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.
Maureen dried the last of the dishes, and stacked them in the cupboard, annoyed at having been left with the mess. She appreciated the fact that Roxanne had offered to cover her hours in the deli while she was on her honeymoon, but damn, the girl was a real slob. Every dish she owned had been used and left in dirty piles all over the flat, and it was obvious someone had rummaged through most of her clothes, trying them on, and then leaving them where they'd been dropped. Until now, she had always thought Roxanne Spinelli to be an organized, neat freak. It went to prove that you didn't really know people until you were forced to share personal space.
Plus, the way her friend rushed off without so much as a "How was your honeymoon, Moe? It was awful, thanks for asking," conversation, left her feeling neglected. And it wasn't only Roxie who was acting odd. Kevin had seemed unusually distant, his answers to her queries chopped and terse. Ted had brushed off Kev's cool demeanor as a reaction to the way the two of them had disappeared, a sign of his annoyance about not being kept in the loop. But it wasn't like her brother to hold grudges. When they hit the States, her husband had handed back her cell phone, and Kevin was the first person she tried to reach. She'd sent a dozen text messages to him, notifying that they were in Florida, and hoped to return to Dollyville in the next 24 hours. They went unanswered. Worried, she finally broke down and called him just before boarding a flight to Boston. He spoke to her with hesitation, his answers phrased in general congeniality.
And now, she'd been home nearly a day, and he had yet to stop bye and say hello, which in her mind. meant he was still angry with her. Drying her hands in a towel, she went over the past two weeks in her head...the rehearsal dinner and Ted's extravagant gift, the wedding and her new husband's secrets, the shocking explosion and destruction of their home, and lastly, her crazy, dangerous honeymoon. It was probably silly to worry about Kevin's attitude amongst the gravity of all of these other events, but she couldn't shake the feeling that something was just not right with him. Grabbing her purse and keys, she headed down the street in the direction of Holy Family Church.
He had never been much of a drinker. That's not to say that he didn't enjoy an occasional sip or two of Irish whiskey, or bottle of great Cabernet over a fine meal. But unlike some of his brothers and male friends, he didn't find alcohol a necessary ingredient to having a good time, so was unprepared for this sudden, overwhelming desire to snatch that flask from the offered hand. The need to feel the burn of the whiskey down his throat, and the flush of spreading warmth startled him, and he realized with sudden clarity that it was a burden his host found himself living with. Shaken and confused over this realization, Fr. Kevin let himself be pulled into the tight confines of the coach, shoved between a disheveled gentleman in expensive clothes, and a young woman who reeked of perfume. alcohol and sweat.
"Wise of you, old man. The authorities would surely have found the remains of you frozen to the ground somewheres." He handed Kevin the flask, and despite his better judgement, the priest took another hefty swallow. "So what brings you to the hallowed halls of Harvard on a night like this, Reverend?"
He'd never been much of a liar either, but found that in this body, and with the aid of the whiskey loosening his tongue, the falsehoods rolled out of his mouth with ease. "I've been asked to give some advice...of a spiritual nature. A good friend you see...in a moral dilemma of sorts. I, of course, could not refuse."
The woman next to him giggled, her face flushed from the increasing body heat in the vehicle, and pointed to his worn shoes. "Why, Reverend, that's so...so hole-y of you." She laughed at her own joke, and added, "Holy...get it?"
The two other passengers, a young man barely able to sit upright, and a woman with her eyes closed and head against the seat rest, ignored her, but Kevin's benefactor leaned over and gave the woman's ample bosom a two-handed squeeze. "Witty...and beautiful, Estelle. This is surely my lucky night." He turned to Kevin, who with growing unease, tried to pull his body away from that of the woman. "She is quite the catch, is she not, Padre?"
He felt trapped and uncomfortable, but the thought of returning to the icy wind outside the carriage gave him the fortitude to remain calm. "You are most correct, kind Sir. She is most certainly a fetching temptation."
It was the man's turn to laugh, his face turning red from the exertion of his guffaws. "Well put, Padre. Well put!" He slapped Kevin on the back, nearly knocking him off the seat with the force of it.
"I like you, old man. You're a good egg." Then he lapsed into a drinking song, the type of which is almost never sung in the presence of ladies. But if his bawdy humor bothered the women, it wasn't apparent, and Kevin was grateful for the opportunity not to have to make conversation. It wasn't long before the carriage came to a stop, and stretching, the occupants gathered their belongings to disembark.
The coachman came around and opened the door, and the party began to spill out into the bitter, night air. The man identified as the group's champion, pumped his hand with genuine cordiality.
"I'm afraid this is as far as we go, Reverend. Hopefully the building you want is within easy distance."
The cold air hit Kevin in the face, and he felt slightly woozy, wishing he had not been so free with his sips from the flask. He blinked twice, working at getting his bearings amid the darkness, the only light coming from gas lamps scattered across the campus ground. "I beg your favor once more, kind Sir. Could you possibly point me in the direction of the Chemistry Building?"
The man squinted at him. "You're surely not here to see Dr. Webster, are you? "Cause if you are, you've come all this way for nothing. The lunatic has been carried off by the police. Murdered Dr. Parkman they say." He leaned in toward Kevin, whispering much too loud in his drunkenness. "It's all the scandal, you know. All hush, hush here on the campus. Very bad for he university's reputation, it is. Has the chancellor's knickers all in a bunch."
At the mention of John Webster and the Parkman murder, Kevin's stomach lurched. It was imperative that no one connect him to any part of the sensational case, and so once again he was forced to lie through his teeth. "Webster? Of course not! I'd have nothing to do with the likes of that. Work of the devil, it is. No, No. My poor friend asked me to meet him in front of the chemistry building, and that we'd walk to his quarters together. He mentioned that the building would be quite easy to find."
The man seemed no much the wiser, and nodded in agreement. "Aye. It is quite the landmark with the rounded dome." He pointed off into the darkness. "It's about half mile that way, my friend.
Can't miss the likes of it."
Fr. Kevin shook the man's sweaty palm, glad to be about the business he came for. "Thank you for the lift, Sir. It is most appreciated."
"Not a problem, Reverend. Best of luck to you." He pumped Kevin's arm, shaking it up and down so hard he worried over his rotator cuff.
Before he could turn around and take his leave, the busty woman thrust his lantern towards him. "Don't want to forget this, Father. You'll probably need it on a night of this sort." Then she embraced him, pushing her spilling chest into his, and squeezing tight. Giggling at his discomfort, she added, "You certainly are a sweet one, Reverend. Such a shame you've made a pact with God."
Blushing in embarrassment, Kevin just offered a wave, and set off in the direction of the Chemistry Building, and subsequently, its privy.
Oddly enough, Maureen found the church locked up tighter than a vault, and no signs of her brother on its grounds. Most days, Kevin left the church open while he worked around the property, and often the parishoners would stop in for a quick prayer or two. But today, he apparently had broken with tradition, the church standing dark and empty. The sight of several newspapers still thrown on the porch, and the mailbox stuffed to overflowing concerned her, and she knocked on the door with a new sense of urgency. When he didn't answer, she fought with her conscience, and erring on the side of caution, dug the emergency keys he had given her out of her purse.
She pushed open the door, all the while calling out his name. "Kevin? You here? It's me...Maureen. Are you home?"
A few steps into the parlor, and she had her answer. There was her brother, passed out on the sofa in a drunken stupor, an empty bottle of Jameson laying next to him on the floor.
For a second she was startled. The Kevin she knew had never been much of a drinker. Saw him rip roaring drunk only once, and that was after their father's funeral. But now, here he was, snoring away in oblivion. How had he come to be totally smashed at 10:30 in the morning? And just what the hell had been going on since she left on her honeymoon?
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
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