He tried to purchase it from Clem, but he wouldn’t sell. He knew Jeffery didn’t show that much interest in the property and was hoping he could talk him into selling.
Clara and Lena spoke with Gloria at dinner. She seemed sincere and they apologized for snooping through her belongings. Gloria also told them that Clem said he was going to tell Jeffery about her being his half sister but he needed some time because there was friction between himself and his son. He wanted Jeffery to take over the B&B, however, Jeffery didn’t have any interest in it. He liked living in California. Jeffery never mentioned it to her, and, she felt awkward asking him. She told the sisters that he also showed some interest in her and that made her think that Clem hadn’t told him yet.
“It was difficult for me because although I was happy about knowing who my father was and that I had a brother, I didn’t want to put more of a strain on their relationship. When Clem passed I was sad and knew I would have to tell Jeffery myself and thought he wouldn’t believe me. I tried to make friends with him but with all that had happened, it was not an easy task. I was waiting until after Clem was buried, but, it was hard for me too. I finally found my dad and lost him before we could become a family. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be for me”. Gloria was crying now and Clara and Lena were too.
“That does put you in a difficult situation”. Clara said. “But, legally the property is still half yours, however, you might want to seek legal advice”.
“I don’t care about any inheritance, I just wanted my father’s name on my birth certificate. It will never happen now”.
If you like Gloria, Lena and I will talk to Jeffery for you and explain it all to him. He should know he still has a family, you both do”. Clara advised. Gloria smiled and thanked the sisters for being so nice to her and offering their help. She asked Clara why she thinks someone murdered her father, but Clara told her she wasn’t sure and that’s why she and Lena were suspicious of her. “Maybe Clem did have a heart attack”. Lena said.
“I don’t know, I just can’t believe that”. Clara answered. “I will speak with Jack on Sunday and tell him everything I know so far. Maybe he can help”.
“Who is Jack”? Gloria asked. Lena replied.
“He is the coroner for Cape May”. Clara interjected quickly.
“I have to speak with him on Sunday and ask him some questions about Clem’s autopsy, but, I have to be sure about certain things. I could be wrong and Clem might have passed from a heart attack. I just don’t want to accuse anyone without proof”. Gloria looked shocked. “You think someone murdered Clem”?
“I don’t know Gloria and please don’t mention this to anyone. If someone did kill Clem I don’t want them bolting before we have proof”.
“Do you work for the police”?
“No, Lena and I have helped solve a few cases in our day. But, we like to keep a low profile”. She looked at Lena and winked.
“Ha”! Was Lena’s only reply.
“Alright, I will keep quiet about our conversation, if you promise to keep me up to date on what you find out, deal”?
“Deal”. Clara said. The three of them cleaned up the kitchen and Gloria said she had some laundry to do.
“Why don’t we all go to the Drift Wood later for a drink and listen to some music”. Lena suggested.
“Sounds good to me”, Gloria replied.
“Me too”. Clara smiled. “Is nine o’clock too late for you Gloria”?
“No, that’s fine, as long as we don’t get back too late, I have work tomorrow”.
“Nine o’clock it is then”. Gloria headed up the stairs to her room. The sisters went out to sit on the porch.”What do you think Lena”?
“I think she’s telling the truth”.
“I hope so, Lena, I hope so”. Clara called Marcus, she wanted to speak with him the following day but he said he would be busy, she could come in on Monday and he would listen to whatever she had to say. Friday night all three went to the Driftwood and had a nice evening. They arrived home near twelve and Gloria went straight to her room. She had work the next day and was working a double shift, which meant she wouldn’t get off until after ten pm. and home close to eleven. Lena and Clara had a cup of tea and retired for the night.
Saturday Clara was sitting on the front balcony and noticed Jeffery pull in his driveway about noon time. She waved and said: All was quiet Jeffery, your house is still safe.
“Thank you Clara”, he replied as he headed into the house.
“Would you like to come to dinner tonight Jeffery”?
“Thank you Clara, but, Marcus is treating me to dinner tonight at the Surf and Turf”.
“Wow! Fancy”. Clara replied.
“Yes, can’t pass that up”, Jeffery smiled. “Talk to you soon, have a nice dinner”.
“Thanks, Clara, I’m sure I will”, as he entered his house. Clara went back inside and started working on her computer. Lena was busy calling the people that usually worked for the sisters in the summer and the day passed slowly. The sisters were sitting on the front porch and saw Jeffery leave about six pm. They were having a glass of wine and talking about the upcoming season. They went back in the house about nine pm. and shortly after heard Jeffery’s truck pulling into the driveway. Clara said she was tired and so the sisters went into the house and were in bed by ten pm. The telephone ringing woke Clara, she looked at the clock it was 2 am., she picked up the phone. “Hello”.
“Hello, this is Nurse Sandy Dunn I am calling because a patient by the name of Gloria Mandel was brought in and we found your number in her belongings. She was brought in by 911 paramedics and is in pretty serious condition, are you a relative”?
“Oh my God Gloria!, I am not a relative but she lives here with my sister and I. Is she going to be alright? What happened?”
“Can you come down to the ER, we will need some paperwork done”.
“Yes, yes, of course, we will be there in fifteen minutes”.
“Thank you, come straight to the ER and ask for me”
“Sandy Dunn, right”?
“Yes, I’ll be waiting, your name”?
“Oh, I’m sorry, Clara Hayes and my sister Lena Hayes will be with me”. The ringing of the phone woke Lena as well. “Get dressed fast Lena, Gloria is in the ER and seriously hurt, or something. I just spoke to Sandy Dunn, she is the nurse in charge and they found our phone number in her belongings, hurry”.
“Oh My God Clara, I hope she’s alright”.
“Just get dressed now”! Clara had been sleeping in sweat pants and sweatshirt so she ran downstairs to start the car and waited for Lena. They arrived at the ER and entered the main waiting room. Clara went to the desk and asked for Nurse Sandy Dunn. “Please tell her Clara and Lena Hayes are here for Gloria Mandel”. The receptionist told them to go right through the doors to the left. “Just hit the pad on the wall the nurse’s station is on the left about half way down the hall”. The sisters did as they were told. There was only one nurse at the station. “Excuse me”, said Clara, are you, Nurse Dunn”?
“No, she is in with a patient, she should be right back. What is the patient’s name you came for”?
“Gloria Mandel”. Just then Nurse Dunn came walking out of one of the rooms.
“Here she comes now”, replied the nurse at the station. Clara and Lena started walking toward her. “Nurse Dunn”?
“Yes, Ms. Hayes”?
“Yes, and this is my sister Lena. Is Gloria alright”?