Three days on a honeymoon in France. That’s all the time they had before a call from Reina had them rushing home early. She was gone before they arrived, but Aarun’s hot-headedness certainly wasn’t.
“How could you just kick her out?” He yelled as soon as they got through the door. “She’s your daughter! So what if Thaddaeus got a job in the criminal warehouse? Punish him, not her! And what about Malinda?”
“I gave Reina a choice when I heard about Thaddaeus’ choice in careers. She chose him. Now if you want to stay in this house you will never mention either of their names again.”
Three guesses as to what Aarun did immediately after that.
“Kurt just needs time to calm down.” Lillian insists as Aarun goes to pack his things. “He’ll apologize in a few days and then you can come home, okay?”
Jakelene isn’t so convinced, but she still thanks Lillian and gives her a hug for support.
And then they were off to the last place Jakelene wanted to go to ask for help.
“I know you only just managed to clear out all my old stuff, Mr. Archer, but can Aarun and I stay for just a few nights? He’s going to apply for a loan from the bank and try to find a job but it’ll take a few days before we can afford a house.”
“If you get a loan form the bank you’ll never pay it back.” He tells her. “You can stay as long as you need to but I’m sure you’d both prefer your own place.”
“That’s why I’m going to help you afford one.”
To say Jakelene was moved would be an understatement. “Mr Archer I can’t accept this... its so much money!”
He shrugs. “Independence runs in your genes, Jake. I knew you’d want to be on your own one day so I’ve been saving some money from each of my painting sales to give to you on your birthday. The opportunity didn’t arise before you left for France, but at least I know it’ll help you now.”
“I don’t know what to say, Mr. Archer. Just... thank you.”
Okay so the place they bought wasn’t much... but it was home.
And it was theirs.
So while Aarun heads out to apply for a job, Jakelene works on making the house more... presentable.
Anything would be an improvement from that ‘before’ photo.
Aarun gets a job as a private investigator. He may have different values then his adoptive father, but they both have the same goal in life. To make the world a better and safer place.
On his way to meet Jake for dinner he sees Reina and her family by the theatre. So he stops by to say hello.
“I’ve been dealing.” She lies when he asks about how she’s been. “Malinda’s been a handful but Thaddaeus is so good with her. I’m... thinking about leaving them.”
Temper = Snap.
“Leaving your little girl with that... that CRIMINAL? ARE YOU NUTS?”
“DON’T YOU RAISE YOUR VOICE AT ME, BROTHER!”
“YOU don’t have to deal with the looks I get in town!” She reminds him. “Everyone here knows I was a young mother! And everyone treats me like trash because of it! Even dad! So forgive me for wanting to escape that!”
On the floor between them Malinda starts crying from the raised voices. Aarun picks her up before Reina gets the chance to, not that she’d even made a move towards her daughter. She walks away as Aarun holds his little niece close. He just wishes he could take her away from her parents, but into what? He and Jake can barely live on their own as things are. Raising a child is totally out of the question for them.
Jake eventually goes looking for her husband and sees him playing with Malinda. Reina’s long gone but Thaddaeus is still hanging around waiting for his daughter. He sees Jake and waves her over.
“So I hear you need a job.”
Something in his voice makes her wary. “I’m not going to be a criminal like you, jerk-face. I have morals.”
He shrugs. Not insulted in the least. “Don’t knock it till you try it, Red. I saw you nicking things from the field trips at school. You’ve got a gift. Don’t let society’s expectations stop you from doing something you’re good at.”
She excuses herself after that, but can’t get his words out of her head. Her kleptomania was always her biggest worry. She’d never considered it as anything more than a curse. But could it really be a gift?
The thought of it alone makes her sick to her stomach.