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Saturday, July 4, 2015

House Guest

   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

A Toast to Fate
        The four of them stared at each other in uncomfortable silence, no one wishing to make a statement they might later be held to.  The grandfather clock in the corner ticked away the minutes, the sound bouncing around the quiet room. Finally, with a sigh of fortitude, Ian pushed himself off the arm of the sofa.  "I have no answers for any of the problems my presence here causes you, dear friends. I am sure that with hard work...and the grace of the Almighty...I can make a fruitful life for myself here in your century.  But in this moment, I am more concerned with the condition of my Miss Roxanne.  I'd like to see her, if you please."

        Ian posed the request toward Beckett, and his action rankled Fr. Kevin.  This was, after all, his home, and the patient herself was recuperating in his bed.  It was obvious the young man pegged the Sheriff as the person in charge, and Kevin could feel the bitter stirring of jealousy swishing around in his head.  He opened his mouth to express his disapproval, but his brother-in-law cut him off.

         "Let me check with the duty nurse on call, Ian.  If she gives approval, we'll all have a quick visit."   He turned and made his way up the stairs, leaving Kevin alone with his sister and their unwelcome guest.  Maureen must have sensed her brother's dark mood, for she threw her arms around his waist and hugged him.

          "Oh, Kev!  You have no idea how happy I am to be home!  I can't began to tell you what a
nightmare it is to look in a mirror and see someone else's face."  The irony of the statement hit her, and she made a face.  "Oh gosh, I forgot.  The same thing happened to you too, didn't it, so you know exactly how it feels.  It's just the worst."  She then launched into her second hand rendition, regaling Ian with the time her brother and Roxanne had traveled to the 1800s.

           Kevin only half listened, his thoughts a jumbled mess.  The Fairy Queen was wrong. This Ian person couldn't stay.  Not here in this time, not here in this place.  He had his own destiny somewhere else.  With someone else.  He had no business claiming feelings for Roxanne.  Theirs was a chance meeting, and it should have stayed in the past where it belonged.  He could see this as plain as the hand in front of his face.  Why couldn't the others?  Surely Beckett could see the problems his being here caused.  Why wasn't he speaking up?

           Beckett chose that moment to reappear with the news that if they promised to be quick and quiet, they could see the recovering patient.  Kevin and Ian both raced toward the stairs, but because his foot was still in a cast, the priest found himself several steps behind the young Patriot.  At the Sheriff's request, the nurse stepped out, giving the group privacy, but admonishing them about the need to respect the condition of the patient.

           The four of them crowd into the small space, now looking more like a hospital room than the private quarters of the parish pastor.  Roxanne lay nestled in sterile white sheets, pale and still, tubes and lines connecting her to a panel of machines pushed to the side of the bed.  Seeing her that way put a somber cast to the visit, the four of them standing silently at the foot of the bed.  She appeared to be sleeping, her lashes dark smudges against ghostly skin, her chest rising and falling in labored breathing, and Maureen, her voice cracking, touched her hand, and whispered her name.

           "Roxanne.   Can you hear me?"

            Her eyes lids fluttered a bit, and then she opened them in a tiny squint.  Seeing them standing there, she smiled and closed them again, as if the effort to stay awake took monumental effort.  But in an instant, they flew open, and blinking several times, she stared wide eyed at the scene in front of her, her brain finally catching up to the vision.

            "Ian?  Is that you?  Oh my God, what have we done?"

            In that same moment, the machines next to the bed let out a symphony of beeps, alarms and angry buzzing.  The duty nurse barged into the room, shoving them all out the door until she could stabilize her patient.  After a quick scolding, she allowed them the opportunity to return, although now, one visitor at a time.  As was expected, Beckett went in first, spending nearly twenty minutes with Roxanne in an effort to explain what had transpired since the moment in the warehouse.  He left the room grim faced, sending Maureen in next with the warning not to promise things she couldn't deliver.

        The three men on the other side of the door strained to make out the conversation between the two women, but failed to hear much other than an occasional giggle, the sound a beacon in an otherwise stressful day.  She came out eyes red, but grinning, with the order that Roxie wanted to see Ian next, and Kevin last.  Ian's face was a clear picture of everything he was feeling inside.  Giddy yet apprehensive, he was the caricature of a young man totally smitten, and for Kevin, it was hard to watch. Beckett and Maureen moved away from the door, and when he didn't follow, his sister came over to take him by the arm.

          "They need some privacy, Kev.  This has been a shock to both of them, and Ian is just an innocent bystander in all of our issues.  We're the reason Roxie is in his life.  We need to let the two of them work it out."

            He shook her hand off his arm, ignoring the look he got from her husband.  "Innocent is not a word I'd use to describe your 'tag along', Mo.  He'd have himself right next to Rox in that bed if he could."

          "Aww, come on, Kevin.  You're being terribly unfair and judgmental. He'd do no such thing.  He's a very honorable young man, and the only reason we made it back here.  If it weren't for his help, we'd probably still be stuck in 1775.  We owe him a huge debt of gratitude, and if he thinks he has feelings for Roxanne, it's between the two of them.  We have nothing to say on the matter."

           "That's where you're wrong, Maureen.  We can't let Roxanne get silly over some guy she knows nothing about, especially one that needs to go back to his own time in history.  We have to look out for her best interests."

            Beckett leaned against the wall, and folded his arms across his chest, though there was nothing mocking in his tone or expression.  "Her best interests, or yours, Kevin?"

            There they were.  The words out loud.  He wanted to argue with the man, stammer out a wealth of accusations, and declare his comments off base.  But the truth was, he wasn't so sure the man was wrong.  He could see the painful look of sympathy in both Maureen and Ted's eyes, and knew they could see right through his protests, and so he said nothing, instead thumping down the stairs, and out the front door, running like he always did when it came to Roxanne.


           It was dark already when he returned to the rectory.  He could smell signs of Maureen's cooking through the open windows, and hear the three of them chatting in the parlor.  He had spent the better part of three hours walking, praying, pleading for answers, and was no closer to peace of mind then when he'd left.  Tired both physically and mentally, he prepared himself for the lecture he was sure to get from those he held nearest and dearest, so he was surprised at the normalcy of his homecoming.  No one said a word about the fact that he had stormed out like a petulant child, nor did they mention the reason he fled in the first place.

           "Hey, Kev...I hope you don't mind.  I scavenged your fridge and put together some dinner.  We were all starving.  I left you a plate in the fridge.  Just some burgers and fried potatoes.  You can warm it up in the microwave when you want."

             He could only mumble a few words of thanks, standing awkwardly in the doorway.  Seeing him there, Beckett stood up and poured three hefty shots of Jameson's from the glass decanter on the side table, the special reserve that he himself had procured for Kevin directly from a source in Ireland. He handed one to Kevin, one to Ian, and kept one for himself.  Raising the glass, he toasted, "Here's to Lady Fate.  She's one mighty bitch."

             The three men looked at each other, subconsciously nodding in unison, then threw back the whiskey in a single gulp.  It burned hot and smooth in Kevin's empty belly, and he could feel the warmth spread from his fingertips to his toes.

             "Fine whiskey, indeed, Reverend.  You are a most gracious host."

              He couldn't bring himself to speak, so he just nodded again, not sure what he'd say to the stranger sitting in his favorite chair.  Beckett put his glass back on the tray, then put a hand out to his wife.  "Well, my friends, it's been an exceedingly long day.  I think I will take my wife, and depart for home.  Her Royal Highness needs her beauty sleep."

             "That's not funny, Ted.  Don't start teasing me about that fairy shit.  It's freaking me out already."

              "If the wings fit, my dear, you should wear them proudly,"

               She made a face at him, but dropped the conversation, as not to encourage him.  The two of them headed for the door, hand in hand, Ian still firmly ensconced in the parlor easy chair.  The light bulb blinked on in Kevin's mind, and he stopped them, pointing at the man, "Hey wait, isn't he going with you?"

              Maureen looked at her husband, and then at her brother.  "With us?  Kev, we live in a one room apartment.  We don't even have a sofa.  Where would he sleep?"

               "Not to mention the privacy issue, O'Kenney.  You heard what Her Majesty said.  Gotta get to work on that royal blood line.  No time but the present as they say."  He gave his wife a leering wink, to which she blushed.

               He wasn't going to let them side track him with Beckett's off colored bullshit.  "Well, he certainly can't stay here.  Roxanne is already upstairs.  There's only the bed in the attic left.  There's really no place for him here."

               "You'll figure it out, O'Kenney."  Maureen added a quick hug, and the two of them were out the door, leaving Fr. Kevin with the weight of the world, an injured woman, and a time traveling Patriot in the center of his universe.

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2015
All Rights Reserved







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