Murder Has Two Faces

Part 16


Tonya S. Coley


For disclaimers: See Part 1



Chapter 31

Marie Ricotta stood near the window as the movers removed the last of Ballantine’s furniture from her new office.

"Ma’am, would you like to keep this bookcase?" One of the movers asked, secretly hoping that she wouldn’t want them to move the large oak monstrosity.

"Sorry guys. My furniture is cherry, and oak will clash with it." Marie said, giving them a sympathetic smile. "Maybe you can take it apart so it will be easier to move."

"I think this is all one piece." The other mover said as he checked the bookcase. "Thank goodness this is the last of it."

Marie moved out of the way as they began to pull the bookcase from against the wall. Alex was always so pretentious. She watched as the movers struggled with the bookcase. They placed plastic pads under each corner so they could slide it out of the office without breaking their backs. When it was away from the wall, she noticed a micro-cassette recorder on the floor. She walked over and picked it up. This must have belonged to Alex. Hmm, still set on record. Wonder what the asshole was dictating.

"It looks like they made good progress." Judith Bates said, startling Marie from her thoughts.

Marie gave her friend a warm smile. "Yes they have. The new carpet will be put down later, and my furniture will be delivered tomorrow."

"Sounds good, Marie." Judi smiled. "Would you like to get a cup of coffee?"

"I’d love a cup." Marie replied, tossing the recorder in her purse, and then placing the strap on her shoulder. "I really need a caffeine fix right about now."


Karen sat in her former boss’s office, hunched over his computer. She had been looking at the files on Annette Scott. This is her fifteenth year of twenty-five years to life sentence. She was convicted for the murder of her stepfather. "I wonder why she did it?" She asked herself as she continued to read the file.

"Find anything?" Dave Boliek, her former editor asked as he entered his office.

"Yeah. Annette Scott is a twenty-five to lifer. She was convicted of killing her stepfather." She revealed.

"I remember that one." Dave said thoughtfully as he sat in the chair in front of his desk. "He beat the hell out of the whole family for years. The Scott woman had moved out when she was old enough, but she had a little brother that was still in the household. She had testified that she had gone over to the home and found her stepfather beating her mother and little brother. She came to their defense, and the old man attacked her."

"Then why is she serving time if it was self defense?" She asked, turning from the computer screen giving Dave her full attention.

He shook his head. "The mother testified that Annette killed him in cold blood and then attacked her."

"You’re shitting me. She turned on her own daughter who was trying to save her and her son?" Karen asked, her face mirroring her disbelief. "Couldn’t her brother testify?"

"No, he was in total shock." Dave revealed. "The poor kid spent a couple of years in therapy just trying to get over the trauma."

"Well, where is he now?"

"No one knows. He left the state once he was released." He said.

"It looks like she has blown her chances of ever getting out of prison." She took a sip from her coffee mug. "What happened to the mother?"

"She died in a fire a few years ago."

She got just what she deserved. Karen turned back to the computer. "Do you remember the brother’s name? It’s not in any of the court records."

Dave took a drink of his Pepsi. "I can’t think of it off hand, but I may be able to find it for you." He paused for a moment. "Why do you want the brother’s name?"

"I dunno. Just a hunch." She said as she continued her perusal of the court records on the screen before her.


Tracy still gripped Laura’s hand as the nurse checked his pupils for dilation.

‘Remind me to smack that bitch when we finally wake up.’

‘Shut up and keep at it. We are almost there. I have to help Johnnie.’

"That’s right, Tracy. Keep it up, you’re doing great." Laura said, stroking his arm.

"Keep talking to him while I get the doctor." The nurse told her as she rushed out of Tracy’s room.

"You’re almost back, Tracy." Laura said. "Just think how pleased Johnnie will be when she finds out that you are back." She felt Tracy’s grip increase. "If you put a bruise on my arm, Courtney will kick your ass."

‘Sorry Laura.’

When she felt Tracy ease up on his grip, she smiled. "That’s better. Do you realize how worried we have been?"

‘I know, and I am sorry.’

Laura moved closer to Tracy’s face when she saw his eyelids flutter. "C’mon big guy, that’s it. Just a little more."

Tracy’s eyelids continued to flutter, and finally slowly opened. Laura’s face was streaked with happy tears. His throat was dry and raspy from lack of use. "Johnnie." He whispered.

"What did you say, Tracy?" Laura asked as she moved her ear close to his mouth.

"Johnnie didn’t do it." He quietly said. "I know who did."


An emotionally drained Johnnie walked toward her front door, where Alma met her. They said nothing as they wrapped themselves into each other. Johnnie reveled in Alma’s embrace, enjoying the feel of Alma’s growing belly and the baby that kicked against her. My family.

"How did it go, baby?" Alma asked, snuggling her head against Johnnie’s chest.

Johnnie sighed. "About as well as can be expected, Babygirl."

"C’mon inside, baby. Take a shower and change. Tori, Ceecee, Myra and Annie have gone to get some take out." Alma informed her. "Annie is anxious to see you."

"It will be good to see my old friend." Johnnie said as she walked toward their bedroom. She pulled off her jacket, and immediately stripped out of her clothes. It was all Alma could do to keep from jumping Johnnie’s bones. Johnnie caught her wife leering at her. "You like what you see, baby?"

Alma moistened her lips. "Indeed I do."

"Come closer." Johnnie requested, her voice taking a seductive tone as she held her arms open.

Alma walked slowly over to Johnnie, her eyes floating over various parts of Johnnie’s body. When she reached her goal, she wrapped her wife up in a warm and loving embrace. "Just let me hold you, Querida."

Johnnie’s body molded to Alma’s and at that moment she felt safe and secure. Though Johnnie was whom one would consider the alpha in their relationship, there were times when she needed to feel protected. Alma was sensitive to those times, and took great pleasure in being her wife’s ‘protector’.

"Thank you baby." Johnnie whispered.

"For what?" Alma asked; her voice muffled against Johnnie’s chest.

"For knowing what I need, and when I need it." Johnnie said, and then kissed the top of Alma’s head.

"Anytime, my love."

Johnnie pulled back, and lifted Alma’s chin. "I love you, Alma." She then placed a soft kiss on Alma’s lips.

Alma smiled. "I love you too, but I think you can do a little better than that, Querida."

Johnnie lowered her head to meet Alma’s waiting lips, and kissed her with reckless abandon. They were just getting involved in it when they heard Tori and the rest of their friends enter the house. "Their timing really sucks."


A naked Karen lay on her stomach. Maddie’s thigh was draped over Karen’s buttocks. She drew patterns with her fingers on Karen’s shoulder.

"What are you thinking about, baby?" Maddie asked.

Karen sighed. "A missing boy."

Maddie turned on her side. "You’re working on a missing child case?"

"Well actually, he is no longer a child." Karen revealed as she turned over onto her back. He’s an adult, now."

Maddie snuggled up next to Karen, placing her head on Karen’s shoulder. "Is it anything you can talk about?"

"I was doing a little digging into Annette Scott’s past." She said. "She was convicted of killing her stepfather."

"Alvin Markham?" Maddie asked.

"That’s the guy."

"I was second chair on that case." She revealed.

Karen sat up and pulled Maddie along with her. "Baby, do you remember any details of that case?"

"Not too many. I do remember that something just wasn’t right about that case." Maddie revealed. "The mother testified that the Scott woman attacked her husband."

"I know, and that just sucked. How can a mother turn on her own daughter like that?" Karen asked, unable to mask her disgust.

Maddie looked at her lover. "How can you be so sure that the mother wasn’t telling the truth?"

"That man terrorized his family for years. How could you even prosecute with a track record like that?" Karen demanded, a little to harshly.

"First, it wasn’t my call." Maddie argued. "Second, there wasn’t one shred of evidence to back that up. No police reports, nothing." She paused in an attempt to reign in her growing temper. "It was basically Scott’s word against her mother’s."

Karen realized that she was accusing Maddie. "Honey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make it seem like it was your fault."

"It’s ok." Maddie shrugged. "Why are you thinking about the boy, anyway?"

"I dunno. I have this gut feeling." Karen said softly. "Do you remember his name?"

"Danny Scott. I think he was 13 at the time." She said.

"Thanks, baby." Karen whispered, giving her a kiss. She moved to get off the bed, but Maddie stopped her.

"Where are you going?"

"I need to do a little work." She said as she kissed Maddie again. "Trust me, I’ll be back."

Maddie gave her a seductive grin. "Make sure you do."


Annette walked into the showers. She saw her intended victim as she lathered her body.

"Getting all dolled up to be a snitch, eh?" Annette asked.

"What the fuck to do want?" Mary growled. She knew that she had to sound brave to the huge woman.

"You know what happens to stoolies when they talk to much." Annette told her. "I can’t understand why you want to get your ass whupped for that pig."

"Who says I’m gonna get my ass whupped?" Mary demanded, preparing herself for a fight.

Annette walked closer to her, sneering the entire way. "There are a lot of people you’re gonna piss off if you open that trap of yours. I’m here to convince you not to do it."

Mary knew that she would have to make the first move to gain the advantage so she charged her, slamming her shoulder into Annette’s mid section.

"You fucking bitch." Annette hissed as she was slammed into the shower wall. She pounded her fist onto Mary’s back in order to release Mary’s grip. "I’ll kill you." She roared as Mary backed away from her.

They circled each other, trying to find an opening. Mary thought she had found one and charged Annette again, this time she was met with a roundhouse kick to the face. Blood and a few teeth were spat on the floor as Mary struggled to get back on her feet.

"You know better than to rat out your friends." Annette growled near Mary’s ear. Suddenly she was seeing stars when Mary’s elbow connected with her nose, making her fall back.

Mary used this opening to scurry across the floor. She reached the corner of the shower room and removed a loose tile. She pulled the shank from its hiding place and then she stood up. "Come get some, bitch. You fucked with the wrong one this time."

Annette wiped the blood from her nose and mouth, shaking the cobwebs from her head as she stood. She grinned evilly. "Can’t do this one on one, huh? Bring it."

They circled each other again, this time Mary was dodging back and forth with the shank. Annette made certain that Mary didn’t get too close. Suddenly she slipped on a small piece of soap and fell backwards. Mary leaped on her with the shank prepared to strike when Annette blocked the blow. The struggle continued, and Annette was finally able to roll Mary over. Mary gasped, startling Annette. Annette raised herself a little from Mary’s body, finding the shank buried deeply in Mary’s chest. "Oh fuck!" Annette exclaimed, leaning over Mary as she took her last breath. "I’m sorry." She whispered, and then ran out of the shower room.

"I really fucked up." Annette said aloud as she sat in the solitary confinement cell. She hit the wall in her frustration. "Why does this keep happening to me?" You have no one to blame but yourself. Always sticking your nose in other people’s affairs, you should have learned from the first time. She was brought from her musings by the sound of a familiar voice. She stood and walked over to the cell door. "What are you doing here?"

"I needed to see you." The man said. "You ok, Nette?"

Annette sighed, relieved to here the familiar male voice. "I’m ok. How did you get in here?"

"I borrowed a guard’s uniform when I went into the locker room." He told her. "Nette, I’m sorry. Seems I always get you in trouble."

"Stop it, Danny. It was an accident. Don’t go blaming yourself."

"I promise that I am gonna do everything I can to get you out of this mess. Even if I have to reveal…"

"Stop it." She interrupted. "You’ll do no such thing. I’m already here, so it makes no difference."

He sighed. "You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for me and mom."

"I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her. She’s the one who lied." She said, a little more forcefully than she meant to. "Sorry Danny boy."

"Look, I gotta go before someone spots me. I love you, Nette." He said, grasping her fingers through the small portal in the door.

She locked her fingers with his. "I love you, too."


Johnnie kneeled on the ground as Annie walked around her, chanting. The others were inside watching. When Annie finished the Walk of the Red Road, she kneeled in front of Johnnie. "Red Owl, you will see that everything will be ok." Annie said.

"I know. The Spirits told me. I lost faith for a while." Johnnie revealed.

Annie placed her large hand on Johnnie’s shoulder. "This is true. Your father came to me in a dream. He said that he couldn’t reach you. He told me to call upon the Spirits in your behalf. I have done so every night since the trial began."

"Thank you Standing Bear."

Tori sat near Myra. "That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen." She whispered.

"She has done it every night for a while now." Myra said. "Last night she danced. Now that was a sight to see. It was incredible."

"I remember Johnnie taking me to Pembroke for the Nuwatiegwa." Alma added. "They were in full ceremonial dress." The phone ringing stopped her from continuing. She waddled over to answer it. "Hello."

"Alma, this is Mark." He told her. "Is Johnnie around? I have some wonderful news."

"She’s outside. What is it, Mark?" She asked.

"Tracy has just regained consciousness." He informed her.

Alma yelped in delight, making her friends move to where she was. "That’s fantastic."

"That’s not all, Alma. He knows that Johnnie didn’t kill Ballantine."

"We all know that."

"No, Alma. He saw who did it." Mark said. "Now get her over here as fast as you can."

Alma’s eyes filled with tears. "We’ll be there as soon as we can." She hung up and turned to her anxiously awaiting friends. "Tracy is conscious, and he saw who murdered Ballantine."

"What?" Ceecee asked.

Tori was stunned. "Why didn’t he reveal this from the beginning?"

Before Alma could answer, Johnnie and Annie came inside. Johnnie looked at the expressions on their faces. "What’s going on in here?"

Alma turned and ran into Johnnie’s arms. "Mark called and said that Tracy is awake, and he saw who killed Ballantine."

All Johnnie heard was that Tracy had regained consciousness. "Thank the Spirits. Let’s get over there right now." She rushed to their bedroom to change her clothes.


Glenda paced back and forth in the room, listening while Tracy recounted the events that happened in Ballantine’s office. "Tracy this is incredible." She paused and stood next to his bed. "Why didn’t you tell this to us sooner?"

Tracy took another long sip of the cool water. His throat was parched and raw. "I can’t explain it, Glen." He managed to speak louder than a whisper. "There have been things going on with me. I can’t explain it right now because I don’t understand it myself." He took another sip of water. "All I know is a man went into Ballantine’s office after Johnnie left, and he killed him."

Glenda looked at Tracy; her face was full of confusion and her mind was full of questions. "Tracy, are you absolutely sure about this?"

Tracy sighed. "Yes Glen, I’m positive." He paused. "I asked my doctor to get me a psychiatrist."

"What?!" Glenda exclaimed. "Why in God’s name do you need a shrink?"

Tracy’s head began to ache.

‘What do you think you will be able to do for your precious Johnnie? Even your dear friend doesn’t believe you. No one else will either, so why bother?’

"Shut up, damn it!" Tracy hoarsely yelled.

"Why are you yelling at me? I just asked a simple question?" Glenda asked.

Tracy realized that he spoke out loud. "Uhm, sorry Glen. I didn’t mean it."

Glenda placed her hand on his shoulder in understanding. "It’s ok, Tracy. You’ve been through a lot. I didn’t mean to push."

He rubbed his face. "Thanks, Glen."

She leaned down and kissed his cheek.

Chapter 32

Alma could see that Johnnie was chomping at the bit to get inside the hospital to see Tracy. She struggled to keep pace with Johnnie’s strides. "Baby, you and Tori go ahead, I’m sure Ceecee will keep me company while I waddle upstairs."

"I’m sorry baby, was I walking to fast?" Johnnie asked, looking her wife over. She could see that Alma was tired and breathing heavy. She stopped at one of the benches. "Sit here for a few minutes to catch your breath." Johnnie helped Alma sit down.

"Johnnie, you and Tori go ahead. I will wait with Alma." Ceecee said, sitting next to Alma.

"I’ll stay with you two." Tori said. "It’s dark and there could be trouble."

Johnnie looked at Tori. She knew that Tori was more than capable of taking care of Alma and Ceecee, so she conceded. "Alright, but come up as soon as you are rested baby." She kissed Alma’s cheek, and then ran into the hospital.


Johnnie slid to a stop in ICU, startling Laura, Glenda, and the other few visitors in the waiting area. She looked around until she saw her friends, and then walked quickly over to them. "How is he? Is he really awake?" She asked, barely taking a breath.

Laura grabbed Johnnie by the hand. "Yes, he’s awake and alert."

Johnnie sat down as tears streamed down her cheeks. Thank you Great Spirit. "When can I see him?"

Glenda sat next to her, rubbing her shoulder. "Johnnie, I don’t think that will be a good idea right now."

Johnnie wiped her tears from her face. "What do you mean not a good idea?"

"He has information that may clear you of the murder charge." Laura revealed.

She looked at Laura in disbelief. "What? I…I don’t understand."

"Johnnie if you go in there now, well, it could be considered witness tampering. You don’t want to take that chance." Glenda advised her. "It will be better for you not to have any contact with him."

Johnnie looked from Glenda back to Laura in a state of confusion. "What in the hell are you talking about?"

Laura kneeled in front of her. "Tracy said that there was a man that went into Ballantine’s office right after you left him."

Johnnie was astonished. "But…if he knew that, then why didn’t he tell anyone. Why didn’t he go to the police?"

"There is something going on with Tracy. He asked his doctor to request a shrink." Glenda said.

"What the fuck is going on?" Johnnie asked, placing her head in her hands. At that moment, Alma Tori and Ceecee walked into the waiting area. Alma saw the crestfallen look on her wife’s face.

"What’s going on?" She asked.

Johnnie looked up at Alma. "They said that I shouldn’t see Tracy. He has information that could clear me, and it would be considered witness tampering."

"If he does have information that could clear you, it would be best." Tori said.

"Why didn’t he say something before now?" Ceecee asked, looking at Glenda.

"I can’t answer that, because I have no idea." She said. "There is something definitely going on, and we will soon get to the bottom of it."


Mark sat next to Tracy’s bed holding his hand, caressing the back of it with his thumb. Tracy reached up for Mark’s face with his free hand to wipe away errant tears.

"Baby, I know that this has been rough on you. Glen and Laura both told me that you hardly left the hospital." Tracy paused. "I realize that you didn’t want to leave me while I was in a coma, but I will understand if you leave now."

Mark looked confused. "Why are you thinking that I will leave you?"

"I haven’t forgotten what I did you to the night before the accident. What I did was reprehensible. I did to you what was done…" He suddenly became silent.

"Tracy, that night you were not yourself. I don’t know what happened to you, but you were like a totally different person." Mark said quietly as he continued to stroke Tracy’s hand. "You didn’t even sound like yourself."

‘You got that right. That ass was good.’

‘Shut up.’

Tracy cleared his throat. "I realize that there is a problem, so I asked the doctor to request a psychiatrist. I need to get myself some help."

Mark moved to sit on the edge of Tracy’s bed. "Tracy, I’m in this for the long haul. I’m not going to leave you. I’m going to help you through this."

"Thank you." He whispered.

Mark smiled. "Tracy, can I ask you something?"

"Go ahead."

"If you knew that there was someone who went into Ballantine’s office after Johnnie left, why didn’t you tell anyone before now?"

Tracy lifted his arm that was bound in a cast, and ran it through his hair. "I don’t know. I must have blocked it out somehow. I can’t explain it. That’s another reason I need a psychiatrist."

"I hope that all of this will be sorted out. Johnnie doesn’t deserve what’s happening to her." Mark said.

Tracy nodded in agreement. "With all that is going on with her, Laura told me that she came by everyday after court was adjourned to see me."

"Yes she has." Mark said. "She would talk to you everyday."

"I wish I knew why I didn’t remember." He said, frustration showing in his voice.

"Tracy, just relax. You have remembered now, that’s what counts." Mark assured. "I’d better go and see if she has gotten here yet. I know she is anxious to see you."

Tracy smiled as he watched his lover leave his room. ‘Alright, now talk.’

‘What do you want?’

‘I kept my end of the bargain. I helped you get us out of that coma. Now, you have to tell me everything you saw.’

‘Why should I? No one is going to believe us.’

‘You let me worry about that. I will convince them.’

‘Well, it’s your funeral.’

‘Spill it.’

‘All right, already. Damn. It was a white guy, big and strong.’

‘Any distinguishing characteristics, hair color, facial scars?’

‘Forever the cop, eh?’

‘Just answer the question.’

‘His face had blood on it when he came out. That’s all I remember right now. I’m tired, just leave me alone.’

‘Fine, but this is not over.’


Alma sat in one of the uncomfortable hospital chairs. She watched as Johnnie stood over by the window looking out with a forlorn expression on her face. She turned to Glenda, who was seated next to her. "Are you sure that Johnnie shouldn’t see Tracy? Not even for a few minutes?"

"Alma, if there is even a chance that Tracy will be able to testify at the trial, then I don’t want to risk Abbott using any communication between those two to block it." Glenda whispered. "He could say that there was witness tampering and keep any testimony that Tracy could offer out of the proceedings."

Alma sighed. "I know that you are right, and you understand situations like this. I just wish that she could see him. She has been here everyday, wearing herself down between worrying about him and then the trial."

"I know she has, Alma." Glenda said softly. "Those two share something special. Tracy and I are like brother and sister, but he and Johnnie share a bond that is different." She paused. "I realize that this will be hard for her to do, but she has to."

"Yes, it will." Alma agreed. "I just hope that she understands; that she sees beyond her need to be with him."

Johnnie looked out into the blackened sky. I really need to see him for myself. I want to see that he’s really ok. Johnnie shifted on her feet, and stuck her hands in her pockets. Why didn’t he tell anyone about seeing the man who murdered Ballantine before now? Was he on his way to tell us when he had the accident? Why was he even at Ballantine’s office? What the fuck is going on? She was interrupted from her thoughts when she heard Tori calling her name. "Sorry, what did you say?"

"I was asking if you wanted this cup of coffee." Tori said, handing the extra cup to her friend. "I know it’s not Alma’s, but it may help some."

"Thanks, Tori." Johnnie took the cup and brought it to her lips for a sip. She grimaced. "Eww, that is some nasty shit." She threw the cup in the garbage.

Tori took a sip and then followed suit, throwing her cup in the garbage can as well. "If you drink a cup of that, you would need to be put in ICU." She joked, trying to lighten Johnnie’s mood. "You know, I still don’t understand why Bob couldn’t have used Mary’s confession as evidence."

"Well…" Johnnie said, shifting from one foot to the other. "Mary’s confession was kinda coerced."

"What do you mean kinda coerced?" Tori questioned.

"I, uh, threatened to beat the crap out of her if she didn’t tell me the truth."

Eyebrows rose in response. "Oh, I see."

"Can you imagine the field day Abbott would have had with that?" Johnnie asked.

"Heh, yeah I can. He is such an asshole." Tori said.

Before they could continue their conversation, Johnnie heard Mark call her name. She rushed over, meeting him halfway. "How is he, Mark? Is he ok?"

"He’s fine, Johnnie." Mark said. "He’s very anxious to see you."

"I’m anxious to see him, too. But Glenda thinks that it would be a bad idea." She revealed.

Mark gave her a questioning look. "Why? I don’t understand."

"If Tracy has information that can help me, then he may be able to testify. Glen thinks that Abbott would try to say that I was tampering with a witness if I should talk to him." She said sadly.

"She’s probably right, Johnnie. We don’t need to do anything that could jeopardize your case."

"I know, but Tracy is my friend. I need to see for myself that he’s ok."

"He knows that you love him. He knows that you have been with him every day. We will explain it to him. I’m sure that he will understand." He said, placing a comforting hand on her bicep. Mark noticed all his friends had gathered around them. "Tracy is doing fine. He’s talking more." He paused. "Glen, would you be a dear and go to Tracy and let him know that Johnnie is here. Please explain the situation to him."

Glenda nodded and left to go talk to Tracy.

Johnnie looked over to an exhausted Alma. "I think we should go. Alma looks out of it, and I’m gonna go put her to bed."

"Thank you all for coming." Mark said. "I will give you call when I think you guys have gotten home."

"I’d appreciate it, Mark. Be sure to let him know that I really wanted to see him." She said, wrapping her arm around Alma’s waist. "Goodnight everybody."


Glenda stood at the doorway of Tracy’s room and saw that his eyes were closed. "Tracy, are you asleep?"

He quickly opened his eyes. "I have gotten enough sleep to last me a few years, Glen. I was just thinking." He paused. "Is Johnnie here?"

"Yes, she’s here." She said as she took a seat in the chair next to his bed.

"Well, why hasn’t she been in to see me?" He asked.

"Tracy, I don’t think that would be a good idea." She told him.

"Why not?"

"If you are called to testify, Johnnie shouldn’t have any contact with you." She revealed.

"I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. That jerk Abbott could say that she got me to say all this. Damn."

Glenda smiled. "I’m glad that I’m not going to have the same trouble with you that I had with Johnnie. She was on her head to get in here."

Mark chuckled, imagining the fit that Johnnie gave Glenda. "I bet she was a handful."

"Yes she was. It was like she wasn’t grasping what I was telling her. You mean the world to her."

"I know. I feel the same about her." He said softly. "She doesn’t know this, but when she was shot a few years ago, I went to see her. Before I had my…"

Glenda grasped his hand. "It’s ok."

He wiped away the tears that welled up in his eyes. "Just let her know that I understand."

She placed her other hand around his. "I will, Tracy."

"Has anyone called Bob?"

"I will as soon as I get home." She paused. "You know, Kaia is going to be excited that her uncle Tracy is back."

He smiled at the thought of the little girl who called him her big teddy bear. "Give her a big kiss and hug for me, ok?"

"I will." She assured him.


Johnnie sat at the foot of the bed, massaging Alma’s swollen feet and legs.

"Oh, that feels good, baby." Alma moaned in her pleasure.

"I should have had you stay home, Babygirl. These legs are really swollen." Johnnie said as she administered her kind of therapy.

"Honey, it’s ok. You needed me, and I was glad to be there for you." She said, reveling in the feeling of Johnnie’s strong hands caressing her.

"I’m just thankful that Tracy is awake and ok. He has been through a lot. The trauma to his body was devastating. He could have died, or never regained consciousness." She said, thinking back to when she was comatose.

Alma, sensing the melancholy in her wife’s voice, removed her feet from Johnnie’s lap. "Come here, Querida."

Johnnie crawled to Alma’s waiting arms. She snuggled herself into them. "This is nice."

Alma smiled. "Indeed it is." She paused, and decided to take Johnnie’s mind off Tracy. "Baby, tell me what you and Annie were doing outside."

"Oh, ok. We did ‘Walk the Red Road #5’. It’s where I communicate with the Great Spirit from my heart, and live the insight I receive." She explained.

"And what did the Great Spirit reveal?" She asked as she absentmindedly played in Johnnie’s hair.

Johnnie looked up into Alma’s eyes. "That everything is going to be alright."

"That’s good to know." Alma whispered just before capturing Johnnie’s lips.


Tori was brushing her teeth when she heard Ceecee boot up her laptop. "Honey, what are you doing?" She asked, peeking her head in their bedroom.

"Oh, I’m just going to finish reading this story I found on the web." Ceecee told her as she stroked the keyboard.

Tori rinsed and spat, then turned off the bathroom light and walked toward the bed. "What story?"

"Oh a little PWP that caught my interest." Ceecee said, holding the laptop steady while Tori plopped down on the bed.

"What is a PWP?" Tori asked, leaning over to look at the screen.

Ceecee sighed. What is it with all the questions? "Never mind, you wouldn’t understand."

"Hmpf, ok then Miss Stingy, don’t share it with me." Tori pouted.

"C’mon you big baby." Ceecee acquiesced. She moved the laptop so that they could share.

"Just One of Them Days, by Marlis Appleblossom." She read the title.

"Hush up and read." Ceecee admonished.

They both read in silence, the quiet being interrupted by an occasional damn, murmured by Tori. Her breathing became erratic, and her hands began to wander her wife’s body.

"Stop it." Ceecee squealed.

"Uhm, why don’t we put Ms. Appleblossom to bed for tonight and create our own hot story?" Tori whispered suggestively in Ceecee’s ear, eliciting a moan from her highly aroused spouse. Tori took the laptop and put it on the floor, and then showered her wife’s body with kisses.

Chapter 33

Bob walked quickly to Judge O’Connell’s chambers. He met Abbott sitting in the outer office.

"What is this about? " Abbott demanded.

"Good morning to you too, Mr. Abbott." Bob sarcastically said.

"Cut the crap, Wooten." Abbott snapped. "What is so important that we had to meet here so early?"

"You’ll see soon enough." Bob said.

The door to the judge’s chambers opened. "Come in gentlemen." Judge O’Connell said, greeting each man with a nod.

Abbott entered, followed by Bob, who closed the door. They both sat down after the judge took his seat.

O’Connell cleared his throat. "Alright Mr. Wooten. Why have you requested this little gathering?"

"Your Honor, I am making a change to my witness list." Bob said calmly.

"You didn’t have to request a meeting in chambers for that." Abbott spat.

"Your Honor, if I may continue?" Bob asked, casting Abbott an irritated glance.

"By all means, Mr. Wooten. This had better be good." The judge warned.

"Your Honor, Tracy Kenon will be a witness for the defense." Bob said. "But I am requesting an adjournment until he is released from the hospital."

"This is preposterous, Your Honor." Abbott snapped. "This is just a stall tactic because he is trying to postpone the inevitable."

"Believe me, Your Honor, this is not the case. Mr. Kenon has evidence that could clear my client."

"Bullshit." Abbott disputed.

"Counselor!" O’Connell bellowed. "You will not use that language in my chambers. Are we clear?"

With that, Abbott was reminded where he was. "My apologies Your Honor, but I must protest this blatant tactic used by the defense. Mr. Kenon is a friend of the defendant. Why is he just now coming forward with this so called evidence?"

"Good question, Mr. Wooten. Care to elaborate?" O’Connell inquired.

"Mr. Kenon somehow repressed what he knew of the events of Mr. Ballantine’s murder. A psychiatrist has been requested to talk with Mr. Kenon."

Abbott sat on the edge of his seat. "Your Honor, if you are entertaining this idea, I request that the prosecution is also allowed to interview Mr. Kenon."

Judge O’Connell leaned back in his chair and thought. "Court will be recessed for today. You will be notified of my decision before 5 pm. Good day gentlemen." He watched as the adversaries left his chambers. I need a vacation when this trial is over.

When Abbott closed the door and they were in the outer office, he turned to Bob. "That was pretty slick, Wooten."

"This is not a trick, Abbott. I hope that you think better of me than that." Bob said. "I don’t need any tricks to get my client off. She’s innocent and you will soon see that."

"I wouldn’t be too sure about that. O’Connell hasn’t given you what you want."

"You’re right. He hasn’t…yet." Bob said and then walked out, leaving an opened mouth Abbott behind.


Karen walked up the steps of the 3rd precinct. I hope that he will talk to me. She walked in and went to the desk of the day sergeant. "Excuse me?"

"Can I help you?" He asked.

"I’m looking for Detective Petrillo." She said.

He looked at her, then handed her a visitor’s pass. "Sign here." He said as he slid the logbook over to her. "Take the elevator to the third floor. The second door on the left is homicide."

"Thanks." She said as she clipped the pass to the breast pocket of her shirt. Karen had a nose for news. She was like a dog with a bone when she sniffed out a story. There has to be some connection between Annette Scott and the Ballantine murder. If I can just find her brother, I may be able to piece this thing together.

Pizo sat at his desk thinking about Annette Scott. Why would she murder Mary if she hadn’t been hired to do so? Who is behind all of this? Maybe I should go to the prison and ask her some questions. He was about to pick up the phone when he noticed a woman walking toward him.

"Detective Petrillo?" Karen asked.

He stood up and extended his hand. "Yeah, what can I do for you, Miss…?"

"Karen Grace." She told him, accepting his hand and returning a firm handshake.

"The reporter?" He asked in amazement. "You look and sound different that you do on TV."

"Yeah, I get that a lot." She said. "I was wondering if I could talk to you for a moment."

"Miss Grace, I don’t have time for an interview or anything." He said, taking his seat.

"May I?" She asked, pointing at the chair near his desk.

Pizo sighed. "I really don’t have time."

"Please Detective. I won’t take up much of your time." She guaranteed him.

"Alright, have a seat." He said.

She sat down and leaned forward, hoping that their conversation wouldn’t be overheard. "Thank you. Before we start, I would like to assure you that I am not here as a reporter. Johnnie is a friend of mine, and I want to do anything I can to help her case."

"I beg your pardon. Johnnie is not one of your fans." Pizo said, leaning back in his chair. "As a matter of fact, I know she detests you."

"She did at one point, until she got to know the real me." Karen said quietly. "I became a friend of hers the night I brought her home from the Leather and Lace."

Pizo’s eyebrows rose in surprise. "It was you. I knew that I recognized you that night."

Karen looked around and noticed that they were being watched. "If it’s ok with you, I’d like to take this conversation somewhere a little more private."

Pizo caught the hint and looked around. He saw that Drew and his partner were looking at them. "Sure, come with me." They both stood up, and he led them to Captain Hill’s unoccupied office.

"I thought he was married." Angie Harris, Drew’ partner, said as she watched them go into the captain’s office. "They sure seemed awfully cozy."

"Yeah, he is." Drew distractedly replied. "I wonder what that’s all about."


Johnnie rolled over and saw that it was 8:30 am. "Aww fuck me!" She exclaimed as she leaped from the bed. "I know I set that alarm."

"Honey, come back to bed." Alma moaned, her voice heavy with sleep.

"Alma, I have to be at the courthouse in thirty minutes." Johnnie said, rushing to the closet.

"Querida, Bob called early this morning and said that court would be in recess today."

"What?" Johnnie asked.

"He said that the judge was deciding whether or not Tracy could testify. He should know something this evening."

Johnnie scratched her head and walked back over to the bed, snuggling back under the covers. "I didn’t hear the phone ring."

"It rang about an hour after you went to sleep. You tossed and turned the whole night." Alma said, moving closer to her.

Johnnie wrapped her arms around her. "Sorry. I just had a lot on my mind."

"I know you did. It’s a good thing you get to sleep in. You would have been exhausted." Alma said, kissing her on the cheek. "Since you are awake, would you like to do something for me?"

Johnnie grinned as she felt Alma’s hand creep up her thigh. "What did you have in mind?"

"I would love to have some blueberry pancakes." Alma said, almost pleading.

"Pancakes?" Johnnie squeaked.

Alma blushed. "Yeah, the baby is hungry."

"I thought you said that I could sleep in." She whined.

"Sleep when the baby and I are fed. Call me when they are ready." Alma said as she turned her back and burrowed under the covers.

Johnnie stared at Alma’s back for a few moments. "I thought you wanted to… you know."

"Oh we will, but I need something to eat first." Alma mumbled.

Johnnie smiled as she got off the bed. "Well, that’s different. Blueberry pancakes, coming right up."


Karen and Pizo emerged from the captain’s office after agreeing to meet up after his shift to compare notes. She was followed by two sets of eyes until she left the room.

Angie stood up and walked over to Pizo’s desk. "Hey Petrillo, you got somebody on the side?" She asked jokingly.

Pizo laughed. He liked Angie. "No way. I have all I can handle at home."

"Well, you two looked kinda cozy. Wonder what the little woman would think about that?"

"She has no worries." He said.

"Mind if I ask who she was, then?"

Pizo noticed that Drew was pretending to be reading a file, but he was intently listening. "She is an old friend."

Angie chuckled. "Uh huh, sure she is." She walked back toward her desk, but turned back to face him. "I’ll be sure to tell Mabelene Ephraim that when you two go on Divorce Court."

Pizo laughed at the antics of the young detective.

Drew’s eyebrows furrowed. I wonder what you are up to, Pizo. You may have fooled Angie, but I know you are up to no good.


An unknown woman entering his room awakened Tracy from a deep slumber.

"Mr. Kenon?" The African-American woman asked.

"Yes." He groggily responded.

She walked over to the bed. "My name is Dr. Wilson. Your doctor told me that you were in need of my services."

"Yes, Dr. Wilson. I have a serious problem that I need help with." He told her.

She sat down. "Would you like to tell me what’s going on?"

"I was having problems with severe headaches a couple of weeks before my accident. There are times when I think I may have blacked out." He revealed.

"I see." She said.

‘Oh man, here we go. They are all the same. They don’t believe a word you say, and call you crazy when they can’t figure out what’s wrong.’

‘Look, can’t you just be quiet. I don’t need this shit from you right now. I have got to get my head together so that I can help Johnnie.’

‘You mean so you can get rid of me. After all that I did for you, you just want to toss me aside.’

‘I can’t continue to live like this.’

‘Like what? Having someone shield you from all the hurt and pain?’

‘I just want to be normal.’

‘Normal? How in the world do you think you can be normal? You were passed around like the town whore, and you think you can be normal.’

"Stop it!" Tracy yelled, startling the young doctor.

"Stop what, Mr. Kenon?" She asked.

Tracy grimaced when he realized that he had spoken aloud. "I’m sorry. What were you saying?"

"I asked you to tell me about the headaches. You didn’t respond, looking like you were lost. Then you told me to stop it." She informed him.

"I guess I must have zoned out for a few seconds." He said.

Dr. Wilson gave him a comforting smile. "Why don’t you just tell me about those headaches you were having and we can go from there."


To be continued in Part 17

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