|Tabhairt Isteach Do
Author: Kath McGill PM
First in the series! Deadly events draw Jessica and her family in the discovery of a blood pact made a century before one that continues to claim lives. Please read this before reading "The Gathering"Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Supernatural - Chapters: 29 - Words: 250,008 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 01-19-12 - Published: 05-01-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2918303
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Tabhairt Isteach Do
Disclaimer. I don't own the people that are found in Murder She Wrote TV series, or in the book form. They are the property of someone else. I do own the characters that I created. The character of Dr. Tipper Henderson has been created by Anne, and is used with her permission. To read more about the adventures of Tipper, Google Murder She Wrote and go to the "Definitive Guide to Murder She Wrote."
This story has been modified since its first release, the original version is found on Anne's site and in the yahoo MSW web site. This story (Tabhairt Isteach Do ) is several stories within one, starting with Picture Perfect Murder, chapters 1-4 then Ghost of Preston Giles,Chapters 5-9and Murder by Trust,chapters 10-15, TillDeadly do we Pactwill be chapters 16-? and the ones that follow that adventure will be posted probably mid May (or when ever its done!).All ofthese have beenbroken up into chapters and placed on Fanfiction as such to make it easier to read.
Please review after you have read the chapters. Granted, the story may seem to be a bit slow, it does improve over time. I know there are some people who have skipped ahead to other chapters, which you may do, but you may lose key clues if you do! I hope to follow the adventures of one very dynamic young man this summer for your reading pleasure!
This story is rated for 13+
Tabhairt Isteach Do begins with...
A Picture Perfect Murder By Kats(c) 2002/2006
It was raining. Odd in itself as the song suggested that it never rains in California- though the rains that did come, brought misery to those it drenched as people scurried between the drops seeking shelter under the awnings and in the door frames. It didn't do anything to dampen Jessica Fletcher's spirits as she road in the back of the Taxi with her dear friend Dr. Seth Hazlet. She had arrived in California for a book signing and had the opportunity to bring Seth along. They road in silence now, neither needing to say anything, just the moment of being together as friends was enough. The book signing was done, they had free time to enjoy each others company before the long journey home.
A brief trip back to the hotel to drop off some things at the front desk after the signing then dinner was in order now. Seth said he had a surprise for her. She had laughed, not unkindly. At her age, not much surprised her, nor was anything more was anything needed to make their friendship stronger. As the taxi stopped at a red light across the street from the Parks Theater Jessica regarded a tall too thin woman with long strawberry blond hair that was pressing herself against the wall trying to keep dry. There was such a look of sadness in the woman's beautiful face. Jessica saw her pull her dark trench coat about her shoulders a bit tighter to ward off the chill in the air The door to the theater pushed open and a stocky man with shaggy dark hair stepped out and glanced up and down the street before walking over to the woman. Jessica saw the woman shrink back from the man, yet, not flee as he gestured backwards to the street. The light changed and the taxi that Seth and Jessica was in continued on it's way to the hotel.
"DID you tell the cabdriver to wait for us Sondra?" Asked Martin Goodfellow of his wife Sondra as they stood beneath the theaters awning waiting for the cloud burst to ease up. Sondra closed her eyes, looking down at the pavement. Martin had rushed in to the theaters office to secure the tickets for the evenings performance .They were to go to dinner, then return to the theater for the last show.
Sondra heard Martin expel air from his lungs. She waited for what she knew was to come...Waiting, knowing he would never yell at her in front of people. Such a wonderful devoted husband, so handsome, and what a beautiful home in Cabot Cove- of all places! "Those words along with "You should be grateful that he is a good provider for you!" rang in her ears, words from his family. His-perfect- family that just shook their heads over "unfortunate accidents" that she had had of late...Before he was able to get in a breath to begin, the cab pulled up and the cabbie jumped out with an umbrella to help them into the car. Sondra breathed a sigh of relief as the cabbie gave her a nod and closed the door. She knew that it would take more than just a second as her husband had stated, it all ways did.
The street in front of the Parks Theater was marked no parking, and the mounted beat cops wouldn't care if there was a hundred dollar fair waiting inside, they would have ticked the cab. Sondra had just paid the cabbie to drive about the block until they exited the building. Her husband never would have thought to do that, or even considered the legality of the cabbies position. She could almost hear her husband's words already .She should have picked up the tickets before his arrival, not wait till the last moment, but there were more pressing matters she had to attend to that delayed her getting to the airport, one that required her to take a different flight than what her husband thought she had taken. Though the theater stated the pre paid for tickets could be picked up just with ID at the door prior to the show, the taxi trip to the theater was his idea. Forcing an issue- giving him any reason to confront her, to justify later anger against her.
She closed her eyes weary of it all -weary of her "perfect husband" of a loveless marriage, of everything. Divorce was out of the question. No one would believe that he was anything less than perfect. Martin Goodfellow made his living taking photos of people. Being in the right spot knowing how to turn on the charm- that was her Martin. He all ways asked for permission to take the photo, when he could, and had the knack of getting the perfect photo to ether make or break a person. Sondra wondered sometimes if the big money that he was paid for the photos were from the people out of fear of what he could do with the photos, or if they were really that good.
Sondra gritted her teeth at the thought of what he had planned for the night. She didn't know how he had done it, but, he'd used his charm to change the reservations at the restaurant for someone – his next- opportunity. It had to have cost money, or, simply blackmail to lose that persons reservation at the restaurant, and then be forced to sit with him...and then would come the hook, "You know I take photos, What say I do a free sitting for you and see what develops? "What would develop would be a signed contract that allowed him to dog their every step- and then the "other" photos would be taken. The hush money would follow. He wouldn't bleed them dry. He would just-tap them once in a while with a new photo that would show up unexpectedly at their door. It would be done so quietly - so- discreetly, the people wouldn't ever think that they were being victimized. They were buying silence. Locked in a file cabinet were all the negatives with an impossible lock. Sondra did allow herself to smile. Of all the people in his life, She was the only one who had never signed one of his contracts giving him permission to photograph her. She had never done anything to be ashamed of, her only regret was signing the marriage contract that read "Till death do us part"
She agreed to come with him on this trip because he said he needed her. She didn't quite know what he needed her for, she knew that she would learn that later, and perhaps it was best that she stayed innocent of everything. Martin pulled his trusty camera from his pocket. He gently brushed off the pocket lint and gave it a loving pat. Sondra held back a groan. She knew why she was there... She was to be bait . Sondra Goodfellow froze in the lobby of the restaurant. She could hear a voice discussing the absence of the reservation. There were other people that were told that there would be ready in three hours without a reservation and that they could wait in the lounge, and then bring their drinks to the table.
Sondra heard the ladies voice raised in protest. She knew that voice, and knew that her husband had decided to blackmail Jessica Fletcher. She saw him discreetly take a photo of Jessica. Another photo was snapped discreetly with the high speed film he always used. Sondra had no idea what he had in mind. She dared to look over where the entrance into the restaurant was, and saw Jessica, with Dr. Seth Hazlet. What were both of them were doing in L.A.? Of all people she in the town of Cabot Cove she knew - trying to get one over on Jessica would be the ruin of her husband -or the death of her when it didn't go the way that he had planned. Sondra knew the smart money would to be to turn and run away- for as long as she could. He would follow of course. She was his meal ticket Somehow she knew he had managed to book them at the same hotel.
Martin grasped her hand painfully in his and led her to where Jessica was becoming exasperated. Seth was trying to calm her down telling her a ham burger at the local deli would be fine. Martin and she arrived just before Jessica had a chance to agree with Seth. Martin was smooth. His words were a balm to Jessica, inviting them both to eat with them, they had a table for four, and their friends had canceled. Sondra could see that it was not quite what Jessica and Seth had planed, and Jessica almost declined completely. But Martins charm won over and the four of them were soon seated. Sondra couldn't even think of food then. A growing fear was in the pit of her stomach. She closed her eyes when she heard the words- his line-, and to her relief, heard Jessica decline the offer of the photos. Her husband shifted in his seat. She realized at once that she would receive the brunt of his anger tonight when they arrived at the hotel room. She needed an excuse- any excuse to escape. Somehow she had to get far away from her husband, and she didn't quite know how.
The dinners arrived on steaming platters. Sondra had hardly touched her drink, or her soup. She saw Martin, take his hand off the table, she knew when he became agitated, he would grasp her hand and hold on tight enough to break her bones. She avoided his hand by keeping one on her water glass, the other with her fork in hand. Sondra saw an older red haired thin man who seemed too tall for his frame coming towards her with three drinks in his hands. He was the same one that the restaurant had informed to wait in the lounge. There were two others with him, a dark haired gentleman with deep blue eyes, and a prim lady that was lovely in a graceful way who was all eyes for the dark haired man. They were headed to the paths that lead directly behind Sondra to their table. The red haired man was leading the way, and turned to speak to the people behind them. Sondra took that split second to shift her chair slightly back. The tall redhead missed the narrow opening and impacted with Sondra, drenching her with the contents of the glasses. Ice-cold white wine soaked her thin silk dress, and her skin.
Sondra gathered her purse and said that she would take a moment to dry off in the lady's room. She told Jessica and the other lady who they called Diana to stay she was quite capable of mopping her self up Sondra went to the ladies room and saw a pay phone. She dropped five dollars worth into it, and dialed a single number that she knew wouldn't pick up. After four rings, she hung up, leaned against the phone very weary. She gathered her change out of the phone, and walked into the ladies room where she sat with some paper towels and began sopping up the spilt drinks. She took her time, getting every last bit and then using wet towels, went over the stain area over and over again, and followed by drying the material.
She was on her fifth time with now going over with a dry towel when Jessica popped her head into the ladies room. "Sondra? My word that dress is taking a long time to dry" Jess said coming closer. Sondra shook her head.
"I just don't want to smell like a brewery, that's all. It's been a long trip, and I've no way of getting this cleaned before we go back. Can't have the people thinking I'm a lush..."
"Oh, they wouldn't Sondra! It's almost dry, come eat with us, you must be famished!"
Sondra reluctantly stood up and followed Jessica out. They had to go by the lounge to return to the tables and by chance, the same tall red hair man was carrying more drinks out, and distracted, impacted with her again, soaking both of them this time. She looked at her dress, and shook her head. "Uncle" she said, turned to Jessica. "Tell my husband that I will see him back at the Woodrain hotel. I can't stay in these clothes." Sondra shook her head and went to the coat rack.
Jessica returned to where Martin was discussing photography with Seth and the advantages of having a dedicated photographer to help with publicity for Jessica when she arrived at the table and let him know Sondra was going back because she was drenched again. Martin, as he had offered to pay for the dinner, couldn't leave. Inward he was furious with the situation. Sondra went out to the doorman was and asked him to call a cab for her. She knew she had very little time. It was a quick trip to the hotel, to shower and change. A small bag with her personal things, and then she took what money she could find. She tossed the key on the bed, and left the hotel to walk to the nearest cab stand and asked him to drive her to the airport. She waited until he picked up an outgoing fair, and then going inside to the ladies room at the airport reversed her trench coat, putting the dark side of it inward the light side outward, then tucked her long hair under a hat, took a second cab back into the city where she found an inexpensive hotel and made her self comfortable for the night .All she could do was look at the telephone, and pray that someone would never make the connection of what she had done. Sondra realized that she couldn't ever go back. She would have to make a new life for herself and hide forever from her husband. Morning would come soon enough.
Martin Goodfellow scowled as he strode down the street away from the Parks Theater. No cab would pick him up in his current mood. He had given the tickets to Jessica and Seth, telling them with Sondra not going that he didn't have the heart in it, and if they could turn the tickets back in for him. Sondra needed to be shown she had to support her husband... He knew the hotel was just a few blocks away from the restaurant. The evening had almost tapped him out. Getting the table switched had been a sweet deal. He had come at off-hour and caught on film an indiscreet moment by the current manager. Getting the photos developed swiftly, he returned with the evidence, and was able to get the dinner, and the change in reservations for the cost of one of the negatives. The manager didn't know that what he had were only copy of the negatives, that Martin held the originals. He figured that with enough of the negatives, he could milk this guy for a few great dinners, and then toss him a bone now and then .He patted his pocket, and with a shock realized that his camera was gone... At first he began cursing Sondra, then he realized he had it on the table after she had left. He could have sworn that he had put it into his pocket. He turned on heal and marched back to the restaurant
Jessica Fletcher looked over at Seth as they made them selves comfortable that the same red haired man that was in the restaurant was in the seat next to them. Seth followed her curious gaze, and saw that he had a drink in his hand. Quite dryly Seth said to him "I do hope you have a firm grip on that young man?" The red haired man looked a bit surprised to see them. He flushed and apologized, moving the drink to his other hand.
"My Pardons,...Where is your other friend?" he inquired smoothly.
Seth shrugged "Said his heart wasn't into the evening without his wife. Hopeless romantic I guess...You're awfully friendly for a LA'er"
The redheaded man chuckled. "Part of the job description to be a people person." He held out his hand "Anthony Thomas, and your?"
Seth carefully shook his hand, his eye on Anthony's drink. "Seth Hazlet. This is Jessica...Jess, this is Anthony Thomas, from the restaurant. He says he is a "People Person." Anthony saw Jessica's questioning eyes regard him, puzzled. Before she could make any comment, the music began to swell and the lights dimmed. In the darkness, Seth sought her hand and gently cradled it into his. Nether saw Anthony Thomas give a worried frown before settling back into his cramped seat.
Two rows behind them sat the other two who had been to the restaurant with Anthony. Donald Brook leaned over to whisper softly into Diana's ear "What could possibly be a motive for Blackmail for those two?... is Tom sure of his facts from his informant"
Diana nodded. "He is still running through the id's for those two... In the mean time, You DO owe me a night out on the town, may as well enjoy the peace while we can..." Diana snuggled back into the seat with Donald's bemused grin looking down on her.
Intermission found Donald stepping outside the theater to light up a cigar. Diana called them a nasty habit, wouldn't let him smoke them in the office. He saw Tom Mallard stride down the sidewalk to him, his face grim. Tom stood tall lean and lanky, never to be able to find a chair that didn't look like it belonged to a child when he sat in it. He slicked back his blond hair and fixed his handsome mug in a half smile when he saw Donald outside the building "What do you have for us Tom?" Asked Donald, a gleam in his eyes for the latest scoop.
"Not much that you would like. Your gents a dr. just a regular GP, widowed for over 17 years, has a daughter, son in law, and a few grand kids. Resides in Cabot Cove Maine, no warrants, no traffic tickets, and the sheriff, Mort Metzger had only good to say about them both. Now, The lady is another piece of work. Retired School teacher of English, she's been a widow for about 15 years. No children, only nieces and nephews that she visits. It seems everywhere she goes, people turn up dead."
"You're kidding!" gasped Donald
Tom shook his head. "Nope, no joke. At last count, it's been 263 people have died where she had ether vacationed at, or visited, or lived. That's only in the last 12 years:
"Is, she responsible?" asked Diane
Tom shrugged. "Not that they could prove... I was able to book rooms for you, Diana, and Anthony at the hotel, across the hall from them, and my operatives have moved some things in for you." He hands Donald a set of keys. "Third floor, rooms 314-317. "Uh oh, they're giving the signal for the end of the intermission... Last bit, um, Donald, my operative tailing the suspect's wife, lost her. She went to the hotel, was up there for all of ten minutes, and then came down with a bag-hopped in a taxi and went straight to the airport. He lost her in the crowds. He can only say that she placed a long distance call on the phone, but because there was no answer, and rang under five times, the phone co has no record of it."
"Keep at it Tom. Anthony thinks we don't have allot of time on this one..."
Tom studied Donald closely "Exactly what does he have on you, that we are involved in this?" Donald only smiled mysteriously before entering into the theater again. They still had a few moments before the curtain went up again.
Diana looked at him as he sat and said softly. "She's beginning to wonder what is going on...She saw me in the ladies room"
"Did she say anything?" Donald asked
Diana shook her head. "But she keeps glancing up here when she speaks to her friend... wondering why with empty seats beside Anthony that we are up here."
Donald saw Jessica turn to listen to a comment from Seth, he knew that the glance their way was coming soon. "Then we have to give her a reason..." He said softly tilting her head upward to give her a soft kiss on her ruby lips. Jessica was answering a question posed by Anthony, who followed her gaze, and saw Donald and Diana kissing. Jessica flushed briefly, then saw Anthony grin "Bout time." He said indicating back to them with a tip of his head in their direction.
Seth missing it all nodded" Ayah, curtains just..." A ring of a cell phone interrupted him.. The cell phones shrill ring echoed from the breast pocket of Anthony Thomas. By the third ring, he had silenced the phone. He glanced at the message on the display, and then pocked the phone. Jessica saw the brief frown before he relaxed and looked to the stage to follow the second half.
Seth just shook his head. He couldn't see the sense of getting away from everything to relax just to be interrupted by a cell phone
Donald and Diana had heard the cell phone's urgency. Diana rose from her seat and went out of the theater to the lobby, to return a few minutes later. She slid a small fold of paper into Donald's hand. He glanced at it, shook his head. Diana rested her head on his shoulder. In their line of work, there were no happy ever after. She saw Seth place his arm about Jessica's shoulder and pull her in closer. There had to be a moment, like this ,in every friendship. One where time, the world didn't matter. One could only hope that the moment would last forever. She looked up at Donald, her employer, friend, and confidant for so many years. She could count the number of times that he had asked her to marry him. If now, when ladies could work, and keep house, was then, she would have. Diana wondered if in the friendship between the two, if there had been the talk of marriage, or would it be forever friendship? All too quickly the moment and the play were over. The house lights came up.
Anthony waited until the others had stood up before unfolding his lanky frame. He saw that his getting up caught the attention of Jessica. "Not as nimble as when I was young" he shrugged slowly rising. He moved slowly with them to the front of the theater. Donald and Diana were off to the side. The rain had stopped and it was becoming a warm night.
Seth saw the mob of people rushing to the taxies, and turned to Jessica. "There are far too many of them, and too few cabs. We could take the bus?"
Jessica smiled. "Or we could walk."
Anthony looked a Donald and Diana with a small shrug. Diana stepped up to them.
"Well, we're staying at the Woodrain hotel , and our car is in that lot, May we walk with you? You said that's where your staying... Unless you wish to, be alone..."
The comment brought a faint flush to Seth's cheeks. "Wouldn't want to put you out of your way... Easier for three to get a cab than two..."
Donald shook his head. "Not at all, after that meal, a walk would be welcomed."
The five of them strolled slowly. Donald and Diana walked arm in arm, as did Seth and Jessica. Anthony felt a bit out of place as he walked with his hands in his pockets.
"So where is your date for tonight Anthony? A handsome young manlike you shouldn't have any problem with the ladies if you're the people person that you say you are." commented Seth
"He is a confirmed bachelor" said Donald.
"All work and no time to look is more like it. Too many long hours." replied Anthony sheepishly.
Seth studied him "And just how can a people person BE a person people if he hasn't time for the female people? What exactly do you do?"
Anthony shrugged. "I help people. I give Donald gray hair, and Diana something to do."
Donald became indignant. "Gray hairs? That's been your plan? Diana, take a memo. Send a bill to Anthony from my hairdresser."
Diana tilted her head and studied him under the lamp light. "I think the gray makes you look distinguished." There was a tenderness in her eyes
. Donald kissed her cheek softly "Thank you dear." It was several blocks to the Woodrain hotel. The five of them made it into the lobby just before the rain began to fall again in a heavy down pour. The wind picked up with sudden furry, and hail began to pelt the windows.
Anthony looked at Donald before going to Diana and giving her a sound kiss on the cheek. "That's for having foresight to book us within walking distance, a drive home would take till morning..."
Diana gave a side glance at Donald who wore a bemused grin before saying "No, Anthony, you cannot have Diana work for you." He held up his hands in surrender.
The lights flickered then the hotel was plunged into darkness when a loud BOOOOMMMM! Reverberated in the hotel. Jess felt someone bump her in the dark, knocking her off her feet. She banged against Anthony and was caught by him as the emergency lights came up. She felt something very wet against her arm and looked down. Anthony followed her gaze and saw her sleeve was soaked in what looked like a bloody handprint.
Anthony gently steadied her on her feet as she looked at the stain and said "Oh dear!" Donald saw the blood as well, and quickly glanced around the hotel lobby for any one that had blood on them, or was moving about too quickly. Most of the people were still standing very still until they knew that the lights would stay on. Some were moving to the steps to go to their rooms Seth guided Jessica to the lobby sofa, with Diana taking the seat beside her. Carefully he rolled up the sleeve, and was relieved to see that the blood came from the outside, not her.
Jessica shook her head "I'm alright Se..." Her voice faltered as she looked up and saw someone looking at her from across the lobby. Seth followed her gaze and saw her looking at a tall exotic plant.
"Jessie, we are getting you up to the room, even if I have to carry you my self..." Seth said sternly
"I can walk Seth.. I am just a bit tired, that's all." She said tearing her eyes from the man who's presence brought back such painful memories. Seth and Anthony helped her up to her feet and across the lobby to the now clear steps. It took a while to travel up to the third floor and then down and around to where there rooms were. Diana was making a joke about probabilities when she saw the blood coming out from beneath Jessica's ajar door. Seth's door was also open as well, and a trail of splatters lead inside as well