Demons Amongst Angels

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Naomi felt the pedal press stiffly back against the pad of her foot. She took a sharp inhale in, a sharp exhale out; she tried to cool her nerves, but all the shows she'd done for crowds of dozens couldn't prepare her for the necessity to give one of her closest friends the best send-off she'd ever require.

With another breath, she put her fingers to the keys and began to play.


A slight gust of air brushed the back of Naomi's neck as she struck the first chords; behind her, the small crowd gathered to celebrate Alesha's wedding all stood from their seats and turned to face what was, Naomi pictured, an incredibly beautiful sight.


No one was really listening to the music, though; for that matter, most everyone had forgotten Naomi was even there. As she'd begun to play, Shamus Drudge looped an arm around his daughter's and gently began to lead her down the aisle...


... and, if she wasn't something to look at, indeed.


The music continued, and so did their steps. Some fathers are often hesitant to give away their daughters, but no, not Shamus; he walked with pride, while his daughter walked with timid footsteps.

'Agh, why didn't we just elope,' she thought weakly to herself as her gaze hopped between each pair of eyes present--but when her gaze settled on Bradley, her prize, all else faded away. 'Right. That's why.'


Alesha turned to her father and embraced him. "Thanks, daddy," she whispered into his ear with a smile.

Alesha and Shamus had never had a good relationship while she was growing up; he was a philanderer and she a romantic. As many fights as they had had, though, nothing would stop her from feeling nothing but love, today...


... A sentiment Amelia could not share.

Amelia's smile quickly faded as her eyes turned away, shamed, from Alesha and her father's hug; it was a brief glance, but just long enough... Just long enough to see her father.


To see her father look back at her.


'It's Alesha's special day, it's Alesha's special day, I gotta keep it together...' It felt as if a boil was festering in her stomach, sucking the life out of her. Amelia would have given anything to walk out of that room, to show the Great Jebidiah Kane how intolerable his presence was... But no, she didn't. 'For Alesha's sake.'

Her eyes, though, did close; Alesha may be able to forgive her own father, even if just for one day, but Amelia refused to give her father even a moment. He deserved less.


Amelia's stupor was broken when she heard her brother begin to speak.

"You look... beautiful," Bradley whispered as he took Alesha's hands. "I can't believe we're finally here!"

Amelia felt her face finally break a smile. How could she be so selfish? This is why she was here, not to obsess over her issues with her dad! It was about her brother and her best friend, finally tying the knot--the happiest moment in their lives, and one she wouldn't miss for the world.


All whispers and giggles amongst the gathering fell into a hush; it was as if all of them, even the youngest tot, had begun to hold their breath... Watching, waiting.

"I, Bradley," he began with a broad, nervous smile on his face. "Take thee, Alesha, to be my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part."
 
Alesha, her eyes threatening tears, followed suit with no less sincerity in her voice. "I, Alesha, take thee, Bradley, to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part."


"With this ring..."


"I marry you, Alesha Kane--pledging you my loyalty, love and life."


It was quite a noise that erupted from the celebrants as the two finally sealed it with a kiss--a noise, and a kiss, that neither would soon forget.

(D'aaaaaw.)




The laughter and cheering subsided as, after many happy tears and hugs and kisses, the small crowd began to funnel into the reception area--turning the sound from clapping to muffled giggles while chairs scooted across the wooden floor and everyone took their seats.

From the fray, Amelia watched her brother--her other, eldest brother Travis--stand at the forefront with all eyes focused on him. Travis wasn't shy in the spotlight; he'd been a sports fanatic since he was very young, and recently had become one of Twinbrook's shining hopes to bringing home a baseball trophy that season. Still, speeches weren't exactly his thing, so he had to take a few heavy breaths of composure before he finally began his toast.


"Well, first I'd like to say to everybody--thanks for coming to celebrate my brother's wedding. I'm sure if Brad would've had it the way he wanted, he would have run off and eloped like, er, someone else we all know--" Travis paused as a few muffled laughs erupted from around him. "Sorry, Mom," he said, slightly blushing, as he turned to look at their mother.

"But, well, Brad's never exactly been the outspoken guy, which is why I, like probably many other of you, wondered how the heck he managed to convince me to be his best man."


"As many of you know, Brad and I weren't exactly the greatest pals growing up. I was the jock, he was the science geek; I mean, lemme tell you, this guy right here was the biggest nerd you've ever seen... And even though we had our moments, I'm pretty sure our Mom breathed a sigh of relief the day we both finally moved away from home."


"High school had it's fair share of fights over friendships, over girls, over all sorts of typical things guys with raging hormones care about..."


"And I can't say that really changed much as we grew older. Our poor mom had to put up with a giant pain in the butt from us whenever she managed to get us under one roof..."


"But what we both realized, underneath all the fights and the heartache and the stupidity, is that we're still family. As hard as we may try to fight it, we're stuck with each other as brothers for good--but even with everything that's happened between us, neither of us see it as being 'stuck' anymore.'

"There's very little that Brad and I will likely ever agree on, but if there is one thing, it's that family means more than petty little squabbles. It means more than past loves, than jobs, interests, beliefs, choices..."


"...and no matter what, there wasn't anything between us that was too big to forgive. In the end--and I'll repeat it exactly as Brad told me all those years ago, hope I do you justice buddy--'You may never be able to change the past, but you should do everything to try to change your future, because that's the only thing that matters.'

"To Brad--the man it gives me joy to call my brother and my friend--and to his beautiful new wife Alesha, may you always remember to forget your mistakes, so that you can remember to focus on something far, far more important than any fight could ever be: your love for one another."





As the night progressed, the family gorged themselves on expensive catering and washed back one-too-many bottles of champagne, but it didn't take long before everyone with working legs was bursting it out on the dance floor.


The music seemed overly loud with so many people in such a small space, but even the noise of it all couldn't mask the humming of Jebidiah Kane's cellphone as he bobbed his head in rhythm on the dance floor.


Jebidiah drew his cellphone from his pocket and answered as quietly as he could--but he'd have had to be invisible to avoid his daughter noticing.

Amelia, as enraptured as she was with her best friends and the family who she'd desperately missed, had not been able to take her eyes off of her father. She'd been quick to avoid his gaze when he tried to return her looks, but a burning stare was exactly what she wanted him to feel on the back of his skull.

They'd both been at fault, yes; both said things they couldn't take back, both done things... But she didn't want an even score. She was waiting for an excuse to make him the guiltier party once again--and now, she'd finally found it: a small window of opportunity.


"What are you doing?!" Amelia hissed as he finally tucked away his phone. "Did you seriously take a business call on your son's wedding?!"

Her father stopped in surprise, furrowing his brows as he tried to puzzle together what his daughter was doing. "It was urgent," he responded coldly.

"Urgent my butt, father," Amelia growled. "Nothing you do is urgent enough to pay more attention to than Brad! It wouldn't be 'urgent' if he actually meant more to you than your stupid 'job'."


"Amelia, it was just a bloody phoneca--" Jeb responded through gritted teeth, clenching his fists at his side; at this point, more eyes were turning on them, so he tried to keep his voice quiet. The others smiled, pretending not to notice--except for Naomi, who stared at Amelia like a deer caught in the headlights.

"No, I don't want to hear it. I'm tired of your lame excuses, Dad. Save 'em for someone who actually cares."


Any laughter that had been left on the dance floor was hushed as Amelia ran from the room, with the only eyes not following her being those of her father's. The music still played, covering up some of the awkwardness as people began to dance again, but the damage had already been done.

Amelia burst into tears. Everyone in there? All they saw was what Jebidiah looked like on the outside... Few of them knew that everything he publically did was just a facade.

Even fewer knew the truth. What he really was: a monster.




Amelia came to groggy and annoyed. The clock beside her read several hours past midnight; Amelia was no stranger to talking on the phone in the wee hours of the morning, but generally it wasn't her doing the waking-up.


After several attempts of just ignoring the buzzing from her cell phone, Amelia finally blinked her eyes a few times and began to sit up.

"Who the bloody heck is calling this late?" she wondered to herself, trying not to yawn. "Tomorrow's a school day... It'd better be important."


She took a deep breath after realizing who it was. "Naomi," she said aloud.

Earlier that day, Naomi had dropped a rather impressive bombshell on Amelia: she'd stolen from the Kanes. Not just anything, either; Naomi had stolen some valuable information from Amelia's father, information her parents had every intention of using horribly. She hadn't been able to bear the guilt, so she told Amelia, who in turn told her dad. Despite Naomi's apologies, Amelia was still a bit pissed.

If this happened to be some sort of phone call to beg for forgiveness yet again, Amelia swore she was going to hang up on her.

"What is it?" Amelia groaned into the phone after she put it up to her ear. "And it better be good."

Amelia wasn't surprised when she heard tears: but she was when Naomi finally managed to speak. "My... My parents. Mia... My parents are gone."

"What are you talking about?" Amelia said, confused.

"Th-th-they've been arrested," Naomi sobbed. In the background, Amelia could hear sirens.


"What? Why?!"

"Mia... They're criminals. That's why they had me steal that information from your Dad. They were jacking this huge shipment tonight, and--and--"


"They got caught?" Amelia said, feeling a little justified in  her annoyance.

"Yeah, but--but your Dad, Mia... Your dad set them up."


"What are you talking about, Naomi? That doesn't make any sense. He's a private investigator, he doesn't do anything like that."

"N-n-no, he's not, Mia... That's what I'm trying to tell you. He--he... He's a criminal. Just like them. But he framed them. And he threatened them into giving in..."

"Naomi, you're not making any sens--"


Naomi's sobs grew louder as her words became even more difficult to decipher. "He threatened to kill me, Mia! Y-your dad forced me to p-play as bait so my parents w-wouldn't run from the cops..."


"... f-forced them to b-beg him not to hurt me. I don't know if he would have, Mia, and I know this is all my fault, if I hadn't stolen anything from him he wouldn'tve gotten me involved, b-but I'm so scared, Mia... I'm so scared..."


"Naomi, where are you?" Amelia asked, now fully awake.

"I'm with th-the cops, now. If you don't believe me, Mia... See for yourself. Look through his things... Your nickname... birthday... is his password..."


Amelia hung up the phone with a sour expression on her face. What the heck was this all about?! If this was a prank, Naomi was seriously going to get it.

But as Amelia walked out of her bedroom and down the stairs, she could already hear that her parents weren't home. Her heart started beating violently in her chest as she ran faster and faster...


... but it all but stopped when she opened her father's computer, where his secrets could no longer hide.


Several hours passed.

Amelia's hands felt filthy, but it wasn't just from the wood and the flame--it was from every disgusting lie her father had fed her, that she'd now thrown into the blaze.

Her parents had arrived home some time earlier, but unable to sleep, she'd thrown on her clothes for school, gathered everything of her father's "work" she could find--computers, disks, files--and felt a sense of satisfaction as she threw a match to it all and set it ablaze.


Jebidiah, hearing the scuffle outside, quickly changed and descenced the stairs to see what was going on. His eyes moved from his daughter to the fire, confused. "Amelia, what are you doing out here so--"

He paused. Suddenly, realization washed over him. Beneath her boots was everything; his life's work of crime, of software, of files and documents and blackmail and everything he'd worked so hard to create and protect--it was being destroyed.

"No... No, this--Amelia, what are you doing?!" He hissed, still in disbelief. This couldn't be happening!


"Amelia, this is my life's work! My whole career! What are you--how could you?!" As he advanced, Amelia backed away, wary of the flames behind her; he almost looked as if he'd attack her, and never more in her life had she actually believed he would.

She knew what he was capable of, now.


"Your career? This... This is madness, dad!" As she took a step forward, she mustered every ounce of courage within her. "This is years worth of lies to your family! Everything you ever told me was a lie. Your job, your life... Why we moved... Why we have so much money... It's all because you're a criminal! A thieving, blackmailing, kidnapping criminal!"

Jeb rolled his eyes, refusing to meet her gaze. "I can't believe this," he growled.

"You can't believe this? How do you think I feel! For all I know, you could... could be a murderer!"


"So?! So what if I am! You should feel grateful for what my choices have given you! All of this wealth, all of this work, I did for you Amelia! For your well-being! After everything I've given you, all that I've loved you, this is how you repay me? Destroy everything I've worked so hard for?!"

Amelia took another step back, the heat of the flamings causing sweat to drip down the back of her neck. "I never asked for this, Daddy... This isn't what I wanted."


"But it's what I wanted, Mia. Don't you see? This is who I am. This is what I love doing... It's my life." His voice took on a pleading tone as he tried to gulp away the guilt building in his throat. "I've tried to give you everything I could to make you happy."

"No. No. Don't. Don't try to justify this, Daddy. The last thing I want is to be what made you hurt people. I still can't... can't believe..."

"Mia... I'm sorry." Jeb's throat ran dry. For all the good it did, every bit of guilt he'd ever felt in his life was compounded and multiplied by billions in the presence of his daughter. "It's just who I am. I can't help who I am..."


"Yes, you can," Amelia hissed. As he tried to approach her to hug her, she shoved his arms away. "You can always make different choices, Dad."


"Look, Mia," he said pitifully, pleading. "I'll stop. I'll do anything, anything for you... I'll change everything if you want me to. You mean absolutely everything to me, sweetheart..." As her face fell and tears began to form in her eyes, he took her moment of weakness to grasp his hands on her arms. "I would do anything you asked me to."

"No, Dad." Amelia's voice was rhaspy; it was as if every bit of love left within her had died, and all that was left was a shell. Empty. Broken. "Because no matter what you say, I can never believe you, ever again. You've lied, so many times, about so many things..."

"That'll change, Mia. Just give me a chance. Please. Give me a chance to change."

"No." A gust of air left her mouth; it sounded almost like a laugh. "There's no reason to give you a chance. You're not my dad..."


"... you're a monster. A monster that should just... go and die." Though her mouth was dry, Amelia managed one last act as her father's gaze fell away; on the cheek she'd once kissed him in love she now spat in hatred, then pushed him away.

If there were words of remorse left within Jebidiah, they faded away soon after he faded from her side. There were no words to repair what he'd done, no words that could mend a father's betrayal of his daughter, and she'd made it clear there was nothing less that she wanted. Without another sound, the unbreakable Jebidiah turned and walked away... and out of his daughter's life.


It's what she'd wanted...


... It's what she wanted...

... Right?

10 comments:

Kaleeko January 29, 2011 at 11:20 PM  

Argh. So, this was supposed to have more to it, but I ended up cutting off the rest so that I can do it in a different post; I'll post that up sometime in the next couple of days, since it'll be relatively short as well.

Since there's not really much to the wedding in this post, I put up another post with a bunch of my favorite screenshots from the wedding. Hopefully it'll cure whatever heartache this post may cause. ;D

It'll take me a couple more days to get caught up on everything. Think I'm finally getting the upperhand on the Black Beast!

PiB January 30, 2011 at 12:22 AM  

So happy for Brad and Alesha. Travis gave a good speech.

And finally we find out about what Amelia thinks was unforgivable that her dad did. To make him a monster in her eyes.

Ah poor Thomas never stood a chance while he thought his daughter was in danger. Did Naomi really feel forced into being the bait or what? Hmm.

Jeb, Jeb, why the heck are you so freaking slow at learning how to properly *hide* the evidence? Your daughter got all/most of it in just a couple of hours. That is *so* slack. Actually, poor Jeb, finally convinces his wife that he just is a criminal only to have his daughter flip out over the same issue.

Wow, she told him to die. No wonder he felt broken after.

I'm glad you've tamed the black beast at least enough to get this post out.

Relatively short? :) It wasn't short at all. It was facinating and intense but not short. Trust me, I do short.

Kaleeko January 30, 2011 at 2:07 AM  

Heheh. I was tempted to make Travis' speech have a few 'jerk' moments, but these days his relationship with Brad is doing a lot better, and he's trying not to ruin that. His speech wasn't exactly entirely aimed at his brother, though--thus the last image of Jeb looking over at Amelia. >:D

Ya know, I don't think Amelia even cared that much about the fact her dad was a thief. She was just angry he lied. That plus Over-Emotional+Dramatic... She takes everything way too personally.

Did Naomi feel forced? There's no right or wrong answer to that. She loved her family, but she hated what they made her do--so her feelings on the issue are complicated. It'd take a pretty good psychiatrist to come to a solid conclusion on that.

Also: I don't think Jeb was so much as slacking as... big-headedness. Not thinking he'd get caught sort of thing. The cops are on his side, Meredith's a bit of an idiot, his kids never cared... Mia didn't really see much of anything either, but enough to know that all his stuff was either fake or encrypted. So, she trashed it all. ;D

And, it sure felt short! At least, shorter than it was going to be... I'm glad I split it up again, because otherwise there'd be way too much going on in this post.

Anyways. Sleepytime!

mmmcheezy225 January 30, 2011 at 2:29 PM  

Wow, this was intense indeed. Now I can see why Amelia is so upset with him, and why he's so upset with her. My question is, how would she react if she knew she was the last to find out about her father's doings? Would she get angry at everyone else as well? *bites nails*

I noticed that little moment of Jeb looking in Amelia's direction, and catching Naomi's stare instead. Maybe they both know something that Mia didn't find while searching through Daddy's files...?

M.J. January 31, 2011 at 4:37 AM  

**sigh** @ Mia. I do understand her, though. After all of those years of being loved and spoiled by her father, she had just known that he had done moral turpitude outside home- even though he had not committed a murder yet. Still, what he did to Naomi was wrong. If I were her, I could have done more, like giving back all the gifts he had given, knowing that it all came from illicit money. However, of course I would not say that Jeb is a monster who deserves to die. Amelia is a very over-emotional girl for that, and she ended up almost ruined her brother's marriage. Though, what she said was right that Jeb had choices. Maybe she doesn't have any faith that her father will change.

As for the whole story, it's amazing as always.

I still wonder about the reason of the cops to be on his side after all of his criminal records. (Perhaps that the Lemans was a bigger fish) I've got a feeling that it isn't going to be long, though.

Kaleeko February 3, 2011 at 10:01 AM  

@Cheezy: I'm actually not sure if she'd be angry at everyone else; probably a little, but not as much. I mean, Naomi obviously knew, and she forgave Naomi. Mia and her dad just had something special, and he betrayed that.

Do they both know something Mia doesn't? Hmmmm...

@MJ: Well, as angry as Mia is, I don't think she'd ever give back the guitar. She may be more angry than angry can be, but there's still a shred of her that loves her father dearly, and can't let go of it. She just still wants to believe that the father she knew was still her father, that *everything* wasn't a lie. Right now, though, she just doesn't know.

Well, Tana *is* in charge of the police department, mostly. (Wyatt is the head honcho, but he's in her pocket.) How that happened I haven't entirely decided yet... But it's something that won't really come to light for a while, yet.

M.J. February 4, 2011 at 5:08 AM  

Forgot to mention, I really love the writing on this post. It is so beautiful and descriptive.

Though, I noticed that there's no opening like before.

Still, with or without it, the writing is gorgeous.

Kaleeko February 4, 2011 at 6:35 AM  

Thank you so much, MJ. <3 That means a lot to me. :)

I actually decided to forgo doing "openings" for this season because they actually were always the hardest parts to write, before. It was hard to come up with something that wasn't redundant or something I'd already written about before, and I wanted to save myself the headache this go around. I may bring them back later on, but I'm not sure, yet.

Jennifer February 7, 2011 at 3:08 AM  

Wow, so if that's how Amelia reacts to finding out about her father then how is she going to react when she discovers that her mother actually murdered someone? Although it was in self defense.

That last shot of Jeb, awww. I feel so sorry for him. Amelia spoke such hatred towards him, it must have been really hurtful.

Loved the flashbacks. Super cool how you mixed them in. :)

Such a beautiful wedding too and your right sometimes weddings can be a bit staged but this one flowed so beautifully! ;)

Bravo to Travis, he gave a great speech. And wow he looks, like, really really cute as an adult. lol

Wonderful update and sorry for taking so long to read it!

Kaleeko February 7, 2011 at 5:52 AM  

Honestly, I don't think I'd know how Amelia would react to Meredith's 'secret' until the moment I started shooting it... but, I think Mia may be the one person kept in the dark about it. She is the world's biggest over-reacter. ;D

I feel so bad for Jeb, too. :( He kinda deserves it, but... It's my Jebby-poo. Seeing him sad makes me sad.

Weddings are the best, yeah. :D Now, I fully expect to see a beautiful wedding for Josh someday, mmm? *tease*

I have to say, Travis' haircut did him good. He looks a lot more like a man's man, now. It was really great showing how he and Brad made up, too--I wanted to include more about the very long and arduous process I had to get them from bitter hatred levels of red to Best Friend level, but... I'm *trying* to be concise. ;D

No problem, Jen. :D I appreciate the time you take to read and comment, now matter how long it takes. <3

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