Chapter Two Hundred Eighty-Six
Prince Silas spent the morning in meetings and spending brief amounts of time with the kids the come through the palace. His leaving one of those meetings when one of his aides walks up. "Yes." He asks.
"Sir, the former prince is on the phone for you."
"Okay, I'll handle it in my office." Silas replies, walking away as the children are being lead to another part of the palace.
Once he reaches his office, his assistant stands as he walks into the office. "Sir." The young man says.
"Relax, I'm only here for a phone call." Silas says, walking towards his inner office. "Can you make certain that I'm not disturbed?"
"Of course, Sir." The young man replies as Prince Silas closes the door to the outer office and proceeds to his desk. Sitting down, he takes a deep breath before he picks up the phone and presses the button to connect the calls. "Hello, Mr. Winslow." Prince Silas says, settling back into his chair.
"Prince Silas." William says, settling into his chair in the small office Jeffrey had made when the loft was renovated. He explained everything to Ava once he returned home from meeting with Richard and then she had to go upstairs to tend to Wes. While she was handling that, he decided to speak with Prince Silas and tell him what he and Richard had decided about Edmund's arrangements. "Do you have any news from the prison?" William asks.
"No, I was briefed earlier this morning. But the prison is still conducting their investigation into the incident."
"I've spoken to my brother about Edmund's arrangements."
"Of course, the island will be able handle the royal…."
"My brother and I have decided not to give Edmund the usual burial. We've decided that because my brother spent many years, plotting and for a few months overthrowing the government of San Cristobel that he is not entitled to the usual burial given to a member of the royal family."
"Some of the title…."
"We realize that some of the title holders may have objections to this, but we feel that as his immediate family it is our decision to decide his funeral arrangements. And neither Richard nor I feel that Edmund should be treated as a citizen in good standing with the government of San Cristobel. We have decided that we will have someone escort his body to Springfield and we will handle his burial privately."
"So, you or your brother will be coming to the island to claim Prince…."
"He has not been a Prince in a really long time. We would prefer if you would refer to him without his title."
"Of course. Is there anything else?"
"We ask that the prison be the one to announce Edmund's death, but we ask that no indication be given as to whom the prisoner was or his connection to royal family or the government."
"I suppose if the prison makes the announcement and they make no reference to Edmund's status then it will not draw attention to fact that Edmund is not receiving the full funeral for a member of the royal family."
"Thank you. Once arrangements have been made for our contact to bring Edmund's body to us we will contact you again."
"That will be fine." Prince Silas replies.
"Thank you." William replies, hanging up just a few seconds.
Once Richard finished with his next meeting, he turns to Amelia. "I'm going to be on a call."
"Yes sir." Amelia replies, as Richard walks back into his office.
Closing the door behind him, he sits down at his desk and then picks up his phone, dialing Noah's number, he settles back into his chair. After a few rings, Noah answer. "Agent Chase."
"Noah, it's Richard.
"I haven't had the opportunity to speak with the Director." Noah says, settling back into his office chair.
"I believe I have a way for Jon to return to the US without the agency's assistance."
"You have a way for him to come back without the agency's assistance."
"It hasn't been announced yet, but Edmund was shot and killed yesterday after his attempt to escape from prison."
"Edmund attempted to escape and was shot and killed, seriously?"
"Yes. Prince Silas contacted William early this morning to inform him of the situation. He didn't have a lot of information to give us, only that it was still being investigated by the prison. But one of Prince Silas's advisors reminded him of Edmund's station, for lack of a better term' anyway Prince Silas called to speak to William about how the announcement should be made. William didn't have any answers at the time, but we've discussed and that's where Jon comes in. He's in San Cristobel and given the things Edmund's been convicted of and pardon for, we don't feel that he should receive the traditional funeral arrangements that would have been given to a member of the royal family."
"Technically, he's no longer a member of the royal family. Since William renounced his claim…."
"Even renouncing the claim to that thrown would not negate the fact that all of us are still considered members of the royal family. He would still be entitled to the funeral arrangements that were made for, well me, his mother and our father."
"But Edmund's done things that destabilized San Cristobel. Not to mention the many times that he's attempted to kill anyone that stood in his way of the throne."
"Which is exactly why we're not allowing him the honor of a royal funeral and is also how Jon is going to come to us. He'll escort Edmund back to Springfield where we'll arrange for a private funeral and burial here in Springfield. Afterwards, we'll make arrangements for the meeting between Jon and Lizzie."
"He's not going to be able to come to Springfield as he is. Alan is most likely watching for anything that would indicate that Jon and Sarah are both alive."
"Honestly, I don't think Alan is looking for Jon or Sarah. Not right now, because he believes that both of them died in the car crash, but if he was to find out they were alive then we would have something to worry about, which is why Jon will have to come into Springfield under a disguise and then once he's here and we have a secure location for the meeting it will be revealed to Lizzie that he and Sarah survived that accident. He will likely have to go back to San Cristobel after the meeting and continue his life there with Sarah and his girlfriend, but Lizzie will be able to see Sarah at any time from that point on."
"Alright, I'll speak to the Director. We should still have a safe house there in Springfield, from when Jeffrey first went to Springfield for the Antimonious case."
"The what case?"
"It's not important right now. But I'll speak to the director about using one of those houses for Jon and Sarah. If you can convince Prince Silas to allow him to bring Edmund's body to Springfield."
"I know that William will be speaking to him about the arrangements. We'll let you know once the announcement has been made."
"Alright, we'll be in touch?"
"Then I'll talk to you then." Noah says. They hang up a short time later.
After hanging up the phone from his call with William, Prince Silas waits a moment before he dials the number to the prison and the warden's office. After a couple rings a woman answers the phone. "Winslow prison, warden's office."
"Yes, this is Prince Silas. I need to speak to the warden."
"Your Highness, sir. Of course. I'll get him on the line. Do you mind holding?"
"I'll wait." Prince Silas replies, settling back into his chair.
After a few short moments, the warden comes to the phone. "Your Highness."
"I want an update on the escape yesterday." Prince Silas says, coming directly, well almost directly to the point of his call.
"We're still investigating the incident, Sir. We've gone over the footage surrounding the point of escape to pinpoint when the gate was tampered with and to see if we can identify any suspects. We're also reviewing all video surveillance from the North tower."
"What about the guard?"
"We're attempting to locate him, but nothing so far. And it is likely that once he left the prison he left the island."
"Have you checked into any of the new guards?"
"We're doing that as well but a little less extensively because they would've been vetted before they were hired, Sir."
"It still doesn't mean that one of Edmund's supporters didn't slip through the process and gain access to him. Check them all again."
"Of course, Your Highness."
"I also called to inform you that Prince Edmund's family wishes to have the prison make the announcement concerning his death."
"But sir, he was a member of the former royal family, He is entitled to…."
"They believe that he forfeited those rights with all of the crimes he has committed, both pardoned crimes and the crimes that he was serving his time for. They have asked that the prison make the announcement and once that announcement has been made they will arranged for the body to be removed from the prison and a private burial. They also ask that no mention of who the prisoner was or his connection to the former royal family be made when the announcement is made."
"Of course, we'll honor the former royal family's requests. I'll have my assistant draw up a brief press announcement."
"Thank you. Keep me appraised of the investigation into the escape."
"Of course, Sir."
"Thank you." Prince Silas hangs up without further words being spoken.
Shayne is up and early for his video conference with his CO. When he comes on the line, Shayne quickly explains the situation and his request to be releases immediately from his current assignment and to be allowed an early discharge for the remainder of his time with his team. While reluctant, his CO agrees, and Shayne is cleared to leave with Larah as soon as the arrangements can be made.
Sam is holding AJ when Jeffrey comes back downstairs from his shower. She notices that he's dressed for the office. He comes over to her and wraps his arms around her and his boy, laying his chin on her shoulder. "You're going to the office?" She asks, while he nuzzles at her neck.
"Yes, only for a few hours, unless you need me here."
"We'll be fine, J. I think Megan might be coming over after her classes and I can call you if I need you or anything else."
"It'll only be for a few hours, I promise."
Stepping out of his embrace, she lays AJ in his bassinet before she turns back to Jeffrey. Slipping her arms around him, she says. "We will be fine."
"I love you and them."
"I know, and we love you. I didn't mean to make you think that I was doubting…."
"This isn't about Edmund. He's out of our lives and personally I'm relieved that is one less threat we have to worry about."
"I'm not worry about anything else, I promise. But we have made a lot of enemies throughout the years Sam. And while the agency does it's best to protect their agents, no plan is fool proof. We know that."
"I know, but I can't have you stressing out about things that we cannot control. Have faith that the agency will keep our identities safe."
"I'm going to worry."
"I know you are. But come to me please."
"I love you. I learned my lesson about not sharing."
"We've both learned that lesson. Now go to the office, and when you get back we'll do something special."
"So, Megan's coming to baby sit so we…."
"I'm not cleared yet, baby." She says, leaning up to kiss him.
"There are other ways to…." Jeffrey says, pulling away after several seconds.
"Go." She says, releasing him with a smile. He walks over to the door. Grabbing his coat, he slips it on before he turns back to her. "Love you."
"We love you." She says, walking over to him. She opens the door and then leans in for another quick kiss before Jeffrey leaves.
After hanging up with Prince Silas, the warden buzzes his Secretary. "Would you come in here please?"
"Yes sir." She replies. "You wanted to see me Sir." She says, as she opens the door to the warden's office.
"Close the door." The warden replies. She follows his instructions before turning back to him. "I've just spoken to the Prince and he has asked us to make the announcement concerning the attempted escape yesterday."
"He also requested that no mention be made as to whom the prisoner was that attempted to escape."
"But sir, we usually don't withhold that information unless the prisoner's family has not been contacted. I would assume…."
"Do not assume anything, Sheri. This is a request made by Prince Edmund's family."
"Yes sir." Sheri replies. "Will that be all?"
"Yes, as soon as the announcement is made we will be contacted about arrangements to release Edmund's body back to his family. Have we any more information from the investigation?"
"I haven't heard anything from the Chief of the guards, Sir."
"After you finish preparing that statement, contact the chief and ask him to come to my office for an update."
"That is all."
Sheri leaves the office while the warden returns to his previous work.
Noah finishes some other things before he goes to director's office. His assistant is at her desk when Noah comes in. "Is he in?"
"Let me see if his available." She replies, as Noah nods. Picking up the phone, she buzzes the director. "Sir, Agent Chase is here to speak with you?" "Yes sir, I'll send him in." She hangs up the phone as she looks at Noah. "He can see you."
"Thank you." Noah replies, walking over to the door. Noah walks in as a striking man stands up behind his desk. He's tall, well over six feet, with thick salt and pepper hair and piercing blue eyes. "Sir." Noah says, as he walks over to him, holding out his hand.
They shake hands before the director indicates that Noah should take a seat across from him as he sits down. "What can I do for you, Agent Chase?"
"I've just spoken with Richard Winslow."
"He knows about his brother."
"Yes, Prince Silas contacted Prince William in the early hours of this morning and then William contacted Richard."
"Do they suspect our involvement in Edmund's death?"
"I do not believe so, Sir." Noah replies, hiding the fact that the agency had a part to play in Edmund's failed escape attempt."
"You're surprised?" The director says.
"Umm, yes sir I am. I was under the impression that the agency stopped interfering in the government of San Cristobel after Prince Richard's father passed."
"This action came at the request of a former agent."
"Jeffrey." Noah guesses. The director doesn't confirm or deny that guess.
"I would assume that you have a request regarding Edmund's escape attempt."
"Yes sir, Richard has asked that we allow them to handle the arrangements for Edmund's removal from the country."
"Are they flying to San Cristobel to claim…?"
"I doubt it sir. Cassie is close to her final months before she delivers, and William's wife recently delivered their first child, so neither is prepared to leave at this time."
"Didn't Jeffrey just recently have twins?"
"Yes sir. Sam delivered twin boys about a week ago, Sir.
"So, who are they going to have, take custody of Edmund's body?"
"Sir, we arranged for the government of San Cristobel, through Prince William, to provide asylum to Richard's son Jonathan. Richard contacted me several days ago about us arranging for Jonathan to return to the country for a few days. It seems that Jon has wanted to reveal to his daughter's mother that he is in fact alive."
"What are the risks?"
"Minimal to us, only Richard, Reva, Cassie, Jon, Prince William and I know that Jon survived the accident he staged to protect his daughter and the original threat that forced Jon's hand has been semi-neutralized."
"What do you mean by semi-neutralized?"
"Jon staged his death after his daughter's grandfather attempted to kill him and instead killed Jon's wife, Richard and Cassie's daughter Tammy. Jon felt that Allan would never stop attempting to remove Sarah from his custody and he didn't believe that the child's mother would be able to keep her safe either. So, he staged and accident and then went on the run. Asylum wasn't offered until Richard came out of his coma last summer and was told what had happened. He contacted me to speak to William on his behalf and William agreed that he would provide the asylum."
"I am assuming that the usual stipulations for this asylum was given to Richard's son."
"Then one of the conditions for asylum was to do nothing to draw attention to himself."
"Would it not be dangerous to have Richard's son come back to Springfield, even if the initial threat is contained and he is only here to bring Edmund's body to his father."
"He will be doing that, but as soon as the plane lands, we will take custody of him and Sarah and escort him to a safe house in Springfield. Richard or William handle the remaining arrangements for Edmund's burial and then Jon will return to the island in a few days..."
"After the funeral."
"I doubt that Jon will want to attend Edmund's funeral, Sir."
"Edmund attempted to kill him when he was a baby, which set into play, Reva leaving the island and Richard but not before she gave Jon to his adoptive parents with the help of her friend at the time and Richard's next fiancé Olivia." Noah says, as the Director stares at him.
"Is this the same woman that you, yourself was engaged to at one time?"
"Yes sir, I was engaged at one time to Reva."
"Alright, I'm give my okay for Jon to use one of the safe houses in Springfield while he is in the country to bring Edmund's body to his family. But let me make this clear, neither I, nor this agency, is responsible if anything should happen with his daughter's grandfather, should he find out that Jon or his granddaughter are still alive.
"I understand, Sir." Noah replies, as the director nods. Noah leaves as he glances at a long-ago distant picture of the son he has no contact with and the woman he loved only one night. "And I thought my life was complicated, Martha."
When Noah gets back to his office, he immediately dials Richard's office number. On the second ring, Amelia picks up. "City of Springfield, Richard Winslow's office. How may I assist you?"
"I need to speak to Richard Winslow please?"
"May I ask who is calling?"
"Of course, Mr. Chase. I have instructions to put you through immediately. Would you mind a brief hold while I connect you?"
"No, of course not." Noah replies.
After putting him on hold, she buzzes Richard. "Yes Amelia?"
"Sir, Mr. Chase is on line one."
"Thank you." Richard takes the phone from his ear and turns to his campaign staff. "Gentlemen, we'll take a break here." They all rise and leave the room and once the door is closed behind him, Richard connects the calls. "Noah, I wasn't sure I would hear back this soon."
"I figured this was a priority for you and William, and the director will be on the hill for meetings for the rest of the week."
"Were you able to secure the safe house?"
"Yes, he's agreed to allow Jon to use the safe house in Springfield. He will accompany the body from Springfield and when the plane lands in Springfield, we will take custody of Jon and Sarah and escort them to the safe, either you or William will have to secure the body and make the arrangements for his funeral."
"I'm already working on that."
"Okay. The director did specify that neither he nor the agency will be held responsible for anything that should happen if Allan finds out about this meeting or the fact that he and Sarah are both alive. And the agreement that Jon signed and agreed to with the San Cristobel government will be nullified if he does anything to put himself and Sarah in danger."
"We both understand that, Noah. But Jon deserves to move on with his life and Lizzie deserves to know that her daughter is alive."
"Can you really trust that she won't go back to Spaulding's or Allan and attempt to get custody of Sarah?"
"There are no guarantees. We've both been around long enough to know that, but I am hoping that we will be able to make her understand."
"You mean you're hoping Cassie can make her understand that Jon's actions weren't about hurting her but protecting Sarah from Allan and the Spaulding influence." Noah says, but Richard doesn't reply.
"Alright, well you will need to let me know when the arrangements have been made with the palace to have Edmund's body brought to Springfield. Once that is decided, I will have agents in place…."
"Would you come?" Richard asks at the last minute.
"Look, I know you've probably not been back to Springfield since you left Reva in San Cristobel after she was saved from the earthquake."
"Josh saved Reva from that."
"You helped." Richard says softly, putting more meaning into those words than just his part in freeing Reva from the palace before it collapsed on her.
"Let's not talk about Reva and what happened then. We have agents that can…."
"Noah, I trust you. You won't let anything happen to my boy. Please!"
"Alright, I'll meet Jon and escort him to safe house, but other agents will be on his detail and I will only stay in Springfield long enough to make sure Jon reaches the safe house."
"Thank you, but you'll come out to the farm. Cassie and the boys would love to see you."
"Richard, she's married…."
"Reva will not be there."
"Okay, I'll come to the farm and I'll stay the night but I'm leaving first thing in the morning. The agents will contact you about arranging the meeting between Jon and Lizzie. I won't be able to handle that."
"That's fine. On second thought, have them contact Jeffrey, and I'll give him a heads up, so he'll be expecting their call. If you can't be at that meeting, then I trust Jeffrey as much as I trust you."
"Alright, I'll contact Jeffrey myself."
"Thank you, Noah."
"You're welcome, my friend."
"I'll see you soon." Richard hangs up shortly thereafter and takes a moment to decompress before he picks up the phone and has the campaign staff return to the meeting.
After speaking with his CO, Shayne comes back to bed. They spent the night celebrating the baby and so he had let Larah sleep while he arranged to be released from his duties. As soon as he slips back into bed, Larah wakes up. Blinking the sleep from her eyes, she smiles. "You let me sleep late." She mumbles.
"We were both sort of tired." Shayne replies, with a soft smile before leaning in and kissing her. "I prefer waking up to you than in a dessert tent with ten other smelly men."
Laughing, she leans in and kisses him again. "That's the only reason you prefer waking up with me?"
"No, there are several other reasons." Slipping his arm across her waist and pulling her against him. Settling in for a deep kiss. It's several second before they both pull away.
"I prefer waking up like this too." Smiling as she lays her head on his shoulder.
They lay there for a few moments before she asks. "What did your CO say?"
"I'm cleared to leave the country with you and the baby. They will make our travel arrangements to the US. And then we will have to make our own way to San Cristobel."
"Are you sure you don't mind…?"
"I want to meet your mom and I know that you want to talk to her about your dad. Besides you're going to be wrapped up with my mom and dad and all of my family in a matter of days."
"You say, all your family!"
"Well, there's my mom and Dad, Marah, and then there's my grandfather. There's my uncle Rusty and his family and my aunt Mindy and her family, but she lives in Paris. There's my Aunt Cassie and her husband Richard along with their two boys. My Aunt Cassie is pregnant right now. And then on my Dad's side, there's my Uncle Billy and his family and my Uncle Jeffrey and his wife Sam and they just had twin boys. Then there's my older brother Dylan and he has a daughter, named Daisy. And then there are several friends that are more like family then friends." He replies. "Too much?"
She snuggles in closer to him. "I think I can handle it. It was just me and my mom growing up."
"She didn't date after you were born?"
"A few times, but it never lasted. She loved my Dad."
"So, she only wanted him."
"I guess. I never really asked her about that part of it. I would ask about my dad, but she would brush me off or distract me."
"I'm sorry. But maybe when we get to San Cristobel and she finds out that you're pregnant, she'll answer your questions and you'll be able to find and meet him."
"To be honest, I'm not sure if I want to meet him. I know I want answers so that I know what could happen with the baby."
"Nothing is going to…."
"I'm not being negative. I'm only stating that as it is right now I have a whole other side of me that I don't know anything about. My Dad could be anybody and he could be from anywhere. And he could have anything."
"Whatever or however this baby comes to us." He lays his hand on her stomach. "We'll face it together."
She leans up and kisses him. "Love you."
"I love you too."
Richard finishes up with his meeting before he contacts William. "Hello." William says, picking up the phone quickly to avoid waking Wes. Who has just gone down for his afternoon nap before his next feeding.
"Hi, am I interrupting something." Richard asks, noticing the anxiousness in William's voice.
"No, we just got Wes to sleep and Ava is resting as well, and I didn't want to…."
"I understand. I only wanted to let you know that I've spoken with Noah. He's spoken with Agency's Director and he's agreed with our request to allow Jon to bring Edmund back to Springfield for his funeral.
"Is it wise for us to use Jon. He did fake…."
"He wants to see Lizzie and he wants to move on with his life. And I don't believe there's that much of a risk for Jon and Sarah."
"Prince Silas could construe him returning to Springfield as an act of endangerment. He would be able to nullify the asylum if he chooses to."
"I know. But I don't think that once Lizzie has the whole picture she'll endanger her daughter."
"We both know that people can react to this situation in different ways."
"She hasn't had any contact with Alan or the Spaulding family since I've been in Springfield and I have someone I think can make her understand Jon's motivations."
"Cassie, she did something that she's not proud up to support herself and her kids. She'll be able to explain that to Lizzie. I know that it will be up to Lizzie to decide what she wants to do about Jon's actions, but I think if she's allowed to see Sarah, she can be convinced not to let Alan or the Spaulding's know that either of them are alive."
"That's a big gamble Jon is making."
"He wants to be free to live his life without worrying about Alan coming after the. Alan's in prison and yes he has connections still, but really how does having Sarah do anything for him."
"You know more about Alan Spaulding then I do. I only dealt with the executives that came to the palace during their trip to the San Cristobel plant."
"I think it will be okay, but there will be trained agents with Jon and Sarah while they are in Springfield and they will be staying in an agency safe house. We're taking precautions."
"Okay. I'll inform Prince Silas that we will have someone come to the palace to received Edmund's body and bring it to Springfield."
"Just to be safe, don't tell him that it will be Jon. As much as I want to believe that Lizzie will understand, I would like to keep Jon's asylum in play."
"I can do that." William says, sounding very weary.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm, I'm tired really. With the baby and Edmund. I want to be able to settle in and be with Ava and Wes. I don't really want to have to deal with anything but that."
"I can speak to the Prince."
"No, it's probably better that I do that. He knows me, and he knows that I'll handle things efficiently, not that you…."
"I know what you meant. After this take more time off and spend it with Ava and your boy. I missed that with Will."
"Partly because of Camille."
"Yes, but most of it was because of Edmund and my own stupid reaction to his manipulations of everyone around him."
William was quiet for a moment before he asks. "Do you think there was anything in him that wasn't about manipulating people and situations to his own gain?"
"I think there could've been at one time. He wasn't always as manipulative when we were boys. In fact, he and I were quite close before his accident. Some of his actions were the consequences of that accident, but a lot of it was simply his need to prove he was better and me and our father. I think a part of him viewed both as weak because we allowed ourselves to be loved by someone else. He believed everything that was said about him, by the press and the people on the island. And he didn't have much evidence to see a different side of himself."
"Was there any time he wasn't damaged?"
"As I said, when we were younger and before the accident and then for a short time while he was in college, he was involved with a young woman on the island. She was a commoner, and he tried to keep the relationship hidden from our father, knowing that he would never accept or approve of either of us being involved with anyone he deemed outside our class. I guess I was lucky he had already passed, and I was prince when I met Reva and Cassie. He still probably resented the fact that I was involved with women of whom he deemed to be of low class."
"So, what happened to the woman."
"Our father found out and he gave Edmund an ultimatum, the woman or his standing within the royal family. Apart of me wishes Edmund would've walked away then. He would've been so much happier and the debacle with Olivia would've never occurred and Jeffrey would've never spent those years thinking he was responsible for Olivia's rape." Richard says, sighing softly.
"Would you have walked away?"
"I did walk away."
"But only after the truth was revealed. At the time of Edmund's relationship, you believed that you were the heir."
"I think that even without the cup, a part of me knew I wasn't truly the Prince. Our father tried too hard to push me to be the Prince. I think he was afraid how the other half of my DNA would affect me."
"Maybe he was just afraid someone would question who your mother was. I've seen pictures of Princess Charlotte. I can't see her in you."
"Everyone said I look like my father and Edmund took after our mother. Anyway, at this point it doesn't matter."
"I guess it doesn't."
"I'll speak with Jon and bring him up to speed after you speak to Prince Silas."
"I'll take care of that when we finish here. The prison is going to make the announcement, probably sometime today."
"Okay, then we'll talk soon."
"Yeah, soon." William hangs up, followed by Richard.