THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - LOUNGE
I have no idea what the two of you could be looking for," Jasper St. John
said as he carefully watched Reginald and
Patterson while they diligently
searched the room. "The police finished here months ago and we've
completely cleaned everything since then. I'm sure that even if the police
had missed something, there's nothing left for you to find."
"Jasper, just let us be the judge of
that," Reginald said firmly as he carefully inspected the area where he'd
found Annabelle's body. "Now, let's see. She was lying right
here." He turned and looked in the direction of the doorway.
"I came in there and saw her. I crossed over and...saw the
"Reginald, I'm sorry," Patterson spoke
up. "I guess that there really isn't anything left here for us
to find. I've brought you on a wild goose chase."
so fast, Paddy," Reginald muttered and then tapped his chin as a million
possible scenarios ran through his head. "We're all convinced that no
one else came into the lounge after my mother left and before I came in.
That waitress was by the doors the entire time and swears that she didn't see
anyone else come in. Mother insists that Annabelle was still alive and
kicking when she left, so..." He furrowed his brow and rested his
chin in his hand. "Jasper, is there any other way to get into this
"Oh, no, Mr. Callison!" Jasper replied
firmly. "The police asked me the same thing that night. The
only entrance to this room from the ballroom is through those doors."
"But, what about..." Patterson spoke up
as a thought began to formulate inside his head. "Is there a way in
from the terrace?"
"The terrace?" Reginald asked as he
turned to eye his friend curiously. "That only runs along the building outside the main ballroom. Why do you want to know about
"Because when Sara saw
Stephen Lake, she saw
him coming in from the terrace," Patterson explained. "From the
time frame she gave, it was right before she and Dane left the party and that
was right before Stephanie found you with Annabelle's body."
"I understand the theory, Paddy,"
Reginald nodded, "but..."
"Oh, no one could have gotten in here from
the terrace," Jasper interrupted with conviction. "We always
keep those doors locked when this room isn't in use and it wasn't being used the
night of that party."
"Doors?" Reginald quickly turned
to face Jasper. "Do you mean that the terrace actually runs outside
"No, not the same terrace," Jasper
laughed as if amused by the foolishness of the assumption. "It's a
completely separate terrace, but we always keep those doors locked."
"Could you show us those doors, Mr. St.
John?" Patterson asked.
"Certainly," Jasper replied as he
motioned for them to follow him across the room towards a large set of chintz
drapes. "They're right over here."
Patterson and Reginald quickly turned to eye one
another with shock and realization. The doors were completely hidden by
the drapes that seemed to match and blend in with the decor of the room.
In fact, if the room were dimly lit, it might be possible that no one would
even know that they were there.
swiftly pulled the drapes open to reveal the large set of doors that, certainly
enough, led to the terrace. With a smug grin, he reached for the door
knob. "You see, gentlemen, we keep these doors..." He
stopped mid-sentence as his face froze with an expression of shock and embarrassment.
The doors were not locked! In fact, when he turned the knob, they
swung open with ease.
"Well, I'll be," Reginald spoke up as
he quickly glanced in Patterson's direction. "Always locked, you
"I...um...well..." Jasper stammered
awkwardly. "They're supposed to be locked! We only
unlock them so that they can be used when the lounge is in use."
"Have there been any functions in the lounge
since the night of that party?" Reginald questioned.
"No. None." Jasper still
had a look of shock plastered on his face. "Actually, business has
been rather slow, lately. We haven't used this room for months."
like to have a look at the terrace, if you don't mind," Patterson said as
he slowly walked closer to the doors.
"Oh, yes, of course," Jasper
muttered. "Please, just help..." He was interrupted by the
shrill ring of the telephone that sat on the bar of the lounge. "If
you'll excuse me, gentlemen."
Reginald and Patterson nodded in unison and
slowly stepped out onto the terrace to have a better look.
"I don't know what we're expecting to
find," Reginald sighed. "If there ever was any kind of evidence
here, surely it's..."
"Mr. Callison!" Jasper called out as he
raced through the doors. "It's your office on the phone. They
said it was urgent."
"Paddy, I'll be back in just a moment."
"Mr. Monroe, surely you don't think that
someone could have gotten into the room from out here," Jasper said
as he watched Patterson closely. "Why, we're over 25 floors up!"
"I don't know," Patterson muttered with
a shake of his head. "I just don't know what to think."
"Paddy, I hate to cut this short,"
Reginald said as he hurried back onto the terrace, "but something's come up
and I..." He paused as he wondered if he should reveal the true
nature of the emergency. "Well, I've got to go. I'm leaving you
in charge of things, for now. If you find anything that might prove that
someone else could have gotten into that room and killed Annabelle, I want to be
the first to know about it."
"You got it, chief," Patterson replied
with a grin as he gave a mock salute.
As Reginald hurried back through the doors and
out of the lounge leaving Patterson and Jasper alone on the terrace, Patterson
leaned forward against the railing and looked out upon the city of Albanyville
with solid determination.
"I'm close to figuring this out," he
muttered to himself. "I can feel it. I can also feel that
you're out there, somewhere, Steph. Don't worry. I'll find
you. I'll find you and I'll bring you home---exactly where you