The Rockingham was quiet for a Friday night. Jim Cutler walked in and sat at the bar. Jake was at his normal place behind the bar.
"Haven't seen you here in awhile."
"Been a little busy busting bad guys." Cutler took a sip of his beer. "How's things with you?"
"Good. Megan starts high school in the fall."
"Now I feel old."
"You're just a classic old man. I heard you nailed Kitrick. How's Jess dealing with the drama?"
"Jess and Morgan are meeting me for dinner. They should be here any minute." Cutler looked at the end of the bar. "Who's the blond?'
"Don't know. She's been here for an hour staring at her drink." Cutler took another drink of his beer. "You're having dinner with Jess and her husband?"
"Yeah. Just because she married someone else doesn't mean we can't be friends." Jake shook his head.
"I though you would of killed each other by now." Cutler laughed and looked at the blond again. She looked familiar.
"Not yet we haven't." Jess sat at the bar next to Cutler. "Though I think he pushes my buttons to see if I will."
"Jake." He poured her a sprite and put it on the bar.
"Where is that husband of yours?"
"He had to make a phone call." Cutler looked at Jess.
"The woman at the end of the bar, does she look familiar to you?" Jess looked at her over Cutler's shoulder.
"Maybe…no, not really."
"I've seen her before and I can't put a finger on it."
"Maybe she was one of the many faceless blonds you forgot while trying to forget about me?"
"Yeah that's it." Jess smiled and glanced over at the woman.
"She does have that familiar something about her. Like maybe a commercial or something." Derek came in.
"Hotch said to say hi." He kissed his wife.
"MMM was that from Hotch too?"
"No, that was from Spencer." Jess smiled.
"Wow, he's a great kisser." Cutler rolled his eyes.
"Focus Jess." Jess looked at Cutler.
"Just ask her man. I've knowing you for twenty five years and your not shy." He shook his head. "Hell invite her to dinner, the more the merrier."
"Okay. Yeah just walk up to her and say hey you look like a woman I thought I knew lets have dinner." Jess looked over his shoulder again and Derek did too. He squinted.
"No, he's right. She does look familiar." Jess shook her head.
"Okay of course the men would remember her." Derek laughed as he looked up something on his PDA. "Cutler go talk to her." He turned and grabbed his beer.
"Here goes nothing." Derek stood where Cutler had been so Jess could spy on him without looking like the mother hen she was being.
"You really need to stop mothering him Jess." Jake handed him a beer.
"I know. I just feel responsible for him, kinda, sorta."
"He broke your heart remember." She watched him.
"I know but you fixed mine. Now I need to know someone can fix him."
"Hi." Cutler appoched the woman. She looked up.
"Hello." She looked at him. "Who are you?"
"Jim Cutler. And you must be new around here." She stared at him with haunting green eyes.
"I…I really don't know you do I?" He looked at her.
"No. I just introduced myself."
"Then you don't know me?" He looked at her.
"No. Are you okay?"
"No…I don't think I am."
"Jess look at this." Derek showed her a video. It was of a woman. A dead woman. Luietenant Miranda Blake, USMC.
"That can't be right." Jess looked at the woman. "She died in Bagdad sixteen months ago."
"Appearently she didn't." Derek looked at Cutler talking to the woman. "Either that or Cutler's hitting on a ghost."
"My friend over there is a trained medic. Would you like her to take a look at you?" The woman looked at Jess.
"Maybe I should see the sheriff."
"Me and my friends are High Mountain Rangers. Maybe we can help you."
"Do you know who I am?" Jess came up to them.
"You don't know who you are?"
"No. I woke up this morning in the bus station here and…something drew me here." She waved in front of her. Jess handed Cutler Derek's PDA.
"My friends and I thought we knew you from somewhere. We might know who you are." Jess knew better then springing it on her. "We were just heading to dinner. Why don't you join us?" She looked down at her clothes that were half way decent. She was a little thinner then the video taken two years ago.
"I guess I could eat." She looked at Jess. "What's my name?"
"Shouldn't you take me someplace...?" Cutler put his hand on her shoulder.
"Dinner sounds good and then we can head back to the station and figure this all out." The woman nodded.
"Thank you for being so nice to me." Jess smiled. Cutler helped Miranda off the bar stool and on with her jacket. Derek pulled Jess aside.
"Jess we can't just take this woman to dinner like she's a woman Cutler met in a bar. She's a missing Marine."
"Technically she's a dead Marine." Derek shook his head.
"We could loose our credentials if we mess with the government Jess."
"Do I look scared?" Derek closed his eyes.
"No, that's what scares me." He looked at Cutler talking to the woman. "Who do you call when you find a dead Marine alive?" He turned back to her and she had her phone to her ear.
After a quick dinner Jess, Derek and Cutler brought Miranda to the station. Jesse was waiting for them along with Matt and Cody. Jesse talked to Miranda while Cody showed the others what he had found.
"Lieutenant Miranda Blake died sixteen months ago when a road side bomb blew up the convoy she was supervising. She was alive when they got her to the field hospital but she died on the way to the base hospital. Her body wasn't shipped back to the states till a week ago."
"Why would they wait that long to send a body home?" Jess looked at her brother.
"She had no family. They were trying to get her a tomb in Arlington something was holding it up so they shipped her body to Twenty Nine Palms to bury her there. Her body never showed up."
"Maybe because she's not dead." They looked at the woman Jesse was talking to. "Who did dad say we should contact? Jess looked back at Cody.
"Nobody right now. He wants to know what the last thing she remembers was." Derek looked at the file Cody was holding.
"You said she had no family?"
"None. Her parents died when she was doing her first tour back in ninety-nine. They went scuba diving in Australia and a rip tide swept them away." Jess shook her head.
"She had nobody and the government thinks she dead. Poor woman." Matt looked at his sister.
"We just got out from under a ton of trouble. Keeping her here we're asking for a ton more." He looked at the four people who helped him keep the place running smoothly. "I'm up for it if you are." They laughed and all agreed that finding what really happened to Lieutenant Miranda Blake was now their first priority.
(Sorry I didn't mean to start before I finished Beginnings but I had to do it before it slipped out of my head. ENJOY!)