Chapter Forty Four
Jamie anxiously paced inside the inner sanctum. It was his first official day back on the job, and while he and Eddie had discussed his retiring, he chose to stay on at least until the end of the current mayor's term. It was his plan to keep Jack under his wing and mold him to hold the Commissioner's chair once he relinquished it.
Eddie hadn't been happy about his choice. This decision had been a major point on contention for the last month and half.
"You promised me, Jamie!" Eddie fired as she angrily paced the length of their bedroom. Jamie had just announced at Sunday dinner, he was going back to work full time after the holidays.
"Eddie, I promised to consider retiring. You knew I had loose ends to tie up. I was out a long time, almost a year! I feel good, I am better, and I'm ready to get back to work. I'm not old enough to retire and just be at home. That might be right for you, your medications make you tired, you want to spend more time focusing on my dad now that his lungs are getting worse, I understand that, but understand me too!"
Jamie was sitting on their bed, trying to reason with his irate wife.
"Jamie, you almost died!" Eddie reminded him. "You were in that office sixteen, seventeen hours a day with people hammering on you. You went to the bathroom and you passed out! You didn't wake up for almost two days. For almost two days, I had to sit and watch you lying there not knowing if you would open your eyes again and not knowing if you did open them, if you'd even be able to understand…" Eddie covered her mouth. Finally, all of the fear and emotions she'd bottled up since his stroke were finding their way out.
Jamie stood up and reached for his wife, "Eddie, all right…" Jamie pulled her into his arms. "It's all right. Let it go…let it go. It's all over now."
Eddie sobbed as she held tight to Jamie's waist. "I can't let you go back…if you do…"
"What?" he asked softly. "If I do what?"
"You might…and this time…" She was hiccupping and trying not to have a panic attack.
"Ssh," Jamie sighed. "Okay…Come sit down…" He led her to their bed and sat her down with him rubbing her back. "I know what it's like to watch someone you love suffer, Baby. I do. I promise you if it is getting too much, I will retire then and there. And I promise to delegate a lot more of the work and lean on my support staff at work and you at home. I will not work one hour more than 50 hours a week, when I was working sometimes close to 85."
It was Jamie's voice, not his assurances that settled Eddie down but eventually she agreed to his returning to work under those was a special day, not only was it his first day, it was promotion day. He would be making a speech for the first time in public since the stroke. That morning, as was common since he got sick, he hadn't been able to make his fingers work to tie his tie or his shoes. As much of the mobility he'd gained, even since Lila's wedding, his fine motor skills had yet to return. Dr. O'Shea and Sean agreed it was likely they never would.
Leaning on his cane, Jamie kept pacing, his limp more pronounced when he was nervous. There were so many things that could go wrong. He could trip, he could stutter...He heard the door open, the hinges squeaked. Jamie turned to see Eddie, dressed in a light blue suit, a string of pearls, and bone high heels step into his office. Her hair was swept into a bun and her light make up just brightened her beauty.
"I could hear you pacing out there," Eddie teased lightly. "Honey, if you aren't feeling like you can do this, don't do it. Jack can make the speech."
"I'm promoting my own son to Detective today, I want to do this Eddie. I have to. I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Maybe after the election, I'll be ready to stay at home, but not yet. I'm only sixty. I can't even collect social security."
Eddie laughed lightly, "No, but you have a heck of a pension from the NYPD and the City of New York. We'll be fine but if you want to do this, I've got your back."
Jamie leaned his cane against the wall and took Eddie in his arms for a warm hug, "I love you, Mrs. Reagan. It's almost time. I want you by my side..."
Eddie smiled, "Hold onto my arm, use the cane, there's no shame in that, it makes you look distinguished." Eddie placed a kiss on Jamie's cheek and they left the office together holding one another's arms.
Half an hour later, Jamie stood at the podium where his grandfather and father stood many times. He looked to his left, Jack was seated there, in full dress uniform, to his right Eddie in her full dress along with numerous others that supported him on and off the job. As he scanned the crowd his eyes fell on Joey, his first born, his mother's pride and joy, his friend and confidant the last months working to get his life back.
Jamie began his speech, his voice was strong and even as he proclaimed his sentiments to the masses. "It is an honor to be with you today. This time a year ago, if you asked me if I would be standing here today at this promotion ceremony well, but I am here, and I'm proud to be presiding over this momentous event. A promotion ceremony is something very special. I've had the real joy of being at graduations, when we see men and women start on their career with this extraordinary police force, but a promotion ceremony is an indication of what years and years of hard work and commitment can lead to. I understand that for everyone seated here, this moment didn't come easily. It came with a lot of devotion, a lot of hard work, constant learning, and constant improvement. This is the finest police force in the world, and as you take on more and more responsibility, it is an indication of your quality – of your commitment when you go higher up in the greatest police force in the world. That is not a small achievement. It is a profound achievement." Jamie thought back to his own promotion ceremonies, he had fought long and hard for each one. He'd always felt it was unfair he couldn't get a promotion on merit because of who his father was. Now, since he and Joey had mended fences, he would not do the same to his son.
"I want to say to all the family members here, you too played a crucial role supporting these men and women as they move forward in this agency. It wasn't easy. Family members often have to inspire us, often have to stand by us. Sometimes they have to console us. Ultimately, we only get there with the help of our family. This is something that I have learned over my many years of service with the NYPD. So, I want to thank the family members for all you have done." Jamie knew he wouldn't be here without his family. It was Eddie's love and devotion, Joey's and Danny's tenacity, Frank's and eventually Erin's inspiration, that got him to this place. Lila had believed with childlike innocence that he would succeed in walking her down the aisle. She never wavered in her belief he was able to give her that dream. He owed his success to his family just as many of his officers did.
"So, you have had the toughest proving ground there is. I don't think anyone would doubt that being a police officer in New York City is the ultimate expression of this profession, and to do this work, day in and the day out, takes skill and commitment. It's never easy. You knew coming in the door it wouldn't be easy. But then to persevere and work your way up – that takes a special capacity. So, you've had to prove it. This wasn't just taking a test. This was doing the work, day in and day out, in the streets of this city, no matter what was thrown at you. And you pass the kind of test that really matters – the test of doing the work, of being out, serving the people. You prevailed on that playing field, no matter how tough it was. I hope you have a profound sense of pride today. I know your families have tremendous pride in you." Jamie's eyes found Joey in the front row, among the other officers to be promoted. His heart fluttered and he couldn't help but smile.
"I know I feel tremendous pride today, as a Commissioner and as a father. My own son, Officer Joseph Reagan will be promoted today to the rank of Detective Third Grade, as the ceremony progresses."
When Jamie finished reading the names of all the other detectives, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains, the room was filled with thunderous applause, no one though was clapping harder than Jamie himself as he watched his son, flash his own 1000 watt smile admiring the gold shield clipped to his chest.
Without a thought to the TV cameras or the other members of the NYPD in the room, Jamie put his arms around Joey and hugged him. "I am so proud of you, Joe, and I know, wherever he is now, your Uncle Joe is having a drink in your name."
Joey smiled at Jamie, they had come miles in the last year. He would never stop regretting the time he wasted being angry with his father, but he was grateful they had found each other and had the chance to reconnect. As the rest of the family came to pay him congratulations, Joey thought about what it meant to be a Reagan. It meant someone always had your back, that you always would have a place where you were welcome, and most of all you would have your family there to help you and love you in sickness and in health. There wasn't much more that could be asked of a family than that.
A/N: Well, that's all for this installment. Jamie is better, the Reagan family is stronger than ever, and Joey has made detective. There will be between 10 and 12 parts to this series. The next installment will be titled A Healing Peace and be published on Wednesday, 3.23. It will update every other day.
I hope you all follow me to that story and through what is to come. There will be many up and downs but the Reagan clan will stand firm as they grow and change together.
A huge thank you to Lawslave for being there as this story grew with advice and encouragement. Also, a thank you to all my readers. I have heard from so many of you about how this story touched you, and I'm glad. See you on Wednesday.