Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chapter 5, Part 6 - Molly

Chapter 5, Part 6 – Molly

Image Hosted by

The red numbers of the digital clock glared back at me as I opened my eyes. The lines blurred together as I tried to blink away the sleepiness. "Is that a three?" I murmured, groping for the clock. Meanwhile, Little T's whimpering had escalated to cries, making me abandon the quest for the clock. I turned toward where he was nestled in the bed beside me and pulled him closer, gently patting his tummy and humming. I foolishly hoped I might soothe him back to sleep to save myself a trip downstairs.

Though it mollified him for a few moments, Little T was having none of that and he began thrashing his little arms and crying once more. "Okay okay, I get it. Food. Now." I yawned as I sat up and stretched. My vision had cleared and my original fears were confirmed by one glance at the clock. "Three o'clock? Really?"

Little T didn't respond to my questioning his sleeping habits except to fuss louder. Of course not, why would he? He's only two months old. "Well come on then, there's a bottle with your name on it," I said as I picked him up off the bed. I glanced over at the practically unused crib in the corner and thought about pointing it out to Little T again but honestly, what good would it do? He'd made it quite clear to me that he preferred my bed and if I valued my sleep at all, I had to honor that it would seem.

In my very limited experience so far, Little T seemed to have a thing against sleep actually. He woke up with the sun every morning – which may have had to do with the fact that the loft was almost entirely covered in windows. It was very difficult to hide from the sun in this building actually. It would have been a vampire's worst nightmare. Assuming vampires had nightmares. And that they slept. Which lately, I do not.

I feel I've gotten off course a bit.

Image Hosted by

After his feeding, Little T and I settled back into bed. I didn't even bother to try and put him in the crib because then we'd just have a late night fight about it and mostly I just wanted sleep. I wondered what Tony would think when I told him Little T preferred co-sleeping.

Like usual, by six, Little T was up and fussing again. By that time I knew there would be no hope of going back to sleep so I changed his clothes and gave him another bottle to start our day.

It was never a particularly exciting day. We got up, I fed, changed and rocked Little T while he whimpered and cried off and on and eventually fell into a restless sleep in my arms. Then I foolishly attempted to put him down in his crib so I might clean up the loft a bit and actually do something with my arms. He would wake up as soon as I set him down and I started the rocking, pacing, cursing process over again. I mentioned the part where he didn't seem to like sleep right?

Image Hosted by

The first time Tony came to visit, I placed a crying, screeching Little T in his arms and disappeared into the bathroom. I heard Little T crying through the door and turned on the shower – though I hadn't really intended to shower.

I could still hear him crying. It's possible that was in my head though, I always heard him crying – even when he was asleep lately.

I slumped down into the tub and let out great heaving sobs as the steaming water poured over me. It wasn't supposed to be this difficult was it? Maybe it wasn't difficult at all, Ruby would probably come in and have him silent in seconds. Maybe I was just pathetic at this whole parenting bit.

Image Hosted by

By the time I stepped out of the shower, the water had grown frigid. Whether he just knew I needed a break or he didn't mind – Tony didn't attempt to disturb me once. And he'd gotten the baby to sleep. In his crib. A tiny part of me hated him for his success – but I didn't say that out loud.

"Why don't I take him back to the hotel for the weekend Molly? You look..." Tony trailed off.

"I look like hell – you can say it," I finished his sentence for him without a glimmer of smile or emotion.

"Well I wasn't going to say that – but you do look tired," Tony said quickly.

"Right," I said, stifling a yawn. "Yeah, sure. His diaper bag is over there and..." I yawned again and Tony gently steered me to the bed.

Image Hosted by

"I got it Molly, I can find everything just fine," he said, smiling confidently. So cocky, so sure of himself. I hope Little T spits up on his pillow and pees on him during the next diaper change.

'Gah! When did I become so rude?!' I thought as I laid down on my pillow and closed my eyes.


I had expected to be unwilling to part with my baby for some time but I found it surprisingly easy to turn him over to Tony that weekend. Granted, Tony is T’s father but still, as a first time mother I’d thought I’d be rather possessive.

That weekend wasn’t the last time either and each time it became easier. The next visit, he didn’t have to suggest or offer, I asked him – Tony was a wonderful father and loved any time he could spend with his son so he took him willingly.

The visit after that, I didn’t ask, I simply told him I’d meet him at the hotel with Little T and all his gear for the weekend. After handing over the bags and the baby, I held out a key to my loft. “Just in case you need anything particular.”

“I think we'll be okay Molly," Tony argued. I pressed the key into his hand, kissed Little T on the forehead and waved as I turned away.

"Call me if anything happens," I called out. I had to resist the urge to run away from them and my heart ached when I realized what I was doing. How could I leave him so easily?!

An hour later I was walking down the street with Marisa, trying to put my conflicting feelings into words but she was easily distracted by shiny things – or clothes – so I gave up and let it brew inside.

Image Hosted by

"Come out with me tonight!" Marisa exclaimed suddenly, dragging me out of my internal reflection.

"Huh? Oh sorry – can't. My friend Deidree is coming into town tonight," I protested. Of course Marisa invited her along and ignored all my arguments. She pulled out her phone and shot me a text with time and a club name, "Marisa I'm right here..."

"Au revoir," she kissed both my cheeks and was off, leaving me staring after her with my mouth hanging open. I couldn't help but to laugh at the absurdity of my friend but I knew – if Deidree didn't mind anyway – we'd be at the club later.

When I got back to the loft, I was greeted by the building manager before I made it to the stairs. "Mademoiselle Gregory! A moment?" I waited as she bustled over toward me, dreading what she had to say. "Your lease – it has ended you know?"

Image Hosted by

"Oui," I nodded. Truth be told, the lease on the loft had ended in July but so far she'd been lenient about pushing me to sign a new one or move out given that I had a newborn baby – at least that was the assumption I'd made. Given that my student visa was about to expire as well, it seemed as if my time in France was coming to an end. Unsure of where I would actually go, I said, "if you can give me until the end of the month – I'll be moving."

"Bon, very good then. Bonjour!" She disappeared into the office then, leaving me to wonder where exactly I was going to move to, and how?

The mail I'd collected, and proceeded to ignore, that morning still sat unopened on the counter. I dropped my purse next to the pile and flipped through the envelopes. A card from Jacob. Two rather official letters from the French government – no doubt reminding me that I needed to apply for a new visa or vacate their country. A couple other letters from the states.

A large, fancy looking cream envelope with elegant scripting. The return address had been smudged so I couldn't even guess who it was from as I flipped it over. I opened it only to find another envelope – this one with only my name on the front and a thick wax seal with a coat of arms pressed into it. "Maybe it's my acceptance letter to Hogwarts," I mused aloud.

Image Hosted by

An RSVP card fell onto the counter as I pulled out and unfolded the letter. It wasn't a letter at all actually. It was an invitation to a birthday party. "Oh Cathy...why would you invite me?"


"Well I think you should go!" Deidree announced as she ordered another round of drinks for us.

"What?! Are you mad?" I had mentioned the invitation to Marisa and Deidree during round one. While both had been appropriately startled that I'd received an invite from Colin's sister, Deidree may have just gone off the deep end. "This is at Colin's house! I can't just show up, unannounced like that – besides I think there's a rule about go to family functions of your ex-fiance."

Image Hosted by

"First off, you wouldn't be unannounced Molly. Cathy invited you!" Deidree passed Marisa and I our drinks and we spun around to watch the crowd while drinking. "You need closure – before you leave Europe."

"Believe me Deidree – there was plenty of closure when he left the hospital. I can't keep dragging this out, Deidree – it's done. My showing up would just hurt Colin."

"Well you were on some pretty heavy medication Molly," Marisa chimed in. "And I understand the hormones following birth are quite bad..."

"Yes! There you go – go to Talford for the party and for closure," Deidree said triumphantly – as if she'd won a great debate. "Don't you agree Marisa?"

Image Hosted by

The pair had hit it off almost as soon as they'd met and were now as thick as thieves – conspiring against me it would seem. Marisa sipped her drink as she thought about the situation and then nodded, "Oui, I think you ought to go as well," she held up a hand to stop my protestations, "though not for the same reasons. Your Monsieur Beckham is quite delicious and you ought not pass up an opportunity for that." She winked at me and downed the rest of her drink.

Deidree and I dissolved into laughter as she grabbed our hands and dragged us out to the dance floor.


"This was a bad idea," I said as the cab pulled up in front of the expansive Beckham estate.

Image Hosted by

"Ma'am?" the driver examined me through the rear view mirror, probably thinking I'd been addressing him.

I waved it off and shook my head. With a shrug, he stopped the car and hopped out and ran around the cab to open the door for me. We'd already stopped by the inn in town to deposit my luggage but there hadn't been time to second guess myself if I didn't want to make a terribly late entrance. "Thank you," I said, handing him his money.

With a deep breath to steady my nerves, I ascended the steps to the front door. 'Stop fretting Molly, Cathy said she told him...' I'd emailed Cathy twice to be sure my presence would not be a surprise or completely unwelcome and both times she assured me that her brother knew I was coming and was neither displeased nor angry about it. Still, the urge to turn and run overwhelmed right up until the moment I saw him standing in the entry way laughing about something.

"Oh! I had no idea we'd invited the lower classes," Mrs. Beckham said as her eyes locked on me. As usual, she looked at me as if she'd just suck on a dozen lemons. Nice to see you too.

Image Hosted by

"Molly!" The surprise in his voice was evident and I cringed inwardly, my worst fear realized. After a moment he recovered himself and stepped over to me, taking my hand and kissing it lightly. "Mother, you will treat all our guests with the respect they deserve," he said without taking his eyes from me.

"I refuse to accept that tramp in my house Colin!" she replied shrilly.

"Then it's a good thing this is MY house. You will either treat Molly with the respect she deserves as our guest and friend, or you can leave this house." Colin's voice was even as he said it.

"Colin!" Mrs. Beckham sputtered a bit. "What would your father say?"

Image Hosted by

Colin was spared from responding as Cathy came bounding over with all the energy bottled up in a sixteen year old girl. "Oh Molly! I'm so glad you came!" she squeaked grabbing my hands and dragging me away from the welcoming party at the door. Once we were out of earshot she began apologizing profusely, "I'm so sorry I fibbed about Colin knowing...I just thought...I hoped..."

Image Hosted by

I said nothing, though a reprimand was on the tip of my tongue. She led me into the massive ballroom where small clusters of people were already chatting. A few turned to look in our direction but no one seemed familiar.

"Oh I really ought to get back to the door to help greet people but I thought I ought to rescue you from Mother. Thank you again for coming Molly!" With a quick air kiss, I was left alone, surrounded by strangers and feeling uneasy.

Image Hosted by

"Yep, good plan Mols, good plan," I muttered. I found an empty spot along the wall and hoped to learn the art of invisibility in the next few minutes – that or teleportation.

"It's Molly right?" I turned in the direction of the voice to find a familiar face. Ugh. "We met at a dinner party last year...I'm Anna."

"Yes of course," I said, pretending as if I didn't remember her until that very moment. But how could I forget her? Aside from being gorgeous and very accessible to my then fiance, they seemed to be best mates, and more if tabloids were to be believed. "It's nice to see you again."

Image Hosted by

"Oh," for her part, Anna looked uncomfortable and seemed to regret approaching me for a second. "I must confess, I was surprised to see you – things being as they are and all."

"And how are things, exactly?" While the obvious answer was that I was Colin's ex and had slept with someone else, I got the feeling that wasn't all of it.

"Oh Molly," Mrs. Beckham came over look all too excited to see me, "I see you've met my Colin's fiance!"

Image Hosted by

I'm certain my face blanching and my eyes widening gave her all the reaction she desired. I swallowed back the shock and turned toward Anna with an entirely fake smile on my face. She looked back at me awkwardly, as if trying to consider the words that would be a salve to my pain. "I offer you my congratulations," I said demurely. "Now if you'll both excuse me, I see someone I should pay my respects to," I lied and slid away from the pair. Anna tried to call out to me but I didn't look back.

Running, running would be good here. But I walked as steadily as I could out of the ballroom, past the small crowd of entering guests and out the front the door. I waited until the cold evening air hit me in the face before I broke into a run down the great steps and across the lawn.

Image Hosted by

"Molly!" Colin's voice carried across the sky toward me but I couldn't stop – not while I was still on the property. Not where Mrs. Beckham could be watching and gloating. A pair of footmen swung the gate open for me once I reached it and I darted across the small street.

It wasn't until I lost my footing in the slippery grass of the moorland that he caught up to me, gently pulling me to my feet. "Just...just go back Colin," I said stepping quickly away from him.

Image Hosted by

"Not without you," he said, closing the gap between us and taking my face in his hands. I was certain he was going to kiss me but after a moment, he released me once more, though he remained close. "Cathy wanted you here."

I shook my head quickly, "maybe but presence is obviously not...a good thing."

"Then why did you come Molly?"

"I..." I replayed all the reasons in my mind and each seemed more pathetic than the last. "I don't know. Deidree said I should come for closure before I left Europe and at the time it seemed like a good idea..."

"You're leaving Europe?" Colin asked, surprise and maybe a bit of pain etched on his face.

Image Hosted by

"Um, yes. Back to the States," I was looking at my feet now, running the toe of my shoe through the grass and trying not to look into his gorgeous eyes. Before coming here I'd sent all of my stuff on ahead and hand Little T over to Tony to escort back to Crescent Bay while I made the move and, eventually, got settled back home. "For good I imagine," I added, answering an unasked question that was lingering in the air.

For several moments we were both silent, though a few times he seemed to be about to say something and then stopped. "Good luck with Anna," I said quickly and then spun around to continue toward the inn on the other side of the moor.

"It's's you I love and you I want Molly," he hadn't come after me, still rooted in the spot. "It's always you."

I gulped and swiped at my eyes where tears began to form. Afraid to look at him, terrified to turn back, I kept my eyes on the lights in the distance. "I'm no good for you Colin – I'm no good for anyone."

"I don't care," he whispered in my ear – having closed the space between us with a few strides.

"Yes you do, or you will."

Image Hosted by

"What is so wrong that I can forgive you but you can't forgive yourself Molly?" Colin took my hand and held fast even as I attempted to pull it away. He spun me around to face him and I could see the dampness in his eyes as well. "I forgive you Molly."

"No!" I stumbled back as I shoved him away. "I love you too but I am broken Colin! Don't you see that? I'm just so...I-I'm broken and I-I can't fix it....and you're engaged to that woman..."

"You're NOT broken Molly! You're lost is all! Like the first time we met on that tower, you were lost. You're still on the bloody tower Molly! You're looking down at the courtyard and see where you think you need to be but can't figure out how to get there! You're looking everywhere except right beside you," Colin paused and shook his head sadly, "where I am standing, ready to show you the way."

His words were so sweet and so perfect, all I wanted was to fall into his arms and let him smother me with his love. But I didn't do that. My past still hung about me like chains and I couldn't seem to free myself of them.

Colin seemed to realize this then and nodded quietly. "As you say, I am engaged to another – it is an engagement of a particular kind and though I have long been her friend, my heart will always be yours I fear." At this he took my hand and brought it to his lips, "but yours is a path I think I cannot follow." He closed his eyes and lingered over my hand and then dropped it. "I wish you every happiness Molly Gregory, wherever your path takes you."

I was rooted in my spot, chilled by the autumn winds, as he strode away. "Goodbye Colin," I whispered. The tears that flowed after that blurred my vision as I tried to find my way back to the inn. Always lost.

Image Hosted by


The crib had been tucked into the corner of the room. The desk had been moved to make room. The bedding had been changed. Boxes lined the walls now. But otherwise it was still my room. Four years in Europe and I was back in my old room in my parent's house. Somehow that seemed pathetic to me.

Tony was supposed to come by later with Little T and I thought, briefly, about tackling a few of the more important boxes. In the end, laying down on the bed and eventually drifting off to sleep proved more interesting.

When I woke up, I heard my mom giggling and Little T's laughter carried through the house. I rolled over to look at the clock and realized, with a start, that I'd been asleep for over five hours. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I got to my feet.

I found Tony lounging on the couch, Mom tickling T's feet and making stupid baby noises and Dad smiling proudly to the side. "Morning sleepy head," Tony teased as I came into view.

Image Hosted by

"It's eight at night," I said shortly. "How long have you been here? Why didn't you wake me up?"

Tony looked at me curiously but simply said, "we thought you needed the sleep." When I didn't ask about Little T, he continued, "Little T did great by the way."

"I can see that," I said, then disappeared into the kitchen to grab something to drink. I half-expected him to follow me but thankfully he didn't. After a few more minutes, he was saying his goodbyes to T and promising to be back for a visit soon.

I stayed in the kitchen and just called out my goodbye.


Little T was fussing in his crib. While his whimpers were not a full blown cry, I knew the direction it was headed and groaned. Then I grabbed my pillow and pulled it over my head, effectively tuning him out.

Image Hosted by

After another few minutes, the cries escalated and the door to my bedroom creaked open. I heard my mom cross over to the crib and scoop him out of it. His crying instantly ceased once in Grandma's arms.

Image Hosted by

When I finally dragged myself from the bed, I could hear my mom talking to someone and crossed to the door to listen in – yes I was totally snooping.

"I don't know what's going on with her but she just...she just doesn't seem to care. I know she hears him crying and fussing but after the first week..." She stopped talking and when no one else spoke I assumed she must be on the phone. "...I just don't know what to do with her....Oh no, Little T is fine." From there the conversation changed to talking about how he'd begun attempting to roll over - and generally failed.

I quietly closed the door, so as not to alert her to my snooping, and went into the bathroom to take shower.

I'd been soaking for several minutes when the curtain was suddenly thrown open and Tony stood glaring at me. "What is going on with you that you don't seem to care about our son?"

Image Hosted by

"I'm naked Tony," I said simply. "Naked in the shower"

"It's not like I haven't seen it before Molly!" Tony thundered. Mom must have been on the phone with him earlier, lucky for her he was in town and not on the other side of the world I suppose. "What is wrong with you? Are you sick? Are you worn down? Are you...I don't know...what? What is it?"

"Towel," I said, ignoring his series of questions. He looked around for a towel but found none and I pointed toward the cabinet. "Under that sink Tony." He tossed me one but continued to fluctuate between concern and fury as I wrapped myself with it and then pulled my hair up. He was much closer to the fury by the time I pushed past him into my bedroom, though I imagine that had to do with my ignoring him.

"Molly!" He'd had just about enough of my stalling it would seem. "Molly, what is going on?"

Image Hosted by

"I don't..." I trailed off, rubbing my head where pain was beginning to build, "I'm just....I have no idea, I think I'm just tired or something. I feel – off." Then I begin rummaging through the suitcase where my clothes still lived and let the towel fall away.

This time Tony had the grace to turn away and started to speak up, "Molly – your towel..."

Image Hosted by

"It's not like you haven't seen it before," I said echoing his earlier words. I pulled on a clean (at least I'm pretty sure it was clean) shirt and a pair of jeans before turning toward him. "Why don't you take Little T for the week – you can take him Trick or Treating – Mom bought him some costume I think...?" I seemed to recall Mom showing me a costume of some sort. "You were going to come over anyway right?"

"Of course I was – first Halloween. I figured you'd be excited about it. I – I love every time I have T but this isn't going to fix...well whatever needs fixing Molly," Tony was back to being confused, I could hear it in his voice. He wanted to be angry with me but he was worried too, "our son needs his mother Molly. Get some help?"

"Help?" I scoffed. "Help is the last thing I need. Little T had grandparents, uncles, their wives and girlfriends and people I don't think I even know to cater to his every need. He's not wanting for anything Tony."

Image Hosted by

"He wants YOU," Tony said, irritation creeping into his voice. "I can't imagine why," he muttered.

The words stung – probably because of the truth they carried - and I turned away from him. "I'm sure you can get everything you need from Mom. Call if you need anything," I didn't specify who he should call though, what good would I do?


On Halloween, Mom attempted to coral me into giving out candy at the door. I knew she was expecting Tony to drop by with Little T and wanted me to gush and ooh and aah over him but I didn't take the bait. Instead I grabbed my purse and my cell and went "out."

I didn't actually have a destination in mind – I'd seen very little of Crescent Bay since my return – but for the first time in a month, I didn't WANT to be at the house. I ended up a small club, small being the only type to be had without driving into a larger town, and ordered the first thing I saw.

"Oh. Em. Gee!" I barely had time to register the voice when I was surrounded by a gaggle of familiar girls. Cheerleaders. Oh just kill me now. "Molly Gregory! I cannot believe it's YOU!"

Image Hosted by

"Well it's me," I said, gulping down the rest of my drink and forcing a strained smile. "Wow, none of you have changed at all!"

That was a big lie! One of them had put on some weight, which was for the better seeing as she was practically anorexic in high school. The blond was about twelve months pregnant and I was genuinely concerned the baby would fall out on my foot if she didn't stop jumping around. The others looked as if they been rung out and left to wither. But I lied – if I was Pinocchio my nose would have grown five feet in the few minutes I was subjected to their presence.

I was looking for a way out when another girl joined the crush – this one was familiar and sweet looking. With only a few words, she dispersed the crowd and smiled at me. "Molly Gregory, back from your European adventure huh?"

"Bella Crosby," I breathed a sigh of relief. Bella was one of two on the old squad I actually liked and wasn't predisposed to stab you in the back.

Image Hosted by

"Hart actually, Bella Hart," she held up her left hand which a simple but elegant wedding band rested next to a solitaire diamond engagement ring. "The wedding was this past summer."

"Right! Congratulations," I scolded myself for not remembering. They'd even sent me an invitation but of course I'd been in the hospital with Little T at the time. Thankfully she wasn't bothered by the minor slip up and we were able to spend the next hour catching up with each others lives.

I felt surprisingly at ease with her and probably babbled the entire time about my own drama but she didn't mind – at least she didn't seem to mind. "Molly..." she paused, chewing on her lip and then dug into her purse and emerged with a business card. "I hope you're not offended by this but it sounds like you need someone to talk to, someone professional perhaps?"

I probably would have been offended had it come from anyone else but Bella's face was genuine and the concern was heartfelt. "Doctor Owen Hart? Relation?"

"Husband," she said, blushing slightly. "Please, just think about it. He's a very good listener. He's usually pretty booked but I have an in," she winked at me.


Within a few days I had made the call – partially prompted by a particularly awful round of parenting where I screamed – actually screamed! - at Little T. His lower lip had quivered and then big, fat tears rolled down both our cheeks. I held him close, apologizing over and over for being so horrible while sobbing.

I tucked my legs up under me and tried to get comfortable on the couch while the good doctor watched patiently. "Molly..." he prompted, after I'd been still and silent for several minutes.

Like his wife, Doctor Hart was very easy to talk to and soon everything spilled out in a rush of emotion. I'd started with the night that had prompted me to call and then back tracked to all the other times I'd ignored my son or pushed him off on someone else. Eventually I was back in France and explaining the whole torrid tale of Tony's and my affair and what had happened since then in our relationships. My floundering friendships with Boris and Ruby even made it into the monologue.

Image Hosted by

The whole time he made a few notes and responded when necessary but otherwise remained silent – allowing me to go on and on until I ran out of words and emotions. "So I'm a horrible person right?"

Doctor Hart smiled at me and shook his head, "no, no you're not. You're just a person – faced with extraordinary circumstances and trying to keep your head above water. I also think aside from your very obvious guilt, you may be suffering from something called postpartum depression. It's not uncommon following a premature, somewhat traumatic, birth like yours."

Our first session ended soon after that – apparently my babbling had eaten up well over an hour – but I scheduled another one and assured him I'd be back.

By the time I got home, Tony had returned with Little T and for the first time in weeks I smiled at the sight of them. "Have a good time?" I asked.

Tony, though surprised by my interest this time, nodded. "We did – he got lots of candy he can't eat. Grandpa Hank now has it," he said with a chuckle.

"Molly, I was just telling Tony about the Thanksgiving dinner we're having – all your brother should be coming as well," said Mom.

Inwardly I cringed a bit at the thought of a big family affair but I nodded. "I hope you can make it Tony – it'll be Little T's first Thanksgiving after all, invite your dad as well." I looked over at Mom, hoping I didn't just burden her with two extra plates she hadn't planned on but she smiled and nodded.

"We'll be there, is there anything we can bring?" Tony asked, turning toward Mom as well. Mom just shook her head and started giving him the details while I turned my attention to Little T.

He stared up at me with his big eyes and I tried to resist the urge to cry – recalling the other night and all my horribleness. "I'm gonna try harder okay?" I whispered. Little T grinned at me and let out a baby laugh so I took that as forgiveness.

Image Hosted by


Of course it wasn't an instant fix or anything. We had our ups and downs still but with the promise of "working on it" Mom and Tony were less likely to get on my case about it. I started seeing Doctor Hart two to three times a week at first. While the medication he started me on mostly made me tired (re: exhausted), I actually felt almost human by the time the Thanksgiving dinner came around.

Little T was blissfully napping when the influx began – Garrett and Lauren being the first of the brothers to arrive. Lauren had grown so much since I'd seen her but she still remembered me and ran straight at me when they came in the door.

"I'm glad to see she hasn't forgotten me," I said with a smile. Lauren was jumping at my feet trying to tell me her entire life story so I sat down and let her go on and on about a fish and a princess and a frog. It was all rather confusing but I nodded and smiled the whole time.

Image Hosted by

By the time she'd finished, the rest of my brothers had arrived, crowding into the house that had once been able to hold us all with relative ease. Tony and Hank were talking with Garrett behind me and I heard "deployment" come up more than once. I was about to question them when Little T's early wails cackled across the baby monitor. "Oh, I'll get him," Tony started to say but I stood up, stopping him.

"No, let me," I said with a smile. "Maybe Lauren can be my big girl helper and help me change his diaper?"

Image Hosted by

"Ewwww!" Lauren crinkled her nose at the thought and everyone burst out laughing as I ascended the stairs to retrieve my son.

End Chapter

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chapter 5, Part 6 - Boris

Chapter 5, Part 6 - Boris

After meeting with Ruby, I returned to Riverview, feeling better, but at the same time, even less certain that Molly and Tony were handling their relationships properly. I know I should trust in their judgment, but I just can’t help feeling the way I do! I need to butt out of their affairs, though, and deal with my own. Turn a blind eye, as it were! In all reality, my life is probably a bigger mess than either of theirs.

“Snap out of it! Get a hold of yourself!” I murmured to myself. It never ceases to amaze me how one can obsess over something that is really quite trivial.

I push them from my mind by turning to the internet. I found some free time to look into Caleb and his father online. Stalker much? And, boy, did I feel like a stalker! I’ve done this kind of digging online many times in the past. Why did this time feel so different from those times? Perhaps it’s because I’d only met Caleb a couple of times and he seemed genuine. Yet, his physical appearance was too similar to my own; he was from Riverview; his father is a geneticist at the Riverview labs; Axel and I were conceived at the Riverview labs. I had to know more about him!

So why not just ask him [I’ll bet you’re wondering]! Well, I’d only met him those couple of times and it would be extremely awkward to strike up a conversation about it – in my mind, anyway!

My initial searches didn’t much of anything; nothing noteworthy, anyway. A couple articles showering him with platitudes and accolades for his research, and even more proclaiming him a disgrace to the genetics field - pretty standard crap in research, I’ve found. I’ll have to dig a little deeper next time.

I called Beau and asked what he knew, if anything. Other than telling me he was a recluse (which I already knew), he knew even less than the internet. He didn’t ask why I was making these inquiries; he never asked.

Between work and family issues, I was finding less and less time to spend on the internet. When I found some time, I tried hacking into several classified research sites, and finally found…something. This was too much! I sat there and stared at my monitor for what seemed like hours; my eyes affixed to the document on the screen.

“What the hell do I do now? I have to tell someone; but who?” I said aloud.

Before I realized it, I was pressing the send button on my phone! “Please be home!” I pleaded with the rings, as they echoed in my ear.

Then finally, “I’m not here! Leave a message! I might get back to you!” was all I was going to get for my trouble.

At the tone, I left my message, “I need to talk to you. Meet me for lunch tomorrow at Callaghan’s; my treat! Let me know if you can’t make it.” As I hung up, I was already dreading having made the call.

Not having received a phone call to the contrary, I drove to Callaghan’s. A quick look revealed that he was not here, yet. I found an empty booth and seated myself opposite the door so I could see him come in.

After a couple ales, the owner, Jeff Callaghan stopped by the table, “You don’t usually drink by yourself; been stood up?”

“It’s looking that way,” I agreed. “I suppose I better get going. Thanks for the drinks.”

I was about to leave when he came through the door. He made is way over to the table and took a seat.

“You look like hell!” I observed.

“You like my new look, do you? Anyway, what’d you want?” he snapped!

“Maybe we should just forget this lunch and go our separate ways. Your demeanor would suggest you would rather be alone.”

“Sorry, Boris! Got a lot on my plate right now, ya know?”

“I’m sorry, Ax! I forgot Ruby left with the kids!” I said, remembering Ruby was approached at the club she played at by some guy, Harken or Harking, I think it was, that wanted to help her get a deal. I haven’t heard from her in over a month. “I’m always here for you! Don’t hesitate to call! Truth be told, my family life isn’t so great, either. We need each other’s strength!”

“I just can’t believe she took off with the kids and only left me a message. Did she think I was going to try to talk her out of going…wherever? She didn’t even say where she was going!”

“I can only imagine how you must feel, Axel. But you know as well I do that Ruby would not intentionally keep the kids from you. She wants them to spend time with their father. You have every right to be angry at her, but she will contact you as soon as she can. You have to believe that.”

“I know, I know! I’m just pissed that she just up and left like that! It hurts! It hurts a lot!”

“Here, drink this,” I placated, sliding a drink across the table to him. “It may not help, but it surely can’t hurt.”

“Thanks; you always knew how to smooth my feathers, Karloff!” he grinned, “Now, what did you want to see me about?”

“Oh, it’s nothing really.” Now, my problems seemed miniscule in comparison to his. I think I would be devastated if Jing left me with the kids – even if I knew where they went.

“Don’t start! You wouldn’t have been so insistent if it weren’t important to you. Let’s have it!” he nearly barked over a sip of his ale.

I pulled the printed sheet from my pocket and unfolded it and pushed it across the table at him. He pulled it towards him and read at the same time.

“Yeah, so what’s the big deal? We already knew where we came from!”

Evidently Axel didn’t think this was as big a find as I did. “Yeah, but it says THREE latest successes…” I trailed off.

“Hmm…I didn’t catch that. It looks like the bottom of the page is smudged, as if something were erased.”


“…and do you propose we do…something?” he asked, one eye cocked up, waiting for “the plan.” I couldn’t help but chuckle.

“You criminal types are all alike! Every time someone presents “something” to you, you need a plan. Well, I’ll tell you the plan. We’re not going to do anything. How’s that for a plan?”

“We gotta have a plan! You really are no fun, you know that?” he smirked.

“Well, I just had to show someone, that’s all.”

“Okay, you did! So we’re the result of a genetic experiment! So what?”

“You really are simple…” I joked, reaching across and shoving his arm. “Finish your drink!”

I folded the paper and placed it back in my pocket. We spent another half hour trying to agree on something we should do together. His outings always included drinking alcohol; not that I can blame him. After we came to an agreement, we finished our drinks and went our separate ways.


I was taken by surprise when I received a call from Caleb a few days later. He was in Riverview and wanted to meet for lunch. I readily accepted and we decided on the time and location. He graciously extended his invitation to Jing, who said she would love to go to lunch.

We arrived at the café early, wanting to be sure to get a table. The National Equestrian Rodeo and Fair (NERF) came to Riverview this year and the town was busier than usual. I still can’t get over how similar we look; Caleb and I. Perhaps there’s something to the old adage that everyone has a twin…somewhere in the world.

Luckily, the lunch crowd hadn’t started to hit the café and Jing and I were able to grab a good table close to the doors.

We hadn’t been there too long when I received a call from Caleb, “I’m sorry Boris, but it seems we’re running a little late. Dad got tied up at the lab and hasn’t been able to get away yet. I will be leaving here in a half hour at the latest, with or without him, if that would be alright.”

I picked up the hint of a French accent in his voice. It was faint, but there nonetheless. I hadn’t noticed it when I first met him in France; probably because it was faint and others around had thicker accents.

After checking with Jing, I reassured him it would be alright. “We’ll just make it an early dinner then.”

“Thanks for being so understanding, Boris; my apologies to Jing.”

Less than an hour later, they arrived. None too soon, as the conversation between Jing and myself was lacking. We talked mostly about the kids, with her worrying more about Lian than the boys.

I rose to greet them and introductions were made all around. Meeting the doctor; Caleb’s father; face to face, made me more curious about him. I don’t know why, really. He seemed normal enough; despite looking like he might be the good Dr. Frankenstein we’ve all read about.

We spent some time chatting about this and that. Jing really hit it off with Caleb and his father. We got so caught up in conversation that time seemed to slip away and dusk was upon us. We ordered our meals and kept a lively conversation going while we dined.

After the meal Jing and I made our exit, thanking them for an enjoyable afternoon. We all agreed we’d have to get together again. Jing extended an invitation to them both to visit.

Like was pretty normal [read, boring] for the next month or so, my job occupying much of my time. My birthday came and went with no fanfare. It’s all the same to me, really, as Ruby and Stormy were not around to enjoy it with. Jing prepared a meal and invited my dads over for the feast.

After dinner, we got the kids ready for bed, then snuck away to the hot tub in the backyard. The night air was chilly, but the hot water and steam rising for the surface cast the nip away.


Soon afterwards, I was off to Egypt with the team to work on a case. The case has been open for several years now; the trail is getting cold; the evidence getting old; with little more to go on that had not already been investigated. We were to give it one last look before the case was filed as a cold case.

Our second day in Egypt and we haven’t received the information we were to have had yesterday. If we don’t get the files soon, this will be a long assignment.

It was getting late in the day and I was getting hungry. I made my way to the kitchen and began to prepare dinner. I had just gotten the Shawarma in the oven when they strolled into the kitchen; Jon leading the way. The rest of the team had been out in the desert all day searching for some clue to missing contact. John placed a dossier on the counter, so I assume they were successful in locating the agent.

He laid them on the counter and opened a file. I was unable to procure lamb, so I had to settle for chicken for the sandwiches. It turns out this was a good thing, as it took less time to prepare.

He began to explain the contents as I continued to prepare the food. Everyone was pretty hungry and therefore, not very attentive. I hurried the food along as much as I could.

After hearing a stomach or two begging for food, I pulled the meal from the oven and served it up.

The files were brought to the table and we studied them as we ate. Not a word was spoken while we each perused the information in turn.

After the dishes were cleaned up, Jon led me up to my room. I had been given the largest of the bedrooms in the safe house. I protested, but was told I would take this room without question. Seemed damn odd to me at the time, but nonetheless did what I was told.

He laid the dossier on the edge of the desk, walked across the room and closed the drapes, then walked back toward a section of the wall in the corner of the room near the desk.

After pressing some hidden switches, some obviously strenuous shoving accompanied with some colorful language the wall finally gave way to unveil a hidden alcove containing shelves filled with documents, boxes, old scrolls and other objects.

“Boris, these documents have been gone through again and again, by several agents before you. Nothing substantial was gain from their contents. Now, it’s your turn to see if you can give us something; anything; that will aid us in solving this case. You’ll have a secure connection to the agency database from here.”

“I’ll see what I can do. I’ll get started right away.” This is not what I imagined when they said I’d be working in the field. Oh, well, maybe some other time.

“Make sure you keep those drapes pulled while you’ve got this door open.”


“I’ll leave you to it, then. Make sure you get some rest,” he said as he paused at the door; it was closed and he was gone before I could say anything.

Having something to do, I walked into the alcove and retrieved the first document, got settled in the chair and started reading. Occasionally, I would cross reference the document with the database, to ensure what I thought might be important, was entered.

Having a love for reading, it didn’t take long for me to finish reading all of the documents. I compiled my findings, matching them against the database one last time, before I wrote my report. I came across some passage that struck me odd; out of place; with the rest of the document; that I made note of. They might turn out to be nothing, but I felt they needed to be scrutinized.

While running my work through the database, I happened upon the name Schlossberg…one Dr. Friedrich Schlossberg. My curiosity piqued, I raised an eyebrow and opened the file. Most of what was in there I had already found in my searches. However, there was a copy of the document I had showed to Axel, only this one contained all three names.

So, Caleb is my half brother. I wonder what Achilles would say if he knew he had another son; better still, what would Damon’s reaction be? Against my better judgment, I quickly saved a copy of the document to my computer in a secure folder. I’m sure this is against some Agency policy, but I had to have the document to show to Dad.

Was it worth all this trouble to upset the apple cart, though? Would it be better to leave things as they are now? How could I? I knew, and couldn’t trust myself to keep it secret. I’ll decide what to do with this once I get settled at home.

I shook off those thoughts, completed the report and went over it with the team. All of us were new to this investigation. All we knew of it was what was in the files back at the Department. Confident that everything was covered, I was free to head out; my part was done. I had just enough time to make it to our meeting.

I sent a quick email off to Molly, Ruby and Tony, letting them know I should be there on time. No sooner had I sent it, when I remembered Ruby wouldn’t be with us this time around. I gathered up all of my bags and was ready to head to the airport.

Darrell drove me to the airport and helped me get checked in. He kept me company for a few minutes at the gate.

Reluctantly he had to get back to the compound, so we said our good-byes. I purchased a large coffee and found a table where I pulled out my laptop so I could email home and make them aware of my travel plans.

That done, I read over the rest of my mail, then surfed the web for a bit; resisting the urge to open that document again. I found my way back to the gate and found a quiet spot where I could pass the time until boarding.

End chapter 5, Part 6 – Boris

Custom Content by Sandy (ATS3), Demonic (D&M Creations), Luna (Luna Sims Lulamai) and others.