The engine of the SUV had long since been cut. Fingers nervously drummed a beat aagainst the steering wheel as Lindsay took in a measured breath and let it out. Due to the lack of heat in the vehicle, she saw a bit of her breath hang in the air. She had crossed over the Maryland border hours before, but had chosen to drive around aimlessly, stopping periodically to allow for Lunden and Walter to run around at whatever park she could remember that was nearby. The tires rolled over the familiar cobblestone of the city of Annapolis just as the street lamps were starting to light up. Taking in the familiar views, she drove on, following the well navigated roads onto the naval academy's campus. Small groups were running which caused her to let out a bit of a snort. It was cold and the precipiation had taken a turn for the wet and rainy, and yet they still ran. That was one hell of a commitment. Personally, she never understood it, but respected it, all the same. Turning the vehicle away from the main campus, she followed the roads to the residential area and slowed down significantly. The decision to pack up in the middle of the night and just drive down had been made with very little forethought. She had honestly toyed with the idea of turning around and heading back, but there wasn't exactly anything waiting for her there. Indefinite hiatus from her job, confusing feelings that she had only made worse by admitting to something that made her feel vulnerable, and the memories of a lost mother that she still had to sift through but was in no hurry to do so.
The box had arrived when she was in Morocco. She vaguely remembered the call the few weeks prior saying that there had been unclaimed items belonging to an 'Ella Lane', her mother's alias and now the name that continued to haunt her. After offering the necessary authentication, Lindsay had been informed that they'd mail out the items and just as quickly as the conversation started, it was done. She forgot about the conversation shortly after that. Losing a week's worth of time, requesting a sabbatical, and running off to Morroco with her ex-fiance followed not too long after that. When they had arrived back? She was ready to run once again. Dogs secured in the back and bags thrown haphazardly in afterward, she made no attempt to tell anyone anything and came to the one place she always came to when she needed to regroup. She hadn't thought about her appearance, still healing mysteriously from the previous month, or the questions it would raise but as she sat in the driveway of her childhood home, she began to worry that just showing up was a mistake.
Rain pelted agaisnt the windshield just as the front flood light illuminated. It was too late to turn back now. He had seen someone in the driveway. Sam had always been concerned for his safety and the safety of others. The flood lights were installed when Lindsay started high school, but the motion sensors and cameras had been installed only a handful of years ago once Lila had taken her leave from the home. Letting out a heavy sigh, she snapped to get the dogs' attention and exited the car, pausing to open their door and watch as they flew across the grass and toward the safety of the porch. Sam stood there in the doorway, watching as Lindsay trailed behind, allowing the water to soak into her clothing, each step feeling heavier than the last. She thought about turning back, but it was no use. Lunden and Walter had already wedged their way past the tall man and into the comfort of the warm home. She thought about leaving them, but after having abandoned them for nearly a week beforehand? She knew the road to forgiveness would be a long one. Standing at the bottom of the steps, she lifted her chin to stare up at him. They stood there for what seemed like hours, before he managed to break the silence.
"You came home."
Sam Lockhart wasn't a man of many emotions, so any change in inflection (no matter how minor) was obvious. There was a hitch in his words, a raise in the tone. Surprise. He was surprised. Lindsay had been passive aggressive about how she had gone about dealing with her mother's belongings. What had once all been under an account she assumed had been set up by him, she managed to have transferred over to her. They would have, no doubt, reached out to the original owner to inform them of the recent change. She had wanted him to know, wanted him to know that she knew but wanted no part in telling him. She had dodged calls during the holidays, made no effort to reach out when she had left the country, and showed up on his doorstep in the rain with no more than a flood light and barking as a warning. She sniffled and lifted a hand to rub at her nose, ignoring the fact that she was soaked to the bone, nodding in response.
"You made sure we always knew how to find the way back. Every one of us."
His face registered something akin to a wince and she knew she had struck a chord. While she knew it was all in her mind, it was like the tattooed numbers on her ribs burned into her skin, causing her to mirror his reactionary wince. He continued in his silence, moving from the door and down the stairs to come to her side and wrap an arm around her shoulders. There was a quick squeeze before he gently nudged her toward the entrance, a sigh escaped as they ducked under the cover of the porch.
"I'm glad that one of you was able to follow the coordinates to find your way back. Come on in, we've got a lot to talk about."