Hoves – 7.2 : Retirement

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(Previous post: Teenage Love)

Taking that first cold sip of alcohol after a hard and boring day at home was the best damned feeling an elder man could have. Or at least that was how Junior Hoves felt. And so he closed his eyes and let the cold Starry Sea settle inside his stomach. He didn’t care the drink was purplish, he didn’t care what was in it. He knew it was alcoholic and it would give him a buzz and that is what mattered.

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He was one of the very few customers in the Vampire Bar in town. The place was empty, and silent save for the sound of classical music coming from a piano in the corner, or as his step mother used to say, the place was as hot as Connor Frio with a bad case of hypothermia.

Junior didn’t mind. It wasn’t like he had come there to socialize. He came to drink. They ad a promotion of this new beverage called Starry Sea and he took the opportunity to try it, if not he would probably have a beer, in any case he would be drinking.

He hung around a bit, watching and listening to the pianist in the corner and dawning one drink after another. What else was there to do? After a lifetime of working as the prime forensic specialist in the region he was finally forced to step down and retire. He knew he should be glad, he had left his mark in the field, and gotten many bad guys from Sunset Valley to Twinbrook incarcerated. He had a beautiful wife he still loved very much and four children growing up faster than he would think possible. And he was still healthy and fit. He ran the Sunset Valley marathon every year.

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And yet without his job he felt empty. He would get up every morning, have coffee on the balcony and then his wife would come up bringing him a plate of fresh pancakes or some other breakfast food. He would eat and go for a run. On afternoons he would go for a swim in his own pool and then watch TV with his children. On weekends he would entertain parents who brought their children for a play date with one of his younger children.

Some days he would practice playing the drums. He planned to start a band, he had even began recruiting Visenya Targeryen, Riam Gradle’s widow to play with him. Their children were friends and she would often come over to his house, and they had space in the garage for at least two to practice.

It wasn’t as if he had nothing to do but yet it was all devoid of any real meaning, or so he felt.

Hannah, his lovely wife he still loved so much always told him he just had to take some time to get used to having all this free time. And although Junior respected her input he knew that in this the wonderful mother of his children had been completely wrong. It wasn’t as if he was a workaholic who suddenly found himself away from his favorite drug and was going trough withdrawal.

What Junior found most likely is that what made his retirement the hardest was the sense of leaving things unfinished, he had solved many cases, he had put many bad guys in prison but he never did catch the person responsible for the murder of his uncle Jesse. He never proved that there was an active criminal organization operating right from his small town. And he never put an end to it. And now he never will. Now he was just an old man who drank alone at empty bars.

And Junior could not accept this. That is why he engaged in something that was unlike him, and what he stood for, he bend a rules a bit by working together with a young patrol officer that had joined the force shortly before Junior was asked to step down. Mikh’ail ran some of Junior clues and reported to him once every two weeks, on his free time, mostly when he was supposed to be taking his little brother for a walk.

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It was the one thing that had kept Junior from slipping too deep into the glass. This hope that justice would be served and his little town would be freed from crime. If not by him directly than by the younger cops in the department.

But no matter how much we want some things they don’t come true. Junior Hoves wouldn’t be the one to stop crime in Sunset Valley, not himself, not by proxy, at least not until at least one more murder occurs. And sadly that murder won’t be the only crime committed in the small town of Sunset Valley but once again Junior Hoves had no idea, sometimes it is hardest for one to see what was happening directly under his nose. No matter how good a cop, how renowned a specialist Junior Hoves was he had no idea his own daughter, his eldest, named after him and his father before him was selling pills to high school kids.

Bad people lived everywhere. Bad things happened everywhere. And one man alone could never have stopped them. So maybe Junior Hoves should have enjoyed his retirement because in the very near future he would be called to work again weather he wanted it or not…

/* This is a bit shorter chapter which sorts of sets up some things that will happen in some other stories, mostly in Caliente (Dina) story line this round. The death of Jesse Hoves, Junior’s uncle was one of the main stories in last round chapters, mostly in Raid and Recovery and Blood on Bradley’s hands. Thank you all for reading!  

And aslo today is my second anniversary here at wordpress! */

Hoves – 7.1: Teenage love

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Kerry Hoves was in love. Well maybe that had been an understatement. He was trapped by a powerful force that sucked him and held him hostage. A force so gripping it could be called by no other name than pure, teenage infatuation. The force had sucked his mind of all coherent thoughts living just the thoughts of her, her lovely smile, her dark hair, her lovely round face.

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It made him content to do nothing at all but lay on his bed, with a smile on his face and think of her. Because what could be nicer.

He had no idea how long it had lasted, that maddening love of his, it could have started the day they met, the chubby red haired boy with big round glasses and the new, shy girl. He knew when he had realized it. It was the weekend they went camping, the two of them and Bran, his best friend.  They had stared at the moon together and she told him one of her adoptive mothers was dying. There were tears in her eyes and he knew, from the bottom of his heart he knew, that he was ready to do anything, truly anything to stop her from being hurt, to make her smile, just a little. He knew he loved her.

A week later he broke up with his girlfriend Tami. It was as bad as he imagined it would be, a lot of shouting and screaming and a cold look in the girl’s eyes. A cold look that made him wonder what she might do to Persephone if she found out the real reason Kerry was breaking up with her… But he put it behind him, he knew he would do whatever he could to protect his Persephone, from anything, even his psychotic ex-girlfriend.

When the new school year started he even stopped his long running flirtation with Marcia Milton and focused all his thoughts on expressing his ever growing love to Persephone Santoro. The later proved harder than he had expected it to be. For one he, Kerry Hoves, found himself suddenly afraid and self-conscious around a girl he knew, and was friend since they were kids. He was sure he would somehow screw everything up and lose her forever. And he couldn’t allow that. Not ever.

She of course knew something was wrong. Perse was not a stupid girl.  “Why are you calling me Persephone all the sudden?” She asked him one afternoon when they headed home from school. Kerry shrugged.

“That is your name.” She smiled.

“I know. But you always called me Santoro, Hoves.” She said accenting his last name.

“I don’t know. It just seems nicer to call you by your name.”

“As you wish.” She said. “Maybe I’ll try calling you Kerry.” She smiled at this. It was a beautiful sight, but very rare in those days. That was the other reason Kerry found it so hard to confess his love. It turned out that Elaine Buford Santoro, Persephone’s adoptive mother was indeed very sick and dying. And that fell very hard on Perse, as hard as one might expect but Kerry was determined to make it easier to her, as easy as he could so he tried to cheer her up as much as possible.

As winter steadily approached Persephone skipped school more often, to be with her mum Kerry guessed. And so every day he didn’t see her there he would anxiously wait for the last bell of the day to ring and head to her house. By that time Elaine was pretty much bedridden already and when he turned up Perse’s other mother Phaena would go out to walk their dog leaving them alone at home.

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He wouldn’t stay long, just long enough to share what Perse might have missed at school, give her his notes to copy and try to make her laugh, at least once, it would make his heart jump and he knew she needed it as well, whenever he saw her those days she had a look of someone who had just stopped crying. It was heartbreaking really. But he could nothing more.

As the Winder Dance approached no one in school seemed to be able to talk about anything else, even Kerry’s big sister Freddie who hated those things seemed excited about it now that she had a boyfriend. And so one evening after they had helped Perse’s younger sister Phania with her homework Kerry gathering all his courage, asked the big question:

“Would you come to the dance with me?” Persephone lifted her head and focused her eyes on his.

“The dance? I don’t think I’ll go.” Kerry felt like he had been punched in the guts with an iron fist.

“Why not?” He asked in a whiny voice that reminded him of his little sister Haley when she wanted something badly. Persephone didn’t even smile.

“I am just not in the mood for all that… Thank you Kerry. For everything you are doing for me.  You are a better friend than I deserve.” She sighed deeply. “You truly are. I wish I will get a chance to repay you…” She made a slight pause. “But I can’t go to the dance, I am sorry, I appreciate the gesture though.” Kerry couldn’t say a thing. His gut felt like it was full of lead now and his mouth was dry, unable to produce a single sound. “There is still time though.” Persephone said forcing a small smile. “You could still find a date. Marcia would never say no to you.” Kerry knew he would never go with another girl. He would rather be actually punched in the gut but he couldn’t find the strength to say it. All he could say was:

“I  wish you would go with me.” Before Persephone could reply however another voice spoke from the door.

“You should go.” Persephone’s mother Elaine looked like a ghost. She was thin, and pale, her long hair white instead of her normal light blond. But she was still on her feet, her eyes fixed on her daughter.

“Mum! You should be in bed.” Persephone said getting up from the couch she and Kerry had been sitting on to go to the older women.

“I woke up and overheard you two. I had to get up to tell you this. You should go Persephone. I am dying. I will be dying on Friday when you go to the dance. And I will still be dying when you come back home. But you love, you are alive, and should go, and live, have fun, for a little while at least. For me.” Tears spilled down her pallid cheeks and tears spilled from Perse’s eyes as well. Even Kerry himself felt like crying but when half an hour later Persephone followed him out she said:

“I’ll go.” And the whole world lightened up at once.

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When the day of the dance finally came and Kerry found himself  waiting outside the Santoro family home he couldn’t help being nervous. Usually he knew his way around girls but this… This was important, maybe the most important night of his life, everything hinged on this. He could not blow it.

It didn’t help that Persephone looked exquisitely beautiful when she came out to see him. She wore a long dark dress and had her silken hair down. She smiled nervously when she saw him but her eyes were once again filled with tears. Kerry suddenly wanted nothing more than to pull her in a tight embrace and hold her whispering that all would be okay. He didn’t do. He smiled instead, telling her how beautiful she looked. He didn’t own a car, so they walked together to the school. They talked all the way and he did his best to make Persephone forget about everything else in her life.

That had been the last dance her mother Elaine saw he go to and that time in the Santoro’s living room was the last time Kerry saw the older woman. She died a few weeks later, in her bed with her wife Phaena holding her hand. But that night neither of them thought of that. They danced, and Persephone actually laughed. Kerry brought her drinks and told her jokes. And when the dance was over neither of them was really ready to go home.

They sat on the cold grass in the park and watched the stars together. The evening was not so cold, and the sky unusually bright. But Kerry didn’t care about any of that. All he cared was the lovely woman next to him. He wished he was brave enough to tell her how he felt. How much he loved her, now and any other day. But he wasn’t. And so they were both silent, both trapped in their own thoughts. And then Kerry felt a warm touch on one of his outstretched hands and he looked down and saw Persphone had taken his hand in hers. He turned to her and she just smiled and he smiled back. His hear was beating like crazy but he was happy.

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And that is how it had begun. With a single touch of hands. The greatest romance of all times. Or so Kerry saw it. And he saw little else.

He didn’t see how much more his father was drinking now that he was retired. He didn’t see his mother’s efforts to get fit. He didn’t see his older sister Freddie hide a box of cash underneath their bunk bed, right next to her box of stolen trinkets Kerry also didn’t see. He didn’t see how tall his brother Ty was getting as he neared his teenage years. He barely saw his sister Haley when she spoke to him.

He didn’t miss out in school, he still got on honor roll but that was simply because he never needed to put much effort into school anyway, some of his IQ test scores labeled him a genius, he never saw himself that way but Persephone loved to remind of him that pretty often, even back when they were just friends and he called her Santoro and he called him Hoves.

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Everything else was irrelevant. All he ever saw was Perse. And he loved her so. And she loved him back. And everything in the world was alright.

/* We have moved on to the Hoves! Their story will be a little shorter than the Prentiss was. I have less story for them but I hope you’ll enjoy it. I have also made their family tree, you can see it here.  Thanks for reading!*/

Prentiss 7.5: The Grieving Husband

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(Previous post: The Lost Twin II )

In the days, weeks and months following the death of Tomas’ wife Rita, daughter Lena and eldest sister Alyssa a lot of people came to talk to him, family, friends, neighbors, even strangers. Tomas listened to their words but nothing came to him. He was the kind of person that needed to grieve on his own. Not many people understood that. Rita did. But Rita was gone. No one understood that either. Not fully at least. How could they? They didn’t love her as much as he did. No one in the world did.

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Maybe that was why he found it easiest to talk to Phoibe. Phoibe Santoro had been one of Rita’s best friends. They had been friends  ever since they were little girls. Of all the people outside their family she was probably the one who knew Rita best and maybe, just maybe she could understand what a cold and empty place this world was without her.

Phoibe worked at the science lab with Thomas so they often sat together on their brakes. Sometimes they talked about Rita. Often that would end up with Phoibe in tears and Tomas found it hard to bear. They never talked about Lena. He never talked about Lena. That pain was Tomas’ and his alone.

And some days they just talked about life, well work mostly. For Tomas that was what was left in life and he didn’t know what else to talk about Phoibe anyway. He knew she liked classical music and that she played in a band. She never married or had any kids. Rita always said she had bad luck with men. Tomas didn’t understand it. She was a good looking and a smart woman. Still he steered away form those kind of conversations with her. Talk about work and the scientific world were enough.

And then one day he asked for a favor.

“You want Irene out of your lab?” Phoibe asked surprised. Tomas nodded, “Why? Is her work somehow inadequate? You always gave her good reviews…” Thomas sighed. He wasn’t a good liar, he knew that but he couldn’t tell Phoibe the truth. He couldn’t tell her how he believed his young and beautiful assistant was coming on to him and most importantly he couldn’t tell her he was starting to enjoy it.

“It’s just… She reminds me of Rita.” He blurted out. It was evil, pure evil doing what he was doing, playing that card but it needed to be done. Phoibe’s face became grave and she nodded.

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“I get it. They were sisters after all…  Rita might have never said it that way but it was true…” There were tears in her lovely blue eyes and it made Tomas felt horrible. Still he knew it was the only way and the right thing to do… “Sorry. ” She said noticing his troubled stare. “I just get like this every time I think of her… She was one of a kind your wife… I miss her dearly… But then again I shouldn’t go one like this, not to you of all people.” She sighed. “Fine. I can get Irene away. It shouldn’t be that hard to reassign her…” Then she smiled slightly. “I’ll transfer her to my mother’s project! She had been asking for people for weeks.”

Tomas smiled. “Yes she spoke to me too.” When Phoibe looked at him quizzically he answered. “I said no, of course.” Phoibe looked relived. Her mother, the once famous talent scout, lyricist and manager of many stars, including Riam Gradle, the famous rock star from their small town, had recently joined the army. Why no one knew, not even Phoibe who wasn’t that close to her anyway. But she became a kind of a PR there.

And now, as they often do the army bullied their way to their lab to conduct some secret experiments or whatever and they were mercilessly trying to recruit scientist to their cause. Neither Tomas or Phoibe liked it very much and bitching about it gave Tomas the perfect excuse to steer of the current topic.

Yet the thought of that conversation didn’t leave his mind for a long time. Irene was gone from his lab and he was currently working alone, which was when he did his best work yet he felt guilty. In his mind he had used Phoibe, lying to her like that, invoking the memory of Rita in the process as well.

So on one of his days off, while the girls were at school and Tracy was at his sister’s he invited Phoibe to come over. He wanted to thank her, not only for the recent favor but for everything she had done from him from the terrible day of the meteor hit till today. He meant to surprise her with flowers and a lovely bracelet Della helped him pick.

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“Seems I’m a natural at picking flowers.” He said nervously as he handed Phoibe the bouquet first. “They seem to match your sweater.” Phoibe smiled a nervous smile herself.

“They are beautiful Tomas!” She said as she looked up at him with those lovely blue eyes. Her natural, interesting green hair was down today and she chose to wear contacts instead of the big glasses she usually wore inside the lab. The lab coat she replaced with a goofy green-blue dress and a short purple sweater. She was very pretty Tomas thought again still wondering how on Earth was she still single.

“It is a small something…. To thank you… For everything.” He managed to answer. “It all means so much to me, what you did…” It was hard to find the words so he quickly brought out the little box with his bracelet hoping it would speak for him.

“Oh my! Tomas… You shouldn’t have!” Phoibe gasped as she saw the pretty wrapped box. “You know I didn’t expect this… I didn’t ask for this… I would have done it all again, and again… I would have done anything to help you. For your sake, and your children’s… And… And Rita’s…” She said at last, tears pooling all around her eyes as they did every time she spoke her name.

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An ice cream truck drove past. Tomas heard its chimes but the world had disappeared for him. Nothing remained but those sad blue eyes and the tears in them. One of them escaped and Tomas watched as it rolled down Phoibe’s smooth cheek. He was ready to do anything to make them go away. And so he did, the first thing that came to his mind. He leaned forward and pressed her lips against hers.

It wasn’t a kiss fueled with passion, or romance, or love… Or any of the other usual reasons one has for such an act. The closest, most accurate description was that it had been a desperate act of a grieving man. And at first Phoibe didn’t reciprocate. And as they parted and Tomas opened his eyes to look at her he felt panic raising in his chest.

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Here he was, trying to do something nice, to make amends, to say thank you and he managed to screw even that up. He kissed her. His coworker. His only friend in this dark times. He kissed a woman who wasn’t his wife, in front of his house, in broad daylight…

He was about to say sorry, to beg on his knees for forgiveness, to explain, in any way he could how stupid it was, how he wasn’t in control of his emotions, of his life, of anything…  And hope she would understand. But then she moved closer, putting her long fingered hands on his hips before leaning in close, so close her whole body touched his and then her lips found him and this time it was different… It was maddening and wild and it made Tomas’ guilt disappear. It made all thoughts desert him and moments, or was it an eternity later as he led her upstairs and on to his hover bed it all made sense. They were two people, lost and sad, and alone and hurt and in need… In need of comfort, in need of love, in need of each other… And that was all that mattered.