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Caleb Holmes
Telephone Calls & Visitors
Wed Mar 23, 2005 20:15

“I love you, Caleb. Come back in one piece.” Why did it take a woman to make him go soft?! Sigh.

The agent was restless on the cross-country flight, having to deal with Rob for company. But, surprisingly, the man wasn’t the least bit annoying; hell, he didn’t even needle his lackey once! By that time Caleb was absolutely certain that his boss had lost all his marbles, and was just going through the motions. Hell, he likely was too at this point! Unfortunately for the lesser agent, they were stuck on a chartered jet catering to government officials. Worst of all, most of the blokes were just like him. Nothing different, aside from a few bits of history and their childhood stories. Somehow he felt like he had just come out of a cookie-cutter pattern.

“You know she’ll be fine,” Rob uttered halfway through the flight, seemingly engrossed in a magazine he was flipping through. That wasn’t exactly comforting to know though, especially considering Lucy’s state of… erm… being. “I remember how worried Beth was in the beginning.” Quirking a brow at this sudden change of topic, he leaned back, listening. “With three kids at the time, it definitely wasn’t easy on her.” All right, so maybe the man was a Catholic. This was twisted! How was he supposed to reply to this?

“I don’t worry about her wellbeing with our friends there. Especially the older one; he can handle himself.” That was the flat-out truth of it; Caleb simply couldn’t allow himself to be in a tizzy over leaving Lucy behind. Otherwise he’d be a complete wreck throughout the entire week. And no matter what he thought of the agency, he was convinced that he had a job to do here, no matter how irrelevant or idiotic. It was about pride, damn it! “It merely… concerns me. She hasn’t been without me throughout all of this, Rob. I know she’s a strong girl, but it doesn’t feel right.”

That was an understatement.

The rest of the flight continued without any notable interest; God, at one point, he even dozed off due to the boredom! Arrival times were early, not that it mattered. It wasn’t as if they flew into the public airport or anything. Apparently Rob preferred the use of military bases, for whatever reason. Caleb didn’t give a second thought for his luggage before being whisked away via town car. It was a shame he didn’t ask any questions; though it wasn’t like he’d get an answer for all his troubles. And why New York and not D.C.? All he could do was keep the mental mutterings to a low tone until information was given. The rest of the trip was a blur as he tried to adjust his internal clock. Three freakin’ hours later! Gah!

“Here.” It was Rob again, handing over a security clearance badge to clip to his lapel as they strolled through a seemingly innocuous office building. Caleb really hated these types of places. If they were going to try and be covert, why throw themselves out in public like a bunch of ninnies? Hell, he didn’t even get a chance to freshen up after the long flight, hustled in to an enclosed meeting room, without Rob. Instead, the fellow stood in the doorway, motioning toward the table. “All the files you’ll need are there. Review them and call the meeting. The office staff is here to answer any of your questions.”

“What, not going to hold my hand the entire time?” Caleb remarked, eyeing literal stacks of manilla folders on the long meeting table. How in the hell was he going to get through all of this?

“Hardly, Caleb.” His shoulders cringed at the use of his name, but he had done that for years now. “You are yourself for this one. And you’re on your own.” The door was tossed shut, and he could only stare at the dull gray metal surface. What in the hell had he done to piss Rob off so badly?! Sighing and scratching his head, he glanced down at the clearance badge to make sure he wasn’t going insane. No, it said Caleb Holmes. God damn it all, the man was trying to stick it to him! Right. Work.

He wasn’t even halfway through the first stack of folders before a polite knock came at the door, followed by a woman poking her head inside. “Agent Holmes? Would you like some lunch?” Feeling perturbed at being interrupted, he eyed the woman for a few long moments. “The usual then?” What the hell was his ‘usual’?! Giving a nod, if just to see where that went, he was left in blissful silence soon afterward. Back to the papers!

This reminded him of the Avellino case in a few respects; all a person had to do was knock a family down a few levels financially, and you had these blokes. Everything from petty larceny to federal drug trafficking charges. Name it, and it was likely in these files! Eventually he made himself more comfortable, having always disliked suit jackets and ties, propping his feet up on the table as he made progress through the supposed facts in the papers. A legal pad sat in his lap, already quickly being filled with notes in a neat hand; but he still wasn’t happy. None of it was making sense just yet, and he didn’t see it magically coming together any time in the near future. Thankfully, the same woman that had bothered him earlier knocked and walked in without so much as a by your leave. Food! It was excuse enough for a respite from the case. His eyes felt like they were going to swim.

“Thank you,” Caleb managed politely enough, attacking a carton of noodles from some Chinese restaurant. What the hell was this, Feds-Eat-Chinese-R-Us? It seemed like that every government office he visited had Asian cuisine for lunch. Stabbing his meal with a pair of poor quality chopsticks, he caught the secretary peering curiously at his notes, so he did the like in turn; her badge, you perverts! “Since when were analysts just used as secretaries?” Caleb questioned in between bites, motioning to her badge.

“Just in this instance, sir.” Right, so she had a low level security clearance typically, noted by the string of numerals and letters beneath a barcode on her badge. Working her way up the ladder apparently; or perhaps one of Rob’s little pets. Thoughtfully taking another bite of food – mmm… sesame noodles! – he motioned her into an unoccupied seat.

“Go ahead.” Confronted with the ‘deer in the headlights’ look, Caleb glanced toward his note takings and the remaining files that hadn’t been sorted through. Quickly the woman, her identification listed as Cynthia Burbank, took her seat, shooting him a grateful look. Over the next hour, eventually between cold bites of the remaining leftovers, ideas were exchanged back and forth before something more concrete came into being. Caleb saw the idiocy staring him in the face at that point, but the woman… Oh God help him, she must have been around for her pert rear and pleasant smile, because even if she could piece everything together, there were no suspicions in her pretty little head. That really was a shame in his opinion; she wasn’t going to be making it very far this way.

“Good. Very good.” His eyes were feeling sandy, and eyeing the clock he realized this was about the time Lucy would be at practice. “All right. Go ahead and call them in for…” Pausing, he thought for a moment. “A half hour from now.” Papers shuffled quickly together, and Caleb was righting his suit jacket and tie not long after. Appearances always mattered, no matter what anyone said in the professional field. In this hellhole, they really did. He had just enough time to cart out his garbage and check through his notes before men began filing in. Shit, he forgot how quickly they moved! Then again, he had been with them not long ago; a few of the agents wandering in even greeted him with a handshake and the like.

“All right gentleman, let’s begin.” Now he was beginning to believe that Cynthia was a lifesaver, because at that moment she was present to hand out quick debriefings – his notes, in condensed form, when he didn’t hand anything over! People like that frightened him. “I’m Special Agent Caleb Holmes. A few of you know me,” subtle nods here and there indicated as much, “while others of you have not been here long enough. I will make this as simple as possible; do not question me. Is this clear?” A dozen pairs of eyes met his levelly, and he realized for the first time that Rob’s job wasn’t as easy as it looked most of the time.

“With one operative already in the field…”

Caleb furiously rubbed his eyes hours later, and consequently shoved a fist in his mouth to keep from yawning any more loudly than he already was. The hour was late, damn it all, and he had to deal with a screwy schedule because of the flight he had taken in that morning! At least he thought it was that morning. Sigh. Dropping his arms, they dangled off the sides of his chair, while he stared toward the ceiling, trying to get his bearings going. It wasn’t working at all. Screw this; he was calling it a night!

“Cynthia!” Didn’t she ever get tired? Maybe there was a never-ending supply of Jolt Cola in the refrigerator that he hadn’t noticed. Struggling out of the chair, she appeared at the tail-end of his miseries, waiting patiently. “Call the driver around front for me, would you?” No explanation why; none was needed here. Hey, he was the boss! Sort of liking that idea, though not all the responsibility it entailed, he gathered his things and headed down toward the lobby. Sleep! Oh, a bed with high thread count sheets was calling his name now.

Hey, spiffy place!

The hotel was amazing, the service exquisite, and the atmosphere… Well, he couldn’t think of any more adjectives, as tired as he was, and went to the desk. It hadn’t ever occurred to him that Rob wouldn’t leave behind an envelope; but the man had, so there wasn’t any concern. One of those evil little plastic keycards was inside, no note. At least there was a room number on the card, so it was there he went! Up, and up, and… holy moly! What was with the idea of a suite? Sitting room, large bathroom, entertainment area, and a bedroom with a bed that Lucy would have killed for. Even so, there were some things he had to do first.

Pulling a file from his briefcase, Caleb settled down on the bed, and began taking notes once again. Even if Rob would kill him upon seeing this file…

Day two was boring as all hell. But when he had woken in the morning, he called up one of the local flower shops – local in Santa Fe anyhow on his cellphone. Two dozen roses today along with a cutesy little panda bear. Another order was placed for the following day, more roses and an elaborate gift this time. He couldn’t help it.

Day three had been just as bad, if more intense. Information was coming in from a dozen sources that their operative had been killed. No, it was injured. Wait, he had been kidnapped and the ransom note demanded a Big Mac! This was ridiculous. Things had gotten sorted out, once they had found that the operative had been smacked around by some thug’s girlfriend. All right, Caleb had to admit that was amusing as all hell. Frankly, it was downright incriminating to the guy’s future career! But he had held his cool, and that was saying something. But most of the day went smoothly after that, even if he knocked a few heads together here and there. That was fun; they bounced!

Ring-ring… Ring-ring…

God damn he was tired! But the operative had made more progress last night, causing him to stay up late and return early. In between the two, Caleb had continued his midnight rendezvous with a case file that was forbidden and a few carefully taken notes. But something was slowly coming together there; he could feel it, deep down in his gut. And so help him, if he had to take it back with him, even with Lucy there, he damn well would!


“Hello… Nero residence. Alex speaking.” Caleb realized what a ninny he was when he felt his shoulders automatically relax upon hearing Lucy’s voice. It wasn’t that she was safe, but that… Well, he missed her.

“Still wrapping your legs around strange men, princess?” Suppressing the urge to laugh hysterically at the crackling silence coming from the phone’s earpiece, he quickly tried to smooth things over. “I wanted to call and see how things were going. I hope the guys aren’t giving you too much trouble.” By this time Caleb was dressed and walking out the door, rushing through a pair of elevator doors that threatened to close on his ankle, and sprinting out through the lobby. Late late late!

“I’m sorry I hadn’t called yet, hon. Things are just…” Pausing as he got into the town car, he motioned the driver on. “Stressful.” That was a good term to use! “I still don’t know when I’ll be home.” Never at this rate! “I love you.”

But the fellow had a few surprises planned for his little princess. First would be the typical flowers – lilies this time, with a kitten. Caleb had gone so far as to hunt down a breed of cat that wouldn’t shed much at all, paid an exorbitant amount of money for the little thing without ever seeing a photo, and sent it off! Jeez. A male cat at that, gone through the whole rigmarole at the veterinarian’s office, with collar and nametag. Apparently it was a black kitten with green eyes, and appropriately it was named… ‘Gino’. Now damn Lucy if she ever tried to call him an unsentimental fool! Hah!

In fact, everything had been taken care of for that present, and it’d be delivered by one of the ‘joggers’ later that morning. Hell, he was hoping it happened while he was on the telephone. “Rob says you should stop taunting his men with peeks down your nightgown, sweetheart. Supposedly it isn’t good for concentration, though I have no clue where he got that crazy idea.”

Now he was out to needle her!

  • Morning ReportLucy Avellino, Wed Mar 23 04:28
    “I love you, Lucy. I’ll be back soon, I promise.” She was not going to cry. But for one endless moment, she clung to him -- letting his unique scent absorb itself into her memory. Could not shame her ... more
    • Telephone Calls & Visitors — Caleb Holmes, Wed Mar 23 20:15
      • Whiskers on KittensLucy Avellino, Fri Mar 25 02:45
        “Still wrapping your legs around strange men, princess?” Choke. Nearly expire on the spot. A confused jumble of thoughts and emotion swept ramshackle through her brain at that moment, Lucy only heard ... more
        • Many Happy ReturnsCaleb Holmes, Fri Mar 25 13:22
          “Well, I really didn’t think you’d appreciate me out and about in just the robe , love.” Now that was a mental image! “I love you so much, Caleb. Even when you’re off shagging Bond girls.” Back in... more
          • Hijinks AwayLucy Avellino, Sat Mar 26 13:01
            “Hi princess…” The two most beautiful words in the English language to her right now, floating on the air despite his next comment. Rather embarassing, really, only noticing now that he was using... more
            • Practice Makes Perfect!Caleb Holmes, Sat Mar 26 23:38
              Life was good. Infinitely happy that he was home, able to sleep in a bed with his lover, take care of the odd little family that he had found, and he was home ! There was only one drawback in his oh... more
              • Stressfully CleanLucy Avellino, Mon Mar 28 18:34
                “Oooh, we’re early!” Well, of course they were early, it was only four o'clock! Caleb had been in a jovial mood all afternoon, however, which she attributed to the steak-and-potatoes meal he'd... more
                • Inciting MayhemCaleb Holmes, Tue Mar 29 00:08
                  Broadway! Titter. Fantastic! Giggle. Bravissima! Squeal. Caleb’s head was beginning to hurt. “No, it was very kind…” He could hear Lucy off amongst her own throng; somehow it reminded him of the days ... more
                  • Blithering Idiots -R- UsLucy Avellino, Tue Mar 29 23:13
                    “Good morning princess. Want some juice?” Not especially, but she wasn't going to argue with the agent when he had his 'work' face on. Big ole scowl meant to frighten the dickens out of your average... more
                    • Cloak and DaggersCaleb Holmes, Wed Mar 30 15:40
                      Oh shit, now he was in for it. “You went to New York and didn’t tell me?” Caleb cringed as they entered the apartment they shared, trying to valiantly carry Lucy’s burden of an over weighted duffle... more
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