Chapter 53- The Epilogue: Surprise!
"So you're really walking away?" My brother Luke asked while staring at me from the driver's seat. "You've been with the agency for ten years. You're gonna give it up?"
I sighed; I didn't want to go over this with him again.
"Hobbs, I'm not you," I said pointedly, "I can't run around chasing bad guys for the rest of my life."
"Yeah, you'd just rather run around with the bad guys," he snarled.
"Excuse me?" I snarled back, "Leon is a good guy. Yes, he got wrapped up in some bad shit, like a lot of people do. Like you did, at fourteen when you were rolling with those kids who knocked over a liquor store. The owner was killed. Or have you been on your fucking high horse so long that you don't remember where you came from?!"
"Rodriguez, Hobbs, he's coming out the back. Let's finish this and go home."
Bates coming on the radio interrupted the heated exchange, and I grabbed my weapon before stomping out of the car angrily. I hated when he pulled that 'holier than thou' bullshit with me.
I stood waiting on one side of the house while Hobbs held down the other. With the glare he reserved for me, I knew the conversation wasn't over. I flicked him my middle finger to show him just how much I cared.
"Heads up Audge."
I turned around just as our suspect, a teenage gang member, bolted past me. I let out a huff and gave chase... I hated having to chase these idiots.
"Stop now!" I ordered while chasing him down a rundown neighborhood. He was fast, but I was faster. I reached out to grab a hold of him, but his loose pants helped me out. He tripped up and landed on his face, and I pounced, landing my knee hard in his kidney. I holstered my weapon and yanked his hands behind his back, "What, you hard of hearing?"
"Fuck you, bitch!" the Latin boy spit as he struggled against my hold. I dug my knee into his back ever harder until he screamed out in pain.
"Save the sweet talk for the boys on the yard," I replied while tightening the cuffs around his wrists. I hoisted him up as Hobbs finally caught up.
"Good catch," he said while yanking the perp from my hands.
"You run like a girl," I muttered back as several cruisers came roaring up the street. I leaned against the truck and pulled a cigarette from my pack, plucking it between my lips before lightning it and taking a hard drag from it.
"I thought you quit?" Hobbs asked while approaching me.
"Yeah, well I don't exactly have the most relaxing job, or supportive partner for that matter."
Hobbs gave a look of hurt before speaking, "I'm sorry, Audge, all right? I know Leon's trying to keep his shit together. It's just... I've never seen you be this way with anyone, let alone a guy you were working to take down. I'm always gonna worry."
"But I don't need you to worry about me," I said exasperately, "I'm an adult now. I know what I'm doing."
"I know..." he trailed off with a sigh," I just hate to see you give up everything you worked for. For any man, not just Hernandez."
I sighed and placed a hand on his shoulder, "Luke, Le isn't just any guy. He's my boyfriend. And he's good to me and that is all you need to be worried about."
"So what now? You go to LA and be his trophy wife? That's not you, Audge. You're a good cop."
"I was a good cop," I took off my badge, giving the shiny gold shield a long look before handing it to him, "I want to settle down, Luke. I want to be apart of a family with a man I care about. This job has cost me a lot; I don't want to give him up like everything else."
Luke pulled me in for a rare hug, planting a soft kiss on my forehead before pulling away, "I wish you the best, Audgie."
"It's not like I won't ever see you again. You have been there for me longer than any man or job as been. You're still my favorite brother, Hobbs," he rolled his eyes with a smile.
"If Hernandez slips up, I'll be kicking the door in," he said warningly. "Keep your boy in line, and stay out of trouble."
I jumped in my truck and took off or my apartment with an incredible weight being lifted from my shoulders, and a hint of sadness lingering with it. I started off with the NYPD at age nineteen. Working in law enforcement had been my dream, but after things I saw and experienced, I wanted nothing more than to have a life of normalcy. To settle down with someone without having to worry about my job getting in the way. I was finally getting the opportunity but it was surely bittersweet.
As I entered my apartment in downtown Richmond, I took a look at the mess of boxes and clothing scattered around the room and sighed. I started packing the night before and after falling asleep on the phone with Leon, the mess for left for a later time.
I guess now was that time. I kicked off my shoes and took my protective gear off as I stepped over piles of junk to get to the kitchen. I reached in the fridge for a beer before cracking the cap off easily and taking a long, much-needed swig. Leaning against the island, I took a gander around at my mess and wondered what I was getting myself into.
After leaving the team in LA, I headed back to the base with Hobbs to finish up some paperwork and put in an extended-vacation request. I met back up with Leon and visited him every chance I could at the rehab facility, even staying at a nearby hotel in case he ever needed anything. Sure it was hard watching him suffer through the withdrawals, and not being able to come and go as he pleased, but seeing him blossom back into the fit, rugged man I adored made it worth it.
When he was released eight months later, I was already due back to work in weeks, but that didn't stop us from spending every second solidifying our connection. He took me on dates, introduced me to his sweet mother Sandra, and even took me to the races. It was a sight to see - Leon in his element. He was like a celebrity there, and I didn't mind standing back and letting him have his shine.
Things weren't perfect by any means, though. We had silly arguments when our personalities clashed, and Leon found ways to irk me to no end, but our passion for each other outweighed any fight we had. The way he took care of me, even when I didn't need it, made me secure in my decision to leave the Diplomatic Secret Service.
I loved Leon. More than I loved my job. That's how I know I was making the right decision.
The blaring of Leon's set ringtone brought a smile to my face, "Hi there, handsome. I was just thinking about you."
"Hey baby," I grinned eagerly at the sultry sound of Red's voice over the phone. "You busy? I can call later."
"Nonsense. Never too busy for you. I actually just got in. What's up?"
"Nothing, taking a break at work. Just thought I'd check in on my girl."
"You love that, don't you?" I could hear the grin in her tone.
"Damn right. How's work?" I asked, taking a seat on a bench outside the garage.
"Ugh, no work talk. I'm exhausted. How are things there? Everyone still in one piece?"
"For now. Letty and Mia miss you, though. They think they have no one else to tell them how good they look while trying on clothes."
"I must say, pregnancy does look good on Letty," we shared a laugh and my heart ached a little.
"I miss you, too," I said, and it wasn't a lie.
I didn't think it was possible to fall for Audrina more, but I had in the past year. I couldn't go an hour without thinking about her, or smelling her scent somewhere in my apartment. It drove me wild that she was on the other side of the country, and not across the garage like she would be right now.
"Hey now, I can feel you pouting," I smiled, "I'll be back sooner than you know."
"How is Hobbs taking it?"
"He feels like you're making me throw my life away to play cops and robbers."
I sighed heavily. I knew her pseudo-broter wasn't a fan of mines, and I didn't blame him. He had worked hard to help Red get into the D.S.S and here she was, walking away to be with a mechanic.
"And how do you feel?"
"Like I can't wait to get back to LA and crawl in bed with my boyfriend, and have some Tequilla," my worries instantly washed away. "Stop worrying, Le-boy. The choice I'm making is mine to make, not yours or Luke."
"I know Audge. I just want you to be sure. This is a big step."
"I'm sure, Le. Now hush up about it, or I will change my mind."
Even with her harsh tone, I could sense a hint of laughter with it.
"Alright babe, I gotta get back to work. We're slammed today. Call the girls, please?"
"I will, but not until later. I'm due for a long nap. See you soon."
"Yes you will. I love you, Audge."
"I love you, too, Leon. Tell everyone I said hello."
We said our goodbyes and I headed back inside the garage.
"Leon, I don't pay you for personal calls," Brian griped as I moved back to the car I was working on, a Honda Prelude.
"Shut up, Buster," I retorted with a grin. Brian loved his job as a co-owner of the garage, and made sure to rub it in every chance he got, "Red says hello."
The men - boys rather - erupted in mocking kissing noises and childish taunts.
"All right children!" Dom interrupted with a cheeky grin, "Back to work."
Later that day, the family was gathered around the Toretto home for a night of relaxation and fun after a hard day's work. Dom and the boys were deep into a card game while Letty, Mia, and Marissa whipped up some party favors for their men. With loud music blasting feet away, and the boys so heavy into their game, they barely heard the knock at the door.
"Since I'm folding yet again, I'll get it," Leon said and tossed his cards on the table. He grabbed his beer and headed to the door. The knocking became impatient and aggressive and he frowned, "It better be a fucking emergency."
When he yanked it back, he was surprised to see his girlfriend struggling with several bags, her clothes and hair dripping wet.
"Doesn't it look like one?" she said with a sweet smile as the realization finally hit Leon. He hurried to take her bags and get her out of the rainstorm. Leon dropped her bags once she was safely indoors and scooped her up, uncaring of her wet clothes as he spun her around happily.
"What're you doing here, baby? I wasn't expecting you for another three weeks," Leon asked, inhaling every inch of her while he held her close. He missed her.
"We got a break in the case, got the guy, and I came home," she said as he placed her back on the floor. She looked in the eyes, "My things will be delivered by the end of the week. I'm home."
"For good?" Red nodded at his questioning eyes and he lifted her into the air again, planting Corona-laced kisses on her neck.
"Leon, who's at the door-" Dom entered the room, surprised at the guest in Leon's arms. "That wet mop better be Red you're hugging," Red turned to the brute with a smile and went to him, the two sharing a hug. "Welcome back, Audge."
"Thanks, Groot," she teased as she pulled away.
"Come on. Let's go say hi, then get you out of these wet clothes," Leon said, grabbing her things and leading them towards the living room. Everyone jumped up to say their hellos and give small hugs before she sprinted to the kitchen, where she knew the women were held up.
"Who's out there?" Letty asked while moving to the door before it swung open.
"Missed me?" Red asked, and before she could prepare, Mia, Letty, and Marissa were all attacking her. She allowed the painful embrace for a few more seconds before pushing them away, "All right, damn."
"When did you get in?" Mia asked while bringing her a beer.
"About twenty minutes ago. Didn't realize it was pissing the rain here," Red's hazel eyes finally landed on Letty's bump, and nearly budged out of her head. "Is it almost time? How long have I been gone?"
"Shut up," Letty smacked her arm with a laugh, "You here for good now?"
"Yep. I can't wait to finally relax," Red said with a sigh. Leon peeked inside, "Red, you need to change."
"I'll be back in twenty minutes, and you can give me the scoop on what's been up," she said to the ladies.
"Just wait until you get to your house to relax, would ya?" Letty shot at her. Red flipped them off before following her boyfriend down the stairs to the basement, where his spare bedroom would always be.
Once they were alone inside the dark space, Leon grabbed her again, pulling her soaked body flush against his without a care. Red sighed heavily, thankful to be where she was truly happy, with him. She pulled back and scanned his face. Even in the dark she could perfectly outline his sculpted jaw and cheeks. Her fingers traced his full lips, and she couldn't resist them anymore, crashing hers onto his in dire need. Leon's tongue snaked his way inside, clashing with hers in a rhythmic dance. He took note of her minty gum as he bit down hard on her lower lip, giving it a gentle tug before dragging his tongue to sooth away any pain.
"I thought I was coming to change?" she asked when his attention went to her neck. She surely didn't want to stop. It had been months since she was pleased, and she was fighting the urge to rip his clothes off, but didn't want it in their friend's basement. She flicked on the light to kill his mood, but he didn't stop, "Come on, I don't want to get sick."
Her words seemed to go on deaf ears, and her attempts dwindled when he licked below her ear. It made her toes curl anytime he did it, and she suddenly didn't care about being drenched in sopping wet clothes. As she enjoyed his tongue, her eyes landed on his dresser, where a small black box sat.
"What's in the box?" she asked. Part of her knew what it was, and the other part was trying not to go into a panic over what it was.
"What box?" Leon asked lazily, his attention lowering to her breast.
"The small little black box on your dresser," Leon quickly sobered up as he remember the engagement ring he left out after his shower. He looked up at her, and her hooded eyes searched his for an answer. "Leon... is that..."
Leon reached for the box and held it in the palm of his hand. "Open it."
Red's hands shook nervously as she plucked open the velvet box, a lavish diamond ring popping out at her. Her hands quivered twice as fast and her jaw dropped, unsure of what to do or even say as she stared at the beautiful piece of art in front of her.
"Leon," she whispered, her voice cracking as she lifted the ring out of his holder. "What is this?"
"Marry me," he said, his voice shaky as well, "Please."
Red's eyes bounced between him and the jewelry, his words echoing in her brain like a tunnel. She never expected this, never experienced this, and was completely blown-away by him.
"It's not as romantic as I wanted, but I wasn't exactly expecting you to find that tonight," he stuttered as his hand anxiously rubbed at the back of his head. He tried to think of something sweet to say, something from the heart, but all he could speak was, "I love you, Audge."
"You want to be with me, for the rest of your life?" she asked. still confused about the million-dollar question. Leon gave a hopeful nod. "Yes. Absolutely," she locked eyes with his, and he noted that she was close to tears while nodding her head. Leon didn't waste time pulling her in close again to lock lips with his girl. The kiss was passionate and eager, and he almost resisted to pull away, but did to put the perfectly-fitting ring on her finger. Red's heart thumped hard against her chest as she looked down at the beautiful ring on her finger. She wasn't one for jewelry, but she vowed to herself that it would never leave her finger. She wrapped her arms around his neck, "Now, how about you get me out of these clothes?"
Leon grinned wide and crashed his lips onto hers again.
"Julian, Brookie, inside! It's pouring!" Letty hollered out the window to her son in the backyard, who was currently yanking Jessie around by her tail as rain sprinkled modestly from above. "I swear, that kid will play in a blizzard."
"Relax, Lett," Mia said, "They're kids. How many times did we run around in the pissing rain?"
"Still," Letty shrugged as the two soaked children stormed inside, happy, drenched grins on their cheeks. "You two get upstairs and get changed," Letty waved the two out of the kitchen and turned back to Mia, "He gives me grey hairs. Now I have to do it all over again," she sighed while sticking a pan of chicken nuggets in the oven for the kids. She turned to lean against the sink with a tired sigh.
"So are you gonna tell us what Elizabeth really said, or are you going to continue lying to me?" Mia stood with one hand on her hip as she, Red, and Marisa glared Letty down for the truth.
"Mia, I already told you-"
"Yeah, you told me what you said was the truth, now I need the doctor's truth. Don't make me go snoop through your files because I'm not above it. What's going on with you, girl?"
As Mia pushed for answers, Letty knew she wouldn't be able to keep her news to herself much longer. Mia had a way of getting information, and they often joked that she should've been the cop.
"All right, but keep your mouths shut. I plan on telling him when he's not wasted," she said, noting Dom's loud, obnoxious drunken laughter from the living room. "He's getting the girl that he wanted," both Marissa and Mia reacted like she pictured - screaming and crying, Red only high-fived her. Letty quickly cut the dramatics off, "Two."
Mia's face went from happy to dumbfounded, "Oh my gosh, Lett!" she leaned in with an excited whisper, "Twins?!"
Letty nodded before breaking out into a grin. The girls sandwiched her into a hug as they celebrated her sensational news.
"What's all the happiness about?" Dom asked as he entered the kitchen to dispose of several empty Corona bottles.
"Just proud of my big bro," Mia grinned coolly while wrapping her arms around his waist. "If Papi could see you now."
"He'd kick my ass for all the beer, and letting my baby sis get drunk," Dom replied with a lopsided smile.
"Mi, you, Audge, and Riss get in this game!" Brian hollered from the other room, and the three ladies shuffled from the room with their beers, leaving the expectant parents alone.
"What, no invite, Brian?! Letty hollered.
"You cheat! No!" he quickly shot her down.
Dom grabbed two full bottles from the fridge before leaning back against the counter, staring at his wife in all her pregnant glory. It hadn't changed her sense of style one bit. She stood in baggy sweat pants and a wife beat that clung to her baby bump. Her black hair dragged in loose curls around her shoulders in a way that he found sexy, and if she wasn't already carrying his kid, Dom wouldn't hesitate to bend her over that counter and show her how hot she made him.
"Stop looking at me like I'm meat," Letty drew him from his naughty daydream.
"Can't help it," he smirked and closed in on her, "You're too beautiful not to look at."
"I'm starting to think you like me more pregnant," Letty wrapped her arms around his waist while he trapped her with his arms on the counter on each side of her.
Dom dipped his head down to her neck, nibbling soft kisses down her collarbone that sent shockwaves down her spine. Her nails dug into his waist as she indulged in his tempting kisses, but quickly pushed him away as she felt the heat growing beneath her.
"Don't even," she warned while hurrying to move to the oven. "I need to talk to you, about my appointment," she said with a nervous smile.
"What's wrong? Is everything okay?" Dom followed her in a panic, forcing her to turn to him.
"I'd be fine if you shut up and listen," she snipped as an uncomfortable kick from the due rocked her body. Though she was softer and more calm, Letty was still the spunky Latina he fell for, if not even more fiesty, "I didn't exactly tell you the whole story."
"Letty, what do you mean?" his smile was gone now.
She didn't respond, but instead moved to her purse to retrieve the photos. Letty handed them over and waited patiently for a reaction.
"What is this?" he asked, his words slurring slightly. Letty rolled her eyes and took the picture from his hands, turning it upright before pointing out the two bodies on the sonogram picture.
"These are your baby girls, Dom."
Dom was instantly floored, thankful he landed hard in a chair at the table. He could now make out the tiny creatures curled up around each other, and he suddenly felt short of breath.
"Twins? Twins? Girls?" he stammered over the photo as Letty moved to sit on his lap. Dom didn't take his eyes off the ultrasound, taking in every feature of his soon-to-be twin daughters.
Letty wrapped her arms around his neck in an attempt to curb is panic, "This means a lifetime of chasing off double the boys, double the short skirts, and double the racers."
Dom gave her a look of pure fear, "Can we go back? Can we swap for another boy?"
"Uh-huh Papa," she chuckled, "You asked for it, you got it. I know it's scary, but there will be good times. Proms, weddings, grand-babies..."
"How is Jules gonna take having two sisters to look after?"
Letty peeked out the window, not surprised to find Brian chasing after both Julian and Brooklyn again. The two somehow escaped back out into the rain, and their dry clothing was one again soaked. Brooklyn dashed away and Julian stopped, trying to block Brian from reaching his cousin. He battled as hard as he could, but both were eventually scooped up by Brian, who looked exhausted.
"I think he'll do just fine."
Thanks to everyone who stuck it out with me, once again. I loved this story, and enjoyed getting your feedback.