Hey everyone, okay so I am so sorry it took forever to get this posted. I spent two weeks working the summer festival from 5 to midnight and then sleeping the rest of the day. Anyways, I finally finished this chapter. Although I'm not quite sure how well it turned out.
Oh well, anyways the next chapter is most likely going to be the last as we have officially reached the end of season one. I may write a sequel, which could be and actual story or one-shots revolving around the other seasons. I haven't quite decided yet, but feel free to let me know what you think about that.
Okay, now you can read. Sorry about the long note. And don't forget to review. :)
Chapter 35: Is One Week of Normal too Much to Ask?
When you randomly disappear for a month, people start talking. They talk even more when your picture ends up all across the city with a missing person's headline. And if they're a bunch of fourteen and fifteen year old high school freshmen, they spread rumors around like wildfire.
Based on what I've heard, the list of possible things that had happened to me ranged from the simple one that I was dead, although the cause seemed to vary vastly, to the crazy one that I had been kidnapped by the mob. Other viable options were that I was put in witness protection, a spy (which in all honesty was just absurd), being detained by the cops, abducted by aliens (that was my favorite), arrested, and the one Morgan started that the circus had finally come back for me. Let's just say Morgan got a bad case of food poisoning at lunch when she had spread that one.
I love my friends.
The point is I probably should have been more aware of these rumors when I burst into the school on Monday and thinking back, a plausible backstory would have also been helpful. But I wasn't worried about any of that as I headed to my locker to find Pete. I was super excited, and nearly tackled him when I found him.
"Whoa Call, what's got you in a rush" he asked smirking, noticing how out of breath I was.
I took a deep breath. "We got him. Well, dad and Peter or the FBI got him, but we got him."
I'm grinning like crazy at this point and am beyond happy. Pete looks at me pondering. "You're serious?" he asks skeptically.
I nod. "Mathew Keller is beyond bars."
"How?" my best friend asks starting to smile.
"The Ben Franklin bottle. The auction was yesterday, and dad pulled one of his crazy schemes and managed to somehow force Keller to choose FBI custody over being beaten by the Russian mob" I explain, "I'm a little hazy on the details, but Keller's going to prison. He's being booked this morning."
"How long do you think he'll get?" Pete asks closing his locker.
I shrug, "Well Peter thinks he can make a big case for the murder of the guy he ran over with his car. Plus there's loads of other charges that they can bring up. Unfortunately, there's no evidence to use to charge him for Ben's murder. Dad was the only witness…."
"And there's no body" Pete concludes.
When Keller, dad, and Ben stole the painting that night and Ben thought he had left his passport, Keller shot him without second thought. Dad was mad and didn't want to leave Ben, but he didn't have a choice. Well he did, but that would have required him most likely getting arrested. Ben probably ended up in some morgue in Europe, and now has an empty grave in New York.
"I'm sorry" I say, the smile dropping from my face.
Pete shakes his head, "No, this is good. I can tell my grandparents that the man responsible for Ben's death is behind bars. He'll be charged for murdering that other guy and I know Peter will make sure he doesn't get out." He suddenly pulls me into a hug. "Thank you Callen."
I push back and look at him oddly. "I didn't do anything."
"Sure you did" he says smiling again, "It was your foster father who arrested him, and you just told me the good news so yeah."
"That doesn't require a thanks, but your welcome I guess" I say going to open my own locker, "I'm just glad that we can be done with that part of our lives now."
"Yeah, maybe things will cool off for a bit" he teased.
I shake my head, "Wishful thinking buddy. I guarantee that by the end of the week we'll have something new to deal with."
Knowing our track record, we probably would. I gathered up the rest of my things and we made our way to history. My arm is still casted, so Pete had to help me load up my backpack. As we were walking through the halls, I realized that people kept starting at me and whispering. I was wondering what all the commotion was about, like if I had something on my face when I realized that I did. I had an ugly looking black eye that was even grosser now that it was starting to heal.
Pete chuckled as we walked. "Forget you were MIA for the last month" he asked.
"Kind of" I answer as we step into the classroom. All the heads in the room suddenly turn to look at me, and I'm starting to feel like I was kidnapped by aliens. Mr. Raphael looks up from his desk at the sound of twenty freshmen going quiet.
"Ah Miss Caffery, I heard you would be returning to us today" he says looking at my arm.
Now, there are a few ways I could play this but I decide to go for the nonchalant one and place the stack of homework assignments I had to do on his desk.
"Yes" I say confidently, "And here's all the work I missed. When would you like me to make up the tests and quizzes?"
He studies me for a moment and then shrugs, "Today during lunch you could start."
"Great thanks" I say taking my seat next to Pete. He looks at me smugly. "What?" I say grinning.
"Callen Caffery coming back in style" he mocks and I punch him in the arm as best I can. He laughs and pulls out his notebook.
I do the same and look back up to find the class still staring at me, well specifically my eye. Morgan look somewhat shocked and I decide to enjoy it. I look him square in the eye. "What surprised the circus decided to return me. Yeah see, apparently I was too normal for them and they decided to look for someone else. Hey, you should try out; I bet they'd hire you on the spot."
With that I turn back to notebook leaving the obnoxious girl for once completely silent.
The rest of the week ticked by faster than I would have thought possible. But that was probably because I spent all my free time making up tests, quizzes, and projects. By Friday I was only half way there, but my teachers were all very shocked by my grades which were quite impressive if I do say so myself. The majority of my teachers were surprised to see me in class on Monday; Mrs. Venderson even gave me a hug which was super weird.
The kids were the interesting part though. All of them kept bugging me, asking which of their stories was true or just flat out staring. I ignored the majority of it, but I had still needed an explanation so we just went with the 'I was in witness protection' one. It seemed more reasonable than the aliens.
Since I had been doing well with catching up on my work, Peter had agreed to let me attend Luc's birthday party on Friday which I was super excited for.
So that's how Friday at five, I was waiting at the front door of June's in my Yankee's tee, jeans and coat, baseball mitt in hand and Peter's Yankee hat slapped on my head. Luc's mom was picking me up to take the five of us, Connor included, to the game against the Phillies that night. I was super excited since I still had yet to go to a game. Peter had given me a list of the player's names and stats, and I was already to go.
I noticed a car pull up, but it wasn't Luc's mom. It was that awful Agent Kimberly Rice here to pick up my dad who was assisting her in a kidnapping case tonight. I didn't actually know the woman, but Peter didn't like her and that was enough for me not to like her.
Luc's mom pulled up a few minutes later making me forget about Agent Rice and I climbed into the far backseat of the SUV right next to Pete. Connor was on his other side, and Abbey and Luc sat in the middle with both of Luc's parents up front. I handed Luc his present and he tore it open.
"A first edition Spiderman, awesome!" he said looking at his new present, "Thanks Call."
"You're Welcome Luc" I said clicking my seatbelt into place.
Pete nudged me in the shoulder and I looked up at him to see him smiling like a nut. I rolled my eyes and shoved him back. I was still insure about how to act around him, and because I had so much stuff to make up, had been able to avoid him all week. Now though we were going to a baseball game and I couldn't ignore him or else he would know something is up.
The five of us idly chattered on the ride there, talking about school and what I was missing on TV. It was normal, and I liked the normal after missing it for so long. When we got to the stadium Mr. Russell finds us a great parking spot in the garage, and we all get handed a ticket to go into the stadium. Once were in, I can't look around fast enough to catch all the wonderful things. Every sight, sound, and smell assaults me and I suddenly understand what Peter was saying that first day I came home with him about how Yankee Stadium was amazing.
First things first, I want to try the food.
It turns out I'm the only one who's never been, since Pete's grandpa had taken him before and Connor had gone with his dad when he was little and he was still alive. I think being there brought up some memories for Connor, as he was awfully quiet most of the night.
Pete had grabbed my hand and dragged me to a concession stand so I could try my first ball park hot dog. I had to slap him though when he grabbed my casted arm. He apologized but took my other hand and pulled me anyways.
Verdict, ballpark food is amazing. I don't care what Abbey says about it smelling funny. Once we all had some food, we made our way to our seats and waited for the game to start.
"So Callen" Mr. Russell says leaning back in his seat, "You've really never been to a baseball game before?"
"Nope" I answer popping the p.
"How come? It's an American tradition to take a kid to a ball game" he says saying basically the same thing that Peter had told me.
I shrug, "My dad's not really a sports guy. He'd rather study the works of Jackson Pollock then watch Babe Ruth hit a home run. Although he can copy the man's signature perfectly."
"Ain't that the truth" Pete said from where he was sitting next to me making the both of us laugh.
Mr. and Mrs. Russell seemed puzzled by that and I realized that neither of them really knew the situation I was in. Sure they knew that Peter and Elizabeth were my foster parents, and Luc had met dad a bunch of times, but neither of them had. I wondered if Luc had even told them I still talked to my dad.
"What do you mean by that?" Mrs. Russell asked interested.
I looked at Pete who shrugged, I had brought it up. "My dad is really good at forging things" I answered simply. Mr. Russell is after all a lawyer and it's incredibly possible that my dad may have gotten involved with his law firm somehow in the past.
Luckily the adults seem to accept the answer as the game finally starts. We rise for the National Anthem, and then the first pitch finally comes. We have really great seats on the upper deck that lets you see the entire diamond. It looks incredible.
The game goes by quickly but that might be because I'm so into it. It really is cooler actually being there than watching it on TV. Although, I do wish that Peter was here so we could talk about the game. I had gotten used to watching sports with him, before I got grounded, and it almost feels wrong that he's not here to experience my first Yankee's game with me.
I convince myself that it's okay though since this is only preseason. Me and Peter can go later. I backtrack after that thought, because did I really just feel bad that Peter wasn't here to experience my first major league game with me?
I'm going soft. Or nuts.
Probably the second one.
We spend part of the time watching the game, and part talking about anything we can come up with. Me and Abbey talk a lot about the Taylor Swift concert which is finally in three weeks. We've been waiting since I asked her back when I got the tickets for Christmas, and the fact that it's almost here is awesome.
By the time the game ends, with the Yankee's winning five to two, I have tried nachos, cotton candy, peanuts, and eating an ice cream sundae out of a tiny plastic baseball hat. Overall it was one of the most amazing things I have ever had the privilege of doing.
Luc's parents drop me back off at the Burke's last since it's close to their house, and I walk through the door with my head in the clouds after such an amazing night. I'm completely exhausted though and all I want to do is crash in my wonderfully warm bed.
When I get into the house though, I'm surprised to find Elizabeth sitting at the kitchen table by herself looking worried.
"Elizabeth?" I ask stepping closer.
"Callen sweetie" she says looking like she just heard me come in. She must have been really deep in thought. "Come sit down" she says motioning to the seat across from her.
I swallow and move slowly to the spot wondering what I could be in trouble for or why she would be acting so strange.
"What happened?" I ask cautiously hoping that it wasn't anything awful.
She smiles sadly at me which doesn't make me feel any better. "Sweetie" she begins, "Your dad was on a stakeout tonight and well it seems that he was taken."
"Taken?" I ask, my breathing starting to become faster, "He's wearing an anklet how does he just get taken?"
This is not good. Not good at all. Oh please tell me Peter knows where he is.
"Agent Rice apparently cut his anklet. The bureau has no idea where he is" she says sadly.
No idea where he is? That's not acceptable. They have to know where he is.
"You're saying he was kidnapped?" I ask for clarification.
Elizabeth nods, "That's what it seems."
I shake my head and try to calm my breathing which has now become erratic. Peter will find him. He will, right? He has to. If anyone can find my dad it's Peter. Then why am I so worried. Oh goodness, he's dead. What if he's dead? What if whoever took him decides to kill him? This is not good. Okay, just breathe. When did we paint the dining room black? Oh wait that's me. I don't feel so good.
Oh, why is my head pounding?
I slowly open my eyes to find that I'm lying on the living room couch and that my head is killing me. Judging by how light it is outside, it's morning. I'm not sure what happened though since the last thing I remember is teasing Pete about his hat hair.
"Morning sweetie" Elizabeth says kneeling in front of me.
I slowly sit up and rub my forehead. "What happened?" I groan.
"You passed out" she says handing me some water and Tylenol.
I graciously accept it and try to remember what happened that made me react that badly. The last time I passed out was when dad was arrested the first time. But that wasn't, and then it hits me.
"Dad's been kidnapped" I say more alert than ever now.
Elizabeth stands up from the floor and moves to sit next to me on the couch. "Yes, and Peter is doing everything he can to get him back. He's been working all night, and he won't stop till he finds him. So stop worrying."
"Elizabeth, my dad was kidnapped I can't just stop worrying. He's going to do something stupid, he always does. What if he doesn't come back?" I say looking up at her.
She hugs me tightly and I let her. "Callen honey, Peter is going to find him I promise."
I take a deep breath. If anyone can find dad, it's Peter. He did after all catch him twice before. Yeah, Peter will find him and he'll be fine.
"Mom, I can't find my shoe" I hear Braden shout from the top of the stairs.
Elizabeth sighs, "Braden honey you have six pairs of shoes just pick a different one."
"But I want this one" my brother whines coming to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, "Jake's mom is taking us to the indoor skate park and I need my skate shoes."
"Alright buddy, let's see what we got" Elizabeth says standing as she squeezes my arm, "You going to be okay?"
I nod, "Yeah I'll be fine."
Elizabeth nods and follows Braden up the stairs to find the missing shoe. I still can't get over that my siblings are calling Peter and Elizabeth mom and dad. Well Braden is still calling Peter Peter, but the fact that he's started calling Elizabeth mom means he's officially accepted that he doesn't think Kate's coming back. I feel sorry for him really, because out of the four of us he's the only one that ever had a mom and now she's just gone. I have to say though that Elizabeth makes a pretty good replacement.
Once the two of them have gone upstairs, I lunge for the house phone and dial Peter's cell. It rings three times before he picks up.
"Peter what happened" I say before he can even get a word out.
"Callen?" Peter says confused, "Slow down kiddo."
"Peter please tell me you have a lead" I plead. I need to know that they at least have some idea as to where he is.
Peter sighs, "Kiddo I know you're worried, but we're going to find him."
"Then why do you sound worried" I ask starting to panic again. If Peter's worried than how am I supposed to stay calm?
I can almost see Peter pinching his nose. "We know who has him" he finally says, "It's not much, but it's a start okay?"
I nod and then realize he can't see me, "Yeah, okay. Just find him please."
"I will kiddo, I promise" he says as he hangs up.
I take a deep breath and then dial Pete's cell.
"Call what's up" he asks around what sounds like a mouthful of food.
"My dad's been kidnapped" I say skipping over the pleasantries.
I hear a cough and some sputtering on the other end. "Pete, you okay?"
"Yeah" he says after a moment, "Hold on I'll be there soon."
We hang up and I slide down the wall. When is this ever going to end? It seems like every time I turn around something bad is happening. Is it really too much to ask for one week of normalcy? Just one where I can pretend to be a regular high school freshman living with her completely normal happily married parents and younger siblings. Just one week.
I sit there on the floor while Braden leaves to hang out with his friend, and Gabby and Grayson go to their playdate. Elizabeth didn't tell them what was going on, so them getting out of the house was the best thing for them. Elizabeth goes around her normal routine, and I continue to sit on the floor until there's a knock on the door.
I jump up and fling the door open. Pete immediately pulls me into a hug. "Are you okay?" he asks walking in and closing the door behind him.
I nod, "Yeah fine, just wondering when I'm gonna get to be normal."
Pete laughs, "Call you're never going to be normal."
I smack him in the arm and step towards the kitchen deciding food is probably good. I'm still wearing my clothes from yesterday and smell like Yankee Stadium, I need a shower.
"Morning Pete" Elizabeth says from the kitchen table, "Would you like some breakfast?"
"Yes please" Pete says, "Callen made me leave mine this morning."
I roll my eyes as I toss him a cereal box and pull out some bowls and spoons. Pete comes into the kitchen to grab the milk and I shove him into it when I walk by. He shoots me daggers, but I just shrug and walk back into the dining room.
Elizabeth decides to make small talk with me and Pete to keep my mind off of things, so we talk about school and soccer and things me and Pete used to do as kids. I like reminiscing on some of the funnier schemes me and Pete concocted when we were really little. We were all laughing over the stories and for a while I forgot that my dad was missing.
"Wait, so you two actually broke into the apartment" Elizabeth asked eyeing us.
Pete shrugs, "We thought there was a ghost in there."
"How do two five year olds even know how to break into a door" the adult in the room asks.
"Uh have you met my dad?" I reply laughing, "I knew how to pick a lock before I knew how to walk."
Elizabeth laughs, "I believe it."
There's a knock on the door then and Elizabeth looks at it before standing to answer it. "Mozzie?"
Me and Pete exchange a glance and head to the front door. "Moz what are you doing here?" I ask.
"Apparently I'm needed" Mozzie said stepping inside the house and passing me a phone. It's a message for a Dante Haversham to join a vacation rewards club.
"It's a message from Neal" Pete says handing Mozzie the phone back.
"Yeah but what does it mean?" I ask glancing at our oldest family friend.
Elizabeth's already calling Peter. Me and Pete fall onto the couch as Mozzie paces in front of us. "Is Neal okay?" he asks, "Because I'm not getting a good feeling about this."
I exchange a glance with Pete and he shrugs. Elizabeth hangs up with Peter and turns back to us. "Mozzie, how about some tea? Call, Pete why don't you guys go do something. I know how about you go see a movie?"
I can tell she, or more likely Peter doesn't want either of us around when Peter gets here. I would much rather be here to know what's going on, but maybe it would be better if I stayed away. You know, to prevent panic attacks and whatnot.
"Okay" I say grabbing Pete's hand, "We'll be back later."
Pete looks confused, but I just yank him out the door and hail a cab, giving the driver the address of the theater. I ignore all my best friends' attempts to talk on the way to the theater, and half way there he gives up trying to ask. We end up watching Percy Jackson and the Olympians, because as much as Pete wants to I am not watching Shutter Island. I am not a fan of scary movies at all.
I wasn't actually paying attention to the movie though because Pete had decided to put his arm on the backrest of my seat and I was silently freaking out about it. I'm seriously beginning to wonder if he likes me too. But what do I do if he does? I know Elizabeth said it would just work itself out, but how is it supposed to do that exactly? We have to talk about it at some point, that much I'm sure of.
When the movie ends, we decide to go get a really late lunch from a burger place down the street and Pete insists on paying. This almost feels like a date.
"So did you decide what you want to do for your birthday yet?" Pete asks.
I give him a confused look before I remember that my birthday is indeed next Saturday. I'm going to be fifteen in a week. "No" I say, "It's not really important anyways."
"Oh not this again" Pete says sighing, "Call you're going to be fifteen, that is a big deal."
I shake my head. "Pete there are a thousand other things more important than me turning another year older."
"Like what" Pete says sternly.
"Uh, Kate for one" I remind him.
He shakes his head, "Not important."
"Pete" I start but he cuts me off.
"No. Callia Alexis Caffrey you haven't done anything for your birthday in four years. You are doing something next weekend and that's final."
I raise my eyebrows at him growing angry. "Did you just full name me?"
"So what if I did? What are you going to do about it?" he asks glaring at me.
His arms are crossed over his chest and he's leaning back in his chair, his face completely stoic. There's a tiny flicker of something in his brown eyes though, and suddenly I'm not mad at him anymore.
"Pete" I say, my voice significantly softer. I stop and swallow.
"I'm waiting Callen" he says tilting his head to the left side.
I take a deep breath to calm the butterflies in my stomach. This is it, just say it. Tell him you like him. Come on Call it's easy just do it.
"Pete, I…." But I never get to finish because my Pete's phone goes off.
It's sitting in the middle of the table and Peter's cell number is flashing across the screen as the phone vibrates on the table. I look at it and then Pete before lunging for it.
"Peter" I say hopefully.
Peter lets out a happy breath, and I can see him smiling. "We found him kiddo."
I smile real big and Pete gives me a questioning hopeful look. I nod and Pete smiles too.
"Thanks Peter" I say through my grin.
"You're Welcome kid" he says, "Meet me back at the FBI office we're heading there shortly."
"Okay, we'll be there" I tell him before hanging up.
Pete looks at me still smiling. I stand up and grab his hand, "Come on slow poke we got places to be."
It takes us at least a half hour to get there in New York traffic, and I'm growing irritated with the anticipation. We make it to the bureau and I dart to the elevators trying to use my mind to make them go faster. The floor I want finally lights up and I dart out of the elevator. When I get there I notice that Peter and my dad are standing on the platform discussing something and Peter looks incredibly serious. I wonder what it's about. Peter glances over to where me and Pete have stopped just inside the glass door and motions us over.
That's all the invitation I need as I bolt up the stairs and crash into my dad. "I'm glad you're okay" I say into his dress shirt.
He leans down to kiss the top of my head, "Me too megabyte."
I smile and hug him tighter, because knowing my track record this moment isn't going to last and we're all going to find ourselves in the middle of a new problem very soon.
I just hope I'm ready for it.