Jessica Jade [last chapter] Ch26

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Chapter Twenty-Six

Q

Jessica answered her phone.

“Hey, Sarge. You going to be home in the next hour?”

“Uh-huh.” She recognized Greg Humphrey’s voice.

“Good. Mary and I are going to stop by. Warn the dogs, my kids are dangerous.”

She laughed.

Mac looked at her.

“Greg and the family are stopping by. He said to warn you and the dogs. His kids are dangerous.”

Mac smiled.

Ten seconds later, you could hear vehicles pulling into Mac’s driveway. Mary’s minivan was leading and a silver SUV was trailing. The dogs gave them an escort in. The minivan had barely stopped before the sliding door opened and four kids popped out. They were wrestling with the Dobermans within seconds.

Mary laughed. “Hey, be nice to those dogs. Be gentle. Don’t hurt any of Mac’s puppies.”

Mac shook his head. “Puppies? That’s seventy-five to eighty-five pounds of muscle.” He heard one of his dogs yelp.

Mary scolded. “Junior. you can’t ride them. Stop that and be nice. Sorry, Mac. I’ll corral them in.”

Mac smiled. “It’s fine. Those dogs have to learn, too. He shouted something in German and all four dogs disappeared back to their kennels.

Greg had opened the driver’s door and climbed out of the lifted Tahoe. “Hey, Sarge.” He tossed her the keys.

Jessica stepped sideways to catch them. “What’s this, Greg.” Then it processed. She looked past him. “For me?” She walked over and put her arms around him.

She was looking at the truck. It was lifted slightly and had heavy duty tires on it. It had standard wheels and the paint was faded. It looked like every Chevy out on the road.

Humphrey smiled. “I built you a Q-Ship.”

Jessica ran her hand across the fender. The bits of rust were painted on. The car was newer than it looked. She glanced inside. At a glance, everything looked like the five year old truck that it was.

Greg was talking excitedly. “We actually sanded off the lacquer finish and gave it a flat coat so it looked faded. You noticed that the rust spots are painted on. Nobody is going to look twice at this one.”

Jessica had the door open and was looking inside.

“Get in and start it up.”

Jessica climbed aboard and turned the engine over. The muffler was quiet but it obviously had a lot more horsepower than you’d think. She pressed down on the accelerator and the truck rocked on its suspension.

“It’s a big six liter V-8 that we sent off to have blueprinted. You get almost 500 horses and that much torque, too. You could outrun anything you on the highway except for a gas station. We covered that by changing out the tank and putting a larger one in it’s place. We packed the biggest, quietest mufflers on so you can sneak up on a sleeping baby. You lose some horses, but it’s stealth.”

Mac wondered what Humphrey was babbling about until Jessica told him about World War II Q-ships.

“You’ve got oversized shocks. It’s got an air suspension that you can raise and lower. It crouches down so it even looks like a two-wheel drive pussy. Oops. Sorry, ladies.”

Greg’s eleven year old daughter gave him a dirty look. “Dad, you shouldn’t use that word.”

Her twin brother yelled. “It’s okay to say. The President says it’s okay to grab one.”

This got everyone’s eyes rolling as Mary took Junior’s hand and walked him away to have a quiet one-on-one conversation.

Greg smiled. “I’ll show you all the secret panels later when the kids are busy beating up the dogs again. You have all sorts of things on board. All the technology you need plus more. There’s room to hook up to satellite internet and places to hide a cannon if you want to.”

Mac laughed and in his best movie voice said, “Jade. Jessica Jade.”

Jessica smiled. She had tears in her eyes. “Thank you, Hump. This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.”

Greg smiled. “Don’t thank me. I’m just the delivery boy. We built it, but somebody else ordered it. He also picked up the bill.”

Jessica turned to Mac and gave him a kiss. “Thank you.”

Mac kissed back. “Two things. One, it’s not a going away present. It belongs here. Two, it has something special for you in the ashtray.”

Jessica was puzzled. “Ashtray? Why would this car have an ashtray?” She looked and saw an old ashtray sitting in the cup holder. She picked it up and held it in her hand. She realized that it was from her old Disco that had been crushed and shredded.

Jessica held it in her hand. With her body still resting on the Tahoe front seat, she turned her head. “You saved this for me? That’s sweet.” She went to give Mac a kiss and he smiled.

He shook his head and placed his hand on her rump. He was keeping her bent over the seat. “Yep, it’s from your old Discovery. But, I said it has something special for you in the ashtray.”

Jessica popped it open. Sitting in the empty tray was a diamond ring.

Mac leaned in and rested his head on her shoulder as he squeezed her from behind. “It comes with the truck. It’s one big package. You get the Tahoe, the ring, and me.”

Jessica felt her shoulders quiver. She felt herself shaking and knew that the tears were coming out of her eyes. She tried to turn around and Mac held her tight.

“You have to put it on, Jessica. It’s all for you, for better or worse, til death do us part.”

Jessica reached out with her right arm and commanded it to pick up the ring. Mac’s hand helped steady it and took some of the pressure off. She grasped it and brought it up to her face. “It’s big.”

“Yeah, well, you’re a big girl. You needed something that looks nice when we dress you up and take you out.”

She hiccuped and wiped the tears so she could see it better. Mac helped her slip it on her left hand. “That damn arm still needs to work better. Damn.”

“It will. Just keep exercising it or just keep beating up on me. You never were a good example of patience.”

Jessica turned and kissed him. She simply turned around and put her arms around him. Mac was still leaning into the driver’s door. They embraced as the horn went off. Neither of them broke the embrace until they realized the horn had been blowing for quite a while.

Nobody was looking towards the driveway to see the large Jaguar sedan driving up. With the dogs back in the kennel, Mac realized they had all been surprised.

As the dogs finally came tumbling around the corner to greet the new car, Mac gave a whistle. The dogs surrounded the driver’s side as the door opened. They didn’t see who it was because the man had turned to lift a large cooler off the front seat.

As he turned and smiled, he shouted, “I loved the horn greeting. And I heard there’s something to celebrate, so I brought champagne and caviar. Hear, hear!”

Jessica started crying again. It was Walter.

As they all sat outside drinking champagne and eating toast points with sides of red onion, hard boiled eggs, lemon wedges, chives, and creme fraiche, they watched the four Humphrey kids playing with the dogs.

Suddenly, Jessica stood up. “The new box of dog cookies. That’s how the two of you made contact!” She turned to Mac. “You didn’t tell me!”

Mac smiled. “I heard from Walter about ten days ago. We decided to surprise you today when Greg called and said the truck was ready.”

Greg smiled. “All the guys from the shop worked hard to get it done. Even some of the old squad came out to help. And that reminds me, we have a get together coming up in a couple of weeks. Think you’ll attend this one, too?”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. And my new fiancee will take me out to dinner when we’re done. Right, sweetheart?”

Mac raised his eyebrow and gave her a look of ‘are you for real?’. “Of course, my dear. We are bonded for life. I will follow you to the ends of the earth.”

Mary laughed. “Greg, do you remember when you pledged your love to me?”

Greg smiled. “Four kids ago and still pledging.” He leaned over and kissed her.

Walter sighed. “I know I missed something spending all those years trying to bring peace on Earth. And what do I have to show for it? Oh, that reminds me. Our dear old friend, Frank Rossi, may he rest in peace, did not leave the world without saying goodbye.”

Walter handed Jessica a bank receipt. She read the number on it and passed it to Mac. They watched Mac’s eyes grow big. “A hundred million dollars?”

Walter smiled. “Frank’s last wish, well, I am interpreting this now. I’m not that good with reading tea leaves from the spirit world, but he wanted it to go to the families in need. At least, I think that’s what he told me.”

Walter described his tapping the phones and then transferring the money. “I didn’t drain the account but left ten million behind for the dear widow.”

Greg looked the slip over and passed it to his wife. “Wow, the dope business is much more profitable than selling used cars and running a garage. Mary, do you think its too late to get in the wholesaling cocaine and heroin business?”

Mary laughed. “No, Greg. I think that murder and dope dealing are right up our alley. Maybe we can use the kids to help us to fill up the bags. We shouldn’t let those small hands go to waste. Plus, we can teach them a trade when they visit us in prison.”

Everyone laughed as they watched the kids tumbling on the field grass with the Dobermans. The sounds of the roughhousing kids was occasionally interrupted by the yelps from the Dobermans.

Jessica turned and looked at Greg and Mary holding their champagne glasses while Walter poured the white wine into their empties. She watched the expressions on their faces as her friends relaxed out in the sunshine eating and drinking. She realized she’d been holding her breath. Even in all this happiness she was still anxious waiting for something to interrupt their perfect moment.

She knew that five years in the war zone and three years of that as an Army Ranger had left her permanently on guard for attacks from an unknown enemy. It was ingrained in her system just like the Jade family still living through her memories. She thought of Robert and tried to picture his smiling face debating the shelf life of canned peaches with a young James Jade lying on their cots in the cool basement.

She looked at Mac and felt her eyes start to glisten. She felt the happiness bubble deep inside her and sighed. Her life was spread out in front of her as she touched his hand. He turned and smiled. Jessica saw the love on his face and in his eyes.

They’d all be fighting a war against the forces of evil for the rest of their lives. Walter would be there to lead the charge and guide her through the fray against the unseen wrath. Her mission had not changed and her work was never ending. But sometimes it was okay just to stop and find a moment of peace and realize why she’d vowed to protect the future for the innocent families who only wanted to live their lives out in peace.

Tomorrow they’d all go back to work. They’d saddle up and hold their shields and swords high as knights had done for centuries before them. But today was a day of well earned peace and a time to salute those who had gone before them.

Mac smiled. He looked her in the eye and kissed Jessica gently on the lips.

She looked at him quizzically. “John?”

He nodded waiting for her question.

“Do we have room here to plant fruit trees?”

He kissed her hand. “Sure. What kind?”

“Peaches.”



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