Author's Note I feel so incredibly awful...this poor thing sits for months and months with no attention what so ever. First off, the computer with all of the previous chapters of this is beyond dead. Died months ago, probably not long after my last update. So along with losing that, I lost my document that plotted the entire story out, every little twist to the smallest detail...
I was so busy over the summer I barely wrote anything and the past few days I've looked this over again and again. I even had to read the last few chapters to remember where I was going with this. Then Youtube decided to mute my trailer...that really upset me LOL
Anyway, I apologize, I hope to get this going again. I had so many ideas but I'm borrowing a computer and half of what I had planned to go with this will have to wait till the other is fixed. Until it is, I can just hope to find the time to pick this up again.
Thanks to everyone who is following this! Especially those who have sent me awesome things. I've added to my profile page, go look!
Long Author's Note is long...I apologize...
It had been another three days, Jake Conner was still lying in a hospital room with little information coming through on what was going on. Cornelius had just about had enough at this point. He'd been patient and levelheaded, but a growing dread was spreading through him slowly and he didn't like it. Not one bit.
He was tired of being stuck in the house as well, while it was far from small. It felt as if the walls were closing in on him slowly. He hadn't worked on any projects, had forgotten ideas he had wanted to start before this had all begun, and had no idea what was going on at RI.
"Never saw this coming did you? Of course not...you told Wilbur not to go back and warn you..." What? Now we're talking to ourselves, lovely.
The phone gave off a shrill ring and he turned his head, almost in slow motion, to look at it. Nothing good had come from that phone ringing in the last few days and he had the sudden thought that he should possibly ignore it. A chill ran through him with each sound given off and finally it got the better of him. He leaned over the end of the couch, reaching with his good arm and felt the strain of holding himself up as he poised his hand over the receiver, giving it one last chance to stop ringing.
No such luck.
He picked it up and put it to his ear. "Hello?"
He recognized the voice immediately as Stone, and the tone he was speaking in was not making him feel any better. He wasn't normally a nervous man by any means, but this was really beginning to take a toll on him.
He didn't know what that meant, but Stone apparently was expecting him to. "Who?"
"The board, they took my badge."
No, this was not Robinson's day at all.
"Don't say you're sorry, I handed it to them. I'm not letting them tell me what I can and can't work on." That didn't mean he'd drop this case either, he'd already talked it over with Taylor. The younger man was still working this case, and any information he gained, the slightest thing, whether directly related or not, was going to be relayed to the suspended Chief.
"Alright." The blonde's glasses came off and he rubbed his eyes, trying to process what he'd just been told.
"I'll keep in touch though Robinson, it doesn't mean I'm done."
"I figured you would say as much."
There was a light chuckle on the other end of the line, some non verbal communication agreeing with Cornelius' unspoken thoughts. That they'd been friends far longer than oddly placed colleagues. This wasn't about to make Stone back down, it would very likely only make him work harder.
"Well thanks, I appreciate it." Was the first comment after a long silence, Robinson feeling he needed to say something.
After a somewhat more solemn goodbye than what he would have liked, Cornelius hung up the phone, stood slowly and went to check on Wilbur. Within the past twenty four hours the two teens sharing the house had finally reached a breaking point. They dealt with what was going on differently, Adam closing up, withdrawing from anything going on around them, whereas Wilbur wanted to be in the thick of it. This of course had led to an argument, and to get the riled teens apart for a while, Adam's mom had taken him into town, hoping to get his mind off things. Cornelius understood both points of view and had tried to talk to Wilbur about it, but the boy wasn't going to have any of it. He'd gone off on his own, rooting through things the way he did when he wanted to occupy himself.
Cornelius paused in the hallway, listening to what came from his son's room. He concluded the teen must have stumbled upon Grandpa Bud's old records, because this was certainly from way before even his time. There were scratches and pops in places and he tried not to laugh when he'd hear Wilbur yell at the ancient record player for 'hurting' the vinyl disks.
I've got no time for you right now, don't bother me.
He took the few more steps to Wilbur's room and knocked on the door, but he doubted it would be heard over the classic rock coming from within. After waiting a few moments he figured that he was right and that the teen hadn't heard him. He tried again.
Finally the door slid open and Wilbur was perched on the footboard of his bed. In a normal parent/child relationship he would have been yelled at to get down, but the elder Robinson was so used to the sight that he payed it no mind. The lyrics drifting through the room gave him a fairly good idea of what the teen was feeling though.
Don't come around, leave me alone, don't bother me.
He sighed, "Will."
"Shh! I'm trying to learn this song."
"I'm sure you'll have time..." He stood in front of the dusty and archaic machine, looked at the "Parlophone" label on the black vinyl album, surprised the thing wasn't warped beyond recognition.
When he flicked the switch and the music died, Wilbur flopped back onto the bed with an expression of annoyance.
"I came to check on you."
"I'm fine, great, never better, you can go."
"Wilbur." His eyes narrowed slightly and he started up the stairs, "Your attitude isn't helping anyone."
Wilbur had gone from being annoyed, to downright angry with how he was being treated in this whole mess. He may not be on the same level his father was at this age but he was far from stupid or immature, which was how he felt he was being treated. So instead of gracing his father with a reply, he only remained where he was on the bed and stared at the record player, wishing that the older man had invented some kind of telekinetic device that could help him turn that machine back on from where he was.
"Why won't you talk to me anymore?" Cornelius looked him over, knew it was common for children to be this way, but had never expected it from his son.
His answer was a shrug, "I don't feel like talking."
He sighed, yet again, and felt like this was becoming a habit. "Why don't you go for a walk? Just stay-"
"In the open, I know..."
He watched the boy sit up, apparently taking his suggestion without verbally saying so. Wilbur paused then, glancing at the record player. "Where can I get that music? It still on the net?" He wanted to put it on his iPhone to take with him.
Cornelius smirked and pointed to the computer, "It's old, but you're bound to find it."
Though he would never admit to having anything in common with Cornelius Robinson, there was no denying Anthony Hughes shared the other inventor's view when it concerned the telephone. He'd thought that with Stone no longer on the case revolving around the man, he'd have the police off his back and he'd be able to return to work. As corrupted as that may seem to the every day onlooker.
That rookie, whatever his name was, now seemed to be leading the case. A poor choice if you asked him, putting someone so green in charge of such an investigation. Since then, Hughes had barely gone a day without getting a call or personal visit from the young man. It wasn't only him, the entire company was continuously stalled in it's progress because they were catering to whatever the authorities wanted.
What upset him most, were some of the things this kid was asking. The level of these questions were on a higher level than what the rookie should know. Hughes wasn't stupid, he knew everything he said was making its way back to the man he and Greg Moyer had made a point of getting out of their hair. The questions were obviously put together by Stone, and that nosey little kid, who barely deserved to be wearing his uniform, was merely a go between.
While he mused over all of this, the phone continued to ring. He could easily let it go, let the machine pick it up and let Taylor ramble in a recording. He was too smart for that though, despite how much Hughes was currently belittling him. The young officer would never leave a message, instead he'd just track him down.
So after glaring a few more moments, he finally reached out and answered it.
"Anthony." His brows rose until they almost disappeared in his hair line. He'd been expecting the wrong person on the other end.
He'd never expected to hear Cornelius Robinson.
"Robinson, pleasant surprise. Since when have we been on a first name basis?"
There was a soft chuckle on the other end, but it sounded far from amused. To Hughes' surprise, it almost sounded dangerous. In all honesty, the owner of USR had never thought The Father of the Future could feel any emotion other than the "Keep Moving Forward" attitude. It intrigued him.
Before he had a chance to comment though, Robinson was answering him.
"I think the situation constitutes using first names."
"And what situation would that be?"
He was met with another of those low sounding laughs, this time it was dark and condescending. Hughes was beginning to wonder which he liked more. At this point, it was safe to say Keep Moving Forward Cornelius was at least predictable, as opposed to this, Mess With Me And I'll Have Your Head version of Cornelius.
Because it wasn't an outright threat, it was only a change in the tone and what was being said. A more passive sounding warning that only made him nervous because it left him wondering just what was going to happen, or what was really going to set the man off. He was dragged abruptly from his thoughts when the man spoke once again.
"Having the lead investigator taken off a case very important to myself, I believe that is the situation."
"What does that have to do with me?"
"Don't play the innocent, Hughes, you were a key role in making that possible. I know you love recognition. I'm only giving credit where credit is due."
"That had nothing to do with any of the cases under investigation. I'm very offe-"
Robinson cut him off, his voice still carrying that edge. "It had everything to do with it, Anthony. Something isn't matching up, and you've chosen the wrong people to mess with."
It was true, going up against some of the smartest people of the their time was not a good idea. Whether it was something as petty as this board business or something more serious.
Cornelius was beginning to believe it was more serious.
"You've yet to ask how Jake Conner is doing." He bit out.
"How is he?"
"It's considered a common courtesy, you know." Cornelius continued without paying any mind to the question, whether there was genuine feeling behind it or not. He hated when people were like that, only doing something when it was specifically brought to their attention or they were called out on it.
"What was the reason behind this call, Robinson?"
If the other man could sound any more threatening in only voice, it was now.
"I never received those transcripts you promised, though I doubt I'll be seeing anything valid from you soon. What I'm more concerned about at this point is this; in all the dealings I've had with the police lately, your name seems to be the common factor in every conversation."
The blond's tone took an even darker edge. "Now you're a smart man Anthony, or at least you claim to be. So what conclusion would you come to if you were in my position?" The fact that everything seemed to be revolving around USR made his dislike for this man only intensify, he wanted to make sure his feelings were known.
"Is there a threat somewhere in there?" Hughes finally replied condescendingly. "That could get you in trouble."
"Not a threat, Hughes. It's a promise. I won't say it again."
He was met with the dial tone, the steady note filling the silence on the other end of the line.
He wasn't a nervous man usually, but he'd never been spoken to in such a way, especially by the man who'd just hung up on him. He set the receiver down, staring at the computer screen in front of him in stunned silence. It took a few moments before he set himself to rights, and surprisingly, the first thing he reached for was the phone.
"More trouble than this is worth..."
Jesse Stone, former Chief of Police, was afraid he was slowly going insane. Scratch that, he knew he was. While he'd always made the best of what little time he ever had off, now it only wore him down. There was more than enough time to do anything he wanted now.
He just didn't want it this time.
Stone lived outside of Todayland, in a rather rural and secluded setting. His home was quaint, not very large considering he'd lived on his own since the death of his wife some years before he took the position he'd just been suspended from, his only company being the black and white herding dog that followed his every move.
Stone was currently set up outside, on his property was a small lake with a dock. A row boat, tethered securely to the pillar, bobbed in the water and held his attention at the moment. While he lived in one of the most technologically advanced times, nothing could compare to some of the older rudimentary things in life. He was what most called "A Traditionalist" He was fine with staying a few steps behind everyone else as far as progress went.
That didn't mean the interior of his home wasn't up to date with the latest and greatest, but he was more of an outdoors type anyway.
The dog at his side ripped it's attention from him, ears perked up and looking in the opposite direction, alerting Stone to the fact that someone was there. He waited in silence, there were only so many people openly welcome on his property, seeing as he was a very private man, and he highly doubted Robinson would be up and running around, the man's arm was still barely in the beginning stages of healing.
So to say the least, he wasn't that surprised when Taylor suddenly appeared at his side, looking far from pleased.
"Alright," Stone started slowly. "Hit me with it, whatever it is."
"Got a call from Hughes earlier this afternoon..."
The older man was genuinely surprised by this. "He actually contacted you?"
This was met with a grim sounding laugh. "Yeah, but only to put in a complaint."
"What's his problem this time?"
"Robinson gave him a call I guess."
The answer was met with a short silence, the suspended chief mulling over that little bit of information for a moment before speaking.
Taylor sighed once, his shoulders falling. "I guess he made it pretty clear to Hughes what could happen if he finds out the man is behind any of this."
"Well I don't blame him."
"Neither do I, but if it gets out to other people, they'll deem it as a threat and-"
Stone raised a hand slowly, cutting the younger officer off before he went full 'text book' mode on him. "I know, doesn't mean I disagree with him though."
"What happens now?"
"You just continue with investigating, I'll keep my eye on Robinson. He isn't brash enough to do anything dangerous."
By now Taylor was kneeling, his attention split between Stone and the dog at his feet. It would be a long night, he had a bit of information to relay to the other man.
Wilbur had been wandering town for only about half an hour to forty-five minutes. Would have left the house earlier... He grumbled mentally. If there hadn't been so much music to go through.
He was oblivious to just about everything around him, flipping through the playlist and going back to listen to certain songs over and over again. He couldn't help it though, he found some of it addicting, and he was a teenager. He needed music.
Rounding a corner, he glanced up and realized he was in close vicinity to Adam's house, but instead of smiling, this brought a frown to his face. Their argument had been pretty bad and he wasn't going to go seek out the other teen any time soon. While he was still sympathetic to the other boy's plight, he just wasn't looking forward to running into him again until things had settled down.
The dark haired boy was ripped from his internal musing by a voice to his left. Pausing, he looked to see who it was and if they were possibly trying to get his attention, considering the headphones had been turned up fairly loud.
"I said that music's pretty loud...can hear it from all the way over here." Was the friendly response.
"Oh, yeah." He smirked and turned the music player off. "I want to make sure I can't hear by the time I'm out of high school."
"Well you're well on your way." The woman laughed, smiling at his attitude. "Somewhat surprised at what you're listening to though."
He glanced at the device once before shoving it in his pocket. "I found some of my Granddad's old music." He shrugged, "I like it."
"Understandable, there are few people or bands that stand the test of time. Those that do, only do for a reason." She went back to what she was doing, which was trying to unload her hover car of groceries. There were far too many bags to carry on her own, so she was moving them from the car to the sidewalk, planning on making trips back and forth into the house instead of leaving the back of her vehicle open and unattended.
Wilbur raised a brow and watched in silence for a moment. At first he planned to say something quick to excuse himself, but stopped himself. There was no reason he couldn't help her right? After this past week or so he should have learned to be more willing to give a helping hand? To take the initiative and help someone with even the smallest task? He wasn't a selfish kid by any means, but suddenly had a nagging thought itching at the back of his mind. He couldn't tell what it was exactly, but he couldn't ignore the fact that this person would probably appreciate the gesture, or just the question as to whether they would like help. So he took a step toward the car, tilting his head slightly.
"Do you need any help? I'm not doing anything or-"
"It's alright hun," The woman said, "I think I can handle this on my own. It's not unappreciated, but I'm ok."
"Are you sure? I'm just out on a walk, it would only take a few minutes, I don't have anywhere to be."
She paused and looked at him before closing the back of the hover car. "If you're so insistent, then I guess there's no harm in it."
Wilbur smiled, picking up a few bags. "I am insistent, it's my middle name."
Kelly Milton only smiled.
AN2: If anyone knows what the music is that Wilbur has, or even what the song is and who it's by, mention it in a comment. The first to get it right will get a request from me. :) Those of you who know me fairly well will probably get it lol.