Louise had taken Declan to a nearby park, while Emily was at the morgue. She was waiting in the hotel room for them to return, their bags already packed by the door. The Interpol jet was supposed to leave in less than two hours, and she wasn't sure that she would be on it, at least, if Sean kept his word and refused to allow Declan on it. Could she really adopt the boy? Could she be his mother? She couldn't even think about her unborn child, because if she did, her head might explode. Emily knew that she had to make one decision at a time, and make each without considering the other.
Did she want custody of Declan?
That was perhaps the easiest question to answer. She did. She loved Declan as much as if she was his mother by blood, at least she couldn't imagine loving him more. Raising even just Declan would mean trading her career for him, because neither Interpol nor the CIA would ever put an operative back in the field after she got so emotionally involved with her last assignment.
Emily fingered the chain around her neck, and felt an instant pang in her stomach. It was a dull ache, a sickness that betrayed just how painful Ian's death was for her. She hated the son of a bitch, but she already missed him. If she closed her eyes, she could almost feel the warmth of his lips on her skin, and his fingers traveling low on her belly. She held the gold ring against her palm, and felt the tears slide down her cheeks. That ring was a commitment that she could never have honored.
A pounding on the door shook her.
Emily wiped off the tears, peaked through the peephole, and tucked the ring inside her shirt before opening the door.
"Oh god Em, tell me you aren't crying over that sack of human waste," Clyde said.
She ignored him. "What do you want, Clyde?"
"You not to mourn his loss." She let him in and closed the door behind him.
"Just checking that you're all ready."
Emily breathed in and steeled herself. "I won't be on the jet. I'll fly commercial later today."
"Because I'll have Declan with me, and I don't want to have to have a bitching match with Sean."
"Why will the boy be with you?"
"Because…because I've decided to adopt him."
He actually smirked. "And his mother, she's okay with that then?"
"Louise isn't his mother; she was his guardian so no one could use him against his father."
She watched Clyde's face shift from confusion to realization, a hardness settling in his eyes. His lips pursed so tightly it looked painful, he said, "He's Doyle's son."
"Yes, and Louise agreed to give me custody, in fact, she suggested it."
He scoffed. "Does she know who you really are?"
"Yes, I told her this morning when she came by."
"And is Louise going to stay in the states and help you raise the boy?"
"No, she wants to go back to Ireland."
Clyde shook his head. "And what about your career?"
"I have good connections, I'll find a new job." Truth be told after everything with Ian, she was too damn worn out to continue being a spy.
He opened his mouth, but it was cut-off by the sound of a keycard in the door. It was pushed open, and a giggle was followed by a small figure running straight for her. Declan landed none too delicately against her body, wrapped his skinny arms around her and looked up. "We played on the swings and the slide."
"Oh yeah? Was it fun?" Emily smiled down at him, wrapping her arms around him. Declan nodded enthusiastically. "You look all dirty," she said. "How about we wash you up, okay?"
Emily walked the boy into the bathroom, but could still hear Clyde and Louise talking.
"You're comfortable with her taking that boy? A woman who has been lying to you?"
"She wasn't lying about loving that boy," Louise said.
Clyde sighed. "How can you trust a woman you don't know with the child you've been raising?"
"Do you know what makes a mother, Mr. Easter?"
"My mother was useless, so I can't say I do."
"Well, I do. It's not blood or biology; it's the warmth in her eyes when she holds the child in her arms."
A little later they were sitting around the table in the hotel room, finishing up their lunch. Emily had booked the three of them on a flight to Italy, so they could all pack up the villa. Then Louise would get on a flight to Ireland and be able to see her family for the first time in years, after she had purposely cutting off contact after she began working with Ian. She had nieces and nephews that she hadn't even met. And Emily and Declan would head to London, so that she could sort out her life.
"Declan, come here a minute," Emily called to the boy, who'd finished his last chicken nugget as he stared out the window at the hotel parking lot.
He obediently walked over and Emily lifted him onto her lap. "Louise and I need to talk to you about Daddy."
He looked from her to Louise, who began the discussion. "Do you remember the cat that we used to feed when it came around? It was black and white and had a spot on its nose?"
"He was friendly."
Louise nodded. "Aye, he was a gentle creature. And you remember when the animal doctor came and looked at him, and said that he was sick?"
"Yes," his voice was barely audible, Declan already seeming to sense where the conversation was headed.
"And one day he didn't come around, and I told you that he had died. Do you remember what that means?"
"That the cat wasn't coming back. He went to Heaven."
"That's right." She patted his hand and nodded to Emily.
Emily schooled her features, but struggled to keep her voice steady. "Well Declan, Daddy…he died yesterday, so we uh, we won't see him anymore."
The boy's eyes began to water and drip down his cheeks. "Daddy's gone?"
"That's right, sweetie. He's gone."
Declan looked back and forth between them, as if he was waiting for one of them deny it and tell him it was just a bad joke. When they didn't, he asked, "Daddy's in Heaven?"
Emily shared a brief look with Louise, during which they came to a silent agreement. Louise gave the answer first. "Yes, sweetheart, Daddy went to Heaven."
They both knew that it was a lie, but they weren't about to tell a three year-old that if the Bible was right, his daddy was destined for a well-deserved roast in Hell. Declan's eyes began to water faster and he stuck his thumb in his mouth. His chest began to heave and then he abruptly turned and buried his face in Emily's neck. She tightened her arms around him and bit back her own tears.
"I know it hurts, sweetie, but your daddy loved you very much, and Louise and I love you very much too." He only curled tighter against her body, as his tears continue to soak through her shirt.
Ian Doyle was not a good man, but he was still a father with a little boy that loved him, despite the things he'd done and person he'd been.
It had been just under a month since they flew back to Europe, and time was rapidly ticking away in her countdown to decide on whether to have an abortion. It wouldn't be her first, but she knew that it would be no less painful. If anything, it would be much more painful. The baby she created with Jonathan was a stupid, teenaged mistake, but this baby, that she'd created with Ian, was created from love. A twisted and utterly fucked-up sort of love, but love nonetheless.
Emily knew in Interpol's eyes that she had already seriously screwed up, and that they were chalking up her decisions to psychological trauma from the serial killer. It was true that she was having nightmares about her abductor and the closet her had kept her locked inside, and when she woke up she'd wish that she wasn't alone. But Ian was gone and she was better off with him gone, of that she was certain. Declan was definitely better off with Ian dead.
Still, she was seriously considering seeing a shrink, as much as the idea horrified her. With the serial killer and Doyle and all the other messed-up shit she'd done as a spy, talking to a professional might not be the worst thing she could do. Especially if it kept her from completely screwing up her kids. Kid. Kids?
"Are we going to see the house now, Mommy?" Declan asked from the back seat. She'd offered him the option of calling her mommy a few weeks ago, and the boy had jumped on it. He'd wanted a mother very badly, especially since his father was dead. Declan had taken that with a great deal of difficulty. Part of him seemed almost relieved, but part of him still clearly missed his dad.
"Yes, sweetie, we're on our way now." They'd just left the Irish Embassy after finalizing some things with Declan's adoption. It had been a little difficult to explain why he was being adopted again, by another single woman, this one an American.
They'd still approved it though, and handed her a stack of literature about activities to make sure that Declan didn't forget his Irish heritage. However, Louise still spoke to him at least two or three days a week on the phone, so she was sure that that wasn't going to happen.
The house that she had bought was in Reston, only about 20 minutes from Langely, and her new job as a training agent for the CIA. While the CIA was less than happy with her choices, like Interpol, they chalked them up to trauma, and were pleased to still be able to use her talents. Emily was just thrilled to still have a job.
She knew northern Virginia well enough that she didn't need a GPS to find her way there, though she'd only seen the house via webcam tour. The place still needed paint and tweaking before they could move in, so they were actually renting a place in Vienna for now. But she needed to actually see the house to determine colors and styles. Then it was off to her old storage unit to see if her furniture was still in usable condition.
The life of a non-official cover operative was a weird one. You pack up your life in the states, shove it into a storage unit, and then cross the ocean. Then it's years shuttling from country to country, living in hotels and rented apartments and houses. Her time with Interpol and the task force was the same deal. Emily hadn't actually seen her furniture in nine years. When she was in the states, she was never home long enough to need more than a long-stay hotel room.
Emily saw his car parked in front of the house at the end of the cul-de-sac. She had always liked the security of culs-de-sac; you can always see people coming. Unless they came through the woods at the back of the house, and that's why she was installing motion detectors on the back fence. In her line of work paranoid meant alive.
She parked and helped Declan out of his booster seat, and when she turned Derek was beside her. To her surprise, Elle was with him.
"Hey, Elle can't get enough of me during the week, so she decided to join us," he said, waggling his eyebrows at his partner.
She snorted and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, you wish, Derek." She smiled at Emily. "He mentioned that he was showing you the house today, and I just wanted to see how you were doing."
Emily offered her a tight smile. "Thanks, we're uh, good."
She had already forgiven to the two FBI agents for spilling her secret, but tight was about the only kind of smile she could give anyone these days. She had too much weighing down her soul to offer anyone except Declan a real smile.
"Well, why don't we get this tour on, ladies and little man?"
Declan looked up at her, his hand in hers. "Where's my room going to be?"
"We'll see when we get inside, okay?"
He nodded and they followed the FBI agents inside, walking through the living room and attached dining room, the kitchen and the small den that would be her office. It was a nice house, big, but not exorbitantly so, and homey with the fireplace and built in bookcases in the living room. They headed upstairs and went straight to Declan's room first, which was at the far end from the master suite.
"This one is yours, buddy," she said. Declan dropped her hand and went racing around the room, checking every corner and sticking his head into the closet. Derek chased after him making monster noises, Declan squealing and laughing as he ran.
Emily looked at Elle. "Your partner is good with kids."
"My partner is a kid," she smirked.
He'd scooped up Declan, and tossed him over a shoulder, the boy giggling like a nut, his blond curls falling all over his face. Derek pointed out. "Let's see his bathroom, and then I'll show you the spare and master suite.
"What kind of theme do you want for your bathroom, Declan?" Elle asked him.
Still upside down, he looked at Emily. "What's a theme, Mommy?"
"It's how you decorate sweetie. You can have fish or cars or superheroes…"
"Spiderman?" He asked
"Sure, if we can find it," she said. Ian would never have let him have a themed bathroom, at least not with superheroes. He would have considered that tacky.
They left the bathroom, and Derek led the way, swinging Declan in his arms, so that it was now a piggyback ride. "Okay," he began, "this is the master suite, bedroom here, and then the left hand door there is your clothes closet it, it's a walk-in, like you wanted. The right-hand door is the bath, and I've got a surprise for you there."
She raised her eyebrows, but followed after him. Declan was hanging onto his bald head and giggling as Derek tickled him. The FBI agent then turned, and gestured to the tub with a wide smile on his face.
Emily frowned in confusion until she noted the spigots inside the tub. Her mouth fell open. "Is that..?"
He nodded, smile beaming. "You said you dreamed of a having a hot tub."
She stated wide-eyed at the tub. "I was only kidding."
"That look of rapture tells me that you really wanted it."
"If you don't want it, I'll take it," Elle said.
Emily shot her a look. "Hell no, this is all mine."
The two agents chuckled at her. Declan looked puzzled. "What is it?"
"It's a tub that will help your Mommy out when she's feeling stressed," Elle explained.
He looked at Emily. "Like when Daddy rubbed your shoulders?"
She tried to hide the sadness when she smiled, but the looks of sympathy told her that she'd failed. "Yeah, sweetie, just like that."
Ian had had a way of massaging the stress out of her and then making love to her that left her boneless and practically comatose until almost afternoon the next day. It had been a favorite way to start the weekend.
Derek looked up at Declan, "How about we go check out the backyard, and leave the ladies to talk about paint colors and boring stuff like that?"
Declan's eyes lit up, and his smile widened, then he looked at her. "Can I, Mommy?"
"Yeah, go ahead, but don't go far from Derek, okay?" He nodded eagerly, and began to giggle again as Derek made zooming noises and sped out of the room.
Elle sighed. "I know this is hard for you, that you miss Doyle and part of you is mourning for him and what you had together. And I know having Declan and being pregnant must make it even harder for you, but Emily, don't ever doubt for a minute that you're better off without him."
They made it to the spare bedroom and stopped, not really paying attention. Emily nodded. "I know, and I know Declan is better without him too…it's just, I never wanted to be a single mother, you know?"
"You didn't have to be."
"Yeah, I did. Declan was mine even before Ian died." It wasn't something she could explain, but she'd felt it several months ago when he'd been sick and upset and she'd rocked him to sleep.
The other woman shrugged. "I can't argue. I've never really had much to do with kids."
"One day you will, and you will know exactly what I'm talking about."
Elle wrinkled her nose and shook her head. "Not for me."
Emily shrugged. "Each to her own." She stared at the small room, turning as she took in the space.
"Any ideas for this room?"
"Yeah, one I think."
She inhaled, decorating the room in her head, and nodded. "I was thinking that it might make a good nursery."
"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward."
-C. S. Lewis
A/N: Yes, this is the last chapter. To clear up some confusion from my last a/n, my next three chaptered stories (not chapters) will be Morgan/Prentiss. However, one of those should help satisfy those of you who wanted to see Emily have the baby and get together with Morgan or whatnot. But this is it for this story, and I will be taking a little break before I post again though, up to a month or two. Sorry guys.. Thank you everyone who reviewed, favorited and followed!