Author's Notes: I'm an emotional mess after watching Part One of Keeping the Peace. Such a powerful episode. Obviously, I can't do a post-ep since the episode isn't completely finished but I couldn't not do something. So this is a pre-ep instead. Get a little of the joy back before the finale part. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: The show Flashpoint and its characters were created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern and belong to them and its respective networks. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.
Yours Since the First Day
Small hands practically flew across the table in a flurry of activity that to an outsider would have looked chaotic. However, the ones that gathered around watching weren't outsiders and the fast motions were practically poetry in motion. By contrast, the slightly larger hands at the next table, while just as skilled, were almost painfully slower. Almost before anyone knew what was happening the gun was reassembled and the hands were taking aim at the target with precision accuracy.
Ed marked a time on his clipboard but left the stopwatch running until a second shot was fired. Then two pairs of eyes met his, waiting for official word. "Once again, the lady is a winner. Personal best and new SRU record, Constable Callaghan. Impressive."
Spike glanced over at Jules with a grin on his face. "I think you sabotaged me. I'm pretty sure you bumped my arm or something."
Jules rolled her eyes at his good-natured teasing. Their tables weren't even close enough that she could have even accidentally bumped him and he knew it. "Whatever, any time you want a rematch, bring it on."
"Maybe later." Ed promised. "Jules moves on once again. Sam, you're up next."
Sam glanced at Jules as they took their positions at the tables and began dismantling the Glocks for the training/competition. He grinned at her. "You aren't going to be too mad when I knock you off the top, are you?"
Her grin widened. "Bring it on if you think you're tough enough."
Ed shook his head; it was always a hard fought competition whenever the two of them faced each other in any challenge. He'd noticed it from the very beginning when Sam was the rookie trying to prove himself and Jules was once more making it her mission to bring a cocky rookie down a peg or two. One of his major concerns when Ed had realized the two were developing feelings for each other was that it would alter the way they reacted in competitions, especially Sam. If anything, their competitive natures had kicked into overdrive, making for some pretty entertaining drills.
This one was no exception. As soon as Ed called "Go," both sets of hands were a blur. Even as carefully as they all were watching, the two gunshots rang out almost simultaneously. Ed glanced over at Greg who shook his head. As both Jules and Sam set the Glocks back on the table, they looked to their leaders for a verdict. They had been so focused on their own moves, they hadn't been able to tell who fired first.
"Sorry guys, short of some sort of slow motion replay, I have no idea which of you fired first. I've got to call it a tie."
"We could always do a rematch." Jules offered to which the others groaned. The last time the two of them tried to break a tie, it took another three hours before one was finally victorious over the other.
"Team One, Hot call. Numerous 9-1-1 calls about a man with a gun entering City Hall."
"Looks like the rematch will have to wait. Let's gear up." Ed called out. Greg acknowledged Winnie's call as they prepared to leave. Before they could pull out of the station, the tones went off again.
"Team One, we also have a report of a potential jumper at the Royal York, can you handle or do I need to call up another team?"
Jules keyed her head set after glancing over at Sam who was driving. "Sarge, Sam and I can take the jumper."
"Do it. Winnie, you copy that?"
"Copy that Boss. City Hall Command will be on Channel 2 and Royal York Command will be on Channel 4."
Jules made the channel change and reached over and adjusted Sam's so he could concentrate on the driving. On split calls it made more sense for teams not to be distracted by chatter from the other call. If cross communication was needed, Winnie would either relay the information or ask for a channel change.
"Winnie, I know you are funneling a lot of information right now but anything you can get on our possible jumper would be helpful." Jules reminded her, although she knew the SRU dispatcher knew her job.
"Copy that, the hotel employee who called it in doesn't think she's a registered guest but they are checking their records. If I get anything more, I'll relay it to you."
"Female jumper, what are you thinking?" Sam glanced over at her.
Jules shrugged. "Suicide by jumping is not common for females. For her to choose that method and that location could mean that the Royal York plays into her reasons."
Sam nodded as he pulled up in front of the iconic building. As Sam grabbed their gear from the back of the SUV, Jules looked up to survey the situation. Even at that distance she could see the woman standing on the ledge of the roof. Her position was precarious at best. If she loosened her hold on the railing behind her and especially if the wind picked up, the woman would fall whether she chose to jump or not. She looked at Sam, not needing words to convey the urgency.
A man in a suit met them just inside the lobby. "Thank goodness, you're here. We've checked our records and she's not a registered guest."
"Has she said anything at all?" Jules asked as he fell into step with them as they headed to the elevator.
He shook his head. "No, our policy in these matters is to keep the area clear of people until help arrives. We wouldn't have even known she was up there if a guest hadn't asked about her while he was checking in."
"You did great, Sir. We'll handle it from here." Sam assured him. They exited the elevator at the roof access. It was a warm day but windy on the roof. Much windier than it had been on the ground. As she and Sam slowly approached the potential jumper, Jules fastened the safety strap to her.
"Ma'am, my name is Jules and I'm with the Police Strategic Response Unit. Can you tell me what's going on here?"
Jules hooked the strap to the railing, but stayed enough to the side so as not to spook the woman. "I can't do that, Ma'am. What about your name? Can you tell me your name?"
"Angie, thank you. Can I step a little closer to you? It's hard for us to hear each other with the wind like it is."
"I can't do this anymore. I'm so tired."
Jules figured the woman was in her early thirties. "Then let me help you, Angie. Give me your hand and I'll help you over the railing and we'll talk this out."
The woman shook her head. "No, it's better this way. I'll just let go and then nothing will hurt me anymore."
"Oh, Angie, whatever is going on, we can talk about it. Death isn't the better option here. How about you give me your hand and I'll help you over. Can you do that for me, Angie?"
Jules took a step closer but stopped as Angie looked ready to let go of the railing. Jules could feel Sam right at her back, providing back up without being too intrusive. His hand on the small of her back felt reassuringly warm and comforting. Angie glanced over Jules's shoulder at him. "What does he want? Make him go away. I've had enough of men. They're all bastards."
It was on the tip of Jules's tongue to defend Sam because there was no way she wanted anyone to think anything less than the best about him. But this wasn't the time for that. She turned to Sam who frowned down at her. "Sam, give us the space. Maybe I can get her to open up and then talk her down."
She could tell he wasn't happy about the idea. She almost expected him to fight her on it. Since the pregnancy, he'd been more protective than usual. Finally he nodded and took several steps back. She would have preferred that he move completely out of Angie's line of sight but she knew that protective or not, he couldn't do that.
"Okay, Angie, it's just the two of us now. Can you tell me what's going on today? What you're thinking?"
The wind seemed to pick up and Jules was worried that Angie was going to lose her grip and fall. Almost feeling Sam's disapproving stare boring into her, Jules stepped over the railing knowing the safety line would protect her. Angie didn't protest.
"I can't take the pain any more. Every time I think I'm over him and that he can't hurt me anymore, it hits me all over again and each time I just feel worse. I want the pain to go away. If I just let go, it'll be over. No one will care; he certainly won't."
"Who is he, Angie? What did he do?" Jules had handled cases of domestic violence before. She'd seen its effects up close and personal. She'd seen how a person's confidence could be shaken to such a low point.
"Eight years. That's how long we were together. I thought we were on our way to forever. The night of our first date I was convinced he was the one. I gave him my time, my love; I even gave him my virginity, right here in this hotel seven years ago. We didn't even live here at the time. I came with him because he had a job interview. When he got the job, I moved here to be with him, separate apartments of course. Left my friends and family behind even though they told me I was getting in too deep too quickly. But I didn't listen, couldn't listen. I knew he wasn't perfect but nothing or nobody could convince me that he wasn't perfect for me. Every birthday, every Christmas, every New Year's Eve, every Valentine's Day, I hoped that it would be the holiday where he put a ring on my finger and told the world we belonged together. It didn't happen. In fact, we didn't even usually get to celebrate those days together. But I told myself it was okay. Better to have his time when I could get it rather than never at all."
Jules's heart went out to the young woman. It sounded like she'd been settling for less than she really wanted or needed for awhile. But Jules also felt like there was probably more to the story. "Did something else happen, Angie? Something that brought you out here this evening?"
"He dropped me like yesterday's garbage. He quit calling, quit answering my calls; it was as if he dropped off the face of the Earth but I knew he hadn't, just the face of my world. I tried to make excuses for him even though I was hurting. Then, one night I went to see him, wanted to find out what was going on. He was home but he wouldn't come to the door. Just ignore me completely like I was some sort of door to door salesman he wanted to avoid. I was devastated but he finally agreed to see me; he made excuses and promises and I bought them because the alternative was just too painful."
"Jules, be careful. Her body language and her tone; I don't think she's de-escalating." Jules nodded slightly at Sam's warning in her ear.
"Let me guess, he didn't keep his promises?"
Angie shook her head. "No, then my birthday came and passed and nothing. It was harder to make excuses after that but I still didn't want to give up. I'd invested eight years and that had to mean something. So I made dinner reservations here tonight. Thought if maybe we could reconnect to what we once had, everything would be okay. I called him but of course he didn't answer. I left him a voice mail telling him it was important that he meet me. I even sent him a text message, a tweet, left a message on his face book account. But he didn't show up. Didn't return any of my messages. Guess that's pretty loud and clear, isn't it. In all the years we spent together, he never even told me he loved me. What does that say about me that he didn't even care enough to tell me in person?"
"Oh, Angie, no one deserves to be treated like that. But it says more about him and his lack of character than anything about you. Please, Angie, what he did was wrong but this isn't the answer. This relationship may be over but it doesn't mean your life has to be as well. Yeah, it may hurt right now, but it won't stay that way."
Angie removed one hand from the railing to wipe her face and Jules eased even closer. "Please don't tell me there are other fish in the sea. That doesn't help."
"Neither will ending your life here today." Jules argued. "Angie, you said you were tired of hurting. You feel like your life is ending because things didn't work out the way you wanted them to. But both of those are temporary. Believe me when I say you won't always feel this way. But you've got to give yourself a chance to grieve this loss so you can move on. It won't be easy and it may hurt a lot but it's worth it. You are worth it. You deserve better."
Angie sniffled. "You really think that."
"Yeah I do. But it can only happen if you make the choice to step back over the railing and give yourself the opportunity." Jules had managed to ease herself close enough that she could have reached out to touch the distraught woman. But she held back, not wanting to spook her.
"I'm sorry." Angie lowered her head.
Jules shook her head. "It's okay. Just let me help you over and we can start to make things better."
"Jules, she's not hearing you." Sam warned. "She's internalizing. She's going to jump."
The words had barely registered when Angie turned loose of the railing. Jules jumped forward to grab her as she jumped and they both went off the side. Sam shouted out her name as he raced forward. The safety line pulled taut and as Sam peered over the edge, he was glad to see that Jules was dangling on the other end, with Angie safe in her arms.
"No harm. Pull us up."
Sam wasted no time grabbing hold of the safety line. Medics who had been waiting in the periphery as Jules and Sam did their job rushed forward as well and helped him pull the two women up. Soon Jules was sitting on the roof floor with her back to the railing, breathing hard and looking at the sobbing Angie. She hadn't fought Jules's attempts to save her but she hadn't aided in her own rescue either.
Sam knelt beside her looking at her carefully turning off both of their head sets before he spoke. "You okay? You didn't get hurt did you? Is the baby okay?"
Jules nodded, catching her breath. "We're fine. No slamming against the wall this time around. I managed to turn so my feet could kick off the wall before we crashed into it. No harm done to me or the baby."
Sam nodded, trusting her at her word. He turned to sit beside her as the medics strapped Angie to the stretcher. Even though she was unharmed, they would take her to the hospital for a psych evaluation. Jules hoped she got the help she needed. Sam reached over and squeezed her hand. "You said all the right things."
Jules shrugged. "Didn't help her though. She still jumped."
"But you saved her anyway. And the doctors at the hospital will help her. It's a good day." Seeing she didn't look convinced, Sam poked her in the shoulder. "Jules, Angie was on that ledge because she was taking the blame for someone else's actions. I'm not going to let you do the same. Our job today was to keep her alive and you did that. Maybe not the way you would have wanted but she's alive just the same. That's a win."
Jules nodded. "I know. I just feel bad for her."
Sensing she needed a moment, Sam gave her arm a squeeze and then stood. He walked a little distance off and turned his radio back to transmit. He switched to channel two and reported in to Sarge. The other call was wrapping up as well; Sarge encouraged them to sign out and go home since shift was ending any way. Sam returned to Jules and helped her to her feet.
She nodded. They didn't say much as they made their way back down in the elevator. Jules was ahead of Sam as they left the hotel. Sam let his longer legs close the gap between them and caught her arm, spinning her gently to look at him.
"Hang on a minute, please."
"Sam, I'm fine. You're right, it was a successful conclusion. I'm fine but I wouldn't mind going home, propping my feet up and not complaining if you want to fuss over me a little tonight. Okay?"
Sam stared at her for a moment; just the fact that she was willing to let him pamper her a little concerned him. He removed both of their head sets and tossed them in the front passenger seat of the SUV before taking her hand in his larger one. Giving it a tug, he led her to a bench out of the way of any people who might be walking on the sidewalk. He sat down, pulling her down to sit beside him.
He touched her cheek. "I love you; you know that, right?"
Jules smiled in spite of herself. "Yeah, I know. Sam, is this about what Angie was saying up there? Cause you've never let me wonder how you feel about me or where I fit in your world."
He nodded, his blue eyes never leaving her face. "No, it's not that, it's just…." He took a deep breath. "I just don't want you to ever question how much you mean to me; how much you've always meant to me."
She tilted her head into his hand. "I don't. Sam, I love you and I know you love me and we both love this baby already. I'd sooner doubt Spike's ability to diffuse bombs than question our commitment to each other and our family."
"I was actually going to bring you here later tonight anyway."
She raised an eyebrow. "Something wrong with the house?"
He grinned. "No, not to stay; I was going to bring you to the side walk here. Do you know what today is?"
"Thursday." She answered without hesitation. He nodded.
"Yeah, but the date?"
She rattled it off just as quickly then it hit her. "Seriously? Today is the anniversary of our first kiss? You remember the date after all this time?"
He tenderly stroked her arm. "Among other firsts, but yeah. I know guys are supposed to have a bad reputation for remembering important dates but I had started to give up hope that I'd ever win you over. You letting me into your life was the happiest day of my life at least until you walked into that coffee shop a few weeks ago and told me you were having my baby."
She glanced around and then leaned in to kiss him. "I love you Sam Braddock. I love that you remember such dates and that they are as important to you today as they were the day they happened. I love that you make me a priority every day. In fact, I love everything about you."
Sam sighed, leaning his head down to rest it against her forehead. "I haven't been completely fair to you though. You've needed something from me for at least a few months now and I've put you off."
Jules frowned, "Needed something? Sam, what are you talking about? What have I needed?"
"A commitment from me."
"Sam…" He silenced her with a quick kiss.
"No, you said it yourself on Valentine's day when I mistakenly thought you were pregnant. You wanted things in the proper order love, marriage, and then baby carriage. But I was putting off asking you to marry me because I wanted it to be perfect because you deserve perfect. But then we found out you were pregnant. I'd waited too late to get it in the right order. Then I was afraid you would think I was asking only because of the baby. And you'd be wrong. Because as much as I want this baby I want you even more."
She'd never heard him ramble so much. He was usually so composed and confident. It was a little endearing. "Sam, breathe, Baby. I don't need perfect. And really, who's to say what the right order should be? As long as I have you, that's all I need. This baby is just icing on the cake."
Sam reached into his pocket, glad he hadn't wanted to trust leaving his special cargo in his locker. "Like I said, I was going to do this later but suddenly it feels right to do it now." He opened the small gray box to reveal a silver ring with a diamond in the center with two smaller ones on either side. "Julianna Callaghan, will you marry me?"
Jules's breath caught in her throat. She could say all day that she was okay without wearing his ring or becoming Jules Braddock, and if she had to she could. But staring at the ring and hearing his question, she couldn't deny that she was finally starting to feel complete. The fact that he'd asked her in this spot after a call that had emotionally drained her made it all the more perfect. The smile that lit her face was impossibly large. She hugged and kissed him. Then she pulled back to look at the ring all over again.
"I'm hoping that was a yes." She laughed and nodded in answer to his question. Tears filled her eyes as he removed it from the ring box and slipped it on her left ring finger. It was a perfect fit. Not that she expected anything less from him.
"Of course it's a yes. It's beautiful, you're beautiful. I mean… you know what I mean."
They kissed again, and Sam was glad that the bench was set far enough off the main part of the sidewalk for anyone to pay them attention. When he pulled back, he grinned at her. "I guess we should take the SUV back."
He held his hand out and held it as she rose. He kept his arm around her waist as they made their way back to the vehicle. Once they were inside with their seatbelts fastened, Jules looked at him. "Do you mind getting our stuff from inside when we get back?"
Sam glanced at her. "Of course not, but why?"
"I'd like to keep this to ourselves, at least tonight. We can tell the team tomorrow."
He raised an eyebrow. "You said that about the baby weeks ago and we still haven't told them."
Jules ducked her head. "Yeah, maybe we can tell them on our wedding day? About the baby I mean. The engagement we'll tell them about tomorrow I promise. There's really no getting around telling them about it. They'll see the ring right away."
She had a point. They worked with an observant group. "You could always take it off for work if you didn't want them to know."
She shook her head adamantly. "Not a chance. Now that it's on my finger, it's never coming off. When we get married, you'll have to slide the wedding band on top of it."
He reached over and took her hand in his, the ring feeling familiar and perfect already. "I'm not going to wake up in a little while and discover this has all been a dream, am I? This is really happening? You are going to be my wife?"
She nodded. "Yeah, I am. And I can't wait."