I'm scared out of my mind.
I'd never admit it to a single soul in this world, but I am.
In my entire life of fighting the Company and almost dying, I've never been so scared; even when I thought my brother was going to die for nothing.
The fact that Luca Abruzzi was after my daughter is enough to make my blood boil, and, at the same time, make my worry increase tenfold. And the fact that Kellerman is still out there somewhere doesn't exactly settle me down either.
It's been nice that family's here, that Faith isn't by herself and she has her friend Maria to talk to.
Linc, Sucre, LJ and I haven't got a time to hang out by ourselves in a long time, so when Sucre decided to go down to the cafeteria and get enchiladas, no one objected.
The three of us head down to the cafeteria, leaving Garrett in the room with Faith while she was asleep. He's a good kid.
Sucre orders the enchiladas in his immaculate Spanish and brings them back to the table. It's a huge tray, enough to feed around five people if Linc isn't one of them. He could eat this whole thing by himself if he really wanted to. "So, Michael, vacation's great?" Linc tries to start the conversation. It's the thought that counts. "Yeah," I say, grabbing an enchilada from the tray and taking a bite. "You know, Michael, the past two weeks have been everything you've ever wanted," Sucre says slowly. I nod in agreement. "I mean, you got a daughter, didn't you?" I smile and look at the oak table. "She's awesome, I mean… It doesn't leave this table, but she's more athletic than Linc will ever be," I say with a laugh at the end. Linc is so easy to make fun of. "Hey, I'm not that old," Linc whines, and I laugh as Sucre's eyes dart back and forth to follow the playful argument. "At least someone isn't going to be calling me grandpa in about eight months," I fire back, and Linc grins. "Hey. It's a promotion. Haven't you heard that the best dads are promoted to grandpa?" I look at Sucre and he grins. "That's just an age cover-up. You say that so you don't feel so old. What are you now, fifty-three?" He looks at me and smiles. "Says the one that's forty-five and gray," he fires back. I hold my hands up in surrender. "Fine," I say playfully, and then I glance over at Sucre and realize that he's enjoying every bit of this. I bite back a laugh. "Say it little brother, what insult do you have now?"
"At least I'm not a man child." Sucre slaps his knee and starts dying. "You got him there, papi. Give up, Sink." Linc grumbles something to himself about stupid younger brothers and their competent insults.
Garrett walks in and goes to get a cookie.
He's a good kid if he can take a good intense conversation with Lincoln Burrows while his girlfriend's dad sits right next to him. Linc grills him over his relationship with Faith, and Sucre's yet again enjoying our conversation. Garrett admits that he's kissed Faith, and I think that Linc didn't expect me to be okay with it. But, surprisingly, even to myself, I am. I didn't think that I'd ever be okay with my daughter dating someone, but I guess that's how it goes sometimes. I didn't really want her to be someone else's favorite person yet, but I'm more comfortable with it since I've known Garrett for two years as Mike's best friend.
I can tell that the conversation embarrasses him. "So, Garrett, what's been your favorite part of vacation so far?" He gives me a thankful look and answers. "To be perfectly honest, it's probably swimming."
Six days later
Faith is finally out of the hospital. The doctors said that she recovered quickly and should gain almost full function of her left arm back within a few months. It's crazy how fast she healed.
She just left to go get the plane to fly home since our vacation was unexpectedly lengthened.
LJ and Michelle have their book of baby names out in the living room as we wait for Faith to fly back, Linc looks through a different one and then shuts it with a sigh. "None of those are any good. They're all so basic. Like, I am not letting you name my grandson Bob or Steve or Joe. Or Theodore. Or John, David, or Charles, or Paul, or Henry, or Lewis, or Bradley, Alex, or Roland. Absolutely not." He looks down at the floor after rattling off his extreme list of off-limits baby names, and then his head snaps up. "What about Chukwuemeka?" LJ looks at Linc like he's from a different planet. "Dad, I am not naming my son Chukwuemeka." Linc looks offended. "You can call him Chuck for short," he offers, but is kindly rejected by LJ mad Michelle. "No thanks."
After about an hour, they close the books and seem like they've come to a conclusion about the names. "For a boy, we think, since we can't use any of the sentimental names," LJ glares at Linc, "that we name him Lucas Carson. Luke for short, if we need it, and for a girl, we were going to use Tinley Rose." Linc looks hurt. "If you have twins, will you name one Chukwuemeka for me?" LJ rolls his eyes. "I. Am. Not. Naming. My. Son. Chukwuemeka. In fact, it's your grandson too. Do you want him to go to school and say, 'Hi, my name's Chukwuemeka!' It actually kinda sounds like Chewbacca," LJ says, not seriously at all. Linc laughs. "That's when we use Chuck." LJ rolls his eyes in defeat with his dad. "Do you really want a kid named Chukwuemeka to have your name?" Linc considers this for a second. "On that note, no."
I hear the roar of the jet engine before anyone else does.
We walk the half mile to the runway to meet the jet, and when we see it we can't believe our eyes. "That thing is gigantic!" Mike runs to the door and jumps in, grinning ear to ear. "It has bedrooms!" He runs toward the back of the jet and I follow him. He's right. There are 4 rooms, so I'm pretty sure that Faith has something planned. Why would we need rooms if it's just four hours back home?
We all sit down in the cabin before Faith starts down the runway. Mike volunteers himself to sit in the front again during the takeoff. "It was so cool last time! I'm totally doing it again."
I sit down beside Sara in the seat and move my hand into hers. "I love our life," I say, rubbing my thumb across the top of her hand. She leans her head on my shoulder. "I do too. Especially you," she replies, and I wrap my free arm around her and pull her into my chest. "Are we gonna have to separate you two?" Linc's eyes are barely visible over the top of the seat in front of us. "Why do you sound like my first grade teacher?" He's trying not to laugh at my insult, but in the end loses it and starts laughing. "Crap, I didn't even think about that."
There's not much to do in the sky, except talk to your wife and your ignoramus brother who doesn't know the difference between his head and his butt.
The fact that LJ and Sucre are on the plane helps extremely, so I have another man that's competent enough to carry on a conversation without making a fart joke. Trust me. It's happened before.
We've been in the air for a while now, well over four hours. Faith must be going somewhere very specific. Linc turns around and looks back over the seat with just his eyes and nose over the top. "Surprising," he says, then slinks back down into his seat. "What?" He lets out a laugh in front of me. "I'm just surprised that you two aren't sick of each other yet. I mean, after knowing each other for nineteen years, that's a long time. How are you not bored yet?" I raise my eyebrow at him staring over the back of the seat. "But you've known Veronica for how long?" He shrugs and acknowledges my point. "Yeah, that's what I thought."
It's five o'clock in the afternoon and we're still not out of the air. "We're making a stop somewhere, I'm just not going to tell you guys where yet," Faith says. Linc groans. "Why can't you tell me? Ridiculous," he says jokingly. "Hey. I'm sorry that I don't want to ruin a surprise I've been planning since we got here," she replies. That shuts him up.
Sara figured out that you can fold the armrest up in between the two seats in the row. She got the window seat because those are her favorite. She folds up the armrest and lays on my shoulder. I wrap my arm around her and Linc puts one eye between the seats in front of Sara and I. "That's it," he says, getting out of his aisle seat and standing next to me. He throws me out of my seat into the aisle and sits in my seat. "Where am I supposed to sit now?" He gives no more than a shrug of indifference. "I mean, there's my seat for you," he says, then furrows his brow. "Wait," he says. "If you're going to sit with my wife… okay, never mind, sit back in your seat." I give him an utterly confused look. "Oh, you were afraid that I was going to steal your wife… of course! That makes perfect sense. I steal your wife of four years and give up my wife of thirteen years. Why didn't I think of that?" This comment is dripping with so much sarcasm that I thought for sure he'd get that I was kidding. "Hey, hands off my wife, buddy. Sure, she was your best friend before she was my girlfriend, and I kind of stole her. But still." I shake my head and smile as I sit down next to Sara. "I sometimes wonder about him, Fernando," I say with a grin. "Hey, papi, I thought I was the only one for the longest time so I was afraid to say anything," he says with a laugh. Linc puts on a fake pouty face (at least I think it's fake. With him, you're never really sure.) and leans his seat back right onto my knees. "There we go. So much better," he says, folding his hands behind his head. "Not for long," I say, finger-slapping him across the face. "You idiot," he says, jerking his seat back up. Fernando and I share a look and burst into a fit of laughter.
I can feel the plane descending from the sky as I hear Linc's obnoxious laugh from the seat in front of me. Great.
I wonder what it's about now.
"Papi, I heard him. Watch your bag, he's about to fill it with shaving cream," Sucre whispers from behind me. I stand up from my seat and look behind me and he and Maricruz. "I'll get him first, watch this." I walk back to my bag and grab my hair gel from the outside pocket and his hat from his bag and put them both on the counter. I squirt half the bottle of gel into his hat and then use Sara's hair dryer to make the gel harden into a solid form in the top of his hat. There's now a flat, hard surface where the top of his head is in the hat. It'll be the most uncomfortable thing ever.
We finally land on the runway in a town that I don't recognize, so I pull out my phone and look at our location on Google Maps. We're in Paris… Weird. I guess this is part of what she wanted to do today.
"Grab your bags, it's only a short walk from here to where we're going," Faith tells us, and we all grab our duffels and suitcases. Linc, of course, puts on his hat and has a funny look on his face. "What the heck?" He takes his hat off to see the hardened lime green hair gel in the top and gives me the Death Glare. "I am so going to get you for this," he grumbles, throwing his hat back into his bag and walking off the plane. I smile to myself, amused that I'm able to push his buttons so easily.
We walk into a huge warehouse-like building that seems like it's the size of Chicago itself. "This," Faith says, "is one of the international hangars. They're the newest French planes that haven't started production in America yet. They're military-grade, some bombers and jets, some just passenger planes. Look at all of them." Mike's eyes light up and he runs into the biggest one he sees and pulls the hatch open. "This is so cool! Garrett, come look at this!" Garrett runs over to the gigantic plane that Mike insists is "so cool" and looks inside. "Holy crap, dude, this is crazy."
Linc's enjoying this just as much as the boys are. He's trying not to show it, but he's not doing the greatest job of it. "Linc, go run around," Veronica finally says, and Linc stands still like he's not going to move. "What are you talking about, I'm perfectly fine right here," he replies sarcastically. Vee rolls her eyes. "Everyone standing here knows that that's a lie. Right?" Sucre, Mari, Sara, LJ, Michelle, and I all nod, and even Maria knows that he's lying. "Okay, fine, I'll go look at the super cool planes." He walks over behind Mike, who's still looking at the same plane.
"Vee, I think your husband is a man child," I say, and all the adults laugh at this as we walk toward a plane. "I think you're right, but you're also the one who dried hair gel and put it in the top of his hat."
Why does she have to be so smart?
"Okay, you got me there," I say in defeat. She laughs at this.
After about two hours in the French hangar, Faith takes the plane that we were flying back into the air again and says that we'll probably be home tomorrow morning.
It's eight at night, and the sky is dark, the only light coming from the interior lights of the plane. I walk back into the room that's been designated for Sara and I and lay in the queen size bed until Sara comes in.
A few minutes later she comes and lays beside me, and I wrap my arms around her and pull her against my chest. "How did we get so lucky?" I think her question over for a second as I always do, and give her my most honest answer. "Because I liked you first." She turns in my arms to face me and smiles. "Are you sure? Because the first time you came into that place, I had decided that you were the cutest guy that had ever passed through those doors." I raise my eyebrows in amusement. "Really? You must have high standards," I playfully jab. She shifts and moves closer to my chest. "You know that nice girls always finish last," she says against me, and I guess she has a point. "I thought you were a nice girl, but apparently I was wrong," I say, turning around to where my back is facing her. "What are you doing?" I look over my shoulder at her. "I only hug nice girls," I say playfully. She laughs and lays on the other side of me. "Not anymore," she says, forcing herself between my arms with a laugh.
I wake up around four o'clock in the morning sweating, and I realize how hot it is in the small room. I pull off my shirt and throw it down, pulling Sara to my chest and falling asleep again.
When I wake up, there's light coming through the small window in our room, and when I look at the alarm clock it's seven thirty. I get up from the bed and put my shirt back on when I realize that we're not moving. I check my phone and see a text in the group chat.
Faith: Don't leave the room yet… the general's out here and he wanted to talk for a sec, I'll text again when the coast is clear.
Linc: Of course he is… jerk
Sucre: Sink, be careful, your niece can see this chat
Linc: I know, that's why I'm typing what I want to say and then deleting the rage paragraph and sending this bland crap instead
Faith: ok he's gone
Linc: thank God, now we can breathe without getting shot
I look out the window and we're in a different Chicago hangar, and I can see the Chicago Bridge from here. That means that my apartment is just three blocks from where we are now.
After everyone gets ready, I lead the group past the Skyline restaurant on the small strip of shops and restaurants to my apartment. "Where are we going?" Faith and Veronica throw me a knowing look and I put a finger to my lips. "A special place I've wanted to show you guys for a long time," I say, and I shoot a wink at Faith. "It's so special, not even Sara or Linc have seen it." I walk in the door to the building and into the elevator, and it's a pretty tight squeeze considering all the people that have to fit in here.
I put my key in the door and unlock it for the first time in almost twenty years, and when I open the door everyone's confused at first. "This was my apartment," I say, and Sara looks at me with a grin. "This is incredible," Linc comments, looking around the room. "It was pretty cool," I say, walking over to the window overlooking the river. I spread my arms between the metal beams between the glass panes just as I did nineteen years ago when I was contemplating my entire life. I suddenly remember the particular drawer in my desk that I kept all the newspaper clippings and headlines that I had ripped from the wall that day. I walk to the desk by the window and find the picture and headline that portrays Linc's execution date and reason, the picture of John Abruzzi, and my favorite headline, the one about Sara winning the humanitarian award. "Sara," I say, calling her over to the desk as everyone roams around the living room. "I have proof that I liked you first," I say, opening the drawer and digging for the headline. "Oh really?" I pull the headline from the depths of the drawer, and she looks amazed. "Well," she says, "I guess you win."