Saturday, April 20, 2013

S6: Chapter 03: Snail Mail

“Dustin are you ok? Why so quiet,” Yvette asked nudging him with the tip of her shoe. He looked over his shoulder towards her, his finger still twirling the flap of the envelope in his pocket.

“Yeah, Vette, I’m fine. Just thinking about something that’s all.”

“Alright listen up, we have an ID on vic #5. Toni Laird, age 35, an Ad Executive for the Tobias Group. She was fingerprinted by her company as a form of identity and background investigation. As a confirmed suspicion, Yve, she was married and seven months pregnant. We have good reason to believe the child that was cut from her womb did not survive the ordeal. Like Patricia Warner, Toni was heavily sedated to the point that it caused internal bleeding of her major arteries. Tears found in the umbilical cord indicates a lack of oxygen was being delivered to the baby during her torture. She was raped repeatedly by a sharp object before our unsub carved her open with what the coroner believes to be a 7 inch blade with a serrated edge.”

“Dustin has already checked into her background and it turns out unlike previous victims, she was NOT a student at Bloomingdale. She graduated from Mclean High and afterwards attended Trinity College where she received her Bachelor’s in Communications. Now on top of that her husband has decided to make our jobs harder and contacted the news offering a reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of her murderer and has of course directed the calls to the tip line. Be warned, we’re about to get the crazies.”

Yvette watched as Victor and Dustin went over the information from Laird’s background while Brett and Ryan discussed similar points with all the victims. The note left on victim #4 turned out to be referring to a recent advertisement Toni oversaw for the Puff Top Muffin Company. Their logo features a woman holding a freshly baked tin of muffins in her arms. The design was Toni’s idea and she purchased the two billboard spaces that advertise the product. One stood by the Tom’s Fresh market and the other in the park near where they found victim number four. The team was kicking themselves for failing to see that connection earlier.

A knock on the door turned everyone’s attention and the mail clerk stepped into the room with a letter addressed to Yvette. She smiled and thanked him and everyone returned to what they were doing. Sliding to the edge of her seat, she turned the letter around a few times in her hand before slipping her fingers beneath the back flap and sliding it across to open. The moment she laid eyes on the handwriting, Yvette gasped and Brett jerked around to look at her. “Yve what is it?” he asked and moved closer to peer into her hand.

“It’s nothing,” she sighed and stood quickly from her seat. 

Before he could protest, Yvette rushed from the room starting towards Scott’s office to speak to him. Without knocking she saw herself inside and shut the door; thankfully he was alone.

“Yvie Sweetheart!” he smiled and stood to warmly embrace her. “I know I’ve said my door is always opened but a little courtesy…”

“Ethan wrote me,” she interrupted his lecture and shoved the letter she received in his face.

“What? That’s impossible Yvie, Ethan’s dead.”

“It’s postmarked for my next birthday, he could have written it at any time. But that’s beside the point, the letter is from him!” Scott took the note from her hand and read it aloud.

With a woeful expression he turned to her and sighed. “Have you shown this to Brett?”

“No, I came here after I saw what it said. Pop what is he talking about? What mission was too dangerous to know about and why does he mention you and Mom working in secret?”

“Yvie there are a lot of things that man hid from not only you but everyone. Who knows what he could be referring to? He was a super spy working for three different agencies until his past finally caught up to him. I wouldn’t put much thought into it besides that.” Scott looked at the note again and frowned. “Was there anything else that came with this?”

Yvette closed the key up tighter in her hand and shook her head no. Scott was keeping something from her, she could feel it. It wasn’t like him to just dismiss her concerns the way he had without cause. If what Ethan mentioned in his letter about her Mom working in secret to prevent a government coup was real, then Scott had to know about it. He would have been by her side the entire way; that was the kind of man he was. “I’m sorry to bother you with this,” Yvette shrugged and retrieved the letter from his hands. “I just thought that maybe there was a chance he…he really left for a reason and Mom’s death wasn’t in vain.”

“I know how much you still struggle over her death Yvette. But you’re a Mother of your own now and there comes a time when you have to put the past behind you and look forward to your future. Your children need you to do that. I did it for you Yvie and I don’t regret a minute of it.” She nodded and he wrapped her against his chest for another hug. “I think it’s about time we both had a fresh start; one that is a new beginning for our family.”

Quietly she thanked him for his constant support and slowly exited his office. “Yve!” Brett called for her catching her in the hallway before she could get back upstairs to the unit room. “Hey,” he smiled and looked down at the note still clutched in her hands. “Why did you run off like that Baby? What did that note say?” She closed her eyes and brought the note towards his face. Brett took it and began reading, cussing beneath his breath as he took in the contents of the letter from her father. “You talked to Scott about this?” he asked to which she nodded. “And what did he say?”

“He said that Ethan was just being paranoid and I should let go of the past.”

“But you don’t think so?”

“I think I’d like to see what is in the storage he mentioned in the signature of his name. Those numbers,” she pointed towards the last line of the letter. “It’s my birth date and an address.”

“What? Looks like gibberish, how do you know what this is?”

Yvette sighed again and looked around at the agents milling about the crowded office. Hesitantly chewing her lip, she decided it was time she told him everything. “Before I gave birth to the twins, Ethan and I would meet up for lunch dates and shopping trips or just around town.”

“You what?!” Brett practically yelled and noticed eyes turn towards him. “Yvette what the hell are you telling me? You snuck around with him even after I told you I didn’t want him anywhere near you or my babies?”

Slowly she nodded her head as she listened to him mentally comprehend what she was saying. “I had to Brett. You didn’t want him at the house and I needed to see him, I needed to know why he ran out on me. Tell me I have Daddy issues I don’t care but you have no idea how it feels to be abandoned by someone you love only to believe that person wanted you dead! I had to see him.” 

Brett inhaled sharply and slowly released his breath. Folding his arms into his chest he gave his wife an encouraging nudge and she continued. “Anyway, we started talking about things from the past and what he was working on and I mentioned to him that he could have contacted me back then because as spies we know how to hide our messages in text. This is him doing exactly that which tells me he wrote this letter sometime after that conversation. There’s something in a storage unit he wants me to see.” 

“And you’re sure you want to do this Yvette?”

“Yes! Of course I do. You can either come with me Brett or I can go alone.”

“Alright, we can do it together, after work. But whatever is in there Yvette, promise me you won’t let any of it consume you.”

“I just want answers Brett.”

The team got back to working the case. Slowly pieces of each victim’s life revealed but never much that helped further along the identity of their killer. Brett oversaw a lot of the task force assigned to rundown leads and various other legwork that he or a member of the team wasn’t actively investigating. A group of 10 agents were on desk duties at Precinct 26 to take the phone calls from those with tips trying to sort through viable leads and the ones who were just out for a quick buck.

Yvette found it easy to concentrate on the case. Each new victim had a story to tell and a life brought to an end by a homicidal maniac hell bent on revenge. But something about the last victim, Toni Laird, really got to her. Brett kept a close watch over his wife for any signs of stress to keep her from going overboard but for the most part, he saw her handling her job as she always did; with precise decision and professionalism.

After work the two got home, fed their babies and headed over to the storage unit. Brett hoped the contents were something that could help put Yvette’s mind at ease but in truth, he knew she would only gain more unrest. The garage door rolled back to the medium sized facility to reveal a room crowded with boxes and old workout equipment. Much of it hadn’t seen use for years and the dust and cobwebs that settled over the stuff was telling of its history. 

Yvette and Brett went through the space locating boxes with her name on them and piled the boxes into the back of his truck. Stopping as she came across a tiny pink envelope similar to the one Ethan had left on a grave at her mother’s funeral, Yvette slumped onto the bench beside the door and stared at it. “Are you going to open it?” Brett asked collecting another box for the truck. He dropped it beside the door and turned in the twins’ direction for a moment checking that they were still both occupied in their walkers before joining her on the bench. “It might help if you read them.”

“How? How will any of that help me now? He’s gone, my mother’s gone and everything I was fighting for. And this,” she motioned towards the pile of old letters, birthday cards and gifts never sent and photographs of her growing up over the years that Ethan kept tucked away for so long. “This means what to me? That my absentee father wasn’t really absentee but loved me enough to remain a ghost for over twenty years? How is that supposed to help me Brett?”

“He loved you Yve, that’s gotta count for something. He left you like he said all those years ago to protect you. And it was those same ghosts that caught up to him when he made contact with you again.”

“Oh so it’s MY fault he’s dead?”

“No that’s not what I’m saying it’s…”

“I never asked him to come out of hiding! And to be honest I still don’t even know why he did after so long!”

“Because the people he was trying to protect you from found out about you,” Brett sighed and dropped his head into his hands. “He came out of hiding to save you.”

“What? Brett what the hell are you talking about?”

“The mission we were on when Ethan was killed was a data extraction mission Yve. Scott asked me, us, to keep it a secret so we could keep you safe while you were pregnant. We both knew your head for this and that you would want to run in guns blazing if necessary.”


“Ethan’s enemies found you Yvette and had he not come out they would have killed you. He offered himself up as a bargaining chip, his life for yours.”

“What he did there with the gunmen…?”

“…was his end of the deal. They got what they wanted out of him so there was no longer a reason to pursue you. But we learned about the hidden network of agents like you that were pulled from various other projects and retrained as weapons against the governments’ enemies; even some here at home.”

“You mean the company Ethan was building and the ramblings about some government takeover...?”

“It’s real Yve, all of it.”

“God and when exactly were you going to tell me any of this or am I still too fragile to know the truth that everyone around me seems content with withholding?” she asked jumping up from her seat and storming towards the kids. Without a word she pulled the twins from their walkers, strapped them into their car seats, slid into the passenger seat waiting for him to drive her home.

“Home again, home again,” Victor announced in song as he stepped into his front door. Aisha and Kiara ran to greet him with hugs and he kissed Sierra on the cheek as he removed his weapon from his belt and started for the lockbox. “What smells so good?” he asked peeking into the kitchen.

“Roast beef. Chase said he wanted a man’s dinner and told me that I’d better get in the kitchen and make his beef.” Sierra grinned and returned to the stove.

“Stop it, he did not.”    

“Oh yes he did Victor! And you’d better have a talk with your son. Tell him that is no way to treat a lady!” She tucked her arms behind his back and drew herself up on her tiptoes for a kiss. Victor happily met her lips for a sweet peck that quickly turned into something much more passionate. Moaning against her mouth before drawing away he sighed and smacked her behind as she headed back to the stove.

“I’ll get on him about it don’t worry. But he’s not wrong you know. That is a man’s dinner,” Victor laughed and Sierra tossed an oven mitt in his direction. “Is he in his room?”

“He’d better be doing homework if he knows what’s good for him. He got a D on his last science test and I told him he needed to study for the make-up exam because I’ll not have another bad grade come in that door.”

Victor smiled hearing her discuss his children like they were her own. Ever since things settled for them, life seemed to pick up with a much happier undertone. The children were smiling everyday and he had found reasons himself to keep his head up. Aisha and Chase had blossomed into not so bad teens, for the most part. And Kiara was doing well in school herself. She had even began exhibiting more and more of her mother’s love for art. Sculpting and modeling little houses from clay and painting scenes that one would think were beyond a six year old’s comprehension. He started up the stairs to his son’s room, knocked on the door and waited for him to let him inside. Chase lay on his bed as Victor entered the room and turned his radio down to a respectable level. 

Victor grabbed the baseball sitting on the end of his desk and leaned against it as he watched his son. He looked so much like Simone it was just uncanny. He gave the ball in his hand a toss and sighed. “So I hear you’re dictating dinner orders to women like you’re the man of the house,” he started and watched a smirk appear on Chase’s lips. “You know that’s no way for a man to behave with women, Chase.”

“I was only teasing Aunt Si. She asked what we wanted for dinner so I told her,” he shrugged and kicked at the empty can beside his foot.

“I figured as much but I just needed to hear you say it. We…”

“‘Respect the opposite sex. Women are better than us and deserve to be treated right’,” Chase finished the lecture he’d heard a million times from his father. Victor tossed the ball towards his son and watched him one handed catch it and grin. “Nice try old man.”

“Old man? Old man? Look Chase just because your balls are starting to drop doesn’t mean I can’t take you in a game of one-on-one or run circles around your butt on the baseball field! Don’t believe for a second this ‘old man’ has lost his touch!” He laughed and pulled away from the desk. 

“Be sure and keep on that science work Chase. School is important and I want to know you’re putting in the effort to make it out of there so I don’t have to pay for college.”

“Dad! I’m not getting into Harvard! I’ll be lucky if I can get a half ride to a community college once I’m done!”

“Chase, if you work hard at it, you can do whatever you want.” Chase nodded in agreement and Victor smiled. “Get yourself cleaned up. Dinner’s almost ready.”
Author's note: Image of "Toni Laird" courtesy of

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  1. Dusty has his own worries. Scott and Brett are keeping things from Yve. Yve is keeping things from them and struggling with is probably a mild case of PPD. She has a lot to deal with and sadly is in a bad place where she doesn't really feel like she has anyone she can turn to.

    1. Absolutely and right now they are occupying his thoughts. He has to figure out what's going on before his past knocks first. And that PPD on top of a feeling of overwhelming distrust, not good. They have to realize she's a grown woman and can handle and has handled a lot of stuff in her life. Not knowing is MUCH worse! One of them better open up soon or else she'll be forced to do something neither will like very much.

      Thank you for reading :)

  2. I think Yve should move on least from the past. I know she has had a rough past though! They could also help her move on by just telling her these things because they should know she's going to figure it out or die trying heh.

    1. Scott really believes it's in her best interest also but it's so hard for her to do that since for so long that was her only identity. And very true. They know how determined she is and they know that she'll never rest until she sees this to the end. But like Scott said she has a family of her own now and it's important that she takes care of them and not leave them without a mother; especially knowing how that feels.

      Thank you for reading!

  3. Too many secrets. They are all being kept for the good of someone, but, I don't think all of those secrets are good. Something along the way would get twisted up and have bad bad repercussions. I am glad Victor and his children are happier, but gods I wish it wasn't with her.

    1. Yes! One secret leads to another then another until they are just doubled over from the weight of them. Everyone needs to come clean and work through their issues rather than bottling it all up inside. Victor's situation is very touchy but it is good to see him smiling and happy!

      Thank you for reading :)