Breathe a lie
He had felt something that time! Oh, good, it’s not just me losing my mind. Allison clung to him like he was her air. She felt so strange, like the familiar wood floor beneath her feet had dropped away, leaving nothing but clouds. If she let go of him, she may fall away. But then, that was completely stupid. She was being silly. Her fingers sprang away from him as a blush crept high upon her cheeks and she stepped back. Back, back, back. Oh, hell. She was falling. Not through a dark abyss like she’d half worried, but back onto her ass on the hard floor. It hadn’t gone anywhere, apparently.
Allison struggled to pull in a few deep breaths and she muttered an indignant, “Ow,” and grabbed the end of the counter to hoist herself up, waving off Locke’s proffered hand. He had recovered himself by now, his moment of discomfort going by without Allison even noticing. She was completely lost in the oddity of her own mind right then. “Guess I got up too fast.”
There was some reason she had called him, she knew. Her eyes suddenly went to the card lying innocuously on the counter a few feet from her hand and she drew her hand back. Edmond Pomeroy, the man who’d bought a muffin and scared the bejesus out of her. It still wasn’t anything resembling a plausible reason for calling him, so she grasped onto the only thing she had.
“I think I saw the cord that connects me to Mary,” she blurted. “I was trying to assure her I hadn’t slept with you and then boom, there it was.” She was lost in thought, not really noticing her word choice as she continued. “It was glowing this bright gold, and I wish I’d have tried something, But, I just ran back into the kitchen.” Allison gave an awkward shrug. “I guess it sort of…freaked me out, even though it shouldn’t have.”
Some part of her, one she hadn’t noticed until now, had been secretly hoping that it was something special, shared with only her and Locke. It was completely idiotic, and she chastised herself for it as she stood there, waiting for Locke to say something, anything.
When Allison mentioned that she had been trying to convince Mary that she and Locke had not slept together, Locke's head planted firmly into the palm of his hand. As small close knit towns tended to be, Stoneyvale was a rumor factory and Mary Epping was one of the busiest busy bodies in town. It was only a matter of time before word would be getting around that the new detective was shaking up with the quiet girl from the bakery. He could already imagine the things Mitchell Brathbaum would come up with come Monday morning. Most likely centering around how Locke had a fetish for scared hysterical women.
"Oh god," he muttered into the palm of his hand. When he took his face out of his hand he noticed Allison just standing there looking at him and he realized he hadn't caught the important part of her statement. He cleared his throat a little, "right. Mary. The cord." He ran a hand through his hair, "well, I can't say as that I'm really all that surprised. I'm starting to think those cords are how you're able to see into other people's minds. Its only natural that you'd be able to see them." As he spoke he started unbuttoning his coat. "I think," he went on as he slid his arms out of the coat's sleeves, "that up until last night your ability had scared you so much that you hadn't let yourself see the cords, or maybe you couldn't see the cords." He shrugged his shoulders as he placed his coat on the counter by the register. He then turned and leaned against it with his arms over his chest. He looked up at her and gave her a shrug, "maybe all it took was confiding in someone else to get you to...I don't know...the next step in understanding your ability." He stopped himself before he started to ramble. He laughed a little sheepishly and rubbed the back of his neck again. "I really don't know," he admitted. "God, this sounds like something my grandfather used to tell me about..." He folded his arms again and gave her a playful sort of look. "gotta admit, though," he said, "I'm kind of curious to know what an old biddy like Mary thinks about."
As predicted a snow had started to fall that evening. It was a light dusting and even though the snow would stick to the ground until morning, it wasn't thick enough to last for more than a few hours after the sun came up. For now, though, the countryside that lay just beyond Stoneyvale's town center looked as though it were a real-life rendition of a Robert Frost poem: Peaceful and serene but also dark and a little lonely.
There was smoke coming from the chimneys of the Pomeroy Estate, known as Laurel Gate. It sat on 70 acres of land, mostly wooded. The house itself had started as a modest home in the 1600's. The original structure had been destroyed by fire during the Revolutionary War and rebuild after the war's end. It was a large house, a mansion, with three floors and two wings. During its heyday, the Pomeroy family had lived in the house full time and the house had a full staff of servants. On nights like this, dark, blustery and snowy, it was a beacon of light and warmth.
These days, though, the Pomeroy Family was not what it had been only a half century ago. There had been hardships, poor business decisions and in-fighting that had not only dwindled the families financial resources, but its numbers as well.
Make no mistake, though, Hammond Pomeroy was still the wealthiest man in Stratham County. Under his ruthless and cunning leadership, the family had started making a comeback. While he still kept on the family's old manufacturing business, Hammond had dove head first into the world of information technology. He had learned from the mistakes of his predecessors, his own father, uncle and grandfather. Those who did not adapt to the changes in the world were doomed. While his decisions had saved the family from financial ruin, it had not saved its numbers. The once great and powerful family of the Victorian Era was dying out. The only people who resided in Laurel Gate today was Hammond and his two children. It was so severe that when Hammond's sister, Charlotte, had abandoned the family Hammond had seen it as nothing short than an act of betrayal.
Hammond couldn't believe the stroke of fortune that had brought Rebecca Shaw to his door. Rebecca had come in hopes of mending the broken family. Hammond had no intention of ever having anything to do with his sister. He had once been nothing short of rageful towards her, but the years had dulled his rage and turned it into mere indifference. However, Hammond was interested in the fact that Charlotte had a daughter, and not only that, but the daughter had not grown up with Charlotte. It suddenly had become important to Hammond that this long lost member of his family be found and taken into the fold.
If this child was anything like Charlotte, then she had amazing abilities that Hammond needed to achieve his goals. It was one thing to be a successful business man, but if Hammond wanted to reclaim the true glory of the Pomeroys, he needed all the power he could get.
Not, it wasn't luck. Hammond was convinced it was destiny. This was only proven to him by the fact that it appeared as though Charlotte's lost daughter was in fact living in Stoneyvale.
Edmond had reported that the girl named Allison Brimely did in fact have the aura of someone who had abilities not unlike himself and others of the Pomeroy line. Hammond held great hope that this girl would in fact prove to be a Pomeroy herself. He tasked Edmond with finding out as much about her as he could and if she did prove to be one of theirs, to draw her to them. Even if she wasn't actually a Pomeroy, Hammond was convinced he could not let such power go to waste. Edmond would prove to be useful in that case as well.
Hammond stood by the window to his study and looked out at the snowy night. He had a cigar in one hand and a glass of brandy in the other, his customary after-dinner tradition. His thoughts were wondering back to the stories he knew of when his family ruled this land like lords. His thoughts were only interrupted by a knock on the door. "Come in," he called without looking over his shoulder.
The door opened and light from the hall cast a shaft over the lush carpet, but could not overpower the dim room, lit only by the fire in the fireplace. It was, however, enough light for Hammond to see the reflection of his daughter and oldest child, in the window's glass.
"You wanted to see me, Father?"
"Patrice," Hammond smiled before turning his attention towards her.
Patrice entered the study, being sure to close the door behind her. She walked across the floor to stand by the fire. She stood there, still dressed in the black dress and shoes she had worn to dinner. Her hands by her sides, her eyes on her father, waiting for him to speak.
Hammond moved away from the window towards one of the plush leather chairs that sat before the fire and sat. He puffed on his cigar once and took a sip of his bandy before addressing Patrice. "Your brother tells me that the girl is promising."
"He said the same thing to me after his contact with her," Patrice confirmed.
"This is very good for us," Hammond nodded, turning his attention towards the fire. He said nothing more for several more minutes and Patrice continued to stand there silently waiting to hear what it was her father wanted her for. "We cannot allow this opportunity to be ruined," Hammond said finally. He turned smoldering eyes towards her. "Tell me of the detective investigating the murder of Rebecca Shaw. Have you Charmed him, yet?"
Patrice took in a breath through her nose before responding. "No, Father."
Hammond raised a disapproving brow at her as he brought the cigar to his lips. "Why not?" He asked before taking a puff.
Patrice squared her shoulders, preparing herself before telling her father of her failure. "I tried, but wasn't able to," she told him. "At the diner the other night, I spoke with him. While I was able to entrance him, I wasn't able to go any further than that." She could have said that Anna Reys had interrupted her, but Hammond would catch her in that lie instantly. "I have never encountered a soul or a will like his before. It was as though it was made of electricity. I couldn't touch it."
To Patrice's surprise, Hammond did not berate her. Instead he merely raised the other brow in interest. "Is that so? Tell me, Patrice, what is this detective's name?"
"DeCine," Hammond repeated in a low voice. He looked towards the fire once again, blowing out a puff of cigar smoke. "I see." Slowly he took a drink from his glass. He lowered the glass from his lips and smiled a cool smile towards his daughter, "you won't be able to charm him, Patrice."
"There are certain people who are unbondable, Patrice," Hammond told her. He set his glass down on the little table by his chair and got to his feet. "No matter how hard you try. Only someone with immense skill would be able to manipulate someone like that. Sadly, not even your mother would be able to place that man under her control."
"Then what do we do?" Patrice asked. She watched him as he crossed the study, but did not move from her place by the fire. "He will only continue his investigation until he finds whoever killed that girl."
"Then he will just have to find that person."
Patrice was aghast. "Father!"
Hammond chuckled. "Don't be a stupid woman, Patrice. I'm not talking about myself." He picked up the brandy decanter and walked back over to his seat where he poured himself another glass. He then picked up the glass and turned to Patrice to give her her task. "You will find someone and have them confess to the murder themselves. Go to a city. Manchester, or perhaps Boston. Even Hartford, if you so choose. Find someone there who would be believed if they confessed to a murder of a young woman." He turned his eyes to the fire again, "with that confession the wheels of justice will turn their course and young Detective DeCine will be removed from the case." He raised his glass to his lips.
Patrice's eyes narrowed. She had suspected that there was something about Locke DeCine, and her father's reaction to the name confirmed it for her. She would have liked Hammond to tell her what was it about DeCine that made him immune to her power. However, she said nothing and simply nodded, "I understand."
"You will leave in the morning," Hammond instructed her next. "Find this scapegoat quickly."
"Yes, Father." Patrice nodded her head. "Good night." With that, she left the study to retire for the night.
Hammond sat once again in the chair by the fire and sipped his brandy. DeCine. How he despised that name. 25 years ago, Westley DeCine had nearly destroyed everything Hammond Pomeroy had worked towards. If he'd had been successful then Stoneyvale's first unsolved murder would have come to his conclusion much earlier. Fortunately, Hammond was able to silence Westley DeCine, but not before the death of Hammond's wife, Anita. Hammond had been forced to flee Stoneyvale to Hartford.
Hammond got up from the chair and returned to the window. It was still snowing light crystal like flakes. Just down Lancaster Road, on the other side of the wood was Stoneyvale's town center. A lot had changed in the past 25 years. Hammond knew that if his ancestors saw the town today, they would hardly recognize it as the same town they had lorded over in their prime.
It was destiny, Hammond was convinced. It was his destiny to rule over Stoneyvale, over the entirety of Stratham County. With the added power of Allison Brimely, Hammond knew there would be no stopping him. The Pomeroys would once again be a powerful, fearful family.
"DeCine," he seethed into the dark night, "have you sent your grandson after me?" His eyes narrowed, "I will not be stopped again. I swear it."
Breathe a lie
Allison nodded along as she listened, her pointed finger ending up between her teeth as she thought over what he was saying. “You flipped a switch in my brain,” she murmured, letting go of the disappointment she had felt before over discovering they did not share some kind of metaphysical link any different than the one she shared with everyone else. Though, his mind had spoken to her louder than anyone else’s. That had to be something, right?
She wasn’t sure why he assumed Mary’s thoughts would be anything extraordinary, but she indulged him. “She thinks about recipes a lot. And she’s always thinking of that old man who runs the general store up the road. Mr. Kinsley, I think? I’m pretty sure Mary is sweet on him – I always see her sitting with him in Elmira’s after she leaves, but she never thinks anything…naughty….about him.” She was rambling, she realized, and a blush was coloring her cheeks as she fumbled for something else to talk about.
“Your grandfather,” she almost burst. “You said he knew about this kind of this stuff? Was he…special, like me?” Her eyes bulged then, and she whispered, “Locke, are you special, too? Is that why I’m so drawn to you? You were so loud inside my head, when you came in here last night, like you were pushing your thoughts into my head…”
Meanwhile, somewhere in Oregon...
“Please, you have to help me. She…she’s my daughter.” Charlotte had been to the hospital, to two orphanages and then to three other foster homes beside this one. She had begun with only a name, the one she had herself embroidered into the blanket she had left the infant wrapped in. Allison. She had learned the rest of the name given to her daughter by the nurse who had found her: Allison Cari Brimley.
This was the last place she had been able to track her daughter to before she had turned eighteen. It was completely opposite the luxury Charlotte herself had grown up in, the couch a faded floral from the seventies, the walls darkened at the tops from years of smoke like what the woman before her blew almost into Charlotte’s face. “Please,” she begged again. “It is imperative that I find her. You said she moved out the day of her eighteenth birthday?”
The woman, blonde hair pillowing around her head like a frightening halo, gave Charlotte a frown. “She bought a car for herself. Saved up for a couple years, I would guess. She packed up her things and left. No, uh, offense to you,” the tone completely negated her words, “but that girl was weird as hell. I was glad when she hit adulthood and left.”
Charlotte tried her best to keep up her calm façade – she needed this woman’s help. “Do you have any idea where she went? Please, it is important. I must find her.” She could be in danger. At least, that was what Westley had told her. She didn’t feel as though he was lying to her – he had no reason to, that she could see – but after time ghosts tended to fade, and the man had been gone for quite a while, now. She truly hoped she would find Allison settled somewhere, happy. But she had to know. She would find her, make sure, and then disappear once more. The girl would never know.
The woman’s eyes narrowed and she stubbed out the rest of her cigarette into an overflowing ash tray. “Well, miss...Valcho, was it?” She was given a pointed look as the woman said, “last I heard she was going off in search of you.”
Last edited by Manic; 11-11-2012 at 05:37 PM.
Locke looked sheepish again and rubbed the back of his neck. "Sorry about that," he told her. "I'm not special. No special gifts or abilities or anything like that." He stopped. Was that true? For as far back as he could remember he'd had the occasional strange experience. Heard or saw strange things that some people may have classified as paranormal or supernatural. His mother and grandmother had always scolded him harshly whenever he told them of his experiences. But he wouldn't say that made him special by any means. Not the way Allison was.
The sheepish look had disappeared from his features as he thought about this. How his mother and grandmother scolded him for what they said was an abnormally active imagination. He had a very clear memory of his grandmother gripping him by the tip of the ear, her long nails digging into his skin, and telling him he was a fool just like his grandfather. He sighed a little bit before looking up and seeing Allison looking at him. He sucked in a hard breath. Had she seen that? He quickly put any thoughts of his grandmother out of his head and went on. "As for my grandfather...I, uh...I didn't really know him all that well. He died when I was really young. I remember him telling me stories, but mostly what I know about him come from his journals. I used to read them when I was a kid until my mother and grandmother locked them away."
Locke was suddenly feeling very awkward. He'd never classify himself as a particularly private man, but he didn't really enjoy talking about his family. He had grown up with a cold and distant mother, who only seemed to pay attention to him when it suited her mood, and a grandmother who was strict to the point of violence if her rules were broken. He decided to say nothing more on the subject and instead picked up his coat. "They may be with his stuff. I ended up with a lot of it when I moved to Stoneyvale. Maybe later we can take a look. Tonight, though I have to look over the case file on Rebecca Shaw and-" he'd started putting his coat on when a small business card fluttered from the counter onto the floor. "What's that?" Locke bent down to pick it up, turnning it over to read the name.
"Pomeroy?" He said and looked up at Allison, "do you know the Pomeroys?"
Breathe a lie
Allison begged to differ. She found Locke to be extremely special, unique ability or no. The thought brought a blush back to her cheeks and she forced her gaze anywhere but on his face as he stood there deep in thought. He did that a lot, lost himself in his own mind. She liked it when he did that, though she was unsure why.
She was assessing a display of French bread on a shelf along the far wall, thinking less on the bread and more on the man, when that dull cord appeared. She would not reach out to it, she told herself. Whatever was in Locke’s mind was his. She would not reach out to it. She would not reach out to it. Her mantra was useless, as apparently she did not need to physically reach out to the cord. It blared to life on simple thought and Allison’s eyes were again focused on Locke, though anyone peering through the window would have said it looked more like she were looking through him. Because she was, peering deep inside him to things she doubted he wanted her, or anyone, to see.
Some vile old woman gripped him by the tip of the ear and she could feel the bite of pain where long sharp nails dug into tender flesh. The woman was saying something in a harsh tone that sent fear spiraling through her gut, though she couldn’t make out any of the words.
The memory faded and some part of Allison’s brain registered that Locke was talking as he pictured a middle aged gentleman – his grandfather? – and the numerous boxes she’d woken up to that morning. He was think of journals now, and some part of her brain registered they were his grandfathers, and he was telling her about his having read them. They were the kind one expected Sherlock Holmes would carry around, handmade and bound in soft leather, with thick pages and a matching tie.
Locke moved suddenly, reaching for his jacket, and it snapped Allison back into herself. The cord that illuminated them fell dull before disappearing entirely. “They may be with his stuff,” Locke continued, speaking of his grandfather’s journals. If the man had known things as he claimed, perhaps he would let Allison look through them. Though she dreaded the idea of pouring over items that had been screaming at her with imprinted memories, she would endure it…if Locke were there to help her. “Maybe later we can take a look.” We. She wished to tell him it would be lovely – she would close up and meet him at his house – but he was still speaking.
Rebecca Shaw, again. The jealousy she felt over Locke’s obsession with the dead girl was unbelievably jejune – like a child being jealous of the new baby. For starters, it was not really obsession over her, but with finding her murderer. Which brought her to the next key point; the girl was dead. And most importantly, Locke hadn’t even batted an eyelash over Allison. She would like to think perhaps he was gay, but it was a silly notion. Locke wasn’t gay, simply uninterested…for now. Allison was glad he could not see into her thoughts, because what she was thinking right then was definitely something she did not want him knowing.
Allison was nodding along as he spoke, excited by the plan cooking in her head to the point where she wasn’t entirely paying attention to him. Until she realized he was holding that business card. “Do you know the Pomeroys?”
Allison wanted to bat that thing out of his hand, but that would lead to a number of questions she didn’t know how to answer at the moment. She tried, best she could to relax her face as she shrugged. “Some man came in and bought a muffin,” she answered, trying to keep her voice bland. She hoped Locke wouldn’t hear the small hitch in the back of her throat as she spoke. “So, I’ll see you tomorrow night?” Allison asked, switching the subject to better things. “I suppose I should bring over something for dinner, since your fridge is dedicated to beer. You like spaghetti? I can bring over the ingredients; show you how real food is made.”
Last edited by Manic; 10-07-2012 at 03:49 PM.
“Some man came in a bought a muffin,” she answered.
Locke was a skilled detective and he noticed the tone of her voice had changed when he asked her if she knew the Pomeroys. Still holding the card, he looked at her sidelong as she answered. She didn't know them, that much was true, but there was something she wasn't telling him about Edmond Pomeroy's visit to the bakery. For a moment Locke considered pressing her for more information, but quickly put the idea from his head. He couldn't treat her as though she was a suspect in some crime. He didn't have to know everything. Although, despite that, knowing she was keeping something from him made him feel a little uneasy. His eyes moved back to the card he was holding. It had the name Edmond Pomeroy embossed on the front in black ink. The lettering was in block capital letters, the "e" and the "p" of his name slightly larger than the rest. Under his name was a title: "Chief Operations Officer". Locke frowned a little bit. From what he knew, Patrice was the elder of Hammond's children and she couldn't have been that much older than Locke himself, putting Edmond firmly in his mid-twenties. Locke knew very few people that age who were COO's of a company, even if their daddy's owned it.
Then again, maybe that was a clue in of itself. If Edmond Pomeroy was able to be a company officer at such a tender age, that spoke volumes about the kind of man he was: he would have to be intelligent and savey, a real go-getter. The rumors Locke had heard concerning Edmond was that he was also an accomplished womanizer. His eyes narrowed before looking over at Allison again. Was she Edmond's next mark?
Allison was talking about meeting tomorrow night and bringing dinner. She was poking fun at him for having nothing in his fridge except a couple 6-packs of Sam Adams. Locke decided not to worry about Edmond Pomeroy for the time being. He wasn't Allison's keeper, after all. She was a grown woman and was capable of taking care of herself. Locke had to remind himself that all she needed from him was patience and a stable presence while she figured out her gift. He smiled at her before sliding Edmond's card into his back pocket. "Don't get the wrong idea," he told her with a grin. "I can cook, I just don't like to." He started pulling on his coat again. "I won't say no to a spaghetti dinner, though. What do you think? Meet me at my house after work tomorrow? You remember where it is, right?"
Breathe a lie
Allison's smile stretched her cheeks until there was the dullest of aches on her face. Oh, how excited she was. Dinner with Locke, and hours spent looking for answers and clues in his grandfather’s journals like they were in an old mystery novel. The idea of preparing him food excited her far more than it should have. It was just spaghetti, after all.
When he asked if she recalled where he lived she gave a nod. She knew exactly, could remember with achingly clarity every room in his house, from the kitchen and dining area opposite the living room, to the bathroom and spare bedroom, and… her cheeks flushed when she realized there was one room she had not seen; Locke’s bedroom. And oh, did she want to. How unlike her.
Clearing her throat Allison stuffed such thoughts to the back of her mind for later and focused once more on her companion. “Yes, I remember. I’ll ask Mary if she’d mind me leaving at six. No one comes in after then anyway.” At least, not until recently. The idea of staying late and being alone in the shop once more with that man from earlier dampened her palms and shortened her breath. Hoping her smile hadn’t faltered too much she was about to escort him out when she remembered in her unwarranted anxiety she had called him for a ride. One which was wholly unnecessary, since her car was parked in its usual spot on the edge of town.
“Walk me to my car?” she asked, grabbing her belongings. Her coat was slipped on, the shop key, which hung on a lilac lanyard poking out of the zipper pocket of her purse, was pulled free. Locke nodded and she was offered his arm as they exited. She switched off the lights, locked up, tucked her key away, and could hardly breathe as she slipped her hand into the crook of his arm, fingers stroking the fine material of his coat.
It was still amazing to her, this gift of being able to touch someone – Locke, of all people – and not be instantly subjected to their every thought and desire. Though again she felt that pulling need to know what thoughts fluttered behind those hooded blue eyes. Did he think of her? She would quite like finding herself at the forefront of his mind. But that was wishful thinking on her part, no doubt. And she would not let herself invade his privacy if she could help it.
They stepped from the shelter provided by the shops green canopy and into the drifting snow, what had collected along the sidewalk crunching under their feet. “I love the snow,” she murmured, extending her other hand. Delicate flakes floated down to her palm which pink from the chill and dissolved against the warmth of her skin. “It’s always so beautiful. And peaceful.”
Meanwhile, on Interstate 84 near the Oregon/Idaho border
There was a lot of get up and go in her Bentley that just begged to be unleashed. Normally she kept its power reigned in, like a tiger in a gilded cage, but not tonight. Tonight, the engine roared like the beast it was as she attempted to fly down the interstate and across the continent.
She is within his reach….he’ll have her soon… Westley’s voice pounded through her mind like the omen that it was. He had appeared as she left that awful foster home her daughter had been forced to reside in, just taken form near her bumper, delivered his message, and been gone again. He had visited her a number of times over the last hour, and she’d been able to get bits and piece from him, most of which was no help whatsoever.
Ouija boards were popular based on the reasoning that, just because you were dead, you were magically psychic. A load of hogwash, really. Ghosts, if they were lucid enough to understand your questions, rarely gave a care. And while some things could be ascertained by whisperings through the undead gossip tree, “who is Becky going to marry?” was hardly the juicy piece of gossip that would be floating around on the ether. What Westley had picked up, however, was apparently all anyone physically challenged was talking about on the east coast. The Pomeroy name was well known among certain circles, as was the gifts that flowed through the family’s blood, and they were a constant topic of discussion.
“He doesn’t know to keep her safe.” The sudden reappearance of the ghostly figure nearly had Charlotte swerving into the median, though really she ought to have been used to the ghostly man by now. “He won’t know to keep her safe.” She snuck a quick sidelong glance at her passenger seat. His smoky form sat starring out the window, eyes like milk glass as he watched the dark curtain of trees whip past. His hands lay upon his translucent thighs, fisted so tightly his knuckle stood out from the rest of him, bright white against his overall dour grey.
“Who will not know to keep her safe?” she asked, keeping her eyes on the road as she switched lanes.
“He won’t know. He’ll let her go,” he ended his exclamation on a moan that drifted through the car even after he had dissipated, gone like smoke picked up in a nonexistent wind.
Charlotte let out her breath on a sigh, hand automatically going for the radio. She found a station that played Classical pieces. She drowned out everything in Vivaldi’s La Primavera, wishing she could return to the spring of her youth, when the colors had been vivid and the world a place of wonder. Before she knew the horrors of her namesake.
It surprised Locke how quickly and easily Allison took his arm when he offered it to her. He'd been raised that a man should always offer his arm to a woman when he was walking with her. It was one of the many lessons his grandmother mercilessly beat into him so that the offer was something he did without even thinking. He hadn't even realized he'd done it until he felt Allison's hands on his arm through his coat. He looked down at her just as she looked up at him. Her eyes were wide and shining. He watched as a smile broke wide across her features. She looked very pretty when she smiled like that. She looked...happy. It was infectious and Locke found himself smiling back.
The two of them made their way up the street towards the parking lot where Allison's car was waiting. They walked close together, the snow crunched softly beneath their feet. It was so calm and peaceful. For the first time in days, Locke wasn't thinking about Rebecca Shaw, what she was doing in Stoneyvale or who murdered her. He wasn't thinking of Allison's cursed gift, either. All that was on his mind was the walk through the light snow fall late in the season and how happy it seemed to make Allison. He couldn't explain it, but her happiness was important to him. Knowing that she was happy at that moment meant a lot. He marveled a little bit at that notion once it sank in. What did it mean? Did he like this girl? How was that possible? He barely knew her.
Didn't he? He looked at her again. They had only met a few days ago, but so much had happened in that short amount of time. How could he not feel something towards her? He couldn't deny that because he knew her secret and that she trusted him with it, he felt responsible for, even protective of, her. But what did that mean? Was that all? Was that enough for how he was feeling now?
Whatever it was he was feeling, he was disappointed when her car came into view. She let go of his arm and the warmth of her body left his side as she moved to unlock her car door and open it. She turned towards him and thanked him for walking her to her car and confirmed that she would see him tomorrow evening for dinner. She even lightly ribbed him again for not having food at his home. They both laughed a little before saying goodnight. She got in her car and he waited until she had driven off, before he started back to where he'd parked his own car. He lit a cigarette as he walked, puffing on it thoughtfully. He found that he really didn't care what rumors Mary Epping decided to start (or had probably already started), or what teasing remarks Mitchell Brathbaum would fling at him tomorrow. He chuckled a little bit and shook his head at the thought of it. A few minutes later, Locke was on his way home again.
The snow had stopped falling once he pulled into his driveway. He let himself back into his house through the kitchen door, as always. Seamus was waiting for him, meowing loudly. He proceeded to rub against Locke's legs as he tried to make his way through the kitchen. Locke stepped over him as best he could and picked up Rebecca's file to take to his office so he could get back to work reviewing it. He had just barely gotten out of the kitchen when Seamus was under foot again, still crying.
"Gah! Seamus!" Locke had to keep from falling over the cat. He grabbed hold of one of the dining room chairs to steady himself. He glared down at the cat, "what the hell is wrong with you?" Seamus simply looked up at him and cried. A moment later he took off and disappeared around the corner to the living room. Locke sighed and reached up to rub his eyes. "Damn cat."
He was already absorbed in the file he'd picked up off the dining room table. As he passed by the stairs to get to the living room and his office, he reached out to turn on the light out of habit. As his hand brushed the switch, he found it already in the up position. This brought his attention out of the file to look up the stairs. The light at the top of the stairs was already on. Standing in the front entry to his house, Locke stared up to the second floor. He couldn't figure out why the light was on. He was almost positive the light hadn't been on when he left. The only lights he'd left on when he left earlier had been the light in the kitchen and in his office. The hair on the back of his neck started to rise. For a few long moments, he stood rooted to the spot, staring upwards to the landing. He felt uneasy, like he had the other night outside the bakery. He didn't like it. After a moment, he started up the stairs, quickly at first, but slowed when he got to the top. Though he wasn't surprised to see the door to the guest bedroom open, it unsettled him. The door to the guest bedroom was never open.
Locke had raced to Manchester to rescue his grandfather's belongings before his mother had thrown them out, but once he had them, he really didn't know what to do with them other then put them into the guest room and close the door. Aside from letting Allison use the room last night, Locke had not even entered the room since putting the boxes in there. He hesitated a moment as though debating entering the room before pulling the door tightly closed. The hair on the back of his neck was still on end and gooseflesh had run down his arms. He quickly made his way down the stairs where he fished a beer out of the fridge. He took a few healthy gulps before heading to his office and burying himself in the file and shake the weird feeling. He did not go back upstairs that night and instead fell asleep at his desk.