Back again with another chapter for this family! Sorry it's been a while since I've updated this one, but my passion for this story is shared with my Next Avengers series. But regardless of that, I'm back at it. So enjoy!
The Next Morning
Jackie awoke from her sleep a little later than usual with a slight sting in her eyes. A good cry the night before will do that to you. She got out of bed and made her way to the kitchen. To her surprise, when she walked in, there was her mother at the kitchen table and she appeared to be invested in some important work. Walking in a little further, she triggered Marie's peripheral vision, causing her to look up.
"Good morning, baby," Marie greeted her, taking off her glasses and sleepily smiling to her.
A faint smile was returned from Jackie. "Hey, mom." As she replied, she noticed that the table was laden with papers, a map, and a notebook which looked as though it had been written in to a great extent. A bit of a to-do list. This made Jackie curious. "Did you sleep at all last night?"
"Uh, not really," Marie chuckled a little, "There's uh...there's something I'd like to talk you about. Wanna sit down, please?"
Though Jackie was a little confused, she assumed there was a reason behind all of this. So she obeyed her mother and took the chair at the table around the corner from Marie.
Closing her laptop and setting her glasses down, Marie rubbed the sleepiness from her eyes and exhaled a hearty breath. When she finished, she turned her attention to Jackie who watched her attentively. "First, I want to apologize for last night...I was too hard on you and barely gave you a chance to speak. I was so caught up in my fears and wanting to protect you that I didn't stop to even try and look at it from your point of view. I didn't think of how you might feel, wanting that...or how bad you may want it. And for that I'm sorry."
"Oh Momma," Jackie reached for her mother's hand and gave it a caring squeeze and Marie gave one back. "It's ok, I'm sorry for raising my voice at you. I was out of line and-"
"No, Jackie." Marie's voice was firm but still caring when she cut her off, and Jackie listened too. "You're fine, just fine, sweetie. And I'm just so proud of how intelligent and grown up you are. Sixteen years old and a genius. How did I get such an amazing daughter?"
Marie reached her hand up and cupped her daughter's cheek, still holding that loving smile as she rubbed her thumb on Jackie's cheek. Jackie in turn leaned into it as a tear fell from hearing her mother's words. "By being a great mom." she said in reply to Marie's question. It was rhetorical, she knew, but she still wanted to say it.
"Oh, mein baby," Marie cooed. "I love you, Jackie."
"I love you too, Mom."
Both the mother and daughter stood up from their chairs and embraced one another. A few tears were shed from them both as well with Marie kissing her daughter's head. This earned a giggle from Jackie as they finally broke their hug and returned to their seats, not breaking eye contact as they did. But that fell when Jackie's curiosity caught up with Jackie.
"So, what's all of this?" Jackie asked, her attention turning back to the contents on the table.
"Well before I tell you, I have to ask you...do you really want to meet him, your father?"
Jackie was taken aback by the question but answered it nonetheless with a nod. "Yes, I really do."
From that Marie smiled sweetly at her daughter and nodded back. "Ok."
Ok? That gave Jackie a touch of confusion. What did she mean by that? "'Ok' what?"
"Ok, we're gonna go find him."
Jackie's eyes went wide at that. Did she hear her mother right? "Wait, what?" She laughed, completely thrown off. The shock was apparent on her face and it made Marie laugh herself.
"We're going to go find him. We're going to go find your dad."
And from that, Jackie's eyes watered and her heart beat at her ribcage. "We are?"
"Mmhmm!" Marie nodded with a big smile at her daughter's reaction. "I thought about it and, I realized that you were right. You do need your father. So, I've decided that it's time that we go find him."
"Is this for real?"
Her mother nodded to her with a convincing smile. "Mhm."
The tears began to come back to Jackie as she jumped up and hugged her again. The hug was immediately returned and Marie held her tight and close.
They held the embrace for a few seconds more before finally pulling back, but still smiling at one another.
"So is that what this is?" Jackie asked, motioning to all the stuff on the table.
"Well, I know the last spot your dad was spotted was in America, that much I know. But a part from that, I'm trying to figure out where to go from there."
Listening to her mother explain, an idea came to Jackie along with a confident smile. "I think I can help with that."
Jumping from her seat, Jackie ran out and upstairs to her room, leaving Marie there, confused at her daughter's action. But she soon saw Jackie re-enter the kitchen with her laptop and a few other items before sitting back down and opening up her laptop.
Out of curiosity, Marie stood and stepped behind her daughter's chair and watched as Jackie did her thing.
"Last night when I was out, my contact sent me a list of people who could be a link to finding Dad. I haven't had a chance to go through all of them, but I think this could be a great place to start!"
Her mother leaned over Jackie's shoulder and watched as she pulled up what seemed to be CIA files on certain people. Apparently, Jackie had been busy.
"Wow, you have been busy." Marie said, amazed at her daughter and how far she had gotten, "How many files are there?"
"About ten or so. Some of these people are dead though. But the ones that are still alive amount to... seven."
"Seven...seven," Marie repeated the number and became more curious. "Who are the seven that are still alive?"
"Pamela Landy. She was a friend of Dad's. Eric Byer, Mark Turso, Zev Vendel, Arthur Ingram, Aaron Kalloor, Heather Lee and Noah Vosen."
After hearing her daughter call off those names, the wheels began to turn in Marie's head as she thought long and hard on this.
"What're you thinking, Mom?"
It took a moment for her to answer, but finally, her mother did. "What if we went and talked to them, ask them questions about your dad?"
As Jackie listened, she began to catch on, "Like reporters?"
"Exactly! And actually, that'd be a perfect cover. That way they wouldn't be too suspicious of us asking questions."
"I like that idea! It's mysterious, a little sneaky, but it sounds cool. Sounds like an adventure."
"Okay then, let's get to it."
So the rest of the morning was spent with the mother-daughter duo planning out their own questions and who they'd interview in particular. This went all the way until about 12:30 PM. Finally, they had a plan.
The next hour or so was spent with them packing and making some food for the trip. Finally, Marie and Jackie walked out of the house, locked it, and stepped back to have one last look at their home.
This could be the last time they ever saw this place, and it hurt to go.
They had been so occupied with planning and getting ready to go that they hadn't taken the time to realize that they would be leaving their house. The place that had been their home, their safe haven for the past ten years...now, they were leaving.
After a few moments, the two got into the car.
"Ready, Jackie?" Marie asked her daughter.
Smiling wider, Jackie reached to her side and strapped herself in with her seatbelt before looking back to her mother. "Let's go, Mom."
Marie laughed and started the car and driving away from their home.
Thirty minutes into the drive, Jackie had gone into deep thought. Something she did often when doing stuff like this; her "missions", so this was normal. But this particular thing she was thinking about, it was something she would have had a hard time explaining if they were still staying put at the house. But now that they were leaving the house on a big trip like this, the possibility of being able to do it seemed more likely now to her.
So, out of hope and curiosity, she decided to ask Marie.
"Hm?" Marie hummed back, looking away from the road for a moment to look to her daughter.
"Can I ask you something?"
"I-...well, really it's more of a question-slash-request."
Marie began to laugh at her daughter's nervous demeanor. "Jackie, what is it?"
Taking a breath and hoping for the best, Jackie went ahead and spoke. "Okay. So, you remember when you told me that...that Dad told you had he was rescued by a boat that docked in Zurich?"
A shy, but happy smile was on Jackie's face when she referred to Jason as "Dad". Not that she didn't like it, because she did. It just gave her a funny feeling, thinking about calling Jason "Dad" gave her a bit of a bubbly feeling inside. It was truly something she looked forward. This brought a knowing smile to Marie as well at hearing her daughter refer to Jason as "Dad".
"Yeah, I remember that." She replied, playfully bumping her shoulder against Jackie for that. This earning a bigger smile from her. "Why?"
With a little more confidence, Jackie went on. "Well, I was wondering...could I maybe...go there?"
"Sure, we can stop there."
"Oh...Well actually, I meant if I go...by myself."
That made Marie halt in her tracks, a chill hitting her spine. This in turn worried Jackie, who stopped as well to see her mother frozen with worry coming to her face.
Finally, Marie blinked and looked to her daughter. "You want to go alone?"
Her blonde daughter looked down to her feet and nodded.
To be true, Jackie didn't really have much of a reason. She had just really wanted to go. The idea of it, the thrill...it was the adventure. "I just thought it'd be a good idea...guess not though."
Jackie ended on that and turned away to the window and stared at the passing countryside.
[CHARING CROSS STATION]
They had finally made it to the city of London. It was nice seeing it as they drove in. But once they went in, it was booming with cars, pedestrians, and double-decker buses. A good ten minutes of driving later, they had found their way to Charing Cross Station. They left the car with bags in tow and made their way inside.
Once inside, Marie instantly looked around. Taking note of the cameras, exits and clocks, a trait she had picked up from going on the run with Jason. The same was for Jackie. She had taken in her surroundings, the people and possible exit strategies. She didn't really know how she knew, but she could determine who in the crowd could possibly defend themselves, estimate their weight, and a few factors of their personality and, or traits.
When they had made it to the center of the station, Marie instructed Jackie to wait by a row of plastic advertisement signs while she went to get tickets for the train. Which she did for a while, taking a look to where her mother was every thirty seconds or so.
As she waited, Jackie felt her stomach rumble. So she took off her backpack and dug around for one of the sandwiches they had packed. Finally getting her food, Jackie took a bite and continued to wait for her mother. And two minutes later, Marie came walking up to her.
"Okay, here's your ticket for the train." She said, handing it to Jackie.
She took it. But when she checked it, she saw that the destination on it was... "Zurich? Mom, what-?"
"If you think there's something there, then I want you to find it. It's not that I don't trust you...I'm just scared of letting you go and never seeing you again."
Jackie's face softened and she stepped forward, pulling her mother into a hug which was immediately returned.
"Oh, Momma, you're never going to lose me. I promise."
The two split partially and held each other.
"Well just the same, you can't blame me for being worried."
"Of course, but still...what's this about?"
Jackie held up the ticket to Italy still in her hand. Marie looked to it and smiled.
"If you think there might be something in Italy you're looking for... you can go and find out."
"By myself?" Hope and excitement were apparent in Jackie's voice as she awaited her mother's answer.
In reply, Marie closed her eyes and nodded.
Though she was happy, Jackie was curious. "But what made you change your mind?"
Thinking for a moment before replying, Marie let out a humble sigh. "Well, you've already done a lot on your own so I'm sure you can handle it. Plus, it might be fun for you do a little travel like this."
Hearing that, Jackie couldn't help but smile. A tear dared to form in her eyes. "Thanks, Mom."
"And when you're done," Marie fiddled through the other papers in her hand and handed Jackie another ticket with a piece of scratch paper along with it, "you can meet me here." Taking it and examining it, Jackie saw an address in Paris on it.
"Mhm. That's my brother's address. I'll wait there a day and a half for you. If you're not there by that time, I will come looking for you. Do you understand?"
Jackie instantly nodded. "Yes, ma'am."
Marie nodded in mutual understanding. "Okay then."
"So this is it then?"
"Mhm. Your train is over there and mine is this way." She pointed in different directions for emphasis.
Jackie looked to where Marie pointed and nodded. "Alrighty then."
There was a moment of silence before the call for Jackie's train came in on the PA system.
"Well, I guess you better go." Marie said.
Jackie nodded and just about walked away before she stopped and ran back to her mother, giving her one last tight hug. Marie immediately hugged her back, intensifying the embrace.
A few sniffles came from both of them as this was the first time they would be this far from each other, so it was an emotional moment.
Soon, the two broke the hug and Marie kissed Jackie's forehead, and they shared one more look before Jackie began walking to the tunnel for her train. Marie waved to her daughter, and Jackie waved back to her before turning around and walking away.
Marie watched her go until she was out of sight, then she sniffed and wiped away the tears that had fallen down her cheeks.
With that done, she began to walk off to catch her train, hoping and praying that Jackie would be alright.
And so, the next phase of the mission begins. Marie is finally letting her daughter grow a little more and Jackie is on a mission of her own. But what will she find in Italy? We'll see that and more in the chapters to come.
Hope y'all enjoyed this chapter and more will be coming for the Next Avengers series. It's about to take off with action and plenty surprises. ;)
See y'all in the next one! Laters!