Murder has Two Faces
Tonya S. Coley
For disclaimers see Part 1
Chapter 38Mark sat at Tracy’s bedside and watched him sleep. He’s been through so much. I hope that he will finally be able to find peace. He studied Tracy’s features, how his brow no longer had the crease in it as he slept. The way the faintest smile would curl his lips was something that was a rare sight. As long as Tracy and Mark had been partners, he had never known Tracy to seem so at peace. It broke his heart to hear the things that Tracy’s father had done to him when he was a child.
Mark sat on the bed next to Tracy when Tracy had a session with Dr. Wilson. “Tracy honey, are you sure that you want me here?”
“Yes, Mark. There are some things that I want you to know about me, and Dr. Wilson and I both agree that you should be here for at least one of my sessions.” Tracy said as he held Mark’s hand.
“Tracy, why don’t we start from the day your father caught you and another young boy kissing.” Dr. Wilson said.
As Tracy recounted the brutal attack on him by his father, Mark’s eyes filled with tears. He had a death grip on Tracy’s hand, and Tracy used his free hand to stroke Mark’s leg. He listened as Tracy revealed that not only did his father abuse him, he also allowed his friends to abuse him as well. Mark rested his head on Tracy’s broad chest and sobbed. Tracy wrapped his arms around his partner and held him close.
“Tracy, I think we should stop here for today. You and Mark should discuss what was revealed today.” Dr. Wilson said. Tracy nodded his head in agreement. She looked at the tearful couple and decided that she should make her retreat.
“Oh my God, Tracy I am so sorry that you had to endure that.” Mark tearfully said.
Tracy sighed. “So am I, honey. I’m just glad that all this is finally coming to light.”
“You repressed all those painful memories. Tracy, I don’t know how you maintained your sanity.”
“There was one point when I tried to end it all. I couldn’t explain the self loathing that I had, but I knew that I just couldn’t go on anymore.”
Mark looked up into puffy eyes and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “I’m so glad that you didn’t succeed. I can’t imagine my life without you.”
Tracy smiled. “So am I.”
“Dream sweet, my love. You are free from all your demons and can now enjoy your life.” Mark whispered and kissed him softly on his lips.
Johnnie sat in Glenda’s kitchen, drinking some iced tea with her. “Is Tracy really doing ok?” She asked.
“He is making remarkable progress, Johnnie. I don’t know what Dr. Wilson’s technique is, but it’s like Tracy is a new man. He seems to be so much more relaxed.” Glenda revealed.
“I’m happy to hear that.” Johnnie said. “I just wish that I could see him.”
Glenda grasped Johnnie’s hand. “Hon, he knows that you want to see him and spend time with him. Tracy understands why you can’t be with him right now.”
Johnnie covered Glenda’s hand with her larger one. “It’s just so damned frustrating, Glen. All he has been through, the fact that I can’t be with him is pissing me off.”
“Well, after Tuesday, you can spend all the time you want with each other.” She smiled.
“Yeah, can you believe it, he’s going to testify.” Johnnie paused. “I just hope that the jury will believe him.”
“We know Abbott is going to make this look like a set up, but we have truth on our side.”
“I really want to believe that, but we both know that juries can be fickle.”
“Johnnie, you have to go into this with positive thoughts.”
“I know Glen, but…”
Glenda cut her off in a no nonsense tone. “No buts. This is going to end in your favor. You are going to be found innocent of the charges.” She arched an eyebrow. “Now I know you don’t want me to get Alma on you.”
Johnnie’s eyes widened with fear. “No!”
Glenda smiled at her. “I thought not. So, are you two ready for the baby?”
“Yeah, we are. We got the nursery set up.”
“I heard. I know it must have been hard for you both. I wish you would have called me, I could have helped.”
“Thanks Glen, but it was something that we had to do alone. Tori and Ceecee offered to help, but we…”
“I know, Johnnie. How did Alma manage?”
Johnnie sighed. “It was rough for her at first. She cried while I took down Phillip’s bed.”
“How about you, my friend?”
“Well it was hard, but you know what? As long as I keep Phillip here, he will always be with me.” She said as she pointed to the middle of her chest. “When I talk to the little one, I tell her about him. When I do, she moves like she is playing with him. It’s kinda like he is with her, you know?”
“When I was pregnant with Kaia, my sister was pregnant at the same time. I had my baby in May, and she was due in July. Well there were complications and she lost her son.” She revealed. “On the morning he died, about 10 minutes before I got the call, Kaia woke up and was playing and giggling in her crib. Mind you, she was only 2 months old. I was shocked so I just lay there and listened to her. She played like that all that day and well into the night. So yes, I do know what you mean.”
“How did your sister deal with it?”
“She took the philosophy that you have taken. As long as he is in her heart, he will always be with her.”
Johnnie smiled and patted Glenda’s hand. “Thanks Glen for sharing that with me.”
Karen and Maddie sat at the dinner table. They had just finished eating take out from a local Thai restaurant.
“That was delicious.” Karen commented as she lean back in her chair and stretched. “I didn’t think that I would even like it.”
“Well, you should always be willing to try new things.” Maddie said as she smiled at her lover.
“Yeah, I know.” Karen said. “I’m sure that you will be happy to show me the new things that are available to me here in Atlanta once I’m settled in.”
“Do you know when you will be moving down here?”
“Actually, I should be moving in three weeks. I stopped by the rental agency where I’m gonna be renting an apartment from until I decide on a house.”
Though the relationship was new, Maddie really felt a connection to Karen. As in love with Johnnie as she thought she was, the feelings that she had for Karen were much stronger.
“Are you going to show me this apartment?” Maddie asked.
“Sure, we can go and check it out tomorrow before I leave if you’d like.” Karen stood up and took her and Maddie’s plates to the sink. Maddie picked up the glasses and took them over, and stood next to Karen. Karen turned to face her and wrapped her arms around her. She placed the sweetest of kisses on welcoming lips. The kiss grew deeper and ignited their passions. Any further explorations were halted by Karen’s cell phone ringing.
“Hello.” She impatiently answered, a little miffed by the interruption.
“Is this Karen Grace?” An unfamiliar voice asked.
“Yes it is. Who is this?” Karen demanded. Maddie had a concerned look on her face.
“My name is Elgin Whitfield. I am the attorney for Constance McFarland.”
“We were advised that you are looking for Danny Scott.”
Karen’s entire demeanor changed. “Yes, yes I am. Do you know of his whereabouts?”
“Are you still in the Tallahassee area?”
“No, but I can be back by tomorrow.”
“That would be perfect. Can you be at the law offices of Haywood, Douglas and McFarland at 1 pm?”
“Certainly. Will you be able to give me his new name and location?”
“Mrs. McFarland will be able to discuss that with you, for I am not at liberty to disclose any information.” He told her.
“Alright Mr. Whitfield, I will see you tomorrow at one.”
“Good evening Ms. Grace.”
“Goodbye, sir.” Karen said and then she ended the call. The grin on her face told all.
“I guess I can take it that you are returning to Florida.” Maddie said, smirking.
“Yes ma’am. I’m going to see Constance McFarland. It seems that she found out that I was looking for Danny Scott.” Karen revealed.
Maddie arched an eyebrow and pulled out of Karen’s embrace. “The Constance McFarland?”
“Yeah, I guess. Do you know her?”
“She is the widow of Judge Duncan McFarland, retired from the 3rd Circuit of Appeals in North Carolina.” Maddie informed her. “I wonder what connection she would have with Danny Scott.”
“I don’t know, but I will find out tomorrow.” Karen paused. “I need to call Pizo and let him know that I may have found something.”
“Honey, why don’t you wait until after your meeting with Mrs. McFarland. There’s no need to build his hopes if this turns out to be another dead end.”
Karen calmed herself. “Yeah, you’re right. I guess I got a little ahead of myself.”
Maddie laughed. “Yes you did.”
“Are you finished laughing at my expense Ms. Marshall?” She asked, arching a piqued eyebrow.
“I’m sorry honey, but you are just too adorable when you get excited about something.” She giggled.
“I am not adorable.” Karen argued.
Maddie took a few steps back. “Oh yes you are.”
Karen gave her a little growl, so Maddie took off with Karen close on her heels. Before Maddie made it to the staircase, Karen grabbed her from behind. “I’ll show you adorable.” She said as she threw Maddie over her shoulder and ran up the stairs to Maddie’s bedroom.
Johnnie noticed that the house was dark as parked her Navigator in the driveway. She didn’t see Tori’s car in the driveway. I wonder where they could have gone? Maybe they went out to get some take out or something. She speculated.
When she opened the door to the house, she saw candlelight coming from the dining room. As soon as she closed the door, she heard I Want You by Marvin Gaye echo throughout the house. A smile formed on her lips as she saw Alma standing in the doorway of the dining room wearing a spaghetti strapped nightie that stopped mid thigh. She thanked the spirits that Ceecee had talked Alma into buying it.
“Do you like what you see, Querida?” Alma seductively asked.
Johnnie nodded mutely.
“Are you hungry, Mi Amor?”
Johnnie walked over to where Alma was standing and kissed her. She placed her hand on Alma’s belly. “Very hungry, babygirl.”
“Good, because I am starving.” She said as she pulled Johnnie into the dining room.
“What’s all this?” Johnnie asked as she looked at the table that was set with fine china, crystal and candles.
“I thought we could have a nice romantic dinner. Do you like it?” Alma asked her, hoping that she would be pleased.
“I do like it, but you shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble.” Johnnie said. “I know that you have been very tired lately.”
“Shh, beloved, I didn’t do a thing. I was telling Tori and Ceecee how I would love to have a romantic dinner with you, and they put all this together.”
Johnnie smiled. “Those two are something else.”
“Indeed they are. Now come, the baby is hungry.”
Johnnie carved the roast beef while Alma placed the vegetables on their plates. Alma noticed the thin slices that Johnnie was cutting so she cleared her throat.
Johnnie chuckled. “These are my slices, baby.”
“Good, because they are too thin for me.”
After dinner, Johnnie and Alma fed each other cheesecake. Johnnie held up Alma’s last bite, but instead of placing it in Alma’s mouth, she spread it on Alma’s neck. She then kneeled beside Alma’s chair, and licked and sucked the dessert from her neck, eliciting moans from her wife. She placed sweet kisses on Alma’s collarbone and moved to the tops of full breasts.
Alma’s hands pulled Johnnie closer, and she released Johnnie’s hair from its ponytail. She entwined her fingers into the long and silky strands. Alma hissed when Johnnie brushed her lips across her nipples that were straining against the fabric of her nightie.
Johnnie, now unable to contain herself any longer, scooped Alma up in her arms and purposefully marched to their bedroom.
Alma lay on her side, as Johnnie pressed herself into her ample backside. She moaned as Johnnie placed butterfly kisses on the nape of her neck and stroked and teased her rock hard nipples. Tiny electric shocks coursed through swollen breasts as long fingers manipulated them.
“Si, Querida.” Alma hissed as she moved back into Johnnie’s moist crotch.
Johnnie moved lower in the bed so she could trail baby kisses down Alma’s spine. She reached full round buttocks and couldn’t resist kissing them. “So nice.” Johnnie whispered as she left passion marks on each buttock.
She turned Alma over onto her back and settled herself between Alma’s thighs. Alma draped her thighs over each broad shoulder. Johnnie sniffed her wife’s arousal. Her head was spinning from the scent that Alma was throwing off. The changes in Alma’s body chemistry made her give off pheromones that drove Johnnie insane with desire. Her mouth watered as she looked at Alma, seeing how wet she was. She wrapped her arms around Alma’s thighs and pulled her lips open so that she could see all that Alma offered her. Alma’s clit immediately went into Johnnie’s mouth.
“Dios mio!” Alma screamed as Johnnie made contact. She grasped handfuls of bed sheet and thrust her hips to meet the hot mouth.
Johnnie hummed as she devoured Alma’s clit. Her tongue was working overtime whirling around it. She tasted Alma’s sweet nectar, not allowing any of it to go to waste.
“I need to taste you too, beloved.” Alma said as her voice trembled.
Johnnie didn’t let go of Alma’s clit as she turned herself to hover over her wife. She felt Alma’s arms as they wrapped around her lower back. She lowered herself, nearly jumping out of Alma’s arms as Alma’s tongue flickered against her swollen clit. She groaned when it was suckled into Alma’s mouth.
The excitement and ecstasy of their lovemaking flowed through their veins like hot lava, each trying to fulfill the other’s fantasy. Johnnie sensed the urgency in Alma’s gyrations, so she slid her fingers into Alma’s opening. “Mmm.” Alma moaned… her mouth filled with Johnnie’s womanhood.
“Alma!” Johnnie gasped, placing her thumb over Alma’s clit while she continued to thrust her fingers inside her wife. “Oh gods, baby. Yessss!!!!!!!!!!”
Alma released Johnnie’s clit and threw her head back. “Si, si vengo!!!!!!”
Johnnie kissed the inside of Alma’s thighs, and then fell to her side. She stretched and felt her back pop. The way Johnnie had been arched over Alma’s belly made her back ache. “I’m not as young as I used to be.” She groaned as she caught her breath.
“You’re not getting older, beloved. You’re getting better.” Alma said as patted the muscular behind.
Johnnie turned and crawled up the bed to lie beside her. “Well, as long as I can keep you satisfied I’m cool.” She wrapped Alma into a loving embrace, one that Alma happily snuggled into. “Thank you for a wonderful evening.”
Alma kissed Johnnie’s neck. “No, thank you.”
Annette was spending her last night in solitary confinement reflecting over her life. Your luck never changes. I wonder how much time they are going to tack on to my sentence. Guess I will never get out of here now. She was pulled from her musings when the opening on the cell was moved.
“Nette?” Danny called.
Annette stood up and walked over to the door. “Danny, what are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see you before they let you out of here. You know I won’t be able to see you when you go back into general population.”
“Just forget about me. I’m never gonna get out of here.”
“Nette, you know I can’t do that. You’re my sister.”
“Danny boy, you’re gonna have to let me go. Just go on and live your life. My life is over.”
“It’s my fault that you’re locked up. You killed dad because of me.”
“Stop it.” She hissed. “It’s not your fault. You were just a kid.”
“I should have fought back.”
Annette sighed. “He was bigger than you are now. You were a scrawny little kid. There’s no way you could have defended yourself.”
“See, it was my fault.”
“It was mom’s fault. She allowed him to beat us anytime he felt like it. He went through the whole damned family. Then she lied in court so that she wouldn’t be looked at as a bad mother.” Annette could feel her anger rising. “He made our lives a living hell, and then she allowed him to continue to torture us in his death.”
Danny placed his forehead against the door. Tears rolled down his cheeks. “Please let me talk to a lawyer, Nette. I can tell what really happened.”
Annette looked at her little brother, the fine man that he grew up to be. “Danny, I just want you to live your life. There is nothing out there for me. I’ve been in here so long that I don’t even think I would know how to act out in the world.”
Danny listened to his sister, hearing the despair in her voice. She sacrificed herself for me. I just can’t let her rot away in prison. “Nette, it will be ok. I’m going to figure something out.”
“It’s over, Danny.” She whispered.v I have to do something to get through to him. “I don’t want to ever see you again.”
His eyes widened in surprise. “What?”
Her voice became harsh. “You heard me. I don’t want to you come here again, ever.”
“But Nette…” He started to plead.
“Get the fuck out of here!” She yelled. “I don’t want to ever see your face again. Do you hear me?”
Tears streamed down his cheeks in abundance. “Please, don’t do this to me. You’re all I have.”
She walked away from the door and kept her back to him so that he couldn’t see her tears. It tore her apart to send him out of her life for good.
He watched her, hoping that she would change her mind. After a few minutes of standing there, he tearfully called out to her. “Please, Nette.” When she wouldn’t acknowledge him, he sighed. “I love you, Nette. I always will.”
She desperately wanted to turn to look at him one last time, but she knew if she did, he would not leave her.
He slowly pulled the small door closed, and walked away. When he made his way to the guard’s desk, he leaned against it. He needed to pull himself together. The guard, who was also a childhood friend, walked over to him.
“You ok, Danny?” He asked.
He looked up at his friend. “Will you do me a favor?”
“What do you need?”
He wiped the tears from his face. “Make sure that Nette has everything that she needs, and watch out for her.”
From the look on Danny’s face, he knew not to pry. “I’ll do all I can for her.”
Annette fell to her knees, and then went face first onto her mattress. She released screams of anguish into the worn material. Her heart shattered into a million pieces, as she knew that she would never see the only person that she loved, and the only person that loved her, ever again.
“What are you thinking about?” Maddie asked as she drew lazy circles on Karen’s thigh.
“I was just thinking about Danny Scott.” She said softly.
Maddie sat up and looked at her lover. “This thing is really bugging you, isn’t it?”
“Yep. I just can’t help but wonder what he has to do in all this. What is the connection?” She asked as she blew out a frustrated breath.
Maddie moved behind her and massaged knotted muscles. “After what we just did, how can you still be so tense?”
Karen shrugged. “I dunno. Goes with the job, I guess.”
“I’m sure that Mrs. McFarland will have the answers you seek.” Maddie assured her.
“I certainly hope so.”
Tracy sat on the side of his bed as he ate his breakfast. He looked up when his door was opened and Dr. Wilson stuck her head in.
“Hi Tracy, I just stopped by while I was making my rounds.” She said, giving him a warm smile. “How are you feeling?”
“Hey Doc, c’mon in.” He smiled. “Would you care to join me for breakfast?”
Dr. Wilson walked in, took one look at his plate, and politely refused. “I don’t think that my taste buds could handle such a delicious looking breakfast.” Sarcasm dripped from her statement as she sat in the chair next to the bed. “So, are you excited about being released tomorrow?”
Tracy took a sip of his coffee, and grinned at her. “Yes I am. I want to be able to help Johnnie. Now that I am free from the demons that possessed me, I can move on and build a life with Mark.”
She smiled at his enthusiasm. It made her feel good inside when she was able to help someone regain some semblance of peace in their troubled lives. “That is good to hear, Tracy.”
“I owe it all to you, Doc.” He said. “If you had done as the other shrinks did, I would still be in a world of hurt. It feels good to be free.”
“Tracy, you played a big part in this. I only helped you find your own way.” She revealed.
“Well, you should teach your fellows psychiatrists your technique. A lot of people would be helped.”
She smiled at his compliment. “Thank you, Tracy.” She paused momentarily, looking at the healing soul of a tortured young man. “We still have a long way to go in your therapy.” She said, and Tracy nodded in agreement. “I guess I should leave you to your breakfast.”
Tracy grasped her arm as she stood to leave. “Uhm, Doc? I need a favor.”
“Sure, if I can help I’ll be glad to. What do you need?”
“I hear that this Abbott is a real piece of work.” He paused. “I was wondering if you could be in the courtroom when I testify. I have a feeling that I am going to need to see a friendly face.”
As she placed her hand over his larger one, she could see fear in his eyes. “I know that the case is being tried in a closed courtroom. Since I am your psychiatrist, I believe that I will be allowed to be present. I will call and make the necessary arrangements with Judge O’Connell’s clerk.”
Tracy breathed a sigh of relief. “Thanks, Doc. I really appreciate this.”
She patted his hand as he released her arm. “I am here to help you, Tracy. If there is anything that I can do, I am willing to do it.”
He smiled broadly. “You are one hell of a shrink.”
Karen ran her fingers through her hair, growing impatient with the cab driver that seemed to be lost.
“Look buddy, I have an appointment that I have to keep.”
“I’m sorry ma’am, I must have gotten turned around somewhere.”
“Bullshit.” She hissed. “I know how some of you cabbies are. You think that you got some out of town sucker and you can run up the meter by getting lost.”
“I have no idea…”
She angrily cut him off. “Get me to my appointment, or I will be filing a report on how your company scams unsuspecting travelers. I happen to work for CNN.”
He rolled his eyes at her and stepped on the accelerator. I can’t wait to get this bitch outta my cab/.v
When the cab pulled up in front of Haywood, Douglas, and McFarland, Karen got out and threw the fare at the cabbie. She had her luggage with her as well as her laptop. A man in his late fifties walked out of the building wearing a polo shirt and a pair of khaki shorts.
vDamn, you live right here in Florida. Get some sun for Pete’s sake./ vShe grimaced as she looked at the pale but hairy legs.
“Ms. Grace?” The man asked.
“Yes, and you are?”
“Elgin Whitfield.” He said as he extended his hand.
“Pleased to meet you, sir.” She shook the offered hand. “I am very anxious to meet with Mrs. McFarland. Is she inside?”
He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, but Mrs. McFarland won’t be able to meet with you today. She was called out of town on an emergency.”
“What?” Karen yelled. “Why didn’t you call me to let me know? I could have waited until she got back.” vThis fucking sucks. I could be at home in bed with Maddie.
“Mrs. McFarland will be back tomorrow afternoon at the latest. She has reserved you a suite at the Hilton.” He revealed. “She is truly sorry for any inconvenience, and hopes that you will take advantage of her offer.”
Karen mulled it over. I may as well get a little R and R while I’m here. It’s even better that I won’t have to pay for it. “This is indeed an inconvenience, but I will accept Mrs. McFarland’s offer.” Just wait till you get the bill. Bet you will think twice about standing anyone else up.
“I’ll be happy to drop you off and make sure that the accommodations are to your satisfaction.”
“Thank you. I have had my fill of cabs today.” She told him as they walked over to his Mercedes.
Tracy sat on the sofa with Glenda while Mark and Laura put away his things in the guest bedroom. He and Mark had both agreed that it might be best to sleep in separate bedrooms until he had fully recovered. In actuality Tracy wanted to be sure that he was indeed free from his inner demons, one in particular, the voice that was his incessant companion since before the accident.
Glenda sensed the nervousness in Tracy’s demeanor. “Worried about tomorrow, Tracy?”
He looked down into his lap and saw that he was unconsciously wringing his hands. “Yeah, you can say that.” He offered a weak smile.
Glenda moved closer to him and placed her hand on his shoulder. “You know that we are here for you, right?”
“I know, Glen. Mark and I really appreciate all the help that you guys have given us.”
“That’s what families do, Tracy. Support each other through the rough patches.” She slid her hand into his larger one. “You know Ki was disappointed that she couldn’t come and see her Uncle Tracy.”
His smile widened as he thought about the rambunctious little girl. “You should have brought her with you. I have been anxious to spend time with her.”
“Not half as anxious as she is to be with you.” She laughed. “She says that you owe her a zillion piggyback rides.”
“Yeah, and she will get every one of them that is due, too.” He assured her. “I can’t have my niece going without.” He paused. “Be sure to give her a big hug and kiss from her Uncle Tracy, ok?”
“Of course I will.” She said as rubbed his hand. Glenda studied Tracy’s face. She knew that he was nervous about giving his testimony in Johnnie’s trial, but she also saw apprehension. “Tracy, I know that there is something else bothering you. You know that you can tell me anything.”
He looked into loving eyes. “Yeah, I know Glen. I’m just worried about being here alone with Mark. Before the accident, I did some things to hurt him. I wasn’t myself; I was a totally different person. I don’t understand why he’s still with me.”
“Tracy, I don’t know about all of what you are saying, but I know that Mark loves you. He was beside himself with worry when you got hurt. Whatever happened between the two of you is not strong enough to destroy your relationship.” She paused. “I will say this, though. If you don’t forgive yourself you won’t be able to get past this, and that will cause problems for you two. I have seen many relationships destroyed because of things that happened in the past. Let it go, Tracy.”
Tracy sighed. “I know Glen, but I am afraid that I will hurt him again. The things that I did are unforgivable.”
“That’s where you are wrong, Tracy. Mark has forgiven you. He loves you and I know you love him. You’re going to have to face whatever demons have you captive and take your life back.”
He pulled Glenda’s hand to his lips and kissed it. “Where would I be without you to give me that kick in the pants I need?”
She laughed. “That’s what I’m here for, big brother.”
“C’mon, lets go get a Pepsi.” He stood and pulled her up with him.
He looked at his friend and pouted. “Glen, you didn’t?”
She blushed. “Well, I was thirsty.”
“Geez Louise.” He said and then gave her a smile. “Glad to see that things haven’t changed.”
“I’ll go get a couple of twelve packs from the market down the street. Do you need anything else?” She asked as she picked up her purse.
“No, I’m good.” He said.
“Alright, I’ll be back in a bit.”
Karen paced back and forth in her hotel room. Mr. Whitfield had just called her to tell her that Mrs. McFarland had been delayed in California for another day. The news really ticked Karen off because not only was she away from Maddie, but there was the real possibility that this would just be another dead end. How could you be so stupid to drop everything, including time with your girl, to come here and play the waiting game with this old broad? She’s probably a crackpot anyway. What kind of shit is she into anyway? I should just pack up and go back to Maddie’s. Before Karen could finish her thought, the phone rang. “Hello.” She answered, her voice full of irritation.
“Good afternoon to you too, love.” Maddie responded.
A smile immediately formed on Karen’s face. “Sorry baby. It’s just one of those days.”
“The McFarland lead was a wash out?” She asked.
Karen huffed. “No, that hasn’t even happened yet.”
“You’re kidding! I thought she was supposed to be back last night.”
Karen sat down on the sofa and stretched her legs out on the coffee table. “That was the plan, but the old biddy got held up.”
Maddie knew that Karen would fall into a fit of name calling whenever she got upset. “You need to calm down. It won’t make her get there any sooner.”
“Well, it’s not fair.” Karen whined. “We could have spent this time together. Just because the old battle axe waves a bone in my face, I drop everything and come running.”
Typical butch. Maddie chuckled to herself. “Karen?”
“Take a deep breath, and try to relax. It’s not going to do any good to get all worked up. Try to enjoy yourself while you’re there.” Maddie pleaded. “There’s lots that you can do while you wait.”
Karen giggled evilly.
“Do I even want to know?” Maddie fearfully asked.
“Why do you say that?” Karen asked, feigning innocence.
“What did you do, Karen?”
“Well, I ordered all the porno movies on pay per view, mimosas for breakfast and had lobster and Dom Perignon for lunch and dinner…”
“You didn’t?” Maddie interrupted.
“I did, and by the way there is a magnum being FedEx’d to your house as we speak. Don’t open it until we have something to celebrate.”
Maddie laughed. “You are so bad.”
“I bet old girl will think twice about leaving an appointment hanging.” Karen snickered. “Serves the old bitch right.”
“Karen!” Maddie admonished.
“Ok, ok. I’m sorry.”
“So when does she get back?”
“Tomorrow, or so Whitfield says. I had hoped to be back in Wilmington because the trial resumes tomorrow.” Karen sighed.
“Well maybe the wait will be worthwhile. Just hang in there, baby.”
“I will.” She paused. “I’m gonna go and see what other devilment I can get into.”
Maddie couldn’t help but smile. She knew what a big kid her lover was. “Well, you go and have fun. Call me as soon as you hear anything.”
“I will, baby. Be good.”
“You too. Bye.”
Johnnie, Alma, Tori, and Ceecee sat along the pier at Atlantic Beach. They had spent the day fishing. Well, Johnnie and Tori had. Ceecee and Alma just watched their spouses compete over who would catch the most fish.
“It looks like we’ll be having Filet of Sole tonight, Alma.” Ceecee teased as she held up the two different boots.
Alma laughed heartily, getting a gentle squeeze from Johnnie as she sat between her legs. “Yeah, and they are big enough for us to throw on the grill.”
“Alright already.” Ceecee interjected. “So, we didn’t catch anything edible. Not our fault that the fish weren’t biting.”
“We did have fun, though.” Johnnie said. “It’s been a while since I have done this.” She paused. “I remember the last time Champ and I fished on the Neuse River. We caught a shitload of fish that day.” A tear formed in her eye.
“I don’t know about you, but I am hungry.” Alma announced, hoping to lighten the mood. The other ladies looked at each other and fell into a fit of laughter. “What’s so funny about that?”
“Can you name a time when you’re not hungry, Alma?” Tori asked.
Alma glared mockingly at Tori. “I am a pregnant woman with Bigfoot Jr. growing inside me. I can’t help it.”
“Leave her alone, Victoria.” Ceecee admonished. “If not you will be cut off.”
“Sorry Alma.” Tori said, properly chastised.
Alma smiled and then stuck her tongue out at Tori.
“Did you see what she just did?” Tori whined to Ceecee.
“Nope, didn’t see a thing.”
“Femmes.” Tori mumbled.
“What was that?” Ceecee asked.
“Nothing, honey.” Tori replied.
Ceecee smiled. “Just as I thought.”
“C’mon, Tori. Let’s get this stuff loaded up and get back home so I can feed Alma and the baby.” Johnnie said as she stood up. She then helped Alma to her feet. Tori and Ceecee followed suit.
“You get the tackle box and rods, and I’ll take the cooler.” Tori said, and then she turned to Ceecee. “Can you get the chairs, baby?”
Ceecee nodded as she folded her chair and then Alma’s. “Yeah, I got them.”
Johnnie and Tori walked ahead, while Alma and Ceecee lingered back. “I’m glad we were able to get out like this today. Tomorrow is going to be a trying day, and I hoped that Johnnie would be able to relax a bit.” Alma said.
“I know it is. This could be the turning point in the case.” Ceecee said.
Alma sighed. “I certainly hope so.” Her attention was brought to Johnnie and Tori. “Look at those two.” She said as she pointed toward the pair. Johnnie and Tori had taken the fishing rods and started fencing with them.
“We have got to be married to the biggest adolescents in the world.” Ceecee laughed.
Alma laughed along with her. Today was a good day
Tracy woke at 6 am after only getting about two hours sleep. He was afraid to go into a deep sleep for fear of his alter ego emerging. At the times that he was alone, he waited for the now familiar voice, but it never came. Am I finally free? Have I rid myself of my personal demons? Will I finally be able to live a normal life?
He got out of bed and laid out his suit, shirt, and tie. After picking all of Mark’s favorites, he emerged from his bedroom and walked down the hallway to the bathroom. He smiled when he heard Mark humming in the kitchen. Mark was indeed the early bird, as he was preparing to make breakfast. Tracy walked to the kitchen and stood in the doorway.
“Good morning. Did you sleep ok?” Mark asked as he shyly walked over to him.
“About as good as I expected. How about you?”
“I slept ok I guess.” Mark revealed. “It was kind of funny having you back home and not in our bed.”
“This is only temporary, baby. I promise.” He said as he placed his large hand on Mark’s shoulder. “I just want to be sure that…”
“I know.” Mark interrupted. “I totally understand. Just know that I am here for you, and we will get through this.”
Tracy smiled. “Thank you. You don’t know how good it feels to hear you say that.”
“I’m in this for the long haul, Tracy. I’m not going anywhere.”
Tracy stood under the warm water, reveling in the feeling as it cascaded down his body. He played Mark’s word repeatedly in his mind and a smile formed on his face. After today, everything will be as it should be.
To be continued in Part 20
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