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 Roxanne have words|
It was Roxanne who reacted first, the words finally sinking in, and with a shriek of joy, bolted upward. "Do you really mean it? You'll hire me? For a position in the Sheriff's office?"
Beckett leaned back in his chair, a self satisfied grin turning up the corners of his mouth. "Welcome to the force, Deputy. Though, you do realize that there are some formalities that precede your actually going on active duty. The state requires both a written and physical fitness test, as well as a complete background check. Then, your hiring must be approved by the Town Council, though I don't see that as much of a problem. Until everything's complete, you'll be assigned to desk duty. Without a fire arm, of course." He took a sip from his glass, the cuts in the crystal catching the light from the kitchen window, sending rainbow prisms across the face of his brother-in-law. "I presume you have some experience with fire arms?"
"I do, Sir. Belonged to a local gun club back in Boston. We went to the range several times a month."
"Excellent. Then I think things should go rather smoothly. I suggest we set a date for your physical test in the next four to six weeks. Give you some time to train. You can schedule the written test with the county office. In the meantime, why don't you take the rest of the week to settle in, and report on Monday. Call Melanie at the station. She'll give you all the information on your paperwork, as well as the name of the company that does our uniforms.
Her first instinct was to hug him, so thrilled at the opportunity to see a dream realized. But he was her new boss, Maureen's husband, and well, just more than a bit on the imposing side, so she settled for a proper handshake, and instead bestowed her hugs on her friends.
"Oh, Rox! Congratulations! This is the best news ever! You here in Dollyville! It will be like old times...when we were kids. I've missed having someone to hang out with. This is just...just awesome!" She turned to her brother, who as of yet, hadn't said a word. "Kev...isn't this great for Roxie?"
The priest pushed out a weak smile, one that stretched across his face more as a grimace. "Yeah...great. Congratulations, Roxanne. I know how important this is for you."
She knew from the moment she'd left Boston that he wouldn't be pleased. The last time they had spoken, it had been decided that for a myriad of reasons too complicated to discuss, the two of them should keep their distance. At the time, she had heartily agreed with that conclusion. The two of them needed time and space to deal with the odd things that had happened, and the intense feelings they'd invoked. So she went at it alone in Boston. And it wasn't as if she hadn't tried her damnedest to make it work in the city. She had used every connection in law enforcement she knew, but the door was virtually shut in her face each and every time. And there was no way in hell she was going back to dancing. Her days on the pole were permanently behind her. No. It was time that she finally got a shot at her dreams, and no one, not even Kevin, was going to keep her from it.
Still, his lack of enthusiasm, and obvious disapproval, stung more than she cared to admit. She hadn't expected him to roll out the red carpet for her. Throw a party because she was back in town. But he didn't have to sit there, in the midst of the best thing that had ever happened to her, and act like she had stabbed him in the heart. If she meant anything to him at all, even as an old friend, the least he could do was be happy for her good fortune.
The news about the job had come like a brick to the head. It had been a shock to see her again in Dollyville, in his own sister's flat, so soon after their soul-baring conversation, but never in a million years would he figure she had come with permanency in mind. She had promised. They both had. Now here she was, back with some crazy notion that everything could be "normal" again. That they could continue to go on despite the fact that they'd been to cosmic hell and back.
A quick look at Beckett's face, and he realized that he had been set up. This was pay back for what his brother-in-law perceived as Kevin's intrusion into his private business. The priest's insistence on the truth had put both his sister and her husband through a miserable separation, and when they finally reconciled, he had breathed a genuine sign of relief that it had, in time, worked out for the better. But it was clear the Sheriff was not the type to forgive and forget, and in Roxie, the man had found the perfect weapon.
He wasn't sure how Beckett knew about his feelings for Roxie, or why he took such pleasure in teasing him about them. From the first day her name was ever mentioned, Beckett had zoned in on the angst she caused him, and used it as a club. As an arm chair psychologist, he assumed this need to pick on he and his vocation was a result of some deep rooted insecurity, but what that might be was beyond him. To all visible humanity, Theodore Beckett was a living, breathing embodiment of rugged self confidence. But it gave him some small pleasure to know that the his sister's husband might have a few chinks in his soul.
In his need for revenge, the Sheriff had given Roxie her heart's desire, and there was a part of him that was over joyed for her. However, his use of her as bait to tempt Kevin from his vows both sickened and angered him, not to mention the fear that their combined proximity to that damn watch caused him. There was never a day that he wished he had not dropped the wretched thing in the ocean like he had planned. Gotten rid of it once and for all. But Brian had been adamant that he not do it, citing all kinds of cataclysmic prophecies should the thing fall into the wrong hands. So it remained hidden in the rectory attic, buried in a non-descript shoebox under a pile of old account books, a constant source of fear and anxiety above his very head.
The rest of the evening was a blur, conversation he didn't hear, food that tasted like sand in his mouth. He nodded and smiled when he thought it appropriate, fidgeted in the straight back chair, and tried not to look at the clock above the kitchen sink. At some point, once dessert was served, he could politely excuse himself to business at the church, and flee to worry and hand wring in the privacy and solitude of the rectory. But before he could make his standard excuses, Roxanne rose from the table.
"Well, I hate to be the party pooper, but I think I'm going to call it an evening. It's been a long day, and I want to be up early for a run. I have to start thinking about training...thanks to you Sheriff."
"That's what I like to see...ambition and fortitude. Perhaps, I should join you." He turned to Kevin. "What say you, Fr. O'Kenney? Up for a run tomorrow morning? That is, unless you've given up on the idea of running the Patriot in the Spring."
He wanted to reach across the table, and pop the smug bastard squarely in the nose, but instead rose from the table, and politely pushed his chair into the table. "I'm afraid I have quite the full schedule tomorrow, Sheriff. Maybe my sister can join you."
Beckett laughed. "I'm afraid my bride likes her morning exercise a little closer to home, so I guess it will be just you and I, Deputy. Unless, Father Kevin can find some extra time in his... busy schedule."
Refusing to be baited, Kevin ignored the comment and headed toward the stairs, leaning in to kiss his sister on the cheek. "Thanks for dinner, Mo. It was...very nice."
"I'm gonna get moving too. Thank you so much, Sheriff, for the opportunity. You have no idea how much this means to me." She shook his hand again, and gave Maureen a hug. "Mo...thanks for everything. I'll call you tomorrow. Maybe you can help me find an apartment?"
"Sure, Rox, I'd be happy to. By the way, where are you staying now? Can Ted give you a lift?"
"No, I can walk. I'm staying at the Band B on Pleasant and 5th. It's only about four blocks from here."
"Okay...if you're sure. Maybe Kevin can walk you over there." She handed her brother a bag of leftovers, as was her custom. "Can you, Kev?"
There was no escaping the request without looking like a complete asshole, so Fr. Kevin nodded his agreement. "Sure. No problem."
Good-byes and good nights completed, Kevin and Roxanne made their way down the narrow steps, and out into the muggy evening air. Neither said a word, and Kevin knew if he looked behind him at the windows to his sister's apartment, he was sure to see his brother-in-law watching their departure. They were a good two blocks away before Roxanne broke the silence.
"Okay. I know you're angry. You might as well get it all out."
"I'm not angry. Just disappointed."
It was the wrong thing to say, and she stopped dead in her tracks. "Disappointed!? What...I'm a misbehaving five year old that disobeyed? You can take your self righteous indignation, and shove it, Kevin. I don't owe you anything. This is a wonderful opportunity. Something I've been dreaming about for years. You could at least be happy for me."
"I am happy for you, Roxanne. Honestly, I am. But you being here in Dollyville, you and I crossing paths all the time...well...we've already been through all this. You said it yourself. It's a train wreck waiting to happen. Painful for us both. I just don't get why you came back here. This is a small town...not much happening in the way of law enforcement. Wouldn't it have been better to stay in Boston?"
"I tried, Kev. I really did. But I couldn't catch a break anywhere. It's hard enough getting a foot in the door. The police department in Boston is still an ole' boy's network, despite all their talk about diversity and equal opportunity. Plus, well...my past as an exotic dancer doesn't make it easy for people to take me seriously. I'd be languishing on their waiting list for ten years just to get a shot at the Academy. The chance Sheriff Beckett is giving me is a gift, Kevin. A fabulous, wonderful gift. And believe me...I realize he did it just because I'm a friend of the family. But I'll take it anyway. It's a start, Kev. A real start. He sees that I have what it takes, and is giving me a chance."
He wanted to tell her the horrible, awful truth. That Beckett was only using her as a weapon against him. But he knew it would only hurt her, and put them more at odds. And in that moment, he heard the man's tirade against "the truth" banging in his head, and guiltily shoved it to the side. He wouldn't shake her confidence to prove his point. Sighing, he began to walk, and she followed, continuing her defense.
"There was nothing for me in Boston, Kev. That woman...the one I traded places with...she wrought havoc on my life. Alienated my friends, borrowed money from the wrong people, cost me my job. She was some piece a work, though in hindsight I feel kinda sorry for her. I got to come back to my old life, and she got sent back to hers. I got the better deal."
They stopped in front of the stately old home that housed the Band B, and she shifted from foot to foot, before blurting out the words. "I found his grave, you know."
"His. Father Murphy's. He died. That day in the bank." She scrunched up her face, but refused to cry in front of him. "That could have been you, Kevin. If things hadn't worked out the way they did. If that watch hadn't worked in reverse...well...you'd be dead, and I'd be alone in a time that wasn't my own." She looked away. "She was pregnant. 12 weeks. That could've been my life."
He walked for nearly an hour after he left her. Nowhere in particular, just hoping for exhaustion to set in. The dark emptiness of the rectory offered no solace, and he tossed and turned in his bed, despite a heavy finger of Jameson. The revelation about Father Murphy...about the woman in his life...left him him with a heavy heart and a churning mind, and above his head, the watch hummed in its box.
|The watch in the attic|
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