Chapter 31: Look And You Shall Find
Jen didn't know what had been harder – walking out the front door or saying goodbye to Ben and Morgan again. Both had been hard for different reasons, and both were things neither Jen, nor Nick, had really wanted to do. So, because it was their job as well as their responsibility as Austin and Rachel, the door had been pushed back into its frame and the kids had disappeared behind it. We could be heading straight into a shit storm. Jen reminded herself just who exactly she was heading into this possible shit storm with. All she could think then was what shit storm? Because, truth be told, shit storms simply don't exist when Nick Buchanan's around.
It had been a long and uncertain journey out to the farm they were hoping they'd discover was Mark and Eliza Jenkins' hiding place. And not only Mark and Eliza's hiding place but also Lisa Gregg's. Nick's whim - that it would prove to be where they were stashing all their drug making equipment and where their new apprentice was helping them carry out their plans - was something Jen was relying on to be accurate. She trusted that he was right - as always.
As the car slowed, eventually coming to a stop on the side of the road, Jen suddenly felt extremely nervous. Nick, sensing how apprehensive she felt, placed a hand above her knee and looked straight into her eyes. "It's going to be okay. Trust me." His hand, now reaching for her jaw line, backed up what he'd just told her – that everything would be alright.
"I know, Nick. I do trust you. I just hope you're right. I hope we're in the right place." Before she could let out a much needed sigh, he'd leant in and kissed her, passionately, before saying the words she'd been dreading since they'd left. "Let's do this." And with that, Nick pulled away from the curb and they headed onward, towards what exactly they hadn't the faintest idea.
Standing outside the door of the barn, a barn which smelt eerily familiar to Jen, they both knew they weren't alone. They'd heard them inside, heard the unmistakeable sound of Lisa Gregg's voice, before hearing the low and mean drawls that belonged to Mark and Eliza Jenkins.
"Tell me I'm hearing things", said Jen, in a shaky whisper that was barely audible. Her eyes were fixed upon Nick's face; her expression was silently begging him not to say the words she didn't want to hear. She braced herself before Nick confirmed the worst.
"You're not hearing things. They're in there, all four of them." Nick's words had the effect of a hundred fingernails being scraped down a blackboard.
"Four?" Jen couldn't believe her ears. She was so shocked that she'd forgotten to lower her voice and the word had come out a little louder than she would've liked in a situation like the one they were in. "Don't you mean three? Mark, Eliza and Lisa?" She again stared into his eyes, hoping that he wasn't going to tell her something dreadful. But, yet again, he did.
"No, four. Mark, Eliza, Lisa and Paul. It seems that both Ben and Morgan's parents are still alive." It was harder to say who looked more terrified at Nick's words – Nick or Jen. As more noise came from inside the barn the two detectives plastered their ears to the door to listen. They didn't even have to strain to hear what was being said inside. Lisa Gregg was yelling, pleading with Mark Jenkins.
"Please. Please, don't hurt our children. They don't deserve to be dragged further into this mess than they already are. Kill me if you have to kill anyone, just don't hurt them!" And before Nick or Jen had a chance to formulate a plan there were gunshots. Not just one, but two. Then laughter.
Nick looked at Jen and tilted his head to the left, gesturing for Jen to follow him to a side entrance of the barn. He had no idea what they were going to do, but he knew it wasn't safe for them to stay near the door it was likely Mark and Eliza would exit from.
When they got to the side entrance they sat on the ground by the door, hoping to hear more conversation from inside but it seemed all had gone quiet. Jen couldn't hold it all in anymore, she'd started trembling as she remembered Lisa's pleading and the two ominous gunshots that followed. Her heart ached for Ben and Morgan who were completely unaware that, up until a few minutes ago, they still had parents. Her trembling turned into silent sobs before one solitary tear slid down her cheek. At that moment Jen didn't know what was sadder – that she and Nick would never be able to have a child of their own or that Lisa and Paul would never be able to see their children again. She fell into Nick's shoulder at the thought, every inch of her glad she had him to lean on at a time like this.
"You okay?" Jen had leant on Nick's shoulder for as long as it was possible. Her sobs had continued and her emotions had run wild. They'd had to move after they heard movement from inside, followed by hushed voices.
"Yeah, I'm okay. Just sad, that's all." That was only half true, of course. Jen had been sad for Ben and Morgan, sad for their parents, but she was also heartbroken. And what was bugging her was why she'd been heartbroken at that particular moment. She'd known that she'd never have children for ages and it wasn't something she'd cried about in a long time.
Nick had a feeling that something else was up but decided now wasn't the time to probe Jen about it, especially since he'd just thought of a plan to corner Mark and Eliza. "We'd better get moving. I've just thought of a way for us to get in there unnoticed." Nick had expected Jen to be terrified at those words but her face suggested no signs of fear. The look on her face was one that oozed determination. Jen wanted to get revenge – for Ben and Morgan.
"Let's do this." Jen said the words like she was a woman on a mission.
All Nick could think was man, that was hot!