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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Family Ties That Cut and Bind


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.

Thank You,

The Author

Beckett's bloody knuckles
       No one spoke for a few seconds after Beckett's departure.  The nursing staff averted their eyes, and turned their attention to the screens and paperwork in front of them, trained to politely ignore the idiosyncrasies of their more privileged patients.  You could see the wheels clicking in Patrick's head as he looked toward the door Beckett had departed from, the door to Maureen's suite, and then back at Kevin.  The vein in his left temple sat near his forehead like an angry garden snake, and there was a Category 4 hurricane brewing in his gray eyes.  In that moment, Pat looked so much like their father it was as if a ghost had descended from heaven, and inhabited his brother's body.

              John Patrick O'Kenney, known as Jack to everyone but his children, had ruled his family like a Medieval feudal lord.  Within the walls of the family home, his word was law, and few of his brood ever dared to forget that.  His wife and children were, without doubt, the center of his universe, and he worked himself to an early grave providing all eight of them the things he felt were the backbone of a suitable upbringing.  Private Catholic education from grammar school through college, music lessons and little league, a myriad of orthodontic needs, summer vacations on the Cape, and huge celebrations marking each and every sacramental milestone.  The man gave them everything he had, and in return, expected their absolute loyalty and obedience.  And when you gave him reason to doubt your commitment to either, it was with the knowledge that there would be hell to pay for your lack of judgement.

              Kevin had been on the receiving end of his father's wraith on more than one occasion, and the memories still hung in his head like old suits in the attic, faded and covered in dust, but ready to slip on if guilt should call.  When a sudden heart attack had forced them to bid a final farewell to their ruling patriarch, Patrick slipped into his role like the named heir to the kingdom.  Despite the fact that he himself was only a young man with both a new career and family of his own, Patrick saw to the needs of his mother and siblings with the same air of autonomy he had inherited from their father, along with his physical appearance.  Through the years, he had held the family together, seeing to every one's needs, doling out orders in the name of advice, and practically raising Maureen from adolescence onward, until he had officially placed her in Beckett's care less than a month before.  There was little doubt that he would expect  complete disclosure on the issues at hand, a prospect that made Kevin's head pound and his stomach roll in waves of anxiety.

       "What in God's name is going on here, Kevin?  There's something you're not telling me about Red's accident.  I could tell from your face the moment I got here."  He raised his hands in frustration, and in a breath of a second, Kevin wondered if his brother would smack him across the head like he had done when they were kids.    Instead, he dragged them away from the growing audience at the nurses station.  " Ted Beckett does not strike me as the kind of man who'd leave his injured wife lying in her hospital, and storm off.  Now you tell me the truth right now.  What the hell has Red done now?"

         He knew he was being baited.  Knew it was the wiser course of action to keep his mouth shut.  But the need to defend his sister was stronger than his common sense.  "Why do you automatically think this is Maureen's fault?  She's the one who's in that bed seriously injured, grieving for her dead child, and right away, you blame her for all of it!  Did you ever think, for one damn moment, that maybe she's the victim here?"

         "Why?  Because we both know that our sister is a walking disaster, Kevin! Get your head out of your ass!  Remember...she's  'Wreck 'Em Red'...or have you forgotten?  That girl is cursed with the ability to screw up the simplest of things.  I just know she's somehow...involved.  Has to be.  It's the way of things for the O'Kenneys."

         "Don't give me that crap, Pat!  You don't believe that old wives's tale from Granny any more than I do.  There's no such thing as the 'fey' such thing as curses."  As the words tumbled out of his mouth, the memory of his time travel was like a punch to his psyche, but this was not the time to even begin dealing with any of that.  "Did it ever cross your mind that maybe her husband...maybe the almighty the cause of this?"

           "I don't believe that.  Can't be."

           "Why?  Because he's rich?  That makes him infallible?  I know we think differently, Pat, but even you can't be that big of an asshole."

            "The man promised he'd take care of her.  Said he'd make sure she was happy, safe and wanting for nothing.  He gave me his word."

            "And you believed him?  Just like that?"  It was Kevin's turn to wave in frustration.  "You barely know the man!  How could you just take his word like that...over the word of your only sister?  Your flesh and blood!  Especially you, Patrick...with all your lecturing on the bonds of family.  It's all bullshit with you, isn't it.  Beckett holds the almighty dollar, and you're just a dog on his leash."

             He expected his brother to get angry.  To get red in the face, all indignation and self-righteous fury.  But he didn't.  Instead, he looked quickly to the left, then at the floor, and then back at Kevin, a "tell" the priest hadn't seen in years.  It was a well known family secret that when Patrick was going to be less than honest, whether it be at cards, the workings of a practical joke, a heated discussion, or his law practice, he had a habit of not looking right at you before he did it.  He'd glance to the side, then to the floor and then back at you, as if he needed time to center himself before he did you wrong.  Over the years, he had worked hard to break himself of the habit, and it had seemingly disappeared along with some of his hairline.  But there it was.  Quick and hardly noticeable, but there none the less, and strangely causing Kevin a tad bit of alarm.  What was it Patrick wasn't saying himself?

           "Look, Kevin.  I don't want to be standing outside our sister's hospital room arguing like some East Side punks.  We both know something else is going on between Maureen and her husband.  I want you to march down to her room and fix it.  Whatever it takes.  Just smooth things over.  It's what you're supposed to be good at, right?  All those years of seminary school?  Go ahead and do what it takes.  Then, come and talk to me like a grown man.  In the meantime, I'm dead on feet.  I need to sit my ass down somewhere with a cup of coffee.  Seems to me a man could get a damn cup of coffee in this place, with what this all has to be costing."

            He turned and walked away, leaving Kevin standing in the hall concerned and confused.  He knew he had been dismissed.  Insulted, in fact, and any other time he'd feel that seed of resentment he worked so hard on keeping hidden.  But that wasn't what had him worried now.  Patrick had an inside track on something, and whatever it was, he didn't intend to share it.

Beckett's Mustang post accident
             This was stupid.  Totally stupid.  She knew better.  If she had any sense at all, she should have immediately high tailed it back to the beach house.  With the red head in hospital, and the lousy rainy weather, it was doubtful that anybody would be thinking about going to the house on the Cape.  She'd be safely hidden in plain view, keeping track of the goings on from the luxury of Teddy's money.

             But there was something about the man that made her act irrationally, and with little concern for her own welfare, she had spent the last ten hours following him from one place to another, watching as he dealt with all of this in his own manner.  The surveillance she had planted in the flat while they were on their wretched honeymoon was doing her no good.  He never went back there.  So, she was left trailing him by car and foot, a major chore in it's own right.  It was too bad he couldn't begin to know the extent to which she cared for him.  The effort she was putting forth to make them a couple again.  But in the end, it would all be worth it.   Someday, he would know the whole story, and be moved by her loyalty and devotion.

           Cassie had expected that once he returned to the hospital, he'd stay for a bit, giving her time to rest and refresh before tackling the details of Plan B.  His actions in the past few hours had given her a peek inside his head, though truthfully, the whole car thing had thrown her for a loop.  It had seemed a tad over the top emotional for the Teddy she knew.  With her, he had always held himself in check.  Passionate, but without the trappings of drama.  Always in charge.  Always on top.  It was one of the things she found so alluring, his ability to distance himself from the emotion, and concentrate fully on the physical.  So his attack on the car had been curious indeed.

            When he left the hospital earlier, she had followed him at a safe distance, expecting that he'd return home to the apartment he'd shared with the red head.  She figured he'd probably want to shower, maybe look for a change of clothes.  But he surprised her, avoiding that block entirely, even the spot where the accident took place, now cleared away as if nothing had ever happened.  He headed instead to the other side of town, stopping in front of the empty double lot where the Victorian once stood.  He parked the patrol car at the curb, and just sat, staring out at the empty space where his home had been before the explosion.  The ground had been cleared and leveled, and stakes marked the points where a new foundation would be poured in the future.

              She didn't dare move closer, watching instead from two blocks away.  He didn't appear to sense he was being followed, and there had been no attempt to try to flush her out, or shake her tail.  He was instead on some kind of mental tour, and she allowed herself the luxury of thinking that maybe his stop here was based on personal regret.  After all, she had been the one who had lived there with him.  Been the lady of this house.  Shared the pleasures of the Red Room.  Knew what made him tick.  There was no way she'd ever allow someone else to share that space with him.  The red head?  She'd never lived there, preferring the dingy, hole in the wall flat over the grandeur of the stately home and its hidden kinky pleasures.  It had been the right thing to do, blowing the house to pieces.  It belonged to them alone, she and Teddy, and no other woman had a right to it.

              Lost in her reverie, she had almost missed him abruptly pulling away.  Again, he headed off in the opposite direction, picking up speed until he came to the impound lot near the outskirts of town.  She watched from a  hidden spot behind a large road sign toting the coming of new a Red Robin Restaurant, as he left his car, and wandered over to the lot.   Unlocking the front gate, he headed toward the black Mustang, it's front end and driver's side a mess of mangled wreckage.  For a while, he just stood and stared.  Then without warning, he began to beat on the hood of the car with his bare fists, the noise echoing throwout the openness of the space.  He pounded at the windows until his fists were  bloody, and when the windshield refused to shatter, he stood on the hood and kicked at it with his boots until the pane erupted into a million tiny pieces.  When he was through venting his frustration on the car, he leaned against it, breathing heavily.  If words or sounds came from his mouth, she wasn't close enough to hear them.  But the depth of his rage was palpable, and it sent a jolt down her spine.  She wondered how it would feel to have him unleash that anger on her, to feel that total loss of control, but then pushed the thought from her mind, wanting to savor that fantasy when she had the leisure to fully enjoy it.

        For the next hour or so, he wandered the streets aimlessly, heading no where in particular, and eventually ending up back at the hospital, and his wifey's bedside.  Logic dictated that he'd stay put for awhile, giving her some much needed rest.  She had just put the seat back, and thought to close her eyes a bit, when he came storming out the lobby doors only 45 minutes later, his shirt wet, and his face set in grim determination.  She sighed, annoyed that he hadn't the courtesy to allow her a few minutes rest.  She opened the purse on the seat, and dug out the vial that had fallen to the bottom, shaking out two tablets, then adding a third.  Swallowing them dry, she put the car and drive, and began to tail him once more.

         It was a no win situation.  Face Patrick, or face Maureen.  Neither was going to be an easy conversation, but he went to his sister first, not because Patrick had ordered it, but because the two of them had always been the closest.  Maintenance was just about finished cleaning up the broken glass, water, and flowers that he presumed she had aimed at her husband's head, the trail of water on the door marking where she had fortunately missed.  She was no longer curled up in a fetal position, instead sitting upright, her arms folded across her chest despite the tubes, chin out, eyes red rimmed and blazing.

       She saw it was him, and her lip trembled.   But she bit back the tears, and took a deep breath.  "Is he gone?"

        "You mean Ted?"

        "Of course I mean him."

        "Yeah...he didn't even wait for the elevator.  Took the stairs instead.  All fifty flights."

         She nodded, sticking her lower lip out further.  "Good.  I'm glad he's gone.  I don't want him here, Kevin.  You have to make sure he isn't allowed back in my room."

         He waited for the man with the mop to leave, embarrassed to have the whole staff privy to his family's business.  "Maureen...he's your husband.  He's hurting too.  The two of you need to talk.  Work things out."

          "I'm done talking, Kev.  There's nothing to work out.  The man is a complete bastard.  I want nothing to do with him.  The baby's gone, and we have no reason to stay together.  No reason at all."

          "Momo, I know you're angry.  Grieving this huge loss.  But the two of you took vows, you need to try and..."

           She cut him off, not letting him complete the sentence, and pointed a long pale finger at him, the hot pink nails strangely festive considering the setting.  "Don't you dare try to feed me the church line, Kevin.  We mean more to each other than that.  Do you know what that bastard just told me?  What he kept from me?"

           He had always prided himself on his honesty.  Not just because it was the morally right thing to do and pleasing to God.  He was, in all sense of the words, the world's worst liar.  His face and body language gave him away every time, and his baby sister, who knew him better than any living person on the planet, instantly read his complicity, written like words on a page.

            Her eyes opened wide, and she stared at him, catching the crimson flush creep up around his ears, watching the way he jammed his hands in his pocket.   She let out the breath she was holding, and spoke, the pain in the words cutting him into little pieces.  "You already know, don't you?  You always knew. Never told me.  You went ahead and let me marry this conniving, lying bastard... knowing full well that psycho woman was still part of his life."  A tear slid down her cheek, and she quickly wiped it away with the back of her hand.  "I can't believe it, Kevin.  You kept this from me.  Me!"

            He tried to take her hand, but she pulled it away.  He worked at formulating the right words, at trying to make her understand.  "Believe me, Mo.  I wanted to.  But I...I thought it best if I let the two of you work it out yourselves.  As husband and wife.  I thought I was doing the right thing."

           She turned and spat out the words.  "And does this look like it was the right thing, Kevin?  Are you satisfied with the way your silence worked out?  Because from where I'm sitting, it seems like the biggest mistake of my life."  She began to sob in earnest, the sound echoing around the room, and filling him with shame.

           He forced himself to listen to her weeping, penance for his sin of omission.  When she finally stopped, he tried speaking to her again.  "I'm sorry, Momo.  I really, really am.  I wished I had handled it different, honest I do.  Say you'll forgive me, please?"

            She looked away, out toward the window.  "I want you to leave now, Kevin.  You're my brother, and I love you.  But I don't want to talk to you right now."

             "But Mo, I don't want to leave it like this between us."

            "If you care about me, Kev, you'll just go away.  Give me some space to deal with all this."

             He owed her that much, and so with heavy heart, he turned and headed toward the door.

              She called out to him before he left, and for a second, his heart lifted, pleading for a second chance at conversation.  But she was all business, her mouth held in a thin tight line

             "Can you send Patrick in, please.  Tell I need him in here.  Not as my brother, but as my attorney."

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved




  1. Oh Dear!!! Things are NOT going well here...!!! I hope Cassie makes a very stupid mistake and gets caught.... and I hope Ted fixes his relationship with Maureen!!! (I guess that is a lot to hope for..... given the current state of affairs...!)
    Please bring the Fairy Queen back to fix things up a little!!!

  2. Yikes! The drama! It's one thing after the other. Actually lots of things! LOL! I'd need a shrink for sure. They are all wacky but they seem very strong. Very good characters.