HOME - LIVING ROOM
I want to thank you for everything that you're doing," Francis Callison
smiled weakly as she sat on the sofa, the stress of her arrest still bearing
down upon her. "I just...wish I could be more help."
"Francis, I'm going to do
everything in my power to prove that you couldn't have killed Annabelle,"
Douglas Davis replied as he leaned forward on the sofa and took her hand for
reassurance. "Anyone in this town who knows you can't believe that you
could be guilty of such a thing. I don't care what she did to you and your
family, you wouldn't resort to murder."
"I...I just don't understand
it," she sighed with a shake of her head. "Y-yes, we
fought---horribly, in fact---but she was alive when I left the lounge.
I...I can still see that smug little smirk of hers. She told me that it
didn't matter that she'd drugged Charles. He would marry her anyway
it's all right," Charles Callison whispered softly as he sat down next to
her and put her arm around her.
She paused and inhaled deeply before
speaking again. "She said that he would still marry her because I was
a cold and worthless wife. She said that I was used up and that...that I
couldn't fulfill his needs and...desires."
"The nerve of that woman,"
Charles grumbled angrily. "How I could have been so blind?
I...I knew what kind of woman she was. I knew that she was a lying schemer
of the first order,
stop torturing yourself like this," Douglas insisted firmly.
"Trust me, I knew Annabelle quite well. She was my
secretary. I was well aware that she could be less than honorable in
personal matters, but she was very bright and very astute. She was
probably the best secretary I ever had." He paused and focused his
attention directly on Charles. "She wasn't stupid. She knew
exactly what your weaknesses were and she zeroed in on them. She knew that
you felt extreme guilt about what happened at the engagement party and she used
that guilt against you. Annabelle knew how to play her game and knew how
to bend all of the rules to her advantage."
"I just feel so damned stupid!"
"Oh, Charles, I fell for it, too,"
Francis nodded. "I played right into her hands with my own jealousies
and insecurities. While she was using your guilt to convince you to push
me away, she was using my own pain against me. She very cleverly convinced
me to give up on you---us---without my even realizing it." She looked
away and bit her lip. "And now...now she's still playing with
our lives---even from the grave! Even in death, she's working her evil to
keep us apart; but, this time, it's going to be because I'm locked up in a...in
"Francis, don't think things like
that," Charles muttered as he held her tightly. "We're going to
get through this. You heard Douglas. No one in their right mind
could possibly believe that you had anything to do with her death."
"Dad's right," Reginald Callison spoke
up as he came in from the kitchen carrying a tray of fresh coffee with his fiancée
Jillian Stokes at his side. "Mom, you have a sterling reputation in
this town. No one's going to believe that you killed Annabelle."
agree," Jillian nodded as she took the coffee pot from Reginald and
carefully began to pour everyone a cup. "I bet it's no time
before the police realize how ignorant they're making themselves look by
charging you with murder. For goodness sakes, you're a direct descendant
of this city's founder!"
"That won't matter," Francis sighed
weakly and hung her head. "That just makes me an even more popular
subject for public scandal and humiliation. I've been avoiding the
telephone for days. Every time it rings, it's another blasted reporter
wanting to get the big scoop from 'the socialite killer!' I can only
imagine what Corinne Campbell has been saying about all of this at the
"Darling, you can't think about things like
that now," Charles said reassuringly. "Once the truth comes
out---once everyone knows that you're innocent---they'll be the ones looking
besides," Reginald spoke up before taking a sip of his coffee, "I
don't think anyone would really blame you for killing Annabelle. In fact,
I think that some people might view it as justifiable homicide because of the
way she'd tortured you this past year! She was asking for something to
happen. You couldn't help it if she knew all the right buttons to push and
just happened to push one a little too hard. I think that if Douglas can
claim self-defense then..."
"Self-defense?" Francis looked at
her son curiously. "W-why would I claim self-defense? I'm
innocent! I didn't kill Annabelle Lake!"
"You're not...saying that you think your
mother actually did it, are you?" Charles eyed Reginald with
With all eyes wide open with shock and bearing
down upon him, Reginald swallowed hard and quickly looked to Jillian for support
and reinforcement. However, he immediately discovered that her eyes
matched every other pair in the room. Perhaps he'd misspoken.
Perhaps he'd revealed too much of his own theory. He quickly knew that he'd
opened his mouth too far and would find a difficult time explaining what he