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Caleb Holmes
The Afterward
Tue Mar 1, 2005 16:05

“She knew all along, Rob! The man in question was shaking his head, running a hand over the chrome dome he had developed – likely due to ripping all his hair out when working with Caleb. Regardless, it complicated things just a bit, but they could roll with the punches here.

It was late into the night, long after he had taken Lucy home and been given an odd sort of thanks by Old Man Avellino for bringing the girl back. What, was he going to kidnap her? Pffbt! Shaking his head, Caleb rubbed the back of his neck in an effort to loosen the muscles that had been tense all night long. Things weren’t becoming any easier, and with Sonny in the picture, it was likely going to become even more complicated. Sigh! Why did he always get the shit jobs? From Jaemi to Cooper, everything had been tossed at him blindsided. Not anymore, damn it all!

“She thinks that Gino does it for kicks, to screw with people’s heads. A New York accent is easier anyhow…” But Caleb’s true dialect during these meetings was… coastal. East Coast to be precise, Washington D.C., where he had grown up just outside and spent most of his time in. The boy was a capital farer, and nothing less! But now he was lounging in one of the unforgiving chairs in the ‘penthouse’; very luxurious, all that stainless steel. Riiight. With boots propped up on the table, he waited for da boss.

“And you’re telling me that Bernardo Avellino came to the car and thanked you for bringing Luciana home?!” With Caleb’s sedate nod, Rob laughed, almost a bit wildly, like he was suffering from sleep deprivation. “I can’t believe that. Either they know about you, or are completely oblivious. Regardless, time will tell on this one.” That was it?! Frowning at his boss, Rob gave a shrug as if to say what do you want me to do about it?

“Well, with all the talking she did tonight, Gino is getting in close with her. I suppose acting like a theater fanatic doesn’t hurt either.” Clucking his tongue, Caleb sifting through a few of the papers and photos upon the table, crinkling his nose. There were, obviously, a great many of ‘Gino’ and Lucy, even in the makeup room. It was difficult to recognize the man there, with his dark hair and light eyes, applying the final touches to Lucy’s costume. “She keeps referring to herself as ‘princess’, so does Jackie. Eventually Gino is going to want to ask what she means by that. And I think—”

“Don’t worry your pretty little head over it, Caleb. Tell me, did you ever get into the Families in New York and New Jersey during your studies?” Eyeing him, Caleb shook his head. Rob knew this, his focus of studies were always overseas! “Well, let me explain something. The family Maurizio isn’t very well known, but the Avellino famiy knows them. Extremely well.” Taking a moment to gape, his boss waved his hand, giving a slight grin. “They really don’t do much business any more, but I thought it was a nice touch for Old Man Avellino’s potential trust factor.” Tossing Caleb a folder, he nodded at it. “All the information you’ll need is in there. It’d probably be best if you memorize it tonight.”

Great. How did Rob always know the ways to ruin his night?

“Down once more to the dungeon of my black despair! Down we plunge to the prison of my mind! Down that path into darkness deep as hell!” Caleb made his voice bellow across the stage and into the theater, dragging Christine down the imaginary corridors below the surface. One thing was certain; he was hot as hell in this costume! Wasn’t the worst he had ever done, but it most definitely was not the easiest. He had to apply himself here! “Why, you ask, was I bound and chained in this cold and dismal place? Not for any mortal sin, but the wickedness of my abhorrent face!” Unmasked as he was, he felt exposed, but knew his own mother wouldn’t recognize him now if she were alive to see this nonsense.

So close to the end, yet so far! Once Erik had noosed Raoul, he was growling out the command, “Keep your hand at the level of your eyes!” Young idiots never did listen, did they? But the finale, now that was a piece of work. He couldn’t quite see the audience, leaving him immersed in a fictional world with Christine and Raoul, which was disconcerting in itself. But then…

“Bravo! Encore!” Gape.

Hiding behind the curtains after the third set of bows, Caleb tried to catch his breath through drinks of a bottle of water, making sure the mask was affixed properly. After all, it was the Phantom’s trademark. Perspiration blotted from his brow, and he was feeling marginally better, though still lost in some fantasy land. Apparently Lucy was going to try to drag him out of it, judging by the way she frantically gestured to him. Venturing closer, he could hear them all going, “Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod!” Over a play? This really must have been their lives.

Ack! Attacked! “We did it! Did you see their faces? Gino – you’re brilliant.” Bounce bounce. Trying to calm her down somewhat, Caleb beamed a smile down upon the girl, shaking his head after giving her a hug. They were all mad, mad I say!

“You were absolutely breathtaking, my dear,” Caleb murmured into her ear as he bent down to place a chaste kiss upon her cheek. For some perverse reason, he really was proud of her. He didn’t understand it at all, standing there with her face cupped in his hands, smiling like some dolt. But the spell was broken soon after.

Bravissimo everyone!” Oh look, it was the resident rat who was plainly pleased with how the show had gone, pompous to the end. But that was a director for you. “That was… fukkin’ fantastic!” Whoa, he swore. “I want everyone to go home and get a good night’s rest, because we’re doing it all over again tomorrow! And be early, in costume, the photographer will be here for photographs of the cast!” Judging by the expressions around, that didn’t happen to often, and everyone was immensely pleased.

“But now! Get your asses out there for a bit to meet and greet people, everyone!” It was terribly informal and rather lax in the theater attendance rules. But it was to be a short affair, and nothing too taxing. “Gino! Get rid of that horrible accent, otherwise the people will think bad of us for casting a goon as the Phantom!” There were snickers abound at that comment, to which Caleb merely bowed his way through.

Half an hour later Caleb was helping Lucy out of her costume, and getting a bit of help with his own, hanging them in their usual place. “God, my heart is still thumping!” It had been an adrenaline rush, but one of a different sort, something Caleb wasn’t used to. Not fueled by anxiety and fear, but accomplishment and desire. Now that was definitely addictive.

“Hey! Let’s celebrate!” Lucy was exclaiming this through a mask of suds, causing Caleb to eye her askance in a rather bewildered sort of fashion, removing the latex from the side of his face carefully. “C’mon, Gino! It’ll be fun, and we can still get plenty of sleep.” Oh jeez, she was doing the puppy dog eyes after patting her face with a towel. He really couldn’t win, could he?

“All right. But not too late, okay?” When she bounced, he knew he was in trouble, and made quick work of scrubbing his face and doing a fast job on his hair. He couldn’t walk out of the theater and go elsewhere with his hair slicked back like that. Then he really would’ve looked the goon! Towel drying his hair and half-assed running a brush through it, he snagged up their bags to meet Jackie backstage.

“Princess, you were fantastic!” That was Jackie scooping her up in a huge hug, not even shooting a dirty look at Caleb this time. Hey, there was a first time for everything! Then there was a great deal of shuffling, with Lucy and her puppy dog eyes pleading to get her way. It worked. Figures. Caleb was taking Lucy in his car, while Jackie followed the pair. Escorted to the Jeep by her ‘protector’, he hopped in to the driver’s seat and gunned the engine, waiting until a pair of headlights flashed behind him as the signal to head out.

At first, the car was quiet as Lucy fiddled with the radio controls, finding a station she liked, and began programming her address into the navigation system. Well, that was interesting. It bleeped out directions every so often, as if Caleb would have forgotten them already. Between small talk and the music they continually sang snippets of – and Caleb had a horrid voice for pop – the drive was going quickly.

Well, right up until…

“Hey, Luce?” Waiting to gain her attention at a red light, Caleb quirked a brow at her curiously. “Why does Jackie call you princess? Hell, you do it to yourself too!” The lad seemed genuinely confused, and inwardly Caleb wondered if he was going to get a response.

It was worth a shot before they were at her place! If he was even invited in the front door, that is…

    • Post ScriptLucy Avellino, Tue Mar 1 18:13
      “Hey, Luce?” Waiting to gain her attention at a red light, Caleb quirked a brow at her curiously. “Why does Jackie call you princess? Hell, you do it to yourself too!” The lad seemed genuinely... more
      • The SquareCaleb Holmes, Tue Mar 1 21:35
        “Lucy. LUCY. L.U.C.Y. As in Lucifer.” He chuckled softly, even more so when she continued between yawns. “I hate ‘Luce’.” Yaaaawn! “Sorry, a bit tired.” Yeah, he would have definitely agreed,... more
        • Into the FireLucy Avellino, Tue Mar 1 23:10
          There was a really, really, really good reason why neither Jackie or Caleb could put their paws on Lucy and her cohorts. The quartet had made a beeline for a club run by one of the Avellino... more
          • The DecisionCaleb Holmes, Wed Mar 2 00:49
            And still, he wandered the Square! Eventually Caleb had made a full round through the place, barely aware of the people around him as he occasionally shouldered through the crowds. A time or two he... more
            • The Final CurtainLucy Avellino, Wed Mar 2 03:48
              “Wandering child, so lost, so helpless… Yearning for my guidance…” Erik was singing to her. No, wait. Gino. With Erik's voice. Lightheaded enough to blur the difference, but not so smashed that she'd ... more
              • Celebrations EnsueCaleb Holmes, Wed Mar 2 15:13
                Yeah. I had three brandys. Itty-bitty ones. Right now, Caleb was beginning to think that Lucy had consumed a lot more than three shots of brandy. Even if she did look the light weight! Unlimbered of... more
                • Cinderella UndercoverLucy Avellino, Wed Mar 2 18:09
                  Showtime at the Apoll-- er, Village Playhouse! "Passing bells and sculpted angels, cold and monumental. Seem, for you, the wrong companions. You were warm and gentle ..." She stood alone in the... more
                  • Out from Under the CoversCaleb Holmes, Wed Mar 2 23:13
                    Indeed, Caleb had bought out the local deli for the night! And with the agency’s money, no less. But it was an expense account, and to make his story more believable, a man had to do certain things... more
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