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Vacation. Time for peace, quiet, introspection, and some rather peculiar characters.



May 24, 1987

Something weird happened today. I'm really not at all sure what to make of it.
    Maine is lovely. My island doesn't even have a name, just a number on a nautical chart, in the middle of nowhere—exactly what I was looking for. I'm at a little B&B called the Castleview by the Sea, a lengthy name for a small, charming place, one of two on the island. The food here is incredibly good—it's like having Dawn around, without the vague unease that comes from having a virtual unpaid servant around the base, never mind wondering where the stuff comes from. I'm eating more than normal, but I don't seem to be gaining anything besides way more energy than I can use in a day. I should just resign myself to being scrawny. Few other guests this early in the year, and all the solitude I could want for the past few days while I try to sort through everything that's happened.
    Technically speaking, we only get a week vacation (horrible hours, high risks, atrocious pay, no benefits worth speaking of—I occasionally find myself wondering why I'm doing this... then I remember). It meant jumping through a few hoops down at the station.
    "Here's all your paperwork and forms, I just need you to sign there and initial there. This is your medical leave clearance."
    I winced. God, this was embarrassing.
    "I know, it's ridiculous and stupid," Reilly commiserated. "But it does get you two weeks off in a row, which I think you really desperately need."
    "I can't really argue with that, actually," was my resigned reply, signing as requested. I still haven't been sleeping well, and it shows.
    "How're you doin'?"
    I hesitated on a lie (which wouldn't have worked), then hesitated on the truth (which would have taken a long time), and settled on, "Complicated."
    "Fair enough." He paused, then went on cautiously. "I'm curious though, and you don't have to answer this now—where do we stand, here? I mean, this is something for you to think about."
    My belated New Years resolution is to stop avoiding things quite so much. "Well, I've been thinking about this for a while... I owe you a couple of apologies, I think," I said quietly.
    "Probably could chalk up one or two for you, too," he admitted readily.
    "There's really no good excuse for the way I was acting last time we talked. And I never even said thank you, for everything you did before that," I added.
    "Consider thanks given and apologies tendered."
    "Thanks." He could have made that a lot harder.
    "So, we're still friends?"
    I glanced away and back. "Yeah."
    "I think my wife's gotten clear on the whole you, me, her thing," Reilly added.
    I raised a brow. "I figured she was going to want my head, still." Especially now that he's actually gotten hurt by this mess. If they'd been another ten feet off the ground....
    "No, no... it all has to do with me, I obsess."
    "Yeah, well, you're not the only one in the world."
    "But I'm the only one in the world who's married to her," he pointed out. "And I can see where she was coming from about my obsessing about your problems. It became too easy for her to see it as me obsessing about you. As long as I can keep from obsessing..." He shrugged. "I think the time out in Chicago helped."
    "Yeah?" I looked inquiring.
    "She went out there, did some work, decided it wasn't what she wanted to be doing, came back here. But it was time away from the total craziness." He told me about the offer at the law firm, the position that would let her stay in Boston while working for them. "Just as well, we hadn't been able to sell the house anyway."
    "I'm glad you guys worked things out."
    "Yeah. Things are all right." He didn't actually sound all that enthused, I noted, but didn't ask. "How are things with your team?"
    I chuckled without much real amusement. "So far, so good. I think everyone is still kind of shell-shocked, actually, after everything that went down."
    "Sorry I wasn't here to back you up on that."
    "That's okay."
    "Judging from the reports that I got, it doesn't sound like my replacement was really of sterling character."
    "Aside from the shooting me in the back part, she was fine," I deadpanned. "I really liked her."
    "See, and that's where I draw the line, too," Reilly shook his head.
    "That was what pissed me off, actually—'cause I liked her." If she hadn't been so pleasant it would have been a lot easier to take. I guess that was the point. "But anyway, she's gone."
    "Don't think you're ever gonna be able to find her?"
    I sighed. "No, frankly. Not hardly. She did a good job for them, I'm sure they'll bury her nice and deep, somewhere where her talents can be useful." It would be nice to get her out of commission, but I've got higher priorities.
    Reilly snapped his fingers, remembering something. "Oh, one of the things I had to cover with the leave, and everything... Senator Woods still wants to know everything that happened."
    "All the stuff that got left out of the report?" A masterwork of sinning by omission, if I say so myself.
    "She doesn't know what she doesn't know," he shrugged. "She wants to know what she doesn't know. How much do you want her to know?"
    Again, a sigh. I'd been half expecting this for a while now.
    "We can't... I know that they're real, you know that they're real," Reilly told me. "The other members of the police force, right now, are treating me like I'm some sort of looney; they're currently wondering whether I'm also going to start searching for Bigfoot." He rolled his eyes.
    "That seems perfectly reasonable." I mean, after the yndraegen and all.... "Ellis believed me. Of course, he's dead. Or else he was just being really nice and thought I was insane," I added thoughtfully. "It's kind of hard to tell."
    "From what I know about Ellis, he probably believed that you thought it was true."
    That could cut either way. "He also suggested I should see a shrink. But, he might not have been wrong."
    "You scheduling time out in Detroit?" he inquired perceptively.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson