Coming Home:Baytown Boys Series(4)By: Maryann Jordan
The two cousins laughed at the long ago memories before Jillian stood and walked to the door. Turning to hug Mitch, she clung tight to his shoulders and said, “I’m glad you’re back, Mitch. I’m sorry for your dad…I know he hates convalescing after his heart attack. Being forced to retire wasn’t what he wanted. But Baytown needs a good Police Chief and no one’s better than you to follow in grandpa’s and your dad’s footsteps.”
He returned her embrace, showing his gratitude for her visit. As she strolled back to her scooter, he watched as she drove down his pea-gravel driveway, her hand lifted up in a wave as she disappeared into the night.
Closing and locking the front door, Mitch walked back through the house to his bedroom, turning off the lights as he went. Years of having a security system out of necessity had him wanting to alarm his residency, but then he laughed. Don’t reckon anyone would even know I was out here, much less try to break in.
Stripping, he took a shower in the miniscule bathroom before walking back into the bedroom with just a towel hanging low on his lean hips. Stopping at his dresser, he looked at the three, small, framed pictures he had placed on top. The first picture was of his family taken last Christmas. Grandparents, parents, aunt and uncle, and Jillian. All smiling. Who woulda ever guessed that one month later grandpa would be gone and six months later, dad would be laid up with a heart attack?
The next picture was one taken a month ago. The investigation firm he mentioned to his cousin was the Saints Protection & Investigations, run by Jack Bryant, a former Army Special Forces sergeant. The ten men…and their women, had become not only co-investigators with him but good friends. He had planned on resigning from the FBI and working for Jack until the phone call from his mom came in.
The last picture…the Baytown boys. Taken at a tailgate party right before graduation, he peered at the fresh, young faces. All eager. All ready to take on the world. Most returned from the military like him. Hardened. Seasoned. A few returned in worse shape, both physically and mentally. And two did not return at all.
Turning sharply away from the dresser and the memories the pictures held, he jerked the towel off and tossed it into the bathroom before sliding under the covers. Lying on his back, his muscular arm tucked underneath his head, he wondered if sleep would come. Getting up to open the window in his bedroom, he slid back into bed, listening to the sound of the gentle surf, and fell into a deep sleep, dreams full of young friends partying on the beach, beers in their hands, watching the girls walk by…and hoping one in particular would appear.
Early the next morning, Mitch wandered into the kitchen, popping a pod into the coffee maker and a slice of bread into the toaster. Opening the refrigerator door, he stared at the eggs and package of bacon, knowing it would only take a few minutes to fix breakfast, but thoughts of hitting the diner flitted through his mind. The last time he had been to Baytown, after his father’s heart attack, he had run by the diner and been pleasantly surprised to see Katelyn working there. Aiden and Brogan’s sister was just as adept at keeping up with the local gossip as Jillian.
He would be keeping up with old friends in any instance, but as the new Police Chief it would be beneficial to make sure he stayed abreast of comings and goings. Thinking that a stop at the diner for breakfast might be the perfect chance to see and be seen, he finished his coffee quickly.
Walking back into the bedroom, he headed into the bathroom for a shower. While inside the tiny stall, bumping his elbows on the walls several times, he wondered about the feasibility of adding on to the old structure as opposed to renting a new place. Time to think about that later.
He dressed in a royal blue shirt and dark slacks, then locked the front door behind him as he jogged down the front step. Climbing into his jeep, he drove the few miles to Main Street.
The oldest part of Baytown was built on a square grid, with Main Street on one side, closer to the small harbor. Another side faced the Chesapeake Bay where the public beach enticed townspeople and visitors, and a park sat in the middle of town. About fifteen years prior, a developer built a golf course community on a large farm and it was annexed into the city as well. On the other side, another developer built large vacation rental homes as well as a marina and a seafood restaurant.