An Important Notice to Readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
|The Park West Hotel|
Letting go of his worries wasn't as easy for Fr. Kevin. He fidgeted in the plushy chair, debating over the sensibility of joining in the hunt for the crazy woman. His concern was that he might actually find her, and then what would he do? It wouldn't be a stretch to reason that she might have a gun, and he was in no hurry to relive the pain of getting shot, not to mention the possibility of ending up dead. Across the table, his brother Brendan regaled the group with stories of his patrol days in Boston's South End, and his graphic descriptions of criminal violence did little to quell Kevin's anxiety.
Across the room, he could feel Roxanne's eyes on him, but didn't dare turn and look. After two mortifying moments, it was best he give up on any further conversations. At this point, she probably already had him pegged as a clumsy pot head, and nothing he could say would likely change her mind.
In fact, she was surely counting her blessings that their youthful infatuation had amounted to nothing, happy that the Almighty had taken them in different directions. She was smart, funny and beautiful, and it was doubtful she lacked for male companionship.
He watched the couples on the dance floor, and smiled at the sight of his brother Sean, and his wife Jane, swaying in a tight embrace. After 16 years, and four children, it was obvious that they were still crazy about each other. It was in stark contrast to the intense conversation between Patrick and Eileen going on a few tables away. He was too far from them to hear any of the actual words, but by their facial expressions and body language, he guessed the discussion was of a heated nature. Caroline Ryan, who had come to the wedding with Patrick, seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the company of one of the family's numerous second cousins, over that of her date, who had left her to her own devices for most of the evening. It had been Maureen's secret hope that the romance of a wedding might move her brother and his estranged wife toward some type of reconciliation, but from where he was sitting, it didn't appear that the bride would have her wish granted.
She assumed he would change the security code to something more complex after her last surprise visit, so she hadn't bothered with the expense of another jamming device. Optimum placement was in the basement, attached to the main support hinges, allowing her to take out the entire building in one monstrous blast. Access to the basement would have also allowed her one last look around the Red Room, and the opportunity to remove her painting from it's walls. It bothered her more than a little to know that the portrait Teddy had done of her would be gone forever. But at the present moment, she had a goal to complete, in a limited amount of time, and there was no space in her head for foolish sentimentality.
Placing the C-4 in several spots on the outside of the building would be less efficient, but in the end, the results would be nearly the same. Working to gain her footing in the slippery, wet ground, she began on the far left side of the house, and moved clockwise, setting a small charge every 100 feet. From inside, she could hear the frantic barking of two dogs. She knew one to be Teddy's beloved German Shepherd, Maggie, but wasn't sure who the second animal was. There was a momentary stab of guilt over the sure demise of both doggies, but it passed quickly with the knowledge that none of this was her fault. If Teddy hadn't been such a stubborn bastard, they could have patched things up, and been as happy as they had been before. Instead, he certainly hadn't wasted any time in replacing her. And with a mousy little twit who couldn't possibly please him in the same way she had. With a renewed sense of vengeance, she set the next charge in place.
|Cassie at work|
By the end of the reception, despite a thorough search of the hotel from top to bottom, there still had been no sign of Cassie McKreedy. Interviews with the kitchen staff yielded no helpful information, as the shift had changed at 7:00 PM, and Beckett had no legal recourse to round up the others for questioning in the middle of the night. The surly Catering Manager claimed to know nothing about a strange woman in his hotel, and when pushed, threatened to call his lawyer. The consensus was, that if the crazy woman had been in the hotel in the first place, she had somehow slipped out, and was now long gone.
Guests began making their way to their rooms, with a few die-hards retiring to the lobby bar for a night cap, and more conversation. Fr. Kevin left the Park West filled with a growing sense of anxiety.
He was absolutely certain that the woman Roxanne had seen twice that day was Cassie, and couldn't shake the feeling that she wasn't quite finished with the lot of them. He had wasted several minutes trying to talk Beckett into changing his plans about spending the night at the hotel. He thought it much more prudent for the couple to slip off somewhere unnoticed, possibly to Beckett's home, which to his knowledge, was built like a fortress. But the groom would hear none of it. He was convinced that his security team had it covered, and intended on a night in the Bridal Suite as planned.
Driving home to the rectory, Kevin regretted not saying good-bye to Roxie. He meant to seek her out after the festivities with the throwing of the bridal bouquet were over, but was side tracked into a long discussion with his Uncle Earl over the pros and cons of the new Jesuit Pope. By the time he had finished there, she was no where to be seen. He was told she was staying the night in the hotel, sharing a room with Maureen's friend, Allison, and that did little to quell his worry. Roxie was the one person who could identify Cassie as the woman she had met in the bathroom, putting her at risk for retaliation.
He prayed that Beckett's security ensemble was as good as the man had promised.
The plan was for Fr. Kevin to return to the hotel tomorrow, after his usual Sunday schedule, for a family lunch, and a special Mass in one of the empty conference rooms. As he pulled into the church's driveway, the exhaustion of the day creeped in, making the short walk to rectory seem like a two mile hike. The night air was still and clammy, and the quietness of the scene made him jumpy. He unlocked the door, and flipped on all the lights before making a walk through of the first floor. Everything seemed normal and untouched, and he scolded himself for being such a baby about the whole situation.
Grabbing a bag of chips and a Guinness from the kitchen, he turned off the lights downstairs, and made his way to the bedroom on the second floor. Several of Maureen's things were still scattered across the bed from this morning, and seeing them, he said a fervent prayer that all would be well at the hotel. Turning on the TV, he began to undress, with plans to relax awhile before turning in for the night. Out of habit, he glanced out the window and looked down the street toward Maureen's apartment. Since she had moved there last winter, he had gotten into the routine of checking the window to see if the light was still on. If it was, he would send a goodnight text message, and she would answer back, similar to the calling out each night from their respective rooms that they had done as kids.
Seeing the light in her window made him smile, and he reached for his cell phone. Then his fatigued brain clicked in. There shouldn't be any light on in that apartment. Maureen was at the Park West, with her husband. He looked again, thinking he saw shadows against the shades. Someone was possibly in that flat, and it wasn't Maureen. He thought about calling the Sheriff's office to report a break in, but decided against it. The deputy on duty would recognize the address, and surely call Beckett. If it turned out that Maureen had just left the light on before leaving the house this morning, he would never hear the end of it from the bride and groom for ruining their wedding night.
Against better judgement, he slipped on his shoes, and wandered downstairs, grabbing a softball bat out of the front hall closet. He decided to enter the building from the back, on the chance that someone could be watching at the window that faced the street. Although the deli was less than two blocks from the church, his feet felt like lead, and he was covered in sweat by the time he reached the rear door. The light from the windows had now gone dark, and Fr. Kevin knew for sure someone was inside. He fumbled with the key in the lock, grimacing at the noise the tumblers made when he turned it. Moving as quietly as he could in the dark, he climbed the two flights up, feeling along the wall for the light switch at the top of the stairs. There was a muffled groan of a floorboard ahead of him, and the priest thought his heart would stop. Reaching up, his hand went toward the switch, only to be beaten to it.
The lights suddenly flipped on, and he stopped, bat clutched to his chest, mouth wide open, staring at the strangest sight his feeble mind could ever imagine. At the top of the stairs stood his brother Patrick, holding up one of their sister's kitchen chairs, wearing nothing but Maureen's pink, fuzzy robe.
"God damn it, Kevin! What the hell are you doing here? You almost gave me another fucking heart attack!"
It was hard to get his brain and tongue working together, as he attempted to get over the crazy shock of what he was seeing. "I...I saw a light on in the flat. I knew nobody was supposed to be here, so I came to investigate." Regaining some sense of normalcy, he made a face, and questioned his brother. "Why are you here, Pat? I know for a fact you have a room at the Park West." He didn't know how much Patrick was aware of the issues with Cassie, and so he offered no additional information.
|Surprise visitors in Maureen's flat|
His brother didn't answer, instead scrunching up his face, and putting his hands on his hips, causing the belted robe to gap more than it already was. Behind the stained glass dressing screen, there was a definite female sigh, and the squeaking of bed springs. Patrick looked away in embarrassment.
A light dawned, and Kevin stared down his brother. "You're here with someone, aren't you? Hiding out like some silly teenager. What in the world is wrong with you, Patrick? You're still a married man, despite the troubles between you and Eileen. You know the immorality of what you're doing here. I can't believe you'd behave this way!"
"No hold on here, little brother. Just who the hell do you think you're talking to? As head of this family..."
"Don't give any of that 'head of the family' bullshit, Pat. You're acting like a compete asshole, and someone has to tell you. You have no business carrying on..."
Behind the glass, the female voice spoke up. "Uhmm...Kev. It's me."
Instantly recognizing the voice, Kevin asked anyway. "Eileen? Is that you?"
"Yeah. It's me, hon. I'm sorry we gave you a scare."
Fr. Kevin stared at his eldest brother, who looked none too happy.
"I'll take that apology now, Kevin."
"Geez, Pat. And you too Eileen. I'm sorry. I would have never guessed that the two of you would...you know...come here." Fr. Kevin could feel his face getting redder by the minute. "You both have rooms over at the Park West. It's just that I thought..."
Before he could finish the sentence, there was the sound of a large explosion somewhere at the west end of the town, causing the glass in the flat's windows to rattle and shake.
In the bridal suite at the Park West Beckett had just finished restraining the bride's hands with silk cord, sliding a finger in between her wrists and the silk to check for tightness. Grabbing the scarf from the bed, he went behind her to tie a blindfold, hearing the satisfying hitch in her breath as he did so. He hadn't quite finished knotting it when there was the sound and shake of a muffled explosion, causing the windows in the room to rattle, and the filled champagne glasses to tip off the table, and crash to the floor.
|Maureen and Beckett in the Bridal Suite|
Copyright 2013 Victoria T. Rocus
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