A Duskwood Love Story (Richy)

Chapter 1 - Strange Text Messages

    The sound of birds singing awoke me from my slumber and sunlight poured in from behind the curtains signifying the start of a whole new day. Sitting up in bed and stretching my arms and legs I think about what flowers I plan to grow in my garden. I already knew that I wanted to have Morning Glorys, Aster, and Snowdrops in the garden, but I wanted just a few more. Getting out of bed, I got ready for the day, deciding to put my hair up in a bun to keep it out of my face while I worked on the designs for the garden.

    Going to the kitchen, I decided to make a breakfast burrito with fresh tomato and creamy avocado, and for my drink, I decided to go with a strawberry and banana smoothie. Just as I was sitting down to eat my phone went off multiple times. Looking down I see a bunch of texts from numbers I don't know, except for Richys of course. How these people, other than Richy, got my number I don't think I want to know, but I feel as though I'm going to find out anyway. According to the group chat these people are Thomas, Cleo, Dan, Lilly, Jessy, and Richy.

Thomas: Hello? Are you there? Uh, Hello. No matter how I put this, it'll sound crazy. I've gone over this so many times in my head. Wait a second.
Caitlin: Hello, who is this?
Cleo: Hello
Jessy: Oh, is that him?
Richy: Hey Caitlin.
Caitlin: Hi Richy.
Dan: Seriously guys? A real genius idea this... and you know this person Richy.
Jessy: Yeah Richy how do you know them?
Lilly: Nevermind that just tell me what the hell you did to my sister!!!

    I put my phone down so that I can eat sadly it wasn't long before I had to answer a text that seemed very rude. Something about what I had done to their sister. Seriously you message me and demand things from me when I don't even know what the heck is going on and I said as much in the group chat. As well as how about we meet in person instead of wasting time on the phone? That didn't go over so well with the person who demanded I tell her what I did to her sister. Thankfully Richy who had already met me said that they could all meet at the Bar Aurora as it would be crowded and would make the others feel comfortable being around me.

    I had no problems with that as it was near a flower shop and I could go and pick up the flower seeds that I needed for my garden. I told them that I would meet them there after I'd had my breakfast. Of course, I got yelled at through the phone again by this Lilly person and I was glad when Richy stood up for me by telling her to lay off and that they can question me when everyone is at Bar Aurora. Putting my phone down I start to eat my slightly warm breakfast and almost room-temperature smoothie. This was not how I planned to spend my day but if it would get them to leave me alone and stop calling me a kidnapper I was all for going to the Bar Aurora to clear my name.

    Ten minutes later I had finished my breakfast and smoothie and placed the dirty plate and glass in the sink to be washed later as I'm pretty sure that Lilly woman would just go off on me for making them wait even longer for me to arrive. Slipping on the sandals I had picked out for the day I texted Richy to the others know that I was leaving my house and would be there in half an hour. Grabbing my purse before I left and locking the door behind me, I walk to my 2021 GMC Buick and got inside ready to start my drive into town. Turning on the Radio I changed the station to my phone to play my audiobook, I was listening to one of my and Jasper's favorite books Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling, currently, I was on chapter 18 'Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs'.

    By the time I reached Bar Aurora, I had finished chapter 18 and was in the middle of chapter 19, 'The Servant of Lord Voldemort' and all that was left was for me to go inside and meet Richy and his friends. Stepping out of my car I brace myself for what's about to happen to second I enter the bar and hope that I can at least get some answers as to what's going on. I take a breath before stepping inside the bar, look around, and spot Richy at a table in the very back, I see him turn his head and notice me. He excuses himself from the table and comes over to me.

Richy: Hey Caitlin, I'm so sorry about this but I figured it would be better if we did this in person since you live here now.
Caitlin: It's alright Richy. I know you're just trying to protect me and I thank you for that.
Richy: We might as well get this over with so that Lilly will finally calm down. Are you ready Caitlin?
Caitlin: For anything so long as it's with you.

    And with that Richy lead me to the table where three women and two men sat waiting. The first of the two males looked to be about 6'8" in height, with brown hair and beard, green eyes and he also had a beanie hat on his head (Thomas). The second of the two was about 6'9" in height, with slightly darker and longer brown hair and beard, dark green eyes and had this 'tough guy' aura around him (Dan). Moving on to the women of the group, the first looked to be about 5'7", exotic with perfect copper skin, short black hair, and dark brown eyes (Cleo). The second was about 5'1", long red hair, light brown eyes and had this happy go lucky aura about her (Jessy). The last of the women was 5', with short blonde hair, and grey eyes, and by the way, she was looking at me looked as though she wanted to kill me (Lilly).

Richy: Everyone this is Caitlin. Caitlin, this is Thomas, Dan, Cleo, Jessy, and Lilly. (pointing to everyone.)
Caitlin: Hello, I would say it's nice to meet you but given the circumstances, I don't think that would fit.
Lilly: Your damn right it's not. Now tell me what it is you did to my sister.
Caitlin: First of all I only just moved here yesterday. I hadn't even heard of Duskwood until three months ago when I was searching for a new place to live, a chance at a fresh start. Why would I move here for a fresh start you may ask? Well, the reason was that my twin Jasper went missing and everywhere I looked I was reminded of him. Our younger brothers Billy, Frank, and Joe will be joining me once they get their casts off.
Lilly: So if you didn't take my sister then who did and why would she text Thomas your number?
Caitlin: I don't know maybe she knows me somehow? If anyone has a picture I might be able to tell you for sure if she does or not.

    Lilly pulls out her phone and brings up a picture of a young woman about 5', long auburn hair, grey eyes, and a smile on her face. I sadly didn't recognize her and told the group as much. Before we could continue, however, the bartender came over asking if anyone wanted anything. I'll admit he was handsome and looked about 6', with medium-length black hair pulled back into a ponytail, and hazel eyes, and this aura he had around him reminded me of Dallas "Dally" Winston from the Outsiders movie (Phil). We ended up ordering Whiskey (Dan), Water (Richy and I), Shirley Temple (Jessy), Sex on the Beach (Cleo), Tiquila (Lilly), and a shot of Burban (Thomas). After our drink orders were taken, I got a text from another person I didn't know. But the strangest thing about it was that it said "We need to talk once you get home." There was no way I was going to talk to this person alone.

    Turning to Richy, I showed him the text and asked if he would be there when I talked to this person as I had a very bad feeling about it. Richy agreed as there was no way that I would be doing this alone not with Hannah and my brother Jasper missing. Once the drinks had arrived we quickly drank them as we all had somewhere we needed to be. As I paid for my drink Lilly came over to me and said...

Lilly: I will find out what you did to my sister, you may have the others fooled but not me so watch your back.
Caitlin: Go ahead and try, you won't find anything because I'm innocent in all of this.

    And with that, I left Bar Aurora got into my car, and went home, Richy following behind me as there was still the matter of the text I got. Pulling into the driveway and turning off the car I get out and wait for Richy to join me. When he gets to me I can tell by his face that he was worried and I mean who wouldn't be after seeing the text I got? We make our way into the house and to the living room taking a seat on the couch and preparing ourselves for what's about to happen.
Caitlin: I'm home now. Who are you and what do you want with me?
????: I want your help in finding Hannah.
    Looking at Richy I can see his eyes widen at the text. I know that I can't trust this person, because they could be the one that took Hannah. I need to be careful about how I approach this.
Caitlin: How do I know I can trust you? How do I know that it wasn't you who took Hannah?
????: You don't and I didn't take Hannah because I was on the phone with her when she was taken. I'm installing TERMIN8 on your phone it will allow you to hack into a person's phone and cloud account without being detected. You will use this to hack into Hannah's phone and send me anything that you decrypt from Hannah's cloud and I will take care of the rest.
Caitlin: What do I call you then? (Not saying 'What do we call you?' because I don't want them finding out about Richy reading these texts with me so that he doesn't end up a target.)
????: You can just call me The Hacker.

    With that, The Hacker logged off. I checked my phone and that there was indeed a new app, but something still didn't sit right with me. Looking over at Richy I could tell that it didn't sit right with him either. Neither of us knew what to say or do for a while, we just sat there in silence next to each other. It wasn't until my phone rang that the silence was broken. Looking down at the phone I see that it's my brother Frank calling over Facetime and smile. Answering the call I see all three of my brothers on the screen and notice that Richy is also on the screen and oh boy this will be fun.

Frank, Joe, and Billy: Hey sis, we were just calling to let you know that we got our casts off and packing the last of our things and that our flight leaves in 1 hour. But it seems as though we should be asking who it is that you're currently with. And what do you want with our big sister?
Caitlin: Guys this is Richy Roger he runs the repair shop with a friend of his and his dad owns the place. He helped me out when the car broke down yesterday just outside the garage.
Richy: Nice to meet you boys, don't worry your sister is just fine. Now I'm going to guess who is who and say that whoever is in the horror shirt is Billy, the one in the green shirt is Joe, and that leaves Frank in the red shirt.
Joe: Wow, you haven't even met us in person yet and you got it right.
Billy: He's a keeper, sis.
Frank: But only time will tell if you are worthy enough to date our sister.
Caitlin: I'm going to ignore that for the time being. I'll pick you, boys, up from the airport when you land, you're rooms are ready you just have to decide who wants what room. Also, what do you want for dinner tonight?
Billy: Can you teach us how to make your Calypso Coconut Shrimp (Frank), Martinique Fruit Salad with Coconut Dressing (Joe), and Aruban Banana Binja (Billy)?
Caitlin: If that's what you want then yes. I'll see you boys later bye.

    With that, the phone call ended and I turned to look at Richy and see him exhale a large breath as though he had been holding it in with his eyes wide. I couldn't stop myself from laughing at the expression on his face, he looked as though he just survived the war. And to anyone who has met my brothers, it kind of is like a war especially if it involves me, because if I don't stop or divert the conversation quickly enough they will hound you with questions until you either run for the hills or stand your ground. 

Caitlin: You okay Richy?
Richy: Yeah, but I should get going.
Caitlin: Okay I'll see you tomorrow then.
Richy: Yeah Bye Caitlin.
Caitlin: Bye Richy.

    Richy left to get to work as there was a lot of paperwork that needed cataloged and filed. And according to the clock when I turned to see what time it was it was almost 5:45 pm, so there went the day where I was hoping to do some gardening. Instead, I went to the kitchen to have some lunch before I left for the airport which was an hour away. I made myself a nice Almond Strawberry Salad and a lemonade sat down at the table and ate until it was time to leave. Grabbed my keys and purse (I still hadn't taken my shoes off) and left the house for the airport. This wasn't how I planned on meeting my neighbors or making new friends by being accused of kidnapping and being brought into a mystery by a mysterious stranger.

    I arrived at the airport just ten minutes before my brother's plane would arrive so I would have just enough time to get to their gate. I didn't have to wait long as seven and a half minutes later the plane landed and a few minutes after that people started to disembark the plane and walk into the terminal. I spotted Frank right away with Billy and Joe right behind him. Apparently, the boys saw me too as they made their way over with huge smiles on their faces and now all we need is to get Jasper back safe and sound.

Billy: It's good to see you, Caitlin.
Caitlin: It's good to see you boys as well. How was the flight?
Joe: The flight was good. 
Frank: But it turned out that they triple-booked our seats and the three of us got our seats upgraded to first class.
Caitlin: Alright let's go get your bags then drive home. There's so much to get you caught up on.

    During the drive home, Caitlin told her brothers about everything that's been going on since she moved in from receiving strange text messages to being accused of kidnapping and all in one day. She also told them about how she met Richy and how he was the only one on her side right now but that she was glad that they were finally joining her in their new home. An hour later they were home, Caitlin, Frank, Joe, and Billy stepped out of the car grabbed the boy's luggage, and headed inside. The boys went to their rooms after deciding who got what room, unpacked all of their clothes then went to the kitchen where Caitlin was waiting for them so that they could make dinner together.

Caitlin: Are you boys ready to help make dinner?
Frank: I'm ready.
Billy: I can't wait to get started.
Joe: Let's get cooking.
Caitlin: Alright, now in front of you we have the ingredients to make all three of the dishes you requested for dinner. We'll start with the Calypso Coconut Shrimp. To make it we'll need oil, 2 eggs, 1 large box of cracker meal, a 1/2 cup grated coconut, 2 pounds of shrimp, 2 tablespoons of seasoning salt, and 1 cup of evaporated milk. We're going to start by adding the seasoning salt to the shrimp and set aside for a few hours. Now I already had this done before I left to pick you, boys, up, so we'll move on to the next step. In a mixing bowl you're going to beat the eggs well and in a separate bowl combine the cracker meal and coconut. Next, you're going to place the shrimp in the evaporated milk, eggs, cracker meal, and coconut mixture. And you want to fry them until they are golden brown, and finally dip the shrimp in your favorite seafood sauce. This recipe serves eight.

    Caitlin looked at her brothers with a smile on her face, it was really nice to be able to share the recipes she learned while she was in different countries during some class trips. She loved the warm weather, the beaches, and the different foods from the places she visited. She and Jasper had been to France, Germany, England, Holland, China, Japan, Hawaii, the Bahamas, Russia, Korea, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Romania, and Ireland. Their younger brothers loved eating different types of food, especially since she and Jasper had been raising their younger brothers when their parents were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver six years ago when the triplets were eleven and they were nineteen.

Caitlin: Let's move on to the Martinique Fruit Salad with Coconut Dressing. We're going to need 1 fresh Pineapple, 12 fresh Strawberries, 2 Kiwi fruits, a 1/2 cup of sour cream, 3 tablespoons of coconut flakes, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. You want to dice and arrange the fruit attractively for individual servings, next, mix together the sour cream, coconut, and lime juice, followed by a spoon placed into the center of the fruit, and serve immediately. This recipe will serve six. Finally, we'll make Aruban Banana Binja, for this, we're going to need 2 plantains very ripe, 3 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, 3 tablespoons of port wine, and a dash of cinnamon. You're going to want to peel and cut the plantains lengthwise, melt butter in a skillet, and saute the plantains until golden brown. Combine the sugar, water, port wine, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl pour it over the plantains, and simmer until the liquid thickens. This will serve four people. Alright, let's get this all to the table it's time to eat.

    The small family of four sat down at the table to enjoy their dinner while wondering where their last family member could be. They chatted about going fishing tomorrow, doing some more work on the garden, and maybe building a pool in the backyard. The thing about this family was that they loved to go fishing and have since they were little kids. Their grandfather would take them fishing whenever they stayed over at his house. At the end of the day, they would take all the fish, oysters, crabs, and lobsters they caught and would make a very nice seafood dinner. We all have a collection of Pearls of different sizes and colors from every oyster we have ever caught. 

    Time passed and dinner and dessert were soon finished, dishes washed, dried, and put away, and the table was cleaned up. By the time everything was done, it was time for bed, so everyone went and started their nighttime routine. One thing that was the same for all of them was that they listened to ambient music all night long. As Caitlin and her brothers went settled down into their beds they wished their brother would come home, but little did they know that the following day would change their lives forever.