Murder has Two Faces
Tonya S. Coley
For disclaimers see Part 1
Johnnie, Alma, Ceecee, and Tori returned from their night out to dinner. They called it an early evening when Johnnie revealed that she and Alma would be turning Phillips bedroom back into a nursery. It was a job that they felt that they had put off long enough, both dreading the flood of memories that the chore would surely stir up. Alma went quietly into their bedroom, leaving Johnnie alone with Tori and Ceecee.
Johnnie watched as Alma waddled toward the back of the house. "This is going to be hard on her."
"Its going to be hard on both of you, Johnnie." Ceecee countered. "Are you sure that you two are up for this? I mean, Tori and I would be more than willing to do this for you."
Tori nodded in agreement. "Just tell us what you want brought up from the basement."
"No, that wont be necessary." Johnnie said, forestalling any further arrangements being made. "This is something that we need to do, for both our sakes." She paused. "We have to take this on as part of our healing."
Ceecee walked over to Johnnie and embraced her. "Just know that we are here for the both of you." With that being said, she walked to the guest bedroom, leaving Tori with Johnnie.
Johnnie shoved her hands in her pockets. "I just hope that Alma will be able to handle this. With her being pregnant and all, this is a very emotional time for her."
"Look Johnnie, I know that you are concerned for Alma." Tori said quietly. "Youre are gonna have to look out for yourself, too. You and Phillip were extremely close."
Johnnie gave Tori a remorseful smile. "Thanks, Tori. I knew that I could count on you to make me look at the big picture."
"Johnnie, just know that we are here for both of you." Tori said, putting emphasis on her last word. "Now if you will excuse me, Im gonna go to bed."
"Sure Tori, and thanks." Johnnie smiled at her. "Im gonna turn in, too."
Johnnie walked into the bedroom, noticing that the bathroom light was the only illumination the room held. She saw that Alma was already in bed with her back turned to her. She quietly undressed, putting on her favorite raggedy t-shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms. Johnnie quietly slipped into bed, remaining on her back listening for Almas soft snores. When she heard none she moved over, spooning herself against Almas body. It was at that time she noticed that Alma was silently sobbing. She wrapped an arm around her, and used her free hand to stroke Almas hair.
"Its ok, baby. I miss him, too." Johnnie whispered.
Almas body continued to shudder as the once silent sobs became audible. It broke Johnnies heart to hear them. The pain that she was feeling, Alma was feeling also. The bond she shared with Phillip was strong, but she knew that Almas bond had to be stronger. She had carried Phillip inside her, and though their son knew her voice, it was Almas heartbeat that he heard during his growth.
"That kid has a set of lungs on him." Johnnie whispered to Alma as the nurses cleaned him up.
"Just like his Mama." Alma whispered back, drained and exhausted.
The nurses cleaned and weighed a screaming Phillip as quickly as they could, then brought him over to his parents for inspection. The head nurse laid the newborn on his birth mothers chest, placing him near Almas heart and he immediately stopped crying.
"Look at that." A stunned Johnnie gasped. She leaned down, looking into dark, unfocused eyes.
"Its not uncommon." The nurse revealed. "A baby immediately recognizes his mothers heartbeat because that is the one thing that was constant during gestation."
Yes Alma, Champ and I were close, but so were you. Johnnie just held her, allowing her to release pent up emotion. She held and whispered to Alma well into the night. It was just before dawn when Alma finally drifted off to sleep. Johnnie was too wired to sleep, so she eased out of bed. Pulling on a pair of sweatpants and grabbing her hooded sweatshirt, she put on her running shoes and slipped quietly out of the house. She started jogging down toward the gated entrance of the housing community, running through the gate and down the street. The early morning fog and the crisp morning air made her oblivious to her other surroundings. Her footfalls matched her elevated heart rate. Before she realized it, she had run 5 miles to the nearest beach. Exhausted, she sat near the boating dock. Johnnie sat back and watched as the sun rose over the Atlantic Ocean.
Memories of Phillip flooded her mind as she watched the glorious spectacle of nature. Sunrise was her favorite time to mull things over, or to pull her emotions into check. Dealing with the loss of their beloved son and rejoicing in the upcoming birth of another child was pulling her apart. She, at one point, felt disloyal to her sons memory. Then she realized that he would live on in their hearts and minds. She would make sure that Phillips younger siblings would know all about him.
She stayed at the dock a little longer, just to watch the fog burn off the water. When that was done, she ran back toward her house and her wife, able to complete the task that she needed to do.
Karen and Maddie walked down the concourse of Terminal C at RDU International Airport. Karen was headed for Dulles, while Maddie was on her way back to Atlanta. They went into the restroom, hoping that since it was still early they would have a few moments of privacy.
Maddie checked the stalls to make sure that there were no occupants, and then went into the open arms that Karen held out of her. "Im going to miss you."
Karen closed her arms and pulled Maddie tightly to her. "Ill miss you, too. You think you will be able to make it back in a few weeks?"
"I think I can do that." Maddie said, smiling as she moved to look into Karens eyes. She brushed dark bangs from Karens eyes, and then cupped her cheek. "Are you gonna call me?" She playfully asked.
Karen chuckled. "Every chance I get." She leaned in for what was to be a quick kiss, but it deepened. She moved her hands to grasp Maddies ample behind, pulling her as close as she could. They reluctantly broke this kiss when they heard the clicking of heels. "Ill call you tonight, ok?"
"Ill be looking forward to it." She paused. "Karen?"
Karen placed the strap of her bag on her shoulder. "Yeah?"
"I want you to be careful, ok?" Maddie said softly.
Karens eyebrows rose. "Uhm, ok."
Maddie felt the need to explain. "If this guy has disappeared, maybe he will do whatever it takes to keep it that way."
"Youve been watching too much Law and Order." She laughed as she waited for the young woman to wash her hands and leave. Seeing the concern etched on Maddies face, she took on a more serious tone. "I promise you that I will be careful, baby." She kissed her on the tip of her nose. "Now come on, we have flights to catch."
Karen sat in her seat, and put on her seat belt. She opened the file that she had on Danny Scott and started to read when the file suddenly held a stuffed Spongebob Squarepants. She looked at it, and then off to her left to see a dark haired, green eyed boy smiling at her. He didnt look to be more than two years old.
"Xanthos Popadopalous, you know better." A dark haired woman with blue eyes scolded.
Karen smiled and handed the stuffed toy back to the boy. "SpongeBob is my favorite. If he comes back over here, I may have to keep him."
"Sorry about that." The woman said. "Hes very playful." She turned her attention back to her son. "Apologize to the nice lady."
"Sowee." He said, still grinning.
"Its ok, buddy." She smiled and turned her attention back to her file. She looked at the picture of the slender 14 year old and sighed. Where are you Danny Scott, and why did you vanish? She looked at eyes that were full of fear and despair. What that animal must have put you and your sister through. Death was too good for him. He should have been made to suffer the rest of his life in prison, not your sister.
Just as the plane reached cruising altitude, young Xanthos started to get fretful. The change in pressure was making the poor childs ears hurt. When the seat belt sign was turned off, a young, blonde woman stood and walked toward the back of the plane. Karen looked up into smiling green eyes that were similar to her own, and that of the uncomfortable child seated across the aisle from her.
The blonde woman kneeled and handed Xanthos a bottle filled with apple juice. When he started sucking, he immediately settled down.
"Thanks honey." The dark haired woman said softly. "I forgot all about the bottle until he started getting grumpy."
"So did I." The blonde whispered back. She kissed the boy on his forehead, and went back to her seat.
Karen felt like a voyeur, but couldnt help but watch the loving couple. She smiled. I hope to one day have something like that.
Johnnie returned home to find Ceecee alone in the kitchen. Ceecee looked up and smiled. She stood up and walked to the refrigerator, and pulled out a bottle of water. "Here you go, Johnnie. You look like you could really use this."
"Thanks Ceecee." Johnnie said, taking the bottle from her and opening it. She took a long drink. "Ahh, that hits the spot." She paused. "Has Alma been up, yet?"
"No, shes still sleeping." Ceecee reported. "I checked on her a little while ago."
"Good, because she didnt fall asleep until almost dawn."
"I know. I heard her crying through the night."
Johnnie sighed. "This is going to be harder on her than I thought it would." She paused, in thought. "Ceecee, maybe you should take her out of here. I can handle doing what needs to be done."
"Ok, Johnnie. If you think that is best." She said.
"Tori can help me if I need it."
Johnnie came out of the bathroom showered and refreshed. She was startled when she saw Alma sitting quietly on the side of their bed. "You ok, babygirl?" She asked as she towel dried her hair.
"Im fine, Querida." She said, giving her a slight smile. "Are you ready to get started in Phillips room?"
"Uhm, baby? Maybe you should let me handle it." She said, kneeling in front of her. "Why dont you and Ceecee go out for the day? It looks like its going to be nice outside."
"Thank you, Mi Amor, but I want to be with you today. Ok?" She asked, cupping Johnnies cheek.
Johnnie smiled at her. "Alright, baby. Anything you want."
I hate rainy days. Karen grumbled as she trudged up the steps of the Suitland, Maryland police department. Pizo had called and set up the appointment with Detective Tony Sampson, his friend from the NYPD Police Academy. She walked into the station and asked for the detective. She was given a pass and directed to the Vice Squad.
She searched the nameplates on the desks that were in the room until she found who she was looking for. "Detective Sampson?"
"Thats me." The tall, African-American man said, barely looking up. "What can I do for you?"
"My name is Karen Grace. I believe that Detective Petrillo from North Carolina told you that I would be coming to see you today."
He looked up and smiled. "Oh yeah." He stood and offered his hand. "He told me that you guys needed some info on Danny Scott. Have a seat, Ms. Grace."
"Thanks." She said and took the offered seat. "Were you able to come up with anything."
"Actually I did find a little something on Scott." He revealed. "Danny Scott worked with Isaac Construction for about a year. After that, he vanished."
Karen frowned. "Well, we know that he disappeared. What we need to know is where did he go."
"Its all in this file." He smirked. "Danny Scott moved to Ohio."
"Then why isnt he showing up on the system?" She asked.
"Because Danny Scott became Scott Bronson, and as far as we know, he is living in Cleveland."
"Is there a last known address in this file, Detective?" She asked, her face lighting up with excitement.
He opened the file. "15 Westmoreland Drive, Cleveland Ohio."
"Looks like I am headed for Cleveland. Thanks for all your help." She said as she stood up.
He stood, too, and offered his hand. "Glad that I could be of help, Ms. Grace. Give Pizo my best when you see him again."
She shook his hand. "Ill do just that."
Tracys therapy was coming along very well. His continued sessions with Dr. Wilson, and his physical therapy made him feel stronger emotionally as well as physically. The weeks of recovery were now finally drawing to an end. Even his constant inner companion was become quieter, leading him to believe that he would finally be rid of him. It was the one thing that he felt guilty about not revealing to Dr. Wilson. He felt that it would hinder his therapy and subsequent release, prolonging his ability to help Johnnie.
There was one day in particular that he felt that he was rid of the inner voice that in some ways protected him from emotional harm. The psychiatrist that Abbott had requested interview Tracy was particularly harsh. A tear came to Tracys eye as he remembered the altercation.
Tracy responded to a knock on his hospital room door. "Come in."
An older, silver haired man entered. "Good afternoon, Mr. Kenon. My name is Dr. Hilton Ashford. You have been expecting me, yes?"
"Indeed I have, doctor. I was told that you were coming last week."
Dr. Ashford became irritated. "Mr. Kenon, this interview was to fit my schedule, not yours. Its not like you were going anywhere, and I am a busy man."
Tracys defenses immediately went up. He watched as the man took a seat, and retrieved a pen and writing pad.
"Lets begin, shall we?" The doctor said, already wearing a mask of skepticism.
Tracy went into detail about the blackouts and headaches he experienced prior to the murder of Mayor Ballantine. The doctor feverishly took notes, and responded with a condescending I see.
"Now, Mr. Kenon, can you explain why you suddenly remembered that there was someone at Mayor Ballantines office after Ms. Green left?" He inquired, not even bothering to hide the sarcasm in his voice.
Tracys head was pounding but her persevered to continue, wanting the insolent little man out of his room a quickly as possible. "I must have blocked it out of my memory. The whole ordeal was just too much "
"Yes, yes." The doctor interrupted. "Mr. Kenon, I have one more question for you."
"Why were you at the mayors office that night?"
"I have spent many hours trying to figure out why. The only thing that I have been able to come up with is that I was going to ask the mayor to stop his campaign against Johnnie. I was hoping that the altercation at the cemetery would give him a change of heart."
"How fortunate for Ms. Green that you were able to remember." Dr. Ashford smirked.
"What are you saying?" Tracy yelled as he sat up a little.
The doctor gave him a contemptuous smile. "I was just stating the obvious, Mr. Kenon. From the reports on the news and in the papers, its inevitable that Ms. Green will be found guilty. Now you suddenly remember that the mayor was alive "
"Are we finished?" Tracy angrily spat.
Before the doctor could respond, Dr. Wilson burst into the room. "Whats going on in here?" She demanded. "Tracy, are you alright?" She walked over to his bedside and took his hand.
"Dr. Wilson, I was just completing my interview with Mr. Kenon." He said as he gathered his things. "Thank you for your time. Good evening to the both of you."
Tracy and Dr. Wilson watched as Dr. Ashford walked out of the room. He breathed a sigh of relief once the door was closed. "Thank you for coming in when you did. I was about to lose my temper."
"I can see that, Tracy." She frowned looking at the closed door. "Dr. Ashford is notorious for being obnoxious."
"He was that indeed. I just hope that I will be able to testify on Johnnies behalf." He sighed.
"Oh no you dont, Tracy. You have made incredible progress. Im not going to let you blame yourself for what you couldnt control." She finally smiled. "Although Ashford is arrogant, he is fair. Im sure that you will be able to testify for your friend."
Thank God for Dr. Wilson. He thought.
Karen spent three weeks in search of Danny Scott, leading her to only another dead end. His last know whereabouts ended in Florida. On her way back to North Carolina, she stopped in Atlanta to visit with Maddie.
Maddie straddled Karens back; giving her a well needed massage. "Gods, your muscles are tied up in knots."
Karen groaned under Maddies touch. She felt the tension as it was leaving her body. "I dont know what you are doing, but please keep it up."
Maddie smiled. "Im gonna get these knots out, have no fear." She continued her ministrations. "I know that you are disappointed about not finding Danny Scott."
"Yeah. Its been a rough couple of weeks." She said. "I dont know how he managed to fall off the face of the planet." Karen groaned when Maddie hit an especially sore spot. "There has to be some money behind his disappearance."
"They werent a wealthy family, baby." Maddie revealed.
"I know, but the asshole father did have a few connections. Maybe Danny went to someone for help." She shrugged. "I dont want to talk about that now." She turned over, and grasped Maddies hips. "I need some TLC from YOU."
Maddie giggled. "Certainly, Ms. Grace." She leaned down to kiss her tired lover.
Abbott paced back and forth in his office. He had read and reread the report he had recently received from Dr. Ashford. He sat back at his desk and dialed the doctors office. He drummed his fingers on his desk while he waited to be put through.
"How may I help you, Mr. Abbott?" The doctor asked, his irritation evident at the interruption.
"I just read your report on Tracy Kenon, and I must say that I am disappointed."
"How so, Mr. Abbott?"
"Your report states that Mr. Kenons condition is authentic."
"What part of that did you not understand?"
"Are you telling me that this asshole is telling the truth? That this is not a ruse?" He demanded as he pounded his fist on his desk. "This is not helping the prosecution, Dr. Ashford."
"Mr. Abbott, if you wanted someone to put the fix in, then you should have hired an unscrupulous psychiatrist." The doctor spat. "I read the medical file on Mr. Kenon prior to my interview with him. He has all the symptoms of Dissociative Disorder. He is NOT faking. Your case may be going to hell in a hand basket, Mr. Abbott."
Abbott reigned in his anger. "I apologize, Dr. Ashford. I meant no disrespect."
"If there is nothing else, Mr. Abbott, I have patients to attend to."
"Once again, doctor I " Abbott stopped in mid sentence when he heard the doctor hang up. "Damn you, Ashford. I picked you because you are the most arrogant son of a bitch in North Carolina." Abbott yelled as he ran his fingers through his hair. He stood up and began pacing his office again. "Theres only on thing left. I have to discredit Kenon to the jury." He grinned evilly as he reached for the intercom. "Get me all the files of court cases that Tracy Kenon testified in while he was a police officer."
"Sweet Jeezus!" Johnnie exclaimed.
"You like that, eh Querida?" Alma asked as she stroked Johnnies abdomen.
"Damn, why didnt you show this to me before. It could have taken my mind off my troubles."
"Well, Ceecee just recently introduced me to this writer." Alma explained. "I take it you like her work?"
"Youre damned skippy. Shes kinda fly, too." Johnnie said as she looked at Marlis Appleblossoms picture that was posted on her website. "Am I drooling, baby?" She asked as she ogled the red bra the author was wearing.
Alma laughed. "Its good to see you in a good mood, Mi Amor. It has been a long time."
Johnnie looked at Alma and smiled. "Well, Tracy is going to be released from the hospital on Monday, and he will hopefully be testifying on Tuesday. By then, this mess will be cleared up and we can go on with our lives."
Alma sighed at the happy thought. She felt that Tracy would be deemed fit to testify, and Johnnie would be cleared. "He will testify Querida, and then this nightmare will be over."
Johnnie cupped Almas cheek and smiled. "Always the optimist."
"Dont you feel good about this?" Alma asked.
"Yeah, but I dont want to get my hopes up. You never know what tricks that asshole Abbott has up his sleeve." She revealed.
Alma slowly sat up, grasping her back and moaning. "This time next week, we will be looking back on this and it will be over. Then we will be able to fight over baby names."
Johnnie laughed. "I kinda like the name Rosa."
"Oh Querida, that is so sweet." She said. "I dont think Mami will go for that. She hates that name."
"She has always hated it. She would have used her middle name if she didnt hate that one even more."
"What is it?"
Alma looked down at Johnnie. "Are you wanting to get me killed? Mami would have a fit if I ever told you."
"Alright, alright." Johnnie acquiesced. "I wouldnt want Rosa to hurt my babygirl." Johnnie sat up beside Alma and started nibbling on her neck. "Dont think that I didnt notice you grimacing when you sat up. How about we take a nice long soak in the tub?"
Alma grinned thankfully. "That sounds wonderful."
Johnnie helped Alma get into the tub, holding her securely to make sure that she didnt slip. Once Alma was in, she wrapped her arms around Johnnies shoulders and allowed her to lower her. Alma then slid forward to allow Johnnie to sit behind her. Johnnie reveled in the warm water as it soothed her tired muscles, groaning with pleasure. The oversized tub accommodated them both, much to their delight.
"Does that feel good, baby? Alma asked.
"Mmm hmm." Johnnie moaned as she pulled Alma to rest against her chest. She placed her hands on each side of Alma protruding belly. She softly massaged it, working her way up to Almas breasts. Johnnie cupped them and tweaked the sensitive nipples, making Alma hiss. She kissed Almas neck, and then whispered sweet nothings in her ear. Johnnie moved forward, making both her and Almas legs part. Alma turned her head to capture Johnnies lips, their kisses igniting both of their passions.
Alma took Johnnies hand and placed it between her thighs. Johnnies fingers immediately found Almas clit. She placed it between her middle and index fingers and started stroking it. Alma moaned her pleasure, opening her legs more. She dug her heels into the tub to aid her in her gyrations. She felt Johnnie grinding against her buttocks. Not wanting to leave her out, she placed her hand behind her back and used her fingers to find Johnnies rock hard clit. Their movements made water splash over the sides, but neither cared. The goal was to bring each other to orgasm.
"Si bebe, just like that." Alma hissed.
"Damn. Oh yeah, thats it. Hit it just like that. Oh Shit!" Johnnie exclaimed as she came.
"Oh, oh, oh!" Almas body became rigid, and then went limp against Johnnies chest.
Johnnie wrapped her arms around Alma once again and placed kisses on sweat-soaked skin. "I love you, babygirl."
"I love you too, Querida."
Abbott sat at his desk going over the transcripts of trials that Tracy had testified in. "Ok Mr. I cant remember anything until now. Let me see if I can find a chink in that shining armor of yours." He said aloud in his now empty office.
After an hour of looking through the pages of testimony, he begrudgingly began to admit defeat. "There has got to be something on this guy. I know cops sometimes hedge the truth just a little. All I need is one fucking thing. Damn it!" He yelled as he pushed his chair back and stood up. He paced his office once again. When he got to the front of his desk, he noticed a file that had slipped off his desk. "Whats this?" He picked up the file, and started reading it. A wicked grin formed on his lips. "Gotcha."
To be continued in Part 19
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