I admit it: I was a rotten husband and a lousy father.
To verify this, I have three ex-wives who’ll testify that I’m immune from heart disease because I have no heart. I have two grown children I haven’t seen in years, and I’m pretty sure they don’t miss me. I may now be a grandfather, for all I know.
I also have numerous ex-lovers, having sworn off marriage after that last divorce. One of them evicted me from the house we shared without warning. I came home and found all of my earthly possessions in boxes on the front lawn–I beat the Goodwill truck by ten minutes.
The Duchess–Lynne–was my third wife. She was in grad school when we met. She was smart, attractive, and unattainable. I think that’s why I was so determined to win her over. I hate to lose at anything. Once we were married, though, I went back to pursuing my first love: my work. I’m a photojournalist, and a damn good one. That’s not bragging–I have the awards to prove it.
So while I was off looking for that one photograph that would get me a Pulitzer, my unhappy wife was erasing me from her life. I came home to find she’d moved out. Shortly thereafter, a smug SOB showed up at my door to serve me with divorce papers. I didn’t really feel much in the way of regret until the morning of September 11, 2001. I was supposed to fly to San Francisco and get a connecting flight from there to my next assignment. Had it not been for an error made by my editor’s airhead assistant, I would have been on United Flight 93.
As I stood on the roof of my apartment building, watching the World Trade Center cease to exist, along with thousands of human lives, as I got the news of the fate of United 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, I began to think about the things Lynne had tried to tell me when we were together….
I’ve always suspected Ally made the effort to put Darcy and me together whenever possible to provide a balance. Darcy’s the daredevil, the fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants type. I, on the other hand, am the steady, by-the-book, dependable guy. Let’s just call it what it is, okay–I’m the boring guy who’s been married to one woman all his adult life. My kids love me. My dog loves me. Even my in-laws love me.
Darcy’s been on my backside for years about my diabetes. I use my insulin religiously, but he acts like I’m in possession of a weapon of mass destruction every time I pick up a donut! He should talk. Only recently did he give up his three-packs-a-day cigarette habit. His cholesterol could block the Holland tunnel, and every time his blood pressure is taken, the EMTs are called.
For whatever reason, Darcy and I are friends. We have nothing in common, but we’re good friends. I’ve been around through his countless ex-girlfriends, including one who had a license to carry and use a gun. With Darcy’s talent for ticking off women, he had to be suicidal to have even consideredgetting involved with that one.
I came after the three ex-wives, so I didn’t know much about that part of his life, but it didn’t surprise me that he’d been thrice-divorced. What has surprised me is his recent obsessive behavior toward ex-wife number three. They’ve been divorced going on fourteen years now, and all of a sudden he’s got this crazy idea that her new husband is some kind of spook.
And by “spook,” I don’t mean he’s a spy….
Author’s Note: I can see local favorite John Goodman as Charlie.
Phillip Darcy is the man God doesn’t want and the devil won’t have. He should come with a warning from the Surgeon General:May Cause Insanity.
He’s worked for me at Viewpoint for the past ten years. He’s the best photojournalist I’ve ever known–if he weren’t, I would have fired him long ago. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve had to bail him out of jail here in the US or how many times I’ve had to call the State Department to intervene on his behalf abroad. Darcy’s nothing if not dedicated. He will go anywhere, do anything to get that photograph.
If only he were so dedicated in his personal life. He has no trouble attracting women–women love Darcy. Until they really get to know him, that is. By that time, the best they can hope for is a decent divorce settlement. He’s got three ex-wives, so there’s not a lot to go around.
I think I’ve been with him longer than any of his wives or lovers, That’s because I know him too well to ever get involved with him on a personal level. Still, we are two of a kind: both driven, ambitious, more than a bit selfish. Workaholics.
I can’t believe I’m even allowing that thought to cross my mind….
Author’s Note: Kate Mulgrew would be a perfect Ally!
Before I joined the Bureau, I was a cop–NYPD, like my father. I’d been with the FBI for two years on 9/11. I was in New York on a case that Tuesday morning. When the news broke, I got to the World Trade Center as fast as I could, knowing Dad would be there, doing his job as he had for over thirty years.
What I encountered there…I can’t even put it into words. Chaos. Smoke, so thick breathing was difficult. People running in all directions. Screaming. There were people jumping out of the upper floor windows, desperate to escape the fire. Ash in the air, heavy, suffocating.
I saw Dad and called out to him. “Stay back, honey!” he shouted, but he had to know I was not going to do so. I had to do all I could to help. That was how he raised me. That was what I was trained to do. I ran into the building after him, but lost him in the chaos. I started herding as many people as I could to safety. I told myself Dad was no rookie. He’d know how to get himself out safely and save as many lives as he could.
My father saved countless lives that morning, but not his own.
I was unable to function as an agent for months after that. I went into therapy, which helped me to deal with my feelings of guilt–and to a degree, the claustrophobia that resulted from the experience–but the emotional scars remain.
Now, I have to find thirty missing children…and whoever took them.
Author’s Note: This one was Collin’s pick–Jeri Ryan as Caitlin. This was the only character he really voiced an opinion on….
I’ve been partnered with Blondie–Caitlin–for four years now. It’s an odd partnership, to say the least. My partner arrested me trying to do a break and enter at some foreign diplomat’s residence. I could have gone to prison for 10-20, which was a crappy prospect. I sure wasn’t looking forward to being some Bubba’s bunkmate. No offense to Bubba, but he ain’t my type.
Then Blondie got her bosses to offer me a deal: I work for them, use my somewhat dubious talents for good instead of evil, and I get the ultimate get out of jail free card. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse, obviously.
I could do a lot worse than being paired with her. She looks more like a model than a Fed. She’s hot–like that Borg babe on Star Trek: Voyager. (Oh, shut up. It’s not true than only nerds and geeks watch.) She can be a real pain in the –butt–sometimes, with her by-the-book attitude, but she’s a good cop. She always gets her man, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The perps throw themselves ar her.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration.
Me, I make her crazy. I believe in breaking the rules when necessary. We balance each other. That’s what makes us such a good team. Like now. This whole bizarre abduction case is unreal. Why would someone be snatching only kids who were conceived by in vitro, only gifted kids with high-end IQs? What could they be after?
Makes no sense….
Author’s Note: First choice to play Jack would be Eric Close….
There’s no such thing as coincidence. Nothing happens by accident.
I wasn’t even supposed to be in London. I’m an archaeologist specializing in Biblical archaeology. I’d been working on a dig in Egypt, searching for proof of the Exodus. Yes, that Exodus. My partners and I had been there for a while, almost three years. The money was running out, and we hadn’t been able to secure further funding.
Then came the call.
A colleague who had been slated to give a series of lectures in London was injured at his dig site and was unable to fulfill his obligations in Britain, so he asked me to take his place. That might not seem odd to you, but this guy was someone I’d always been at odds with professionally. Why me? I wondered. Why had he asked me, rather than someone with whom he actually got along?
I didn’t question it too closely, though. I figured a couple of weeks in London would give me a chance to take one last shot at finding the funding we needed to keep going. It was my last chance.
Then I met Connor Mackenzie, andeverything changed.
I’ll never forget that night. I walked into the lecture hall, and he stood out like Chris Rock at a Klan rally. He was wearing worn jeans and a leather biker jacket. He was of average height, with light brown hair that was almost blond, and blue eyes that, well…. He looked a lot like Ewan McGregor.
We talked briefly. When I told him of my funding dilemma, he suggested he might be able to help. I didn’t take him seriously, but he was so compelling–all right, I confess. When he asked me to have dinner with him, I didn’t want to refuse….
Author’s Note: My choice to play Lynne would be Terry Farrell from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine….
I was attracted to her right off, but I wasn’t seeing her as more than a bedmate–a temporary one at that–at the time.
I didn’t even want to go to the bloody lecture. Sarah wouldn’t let it go. I realised she wasn’t going to give up. It was really quite odd, because Sarah and I have never been close. Why she wanted me with her that night remained a mystery for months to follow.
When Lynne told me of her difficulty in obtaining funding for her dig in Egypt, I saw an opportunity. I had made plans to fly to Cape Town the next day, to lie low the until the furor subsided. This, however, was a much better option. No one would be looking for me on an archaeological excavation. I would be living in the middle of nowhere with a woman I found quite appealing.
It had definite possibilities.
Edward wasn’t going to be an easy sell, but he understood the urgency of the situation. I couldn’t stay in London. If I did, I could well end up in prison. What we had done was illegal. If the Foundation provided Lynne’s funding, it would all be perfectly legal and no one would be the wiser. It would not be connected to me. And if I got it on with the lady while in exile, all the better.
I had no idea then how it was all going to turn out….
Authors Note: It’s him again! Actually, there’s a really bizarre story behind the connection between Connor and Ewan McGregor….
I’m not the ruthless b–man I’ve been made out to be by the media. I swear. I’m ambitious, yes, and I’ve made more than my share of mistakes. I’ve done a lot of things I’m not especially proud of. But I’m not without a heart. I would be far better off if I were.
I grew up in poverty, a scrawny Boston Irish boy who was bullied a lot. I was never much of a fighter, so I did little to defend myself. Instead, I grew up full of resentment. Success is the best revenge–that was my mantra. I determined that becoming rich and powerful was the answer, and so I began the pursuit at an early age, mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, anything that would earn me even a small amount of cash. And I saved every dime. When I had enough, I began to buy stock–safe, predictable growth stocks at first, saving the high-risk moves for later. I was on my way.
But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t even close to my goal, and I wasn’t a patient man. I fast-tracked my road to the top by making a business deal masquerading as a marriage. Liz–Elizabeth–was the only daughter, the only child of a wealthy, influential senator. Her family’s connections would open doors that would otherwise be closed to me. I didn’t love her, but I respected her. I respected the contract I’d made. I played the dutiful husband. When she became pregnant, I was again resentful. I felt trapped–but our twin boys, Ethan and Noah, are amazing kids. I love being a father, even if I’m less than happy as a husband. I’ve been faithful…up until now.
Now I’ve found the love of my life, and I’m not free to be with her. I’m paying for the sins of my past….
Author’s Note: Yep, it’s Ewan again, this time my choice for Jamie. He’s positively inspiring….
Jamie wasn’t even my type.
I’ve always been attracted to athletic men. You know–jocks. Outdoorsmen. I had a crush on the Brawny guy for years. My ex-husband was a lawyer–that is, he was in law school. I thought I loved him when we married, but we might as well have been from two different planets. I was a casual girl–jeans, shorts and T-shirts. I’d been miserable when he dragged me to those dull social events he insisted were necessary to his landing a spot in a good firm after graduation. I was terrible at small talk and knew almost nothing about fashion. I didn’t know Donna Karan from Kmart.
When I caught him in bed with my so-called best friend, I eventually came to see it as a blessing, the catalyst that pushed me to end a marriage that would have failed anyway. After that, I dated men who were more my own kind.
And then I met Jamie Randall in Rome. Sounds pretty romantic doesn’t it? Take my word for it. It wasn’t. I was in Rome on assignment–I’m a photographer. My personal love has always been nature photography, so I decided to stay on a few days and go hiking in the hills surrounding the city. I was about to leave my hotel that morning when the earthquake hit. A 7.0, I think. I was on the bottom level of the hotel’s underground parking garage, putting my gear into the trunk of my rental car with my equipment. The earth started to tremble beneath my feet. Then it became a rumble.
And then the building started to collapse around me.
I crouched between two vehicles, hoping it would offer enough protection from falling concrete. When the quake finally stopped, I heard someone calling for help. It took me a while to get to him, but I found Jamie with a broken leg, trapped. I freed him and put a splint on his leg. We spent the next few days together in that concrete prison, keeping each other going, surviving on the food and water in my backpack.
Jamie, I discovered, owned the hotel. He was married with twin sons. He talked about his kids a lot but seldom mentioned his wife. We bonded in our struggle to survive, a bond that endured long after our rescue. A couple of months after I returned home to Cape Cod, Jamie showed up at my door to replace the cameras I’d lost in the hotel collapse. I invited him to stay for lunch.
That was the beginning….
Author’s Note: I could see Amanda Peet as Kate….
Jamie Randall came to see me after his mistress ended their relationship. He was having trouble coping. It had affected his ability to function in his daily activities. He wasn’t sleeping or eating properly. He’d lost interest in almost everything.
I suggested to him that if this woman was so important to him, the answer to his dilemma would be to divorce his wife so he could be with Kate. He insisted this was what he wanted. He had, he told me, already consulted an attorney. He’d planned to talk to Liz after his mother’s funeral. Had Kate not ended their relationship, he would have gone ahead with his plans.
I told him he might prove himself to her by going ahead with the divorce anyway. He worried that his children might be adversely affected by this. I assured him children are resilient. His twins are still young and would adjust. This would be preferable to growing up in a home with both parents when those parents are so unhappy.
I believe Jamie is still a product of his youth, in which he was consistently bullied by his classmates. He is unable to stand up for himself and what he wants. As for his relationship with Kate, I suspect he has become so emotionally bonded to her because in her he has found what’s he’s wanted all his life: someone who loves him for himself. He has spent his entire adult life reinventing himself to become a man who would be rich, powerful and envied, only to discover what he’s really longed for is love.
Author’s Note: I’d choose soap actress Susan Flannery to play the good doctor.