Where There's a Will-Part 2
It is noon that day. METZGER and SETH are in METZGER'S office. JESSICA is still in the cell. METZGER is on the phone.
METZGER-Yes, sir, thank you. (METZGER hangs up the phone) Her bail hearing is at 2:00pm. They wanted to wait until morning. I couldn't do that do Mrs. F. It would kill me to see her locked up over night. Doc, what am I going to do?
SETH - I have to admit, it looks bad, but I just can't believe Jess would kill someone.
METZGER-But you said yourself you'd never seen her so angry. Even the best people can snap. Maybe after writing all of those murder mysteries she finally lost it.
During this last speech, KATHERINE has entered and is listening.
KATHERINE - I think she did it. Doesn't it seem strange that wherever she goes, someone is murdered? I think she's been killing people all along and blaming it on other people. How do you think she comes up with the ideas for her books?
METZGER (Gives Seth a look of exasperation)-Can I help you with something, ma'am?
KATHERINE-Is Jessica locked up?
METZGER-Yes, but you can't see her right now.
KATHERINE-Oh, I don't want to. I just want to make sure you're doing your job. I know how buddy, buddy you are with her. I wouldn't put it past you to just turn your back from this whole thing.
METZGER-Now listen here, ma'am-
SETH-If you'll excuse us, Mrs. Witherspoon. Sheriff, it's time to take Jessica to Portland.
KATHERINE leaves in a huff. SETH maneuvers METZGER to the cells.
SETH-If you don't mind, I'd like to come along for the ride.
METZGER - Sure, Doc.
They get to JESSICA'S cell. She is visibly upset. She stands up as METZGER and SETH walk up.
JESSICA-Sheriff, this is ridiculous.
METZGER- Mrs. Fletcher, I want to believe you. Really I do. But as Sheriff, you are my only suspect and I need to do this by the book. We're going to Portland to Judge Simon's office to see if we can get you out on bail.
SETH- I'm coming along if you don't mind, Jess. I've cancelled all my appointments.
JESSICA - That's nice of you, Seth. Thank you.
JESSICA, SETH, and METZGER are walking into METZGER'S office. They have just returned from Portland. As they talk, all of them sit down.
JESSICA - I don't care how much the bail was-I'm just glad to be out.
SETH-Thank God they posted bail. But I'm sure they could see that if they release you, you're not going to go out and kill again.
JESSICA-Again! (Rising) Do you two still honestly believe that I killed Becky in my own house?
METZGER- Mrs. F., if I could believe you I would. It just seems too easy-and I have no other suspects. You were the only one with her besides Doc. And from the coroner's report she had enough arsenic to kill two people.
JESSICA-I did not put arsenic in her coffee. I wish there was some way I could make you understand-
The phone rings. METZGER answers.
METZGER - Sheriff's office. Metzger here. Sure-hold on-Doc, it's for you.
SETH (walks to phone)-This is Doc Hazlitt. Yes, Mabel, what is it? Oh he is, is it? He did what?! (SETH laughs) Okay, I'll be there shortly. Bye. (SETH hangs up) I've got an irritable patient in my office who just ran over my nurse's foot with his portable oxygen.
SETH-Yes. I can give you a rid home if you don't mind a pit stop at my office.
JESSICA-That would be great, thanks.
JESSICA and SETH leave METZGER'S office.
JESSICA and SETH enter SETH'S office. Elijah Schramm is waiting anxiously. He rises slowly as JESSICA and SETH enter.
ELIJAH-I've been here for two hours! Where have you been?
SETH-I had a house call to make. (SETH makes a side glance to JESSICA)
ELIJAH- (noticing JESSICA)-Mrs. Fletcher, it's good to see you. Are you free? Did they find out who killed Becky?
JESSSICA-Unfortunately, I'm not "free". I'm out on bail. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this before the Sheriff locks me up permanently.
ELIJAH- I guess I wouldn't blame you if you did do it. Becky wasn't well liked by too many people. Always those little eccentricities that drove her father crazy. The way she was always on her diets, refusing people's home made food, and those little sugar substitute packets that were always lying around. And look at Jeremy. She hits him with the vase, then sits and has a glass of tea before she leaves him there. I guess if she had been nicer, you wouldn't have killed her. (ELIHJAH turns to SETH) Doc, you've got to help me. I've hardly slept in days. I've got to get some sleep.
SETH-Now you know I can't give you anything for sleep in your condition. Have you been exercising regularly?
ELIJAH-I walk and I get short of breath. I'd rather watch TV.
SETH-If you exercised, you'd sleep better.
ELIJAH (trying to change the subject, turns to JESSICA) Does this mean you get the house now that Becky's dead?
JESSICA-I was Becky's executor, not her beneficiary.
ELIJAH-That's not what Mrs. Witherspoon says. She came to the house around noon screaming that you get everything since Becky's dead.
SETH-Jess, is that true?
JESSICA-If it is, I haven't heard about it.
ELIJAH-What will you do with the house?
JESSICA (shaking her head in frustration)-They can turn it into a museum for all I care. It's Katherine's house. She can keep it. (JESSICA looks at her watch) It's too late to call the lawyer's office. Seth, do you mind dropping me off at Katherine's? Unless you're going that way Elijah?
ELIJAH - Sure, no problem.
SETH - Well, Elijah, walk around the house a couple of times and see if that helps you sleep. If not, come see me in a few days.
ELIJAH-I'll see you in a few days then, Doc.
ELIJAH walks toward the door. JESSICA starts to follow but is stopped by SETH.
SETH-Jess, about our conversation in the office---
JESSICA-Seth, don't worry about it. I just want to get all of this cleared up so I can show you and the Sheriff how wrong you are. (JESSICA leaves)
ELIJAH drops JESSICA off at KATHERINE'S front door.
ELIJAH - Go on ahead Mrs. Fletcher. I'll park the car and meet you in a moment.
JESSICA-Thank you. (JESSICA gets out of the car and walks toward front door. ELIJAH drives off. JESSICA rings the doorbell. JEREMY, with a bandaged head opens the door)
JEREMY- Mrs. Fletcher!
JESSICA - Hello, Mr. Tovar. I heard about your accident. Are you okay?
JEREMY (touches bandage gingerly) -Yeah, sure. Just fell. Uh, are you here to see Kathy?
JEREMY - I don't think she wants to see you. She's pretty upset-
KATHERINE (from inside the house)-Who is it Jeremy?
KATERHERINE appears behind JEREMY, lovingly caressing his shoulder. She sees JESSICA and drops her hand, scowling.
KATHERINE-Jessica, you're not welcome here. I have to ask you to leave at once or I will call the police.
JESSSICA-The reason I came by was to tell you I had no idea I was beneficiary of the estate if Becky died.
KATHERINE- The hell you didn't. Isn't that why you tried to steal her money? And why you killed her?
JESSSICA-I didn't kill her and don't want any money. I want to turn it all over to you.
KATHERINE-Nice try, but it won't work. When you're convicted of murder, you won't see a penny of it. So I'll get it anyway.
JESICA-May I see the will?
JESSICA-It may hold a key.
KATHERINE-Jessica, you've caused enough grief to this family. Just leave us alone. (KATHERINE closes the door in JESSICA'S face. JESSICA turns and walks down the steps. ELIJAH meets her)
ELIJAH-Did she throw you out already, Jessica?
The door opens and JEREMY hurries after JESSICA.
JEREMY- Mrs. Fletcher! Wait!
JESSICA turns to meet JEREMY.
JEREMY- Mrs. Fletcher-I don't know you, but I don't think you killed Becky.
JESSICA-What makes you say that?
JEREMY-About an hour after Becky left to go to your house, Preston came by looking for her. He said he was worried about her. Becky told me she and Preston had had an affair. She ran away after she got pregnant. She had an abortion. I though Preston had a right to know, so I told him. Preston was furious. He said that she had killed his child. He demanded to know here she was so he could settle things with her. Maybe he came in while you were asleep.
JESSICA- Thank you for telling me. And for believing in me. (Beat) Do you think Katherine would let you look at the will?
JEREMY-Sure. Why do you ask?
JESSICA-Do you think you could find out every person that is named in the will?
JEREMY-Sure. I just won't tell Katherine whom I'm doing it for. Do you think the killer is in the will?
JESSICA- I'm not sure what I think. I just get the feeling that some answers are in that will. If you can't find out for me, I'll go to Jacob's lawyer tomorrow and get a copy of it.
ELIJAH-Do you need a ride home Jessica?
JESSICA-No-I need some time to think. But thank you.
Jessica is at her house in the guest room. She is taking sheets off the bed. As she walks out of the room, sheets in arms, an item drops from the bundle. JESSICA picks it up. It's a sugar substitute packet. The doorbell rings. JESSICA goes to answer it. PRESTON is at the door.
JESSICA - Thank you for coming over. Won't you come in?
PRESTON-Sure. Jess, you don't sound so good. What's wrong?
JESSICA-Let's go in the kitchen. (They start walking towards the kitchen) Would you like some coffee or tea?
PRESTON (Looking very uncomfortable) - Uh, no thanks. (JESSICA and PRESTON are in the kitchen. PRESTON sits down. JESSICA proceeds to get herself a cup of coffee as they converse)
JESSICA-Preston, Jeremy told me about Becky's abortion. It must have devastated you. I know how fond you are of children.
PRESTON-I always wanted to have children. And I was in love with Becky, really in love. Unfortunately she didn't love me. I just wish she had told me she was pregnant. She didn't have to marry me. I would have taken care of the baby.
JESSICA-Is that why you came here yesterday?
PRESTON-Yes. But then I saw you and realized it would be hard to talk with her privately.
JESSICA-Did you come back later?
PRESTON-No. The only people I talked with yesterday were you and Jeremy.
JESSICA gets her wait-a-minute look.
PRESTON-Jess, what's wrong?
JESSICA-Preston, what time did you go to the Hill House?
PRESTON (consulting watch) - About one o'clock.
JESSICA-The Sheriff came over last night and told me that Jeremy and Becky had gotten into a fight. Jeremy had a big cut on his forehead. He told the Sheriff said she had just left.
PRESTON-Jessica, Jeremy was fine when I left him.
JESSICA-Exactly. And Becky didn't make it to my house until almost 3:00pm. It certainly wouldn't take her two hours to get to my house.
PRESTON-So what are you getting at?
JESSICA-Preston, can you take me to the Sheriff's office?
PRESTON-Sure, what's wrong?
JESSICA- I'm not sure, but I hope Jeremy Tovar can meet us there.
JESSICA, METZGER, and JEREMY are in METZGERS' office.
JESSICA-Jeremy, what time did you say Becky left to come to my house?
JEREMY-The first time she left at noon. Then she came back at one-thirty.
JESSICA - Did she say where she had been?
JEREMY-No. I was out before she could tell me. But when I woke up there were sugar substitute packets on the bed, so I know if was her. She must have had some coffee before she left.
JESSICA-That seems odd, to strike you then sit down and have a cup of coffee.
METZGER-You mean to tell me you didn't actually see Miss Witherspoon enter the hotel room and strike you?
JEREMY (grinning sheepishly)-I was unconscious when she struck me.
JESSICA and METZGER exchange looks.
METZGER- What do you mean you were unconscious?
JEREMY (pregnant pause)-I was kneeling by the door. (Grins) I lost my contact. Becky came barging in like she always did, and before I knew it, I was out.
METZGER-What about the broken vase on the floor?
JEREMY-When I woke up, my head was bleeding and I was covered in pieces of vase. I figured she didn't appreciate the fact that I had been in her way. She was like that sometimes.
JESSICA-So you never actually saw Becky in the room?
METZGER (exasperated, raises his hands in the air)-Then how do you know it was Miss Witherspoon?
JEREMY (simply) - Because of the sugar substitute packets.
METZGER-Why do I feel like I'm doing a replay of "Who's on First?" (Shakes head)
JESSICA (Reaching into her purse) - Maybe not, Sheriff. I found this sugar substitute packet in my guest room. Maybe you should have it tested.
METZGER - You think someone slipped arsenic into the sugar packets?
JESSICA-I don't know Sheriff, but it's a possibility. Also, you may want to see if you can get hold of Jacob's will. Jeremy, did you find anything out?
JEREMY-I talked to Kathy. She said she seemed to remember a third beneficiary but didn't know who it was. We were looking for it when you called.
JESSICA-You mean it's missing?
JEREMY-She said she had it in her desk, but when she looked, it was gone. She was wondering if Becky took off with it when she left yesterday.
JESSICA-Well, I'll get a copy of the will from Jacob's lawyer tomorrow. I have a feeling that will answer a lot of questions. (JESSICA stands) But for now, I just want to go home and have some dinner. It's been a terribly long day.
METZGER-Do you need a ride, Mrs. F.?
JESSICA-No. After being cooped up, it will be nice to get some fresh air.
JESSICA enters the house from the back. As she walks in, she smells something funny. She turns to the stove and sees the door is open. As she walks toward it, she hears a sound behind her and jumps, turning around. It is ELIJAH. He has his oxygen mask on and a gun in his hand.
JESSICA-Elijah? What are you doing here?
ELIJAH - I've come to tie up a loose end.
JESSICA-If you want to house, you can have it. I don't want it.
Elijah looks momentarily surprised. He walks toward Jess and sits down at the kitchen table.
ELIJAH-Tell me Jess, how did you figure it out?
JESSICA (with a nervous laugh) - Figure what out? We should really turn this oven off. (JESSICA moves toward oven)
ELIJAH (stands and points gun at JESSICA)-Turn it off and I shoot. I shoot and this place will blow sky high.
JESSICA stops and faces ELIJAH. He sits back down.
ELIJAH-Come now, Jessica. I'm curious as to how you figured out I killed Becky.
JESSICA-I wasn't sure until just now. Everything was starting to come together when I saw you at Seth's office today. You kept asking me about the house. You said you had no place to go. You also mentioned Becky's habit of using sugar substitute in little packets. Jeremy said when he awoke yesterday in the hotel, he knew Becky had been there because of the sugar substitute packets. But I think you placed them there so Jeremy would think it was Becky. That way when she came back to the hotel and used the deadly sugar substitute packet, the police wouldn't bother testing all of the sugar substitute packets.
ELIJAH - Is that all Mrs. Fletcher? Just a bunch of assumptions? That's pretty bad for a woman of your reputation.
JESSICA-Katherine told me that Becky said I stole her money. Becky didn't see the lawyer until yesterday morning. After she left Jeremy, she didn't show up here until three. I believe she went to talk to Katherine and you were there. (Jessica puts a hand to her head as if she has a headache)
ELIJAH-Becky came into the house fuming. She always ignored me anyway so I stayed in the room. Becky said you were stealing her money. Then she told Katherine to pack her bags, that she had left Jeremy and needed a place to stay. Katherine told her that you might steal more of her money and she should stay with you until Katherine moved out. Becky told Katherine to be out in two days and then told me to be out in one. She went to the kitchen to get some coffee. When she used that damn sugar substitute packet the idea formed. Becky went upstairs for something and I took my chance. I filled the empty sugar packet with rat poison. I fold it up neatly and after taking the rest of the sugar packets out, I put the arsenic in her purse.
JESSICA(grabbing hold of the chair after losing balance)-And then you went to the Hill House and knocked out Jeremy Tovar so you could plant the other sugar substitute packets in the room.
ELIJAH (laughing)- I didn't have to knock Jeremy out. All I had to do was open the door and out he went. What a tool. I put the sugar packets there because I figured that would be the first place she used it. I knew Becky wouldn't stay with Katherine so I figured she would go back to her boyfriend. With all the sugar packets, the police wouldn't bother to test them all. It was my good luck that she died in your house.
JESSICA-Because you're the third beneficiary, aren't you?
ELIJAH-Gee, Jess, you're smarter than I thought.
JESSICA (starting to sway. She is very dizzy and her head is pounding) The Sheriff is on his way over.
ELIJAH- I don't think so. He and the good doctor have been detained at the site of another of your murders. Buy the time they find you, you'll have already committed suicide. You couldn't handle the guilt anymore. You left a suicide note on your computer came in here and turned on the stove.
JESSICA is struggling to stay conscious. She falls to her knees. She is now slurring her words.
JESSICA-You'll-never-get-away-with-this. (Jessica becomes unconscious)
ELIJAH - That's the glory of it, my dear. I already have. (ELIJAH puts the gun away and exits through back door.)
Back at the Witherspoon house, the driveway is full of police cars and an ambulance. KATERINE is on the floor bleeding from the upper chest. She is unconscious. METZGER, SETH, JEREMY, and two paramedics surround KATERINE
METZGER-This is how you found her?
JEREMY-Yes sir. I came straight here after leaving your office. I found her like this. Is she going to be all right, Doctor?
SETH (assessing Katherine's wrist) She's in shock, but she's alive. Looks like the bullet just missed her heart. (Seth turns KATHERINE'S wrist over and notices a torn piece of paper in her hand. He takes it from her.
METZGER-Did you find something, Doc?
SETH-Looks like part of a will.
JEREMY-She was looking for Jacob's will before I was called to the Sheriff's office.
SETH-Looks like she found it and someone else wanted it.
JEREMY-Jessica seemed to want it awfully bad.
METZGER (motions for Tim to come over)-Tim will you call Mrs. Fletcher at home?
KATHERINE starts to stir. SETH looks in her eyes. She opens her eyes, semi-conscious.
KATHERINE (her words coming out slurred and disoriented)-Jessica---killed. Jessica-killed.
METGER- Mrs. Witherspoon, are you saying that Jessica tried to kill you?
KATHERINE (trying to focus and remain conscious)-Jessica-killed. (KATERINE becomes unconscious. SETH checks her out to make sure she's breathing. She is.)
TIM-Sheriff, there was no answer at Mrs. Fletcher's.
METZGER and SETH exchange looks of concern.
METZGER - That's funny. She told me she was going straight home for dinner. I think I'd better take a drive over there. Do you want to join me, Doc?
SETH (addressing the paramedics who are ready to transfer KATHERINE to a stretcher) Have you got everything under control?
PARAMEDIC #1 - Yes sir.
SETH (to METZGER) - Let's go.
SETH and METZGER walk up to JESSICA'S front door. METZGER knocks. SETH sniffs the air.
SETH-Do you smell something?
METZGER (sniffing air) - Yeah, smells like-
SETH and METZGER look at each other, wide eyed.
SETH-My God, Jess!
METZGER tries the door. It's locked. He busts it open. They run through the house shouting, "Jess, Mrs. Fletcher," etc. They find JESSICA on the floor. METZGER turns off the stove and closes the door as SETH kneels over her and feels for a pulse.
SETH-She's still alive. Let's get her out of here and open this place up.
SETH carries JESSICA outside and looks her over. Moments later, METZGER kneels down next to JESSICA.
METZGER-I called an ambulance. How is she?
SETH-Well, she's alive for the time being. She'll be better off in a hospital.
METZGER (taking JESSICA'S hand. He looks at SETH) - I found a suicide note on her computer. Jacob's will is next to it on the desk.
SETH (looks grief stricken at the though then straightens up and frowns) - I've know Jessica long enough to know she's a fighter. She'd never try to kill herself.
It is the next day. JESSICA is in a hospital bed, having her blood pressure taken by a nurse.
JESSICA-When can I be released?
NURSE-As soon as the doctor says you can go.
JESSICA - When will that be?
NURSE-As soon as the doctor thinks you're ready.
JESSICA-Believe me, I'm ready.
NURSE-I'll see if I can get the Doc to release you.
There's a knock at the door. The NURSE leaves, opening the door for SETH and METZGER. They are both bearing a basket of flowers. JESSICA smiles as they enter and put down the baskets on her over-the-bed table. SETH kisses JESSICA on the forehead.
SETH-How's my patient?
JESSICA - I want to go home. I don't know which is worse, jail or the hospital.
There is an uncomfortable pause. METZGER looks down and plays with his hat. He can't look JESSICA in the eye.
METZGER-Uh, Mrs. Fletcher, the main reason we're here is to apologize. I should have known you could never kill anyone, even if you do write about it all the time. We should have had more faith in you. I hope you can accept my apology.
SETH-And mine too. I never really believed you did it, but I supposed if I had been 100 per cent sure, I would have told this monster to back off. At the time if was just hard to figure everything out.
JESSICA - I accept both of your apologies. But I have one question. How in the world did you know to come to my house?
There is another uncomfortable pause. JESSICA senses this.
JESSICA-What's wrong? Did you come to arrest me or something?
Both SETH and METZGER look up at JESSICA. JESSICA closes her eyes and shakes her head.
JESSICA - Out with it.
METZGER (after a slight pause)-About an hour after you left, Jeremy Tovar called us. When he got to the Witherspoon house, he found Katherine in the parlor. She'd been shot. She had a piece of the will in her hand. Katherine woke up for a couple of moments. The only thing she kept repeating was "Jessica killed". We thought she meant that you tried to kill her.
SETH-But in all actuality, she saved your live. She is two doors down recovering nicely, no serious internal injuries. This morning she told us that she meant you were going to be killed.
METZGER-It seems while you and I were talking in my office, Katherine was looking for the will-and found it in Elijah's room. Then Elijah found Katherine. By then she knew he was the third beneficiary. He told her that he planned to frame you with both murders and that he was going to assist you in a suicide. The he shot her and went to your house to wait for you. And Elijah is now tucked away in a nice cell where he'll always have a place to live.
SETH-And it looks as if Jeremy Tovar and Katherine are going to live happily ever after. Poor, but happy. So, Jess, now that you have an extra few million to spare, whatcha going to do with it?
JESSICA (laughing) - I don't want to even see it. I think I'll donate it to the Poison Control Center.
SETH-It's so good to hear you laugh, Jess. Seeing you on the floor, I'd thought I lost you-and we couldn't have that. Who would make me that wonderful clam chowder?
JESSICA - Does this mean I can go-or do I need to post bail?