THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM

23 Green St."Oh, it's absolutely darling!" Lorraine Davis exclaimed as she held up the soft receiving blanket for inspection.  "You shouldn't have."

"I wish that I'd had time to do more," Jillian sighed as she shook her head.  "I really wanted to give you a proper baby shower, but with everything that's been going on..."

"I know that this has to be...difficult for you and your family," Lorraine said softly as she reached over to give Jillian's hand a gentle, yet reassuring, squeeze.  "Douglas lost his own mother just a few months ago and...well...I know that even though he's trying to put up a strong front, he's still affected by it."

"This was just so sudden," Jillian muttered as she looked away to hide her rising emotions.  "I was...just with my father the night...of the accident and..."

Lorraine Davis"I'm sorry.  I really shouldn't have brought it up."

"No, it's okay," Jillian smiled weakly as she turned around to face Lorraine again.  "I really do appreciate your concern for my family."

"Well, let's talk about something happier."  Lorraine realized that a change in subject was desperately needed in order to lift the dark cloud that had quickly descended on their conversation.  "Have you and Reginald set another wedding date?"

"It's funny that you should mention that.  Actually, we were just discussing it earlier.  I'd really love to get married in June, but...."

"The trial," Lorraine nodded, immediately realizing that she'd brought up yet another uncomfortable subject.  "Honey, I know that everything's going to work out fine.  Douglas is doing everything that he can to prove that Reginald's mother couldn't have killed Annabelle.  I have complete faith in my husband.  If anyone can prove her innocence, he can."

Jillian Stokes"I know," Jillian muttered softly as she began to feel as if the dark clouds that had been surrounding her for months were starting to close in.  "I have complete faith in Douglas, but...well...I'm not sure that I have complete faith in whatever jury is selected."

"Jillian, you and Reginald have to have faith," Lorraine insisted firmly as she carefully rose from her seat on the sofa and walked towards the kitchen.  "In troubled times like these, it's the only thing that you've really got to hold onto.  Can I get you some coffee?"

"Yes, please.  I'd like that very much," Jillian smiled as Lorraine moved into the kitchen leaving her alone with her thoughts.  As she stared down at her hands, she slowly began to twist her engagement ring around her finger.  So many bad things had happened to keep her from marrying Reginald.  Why did it all seem like some kind of omen of even worse things to come?

"Oh!" Lorraine cried out from the kitchen, immediately startling Jillian and pulling her from her troubled thoughts.  The cry was quickly followed by a loud crash.

"Lorraine!" Jillian called out as she bolted from her seat and raced into the kitchen.  "Lorraine, are you all right?"  To her horror, Jillian found her friend in a crumpled heap on the floor clutching her stomach.  "Oh, my lord!  Is it...?"

"T-the baby," Lorraine muttered weakly as she winced from the pain.  "It's the baby."


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - LOUNGE

The Grand Sunset Room"Honestly, 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 scarf..."

"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."

"Not 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 room?"

"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?"

Reginald Callison"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 the terrace?"

"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 this room?"

"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.

Jasper St. JohnJasper 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 say?"

"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."

"I'd 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."

Patterson MonroeReginald 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 belong."


CALLISON PUBLICATIONS - DOUGLAS'S OFFICE

The Offices of Callison Publications & the Daily Post"My god," Jim gasped as Annabelle's words echoed inside his head.  "She set him up.  She set her own husband up knowing full well that he would be killed."

"I...just can't believe it," Douglas sighed as he sunk back into his chair.  "I mean, I knew that she was rather cunning and conniving---her machinations against Charles and Francis Callison proved that---but to do something so dastardly?  I'm just...in shock."

"But from everything that I've learned about Mrs. Lake, she was fiercely protective of her daughter.  To me, it's not outside the realm of possibility that she could be capable of such a thing if it meant protecting her daughter from harm."  Jim slowly began to pace around the room as he considered the new piece of evidence.

"And his body was never found," Douglas commented before reaching down to pick up the letter again so that he could reread her words.  "Just like she wanted."

"But with no body, there's no proof that he really did die in that attack," Jim rationalized.  "It's entirely possible that the man Sara Manchester saw the night of that party was indeed Stephen Lake."

"Stephen Lake?  Alive?"  Douglas shook his head, still reeling from shock.

"And I just thought of something," Jim spoke up carefully.  "Surely, if the hit was made---or at least attempted---Mr. Lake would have realized what was going on.  That letter clearly states that the only reason he was at the docks was to..."

"Meet Annabelle," Douglas nodded as he completed the detective's thought.  "She would have been the only person who would have known where he would be."

Jim Fitzpatrick"He somehow survived the hit and knew he'd been set up," Jim continued with his train of thought.  "He knew that he'd been set up by his own wife to be murdered!"

"Sounds like plenty of motive for revenge, to me," Douglas commented with a smile.  "Stephen Lake wanted revenge on Annabelle for trying to have him bumped off."

"Yeah, but why did it take so long?  He's been presumed dead for years.  Why did he wait?"

"Well, I can answer that one," Douglas explained.  "Remember, this all happened while they were living in Chicago.  After her husband was declared legally dead, Annabelle packed up Stephanie and moved to Albanyville to start over.  What if it were simply a matter of him not being able to find her."

"True," Jim nodded.  "Look, Mr. Davis, do you happen to have any of Mr. Lake's personal documents along with his wife's?"

"No, actually, I don't," Douglas sighed.  "I never knew the man.  I first met Annabelle when she was pulled out of the secretarial pool for me when I joined Callison Publications' legal team.  She'd already been in town for quite a while before that."  He paused and rubbed his chin as another thought struck him.  "What about that fisherman that Annabelle mentioned in the letter?  The witness to her husband's attack."

"Oh, yes, him," Jim sighed.  "The report my department got from the Chicago police mentioned him.  All it said what that he'd seen Mr. Lake attacked and shot on the docks by two men and then dumped into Lake Michigan.  He identified Mr. Lake from photos of him that his wife had.  Oddly enough, when the police went back to question him some months later in an attempt to tie the Lake murder to another mob connected case, the guy had simply disappeared.  From what I gathered from the report, the Chicago police deduced that he'd been rubbed out by the mob because he'd seen Lake's murder."

Douglas Davis"Interesting," Douglas muttered.  "Just out of curiosity, did that report tell you the fisherman's name?"

"Yes, actually, it did."  Jim eyed him curiously, unsure of where the conversation was going.  "I remember it clearly, in fact.  It was a Mr. Samuel Benedict.  Not that it does us any good.  Like I said, the guy just disappeared."

The conversation halted as Douglas' intercom began to buzz.

"Myrtle, I thought that I asked you not to disturb me," Douglas said as he pressed down on the intercom button.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Davis," Myrtle replied, "but you have a phone call.  It's Miss Jillian Stokes.  She said it was urgent."

"I'm sorry, detective," Douglas sighed as he picked up the telephone receiver and pressed it to his ear.  "Jillian, it's Douglas, what's wrong?"  His eyes grew wide with shock and concern.  "Are you...sure?  I...um...yes.  I'll...be right there."

"Mr. Davis, is there something wrong?" Jim asked with concern.

"I'm sorry, detective, but I really have to leave," Douglas quickly explained as he bolted from his chair and grabbed his coat.  "It's my wife."

"I...hope there's nothing wrong."

"Oh, nothing's wrong," Douglas smiled broadly.  "She's having a baby!"



 


TOMORROW

Lorraine gives birth!




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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