September 1, 2011
Poison. That's what their love was. It was the only reason why she was squatting behind a bush in the inky darkness of a billionaire's compound at midnight with an automatic rifle locked and ready at her shoulder. She ignored the tightness in her belly that told her that she wasn't going to walk out of this compound intact, the way she had walked in. She had begun to notice over time that whenever shit was about to get serious, whenever she literally came within touching distance of death, the world was brighter. Everything was just real. The pine trees smelled so intense that she had to take short, puffy breaths. The darkness seemed to blanket her, she could feel it.
It was doomed from the start. The mission. Their lives. One half breed Italian-Dominican man and one Mexican-Puerto Rican woman weren't equipped to deal with happily ever after anyway. But that thought didn't stop her from wishing it were different. She could imagine their lives from beginning to end without an alcoholic dad, premature parental deaths, poverty, or the crushing regrets. She had never been the kind of woman who had regretted the past but sitting in the wet grass, knowing she was probably never going to see the light of day again, changed her. She blinked back the uncharacteristic wetness in her eyes, and sadness in her heart, to focus on her objective. Alive or dead, she would complete this mission.
"Ride or die," she whispered into the communication link that stretched from her left ear to the corner of her mouth.
Letty sensed his seriousness when Dom's rough voice whispered through the communication link, "ride or die, baby."
Letty's eyes snapped open with the banging of the metal door against the wall. She rolled those brown eyes almost immediately when she released it was Sergeant Stick-Up-His-Ass.
Luke Hobbs sat down pensively at the table that he had flipped over in a rage two days earlier. Letty rolled to her side on the floor, where she had been sleeping for almost a month. She propped her head up with a fist and cocked an eyebrow at Hobbs, "feeling better after your tantrum?"
"Let's talk about your bad habits before we talk about mine," he suggested.
"Would those habits include heisting cars, convoys, or guns? Because I feel like we've all ready covered that ground."
"Yes, all very illegal activity. But I was thinking about more personal habits," he replied.
Letty was intrigued, "yeah, Dom and I probably broke a few more laws with some of the things we've done."
"Sodomy and public indecency aside," he pushed a file across the table, "I was still thinking of something else."
She was silent as she rose and looked down at the pictures. Against her own will she felt her cheeks turn bright red in embarrassment. She didn't give a fuck how or who had been filming her but she was furious. The pictures showed her expressing her milk. Without Christian around to nurse the milk engorged her breasts to the point of agony, making it difficult to move her arms or to put any pressure on her chest. Expressing the milk hurt but not as much it hurt to let them swell.
"If that's what gets you off then who am I to judge," Hobbs' sarcastic comment drew her gaze up from the pictures.
"What is it that you think you've accomplished Hobbs," she asked.
He leaned forward across the desk, all dominance and arrogance, "you have something to lose Letty, and now we both know it."
"You're wrong," she corrected gently, "now Dom has something to lose. Something more valuable than my life. Something he has to protect fiercely. God knows I'm a loose canon, even if we had been together we still probably would have gotten into trouble. That baby changed everything Hobbs. If you don't believe that then you don't know nearly as much as you think you do."
Luke frowned and Letty finally sat down, "and now that you know my deep dark secret do you mind supplying me with a breast pump so I don't have to do that over that disgusting bucket anymore. Dying of an infection from that particular area of my body is not my idea of a good time."
"Why are you protecting him Letty? You're here in this hellhole for him. You'll probably go to prison for life for him. Why?"
It was the first time that he had actually spoken like Dom was more than a case. Letty considered his face, realizing that he looked as exhausted as she felt. She doubted he knew how much he was letting her know with his nonverbal postures.
"He's my heart. And now he protects a baby that is my soul. I could die today knowing that they would be safe forever."
"That's really fucking stupid Letty," he cursed at her; using her nickname again as if they were actually friends.
She smiled at him then, a real smile, "I'm stubborn as shit, loyal as hell, and most likely the dumbest woman you've ever met. I've been with that man for more than half of my life."
"He'll look for you. He won't be able to help himself," Hobbs had studied Dominic Toretto until he could be called an expert on the man.
Letty looked up at him sadly, realizing that the man in front of her was either going to kill Dom or be killed by him, one way or another. Neither of the men knew how to stop or when to quit. Maybe they would have been friends in another world. She didn't respond but inside she agreed with his comment. And what was fucked up was as pissed as she was that he would leave Christian with Mia instead of staying to protect him, she was exhilarated. They would find each other again because that's what they did.
But on the outside she sat stoic and responded with a crisp, "we'll see."
Palma Soriano, Cuba
Christmas day dawned so beautiful that it hurt. The sky glowed a stunning orange as the night sky gave way for the brightness of the winter sun. The breeze that wafted through Dom's window was balmy and peaceful.
Dom sat up slowly. He hadn't slept at all for what seemed like forever. He and Brian spent the last weeks in Berlin. Even with Andre they still had trouble finding out information. Dom wasn't any closer to finding Letty than he had been months earlier. Which just royally pissed him off! He huffed to himself and rose to look out the window.
"Where are you Let," he questioned the horizon. The sound of rustling sheets drew Dom's attention to the crib that now occupied a complete section of his room. Christian stared up at him with clear eyes, obviously he had been awake for sometime and had somehow occupied himself with his own thoughts.
"What have you been thinking of all this time," Christian's instant response to the question was to smile at his father lift his arms with demand. Dom lifted him and, as usual these days, felt his heart expand with the overabundance of love that he hadn't known was inside of him and the instant fear that anything bad could ever happen to the life that he and Letty had created.
As Christian became more used to Dom he felt the answering parental response to him. He knew what each of his cries meant, knew his schedule better than he knew the tool organization in his shop, and sometimes Christian just couldn't be calmed without him. Dom wanted to show Letty how far he had come, what a good dad he was, and how willing he was to completely dedicate himself to being by her side for the rest of their lives.
"Dom," Mia opened the door slightly and then smiled when she saw her nephew was all ready awake. She entered slowly, keeping the door closed behind her.
"Merry Christmas," Dom greeted her after rolling his eyes at how strange his sister was.
"Not yet," she disagreed although she smiled heartily at Christian.
"I didn't buy you that disgustingly expensive purse you wanted so if that's what you're waiting on for it to be a Merry Christmas then you'll have to hope Brian is a bigger pushover than I imagined."
Mia smiled hugely, "there is only one person missing that would make this Christmas, this whole life, better than I could have ever envisioned it."
"Mia, you know I'm trying. As soon as I can I'm going back to Germany and I will find her."
"I know," Mia agreed, "and to help you with that, because you've always worked best as the leader of a team, I've called in some backups."
Mia opened his door wide and Dom couldn't help the grin that spread across his face as he took in the faces of his Brazil "A-team" all crowded in the hallway of Mia's villa.
"This is your first Christmas with Christian and your last Christmas without your whole family," Han announced.
Upon hearing his name Christian clapped his hands and the hallway erupted in laughter. Dom smiled at his son and for the first time in a long time he felt genuine hope that he was actually going to have the chance to repair his fractured marriage. Han's easy confidence was infectious and soon everyone was making statements of certainty.
"So what's the plan," Gisele, always one to jump right to the heart of the matter, asked the question.
"Find out what's going on in Berlin," Brian replied immediately.
"That should be easy enough," Roman decided.
Brian and Dom shared a look of equal disbelief. Roman promptly grinned, "ya'll don't believe me! I got some hot coulda-been-baby-mama-drama-if-I-wasn't-a-full-practice-pimp, living in Berlin. You feel me? She's into some deep shit there."
"What kind of deep shit," Brian asked.
Roman shook his head, his memories obviously crowding his mind, "the shit you don't want to become involved with unless you're desperate. And even then you know you probably won't walk outta that shit alive."
That sounded exactly like the kind of shit that Letty would have gotten herself mixed up into. Dom nodded decisively, "call her."
To everyone who ever reviewed, thank you. This last year will be done in multiple parts. If it all turns into a confusing mess then please let me know.