This is it, the last chapter. Thank God some of you might say... LOL
Thanks to everybody who read, commented and helped me developing this story. I had a great time writing it! A special thank you goes to Molly for editing it!
The new Mrs. Robertson – Twenty-Four
Della nervously checked her appearance in the mirror and drew a deep breath. It was the day Perry, Laura, and Raven would receive the result of the paternity test.
Hoping the best and expecting the worst, she tried to fathom how the day would end. She didn't fear Laura's influence on Perry anymore. Those times were over, but she tried to figure out how things would be if he had a child. A child she hadn't given him. But then she reminded herself that it had been their common decision not to have children. Aside from that, she was now sure their love hadn't suffered from the lack of children or marriage. In the last days, she had always woken up next to him with the content feeling that everything was alright.
She added a last touch of perfume and left the bedroom. Perry sat at the table, drinking his coffee, and looked up when he heard her.
"This came in for you, when you were under the shower," he told her, showing her an envelope. "Today without flowers," he grinned, but kept observing her while she opened the letter.
"From Glen," she said.
"Apparently he keeps thinking about his sphinx. What does he write?"
"He left Laura," she said, handing him the letter, but he shook his head. He didn't feel the need to control her.
"I don't need to read it."
"Maybe you should. He says he's sorry – for everything."
This time they were three in the office of the doctor who had agreed to perform the paternity test. Perry, Laura, and Raven sat in front of the desk while the doctor checked the file with Raven's name on the cover: Ellen Crane Robertson.
While Perry was his usual calm self, it was obvious Laura and Ellen couldn't be more nervous. Laura was slightly trembling, her hands playing with her cigarette case, attempting to get one and remembering she was in a doctor's office, and Raven's legs winced uncontrolled.
The doctor himself was calm, unmoved and professional. "I see." He closed the file and leaned back. "It'll make you happy to hear, the test was a success. There's no doubt about the result."
"And what is the result?" Raven asked impatiently.
"Well, I would like to tell you first, how we excluded the..."
In the hallway outside the office Della, William, and John Silver were waiting with the same anticipation for the result as the trio inside the walls next to them.
"What will happen, if the test shows Mr. Mason isn't her father?" William asked. "I can't believe this whole thing will start over."
"It won't, unless your step mother will tell us who the other man was," Silver shrugged.
"I can't see why she's making such a secret of it. It's hard to think even less of her than we all do now."
"Maybe it's someone who doesn't want to be revealed," Della suggested. She was leaning against the wall next to the door, her arms crossed over her chest. She felt cold, knowing she had been the engine to this mess. She had told Perry she wanted the scientific evidence for Raven's parentage otherwise she would leave him for good. She wouldn't accept Laura as part of her life unless it was proven Raven was Perry's child, something she had doubted when she had thought about Laura and the man in the bar all those years ago. Of course, she had no proof Laura ever cheated on Perry, but the feeling had been there ever since.
"I wish I knew what is going on in there," Will said angrily. "Can't take that long to say yes or no, right?"
The elevator door at the end of the hallway opened and Stefan Corro stepped out. A smile formed on his face when he saw Della. He approached her with quick steps, took her hands and kissed her cheek.
"I got your message only one hour ago. What has happened?"
"They have a result," Della explained. "I thought this could be the right time for a chat between you and Perry."
The priest frowned and his face lost its color, "Della, I don't..."
"Shh... please, if you can't do it for yourself, do it for me."
"What I can finally say, and without a doubt, is that you, Mr. Mason, are not the father of this young lady here. It was obvious from the moment we compared your blood groups. You couldn't have begat this child."
For a moment no one said a thing. Aware he was misplaced now, the doctor rose and left the room.
Laura wiped a single tear from her face and covered her mouth with her hand. Perry remained unmoved while his eyes lay on Raven who had closed her eyes, awaiting the moment she could gain control her trembling body.
"I want a name," she finally demanded, her voice shaken by anger.
"I can't," Laura shook her head.
"Yes, you can. It's the reason I came here and you won't get away with this crap. I want a name!"
Laura remained silent, her eyes closed, as if she were hoping ignoring the storm would help her survive it. Raven rose, took a step, and leaning on the rest of the armchair she hissed: "It's over. There's nothing you can do to prevent me finding the truth. Maybe it'll take me a few months to find out who the man was you banged, but I swear I'll find him and after I found him, you'll wake up one day to see your face in the news all over the country. I have the power to destroy you, and you know it, and you know perfectly well nothing will stop me. And believe me, I'll be the one to dance on your grave once you're gone! Now give me a name!"
As the door flew open and Raven stormed out without noticing anyone, Silver sighed, mumbling: "I guess that's it." and nodded at William, ordering him to follow her. Struck by the obvious result of the test, Della closed her eyes. Biting her lower lip, she almost wished she hadn't demanded it, because she had an idea how devastated Perry must feel now.
Laura was the next one to leave the room. Though she had stopped crying, it was visible that the result had not been the one she had hoped for. Her walk was unsteady as she passed Silver without paying Stefan or Della a look.
"Mrs. Robertson," Silver yelled and started following her.
"I'm not interested in your interpretation of inquisition. Leave me alone." Laura had already reached the elevator and bushed the button next to the door.
"I'm afraid you'll have to listen to me."
The elevator doors slid apart and Laura walked in.
"I doubt that."
"Anything you ask for."
Before the doors had closed, Silver had taken a step forward and had followed her into the cabin. Laura gasped, but due to the closing elevator doors her angry words never reached anyone besides John Silver.
Della shook her head at the sight of the ridiculous banter and went to the open door. She saw Perry standing at the window, staring out on the sunbathed parking lot. She approached him from the side, touched his arm with both of her hands and massaged them gently.
"I'm sorry," she whispered softly and leaned against him. "I'm so sorry."
"Don't be. None of this is your fault. I'm the one who should be sorry."
He turned, allowing her to cuddle up against him. "I allowed this to come between us and now I have to face that I've never been anything else more than a toy to her. I've done a pretty good job, cleaning behind her."
Since she couldn't deny it, she decided to change the subject: "Did she say who he is?"
"Do you want to know?"
"No. All I want now is to go home with you."
She smiled tenderly at him and stroked his cheek. "I know, but first you have to do me a favor."
"There's somebody out there who needs to talk to you."
Della turned her head toward the door where Stefan stood, nervously awaiting Perry's reaction to his presence. Before the lawyer could object, Della placed her index finger on his lips and said: "Please, for me..."
Perry took her hand into his, kissed it gently, and nodded, "Anything for you."
Later that evening, Raven entered the lobby of the Havenhurst and asked at the reception for Perry's room number. She groaned disapprovingly when the receptionist told her Mason hadn't returned yet, but offered nicely to give him a message.
"No, thank you... I guess I'll wait."
"I knew you would come."
She turned and found John Silver standing right behind her.
"I've spent my afternoon here in the bar, waiting for you to arrive."
"How did you know I would be here?"
"Who else, if not Mason, could help you to find Mr. X when Laura refuses to spill the beans?"
Raven and Silver watched Perry and Della crossing the hallway toward the elevator. They had wrapped their arms around each other and were smiling contently while talking to one another.
"All right. I think I need something stronger than water tonight."
Raven heaved herself onto the seat next to Silver and ordered an orange juice. "You know, I was thinking of asking Perry Mason to help me find my father, but I guess I don't have the right to ask that of him."
"Let's say you should at least wait until the first wounds are healed. After all, he has just lost a daughter. Give him a break."
Knowing he was right and detesting his common sense Raven exhaled and asked: "Yes, I will. What did Laura tell you? A little bird told me you went after her."
"Actually, it was a waste of time. I've never met someone this stubborn. The only thing she kept repeating was that she can't tell you or anyone else who your father is."
"Of course... I wonder why she's singing that song. It doesn't make much sense."
"Well, maybe that's her last big secret. There isn't much left she has left. Her husband has left her, her career is over, and her daughter hates her. Mr. X and his identity are the only things she has."
"Maybe my father is the President," she joked, amazed how easy she felt making fun of her situation.
Silver gave her an amused look.
"Don't exaggerate. You're not that important!"
"Thanks for reminding me about this. You're my anchor in the rough sea."
"I hope so. I invested a lot in you... So where do we go from here? Round 2?" he asked, whirling his drink.
"It means the search goes on. Can I count on you?"
"You can always count on me."
"You still haven't told me what Stefan and you talked about," Della reminded Perry, as they stepped out of the elevator.
Perry grinned, "We've declared a cease fire and promised to honor it."
"That's all?" she asked, a bit disappointed.
"Isn't that what you wanted?"
They stopped at the door to Perry's suite and Della started searching for the key in her purse. "Did you ever think of using a smaller one?" Perry asked amused, when she noisily continued poking through the contents of her handbag.
"I need the space, because I have to carry around your stuff!" she snapped, handing him the key. "And now don't avoid the subject. What did Stefan and you talk about?"
Perry unlocked the door, allowing her to enter first.
"We agreed neither of us won't stop loving you because of the other one's existence."
She swallowed, "I see. In other words you'll continue not to talk to each other."
"Not necessarily... but it would be naive to think we could ever get back what we lost."
He closed the door, but the handle remained in his hand, "And unless you want to run to him now, you'll have to accept that not every relationship can be saved – no matter how hard you try."
"I just don't want to be one responsible for all this. You've known each other for so long... longer than you know me."
"No one is holding you responsible and no one is comparing you to Laura.. or any other woman."
Realizing he had hit the nerve, he took a step forward and pulled her into his arms. "You are you and I love and adore you. No questions asked. From now on, it's just us and nobody else!"
They exchanged a smile and a long deep kiss.
"Want me to type that up for you, Counselor? We could sign it with blood. Just in case you forget?" Della whispered against his lips.
"You better forget about your typing and change instead into something more..." His hands ran over her back and came to rest on her hips. "Soft. We're alone."