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Caleb Holmes
Northern Rednecks
Tue Mar 15, 2005 04:41

Caleb hated his life.

Currently he was blaming Bernardo Avellino for all of his misfortune. Or at least a good majority of it. Rob took the rest of the blame pertaining to his career. Why the hell had he been sacked? It didn’t make sense! He did the job, did it well, and always got out with his hide pretty much intact. Never before had he been injured so many times while dealing with one person. Then again, Lucy was his life now, his work gone.

“Just tell me, Rob! Is that so hard?” Apparently it was, since he wasn’t able to wrangle any decent answers out of the high level agent. Still he had yet to see Lucy since arriving at the safe house, and that had put him on edge. Never mind that there had been some… difficulties concerning his health. At least he had a nifty new scar?

“God damn it, Caleb. How many times are you going to ask me about that?” It was the topic of the hour – his demise in the agency. Rob began rifling through his briefcase, flinging a manilla envelope at him. “There! Now leave it be.” Opening the infernal thing, contents were dumped onto his lap, and Caleb could only gape. His security badge and paperwork were all there, along with current assignments. Lucy…? “I never put in the paperwork for your termination. You’re still observing Luciana Avellino.”

“Rob…” Taking a deep breath, he sifted through the rest of the paperwork before righting it all. “Why didn’t you tell me I was still with the agency?” He felt shocked, right down to his toes. For long moments the man didn’t respond, watching him toy with the badge.

“I just wanted to leave the door open.” Staring at Rob in disbelief, Caleb shook his head slightly. “It’s a last option for us to keep Lucy safe if she wants it. That girl can only stay cooped up so long.”

“I know…” Sighing, he shuffled the papers and put them away, handing the envelope back to Rob. “What’s next?” He had forsaken the agency to stay close to Lucy; even if they had to do it in the end, he realized that was all he would do. God damn, had he fallen so hard for her?

“Now that you mention it…”

The first thing they had worked on was his appearance. Unfortunately the dark hair wasn’t going to vanish magically; hell, he had never even had it touched up! Though a few strands of gray had suddenly appeared, which was… wrong. Just wrong. A stylish look was employed, making him look older and more mature. A pair of black rimmed glasses and back to his natural eye color, he looked like some bloke nearing middle-age that hadn’t gotten very far in life.

Sounds familiar.

He endured the looks of scorn and pity from a number of the staff, until one fool kept glaring at him with disgust. That was it! Caleb had gone and backhanded the idiot, nearly getting into an all-out brawl with the dialect coach about something that would have been completely trivial if not for the dirty looks. It wasn’t exactly the most appropriate outlet for his rage, but giving a broken nose felt good nonetheless. Bodily pulled off the coach, he could feel his back strain against the exertion, Rob shouting something about fools.

“That’s it! It’s time.”

“Sean! Earth to Sean…” Blinking, he glanced up at Rudy in between bites of his sandwich at lunch. “Didn’t you even hear what I was saying?” Giving a helpless shrug, the bear of a man laughed and shook his head, going into an explicit retelling of a gathering that had gotten out of hand a few years ago.

Fargo, North Dakota. He had always hated that movie, with the exception of the wood chipper scene; and it lived up to Hollywood’s standards. The place was veritable dead land when compared to his typical lifestyle. Even the smallest communities in Britain were livelier than this hellhole! It was slowly beginning to dawn on him that he had never been in a worse place. How could these people actually live here and enjoy it? Cut off from the outside world! He shuddered to even think of retiring in a place like this.

Rob had deigned to give him back breaking labor as a career this time; a lumberyard of all places! Cutting down trees, chaining and hauling them, then processing the mass for production. He caught on quickly enough, considering how mindless the work was. But that wasn’t the point here! Absolutely convinced that he was going to begin rotting here – and only after a week and a half – he already knew that another job was going to be needed. Maybe something in public service, he really wasn’t going to be picky now. Anything but this bullshit!

Then the whistle blew. Thank God!

Cleaning up after work, he hitched a ride with Rudy like he did on most days, especially considering that the couples were going to have dinner together tonight. The ride was boring, passing by nameless fields and useless landmarks, though it was blissfully short. Caleb was supposed to be some boisterous hard-working man, and he had to ham it up more often than not. When he’d rather stay home, he was stuck going out to the local watering hole; a dank little place that also doubled as the VFW. By sheer happenstance, Sean Nolan had done his time and been discharged during the Gulf War, so there weren’t any difficulties within. How thoughtful of Rob.

“Home again, home again, jiggity jog.” Rudy had said this every night, and likely said it to himself when riding alone, once they returned home after work. Giving a supposedly heartfelt chuckle, Caleb leapt out of the truck, accompanying his coworker inside. The scent of a home cooked meal that only family could enjoy was in the air. Chicken… dumplings, he thought, but could be wrong. Maybe it was stew, or some other earthy type of meal. Ugh, he hated the food too. Give him a good bowl of tofu and curry over this crap any day. It wasn’t that he didn’t find the meals tasty, quite often they were. But at this rate he was going to have Rudy’s stomach!

Patty assaulted Rudy, as much as a couple in this neck of the woods would in public, upon his entrance. ‘Sean’ gave ‘Frankie’ a chaste kiss on the cheek and a bland smile out of sight of the other married couple. Then the introductions! Lucy had taken to the housewife gig a bit too well; he hadn’t heard her sing a note at all! That was worrying. Disappearing to wash up for the meal, Caleb made a quick change into clothing that wasn’t so damned dirty. Flannel – red and black checkered, if you must know – and t-shirt went into the hamper, a plain solid gray shirt pulled out and donned, the hem tucked into his pants. He really hated the wardrobe coordinator too; what was with all the physique flattering clothing?

“How was your day, Sean?” He had spaced out again after sitting down at the dinner table. Gross, meat. Drawing a deep breath, Caleb forced a smile out, winding his arm about Lucy’s waist to give her a brief hug. Right, adoring family starting out here. He could do this!

“It was fine.” What, that was all? “Watched Larry be an idiot again. I’m waiting for the day that he takes his hand off with a saw.” Rudy let loose with his usual boisterous laughter, regaling the table with tales of the lumberyard, and the local court jester, Larry. Dinner was enjoyable, if you liked that cozy, hometown feel with a touch of redneck tossed in. Caleb definitely did not; he surmised that there had to be a way out of this!

An hour later, after coffee and dessert had been consumed, the Barnes were retiring to their own home across the way for quality time. There weren’t any children to worry about, which was considered an anomaly in this area. But since the appearance of the Nolans, they didn’t feel so out of place. Caleb walked with them to the edge of the yard, before turning back in due to the cold, giving a friendly wave and a slap on the back for Rudy. Right, just think redneck, and all would be peachy. Shutting the door, he leaned against it heavily, taking one of those infamous deep breaths.

“I hate this place, Lucy.” Frowning, he helped her clean up the table and do the dishes in silence, like a couple on auto drive. Perhaps there were pods in the basement! Glasses and plates dried and put in their proper places, which still took a bit of searching for him, it was eight o’clock by the time they were finished. And the girl was still quiet.

“C’mere…” Right in the kitchen he snatched her up, wrapping his arms about Lucy to give a warm embrace. “I worry about you sweetheart. You’ve barely uttered a peep since we’ve gotten here. You don’t even sing anymore…” Burying his face in her hair, he took a deep breath of her shampoo, smelling faintly of jasmine and roses. It was all her. When she squeezed a little too hard, he gave a grunt of discomfort, but didn’t allow her to pull away all the same. They said they loved one another, but the emotion was alien to this man; was a sensation of extreme fondness love? Or was it just another word?

“Hon… I think we need to talk.” He wanted to tell her all of it, everything he knew. And their living situation at least permitted the use of certain names and terms this time. No thin walls, just a small two bedroom home. Quaint and cozy, completely suburban. Grasping Lucy’s hand, he led them into the bedroom, setting her down on the edge of the bed. It was comfortable in this room, and held a sense of security that the rest of the home did not. Right, story time!

“I’ll start from the beginning; and I really doubt you’ll believe any of this. I promise you its not a load of bullshit either.” Settling down beside Lucy, he toyed with her hair, absently tucking a few strands behind her ear where allowed. God, she looked so much different! “I told you briefly about my life, but I never really explained it all. My grandfather had absolutely insisted on a large family for his only son, and I ended up with three brothers and two sisters.” Talk about fukk bunnies! Six children under one roof, and the information coming from this man was surprising. “We were a military family, even if I was the only one that followed in my father’s footsteps. It was all because of my grandfather…

“He used to tell me stories of London, and the work he did. Piecing together bits of information to form the larger picture… It always amazed me, the amount of insight he had.” Head tilted to the side, he gave an amused little smile. “He was the whole reason I became an analyst in the first place. Nor was the man a myth. You can thank my grandfather, Sherlock Holmes, for my existence.” Not allowing it to sink in, Caleb barreled onward.

“I spoke with Rob about some things before we came here. But he surprised me, showing something of a heart.” Inserting a pregnant pause and giving the typical smile, he tried to find the appropriate words. That wasn’t especially working, so he went with the basics. “He never submitted my termination paperwork. My current assignment is… protecting you, sweetheart.” Sort of appropriate, if you think about it. “We’ll be safe, I promise, no matter what you do. Just please, God please, do not smother yourself like this!” Lucy glanced down, and he thought it was toward where he had been shot. Cupping her face in his hands, Caleb gave the girl a tender kiss. “I’ve been shot and stabbed more times than I can could, Lucy. I’ve always pulled through, and I’ll be damned if some goon is going to do me in. All right?” Good.

“But it doesn’t get any better from here…” Licking his lips apprehensively, he tugged off the boots he had worn through the house, kicking them toward the door. Right, keep giving up the info, boy!

“Bernardo knew who I was, hon. The night that I first met him, he greeted me by name. Asked me to protect you; and not as… that. Just me. He played me right into this, honey.” Caleb gave an amused smile in remembrance, having to tip his hat to the man. “He told me something about your family… Your mother, the painter? Not from the island, but the mainland.” He absently caressed her hand, trying to remember how Bernardo had put it. “She had wanted to leave her home life so badly that she lied about her name when marrying your father.” Time to drop the bomb!

“Your mother was a descendant of the Medici family. That was why Sonny wanted you, Lucy. That’s why they still want you now. But I can’t figure out, for the life of me, which family it is that’s pursuing us so vainly.” Sighing, Caleb shook his head. “It all sounds like some ridiculous faerie tale, it really does.

“But I swear I’m telling you the truth.”

  • The Moose Did ItLucy Avellino, Mon Mar 14 17:46
    The safe house was just that -- a safe house. It was not a home, nor even really a residence. The first level was a blandly appointed split-level abode, furnishings as spotless as one could get them... more
    • Northern Rednecks — Caleb Holmes, Tue Mar 15 04:41
      • Kiss From a Desert RoseLucy Avellino, Tue Mar 15 15:58
        There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea You, became the light on the dark side of me Love remains, a drug that's the high and not the pill But did you know that when it snows My eyes become ... more
        • Marginal ImprovementCaleb Holmes, Tue Mar 15 21:30
          Lucy laughed at him. Well, that was all right. He was used to that sort of response anymore. Just a big frickin’ joke to everyone, right? Yeah, right. Caleb sat there, waiting for the manic giggles... more
          • Improved ActionsLucy Avellino, Wed Mar 16 13:52
            “C’mon hippie! We need to get some shoes on you if we’re going out tonight.” Out? She let him cart her into the apartment, refusing to let go until he had to dump her in their closet before attending ... more
            • Sneaky WaysCaleb Holmes, Wed Mar 16 16:38
              Caleb was ready to throttle Lucy. “I just don’t want you to get hurt again!” Hurt? Hurt? She had no fricking idea how it felt! Frankly it was a self-centered reason, and idiotic all the same. It had... more
              • Mysterious WaysLucy Avellino, Thu Mar 17 16:22
                “Next! Simon Halifax.” Lucy barely had time to catch her breath before Caleb moved past her, the cutest little smirk on his face. He was auditioning too? Twisting around, she leaned against the wall, ... more
                • Surprises AboundCaleb Holmes, Fri Mar 18 02:27
                  “Look down, look down… Don’t look ‘em in the eye… Look down, look down… You’re here until you die…” Ooh, chain gang! All right, so they weren’t going to be in costume yet, but apparently these men... more
                  • Lock, Stock and BarrelLucy Avellino, Fri Mar 18 13:01
                    "I'm what?!" Lucy stared at the doctor, rather expecting him to grow another head. The idea that she could .. could .. it was inconcievable! You had to be married to ... to ... "You are pregnant,... more
                    • Fruity by NatureCaleb Holmes, Fri Mar 18 15:10
                      “Hi…” She was so cute when she squeaked! “I’m Lucy, and I’ll be your pregnant girlfriend for the next six months or so.” Six months? She was already going into the second trimester?! “Or… I’ll be... more
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