A Summer Place
Monica and Lonnie were able to spend one more afternoon together before Friday came and it was time for her to fly back to North Carolina. They managed to sneak in a visit at the trailer when Monica came home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they also made their plans for the summer. Monica wouldn't be home until July as, true to her plan, she was going to attend one summer session of classes. During those long months, they continued to write each other every week.
Monica's letters were filled with class schedules, homework, and stupid professors. She also told Lonnie that she had purchased a car, her first dip into the money she had made when she sold all of the antique furniture out of her house back in Sparta. Lonnie wrote about his latest cases. His last adventure was going with Chief Gillespie to New Orleans and investigating the murder of an old girlfriend. It also appeared that the Chief had a 19 year old daughter that he'd never met.
By the time July rolled around, Lonnie had rented the trailer for the entire summer, and Monica hit the road back to Sparta in her 1967 mustang convertible. Lonnie did not like her driving by herself at all and told her so several times, but fighting with Monica was hard enough in person. He didn't have the patience to do it via mail. Monica was driving straight to the trailer and Lonnie would meet her there. They had planned to stay the weekend there before she headed off to the Tibbs'.
Monica was taking her smallest suitcase into the trailer when Lonnie pulled in.
"Hey! Look who's on time!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah, I decided not to go in to the station at all this time so I wouldn't get trapped. I guess you lost the comb I sent you, huh?" Lonnie responded.
Monica looked upward and gave a puff to blow her hair out of her eyes. "You know, the only time my hair stays out of my face is when you move it."
Lonnie smiled and helped her with her suitcase. He then brought his own bag inside and they kissed each other 'hello'.
Just as things were about to get heated, Lonnie broke away from her and said, "Okay, let's go out and take a look at this car of yours. I want to make sure you didn't buy a piece of junk just because it's pretty."
"You haven't seen me in six months and you want to look at my car?" Monica sounded outraged, but she had a huge smile on her face that let Lonnie know she was joking.
"The car's new. I've seen you before."
Monica laughed, punched him in the arm, and followed him outside to the driveway.
Back at the Tibbs', Althea and Aunt Etta were cleaning out the guestroom for Monica's arrival on Monday.
"You know, Etta?" Althea began. "I love having Monica here, but I don't understand why she doesn't just rent a room at the Mcguffey House for the summer. I'm sure they'd work out a long-term rate for her, and she certainly can afford it."
"Humph." Aunt Etta grunted. "Ain't no need in her wasting money like that. Not when Lt. Jamison done spent up his money on my trailer for the both of them."
Althea dropped the sheet she was unfolding and stared at Aunt Etta.
"Child, please. I been knowing 'bout them two since before that girl left for school."
"But HOW? I go into town all the time and no one has a clue."
Aunt Etta laughed hysterically. "Althea Tibbs. All this time you done been here in Sparta, and you still don't know how things work around here. You ain't hear nothing in town because don't nobody in town know nothing. Unless somebody from the Bottoms tell 'em. Which they ain't. You want to know something for your own self, you go to the Bottoms."
Althea began to feel a little irritated. Aunt Etta still thought of her as being uppity, and it got on her nerves. "I do go to the Bottoms, Etta. And it doesn't bother me in the least."
"Sure you go. As a social worker. I gots friends down there, people that I visits wit and talk to. That's different. Anyway, word is we probably gon have us a weddin' here soon."
"Well, just don't say anything yet, especially to Virgil. I know that Monica's 18 now. But we should let them handle this the way they see fit."
While Althea was talking to Aunt Etta, Virgil was gearing himself up for a personal investigation. He never asked Etta about her trailer. Instead, he sat down, thought about it, and finally figured it all out on his own. Lonnie always seemed to take some time off at around the same time that Monica was arriving in town. He had also been checking the property tax payments on the trailer and noticed that Etta's payments were around those times as well. Lonnie was paying to use the trailer and was seeing Monica there. Virgil was sure of it. What he couldn't figure out was when and how Etta and Lonnie arranged it. He'd worry about that later. Right now, Virgil was about to take a drive to Brewer's Pond.
"Not bad, hon." Lonnie said as he shut the hood to Monica's car. "When you wrote that you had bought a car, I expected you to show up in a Mercedes or something."
"And have you shoot me for driving a foreign vehicle? I'm not that crazy!
Lonnie smiled. Monica was funny as ever; and she was right about him choking her if she ever bought anything besides a good American made car. He took her in his arms and kissed her again, long, hard, and deep.
"Now that's more like it." Monica said, and leaned in for another kiss. "I love you, LJ."
"And I love you. Speaking of which…."Lonnie broke away from her and went to his car. When he came back, he took her hand, led her to the porch, and handed her a small box.
"What's this?" Monica asked.
"Your birthday present." Lonnie responded.
"You sent my birthday present in April, LJ."
"Yeah, but this one's special and I wanted to give it to you in person."
Monica opened the box. Inside was a small silver charm in the shape of a sun. She looked at inquisitively; she knew it meant something but she couldn't put it together. After a minute, she looked at Lonnie for help.
"No ma'am." He said. "You're the genius. Figure it out."
Monica continued to stare at the charm. Suddenly it hit her. She looked at the trailer, and then back at Lonnie.
"It's for this place, isn't it? Our summer place."
Lonnie kissed her forehead and winked at her, letting her know that she was correct. He then added the sun to her charm bracelet. It danced brilliantly next to the heart he had given her almost two years ago. Then he stood up and held out his hand to her. She took it, and he led her into the trailer, down the small hallway, and into the bedroom.
Virgil was pulling onto what used to be a road. It was slightly overgrown, but could still be traveled on. There weren't many trailers left at Brewer's Pond, and the ones that were still there were not in livable condition. He had a service map from the courthouse, but it was useless. Besides, Virgil knew how he would know his aunt's property. He followed the old road towards the right and found exactly what he was looking for. An old double wide trailer with a red corvette convertible parked in the driveway. Beside of it was an older mustang convertible.
'Althea did mention that she had bought a car.' Virgil thought.
He parked his car in the small thatch of woods a few yards away from the trailer and walked onto the property. Just as he was about to walk up the front steps, Virgil heard noises coming from the left side of the trailer.
He walked around, stopped under the window where the sounds were coming from. He stood on an old crate and looked in the window.
For the past two years, Virgil felt that he already knew about this situation. But nothing prepared him for what he saw when he looked through that window. It was a small bedroom, with clothes strung all over the floor. And there in the bed were Monica Styles and Lonnie Jamison deep into the act of lovemaking.
Virgil got down from the crate and walked quickly back to his car. He sat there for a few moments stunned. All of his detective instincts had told him that he was right, but no one would ever believe how desperately he'd hoped he was wrong. He was also deeply disappointed in Jamison. He couldn't believe that Lonnie, of all people, could be capable of manipulating a young girl in order to get what he wanted. Yes, Monica was brilliant, but being academically gifted and being emotionally capable are two different things. She was only 16 when she met Lonnie. And Virgil just could not believe that a 16 year old girl was capable of handling a relationship, especially a sexual one, with a grown man.
"Damn!" Virgil screamed to the air and slammed his hand on the steering wheel. Then he started his ignition and drove off.
Althea had just finished putting the twins lunch on the table when she heard Virgil's car pull into the driveway. She looked at the clock and noticed the time. Seven.
'I wonder where he's been?' she thought.
Just as she finished her thought, Virgil stormed into the dining room.
"You lied to me!" Virgil yelled.
"What!" Althea had no idea what he was talking about or why he was yelling at her.
"Lonnie and Monica. I asked you specifically if the two of them were seeing each other, and you stood right here in our home, looked me in the eye, and LIED!"
Althea threw the dishrag that was still in her hand down on the dining room table.
"First of all, I know that you're angry. But don't ever call me a liar. Ever. Secondly, if we're going to have this conversation, we're going to do it in a calm and rational manner."
Virgil lowered his head, took a deep breath, and looked back up. "You're right. I apologize. But, you did tell me that they were not seeing each other. And I just saw them, Althea. In bed together, at Etta's trailer. Can you explain that to me?"
"Virgil, you never asked me if they were seeing each other."
"Althea, I'm many things, but crazy is not one of them. I know exactly what I asked you two years ago."
Now Althea was getting angry. "Oh? Then I'm sure, Detective, that you remember your exact words were 'are they messing around?'."
"What in the hell's the difference, Althea?"
"Respect? Sincerity? Love, maybe? You made it sound like Lonnie lured the girl into the back of his car with a popsicle!"
"So you don't have a problem with this at all?"
"No, Virgil, I don't. As a matter of fact, I'm happy for them. And I'm a little shocked at your reaction."
Virgil nodded his head and began to pace. "And I suppose that's why you helped Etta rent her trailer to him, so he could sneak off with that girl whenever he wanted to? Or am I asking the wrong question again? I mean, it was you that arranged that, wasn't it?"
Althea raised her head up, put her hand on her hip and responded. "Yes, Virgil. It was me. And I'd gladly do it again!"
Not believing what he had just heard, Virgil shook his head, went upstairs, and slammed their bedroom door shut.
The weekend went by quickly, too quickly for Monica and Lonnie. They both packed up their belongings on Monday afternoon and were looking forward to Thursday, the next time they'd be able to meet. For now, Monica was going straight to the Tibbs' and Lonnie was going into work for a three to eleven shift. They kissed each other 'good-bye' and went their separate ways.
Lonnie arrived at the station at around 2:30pm. He liked going in early just in case something weird was going on. When he walked in, Parker was looking at him kind of strangely.
"What's wrong, Parker?"
"I don't know. But Virgil wants to see you in his office."
"Did he say what for?"
"No, he didn't. He just said 'tell Jamison I need to see him the second he gets in.'"
"All right, Parker. Thanks."
Lonnie had no idea what Virgil wanted, but he was excited. This usually meant that Virgil was overloaded with investigation cases and wanted to give Lonnie some of the smaller ones to test-drive. Lonnie was dead wrong.
"Shut the door." Virgil greeted him when he walked into the office. Lonnie closed the door and waited for Virgil to continue.
"I'm going to make this short and sweet, Jamison. I went to my aunt's trailer this weekend. I saw you with Monica. And I just wanted to tell you that I think it's sick and that I never thought you would do something so despicable."
"You think it's despicable for me to spend time with Monica." Lonnie's voice was flat as he spoke; he was trying to keep a tight grip on the anger that was rising from the pit of his stomach.
"I saw you two in bed together, Lonnie! And yes, I do find that despicable, especially for a police officer. You're supposed to be protecting her, not using her."
Lonnie's eyes were flashing with anger. "She's a grown woman, Virgil. She's not a child."
"Yeah? What was she the night she left for North Carolina two years ago, Lonnie, when she was only 16? I saw her leave my house at close to midnight and she didn't come back until four. She was with you wasn't she? You were sleeping with her then!"
"That, Detective, is none of your business. None of this is any of your business. What passes between me and Monica is ours, and I'm not about to stand here and explain my personal life to you!"
"Well, we'll see what the city council has to say about that."
Lonnie continued to glare at Virgil. "And what exactly does that mean?"
Virgil sat down at his desk and crossed his arms. "I intend to file a formal complaint against you, Jamison, for Behavior Unbefitting a Police Officer. Maybe you'll see fit to explain your personal life to them. In the meantime, shut my door on your way out of my office!"
Stay Tuned for Part Three!