant everything to him after he lost his family.
“It’s been five years since Lucy found me in a bar and gave me her journal,” Garcia says, his voice lowered. “She saved me that night.” Garcia swallows hard. “I didn’t want to fall in love with her, Wyatt. But it happened, and for a while, I hated myself for feeling that way for her because I thought that it meant I was being unfaithful to my wife. But… after I moved in here, and what happened after Jessica returned…”
Wyatt nods his head and looks down at the soda can in his hand, feeling guilty for how shitty he has treated Lucy since his wife’s return from the dead.
Garcia notices his body language and sees that perhaps tonight the two of them are crossing a bridge towards a better understanding. He continues.
“I realized before I was arrested that I was falling for her. And when I decided it would be best not to pursue those feelings and just be her friend,” Garcia leans forward, “that’s when we started to fall in love. And while yes, she did save my life, it was our commonalities, our friendship, the way we made each other laugh again… it was the smallest things. A touch or a look shared between us. Everything just naturally fell into place. I’m not even sure that I can pinpoint the exact day or moment when she and I became a couple because it just… it just happened.”
“You know that I only want what’s best for her, right?” Wyatt asks. “I want her happy.”
“Do you think I don’t want the same?”
“You should know that I’m concerned for her though.” Wyatt pauses as Garcia’s brow furrows. “You’re always at her side when things go to shit on these missions. You take care of her here in the bunker. I can tell she’s happy with you, and I’m sorry for what an ass I’ve been, but I want to know that after all this is over is that you’re not going to abandon her. We all know that your freedom isn’t guaranteed, and that you could be looking at going back to prison-”
“Agent Christopher says she’s working on that.”
“Or what happens if we manage to save your wife and daughter? How do we know that you wouldn’t shove Lucy aside just to be with your family again?” Wyatt shakes his head. “She’s already lost so much already. I would hate to see her lose you too.”
“We’ve discussed that scenario at length, and Lucy knows what I would do.” He pauses. “I’m not going to abandon her, Wyatt. She’s my everything.”
Wyatt nods his head, deciding not to argue with him, but to take him at his word. To trust that Flynn will never hurt Lucy in the way that he did when Jessica returned.
“And if you ever want to jump in between me and Death again, wait until we go to Wall Street in 1920,” Garcia says.
Wyatt nods his head, not knowing what to say. He takes another drink of his soda.
Garcia looks behind them, checking to make sure that the two of them are still alone. “Can I ask you something?”
Wyatt raises his brow. This is unusual. He gestures to Garcia to go ahead.
“Do you think that Agent Christopher would let us take the Lifeboat out?”
“We take it out every time Rittenhouse jumps.”
“No. I mean… take it out. Lucy’s going through a Hell of a time right now. She’s been talking more about Amy, so much that I’m starting to see Amy in my dreams. Lucy’s been so sad lately, and on top of not feeling well… I was thinking since we can’t exactly go out in public here in 2019, that maybe I could, I don’t know, take her out on a date somewhere in the past.”
“Oh. I uh… I don’t know. Denise is quite a stickler, and she would argue with you about what would happen if Rittenhouse jumped while you and Lucy were gone on some date. I mean, she doesn’t even let Lucy go with us on outings, she always has to stay in the bunker with either one of us in case Rittenhouse jumps.”
“Yeah… I know,” Garcia says, defeated. “But you know, this is our third Christmas in the bunker, and I just want to do something nice for her. Get her out of here for a while, get her mind someplace else.”
“As long as we’re at war with Rittenhouse, and as long as we’re stuck here, Flynn… loving her will have to be enough,” Wyatt tells him.
Garcia raises his brow and nods his head.
“You do love her, don’t you?” Wyatt asks.
Wyatt nods his head, finally accepting this truth.
The two men share a look that indicates an acknowledgement that they’ve moved towards a more respectful stage in their friendship.
“How about this…” Wyatt leans forward, placing his soda can on the coffee table. “We talk to Rufus and tell him what you want to do. You figure out when you want to take Lucy on a date, and we have Rufus rig the Mothership alarm to go off to make it look like Rittenhouse jumped to that time. That way, you, Lucy, myself, and Rufus will take out the Lifeboat, and Denise will think that we’ve gone after Rittenhouse. Then, once we’re in the past, I’ll suggest that me and Rufus go one way, and you and Lucy can team up, and you can take her on a surprise date.”
“That’s not a horrible idea,” Garcia smiles. He leans forward and rubs the scruff on his face. “And what if Rittenhouse actually jumps while we’re gone?”
“It’s a risk we’d have to take.” Wyatt leans back in his chair. “Or… you could tell me where you and Lucy will be, and if they jump then I can come get you-”
“Ruining the date,” Garcia says.
“Look, I wish we weren’t in this damn situation either, but we have to work with what we can do.”
“I know,” Garcia says. “I appreciate that you want to help me out on this.”
“Yeah, well…” Wyatt smirks as he raises his arms over his head and yawns. “Or!” He perks up. “Denise’s Christmas party tonight.”
“What about it?”
“I offered to stay here at the bunker with Lucy in case Rittenhouse jumped, but if you would rather stay here instead, I can go with everyone else over to Denise’s…”
“Are you suggesting that I take out the Lifeboat without permission while everyone is gone?”
“That’s exactly what I’m suggesting,” Wyatt says with a smirk on his face. “And it’s unlikely that Rittenhouse is going to jump again on Christmas Eve. They never have. I mean, they already took her out for a spin a few hours ago. I think it’s safe to assume that if you and Lucy leave the bunker for a few hours, that nothing will happen.”
“You know what, Wyatt?”
“I’ll take you up on that. I’ll stay here with Lucy tonight, and I’ll see what I can do about taking her out with the Lifeboat for a little Christmas Eve date.”
“Do you know when or where?”
“I have an idea, but I might have to sneak out of here without Lucy noticing to get a few things ahead of time.”
“How will you distract her to do that?”
Garcia leans back against the couch again. This is the most civil conversation the two of them have had. He opens his mouth to comment on this fact, but Wyatt beats him to the punch.
“Yeah, I know. This is weird,” Wyatt laughs.
“We’ve had our differences,” Garcia says.
“Maybe it’s about time we, I don’t know, let things go and admit that we don’t hate each other as much as we pretend?” Garcia suggests.
“We do make a pretty good team,” Wyatt adds.
“A soldier’s only as good as the guy beside him in the foxhole,” Garcia offers as a compliment.
Wyatt juts out his chin, gesturing to Garcia to look behind him. He does and sees that Lucy is shuffling into the common area. Her hair is a mess.
“Hey guys…” Lucy yawns. “Merry Christmas Eve morning…”
Wyatt stands up, opting to bow out to give Lucy some time alone with Flynn.
Lucy opens her arms to Wyatt and gives him a sleepy hug.
“Merry Christmas Eve to you too, Lucy,” Wyatt says as he pulls out of her embrace. He turns and places his hand on Garcia’s shoulder, and says to him, “You’re not too bad for a creepy sociopath, you know that, right?” Wyatt smirks at Garcia, nods his head at Lucy, and then starts back toward his room.
Garcia chuckles to himself.
Lucy raises an eyebrow at this exchange. She sits next to Garcia on the couch with her feet on the cushion. She looks behind her and waits until Wyatt is out of earshot before speaking.
“What was that about?” She asks quietly.
Lucy sighs and leans her head against Garcia’s shoulder. “I woke up and felt queasy again. I know Wyatt undercooked dinner a couple days ago, but I don’t think this queasiness is because of that anymore.”
“You haven’t been sleeping very well. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion can make you feel nauseous. Maybe it’s that?”
“Maybe.” Lucy sighs and remains quiet.
Without saying, they both know what they suspect is really going on.
“Lucy?” Garcia reaches to her, placing a strand of hair behind her ear.
“I’m nine days late now,” She says. “It could be stress, or maybe it’s because of time travel, but… what if it’s…” She lowers her voice, “What if I’m pregnant?”
Garcia’s heart is in his throat. Instinctively, he turns to Lucy and places his hand on her abdomen. “If that’s the case, you already know that I’m here for you.” He studies her for a reaction. “How would you feel if you are?”
“I don’t know.” Lucy turns to him, curling her knees between them on the couch. “I’ve told you before how I want to have kids one day, but Garcia…” She lowers her voice, “I don’t want to raise a child in this bunker, in the middle of our war with Rittenhouse.” Lucy lowers her head and looks at the ring on Garcia’s hand. “And I wouldn’t want me being pregnant to pressure you to do anything you aren’t ready to do.”
“Lucy, draga…” He takes hold of her hand and whispers to her, “If you’re pregnant, I’m going to be here for you and our child. I never want you to doubt that.”
“We don’t know for sure right now, so maybe it’s best that we just assume that it’s something else. Sleep deprivation… catching a cold… whatever.” She runs her hand nervously through her hair.
“Of course, I’m afraid. Can you imagine what Emma might do if she found out that I’m pregnant? And that you’re the father?” Lucy runs her thumb over his knuckles and tightens her hold on his hand.
“We could ask Agent Christopher to get you a test,” Garcia suggests.
“We won’t need to do that.”
“Jiya and I were snooping around Wyatt’s room the other day – looking for unwrapped presents, don’t ask – and apparently, Jessica had a couple extra boxes of unopened home pregnancy tests. They don’t expire until next year, so all we have to do is distract Wyatt, and I’ll go steal a test from him.”
“Sneaking around, looking for unwrapped presents?” Garcia is trying not to laugh.
“Jiya brought up a good point that if Wyatt got us all some weird racecar gifts or some weird Texas armadillo gifts, that we would all need to have time to prepare an authentic reaction.”
“I’m sure he didn’t get anything weird.” Garcia laughs. “Did you find anything?”
“No, just dirty laundry that didn’t make it into his hamper.” She smiles at him. “Not unlike a certain Croatian that tends to miss tossing his own clothes into the hamper too, leaving dirty socks on the floor for me to pick up.” Lucy playfully nudges her shoulder against him.
“Your aim isn’t the greatest either, Lucy.” He winks. “I find your clothes on the floor almost as often as you find my socks.”
“That’s because you throw my clothes to the ground when you take them off, and then you distract me by doing other things to me before I can pick them up.” She stops when Garcia starts laughing. “What?”
“It’s always your bras on the floor too, and your panties, and your shirts, jeans… and always after we have sex. So, I guess that’s not you, it’s me.” He laughs again.
“You do like to strip me naked.”
“But every time you do a striptease, you…” His face contorts as he tries not to laugh harder, “… you stop to go put your clothes in the hamper!” He’s laughing so hard now that his body shakes the couch. “Yet, once you’re out of your clothes you’re a little demon in bed!”
“Shhh!” Lucy laughs. “Keep your voice down, or you’ll wake everyone.”
“And I have a bite mark to prove it,” he adds, starting to lift up the front of his t-shirt.
Lucy smiles mischievously at him, unable to deny his accusations.
Eventually, his laughter quiets. He doesn’t say anything for a while, just enjoys the silence between them as he caresses her arm with his hand.
The smile eventually fades from Lucy’s face, and she rests her head against him. She takes a deep breath then exhales. She stares at the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree. The past few weeks have been hard on her, and she knows that she’s been unable to hide her sadness. It’s just that with it being the holiday season, and the memories attached to it, she misses Amy more than usual. She’s tried in the past to not talk much about Amy during Christmas. She thinks that if she did that it would make her seem selfish because she knows the terrible memories Garcia carries with him during the holidays because of what happened to his girls.
The past two Christmases, she successfully set her feelings aside to focus on taking care of him, but this year… she’s been more emotional and incapable of hiding how she feels.
“I’m worried about you, Lucy,” his voice is a whisper.
He places his fingers beneath her chin and lifts her face so their eyes meet. “I know this time of year is hard on you. I know how you think about Amy, and how life used to be before… before I…” He sighs. “I’m sorry, Lucy. I’m sorry that my actions took her from you, and I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to save her.”
“You don’t have to keep apologizing for what happened to her,” Lucy says, trying desperately to hold herself together. “You know that I don’t blame you for her disappearance. It was Rittenhouse, they did it, and they went back to ensure she can never be saved.” Her voice breaks as her throat tightens as she tries not to cry. She can pretend with everyone else that she’s all right, but she cannot pretend with Garcia, not anymore. She lowers her head. “I wish she was here,” she cries, barely able to say the words aloud.
“Hey…” Garcia wraps his arm around her shoulders, pulling her into him.
Lucy turns to him as he cups her face in the palm of his hand. He wipes away her tears with his thumb as he kisses the top of her head. He knows all too well the pain of losing loved ones, and the frustration that no matter what they do that they can’t save them.
“I’m used to chasing after Rittenhouse,” Lucy says. “I’m used to traveling through time. I’m used to pretending to be someone I’m not when we go on these missions, but… I’m not used to spending the holidays in this bunker. I want to go out again. I want to feel the cool California breeze on my cheeks as I wander down the street toward Union Square. I want to window shop. I want to wish people a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays as I pass them on the street. I want to go to Christmas parties. I want to hug my friends, and tell them how much I love them. I want to watch as kids wait in line to sit on Santa’s lap to tell him what they want for Christmas.”
Garcia nods his head. Being cooped up in this bunker for the past few years weighs on them all. Of course, Agent Christopher has arranged for them to get out for sunlight and fresh air, but not as often as any of them would like. And contact with anyone outside the bunker is strictly prohibited, and after what happened with Jessica, Agent Christopher confiscated all their mobile devices, and blocked most of their access to the internet to ensure no one could communicate with the outside world. She did let them keep their Netflix subscription though. At least they still have that.
Lucy sighs. “I want to unintentionally screw up baking Christmas cookies and have to make a run to the store to buy cookies, which I’d try to pass as my own once I got to…” Lucy closes her eyes, hating that her memory is tarnished by knowing who her mother really was, “once I got to my mom’s for her Christmas Eve party.”
“I wish I could give you the life that you want,” Garcia whispers to her.
“In some ways, you have. You’re the one thing I love most about being in this bunker,” Lucy says. “You’re my best friend, and… I can’t imagine what my life would be like without you in it.”
Lucy inches closer to him, reaching out to play with the fabric of his Tesla hoodie. She slides her cold hand underneath its fabric, resting it on his waist.
“Tell me about what your mom’s Christmas Eve party was like.”
“Uptight.” Lucy laughs. “I’m kidding, it wasn’t too uptight, but everyone was expected to dress up. I’d put on my nicest dress, usually a black or burgundy cocktail dress. I’d fuss over my hair and makeup, and worry about what she’d think of how I looked.”
“You know, you didn’t have to fuss over how you looked. You make bedhead beautiful.”
Lucy smiles as she rolls her eyes. She reaches up and runs her hand through his hair. “Kinda how you make bedhead look good too?” She teases, countering his ‘beautiful’ with ‘good,’ an inside joke they’ve shared for some time now.
Garcia runs his hand through his hair and smiles down at her.
Lucy returns his smile and settles into him. His arm rests on her shoulders.
“Anyway, after spending at least two or three hours getting ready for the party, I’d show up and do the usual meet-and-greet with local or out-of-town historians that my mother invited for me to rub elbows with. Of course, Amy shows up,” Lucy laughs. “More than once, Amy showed up in a long-sleeve t-shirt and jeans, her hair a mess from having participated in a snowball fight with the neighborhood kids, and mom wouldn’t even blink.”
“Amy sounds like a riot.”
“I always admired her for her free spirit. She tried to talk me into showing up in pajamas with her one year, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Anyway, mom would play old Christmas music all evening. She had old vinyl records of Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and my favourite, The Carpenters. All the card tables from the garage would be out, covered in her prettiest holiday red, green, and white lace tablecloths. There were plates full of an assortment of cookies and candies, which never seemed to run out. And all homemade, by the way, except for the ones I’d bring from the store.”
“Sounds delicious,” Garcia says.
“Mom would leave the front door unlocked, and people would come and go as they pleased. Friends, family, neighbors, complete strangers who heard about the party from a friend who had stopped by. I think I loved that best about the party. I loved that my mom didn’t mind strangers showing up to celebrate with us. I loved that she was welcoming to people who might not have had anywhere to go for the holidays. That they could come and enjoy the food, the company, the music… and my mom would always welcome them with a cheerful ‘Merry Christmas’ and a hug.” Lucy smiles and then lowers her head. “I grew up seeing that, and wanting to emulate everything my mother was, and what she stood for… to always treat others with a kind heart and with love.” She shakes her head, trying to force away more recent memories of her mother before Emma killed her in Chinatown. She sniffles and squeezes her eyes shut, forcing away tears.
“I know… it’s hard…” Garcia says, tightening his arm around her shoulder. He kisses her temple. “If it helps any, you inherited the best of your mother. You care about others, even people you don’t know, and you pour your heart into everything you do, and you love your friends unconditionally.” He runs his hand through her hair. “I wish I had known you back then. I would’ve loved to have gone to one of those parties with you.”
“Ah, but you were married then. Remember?” Lucy pokes him with her finger playfully, wanting to lighten the mood.
“I remember. I just… I wish I had known you before… all of this.” He motions to everything around them. “I’m glad that you came to me in Brazil, you know.”
Lucy nods. “Five years ago, tonight.”
“It’s still so weird to me that you’ve met a me from the future, and I still haven’t begun writing any journal. And you’ve already said that so many things that were in it, changed or never happened, and sometimes I wonder if – at the end of all this – if I’ll even need to write it and take it back to you in 2014.”
“Sometimes I think about how I don’t want you to do that either.”
Lucy gives him a look, so he explains himself.
“If we defeat Rittenhouse then… why risk going back to ask me to do this again, when that past me could do something just slightly different and change the future you came from? I’ve been thinking that when we win this war, that we should just leave it in the past. We have to move forward or we’ll always… we’ll always be dealing with the aftershocks of time travel. And I don’t know about you, but I want to live for our future, not the past.”
Garcia looks at Lucy.
Her eyes now shimmer with tears, but not of anguish or heartache, but happiness. Hearing him say that he wants to move forward when all this is over soothes her. She’s been carrying the weight of expectation to write the journal, and bring it to him in 2014, for three years, and that hasn’t been easy.
“Thank you,” she says quietly. “You don’t know how much weight you just lifted off my shoulders.”
“I never meant to burden you.”
“I know. I just… I tend to place the burden on myself.”
She places her hand on her abdomen, thinking of the child they might be having together. If she is pregnant, she knows that the responsibility won’t fall solely on her shoulders. He will be here for her.
She gazes up into his eyes and then his lips. She then looks over her shoulder at the mistletoe across the room. She doesn’t need a mistletoe to kiss him, but it’s been hanging over the entry to the common area since they all decorated the bunker, and not once has she or Garcia been caught underneath it. She places her hand on his arm, leaning in to kiss him. But she stops just short of his lips and pulls away. She looks at him. His eyes are closed and his lips puckered, expecting her kiss.
“Anyway,” she says, cluing him in on the fact that he’s not getting a kiss right now.
His eyes open and he looks at her, curious.
She ignores the look on his face which asks her why she didn’t kiss him.
“Once I got my driver’s license, me and Amy would sneak away from mom’s party and head downtown to Union Square to go ice skating. You know how they put in an ice rink every year? Across from the Christmas tree?”
“That became mine and Amy’s Christmas Eve tradition, to sneak away and go ice skating.”
Garcia nods his head, “Lorena and I took Iris there when she was four.” He smiles at the memory. “She was fearless. Refused to cling onto the wall like some of the other sensical people there.”
He laughs. “No, I could actually stand up on skates. When I was a kid, I inherited my great-grandfather’s antique hockey skates. You know, the kind that attach to your shoes?”
“Wow. Do you still have them?” Lucy shakes her head. “I’m sorry, did you still have them before?”
“I did. I wanted to give them to Iris when she got older. They weren’t in bad condition either considering they were made in the 1890s.” He smiles. “So yeah, I can skate, but I haven’t been since we took Iris.”
“I would’ve loved to have skated with Iris. I’m sure she was an absolute doll on the ice.”
“What about you and Amy?” Garcia asks, wondering if what he saw in his dream was accurate. “Did you two cling to the wall?”
“No, we weren’t ‘wall huggers.’ We actually took figure skating lessons together when we got caught up in the Tonya-Nancy drama in 1994. I was eleven, Amy was four, and figure skating became our obsession. You know that Amy and I were pretty much polar opposites, and how rare it was that we had common interests? But ice skating together, that was the one thing we really bonded over as kids.” Lucy laughs. “I mean, up until her disappearance, she and I would still argue over the results of the ladies competition of the 1994 Olympics. Not really argue, we both thought that Nancy deserved to win the gold medal, but after twenty-some years, we still got all worked up over the results. A program with a triple-triple jump combination, versus a program filled with two-foot landings, and only one sloppy double-double jump combination at the end…” Lucy tilts her head to the side, recognizing that she could very well be about to go off on a tangent. “Please, stop me. I could go on for hours once you get me started.”
“I don’t know the results of that competition, but I am aware of the Tonya-Nancy thing. I thought it unnecessary for everyone to be so… obsessed doesn’t seem like the right word… focused, or media-crazed over them. I only knew of one figure skater before then. Željka Čižmešija-”
“Say that again.” Lucy laughs, not really expecting him to explain how to pronounce the name to her.
“My grandma loved ice skating, and in 1992, Željka was the first woman to represent Croatia in the Olympics. She didn’t place well. I think she was in last place due to lack of training because of the war.”
“Right, the uh… wasn’t the arena where the Sarajevo Olympic figure skating competition was held, turned into a morgue?”
Garcia nods his head. “It was, and it was bombed by the Serbs in the spring of ’92, and it was reconstructed in the late 90s.”
“I’m sorry,” Lucy says.
“I didn’t mean to bring up the war.”
“It’s ok,” he tells her. “You don’t need to apologize every time we talk about something from my past. I’ve dealt with most of it, and it doesn’t bother me anymore.” Lucy runs her hand up and down his arm, unable to look him in the eye. He adds, “But I understand why you apologize so much, draga, and it’s ok that you do.”
Lucy shivers and brings her shoulders up toward her ears. She wipes a tear from her face and continues to avoid eye contact.
“I know I don’t need your constant approval,” she says quietly. “But I’m still living with the fear my mom engrained in me, the fear of disappointing her or others I care about. And then apologizing anytime I felt that I did let someone down.” Lucy looks into his eyes. “But I apologize to you when I think I’ve said something that might make you sad, or that might have hurt you. I never want to hurt you, Garcia.”
“I know, sweetheart.” He kisses the top of her head. “And I don’t want you to think that everything has to be perfect in our relationship. It’s ok if we make mistakes, and we’ll probably say stupid things that will hurt each other. But at the end of the day, I know that we still love each other and will work everything out.”
Lucy is quiet as she considers his words.
It’s hard for her to let go of perfection.
“I love you,” she whispers.
Those three words bring a smile to his face.
Of the two of them, she struggles the most with saying ‘I love you.’ It’s so rare that when she does say it, he knows that without a doubt, in the moment she says them, that she means every word from the bottom of her heart.
“I love you more,” he tells her.
There’s a moment of silence as she sniffles and sits up, finally making contact with his eyes.
“It’s not a competition, Garcia,” she says.
While her voice is still weak, it sounds like she’s trying to turn around her mood.
He’s getting closer to finding her smile again.
“Tell me more about yours and Amy’s skating,” he says.
“Well, once, we participated in a holiday skating show. Amy really had a knack for skating, and you know me… the perpetual klutz. Well… Amy did this beautiful program to the Valse Des Fleurs, the uh…”
“Waltz of the Flowers-”
“Yes, from the Nutcracker. She did all her jumps, her spins, and didn’t trip on her footwork. And she got a standing ovation and everything. Kids were throwing flowers and toys onto the ice for her. I skated immediately after her to Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Upbeat music, and I so wanted to outshine Amy and get the audience clapping, so I start clapping my hands over my head while skating backward. I tripped over my own feet, crashed to the ice, and had to wait for a couple hours in the ER to find out that I broke my wrist.”
The smile on Lucy’s face is genuine, but then her smile fades again.
Garcia’s heart sinks. He wants more than anything to make this a happy Christmas for her, but no matter what they talk about something always brings her down. And maybe it’s ok that he can’t dig her out of this hole. Things aren’t meant to be perfect all of the time, and that’s part of being together. In the hard times as well as the good. All she needs is for him to be here with her. Listening to her, supporting her, and loving her.
“I haven’t been skating since the Christmas Eve before she disappeared.” Lucy lowers her eyes and picks at the zipper of Garcia’s hoodie. “I almost went the year we started chasing you through time, but I got to the rink, laced up my skates, and I just stood there and cried. I couldn’t bring myself to step onto the ice without her.”
“Could you do it with me?” Garcia asks.
“I would love to go skating with you, but Denise would never allow it. Not with the way Rittenhouse has been. Both of us are a target. And even if we managed to sneak out of the bunker unnoticed, Rittenhouse has ways to monitor public areas. A night out skating at Union Square would probably end with us running down the street with rental skates strapped to our feet.”
She says this in all seriousness, but when their eyes meet, there’s a moment where they are both imagining this scenario, and how ridiculous they would look running away from Emma in bright blue plastic rental skates, and the clunk-clunk-clunk sounds the blades would make on the pavement.
They burst out laughing, then try to shush one another so they don’t wake anyone else up.
With a smile on her face, Lucy looks into Garcia’s eyes and cups his jaw in the palm of her hand. She kisses his lips, lingering just long enough that the kiss is both a ‘thank you’ and an unspoken ‘I love you.’ She rubs her nose against his.
Garcia holds onto the back of her head, gently pulling her to him. Emulating her almost-kiss from moments ago, he leans toward her lips, but at the last moment, he drifts to the left and kisses her cheek. He pulls away from her, his hand on the back of her neck.
“I love you, Lucy.”
He looks at her, watching her reaction.
There’s a smile on her face, but she is looking away from him, perhaps unused to being told she is loved.
Like her, he doesn’t say ‘I love you’ nearly as often as he should. And after the dream he had, and how in his dream he read that one of her biggest regrets was how they didn’t say it to each other as often as they should have, he fully intends on saying it to her as much as he can.
“Thank you for letting me ramble on about my mom’s party and Amy.” She leans forward and kisses his cheek. She holds his hand as she stands. He remains seated, prompting her to ask, “Are you coming to bed now, or will you be up a little longer?”
Garcia’s eyes fall on the book he had been thinking about reading before Wyatt joined him. He winks at Lucy as he leans forward and picks up the book from the coffee table. “I think I’ll finish the chapter I’m on, and then I’ll come to bed.” He wets his lips, adding, “I’ve got a lot on my mind lately, things I’m uh… trying to figure out. Reading will help shove them to the back of my mind.”
“Do you need to talk?” Lucy asks.
“Not really,” he answers. “Other than the possibility we might be pregnant, I guess I can’t stop thinking about how Wyatt risked his life to push me out of harm’s way during the mission today.” He pauses as Lucy sits back down next to him. “I guess I’m still trying to wrap my mind around why he would do that. He can still save Jessica and Chloe. He has everything to lose and I…” He shakes his head. “Anyway, maybe saving my ass was his way of reaching out to make amends. I mean… we did have a civil conversation. But I guess it just bothers me that he would be so reckless, knowing his wife and daughter are still here in the present, alive and well. I’ve tried everything to try to save my girls, all the while Wyatt has his here in 2019, and he barely lifts a finger to try to figure out a way to save them from Rittenhouse.”
Lucy runs her hand over his hand. She hears in his voice his frustration with Wyatt’s inaction, and his own heartache of not being able to save Lorena and Iris.
“I wish we could save them too,” she whispers, giving his hand a gentle squeeze.
She reaches up and wipes a tear from his cheek. He forces a smile to hide the sadness in his eyes, but the truth of his pain cannot be hidden from Lucy. She reaches behind them on the couch, retrieving a navy-blue fleece blanket. She unfolds it then curls up next to Garcia. She covers them both, sighing as she rests her head against his shoulder. They sit in silence for a few minutes, and just as Lucy’s vision starts to blur the Christmas lights as her eyelids close…
“If you’re tired, go to bed. I’ll finish this chapter in a few minutes. You don’t need to stay out here with me.”
“I want to,” she tells him. “How about you read the rest of the chapter to me? I love hearing you read.”
“It’s in German.”
“It’s Stephen King,” he warns. “Misery.”
Lucy raises her head and gives him a ‘so-you’re-in-a-very-holly-jolly-holiday-mood-haha, sarcasm!’ look. She tilts her head anyway, letting him know that she doesn’t mind that it’s Stephen King, nor that it’s a German translation of Misery. Garcia nods his head, opens the book and reads aloud.
“Jeder Verfasser von Bestsellern kannte, wie er vermutete, sein eigenes Beispiel oder seine eigenen Beispiele radikaler Leseridentifizierung mit den erdachten Welten, die der Schriftsteller erschafft… Beispiele des Scheherazade-Komplexes, dachte Paul jetzt…”
It takes only ten minutes for him to finish reading the chapter aloud. When he finishes, Garcia looks down at Lucy. Her eyes are closed and she’s asleep. He carefully leans forward to place the book back on the table, removes the blanket from them. Then he lifts Lucy into his arms, and carries her back to their bed.
Lucy fades in and out of sleep as the rest of the bunker wakes, getting an early start on their Christmas Eve day. She turns and drapes her leg over Garcia’s, curling her fist and resting it snugly beneath her chin. She sighs as she rests her head against his shoulder. Lucy smiles when she hears laughter coming from Rufus and Jiya in the kitchen, hearing Jiya warn Wyatt that “Santa is always watching.” What Wyatt has done to deserve that comment, she doesn’t know, nor does she care. It’s Christmas Eve, and despite being stuck in this bunker, she wants to make the best of it.
She opens her eyes and looks up at Garcia to see if he too is awake. He is, and he turns his head to kiss her forehead. Lucy closes her eyes and drifts back to sleep, feeling safe in his arms.
Hours later, she wakes again.
Her hand searches for Garcia, but he’s not there.
She opens her eyes to look around the room, expecting him to be sitting across from her with a warm mug of coffee. But he’s not there either, and the clothes he had set out last night are no longer on the armchair. She rolls onto her back and sighs. The Carpenters’ Christmas Portrait album plays quietly in the common area.
I’ll be home for Christmas.
You can count on me.
Please, have snow and mistletoe.
And presents on the tree.
Then it dawns on her that it is awfully quiet in the bunker for it being Christmas Eve day. Not that she expects the ruckus that happened last year when Rufus and Wyatt snuck out and brought back a bucket of shaved ice, which resulted in an indoor snowball fight – much to Denise and Connor’s chagrin. But no one is talking, there are no sounds of baking utensils being used in the kitchen. Nothing.
Lucy sits up and runs her hand through her hair. She gets out of bed, wraps herself in the burgundy robe that Garcia gave her last year for Christmas. Barefoot, she makes her way down the hallway. No one is around, and then her heart skips a beat.
The Lifeboat is gone.
She stands, staring at the empty landing area, her mouth agape. How in the world did she sleep through the Mothership alarm? And why didn’t anyone wake her? She runs to the computers and checks the monitor to see where they went.
“Denise?” She calls out.
There’s no reply.
No reply from him either.
She knows that not all six of them could go on a mission.
Where could they be?
She looks at the monitors and nothing indicates that Rittenhouse went anywhere. It still shows that the Mothership is here, today, in 2019. But the Lifeboat, well, it’s showing that it is currently in Paris, France on Christmas Eve 1894. She looks around the CPUs, the monitors, the mice, and keyboards, looking for a clue or a note about why the team went to 1894 without her. She sees a piece of paper folded in half with her name on it in Garcia’s handwriting.
She opens it.
Agent Christopher came by early to bring everyone over to hers and Michelle’s for their Christmas Eve party. I didn’t want to wake you, and Wyatt said that I could stay here with you in case Rittenhouse takes out the Mothership, and he would go to the party instead. I want to spend Christmas Eve with you since we’re family to each other.
Maybe we can find something fun to do while everyone is away. It’s not easy for us to spend quality time alone together, and I want our first Christmas Eve together to be one to remember.
If you’re reading this, that means that you woke up before I could get back. Obviously, I took out the Lifeboat. Don’t worry. I’ll be back. I just need to do some last-minute shopping. So, while I’m gone, get washed up and ready for the day. And when I return, I would like to take full advantage of having the bunker to ourselves.
All my love,
Lucy’s certain that Garcia did not get permission to take out the Lifeboat, and that he’s already taken advantage of Denise and the others not being here to do it. But what’s done is done. It’s not like he won’t return. At least he hasn’t gone off to try to take down Rittenhouse on his own again.
If only he had woken her to go to Paris with him. She really would like to get out of the bunker and do something fun, even if that’s helping Garcia shop for last-minute Christmas presents.
But… it is what it is.
She’s relieved that Garcia took Wyatt up on his offer to stay with her. It was actually his rotation to get out of this place, and she was supposed to be spending Christmas Eve with Wyatt while everyone else was at Denise’s. And as much as she wants to maintain a friendship with Wyatt, lately she’s been fed up with him, and was not looking forward to tonight. At least now she’ll be spending it with Garcia, who – as he wrote – is her family.
And by the sound of it, when he returns, they’ll be able to take full advantage of having the bunker alone to themselves for Christmas Eve. Usually, when it’s the two of them left behind, they spend the day talking, cleaning, fixing things that leak, using WD-40 to quiet the bunker doors, and clean out old food from the refrigerator. Sometimes, they sit on the couch and make out, fool around, and eventually end up naked together in bed, and then again in the shower. But today is Christmas Eve, and she hopes that means relaxing and just enjoying each other – in whatever way that manifests.
The first Christmas Eve here, everyone spent it in the bunker. Last year, everyone went to Denise’s, and Lucy was left hanging out with Wyatt in the bunker even after Garcia offered to stay here instead. But back then, Wyatt was determined to make sure that she and Garcia didn’t spend too much time alone. Lucy smiles, and finally this year, she gets to spend Christmas Eve with Garcia.
Maybe after she showers, she’ll dig through her dresses and find the prettiest one she has and wear it all day long. She’s never dressed up for him, and figures Christmas Eve is a perfect time to do just that.
She makes her way toward the hallway, planning out how they can dim the lights and slow dance to quiet instrumental Christmas music, or how she can catch him underneath the mistletoe. Or how they can sit down, not have to worry about being interrupted, and have an honest discussion about their future, and what they’ll do if she is pregnant.
She pauses outside Wyatt’s room.
She pushes the door open and enters.
She goes over to the cubby where she and Jiya found Jessica’s home pregnancy tests the other day. She takes a box with her as she exits, and heads toward the bathroom.
She closes the door behind her.
Lucy sits on the bench in the bathroom.
She’s wrapped in a towel, her hair dripping wet as she stares at the result of the home pregnancy test that she holds in her hand. She wipes tears away with the back of her hand.
Her hand shakes as she sets the test down next to her. She stands, crossing the room to gather up her black sweatpants and Garcia’s burgundy turtleneck to change into.
She’s blow-drying her hair when she hears the Lifeboat return.
Her heart pounds in her chest as she tries to figure out how to tell Garcia
She quickly runs her fingers through her hair, using a black hair-tie to throw her hair up into a sloppy bun. She hurries out of the bathroom, her bare feet hitting the ice-cold floor as she runs to him.
His lips curl into a huge grin when he hears the soft pitter-patter of Lucy’s feet approaching from behind. He moves the computer mouse over to the right monitor to check on the remaining battery life of the Lifeboat. It’s at 87%. He turns around just as Lucy wraps her arms around his neck, and pulls his lips to hers.
“Thank you,” she tells him. “I’m so happy that we get to spend Christmas Eve together, and…” Tears shimmer in her eyes. She smiles up at him. She shakes her head and kisses him again.
He takes hold of her wrists, bringing them to his lips.
He kisses her knuckles.
“And what if I told you that I’ve got another idea, draga?” He steps back and motions to the clothes he’s wearing. They’re much like the suit that he wore when he took her with him and Karl to Chicago in 1893.
But her mind is elsewhere.
She wraps her arms around him again, “Mmm… what idea do you have, my love?” She purrs as she kisses his neck. Her hand trails down the front of his suit coat and that’s when she notices the suit he’s wearing. She leans back and looks up at him. “You look like you’ve just come from the Chicago World’s Fair.” She pauses. “You didn’t go back and meet Tesla like you said you wish you had done, did you?”
“I didn’t, but you’re not too far off, actually,” he says. “I uh… I went to Paris… 1894.”
“Right, your note.” She shakes her head at herself and wonders if ‘pregnancy brain’ is already kicking in. “What presents did you get everyone?” She asks.
Garcia takes Lucy’s hand, leading her toward the Lifeboat.
“I want to give you a little Christmas Eve present.”
“And you had to go to Paris in 1894 to get it?”
“Yes and no,” he answers. Lucy gives him a look. “Yes, I got you something in Paris. No, because I’m… I want to take you to Paris.”
Lucy’s eyes are wide. She loves Paris.
“How did you convince Denise to let us go to Paris?” She asks.
“Agent Christopher doesn’t know. And I’m basing this escape from the bunker on the fact that every Christmas Eve we’ve spent here, Rittenhouse has never taken out the Mothership. So…”
“And when she finds out?”
“I’m hoping she won’t. We’ll come back before the others get back from her place later tonight.”
Garcia lets go of Lucy’s hand so he can push the ladder to the Lifeboat. He holds out his hand and helps her up the stairs. Lucy steps into the Lifeboat and stops when she sees a brand new navy-blue Victorian era dress, and its matching midnight-blue jacket and fur hat sitting atop it.
Garcia stands behind Lucy, placing his hands on her shoulders. He kisses the back of her neck as he slides his hand beneath his burgundy turtleneck that she’s wearing. He caresses the soft skin below her breasts. She tilts her head back to rest against his chest. She closes her eyes and sighs. She turns in his arms to face him, his hand slides onto her lower back. Their eyes meet and then she lowers her gaze to his lips.
He leans down and rests his forehead against hers. “You’re so beautiful, Lucy…”
“As are you,” she whispers.
Garcia caresses her back with his thumb. Then he moves his hands to rest on her hips.
“Here…” He whispers, “let me help you get changed.”
Lucy raises her arms as he lifts his turtleneck over her head, exposing her chest.
Garcia turns around and closes the hatch of the Lifeboat. Then he returns his full attention to Lucy, his eyes gazing for a moment at her breasts. He takes her into one arm, and pulls her into him. His other hand cups her breast. He kisses her and she kisses him back.
Snowflakes float through the air, falling beautifully into place on the ground surrounding Garcia and Lucy as they make their way, arm-in-arm, down the snow-covered Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris on Christmas Eve, 1894. The Luxor Obelisk of La Place de la Concorde is behind them, and the Arc de Triomphe is ahead of them, blurred in the distance by the snow flurries dancing around them.
“Originally the Luxor Obelisk was situated on the right side of the Luxor Temple in Egypt,” Garcia says. “It was given to France in exchange for a mechanical clock back in 1836, by Muhammed Ali Pash.” Garcia chuckles and looks down at the ground in front of him. “It didn’t exactly turn out to be the best of exchanges though.”
“Oh?” Lucy asks, not as familiar with the history of Egypt and Europe as Garcia is.
“The mechanical clock was damaged in transit and didn’t work.”
“What did Ali Pash do?”
“Kept it.” He chuckles. “It’s actually still on display at the Citadel of Cairo, and it still doesn’t work.”
Lucy smiles and pulls herself closer to Garcia. “Once we’re done with this war with Rittenhouse, we should visit Egypt. I’ve never been, and something tells me that you would be a good tour guide.”
“Don’t you mean a beautiful tour guide?” Garcia asks, winking at her.
Both of them look toward the street as they hear the clopping of horse hooves approaching. A horse-drawn carriage passes them and the coachman joyously shouts out to them, “Joyeux Noël!”
Garcia tips his hat and shouts back at the man, “Merci. Et joyeux Noël à vous et à vos proches!”
Lucy laughs quietly.
“What?” Garcia asks, gazing down at her.
“You. The way you pronounce French. It’s…”
“Not so good?” He jokes.
“It’s good. Better than me, even with your accent.”
“Hvala, moja ljubavi.” Garcia thanks her in his father’s native language.
“So… you still haven’t told me why we’re here. You don’t have tickets to the ballet, and while Paris is a beautiful place to spend Christmas Eve, something tells me that you weren’t planning on us just taking a stroll down the Champs-Élysées.”
“Ever heard of the Palais de Glace?” He asks.
“I had a vintage poster of it in my room when I was in high school,” Lucy answers. “It was popular during the Belle Époque. It had a promenade and a bandstand for a live orchestra. And a café where skaters could enjoy coffee and chocolates.”
“I don’t know about you, Lucy, but a cup of chocolat chaud sounds really good right now.”
“It does,” she says.
They walk in silence for a few minutes, approaching the Rond Point of the Champs- Élysées.
Lucy smiles as she looks up at Garcia.
“Remember how I told you that my sister and I were obsessed with skating when we were younger?” Garcia nods his head. “Well… I’m not an expert on European history, but I do know a little about the history of the Palais de Glace if you don’t mind me talking figure skating again.”
“I don’t mind at all. All I know is that it used to be an ice-skating rink, and in present day I believe it serves as a theatre and restaurant,” Garcia says.
“It was one of the first skating rinks in Europe that welcomed women, and even when the Skating Club of Paris was formed, they welcomed women too. Figure skating wasn’t actually a popular women’s sport back then. It was a masculine sport. And not only did the Palais de Glace welcome women to participate, they encouraged them to improve their skills.” Lucy pauses, her eyes wide as she realizes, “Wait! Are you taking me skating at the Palais de Glace?!”
She’s so overcome with excitement that Garcia has to quickly place his hand on her lower back to keep her from slipping, and falling, on the freshly fallen snow. Lucy rolls her eyes at herself. They both laugh.
“I figured since it’s not safe for us to ice skate at Union Square that we could go back in time to skate someplace else on Christmas Eve. I know you love Paris, and I thought we could… skate in Amy’s memory.”
Lucy is touched. She stops walking and stands in front of him, placing her hands on his arms she tells him, “Thank you, Garcia.” She goes up on her toes to give him a kiss on the cheek. She smiles. “Amy would be so jealous if she knew that you took me to the Palais de Glace. I mean, when we found out the rink closed not long after it reopened after World War One, we were devastated. And you’re right, in 2019, it’s called the Théâtre du Rond-Point, and it’s located just off of the Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt, which in 1894 is known by another name which escapes my memory at the moment.”
“The Avenue d’Antin,” Garcia reminds her, motioning for them to take a left turn onto the Avenue d’Antin.
Lucy stops in her tracks once the rotunda of the Palais de Glace is in sight. She looks at the short line of people waiting outside to gain admission to the rink. She turns to Garcia.
“But we don’t’ have skates,” she says.
“Ah… but remember, I made a short trip before we came here. And it wasn’t just to get us these clothes. I came here earlier today and met with Monsieur Jean Richard-”
“The famous skating instructor, and the first person in the world to perform the three-step waltz on ice, right here at the Palais de Glace earlier in 1894?!” Lucy asks, perhaps a little too excited.
“That would be him.” Garcia smiles as Lucy’s eyes light up. “I came here and inquired about purchasing two sets of adjustable skate blades that we’ll have to attach to our shoes.”
“Eee! Garcia!” Lucy squeals, taking both his hands in hers. She stops just short of jumping up and down.
“Monsieur Richard won’t be here tonight, but he has our skates waiting for us once we get inside. And they’re fully bought and paid for…” He holds her shoulders, leaning down to kiss her forehead. “My Christmas Eve gift to you.”
The joyous hum of the crowd travels through the interior of the Palais De Glace as men, women, and children place their skate blades onto their shoes. A rather large crowd of people is already skating around the small circular ice rink in the middle of the building.
Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker plays softly from the orchestra in the bandstand.
Lucy is in awe, unable to stop looking all around her at the architecture of the building, and at the people. She smiles and looks at Garcia who has just finished strapping on his brand-new – yet to them, antique – skate blades.
“The first performance of The Nutcracker ballet was two years ago,” Lucy says as Garcia kneels in front of her, taking her foot in his hand so that he can strap on the blades for her. “It was at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, but it wasn’t an immediate success. Even Tchaikovsky himself said it was a boring production.”
Garcia smiles, and shows off his own knowledge of ballet history, “And it wasn’t until after Disney used selections from the music in Fantasia in 1940, that interest in the ballet was reignited.”
“I love that you know random bits of historical facts like that.” Lucy smiles. “Makes my geeking out over history seem less… I don’t know, obnoxious.”
“Lucy, sweetheart, I could listen to you talk all day about history, and I would enjoy it. And I would gladly join you in geeking out. I mean, imagine how I’d be if I got to meet Nikola Tesla.” He places her foot down and lifts the other to strap on the other blade. “And once we’re done with life in the bunker, I fully intend on following you wherever you want to go. And if you chose to teach again, I would gladly sit in on some of your lectures too.” He looks down and wets his lips. “Actually… I did sit in on a couple of your lectures before I stole the Mothership.”
“Which ones?” Lucy asks, laughing. “Not my ‘jumbo’ lecture, right?”
“I don’t know what your ‘jumbo’ lecture is, but I did sit in on your lecture about Lincoln. I read the book you wrote about it too. I even read it again after I… after I took Booth’s place as Lincoln’s assassin.” He gives her an apologetic smile. “It was weird reading it again when it wasn’t really you who wrote it, but rather the you of the timeline I altered.”
“You’re such a dork,” Lucy tells him. “Actually… I read it again too, just to see what the other Lucy had to say about it.” She laughs. “What about you though? What do you want to do when we’re done with life in the bunker?” Lucy asks. “I mean… you don’t have to follow me wherever I go.”
“Honestly, I don’t know, Lucy. It depends on whether or not Agent Christopher can cut a deal for my freedom, otherwise…”
“Then I’ll have to marry you so we can have conjugal visits.”
Lucy says this, not meaning for her suggestion that they marry to be taken seriously. But Garcia remains quiet as if he’s been giving thought to marriage as well. He finishes putting the blade on her shoe. He stands up and offers his hand to Lucy. She takes it and looks into his eyes apologetically. She quietly tells him, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s ok,” his voice is hushed.
Garcia holds onto her hand as she confidently steps onto the ice. Despite having taken figure skating lessons in her youth, she slips, loses her balance, and starts to fall backward. But Garcia catches her in his arms.
“Maybe we shouldn’t let go of each other, huh?” He suggests.
“These blades aren’t sharp enough, and there’s no toe pick in front, so I’m basically a beginner now.” Lucy smiles. Any tension between them because she managed to open her big mouth and bring up marriage, has dissipated. To help fully push it from their minds, Lucy adds, “Fun fact.”
“Did you know that the first World Figure Skating Championships still haven’t been held? They took place in 1896 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. And there were only four competitors, all men. The championship was called at the time – and please forgive my pronunciation – the Internationale Eislauf-Vereingang.”
Garcia smiles and resists the urge to help her pronounce German correctly.
“I didn’t know that,” he says. “But I do know that skating competitions were held outdoors. The last Olympic skating competition that was held outdoors was in Sapporo in 1972-”
“And, did you know that throughout the entire history of the European Championships, the event was cancelled only four times. They were supposed to be in Amsterdam in 1902 and again in 1903, but those events were cancelled due to a lack of outdoor ice.”
Lucy lets go of his hand and wraps her arm around his instead, now that she’s become more comfortable with her new antique skate blades. She rocks backward and has to tighten her grip on his arm so she doesn’t fall down. She looks up at him as he stays focused ahead of them. He hasn’t had a single slip, trip, or hiccup in these skate blades.
“How are you not falling down?” She asks.
“You’re hanging onto me.” He smiles and winks at her.
“No. Really?” She nudges his side with her elbow. “Did you practice when you were here earlier? Take a lesson with Monsieur Richard maybe?”
“I didn’t.” He shrugs. “I don’t know. Maybe I’m a natural.”
“You’re too tall to be a natural,” Lucy jokes.
“What does height have to do with it?” He asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Most skaters aren’t very tall. Well… ice dancers tend to be tall, but they’re not required to do all the jumping.”
“Maybe then I know how to waltz on ice,” he says with a sly grin. “Actually, these skates aren’t very different from the old hockey skates my Baka gave me when I was a kid in Croatia.”
“Baka?” Lucy asks, laughing. “That means ‘stupid’ in Japanese. Amy taught me that when she went through her karate-Japan phase.”
“Ooh… a language you don’t know.” She winks.
“In Croatian, baka means ‘grandma’.” He smiles. “The skates she gave me were hand-me-downs that she got from her deda – her grandpa – who got them from his deda.”
“Yes.” Garcia tightens his grip on Lucy as she almost loses her balance again as they make a tight turn to avoid crashing into someone. “You’re not having another one of those dizzy spells again, are you?” He asks.
“No. I’m just incapable of coordination in these old skates,” Lucy assures him.
He nods his head.
“Anyway, my grandma would drive me from Mostar to Zagreb each weekend during the winter so that I could play hockey. It was a five- or six-hour drive. I thought she was crazy for doing it because we’d leave before sunrise every Saturday morning.”
“You wanted to be a pro hockey player?”
“No. I just liked messing around on the ice with friends. But my Baka was a fan of the KHL Medveščak Zagreb in the 60s. I think she had a dream that I would play for the team after Yugoslavia broke up in 1991. You know how you told me that Amy would shout and throw things at the TV when she watched American football? Well, my Baka was the same way about hockey, but without the face paint.”
Lucy laughs, and then backtracks since he said the letters with a Croatian accent. “KHL?” She asks.
“Klub hokeja na ledu. It means ‘ice hockey club.’”
Lucy is grinning from ear-to-ear.
“Do you know when you speak Croatian that your voice gets deeper?” She grins, teasing him.
Garcia wets his lips. If it weren’t cold, he would feel warmth gathering in his cheeks.
Lucy wraps her arm around his waist.
“It’s not something to be embarrassed about, Garcia.” She pauses. “I think it’s sexy.”
“Well! That explains a lot of things,” he huffs with a huge grin on his face, thinking back to several times when the two of them made love and she seemed to get really excited – more than usual – when he responded to her in Croatian.
“You know…” Lucy says coyly. “Maybe we could spend the night here in Paris… and, I don’t know… you could try speaking in French instead when we, well… you know.”
“Maybe…” He looks down at her, enamored by the fact that Lucy still gets shy when they discuss their love life. “Parleriez-vous en français aussi?” He asks if she’d speak to him in French too.
Lucy leans her head against his arm and says nothing as they continue to skate around the small circle rink of the Palais de Glace.
“I wish Amy was here,” she says.
“I wish she was here too.”
“I used to think that I’d never be able to skate without her.” Lucy says. “It was our thing to do together and… being here with you, it helps.”
“And maybe one day we’ll find a way to save her, and we can all three go together. And then one day when we have kids, or when she has kids, we can all go together, and you two can teach the kids how to skate.”
Lucy averts her eyes and runs her hand over the front of her dress, thinking about the result of the home pregnancy test she took. She slows her skating and opens her mouth to tell him, but a moment before a single word can escape her mouth, Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of Flowers begins. A joyous roar floats over the crowd. Men and women pair off and begin waltzing on ice, making Garcia and Lucy stand out like two sore thumbs.
Lucy looks up at Garcia, gauging whether or not he wants to sit down for a while, or attempt to waltz on ice as well, or if she should just blurt out that she’s pregnant and see what happens from there.
“That doesn’t look too complicated,” he says.
“It’s a three-step waltz,” Lucy explains. “If you want to try it, I think we could figure it out.”
“Maybe you can,” he says, full of doubt as a couple gracefully waltzes by them.
“It’s a three-turn, a forward step, and a backward step.”
“A three what?”
“A turn on one foot from forward to back, or back to forward – which undoubtably is much harder to do – but the waltz only requires the forward to back, so…” She steps away from him and attempts a wobbly demonstration of a forward three-turn. She has to quickly place her other foot back on the ice to keep herself from falling down.
“Oh my God,” she says, exasperated. “These skates!” She laughs at herself. “I promise you, in modern skates I’m much more capable than I seem right now.”
Garcia looks at her. He’s hesitant to try this if she – a ‘professional’ – almost fell down.
“Are you sure you can do it?” He asks.
“Yes.” She gestures for him to come to her. “Come here. But first try the turn for yourself.”
“From forward to back on one foot, right?” He shakes his head at himself, certain this will end in disaster.
Lucy nods her head and watches as he shrugs his shoulders. But first, he takes a few moments to watch the other skaters. He tilts his head to the side as if studying their movement. He braces himself, takes a breath, and glides forward on one foot, and before he knows exactly how he’s done it, he’s gliding backward on one foot. He looks at Lucy with a huge ‘I-did-it!’ grin on his face.
“I did it, Lucy!”
“You did!” Lucy claps her hands in excitement. She skates to him. “Ok, so to waltz together. We need to stand close and hold onto each other in a waltz position.”
“Ok, that I can do.”
Lucy places her left hand on his shoulder as he places his right hand on her back between her shoulder blades. “Ok, now raise your elbow and…” Lucy says. Her eyes go wide as she almost loses her balance again. “And hopefully we won’t topple all over each other. But you have to hold me close to you, ok?”
Garcia pulls Lucy into him.
She nods her head.
“Now, you’ll do that turn, then you’ll step backward onto your other foot, and then forward again to the same foot you turned on. Then just repeat those three steps,” Lucy instructs, saying again the steps in rhythm with Tchaikovsky’s waltz. “Three-turn, step backward, step forward, repeat.”
Garcia nods his head, looks around, and trusts that Lucy knows the steps that she needs to do to keep them from falling down. They hold onto each other as they stumble to waltz on ice. They are completely out of synch with each other and with the music. They laugh at how awkward this is for them. But it’s not about looking proper tonight; it’s about having fun with each other.
“You’d think after mastering the Bedroom Tango that we’d be able to get our timing right doing this,” Lucy says through giggles.
“Falling down and hurting oneself isn’t exactly a concern while doing the uh… Bedroom Tango, Lucy,” Garcia says, losing focus and losing track of where his feet are. He stumbles over the front of his blade. He lets go of Lucy so that he doesn’t take her down with him as he falls.
Garcia rolls onto his back on the ice and is laughing hard at himself. He looks up just in time to see Lucy fumbling toward him. She too is doing her best not to fall, but she’s trying too hard. She overcompensates by swinging her arms wildly behind her as if doing the backstroke in a swimming pool. She crashes onto the ice next to him.
Garcia sits up, and with no shame, crawls over to her on all fours.
“You ok?” He places his hand underneath her back and helps her sit up.
“I think so,” she answers. “That was a hard fall.” She closes her eyes and places her hand on her abdomen as Garcia stands up next to her. To cover her fear of having fallen when she knows that she’s pregnant, she adds, “Good thing there’s a little extra padding in the rear-end of this dress, huh?”
Garcia laughs, offering her his hand.
She doesn’t take it.
Instead, he watches as Lucy looks around her, trying to figure out how to stand back up in her Victorian era dress. Normally, she’d get on her hands and knees, place one foot in front of her, and press her hands on the ice until she was standing. But she can’t exactly do that in this dress without puncturing the skirt with a blade. She looks up at Garcia, shaking her head at herself. She laughs as he skates behind her, placing his arms underneath her shoulders, lifting her up.
“Thank you,” she says softly.
She rubs her wet, ice-cold hands on the skirt of her dress.
“Here,” Garcia says as he removes his gloves. “You can wear these.”
Lucy slips on his gloves. They’re much too large for her hands, but they are warm.
She takes his hand in hers just as the Waltz of Flowers ends. Her heart skips a beat as her fingers curl around his. He’s not wearing his ring. She gasps and slips backward again. Her fingers dig into his shoulder to keep herself from falling. Despite how ridiculous it looks; she starts shaking her left hand frantically. Checking to see if his ring came off in his glove before he gave it to her.
“Hold on,” she tells him, turning around.
“What’s wrong?” He asks as he watches Lucy stare intently at the ice.
“I think your ring fell off. It’s not inside the glove, so I think it fell onto the ice. We have to find it.”
Lucy starts skating against the direction of the other skaters, telling them “excusez-moi” and “pardon” as she searches the ice surface for his ring. Garcia stands still, watching her with a soft expression on his face. He glides toward her and wraps his arm around her waist.
She looks up into his eyes, terrified.
“Lucy…” He shakes his head. “I… I didn’t lose my ring. It’s at the bunker.”
“Why’d you leave it there?”
Garcia opens his mouth to explain, but he can’t find the words. Instead, he shrugs and smiles. He thought for sure that if Lucy noticed he wasn’t wearing his ring anymore that she would know instantly what it meant. But apparently, sometimes, she struggles with noticing when the obvious has smacked her in the face.
“I’m ready, Lucy,” he says. “I’m ready for what happens next. I’m ready to…” His heart skips a beat the moment he sees that she understands what he’s saying. She bites gently on her lower lip as tears fill her eyes. He caresses the side of her face. “I love you, Lucy. And before… I was serious when I said that I’d follow you anywhere.”
Lucy nods her head. She closes her eyes and lowers her head. “And if we save Lorena?”
“I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Lucy. I want to wake up next to you every morning. I want to argue the what-ifs of history with you until the sun comes up. I want you to explain that 1994 skating competition to me, why it’s controversial, so that I can get worked up about it with you. And once the war is over….” He lowers his voice and leans down to look into her eyes. “I want to have a family with you. I want to raise kids with you. Kids who will know how to skate and not fall down like their mommy and daddy.”
Lucy laughs as she wipes the tears from her eyes with the back of his gloves.
“Hey… hey…” Garcia gently touches her shoulder, drawing her to him. She rests her head against his chest. “I don’t want you to cry, Lucy.”
“Too late for that, dragi.”
She sniffles. She’s crying, but she’s happy.
Garcia wets his lips, looks around them, and steps away from her.
He reaches into his coat pocket and conceals a ring in his hand. He lowers to one knee in front of Lucy. He takes her hand, knowing that she can feel the ring that he holds in his own.
“I love you, Lucy… you’re my best friend and… draga, I can’t imagine not spending the rest of my life with you. You’re one of the best things that has happened to me. And you saved me…” His voice breaks. “You saved me more than once… and after these past few years… you and I, we’ve… we’ve become family, and…”
Lucy squeezes his hand.
Her heart is pounding in her chest.
She can feel the ring he holds in his hand.
She knows what he’s about to ask her.
Tears are in her eyes, and she can’t stop smiling as he finds his way to his question.
“I know we haven’t discussed this, but… I’m… the honor of being…” He struggles to find the right way to ask. “Would you… I mean…” He shakes his head at his inability to reach the proper words and word order in English. Kneeling before her, seeing the tears in her eyes, and knowing her answer before he can get out the question, he understands that language doesn’t matter. “Lucy… hoćeš li biti moja žena?” He slides his hand from hers, and opens his palm, revealing a beautiful Victorian era diamond engagement ring.
“Yes,” Lucy says, choking back tears. Her knees are weak so she lowers herself to the ice in front of him as he takes her hand, removes his glove, and places the ring on her finger.
Lucy wraps her arms around him and holds onto the back of his head.
She kisses his cheek.
Garcia takes her hands and they stand up together.
He looks into her eyes. His heart soars simply from seeing the smile on her face. He holds her face with both hands and kisses her. Then with a goofy grin on his face and with a laugh, he turns to the crowd and exclaims, “Nous allons nous marier!” We’re going to be married!”
As applause breaks out, he spins around to face his fiancée, but he loses his balance and falls… again.
He bursts out laughing.
Nothing in the world could take this away from him – from them – tonight.
Lucy helps him back onto his feet.
He takes her in his arms and kisses her in a display of affection that is completely inappropriate for 1894.
Lucy pulls away and runs her hand through his hair, gazing up into his eyes, and she tells him, “Je t’aime, Garcia, with all my heart.”
“I jako te volim, moja ljubavi,” he tells her then kisses her again.
It’s already early morning, Christmas Day, when Garcia and Lucy finish roaming the streets of Paris.
They couldn’t keep their hands off each other in the horse-drawn carriage ride to the Île de la Cité where they walked in each other’s arms to the middle of the oldest bridge in Paris, the Pont Neuf. There, they stood with the majestic Notre Dame cathedral as a backdrop as they kissed with snow falling all around them.
Garcia was as giddy as a schoolboy as he told Lucy about ideas he had for their wedding, their honeymoon, and places he might like to live one day when the war with Rittenhouse is over – assuming, of course that Agent Christopher will be able to cut a deal to keep him out of prison.
He was so excited about their engagement that Lucy couldn’t find an appropriate moment to interrupt him to tell him know that he is going to be a father again. But now that he’s quiet, and helping lift her up into the Lifeboat, she thinks now is as good a time as any.
She sits down next to him and buckles her seatbelt as he enters in Tuesday, 24 December 2019 into the Lifeboat’s auto-pilot console.
“Garcia…?” She says quietly enough that it stops him from pressing the button to begin the jump through time to take them back home. “I… I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m not sure that I can keep going on these trips.”
There’s a seriousness in her voice that he’s rarely heard before. A tone usually reserved for their conversations about wanting to give up the fight with Rittenhouse and run away from it all.
“If you want to walk away from the war, just say the word, and I… I know people who can help us disappear. We can start over-”
“It’s not that.” Lucy looks into his eyes and smiles. “I’m pregnant. I found out right before we came here tonight, and… after what happened to Jiya when the Lifeboat couldn’t safely transport four passengers… we don’t know what time travel could do to an unborn baby, and… I don’t want us to turn our backs on the team, but… this child is the most important thing in our life now, Garcia and… I don’t know… I’m happy, but at the same time I’m scared, and I don’t want to abandon the team, and then there’s how Wyatt might react.” She rolls her eyes. “Especially now that we’re engaged, and you know how he feels about us, and…” Her voice is weak, trailing off as she lowers her eyes.
The smile fades from Garcia’s face.
He removes his seatbelt and goes to her. He unbuckles her seatbelt. He holds her hands as she stands up in front of him. He pulls her into a hug, kissing the top of her head.
“Do you know how far along you are?”
“I only missed this month’s period, so less than a month.” She smiles. Despite her worries, this is good news. “Can’t pinpoint it exactly with the frequency in which we’ve engaged in baby-making activities. But I’m guessing that it’s when there was a condom shortage in the bunker, and we uh, well… you know… couldn’t stop ourselves.” She winces as she smiles at him.
Garcia laughs, remembering exactly the night they decided to throw caution to the wind and indulged in hours of feral pleasure.
“Did you feel all right coming here?” He asks, his tone now serious. “Because if you feel even a little off, we’ll just stay here until after the baby is born. Maybe even a few years if we don’t think it’s safe for a baby to time travel, and whenever we’re ready to go home, we can still return to the night we left, in 2019.”
“I feel ok. No different than any other time. Well, other than more frequent mood swings, dizziness, headaches, and… my boobs have been a bit sore. And I’m pretty sure that I’ve been queasy because of this and not because of Wyatt’s cooking.”
“Well, his cooking could play a part in feeling queasy,” he says, with a chuckle. “Have you thrown up?”
Lucy shakes her head, “No.”
Garcia nods his head and runs his hand through her hair. “How about this? We go home, and we tell Agent Christopher about your condition. No one else needs to know right now. And in the new year, we’ll get checked out by a doctor, and-”
“Everyone will wonder why we’re seeing a doctor,” Lucy says. “Rufus and Jiya will worry that something happened to us because of time travel. Connor will want to go with us because he’ll want to know if us seeing a doctor has anything to do with side-effects. And Wyatt… I don’t know. It’s hard to guess how he’ll react to this when-”
“You know what I think?”
“I think Wyatt will be fine. We had a little talk earlier, and I think things are better now. I think he’s done some growing up. He’s a father too, who had his child and wife taken from him.” Garcia pauses. “He gets it, Lucy. He understands now how important family is, and how precious it is, and how easily…” He lowers his eyes and swallows, “… how easily it can all be taken away.”
Lucy’s heart aches as she watches Garcia as he remembers his girls. She reaches up and holds onto the back of his neck, gently pulling him toward her. She kisses his forehead.
“I don’t want to risk losing you or our baby, Lucy.”
“Then when we get home, we’ll tell everyone that we’re engaged, and that we’re expecting. And that until a few months after the baby is born, or maybe even longer… that we won’t be going on missions.”
“I had this dream last night,” Garcia says.
“Oh?” Lucy asks, wondering why he’s changing the subject.
“Iris visited me in my dream. She took me back to see you skating with Amy, and then to see your fight with Wyatt the other day, and then… she showed me a future where I die sometime next year on some mission to 1920.”
Lucy wraps her arms around Garcia and sighs.
“Dreams are only dreams, Garcia. It doesn’t mean that they’re real. I always thought that they’re an insight to what has been on our mind. Five years ago, you were in São Paulo, and two weeks before that…” She trails off. “This time of year, it’s hard for you, and my God, I wish it wasn’t. But it’s natural for you to be dreaming of your girls right now. If you dreamt of my fight with Wyatt, then maybe you overheard part of it and you’re worried about me because of it.”
“And how do you explain dreaming of a future where I’ve died?”
“You’re afraid of the future because it’s unknown,” she says this as a fact.
“I’m afraid that one of us will lose the other in this war,” he says. “Thoughts of what would happen to you if I died, or how I would deal with losing you, are the thoughts that keep me awake at night.”
“Maybe dreaming about a future mission is your way of trying to control the future. If you know details, or the year of a mission we’ll go on where you die. Then knowing that information can help you prevent it from happening. It gives you a sense of control.”
Garcia nods his head, accepting that maybe what he saw in his dream won’t be their future.
“It was nice to see Iris again. Even if she was a manifestation of my subconscious.”
“Now, why don’t we get home and enjoy the rest of Christmas Eve 2019?” She smiles. “We’ve got the bunker to ourselves. We can watch old black-and-white Christmas movies without being ridiculed. We can eat some of those Candy Cane Cookies that Jiya made yesterday, or share the pint of peppermint ice cream in the freezer…”
“Or…” Garcia pulls Lucy into him. He runs his hand up her back and holds onto the back of her head as he kisses her. He rests his forehead against hers and says suggestively, “We can celebrate our engagement in the privacy of our room…” He rubs his nose against hers and kisses her again.
The bunker has been quiet for hours.
When they returned from Paris, they changed out of their nineteenth-century Parisian clothes, and into their pajamas. Well, what passes for pajamas. Lucy put back on Garcia’s turtleneck sweater, wearing it as a nightgown along with warm fluffy socks. He changed into a grey long sleeve t-shirt, and black sweatpants. They fixed themselves a plate of Christmas cookies, and finished off a pint of peppermint ice cream while watching Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn. They both wore red Santa hats as they quoted part of the film’s dialog, and sang along with the music.
After finishing the movie, they turned off the main lights of the common area and sat together, listening to soft Christmas piano music as they stared at the colored lights on the Christmas tree. There were tears, and whispered breaths telling each other ‘I love you’ in as many languages as they could after he told her about the journal entry in his dream where she wrote that she had regret that they didn’t say ‘I love you’ to each other often enough.
And now with Lucy asleep in his arms, Garcia stares up at the ceiling.
He’s exhausted, but doesn’t want to sleep.
He wants to remember everything about tonight. From taking the Lifeboat out without permission, shopping for the perfect dress and engagement ring in Paris before taking Lucy there. Walking down the Champs-Élysées with Lucy on his arm, to ice skating – and falling – at the Palais de Glace. How he fumbled trying to find the right words to ask Lucy to marry him. The laughing and singing as they watched the movie when they got back, and then the way he touched her when they came to bed and made love. The way he worshipped her body, and the way he kissed her stomach, telling their unborn child how much he or she is loved.
He turns to rest his chin on top of her head, repositioning himself so he can rest his hand on her abdomen without waking her up. He wonders what she’s dreaming about as she nestles against him, smacking her lips together and mumbling something incoherent as she smiles.
Everything he could ever want, or ever ask for, is here now in his arms. He is happy, at peace. And somehow, he knows that no matter what everything will work out in the end.
“HO! HO! HO!”
Connor Mason’s voice pierces Garcia’s eardrums.
He’s loud and he’s a happy drunk.
“Shhh!” Jiya giggles, obviously a little drunk herself. “I think they’re asleep!”
She giggles again, and Garcia hears something tumble to the ground, followed by Jiya exclaiming, “Oops!”
“But isn’t ‘HO! HO! HO!’ what we’re supposed to say when we’re pretending to be Saint Nick?” Connor asks.
“Saint Nick isn’t supposed to be drunk on Christmas Eve,” Rufus responds.
It’s obvious from the sound of Rufus’s voice that he was made the designated driver.
“Let’s just finish putting the presents under the tree quietly so we don’t wake them,” Wyatt adds. “The two of them gave up a really fun Christmas party to stay here in the bunker in case Rittenhouse decided to be a Grinch. They deserve whatever rest they’re getting.”
“Well, chap, that’s quite a change in attitude that you’ve got there!” Connor exclaims.
Garcia hears the hard pat on the back that Wyatt just received from Connor.
He struggles not to laugh out loud as Lucy stirs in his arms.
Now awake, Lucy turns to face him.
“They’re so loud,” she whispers, pulling the blanket up over her bare shoulders. She rests her hand on Garcia’s chest, her fingertips brushing delicately over his chest hair.
“Nine, eight months from now and…” Garcia trails off as he starts to chuckle, “… a crying baby in the middle of the night will be more than enough payback for how many times they’ve woken us up.”
Lucy covers her mouth with her hand to stifle a laugh.
Garcia smiles at Lucy and says, “But honestly, I hope in that time that somehow-”
“Some way-” Lucy giggles, teasing him for his tendency to say those two words back-to-back.
“This war with Rittenhouse will be over. And that you’ll be able to safely enjoy your pregnancy, and that our baby will be born in a hospital in the present day-”
“August, 2020. I did the math-”
“And that we can finally get back to living a normal life.”
Garcia turns his head to look at his fiancée.
They share a smile that shares a hope for the future.
They have to believe that despite how long they’ve been cooped up in this bunker, that one day life will return to normal. That Garcia will be pardoned and they’ll be able to find a house that they can call home. A home where they will raise their children, and where they will grow old together. A normal life where they can visit their friends and family whom they haven’t seen for so long. A life where they can safely go out to eat at their favourite restaurants, or go see a symphony, or go to an actual movie theatre to watch a movie, shop for their own food and clothing without worrying about Rittenhouse. That one day, they will wake up and their time traveling days will be over.
Lucy cups her fiancé’s face in her hand.
She kisses him.
“Think we should get up and join the party?” She asks.
Garcia reaches across Lucy to pick up his wristwatch. He checks the time.
“It’s just after midnight, so technically it is Christmas morning,” he says.
“And it doesn’t sound like Connor is going to be quieting down for a while…”
Outside their door, they hear Rufus arguing with Connor to not open other people’s presents.
“Sounds like they’re getting the unwrapping started without us,” Garcia says as he sits up.
He leans over the side of their bed and picks up his turtleneck and hands it to Lucy. She slips it over her head then searches for her panties somewhere underneath the sheets as Garcia gets dressed.
Suddenly, the door to their room flies open, and the light is switched on.
Connor Mason stands in the doorframe, wearing a Santa hat on his head, and an arm-full of candy canes. He’s grinning from ear-to-ear as he exclaims, “Santa Claus has come to add to your post-coital merriment!”
Garcia acts fast to catch a candy cane that Connor has thrown at him.
“HO! HO! HO!” Connor exclaims. “Merry Christmas!”
He exits just as quickly as he arrived.
The door to their room remains open.
Garcia and Lucy share a look then shrug their shoulders.
They join the others in the common area. Unnoticed, they stand with their arms around each other, watching as Rufus tries to rein in Connor. Jiya and Wyatt are in front of the tree, attempting to use Scotch tape to patch up the gifts that a merry, holly jolly, drunken Connor Mason had opened.
Lucy leans and whispers, “Should we tell them now?”
“No,” Garcia shakes his head. “I’m starting to think maybe we should go back to bed before they see us.”
“Can’t say that I disagree.”
Garcia juts his chin towards where the mistletoe is hung near the computers. Underneath it, they watch as Connor pulls Rufus’s face to him, placing a big wet – long and lingering – kiss right on his lips. Rufus’s arms flail in the air as he tries unsuccessfully to back up.
“No. Wyatt! That’s not how you re-wrap a present,” Jiya says. “Look, I’ve opened up my fair share of presents and rewrapped them without anyone ever finding out. Let me do it.”
“I know how to use Scotch tape, Jiya,” Wyatt argues.
Wyatt snatches the tape dispenser from her, Jiya tries to grab it back. They stare each other down and then start fighting over it, tugging on it back-and-forth like siblings.
Garcia and Lucy share a look, turn around, and head back to their room.
They close the door and lock it behind them.
Garcia crawls back into bed with Lucy.
He slides his hand beneath his turtleneck sweater which she’s wearing, lifting it up so he can kiss her abdomen. He rests his head on her chest, and places his hand on her stomach. Lucy slowly runs her hand through his hair. She kisses the top of his head. She closes her eyes as they drift off to sleep in each other’s arms.
Lucy stirs in her sleep, settling more comfortably into Garcia’s body.
“Daddy… wake up.”
Lucy slowly opens her eyes.
“Daddy, you did it… you made things better.”
Lucy, still not sure she’s fully awake, lifts her head and sees Iris standing next to the side of the bed.
She blinks and she’s gone.
Lucy sits up, being careful not to wake Garcia. She looks around the room. She knows what she saw and she has no idea how to explain it.
“Lucy…?” Garcia wakes.
She looks down at him as he smiles up at her.
“I’m cold,” he tells her.
Lucy glances around the room one last time then lies back down. She pulls the blankets back up over their bodies and drapes her arm across Garcia’s chest.
“I think we’ll have a little girl,” he whispers, yawning. He rolls onto his side and rests his head on Lucy’s chest again, curling his knee up over her thighs.
“I hope we do…” Lucy kisses the top of his head. “And we’ll make sure that she grows up hearing all the stories about her older sister, Iris.”
“Mmm…” Garcia moans as he inhales, then snores on exhale.
He’s fallen asleep again.
Lucy smiles, and somehow, even with all the racket going on in the common area, she manages to fall asleep just as quickly as Garcia. She dreams all night of Iris, skating on a frozen pond with her little sister - always in a dream world, where the two girls can be together as she and Garcia watch on.