Chapter 13 - Till the Next Goodbye
The next morning, Smecker picked the three of them up at the hotel and dropped them at the South Station. He somehow got them on the train with no ID's whatsoever. On top of that, he also managed to secure them a private suite, a bit excessive for a three hour train ride, but she'd take it. Caelan didn't know how he did it, but she was grateful to him.
She sat with her legs propped up on the edge of the seat across from her, arms across her chest as she watched the scenery go by through the window. Connor was across from her, next to her feet, casually reading the Boston Globe. The headline on the front page made Caelan chuckle softly; it was something about some idiot celebrity. Maybe tomorrow's would mention the incident at the Yakavetta estate. She wondered what they'd say about the Saints. Would the public be angry they returned? Outraged? Thankful?
She couldn't wait to get back to her apartment, her job, her New York. Routine. Caelan inwardly swore she'd never take her normality for granted again.
Her attention changed from the blur of the scenery to the door of their suite as Murphy entered, three cups of coffee in his hands. "I thought we could all use some." He said as he distributed the cups. He then dug in his pocket for something else, "I got you somethin' extra, Cae." Murphy tossed a travel sized pack of aspirin at her.
Caelan studied the pack for a moment before giving him a confused look.
He chuckled. "Don't give me that look. You act tough but I know your head is poundin'."
She sighed before ripping the pack open to toss the white pills in her mouth, washing them down with her coffee. "Thanks." Connor smirked before returning to his paper and Murphy sat down next to his sister. She leaned closer to him to rest her head on his shoulder. "You know, I was thinking."
"Did ya hurt yourself?" Murphy asked.
"Ha ha," She replied sarcastically. "Seriously...You can't do this to Mary and Maggie."
Connor looked at her from behind his paper, "Do what?"
"Your mission. You can't do it and be with them. You can't have both." Connor and Murphy looked at each other. Caelan sat up straight and continued, "Maggie is a sweet girl, and Mary...She's so sensitive, and she's already seen so much tragedy...Are you prepared to risk their lives too?"
"What do you mean risk their lives? They don't have anything to do with it." Connor said.
"Neither did I, Connor, and look what happened to me." She paused to look out the window again, "You're gonna head back home and you're gonna have to tell them the truth."
The three sat in silence for awhile, each quiet in thought. Caelan pulled her cross out of her pocket and examined the clasp. It looked like it wasn't exactly broken, rather, one of the chain links had been pulled apart. She bit down on the link and forced it closed with her front teeth. She admired her work and gave the chain a gentle tug to make sure it would hold before returning it to its rightful place around her neck. Connor regarded her as her gaze returned outside. He watched as his sister lightly touched her cross and he wondered how she had gotten so wise.
Connor was about to ask her that very question before she spoke again."You know what I think?" she asked quietly, "I think if you made the slightest difference to even one criminal...Then you've done your job. If some guy thought twice about robbing a bank, or raping a woman, or murderin' someone because they were scared to death of the Saints comin' for them, then I think you're a success....Both of you."
"You're probably right, for now, but criminals forget." Said Murphy, his thoughts matching Connor's.
Caelan continued, "I think you're wrong. People never forget fear like that...Fear for their lives...It stays with you." She paused for a moment, thinking. "I'm a MacManus, just like you two, and maybe this was my role all along. Maybe I possess the constitution that you both lack."
"Prophet Caelan MacManus?" Connor said smirking.
Caelan shrugged, "Maybe. Maybe it's a sister's pleading to keep her brothers safe. Maybe it's a friend protecting another friend from possible heart break or maybe it is some sort of divine intervention. Whatever it is, I'm certain that it's time for you to quit." She furled her eyebrows in thought, "In fact I've never been more sure of anything in my entire life."
Connor and Murphy exchanged an odd glance. "Well, how do you suppose we stop? You don't just give up a mission from the almighty. It's not that simple...We already tried to quit once before." Murphy said.
"Sure it is. He gave you free will, didn't He?"
Caelan rode the escalator up from the depths of Pennsylvania station in New York city in silence, her arms crossed across her chest, her head held high. She got an odd look here and there since her eye was still in bad shape, but it didn't bother her. She was home.
Her brothers were kind enough to lend her some money so she could get a cab back to her office since all her personal items were still there. She would ask her boss for a few days off. Family issues, an obvious injury, mental stress, any (or all) of these would be an adequate excuse considering all three were true. Caelan was also sure that David probably had several conniptions in her absence.
He too would be dealt with in time.
She squinted at the sudden sunlight and stepped onto the sidewalk. Everything around her looked somehow different. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, the scent of pavement and rank steam from the trains somehow stronger than before her unscheduled departure for Boston.
Caelan dug in her pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Opening the pack she discovered a folded piece of paper. She furled her eyebrows in confusion before opening it. Written on the small scrap of paper was an unfamiliar name as well as an unfamiliar number:
Caelan laughed out loud, realizing that bruised and drunk as a sailor, the bar tender from Boston was still interested in her, "Smooth Luke. Real smooth."
She crunched the pack and the few cigarettes it contained in her fist before tossing it into a near by trash can. Still smiling she skipped to the road and hailed a cab.
Still on the train, Murphy sat scowling out the window. He had crossed his arms across his chest, "This is stupid. Why couldn't we get the flight home out of New York? We gotta go all the way back to fucking Boston. We shouldn'tve left Cae alone."
Connor's attention was also focused on the scenery outside their window, "We've done enough to Caelan, Murph. She'll be ok on her own."
Murphy scoffed, "It's still a waste of time to go all the way back to Boston."
"Well have you thought about what she said before? About quitting for good?" Connor switched his focus to his brother.
Murphy shifted in his seat, "I guess, I don't know. I was so sure about not giving it up, then I couldn't imagine us still doing the job...Now I'm not fuckin' sure about anythin'."
Connor nodded, "Aye. I feel the same way." His focus returned to the passing scenery, "Still, I'll be fucking glad to be home. That much I know."
Murphy smiled, "I'm with ya on that."