It was a Thursday afternoon when Dom heard the car pull up outside of the garage and wiped his hands on the rag stuck in his back pocket. Coming out of the open doors into the sunlight he found a red, older model Chevrolet Cavalier with Texas plates sitting in his parking area. The driver side door opened and a tall woman with chin length, dark auburn curls stepped out of the car. She was extremely thin and wore jeans, a green tank top, and sunglasses. Currently a scowl marred what would otherwise be a reasonably attractive face.
He waited for her to approach him, and as she walked closer he noticed her long legged stride. She walked with a smooth gait except for a slight hiccup at the end when she seemed to favor her left leg somewhat. "Can I help you?" he asked.
She seemed to consider him for a moment before speaking. "I'm looking for Brian O'Connor." She spoke in a husky drawl. "I was told that he worked here?"
"Yeah, Brian works here." he agreed but said nothing else.
She sighed. "Is he here now? It's important that I speak with him. It'll only take a moment."
Her body was tense and her jaw clenched. Dom noticed this. "Nah, he ain't here right now."
"Do you think he'll be back anytime soon?" She asked maintaining her composure.
"Not real sure." Dom told the woman. Jesse chose that moment to come out of the garage. He saw her eyes take in the young man in the wheel chair, but no expression crossed her carefully schooled face.
The younger man looked at the woman in front of Dom inquisitively. He approached but didn't speak.
"Yo Jesse, you got any idea when Bri's comin' back?" Dom asked without looking away from the woman.
Jesse fidgeted. "No man, why?"
The woman sighed again. "Do you think he'll be in tomorrow?" she asked tiredly.
Dom shrugged. "Should be. You want me to give him a message?"
A wry grin twisted her mouth. "No. No message. I'd prefer to see O'Connor in person." With that said she turned and headed back to the car. She had left the parking lot within moments.
"Wonder what that was about?" Dom mused.
"Want me to run the car tags?" Jesse asked still looking after the car. Dom nodded with a chuckle, and patted Jesse's shoulder.
Georgia swore in agitation. Sure, she'd known it wouldn't be the simplest thing in the world to find Brian O'Connor, but she hadn't expected it to be so difficult either. She wondered if those people had anything to do with Brian quitting the force. They'd closed up like an ice cream shop in the dead of winter when she'd tried to see when she'd be able to talk to him. Well, she'd just keep going back until she got to speak with him. She hadn't come all the way from home just to turn around and leave again. Georgia opened the door to her hotel room and locked it behind her. She flopped down on the empty double bed and sighed.
"Did you find him?" her sister's voice came from the bathroom doorway.
Georgia looked at her younger sister before closing her eyes. "Found where he's working, but I didn't get to talk to him." she grimaced. "This big bastard gave me the shut out."
"Was a time you wouldn't let that stop you." the girl said softly and sat on the edge of the bed, which was currently covered in her belongings.
"That was a long time ago Mo." Georgia said just as softly. "I'm not the same person as I used to be." She knew it bugged her baby sister, but it was true. Maureen was seven years younger than Georgia, and still so innocent. Her silky auburn hair curled to her shoulders and her bright green eyes still shone with excitement. Such a pretty girl. If they were back home she'd probably be getting ready to go out on a date. Meanwhile, Georgia would be getting ready to battle John again, preferably on the telephone.
"Let's go out tonight Georgia Anne." Maureen said with an impish smile. "C'mon, it'll be good. Our first night in LA. We could catch a movie!"
"I don't know Mo.." Georgia hedged.
"Please?" the younger girl begged.
"Fine. But we're having extra butter on the popcorn."
Dom walked into the kitchen to find Mia and Brian grinning at each other like idiots. Shaking his head he took a Corona out of the fridge and took a long swig of it. "Some woman came by the shop for you." he announced before sitting down at the table.
"Me?" Brian asked with a frown.
"Yep. Quite the looker except for being on the thin side. Red hair, Texas plates on a rental car." Dom watched Bri's face for any reaction. All he saw was confusion.
"She give a name?"
"Nope. Said she'd try to see you tomorrow."
"She have anyone with her?"
"Nope, all alone."
Brian shrugged. "No idea man." He smiled at Mia again. "Guess I'll find out tomorrow."
"Hey Dom you taking me to rehab tomorrow?" Jess asked coming into the kitchen. "You promised."
"Yeah, I know. I'm definitely taking you." After all he'd promised, and a promise was a promise. That was definitely something he'd learned the importance of in the past two years.
Once again Georgia pulled into the parking lot of Toretto's. Maureen had come with her this time. It would be a short visit. Maureen was right really; they probably shouldn't be here. It wasn't as if it was necessary or anything. She could have just mailed the package to him, but Georgia felt she owed O'Connor, and she always paid her debts. They both stepped out of the car and Maureen went back and sat on the trunk of the vehicle. There was a picnic table nearby that several other men, including the boy in the wheelchair, and a woman were sitting at, but Georgia didn't see Brian among them. The big man from the day before stood and walked closer to her.
"O'Connor here today?" she asked with a quirked eyebrow.
Dom looked past her at the teenaged girl who was a younger version of the woman in front of him. She waved to him with a huge grin on her face. He found himself smiling back at the obviously bubbly girl. "Maybe."
"So, is it just my life you want to make difficult, or do you do this for everyone?" She asked removing her sunglasses. She tossed them to the other girl who snatched them out of the air. The woman had pretty bottle green eyes.
"I'm all about equal opportunity."
She looked him in the eye. "If Brian's here it'll really only take a minute."
"You a cop?"
The woman, only a year or so older than Mia really, gave one small derisive laugh. "No. I'm not a cop. Which Brian could tell you if you'd get him."
"This gonna take long." the girl on the car asked. "I wanted to go to an actual LA beach today." She had the same light southern accent as the older girl.
The woman in front of him sighed slightly and rubbed her forehead. The stand off between Dom and the woman was drawing the attention of the picnic table people. It looked like he was about to say something else when Brian came out of the garage. His head was down and he was calling out to Dom. "Hey Dom, the Taurus is done."
Dom watched the muscles in the woman's face tighten, and the tension was palpable. She looked once at Dom and walked past him pulling an envelope from the back pocket of her well worn jeans. Brian looked up and the surprise was evident on his face. "Georgia? You're the one looking for me?"
"Surprise." She said and upon reaching him slammed her fist into his face. Brian hadn't been expecting that and dropped to the ground on his back. Georgia shook her hand slightly as pain ripped through it.
"Holy shit." Dom murmured and moved towards them quickly.
Obviously the younger girl wasn't expecting it either. "Goddamn it George!" she yelled; jumping off the back of the car and rushing over.
Georgia jumped on top of Brian and plowed her fist into his face again. Dom picked her up by the waist, and Brian scrambled backwards. "Jesus Christ George! What the hell was that for?"
"Good job keeping in touch Bri!" she screamed. All of the anger she'd been feeling bubbled over, and she struggled against the big man's grip. "What were your fucking words…I'll always be there for you?" The people who'd been at the table were hurrying over, and her sister stood there with her mouth wide open staring as Georgia hit and kicked at the large bald man.
"Vince!" Dom bellowed. The woman might be too thin, but she was a fighter. He handed the woman off to V who was laughing.
"Settle down Wildcat." Vince couldn't help himself but laugh at seeing Brian hit the ground felled by a small, seemingly malnourished woman.
"Put me down you hairless ape!" she screeched pounding ineffectively at this new large man. This earned another chuckle from the man. Jesus, what did they feed these guys? "Overgrown baboon!"
"Mo, what the hell is going on?" Brian asked as he gently felt the area where Georgia had hit him.
The younger girl sighed taking in the entire scene. Brian lay on the ground, the big man was leaning down towards him looking at his eye, Georgia was now struggling in the arms of a tattooed man, and three other people were moving towards them. The boy in the wheelchair was kinda cute; heck, all the men were lookers. "Should have kept in touch Bri."
"Where the hell are Mom and John?"
At his words the woman went incredibly still in Vince's grip. Hesitantly he let her go and watched as she straightened her tank top. The girl, Mo, just looked at Brian. Georgia walked forward dropping the envelope. It fluttered silently onto Brian's chest. "Mom's dead." she said in a hoarse voice.
Dom watched as Brian's face blanched. "Why don't we all calm down…" he started.
The woman didn't even spare him a glance. "I just came by to drop off your share of the insurance. We're done now."
"George, wait." Brian said weakly. "Where's John? What happened to Mom? Please…"
Georgia walked away and leaned against the car. She bent over bracing her arms on her knees and seemed to be breathing deeply. The woman was visibly trembling. Leon had brought some paper towels and ice out to Brian for his face.
"Right after you went undercover we found out she had pancreatic cancer. We had no way of letting you know. We tried to get a hold of your boss, but he said that he couldn't, and wouldn't, give you information like that when you were in such a tenuous position." The younger girl explained.
"But that was months ago." he said softly. "I haven't been a cop for close to a year now."
"Mom died nine months ago Brian. We couldn't find you." Mo said shaking her head. "We searched. We contacted your precinct, all they told us what that you'd quit."
"But I told John right after…"
She snorted in disgust. "John and Georgia aren't together anymore Bri. She left him; before Mom died. We asked him several times if he knew where you were; at least the few times he was civil we asked him. He always said no. The only way we found you at Toretto's was because of some guy at a car part store. It was just luck that George asked about you there."
"Shit Mo." Brian pulled the girl closer and she relaxed into him hugging him back.
"We came to give you the check." She said and her voice was muffled against his chest. "We aren't going back."
Brian sighed and walked over to Georgia. "George I'm so sorry." he whispered and saw her shoulders tense. "I swear I told John where I was. He never said anything to me about you guys not being together anymore. He never said a word about Mom."
Georgia stared off into space. "According to John we aren't apart. He seems to think I'm acting out and will come to my senses soon." She shook her head once and turned to face him. His face was already starting to bruise and swell. "Guess I did get Mom's temper after all, huh?" she said with a wince.
"Yeah, I remember a couple times your Mom scared the hell right out of me." Brian smiled at the memories, and then he realized he wouldn't talk to the woman who'd been his step mom ever again. She'd always been more of a mom to him than his real mom. "God, I'm so sorry George. I loved her too."
George brushed her hand through her short red curls. "I know Bri. I'm just so angry right now. Losing Mom, having to deal with John constantly; it just constantly wears on me. I've just reached the end of my rope. I guess it just all boiled over when I saw you."
Brian leaned back next to her. "Guess I can't blame you for that." They stood silently for several moments. "Mo said you aren't going back?"
"No. I'm not. John's made it too difficult. I think we're gonna head up the coast. Check out Oregon and Washington."
"Is the divorce final?"
"No. John's making it string out as long as possible." she said bitterly.
Brian saw the tension in his step sister. She'd lost a lot of weight from the last time he'd seen her. Her skin was paler than normal and dark circles rimmed her eyes. "You need rest and relaxation." he murmured. "Stay here."
She looked at him as if he was mad.
"Seriously. Stay here in town. I'll look after you guys."
"I'm an adult Bri, I don't need a babysitter, and I can take care of Mo."
"I don't mean it like that. I'm just saying I'll watch your backs. I know I wasn't there before, but damn, give me a chance to be there now. Please Georgia?"
Maureen, who'd been sneaking up, squealed. "Oh yes, please Georgia?"
"Mo…" Georgia said a bit tensely.
"No, George. Remember when we used to be the Three Musketeers? Come on Georgia, we can visit with Brian for a few days before taking off, can't we?"
Looking into her sister's eyes, and then into Brian's familiar gaze, George saw two very hopeful glances. "I guess a few days won't hurt." she finally gave in.
Dom had joined the small group and caught the tail end of the conversation. "Looks like we're having a barbeque at the house tonight."
At George's inquisitive look Brian laughed. "I live with Dom and these guys." he explained. "After I quit the force I came back to them. Wait until you meet Mia!"
"Brian's got a girlfriend? Now that's funny." Mo grinned.
George looked at Dom, Letty, Vince, Jesse, and Leon. "You live with all of them?"
"One big happy family." Vince muttered.
"We'll give you directions." Brian said enthusiastically. "Meet us there at six, okay?" he looked a bit anxious.
"Okay O'Connor. We'll find the place and be there at six." She promised.