Veronica and Duncan headed out in his car after they locked up the house and set the alarm so Eva was completely safe. They headed to Beth’s, or really Kimberly’s, apartment but it seemed she’d packed rather quickly and fled, which was no surprise. Of course Veronica broke into the apartment and snooped around as she always does. They quickly looked through drawers and then Veronica went to her computer but of course there was no computer, she’d probably taken her laptop with her.
“I can’t find anything, can you?” Veronica said frustrated.
“No, nothing,” Duncan sighed and they headed back to the car, “where are we going now?”
“To the hotel, I have a hunch,” Veronica said as they sped off to the hotel.
When they got the parking lot Veronica jumped out and looked in a nearby bush to where the car had been parked when she put the tracking device on it.
“Yep, there it is,” she quipped as she pulled it from out of the bush, “We’re dealing with a pro here,” she said to Duncan.
“What should we do?” he asked taking the tracking device from her.
“We’re going to have to inconspicuously wait, do you have some time?” she asked taking his hand as if they were a couple and he raised his eyebrow.
“Nothing but time sweetheart.”
They donned hats and glasses, whatever she had on her at the moment, luckily she was always prepared. They acted like they were a couple and went to the bar near the lobby of the hotel so they could see who walked through. They sipped mock cocktails for a while and then they saw a girl who looked surprisingly like Kimberly but in a dark suit and sunglasses. Of course, they followed her.
They followed her to a beach house 15 minutes away and watched her waltz up to the house. After she knocked someone let her in but they couldn’t see who.
“I’m going to check out what’s going on, you stay here because we can’t risk you being found. Ok?” she said as she opened the door.
“Ok but if anything seems to happen I’m coming to find you,” he said as she sneaked up to the house.
She went to the side of the house and climbed up on a crate nearby to look in the window. She saw Kimberly talking to someone but couldn’t quite see who. She stood up on her tippy toes, desperately wishing for the 10,000th time that she was just a few inches taller. As Kimberly moved she could suddenly see the person she was talking to, it was Celeste Kane. With the shock she fell back off the crate to the ground and the window above her opened.
“Hi Veronica, it’s been too long,” Celeste said with a smile.
“Hi Celeste,” Veronica said embarrassed and confused.
Veronica stood awkwardly in the living room of what appeared to be a little beach house of Celeste Kane’s. She wanted to let Duncan know but all eyes were on her.
“Have a seat Veronica, it’s time we have a chat,” she motioned for the sofa and Veronica sat down and Celeste sat in the sofa chair across from her. She could see that Veronica was trying to figure out what to do.
“Can I use your bathroom,” she asked fumbling with her stuff.
“Sure but Kimberly just went to ask Duncan to come in and join us,” she said with a smile.
“How...” Veronica started as Duncan came into the house with Kimberly, he looked concerned, as he should be. He sat down on the sofa next to her and they gave each other a quick uncertain look.
“So you guys did a good job of hiding from me over the years, it wasn’t until about 6 months ago I figured out where you were. I had private investigators all over the country trying to find you. For years I thought it was fruitless, it seemed you had disappeared from the planet. For a while I gave up and went into a deep depression. I’d lost my daughter, who I didn’t love enough and then I lost my son who I couldn’t love the way he needed me to. I also lost my granddaughter and then Jake and I separated,” she said pausing getting teared up a little.
“Do you really expect me to just trust you?” Duncan said sounding like he felt bad but was still really angry.
“At that point I realized I had to change. I took some classes, went to therapy and just tried to be happy. To some extent I was, but you were always in the back of mind. I always wondered how your daughter was and how I was sure you were a great father,” she took a tissue and blew her nose.
“You are aware that you hunting Duncan down like this could risk he and Eva’s safety? Did this occur to you before you started this whole game?” Veronica asked indignantly.
“I promise you, I took every precaution and all I care about is protecting Duncan and Eva,” she said looking straight into Veronica’s eyes.
“If that were the case you would have left them alone,” Veronica said taking Duncan’s hand, she could feel his tension.
“You’re right, I’m sorry. I just, you can’t turn off being a mother, it never lets go of you. I tried to leave it alone, for so long but it ached so much...” she said standing up and going across the room trying to pull herself together.
“I have to get back to Eva,” Duncan said getting up, “let’s go Veronica.”
They walked out of the house without looking back. Veronica was so angry at the danger that Celeste had so selfishly caused.
“We need to immediately pack everything up and get you to your new location. We have to change names and...” Veronica was rambling on until Duncan pulled her into his arms and hugged her.
“I’m so glad you’re here, I don’t know what I would have done,” he pulled back from her but was still holding onto her tightly.
“I wish I could have stopped all of this from happening though,” she said and looked up at him as he leaned down to kiss her. It was sweet and reminded her of easier days. She pulled away and patted him on his chest, “and with that it’s time to go home.”
Veronica was on her computer and phone all night setting everything up to get Duncan and Eva away as soon as possible. Duncan and Eva were busy packing up what they could, Eva was excited about the possibilities. After everything was setup and they were on their way Veronica had to deal with Celeste but she wasn’t sure how she would go about that.
After she finished a phone call she crawled into bed exhausted. She opened her phone and found a message she’d missed, it was from Logan. It was a picture of Lucy holding up a sign that said “miss you.” At that moment tears ran down her face and then she fell to sleep.
The next morning she woke to the smell of bacon and coffee filling the house. She shuffled out into the kitchen to see the kitchen table full of food, way too much for 3 people. Duncan was at the stove finishing up scrambled eggs and he looked so peaceful.
“What’s going on?” Veronica asked confused taking a hot mug of coffee from Duncan and sitting down at the table.
“I thought a lot last night and decided to have my mom over for breakfast this morning,” he said taking a sip of his coffee.
“But, we don’t know what she could be up to?” Veronica replied taking a piece of bacon and shoving it all in her mouth.
“She’s my mom and I know she loves me, she’s just got a fucked up way of showing it. I now know what it’s like to love someone so much that you sometimes make them miserable. Eva is miserable so I can protect her. My mom deserves a second chance,” he said as there was a knock at the door and Duncan went and let Celeste in.
Breakfast was surprisingly touching and Veronica was surprised to see Celeste burst into tears when she met her granddaughter. Eva was so excited to meet a family member and you could see them all just come alive. Veronica went off to her bedroom to pack, she wasn’t needed anymore.
After she put her packed bags by the front door she took a walk down to the shore. Duncan came down to join her and took her hand. She squeezed his hand and turned to him.
“Duncan...” she started but he interrupted her.
“Sorry about the kiss last night, it just felt so...easy to be with you. But, I can tell you have someone else on your mind,” he said touching her face.
“Yeah...” she looked down.
She was waiting on the porch for her cab to show up and was going over final details with Duncan. She had a new place for him to stay, near a middle school for Eva in New Zealand. She had their protections in place but she wasn’t going to change their names again. Duncan wanted to give Eva as normal of a life as he could.
Duncan, Eva and Celeste came down the front steps as her cab showed up.
“Thanks V!” Eva said as she hugged Veronica and she had a flash of hugging Lilly.
Celeste came up to Veronica and she had to admit, the woman looked softer and less guarded than she remembered her so many years ago.
“I know you don’t trust me Veronica but we all change, even me. I just want my family back,” she said with what appeared to be sincerity.
“What will you do if Duncan and Eva are found?”
“Whatever I have to do, I’ll take the blame if I must,” she said and Veronica believed her.
Duncan brought the bags over to the cab driver and walked up to Veronica.
“Thank you for everything, I’m going to miss you,” he said smiling at her.
“I’ll miss you too,” she said as they hugged.
“Say hi to Logan for me,” he whispered in her ear and she pulled back from him with a shocked look on her face.
“How did you know?” she asked.
“Because it was always Logan,” he said with a sweet understanding.
As Veronica pulled away she felt good about how she was leaving Duncan, it was like that chapter of her life was really ending and it was time to really start the next chapter. She got an email on her phone and saw that it was a really big job, one that could take her away for months. It was a job in Germany and so much of her was itching to go. This trip reminded her of how much she loved what she did, how it was so much of who she was as a person.
When she got to the airport she walked up to the ticket desk.
“Where are you going?” the woman at the ticket counter asked with a big cheerful smile.
“When is your next flight to Berlin?”