Just Turn Left
There were times that she felt she knew where her life was going. Other times it felt like she was stepping into a deep abyss of uncertainty. Right now, as she sat in front of Andromeda's death bed, she knew she was stepping into the abyss of her life. In the background, she could hear Teddy's chatter to no one. Her godson only had her left. The fan continued overhead drying her tears. His parents, grandparents, and other family members gone before he truly knew them. The shuffle of someone beyond her reminded her it was time. Time to let Andromeda go. But as she picked up Teddy, she knew that Andromeda had been gone for a while now. Now she needed to live again.
It was the end of his tour and he felt drained. As he headed into a nearby coffee shop he dug around for some money. With a groan, he wondered if he had any cash left on him. Resigned to having to wait until he was home he turned to leave. A voice stopped him.
"It's on the house officer," a woman's voice called out. He spun around to see a petite woman with long black curly hair and emerald green eyes behind the counter. She was already getting a cup for his coffee.
"Are you sure?" he asked tiredly. A smile crossed her face.
"Yes, I am sure," she said. "What would you like?" After relating his coffee order, he pulled off his mittens and took a seat. He slumped down into his seat, his day catching up to him. It had been a long day but thankfully he had the next day off. He was close to falling asleep in his seat when a cup of coffee and two plates of food was placed in front of him. The warm cinnamon roll took up most the first plate. Next to the roll sat carefully cut strawberries. The bigger plate held French toast, scrambled eggs, and bacon. Blearily he looked up at the woman.
"I didn't ask for any food," confusion clear in his voice. She smiled.
"I know but you look like a good wind could knock you over right now," she told him. "Whenever my friend comes off a shift he's tired and hungry enough to eat a horse. I figured you might be the same. Anything you don't eat I can pack it up for you so you can take it home." She grinned as she took a seat across from him. "Besides I tried something different with the French toast, I want another person's opinion." Too tired to argue, he took a gulp from his coffee and started on the French toast. He was surprised when he realized a bite of the toast had a mix of French vanilla and chocolate, all in one.
"What did you do to the French toast?" he asked as he continued eating.
"Well I made the bread and mixed in vanilla and chocolate chips in the batter before I put it in the oven," she told him. He starred at her in surprise.
"I don't know how this place isn't full if you cook like this all this time," he told her as he started on the eggs. She laughed.
"I was closing when you walked in," she said. Guilt rushed through him. The eggs didn't seem quite as good now.
"I can get the rest of this to go and you can finish closing," he said as he stood. She shook her head.
"There is no need to rush, officer," she told him. "I won't be heading home for another hour or so any way." Confused he glanced over at her.
"I don't like walking home when it is this dark by myself," she said gesturing to the outside. "Besides I get a lot done in that hour."
"I could walk you home," he offered. She shook her head as she got up.
"There's no need," she told him. "I'm fine waiting."
"Then I'll wait with you," he said as he returned to his breakfast. She glanced at him, surprise written on her face.
"You don't need to do that," she told him.
"I have been raised to be a gentleman and learned to be an officer," he told her. "If you don't feel safe walking home at this hour, I'll stay with you until you do." She sighed.
"You win, officer," she gave in. "You can walk me home when you are done eating." He grinned and took his seat again. "What's your name?"
"Joe," he said. "Joe Reagan. What's your name?"
Books upon books lined the walls. Small, tall, wide, and thin. Some paperback, some hardcover. She had read every book upon the shelves but sometimes she returned to them. She returned to them because they were the only good memories she had from her childhood. Fairytales, mysteries, and romances kept her going when she could barely breath because of damage to her ribs or when her leg was broken from being pushed down the stairs. Although she loved her restaurants, she loved cooking, this bookstore was her heart. As she climbed down the ladder, she ran through a list of things she needed to before she closed. Then just as quickly-
"Ooof!" To her surprise, she didn't land on the floor but in someone's arms. Then she was placed on her feet gently. She turned around to see a familiar face. Joe Reagan.
"Hey, what are you doing in here?' she asked.
"Getting a book for my sister," Joe said. "This is the only bookstore I could find that had the book." She looked over at her rows of books with a raised eyebrow.
"You might want to narrow it down a bit," she told him amused. Grinning he handed her a sheet of paper with the book listed. She raised an eyebrow at the title. "I take it she's a lawyer or working to be one?" Joe snorted.
"She's been acting a lawyer our entire time growing up but she's an ADA," Joe told her. "She was railing on about how she couldn't find these books at Sunday dinner and about how helpful they would be. I did some poking around and found them in this bookstore. I couldn't find them anywhere but here."
"Regina Potter?" Surprised, she turned around. A NYPD officer she didn't recognize stood in the door hesitantly.
"Can I help you?" she asked. The young officer looked sheepish as he stepped forward.
"I'm Jamie Reagan," he told her. Immediately she took a seat in a nearby booth.
"I haven't heard the name Reagan in a while," she whispered, tears streaming down her face. "What are you doing here?" He shifted slightly before pulling out an envelope and handing it to her.
"We were going through some of his things recently and found this," he told her. He watched her for a moment before taking a seat.
"Before yesterday none of us had even heard your name," he told her hesitantly. "If I may ask, how did you know Joe?" She smiled sadly.
"We met right here in this restaurant," she said. "He saved me."