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 and Patrick wait outside Maureen's hospital room|
Beckett shut the door behind him, and throw himself into one of the expensive chairs that graced the room. It was obvious his demeanor had changed in the few seconds it had taken to walk to the conference room The rage in his face and body language now gone, replaced with a calm, blank indifference. He leaned an elbow on the arm of the chair, and propped his head against a bloody fist, eyeing Kevin like he was an abstract painting that defied logic. When the words came, they were deliberate and careful, as if he had weighed and measured each one of them before they left his mouth.
"So O'Kenney...you have the wretched details. I assume you have an opinion on all of this, despite the fact you obtained that information in a... less than honest manner."
Despite the chill of the hospital air conditioning, the room felt stuffy and warm, and Kevin could feel the sweat pool around his collar. He knew he was being baited. Had spent enough time with the man to know the way he cornered opponents with words. "How I came to this point, doesn't matter. What matters is Maureen. This is about her, not me."
"As you wish...Father."
With the accent on Kevin's title, Becket shrugged, a gesture so full of sarcasm it made him want to forget everything he was and punch the man square in the face. There was something about the guy, an aura he gave off, that made the priest edgy and defensive. He had felt it on more than one occasion, and it always made him uncomfortable. But he would not be put off today. Not this time. He could play at Beckett's level. For Maureen's sake. "I need to hear it from you, Ted. This crash...the one that injured my sister and killed your child...your son...it wasn't an accident, was it? Somebody did this on purpose."
Nothing changed in his face or body language. He chatted with the priest as if the two of them had been discussing the benefits of adding another player to the Bruins' rooster. "You read it. You know what it says. The break line was deliberately cut, the steering compromised. So no...it was not an accident."
"And the reasons? The who and whys of it all? Who in God's name would want to do something so horrible to Maureen? She's never hurt anyone in her whole life. If anything, she's a champion for every underdog that crosses her path." He watched Beckett's expression change for a fleeting second, a slight grimace and a flicker of eyelids, and then it hit him, the cold knowledge like a slap to the side of the head. "It's you! Of course it's you! You and that crazy woman. It's not about Maureen at all! She was going after you, wasn't she? It was your car. No one would expect Maureen to be driving it."
There was no answer from Beckett, who gazed off somewhere over Kevin's head. Not a muscle moved, his body perfectly still in response to the barrage of questions. His lack of
emotion made Kevin's head buzz with frustration, and he lashed out, aiming his words like daggers, knowing full well he was handling the conversation badly, and yet not caring. "Well...say something, damn you! Admit this tragedy...the entire thing...rests on your shoulders. You should have done something about Cassie a long time ago. Gotten that woman some psychiatric help. Gotten her out of your life. I can't begin to understand what it is between the two of you that's made her the way she is. It's just you, Beckett. The way you are. The way you live. You just bring out the worst in people. You can't help. And now you've reeled my sister into the mess you've made of your soul. Of your life." He stopped to let the words roll over the man, to let him formulate a response to the awful accusation he had flung at him.
Beckett ran a hand through his hair, looked out the window into the night, and then back at his wife's brother. "You're right, O'Kenney. About all of it. I had no business dragging your sister into any of this. Into my sorry excuse for living. Is that what you wanted to hear? Well, now you've heard it. Satisfied?"
It wasn't. Not satisfying in the least. The answers he was looking for wouldn't change a thing. After all was said and done, his sister would still lay broken in her bed, her husband shut off from any type of open emotion, both of them grieving a child they'd lost forever. He prayed for some kind of guidance. Of some way to see hope in all of this. Make some sense of it. A trickle of shame crept into his head at the way he had handled the situation. "Look, Ted. I'm sorry for hammering away at you. I know you're in a bad place too. Grieving the loss of a child is monumental. But it's just so...so frustrating not being able to do anything for her. She's blaming herself, you know. Thinks you'll never forgive her for the accident. For what happened to the baby."
In the first glimmer of honesty, Becket shot back at him. "I tried speaking to her. Telling her not to blame herself. She won't talk to me. Not at all."
"You have to tell her, Ted. Tell her what really happened. Come clean, and start over together. It's the only way the two of you can have any kind of future."
Beckett laughed, a harsh guttural sound that held no trace of mirth. "Honesty, O'Kenney? You think that's gonna make it all better? Telling her that some crazy woman from my past killed our baby? You are ridiculously naive about how the world really works, Father. You view everything from your pulpit in the clouds, preaching to us about how goodness makes it all worthwhile. Well, I have news for you, my friend. You're wrong about that. All of it. I've seen first hand how it all really works. People don't want the truth, they want someone to fix what's wrong. To correct the mistake so they don't have to deal with it. Telling Maureen won't make her forgive me. Or herself, for that matter. The ugly truth is...she had no business taking my car, whether she knew about the crazy bitch or not. She knows she's a lousy driver, can't drive a stick for shit. We've talked about her driving skills a million times. She promised to let someone else drive, especially while she was pregnant. Yes, you're right when you say the tampered car was meant for me. I have no doubt Cassie was aiming to hurt me, not Maureen. But if Maureen had just followed orders, kept her promise to me about not taking my car, none of this would have happened. How long do you think it's going to take her to realize that angle, Father? You know your sister. She's a very intelligent woman. She'll come to that same conclusion in a very short time. Don't you think it would be better if we let everyone go on thinking it was just some horrible accident? Something to forget and move forward from?"
Fr. Kevin let the words sink in, and shook his head. "No, Ted. You're wrong. Building your marriage on a lie won't work. It will always be there...hanging between the two of you like some kind of fortress wall. You need to tell her the truth, whatever comes from it."
"And if I disagree with your opinion on how to handle my wife, O'Kenney? Where will you stand?"
He stood from the chair and sighed. "I can't let my sister live a lie, Beckett. Carry the full guilt for something that isn't hers to bear alone. If you don't tell her, I will."
"I was afraid you were gonna say that, O'Kenney." He rose from his chair, and glared at Fr. Kevin. "Then you leave me no choice. I'll tell her myself. " Beckett started for the door, then abruptly turned around. "Shall we see how your self righteous indignation really works, Father Knows Best?"
Kevin watched him stomp out of the room, giving Beckett a head start of a full few minutes before making his way back down to Maureen's room. Patrick was outside the door, concern apparent in the frown on his face, ready to crawl all over his youngest brother in his usual fashion.
"What's going on with Ted, Kev? He marched into Red's room, barely shook my hand, then asked me to step outside. Said he needed to speak to her alone. Seems to me they're both in a bad way. Shouldn't you be in there with them, counseling or something? Making it all better? Offering spiritual words of comfort? That is supposed to be part of your job, right?"
"I can't help them right now. I've done the best I could. It's up to them... and the Almighty... to make this better."
Patrick narrowed his eyes at him. "There's something you're not telling me, Kevin. I can tell from the look on your face. You never could keep a damn secret."
Through the door, the two men could hear the sound of voices, Beckett's deep low one, and Maureen's feminine timber, getting higher in pitch as the communication continued. It was difficult to make out the words, but it was obvious from Maureen's volume that the tone of the conversation had taken a drastic turn. A few shouts were followed by a thud against the door, and the sound of breaking glass. The nurses looked up in alarm, but checking the cameras and monitors at their station, looked away in polite respect for privacy of their patient.
Seconds later, Beckett came through the same door, grim and pale, the back of his shirt soaked in several places. He said nothing to either man, but stopped a moment to glare at Kevin. His eyes seemed to speak volumes, throwing anger and frustration the priest's way. Fr. O'Kenney knew at that moment that any friendship he had once shared with the man was gone, replaced by blame and betrayal. Then, Theodore Beckett III fled to the emergency stairwell, not bothering to wait for the elevator to take him down the fifty floors.
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