Just Turn Left

Chapter 5

Ready or Not

The inky darkness provided a cold comfort as she exited her car on the strange street. She wrapped her coat closer to her body as she rushed down the street, her eyes remaining on her destination as she moved closer. Her body hummed in excitement as she reached the door, a quick calculated knock reminded her why she was standing on the unfamiliar porch in the middle of the night. As the door swung open, her heart raced and her paranoia rose. Had she been followed? Did someone find out why she was there? Then -


The information they already had surprised her. She shouldn't have been, she realized. Before they knew her, before Joe knew her - Joe had a life and these people were his family. To them - he was a brother, a friend, a son, a grandson, and a confident.

She knew that his loss hit them hard, she had watched as closely as she could from the shadows. She knew that Jamie had left behind his work as a lawyer and became a cop, she knew that he had also lost his fiance in the time that had passed since Joe's death. His father and grandfather had taken comfort in their church to deal with his death not to long after Joe's mother had died. She should have realized that no matter what she did, they would have looked into Joe's death.

"I tried to keep your family out of it," Regina began, amid loud protests. "I knew that Joe would be worried for your safety and he couldn't be distracted from taking this group down. I took several steps to ensure that you wouldn't remember me." She gave a dry chuckle. "I even set it up so that you wouldn't be too interested into looking into his death, I should have known that what I had done would have never stopped you. After all, I am proof that love for your family can drive you to do almost anything when you set your mind to it."

"What did you do to us?!" Danny shouted at her as moved closer to her, his brother holding him back with the help of Linda.

"I'm afraid I am not allowed to divulge that to you without getting in trouble for threatening national security," she admitted grimly to their surprise. "The skills I used trace back to what I learned when I worked for MI6 and they are still used today so unless you have the appropriate clearance you are legally unable to know." Danny fought against his brother but his wife placed a hand on his shoulder and gave him a look that had him sink into a nearby chair.

"How do we know that we can trust you?" Henry demanded, his voice colder than Antarctica. She pulled out the letters from her bag and handed them to each person.

"After he recovered from his injuries, we set up dead drops all over for him to send information to me," she told them as they looked at the letters curiously. "On my last visit to a dead drop, I discovered these.

The last time I saw him in person, he told me that when he felt he had enough information to take them down he would send letters to each of you explaining everything. He never let me look at the letters but he said in order for you to trust me, I needed to bring them to you straight away." She allowed herself to rest in a nearby chair as each person opened the letters and then read them. As each second, each minute ticked by Regina could feel a knot grow in her stomach as she wondered if she had just walked into a hostile situation with no winning.

"Let's get to work," Frank interrupted the silence. "We have a lot to do and someone to bring home."

After the raid was over, Regina hesitantly agreed to retrieve Joe so that he could legally be alive again. She spent several hours making sure she wasn't followed, muddying her trail to him with each random turn she took, each U-Turn she did, and each random stop she did. She kept a constant eye on the cars around, checking to see if any were following her. From the voices in her ear piece, Jamie and Danny, she hadn't been followed.

While the Blue Templar had been taken down, until they were dead or in prison (for life), she would not stop being cautious with his safety. When she reached the door of his hideout for the past year, she took a deep breath and knocked. The knock was a code to tell Joe she was alone and that it was safe, if it hadn't been she would have used another knock. The door swung open to reveal a tired, taught face of the man she loved.

"Come home, Joe. It's over."

As if by magic, his face lightened instantly, the exhaustion fell away and his slumped shoulders straightened at her words. He had a massive smile as he picked her up and spun her around.

"My family, how did they take everything?" Joe asked as he brought her into the apartment. She hesitated as she wondered how to respond and than a voice in her ear, told her how. She pulled the earwig out of her ear and placed it in Joe's while shifting her phone closer to him so that those on the other side could hear clearly.

"Hey guys, how did you take everything?" she wondered aloud, amused. Joe jumped at their sudden loud response as it come in through the earwig. He laughed at something one of them said before shaking his head and heading the earwig back to her.

She carefully put away the earwig after letting them know they would be on their way soon and then turned her attention to her surroundings. The apartment she sat in was cold, clinical. It reminded her of the safe houses she used when she did undercover work for MI6. She realized that to Joe that was all this place had been and by the way he was gathering his things, he was ready to go home. But she wondered, would she still be a part of it?

The trip to the Reagan family home was quiet as Joe vibrated in the passenger seat in excitement. He never noticed how stiff RJ was or the strained silence in the car as they came closer to his childhood home. However he did realize something was wrong after they brought everything into the house and she simply left, she didn't stay - she didn't even give him a hug or courteous goodbye before she drove off. Before he could think on it any further he was enveloped by his grateful family as they caught him up on anything and everything he had missed while "dead". It was only several hours later when he couldn't get to sleep that he began to think about her strange behavior once more.

Joe sat quietly in the living room with a drink in hand as he stared into fireplace wondering why RJ simply left. He was quick to react when he heard a sound in the room, which turned out to be Henry, his grandfather. He relaxed back into his seat and turned his attention back to the fire.

"Something's bothering you," Henry noted as he took a chair next to Joe.

"RJ," Joe admitted. "She just left, didn't say goodbye or even give me a hug before she drove off. She's never done that before. I keep going over in my head why she did that and I'm just… just lost on the reason why." Frank chuckled.

"For a great cop, you are pretty dense when it comes to matters of the heart," Frank said as he came into the room. Joe scoffed.

"What are you talking about?" Joe wondered.

"She's stepped back, given you room to breathe again after that has happened," Henry told him. "She wants you to truly think on whether you are in each other's lives out of necessity of survival or if you truly love her. With what she did to keep you safe, she already has her answer - she just wants to be sure you know yours."