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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lobsters, Love and Loathing

                 

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

   
Maureen makes plans for a special dinner
       She tried not to think about.  The whole way Kevin had done an about face.  Normal, then weird, then normal again.  It was odd, to say the least, and though her husband had cut off any discussion of her faerie circle, it tapped at the back of her head like the woodpecker in the tree next to the kitchen window.

      Maureen pulled the cotton dress tight across her belly, willing the mirror to show more of a bump than was there.  Six months along, and she still didn't need maternity clothes.  At least then she'd look the part, since everyone around here was going to treat her like some frickn' invalid anyway.

     She skewed up her face, stuck out her chin, and lowered her voice.  "No, sweetheart, we're not going to the Cape this weekend.  You need to get some rest.  All this nonsense with Kevin...it's not good for you."   She puffed out her cheeks, and threw back her shoulders, swaggering in front of the mirror.  "Why?  Because I said so.  I know what's best for you."  She looked like a constipated rooster, and that proposed image of her husband made her giggle.

      From the moment she'd met him, she'd found his "take charge" personae appealing.  Appealing?  No..."hot" was a better word for it.  Sexy as sin.  And it still was, to a certain extent.  But since their return home from that wretched honeymoon, he seemed... well...paranoid, for lack of a better word.  Locking doors behind him, texting her on the hour, and insisting on a detailed itinerary of each and every day.  Granted, he had always been more "intense" then other men she had dated.  That was part of the package, and she was quite aware of how their relationship was going to work when she married him, agreeing fully to what that meant.  But as of late, it felt like he had taken this "loving care" thing to a whole new level, one that left her feeling anxious for a reason she couldn't quite place.

        She sighed, feeling a tiny bit guilty for making fun of him. She loved him.  Absolutely.  And he did love her.  She was sure of it, even though he didn't push the words directly out of his mouth.  Truth be told, she wasn't sure he had ever said them to her.  At least not in the traditional sense.  He had told her that she was the center of his world.  That she was his entirely.  He pampered and coddled her in million little ways.  His actions spoke volumes, and most women would have been over the moon at the attention.  Still, it would have been nice to have hear the actual words.

        From the open window, she could hear the bells from Holy Family ringing, signaling the 5 PM hour.  Ted was going to be late, calling her just a few minutes before that he was tied up at the station.  She thought about inviting Kevin over for supper, and then remembered it was Wednesday, and that he usually met with the youth group.  It might be nice to have a quiet dinner, just the two of them.  Something special...romantic even.  She considered the pork chops in the fridge, and shook her head.  Pork chops wouldn't do.  Too week day-ish.  A romantic dinner called for something special...out of the ordinary.  She considered the options in the freezer, or what might be purchased downstairs in the deli.  Nothing there that screamed "hot night with one's husband".

         The idea clicked in her brain as if a button had been pushed.  If they couldn't get away to the Cape, then she would bring the Cape to them.  A lobster boil would be just the thing.  They could set out a blanket on the tiny crop of grass out back, pour him some wine, and have a lovely, relaxing dinner before heading back upstairs.  They had been talking about just such a night since they returned.  And why shouldn't it be today?

          Then came the logistics.  The only store that sold live lobsters was in the center of town.  She considered calling Ted, and asking him to stop on the way home.  But that meant giving him the heads up, and ruining the surprise.  Plus, it might lend him the opportunity to put the kibosh on her plans, deciding for whatever reason her ideas didn't fit his.  No.  She'd have to handle the whole thing herself.  The bus downtown could be got two blocks away, but the round trip, plus the time in the store, would probably get her back home after Ted.  That absolutely wouldn't do.  She thought about who she might call for a lift, but couldn't think of a single soul.

           Unwilling to be deterred, she considered a last resort.  Ted's Mustang was parked in the shed out back, he, of course, using the patrol car when he was on duty.  Despite his insistence that she couldn't drive stick, she had proven him wrong on a few discreet occasions, taking the car for short jaunts to the mall and back.  He had never been the wiser.  And he wouldn't be today either.

________________________
         
Maeve watches from the tree outside the window
       The Faerie Queen watched from a branch just outside the apartment window.  The wee human was alone in the space, talking to no one in particular.  Humans were silly that way.  Thinking no soul could hear their private thoughts simply because they could see no one.  She watched the flanna preen in front of the mirror, and giggled.  They were a vain bunch with their large, hunkering bodies and empty heads.  She had no use for them, or their loud, violent ways, except, perhaps, to act as momentary distractions.  Yet, this one with the flame red hair had a spark of the fey.  She and her brother both.  But it was the female she was most interested in, and the babe she carried.

       She was decidedly ripe with pending motherhood, all curves and soft skin, her face with a glow that went mostly unnoticed by mortals.  The power and energy in this passage of creation was beyond anything that the Sidhe possessed, and she looked at the girl in both admiration and envy.  She could feel the life force of the babe tucked away in it's mother's womb, and smiled.  Yes, this was a special mortal.  Maeve would need to keep a fey eye on the goings on in this time and place.

________________________
A plan in action

      From the mail truck along the curb, the woman watched the foot traffic out of the deli, and the flat above, with another eye on the gas company truck parked directly behind her.  She was a great believer in the strategy of hiding in plain sight.  The stupid bastard never even contemplated that she would have the nerve to stall up in his own home.  His arrogance was overwhelming, and it made her sick to the core to think she was willing to give her soul over to such a royal piece of shit.

      When she first received the email, she had been besides herself with grief and longing, filled with the pain of being rejected by someone who knew her better than she knew herself.  She had been willing to share him, as distasteful as that might have been.  Men like himself couldn't be expected to follow the traditional societal rules.  But he had dismissed her as casually as an old newspaper.  Read all her pages, and then dumped her in the trash.

        And despite all her efforts at showing him how very serious she was, he refused to even consider her pleas about needing him in her life.  In fact, her devotion had led to him threatening her with imprisonment, even bodily harm, if she did not cease with her ministrations.  The words banged around her head, hitting with a force that was almost physical pain.  "I don't want any part of you.  Ever."

        Now, the pain had had turned to cold, burning fury.  How dare he think she wasn't good enough.  Who in the hell did he think he was?  Cassie flipped down the visor, and checked her appearance in the mirror.  The face that stared back at her was foreign; dark complected, older and wrinkled.  He thought he was so damn smart.  That she wouldn't see through his attempts to locate her, to keep her away.  The knowledge that he would always underestimate her filling her gut with a renewed sense of action.

       His team in the utility vehicle would by now have run the plates on the mail truck, and found them to be in perfect order, as would the identification badge hanging around her neck.  This is what she excelled at.  A Master at his own game.  Grabbing the mail bag off the seat, she rummaged through it, checking for the tools under the stack of papers, envelopes and magazines.  To the outside world, she'd look like the regular mail person, about her rounds on a Wednesday afternoon.  Beckett's team would have no reason for alarm, as there was nothing out of the ordinary to cause concern.  She had checked over the route a million times, and knew it by heart.

     Sliding out of the truck, she wandered casually across the street, keeping watch from the corner of her eye for activity from his team.  All was quiet, everything going perfectly to plan.  She started at the usual spot at the the end of the block, going from house to house, shoving random mail into each of the slots, vengeance screaming in her head.

Copyright 2014 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved
   

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Calling Up Trouble in More Than One Form

                 

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

                         
Brian explains things to Fr. Kevin

    "Aye, laddie. It be me what ya eyes are seein'.  I am no small happy to see that yourself is no worse for the wear after your journey.  Canna say I was not a wee bit in angst over the whole shenanigans."

     "You knew?  You knew I went...went back in time."

     "Aye.  The Sidhe are well aware when the here and now is shaken.  Happens more than most mortals imagine.  They just keep their wee mouths closed about it all, less the common folk think them touched in the noggin'"  He rolled his finger about his head, and crossed his tiny brown eyes.  "Just agreed that it is far better to have you here than there."  He ran a hand over his lips, wiping away any trace of honey, and then licked his palm clean.  "And the lesson?  You've discovered it?"

     "Lesson?  I'm not sure what you mean.  All I know is one minute I was standing in a bank vault in 2014, and the next I find myself 116 years in the past!  No clue how...or why, for that matter.  If there was a lesson in all of that, then I've surely missed it.  I'm just grateful to the Lord Almighty that I'm back here in one piece."

      The little man made a clucking noise, and shook his head in disgust.  "I'd have thought himself a much wiser mortal than it appears.  How can ya not have alearned yourself to the lesson?  Your Granny would be most disappointed in her wee laddie."

       His indignation rising, Fr. Kevin shot up from the sofa, remembering the state of his head and stomach too late to prevent the pounding and rolling.  The fact that the little man had not made an appearance in several months, and was now here to scold him, rankled his pride.  "Look, my friend,  I'm just flat out lucky to have made it back home alive.  Did you know I ended up with cholera?  Cholera, for pete's sake!  People died from that disease in 1849!  A lot of them!  The same thing could've happened to me, and you sit here chewing me out because I didn't learn some life altering lesson?"  He lowered his lanky body back down, this time slower, and with deliberate care.
"Frankly, I think you're being entirely insensitive to what I've been through."

         The clobhair-ceann (clurichaun) slid his small body off the the sofa, and took possession of the bottle of Guinness still left from Maureen's earlier ministrations.  "Himself is far too surly to deal with the fey.  Me thinks ya should take a deep breath and calm your fire down a mite.  I offer only what I know.  A lesson unlearned leads to yet another challenge.  One that grows with your lack of understanding."

       "Are you telling me this could happen again?  That I could just be...swept away again into someone else's life?"  The thought chilled him, and he let out an involuntary shudder.

       The wee figure shrugged his shoulders.  "Can not say, laddie.  The truth is..."  He paused, taking a long sip from the bottle in his hand. "... everything that turns does so for a reason.  Every leaf that falls, every tear that's shed, every kiss that's given...has a purpose.  There is no random.  Your adventure?  Not a thing of chance.  You best figure out the why of it, is all I'm sayn'."  Brian paused a moment, and examined the items still strewn on the floor of the rectory's parlor.  "But, your quest is not the reason I'm here."  He pointed to the trampled herbs and flowers, and the food he had not yet devoured.  "I'm here about this."

        Kevin glanced at the menagerie left on his carpet.  He had seen it earlier, but in his frantic attempt to locate Roxanne, had paid it little mind.  Then, his physical state took over all consideration, and the mess, plus the reason it was there, went unattended.  "Yeah.  I was wondering why this stuff is all over my floor.  I meant to ask Maureen, but then things got...confused, and she and Ted left.  I wasn't in the mood to discuss what had happened, so I was glad to see them go."  He gathered a crushed daisy in his hand, and looked at it oddly.  You're here because of this stuff?"

          Brian nodded, his odd, little face grim.  "Aye.  I was officially called."

          For a second, confusion reigned, and then the priest remembered a certain evening a year earlier, when he had first set out his own fairy circle.  "These items.  They're part of a fairy circle."

           "Aye.  That it is, laddie."

           "But...who?  How?"

           He finished the ale with a long gulp, smacking his lips over the last drop. "The wee red head.  She set out the items, then called upon the Sidhe.  I'd not heard the greeting in a long, long while.  Would have been better in the old tongue, but still quite impressive in it's strength."

            "Maureen?  She called a fairy circle?  Here in the rectory?"

            The clurichaun raised one dark eyebrow.  "Aye.  As did himself several moons ago.  But the sweet flanna (red headed girl) went a step further, and recited the old invitation.  Any fey in the area could not have resisted."

            The priest gave the room a once over, fighting the urge to check the closets and the space under the furniture.  "They'd come here?  Right now?  To the rectory."

             "Relax, laddie.  I be the only one here in the present."  He moved in closer to the priest, and in a voice not much louder than a spirit's whisper, added, "But the flanna...she has surely caught the attention of 'Herself'."

             "Herself?  Who do you mean?"  The priest's voice seemed to echo around the room, and the little man shushed him with a warning finger pressed to his lips.  "The one who is above all others.  Her Majesty...Meadhbh."

             It took only a second for Kevin to translate the Gaelic.  "Maeve?  You mean THE Maeve?"

            Brian waved his arms frantically, willing him to lower his voice.  "Aye.  She be the one.  Tis quite rare for her to make an appearance among the common folk, especially this far from the Ole Country.  Why she was here, I canna say.  But here she was, called to this place by the flanna's circle and greeting."

             Racking his brain for what knowledge he could, was more than difficult in his present state.  "So...her appearance here?  Is it a good thing?  Or bad?"

             Brian shrugged, his little shoulders touching the lobes of his pointy ears.  "Canna say for sure.  Her Majesty's moods change with the shifting of the wind.  History has proved that it is best not to have  Meadhbh's scrutiny.  She can find humans to be...quite amusing.  It be best that she forget entirely your flanna, though she has been known to have favorites among the common folk."

            The hammer in his head vibrated against his temples.  Maureen involved with the Sidhe was an issue with so many levels of trouble, it was hard to fathom where to begin.
                                                       
Maureen calls up trouble
__________________________________

         If the state of her apartment was any indication, Roxanne Spinelli's life was in total disarray.  Every item of clothing she owned was out of drawers and closets, and in piles around her studio apartment.  Her one piece of good luggage was open on the bed, bits and pieces of her belongings stuffed inside with little thought on how they would look when they were taken out at a later date.  Her purse was turned over on it's side, her checkbook, and cash laid out on the table in neat little piles. But it was the large bouquet of flowers stuffed in her emptied cookie jar that caused her the most confusion.  The card next to the arrangement read,  To Roxie...best of luck in your next chapter!  We will miss you!
The message was signed Rachel, Tiffany and Ruth, three of her best friends from the strip club where she danced.

          Miss her?  Where the hell was she going?  While she was busy barely surviving in 1849, what in God's name was the crazy woman dong here in her body?   And where was Kevin?  She had tried repeatedly to reach his cell, but the calls all went directly to voice mail.  Had he made it out of the past? And if he hadn't, just what could she even do about it?

           She wondered if he had a land phone, and reasoned that it being the rectory, one would be  necessary.  Dialing directory assistance, she asked for the number for Holy Family rectory in Dollyville, Massachusetts, and waited, breath held, as the phone rang several times.
Roxanne tries to reach Kevin

___________________________________
                                 
Storms Ahead
            The sky had turned a muddy, green color by the time Beckett was wrapping things up at the station, and he could hear the first rumblings of thunder several miles off in the distance.  The weather matched his foul mood, his head tied up with problems both at home and abroad.  The Powers that Be were significantly unhappy with the way things had gone down in Mexico, and were pressing for his return to tie up lose ends.  It wasn't that he disagreed with their take on the situation.  What should have been an easy drop and out, had turned into a major cluster fuck, due entirely to his wife's presence on the mission.  He owed his reputation an opportunity to return and make things right.

         But that wasn't going to happen when the psycho bitch was still roaming around on the outskirts of his life, another situation in which he was fully to blame.  There was no reason on earth that this woman could not be caught.  His men were trained operatives, used to tracking people all the time.  She seemed to have ungodly luck in getting out of tight corners, and remaining hidden.   She was brilliant.  No doubt about that.  It was that crazy genius of hers that drew him in the first place.  An intellect that matched his own in every way.  Stunning good looks, yes, but it was her mind that kept him hooked like a fish on the line.  So, it shouldn't be any surprise that she was still in the game, unwilling to give up, or give in.

          His phone pinged with an incoming message, and he reached for it, expecting that it would be Maureen checking in on his arrival.  But the number on the screen was one he didn't recognize, and the fact that it was a media message gave him pause.  He pressed the screen, and the image appeared, all white flesh, with just the sliver of red at her throat.  For a second he stared at the photo, the ribbon around her neck reminding him how easy a human throat was to cut.  Then, he deleted the message, and tossed the phone on the seat next to him, the first heavy rain drops hitting his windshield with a barrage of splats.
                                     



Copyright  Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved

             

       

 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Of Fate, Faeries, and Fact

     

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 works at keeping Maureen safe

     It was very weird.  No doubt about it.  He did seem...well...different then he had earlier in the day.  Still drunk as hell, and a rumpled mess, but less hostile, and more like the guy he'd know for over a year.  He didn't think for one minute that Maureen's silly fairy nonsense had anything to do with it.  That had been a coincidence, or more likely, Kevin just pulling his sister's leg.  But she had given him an out for his irresponsible behavior, and it was only human nature for her brother to take advantage of it.  From his observation, the O'Kenneys did behave "over the top" emotional, and far too dependant on one another, an opinion his wife didn't share.

        Whatever the reason, Beckett was glad to see Kevin more in control of himself.  Something had obviously gone down between the priest and Maureen's family friend, Roxanne, while they had been away in Mexico.  Whatever had happened was no business of his, but getting Maureen to agree would be a challenge.  In the meantime, he had problems of his own that took precedence.  It was beyond his understanding how the crazy bitch could elude a team of four trained operatives as well as she had.  Granted, they were acting as civilians, and were without the comforts and toys government backing would offer.  Still, his men should have easily been able to track down the woman's location, and keep her under direct surveillance.  The fact that they had been unable to physically verify her presence had him more than a bit concerned.

           From his patrol car, he watched his wife move around the deli, helping the Schiller's with the late afternoon, pre-dinner crowd.  At least she'd be occupied for the next several hours.  Glancing in the rear view mirror, he could see the telephone company truck parked several feet down the block, and breathed a little easier.  His men, assigned to keep an eye on Maureen while he was away.  They'd do a perimeter search on a regular basis, though in his mind it seemed highly unlikely Cassie would make a move in broad daylight.  The fact that she remained unfound this long lay testament to the fact that she was very smart, and very careful.  Still, the detail assigned to his wife gave him peace of mind, and would remain in place until he was sure the threat was no longer viable.

         On that note, he dug the cell phone from his pocket, and tapped the icon for Mike Nolan.  The phone rang only once before it was answered.

          "Yeah, Boss."

          "Any change?"

          "No, Sir.  We tracked that lead in Montpelier, Vermont.  It looked like a definite location.  A room rented, an ATM card used, a rental car booked. Even a prescription ordered at the local drug store. We thought we had a hit for sure.  Biggs and Thompson staked out the motel for 3 days.  No sign that anyone actually checked in.  The desk clerk confirms the room was paid for by credit card, but that the guest had never arrived.   Same with the car and prescription.  We can try and get hold of the ATM surveillance tape, but I'm guessing it won't show anyone using the machine for that transaction.  It's like she's a fuckn' ghost.  Everything done on line."

          "You checked the servers?"  Once the question was out of his mouth, he regretted asking.  The pronounced 'tisk' on the other end verified the man's annoyance at being second guessed.

           "Of course we did, Captain.  Checked, and rechecked.  All bounced around several locations across the globe.  Complicated pattern.  This broad's good.  Very good.  Too bad we can't get her to work for our side.  She'd be a hell of an asset."

          The thought of having Cassie as part of his team made him shudder.  She knew his weak spots as well as he knew hers.  Forging a relationship with her had been a monumental mistake, blinded as he was by her inherent ability to feed into his deepest needs.  He had few regrets in his life, and the psycho bitch was one of them.  Now this huge error in judgement was a monkey on his back, one he needed to shake off.  "Sorry, Mike.  I know you guys are doing your best, especially with privacy being an issue in all of this.  I appreciate the loyalty."

         "No worries, Cap.  You've covered my ass on more than one occasion.  Frankly, I'm intrigued by this target.  She seems quite the little minx.  I know it's weird to say, but the way she laid out the C-4 on your house was...well...genius level.  She was able to take the whole building out with only three detonations.  Most operatives would've felt the need to hit at least four corners.  Never thought to breach the main porch supports as she did.  The babe knows her physics.  Plus, she's got an ass on her that'd give a man a wet dream.  I can see why you were attracted."  There was no response, so Nolan continued.  "No offense offered, Captain.  Just sayn', is all.  We'll keep tracking her.  Keep you updated on what we find.  It's only a matter of time until she gets bored and or sloppy, and screws up.  Then we'll have her."

           Beckett looked up, and watched as Maureen helped an elderly woman carry groceries to her car.  She caught his stare, and then smiled and waved, the early evening sun making the curls on her head shine like new pennies.  The sight made a knot in his throat, and he grunted in disgust at this show of weakness, causing him to sound much more gruff then he'd planned.  "I hope so, Nolan.  Do whatever you have to...but find that crazy bitch!"

__________________________
Trouble comes to town

      It took well over an hour to finish the email to her satisfaction.  She had gone through several drafts and edits, changing words and restructuring sentences, to get the message across in the manner she'd wished.  There was a certain way to get through to Teddy.  Trigger words she had learned in their months together.  There was no way he'd be able to resist the offer she was making.  What man could? They all wanted more than their share.  It was how they were made.  Selfish and demanding.  That dumb piece of fluff could have the title.  The "dutiful husband show" the rest of the world would see.  The white picket fence and the mini van.  Even the baby.  She'd settle for the best part of him.  The one he worked so hard at hiding.

       She double checked that the link was working, then hit the "Save" button.  Rummaging in the back pack, Cassie located the burner phone she had bought a week earlier just outside of the state line.  Powering it up, she thought for a moment, than began to strip out of her clothing.  From the same back pack, she pulled out a crumpled red ribbon ripped from the handle of a gift bag, and tied it around her throat.  A media message "selfie" would have an even greater impact.

       Kneeling on a white sheet, she raised the smart phone over her head, careful that the back ground gave away no hints of her location, and snapped several shots from different angles.  Finding one that met with approval, she typed in a message and sent her future on its way.

___________________________

         He waited all of about 30 seconds after his sister and her husband had left the rectory to search for his cell phone.  The parlor was a complete mess, and despite frantic exploration, the device was no where to be found.  He used the land line to call himself, but had no luck.  Either the phone was on silent, or the battery was dead.  For the life of him, he could not remember Roxanne's cell number, having put it in his contact list a week ago, and never giving it another thought. And it wasn't like he could call and ask Maureen.  She'd never give it up without a hundred questions about why he needed it.  Like most people, he doubted Rox had a land line, so there was no way of making sure she was safe and sound from here in Dollyville.  He was sick with worry, not to mention the quantity of alcohol consumed by the now missing Fr. Murphy.  His head pounded, and he found himself teetering on wobbly legs.  In this shape, he couldn't even travel to Boston alone to check on her.
 
      For a moment, he considered calling Beckett, and throwing himself on the man's mercy.  He would explain what had happened.  Where he had been.  Why it was imperative that he get to Boston, and check on Roxanne.  Then the absolute absurdity of that situation hit him.  Beckett would never believe him.  Would never accept the fact that he had somehow time traveled to another period in history, and had been trapped in a different body.  Hell.  He didn't quite believe it himself, and he had lived it! No.  The Sheriff would surely have him committed to a mental hospital for observation.  And who could blame him?

       He plopped back on the sofa, and then regretted the sudden movement, as his head and stomach both revolted.  He felt his foot crush something soft, and squinting down through blood shot eyes, he wondered why the hell bread and honey was smashed into his carpet.  He leaned his head back, and closed his eyes, hoping the room would stop spinning.  He sat there quietly for what seemed like only minutes, slowly dozing to a state of light slumber, until a voice in his ear caused him to awake with a start.

       "I see ya arrived back, laddie.  An none worse for the wear.  Ya be all in one piece, far as me ole' eyes can see.  Quite the adventure you be havin'"

        Kevin turned his head with deliberate care, learning his lesson about sudden movements.  The little man sat on the back of the sofa, a piece of bread in one hand, and his mouth smeared with something sticky that smelled suspiciously like honey.   "Brian?  Is that you?"
     
Company in the rectory
______________________________

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved.


       

       

Saturday, July 5, 2014

For Every End, There is a Beginning

                   

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

           
Fr. Kevin... happy to be home

        "For Pete's sake, Kevin!  Just what in the world are you looking for?  If you tell us, maybe we can help you find it"  Maureen stood at the bottom, yelling up the flight of stairs.  When no reply was offered, she wandered back into the living room, joining her husband on the sofa, who was busy examining the abandoned pocket watch.  "Well, he seems to be be back to normal.  Mostly."  She gave him a finger poke to the shoulder, which earned her an arched brow.  "I told you I knew what I was doing."

            "You don't really expect me to believe that this...this hoodoo nonsense did the trick, do you?  The man is pulling our leg for sure.  I bet he's upstairs having himself a good laugh over your fairy dance."

             "Honestly, Ted...you're the most cynical person I've ever met.  You saw it with your own eyes, and you still claim disbelief.  Kevin is back to normal!"

              "Then why the hell is he racing around the rectory?  Explain that.  I think he's just embarrassed to have been caught going on a bender, and you offered him an easy out.  I suspect that he'll sober up a bit more and then apologize profusely for his...indiscretion."  He held the watch up, the gold cover reflecting the late afternoon sun from the parlor window.  "You ever see this before?"

                She shook her head.  "No, I don't think so.  My Dad had a pocket watch.  It was his father's.  But that one was silver, and I know for a fact that Patrick has it.  He wore it on our wedding day."  She fingered the fob hanging from his palm, but before she could inspect it, found it it ripped from her hand by a returning Kevin.

               "That belongs to me."  He shoved the time piece in his pants pocket, and without a single shred of additional information, headed through the kitchen and out the back door.

________________________________________

              He felt lousy.  Queasy, with his head pounding, but...Thank the Lord Almighty... alive.  A hundred percent alive, and back to his own time and place.  He swept his eyes over the church grounds, over grown and weedy, but blessedly here in the 21st Century.  He tried to remember the final few seconds before he'd "jumped", but could only recall bit and pieces.  He on the floor of the bank's vault, so sick and exhausted.  Wanting to get the words out while he could.  Roxie in that strange body, covering his mouth.   And then, nothing.  Nothing at all until he woke up here on the sofa, staring up into Maureen's face, with no clue as to why she was there or what she was doing.

             His first thoughts had been for Roxanne.  Had she jumped with him?  Was she here in this time and space?  It was obvious she wasn't in the rectory, but reasoning...if there was any reasoning involved in all of this craziness...would put her where ever the other women had been at the time of the jump.  He needed to find her.   Make sure she was alright.  That she had really made it through the time warp too.  She surely must have, as the alternative wasn't knowledge he could live with.

_________________________________
                               
A storm gathers near the Cape
            From the second floor window of the beach house, she could see the storm moving over the water, the clouds heavy and dark.  She paused at the window for a few seconds, and then went about her business, setting the lap tops nearest the outlets.  Despite the gloom of the approaching bad weather, the huge palladium windows allowed enough light to work by.  Though it would have been helpful, she resisted the urge to turn on any lights, less it attract the attention of the neighbors who might find it odd in a house that rightfully should be empty.

          It was an old ploy, but one that had been successful in the past.  Most people never imagined that the things they were looking for might be right under their very noses.  For over a week, she'd been able to lead his people on a merry goose chase over five different states, while never being more than 100 miles from their very location.  They were good, but she was better.  And now he was back.  Of that she was certain.  Teddy might know the ins and outs of staying under the radar, but the silly bitch obviously did not.  First, it was that $3.59 purchase at the airport in Florida, then a cell phone call from Logan International.  It was things like that, things people took for granted, that made them track able.

           All she needed was a chance to talk to him.  Explain things from her perspective without the little twit's interference.  If he wanted to be married, so be it.  She could live with a part time arrangement.  Had done it plenty of times.  But he needed her as much as she needed him.  What they had went beyond a simple relationship.  It was symbiotic in nature...he could dish it out, and she could take it.  A complicated dance that was at the core of who they were.  She just needed Teddy to understand that.  Cross legged on the floor, she pulled the computer into her lap and struggled with the right words as the downpour finally reached the shores of the Cape.

____________________________

           She awoke with a start, mouth open and gasping for air.  It had been the same way the first time, the feeling that she was suffocating.  But unlike the initial jump, her return was a joyful realization that she was back where she belonged.  The water from the shower head beat down on her head and shoulders, and a look down at her naked self was proof enough that she was back.  The long narrow toes, painted purple and pink, the scar at the ankle left over from a childhood accident, the dancer's legs.  All there in a complete package.

          She turned the knob, and the water ran to a trickle, a luxury she would never again take for granted.  She grabbed the shower curtain, and was about to pull it back, then had a thought.  Kevin.  Did he travel with her?  Would he be on the other side of the tub?  And she standing there stark naked?
The thought made a giggle rise somewhere in the back of her throat.  Awkward, to say the least.  She grabbed the plastic, and draped it in front of her, then poked her head out.

              "Hello?  Anybody there?  Kevin...?"

           Her voice echoed in the empty bathroom.  She was alone.  At least here in the shower.  She reached for a towel, and stepped out of the tub, drying herself off in the process.  The sight of her worn terry cloth rub hanging on the door hook, her dirty clothes in a pile next to the hamper made her want to weep.  She was home.  Safe at home.
           
Home again
Copyright  Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved