ATTENTION DEAR READERS:
Although this blog may illustrate the story line using photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and themes of the text are intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
Key elements set, the focus was now on the details. As of yet, Maureen still was without an engagement ring. Beckett had been less than forthcoming about the details, and had not asked for any suggestions from his fiancee, only stating that he had it under control. Other than the ring, his own attire, and the honeymoon, he was willing to leave the rest of the planning to Maureen, furnishing her with a Visa Black Card bearing her name. When she asked about the limits, he just laughed, and teased her that she'd have to work really, really hard to exceed it. Additionally, he generously offered to pre-book and cover the expense of a huge block of hotel rooms at the Park West for her family, who would need to travel from Boston to attend. This gift was begrudgingly accepted with gratitude by Fr. Kevin,who dreaded the thought of a gaggle of his family camped out in the rectory, and wished to avoid yet another move to the cramped attic room.
Being that the O'Kenney's were a large group by themselves, the couple planned to keep the guest list to a reasonable number, and since Maureen had six different sister-in-laws, numerous nieces, and an abundant circle of friends, the bridal party, to avoid hurt feelings, would consist of only a maid of honor, best man, and a flower girl, who happened to be the bride's youngest godchild. Beckett declared that he had a very small family, and only a few close friends and acquaintances, so his additions to the guest list would be minimal, and once again, in his own mind, Kevin wondered why he was the only one to find the man's evasiveness alarming.
Because the town had a limited selection of stores catering to bridal wear, Maureen made plans to return to Boston for a few days to see her mother, visit with her best friend, and soon to be maid of honor, Allison, and to begin the hunt for the perfect wedding dress. Although it was only mid-April, the bride worried about there being enough time for any needed alterations, so getting this trip organized was a top priority for her. Ted had offered to take time off and drive her himself, but Maureen was insistent on going alone by train. She claimed to need some time to herself, and though he was clearly disgruntled by her need for "space", he relented to her going, and eventually ceased arguing the point.
Plans had Maureen leaving late Sunday afternoon, April 14th, and heading by train to Boston, where Allison was to meet her, and be her hostess for the duration of the visit. The two ladies were looking forward to catching up, and then hitting the bridal shops near Copley Square, with the intent of selecting dresses for both the bride and maid of honor. As Monday was also Patriot's Day, there were bound to be various events going on in the city, including the much loved Boston Marathon, and both ladies anticipated a good time.
That Sunday evening, Beckett drove Maureen to the train station, taking one last shot at convincing her that his presence was needed on the trip. Despite not actually being invited, and some rude discouragement from the Sheriff, Fr. Kevin decided to accompany them, sending his sister back home with messages for the rest of the family. The couple spent an extended period of time saying goodbye, during which Kevin felt the groom took his affection to a ridiculous level for the sole purpose of embarrassing the obvious "third wheel".
On one hand, Fr. Kevin was relieved when the train arrived, and his sister was safely seen aboard. Unfortunately, her absence left him with an awkward ride home with the silent Beckett at the wheel of the car. Without his sister to play peacemaker, their issues sat like a brick wall between the seats, keeping them from fixing the damage.
Pulling deep for any scrap of humility, Kevin tried to start a dialogue. "Always liked the Boston Marathon. Ran it twice. Grueling, but very satisfying to finish."
Beckett grunted in reply, but then couldn't resist the opportunity to counter. "What was your best time?"
"The first run, when I was 23, took me 3 hours and 54 minutes. I just about died getting over Heartbreak Hill. The following year, I trained a whole lot more seriously, and finished in 3 hours and 11 minutes. Was pretty happy with that race."
"Yeah, Heartbreak Hill can make or break the Boston. I ran it last year. 2 hours, 46 minutes."
Fr. Kevin patted down the pinch of annoyance, focusing instead on continuing the exchange of conversation. "That's a pretty impressive time. Maybe I should train with you, and give it another shot next year?"
Beckett looked at him curiously, trying to determine the sincerity of the comment, then replied, "If you're really serious, I wouldn't mind a regular running partner. Maureen is a less than enthusiastic athlete."
They both joked over Mo's lack of long term commitment to any hobby, and from there, the discussion turned to the pros and cons of various running shoes, and the benefits of pre-race carb loading. Before he knew it, they were pulling into the rectory driveway, and as Kevin made his way to the front door, he felt like a small weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
For a typical Monday, the day was surprisingly productive. Without the distraction of Maureen and her drama, Fr. Kevin was able to slog through a stack of necessary paperwork, and to tackle several maintenance chores around the parish grounds. Since the murder of Marco Rivera last June, he had meant to begin the steps of hiring a new church gardener and handyman. But one thing had led to another, and it just never got started, partly because he actually enjoyed the physical exertion of doing those things himself. With a sense of personal satisfaction for crossing a number of jobs off his list, Fr. Kevin headed back to the rectory, weighing the question of whether he should have a late lunch, or a very early dinner.
Locking the front door behind him, (a habit he developed after the whole Marzano episode) he grabbed the remote, and turned on the television, planning to meander toward the kitchen to fix something to eat. Before he could leave the room, his attention was riveted to the screen in front of him. It took a moment for his brain to register the scenes of chaos and destruction played before his eyes, and even then, he needed to turn up the volume, so the sound could verify the visuals.
" Authorities believe the first explosion occurred at 2:49 PM, on Boylston Street, 100 feet before the race's finish line. A second explosion followed approximately 15 seconds later, 600 feet to the west, in front of the Forum Restaurant. Unconfirmed sources report that 3 are dead, and more than 140 injured, and taken to area hospitals."
Kevin watched in horror, silently praying for the victims, and at the same time, desperately trying to recall his sister's planned itinerary. He was pretty sure she had mentioned the mall at Copley Square, and a bridal shop on Boylston Street, whose name he couldn't remember. He dug the cell phone out of his back pocket, and hit the speed dial next to Mo's picture, but was frustrated went the call went directly to voice mail. He didn't have her friend Allison's number, and scolded himself for not having the foresight to have asked for it in advance. With all the possibilities for disaster looming, he considered calling Beckett, but pride forced him to wait a bit, and he continued dialing Maureen's cell number, hoping she'd eventually pick up.
Less than 30 minutes later, the Sheriff was at his door, out of uniform, and apparently of the same mind set as Kevin. "I'm not liking what I'm hearing about the situation in Boston, and the fact I can't reach Maureen has me concerned. You haven't by any chance heard from her yourself, have you?"
"No, and I'm going to admit to being worried. Normally, with all this going on there, you'd think she'd call us, and let us know she's okay. But I haven't heard a peep, and honestly, I'm kinda nervous about that." He wondered if he should bring up the whole "Red the Wrecker" thing. Clue the Sheriff in on his sister's propensity for attracting trouble, but he realized how ridiculous that would sound to anyone outside the family, so he kept his thoughts to himself, and continued. "I wish I had thought to ask for Allison's cell number. We'd have someone else to call. I could try my family, and see if any of them have they heard from her?"
Beckett shook his head. "No, don't call your family just yet. It would only get everyone upset, and we're not even sure she was anywhere near that area. I have her friend Allison's cell number. I insisted she give it to me before she left, and I've called several times. But like Maureen's, it goes directly to voice mail." He paused for a moment, and then added, "I'm thinking about driving down there, and picking her up. I would guess that the Feds will have the trains and such shut down for security purposes. It might be days before things return to normal. I'd rather have her out of the city as soon as possible."
Fr. Kevin was pretty sure this was Beckett's way of voicing his personal concern over Maureen's safety. In the entire time he had known the man, he had always exuded a sense of perfect calm and control, and if he had the slightest bit of worry over his sister's state, then Kevin knew the matter was serious. "That's probably a good idea. Would you mind if I came along?"
The Sheriff hesitated a moment, and then nodded. "I guess it would be okay. I have to make a quick stop in Bridgewater to pick something up, then we'll head to Boston. I don't plan on staying long. Just want to locate her, and drive back. Things in the city will be a mess for the next few days. The sooner we're out of there, the better."
"I agree." Kevin grabbed his jacket from the hall closet, and turning off the television, followed the Sheriff to his car.
There was little conversation in the car, both men quiet while dealing with the worries in their own head. The town of Bridgewater was about 30 miles north of Dollyville, and it wasn't long before they hit the city limits. Kevin had never been there before, but Beckett maneuvered the streets as if he had driven them many times. They left the main business district and headed east, and as they continued to drive, the area took on the look of overwhelming decline. The shuttered buildings and overgrown lots stood as testimony to a place fallen on hard times, and Kevin was at a loss as to what his future brother in law could possibly need to "pick up" in a place like this.
They eventually pulled up a gravel driveway in front of a dilapidated garage. The peeling sign above labeled the business as "Motor Werks", but Kevin wasn't sure how anything in the building could truthfully be in working condition. Every window in the place was cracked and dirty, and the front yard was littered with rusty car parts and old tires. The only person in sight was a wiry old man, who looked to be in his mid 60's. He stood in the doorway, wearing greasy mechanic's overalls, and tapping a large wrench across his palms, while a large mongrel dog slept nearby.
The Sheriff turned off the ignition, and gesturing toward the man, said "Come on. There's someone I want you to meet."
With obvious reluctance, Fr. Kevin slid out of the car, glad for the knowledge that, without a doubt, the Sheriff had a weapon on his person. Maybe even two. Or three. They walked toward the man, who despite their arrival, never moved from the doorway. They were about two feet away, when the resting dog suddenly jumped up, and charged toward them. Before Kevin could turn and run, the man called out.
"Well, I'll be damned! It's good to see you, Teddy!"
The dog flopped down in front of Beckett, his whole body wiggling, and waited for the guest to give his belly a scratch or two. The Sheriff obliged, petting the dog, and talking to it in that voice human beings reserve for favored animals. When he had finished with his greeting, the dog reluctantly
got back up on all fours, wandered over to Kevin, and gave a low growl.
"Now, Demon, is that any way to treat visitors? Down, boy." At Beckett's command, the dog instantly ceased his menace, and trotted back to the old man.
The Sheriff and the mechanic shook hands. "How the hell you doin', Bill? "
"As you can see, I'm still breathn', ya little piss 'ant. A good thing at this age." He grinned, showing a single gold tooth stuck in his upper gums. " It's been a long time, Teddy. How's business?"
"Same as always. You?"
"Not much comes my way anymore. Maybe that's a good thing." He pointed a thumb towards Kevin, and asked, "Whose your side kick?"
"Wild Bill, I'd like you to meet Fr. Kevin O'Kenney, Pastor of Holy Family Church." Beckett turned toward Kevin. "Bill is an old friend of mine. Saved my ass on more than one occasion."
Kevin stuck his hand out, feeling as if he had walked into a script of some cheesy B-movie. "Nice to meet you, Sir."
Bill took his hand, and pumped it vigorously. "Always nice to meet the clergy, boy." He looked at Beckett oddly. "Strange bed fellow for you, Teddy. Is there a story here?"
For the first time ever, Beckett looked a bit sheepish. "Fr. Kevin is... a friend. From Dollyville." He paused a second, then added, "I'm gonna marry his sister in a few weeks."
The mechanic blinked, and then began to laugh. It started out slow, with a few giggles and snorts, and then worked itself into chest heaving guffaws. The old man slapped his hands on his thighs, tears running down his face, and tried to catch his breath. "That's the best damn hee haw I've had in months. Gotta hand it to ya, Teddy. You are one crazy sonofabitch!" He wiped his eyes with the corner of his dirty shirt, and when he finally composed himself, continued, "I'm bettn' there's a hell of a story here. But it'll have to wait. I'm guessing you came for your baby?"
For a second, images of Beckett having various illegitimate children scattered throughout the state popped into Kevin's head. But as they walked toward the back of the property, near a cinder block garage, he figured they had come for a vehicle of sorts.
Bill punched a set of numbers into the key pad. "I just tuned her up a couple of weeks ago Had the pretty bitch purrnn' like a tiger." He finished with the code, and the large metal door rolled up, exposing a car covered in a gray tarp. He and Beckett each took a corner, and pulled the material away.
From his position in front of the building, Fr. Kevin could only stare, his mouth hanging slightly opened. He walked toward the car, and ran a hand over the hood. "Is this what I think it is?"
Wild Bill let loose a hearty chuckle. "What's the matter, Padre? Never seen a Lamborghini before?"
Copyright 2013 Victoria T. Rocus
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