Caleb Holmes
Taking a Dive
Tue Jun 7, 2005 02:50

Was she… drunk?

“Snookums?” Blinking, Caleb eyed the phone like it had suddenly become possessed, and shouted toward the stage. “David! What the hell is a snookums?”

“Condescending term of affection!” was the shouted reply, leaving the tall man grumbling in the office. Did the director have no sense of organization here? It gave Caleb a few bright ideas, because he knew there had to be one or two empty rooms lurking backstage with props that were gathering dust. Just reorganize it all, move a few things… It could work.

“I think Lucy’s drunk,” he muttered, walking onto the stage once more. “She mentioned something about my sisters, a bridal shower slash bachelorette party, and I heard a great deal of laughter.” Sidling up to David, he whispered in the man’s ear as he worked. “I’m scared, hold me!” The director was marginally unaffected, shooting him an annoyed glance. Well, at least that meant they could work now. “Okay, beyond conceptual art, we’re just going to need a few backdrops, and a few scenery changes. Are we going to bother building large sets for this one?”

“Two, I think. One for the inside and outside of Emile’s home, and then one that we can quickly convert between scenes for everything else.” David was wiping the charcoal off of his hands, nodding abruptly. “Like I said, low key, which makes this a popular production. We can go as big as you’d like, or small. Either way, it is all dependant on the actors.”

“Why’re you asking me? I just fork over the cash!” Yet another annoyed look, causing Caleb to sigh. “All right. Why don’t we see who we can land for wardrobe help and set designing, and go from there?” Finally, an agreement was reached! “Good. Are you certain about making casting judgments now, though? Perhaps you’d rather wait—”

“No, I’d rather not. I know what I have to work with for the most part. And now I have a larger base to draw off of with the last Phantom production. A lot of those kids will want to come back if the three of you are in this.” That was putting a bit much on their shoulders, wasn’t it?

“David, I’m more clueless than practically all of them—combined! Phantom was the first time I ever set foot on stage. You’re insane if you want to cast me like this every time—”

“Take this,” the director said, shoving one of the libretti at Caleb’s chest, “and go over to the piano. Do a run through of Some Enchanted Evening.” When he didn’t move, David quirked a brow, making a shoo-ing gesture with his hand. “Go ahead, it’s just us here.”

“You’re insane,” Caleb muttered, dragging his feet all the way to the piano. His mother had insisted that all the children taken lessons in some instrument, until they were proficient enough in it, before allowing them to decide if they wanted to quit or not. So, for endless hours, all the Holmes children had been forced into music lessons; he had just stuck with it longer. “Right, here we go.” Playing the opening twice over so he would get the feel for it, he dove in head first.

“Some enchanted evening you may see a stranger, you may see a stranger. Across a crowded room and somehow you know, you know even then… That somewhere you'll see her again and again.” Really, the song wasn’t terrible, it was just silly in that emotional sort of way that all women loved.

“Some enchanted evening, someone may be laughin', you may hear her laughin' across a crowded room… And night after night, as strange as it seems the sound of her laughter will sing in your dreams.” A crescendo… “Who can explain it? Who can tell you why? Fools give you reasons, wise men never try.” Good point.

“Some enchanted evening when you find your true love, when you feel her call you across a crowded room, then fly to her side, and make her your own… For all through your life you may dream all alone.” Maybe he was turning into an emotional sap here, because every Broadway love song was reminding him of Lucy. “Once you have found her, never let her go. Once you have found her, never let her go!” The last note rang loud and clear, fingers mindlessly playing the last few notes before it faded off.


Sedate, and unassuming, none of his friends or family would react in such a manner. And David sure in the hell wouldn’t have such an apathetic clap! Willing his gaze to rise from the music, he tried not to gape upon seeing Matteo standing there beside David, Andrea off to one side studying the men. Why in the hell was he here?! “That was… good.” Apparently a surprise, though definitely not a conventional song. “Do you know any more?” Ah-ha, this was a test, wasn’t it? Well screw this, he wasn’t going to be made the fool again! Deep breath…

“Tu lo sai, quanto tai mai… Tu lo sai, lo sai crudele!” Andrea quirked a brow in surprise, and Matteo… smiled. Though whether it was because of the song choice, or his knowing it, was debatable. “Yo non bramo altra merce, ma ri, cor da ti di me… E poi spreza un infidel! E poi spreza un infidel…” David was eyeing him like he was insane now, which could actually work to his advantage in the long run. “Was that what you wanted?”

“It will suffice.” This man was never going to give a straight answer, was he? But Matteo did something surprising, and took a seat beside Caleb on the piano bench. Only one look, and Andrea was trotting off the stage to sit down in the audience, a few rows up so he would not be within earshot. David gave Caleb an uncertain look, and he could only nod. He had a feeling he didn’t want the director to hear any of this. “What was your childhood like, agent?”

“My childhood?” he asked, unable to understand why Matteo was posing such a question. “Like most military families, I suppose. I went from elementary schools into military academies, finding it more to my liking. Grandfather never quite agreed with my decision, but he supported me nonetheless.”

“A smart man,” Matteo confided, nodding his head. “But he must have had his reasons. What did you do in the military?” What was this, twenty questions?

“A lot of things,” Caleb confessed, wondering what the old man was up to. “I really haven’t talked about it, you understand?” It was a simple problem in his mind, one that was difficult to rectify.

“I will not have Luciana entering a marriage with a man she knows nothing about!” Caleb’s eyes widened with Matteo’s sudden outburst. And it wasn’t as if the older gentleman had been loud. There was a power behind his voice that was undeniable; it demanded attention and commanded the fools. Unfortunately, Caleb was a bigger fool than most.

“I have told Lucy everything!” He had, too! Well, except for those suspiciously missing years from his timeline. Those he had only divulged to his father. Rob knew everything, and Beth had… helped. No more needed to know.

“You lie even to yourself, agent.”

“I… I didn’t want to tell her. I still do not. Nor will I tell you!” Pausing, Caleb began to think better of his words, his brow furrowed as his voice took on a pleading note. “It would be treason, Matteo. Things that could get Lucy hurt, killed, or God knows what. I… cannot.” More than anything, he feared losing Lucy because of something from his past. Keeping it buried was the next best thing to killing it off entirely. It would only die when he did, and he hoped that was no time soon.

“You are a God fearing man, a good Christian. Your church?” What sort of question was that? Frowning, he answered honestly, wondering where this was going.

“I was baptized and raised Protestant. Though I haven’t been to church in… A long time. It was never feasible—” Caleb started when Matteo abruptly stood, motioning him to come with. Brisk orders were issued to Andrea in Italian, and he was clueless.

“Gather your things. We leave now.”

Leave? Unwilling to back down from the unspoken challenge, and wanting so badly to manage a working relationship with Lucy’s grandfather, left him snatching up his briefcase and suit jacket, jogging to catch up with Matteo. In the blink of an eye, Caleb was hustled out the door beside the Italian, quick steps leading them out the theater doors with a gawking David left behind. The few paparazzi that had decided to camp out had gathered friends, bulbs flashing, which was ignored until they were able to duck into the sedate Mercedes lurking at the curb with Andrea behind the driver’s seat.

“Ridiculous,” Matteo commented, motioning for them to move on.

“Wait,” Caleb protested with no luck, forced to shrug into his suit jacket as they drove. “Where are we going?” Eloping in Reno would not be amiss at the moment.


“Huh? Why are we going to… church?” He hadn’t stepped foot inside one of those places for years, with the exception to hide or find sanctuary. Men of the cloth were always so forgiving, especially when they saw what they wanted to see. It was times like that Caleb had allowed them to fabricate the stories themselves, nodding along with whatever they said. Somewhere in his mind, he felt guilty for taking advantage of such good men, but still…

“To baptize you.” What?! Caleb gaped at Matteo, wondering if the man had suddenly cracked his pot and gone senile in under ten minutes. Theoretically it was possible, but that was the last thing he needed to happen. Not here, not now.

“Why?! I’ve already been baptized!” he protested, but to no avail.

“You must be pure for this new portion of your life.” Caleb frowned, carefully watching Matteo as he explained this in a kind, even gentle, manner. Not as if he were dealing with a child, merely someone that needed an easy touch. “Cleansed, being of sound mind, body, and soul.”

“… Oh. Oooh!” he managed, eyes wide with understanding. He had never thought of it in that fashion, really. But it was a tempting thought, coming into the marriage with an untainted spiritual slate. For the rest of the ride Caleb remained quiet, mulling this over as inner turmoil raged. One part of him demanded to know why it even mattered. Lucy held the church dear to her though, on some level, and that obviously meant quite a bit to him. “I’ll never find forgiveness for all the men I’ve—”

“You will find it,” Matteo gently interrupted. “Eventually, peace comes.” He understood. God help him, but the Medici understood what he meant. Caleb felt a shudder wrack his form, multiplying tenfold once he realized they had parked in front of the church.

It was a monster of monolithic proportions, designed to instill fear into the hearts of sinners and disbelievers alike. Hell, he certainly felt it! Even using his briefcase as a little bit of protection, Caleb followed Matteo into the church in a haze of disbelief. It multiplied further as he saw two men seated in the front pews, conversing quietly. One was obviously a man of the cloth, imperiously Catholic. The other…

“Dad?” They had set him up! “Is this really such a good idea?” For some illogical reason, he felt… scared.

“Think of it this way,” James explained, gently tugging Caleb’s briefcase from his hands, the shield gone. “God is in every man. The church is merely a quick path to His heart.” That was so damned sentimental and sappy! But it made sense, in a twisted fashion.

“All… all right. I’ll do this.” Pausing, he eyed Matteo, giving a firm nod. “For Lucy.”

A short time later, Caleb Holmes was reborn.

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