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.
|Looking for Maureen at the Boston Medical Center|
Fr. Kevin leaned his elbows on the bar, and looked at Beckett warily. "Do you want me to come with you?"
His hand still inside his jacket, Beckett spoke low. "No. You stay here. If both of us move toward him, it might spook him. I'd rather not have to chase him down." Still ignored by the patrons and bar tender, Beckett moved unnoticed to the far corner of the room, and quietly slid onto the stool next to the man in the denim jacket.
From his location at the opposite end, Kevin watched as the Sheriff leaned into the man, and spoke in a whisper. It was clear from his expression, that Denim Guy was not pleased at what he was hearing. He scowled, and gave Beckett's arm a rough shove. With complete calm, Ted laid a $20 bill on the bar, and in a blink of an eye, Denim was standing upright, and moving in the direction of the door, the Sheriff glued to his left side. As he passed the priest, Maureen's cell phone tucked in his shirt pocket, he motioned with his head for Kevin to follow him outside.
Following Beckett's lead, the priest trudged after the two men, down to a deserted alley a few feet from Riley's entrance. Denim Guy was now struggling to break free from Beckett's headlock, and in the light from a lone street lamp, Kevin could see the Sheriff's gun stuck in the man's rib cage. The knowledge that guns were involved, raised his anxiety level several notches.
"Damn, Beckett! Is it really necessary to point a gun at him?"
Beckett smiled, but the humor didn't meet his eyes. "The gentleman has decided not to cooperate. I do believe he needs some convincing."
"Look, man. I don't know nothin' 'bout no bitch. I found this phone just layn' on the ground."
In response to the use of an obscenity as a reference to Maureen, the Sheriff pulled up the arm wrapped around the guy's neck, cutting off his air, and causing his face to turn red, and his eyes to bulge. "This asshole is really starting to piss me off."
"Loosen your arm! You're choking off his air."
"That's sorta the idea, O'Kenney." Reluctantly, he lightened up on his grip, and the man gasped and coughed. "So, let's try this again. Where's the girl that owns this iphone?"
Denim Guy struggled a second or two, and then, energy spent, and mind made up, his shoulders sagged, and he tried a more apologetic approach. "Look, buddy. Honest, I don't know where the bi...the lady...is. When I left, she was sitting on the sidewalk on Bolyston Street. About a block or so away from where the second bomb went off."
Jumping into the conversation, Kevin asked, "Was she okay? She wasn't injured, was she?"
Seeing a possible sympathetic adversary, Denim Guy turned toward Fr. Kevin. "She seemed fine to me, pal. She had some woman's head in her lap, and she was covered in blood, but it didn't look like she was hurt any. 'Course, I didn't stop and talk to her, so I can't say for sure."
Frantic for any information, Kevin poured out his questions. "Was the woman a tiny red head? About this tall?" He held his hand up to his chest level. "And did she say anything at all? Like if she needed medical attention, or help?"
Grateful that the arm around his neck was looser, and hoping the tough one would remove the gun from his ribs, Denim tried his best to be compliant. "Yeah, come to think of it, she did have curly red hair. She was sittin', so I couldn't guess to her height. But she did seem to be small compared to the woman next to her...some old lady who was moanin' pretty loud. The red head was calln' out for sum' one to give her a hand. The other lady had some kinda gash on the side of her head."
It was Beckett's turn to interrogate his prisoner. "And just how did you happen to be in possession of the red head's cell phone."
Denim Guy kept his attention focused on Fr. Kevin, who he figured was his best bet for gaining his freedom. "Look...the red head had her purse on the ground behind her. She wasn't payn' any mind to it, so I walked by, and scooped it up. Then I kept walking into the crowd. It was a crazy scene, and nobody paid any notice to me."
Annoyed, Beckett tightened his grip once more. "What kinda piece of shit thinks about stealing from the wounded and injured during a moment like that? You really are human garbage."
The man looked grim, and attempted to appeal to Kevin's weakness for a sob story. "Hey...I ain't proud of what I done. But I'm broke... and hungry. Haven't eaten much of anything in two days." He flashed sorrowful eyes toward the priest. "Honest, man. I just wanted to buy me a meal."
Beckett grunted in disgust. "Yeah. Hungry. That's why you headed straight for Riley's Pub." He turned his attention to Kevin, pointing to the the needle tracks on the man's arm. "I should just shoot this miserable, lyn' piece of crap, and save the world a lot of trouble."
Denim struggled, frantic at that the possibility of Beckett firing that pistol at his ribs. "Please! I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I just stole a damn purse. Don't shoot me, man!"
Ignoring the begging thief, Beckett addressed Fr. Kevin. "O'Kenney, go through his pockets and see if he still has any of Maureen's belongings."
Kevin looked at Beckett incredulously. "You want me to steal from some punk kid? No way, Beckett! I draw the line at petty thievery. I won't do it."
"Fine. Then you come here and hold the gun on him, while I search. I know for damn sure he took everything out of her wallet. Taking back what's ours isn't stealing."
A spark of light flickered in Denim's eyes at the thought of the men changing places. He had sized Kevin up as the weaker of the two, and liked his odds better with the tall ginger, rather then the dark haired guy, who seemed a mite crazy. But luck was not his, as the red headed man shook his head.
"Forget it. I'm not waving a gun at anyone." Seeing Beckett's expression, full of anger and impatience, Fr. Kevin decided going through the man's belongings was the lesser of two evils. He moved closer, and began rummaging through Denim's jacket pockets. "For the record, Beckett, you are the worse influence I have ever had the misfortune of being thrown together with. And when we get back, don't ever talk to me again." Pulling his hand out the the guy's left pocket, he was startled to see Maureen's credit card, the Black Visa Ted had presented to her before she left for Boston.
Noting the card with his missing sister's name, and realizing it came out of the strange guy's jacket, seemed to reinforce his will, and he moved more quickly through Denim's clothing.
Before he finally finished his search, the priest pulled out Mo's debit card, a Nordstrom credit card, several family photos with Maureen in them, and her driver's license, plus library card, both which had her complete address in Dollyville. The idea that Denim Guy, some creep off the streets with an obvious drug problem, had access to all this personal information about his sister freaked him out, and despite his initial misgivings, he was grateful that the Sheriff had thought to retrieve all these things.
Satisfied that Denim Guy was "Maureen free", he stepped away, and spoke to Beckett. "I think that's everything."
"You sure? I don't want to leave him any trail."
"There's nothing left in any of his pockets, except for a wad of cash. And I can't be sure what was Mo's, and what's his."
"Just take all of it."
Despite having a gun to his side, and Beckett's arm around his neck like a vise, Denim complained. "Hey man, some of that cash is mine. You tryn' to rip me off, or what?"
Pushing the pistol further into the guy's ribs, Beckett growled. "Shut up, asshole. You're lucky he's here. I'd have shot ya first, and then took back her stuff."
Exasperated with the whole situation, Fr. Kevin reached into the man's pants pocket, and pulled out a hand full of bills. He counted through it, and pulling off a twenty, stuck it back into the same pocket. "I'm leavn' him with $20. He'll need bus fare, at least. And something for a meal."
"Well, for sure, O'Kenney. 'Cause it's always customary to leave the shit head who ripped off your sister a nice tip before you go." He shook his head in disgust. "Don't get out much, do you?"
"I did what I did. Let's just get movn', and find Maureen. Rolln' some punk wasn't part of the deal."
Beckett scowled at him. "There's zip ties in my left pocket. Take two out, and bind his ankles first. Then pull his arms in back and cuff them around the wrists. Make sure you make them tight enough. No wiggle room."
Fr. Kevin did as asked, just glad that they would be leaving the man with all parts intact, and no gaping bullet wounds. When he was done securing Denim Guy, Beckett pushed him to a sitting position against a nearby wall. He took all of Maureen's personal items, and shoved them into an inside jacket pocket, along with the cell phone at the center of this hunt, then questioned the guy one last time.
"Exactly what was your location when you stole the purse?"
Without the gun to his side, or an arm around his throat, Denim regained some of his attitude. "Eat shit, asshole. I told ya, I don't know jack shit 'bout nothin'"
Without a moment's hesitation, Beckett's foot connected with the man's ribs, and with a loud groan, he toppled to the side. "Now, let's try this again. Where did you last see the red head?" When the guy didn't answer, Beckett turned to Fr. Kevin, whose face had turned an awful shade of gray. "You go on to the car, Kev. I'll meet you there in a few minutes."
Before he could answer, Denim Guy reached out and grabbed the priest's pants cuff. "Hey, buddy...don't leave me with this nut. He's a fuckn' crazy shit."
Kevin squatted down next to the man, who still had not returned to an upright position. "Look, the red head is my sister, and I need to know she's okay. Just tell us where you last saw her...and we'll walk away."
All his resources used up, and fearing being left alone with Beckett, Denim set himself in an upright position. "On Boylston Street...just past Gouchester. In front of the Trader Joe's. But like I told ya, I didn't stick around. Just grabbed the purse and went. I don't know where she ended up after that."
Beckett moved as if to take another kick at the man, but Fr. Kevin stepped in front of him to block it, and received, in return, a look that suggested his future brother in law would have liked to kick him instead. Standing his ground, Kevin suggested their need to depart.
"Look, it's already almost 8:00 PM. We still have no clue as to Maureen's actual whereabouts, and this guy's told us everything he knows. Time for a Plan B." His voice dripping with sarcasm, he added, "Unless...maybe you're gonna tell me you micro chipped my sister in her sleep...or something like that."
Beckett tisked loudly in annoyance, but didn't answer him. Nor did he deny the whole micro chipping thing, and for a second or two, Kevin worried that he might have given him a future idea, if he hadn't already done such a horrible thing. The sheriff pulled out his own phone, and tapped something out, presumably a text message, and then abruptly turned, and headed down the alley, and in the direction of the car.
From the ground, Denim Guy called out his protest. "Hey...you can't just leave me here...all tied up.
Come on, buddy...at least take off these zip ties."
Fr. Kevin was torn. He'd have to find something to cut the ties with, and in that time, he wasn't sure Beckett wouldn't, in turn, take off without him, leaving him stranded in the South End. Also crossing his mind, was the fact that even though he didn't approve of the Sheriff's violence toward the man, the guy was still a criminal with a drug habit, and he wasn't all that sure of his own safety if he gave the man his freedom. Erring on the side of common sense, he promised Denim Guy he would call the authorities from the car, and then took off to find Beckett.
In the time it took him to walk the few blocks, the Sheriff had the car idling, and was both impatient and annoyed. Kevin lowered himself into the passenger seat, and asked, "So, where to next?"
"Well, Fr. O'Kenney, if you're done ministering to slime balls, we can check some of the local hospitals, and try and find your missing sister. That is, if it doesn't interfere with your church work."
He knew Beckett was baiting him, and refused to let himself be drawn in. "Boston has a lot of hospitals. It could take forever to check all of them. And there's no saying that she was admitted as a patient. The guy at Riley's wasn't even sure she was injured."
"While you were preaching to the junkie, I made a few phone calls. The injured from that particular area on Boylston Street were taken to Boston Medical, or Massachusetts General I sent an acquaintance here in Boston her photo. He's gonna take a look in the ER at Boston M, while we head over to General."
Traffic was still very heavy, with several blocks near the bomb site completely blocked off. They had made very little progress, when Beckett received a text back from his source in Boston. From the look on his face, Kevin assumed the news was good. "My contact says he's pretty sure he located her at Boston Medical. She's mobile, and doesn't seem to be seriously injured. I asked him to keep an eye on her until we get there."
Fr. Kevin uttered a small prayer of thanks, and waited for a snotty comment from the Sheriff in reply. To his surprise, there was none, with Beckett focused instead on maneuvering through traffic at the greatest possible speed, making Kevin change his prayer to one that would insure they'd make it to the hospital in one piece. Thirty minutes later, they pulled into the parking tower at Boston Medical, where after a few words, and two hundred dollars, Beckett parked into a prime spot next to the attendant both.
With the amount of people coming and going, and the onslaught of numerous media outlets hovering for interviews, the ER was easy to find. The area was crowded and chaotic, and it took a few minutes to find Maureen in the crowd. It was Beckett who found her first, her red head bobbing as she argued with a nurse at the admittance desk, while attempting to speak to an older woman, in what he could only guess was mangled Spanish.
Fighting through the hordes to move closer, Beckett called out her name, and she turned suddenly in the direction of his voice. Not believing her eyes, she blinked twice, her bottom lip trembling, as she pushed people out of the way to reach him. Throwing herself into Beckett's embrace, she emptied the tears she had been holding in place all afternoon, while he held tight, and tried his best to soothe her. Kevin eventually made his way to their side, but all the couple's attention was centered on each other. It was in that moment he realized that despite Beckett's complete arrogance all afternoon, he must have been worried beyond belief at what might await him in Boston, and Kevin felt slightly guilty about misjudging his intentions.
When she was calm enough to talk, Mo explained how she had come to be at Boston Medical with Mrs. Sanchez. She and Allison had just finished a long lunch at Osushi Restaurant in Copley Place, and were heading west down Boylston, back to the apartment, when the bombs exploded. Both women were knocked off their feet, but except for a few minor bumps and bruises, they were blessedly unscathed. Others around them though, were not as lucky. Allison went to the aid of a young teenager whose right side was covered with bits and pieces of metal shavings, and who was bleeding heavily from an open wound on his leg. Maureen attended to an older Hispanic woman, Mrs. Sanchez, who had received a head injury, and whose English was very poor. Somewhere in the midst of all the confusion, she had set her purse down, and when she went to retrieve it, it was gone, along with her phone.
With the arrival of the first responders, the injured were taken to area hospitals. Allison decided to go along to Massachusetts General with the boy, who was without any parental supervision, while Maureen stayed with Mrs. Sanchez, and was taken to Boston Medical. She planned on trying to find a phone at the hospital to call them, but in all the chaos, that goal was not easily achieved. She had finally managed to borrow some one's cell, but then realized she wasn't sure of the numbers to any individual's cell phone. She was used to just hitting the programmed send button, and hard as she tried, couldn't remember the correct number for either Ted's or Kevin's cell. She finally called directory assistance for the land number of the rectory, but there was, of course, no answer, because the two men had already left for Boston.
After verifying for sure that Maureen was in no way injured, and that Mrs. Sanchez was on her way to being admitted, Beckett pushed for them to leave Boston. As of yet, the authorities had no information on the reasoning behind the bombings, or whether more would follow, so getting out of the city seemed the most prudent thing to do. Unfortunately, there appeared to be some minor issues with the logistics of the ride home. The appearance of the Lamborghini both shocked and delighted Maureen, but the vehicle obviously sat only two people. Fr. Kevin argued that his sister could sit on his lap for the two hour ride home, but the Sheriff vetoed that suggestion on the grounds of safety issues regarding a car going 90 mph. He decided that Maureen should return with him, and that he would call for a car to take Kevin back to Dollyville.
Although annoyed at once again being the obvious "third wheel", Kevin could see the sense of the idea. No argument was going to convince Beckett to let Maureen out of his sight at this point, and it was dually clear his sister wanted to be alone with her fiance. He supposed a taxi was better than taking the train back, and more reliable time wise. It was decided that Beckett would drive Maureen back to Allison's apartment to pick up her things, and leave a note explaining she had gone home if her friend had not yet returned. From there, the two of them would head back to Dollyville, while Kevin would wait here at Boston Medical for his transportation back home.
His feelings of malcontent over being "left behind" grew with each passing minute, and the growling of his stomach. He sat on a stone bench, alone, outside of the hospital for nearly an hour. Tired, hungry and put out, he was just about to break down and call Beckett with some choice words, when a large limo pulled up to the hospital entrance a few feet from where he sat. A uniformed chauffeur exited the car, and looking around, spotted him sitting on the bench.
"Sorry to make you wait, Sir. Mr. Beckett had ordered some specific staples with the transportation, and with traffic a mess, it took me awhile to pick it all up." He held open the passenger door for Kevin to enter, and as he did so, handed him a note. "Mr. Beckett asked me to give you this note."
Fr. Kevin slid into the soft leather seat of the limousine, and was shocked to see several carryout bags on the side table of the car's left side. He opened the envelope, and pulled out a note that was without a doubt written by Beckett.
Thanks for your help today. Couldn't have done it without you.
Enjoy your ride home. We'll talk tomorrow.
Unable to resist any longer, Kevin dug through the assortment of delicacies arranged on the table. There was a meatball sub from Al's South Street Cafe, sausage pizza from Emma's, a grinder, complete with banana peppers, from Lucky's Lounge, clam chowder from Legal Sea Foods, and topping it all off, two huge slices of Boston cream pie from the famous Mike's Pastry. All of which were his very favorite hometown treats. Before he could decide which to have first, the window separating the driver from himself rolled down.
"Fr. O'Kenney...Mr. Beckett wasn't sure what type of beverage you'd like with your dinner, so there is a wide assortment of ales and local micro brews on the bar cart, and a variety of cold soft drinks in the mini fridge. Please help yourself to whatever you'd like."
Digging through the bottles, Kevin selected a local ale from Boston Brew Works, and began to unwrap the meatball sub. Leaning back into the cushioned seat, he gave some thought to the events of the last six hours, and came to the same conclusion. Sheriff Ted Beckett might be an arrogant asshole, but he was definitely a thoughtful one at that.
It had to be somewhere around 4:30 AM. It was still dark out, but the birds in the large locust tree outside the apartment window had already begun their morning tune up. She was pretty sure she hadn't slept at all since arriving back in Dollyville. She envied the man next to her, whose even breathing gave proof to his state of slumber. She, on the other hand, had tossed and turned, unable to shut down the montage of images and ideas carouseling through her brain.
Maureen thought about getting up and showering, but Ted had his left leg thrown over hers, and his hand was still tangled in her hair. The last thing she wanted to do was wake him up this early, when she hadn't processed any of the events from the night before. She carefully raised her left hand, to catch the bit of light escaping from the clock on the vanity, and admired the ring set on her finger. The large emerald cut stone, 6 carats, she thought, caught the small beam, and cast shards of reflection off the brass headboard. Her engagement ring was breathtakingly beautiful, the center diamond flanked on each side by perfect green emeralds. To match her eyes he told her.
She tried to block out the horrific mind images of the explosion and its aftermath, and instead concentrated on the moment she caught sight of him in the hospital waiting room. Like magic, he was suddenly just there, and she had never been happier to see anyone in her whole life. Then there was the ride home. In a Lamborghini. His Lamborghini. That thought alone blew her mind.
She arrived home to an apartment full of fresh flowers, a feat she had no idea how he arranged. He made her soup and grilled cheese, and while she sat on the bed and ate her supper, he suddenly handed her a small velvet box. Reciting lines from poems by Byron, he slipped the ring on her finger, and once again, asked her to marry him. And, once again, she accepted. Thinking about the hours that followed made her blush, but it was for certain, a wonderfully romantic set of memories.
So, what then, was the problem? Why was she filled with the idea that something was missing? Most girls would have been in rapture over the heart pounding tableaux set before her. She racked her brain, going over the series of events, time and time again, but couldn't be sure. During any of the hours leading up to now...or for that matter, any of the time that they had been together...had he ever told her that he loved her?
His eyes still closed, he could tell that she was awake. The fidgeting going on next to him was a dead giveaway. It wasn't surprising that she couldn't sleep. He had no doubt that the events she had witnessed in Boston would give her nightmares for months to come. He was an expert on nightmares. On how long they could linger. How real they could seem.
The overwhelming relief he had felt seeing her safe in that hospital ER scared the shit out of him. Broke all the rules he had so carefully set up. For the time being, he would allow himself the luxury of this romantic fantasy. But he knew sooner or later, it would be time to put the rules back in place, and proceed with the status quo that had been a life saver up until now.
|Maureen's engagement ring|
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