The small boy may have had blond hair and blue eyes. The little girl he played with may have have had the same.
But now it was all a vague memory. Blocked by the years and the regret those same years had caused.
Because she was gone.
Caleb gulped back another shot of whiskey, and grimaced at the burn running down his throat. This was definitely not what his plan had been back then.
After all, what's an older brother for, but to change the outlook? To make sure he gives his sister a good life.
Caleb nodded at the bartender who slid another shot his way. They had a good working relationship.
“Don't you think your money could be better spent anywhere else?”
Caleb smiled. He couldn't help it when Fen sassed him like that.
“I don't know, this seemed as good a place as any. The people are nice and friendly, and the service ain't half bad.” He gestured around the bar, and then grinned at the petite redhead sitting on the barstool next to him.
“When you get drunk your speech suffers.” was all she said.
“Thanks for that, Schoolmarm.” Caleb tossed back another shot, and blinked to clear his eyes from the watering after effects of the whiskey.
“Okay, I'm cutting you off. Time to go home, Caleb.” She took his arm but he shook her off conscious of the fact that he was frightening her.
Fen hadn't ever seen him this way before, and in spite of the fact she could kill you so many ways you couldn't count them all, these actions coming from a man she thought she knew would be the thing that threw her off.
Caleb blocked her from his mind, breaking the telepathic link that had informed him of her fears.
“Fine. I'll come. But you have to drive.” He tossed her the keys, and she caught them deftly.
“Probably a good plan since you'd probably kill both of us, and mess up your car.” She helped him through the door, and got him buckled into the passenger seat. “Where do you live?”
It's not like they had a conventional relationship.
“Just drive. I'll give you directions.” His voice was starting to slur, and he guessed that was probably bad news. He didn't have a lot of experience.
Someone who tracked people down for a living didn't have much time to sit in bars and drown their sorrows. Even someone who had as many sorrows as Caleb Patel.
It was only a five minute drive from the bar to his home. A small trailer parked near where he'd grown up. Fen knew he'd grown up in the orphanage. It was one of the many things she knew about him. He opened the door and stumbled onto the sidewalk.
“Thank you, Fen. I will be good from here on.”
“There's no way I'm letting you out of my sight until you're safe in bed.” Fen insisted.
Caleb was insulted, but decided not to show it. “Fine. Help away.”
She put his arm around her shoulders, and Caleb inhaled her scent. Enhanced sense of smell definitely was good for something, and Fen's scent always reminded him of something comfortable. Strange since she wasn't the comfortable type.
She pulled off his boots, and pulled the comforter up around his chin. She didn't show any surprise at the neat interior of his bachelor pad.
“You definitely have a lot to sleep off.” She murmured, and ran her hands through his short light brown hair. “Sleep sweet, Caleb.”
He couldn't help the smile that crept over his face, closing his eyes, and imagining her heart stopping smile. The one reserved for only those she trusted.
But it felt like just another punch in the gut. Because she couldn't trust him. Not with all the heart wrenching secrets he knew about her. Not with all the killings she'd been responsible for. Definitely not with the killing she'd been paid to plan this morning.
He slipped off to sleep, listening to her murmured words, and the sub-conscious wanderings of her mind. Thinking of his blond haired sister looking pleadingly at him over the shoulders of the men who'd taken her away from him forever.
Thinking of his designs for restitution.