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Caleb Holmes
Helping the Needy
Fri Jun 3, 2005 06:26
66.244.88.159

“So its some production about war and all the nonsense it entails on a more humanistic level, coupled with everyday prejudices that all people must overcome?” Caleb paused, pulling a drag off the cigarette that had never left his lips this night. “That’s really silly. Let me guess, the people love it too.”

“Damn right they do!” Over the last two hours, David’s eyes had become perpetually more bloodshot, but he had finally put the bowl aside. Frankly, Caleb was feeling lightheaded himself. God help him, no one had better want a drug test out of him after this night! “No clue who the Big Guy could play,” he must have meant John, “especially since I don’t know how well he’ll work out. But I want Lucy to be Nellie, for certain.” They both knew no one better would come along. “Sean would be a good Cable, I think. And you, old man—”

“—You’re older than I am!”

“—Would be good as…” David continued thinking aloud, not even bothered by Caleb’s little interjection. “Emile, I think. If unless someone mind blowing comes along.” Right. Shooting the director a look that he affected not to notice, he went right on. Maybe he really didn’t notice! “The rest of the parts are good for a few people I have in mind, and there are a couple of kids that’ll be perfect.” Why did the man have to plot with him about this stuff? “It’d probably help if you could grow a beard and what not. How gray is your natural hair, anyhow?”

“What do you mean, my natural hair?!” All right, that was far too close to a screech for comfort. Snatching up his things, Caleb turned for the door and wrenched it open. “I’ll see you tomorrow night, David. We’ll start making set designs so we don’t run into problems this time around.” Before he could get dragged into another inebriated conversation that was severely lacking, he took flight down the hall and out one of the side doors. That had to be the weirdest night spent at the theater he’d ever had.

The prospect of home was hardly appealing, but what was he going to do, get a hotel room to sleep in? Hah! Suddenly the mental image of getting a room at the Plaza popped into his head, using it to thwart Matteo and his insistence that he was not to be with his fiancée until the ceremony. Of course, Lucy never would go for it, and it’d all end in one big fight. Why was she putting so much stock in family? Because she’s lost all hers… his inner commonsense told him, though he didn’t want to listen to it. Sometimes, he wanted to throttle the Id, Ego, and Superego. Just sometimes though; like now!

Pulling into the drive, and noticing that it was suspiciously quiet in the house, he could only figure that John was off somewhere again, considering Lucy’s Bug wasn’t in the driveway. Steps dragging all the way up the front stairs, Caleb unlocked the door and meandered into the dark house. For a brief moment, it didn’t feel as if he was supposed to be marrying Lucy in less than two weeks. Nor did it feel as if one of his old team members was living here. No, what he felt was… alone. Frowning at the place, he pounded up the stairs without bothering to illuminate his way, and barreled into the bedroom. The old sheet set had been thrown out, new replaced it until everything could be replaced. At least there was something warm in the bed for him.

“C’mere Gino!” No response. Little bugger yawned and went right back to sleep. “Yeah, screw you too.” Snorting at his own inanity, Caleb went through the nightly ritual of disrobing, showering, cleaning up the inevitable mess he made, and snagging a pair of boxer-briefs to sleep in. Of course, slumber didn’t come easily.

Maybe it didn’t come at all.

So that was why he was yawning the next morning! Bright and way too early for his liking, coffee in one hand and a transcript in the other, going over the newest paperwork with Rob. Listening to the tape playback, it didn’t take long for some atrocious and heinous crime to be committed, accompanied by the photos on the desk, they were piecing everything together. Fowler apparently liked to have his shit together.

“All right. So if I’m at one end of the table and you’re seated across from me,” Caleb took a seat to do just that, “it wouldn’t be too hard to get a shot off. Bang-bang.”

“But there’s two shots on the tape in quick succession,” Caleb argued, punching the playback just to prove his point. “Was it self defense?”

“Maybe. The guy was shot in the back several times, and once in the front. Two gunmen could explain the whole thing.” They were both acting as Devil’s advocates here, which would have been odd in any other scenario. But Caleb found himself having to scrounge for cases where Rob wouldn’t have to deal with the picnic one, just so the man did not have to think about it for the time he was here.

“No, there was only one man in the room. We watched ten hours worth of security footage to confirm it.” Frowning, he shifted the photos around on the desk with a finger, shaking his head. “Ever watch Star Wars, the original version before it’s all mucked up?” Receiving a nod, he pushed forward. “In the Cantina scene, when Greedo confronts Han, and they sit down, who shot first?”

“Han did.” Hey, the guy must have been a Star Wars junkie to know that one.

“Exactly! Exactly my point. What if our victim wasn’t a victim at all? At least, not to start with. He takes a shot – bang! – but misses entirely, and the second shooter returns fire. After that, it would be a matter of a man’s anger getting the best of him.” Rob didn’t look all too convinced. “No, watch. You try to shoot me, I shoot you. But…” Rewind! Bang! Bang! “There! There is a distinct groan on that tape before the next three shots, and its muffled. He was face down on the table when we found him. Why not just stand up and lean over a bit…” Caleb began to demonstrate, using the universal sign of a gun for his firearm, but was interrupted by a polite knock from the doorway.

“Agent Holmes? You have a visitor, sir.” How the hell could he have a visitor here, of all places? If unless something happened…

“I’m a little busy, here. Who is—” Caleb went bug-eyed when he saw his father standing there. If he showed up then something wasn’t right at all. “What happened? Is everything okay?” Belatedly dropping the hand that had been ‘shooting’ Rob, he tried not to become too worried, though it wasn’t working all that well.

“Everything is fine. You really are paranoid, aren’t you?” James commented, stepping into the office without so much as a by-your-leave. Eyes fell upon Rob, and the hard gaze actually seemed to soften somewhat. Perhaps because he understood what the man was going through. “Rob, how are you feeling?” Even concerned!

“I’m fine—No, I’m not, but what can I do about it?” The ever-present bleakness in the older agent’s gaze came to the surface, and he gave a mild shrug. “I’m more worried about the girls right now. But I’m doubting this is a social call, yes? I thought so. Its time to pick up lunch anyhow. Take your time, gentlemen.” Just like that, and he was gone.

“Dad? You could’ve just called instead of coming into the city, you know. It would’ve been easier that way for you.”

“No it wouldn’t have been. Devon came to my place after you threw him down the stairs,” James began, holding a hand up to forestall any interruptions. “Just let me finish. He wouldn’t say much, just that he and Lucy had done something, you found out, and all hell broke loose. You may be an idiot at times—”

“Gee, thanks Dad.”

“—But you have never been a hothead. So I got Devon drunk.” Caleb’s jaw dropped when his father admitted that in such a casual voice. “After a six-pack he started opening up, until I got what I think is the whole story. At least, it had better be the whole story. I let Devon drink himself into oblivious, got him cleaned up and dressed in the morning, before sending him on his way.” On his way? Okay, he was confused. “I sent Devon to a private health center, Caleb. Where he can get the help he needs, mentally and emotionally.”

“Y-y-you what?!”

“I didn’t stutter. Devon has been angry lately for no reason, and it’s painfully obvious that he’s developed an unhealthy obsession with Lucy. Ever since you returned to us, in fact. For fifteen years he’s been the one that stepped into your shoes after you left. I suppose he was angry that you came back.”

“That… Oh God, that is seriously messed up Dad, you know that?” James only nodded, taking a seat while Caleb decided to pace about the office. “I can’t believe it.” Staring blankly for a few moments, he soon shook his head clear of whatever cobwebs inhabited the empty space between his ears, and got with it. “I’ve gotta go. I… Yes. Keep Rob company and eat my lunch, all right?”

“It isn’t that vegetarian rabbit food you consume, is it?” James made a face, crinkling his nose, showing exactly what he thought of that particular dietary habit.

“Knowing Rob its on a bun and still moo-ing.” Grabbing his briefcase and coat, he bolted for the door. “Bye! Thanks, Dad!” Vroom!

Caleb rushed down in the elevator to the parking garage, before he had the wonders of a hemi-engine at his beck and call. Beep-beep, outta my way, jackass! He high-tailed it toward Greenwich Village, having to go around the block a few times before finding a suitable parking space. Huzzah! Now, to shop! His first stop was a good-sized music shop, perusing the racks with a leisurely sort of interest, halting before the section of CDs and plucking a few out. Fantastic, just the production he needed too! Two Broadway soundtracks, and two dozen libretti later, taking four with himself, Caleb was rock’n’rolling, ready to go. At least he was done at this store. The next stop, which he had to make with a large box tucked under his shoulder, was at a theater supply shop. New pairs of stage slippers, makeup, and anything else he thought was needed. Well, wasn’t that easy? Another large order placed, and another large box, before he was hauling ass out to the Jeep.

Vroom! Caleb finally made it to his destination, and it wasn’t the Playhouse, but the Plaza instead. One cigarette smoked outside, several breathmints eaten while he put some things in a gift bag, and he was as ready as ever! God, he missed her. It made his steps hurry that much more, right up to the concierge desk. Informed the bland-looking woman with the bland-looking smile that his bland-looking self was here to see Luciana Avellino. What was with this lady? Practically dying to stick his tongue out at her, he refrained valiantly until receiving permission to go ahead. Run! The elevator ride was boring, depositing him on the appropriate floor with some bad muzack rendition stuck in his head of a Pink Floyd song. Sigh. Knock-knock!

“Si?” Hey, it was that bastard from the dinner at Scalo’s! The one that had freaked his family out to no end. Quirking a brow, Caleb only stood there, watching the man recognize him and being allowed entrance. He’d be damned if he would try to speak a language he didn’t know, and sound like a jackass in the process! “Luciana is in the parlor.”

“Thanks,” whisper-whisper. Conspiratorial grin before he snuck that direction, spying the brunette flipping through some catalogue. Probably more bridal things. A sudden wave of guilt assuaged Caleb at being uncooperative with the whole planning of the ceremony, but it was quickly tamped down as he snuck up behind the girl. Leaning over her, and peering at the pages, he made a tsk-ing sound. “If you put the bridesmaids in taffeta, they will never forgive you!”

Oompf!

Caleb hadn’t seen it coming. Lucy practically leapt off the sofa and tackled him, and it took a great deal of wobbling before he could regain his footing to return the hug. “Oh God, I’ve missed you!” Didn’t want to let her go either. So he resorted to plopping on the sofa with her in tow, idly hoping that Matteo wasn’t around to see this. “Here.” Gift bag handed over with a grin. “David decided on the next production in a blitzed-out haze last night.” Inside was the original cast recording for South Pacific, along with two copies of the libretto, and everything else she would need for the show; new stage makeup, slippers, all the odds and ends that made up twenty million trips to the Village.

“I just talked to Dad. He cornered me at work.” So that was why he was here at three in the afternoon and not some ungodly hour when it was dark! “Devon went to him after what happened… Eventually got him to spill the beans, too. Checked him into a mental wellness center up state. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dad got in a few hits on him too for what he did…” To you. Right, this was supposed to be happy time! So he went for the kiss. All of it!

“I love you, Lucy…”

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