Forever Is A Long Story

By E.E.Lewis

Mystery / Romance

A Guilty Kind Of Feeling

Charles Baudelaire: But what does an eternity of damnation matter to one who has found for one second the infinity of pleasure?

She couldn't stop thinking about what happened to her...dying a rather painful death. A few things were foggy to her, it must have been because of how much blood she had lost. The detective remembered Henry's stature next to her, with a look of anguish pasted on his face. If they said anything to each other, she couldn't remember, it was like a haze was covering a few of her memories. The pain she felt was nothing she had ever felt before, slowly bleeding out was not something she wanted to experience ever again. Sure, Jo had been shot before, but not in any internal organs.

As her life faded into nothingness, she actually did not see any bright white lights, but she did experience an overwhelming flash of her whole life. She had always thought seeing your life like a film when on the brink of death was a superstitious myth. She was stand corrected. But not many things surprised her anymore; her close friend was an immortal and now was she. The view she had on the world was now completely altered.

She started to hate the experience of riding in cars; it made her get impatient. Still naked under the blanket, she wrapped it around her tightly. She leaned her head back onto the car's headrest, closing her eyes. Jo wanted everything to go away. Her head was still filled with the images of her dying and waking up in the dark murky waters.

She was terrified; immortality was not something she wanted. Her job was her life. Before her husband went first, but now he was gone, so her job occupied the empty space. Albeit, Henry started making a place in her heart as well as her close friend and homicide solving partner. Not that she had ever really thought about it, him worming into her heart that is.

She was relieved Abe hadn't tried to commence a conversation with her, she was obviously not in the mood to talk to anyone. The shock and fright still lay heavy around her―and probably wasn't going to extinguish any time soon. It utterly made sense, any person would feel the same way. She had just perished not some time ago, and was now sitting in a car, very much alive.

They both got out of the car, Jo beginning to get fed up from all her shaking. She paced quickly inside; she was naked after all and being a detective increased her wanting to be respected...and not seen au-naturel (with a blanket).

She entered, Abe trailing behind, seeing Henry pacing rapidly up and down in front of the shop's door. He somehow managed to get home before them. The medical examiner was right―taxis were everywhere in New York.

"Jo! How I am relieved to see you!" Henry gave Jo a bone crushing hug, then became stiff, still blaming himself for everything, backing away.

Jo immediately saw Henry's guilt stricken face, and she did the most surprising action: she slapped him across the face―hard. "Don't you dare think that this is your fault Henry Morgan!" She shouted, stern look in her eyes.

Henry gaped, wide eyed, still guilty. He couldn't even look her in the eyes. "I should have never told you. Then you would be safe, now you're cursed and I can't do anything about it!" Henry shot back, still showing a red mark on his face from where she had hit him.

"Will I have to hit you again? Henry I asked for answers, and I was not going to stop until I got them. I dug myself into all of this, so this is not your fault. Adam shot me, not you. Now go back to your usual charming self and not this nervous wreck." Jo said, motioning her hands to all of him.

"But―"

"No buts. For starters don't think I am mad at you and if you say anything else that will put you down, I'll have to shoot you." Jo told him. "If I still had my gun..." Jo then thought, not knowing she had actually said it out loud.

Henry couldn't believe how calm she was, but it was Jo and she was known to be calm and patient while doing her stressful job, especially when interrogating suspects who always had at least one thing to lie about. He stared at her with skepticism. He couldn't determine if his partner really would shoot him or that she was only being sarcastic. The immortal couldn't come to a conclusion.

...

Just after a smack echoed in the room and red was seen, Abe decided to leave the premises, knowing he wasn't welcomed into their little spat―not that he would want to come between them. They both needed to sort things out on their own, seeing they were both grown adults and proving that they didn't need anyone to supervise them. Especially the son. So he climbed upstairs to the kitchen, putting his glasses on, taking out his pen from his breast pocket and started on a riddle that appeared in the newspaper every day. He liked riddles since it made his brain get some exercise. It read:

"This thing all things devours;

Birds, beasts, trees, and flowers;

Gnaws iron, bites steel;

Grinds hard stones to meal;

Slays kings, ruins towns,

And beats high mountains down."

The old man laughed, finding the answer so simple and so connected to his life. "Time" He thought. The answer was time, and it would devour him soon enough. Before today, he would have been scared to die, to leave his father behind without anyone else to take care of him, but now he was at peace with death. Henry now had Jo. They could take care of each other. He knew it wasn't the best choice since now Detective Martinez couldn't live a simple ordinary life. Whatever the case, he knew she would be fine. Sure, she would encounter many problems, but everyone had bumps along the road of their life. Change and problems were inevitable, but she had Henry and vice versa. He knew everything would be fine.

...

Pulling back his head and looking to the ceiling, he laughed. From what Jo had just told him, he realized how childish he was acting and especially thinking. Jo slapping him and threatening him with her (absent) gun knocked his senses, intelligence and wisdom back into place. He still did feel somewhat guilty and bad about her obtaining eternal life. He also felt culpable because a part of him felt happy since now he had one person he cared for who would never die and leave him, but that was his selfishness acting up. The Englishman, although, had enough confidence to tell himself that bad things would happen, and how you acted afterwards was what made a difference and that counted. So he was going to take action, giving himself the task of helping Jo thoroughly through her new ability.

Henry would need to tell her eventually that she would not be able to stay in one place for a long time; which meant she would have to give up her job someday. The M.E also needed to present her with false identities, other documents, birth certificates... The doctor would be the detective's so-called trainer and teacher. How to live with a secret that could never get out into the public.

The Past-Londoner felt like he owed her. Firstly, for moderately getting her into this lawfully mess (even if Jo wanted to know everything anyway) and secondly, she got shot (no one enjoys getting shot).

"Ok sorry...Thank goodness you are not blaming me...I don't think I would cope well, you not talking to me." Not to make things weird he added. "You know, because then I wouldn't be able to solve cases with you."

"Does this mean I'll have to quit my job? Because I love my job." Jo asked, drooping her eyes.

"No, not just yet. Don't worry we can probably stay here for another eight to ten years if we play our cards right. For now, we can continue on with solving murders and running after killers." Henry nudged her shoulder, trying to cheer her up.

"What do you mean 'we'?" Jo asked, lifting her eyebrow quizzically.

"We immortals need to stick together. Now I can see you worrying, don't because right now we are staying here." Henry looked at her intensely, searching her eyes for her reaction. Hopefully not a meltdown...but...She couldn't die anymore for goodness sake!

"Oh my god! No, no, no...I'm immortal!" Henry's hope flew out the window. Jo looked frenzied, it was like her brain finally started processing what was happening to her. "And I'm naked!" She broke down and became highly emotional for the second time in her life. The first was right after her husband died. Just this time she wasn't feeling sad, she was experiencing a large amount of shock.

Henry knew exactly what to do, the woman in front of him needed comfort and kind words...and clothes.

"From all that you've succumbed today, you are staying here for a while. Abe wouldn't mind. Now detective let's go and find you some clothes. Then sleep, you deserve it and it is three in the morning." He said, bringing her upstairs.

"I think that's probably a good idea. This blanket is not as soft as it looks." She joked, but with a strained voice.

The M.E wasn't used to taking care of Jo, it was usually the other way round. Jo would be the one with the gun, making Henry stay behind her to protect him from imminent danger. She could use a gun; Henry only jumped in front of them. She had combat police training; Henry...didn't. He was usually always the one being protected and taken care of. But not tonight. Tonight he was taking care of her.

...

Henry gave Jo a pair of his pyjamas (they were too big for her, but it was better than nothing), and also his comfortable bed, telling her that he will be fine on the couch. Surprisingly, the woman didn't object.

"I'll get some of your clothes in the morning. Goodnight Jo, try to sleep." Henry told her, turning to exit his bedroom, but Jo―who was sitting on the bed―halted him.

"Did I say anything...weird?" Jo questioned, slight nervousness present in her voice.

"Whatever do you mean detective?"

"I don't exactly remember everything that happened in the warehouse. Of course after I had been shot that is. I remember bits and pieces, but nothing with sound and words attached to it." Jo explained. Henry pondered remembering one key phrase she had told him, but did not know whether to say it. "Henry? Are you even listening?" Jo snapped his deep wondering thoughts.

"Yes, yes I'm listening. No, you didn't say anything unusual, and getting a bit of amnesia is normal in these types of conditions. Extreme blood loss can do that to a fellow. Henry didn't add also the dying part. He decided to leave it out, for emotional balance on Jo's part.

"Good, good." Jo responded, yawning and then affecting Henry with it.

"I guess I should go." Henry remarked, heading out the half open door.

"Thanks―for everything." Jo said, getting under the covers, but keeping the lamp flickering.

"I don't...You welcome." Henry answered, changing his response mid-sentence. He couldn't keep beating himself down. Instead he would think of all the good times that he could...would have with another immortal around. Closing the door, he headed to the couch, adding a pillow and a thick blanket. Laying down his head on the plump cushion, he thought about what he hadn't told her. The rather small hinted confession. He wanted, but at the same time didn't want to get into a complicated relationship with his friend. If it wouldn't work out, then how would they supposed to go back to being just friends? Then they would go their separate ways, living a lonely life forever. He didn't want that to happen. Also, whatever close romantic feelings he had for his partner, he wasn't sure anymore if it was only because she was now the only person he could ever be with...that would work out. Frustration filled his mind, making him punch the side of the couch. He had to leave it be, to see where the wind blows. For now, he wanted to be neutral; friend zoned. Nothing of the above, but nothing under either. For now...everything was best to be kept the way it was.

...

It had been two weeks since the incident and the now two immortals went back to work, everything going back to normal...mostly. Of course, the couple spent evenings―that stretched into nights―talking about Henry's long complicated life. Henry enjoyed telling everything to someone and Jo found his many experiences amusing. They hadn't worked on any homicide cases yet. Killers, it seemed, were taking a two week vacation.

It was early Monday morning, around five A.M and Jo slept soundly in her bed. Her new gun, phone and badge lay on her bedside table. It had been a difficult task for Jo; trying to find a reasonable plausible story on how she lost all three of her things at the same time. She stated a robber stole them and as she was in hot pursuit, the thief threw them in the river, not wanting to be caught with the evidence red handed. The only part that didn't really make sense was how the robber had actually been able to steal the objects off her body. She was relieved no one asked any questions. It was surprising since the precinct was the spawning spot for detectives.

Martinez groaned profoundly as her cellphone rang. Without opening her eyes, she searched for her phone on the side table. When found, she picked it up, answering it with a grouchy voice.

"Martinez."

"Detective, we have a case. Bring Doctor Morgan along with you since he will be the head M.E working on it. He's strange, but I know how much of an asset he is. The location is on 5th Avenue, house number 645." Lieutenant Reece said with a commanding voice.

"Yes Sir, on my way." Jo said, already getting dressed.

"Oh, and Martinez. Don't make me regret assigning Doctor Morgan to you. I know how much he likes playing the detective." Reece commanded sternly, then hanging up.

"Hope I don't regret it either." The detective mumbled, rushing out the door, heading for Henry's street.

"I wonder how this case will turn out...?"


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