Hello! This is my first POI story, so thank you for taking the time to read it! Here goes nothin'!
"I still can't believe you left me, mom." For what had to be the fourth day in a row, I had been curled up on my Uncle David's couch staring at a picture of my mom. It had been less than a month since my mom had finally given in to the cancer spreading through her body, and only five days since the funeral. If I had to be honest with myself, I didn't know how I was going to move on from here. What do you do when your best friend is taken, when your mom is taken from you? I didn't know how to live without a mom.
"Are you still sittin' on that couch?" A southern accented voice called from the hallway. I raised my head slowly as my mom's brother entered the room. I managed something that resembled a smile before looking back down at the picture and remained silent for a moment.
Dave was a tall man, 6" 4" on the dot, with tan skin, thick curly brown hair and thick brown eyebrows hovering over his chocolate eyes. He leaned against the door frame holding a couple of envelopes.
"I just can't imagine a world without her, Dave. What am I going to do now? I mean, she was the best cop the force had ever seen. How is it fair that she spent her life saving people and only to die from something that people beat every day?"
While I'd spoken, Dave had settled on the couch beside me and wrapped an arm around my shoulder. A single tear made its way down my face and he reached his calloused hand up to wipe it away gently. Losing his sister had been hard, but I think watching me lose my mom had been even harder. We both knew of the great possibility that every time Natalie went to work that we would never see her again and Dave had accepted that he would be the one to hold my hand through mom's death. But neither one of us had ever expected for it to hit us both so hard. Dave brushed a light kiss across his niece's forehead and then pushed his large frame up off the couch.
"Terra, you know your momma loved you more than anything in this world. And the last thing she would want to see is you sittin' on this couch wallowing. So, from now on…no more wallowing. Now, I'm going to the store to get a few things and you're going upstairs to take a shower. Cause as much as I love ya," He cracked a smile. "You're startin' to smell."
I smiled a little. But when I didn't respond he used two fingers to tip my chin up until our eyes met. "Terra Robin Matthews, I swear, if you're still sittin' on that couch when I get back from the store I'll take a switch to ya."
For the first time since mom died, I felt an actual smile spread across my face. I nodded a bit and then sighed. "Ok, Dave. I promise I'll only wallow for a few more minutes before taking a shower."
Chuckling, Dave shook his head and finally headed out the door. Once I was alone I brushed my fingers across mom's face in the picture. "'I'll always miss you mom." I felt like I should say more, but I couldn't find the words. Instead I sighed again, tucked the photo back into the journal on the coffee table and forced myself to head upstairs and into the shower.
Over the next few days I forced myself to go through my usual routine. I helped Dave around the house, took care of the horses and cleaned out their stables. Finally, when a month had passed, I finally felt as if I could breathe without tears being caught in my throat. At a month and a half I found myself actually laughing at Dave's jokes again. And when two months had passed I could think of my mom without a lump forming in my throat.
"Terra, dinner's ready. Wash your hands and get your butt down here." I smiled at myself in the mirror and chuckled. I would miss the day to day with my uncle, but I had promised my mom that I would deliver it. Glancing down, I touched the envelope on my dresser and sighed slightly. Why my mom had wanted me to deliver a letter to a man I'd had never heard of? I had no idea, but a promise was a promise. "Terra Matthews, don't make me come up there after you!"
Through my laughter, I called down the stairs, "I'm on my way." Shaking my head, I picked up the envelope, stuffed it into my back pocket and ducked into the bathroom to wash my hands. The smell of my uncle's lasagna wafted through the house and I was ravenous.
My goal to make it all the way through dinner before asking Dave about the letter failed me, and about halfway through my plate of lasagna I heard myself saying the words I'd been fighting against in my head. "Dave, who's Harold Finch?"
Dave almost choked on his lasagna and stared in surprise at his niece. That was most definitely not a name he'd expected to ever hear come out of Terra's mouth. As far as he knew Natalie had cut all ties with Finch and hadn't looked back. Apparently what he had known was wrong. Eyeing Terra thoughtfully Dave took another bite of his lasagna and then set his fork down. "He's a software engineer, I think."
"Where does he live?"
"Last I knew, he was livin' somewhere in New York. Why do you ask?"
Instead of answering him Terra reached into her pocket and pulled out a letter. Placing it on the table she pushed it towards him and waited until Dave picked it up.
"The last thing mom said to me was that I would find a letter inside her desk which I needed to hand deliver. Oh, and not just deliver, she wanted me to make sure I stayed and made sure this Finch guy actually read the letter. I mean…why do I need to drive across the country all the way from Washington for something that can just get mailed?" Sighing, she set down her fork and ran her fingers through her hair sending the dark waves dancing around her shoulders. "I guess what I'm saying is, do you really think I should deliver this letter in person? Or can I just drop it in the mail and go on with my life?"
For a minute or two Dave just stared at the letter and then he smiled softly at his niece before handing the letter back. "I think you should do what your momma wanted, Ter. We may not have always understood why she did the things she did, but she always had a reason. So I think you should ride this one out." Terra nodded in agreement. Then, as if it was settled, Dave picked up his fork and went back to eating his lasagna.
For a minute Terra stared at her uncle and then nodded. "Ok," She took a breath. "Then, I guess I'm leaving for New York in the morning." And just like that it was settled. Whether it was really a good idea or not, tomorrow she would set out to deliver the letter and then she would move on with her life.
Shortly after dawn and with her silver Taurus packed with her most important belongings Terra was finally ready to hit the road.
"Hold on, Ter." Dave looked at his niece. She looked so much like her mother; long, thick, dark hair, tanned skin from working all day in the sun, and wild green eyes. Dave wrapped his long arms around Terra, who did the same. "I love you kiddo."
Terra closed her eyes and inhaled the spicy scent of her uncle as tears began to fill her eyes. "I love you too."
When they pulled away, Dave wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. "Damn dust." She smiled as he handed her s lip of paper. "Here's Harold's address. Be safe."
Terra nodded, not trusting her voice. It would be a long drive from Burbank, Washington to New York. For the first time she would be alone on her journey. A few tears and several painful moments after she got in the car, she actually got the nerve to turn the key in the ignition and back the car out of her aunt's driveway. If this was the way that her life was going to be, then she just needed to grow up and accept it. There was no bringing her mom back and burying her head in the sand wasn't an option, so this was what she had. Miles and miles of lonely road ahead of her and years of memories behind her.
Next chapter will have Reese and Finch!