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.
|Fr. Kevin watches smoke and ash rise from the explosion site|
Where the thought first came from he wasn't sure, but in the back of his skull, a tiny finger of anxiety scratched at his brain. One of those houses belonged to his new brother-in-law. Beckett's Victorian stood in the center of the block at Maple and 5th Avenue, surrounded by a long, slopping lawn, and several mature oaks. Although he had never come right out and said as much, it was obvious to Kevin that the house was the Sheriff's pride and joy. He'd wax on at length about his struggle to find just the right window casement to match the house's original, and had once given the priest a thirty minute lecture on the long term value of copper plumbing. There was little doubt that the destruction of his prized possession would cause the man considerable angst, and Kevin worried that Cassie McKreedy might have come to the same conclusion.
Patrick joined him at the window. "That sounded like it had quite a bit of force behind it. Any ideas what it might have been?"
Lying to his eldest brother had never been easy. Like their father, Patrick seemed to have been born with an uncanny ability to detect bullshit when he heard it, and had no problem letting you know he thought you were full of crap. Kevin had learned from an early age that you didn't stretch the truth when talking to Pat. But he was pretty sure that his brother wasn't aware of the problems surrounding Beckett's crazy ex, and was just about positive that Maureen's new husband wanted it kept that way. Of the two, Beckett scared him more. There was something about the man that told you he had no difficulties crossing the line of ethical behavior when he felt it necessary. He recalled the manner in which the Sheriff had handled the guy with Maureen's stolen phone, and shuddered. He'd sooner ignore family loyalty, than be on the wrong side of Ted Beckett.
Kevin stared through the glass, and lied through his teeth. "Don't have a clue, Pat. It does look bad, though. I was thinking that maybe I should take a ride over there. See if I could be of any help."
Using a bed sheet as a wrap, Eileen joined the two men across the room. "Did you want us to come with you, Kevin. Maybe Pat and I could help?"
Until he knew exactly what was going, it best not to involve anybody else in the family. If the explosion did have something to do with McKreedy, he'd feel better if his nearest and dearest stayed far, far away. "That's nice of you to offer Eileen, but I'm not even sure what's going on, or if anyone actually needs the services of a priest. I'm sure the fire department has it under control. It's probably best if you two stay here. I can always call you if it's necessary."
"Are you sure, Kevin?"
"Thanks, Eileen. But it will be fine. You two have a good evening. I'll see you tomorrow at the Park West for Mass and lunch." Avoiding having to look either of them in the eye, Fr. Kevin crossed the room, and headed down the stairs.
Beckett knew. From the instance he heard the explosion, and saw the direction of the smoke and flames from the window of the Bridal Suite, he knew his house was gone. So, when the call came from the fire chief, he wasn't shocked in the least. What was odd, however, was his lack of rage. Instead of blinding anger, he was almost relieved. The crazy bitch had finally played her hand. Had made the first move, and confirmed both her location, and her strategy. Once his team had lost track of her two days ago, there was no doubt in his mind that she was on her way here. The last 48 hours had been a tedious waiting game, causing his focus to shift from where it should have been. But now he had her cornered. Knowing Cassie's huge ego, she would surely stick around to see the results of her handiwork, making it simple to find her, and finally take her into custody. From there, she would simply disappear into some federal prison, and out of his life for good.
His only problem now, was to decide how to handle his bride. The explosion, and the flutes falling off the table, had startled her, and he had no choice but to stop their play, and remove her blindfold. She had followed him to the window, and had seen the smoke and fire, but didn't instantly make the connection. Once he had received the call, there was little he could do to hide the situation. To his surprise, she was calmer than expected, insisting that they should make their way over to the house to check on the condition of the dogs. As she rifled through her suitcase for something to wear, he didn't have the heart to tell her the dogs were, without a doubt, probably bits and pieces in a pile of rubble. That piece of information would be obvious when they got there, and she saw the mass total destruction.
He thought about leaving her at the hotel under Nolan's care, sparing her the awful sight on her wedding night, but then changed his mind. Until he knew the bitch was cuffed, and secured, he wasn't letting his wife out of his sight. McKreedy had proved to be more sophisticated and dangerous than he had originally determined, and there was no way he willing to take any chances with Maureen's safety. What he did need now was a plausible explanation for why his house no longer existed, one that had nothing to do with vindictive, crazy ex-girlfriends who needed to disappear.
|The aftermath of the explosion|
With his military background, and doing what it was he did for a living, Beckett was familiar with what to expect in the aftermath of plastic explosives. But upon seeing the pile of smoldering wreckage that was once his sacred sanctuary, it was difficult to wrap his head around the idea that everything...his pet...the studio...his paintings...even the Red Room...was now gone. Completely. Next to him, Maureen shivered despite the humidity, and looked up into his face.
"Maggie? Basil? Are they...?"
He could only frown, and shake his head in affirmation, opening his arms wide so she could fall into them sobbing. For the next several seconds, the two men stood in silence, while Maureen weeped into Beckett's chest. They were joined first by Fr. Kevin, and then by Dollyville's fire chief who requested a private conference with the town's Sheriff. Unwrapping his bride from his arms, he turned her over to her brother, who looked at him with accusation and more than a bit of loathing. Beckett signaled to Nolan stay with the two, and stepped several feet away to converse in private with the chief.
It was nearly dawn before the the site of the explosion was secure enough to leave. The sky was just beginning to brighten in the east, showing the full extent of the destruction on Maple Street. Most of the gawkers had gone home, leaving only a few die hard busy bodies, one remaining fire company, an exhausted bride and groom, and a few family members and friends who had come by to offer their support.
Pulling Nolan to the side, Beckett rubbed a hand over his forehead, wiping away sweat and soot.
"Any information from the teams?"
Nolan shook his head, obviously frustrated. "No, Beck. They've looked everywhere. There's been absolutely no sight of her. Is it possible she finished up here, and ran?"
"Possible...but not likely. I know she's here somewhere. No way is she running without having the last word."
"Maybe the C-4 was her last word? You gotta consider that possibility."
"I'm not willing to risk that, Nolan. Until I know she's in custody, I'll be looking over my shoulder all the time. That's unacceptable."
"I'm sure we'll eventually take her down. You just gotta wait it out. In the meantime, maybe the two of you should consider disappearing. Go somewhere nice and chill until we take care of business on our end."
Beckett was quiet for a moment, reviewing the possibilities. He looked over at Maureen who was sitting on a neighbor's lawn, a few houses down from where his house once stood. Next to her was her brother, who continued to glare at him every time their eyes met. Maybe it would be best to get away. Spend some time with his bride without having to worry about interfering family, and the psycho woman. He and Maureen had originally planned to take the Lamborghini and drive the coast, spending some time at the new beach house, and just relaxing after the crazy weeks leading up to the wedding. But getting away...far away... might be the way to go. It would take some work to get things in order, but in return might offer some much needed piece of mind. Making a decision, he turned again to Nolan. "Maybe you're right. Some time away might be just the thing in this situation. Can you handle the paperwork for me? Put something together in the next few hours?"
Nolan smiled, and slapped Beckett on the back. "No problem, Buddy. Anywhere special you had in mind?"
"Not really. Somewhere tropical would probably suit my bride. Just make it quick. The sooner we're out of the country the better. Make the cover solid. The target is an experienced hacker. We can't afford to underestimate her again."
"Piece a cake. You want to go with the usual cover?"
"That'll be fine. But you're going to have to create an entire packet for Maureen. All of it...passport, birth certificate, drivers license...the whole deal. Don't skimp. It's gotta be tight if this is gonna work."
"Can do, Beck. I should have it for you by later this afternoon. How much do you want to share with the powers that be?"
"As little as possible. They don't need to know about the situation I'm in with the target. It will just cause me all kinds of unnecessary headaches. I don't feel the need to explain this whole mess."
"I can understand that." They both looked over to where Maureen was pulling her weary self off the grass, and heading their way. Nolan grinned at Beckett "Don't you worry. I'll share as little as possible." He laughed under his breath, and added, "You're gonna have enough trouble spinning this all to your new little wifey."
Copyright 2013 Victoria T. Rocus
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