James Holmes
Outbursts and Plans
Tue Jun 7, 2005 02:49

This was not one of the things he had envisioned for his children; not during his lifetime, nor after his death. Never, if he had his damned way. Obviously, James did not always get his way, regardless of his life long commitment to the army that often left him in the familiar habit of things being done his way.

Sighing, he ceased staring at the entryway to the sanitarium, and began traversing the stairs at an even pace. If he were to waver now, he’d never make it in this hellhole of a place to see his son, which was a truly shaming thought. The first seventy-two hours were done and over with, in which no contact had been permitted on Devon’s behalf, not to mention quite a bit more time as well. The counselors had recommended it, and while James had not exactly liked the thought, they were the professionals here and knew what they were talking about. So he had stayed away as long as he had dared.

God, none of his children would even think about visiting Devon; not after what he had done to Lucy. Especially not after he attempted to sabotage Caleb’s relationship with the girl in such a brutish manner. Bennett had a few strong, choice curses; Moira and Jane wanted to pummel him into next week; Nigel had expected nothing less of his elder brother. Did they all think so poorly of him? James could not help but feel more than partly responsible for this. He had lied to all his children concerning Caleb’s fate, had raised them nearly on his own for practically as long as Bennett had lived.

“May I help you, sir?” James was pulled abruptly from his thoughts as a pleasant woman questioned him. The interior of the facility looked more like an upscale hotel, complete with a welcoming desk and posh waiting area. A few residents meandered past, dressed in comfortable casual wear, gaining his attention. They certain didn’t look to have any difficulties. “Sir?”

“Ah, uhm, yes. I am here to see Devon Holmes, my son.” Inwardly, he wanted to fidget like a schoolboy before the teacher, especially when the woman began to cluck her tongue and peruse a long list of residents on a clipboard. God, he hadn’t felt that sensation in years!

“Here we are. Holmes, Devon. You are James, yes?” He nodded, wondering where this was going. “I’ll need to see identification to make a photocopy. Please, sign the log if you could.” Obviously he had to! One signature later, and he was being handed back his identification. “Feel free to seat yourself in the waiting room to your right, Mister Holmes. Devon is just finishing therapy now, and will be sent up in a few moments.” Great! More waiting.

That was what he had absolutely abhorred about the military; the stick your thumb up your ass and wait game. If a large force was going to strike, why did they always have to quibble facts until the enemy knew they were coming? It killed the element of surprise! Yet so many other aspects of life reflected this, regardless of a man’s station. Yet, for once, James hadn’t much time to brood. He had only just plucked up a random magazine that was strangely current date, before a particular sight caught his eye. It was Devon; but not the Devon he remembered. This one looked well rested, relaxed, and was even smiling. God help him, when was the last time he had seen the boy smile?

“Dad!” A quick embrace followed, instead of clasped hands, which was yet another change in such a short time. “It’s good to see you. How is everyone?” Maybe Devon was going to need therapy after this visit, for James knew he had very little to say in the way of good news for his son.

“Well, that is why I’m here.” Just cut to the quick of it, like you always do, and you’ll be fine. Or that’s what he told himself. “The wedding date has been moved up. It is… this coming weekend.” James forced himself to ignore the shocked look on Devon’s face, plowing forward. “Lucy’s maternal grandfather made himself known, and has been helping them with the arrangements.” See? It wasn’t an outright lie!

“Wow… But her maternal grandfather? Who the hell is this guy? He wasn’t around before this, was he?” Devon seemed skeptical, but was obviously doubting himself. It was what good therapy did to a person, before they were reconstructed emotionally. If he could already see it working, how many changes had taken place that he did not realize?

“Well, he is from Italy. His name is…” James drew a deep breath. “Matteo de Medici.” He thought he said that properly. Or it was close enough. But then he wanted to cringe, for he had obviously hit a nerve, the way Devon’s lips compressed into a thin line.

“Medici. Matteo de Medici. Oh my God, I can’t believe this! Don’t you get it, dad?” What the hell was Devon talking about? “This guy is the archetype for all things mafia-related! Who the hell do you think they based Don Corelione off of? Jesus fukking Christ!” Shit. James cringed, watching the receptionist speak quietly into a phone as she surveyed the conversation. This was not good for his son. “What, is that all she is? A little fukking mafia princess?!” Devon demanded, jumping to his feet. “I’ve known bums better than these people, honest to goodness bums, and you’re saying she’s one of them!”

Oh God. James cold only shake his head as two orderlies – in the stereotypical white uniforms, of course – before they flanked Devon. Instead of hauling him bodily away though, they talked with the boy, in calm and even tones, asking what had him so riled up. Nor was he immune from this, for a fairly young-looking woman was at James’ side as his son was escorted into the back most amiably, still ranting, though far more quietly now.

“What set him off?” No introductions, nothing. For some reason, her demeanor screamed ‘therapist’. It would figure, wouldn’t it?

“I was telling him that his brother’s wedding had been moved up.” She pursed her lips, giving a thoughtful nod, before motioning him to go on. “Then I explained why; because of Lucy’s grandfa—”

“Ah… Well, that explains it well enough. That’s really all that will set him off, which isn’t too surprising.” The therapist shrugged, shooting James an apologetic smile, before rushing after the orderlies and his son. Well, that was just fantastic! No, really. This was ridiculous. How the hell had Devon managed to delude himself so much? The boy was a damned police officer! He was supposed to remain objective, not become involved. Sighing, James signed off on the visitor logbook, before taking his leave of the facility. It really was for the best. He hoped.

The drive home was tedious, trudging along through rush hour traffic on the highway. Why was there always that one idiot that decided to leave their blinker light on, and every time you attempted to pass them they’d just speed up? It was people like that which he wanted to nuke into oblivion! Oh, sure, force should be restrained, used only when necessary; this he understood very well. But some days…

Briiing-briiiing! Ugh.

“James Holmes here,” he said, once managing to engage the cellphone he kept with him for emergencies. His children thought otherwise, and used it to badger him at every inopportune moment during the day. Speaking of which!

“Hey, Dad! Just about to go see Lucy, and since you didn’t answer at home, and I wanted to see how everything was going. Have you talked to Caleb lately? He hasn’t been home, just that big guy.” Moira, then. He loved all his children equally, but sometimes he doubted that he had fathered them. This one, for instance, cavorted with the enemy!

“No, I was visiting Devon.” She made a little disgruntled noise, but said nothing, allowing him to continue. “I was telling him about the wedding being moved up, and Matteo as well.” Pausing, he rifled around for the usual pad of paper and pen he kept handy in the car. There! “What’s Matteo’s number?”

“Oh no you don’t, Dad! I’m not going to have you badgering that nice man over all this bullshit.” Why did they make him do things he didn’t want to do?

“Moira! If you don’t give me that damn number, I swear to God I will go to the Plaza and knock on the door uninvited.” James knew he’d never do anything like that though, but the threat served him well enough here. Especially when she was giving him the number to the Plaza and Matteo’s personal number. Perfect. “Thanks, sweetheart. I’m in heavy traffic, so I’ve got to go. I’ll see you soon.” Ah-ha! If he was any less dignified, he would have hopped happily in his seat. But punching the cellphone number pad would suffice. The ring sounded even better!

“Yes, Lord de Medici?” James wasn’t an idiot, he would call someone by their proper title until they shouted at him not to. “This is James Holmes. I was calling in regards to the wedding.” Pausing, he swerved to avoid one idiot, then another, obviously listening into the telephone. “No, nothing is wrong. I merely wanted to touch base with you and see how everything was going. How is Lucy?” At least the answer seemed satisfactory enough, because he chuckled lightly. Then the inquisition began!

“No, Caleb was a good child.” What sort of questions were these? “It was his choice to go to military school, the rest of the children went to private schools.” James’ eyebrows began to climb, managing to get off the expressway in one piece; barely. “No, we hadn’t seen him until recently since he was eighteen. Caleb had enlisted in the army…” He cut that short, considering it wasn’t his story to tell.

“What sort of question is that?” Frowning, he maneuvered through the streets a little more recklessly than he would have liked, paying attention to the conversation. “The children were raised Protestant. But hell if I know what they’re doing now. Bennett fancies himself a Discordian, whatever that is.” Snorting, he shook his head. “They’re adults, they can decide for themselves what is right and wrong for them.” And now, he received The Lecture. Any Italian, Catholic or Catholic Italian could tell you what the conversation was, recite it word for word, without ever knowing the person. Of course, Matteo wasn’t exactly your most conventional man.

“Fine, but this had better be of his own free will. What time will you be there?”

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