Mystery Author’s Story (Chapter 9)

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Chapter 9

About a half hour later, Paige arrived at the house and let herself in. The silence told her that Jason was not home yet. She was not even sure if he was coming home before departing for the mission.  She led herself on a tour of his house in order to kill some time while waiting. It was a small but simple one-story layout where the living room area was the main hub. To the left was a hallway leading to the Laundry, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. At quick glance, one bedroom was set to be an office with a desk and chair, while the other was just full of boxes and a large beanbag that Aiden would have a blast playing on. In another world Paige imagined that it could be Aiden’s bedroom full of books and toys and other child’s playthings.

Past the living room was the kitchen in which she had already been acquainted with. Jason set up his kitchen items nearly identically to the apartment that they had shared before.   To the left of the living room however was the master bedroom and another bathroom. Outside of a big bed, flat screen TV and a single set of drawers, the bedroom room was empty. The closet though large was relatively empty save a handful of suits, white button downed shirts in one area, and location themed hoodies, T shirts and jeans hung on the opposite side.

Hearing a car drive up, she quickly returned to the living room; not wanting to be caught in his bedroom and sat on the armchair as Jason; no Aiden entered the room.

“You came home,” she said in the same moment that he said.

“You came.” He moved quickly over to her as she rose, and they embraced in a warm and familiar hug and kiss. She sighed at the transformation. His suit and tie were replaced with a loose tank top shirt covered by jean overalls. His hair hung loose covered by a large ball cap. Nice shoes were replaced with worn down rubber soled tennis shoes.  He carried a large duffel bag which had been discarded at the door.

The sudden sense of Deja vu brought Paige back to their initial meeting. This was the Jason that she had spent nine months with and had had fallen for. Casual, with an easy smile, and welcoming personality. This was the young man that kicked it with his friends watching sports or an action hero movie with a beer and pizza. She smiled to herself as he went to grab a couple of Cokes out of the refrigerator.

“What?” he asked breaking her out of her trance.

“Nothing,” she blushed. “This is how you looked when I first met you. I forgot for a moment that this side of you existed.” He handed her a Coke, pulled the tab from his and took a swig.

“The bureau has a dress code and from what I’ve been told, I dress up nicely.” He strolled over to the couch and sat down. She went to the armchair and sat down on it Criss cross style.

“I like this side of you better.” She commented. “It is more natural.”

“And you? You were sporting some crazy cargo pants, and short shirts showing off some nice abs, I have to admit. Purple, or blue hair dye through blond streaks?”

“What? And not my Army fatigues and combat boots with dirty blond hair twisted into a low bun?” she joked. “I have had the same wardrobe since I was seventeen.”

“You always covered up at night,” he commented quietly. “T shirt or hoodie and cozy looking, soft and fluffy pants. You pulled your hair back in a loose ponytail.  That is how I always remembered you.” Suddenly serious, Paige opened her mouth to breach the subject of Aiden, however Jason spoke up first.

“I am glad that you are here because I was planning on calling you anyway. I have to ask you for a favor?”

“If you want me to water your plants, expect them to die quicky.” He smiled identically to the one she had seen from her son just a couple of hours ago.

“No. Can you braid my hair?” They stared at each other for a moment. “The one that you used to do with like five or six braids tight down to my neck?”

“Sure,” she said. “Do you have a Pick and rubber bands?” He strolled to the bathroom and emerged with both items. She hesitated to take them though and put them in her pocket.  He didn’t notice her disease and sat at the base of the armchair waiting expectantly for her to begin.

“Aiden/Jason, I have to tell you something.” She spoke seriously, a bit louder and more formal. He looked up puzzled by her tone. He took her hand and tried to meet her gaze. “But I have to know who I am talking to?”

“You know who I am. Jason Aiden Garrett.” He paused and saw that she trembled. “What’s going on? Are you dumping me?” she laughed quietly.

“Are we even together?” Paige asked.

“I would hope so; especially after last night.” He knelt up to her and planted a kiss on her open mouth.

“We agreed not to keep secrets between each other.” His expression encouraged her to continue. He knew in his gut that this was the moment of truth. Whatever she had been holding back from him, she was ready to share.

“The truth is, I have a son.”  Stunned, this was the last thing that he was expecting.  “He is five. I named him after his father.” The silence lingered for several moments.

“Do you love him?” Jason asked finally. “Your son’s father?” Startled, Paige shook her head up and down, pulling out a wallet sized photo.  She put it into his clenched hand. Jason hesitated, unwilling to look at the incriminating picture which reveled who had stolen Paige’s heart. His gaze looked at hers for a hint wondering who he would have to challenge.

“Yes. I loved him then and I never stopped.” Meeting his long glance, Paige stood up and walked through the kitchen to get to the outside patio.

She settled on a chair and waited. A minute passed. It turned to five minutes then ten. After fifteen minutes he finally got the nerve to flip the picture over. Jason found himself looking at a near perfect image of his own self as a child. Same hair, same ears, same birth mark, same smile, however this young man had Paige’s piercing green eyes and a slightly lighter skin tone. There was no doubt who was this young boy’s father. Stunned at the realization, he glanced at the picture again wondering if it would change. It didn’t.

Instead of joining her right away, Jason paused at the door and stared as she nervously waited, staring at the yard ahead. He began reliving the past few weeks while with Paige. Certain things now made sense when they didn’t earlier. Paige’s reluctance to stay out late, the response of her coworkers and friends, and even her response at their initial meeting.   Startled at the sound of the sliding door being opened, Paige looked up as he stood over her in stunned amazement.

“You love me still?” Tears were streaming down his face.

“Yes.” He sat down in the opposite chair staring at the small photo.

“I have a son?”

“No; We have a son. I named him Aiden after the man I understood to be his father.” She reached over and took the hand that did not hold the picture.

“How did it happen?” she smiled wryly.

“Do I need to teach you about the Birds and the Bees?” He snorted. “I didn’t realize that I was pregnant until a month or so after my arrest. That was why I began looking for you. My CO at the time said that he would also look into it however he got no further.” Just the thought of her alone and pregnant made Jason feel like a cad. His own mother was a single parent raising two boys and he and his brother vowed not to do the same. His older brother had done just that; fell in love, married and settled down with a full-time job. He and his wife had two children already and a third on the way. His niece was the same age as the son that he just found out about. Jason never thought that he would do what his own father had done causing much tension and strife on the whole family.

“My father died while I was undercover,” Paige continued diverting Jason’ thoughts. “And my mother fell apart. So, I thought that my pregnancy would push her over the edge, but it had the opposite effect. She moved in with me and became my support system. She was with me when Aiden was born and fell in love with her grandson. They have been close ever since.”

“I promised both my mother and son that I would be home early enough to put him to bed every night…”

“Which was why you were in such a rush to leave when you woke up after falling asleep at my place last week.

“Everyone at your workplace knew right away about me?”

“Yes. They have all met Aiden and I have his picture on my desk…”

“Until I came in and you shoved it into your desk.”

“You noticed?”

“No, just thought about it just now.” He paused. “That is why Major Byrnes mentioned our relationship in the briefings. I was mad at you for a few minutes because I thought you said something to him.”

“When you walked into the meeting, he noticed right away. I was under direct orders not to say one word about Aiden to you by both your boss and mine. In no uncertain terms they both explained that they didn’t want Aiden to distract you from our mission.”   As he began processing all that he learned in the last few minutes, Paige motioned for him to sit on the ground in front of her. Silently, she began separating his hair into sections rubber banding them into 7 separate poofs. She pulled out the pick and expertly maneuvered his head so that she could begin to work on braiding his hair. Both knew that they would be in this position for a while.

“Can you tell me about Aiden?” Jason asked after a few moments of silence. Her fingers continued to work the first braid down to the bottom of his neck. She banded the bottom, then rocked his head back to begin the process all over again.

“He is such a bundle of positive energy.” She began. “And so smart.” For the next hour and a half, Dylan talked about their son, telling Jason stories and readily answering questions about Kindergarten, preschool, Halloween costumes, Christmases, toys and favorite trips.” Jason listened with rapt attention, soaking it all in as she talked. His son had many of the same characteristics and mannerisms, that Jason’s own mother described. No doubt, Paige and Aiden would be embraced as part of the family without a second glance.

“I want to meet him,” Jason said slowly as Paige was finishing up on the last braid.

“I want you to meet him,” she agreed. “When?”

“Now?” Jason suggested.

“No,” Irritation and indignation began to swell in Jason until Paige continued. “My mother probably just got him to sleep for the night. I am not going to let you wake him up for a few minutes. That would piss her off. I can’t have an angry mother and an overtired but excited five-year-old boy when I get home. No one would get any sleep.” The thought brought a smile to his face.

“I want you to not just meet Aiden, but to spend time with him.” She paused thinking for a moment. “How about next Saturday? You will have the weekend off from the garage and we can spend Saturday together, then go to church on Sunday and have lunch before going back undercover?”

“I can do that.” She finished putting the small rubber band around the last braid and began to stand up. He glanced at his watched, surprised at how the time had flown by, realizing that he was due to leave within few minutes. Despite knowing this, he reached up and pulled her back down to the chair. His lips met hers and they kissed with the knowledge that this would be the last one for a while.

“This,” he pointed to her then himself. “has always been real to me.”

“Me too.” She agreed. With that, he stood up and pulled her up also. They held hands as they walked through the house to the front door. Once there they embraced one more time. He grabbed his tote bag and slung it over his shoulder. A black vehicle swung by to pick him up. Before getting into the passenger side, he paused and looked right at her.

“I love you.” He called. Then climbed into the vehicle. Paige waited until the car turned the corner then locked the door and walked to her own car.


My House; 7:30 J

Paige looked at her phone again 6 days later to read her unexpected text for the hundredth time that afternoon. From what she had learned, Jason was welcomed back at the Garage with open arms and was already working full time hours.

She had continued to work with the prep team and was preparing to go undercover the following weekend. Though Jason still consumed her private thoughts, there was a lot of work to do. Since she would be “coming out of Jail”, Paige spent her days working out and eating less in order to lose weight. Her wardrobe was worked and reworked in order to have a more ‘risqué vibe’ as the prep team described. In the beginning of the operation, Paige was to use various make-up techniques and dental guards to give various looks which would evolve quickly over time. She was also fitted into various wigs of all varieties and colors for her to get into character. All of this was necessary for the assignment; however, Paige was out of her comfort zone. When not shopping or practicing, she hid in an oversized sweatshirt and yoga pants free of makeup and jewelry.

In addition to the prep work, Paige was spending as much time with her family as she could before her departure date. Aiden received extra attention and small surprises each day from his mother who felt guilty for going away for a while. Rachael noticed the subtle changes in appearance and eating habits but understood that this had to do with the assignment and not due to any mental anguish.  Paige had already had her mother on her will, and both were prepared for worst case scenario. Both wondered how Jason would fit into the picture but since Saturday had not arrived yet, nothing had changed the custody arrangements.

Paige left her home early and picked up take out Chinese food on her way to Jason’s home. She had a book and was reading it in her chair when he walked in the door. A quick glace up and her breath caught. His white shirt was stained by dirt and grease, and the streaks continued down his arms; Overalls, only hung by one strap were also worn and unkempt; Smudges splotched his, chin, cheeks, and forehead. His serious expression grew intense the moment their eyes met and within seconds, they found themselves entangled on the couch in a flurry of pent up emotions. When she gasped for air, he looked down at her and commented.

“Maybe I should take a shower.” She kissed him with a sense of urgency and muttered “Later.”

He picked her up and carried her to the bedroom and laid her gently on the bed. Through passionate kisses, He began by taking off her shirt and bra. Instead of going further, he rolled her onto her front and began planting butterfly kisses on the cuts on her back until she squirmed.

“What are you doing,” she whispered as he continued to worship her wounds, pausing briefly to caress the largest and most disfigured ones. “Don’t look, I am ugly there.” He paused rolling her back over in order for her to see him clearly.

“I disagree Paige. You are still the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and those scars show me how strong you are and how much of a survivor you are.” Embarrassed by his flattery, she reached up and kissed him passionately on the mouth. They then made passionate love.

While he took his shower, Paige dressed quickly and walked into the kitchen where she grabbed two plates, two glasses of water, the cartons of food and perched on one of the barstools. Reveling from the afterglow, she filled her plate quickly and began eating with much more hunger than usual. Spearing a third pot sticker, she held it in the air a few seconds too long as Jason strolled in wearing only pair of sweatpants. His chiseled chest and stomach muscles beckoned to be admired and she did so unashamed.

“I thought that I would find you in bed still,” he murmured kissing her gaping mouth. His lips drifted down her chin to her neck where he began to nibble. Smiling to himself at her reaction to his touch, Jason reached over and bit the Pot sticker right off her fork.

“That was mine,” she grumbled. He began preparing his own plate and sat down beside her, placing the last pot sticker on her plate as a peace offering.

“I was hungry,” she admitted sheepishly while finishing the remaining food on her plate. “The prep team is going to kill me if they find out that I was eating take out Chinese. I am on a regulated diet until next weekend.” He paused to cup her face which she responded by nuzzling into his hand.

“I have been missing you, Paige. It will be great to have you back in the shop.” He enveloped her hand into his. “I am glad that we are working together this time. No secrets.” She smiled wryly.

“Are you sure that you didn’t leave some other girl alone and broken hearted?” He kissed her soundly and stared into her eyes.

“No. It has always been you Paige; well you and Winnie” He winked and finished his food. Jason refilled their water cups and sat back down, purposefully moving his chair closer to hers.

“How are you doing, Jason? Is it like before?”

“Sort of. Victoria is completely in charge of the shop and it runs more smoothly then before. She moved herself into the office.  Joseph always respected my work and is genuinely pleased to have me back. Larissa; well you might not even recognize her she is so grown up. Her new boyfriend is one who paints the cars. He seems like a nice young man. They all have mentioned you a time or two and seem surprised that we didn’t stay together after your arrest.”

“What did you say about that?” Paige asked curiously. This was something that they hadn’t planned out ahead and Paige wanted to make sure that their story stayed the same.

“The truth; We went our separate ways…” he paused in mid thought.

“I think that Victoria was thrown by your arrest.” He retorted changing the subject. “She seemed to be expecting her husband and her son, but I think that she was surprised and felt responsible for what happened to you.” He looked at his watch.

“I have to go in a few minutes. It is going to be a long drive back and I have to be back to work early in the morning.”

“You shouldn’t have come tonight…” she was silenced by his lips that kissed her hungerly.

“It was more than worth it.” He smiled and kissed her again. “Ill see you on Saturday morning; maybe Friday night if I get home early enough.” He went back into the bedroom to get dressed while she cleaned the kitchen and put the food away.

“Take the leftovers home with you,” he said. She grabbed the bag and walked with him to the front door. Suddenly overcome with emotion, Jason leaned over and kissed her cheek. “I won’t tell the prep team if you won’t.” She grinned and all was well.

As soon as he got in his car, Jason called his mother once again.

“I am on assignment for a few months,” he began. “Paige will be joining me next week.”

“Really,” she said. He could practically hear her smile over the phone. “How is it going? Has she fallen for you yet?” He chuckled.

“Things are going well… There is another thing I need to tell you.” He paused unsure of how to break the news to his mother. “I have a son, mom. Paige was pregnant when we got pulled.” There was a pause on the other end of the line.

“Are you sure that he is yours? Should you take a DNA test or something?”

“He is mine no question.”

The story continues. If you missed the first parts, go to,,,, and