A Year to Forget (The Accidental Time Travellers Book 2)

Chapter 1

They sat around the table enjoying one another’s company, whilst also revelling in the opportunity to relax and be free from responsibility for a day or two.  It was Christmas Eve 1968 as the friends sat around a long dining table, in the Kennedy Compound at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  Outside the sky was dark but it was brightened slightly by the fall of heavy snow that was now covering the compound.

At the top of the table sat Bobby Kennedy, the President of the United States.  Like his brother Jack, Bobby had defeated Richard Nixon in the Presidential Election.  The election had taken place on November 5
th
1968.  His legacy was to be one of triumph.  Since the assassination of his brother and the imprisonment of Lyndon Johnson, he had successfully disbanded the CIA and reduced the country’s national debt.  This had been achieved by dismantling the Federal Reserve.  He had also successfully withdrawn the US Armed Forces from Vietnam.  The country’s main enemy was now the Soviet Union and tonight was a special night for the Kennedy administration, as it was clear they were beginning to pull ahead in the Space Race.

To Kennedy’s left sat his beloved wife and mother of his eleven children, Ethel Kennedy.  Ethel like her sister in law, Jackie Kennedy had been, was now the mother of the nation, the First Lady.  Whilst history certainly looked favourably upon Jack Kennedy and his wife, it was clear that Bobby and Ethel were the new sweethearts of America.  Jack and Jackie’s marriage had been undermined by the President’s constant womanising.  Bobby on the other hand had a moral compass that was guided by his Catholicism and the love he had for his family.  He had of course made a mistake with Marilyn Munroe but since then he had been nothing but faithful.

To the right of Bobby Kennedy sat the Vice President of the United States, Abaddon Wolf.  Like Lyndon Johnson, Abaddon was the Senator in Texas.  Unlike Lyndon Johnson, Abaddon had proven himself to be a valuable and loyal ally.  Abaddon turned thirty five on 3
rd
October 1968, which allowed him to be the Vice President on the ticket for the election.  He was a well built man and stood at 6ft 3in.  He had a bald head and dark brown eyes.  He had a chiselled face and surprisingly for a man in his position he was not married.  Whenever the President visited a town, the Vice President always got a fair amount of attention due to him being the country’s most eligible bachelor.  Since his appointment as Vice President he had proved his worth by the aid he provided in the Space Race.  He took a keen interest in the subject and essentially ran this area on behalf of the President.  Following the disbandment of the CIA, the President had reintroduced a previous government agency, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  This organisation had been established by Bobby Kennedy to ensure that the United States did not fall behind the Soviets in terms of scientific advancements.  The CIA had previously been involved in scientific research and so it was crucial that the country did not stagnate as a result of their demise.  Bobby and Abaddon worked with this agency together and it was clear that they provided the benefits of the CIA, without the risk of staging a military coup like Jack Kennedy had once faced.

To the left of Ethel Kennedy were Teddy and his wife Virginia Kennedy.  Teddy was the current Attorney General of the United States.  Teddy bore a resemblance to Jack Kennedy, although he was not as handsome.  He had the same build and shared his brother’s weakness for women.  Teddy had one other vice that was becoming more and more apparent, drinking.  As he sat at the table he was constantly refilling his glass with wine.  There was an air of hostility between the couple.  Teddy did not have the brains of his brothers and it was evident he had been affected by the demise of Jack.  It had fallen to Teddy to inform his father that Jack Kennedy had been murdered.  He had chosen his words poorly and had said “There’s been a bad accident.  The President has been hurt very badly.  In fact he’s dead.”  Teddy had then fallen to his knees as his father watched on.  His father had suffered a stroke some years previously and as a result was confined to a wheelchair and could barely speak.  He had once been a powerful man and had essentially got Jack Kennedy into the White House but the children now had to manage on their own.

Beside Virginia sat Nancy.  Nancy had given birth to a child in 1964, he had been named Clint Stinson.  Despite the death of the boy’s father and the fact that he had used Stinson as a fake name, she had chosen the surname as a tribute to the love of her life, Bobby.  She still had no idea that Bobby was her grandson and she still harboured a crush on him that showed no signs of waning.  The boy had been named Clint out of respect for Clint Hill the Secret Service agent that had helped them following the assassination of JFK.  She had continued her work as a secretary for Bobby but she no longer worked in a law office in Dallas.  She was now based in the White House and worked in the department that was headed up by Bobby.  The department was named National Security and Major Crime Prevention.

On the other side of the table beside Abaddon sat Dr David Lewis.  Like Nancy he worked in the National Security and Major Crime Prevention department.  He worked as a forensic pathologist.  As he picked up his glass of wine he could not stop the tremor in his hand.  In the aftermath of the JFK assassination, David had suffered from severe anxiety as a result of his accidental homicide of an innocent man.  Nobody around the table knew the truth about what had happened that day in the Dal-Tex building, but the others had noticed he had been beginning to fade away into himself.  He found it difficult to start conversations and due to the time travel he no longer needed to sleep, which gave him more time alone with his thoughts.  He kept seeing the face of the innocent man he had murdered at every turn.

Beside David sat Jane and James Faraday.  They were celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary, having been married on 24
th
December 1964.  They also worked in the National Security and Major Crime Prevention department.  They had mainly devoted their time to hunting down remaining Nazi war criminals, which was going well.  They had recently recruited a new member of the team, a man named Will Carter.  He had been a soldier in the US army during World War Two and had been imprisoned in Auschwitz.  Once the war was over he had vowed to hunt down the remaining Nazi war criminals.  Faraday had heard about the man’s mission and had hired him.  Faraday had changed remarkably in appearance since travelling through the wormhole, he had lost his left eye and now wore a patch.  His hair was now short and in a neat side parting and the beard that had once been wild was now trimmed neatly.  Jane hadn’t changed quite as much.  Her hair was still dyed black, only now it was in a beehive style.

Opposite Bobby Kennedy at the end of the table sat Bobby Stinson, the head of the department.    He had enjoyed a successful period in the role and had stopped the assassinations of both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King from ever occurring.  He still struggled with the pain in his hip and found it difficult to walk.  It seemed that with each passing year the pain was getting worse.  He no longer had his silver eagle cane, but Bobby Kennedy had purchased him a new cane that had a solid gold eagle at its tip.

The topic of conversation around the table turned to Jackie, JFK’s wife. 

“I still can’t believe she married that guy.”  Teddy slurred.

“She has to do what she thinks is best for the children.”  Nancy answered.

“We could have looked after her.”  Teddy snapped back.  He reached over and poured more wine into his now empty glass.

“You need to watch how much you’re drinking Teddy.”  Ethel suggested.

“Ha, I don’t drink anymore than Stinson!”

Bobby blushed.  He was quite right, Bobby had always enjoyed a drink and had probably drank as much as Teddy.  The main difference between them was that Bobby could handle his drink.

“You don’t see him slurring his way through a sentence though Teddy.”  Bobby Kennedy replied.

It was Teddy’s turn to blush.  “Anyway when do we get to hear a song?”  He said, turning to look at Jane.

“I can play one now if you want?”  This was greeted by nods and cheers around the table.  Jane rose from her seat and walked through the open plan house, into the living room where the new acoustic guitar Faraday had got her as an anniversary present was sat.  She picked up the guitar and walked through to the table.

“Anyone have any requests?”

“The national anthem.”  Abaddon replied.  Jane smirked and looked towards Faraday who nodded in approval.  Jane began playing the Scottish national anthem and sang the words.

“O Flower of Scotland,

When will we see

Your like again,

That fought and died for,

Your wee bit Hill and Glen,

And stood against him,

Proud Edward’s Army,

And sent him homeward,

Tae think again.

The Hills are bare now,

And autumn leaves

Lie thick and still,

O’er land that is lost now,

Which those so dearly held,

And stood against him,

Proud Edward’s Army,

And sent him homeward

Tae think again

Those days are past now,

And in the past

They must remain,

But we can still rise now,

And be the nation again,

That stood against him,

Proud Edward’s Army,

And sent him homeward

Tae think again.”

As Jane finished singing everyone around the table began clapping and cheering.  Faraday had a tear forming in his remaining eye.  Whenever Jane sang he always got emotional.  She retook her seat and they shared a kiss.

“Do you miss Scotland?”  Abaddon asked.

“Everyday.”  Jane replied.

“I think we’ll be going back sometime.”  Faraday commented.

“Hopefully soon.”  Jane said, as she looked towards Faraday.

“You can’t leave, you’re like family.”  Bobby said.  “Isn’t that right David?”

David did not reply, he seemed to be staring over everyone at the wall in front of him.

“David?”

David turned towards Bobby with a bemused expression on his face.  “No thanks I’m fine.”  He took a drink from his wine and zoned out again.

There was an awkward silence around the table.  Bobby had a concerned look on his face.  David had been acting strangely for months now.  The silence was broken by Abaddon who rose from his chair to make a toast.

“Now I know I’m the new member of the group but I’d just like to say a few words if I may.  Firstly Mr President I’d like to thank you for the faith that you have shown in me in recent months and I want you to know that I will do whatever I can to ensure that this country moves from strength to strength under your leadership.”

Kennedy gave a nod and a smile to Abaddon.

“And secondly I’d like to thank everyone around the table.  As you all know I don’t have a family, or should I say I didn’t have a family until very recently.  You have all made me feel so welcome and the fact that you would have me here to spend Christmas with all of you, means more to me than I can tell you.  Now I know that there are people missing tonight that you would all like to be here.  So I would like to propose a toast, to absent friends and new friends.”  Abaddon raised his glass in the air, as did everyone else, except David and a chorus of “To absent friends and new friends.”  Filled the room.  Abaddon retook his seat.  Bobby Kennedy glanced at his watch and instructed everyone to retire into the living room for a special Christmas message.

Everyone got to their feet and headed into the living room.  Bobby Kennedy turned on the television and took his seat on the couch next to Ethel.

“What’s the big surprise?”  Faraday asked.

“Just watch.”  Abaddon replied.

Everyone stared at the TV transfixed, with the exception of David who was still focussed on the events of 22
nd
November 1963.  The broadcast came from within the Moon’s orbit.  It was the crew from Apollo 8 who had just become the first people in the course of history, to enter another worlds orbit.  

“We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

And God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called the Seas: and God saw that it was good.
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."

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