Rubbing my eyes, I heard the front door open and shut. Alex padded up to me and said, "Hey, there. Did you have a rough day off with nothing to do?"
I rose up and just stared, not knowing how to start.
"You're not saying anything. Hmm...I think you need to take a shower with me then. Come on."
She grabbed for my hand, but I pulled back. She cocked her head and squinted. "What's wrong, August?"
I blurted, "I got transfer orders. I leave for San Myshuno in three days."
It looked like I'd visibly punched her in the gut. She slapped a hand over her mouth and shuddered.
"I'm sorry, baby. I am...it wasn't supposed to come through for at least eighteen more months. The San Myshuno branch...shit...for like five years." God, she was crying. I couldn't take it. "I-I don't have to go. I could always turn it down. My boss would support it."
She shook her head. One tear dripped down her cheek. "No," she whispered. "It's your dream. You have to go."
This was going worse than I'd even imagined. I ached seeing her crushed. It ripped me apart. "No...I don't. I mean, I could stay here and get more experience. Like...we're not ready for this. We've talked about in five years you could move with me. We'll just stick to that."
She shook her head forcefully, then turned away. "No, August! I won't do that to you. It's your dream job. Stop saying that."
Her shoulders shook as she silently cried.
I turned her to me and stroked her hair. "Don't cry, baby. We can get through this."
She nodded weakly. "Yeah. We can."
"I know long distance sucks, but lots of people do it."
She didn't say anything. Her face just grew wet as more tears dribbled down her face. I scooped her up to me and tried to calm her down. "We'll stay together. You'll see. We have nothing to worry about."
But she wasn't saying anything to comfort me.
In the end, we agreed that we should have an open relationship. It was too much pressure on us long distance. But we promised to see each other at least every other month, and if we were meant to be, it would work out. All we had to do was get through three years. Then she was going to move to San Myshuno and find a coaching job. She just wanted to play professionally a little longer. How could I stop her dream when she wouldn't interfere with mine?
I was positive this would work. And to be honest, I had no desire to date anyone else. My job seriously would take up a lot of my time. Three years wasn't much in the whole scheme of things.
It was so good to be back in San Myshuno. I'd missed everything about the city where I grew up. Thankfully, Mom and Dad never got rid of their penthouse, so it was always fun for me to visit. After the murder trial, they hightailed it back to San Myshuno, and Mom sold off her Brindleton Bay fitness club. They didn't want any attachment to those bad memories that town held for all of us.
"Hey, Mom," I said, giving her a huge hug. I hadn't been home much in the seven years I'd been away. Maybe I'd see them like once a year.
"August," Mom said, "I'm so happy you're home now."
My Great Aunt Dakota was visiting, too, so I gave her a hearty hug as well.
Coming up behind me, Darius said, "Dude, you can't even say hi to your bro?"
I laughed. My God, he'd grown a foot since I'd last seen him. "What are they feeding you around here? Giant beans? You're a monster."
His face beamed. "Yeah, I think I'm taller than you now."
"No, bro. I don't think the size of your hair counts. You're still a shrimp in comparison to me."
I put him in a headlock then Mom got onto us for roughhousing as usual.
"Come sit down, you two. Your Aunt Dakota is here and she doesn't want to watch you fling each other into the furniture."
I laughed, dropping down on the couch. "She never changes, does she, bro?"
"Annoying as ever," he joked.
It was so great to be with my family.
Mom threw up her hand. "Can you two knuckleheads not gang up on me for a change?"
"Now keep your aunt company while I go check on your father. He was supposed to get off work early today."
Nervous jitters jumped inside me as I approached the FBI office downtown.
God, it seemed like yesterday when I first visited the place when I was just a high school kid. They hadn't even finished its construction yet.
Now, there were trees towering near the entrance.
I remembered gazing up at the FBI star and dreaming I might one day become a special agent.
And although I'd dreamt it, I never expected it to happen.
But here I was. Special Agent Day. Ready to take on the world.
Next update is on Monday, February 19th
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