Chapter 2

Zoe remembered the day she'd decided to go by Abigail (her first name), instead of Zoe (her middle). It was the day after Shane's funeral. A part of her had died along with her father, but Shane had brought her back to life. Now they were both dead and that part of her was gone forever. She was going to start over, as someone new.

She declared her major, forensics—with specialties in ballistics, computers, and psychology. She decided that to avoid any confusion about he father or Shane's demise she'd change her last name to Scuito—her paternal grandmother's maiden name, for whom she was named Abigail (Zoe came from her maternal grandmother, whom she apparently resembled greatly).

When she graduated she had a job waiting for her at NCIS (the Naval Criminal Investigative Service), courtesy of one Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a man whom she'd helped to solve the murders of five sailors while she'd been at school in Louisiana. They'd both nearly died working that case, helping to forge the close bond they now shared.

After that case Zoe had died her naturally honey blond locks to jet black, in an attempt to hide her identity a bit. There were still bad guys out there that wanted revenge for the justice she'd helped to meat out.

The black hair helped to bring some of her more…gothic tendencies to the forefront, and she'd embraced them wholeheartedly; much to the horror of her mother and sister and the amusement of Gibbs.

Her taste in music had always been eclectic, but when she was at work she tended to blast death metal at high decibels (the only way it could really be enjoyed). Android Lust was a favorite. Death metal wasn't really her favorite type of music (she really didn't have one of those), but it seemed to annoy the powers-that-be at NCIS and she took some sort of perverse pleasure from that. In the car, on the way home, she'd pop in some Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, or even George Jones or Merle Haggard.

She'd devoted much of her time to learning the martial arts. She now held black belts in Tai Kwon Do, Judo, and Karate, among others. She was a dirty little street fighter and she could shoot anything that was handed to her—and shoot it well.

She did own a coffin, but contrary to scuttlebutt at work, she did not sleep in. It was, in fact, a prop from the mini-series version of "'Salem's Lot". A friend had given it to her as a birthday gift a few years ago. She'd always been crazy about Stephen King and "'Salem's Lot" was one of her favorites. The coffin was one of the best gifts she'd ever received.

But, no, she did not sleep in it. She had a king-size bed just like everyone else. It was an antique wrought–iron and cherry canopy bed; she kept black silk hangings drawn about it most times. She dressed it rich, jewel-like colors, alternating between silk and Egyptian cotton.

The rest of the room was also decorated in rich, jewel-like colors, with dark woods and antique furniture and accents. She had family photos—some black and white, some sepia toned, and some early colors—scattered in key places about the room. It was an inner sanctum that few were permitted to see.

The rest of the small bungalow was decorated in much the same manner, with a slightly more gothic tone. She had framed movie posters and prints hung on her walls. One of her spare bedrooms was set up as a theater room. Her system made Tony go weak in the knees at just the thought of it.

She had 7.1 surround sound and a 52 inch LCD TV that she had rigged to pull up into a recess in the ceiling, revealing a completely smooth, white wall. As the television ascended, a high-tech digital projector descended. Press the number 2 button on her remote and an antique projector from 1910 took the digital's place. It was a rig that Zoe had designed and installed herself.

In addition to her projectors were a Blu-ray player and a VCR.

Three of the walls were painted black and were hung with deafening panels. The one double window was covered in black-out panels and the tin foil was duct-taped to the glass—crude, but effective.

There was a black leather sofa against the far wall, great for making out. She had rows of plush, reclining, leather theatre seating, with cup holders (Tony always had to mention the cup holders).

She had rope lighting set up around the perimeter of the room and down the main aisle between the seating. She had the main lights on dimmers and when they were switched off the rope lighting came on.

A lot of time, work, and money had gone into the room. Movies had been something she and her dad had shared. The room was her way to stay connected to him. She kept the place stocked with all of their favorites… Weird Science, Shane, Tombstone, and hundreds of others.

Her private theatre was almost perfect; it was just missing one more thing… A popcorn machine.

Amidst Zoe's ponderings about her life and surroundings her work phone began playing Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust". In bad taste, maybe, but it made her laugh. She flicked the Motorola open, "Talk to me." She commanded.

"Dead sailor floating in the bay. We need you to process the evidence, Abs." Tony's voice told her.

"'Kay, be there in fifteen."

Well, no sleep tonight—farewell comfy bed! It's off to work for me!


A.N. This chapter is mostly just filler, but it does have some important information about the Abby/Zoe character. Shane will hopefully be in the next chapter and we will find out what actually happened to him on that mission, I think. So, let me know what you think, please!

Cheers!

KP