Six months later
"All I'm sayin' is that if he's gonna tie up the city every Friday night between JFK and midtown, the least he could do is declare a half day in the city and let everyone work from home," Danny proclaimed as he scooped potatoes on his plate.
"What you're gonna telecommute to a crime scene?" his wife countered, taking the bowl from him.
"No, I'm not gonna telecommute," he replied in a mocking tone. "But if all the schmucks trying to get back home were off the Goethels by the time I left work, I wouldn't mind so much having to go around the Verrazano because the damned motorcade is too close. And," he pointed around the table with his fork to no one in particular, "that's assuming I can get off the stupid island. Now that they close the Lincoln, I might as well head up to the Tapp and take the Garden State down. At least I wouldn't be parked on 95."
"He's said after this school year they'll be staying down in DC more," Jack offered. Nicky snickered.
Henry cut in. "I'm sure our guest is riveted by your commuter saga, Danny, but surely we could find a more engaging conversation for everyone. Am I right, Edit?"
The young woman smiled. "Eddie is fine," she replied as she looked past Jamie to the man at the foot of the table. "And I dunno, Danny, maybe until he gets a nice little place on Long Beach, you can start jetskiing." She smiled in response to the chuckles around the table.
Henry rolled his eyes. "Just what this family needs, another comedian," Henry sighed with exasperation.
"That's how we know she's gonna stick around," chimed in Erin. "Holding your own at this table is no easy feat."
"Amen to that," agreed Linda.
"What was your first family dinner like, mom?" asked Jack. Jamie felt relief roll off Eddie that she wasn't in the spotlight after Erin's comment. He reached a hand out and squeezed her thigh under the table. She responded with a small smile. They both listened to Linda retell her first family dinner story.
"So how's the East Village treating you?" Danny asked after the story as he added gravy to his potatoes. "Oh man, my first year with my shield I caught this case outside of a bar over there. Guy's wearing a-"
Linda cleared her throat, clearly familiar with the story. She looked at Danny and made a pointed glare at the boys.
"Aw, c'mon mom, we aren't babies. What was the guy wearing, dad?"
"Clothes," responded Danny under the watchful eye of his wife. "Anyway, let's just say that neighborhood left quite an impression."
"Yeah, it's a great area. I'm really gonna miss it," responded Eddie with a sly grin. She looked at Jamie who smiled back at her. Neither saw Frank's half smile, but Henry did.
"Oh yeah," the patriarch questioned. "And why's that?"
Jamie took her hand and smiled even broader. "Someone's headed back to the 12th." He paused. "With her shield."
A round of congratulations went up around the table. All except Danny.
"Geez, kid, I thought you were gonna say she was pregnant."
"Danny!" admonished his wife, sister, and grandfather simultaneously. Jamie and Eddie both pinked.
"What, c'mon! It's been months since they started," he threw his fingers in the air, "'dating' or whatever, and this is the first time she hasn't been 'on tour' or 'visiting a relative' so she can come to dinner?" He took a fork full of potatoes. "I can't have been the only one who thought it," he sulked around his mouthful.
"Well congratulations, Detective," Frank said warmly, ignoring his oldest. "Much to celebrate," he added as he raised a glass. "To the Detective and the Sergeant," he proclaimed.
A chorus of congratulations went up again. Eddie joined in raising her wine glass, and pointedly tipped it towards Danny before taking a directed sip. Those who saw the gesture laughed.
"Whatever," Danny said, still pouting. We hid that one for weeks," he said with a point at Jack.
Eddie shot another smile to Danny as she took a sip from Jamie's abandoned glass to prove her point. "Thank you Commissioner," she said with a nod.
"Like I said before, Frank is fine around this table," he corrected kindly.
"Yes, sir," she responded, though Jamie knew she wouldn't give up the habit quickly. "And thanks for approving the transfer."
"Oh, no, that's all your hard work. If you haven't learned it already, you'll soon find that a seat at this table does you very few favors in the field." Erin snorted in agreement.
"Yes, sir. Frank," Eddie corrected herself.
"Though lucky for you, kid that they got this new program off the ground and needed someone to take it over right after you passed your exam."
"Aw, shut it Danny," Jamie responded.
"Who were they going to find with a better record as a TO and a law background, to boot?" challenged Henry.
"I think it's a good thing for the department. Give the rookies more training, giving more accountability to veterans, and given all the promises about stop & frisk, it'll give the department a real chance to make a stand and show some strong data on how the old way wasn't effective," Nicky chimed in from her spot on the other end of the table.
"Eh, it's just gonna coddle them. They get training in the academy. When I came out of the academy, they handed me a midnight beat my first night and told me to get to it. You learn real fast that way. If you can't hack it, you find another job."
"That's how most of us started," agreed Henry.
"Yes," agreed Frank, "but the job has changed. It's not the same as it was even ten years ago. People view cops differently, and the stakes are higher. They are waiting for us to make a mistake."
"Rookie mistakes cost the department over 6 million dollars in the past four years. And that's mostly bad paperwork, not even counting settlements for wrongful shootings or brutality. You can't argue that we could use that money for better things," Jamie countered.
"Not to mention wasted resources for the DA's office when perps walk on a technicality because of the bad paperwork or questionable practices. Face it, Danny: your way doesn't work when you consider the number of cases that are lost or untried due to insufficient experience," added Erin.
"I turned out just fine without anyone breathing down my neck."
"Yeah, a model of ethical practices," Erin responded sardonically.
Before he could counter, Frank suggested dessert. The shift allowed the topic of conversation to move toward upcoming activities at the boys' school and Nicky's finals. After dinner, Jamie and Eddie helped with the dishes, despite protests from Linda and Erin. Claiming her talents in the kitchen were better suited to KP than cooking, Eddie continued to help Jamie.
When they'd finished, Jamie looked at his watch. "The motorcade should be cleared by now. We should get going."
"Let me check the scanner," Henry offered as he moved toward the den.
"That's okay," Jamie promised. "I'll get around it if I need to."
"Well, why go an hour out of your way if you could wait it out 15 minutes?"
"Grandpa, it's fine. We've got a few stops to make anyway." Jamie's voice was a bit strained. The look Eddie gave him said she noticed, but she kept her mouth shut.
"Well, okay," responded Henry with a slight huff. "Edit," he started, his attention turned to the blonde. "A pleasure to see you as always. I trust we'll see more of you once your promotion settles your schedule?"
Eddie smiled. "Eddie, please. And yes," she added warmly, "I'd like that a lot."
"Next time I'll find those pictures we talked about earlier. I'm sure I know where they are."
"Okay, okay, grandpa. No need to find those pictures. Middle school was hard for everyone." Henry chuckled in response, his feelings mended.
The pair said their goodbyes and made their way to the car. As was his habit, Jamie opened the passenger side door for her, waited until she sat, then closed the door. As was her habit, Eddie rolled her eyes, but gave him a peck on the lips before she ducking in the car. As he put the car in drive, Jamie looked over to her.
"Thank you for coming. I thought maybe you'd want to see some of the neighborhood?"
She took his hand from the gear shift and placed a gentle kiss on the back of it. "Thanks for inviting me. And I'd love to." Jamie released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He smiled as he made his way through the neighborhood. He had a place in mind and made his way to their destination.
When they reached the pier, Jamie parked. "Wanna check it out?" When she nodded, Jamie opened her door. They walked hand in hand in the cool night air. The lights of the bridge blinked in the distance.
"You fish?" Eddie asked as he led her to a cement table that was anchored in the middle of the pier.
"Yeah," he affirmed. "I don't so much anymore, but dad used to take me and Joe down here every Sunday before church. Real real early, we'd sneak out and come here for a few hours. Joe and I mostly ran around while dad watched the lines. It might've been an attempt to tire us out for church, but I remember loving it. Dad would pack his thermos of coffee the night before and I carried that, Joe had the tackle box, and dad had the poles." Jamie paused for a moment as he remembered those brisk mornings. He realized it'd been a long time since he talked about Joe to anyone. Memorials around his birthday and the anniversary of his death had become the same big stories, rather than mundane details that really made Jamie miss him. Eddie squeezed his hand gently and Jamie continued.
"See that building, there?" he pointed to a condo building as he spoke. She nodded. "Before it was that, it was just another block of storefronts. There was a deli on the corner and next to it was this hole-in-the-wall arcade." He smiled. "After school, Joe and I would ride our bikes there, get a soda from the deli and spend every quarter we got from paper routes and odd jobs in there."
"No Danny?" Eddie asked, jarring him slightly.
"Nah. Danny was too cool for us by that point." There was a comfortable silence between them, and Jamie wrapped an arm around Eddie, pulling her in close.
"Thanks for tonight," he said quietly, placing a kiss to the top of her head.
"You already thanked me for coming. It really wasn't that bad, you know. I mean, I've met most of them already."
"Yeah, but they can be a bit of a firing squad together like that."
"I shouldn't have said what I did about the transfer to your dad. But he had to have a role, didn't he?"
Jamie shrugged. "It might've been a gesture for you while not that many people know about us." Eddie gently nodded. He fidgeted with the claddagh ring on her right hand. He'd given it to her when her transfer out came through months before. She usually wore it on a chain around her neck, but thought it important to wear it on her hand for dinner. She'd checked with Jamie three times that it was on the correct hand and pointing the proper way before they'd entered the house. Jamie took a deep breath before continuing. "Listen Eddie, when I asked about what we'd give up, I meant it for you, too. Being a Reagan means you're not just a cop."
Eddie started to recoil from him a bit. He could feel her retort coming.
"Wait, wait, wait," he started. "I know the job is important to you, and I know you are always a cop. But it's different being a Reagan. Dad was right tonight. A seat at the family table means we never punch out at end of tour, but it also means detective could well be it for you. It goes with the territory of the name."
Eddie leaned back in. "I get it Jamie. But I'm good, okay? I've got my shield, and I'm excited to have it. This is where I wanted to be. And having you makes it even better. I get you Reagans are NYPD royalty, but don't you think being your partner for years gave me a pretty good idea? You can't scare me off that easy." She squeezed his hand as they watched a barge lumber by.
"You sure?" Jamie asked her after the rumbling of the barge passed. He'd worked the box quietly from his left jacket pocket while she was distracted.
"Mm" she responded, her head against his shoulder. He shrugged his shoulder up gntly for her to sit up. Though she mumbled something as she moved, she relented.
Jamie slid to the ground and held the box tightly. He watched her face transition from grumpy to concerned at his sudden fall to surprised. Her hands gripped the edge of the table.
"Edit Marie Janko," he started as tears sprung to the corner of her eyes. "I gotta be honest with you, I've planned this moment in a billion different ways in the last month, but suddenly I can't think of anything I was gonna say." He let out a nervous chuckle and she responded in kind. He found his voice. "You are the strongest, most beautiful, most amazing and most ass-kicking woman I've ever known. I will always have your back on the job and off. Will you be my wife?" He pinked a little as he realized he held up a closed box. He looked down to open the box. When he looked back up, she was wiping her eyes with the back of her hands, her head nodded up and down.
"Yes?" he confirmed.
"Yes, you doofus," she responded. She reached to his shirt collar and pulled him up into a kiss, though her smile made it difficult for them to really connect.
Jamie continued to hold tightly to the box until he remembered it in his hand. He broke the kiss and held the box up to her, using the streetlamps along the pier to highlight the ring. He chuckled again, nervous for her reaction to the ring.
"Oh Jamie," she breathed, "it's beautiful!"
"Yeah?" he asked, wanting to be sure it was right for her. "It was my mom's, but dad agreed to let me reset it." He'd worked with a custom jeweler they'd come across on a case a few years back. He knew Eddie loved their work, and while the simple resetting of his mom's diamond in a white gold band with milgrain scrollwork took some convincing from the owner's wife, he now saw it was the right choice. Jamie took the ring from the box and slipped it on Eddie's finger.
"Perfect," they said in unison before they came together in a kiss.
Author's note: Thank you all for the reviews along the way. As a native New Yorker, this whole family speaks my language, and it was fun to take them out for a spin. ;)