Chapter Twenty Eight – Crossroads

Nick was feeling tired, but still in a happy mood, as he drove up the driveway at the police house in Aidensfield. Everything was finally over and all the gang members were behind bars.

Just before he'd left the station there had been a call from DI Shiner. The CID officer had thanked him and told him that his officers' quick thinking had caught Jones red handed and that everyone had been assembled in prison back in London. The MET would take the matter into their hands.

Nick had thought about phoning to his old friend Henry, who was still employed at the MET, but time hadn't been on his side as usual these days.

The young sergeant sighed deeply, killed the engine of the black Ford Anglia police car and leaned back in the driver's seat. Somehow life felt different now, things he'd taken for granted before held a new meaning to him.

It felt like he'd come to a crossroad and he couldn't continue like he had before; there was only left or right for him to choose. While he liked it in Aidensfield, and had lived through both happy and tragic times there, he needed a change.

He closed his eyes briefly and reached up with his hand to rub his forehead, trying to ease the pressure of the dull headache that had started to form; a residue of the accident no doubt. Both Dr. Bolton and Maggie had told him to take it easy and not expect to be able to do everything like he used to do so soon after the accident but it was hard not to. He had a responsibility as a sergeant, more so than when he was just an ordinary patrolling PC.

With some effort he heaved himself out of the seat and started to head for the door before Jo could come out looking for him and, most likely, worry about him.

His beautiful wife looked up from where she stood, next to the kitchen table, as he entered and a smile played on her lips. "There you are," she said softly, beaming.

Nick couldn't help but smile as he took in the atmosphere in the room, the candle lit dinner for two that she'd taken time to prepare.

Jo blew out the match as she'd lit the candles and smoothed out her tight black dress before quickly closing the distance to her husband.

"I wanted to surprise you," she said happily. "It was such a long time ago that we sat down, just the two of us, and did something for ourselves. All the time I spent by your bedside Nick, it was horrible. I never thought you would wake up again, they told me…." she trailed off, unable to continue.

"Hey," Nick said softly, his voice comforting as he sneaked his arms around her middle and held her tight. "It's all right Jo."

"Just don't let go of me," she whispered into his shoulder.

"I'm right here, love, and I won't go anywhere," Nick reassured her. "Come on, let's see what you've cooked. It smells delicious."

Jo raised her head to look at him and as she did so Nick gently reached over to remove the tears that glistened down her cheeks. "I'm sorry; I thought I was over this part, you're here and all right and everything but…"

Deep brown eyes looked at her, concerned, as she forced herself to continue.

"Remember what we talked about before all this happened? Jo asked, as she buried her face in his chest.

Nick nodded thoughtfully. "About doing something else?" he wondered aloud.

She nodded, her soft curls bouncing gently off her shoulders as she rose her head to look him in the eye. "I'll go wherever you like just as long you're going with me," she said. "I love you, Nick Rowan, in sickness and in health, until death do us apart. You're the most important thing in my life."

OOOOOO

"So," Phil began softly as he walked up to the counter at the Aidensfield Arms, "could I endure your company for a while?"

Gina raised an impeccable eyebrow in amusement at his enigmatic smile. "What's on your mind, Phil?" she asked happily.

"I've got tickets to the cinema tomorrow and I thought, perhaps you would want to come with me?" he said hopefully. "It's a new movie with Sean Connery, you know he who played Bond," he added.

"I would love to Phil but I'm not sure I can leave this place," she said apologetically.

"Well, I might be able to lend you a hand, if it's only for a couple of hours," Blaketon said as he appeared behind Phil with an empty pint in hand.

"Sarge?" Phil said both confused and happy at the same time.

"Go on, off you go you two," the former police sergeant said with a kind smile.

"Tomorrow it is then," Gina confirmed to Phil.

"I'll pick you up at six," the young constable said happily, secretly wishing it would be right away.

OOOOOO

The next morning Nick Rowan casually walked through the door to his police station, nodded at his officers and headed straight for his office. He hung up his coat and hat, moved over to the desk and retrieved a number from a closed map. He sat down heavily in his chair and grabbed the phone with

a steady grip, dialing a number to London.

OOOOOO

It was almost after working hours as Jo looked up from where she sat in the garden, outside the Aidensfield police house, a book in hand as Nick walked through the gate. Katie smiled happily from where she sat next to Jo, on a large blanket.

"Hello, daddy," she said.

"Hello, love, had a good day?" he asked softly as he lifted his daughter and took her in his arms.

"Yes, Jo has been telling me about the ugly tree monster that lives up in the north," she let on.

Nick made a face. "Really?" he asked. "Are you afraid it will come and get you at night?"

"No, I have my teddy bear to protect me," she said seriously.

Nick gently put down his daughter and then sat down next to her and his wife. "This little fellow?" he asked skeptically, scooping up the worn teddy bear that lay on the blanket.

"He has superpowers," Jo filled in with a smile as Nick leaned forward to place a soft kiss on her cheek.

"So," Jo began curiously. "How did it go?"

Nick couldn't help but chuckle. "I never thought for a minute that I would be going back to London," he admitted.

"When you applied for the job several years ago wasn't it what you wanted?" Jo questioned quizzically.

"Both yes and no actually," Nick said with a sigh. For the hundredth time in a short period he found himself thinking of Kate. "My life was so different then."

His wife glanced up at him sadly, carefully. "If there was a way, would you go back there?" she asked, almost reluctant to know the answer.

Nick turned to level his gaze with hers as a faint sombre smile spread across his lips. "No," he let on. "If you had asked me earlier I might have said yes but not now. "I'm done with that part of my life, Jo, and I'm happy, I have you and Katie with me."

"Yes, but not Kate," Jo replied softly.

"You know, in a way…," he began, avoiding the direct question, glancing down at his boots, "…in a way the accident made me deal with things I'd pushed aside. I loved Kate with all my heart, she was my wife, but Kate is dead and she would have wanted me to move on," he filled in seriously and turned to look Jo in the eyes. "She would have liked you."

A faint upward curl on her lips appeared. "You think so?" Jo asked carefully.

"I know so," Nick replied with a smirk and then turned slightly to ruffle Katie's hair. "What do you think? Can we be happy in London?"

The three-year-old nodded, holding her teddy bear in a tight grip.

Nick and Jo looked at each other, their eyes sparkling, a moment later their lips met in a passionate kiss as Katie sat next to them. The little girl smiled as she looked at her dad and her Jo. She quietly moved closer to snuggle in between them.

"Hey," Nick said softly. "My two favorite girls in the world."

OOOOOO

The end

* In the show Maggie and Neil doesn't rekindle before Nick and Jo leaves

* Also, in the show, Nick and Jo leaves for Canada

/Thank you for reading and reviewing! I love to hear from you so please don't hesitate to tell me what you liked and/or disliked about this story. With that said I leave the Nick and Kate (Jo) era.