Camp Pendleton Medical Centre
Tears poured down Kensi’s cheeks as the doctor went through all of her injuries. He’d gone through how her right shoulder was dislocated, which is why it was now in a sling, how the pressure on her legs will wear off in a few days and that he was certain that she would feel them again soon and be walking about in no time. They’d repaired the damage her fractured ribs had done to her lungs and they’d stopped the internal bleeding. She took in a ragged breath.
“I was pregnant?” Her eyes met the doctor’s and he nodded.
“Ten weeks. I’m sorry, Agent Blye, due to the impact from the accident, there was no hope to save your baby. That is why you were bleeding when your colleague found you. Your uterus was damaged. We’ve done all that we can to repair it, however, the likelihood of you ever being able to have another child would be low.”
She turned onto her left shoulder and cried for the child she’d lost and the children that she may never bear. How was she going to tell Deeks? No, she wouldn’t say anything. She’d never known for certain, although it had been a high probability that she was. She should never have left the mission. If she hadn’t been so stubborn in refusing to acknowledge the truth that she was pregnant, she would still have their baby.
The doctor left her alone, he knew that the news he’d given her was extremely hard. He nodded to the older couple in the corridor and continued on his rounds to see his other patients. It had been a long day and he was ready to head home.
Morro Bay - the next day
Callen quietly moved about the house in the early hours and left for the marina. As he drove through the northern parts of town, he spotted something familiar. He pulled over to the side of the road and furrowed his brow. He knew that car well. But what was it doing here? He didn’t have time to investigate he would check in on it later. He headed onto the marina and parked. He strolled down the pier to the boat and met with his new boss, Mike Hobson and his son, Jake.
They geared up and set out of the marina, passed the bar and continued out to sea. It was peaceful and beautiful at this early hour and Callen revelled in it as he looked around him. It gave him the peace he needed to get through the day. He enjoyed the breeze blowing against his face and the water splashing up against the boat. This was more like it, Callen told himself. Here he felt free from the bounds of the land and was held in God’s grace with His power in the waves. Being out at sea was the perfect place for him to do some soul-searching.
It was back breaking work, but Callen enjoyed the time to allow his thoughts to drift as he hauled in the fish filled nets. Mostly salmon and he hoped that he could have some to take home for dinner. What was the use of fishing if you couldn’t eat what you caught? He quickly moved into a rhythm, helping Jake do all the manual work, while Mike steered the vessel. If fishing was nothing else but to fill his time while he was living just outside of Morro Bay, Callen knew that he was at least helping Mike and his son out for a while. They were a man down, a small family run business and it was just how Callen liked it.
The sun rose well into the sky, the fish had been stored in boxes on ice and they were heading back to shore. There was nothing like it, Callen decided. The freedom to be whoever he wanted, when he wanted. Living a new alias gave him the opportunity that most people never had in their lifetime and he’d lived many. To him it helped him try out different personalities and lifestyles, to see what suited him best. He did well whether it was pretending to be a high flying business man or the spoiled son of wealthy parents, to Jimmy the mail man or just a guy looking to get by and fish. Perhaps growing up in thirty-seven foster homes had given him a gift - the ability to adjust to anything.
He helped Jake unload their catch for the day and place the boxes onto the truck, ready for delivery.
“Here you go, Julian. Take this home, I know your father loves salmon.” Callen looked over at the small box of salmon that Mike had put aside.
“Thanks, Mike. How much?” Mike’s expression turned into a broad smile, almost laughter as he handed him the box.
“You earned it. See you same time tomorrow.”
“Thanks. Bye.” Callen walked along the pier towards his car and two familiar faces caught his eye. The woman smiled and whispered softly into her daughter’s ear. The girl stood up holding an ice-cream and waved.
Callen’s face exploded into laughter as he walked over to them. He placed the box of salmon on the bench and hugged them both.
“Hey, what are you two doing here? Where’s…”
“He sent us here.” Callen noticed the worry in Michelle’s eyes as she spoke with him. A tight knot clenched in his stomach. Something was going on, he knew it when Hetty hung up on him the night before.
“You’re staying at the motel just up the road here?”
“How did…” Michelle shook her head and smiled. “Of course you recognised my car.”
“Drop it back to the motel and I’ll take you lovely ladies for a drive into the hills.” Michelle nodded and led Kamran back to their car, telling her quietly what they were doing.
Once Michelle and Kamran were in the old truck, Callen drove away back to the farm. Callen waited until he and Michelle were alone before they’d talk shop.
The drive was beautiful, Michelle pointed to horses and cows as they drove along the country road. “So where are you staying?” Michelle knew a bit from when she helped Joelle escape Los Angeles.
“You’re not going to believe it, Shell. I found my father.”
Michelle’s eyes widened in surprise, she knew just how much Callen had searched for his family. “He lives here?”
“Yes. We’re all staying on his farm.”
“Wow, this is a surprise.” She noted the silence from Callen. “So how are you dealing with this?”
“It’s not been easy. But having my wife and daughter with me has helped.”
“I can’t wait to meet them. Kamran would love to meet Molly.” Sam had told her all about Sarah and Molly.
“Her name’s Louise here. I call her Lou Lou.” Callen explained. “I’m Julian Miller, I’ll introduce you to everyone else when we get there.” He pulled onto the country lane, the trees overhung the lane as they drove past the avocado orchard.
“Nice to meet you, Julian. I’m Simone Moore and this here is Riley.” Kamran looked up and smiled at her Uncle Callen.
“Hey Riley, nice to meet you.”
Kamran giggled and she reminded him of his daughter in so many ways. “Nice to meet you too, Uncle Julian. Is it okay if I still call you uncle?”
Callen smiled. “Of course, Riley. Wait until you meet Lou Lou. The two of you are going to hit it off, I can just see it.”
Kamran wrapped her small arms over Callen’s waist and hugged him. “Is Daddy coming too?”
“I’m not sure, JellyBean, I didn’t even know that you two were coming. It was a lovely surprise to see you here.”
“Us too. We didn’t know that you were here either.”
He pulled up beside the house and honked his horn. He gathered Kamran out from the truck and swirled her around. “Loads and loads of trees to hide in.”
A blonde girl about Kamran’s size came running out of the house, but stopped short when she saw the visitor.
“Lou Lou, this is Riley. She’s your cousin.” The girl looked over to her father, her eyes wide and confused.
Callen stepped forward and picked Molly up and blew a raspberry on her stomach. “Riley’s dad is like my brother. They’re staying in Morro Bay for a while too.”
Molly squealed from the tickling of her father’s bristled chin and cheeks. “Daddy. Let me go.” He brought her back down to the ground in front of Kamran. “Hi Riley. Nice to meet you. Come and see the tree house my Papa is building. It’s going to be our secret place.”
Kamran looked over to her mom for approval. Michelle smiled and nodded. “Have fun, Riley.” Kamran took Molly’s hand and the two ran away to this secret location.
“She’s beautiful, Julian.”
“Thanks. She’s an amazing kid. Welcomed me into her life as soon as she saw me. Alyssa’s done an amazing job. Oh, I should tell you, her alias is Hannah. We’ve not had to worry too much around here, but soon we’ll have to enrol Molly into school so we’ll give her time being Lou Lou first.” Callen took the box of salmon inside and placed them into the refrigerator and the rest into the chest freezer. He popped his head inside the bedroom and found Alyssa fast asleep. Joelle was out back with her parents in the small house they’d been settled into. He stepped back outside and joined Michelle. “Alyssa’s asleep. I’ll introduce you to her later.”
Michelle nodded. “It’s hard when it involves your own kids. Sam and I’ve had new id’s ready ever since we married and then for Kamran after she came along. But we never thought we’d have to use it. Not even after Sidorov.”
“I know Hetty’s worried. She hung up on me last night. Have you heard from Sam today?” They walked along the apple orchard, away from the house.
“He called me, didn’t talk long. I think he needed to make sure we’d made it here okay. He used codes throughout our calls, left me clues that led me here. I couldn’t understand why Morro Bay, but after finding you here, I know why.”
“Hetty must have told him, I didn’t know we were coming here until we were about to land. Arkady told Hetty where my father was on Saturday.”
“I am happy for you, Callen. I know you searched for a long time to find any family.”
“I found two, actually.”
“Arkady’s been holding out on me, Shell. He’s my father’s younger brother.”
“He’s your uncle?”
“Yes. I always knew he was holding out on me about something, I just never expected it would be this.” Callen pulled a leaf off the apple tree and twirled it in his hand.
“I know Sam’s never trusted him. He worried about you with him. Sam will die of shock to find out he’s family.” Michelle laughed.
“Sam’s just a giant Teddy Bear. He worries about me too much.”
“He’s had good reason to when it comes to you, Callen.” Michelle wrapped her hands around Callen’s arm. “He sees you as his brother and Sam cares for his family.”
“I know. He’s told me.”
“Good. I’m glad.” Michelle looked around the farm, taking in the scents of the blossoms and the sunshine. “It’s beautiful here. I can see why your father found here to settle. It’s like paradise. We should all move here. Retire from the business and Sam can set up his wine business he’s worked so hard to obtain but not used.”
It was Callen’s turn to laugh. “I can see Sam doing just that, you know. What would you do, Shell?”
“I dunno. Is there a hospital around? I could go into medical supplies for real this time.”
“You know I don’t think Joelle’s forgiven any of us for our lies.”
“But soon she’ll realise just how important it is to live the lie to protect our families.”
“Yes, she will. I’ve tried to get out of her what she’ll do for a job while she’s here. So far she’s been tight lip on the subject and just smiles.”
“Kamran’s going to be excited to see her old kindergarten teacher here. You know she wanted to go to school today so she could hand in her project. I made a trade and we dropped her project off with a friend who was taking it in for her instead.”
“You’ve done the right thing to hide the fear from Kamran, Shell. Molly’s seen too much of the horror on the weekend. She’s clingy and refuses to sleep in her own bed.”
Michelle saw the guilt in his eyes from what Alyssa and Molly had been through recently. “It’s not your fault, Callen.”
“I know, but it’s my job to protect what’s mine. I should have found her earlier. Before the Russians.”
“You tried. Every spare moment, from what Jo told me.” She turned him around to face him. “Why didn’t you tell Sam and me the truth? That you had a wife and after we set you up on that blind date, that Jo was your sister-in-law?”
Callen tried to avoid Michelle’s eye contact. He knew he’d hurt Sam by hiding it from him. He licked his lips before he spoke.
“I didn’t know how to tell him or you. That within days of marrying my wife she vanished? I had no idea about family feuds or enemies of my parents to think that they had anything to do with it. But one thing I did know, was that she loved me…”
“But you still thought that she had left you?” Callen nodded. It had been a hard thing to admit to anyone. It was something that he’d not spoken to Alyssa about either. He couldn’t. But the years of abandonment had placed the fear inside of him. The unworthiness of being loved.
“I felt like I had failed her and Molly when I found them and she told me why she ran. I wish I could turn back time and run and hide with her.”
“We all wish we could turn back time, Callen. But the fact is, we can’t.”
“I know.” Callen looked over to the house and spotted movement. “I think Alyssa’s awake. Come, let me introduce you.”