Friday, September 30, 2011

Chasse Secrets Chapter 14

  Ted Duval was Sophie's next to oldest brother. He had always been the one itching to leave home, The restless one. He came home at Christmas and Thanksgiving but that was about it. After high school he attended college somewhere up north, then following that he took a job in advertising in Delaware.
  Sophie hadn't seen him since last Christmas. Even then he wasn't truly there. It seemed that he had some urgent phone every five minutes. And when Sophie and her brothers were leaving to go get ice cream Christmas night like they always did, he declined, saying "sorry, I need to hit the hay, I have to get up early to head back".
  After she saw him at The Morning Roast he joined her, Carson, and Meredith, and they all chatted for a while. Sophie could tell he was different. The biggest difference was his appearence. She was very much startled by her usually clean-shaven brother's image. His hair had grown longer and he looked like he hadn't shaven in a few days.
  The other change in him was almost as evident. It was the fact that he hadn't checked his phone, talked about work, or informed them of the influence advertising had on America, since he got there. It was as if he was a completely new person. If she didn't know better she would have sworn it wasn't him.
  Once the conversation had lulled and the last sip of coffee vanished they all went their separate ways, except for Sophie who went home with Ted. The whole way home all Sophie could think about was why was he here? She thought back to the coffee shop, playing it over and over in her head. "I missed y'all, I don't come home enough, and I want to change that" he explained. But why now, she thought. Her brother had never been the nostalgic type.
  Soon they were home. When they walked in their mom popped out from the kitchen. When Carol saw her son her face lit up and she rushed to meet him. "Teddy! My boy!" she exclaimed, hugging him close. "Hi Ma! It's good to see you" he said. She released him, beaming. "Well, turn around let me look at you" she directed. He spun around extravagantly, with his best model expression. Sophie giggled lightly. "Aside from the hair and the beard you look just the same" Carol assured him. "Thanks he replied. 
  There was a pause in conversation between the two of them. "Hello?" Sophie chimed in. "Oh sorry, Sophie" Carol said. "I've just been waiting for Teddy's arrival since he called last Thursday". Sophie knitted her eyebrows together in confusion. "Last Thursday?" she repeated, eyes shifting from her mom to her brother. "Now wonder you looked so stunned to see me" Ted exclaimed, smacking his forehead. "I completely forgot! Teddy called last Thursday to tell us he was coming home, he told me to make sure I told you it clearly slipped my mind" she explained. "I would have called you myself, I've just been so busy tying up some loose ends in Delaware" he added. Sophie nodded, taking it all in, piecing everything together like a child strings beads on yarn.
  "Hey is dad home?" he asked. "Uh yeah, he's upstairs" she told him. "Great!" he said, rushing to the bottom of the steps. "Dad! Come here" he screamed. "Someone's excited" Sophie observed. "Well there's something I want to share with y'all, I wish I could have Damon and Elliot here, so I could tell the whole family at once, but I'll take what I can get" he replied.
  Mr.Duval came down the stairs finally. Once he was half way down he eyed his son and grinned brilliantly. He reached towards him pulling him tight. "Sit! I have something to tell you all" Teddy said, pulling away from his father. They all did as Teddy had instructed, no questions on their lips.
  He took a steady, deep breath. "Well I'm sure y'all have been wondering why I'm back in town. And I guess I should just go ahead and put it out there. I'm starting my own advertising business" he told them, overflowing with excitement. "Here?" Sophie inquired. "Yep! Good old Windsor Falls" he answered. "Congratulations!" Carol practically shouted, clapping her hand together. "I'm proud of you son" Mr.Duval said. "Thanks mom and dad! Sophie, what do you think?" Teddy questioned.
  Sophie wasn't quite sure what she thought. At first she was overwhelmed with joy to have her brother close to home, and she still was happy. She just couldn't figure out why he would want to come back now. And she knew it wasn't some mistake her mom forgetting to tell her he was coming home. Her mom was never this distracted.
  "This is great!" she proclaimed. "Where are you planning on opening up?" Mr.Duval inquired, stroking his chin. "I found some office space for rent over on Bennett street" he informed them. "Oh those are nice" Carol encouraged. Teddy nodded. "I know! How could you afford the them?" Mr.Duval asked. "Oh well, I have some savings until things pick up" Teddy addressed. "Good for you" Mr.Duval said, a proud grin creeping across his face. "Why don't we all go out to dinner later in celebration of Teddy's new business?" Carol suggested. "I would love that Ma" Teddy replied.
  Carol rose from the sofa eagerly. "I need to go call grandma and grandpa! I can't wait to tell them" she announced. "Pretty soon mom will have told all of Windsor Falls" Sophie remarked, watching her mother leave. Mr.Duval and Teddy chuckled at her quip. "Let her! It will be good for business" Teddy replied, winking. "I guess that's where you get your advertising skills" Mr.Duval mused. Ted grinned slightly, raising his eyebrows as if to say "maybe". I have to finish reading tomorrow's Sunday school lesson. You will be joining us, won't you?" Mr.Duval said to Ted. "Of course! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again" Ted answered. "Good" was all he uttered in response, and then he was gone. He certainly wasn't a man of many words. It always puzzled Sophie how a man who didn't seem to have much to say became a professor of theology. She chose to assume he simply never found anything as important as theology to even discuss the matter.
  "So how do you feel about your big brother being under the same roof as you?" he teased, folding his arms confidently. "Hmmm, let me think about it, and I'll get back to you" she quipped. "In all seriousness I am glad to have you back. Maybe now we can do all those things we said we would do". "Sorry to disappoint you you but someone already invented a blanket with arms" he said dryly. Sophie rolled her amber lighted eyes. 'Yeah, it's a little too late for that idea, but that doesn't mean we can't try some of our other wacky plans" she reminded him. "You're right, why don't we try out one of those wacky plans tomorrow after church". "It's a plan".
  Later that night around seven Sophie was in her room laying her clothes out for church. She picked up her remote and turned the t.v. on. A high of fifty-one they said. She sauntered over to her closet, and began to search for her apple green button up sweater. "The search for missing teenager, Olivia Webb is still on going" she heard the anchor woman frankly informed. She turned towards her t.v. to see a picture of Olivia. It looked like it had been taken some time during the summer. She was wearing a red polka-dot sundress, which made her almost black hair even more striking than usual. Sophie couldn't stand to see her image and hear their cold, detached, apathetic words. She abruptly flipped the channel.
  Knock! Knock! She started to go answer the door but she heard some answer it before she was even out of her bedroom. "Hello Mrs.Duval! Is Sophie home?" she heard Ian greet her mother. "Yes, she's home. And please, call me Carol" Carol said, like she had told him hundreds of times. "Okay. Carol" Sophie could practically hear his boyish smirk as he spoke. "Sophie! Ian's here" her mom called up the stairs.
  Sophie briskly cascaded the steps. She was delighted to see the spark in Ian's eyes as he saw her coming toward him. "Hi" she said when her feet hit the floor. "Hi. I was wondering if you would want to go get some ice cream" he explained. "I understand if it's too last minute" he quickly added. "No. I want to. Let me go get my coat" she said as she rushed back up the stairs. She came back down, buttoning her buttons as she went. "I won't be out long" she said, hugging her mom goodbye. Ian waved goodbye to her mom. Soon they were backing out of the drive-way. "I do plan on treating you to some ice cream, but first I need to take you somewhere".
  Ian brought her to York Park, The same place where they had been looking for Olivia. Ian turned the engine off. They sat there in an awkward silence for a minute. "Would you mind telling me why we're here?" she asked. "I meant to tell you last night, but I got distracted" he told her, his face brimming with embarrassment. "Do you remember me telling you about the cult?" he questioned. "Yes. Does this have anything to do with what you didn't tell the police?" she inquired. "Yes" he said. "What I didn't tell the police was I think I might know who else was in the cult" he came clean. "How?" she exclaimed, her eyes bolting out of her head. "I found this in Liv's room. She hid it under her mattress" he said, unfolding a crumbled paper and handing it to her.
  The paper had three large symbols on it, along with initials scattered around the page. "What is this?" she asked, not trying to conceal her bewilderment. "I think it's somewhat of a roster for the cult". "Well what do these symbols mean?". He took the paper back in his hands. "This one is the Celtic symbol for nine" he said, pointing to the symbol on the right. "This one is the Celtic symbol for youth" he pointed to the left one. "And this Celtic symbol represents immortality. I looked them up on the internet" he referred to the center one. "I think all these initials are the members of the cult" he further filled her in. "Do you have any idea who any of these people are?" she asked. "This one I'm sure is Olivia's" he replied. She glanced at the letter O.W. "I feel like I'm in some made for t.v. movie" she said, her gaze fixated on the paper. "You and me both" he added, taking a shallow breath. "What does this have to do with these woods?". "There's a map of the woods on the back" he answered, flipping the page over. "And you want to see what we might find where the trail leads" she assumed. "You read my mind"
  They got out of the car. Ian got two flashlights from the backseat and handed one to Sophie. They ventured dauntlessly into the woods. Their flashlights shining like the light from a lighthouse guiding the boats home. In some respects it wasn't much different.
  "So if we're here that means we need to go left" Ian instructed. They walked in that direction for a while until they heard a rustling sound. They halted, frozen. The sound came again. Sophie could feel her heart pounding. Ian took his phone out of his pocket, just in case nine-one-one was necessary. "Hello?" he called. Ian advanced a few steps. Then a strange expression came across his face, as if he had seen something. He ran. "Soph!" he yelled. She ran after him and was shocked with what she came face to face with. It was Olivia. She was just standing there, her gawky figure before them. Her usually long hair was cut short. Her dress had a tear at the hem and her sash was loose. It was purple.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chasse Secrets Chapter 13

  Meredith found herself standing in front of a pitch black door. The only piece of light was the glowing doorknob upon the door. She stretched her hand out to it and turned it carefully. Once  she was in the next room the door slammed sharply behind her. Then the lights came on, one by one along the edge of the room. It was a circular room with a white floor and ceiling. There were mirrors lining all of the walls. Then Olivia walked into view of the mirrors, her image reflected in the others. She was wearing a bold purple dress with a sash around her petite waist, tied in a grand bow. She systematically sat down, her legs making an acute arch as she hugged them to her. She began to rock back and forth, her head never turning, her eyes never looking, at anything but the air in front of her.
  Meredith tried in vain to find Olivia, but every time she moved the mirrors iris-ed out. Finally she just stood  in the center of the room, completely still. Then Olivia snapped her head to look at Meredith. She had a slight smirk on her face, as usual. "Get up" she told her. "Get she repeated. Meredith stared at Olivia mocking reflection. "Get up" Olivia screamed.
  Meredith finally woke up, jerking her torso forward. When she had caught her breath she noticed someone beside her bed. She rubbed her eyes and looked up to see Bianca Scavo looking down at her. She was wearing a silver tank  with sequins adorning it here and there. And gray skinny jeans with silver stilettos at the end of them.
  "You know, you're a really heavy sleeper" "Not heavy enough" Meredith muttered under her breath, as she pulled back the black and white covers. It wasn't until she had gone in the bathroom to get ready that she was truly aware of Bianca's unusual presence. "Um by the way, what are you doing here?" she inquired, poking her head out of the bathroom. "Didn't your mom tell you?" Meredith racked her brain for a moment. Nope, nothing. "My dad and I are moving some of our things in". Great, another reminder of my impending lifetime bond with Bianca, Meredith thought. "Are you just gonna stand there?" Bianca quipped. Meredith rolled her eyes. "I'm gonna get ready". Meredith closed the bathroom door and locked it. Today just wasn't her day. 
  She felt a little better after she showered and put on fresh clothes. When she walked downstairs she saw her mom and Bianca'a dad cozying up to each other at the kitchen table with their morning coffee. Well I guess I won't be eating at the kitchen table anymore, she thought. "Oh good morning!" Meredith tried to appear cheery. "Good morning! Good morning Mr.Scavo" "Good morning Meredith, and please, call me Max" "Okay, Max". It felt strange to her to be calling Bianca's dad Max. "Did you have a bad dream honey? Bianca came down and said you seem really frazzled right after you woke up" "No, I'm fine, I was just a little out of it" she said convincingly. "Okay".
  Meredith walked to the cupboard and got a teal cereal bowl, then proceeded to look in the next cabinet for her favorite cereal, fruit loops. She searched a few times, each time thinking she had overlooked the box. "Mom, do you know where my fruit loops are?". Mrs.Davis took a generous sip from her mug. "Oh I'm sorry Meredith, those are Bianca's favorite, and we didn't know it yours', if I had known she could have eaten something else". Meredith concealed her bitterness. not wanting to appear savage and rude. "It's okay, I'll just have bran flakes". And with that she reached up in the cabinet and brought them out.
  Clop! Clop! Clop! That was the sound of Bianca's heels making their way down the steps. Meredith continued to prepare her breakfast, the whole time watching Bianca out of the corner of her eye. Meredith had just taken a spoonful of cereal when Bianca asked in a shrill voice, "when are you going to come help me move my things?". Meredith turned to face her, swallowing her food with a gulp. "I didn't know I was" "Oh I almost forgot! When Max said he was planning on moving his things in I suggested that you could help Bianca put her room together". Meredith thought for just a moment searching for the perfect excuse. " Oh well, Mom, you see, I already made plans, if I had known earlier" "You can postpone or cancel, I think it would be nice for you both to get to know each other". Meredith looked from her mom, to Max, to Bianca, knowing she wasn't going to get out of this. She sat her cereal bowl down on the counter and put on a halfhearted smile. "Let's get started".
  Two hours later. Meredith was sweaty, sore, and a little peeved. Okay, that's a lie. She was ready to slap Bianca. The whole time all Bianca had done was tell Meredith where to put things from the boxes. It was boxes madness.
  "No, to the left! Not that far left!" Bianca dictated. Meredith finally found precisely where she wanted it when she heard a loud crunch. When she glanced down she saw a crimson heel lying on the floor, it's heel dangling from it. "Oh my gosh! You klutz". Bianca swiftly shoved Meredith out if her way of the shoe. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to" Well you did. Oh I'm going to kill you!" "You know what, I think I'll just leave, I'll be back when you've calmed down". Meredith was practically out the door when Bianca sneered, "Whatever, I don't need your stubby little hands moving my things anyway". She clenched her fist, fiercely, she pivoted on her heel toward Bianca. "It's really amazing" "What's amazing?" "How you've danced all these years with a stick up your butt".
  After that Meredith grabbed her keys, left her mom a note, and took off. She drove in no particular direction, just looking for a little distance. Eventually she turned onto one of the many tree lined roads, and pulled into the drive-way of a beige house. She got out of the car, made her way to the door. Ding Dong! The doorbell sang. She heard someone unlocking the door. "Hey! It's good to see you" "It's good to see you too, Lars"
  "Has he talked to you since last night?" Sophie shook her head as she took a shallow sip of coffee, careful not to burn herself. Carson was sitting adjacent to her, in a comfy burgundy chair at their favorite coffee house, The Morning Roast. Carson was full of questions about last night. "You should have seen his face, I wouldn't even know what to say to him now" "I'm sure he's fine, he just didn't want to say the wrong thing" "Yeah. Yeah you're probably right" "Did your parents say anything this morning?".
   Sophie thought about that morning. Her parents did seem to be acting strange, but she could sense that it wasn't about last night. No, it felt like more. She just couldn't out her finger on it. The only thing they said in regard to last night was "So how's Ian?".
  "They didn't really say much, it was kinda weird" "Were they mad?" "Last night, yes, this morning, it was like last night didn't even happen""Maybe that's for the best". Sophie gave an agreeing look. They drank their coffee in silence for a few moments, feeling the steam cloud their faces. "Why aren't you with Mr.Lars today?" "Oh I told him I'd see him later tonight, I needed some girl time" "It's funny to think Olivia would probably be sitting here with us right now, drinking her usual Columbian roast with skim milk and two sugars" "Telling us about some brillant scheme she's thought up" "Critiquing everyone's outfits here" "What are you guys talking about?". Carson and Sophie looked up to find the owner of the voice, Meredith. "Olivia, and what she'd be doing if she was here right now" Carson filled her in on the conversation. Meredith shoved one of the other chairs closer to Carson and Sophie, plopping down in the chair. "Hmmm, she would probably be picking the blueberries out of her blueberry muffin" Meredith said with a reminscing smile. "Oh yeah, I remember that! She said she didn't like the actual blueberries, only the flavor" added Carson. "That reminds me!" Meredith exclaimed. "What? Blueberries?" Sophie quipped. "No! Olivia, I had a dream about her last night" Meredith told them, leaning closer so curious ears couldn't hear. "Really? What was the dream about?" Carson asked. "Well, I was in this circular room, with all these mirrors, then I saw Olivia, she was in the mirrors, but when I tried to find her the mirrors would move" Meredith explained. "Did you tell anyone?" Sophie inquired. "No, just you two" Meredith answered quickly. "That must have been a little disturbing" Carson said, toying with her aqua bracelet. "Actually, I was glad to see her, it feels like years have gone by since she went missing" Meredith confided.
  "It shouldn't be like this" Sophie said, making circles with her thumb on the rim of her mug. "What do you mean?" Meredith asked. "I mean Olivia should be here, I mean I shouldn't have covered for her, I mean I should have told her parents" she replied almost frantically. "You have to stop beating yourself up about this, Olivia still would have found some way to sneak out, you've told the police everything you know" Carson reassured her. "And there still a chance that they'll find her, we can't give up hope" Meredith interjected. "And what if they don't find her?" Sophie inquired, raising her eyebrow. "I'm going to go get some coffee, y'all need anything?" Meredith said, trying to change the subject. Sophie and Carson shook their heads. Meredith got up and went to the counter.
   Sophie was reaching for her coffee when she heard the door swing open. The man walked up to the counter, taking long strides. Something about the man was very familiar to Sophie. He appeared to be about twenty-three to twenty-five, had dark brown hair, close cut facial hair, was probably five feet nine inches, maybe even six feet. The man turned in the direction of Sophie and Carson. He spotted Sophie, smiled big, and said "well if it isn't my little sister!".