Saturday, March 28, 2015
Comings and Goings, and Everything In Between
Until this moment, she had considered herself in great physical shape. Her career as a dancer...three shows a night...had demanded it. Now, away from that life for nearly four months, it was obvious a short run a few times a week wasn't cutting it. Beckett was several feet ahead, and she was struggling to not fall further behind. He had needed to stop and let her catch up once. To have him do it a second time was...well...embarrassing.
The man had hired her without even looking at her resume, fresh out of Boston College, Criminal Justice degree in hand. It had been contingent on her passing the physical fitness test, and a clean background check, but Maureen's disappearance had put that all to the side. This mission, in all its strange craziness, was to her mind a test of sorts. She needed to prove to him that he hadn't made a mistake in placing his trust in her, here in the past, as well as when they returned home.
Roxanne pushed hard, wringing the last bits of energy from tired muscles. The time travel had been more physically taxing this time around. Her head felt foggy and her muscles rubbery even though she'd been conscious for a better part of an hour. When she had been swept away with Kevin, it had been the complete opposite. She'd come to with an enhanced sense of clarity, as if she was viewing the world through a powerful lens. Now, it seemed as if she had to fully concentrate just to put one foot in front of the other.
Beckett held out a hand, motioning her to stop, and putting a finger to his lips to warn of silence. Straining, she could just make out the sucking sounds of wheels in the mud, and the banging of wood against wood. The Sheriff pointed to a small patch of dense brush near the rutted road they'd been following for the past thirty minutes. The night sky had begun to lighten to the purple gray of early dawn, and she was able to make out the wagon full of barrels and the driver, his head hanging so low on his chest, he almost appeared asleep. From the cover of the foliage, they watched the short parade, and when the man was a hundred feet ahead, Beckett signaled again for her to follow him. Without a sound, the Sheriff caught up to the back of the open wagon, and hoisted himself up onto its back end, motioning to her to do the same. She tried to move as quietly as he, but the sounds of her feet in the mud sounded as loud as cannons to her ears. Still, she moved forward until she reached the wagon, though getting on the back of the moving vehicle, which was a good four feet off the slippery, mucky ground, proved more difficult for her than it had for Beckett.
He watched her struggle over and over again, first trying to hoist herself backwards, and then forwards, but offered no assistance, which both pleased and pissed her off at the same time. It took her running after the damn wagon for nearly a quarter of a mile before she managed to hook a foot in the side paneling to finally pull herself up. Out of breath, she leaned against the barrels and wiped the sweat from under her hat, in return receiving a thumbs up sign from her boss. It was a simple gesture, barely noticeable and without much fanfare, but in her mind, as good as Olympic gold.
Not surprisingly, he slept poorly. His mind refused to shut down, images of the contents of the hidden box making a permanent home in his brain. He had a pretty good idea of what he was looking at, though necessity forced him to play dumb in front of Mrs. Revere. Question and oddities about Ted Beckett began to connect. His obsession with privacy. Short, curt answers to direct questions. Unannounced and unplanned disappearances. And that uncanny ability with languages. Lots and lots of them.
It was clear there was more to his brother-in-law than the personae he wanted everyone to believe. What he did for whom was still sketchy, but there was little doubt that Ted Beckett worked for more than the town of Dollyville. This should have alarmed him more than it did, but in Fr. Kevin's mind, it made him feel better about the success of returning Maureen to her own body in her own time. If the man was trained to do the impossible, then he surely had the biggest test in front of him.
Most of the anger from the day before had left him. Maybe it was the result of several hours of prayer, or maybe just the realization of what really mattered. He cared for all of them deeply, even Beckett, who despite sometimes being a genuine asshole, treated him more like an equal than any of his brothers. And then there was Roxanne. Roxanne, who held a large chunk of his heart. He couldn't even begin to consider what it would be like to never see her again. His wounded pride was nothing compared to how much these people meant to him, and his selfish tirade about being left behind shamed him. He had only one prayer now, that the good Lord would see fit to return them all safely. For that, he would be more than eternally grateful.
His focus needed to be on keeping things normal here at home. Helping Mrs. Revere adjust to life hidden in the flat, staying ahead of any issues, and trying to act as if life was perfectly normal when it was not. Kevin checked his iPhone for the day's schedule. A meeting with the parish finance committee at 11:00, an appearance at the Rosary Society's Annual Fashion Show at 2:00, followed by an appointment with the heating and air conditioner guy about the church's furnace. Being busy was a good thing. No time to worry about what might be going on in 1775.
When the front door bell rang at 10:45, he expected to see Bill Sykes, the finance chairman of the parish council. Sykes was a pompous, cantankerous old coot who held an opinion about everything, and Fr. Kevin found him difficult to work with. But when he opened the door, he would have traded anything he owned for it to actually be Bill on his porch.
"Shit, Kev. You still haven't gotten that first stepped fixed? I told you about it when I was here for Red's wedding. That's a frickn' law suit waiting to happen. All you need is for some yahoo to trip on the damn thing, and he'll be suing the diocese for half a mil. Not good for your career, Kev. Not good at all."
If the good Lord had any intention of answering his prayers, it was clear He wasn't going to make it easy. "Morning to you too, Pat. What bring's you to Dollyville?"
The swaying of the cart, and the exertion of the past few hours, lulled her into a light doze, so when the Sheriff tapped her on the shoulder, she jumped, startled to have been caught napping on the job, and banging her head on a barrel in the process.
If he noticed, he didn't mention it. Leaning in, he whispered, "I can smell salt water and fish. We must be getting close to Boston Harbor. Time to get off."
She nodded, and watched him easily slide off the back of the cart with nary a sound. He put a hand out to assist her, but she ignored it, instead trying to match his exact movements. She plopped to the ground with only a small thump, secretly congratulating herself on not face planting, and then followed him.
They walked about a mile before Boston Harbor came into view. The water sparkled like a sea of diamonds in the early morning sun, and the breeze carried the stench of rotten fish, wet hemp and unwashed bodies. Growing up in Boston, she had seen the Harbor a million times, but never once had it instilled such awe as it did now. Ships of all kinds bobbed in the water, shouts and conversations surrounding her with the business of workday efficiency. Beckett moved like a man who knew exactly where he was going, and thus, no one seemed to pay him much mind. Roxanne tried not stare, but her sense were overwhelmed. Here she was. In the center of everything she knew about Revolutionary history. It was almost too much to take in.
The Sheriff stopped, as if to get his bearings, and then made an abrupt turn left.
"Where are we going first?"
"This is the North End. Union Street is up this way."
"How do you know that? Nothing looks the same as it does now."
"I memorized an old copy of a 1775 map I found on the Internet. Couldn't risk taking it with me. Be hard to explain if we were searched, especially during these times."
"The Revere home is on North Square, not Union. I'm positive. I remember taking the house tour as a kid."
He gave her a look that suggested her opinions were not necessary, unless he requested them. "I'm aware of that. But we can't just wander over to North Square, snatch up Maureen, and head for that spot in the bank. Not here in 1775. These were difficult times. The British were keeping tabs on every one's comings and goings, especially those suspected of having anything to do
with The Sons of Liberty. I have no doubt the British are keeping a close eye on Revere's shop and home, and we as strangers would garnish too much attention. From both sides. I think its best we casually 'introduce' ourselves in town. Make it known that we're no threat to anyone. Just here from Philadelphia to visit our dear cousin, Rachel."
"I guess I understand your reasoning, but didn't the Fairy Queen insist we stay to ourselves? Not interact with anyone from this time period?"
He gave her another look, this one a tad more scary. "This is my mission. We'll do it my way. Are we clear on that, Spinelli?"
"Glad to hear it. We'll be heading down Union Street. I'm looking for the Green Dragon Tavern."
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
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