Sins of the Fathers'

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8


Quinn rolled over to find the other side of their king sized bed empty and cold. He pretty much expected it because he had been finding it like that every night for the past two weeks. She’d barely slept since the day his former partner turned killer had committed suicide in front of her and half of the department. But he didn’t just stop with taking his own life; he dropped a huge bombshell on Kris.

He sighed and slipped out of bed, knowing exactly where he would find her. He padded down the hall and stopped in the kitchen doorway. She was curled up in a chair at their breakfast bar looking over the files they’d found in his ex-partner’s cabin.

“Hey.” She said so quietly he almost didn’t hear her. “Sorry.”

He walked over and wrapped his arms around her. “It’s ok babe. I can’t begin to imagine what you’re feeling right now.” He said softly as he kissed the top of her head.

He felt her tears on his chest. “I just wish I could talk to my mom. I don’t like thinking she lied to me all those years.” He held her tighter as she shook from crying. “Why would she lie to me Quinn? I just don’t understand.”

Quite frankly he could understand why her mother wouldn’t want to tell her that her father turned out to be a dirty cop. “If she did I’m sure she had her reasons. We’ll figure it out together. I promise.” He hugged her a little tighter. “Come to bed babe.” He kissed her temple. “You need to get some sleep.”

All she could do was nod and let him help her out of the chair. He guided her back to their room. Once he was comfortable she curled up to him, letting the steady beat of his heart lull her to sleep. He held her close and hoped like hell that what he was going to do the next day would get the answers she needed.

The next morning Kris woke to find Quinn missing. She smelled breakfast cooking and when she walked into the kitchen the sight made the ache in her chest ease a little. “Hey guys.”

Jonas and Elliott smiled and waved. Quinn met her at the doorway with a kiss and a cup of coffee. “I thought maybe they could help. We’ll find out the truth about who your dad really is and find out who killed Vance.”

Kris felt the hot tears prick her eyes. She couldn’t ask for better men in her life, especially the one with his arms wrapped around her. “Thank you. All of you.”

He held her tightly as he kissed her again. “I’d do anything for you babe.”

Those words, that knowledge, eased the ache a little bit more. “I know and that’s why I love you so much.”

She took a seat at the bar, Quinn passed around the food and their boss started the conversation. “We brought everything we could find on Vance and your mom. We looked for any way they could have met.”

She inhaled and exhaled a deep breath before asking. “And what did you find?”

Elliot handed her a stack of files. “Looks like your mom met him in August of 1974. He was a rookie and he pulled her over for speeding. The department keeps copies of every ticket ever written so it wasn’t too hard to find it. She was working as a seamstress at a shop called Hartman’s Alterations.”

Kris smiled sadly and fondly. “I barely remember her working there. I was pretty young when she quit. My grandmother taught her how to sew and she did it to help pay her way through college.”

Jonas read over the papers. “It was and still is a family owned business and they’ve kept surprisingly good records. They even kept ledgers with all of their customers, every transaction since they opened with names and dates.”

“So what else did you guys find?” Kris asked as she tried to finish her breakfast and read over the files.

Elliot passed her the photocopies of the ledger with Vance in it. “Vance started using the alterations shop she worked at about two weeks after giving her the ticket. Then he stopped going there around late November.”

Kris didn’t need to think too hard about why. “They weren’t involved very long then. Late November had to be when she found out she was pregnant with me.” The others nodded in agreement. “I wonder if she told him.”

Elliot laid a thick file in front of her. “He knew.” She gave him a questioning look and he nodded to it. “This was with the things at Jesse’s cabin. Vance had a file on you.”

Kris opened it and found the first fourteen years of her life staring back at her. Her birth announcement, pictures from then up until Vance was killed in 1989. Granted most of them looked like surveillance photos but they were there. There were several dozen returned and unopened letters addressed to her mother. She took them out and read them; the early ones were pleas to let him see her, to be a part of her life in some way. The ones that followed were offers of financial support if nothing else.

“When did he change?” She looked around at the guys. “I mean, he wasn’t dirty from the start of his career was he?”

Jonas passed over Vance’s personnel file, the one they’d found in Jesse’s cabin. “No and from what we can tell he didn’t start having any major issues until his fourth year in uniform. Then he started getting a lot of excessive force complaints but no actual reprimands. It seems our fair city was plagued with Irish mob problems back then. Vance ruffled a lot of feathers with them and some of their rivals. At six years on the job he went in as a dirty cop for almost 2 years with the O’Dwyer family and the bust is what got him a gold shield.”

Kris scanned his file as Elliot talked and found the arrest that got Vance his gold shield. “He brought down the O’Dwyer family? Jesus. They were into everything; book making, drugs, prostitution, gun running.” Kris scoffed as she looked at the files. “Equal opportunists.” The guys nodded. “Was this when he turned?” She watched as the guys exchanged looks. “What? What is it?”

“The youngest son of the O’Dwyer family and a couple of lower level guys managed to evade arrest.” Quinn passed her another file. “About year after the bust Vance got money to your mom, $50,000 to be exact. We were able to pull her bank records to confirm the deposit. The letter he sent said it was an inheritance and he wanted her to buy a house for you guys with it.”

She looked over the original land deed, it was the house she was living in. “I remember when we moved in here. Mom had been looking for a house for a while but between what she made and paying for school it was hard to find one in a decent neighborhood and our apartment was pretty crappy. She was almost finished with law school and she just wanted something good for us.” There was only one other person that could help her. The woman her mother had fallen in love with when she was three, Janice Mathis. “I need to go to Savannah.”

The guys knew Janice and knew that’s where she lived. Quinn had anticipated this. “We can go whenever you want.”

Kris left the guys at the bar and walked into the living room, hitting speed dial 4. Three rings later she smiled as Janice said. “Hey kid!” Even though she was hitting her thirties Janice always called her that. “How are you?”

“Doing better Mom.” She said as she sat on her sofa. “How are you?”

Kris could hear her moving around, most likely in her kitchen. “I’m great. I’m making lunch for Cole and Izzy.”

Her brother and sister, Janice’s children through Artificial Insemination, should be up and heading out to school. “How are they doing?”

Janice hugged her other kids and kissed the tops of their heads as she passed them their lunches. “Love you guys. Say hey to your sister really quick.”

“Hey Sissy! We love and miss you!” Both yelled as they ran out the door to catch their bus.

Kris could only laugh as she heard them fade away. “I miss and love them too. I was thinking about coming down for a few days. I need to talk to you and look through some of mom’s things.”

“Ok.” She’d known Kris her entire life and could tell something was wrong. “Is this about what happened a couple of weeks ago? With that detective you worked with?”

Janice had seen the news and talked to Kris right after it happened. She knew that her daughter hadn’t told her everything but would when she was ready. “It is.” Kris didn’t want to go through any of it over the phone so she said. “Some things have come up about mom and my dad. I wanted to talk to you about it and I need to look through mom’s papers.”

“You know you guys are always welcome here any time and I’ll do whatever I can to help.” Janice had met Anna, Kris’s mom, when Kris was three in a class at Mercer University in Macon. “When are you coming?”

“We’ve got to get a few things together but we’ll be down in a few hours.” She tried to sound as calm as possible.

Janice was so thankful that she had men like Jonas and Quinn in her life. “I’ll have everything ready for you guys. I love you and be careful.”

“Love you too and we will.” She said before hanging up.

Elliot left soon after wishing them luck. Kris and Quinn got their things together for the trip. Jonas came back an hour later with his backpack on his motorcycle. They met him in the driveway as Quinn rolled his bike out of the garage.

“You guys ready?” Jonas asked as he slipped on his aviators with his 6’ 4" frame straddling his Harley Triumph.

Quinn started up his bike, they got their headsets set up, and Kris climbed on behind him. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

This was a trip the three of them had taken many times; Kris loved taking the back roads. Just over two hours later they arrived in Savannah. It was time for lunch so they went to their favorite place, The Cotton Exchange. Kris smiled as she caught a glimpse of the beach.

Quinn could feel the tension radiating off of her as they talked and waited for their food. Jonas excused himself to use the restroom and Quinn leaned in closer, whispering in her ear. “You ok?”

Kris shook her head and she leaned into him. “No.” She felt the warmth of his strong arms as he engulfed her in a hug. “I don’t want to ask her but I need to know if she knew.”

He held her tighter and kissed her temple as he spoke softly. “I know babe. None of this is fair but you’re right. You need to know if she knows.” He sighed and said. “I just worry how you’re going to handle it if she knew all along.”

Kris had her arms around him now. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel.” She sighed as she pulled him in closer. “I just don’t know.”

Two hours later they pulled up to the beach house her mom and Janice had purchased right after they gave her the house in Macon. The house in Macon had been her academy graduation present. Kris loved the place and loved that her brother and sister were growing up on the beach.

Janice met them on the front porch. “Hey you guys!” She greeted them enthusiastically and hugged them tightly. “I’m so glad you’re here. Cole and Izzy are going to be so happy.”

Because of the murders it had been a while since Kris had been down to see her family. “I’m sorry I haven’t been around much. I’ve really missed you guys.”

Janice took her hand and squeezed. “We’ve missed you too but we understand. We’re just glad that you’re all ok.” She hugged the guys then they followed her into the kitchen and she made drinks for them. “Do you want to talk now or wait until later?”

This was going to be hard enough for her; she didn’t want to do it with the kids in the house. “Now would be good.” The guys had already agreed to be there when they talked.

Everyone took a seat at the kitchen table and Janice said. “What’s going on?”

Kris told her the unfiltered version of the investigation and Jesse’s suicide. “Before he killed himself he told me that this guy, Jacob Vance, was my father.”

Janice looked beyond surprised which made Kris happier than she could ever express. “I don’t understand, Anna always said it was Derrick Monroe. Did he have proof?”

“I don’t understand either. Jesse was pretty certain and apparently so was Vance. He had a file on me. Mostly there were pictures but there were letters to mom. She didn’t read any of them but she did take $50,000 from him. He apparently told her that it was an inheritance and she bought our old house with it.” Kris said, feeling slightly relieved that Janice was as confused as she was. “Did she ever mention him or any cop that she knew?”

Janice shook her head vigorously. “No. Never. I don’t understand. She told me everything or at least I thought she did. You said he had pictures of you?”

“Yeah. He did.” She showed her the file Vance had on her and watched as she looked it over. “I’m just trying to work this all out. I can’t and don’t want to believe that she lied to me.”

Janice nodded because she felt the same way. “We could talk about anything. I just don’t want to believe she lied to me all those years.”

She sighed heavily. “I’ve decided do a DNA test, now that’s really the only way to prove Vance is my dad.”

Janice had taken Kris’s hand in hers and was holding on tightly. “Your mom was no saint but she was always very honest about her life before me or at least I thought she was. She didn’t give names or anything, just stories about people she had encountered.” Kris half smiled because she had always accused her mom of sharing too much. “She loved you more than anything in the world Kris. She always told me Derrick Monroe was your father. She must have been involved with both of them at the same time. The only way you’ll really know then is to get the DNA test done.”

It had only been a thought that had crossed her mind but now she was certain and she knew Erik would put a rush on it if she asked. But she wasn’t sure if she was ready to hear the news. “If I don’t find anything in mom’s files that will be my next route.”

Janice walked back to Anna’s office with Kris, it was exactly the way it had been when her mom was alive. “I can’t bear to do anything with it.” Janice said quietly as they looked around. “Sometimes I find Izzy in here doing her homework. Cole likes to sit in the window and play with his cars.”

Kris stood in the doorway of her mom’s office. Half of her walls were lined with bookshelves and the other half with pictures of their family and friends. There was everything from Shakespeare to Harry Potter to her books with cases and their rulings. It had had a couple of small windows when they bought it. Her mom had renovated it and put a sliding glass door in their so she could see the beach in their backyard.

It had been three years since her mom had passed and it still felt like it was yesterday. Especially standing in her office looking at all of her things. “I’m glad they have a place to go so they can be closer to her.”

Janice squeezed her shoulder before walking back to the kitchen. “Take your time.”

Quinn and Jonas weren’t quite sure what to do for Kris so they stood outside the door and waited. She walked around the small room, looking at the old pictures and running a hand over the knick knacks she and her siblings had given their mom. Then she walked over to the cabinets where her mom kept her important papers. Hot tears pricked her eyes as she pulled open a drawer.

Quinn looked to Jonas and quietly said. “Should we go in?”

Jonas watched his partner and best friend, shrugging he said. “Maybe give her a few more minutes? I can’t imagine how she feels right now.”

Both men still had their parents so they couldn’t exactly relate. Several minutes passed then Jonas said. “Maybe we should go in.”

They walked in and stood by the desk in front of Kris. She took a second to acknowledge them with a sad smile. Looking through her mom’s things was hard but she knew she could get through it with both of them there.

“I want to go through everything. I don’t care how long it takes. We’ll go through the whole office, see if there are any hidden compartments.” She said from the seat behind her mom’s desk.

Quinn walked around and squatted in front of her. “Are you ok?” She nodded and leaned forward pressing her forehead to his. “We’re going to figure this all out. I promise.”

Kris pulled back a little and kissed him. “Thank you.” She turned to look up at Jonas. “Thank you too. I really don’t know what I would do without either of you.”

Without making too much of a mess they turned the office upside down. Maybe an hour into their search Kris found an envelope hidden in the back of a drawer in her mom’s desk. She opened it and dumped its contents out onto the desk. There was a small envelope among the papers and it was addressed to her.

Kris,

I want you to know that I love you more than life. Your well-being and safety were always my first priority. When I was 20 I met and became involved with two men. One was a police officer and his name was Jacob Vance. The other was Derrick Monroe and he was a contractor. Both seemed to be good men but I wasn’t interested in any kind of serious relationship. I was using them to hide who I really was from our family and for that I am sorry. Neither deserved to be used that way. After a few months I decided I couldn’t lead either of them on anymore and I was tired of lying to everyone. Derrick accepted the break up because he’d met someone else and she could give him what I couldn’t.

Jacob however couldn’t accept it and pursued me relentlessly. When I found out I was pregnant I told both of them even though I was certain my calculations made Derrick your father. I also told them they were both free of obligation but Jacob wouldn’t give up. He wanted to be a part of your life even though he knew he may not be your father. I briefly thought of giving in because I wanted the best for you. He offered financial support but it came with marriage and I didn’t want that. He sent letter after letter but I stopped reading after the first two.

As you know I met Janice when you were three and I decided to follow my heart. She was everything I never knew I wanted. Around the same time I met Janice Derrick was killed in a construction accident and I received a check from Vance, he said it was an inheritance. I wanted to get you out of that apartment and into a better neighborhood so I took it. I knew Vance kept tabs on us, on you mostly. I didn’t try to stop him since he helped with the house.

Then everything came out about him being corrupt and his partner was murdered. Shortly after all of that he was killed and I was glad I didn’t let him into your life. If you’re reading this letter I’m guessing some things have happened. I should have found out who your father was and I’m sorry I didn’t. I hope you can forgive me and understand I tried to do what I thought was best for you. Please don’t be angry with Janice because she only knew what I told her. Take care of your brother and sister.

Love,

Mom

Kris had been prepared to be angry with her mom. After reading the letter she didn’t feel like she was lied to per se but she obviously hadn’t been told the whole truth. As she read the letter to the guys she thought about what all of their lives would have been like if her mom had accepted Vance’s marriage proposal. Maybe he wouldn’t have gone rogue and later killed his partner.Maybe she never would’ve become a cop and met Jonas and Quinn. Unfortunately there were a lot of maybes. One thing was for certain though she wouldn’t have Janice, Izzy, Cole, Quinn, or Jonas in her life. For her that was a family and a life she couldn’t imagine being without so maybe it was all for the best. Quinn actually felt a little better as she read the letter out loud to them because he knew this was an explanation Kris could live with. He looked up to see her looking back at him. The small smile and nod she gave him let him know she was ok.

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