Jenna was staring at the alarm clock when it rang. This was the first time in a while that she was awake this early, and it was the first time in a while that she felt this good.

The past months has been tough to her, while she was preparing her wedding and she was expecting her first baby; she found out that her ”husband to be ” has been cheating on her, she lost the baby , and all of those events came with a terrible depression.

As a twenty-five-year-old, having a miscarriage when she was seven months pregnant was the worst thing that ever happened to her. She was already visualizing herself being a perfect mother for that little girl who was about to be born.

When she met Ryan, it was obvious to her that he was the man of her life, she had given up her dreams for him. She had plans after college, but Ryan had proposed to her on graduation day. She loved him so much that she said yes without hesitation despite her fathers protests. Her father knew what Jenna had planned to do after college, and he wanted her to pursue her dreams at all costs. But when he saw the determination of his daughter, he supported her, he even hired Ryan in his company so that the two lovebirds could work together.

They wanted to take things slowly, thats why they were engaged for a year when Jenna became pregnant. They were Both head over the moon for the pregnancy. So they decided to get married right after their babys birth. But they never went that far, the wedding was three months away when Jenna found Ryan and an other employee in Ryans office. According to him, it was a one-night stand, a weakness he had had. He said that when Jenna saw them he was trying to end the relationship. Jenna hadn let him explain himself for long, she had just left the office and had run to the elevator, but this one was slow to arrive, and Ryan behind her, she had rushed down the stairs where she did a bad fall. When she woke up in the hospital, her baby was dead and her dad had made sure Ryan was far from the city. She never heard from him again and didn want to.

****

Today, four months after that ,was the first day that she didn feel like crying in the morning, she had a good mood and she felt like it hadn been the case for ages. And that had a reason; for a few months she had been seeing a therapist, this one had advised her to change her life for a while, to take a vacation or to find a goal to pursue, and yesterday as if by chance when she checked her emails, she had seen an email from the FBI Academy at Quantico who announced that registration for the New Agent Trainings was open. Longtime ago she subscribed to the Academys newsletter, she received the notification every year, but since she was with Ryan, She always ignored the message. Going to Quantico was her dream since childhood, thanks to the stories that her father used to tell her, himself an ex-FBI agent and an ex-Marine. After majoring in perfumery in college, she had promised herself to go to Quantico. But meeting Ryan had changed the plans she had. This email had been the trigger that woke up old dreams, she had hastened to send her registrations.

Jenna knew she was never going to be the same again after what had happened, but at least today she finally saw the end of the tunnel, she had just found how she was going to live with this pain. Was remaining the most difficult to do; telling his father.

*****

She woke up, put on her sports clothes and went for a run, she hadn done that in a while too. When she returned, she went straight to the kitchen, where she found Martha their housekeeper.

”Hey Girl, why are you so early?i was preparing myself to bring you breakfast in bed! ” exclaimed Martha, greeting Jenna with a kiss on the forehead. Martha has been working for the Herms for several years, she was there when Jenna was born and she was the one who raised her since her mother left. She was the only mother figure Jenna ever had.

”No need nanny, Ill have breakfast with you today. Wheres dad? ” Replicated Jenna ignoring the first question

”You just missed him, he just left for the office ”

”No big deal, Ill talk to him when I pass by the office today. ”

Martha looked at Jenna carefully, she knew her very well and she could see with a relief that she was getting better. Jenna was the daughter she never had, and seeing her suffering broke her heart a lot. There were times, where she wondered if her little girl was going to be the same again. But today, she saw a glimmer of hope.

”Im off to the shower, Ill be back in a second, ” Jenna said as she rushed out of the kitchen leaving a Martha smiling behind. When she got to her room, she took her phone and texted:

”Need to talk to you, come over ASAP ”.

Then went to take a bath. After that she took breakfast with Martha as promised, and they discussed as they used to do before.

Right after they finished, someone entered the kitchen. It was Matt Harvey, Jennas best friend. Him and Jenna left Martha in the kitchen and went to her room.

****

”You did what?! ” Was Matts response when Jenna told him that she sent her inscription in FBI NATs. Since their teenage years, Jenna used to practice on Matt when she had something important to tell her father, she always said it to Matt first, and he would help her find the right way to start the discussion with his father.

”I thought you gave up on that stupid dream. ”

”Its not a stupid dream and you know it. ”

”Okay, sorry, but Jen, why now? Why like this on a whim? ”

”I should have done it before, but… ” She took a breath and continued :

”I don know, I need a change of scenery, and what better than to pursue my dream ”.

”If you want a change of scenery, take a vacation. You really think you
e ready for this, its Quantico Jen! ”

”I know Im ready and I know this is what I need. ”

Matt looked into her eyes for a moment.

”Okay, if you say so! And what about your father? Im sure he won approve of it. Not now! ”

”He won have a choice, thats what I want to do. ”

”When are you going to tell him,Because I don want to be there. ” They both laughed at the joke and Matt continued.

”In any case, its nice to see you like that ”

***

When Jenna parked her car in the companys parking lot, she felt a little anxious. She hadn been back there since she made the bad fall. She had heard that everyone there talked about it for a while, and she was sure that coming back here would bring back the gossip among the employees.

Everyone there knew her, whether as the bosss daughter, or as a colleague and even as a friend, so it was sure that as soon as she entered, the news of her being back would circulate.

She screwed up her courage and got out of the car. She took one last look at her reflection in the windows of her car and practiced smiling.

Once inside the building, she was greeted by each employee she met, and she had to mutter ”Im fine ” countless times.

The company was her second home, she had been coming here since her father had accepted that she could come with him to the office in holidays. She was six years old then,and thats when she became intrigued by the art of perfume. She spent most of her time in the companys laboratory with Jules Lafayette, the perfume creator of Enterprise. He was the one who taught her the basics of perfumery. At sixteen, chaperoned by Jules, she had made her first perfume which she called ”Gold Button ” because her dad used to call her buttercup when she was a little girl. Most of the employees who worked long enough at the company called her Buttercup too, a nickname she had also kept until now for some of them.

After stopping several times to greet employees, she finally made it to the elevator and she was lucky to be alone inside until she arrived to the first floor. When the elevator opened, she sighed in relief. On this floor she was not likely to meet many employees because there were only a few offices and the meeting room. She walked straight to her fathers secretarys office. When Debra saw her, she got up from her chair.

”Buttercup! ” She exclaimed and came to greet Jenna.

”What a nice surprise, your father didn tell me you were coming. How are you? ”

Debra has worked at the company since its inception, she was a woman in her forties but looked slightly younger. Jenna had never heard her call her by her real name, when she turned seventeen Jenna had tried to convince her like everyone else to call her by her real name, but she never succeeded. And since then she had dropped it, she understood that for them , she was always going to be their buttercup, the little girl that was always running every where and asking tones of question.

”Im fine ” Jenna answered with a smile on her face, and continued.

”Actually dad didn know that i was coming,I wanted to surprise him. I hope hes alone. ”

”Yes hes alone, he had an appointment but hes late, you can go in and see him. ”

”Thank you Deb ”

Then she walked to the door of her fathers office, she didn bother to knock and entered directly.

John was staring into his computer, he looked up when he heard the door open.

”Oh, gosh! What are you doing here sweetie? ”John got up and came to meet his daughter. He took her in his arms.

”What? Am I no longer allowed to come here? ”

”But come on darling, its just that Im surprised! I didn expect to see you here. ”

”I wanted to pop in here and surprise you. I have something to tell you ” her fathers face changed instantly.

”Oh Oh, that sounds serious! ”

”It is. Lets sit down? ”

They took their places in the armchairs, and Jenna spoke.

”Listen dad, you know very well that the last months have been hell for me. So I thought about it and… I need a change of scenery, I need to get away from here for a while. And I know what I need. ”

”Tell me, what is that? ”. His father retorted apprehensively.

”I sent my application to the FBI NATs at Quantico. ”

”What? You
e kidding I hope?! ”

” No dad, Im very serious. ”

”But my love, you
e not ready for that, you would have told me that a year earlier, you know very well that I would have been delighted for you and I would have supported you with all that I am. But now Jenna, after everything thats happened, I can allow this. ” John rose from the armchair and approached the window.

”But why ? ” Jenna rose too and stood behind his father. the latter turned and faced his daughter.

”Because Jenna, you said it yourself, this last months has been the worst of your life, you need to heal your wounds and is not a place where wounds are healed,you have to have a strong mind when you go there. ”

John didn understand his daughters decision. Jenna was the apple of his eyes, at twenty six he still felt the urge to overprotect her. It only have been the two of them since Jenna was born , and John had always made sure that Jenna never felt her mothers absence. When she lost her baby, John felt helpless, as if he had failed in his duty. Yet everyone knew that there was no father as devoted as John.

”Listen dad… ” Jenna knew very well what her fathers reaction was going to be, but she was ready to do anything to make him get her point of view. She was interrupted by Debras voice over the intercom.

”Mr.Herms , your appointment has arrived ”

John walked over to the intercom and answered, ”Let them in in a minute. ”

”Dad, I swear Ive thought about it very well, and I know Im ready. So please stop worrying, I know Ill be okay. ”

”How the hell can you ask me not to worry? ”

They heard a knock on the door which ended their conversation.

”Well talk about it at home ” said John then added a little louder.

”Come in! ”

The office door opened, on two men, Jenna immediately recognized Robert Stanley. He was her fathers old friend. They had both belonged to the same division when her father was still in the Marines.

”But look whos there ” exclaimed Robert when he saw Jenna. ”The One and Only Buttercup ”

”Uncle Rob ” Jenna and Robert hugged.

”Its been a while sweety, where have you been hiding?! ”

”No,you where have you been? ”

”Your dad didn tell you? Im standing for elections. You have in front of you the next governor of california ”.

Since retiring, Robert had become a fierce politician. Everyone knew that that day would come when he would stand for election.

”Well congratulation to you ”

”Thank you dear ”

The other man had stayed away as well as his father. ”Buttercup,you already know my son right?! ” Jenna knew that Roberts had two sons with his first wife. She knew they left San Francisco with their mother when their parents divorced and She never saw them again. The last time she had seen them, she must have been 10 years old. She couldn figure out which one of the two was standing in front of her. Roberts had another daughter with his current wife, it was with her that she was close.

”Uncle Rob, you know very well that its been a while since Ive seen your sons. So… ”. Rob understood and introduced her ”This is Liam, Liam you remember Jenna? ”. Liam finally spoke.

”Yes of course ” He held out his hand to Jenna who shook it warmly. Liam also greeted John who motioned for them to settle into the armchairs.

”Well, Let me leave you, ” Jenna announced taking back her bag where she had left it in the armchair.

”It was nice to see you again Uncle Rob, you too Liam. Dad, see you at home. ”

She was about to leave but her father called her. ”Wait Buttercup! are you going home? ”.

”No, Im going to spend a moment in the lab ”.

”Do you mind showing Liam around? Hes going to replace Enzo. ” Enzo was the face of the Herms companys products. He had recently had a terrible accident and had been seriously injured.

”No, no worries! ” Then she addressed Liam. ”Lets go ” The latter got up and followed her. They left the office, Jenna said goodbye to Debra and then they entered the elevator.

A stony silence reigned in the elevator all the way through. There was a tension between them, so Liam wanted to tone it down and started the discussion

”So you
e running the business with your dad? ”

”Uh no, I am a perfume designer, I work in production. ”.

”Wow, thats cool. You
e just an employee in your dads company? ” They both laughed and they started talking while visiting the place. Jenna pretended to ignore the inquisitive looks of some employees.

When they arrived at the Marketing and Publicity section, they were greeted by Carol, the marketing manager.

”Oh my God, Jenna? I didn believe the rumor when I heard you were back. ” Carol was Jennas friend, she looked about the same age as her. They had gone to the same university.

”Carol, Im glad to see you too. ” The two friends hugged.

”You know I wanted to come and see you many times, but I was afraid it would be a little out of place. So how are you doing? ”

”Thank you, I received your many messages and don worry Im fine ” then she turned and introduced Liam.

”Carol, this is Liam Stanley. The new face of our products. Liam this is Carol Flintch our Marketing manager, youll be working with her and her team a lot ”

”Ooh! ” was all that Carol said

”Wow, we immediately feel at ease ” Liam said jokingly.

”Its not against you, dear, but we all had a hope that Enzo would be better and that he was going to come back, that hits me. ”

”Don worry, I understand ”.

”If not, what is Liam Stanley doing here, because if Im not mistaken you
e a very successful model ”. Carol inquired.

”Ive had a lot of success yes, but… its a long story. ” Liam replied.

”Okay Carol, Ill leave him to you. ” Jenna announced . ”Liam if you need anything Ill be in the lab, if not, it was nice to see you again. And you too Carol. ”

”I was happy to see you too, I hope we can share a coffee one of these days. ”

”Of course call me ”. then she walked away from them.

****

That night, when John got home, he had been thinking about the discussion he had with his daughter. He had made the decision to let her go to Quantico. He had talked about it with Robert who had advised him to trust his daughter. He knew Jenna was very strong, he was going to have to deal with the worry he felt.

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