Frankie quickly turned Kitty's arm so the needle mark was hidden from Dillon's view. "Get out her nightgown would you Matt? She's a little feverish. I need you to go brew some willow bark tea. I can handle things here for the moment."
"But …" He hesitated reluctant to leave Kitty.
"It'll be fine Matt, don't worry. Please do as I say."
When Dillon was out of the way Frankie took Kitty's face in her hands, "What's your name?"
She was barely conscious. Her body was limp and damp with perspiration, but she managed a feeble response. "Kathl'n Ken'."
"Where are you from?"
"Why are you here?"
"Brother-in-law Matt … sick needs me …"
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Matt Dillon kept watch even though Frankie assured him Kitty would be fine. Looking at Frankie he decided they were just words meant to reassure. He could tell from the frown which wrinkled her brow, she was worried too.
She had gotten Kitty changed into a long sleeved nightgown and propped her up in bed with extra pillows by the time Matt returned with the tea. He took Frankie's place beside her, sponging her face with cool water and trying to get her to take a few sips of the willow bark brew. Eventually, Kitty fell into a fitful sleep, and throughout the remainder of the night, kept up a steady stream of unintelligible mumblings.
At different points throughout the vigil, Frankie would question Kitty. "What is your name, where do you come from, why are you here?" Kitty's response was always the same, the words somewhat garbled but the message clear, "Kathleen Kent, Wethersfield, brother in law." The fact that Frankie kept asking the same questions only served to increase Dillon's anxiety over Kitty's condition and the building rage over anyone who would do her harm.
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Kitty awoke shortly before first light with stomach pain. The pain turned quickly to nausea. "Goin' t' be sick." She croaked, just before she was. The next several hours were a blur of nausea, retching and stomach cramps. It was nearly noon by the time she was up to any questioning.
Charlie Yeoman had arrived by then, alerted by the red bandana on the front porch newel post. He'd been briefed by Frankie as they walked through the house. Stepping into the bedroom he asked, "What happened?"
Kitty was sitting up in bed when he came in, still somewhat confused and ashen faced. Frankie moved to Kitty's side and took hold of her arm pushing up the sleeve of her nightgown exposing the needle prick. The area around the injection site was swollen and the bruising barely visible the evening before, was intensifying in size and color.
Charlie moved closer and ran a rough finger over the area, "Varitatis?"
"That's my guess." Frankie concurred.
"Why didn't you show this to me last night?" Dillon demanded as he too, took a closer look.
"I wanted to wait until Charlie was here in case you decided to react like a hot headed fool instead of a level headed government agent."
"I had a right to know Frankie." He reproached in a voice that was deadly even.
Kitty was trying to follow their conversation, but her mind was muddy. She ran a tongue over her parched lips. "What? What are you talking about?"
"What do you remember from last night?" Frankie countered.
She closed her eyes tight in an effort to concentrate. "The restaurant …"
"Were you feeling sick there?"
Kitty gave a slight nod. "I was fine when we arrived."
"What happened once you got there?"
"We had some wine and appetizers - then the Deuths, Merriwethers and Rices came and invited us to join them. I remember Mrs. Barger agreed but only if they promised not to talk business until after dinner."
"Mrs. Barger went with you?" Charlie interrupted.
"Yes, she said she wanted to see the opera, and it would be her only opportunity to do so."
Charlie and Frankie exchanged a sharp glance before Frankie asked, "When did you start feeling ill?"
"Sometime during the meal - I couldn't finish my food. I kept thinking the feeling would go away, that I was just nervous or something, but it only got worse. Beau looked like he was feeling the same way."
"What about Mrs. Barger?" Charlie asked.
"She seemed fine - in fact she was enjoying herself so much that I didn't want to say anything about how I felt. I didn't want to ruin her evening."
"There must have been something in the appetizers then." Charlie concluded.
"Yes, but … " Kitty ran a hand over her eyes as a wave of dizziness assaulted her once more.
Matt grabbed the basin, but she waved him off. "I don't think there's anything left to throw up." He offered a rueful smile and sat down on the bed beside her, grabbing her hand in his.
"But what?" Charlie prompted.
"There was wine - Mrs. Barger didn't have any - but Beau and I did - it was brought to the table - the waiter said it was - compliments of the house - Château Lafite Rothschild."
Charlie winced. "So it appears Alonzo left a calling card …"
"The bottle was opened at the table, they couldn't have tampered with it, could they?"
"What else do you remember? Did you get to the Opera House?"
"Yes … I remember walking into the Opera House. It was crowded and the air was filled with the smell of strong cigar smoke and French perfume. It turned my stomach. The orchestra was warming up. An usher led us to our seats, we were center stage. Mrs. Barger had complimented Beau on securing such a good location. That's the last thing I really recall other than telling Beau I had to leave because I was going to be sick. I must have fainted."
"So they got you out of there, but where did they take you to administer the Varitatis? And … what did you tell them while under the influence of the drug?" Charlie wondered.
"Varitatis? I don't understand. I was drugged?"
Frankie answered her. "Kitty, we think you were injected with a substance that some believe is a powerful truth serum. Certain individuals appear to be more susceptible to the drug than others."
"That needle mark on your arm." Frankie explained.
"Truth serum? You mean they gave me a drug to make me tell them what I know?"
"Exactly. It's a mixture of exotic plant roots and herbs that has been used since the time of the early Roman army to extract secrets from enemies. Our government experimented with it during the Civil War. However, the Fraternatis were the ones to give it the name - varitatis - truth."
Frankie began pacing the floor, reviewing the timeline and information as it was known to them. "They tainted the wine to make her ill and used that as a ruse to get her out of the public eye. The Opera was slated to begin at 8:30, we can presume Kitty was taken out sometime before that. Sebastian said Beau became ill as well. But, what happened between that time and 1:00 AM when she was returned home. Who injected the drug into her system and did they inject Beaumont Davis as well? Who was their primary target?"
Charlie leaned against the window frame, pulling the curtains back, he studied the view of the river and the large home on the other side. "I'm not sure how much of what Sebastian says can be taken at face value. Still we know the Fraternatis questions Beau's worth to the organization. It could be they wanted to get a clearer idea of where his loyalties lie."
Matt pushed himself to his feet and moved to Yeoman grabbing his arm, forcing him to turn. "The cover's blown Charlie. it's time to get Kitty out of here, now. If you don't see to it, I will."
Frankie stopped her pacing in front of the men. She had a smile on her face that wasn't a reflection of happiness. "I don't think our cover is blown Matt. If Kitty would have given them any information they could use, they never would have let her come back here - she'd be at the bottom of the river by now. No, my guess is our cover is more solid than ever. Kitty didn't talk. I'd bet my life on it."