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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Reunion

   

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

   
Cassie and Beckett meet

       The deserted warehouse on Route 23 was just another reminder of the sorry state of the current economy, a hulking eyesore long abandoned when a risky business plan had gone bad.   There had been a flurry of talk around Dollyville that a Boston developer had invested a chunk of money into the property, but the fact was, it was simply a tax write off, a purchase suggested by his attorney, and nothing more.  It was too far from town to have any real commercial benefit, nearly thirty minutes away, and stuck squarely in the middle of no where.   Beckett had little use for either the property or the cavernous building that sat on it, but hoped that the memory of the place would be enough to draw her back.

         He pulled the patrol car to the back of the structure, the late evening sun casting long shadows across the rows of rusty loading docks, empty wooden pallets propped up along their sides like a rib cage stripped of flesh.  The side door was opened a crack, and his hand automatically went to the gun in his waistband.  He pushed at the metal, and it swung wide, letting an arc of light sweep across the
open space.  In the corner nearest the shipping desk, there was a pile of tattered blankets and and a collection of Styrofoam cups and containers, proof that the building had at some point become transient shelter.

          But it was the desk that brought the memories back, a trigger to which he thought himself immune.  He had brought her here on a whim, a last minute thought meant to catch her off guard, and give him the upper hand.   Her reaction had surprised them both, a heady mix of fear, anticipation and desire.  Cassie's agoraphobia amidst the wide open space of the warehouse added a level of controlled panic to the whole scene, making her enticingly vulnerable spread across the wooden expanse, hands and feet tied to the fours legs.  It had been memorable for them both, a fact he was counting on to lure her to him.

        A quick check of the place proved that it was empty.  He positioned himself a few feet from the door, and went through the operation in his head.  The last phase had several options depending on her initial reaction, and he tried to mentally prepare himself for a variety of conclusions, pushing all other thoughts from his head.  It was like any other mission, the countless times he'd been in similar situations with similar objectives.  He worked at shoving all images of Maureen from his head, the tear stained face and look of absolute betrayal, her red hair like a bleeding wound against the sterile hospital whites, and focused instead on dust particles that floated in the light from the tiny windows.

        In the distance, he could hear the static buzz of a helicopter, likely Nolan and his team, on a futile attempt to locate either he or the woman.   Cassie was his problem, his shame, and there was no way he wished to involve them further.  Whatever went down in the next hour was his burden to shoulder alone, and in time, his men would come to respect him for it.  The whirring noise became more distant, moving toward the west, and closer to the town limits.  The old warehouse was on no one's radar, non descript and ordinary, making it the perfect spot for this to end.

         He didn't wait long.  There was the sound of an engine, and the crunch of tires on gravel.  Beckett shifted the Shibari rope to his left shoulder, and looked straight ahead, his face calm and still.   There were light footsteps outside the door, and then nothing.  He held his breath.  Wondered if she had changed her mind and fled.  Then, the metal door slid open, and she stepped in, the light temporarily blinding his line of vision.  He had forgotten how tiny she was, barely five feet, small boned and wiry.  The door closed behind her, blocking the setting sun and providing a clearer view.  She had gone back to the dark brunette she'd been when they were together, falling into the memory without hesitation.

          Cassie immediately honed in on his presence, and he stepped into the dim crack of light from the windows, giving her a better view.  Her eyes rested on the red silk rope across his shoulders.  There was a slight intake of breath, and she smiled, the reaction he'd been counting on.  He could do this.  Simply.  Easily.

           "It's been too long, Sir."

            "So it has, Mon Petite.   You been a very busy girl."

             She shrugged.  "One needs a hobby, Sir."

             He took a few steps forward, and she pulled the small caliber pistol from the back of her jeans. "Not another step, my love.  Drop the automatic, and kick it over here."

             He smirked, and dug the weapon from the waistband of his pants.  "Your lack of trust disappoints me, Mon Petite.  And we both know how much I dislike being disappointed."

              She waved the pistol at him again, and he dropped the gun onto the cement floor, and kicked it toward her.  Without taking her eyes off him, she bent over and retrieved it, then flung it over their heads towards a spot in the back.  It clattered off in the distance, and Beckett forced himself not to turn and watch its location.

             He shrugged his shoulders, and then put his hands on his hips.   "I chose this place especially  for our reunion, Mon Petite, and you are being most ungrateful.  I fear some discipline is in order."

              She hesitated, and Beckett could see the battle going on in her head.  She looked to his face, and then to the rope, her teeth biting down on her lower lip.  "I want to believe you, Sir.  Honest, I do."
She suddenly scowled, and stepped closer, pointing the gun at his head.  "What about her?  The red head?  Your wife?"

               "Done.  Over.  Never meant a thing...though I fail to see why I need to explain myself to you, Little One.   Or have you forgotten all the rules while you were away?"

                Her need to believe was stronger than her common sense.  Tossing the gun to the side, she stepped forward, and presented her wrists.  "I am yours, Sir"

                 Beckett kept his face a mask, showing not a hint of emotion. "Where is your protocol, girl?  Is this the way you present yourself?  Disappointing, indeed."

                  She blinked at him, lost in the memory, and began to undress, folding each article of clothing into a neat square and stacking them in a pile on the floor, while he watched.  When she finished, she stood naked before him, and looked up into his face, hopeful.  But what she saw there instead he never knew.  Maybe she caught a glimpse of revulsion in the set of his mouth?  Maybe it was the lie reflected in his eyes?  Something in his face must have given him away.  Before he could bind her, she was off and running, heading in the direction of where he had seen her throw his automatic.

                 He went after her, but in the darkness, could only see glimpses of pale flesh slicing in between the stacks of empty pallets and metal drums.  The bullet whizzing by his head gave proof that she had found his weapon, and he was glad for the Sig in his ankle holster.  He hadn't intended for it to end this way, but she had changed the script.  He herded her toward the corner of the building, trapping her between a brick wall and a pile of empty crates, all the while counting the missed shots one by one.  He could hear her heavy breathing, and watched her scramble up the crates, her bare ass like a round, full moon rising in the night sky.  When she got to the top, she turned and saw him standing at the bottom.

          "Don't you come any closer, you filthy, lying bastard!  You're dead, you hear me!  Dead!  I'll put a bullet in your fucked up head, Teddy, so help me God, I will!"

            He raised his arms, and smirked, the Sig loaded and ready in his right hand.  "Go ahead, Baby.  Take your best shot."  When she didn't fire, he took a step forward.  Frightened, she aimed the gun, and pulled the trigger, the empty chamber echoing in the space.  Realizing she was out of ammunition, she shrieked, and threw the weapon at his head.  It missed, and tumbled down the mountain of crates like a loose pebble.  For a few seconds, they stared at one another, sizing up the moment, plotting their next move.

           Beckett began the climb to the top, and with no where to go, and no gun to fire, Cassie disappeared into the darkness.   He assumed she would scramble for something to use as a weapon, and thus was surprised to see her calmly standing in the corner waiting for him, hands at her side, and smiling.

             "Good for you, Sir.  You've trapped me.  You win.  Come claim your prize."

             He pointed the Sig at her.  "You are one crazy, messed up bitch, Mon Petite.  I pity you.  Truly I do."

             She stepped forward, narrowed her eyes and snarled.  "Don't give me that self-righteous bullshit, Teddy.  We're soul mates, you and I.  Cut from the same dirty cloth.  We don't think like normal people, and we don't play by the same rules.  You know it's true, so let's not pretend you could ever have a regular life.  You'd die of boredom."  She took a step closer.  "You want what I can offer.  It's really very simple."  She reached out to touch him, and he stepped backwards.

               "Step back, Little One.  I mean it."

                "Or what, Teddy?  You're going to shoot me?"  She giggled, a high pitch girlish sound that made the moment even stranger.  "We both know you won't do it, Sir.  Even you have boundaries."  She smiled, a wide, toothy grin.  "I know you better than you know yourself, Theodore Beckett."

                 "Baby...you don't know me at at"  And then he smiled back at her, and pulled the trigger.
                             

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus  2014
All Rights Reserved


         



             


         





       

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Broken Ends

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 waits
      The top of his head felt ready to explode, and the wet shirt clung to him as a reminder of what a total shit of a human being he really was.  She deserved better.  Some picket fence life with a mini van in her drive way, and squalling babies tugging at her legs.  Despite what he told her brother, he was the primary cause of her unhappiness, and no amount of double speak logic was going to change that.  He needed to take care business, and then sever any ties they shared.  Money would see to her future in a way that would hopefully abase some of the guilt he bore, but until the psycho bitch was dealt with, none of that could happen.

            It was difficult to keep from scanning the parking lot for her car,  to keep from zeroing in on the silver Taurus he knew was stalling somewhere in the sea of vehicles.  He forced himself to stare at the things in front of him, not wanting to provide any clue that he knew she was there, had known of her presence for the last ten hours.  But for this to work, to put an end to this once and for all, she had to be convinced that he was oblivious to her involvement.

            Beckett slid into the seat of the patrol car, and tapped at the small receiver button on the dash board.  "You there, Nolan?"

           "Aye, Sir.  We're on the west side of the building. The white laundry truck parked next to the
loading dock."

           "You're sure she can't pick up this signal?"

           "No, Sir.  We have this particular frequency jammed.  It will appear normal on her end, but she won't hear a word of our conversation.  We have learned a thing or two about her methods in the past month.  Gotta say, the bitch is good.  Very good.  It's a shame we don't have her working for our side."

           "You can start a fuckn' fan club for her when this is over, Nolan.  Until then, I just need you to do what you're told."

           "Damn, Beck.  I didn't mean to make light of any of this.  But I've never seen a civie this...this precise before.  It's like she's had pro training."

           "Yeah...well...she's been able to get by so far on ingenuity and talent.  That end's today"

           "Yes, Sir.  We got eyes on the ground, and in the air.  She won't drop shit us this time."

            "I hope the hell not.  I'll let you know when I've made contact."

             "Aye, Captain.   Remember...by the book, okay.  No last minute changes.  Anything but the plan leaves us open to attention."

              He didn't reply, instead hitting the button and ending the transmission.  Glancing up toward the mirror, he tried to see the trail of cars behind him.  Daylight made her easier to see, but rush hour traffic offered plenty of vehicles to hide behind.  As he turned the corner, he caught sight of the Taurus six cars behind him, keeping a cautious pace.  She would probably expect him to head home, back to the flat on Kessler Street.  It would seem the most normal thing to do, to shower and change before heading back to the station or the hospital.  Normal is what he wanted.  No reason for her to expect anything was amiss.

_______________________________

          It was cowardly.  There was no denying that.  But with Patrick in Maureen's room, and she insisting that he leave her alone, it was the perfect opportunity to slip away from the hospital.  He had been there since yesterday afternoon, and the drama and stress of the last few hours had stripped him of any reasonable chance for efficiency.  What he needed was a hot shower and some breakfast, and then maybe he could spend some time seeking divine assistance over what to do next.   Not desiring a long, dreary bus ride, he opted for a taxi, and was shortly on route back to Holy Family.

          Thursday was glorious, all blue skies and warm sunshine.  Around him, the town got to the business of another day, unaware that for he and those he held dearest, the world had changed in a deeply sad way.  It appeared that his sister would physically recover from her injuries without any lasting effects, but the same could not be said for her heart.  With grief over the loss of her baby, and the betrayal she felt by both her husband and brother,  it was doubtful she could ever go back to being the care free, light hearted soul she had been 24 hours before.

          The cab dropped him off in front of the rectory, and it seemed like he had been away for days instead of hours.  The weariness hit him all at once, and even the fifty feet to the front door seemed much too far to go.  He stopped to pick up the newspaper on the walkway, and in doing so, glanced down the street.  There was Beckett's patrol car, parked outside the deli, indicating that the man had probably returned home to the flat he shared with Maureen.  Good intentions poked at him, urging a visit and perhaps a heart to heart with the man that had married his sister.  It was the shepherd-like thing to do, a plan of action expected of man with a calling.  But Beckett wasn't a member of his flock, not even a believer as he had argued a million times before.   And in the shape Kevin found himself in, he doubted he had little to offer in the way of any spiritual advice.  So plans for a visit were put off for another time, when surely he would be better apt to handle the fallout.

          Months, even years later, he would often wonder how things might have turned out differently if he had only made the alternative choice on that perfect Thursday morning.
Fr. Kevin notices Beckett's patrol car

_________________________

         For Beckett, waiting was always the hardest part of any op, finding the time wasted until the target made their next move more akin to purgatory than hell.  He took a shower and changed clothes, made a sandwich, fixed the constant drip in the kitchen faucet, and did 400 push ups, yet still she had not called.  He wondered if he had misjudged the woman.  Had she changed in the time since she disappeared?  Now, that was a stupid question.  Of course she had changed.  If anything, she had become more of a sociopath than she had been before.  That was apparent in everything she had done since the day she fled his cabin.

           He had known she was broken the moment he had met her.  It was, perhaps, what drew him to her in the first place  He had recognized a kindred soul, someone whose needs crazily matched his own.  She was beautiful, willing, and not afraid to play on the dark side of the street.  Why he ever considered marrying the woman was beyond him.  In his entire adult life, he never imagined committing to any woman, and suddenly found himself contemplating a union with not one, but two of them, in the course of a year.  It pointed to a problem with his mindset, and when this was over, his focus needed to be on things he could control.

          He kicked out a kitchen chair and flopped into it.  The table was still covered with the remnants of Maureen's dinner menu from the night before, and with a broad arm he swept it all off, the bowls, the vegetables, and the cookbook flying in several directions.  A head of lettuce bounced off the back of the chair, hitting the long side table behind him, and knocking over the picture frame standing on it.  The wedding photograph of he and Maureen crashed to the floor, the glass splintering into tiny, jagged pieces.

             Before he could dwell on the irony of that, the cell phone chirped in his pocket.  He pulled it out and smiled,  the first time in fifteen hours.  She had taken the bait, as he knew she would.  He slipped the tracking device off his wrist, and ground it under his heel.  Nolan would be pissed, but that couldn't be helped.

               "This is between you and me, Cassie baby."

                He tucked the Semi automatic into his waistband, and the Sig into the holster at his ankle.  Then he headed down the stairs, the glass crunching under his heel.

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
All Rights Reserved

         

         

           




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'...no 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 Beckett...is 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


           

       

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Loyalty, Lies and Everything In Between


         

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 and Patrick wait outside Maureen's hospital room
     It was Fr. Kevin who turned away first, marching down the hall toward the conference room, leaving Beckett in his wake.  It took every bit of self control he could drag up not to turn around and check if the man was following him.  He'd have to trust that Beckett cared enough about his sister to want to do the right and decent thing by her.  In the year or so he had known the man, it was clear that he seemed to have some set of ethical moral code he lived by.  Problem was, his code was gray in several areas when it suited him, so when he walked into the room a few seconds later, Fr. Kevin let out the breath he was holding.

             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.
           
Shattered!
Copyright 2014 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved