AN: This sat in my laptop for months but I wanted to post it at Christmas time. I hope you enjoy.
Classic New England weather drew Amy Gray outside for a walk the week before Christmas. She loved the way the snow blanketed everything and usually walked until she could no longer feel her toes.
Today she made it to a small cafe before the tingling started.
"Could I get a large coffee please?" she requested from the girl behind the counter, who looked about her daughter's age.
Not true, she reminded herself. Lauren would turn twenty-three in a few months, this girl looked twelve. That was just the way Amy saw her baby sometimes.
As she waited for her drink, Amy ran through her Christmas to-do list. She had eight days and was nowhere near ready for her family to come home yet.
The tree was up - she'd done it the night before. Most of the presents were in Vincent's old room, waiting to be wrapped, with the exception of a few things she still needed to get, and-
Amy's head snapped up as a familiar voice broke into her thoughts. She hadn't heard that voice in... Oh, God, it's been too long.
"Bruce? Oh, my God! Bruce, how are you?" she jumped out of her seat and threw her arms around the man she had worked side by side with for years.
"I'm great. How are you?"
"Oh, well... I'm a bit of a wreck to tell you the truth."
"The holidays can be stressful."
"I've noticed." they sat at Amy's table and a waitress brought out her coffee. "Did you want..?"
"Ah, yeah. Could I grab a flat white?" Bruce asked and the girl nodded before walking away.
"God, look at you. I can't believe how long it's been."
"Ten... Wow. Ten years. How did that happen?"
"You got busy and I... I just stuck with what I knew."
"That probably would have been a better idea."
"At the time, going off and doing something different was best for you. Look at all you achieved for the juvenile justice system." Bruce replied in a reassuring voice. He had always been able to convince Amy she was doing the right thing.
"How's Rebecca?" Amy asked, jumping to a topic that didn't affect her.
Bruce's face lit up at the mention of his daughter. "Becca's... She's amazing. She followed in your footsteps actually. Studying law at Harvard."
"You're kidding. Lauren never mentioned anything."
"She's at Harvard too?"
Amy nodded. "English major."
"Well, it's a big school."
"And how's your mother doing?"
"Ma... She actually... Ma passed away."
"Amy, I'm so sorry. I had no idea."
Amy shook her head. "You couldn't have known. It was...late last October."
"Was it sudden, or..?"
"The last four years she was hospitalised for heart problems every few months. We saw it coming, but in the end, I really wasn't prepared."
"Sean never told me she was even sick."
"I don't think he knew. Not really. They weren't on the best terms. He tried, God, he tried so hard to fix things in the beginning. But she pushed him away. She pushed us all at times. But, being her children, we were just as stubborn. He didn't come to her funeral either, I called him, but he told me he'd already said his goodbyes. Since he and Courtney were broken up as well, he didn't even have that connection to Ma."
"I'm so sorry you had to go through that alone." Bruce replied, glancing down at her bare ring finger.
"I wasn't alone. I had Lauren, my family." she felt tears brimming in her eyes and laughed bitterly. "I'm sorry. We don't talk for years and then I just blabber on about my problems." she swiped the tears away.
"You're not blabbering. We were friends years ago and we shared a fair amount of problems. I'd like to think we are pretty similar to the people we used to be."
"You maybe. But hopefully I've become a little less neurotic."
"No, I hope not. Your neuroses made life interesting."
"I'm glad you enjoyed it. Tell me about you. How's your life been?"
"I finished my degree when Becca was in high school. And I set up my own counselling service."
"That is so good to hear. I'm happy for you."
"Bruce!" Amy and Bruce looked at the door to see a tall woman with almond coloured skin and ebony hair, enter the cafe and remove her coat. "Hey, sorry I'm late. But it looks like you found a friend. Hi, I'm Lara Van Exel."
"Van Ex- Oh, you... You're married?" Amy stuttered as Bruce smiled and lifted his hands to show his ring.
"Yeah. I decided I should just get it over with. I don't know what's wrong with you but I really enjoy married life." Amy gave a small laugh as he enjoyed his joke.
"I'm sorry my husband is being so rude," Lara smiled at him as she settled herself into a spare seat and took Bruce's hand. "He seems to have forgotten how to introduce a person."
"Amy Gray." Amy supplied, smiling along with the other two.
"I used to work for Amy," Bruce explained. "I was her CSO."
"You're that Amy? Wow, it's so good to finally meet The judge Gray."
"What have you been saying about me?"
"Nothing bad, I promise." Lara replied.
"I just told her about your many boyfriends." Bruce added with another laugh.
"All I ever heard was how good you were at your job." Lara explained.
"Some days I really needed to be convinced." Amy glanced at her watch. "I should be going. Lot's to do you know?"
"Don't leave on my account."
"No, it's not you. It's just my family's all coming over for Christmas and I'm nowhere near ready. But it was nice to meet you Lara."
"Are you still at the same house?" Bruce asked, standing as Amy did.
"Yep. Had to change the number a few times though." she scribbled a number on a napkin and handed it to him. "Tell Rebecca I said hello."
Bruce moved forward to hug Amy and whispered, "Let's not wait another ten years ok?"
"Definitely not." They let go and Amy pulled on her coat. "Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas," replied the other two.
With one last look at her old friend, Amy turned and left the cafe, heading back out into the cold.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! Just a little present for my lovely readers. Anyone still out there reading JAmy fics, I'd love to know what you thought. Have a great day tomorrow everyone. Thanks.