So I watched The Last Death of Henry Morgan and an alternate ending popped into my head. What if Jo did see him die and believed him to be dead and buried, what if Henry refused to let her know his secret, he would need to disappear. This is a look at what happens to those left behind. This chapter will only look at the aftermath and not what happened that day, a flashback will occur in the next chapter if people think I should continue with it.
Abe set the plate in front of Jo causing her to smile up at him gratefully before taking his place across from her.
'Thank you, it smells and looks amazing Abe.'
'Well tuck in then, don't let it get cold.' Abe gestured to her plate whilst piling his own fork high with Carbonara. Mimicking his actions and taking a bite, Jo moaned in appreciation. Abe raised an eyebrow watching her quietly, he'd taken her under his wing these past months. She'd taken Henry's death particularly hard, given that she had lost her own husband only two years ago, and then with Henry's demise, she'd lost it somewhat. Ordered to take time off, she had been adrift, and it had taken Abe to bring her back in.
He'd admittedly grown fond of the young woman, not having children of his own, he found himself developing paternal feelings towards her. Since Henry's death, they had developed a routine, each and every Friday night, rather than hitting the bars as was her usual wont, she would find herself at Abe's table, finding solace in the last link to Henry that she had. But the loyalty that Abe had for his father would wane in the face of Jo's sorrow, and a resentment was building between the two men, Abe's insistence that Henry should come clean and put the woman out of her misery clashed with Henry's adamant assertions that she wouldn't understand.
Jo cocked an eyebrow, a small smile playing at the edge of her lips. 'Abe?' He had the grace to blush at being caught staring at her, his eyes somewhere far away.
'Sorry Jo. Just thinking…'
Her face fell. 'About Henry?'
Abe gave her a lopsided grin and shrugged his shoulders. 'Yeah, about Henry.'
He silently cursed himself as he watched her interest in her food disappear, her fork instead twisting the pasta absently on her plate. Abe reached across the table, grabbing the wine and pouring her a glass. She nodded in thanks.
'I miss him, Abe.'
'I know kid.' He took a sip of his wine. 'It'll get easier.'
She sighed and pushed her plate away, taking up her glass. He pushed himself from the table scooping up the unfinished plates and taking them into the kitchen. Jo pushed from the table and made her way to the balcony, feeling Abe's presence behind her. She squinted out into the darkness.
'I will be…. It just feels like, it feels like everyone is going to leave me. I had just started to… and then this happened.'
'Just started to what, Kid?'
He was leaning on the railing beside her now, his eyes absently trailing the street below. She looked at him, causing him to meet her eyes and the pain he saw there tugged at his heart.
'Just starting to feel I guess… after Sean, I never thought… well, I suppose it doesn't matter now.'
Abe slid an arm around her shoulders and gave her a quick squeeze. 'It's okay. I know.' Jo rested her head against his shoulder, grateful for the support. Abe's jaw twitched, his anger at his father rising again. He had to fix this, but he just didn't know how.
In the alley, facing the antiques store, Henry stood in the shadows. He watched the scene on the balcony, heart pained by what he saw. He would have given anything to be there with them, his arm around her shoulders, her head resting above his heart. Adam had ended any hopes of that, Adam had taken away the most important person in his life aside from his son, and that could never be forgiven. Now he was left to watch from the shadows, to take comfort that she was well from the few minutes that he could spy on her every Friday evening. This was the only thing he had to look forward to these days, and so he would return to this very spot, every week in hope of a fleeting glance.
Startled he watched her eyes peer in his direction, a frown on her face, for a moment he thought that she could see him but then Abe was whispering something to her and they both retreated into the warmth of the apartment.
It was an hour later before Jo left, Abe seeing her into a cab and waving her off. The old man watched the cab disappear into the distance, his hands stuffed into his pockets. He watched Henry appear from the shadows and shook his head in disapproval before disappearing into the store. Henry grimaced and followed him inside, knowing exactly how the conversation would start and finish.
Locking the door behind him, Henry followed Abe upstairs. The old man was standing at the sink, washing the dishes from dinner. Henry loosened his scarf and shrugged out of his coat, dropping them both onto the chair.
'Jo stayed later than usual.' Abe didn't answer. 'Come on Abe, I haven't seen you all week, please let's not argue again.'
Henry approached him in the kitchen, putting a hand on his son's shoulder, Abe stopped what he was doing. 'Please Abe.'
Abe sighed and turned to face his father, grabbing a towel from the counter he dried his hands before dropping his eyes. 'I can't do this anymore Henry. I can't lie to her like this.'
'Abraham, we have discussed this. She wouldn't understand.'
'She doesn't understand the situation now Pops. She's hurting. But then, you know that, since I tell you every week.'
Henry sighed tiredly. He was tired of this conversation, tired of not having his life any longer. In the past, in similar situations he and Abe would pack up and start a life somewhere new. It had surprised Henry to no end however when Abe had refused to follow their usual pattern. He supposed that he had underestimated Abe's feelings for the detective.
'Come with me Abe, let's go somewhere new, somewhere, anywhere but here.'
Abraham's face hardened and he crossed his arms over his chest in defiance. 'Absolutely not. Nothing is stopping you from starting over Pops, but I am staying here.'
'Nothing is stopping you either Abe.'
'I won't abandon her Henry. I'm all she has here.'
'You're all I have!' Henry was desperate for his son to understand.
'Through your own doing Henry, your own fear and insecurities…' He held up his hand to stop Henry from interrupting. 'I realise that those fears are not unfounded, but you give her too little credit, she would have believed you… she loved you.'
Henry's dark eyes met his son's. They were at loggerheads. Again. Henry shook his head minutely. 'Jo wasn't in love with me Abe. She didn't even know me.'
He turned and headed back to the lounge, pouring Cognac from the decanter, he shuffled to the sofa and took a deep drink before settling into the cushions and closing his eyes. Abe followed soon after, a glass of red wine in his hand. Sitting across from his father he concentrated a concerned gaze on him.
'You were falling in love with her.'
Henry opened his eyes and regarded the older man, he tilted his head in acknowledgment. 'My feelings for Jo Martinez are neither here nor there. This is the situation, and I wish that you would respect that.' His voice was terse, he would brook no argument. 'I am happy that she has found some comfort in you Abe, but what is done is done.'
'She doesn't take comfort from me Henry, she is trying to find a way to be close to you!' Abe suddenly angry, angry at the unfairness of the situation, at his father's stubbornness pushed himself from the chair. He took a quick drink from his glass and placed it on the side table. 'I won't lie to her anymore for you. If you really want to be dead to her, then I suggest that you stop coming around here. That way it'll be easier for me to pretend and maybe even believe that you are dead.'
Henry was stung, his eyes widened and he pushed himself to his feet. 'Abraham..'
'Goodnight Henry. I hope that you manage to trust someone in your new life.' Abe's face betrayed his heartache at uttering those words, but he was determined. Henry reached out a hand to him but Abe turned from him and disappeared down the hall to his bedroom.
Henry was frozen, his outstretched hand trembling with the weight of what had just happened. Pulling that hand in he rubbed his face and sighed heavily, falling back onto the sofa dejectedly. Abe had never reacted this way before, he'd always happily followed Henry, defended his secret fiercely. He'd underestimated his son's desire for family, for a home. God knows he was struggling with his separation from Abe and Jo, more than he could ever admit to his son. He'd find himself wandering down her street in the middle of the night, stopping outside her apartment and reminiscing about their time together, her smile, her eyes, her passionate sense of right and wrong. But what he missed most were the things that she would never dream he would notice, the way that she smelled in the morning, after her shower, the way that her eyes would hold his for just a few seconds longer than was appropriate, the changing brown hue of her eyes when she smiled or laughed at him, or with him.
He'd never thought he could feel this way about anyone, when Abigail left she had created a hole that he was certain could never be filled, but somehow Jo Martinez had wormed her way in, filling in the blank spaces without him even noticing.
Yes, he had been falling in love with her, and it was exactly why he could never pursue her. He knew the pain that she felt on losing Sean, how could he expose her to potentially losing him over and over again.. he couldn't.
Pushing himself up from the sofa, grabbing his coat and his scarf he shrugged them on and made his way out of the building, taking one last look around the place he had finally started to feel was a home.
A month later and it was Friday again, she looked forward to her night with Abe. Being there, in the apartment that he once shared with Henry made her feel closer to the Medical Examiner, the lounge still smelled like him, it still felt like he could walk into the room at any moment. It felt like he wasn't really gone. All ridiculous to think she knew, but it didn't prevent her taking comfort from it.
She stepped out of the cab, it had become an unspoken agreement that she would take a cab to and from the store since there was always plenty of wine with dinner. The cab pulled away and she turned slowly to face the alley behind her, her head cocked to one side. She could almost feel someone watching her, someone in the shadows. Shaking her head, she put it down to paranoia rang the bell. Abe appeared a couple of seconds later to let her in, pulling her into an embrace and relieving her of the bottle of Merlot that she had brought with her. Before she allowed herself to be ushered through the door, her eyes fell back on the alley. With a shake of her head she smiled at Abe and led the way upstairs while he locked up behind her.
Dinner was, as usual, delicious. Jo wasn't a keen cook and the remainder of her week relied on take out and leftovers. She felt taken care of when she visited Abe. Her reaction to Sean's death was completely different to how she reacted when she lost Henry. After Sean she would place herself in dangerous, often promiscuous situations, trying to make herself feel something, anything. When she lost Henry, she wanted to find a way to connect with him. It had been a few weeks after his death that she had found herself on Abe's doorstep, blazing drunk and sobbing. He'd taken her in, given her tea and one of Henry's tee shirts and pyjama bottoms and led her to Henry's room. He'd tucked her into his flatmate's bed, placed a kiss on her forehead and closed the door behind him. Despite the haze of alcohol, she'd been enveloped in his scent, it felt like he was holding her while she drifted off to sleep.
Ever since that night, she'd show up on a Friday, she and Abe would eat, talk about Henry sometimes about Sean, and they'd share their loss and memories. It was comforting, to have a connection to Henry.
They had spent the remainder of the evening talking about a case that Jo had just closed, but Jo could tell that Abe's heart wasn't in it. She reached across the sofa and squeezed his hand gently. 'Abe?'
He covered her hand with his own. 'I'm sorry Jo. I'm not very good company this evening.'
'You're always good company. Maybe I should go and let you get some rest.'
'No Kid, I was just thinking that's all.' He waggled his finger at her 'I found something, and I thought you might want it..' He pushed himself from the sofa and disappeared into Henry's room. Returning a few minutes later he handed her a small picture frame, she frowned at him in confusion. The frame was clearly antique, silver with intricate etchings. Turning it around she saw that it contained a picture of her and Henry. She was completely dumbfounded. He smiled at her gently.
'I don't understand, I don't remember this being taken.'
Abe shoved his hands into his pockets and shrugged. 'I took it… you and Henry were walking towards the store, you didn't see me, but I had just been testing an old film camera. It was taken really quickly, I didn't imagine it would turn out great.'
She ran her fingers lightly over the glass, over Henry's face. They were laughing at something, Henry's arm slung casually around her shoulders, her leaning slightly into his body.
'It was Henry's room?'
'Yeah, I had it developed and showed it to him. He fell in love with it, asked if he could keep it…. I found it in his desk downstairs.'
She placed the frame on the table and reached across to pull Abe into a hug. 'Thank you.. I love it.'
Abe placed a kiss against her forehead and released her. 'Don't mention it. He cared for you, you know. I know he never said it much, but I knew him. He really did care.'
Jo took in a shaky breath and forced a smile. 'I cared about him too.'
'I know you did.'
A couple of hours later, a yawn from Jo had them both agreeing that she should head home. In line with their routine, Abe waved her off, waiting until the cab was out of sight before going indoors and locking up. When he walked into the lounge he was shocked to see Henry sitting on the sofa, the frame in his hand, staring at the photograph.
'Where did you find this?'
Abe ignored him. Though inwardly happy to see his old friend, he hadn't changed his mind or thoughts on their situation. 'What are you doing here?'
'I miss you Abe.' Henry's eyes were sad. They returned to the picture in front of him, tracing Jo's smile. 'I miss you both.'
'You could have prevented this entire mess if you had just been honest with her.' Abe sat next to Henry on the sofa. 'I found it in the den. I gave it to Jo tonight, she must have forgotten it.'
Henry nodded, his face marred by sadness and regret. 'She really is a beautiful woman isn't she?'
'Inside and out, Pops.'
Looking up at him, Henry offered a sad smile. 'You haven't changed your mind, have you?'
Abe shook his head slowly. 'Neither have you.'
'No' Henry conceded. He stood up nodding, taking one last look at the picture before returning it to the table. Walking over to his son, he pulled the old man into a hug, his eyes welling with unshed tears. 'I will miss you Abe, terribly. But no matter where I am, no matter where you are, I will always love and be proud of you.'
Abe fought his own tears. 'You too Pops.'
They clapped one another's backs before releasing the other from their hold. Abe nodded to the stairs. 'I'll walk you out Dad.'
'Thank you Son.'
The two men descended the stairs in silence, both sets of eyes trained on the floor. By the time they thought to raise them as they approached the door, they were too late, because there standing with a hand poised to press the bell was a very shocked and confused looking Jo Martinez. Eyes widened in disbelief, mouth slack.
Henry stopped short, Abe almost colliding with the younger man's back. Henry paled, his heart beating wildly in his chest as he held her gaze. Stepping around him, Abe unlocked the door and stepped aside to let the Detective in.
Hmmm… I'm not really sure what to think about this. I just saw an alternate ending to the finale and had to pen it down. Let me know what you think, continue? Don't continue? Nervously awaiting your comments.