Found You Part 2- JakeXMC
So, my intention was to only make this a two shot, but apparently the Jake had other ideas. Here’s part two of my story for you to enjoy. Hopefully part 3 will be out soon. We’ll have to see if Jake and Jess are willing to cooperate with me.
As before, constructive criticism is always welcome. Needless flames will be used to warm my toes and make s’mores.
The first rays of dawn were creeping through his window, but Jake didn’t see them. His world had been turned on its head, once again; by a blonde-haired, blue-eyed vixen that just 12 hours ago he would have sworn had forgotten all about him. He slowly turned the USB key over in his hands, wondering just what in the hell was on it, but damn if he wasn’t terrified to look as well. “Three years…” he whispered, his eyes starting off into nothing. “What in the hell could you have to tell me after three damn years?”
Those three years had passed quickly for him, lost in a blur of charter jobs and blackout, booze-filled nights. He’d spent the first month after La Huerta at the bottom of a bottle, desperately trying to forget the people he’d been forced to leave behind, trying to forget the woman who had told him to run. “Damnit Princess, what in the hell are you playing at?” Jake’s eyes finally focused on the little key in his hands, so innocuous and innocent. But appearances were always deceiving. It’s previous owner being a perfect example of that. At first glance, one could have been forgiven for thinking she was nothing more than a preppy little sorority cheerleader on her way to blow away her brain cells on an all expense paid island resort. “But you are so much more than that aren’t you Princess?” Jake asked of the empty room, his eyes transfixed by the little piece of plastic and silicon in his hands.
The note she’d written had frozen him to his bar stool for what had seemed like an eternity before Ernesto’s voice had finally broken through and forced him to move. He snatched up the note and the key and strode out of the bar, vaguely aware of Ernesto calling after him but not really giving a damn what he was saying. Which is what brought him here, sitting on his piece of junk couch while his ancient laptop sat open before him on the coffee table, the screen casting a soft glow over his face that he neither noticed nor cared about. He’d been frozen there, just as he had been at the bar, for hours now. All because of a USB key and an entire lifetime’s worth of memories.
But time moves ever forward and even this moment of peaceful stupefaction couldn’t last. The slamming of a nearby door jerked Jake from his thoughts, bringing his mind back into focus. He knew he couldn’t just sit there forever. And so, with trembling hands, Jake leaned forward and inserted the key into his computer. There were only two files that popped up… two completely normal looking files. Still wondering what in the hell was going on, Jake navigated his cursor to the file labelled ‘First’ and clicked.
“Breaking news tonight as scandal rocks the U.S. Department of Defence. Documents leaked today to various media sources point to illegal sales of government weapons. Commander Rex Lundgren of the United States Naval Services was taken into custody today pending charges of weapons smuggling and manslaughter in the death of Lieutenant Michael Francis Schaffer.”
It was as if a wrecking ball had just socked Jake in the chest. The video file droned on about the Navy releasing a statement as article after article popped up on his screen about the leak and Ludgren’s subsequent arrest. The New York Times had run Mike’s naval photo side by side with one of Lundgren when he was arrested and Jake couldn’t help the tears that sprang to his eyes as he stared at the image of his old friend, so proud in his dress blues. “How in the hell…” Jake sagged back onto the couch, just staring at the information explosion on his screen. Lundgren was arrested, not only for the smuggling, but for murdering Mike? “How in the hell did you pull this off Princess?” Surging forward, Jake closed the articles and the now silent video file and clicked the second file, hoping it would have some clues. Immediately a video call appeared on his laptop, silently ringing on his end.
Jake’s heart fell slightly when Zahra’s face filled the screen. “Well it’s about damn time.” She huffed, her irritation plain. “It’s been two days dude, what in the hell took you so long to open these files. I worked hard on those.”
“I only just got the drive.” Jake said, struggling to comprehend the situation he was in. “What in the hell is happening here Z?”
Zahra rolled her eyes. “Dude, did you even READ the articles we included? Any of the documents?” At his head shake, Zahra rolled her eyes again, muttering what he could only assume were Persian curses. “You’ve been cleared dude. The Navy had no choice but to clear yours and Mike’s name in the face of the information bomb Jess and I set off. The only thing on your record now is a dishonorable discharge for desertion and she argued them down to time served on that one.”
Once again, Jake sagged back into his couch. “Wha… How?”
“Don’t ask,” was the sharp reply. “The less you know about this, the better.”
Jake’s eyes narrowed. “What in the hell did you do Zahra?”
She just shrugged. “I just did the major hacking. Jess was the one who found most of the information. You wanna get pissy with someone, get pissy with her.”
“Well I would, but since you’re here and she’s not…”
“Come on Jake, you had to know she wasn’t going to let this go.” Zahra’s glared at him from the screen. “Even if she hadn’t been ass over tea kettle for you, we both know that isn’t who she is.” A soft smirk tugged at Zahra’s lips. “She’s a fixer. As annoying as it might be, if she sees something is wrong… she fixes it. Or she dies trying.”
“You’re telling me…” Jake murmured, still reeling from the information overload. “So… all this time the two of you…”
“It was mostly Jess.” Zahra settled back into her chair. “Almost as soon as she got back to the states, I think she started digging. She contacted me about a year in with most of the information when she figured out Lundgren had set a tail on her.”
“What!” Jake was going to give himself whiplash flinging himself forwards like this, but Zahra’s last sentence struck him like a bullet.
“Relax, he never touched her.” Zahra said, waving a hand at him. “The way we figure it, Lundgren found out about her digging and knew there was only one person who could have set her on his trail. He wasn’t going to hurt her until he found you and we handled that. She went on the run and we kept digging.”
“What the hell Z…” Jake was angry now. Angry at Jess for getting herself into this mess, angry at Lundgren for coming near her, but also at himself for not being able to protect her. But under all of that, he couldn’t help but think… She did this for him? “Tell me she’s ok. Z, tell me she’s safe.”
“Jake, do you not remember who dropped off that little care package? She’s fine.” Zahra eyed him from her seat. “She kept digging in the obvious spots so Lundgren wouldn’t notice me sneaking in the backdoor to his files. How in the hell he was your commander I have no idea cause the dude can’t cover his tracks to save his life.”
For the second time that night, Jake felt the air rush from his body. She had cleared his name. Because of her, he could go back home for the first time in a decade. He could go back to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and see all his old haunts. He could… he could finally visit Mike’s grave and pay his respects. He was a free man… and yet…
“Where is she?”
Zahra smirked at him. “She checked in with me after she made the drop at your bar. You ever been to Morocco?” Her smirk widened as Jake shook his head. “Her Highness, Princess Lalla Salma owed me a favor. You might want to check it out. I hear the street markets are amazing.” And just like that, she ended the call.
It took a second for everything to click, but when it did, Jake was a whirlwind of movement. Years in the Navy had taught him to pack light and within fifteen minutes, everything he gave a damn about had been shoved into a bag, his apartment was locked up, and he was striding with purpose into the steadily brightening day. “I will find you Princess.” He felt himself mutter. “You found me and now… now I’m gonna find you.”