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Luciana Avellino
Hot Cross Buns
Mon May 16, 2005 15:10

He stepped mechanically through the motions, body and mind doing their best to synchronize at the behest of the katas. Muscles once driven to the edge of tension slowly began to loosen up as Sean moved quietly around his living room. Not yet a black belt, the actor had been studying karate for several years in an attempt to better understand himself. Caleb wasn’t the only person who enjoyed the feeling of a non polluted body.

Caleb. Who knew John. Fukk! Awareness surged through his body again, as unwelcome as nails on a chalkboard. How could one man demolish the carefully casual life he’d built around himself for the last decade? Thoughts of calling his mother were quickly squelched – the woman knew everything! An annoying inner voice reminded him that these last vestiges of temper and impulsiveness were the reason he had not progressed to the last hue of belt.

No, it was more than that. What had begun as a way to keep himself out of the reach of bullies had become a life-altering decision. His father’s unwillingness to acknowledge him aside from the occasional trips to his mother’s apartment had created a burning hatred for everything Avellino stood for. Sean had once sworn to avenge Maureen’s honor, and his own, by destroying the mafia family piece by piece.

And then he’d met Lucy. The lovely little freshman had wandered past with her set at the right time; interrupting another fistfight. After being informed of his less than manly opinions towards sex, the brunette had shrugged. ‘God makes all of us in his own image. You would betray His work and spit on the throne of Heaven itself?’. Dramatic but effective. Sean had lost the will to punish the remaining Avellinos that day.

So why was he focusing on his sister now? Oh, right. So he didn’t focus on … him. Time for a cold shower! Twenty minutes later, he was dressed and out the door. Lucy would know what to do! Almost as an afterthought, the tenor made one stop … submitting himself to a barber. When the shoulder-length golden strands had been sheared from his head, so necessary for Raoul and Lance, he felt more like himself again. Cafferty might have preferred his own gender in the sack, but he was also the product of an Irish mother.

The sun was well above the horizon by the time Sean steered his old truck into the empty space in front of the Holmes residence. The house loomed before him, both comforting and disquieting in its expanse. Shutting off the engine, he sat there for a few minutes, mentally reviewing how to ask the brat if she would agree to a little spying on his behalf. There had been some sort of recognition between himself and John.

Right. C’mon, you fop. He chuckled bleakly and did just that, slamming the door behind him in an effort to reign his temper in. Really, getting both Irish and Italian hormones was perhaps the worst present that anyone had ever given him. With that cheery thought nestling in his rat’s maze for a mind, the blond tromped up the steps and knocked politely for about a minute until the lady of the house opened the door and tugged him inside.

“Hey, sweetheart. I gotta talk to you about—“

‘About’ was sitting in the kitchen, devouring the last bits of an omelet and looking even better than Sean’s admittedly good memory supplied. His jeans felt too tight, as did his black tee shirt. Hell, his skin felt itchy and too warm in this air-conditioned kitchen. “John.” Was it a greeting, or had he been finishing the comment? Hell, the actor himself didn’t know at this point. And what had possessed him to tug on a pair of old cowboy boots?! Christ.

“Why don’t I go upstairs and get changed. John, would you be so kind as to keep an eye on my brother for me, so he can’t pull one of his vanishing acts?”

There was a decidedly innocent edge to the girl’s tone, and Sean didn’t like that one bit. But before he could protest, the imp was already scurrying out of the kitchen and leaving him alone with … “Mind if I filch a cup of that coffee?” It seemed Lucy wasn’t the only one who tried to smooth over awkward situations by completely ignoring them.

Dead. R.I.P. No more Caleb Holmes. Lucy contented herself with that thought during the remainder of the Oz taping, sandwiched between Moira and Devon. Fukking cop had the nerve to toss one leg across both of hers so she couldn’t move and then give her a wide grin. Asshole.

But it was okay. She could handle this humiliation because someday she’d get the drop on them all. A huge practical joke. Or something Hell, maybe she’d just find the worst looking tuxedos and maid-of-honor dresses and stick everyone into horrid pastels. That thought cheered her up enough to watch the rest of the videos. Sean, however, got a sympathetic squeeze. She knew how much getting that particular role had meant to him, even if no one else did.

And speaking of Sean …

When the house had been cleared out and everyone had gone to bed, Lucy had stayed up longer than usual and told Caleb about her brother. Or rather, the clarification of the relationship between herself and the Irishman. Who turned out to be half Italian. Her lover had been understandably annoyed that she’d kept this from him, even for a short time, but the girl was firm on working it out by herself first.

“We are a team, Caleb. I do love you. But I don’t expect you to run to me with every problem you have to tackle … you’re an adult. I’m just hoping for the same consideration in return.”

Couldn’t argue with that logic, could you. Especially when she was right. And had told him. Besides, he’d be walking her down the aisle in a couple of months and handing her over to the man she loved. Naturally, said groom had retaliated with an energetic round of sex, and the both of them had fallen asleep long after the clock creeped past three o’clock.

The sonofabitch thrived on little sleep. Rolling over when the heady aroma of coffee had tugged her from a very nice Gary dream, Lucy had pouted towards the empty space next to her before eyeing the clock. Nine am. Spiff. No doubt the cad had made arrangements with either David or Rob to drive her completely out of her mind. He was supposed to be retired! Remember?!

Grumbling to herself, the young woman slid from bed, throwing on a tank top and boxers underneath her robe, slippers warming her feet down the chill hallway to navigate the stairs and wander into the kitchen. John was there, creating something yummy, and he was kind enough to stick a mug of coffee in her hands. Yay. Her new hero.

Climbing onto a stool, she leaned sideways and sipped at the caffeinated liquid while the newest member of her oddball family resumed cooking breakfast. What surprised her most was his fluency in Italian, though it probably shouldn’t have. There had been a reason Rob had planted the big guy with them. Any attempt to glean information about his past was derailed when he put the concoction before her. Fork included.

It only took one bite. Ok, two.

“L'OH il mio dio! John, questo è fabulous. Dove l'inferno avete imparato cucinare come questo?”*

After that, she was too busy eating to reply to anything he said. Yes. Italians loved their food. Unexpected visitors were okay, too. About fifteen minutes later a vehicle door slammed outside, followed soon after by a rapid knocking. “Schiocco dell'OH. Rimanga là, io otterrà il portello. È Sean o Penny."**

Rising from her stool, Lucy set her dishes in the sink before wandering out into the hallway. A glance through the peephole confirmed the interloper’s identity and she flung the door open with a giggle. “Morning, you. Why am I not surprised to see you?” Still giggling as Sean gave her a mock glare, she tugged her sibling inside and closed the door with a firm ‘click’.

“Hey, sweetheart. I gotta talk to you about—“

Sean stopped talking as they entered the kitchen, his eyes fixed on the chef. Lucy hastily bit her tongue to keep from laughing at the twin expressions of abject horror on masculine faces. There was a light flush across the back of Sean’s neck, which meant far more than simple embarrassment. John was harder to read, since she didn’t know him all that well yet, but the shifting of weight on his own stool spoke loud enough.

“Why don’t I go upstairs and get changed. John, would you be so kind as to keep an eye on my brother for me, so he can’t pull one of his vanishing acts?”

Moving quickly enough so that neither man had an opportunity to object, Lucy fled the kitchen and raced up the staircase to barricade herself in the master bedroom. It was time to take the world’s longest bath. There was still a long list of errands for the picnic this weekend.

“This is beautiful, Beth. Where’d you find someone to make so many pastries?”

Lucy eyed the two tiered offering of Italian pastries, then glanced up at Beth Fowler, who was grinning in much the same way Alice’s Cheshire cat hat. They were standing near the dessert table at one end of the picnic area in Central Park. It had been Caleb and Rob’s idea to have a blowout celebration for both agents and actors who knew the Holmes clan.

So far it was working. Ben was there, talking shop with John while Hugh and Sean were roaming around and serenading Caleb at inopportune moments. Everyone was in casual clothing – shirts and shorts, or skirts for the ladies. Loafers and sandals protected feet from soft green grass while the sky overhead outdid itself with a brilliant blue.

Honestly, the day was perfect. People had been gathering for an hour, each bringing some sort of food. Which explained the diversity of the picnic: hotdogs, hamburgers, enchiladas, shepherd’s pies from a British transfer, and more. The dessert table looked the same way, so Lucy had stationed herself there to … ah … make sure nothing was poisoned.

“So I hear Rob is retiring next year?” She finally turned her attention back to the older woman, who nodded enthusiastically. “Uh huh. With Jeanette in high school, I can leave her with my parents while Rob and I take off on a trip of Europe.” The blonde grinned. “I started planning it a month ago.” Beth looked positively radiant, right down to the tiny red mark on her forehead.

Red mark?

It moved, sending Lucy’s heart crashing to her stomach.

Pop. Pop, pop, pop.

The brunette dove towards the ground, one hand reaching out to drag Mrs Fowler down with her before someone slammed her onto the grass and sheltered her body with his own. Repeated gunfire rang out around them, but Lucy couldn’t see anything but the denim jacket of her protector. Caleb wasn’t wearing denim. Who the hell?!

Devon. His low whispered pleaded with her not to move, not until they had assessed the situation. She stopped pressing up against him in an attempt to wriggle free and just lay there, a hand still grasping Beth’s. The woman was being extremely quiet, which just proved how much of a professional she was. Or .. how much she’d learned from Rob over the last twenty-five years.

Ratta-tat-tat. Ratta-tat-tat.

Echoes in her ears produced a low ringing; combined with the muted shouts around her, it prevented her from knowing what the hell had happened. Time stood on its ear, at least for her, and she was unsure how long it took before Devon rolled to one side and got to his feet to look around, off-duty side arm already in his hand.

“We got ‘em!” Someone yelled from a copse of trees not even thirty yards from where Lucy and Beth had been standing. As one, the agents began to fan out, the impromptu dragnet widening as each moved further away from the crime scene. If Lucy had been watching, she would have been impressed at the choreography.

The brunette was looking at something else, however. Beth was lying on her side, wide blue eyes staring sightlessly up at the sky. Her fingers were still interlaced with Lucy’s, and it would be a while before they began to cool down and stiffen. There was an entrance wound at the base of her throat, crimson spilling out over creamy skin. The effect made the younger woman gag reflexively even as she crawled closer.

“Beth? Beth? Beth!”

Rob found her there not two minutes later, hysterically shouting information into his wife’s cell phone and cradling the woman’s head in her lap. “Central Park, up near the bandstand you asshole. Shots fired, people down!”

A phone rang in an otherwise quiet office. After the second series of shrill noise, it was picked up and placed to the ear of someone sitting in an old-fashioned smoking chair. “Che cosa è esso?”***

Ci era un tentativo diretto su vita di Luciana Avellino due ore fa, signore.****

The chair’s occupant sat there in silence for a long time, the lackey on the other end knowing better than to interrupt his employer. Finally, the man spoke again, his voice just as quiet as it had been when he picked up the receiver.

“Andrò a New York e maneggierò questo io stesso. Prenda accordi necessari e denomini le cinque famiglie. Ci sarà una riunione in esattamente una settimana.” *****

* Oh my god! John, this is fabulous. Where the hell did you learn to cook like this?
** Oh snap. Stay there, I'll get the door. It's either Sean or Penny.
*** What is it?
**** There was a direct attempt on Luciana Avellino's life two hours ago, Sir.
***** I will go to New York and handle this myself. Make the necessary arrangements and call the Five Families. There will be a meeting in exactly one week.

  • Coffee and BreakfastCaleb Holmes, Sun May 15 21:18
    “Take Sean inside, would you?” Caleb had worded it as a request, but John knew better. Oh, he had heard that tone of voice countless times, and never disobeyed. The ones that did were left in... more
    • Hot Cross Buns — Luciana Avellino, Mon May 16 15:10
      • Star CrossedCaleb Holmes, Tue May 17 02:42
        It was the first time that John had smiled – truly smiled – in a long time. “I miei genitori sono venuto in America quando ero giovane; tutta la nostra famiglia ha incluso. Spendere i vostri giorni... more
        • Tears of a ClownLucy Avellino, Wed May 18 15:31
          Lucy stood at the top of the steps, toweling her hair dry, and watched Sean stalk out of the kitchen into the foyer. He glanced up, sharing a frustrated glance with his sister before exiting the... more
          • Of Nightmares and DreamsA Company of Miscreants, Wed May 18 19:14
            He had ran. John couldn’t help it. With Sean’s body pressed so tightly against his, he couldn’t bloody think properly! It was an intoxicating experience, the faerie tale sensation broken by the rude... more
            • Codes and RiddlesCaleb Holmes, Wed May 18 23:51
              His chest felt heavy. Beyond that, laden with the weight of the casket. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he felt as if it were his fault for Beth’s death. If he had never retired, taken Lucy... more
              • Dastardly DeedsLots of Characters, Thu May 19 16:29
                Oh Jesus. The last thing Sean expected was this . . . a large hand settling against his jaw so timidly that the underlying fear just about broke his heart. Any thoughts of gallantly backing out of... more
                • Invention of the A-BombCaleb Holmes, Fri May 20 01:07
                  Why could things never be easy? Frowning, John watched Caleb retreat up the stairs, obviously intent on getting at least a modicum of sleep. Why the idiot actually assented to taking over Agent... more
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