my thanks to 2JackBauer4 and Skyfullofstars for your kind reviews and encouragement...
Jack left for his morning run earlier than usual but that had become standard over the last week. Sleep was now elusive and once awake he preferred to be up and active. He knew Chase had returned from Mexico with Angie three days ago but he made no effort get in touch.
Yesterday he had opened his email account to find a cartoon picture of a stick of dynamite filling the screen. The fuse was lit and before he could do anything there was a bright flash of light followed by a robotic voice saying, "Your surveillance of private bank accounts is inappropriate. Any further illegal activity will result in a terminal virus." After his initial discomfort at being caught he had to smile, the message was so Chloe.
Two blocks from home he increased his speed for a final sprint. The last week had seemed very long and lonely without Kim, Chase and Angela and he found if he pushed himself to exhaustion it helped blunt his anger and concern. When he arrived home to find Chase leaning against his car parked in the driveway his heart gladdened, but then he recalled Sam's words 'the three kids were lined up and executed'.
"Hello Jack," Chase nodded, unsure of his welcome.
Jack spoke mildly but his irritation showed, "Chase, do you have any idea how much trouble you could've caused?, you -"
Chase looked away and Jack couldn't contain his anger at the slight, "Damnit Chase what the hell were you thinking? You can't just waltz down to Mexico, kill people and take a child. I understand you wanted to get Angela but there are laws we need to follow-"
Chase raised his hands, palms outwards in a sign of peace. "I didn't come here for this Jack, I just -"
"Don't you dare try to brush me off Chase, you involved my daughter -"
"DAD!" Kim appeared around the side of the house and Jack realised why Chase had kept glancing that way, he was making sure Kim wasn't within earshot. Her arms were full of dogwood blossoms clipped from his trees in the backyard. She passed them to Chase without comment then turned to Angela who had been following behind with her own twig of blossom. Picking her up, Kim walked towards her dad and deposited Angie into his arms.
"They were going to kill her Dad. If Chase hadn't been there, if he'd waited for the paperwork, it would have been too late. Now look at your grandchild and tell me he didn't do the right thing."
Jack looked from Chase who was putting the blossoms in the car, to Kim who had crossed her arms in her anger, to Angie who was absorbed in plucking every small flower off her twig. Despite his own anger Jack felt the laughter overtake him, "Kim, that's a really sneaky way to win an argument."
"I learnt off the best... anyhow I'm not arguing as there's nothing to argue, I'm just stating facts."
"Come in and have some coffee," he offered as Angie scrambled to be let down.
"I'm sorry, we can't today, we have lots to do."
Kim and Jack watched as Angie ran full tilt towards Chase who scooped her up into a hug. "Dad, we came to ask you to dinner tonight. I'm sorry it's short notice but we want to celebrate Angie's return and it wouldn't be complete without you."
"Fine," he agreed, still smiling. "Will 7 do?"
"No, that's too late for Angie and we have lots to talk about, come about 5:30?"
"That's fine, I'll see you then."
He watched as they prepared to leave. Chase finished strapping Angie into her seat then he moved to the driver's door.
"Yeah?" he asked warily.
Jack stepped forward and extended his hand, "I'm glad you were there for Angie, I really am."
Chase shook hands gratefully, "Thanks Jack."