PI badgeSam was curled up on the sofa, a White Russian sat on the side table. Her cat Bonkers was curled up at her feet. She was reading a book, enjoying the quiet. The only noise was the rain on the roof and the crackling of the fire in the fireplace. This is nice she thought, I wish I could do this more often.

She was a Private Detective, and business had been good. The past few months had been very busy for her and she relished this quiet time. The book was good and the drink was working it’s magic and making her drowsy. She finally dozed off to sleep.

Samantha Cole was 31 years old. She was an orphan by the time she was 10 months old. Her parents had been killed in an auto accident. Child service’s tried to find any family but never did. There were no parents of the deceased listed on either death certificate. The story ran in the newspaper, no one came forward, she was a child that fell through the cracks. Over the years she was placed in a few foster homes, she was a loner and was never adopted. Her feeling of never fitting in haunted her. When Sam turned 18 she applied for the police force. Attended the academy in Jamaica, New York and graduated with honors. Sam attended college on her days off and after 6 years graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice. She made detective. Worked with the Detective Squad for another 2 years and quit the force. She had accomplished her goal, to get vested so she would get a pension when she was ready to retire. Saving her money and wise investing let her own a comfortable home, in Howard Beach, New York.

Opening her Private Investigation office was a dream come true. Sam could search records she otherwise would not be able to get access to, but always hit a brick wall when it came to her own information.

Her office was located in Long Island City. It was an industrial area, but Sam felt comfortable about it, she was not afraid. The rent was reasonable and it was close to Manhattan. She hired an assistant, Connie Tune. Connie was in her early twenties, bright, efficient, attractive and very reliable. Sam had come to rely on her and she made a delicious cup of coffee.

Her client’s varied from the very wealthy to the very poor. Sam knew what it was like to have little or no money, she also had a soft spot for people who were alone. She had helped many find their biological families, most were happy reunions, some were not. Sam knew that feeling well. Working with the police departments, Coles Investigation Service did well. Having friends from the department didn’t hurt. She was called often to help with murder cases, missing persons, and thefts.

The ringing of the telephone woke Sam up. “Hello”. Samantha said as she looked at the clock. It was 11:00pm. The voice at the other end of the line was shaky. “Is this Sam Coles residence”? “Who would like to know”? Sam answered. “My name is Janet Hewitt, I would like to speak to Sam Cole, it is important, please ask him to come to the phone”. The name Janet Hewitt rang a bell in Sams’ head, but she was a bit groggy from being awakened from a sound sleep. “I am Samantha Cole, how can I help you”?

I am sorry Ms. Cole, but when I heard the name Sam I”.

It’s alright Ms. Hewitt. How did you get this number”?

One of the officers from the 115th. prescient. I think something terrible happened to my husband Ben. He left for an appointment yesterday morning and I haven’t heard from him since. I tried calling his cell phone but I keep getting his voicemail”.

Did you fill out a missing person report”? Sam asked.

No, could you please come here now, I know it’s late, but I need help”.

Can it wait until morning”?

Please I will make it worth your while, my address is Forty-Five, Sutton Place South, have Charles at the desk call me when you arrive. I am in the penthouse. Please, please come.” With that, Ms. Hewitt hung up. Samantha dialed Ms. Hewitt back. There was no answer. She thought maybe she would wait to see if the woman would call her back. A half-hour later Sam was in her car headed to the city.

Forty-Five Sutton Place, South. An exclusive area she thought while driving. “He’s probably with his girlfriend”. Sam said out loud to herself. Her thoughts then turned to Janet Hewitt. The name sounded familiar to her but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Sam arrived at 45 Sutton Place South about thirty minutes later. She knew there would be no parking on the street so she took out her police light and the Police Business card and placed it on the dashboard. Parked a few feet down from the canopied entrance and got out of her car and locked it. It was almost one am. The doorman opened the door and Sam headed directly to the reception desk. A young man that looked to be in his early twenties dressed in a suit and tie smiled and said; “Good morning, can I help you”?

Yes, I have an appointment with Janet Hewitt”.

Oh, yes Mrs. Hewitt called me about your arrival. You are Samantha Cole”?


May I see some identification please”?

Sam standing there in her jeans, sneakers, and wearing a winter jacket reached in her inside pocket and pulled out her wallet and removed her drivers’ license. She noticed the little brass bar pinned to his breast pocket that had the name Charles engraved in black letters. He looked at her license and said; “Thank you”, picked up the phone on the desk and dialed a few numbers. “Miss Cole has arrived”. He said and then hung up. With another smile he stood up smiled at Sam and said; “Please follow me, the elevator is just over here”. The lobby was large and decorated with a large area rug surrounded by club chairs, a couple of sofas and some tables scattered about. It was well lit and there were three elevators in a hall off to the right of Thomas’s desk. He walked to the last one, took a key out of his pocket and inserted it in the small lock on the wall for that elevator. The doors opened and he said; “just press the up button and it will take you to Mrs. Hewitt’s apartment”.

Thanks”, Sam said as the doors closed. The doors opened and she stepped out into a large foyer. There was a half stone wall with lush plants to her left and right. Straight ahead stood Janet Hewitt dressed in sweatpants and shirt and wearing sneakers. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and was attractive. Sam figured her for about forty-something. “Thank you for coming, Ms. Cole”, she said with a worried tone in her voice. “I have tried calling Ben a few times since we spoke but the calls are still going to his voice mail. Oh, I’m sorry, please come in we can talk in the lounge. I made a pot of coffee would you like a cup”?

Yes, I could use a cup of coffee right now, thank you”. The lounge was to the left of the elevator. It was beautifully decorated and had a large overstuffed sofa, two leather club chairs a glass coffee table, two end tables and a large desk facing the windows which overlooked the East River. The floors were dark wood with a high gloss on them.

Please have a seat Ms. Cole, I’ll get the coffee. Cream and sugar”?

No thanks, black is fine” Sam replied. Janet headed toward the large open kitchen and Sam sat down in one of the leather chairs. A few minutes later Janet returned carrying a tray with two mugs of coffee, placed it on the table and handed one to Sam. “Now, Mrs. Hewitt why don’t you start from the beginning and tell me why you are so worried”.

Yes, you are right, I have to calm myself down, but I feel much better now that you are here”. Just then her cell phone rang. She jumped up from the chair and ran over to the island that separated the kitchen from the lounge and hit the button. “Hello, Hello, Ben are you there, hello, Ben?” She took the phone away from her ear and hung up, looked at Sam and said, “no one answered”. Sam walked over to where Janet was standing and took the phone from her and looked at the screen. No number available was the message. Janet started to cry. “Mrs. Hewitt calm down and let’s sit down and tell me what is going on”. They both sat down and Janet looked at Sam and said in a shaky voice.

Something has happened to Ben I just know it”.

What makes you say that”?

He took a gun with him yesterday

Exactly what does Mr. Hewitt do for a living”?

He has an Import Export business”.

Where is his office”?

He doesn’t have an office, he works from home”.

Does he have a computer”?

No, he just uses his cell phone but he does have a warehouse in the Bronx”.

Where in the Bronx is it located, who works for him, how does he pay them”?

I don’t know. Ben never talks about his business with me. He said I wouldn’t understand it and it’s boring. I really don’t know anything about it, I’m sorry”.

May I ask how long you’ve been married”?

Just over twenty-five years”.

In twenty-five years you know nothing about your husbands business. I find that strange”.

I know and I’m sorry but Ben will not discuss it with me. He treats me well and I love him. If he doesn’t want to talk about something and I persist he gets angry”.

Do you have a recent photo of Mr. Hewitt”?

Yes, I will get it for you, but the photo is about two years ago, is that alright? He still looks the same though and he wasn’t much for having his picture taken”.

Yes, please do, thank you”. Janet went to their bedroom and a few minutes later came out with the photo. “This is the only photo close-up of him. He isn’t much for taking photos. We never even had a wedding album or a photo of our wedding day”.

This is the only photo you have of him”?

No, I have a few of us together but they were taken at a distance and you can’t really see us that well and they are much older than this one”.

Any children”? Sam noticed a slight hesitation. Janet put her head down and said;

No, no children”. Sam thought she saw the sadness in her eye’s.

Sorry”. Sam said.

That’s alright, we are happy and we have each other”.

If you want me to take this case on you will have to come to my office tomorrow and we can discuss the fee and see if we can figure this out”.

What time do you want me to come”?

Is ten good for you”?

Yes, that fine”.

Here’s my card I’m located in Long Island City, will you need directions”?

No, I’ll find it but thank you”. With that, Sam got on the elevator and pressed the down button.

As Sam walked through the lobby Charles smiled, she just nodded her head. The doorman opened the door for her and she walked toward her car. She sat in her car a few minutes thinking about the whole scenario. There was something Mrs. Hewitt wasn’t telling her and she had to get it out of her tomorrow.

Sam started her car and left Sutton Place behind her. It was almost four am., Sam was tired and it had started raining again

With very little sleep under her belt, Sam arrived at the office at eight-thirty that morning. Connie was already there and the coffee was ready. “Thanks, Connie, I could use a good cup of coffee right now”.

Rough night”?

You could say that but not in a good way. A Mrs. Hewitt will be here at ten, show her right into my office”.

Will do boss”. Connie said jokingly. Sam handed her the photo of Ben Hewitt.

Run this guy and see if you can find anything about him, his name is Ben Hewitt. He is fifty-seven years old and supposedly owns a warehouse in the Bronx”,

What’s the address”?

Don’t know and neither does his wife. He is driving a black Honda SUV. It is registered in Janet Hewitt’s name”.

Wow! He’s cute” Connie said looking at the photo, “he also looks familiar”, she said.

He’s also missing”. Sam replied and went into her office and closed the door. She took a few sips of her coffee and called Detective Mike Dunn at the 115th prescient. “Hi Mike, this is Sam, can you do me a favor”?

Yeah sure Sam, what is it”?

See what you can come up with any information on a Ben or Benjamin Hewitt. He has whitish gray hair, is fifty-seven years old and lives at Forty-Five Sutton Place South in Manhattan. He supposedly owns a warehouse in the Bronx too”.

Sure Sam, what’s going on”?

Just another missing person case Mike, nothing special”.

Okay, I’ll call you if I come up with anything”.

Thanks, Mike. Talk to you later”.

Hey, Sam dinner tonight”?

Thanks, Mike but it’s going to be a long day”.

You know you’re breaking my heart, Sam”.

Yeah Mike, right. Thanks for the help”. Sam hung up.

Janet Hewitt showed up at ten o’clock and Connie showed her into Sam s office. “Good morning Mrs. Hewitt. Have a seat. Would you like a cup of coffee”?

Yes, thank you”.

Cream and sugar”?

Just a splash of cream and one sugar, thank you”. Connie had been standing there and said she would be back with the coffee in a jiffy, left the office and closed the door.

Did you hear from Ben yet”?

No”. Janet said, “I am still getting his voicemail”.

Mrs. Hewitt, why don’t you want to go to the police? Fill out a missing person report and let them handle this”.

I can’t”.

Why not”?

It’s a long story”.

If you want my help you have to be totally honest with me or you will be wasting your money”.

If I tell you will the police find out”?

Mrs. Hewitt I am a private investigator unless your husband has done something wrong anything you tell me is strictly confidential”.

I think Benett is in trouble with the government”.

Benett is your husbands’ first name”?

Yes, Benett W. Hewett”.

Alright, why do you think that”?

Ben gave me a key to his safe deposit box and told me to keep it in a safe place and never tell anyone about it. If something happens to him I am to go to the bank and remove everything in it and to read a letter and all the paperwork included and follow the instructions but only if he is dead”.

Do you think he’s dead”?

I don’t know, I hope not but I don’t know if I should go to the bank or wait. That’s why I got in touch with you first. I don’t want to go against his orders if he is alive” She started crying.

Calm down Mrs. Hewitt. You did the right thing. Please don’t take this next question wrong but does he have a lady friend”?

Right now, I don’t think so, but he did stray in the past. He said they were one night stands and he loves only me and would never leave me, I believe him”.

Have you ever uh, stayed”? Janet shot her a look.

No! Never and I never will, I love Ben with all my heart”.

Why do you think he’s in trouble with the government then”?

I overheard him mention the FBI and CIA in a conversation one day”.

Do you know who he was speaking with that day”?

No, he was shooing me out of the room at the time. I did ask him when he hung up but he told me it was nothing and not to worry about it”

How long ago was this”?

About six months ago but he’s been on edge ever since, now you know why I came to you. Can you help me”?

Sam discussed her fee and they came to an agreement. Janet looked exhausted by this time and Sam told her to go home and she would be in touch. She thanked Sam and said; “Please find him, Ms. Cole, please”.

I have already started some preliminary work and I will speak to you soon. Do you want me to come to your home or do you want to come here? and please call me Sam”.

Thank you and you can call me Janet”. She smiled.

Alright, I’ll be in touch Janet”. With that Janet left.

Connie knocked on Sam s office door. “Come in Connie, and sit down. Do you have anything for me”?

Nothing Sam, well nothing that matches Mr. Hewitt’s photo”.

His name is Bennet W. Hewitt, not Benjamin. I thought Ben stood for Benjamin but found differently from Janet today”.

Okay, I’ll re-run everything in his name. I ran Janet Hewitt’s name as well”, and handed Sam a folder.

Let me go over this and I want to call Mike Dunn and see if he has had any time to get some information and to tell him about the change of the first name. Did you check to see if there is a warehouse in Hewitt’s name in the Bronx”?

Yes but nothing. I even checked all five Boroughs, still nothing in the name of Hewitt. There is a list in the folder with all the Hewitt’s in New York State and the last known addresses. Let me know how you want me to handle that”.

Thanks, Connie”. It was past noon and Sam was hungry. She handed Connie the check from Janet and said;

Why don’t you get some lunch then deposit this in the bank. I will hopefully have some more information about Mr. Hewitt by the time you get back”. Connie took the check and whistled.

Wow, nice”. She said. Sam just looked up and smiled.

Just deposit the check and bring me back a sandwich and a salad please”. With that Connie left.

Samantha dialed Mike Dunn at the 115th prescient. The phone rang. “Hello, this is Detective Dunn how can I help you”.

Hi, Mike this is Sam. Did you get a chance to get any information on Hewitt yet”?

No Sam. We ran his name for the city and state of New York but nothing. I also sent his name over to the FBI office but didn’t hear back from them yet. There are drivers licenses under that name in the state but the description you gave me doesn’t match”.

Mike I just found out this morning his first name is Bennet, not Benjamin”.

Alright, I’ll try under that first name. What’s going on”?

You know I can’t go into it Mike but if it comes to the point that your department needs to get involved I’ll let you know”. Sam heard another detective from the office call out to Mike.

Mike! Let’s go they just pulled a body out of the East River”. The hair on the back of Sam s neck stood up.

Sam I have to go. I’ll try and get back to you later. Sam? Are you there”?

Yes, sorry Mike, I’m here. OK, thanks, I’ll talk to you later”. She hung up but had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Sam picked up the folder that Connie had given her and was reading through it when Connie got back from the bank. Ben Hewitt’s name wasn’t on anything aside from drivers’vers license. The condo, cars and bank accounts were all in Janet’s name. She was staring at his photo and thinking to herself. This guy looks so familiar to me. I have seen him somewhere, but where? Her office door opened. “Lunchtime Sam”, Connie announced and placed Sam s lunch on her desk along with a cup of coffee.

Thanks, Connie. What am I having today”?

Ham on rye with mustard and a small toss salad, no tomato”.

Sounds good. Grab a chair Connie unless you want to eat at your desk”.

No, I’ll eat in here, thanks. What’s the matter Sam, you look frustrated”.

I am,” she said and pushed the photo of Ben Hewitt toward Connie.

I know this guy or I met him before. He looks so familiar to me but I can’t recall where I know him from”. Connie was staring at the photo.

He’s good looking for an older man but nothing out of the ordinary that I can see. Eat your lunch maybe it will come to you if you don’t think about it so hard”.

You’re right”, Sam said and took a bite of her sandwich. “Janet Hewitt isn’t telling me everything either. I am going to wait a couple of days and then go question her again. Unless Mr. Hewitt shows up before that, or his body. Another thing that doesn’t add up is that everything they own is in her name, and she’s going to have to tell me why. I need more to go on than a name and a photo”.

If anyone can do it you can Sam. You’ve solved some pretty tough cases in the past”.

Thanks, Connie but I have a bad gut feeling about this one”. With that, the phone rang. Connie reached over and picked it up. “Coles Investigation Service. Hold on please”. She handed the phone to Sam it’s Mike from the 115th.

Hi Mike, what have you got for me, something good I hope”.

I am afraid not Sam. The FBI came back negative, sorry Sam. I will keep my eyes open for the car and give you a call if I hear anything”.

Thanks, Mike. Who did they pull out of the river”?

Some homeless guy, he was probably drunk and fell in. Why do you ask”?

Nothing really, I just heard them call to you when we were speaking before”.

Talk to you soon Sam. Think about dinner one night this week”.

Alright, I’ll think about it and let you know”.

Samantha was attractive with medium brown hair and light brown eyes. She stood five foot eight in stocking feet and wore a size ten in clothing. She was also a marksman and carried a 9mm., handgun. She also owned several other pistols, including a 357 magnum and a 44 caliber handgun also a small 22 caliber that she kept in her purse. She taught Connie how to shoot at the gun range and got licensed to carry a firearm. Connie kept a 38 caliber in her desk at work. She did not care for guns but Sam convinced her that it’s better to be safe than sorry. If they worked late Connie carried the pistol in her purse until she was safely home.

Sam was not romantically involved with anyone for some time. She did have a boyfriend when she was a detective and they lived together for a while, but it didn’t last long. He couldn’t stand the hours she had to work, he was not in law enforcement. They parted friends.

Mike Dunn was a good friend but it seemed to Sam that if she started dating him their friendship would end. She liked Mike but was afraid to get close to anyone. Her childhood and teen years were tumultuous and she didn’t or couldn’t trust people.

Locating Ben Hewitt was tougher than Sam thought it would be. She needed Janet to give her more information. Connie made an appointment for Sam to speak to her again at her condo on Thursday evening at eight pm… On Wednesday Connie knocked on her office door about three in the afternoon and announced that Mike Dunn wanted to speak with her. “Show him in”.

Hi, Sam”.

Hi Mike, what can I do for you”?

I want to know why you keep dodging me”.

I’m not dodging you”.

Then why won’t you have dinner with me”?

I, um, I’m very busy right now working on a case”.

Does that mean you don’t eat”?

No! I eat but there’s no set time”.

Sam, you know I’m crazy about you so why don’t you give me a chance to wine and dine you. You just might enjoy yourself”. Sam giggled and blushed.

Alright, Mike. I’m free Friday evening, are you”?

It just so happens that I am, is it a date then”?

Yes, yes it’s a date. I just hope it doesn’t ruin our friendship”. Mike walked around her desk and took her hand, she stood up and he cupped her face in his hands and kissed her gently on the lips.

I have just broken our friendship”. He smiled. “Do me a favor Sam, don’t wear jeans on Friday night, OK”? She gave him a playful shove.

I promise no jeans”.

Great! I’ll pick you up at eight”. He walked out smiling. Connie gave him a thumbs up as he left.

Thursday Sam entered 45 Sutton Place So. Charles was at his desk. “Good evening Ms. Cole, Mrs. Hewitt is expecting you. He walked over to the elevator and inserted the key, the doors opened and she entered, pushed the up button and the doors closed. Janet was waiting for Sam and had coffee and cake set out on the kitchen table. Her condo was not ostentatious but everything was high end. “Hi Sam, come in I have some coffee and cake ready. We can sit in the kitchen”.

Hi Janet, that will be fine. Thanks”.

Do you have any news for me”?

I am afraid not Janet, but I am going to be straight with you and hopefully you will be the same with me”.

I have been straight with you”, Janet replied with arrogance in her voice.

No, you haven’t. There is more to this than meets the eye here Janet and if you want to see your husband alive again you are going to have to tell me the whole story or you will be wasting my time and your money”. Janet s eye’s filled with tears, she put her head down and grabbed a tissue from the box on the table.

Does that mean you think Ben is dead”?

No, it means if you want me to try and find him alive I need to know where to go next”. Just then Sam’s cell phone rang. It was Mike and he told her they found the SUV in the long-term parking lot at JFK. He wanted to know if the Mrs. wanted them to tow it or leave it where it is. Sam thought for a moment and told him, “no don’t tow it, not yet. I am with my client now and I will get back to you if she wants it towed. Thanks, Mike”, and she hung up.

Janet, the police just found your SUV at JFK long term parking. Do you want to tell me what I should know now or am I finished with this case”? Janet looked up at Sam.

Where do you want me to start”.

From the beginning and don’t hold anything back, understood”?

Yes, let’s go sit in the living room. This is going to take a while”.

I was born in Mexico. My name was Alejandra Martinez. My mother was a hooker and I don’t know who my father was. When I was about twelve one of my mother’s friends as she used to call them raped me while she was sleeping. When I told her she slapped me across the face and told me to get out of her house. I lived on the streets for a few weeks until a woman who knew my mother and what she was, took me in. She was kind and let me stay with her and her husband. One day he groped me while she was in the garden they kept. She walked in and caught him. They fought for hours. I was terrified. The next day after her husband left she handed me an envelope containing enough money for me to pay for a bus ticket to California. Once in California, I had only about twenty dollars left, no place to go and no one who cared. I couldn’t rent a room because of my age, even though I looked older because I had developed early. After a couple of days, I met a man near the bus station, I used to sleep in the bus station. He offered to take care of me. A nice place to live, new clothes and food. Little did I know then, he was a pimp. By the time I was fourteen I was a full-fledged prostitute. I was also pregnant. I was only about eight weeks along and I told my pimp one night when he stopped by my corner to pick up whatever money I had made so far. He started slapping me around and screaming at me, beat me pretty badly. Out of nowhere a man grabbed him by the jacket and threw him to the ground and beat the shit out of him. I begged the man to stop but he didn’t listen. I knew I would pay for this later, but the man told me to get in his car. I hesitated and he shouted; “get in the damn car now”! I jumped in his car he gave the pimp one last kick and got in the car with me. I thought he was a cop and I was going to jail but he didn’t take me to the police station, he took me to his condo. He cleaned my cuts and told me to take a shower. I was crying the whole time. He told me his name was Ben and he was not going to hurt me. I did as I was told. He handed me sweatpants and a polo shirt to put on after my shower. When I was showered and came out of the bathroom he had a cup of hot tea and a sandwich sitting on the kitchen table. Ben asked me my name I told him. “You are here illegally aren’t you”?

Yes, but please don’t send me back”, I cried. I explained my life up to this point to him. He asked me how old I was, I told him the truth fourteen. He told me not to worry. I could stay with him for now and he would not turn me over to the authorities. I asked him if he was a cop, he said he was not. The next day he asked me what size I wore, clothes, underwear, shoes etc.. He told me to help myself to breakfast and he would be back later. When he did return he had packages for me that contained everything from skirts, blouses, jeans, tee shirts, shoes, sneakers everything I could ever dream of. I thanked him and he smiled and said; “No problem, you deserve a break”. Over the next few days, we talked about how much schooling I had and what I would like to be when I grow up. I asked him how old he was he told me twenty-four. It’s funny I thought at the time that was so old. I never expected what happened next. Ben asked me to speak to him in Spanish. I did and then he asked me why I didn’t have an accent when I spoke English. I told him the truth. As a child, I had a little friend and she spoke English. Her parents were American and lived in Mexico for several years. I learned from her and my mother spoke English as well. He asked me if my mother was American. I thought she was maybe half American but I really didn’t know. I started to tear up so he dropped the subject. He made dinner that night and made me watch him cook. He seemed so kind and gentle but I still didn’t trust him. I didn’t trust any man at that time.

Over the next few days, he brought me books and made me read them out loud to him. I did, I read well and asked him why he was making me read out loud. He told me I had to go to school and he wanted to see what grade level I would be on. I got sick to my stomach when he said that because I knew I was pregnant. I started crying. He asked me why I was so upset about going to school. I finally told him I was pregnant and that’s why my pimp was beating me the night he came along.

Oh Christ, your pregnant”? I started crying even more and shook my head yes.

Alright, stop crying we’ll figure something out”.

I told him I would not get an abortion and that’s what my pimp was so angry about. He told me to calm down and we would talk about it tomorrow. I thought about running away but I had no place to go and he was so kind. “I just couldn’t figure it out, you know”? She looked at Sam but she was just sitting there listening and taking notes. Janet asked her if she wanted another cup of coffee and something to eat Sam told her coffee would be fine. “How come your so fair Janet”? Sam asked.

I don’t know. My mother was fair, she had dark brown hair but blue eyes. I asked her one day how come she and I had blue eyes when all of my friends had brown eyes. She told me that’s how God made us and not to ask any more stupid questions. I never spoke to her about it again”. Sam knew Janet dyed her hair but the blue eyes threw her off. She never expected to hear that she was Mexican. Janet gave Sam the cup of coffee and placed a tray with coffee cake on the table.

Can we stop for a few minutes”? Janet asked.

Yes, it’s getting late but I have to get all the information I can so I know which direction to take”.

They drank their coffee and both women had a piece of coffee cake. Janet asked her a few more questions. What was her mother’s name, where she lived in Mexico, did her mother have any family there. Janet answered but Sam could see she was upset so she waited until they both finished their coffee and asked her if she could continue.

Yes, I am Okay, I want you to find Ben and I will help in any way I can”.

Alright, what happened the next day, after you told Ben you were pregnant”.

He went out the next morning and came back about an hour or so later. I was reading one of the books he had given me. He brought a few bags of groceries and we put them away. He then told me he had to go on a business trip and would be gone for a few days possibly a week and asked if he could trust me to stay in the condo and not go out for any reason. I told him I would be fine because my mother used to leave me alone for days at a time and I had been on my own since I was twelve. He just shook his head but he had such a sad look in his eyes. That was the moment I knew I could trust him. He wrote a phone number down and said I was only to call him if it was a real emergency and told me to be careful not to play any loud music and not to go outside not even on the patio and keep the blinds closed and the door locked at all times. He left that afternoon”.

What did you do while he was gone”?

Nothing, I stayed in the condo just like he told me and watched television and read books. He had bought enough food to last me a month. I did as I was told, I felt he was going to help me and it felt so good to have someone who seemed to really care. Ben came back almost a week later. He looked tired like he had been driving all night. He took a shower and we cooked dinner together I was actually happy he was back. He didn’t say much during dinner but told me afterward that he wanted to talk to me. I could tell it was serious. He went to his bedroom and came back with a bunch of papers. “Here’s what we’re going to do”, he said and handed me one of the papers. I looked at it and it was a birth certificate with the name Janet Mauro as the child and June Hall and Robert Mauro as the parents. It was the same year I was born but not the day, it was a different month. He also had other legal documents stating that he had guardianship over me, he was my uncle on my mother’s side of the family. I was an only child and he was my only living relative. I asked him what all this was. He told me it was the only way I was going to be able to stay in the U.S. and that I would have to get a photo taken for my passport, and then he told me what we were going to do. He was going to hire a tutor and bring me up to speed on my grade level and I had to go to school after the baby was born, but I had to give the baby up for adoption. I started crying, I didn’t want to give up the baby. I had no one who cared about me and this child would be all mine. Someone to love and someone who would love me back, really love me. He told me this was the only way he could help me and he was sorry but if I wanted his help that was the way it would have to be. He held me in his arms and let me cry, and when I calmed down he told me to think about it and let him know what I wanted to do in the morning”.

Needless to say I got very little sleep that night. I was going to be fifteen in a few days, being pregnant at that age with no one to turn to, no place to live and if I went to the authorities they would send me right back to Mexico. I cried for what seemed like hours. I finally fell asleep from exhaustion. I woke up and just laid there thinking about what I should do. I really didn’t have too many choices. I heard a knock on the door and of course, it was Ben. He told me to take a shower and he would make breakfast. I didn’t feel like eating but I told him I would be out shortly. I decided to give the baby up for adoption but I wanted to make sure it went to a good couple who would love it and were American. I showered, dressed and went to the kitchen. Ben was sitting at the table drinking coffee. He made pancakes and sausage and told me to have a glass of milk or a cup of tea.

No coffee, you’re pregnant you need to eat properly”.

I just picked at my breakfast and told him I wasn’t that hungry. He asked me if I had decided what I wanted to do. I told him, yes but I had some questions.

I will answer everything I can for you”, he said.

I told him I wanted the baby to go to a good couple that would love, and takes good care of the baby. I wanted to know who they were and where they lived and how old they were. What kind of job the father had and if the mother was going to stay home and take care of the baby. What would happen to me afterward and how do I know he was telling me the truth, and why was he doing this and where did he get that birth certificate and guardianship paperwork from. He told me I wouldn’t be able to know the people that were adopting the baby but he would make sure that they were a good loving couple and that they would love and take care of the baby it’s whole life. As far as the paperwork with my new name and guardianship papers it was all legal and as far as anyone was concerned he was my uncle. He saw the look on my face and without me saying anything he said;

Janet I am trying to help you, I am not going to sell your baby, it will go to a good home with loving parents and never be abused. I promise. I can’t tell you right now how I got the paperwork but will tell you when the time is right”.

Alright I’ll give the baby up for adoption, I told him with tears streaming down my face. He put his arms around me and let me cry it out. After I calmed down he told me we would be moving to New York in three weeks. He would take me to a doctor and make sure I was healthy and he would hire a tutor for me and after the baby was born I would be able to go to school just like any other normal kid. He kept his word. On my birthday we went out and he had a couple of photos taken of me, a few days later I had an American Passport and a birth certificate. I told him then that I had turned fifteen a couple of days ago so he took me out to dinner that night to celebrate my birthday and a new beginning for me. He also told me his name was Benett Hewitt and that he was in the Import, Export business and that’s all he could tell me. I thought it was strange but at that age, I didn’t say anything because I knew he was really trying to help me get my life on track.

We did move to New York and he brought me here to this condo. He arranged what doctor I would go to and hired a tutor for me. I had to call him Uncle Ben whenever we went out and in front of the tutor and the doctor. I delivered the baby, a little girl I got to hold her a couple of hours after she was born. That same night I started to hemorrhage. I was rushed to surgery and when I came out of the anesthesia Ben was right there. I knew I would never see my baby again but I also knew that Ben made sure she would be safe. I was in the hospital for another two weeks and the doctor said I was well enough to go home. I was also told that the hemorrhaging was because of a tear in my uterus that was so bad they had to perform a hysterectomy and I would never be able to have any more children.

Oh my God Janet I am so sorry”. Sam said.

Thanks, Sam it was horrible but I have Ben and he’s been wonderful to me for all these years”.

It’s eleven o’clock do you want to call it a night Janet? I can come back tomorrow morning”.

Yes, thanks, I am exhausted”.

I just have one more question. What does Ben do for a living”.

He never told me this but I think he works for the government in some capacity”.

What capacity do you think”?

I don’t know for sure but maybe the FBI or the CIA or something like that, I don’t think Ben is doing anything illegal if that’s what you mean”.

Alright, I’ll see you in the morning, is ten good for you”?

Yes, that’s fine”. Sam took the elevator down, said goodnight to Charles and the doorman but drove home with a bad gut feeling.

It was early morning in Karbala, Iraq. Ben Hewitt was sitting in a coffee house with his interpreter Sami. They were sipping coffee and waiting for news of where to make the exchange. Ben had to get Peter out and it had to be now. Under the table was a metal suitcase that contained a half million American dollars, the other half million to be handed over when Ben and Peter were safely through customs at the airport. Peter’s cover had been blown and working for the NOC which is a covert department of the CIA he couldn’t turn to them for help, he was able to get a message to them and they called Benett Hewitt.

Ben was told to meet with Paul Ward at the warehouse, he would be filled in on the details at the meeting. He told Janet he had a business appointment and would be back later but he got a sinking feeling on this one and took his 9mm with him. It might be overkill but something told him this was not going to be an easy assignment. It was also going to be his last.

Sam went over and over the story, Janet told her in her head as she was driving home. It was almost unbelievable, but she knew Janet was telling her the truth. If Ben was working for the government that would explain how he was able to get the legal documents he needed so quickly. She hoped that she could find Ben alive because he was all Janet had, except for the daughter she gave birth two years ago.

She pulled into her garage, went into her house, gave Bonkers fresh water and food, took a hot shower and went straight to bed. It had been a long day and she needed sleep. She made a mental note to possibly break the date with Mike depending on what other information Janet would reveal tomorrow.

Sam stopped at the office before heading over to Janet’s house. Connie filled her in on phone calls and upcoming cases and that Mike had left a message for her to call him. Sam finished her coffee and left.

Aren’t you going to call Mike”? Connie said as Sam was leaving. She didn’t answer as the office door closed.

Sam arrived, Janet had coffee ready, and there were bagels and rolls on the counter in case Sam was hungry. “Just coffee for me thanks, I’d like to get started. I hope you slept well last night, you looked exhausted”.

I am but until I hear from Ben or you find out what happened I’m afraid I won’t be getting much sleep”.

Why don’t we get started then”.

There’s not much more to tell. Ben and I married after I finished high school. I attended college for a year but dropped out for lack of interest. I had everything I ever dreamed of except children. Ben was always busy and I kept myself busy with charities, friends, and shopping. I loved to cook and when Ben was home early enough for dinner it was wonderful.”

Did you socialize with other couples, either here or go out to dinner, plays, movies”?

Not that often. There was a couple we went out to dinner once in a while. Paul and his wife Mary I think her name was or maybe it was Marie”.

What was their last name”?

Ward, yes it was Paul and Mary Ward. Mary, not Marie. She was a lovely woman and he was very nice too”.

How often did you socialize with them”?

Not very often maybe ten times or so over the past fifteen years. I tried to get close to Mary but she was always busy so I stopped trying”.

Do you know what Paul did for a living”?

Ben told me he was an associate of his”.

Do you know if his wife worked”?

No, I don’t think she did but I could be mistaken”.

Janet, do you know how to shoot a gun”?

Yes, Ben taught me and I am a pretty good shot if I do say so myself”.

Where does Ben keep his gun”?

You mean guns he has several. They are in one of the wall safes in our bedroom and a couple in the wall save in the den”.

Can you show me them”?

I would if I could but I don’t know the combination for the locks”.

How does Ben expect you to protect yourself when he’s not around and you can’t get the guns and how do you know he took a gun with him when he left”.

I have a 357 in my nightstand and I saw the gun he was carrying the day he left for the meeting”.

Are you still getting his voicemail when you call his cell”?


Does he have a personal phone book with names of friends, family or associates”?

No, not that I know of unless it’s at the warehouse”.

What about family”?

None that I know of. His parents have passed and he was an only child”.

What were their names”?

Gerald and Victoria Hewitt, why”?

Did you ever meet them”?

Yes, once. They looked old even then. I think Ben was born when they were older”.

Where did they live”?

In California”.

You’re not giving me much to go on Janet and time is ticking away here. Do you want to go to JFK and get the car out of long-term parking”?

No!! Ben put it there for a reason and I don’t want him to come home and his car is gone”.

Janet, Ben might not be coming home. You do realize that don’t you”?

Don’t say that”! Janet said with tears welling up in her eyes. “You have to find him”!

Alright, calm down. This is what we are going to do and I need you to cooperate with me, understand”?

Yes, yes. What do you have in mind”?

Do you have that key that Ben gave you”?


Go get it. You and I are going to the bank and open that safe deposit box”.

But, but, Ben said”…..

I don’t care what Ben said, he’s missing and I have no leads on him. Now, do you want to help me find him or at least get some answers of his whereabouts or not”?

Janet was visibly shaken. She took a deep breath and went to her bedroom and came back with the key and a piece of paper with a number written on it. “I have to write this code number on the signature card for the box”.

OK, let’s do this and hopefully get some answers on your husbands’ whereabouts. Get your coat and purse and let’s go”.

Fifteen minutes later they were on their way to the bank

Ben and Sami waited. It was seven am… The traffic outside was starting to pick up. Ben watched as a car pulled up in front of the maqhaa (coffee shop). They watched as two men got out of the car. One of them opened the back door and Ben could see Peter. He looked tired and had a bruise on his face, his clothing was a bit disheveled. The two men were dressed in jeans and tee shirts and had sports jackets on. Ben could see the bulge of the jackets where their guns were. Another man stayed in the car and Ben could see the barrel of a rifle leaning against the front seat. Sami stood up and in Arabic greeted them as if he knew them in a friendly way and invited them to join him for coffee. There were a few other men in the shop two of whom Ben knew but Sami was not aware of. They were both fluent in Arabic and the local dialect of Karbala. The two men and Peter sat down and more coffee was brought to the table. Sami introduced Ben to the two men as Kasim and Jahmir. Peter smiled and shook hands with Ben and said; “Man, am I glad to see you”. He also noticed the two men from the NOC but said nothing. He suddenly felt safe and smiled at Ben. The two men saw the suitcase under the table between Ben and Sami. They exchanged words with Sami and he explained to them that they could take the suitcase with them in their car. He and Ben would follow them to the airport they would all go inside and when Peter and Ben were boarding their flight to Germany Sami would give them the other suitcase and the combination for both locks. One of the men said something to Sami, he told Ben that Peter would have to ride in the car with them. Sami would follow behind them. Ben told Sami to tell them he wanted Peter’s passport and wallet now. One of the men took an envelope out of his inside jacket pocket and placed it on the table. Ben opened it took out the passport and checked it to make sure it was in order, it was. He also checked Peters wallet and his drivers’ license and credit card were in it. He put both items in his jacket pocket. He then lifted the case onto his lap punched in a few numbers and put the case on the table and opened the top enough for the men to see the money. He then closed and locked the case. The two NOC agents from the other table got up and left. They got in their car and drove off. They would be at the airport when Ben and Peter arrived. Ben, Sami, Peter and the two men stood up from the table and left the coffee shop.

Peter got in the back with Jahmir and the suitcase, Kasim got in the front seat with the driver Malid. They spoke in Arabic about how easy it was to get money from the Americans and how this money would help their cause. Peter sat quietly but understood every word they said. If he got back to the U.S. he would be debriefed as would Ben.

Ben had two first class tickets for his and Peter’s flight to Germany, a two-hour layover and then their flight to JFK International. If all went well.

Sam and Janet arrived at the bank and went directly to the safe deposit box area. Janet gave her name to the clerk and he handed her a card to fill out. Ben had included her name on the original form and she had signed it. She filled out the form entered the code number and handed it back to the clerk. Janet and Sam followed him. He unlocked a metal gate and went to the box number registered. He asked for Janets key slipped it into the lock and then took his key and opened the door to reveal the box. He removed his key, took the large box out. “Would you like me to carry the box to one of the rooms for you, it’s quite heavy”.

Yes, thank you”. He handed her key back and told her to follow him. She opened the door to one of the small private rooms used by depositors. The clerk placed the box on the table and left. Sam locked the door and Janet opened the box. Inside was cash and plenty of it. There were also several envelopes filled with documents. Sam told Janet to take the envelopes out but leave the cash alone. Janet put all the envelopes in her purse closed the box and told the clerk she was finished. He put the box back and locked the box door. Janet thanked him and she and Sam left.

Sam drove back to the condo. Janet removed five manilla envelopes from her purse and placed them on the table, and sat down. She was clearly upset. “I’m going to make coffee before we open those envelopes. Would you like a cup? Sam nodded yes. “I feel like I am betraying Ben. He will be so upset when he comes home”.

I am sure he will understand Janet. You are his wife and you have a right to know his whereabouts. This might save his life”.

I know but it’s almost like admitting he’s gone”.

It also might help me find him”. Janet poured the coffee and gave Sam a cup. She took one of the envelopes and opened it. There were several passports all with different names in them but all contained Ben’s photo. She showed them to Sam. “What does this mean”? She asked Sam.

It means you were right, Ben does work for the government, in what capacity remains to be seen”. Janet opened another one. It was Janets and Bens marriage license and a birth certificate for Janet’s baby with her name and the baby’s name as Maria Martinez. Father unknown. A copy of another birth certificate with the name Olivia Cole mother and David Cole Father, child Samantha Cole. Janet started to shake and cry. “What is it”? Sam asked. She handed the document to Sam without saying a word.

The two men from the NOC that had left the coffee shop were waiting just inside the doors of the Lufthansa terminal when the cars pulled up. One man started walking toward the gate for Bens and Peters flight, the other stayed close to the doors. Ben and Sami got out of the car and walked over to the car in front of them to get Peter. The back door opened and Peter got out and so did Jahmir. Ben asked Sami what was going on. They were supposed to wait in their car until Sami came back with the combinations for both suitcases after he and Peter were safely on the flight. Jahmir told Sami he was going with them and would wait just outside customs. Sami and Jahmir went back and forth almost getting into an argument but Jahmir finally got back in the car and the three men headed toward the airline doors. Once inside they headed to the customs area showed their tickets and passports and passed through with no issues. Then the man who was standing by the doors walked up to Sami handed him a passport and a ticket and both men passed through customs with Ben and Peter. Ben was about to say something but Peter looked at him and shook his head no. Ben and Peter started walking toward the gate their flight was ready for boarding. Jahmir told Kasim he thought it was taking too long and he was going into the terminal. Kasim said to him it might be a trap and told Malid to go look in Sami’s car and see if he left the key in the ignition. Malid got out and walked over to Sami’s car and saw the key and returned to his car. Jahmir told Kasim to look in the trunk of Sami’s car and see if the other suitcase was there. Kasim took the key out from the ignition and checked the trunk, the suitcase was there. He told Jahmir and was told to get back in the car and follow them. Kasim asked how were they suppose to open the suitcases without the combinations. Jahmir told him they would drive to the camp and blow the locks off. Kasim got into Sami’s car and both cars drove out of the airport. Jahmir laughed and told Malid now they had another car to use as well as the money, they both laughed.

Ben, Peter, Sami and the two NOC agents all boarded the plane without issue. Once in the air Sami introduced himself to Ben and Peter. His name was Gary Samuels the other two men were Ron Hall and Joe Black all were NOC agents. Ben and Peter thanked them and ordered a round of drinks. “It was worth the money”, he said.

Joe Black said; “The money was counterfeit and both suitcases had C4 inside the linings. “Those ass holes probably found the other suitcase and took off and will blow the locks and themselves along with it. Ben smiled and the men toasted a job well done. They were on their way home. Once they landed in Germany Ben would call Janet and tell her he was fine and would be home in a day or two. When he got home he was retiring from the NOC as was Peter.

Joe was right the three men drove into camp carrying the two suitcases with shouts of joy and laughter. They took the suitcases into the main tent and Jahmir wanted to take the first shot and he did.

Janet and Sam looked over all the other documents. The one that interested Sam was the one from Bens attorney stating the legal adoption of Janets baby girl to the Coles. Now it was Sams turn to start crying. Everything matched her birth, the date, the hospital her parent’s names there were even photos of the Coles with Samantha. Janet was crying Sam was crying she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. If the documents were legitimate then Janet was her mother. Sam wanted a DNA test done and so did Janet.

Although Sam most likely looking at her mother she was ill at ease. Janet was crying and saying she couldn’t believe all of it. “I know everything in this document matches my birth and parents Janet but we have to be absolutely sure”.

We can always ask your parents. Surely they will know”.

My parents were killed in an auto accident when I was about ten months old. I spent my childhood in the system. Did you know about that Janet? did Ben know and didn’t tell you. There are many questions to be answered. Did you know”?

No! If I had known I would have come and got you. I don’t think Ben knew either. Was it on the news or in the newspaper”?

It wasn’t a headline story but it was in the newspaper, I don’t know if it was on television, I was only an infant” Janet got up and went over to Sam she hugged her.

I am so sorry. I thought you were going to have a good life with parents that loved you and would care for you. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do and to find out now that you had such a terrible childhood. I am sorry Sam, I am so sorry. I can tell you this now that we know, when I first met you, you did remind me of my mother but it didn’t dawn on me. I thought it was just a coincidence”.

I still have to find your husband Janet and knowing that he works for the government is going to make it more difficult. I have a couple of agents I know and I can ask around but this only makes matters more difficult. Let’s just take a deep breath and concentrate on finding Ben. I have an appointment tonight but I will call you tomorrow. I want to make copies of all of the documents and see if I can find that warehouse in one of the names on the passports”. Janet was just sitting there staring at Sam.

I can’t believe this I just can’t”.

Let’s not jump the gun here Janet, we will have a DNA test done tomorrow. It will take a couple of weeks but if it comes back that you are my mother then we can talk again about all that. Right now I have to concentrate on finding your husband”.

Do you hate me, Sam”?

No, why would I hate you. You were only a kid. I have been looking for my mother for many years and I want to be absolutely sure”.

I understand Sam, please don’t hate me, please”.

I don’t Janet, I have to go and I am going to take all of this with me and make copies in the morning at my office. Meet me there at eleven tomorrow morning okay”?

Yes, yes, of course, Sam, I’ll be there”. She helped same put the information back in the envelopes and Sam left.

Driving home Sam’s thoughts were all over the place. She was trying to calm down but couldn’t help thinking that Janet was her mother. How freaky is this she thought, I stumbled onto the most difficult case I ever had and just when I think I will get a lead I find out that my client is my mother. I have to just take it one step at a time. I have been disappointed before and even though this information is spot on, it can still be a dead end. Then there was Ben, working for the government. Sam was sure about that but it made everything more difficult. She pulled into her driveway and went into the house.

It was four o’clock Mike would pick her up at eight. She thought about calling him and canceling but Sam really liked him and didn’t want to ruin a good thing. She had liked Mike for a long time but after her last relationship and her problem with trusting people she thought being friends was better, now Mike let her know he was crazy about her but should she give in to her feelings or just keep it light. “A hot shower and a nap are what I need right now”, she said out loud looking at Bonkers, he meowed and she laughed, gave him fresh water some food and headed to her bedroom. She called Connie and told her to close up and go home and she would see her on Monday morning. “OK boss, is your date still on for tonight”?

Yes, Connie it’s still on”.

That’s great, have a wonderful time and try to relax”.

Goodbye Connie, I’ll see you Monday”.

Bye”, and the line went dead. Sam headed to the shower. She awoke at close to six thirty feeling refreshed. Then the thoughts came tumbling back. She tried to push them down she wanted to have a good time, she deserved it and needed to feel good again. Mike arrived at exactly eight o’clock. They headed off to Manhattan and wound up at Le Cirque restaurant on East 58th St. “Pretty fancy Mike, now I know why you asked me not to wear jeans”, she said smiling.

I didn’t want anyone to think I was dating a gun-toting mama”, he smiled back.

Oh, I’m toting Mike but discreetly”.

I know Sam, I know. So am I”. The restaurant was one of the finest in Manhattan and Sam loved Italian food. They were seated and ordered wine. The view of the city was amazing from so high up. Sam kept the conversation light but Janet was still on her mind. Mike was beaming from ear to ear. “What are you so happy about”?

Do you know how beautiful you are”, he asked.

That’s a pretty old line, don’t you think Mike”?

No, I really mean it, Sam, you look gorgeous tonight”.

Why thank you, kind sir”.

Sam you know I am crazy about you, I want to be more than just a buddy and you know that. Why are you holding back”?

It’s a long story Mike but I do care about you”.

I’m not going to hurt you or disappoint you, Sam. I will always be totally honest with you”. I don’t want to be your buddy, I want to be the love of your life because that’s what you are to me, you are the love of my life”. Sam was touched by Mikes words and took a sip of her wine to push back the lump in her throat. He reached across the table and took her hand in his and gently kissed it. He was so sincere it stirred emotions in Sam that she hadn’t felt for a long time. She knew right then and there that Mike could be the one to make her happy. They ordered dinner and finished off the wine. It was the first time in a long time that Sam felt loved. After dinner, Mike took her for a ride in one of the horse-drawn carriages through Central Park. They both talked about their childhood. Mike grew up in Maspeth, Queens, his parents still lived in the same house. His two younger sisters both were married and he was an uncle. He loved kids and wanted a family. He wanted Sam to meet his family, he poured his heart out that night and Sam loved it. They kissed and Sam was ready to break the friendship and move to the next level. She wanted a good, kind, gentle man and Mike was exactly that. It was late when they arrived at her house. She invited him in for coffee. He stayed the night.

The ringing of Sams telephone woke her up. She looked at the clock on the nightstand it was 7:00am., Mike opened his eyes as she started to sit up to answer the call. “Let it ring, they’ll call back later”.

I have to answer Mike it might be a client”. He kissed her gently on the shoulder.

OK, I can wait”.

Mmmmmm, I know you can”, she said with a smile.

Hello, this is Sam Cole”.

Sam, it’s me, Janet. I am sorry for calling so early but I just got a call from Ben. He’s fine. He’s in Germany and will be home Tuesday morning. I asked him why he didn’t call me, he said he will explain it all on Tuesday. He’s fine Sam she said again”. Sam could tell she was crying but they were tears of joy.

That’s all he said”?

Yes, he told me he had to hang up because he had to catch a flight but he’s fine! Isn’t it great news”!

Yes, of course, it’s great news but I still want you to meet me today at my office and we can discuss this again when I see you”.

Yes, yes of course. Oh, I’m so relieved Sam. I will meet you at eleven”.

I want you to calm down Janet and drive carefully, understand”?

Yes, I will, see you later, bye”. Sam hung up her phone and sat down on the edge of the bed.

Are you alright Sam”? Mike asked.

Yes, I’m fine. That was my client. Seems she got a call from her husband and he’s fine. I am meeting her at my office at eleven o’clock today”.

Eleven, good that means you have a few more hours”, he put his arms around her and kissed the nape of her neck. They laid down together and made love again. Afterward, Sam was quiet. Mike sensed that something was bothering her. “What’s the matter, Sam”?


Are you sure? You seem like you’re a million miles away”.

I can’t talk about it right now Mike but it has nothing to do with you. You are quite a wonderful man and I am afraid I have deeper feelings for you than I allow myself to have and it scares me”. Holding her close and kissing her gently on the cheek.

Don’t be afraid Samantha my intentions are honorable, I would never hurt you. I know you’ll think this crazy but I have loved you for a long time. You are the girl of my dreams and you fill my heart with joy. I know you’ve been hurt in the past and I know this is a lot for you to process but I can wait as long as we have a chance or I should say, I have a chance I am willing to wait”. Sam snuggled closer to Mike. “You have a chance Mike, a good chance. Right now I hate to leave but I have an appointment with my client at eleven o’clock and I have to get ready to leave. Why don’t you go take a shower and I’ll make coffee and after you leave I’ll take my shower and dress”. Mike kissed her again, she gently pushed him away, giggled. Uh, uh.”. Mike smiled and headed toward the shower. Sam put her robe on and headed to the kitchen. Fed Bonkers and started the coffee. She looked at the clock it was 8:45am… When the coffee was ready she heard Mike coming down the stairs and put two cups on the kitchen table. “Smells good”, she heard him say as he reached the kitchen. “Hi, beautiful”.

Yeah right, beautiful. Hair in a ponytail, no makeup dressed in an old bathrobe and no shower yet, I don’t think beautiful is the word you’re looking for”.

It is to me, do you realize how gorgeous you look”? Sam blushed.

No”. He walked over to her and put his arms around her and drew her close to him. She could feel her heart beating faster. Mike put his finger under her chin lifted her face up and made her look him in the eyes. “You are the girl of my dreams and I don’t want you to ever forget that”. She smiled and gave him a quick kiss. “Coffee’s ready and I really have to get moving”.

Can I see you later, like maybe dinner”?

I don’t know. It depends on what happens today. I’ll call you later alright”? Mike drank his coffee and headed out the door. “I’ll be waiting”. Wow, Sam thought, what the hell just happened with me? I need time to sort this out and she headed upstairs to take a shower and get dressed. She was humming.

Sam got to the office at 10:30am., she wanted to copy all the documents before Janet arrived. At eleven Janet walked through the door looking beautiful and with a big smile on her face. “Oh, Sam I am so happy. Ben is fine and coming home. I can’t wait until Tuesday”.

Janet we need to talk. I want to know what is going on. I have many questions about the legal papers and in about a half hour I have a friend that works at a lab that specializes in DNA. She is doing us a favor and coming here today to take a swab for the test”

OK, Sam that’s fine but I know you are my daughter, I can feel it in my gut”.

Do you know who the father is”?

Truthfully I don’t know his name, I sort of remember what he looked like but it was so long ago and my mother died a few years ago, at least that’s what I heard. If the test comes back positive can you research it and maybe get his name”?

I don’t think so. We’ll just wait for the results and go from there alright”?

I would like to get to know you Samantha and maybe we can become a family or at least friends, would that be alright with you”?

Let’s just take it one step at a time”. In the meantime here are all the papers and documents. You can put them back in the safe deposit box on Monday and Sam will never know”.

I want him to know, I not putting them back. Ben and I have a lot to discuss and if you are my daughter I want to know if he knew about the accident and if you had to live in the system for so many years. I want you to be there too Sam. That is if you want to”.

Yes, I would, as a matter of fact, thanks. I have many questions myself for both you and him if the test is positive”.

Sam can I take you out to lunch today and maybe we can talk. I’d like to know the story of you. Even if the test isn’t positive I’d like to be your friend. Could you be a friend to me Sam”? Sam smiled and said; “Let’s go have some lunch”. Janet hugged her and they headed out the door.

The DNA test was done, it would be a few days before the results were in. Sam and Janet went to a small restaurant near Janet’s condo. They talked for a couple of hours. Ben was in Germany. He would explain everything on Tuesday. Sam couldn’t believe she might be having lunch with her mother. Her thoughts were all over the place. The actual case was over, Ben was alive and well. She told Janet she would stop charging her as of this day but she did want to get the test results and speak with Ben when he returned. Janet agreed and she would call Sam when Ben was safely home and after she had a chance to speak with him herself. Sam agreed and would wait for her call.

Ben and Peter landed in Newark International there was a helicopter waiting for them for the short flight to NOC headquarters in Stuartsville, N.J. for debriefing, and where they would be able to clean up and get a clean change of clothing. They would both be home by Tuesday. The three NOC agents that helped them stayed in Germany. They had other assignments. Ben and Peter thanked them, they all shook hands and went their separate ways.

Samantha’s friend from the lab called her Monday and told her the test was positive 99.9%. Janet was her mother. The results were faxed to her office but she was going to wait until Tuesday to tell Janet. She met Ben and Janet the following evening at the condo. They talked for hours. Ben explained that he was retiring from the NOC. He also explained why he didn’t know about Sams parents. He didn’t read it in the newspaper as he was out of town at the time. He was happy that Janet and Sam found each other. Ben wanted them to be a family. Janet was crying tears of joy, she found her baby girl, Sam found her mother and now she had the family she always dreamed of.

Wednesday Sam got to her office at 8:30am., as usual, and there lay Connie dead on the office floor.


“She was attacked as she was passing the alley of the Tea Room. She was stabbed and she has a slightly fractured skull. Apparently, she had the sense to fight back and scream. The Porter Henry that was finishing the cleaning at the Tea Room heard her screams ran out the back door and saw Gloria and the man that was attacking her. He started running and yelling at the assailant and apparently scared him off. Gloria was laying on the ground and Henry called 911 on his cell phone. Thankfully the responders were there within minutes and the police arrived shortly after that”. Clara saw a police officer sitting outside Gloria’s room.

“Is Gloria going to be alright”? Lena asked.

“Right now she’s unconscious, but, the doctors think she will pull through”.

“Did they catch her attacker”? Clara asked.

“The police can’t question her yet, but, the First Responders said she kept saying the word chef”.

“Chef? The chef from the Tea Room”?

“I don’t know, but, I think they went to question him”.

“You said she was stabbed, where”?

“She was lucky, apparently he tried to stab her in the stomach area but she put her purse which was quite large in front of her and the wound is not that deep. We are more worried about her head injury”.

“Did anyone call the police chief Marcus Kent”?

“I don’t know Ms. Hayes”.

“Can we see her”?

“I let you in for a few minutes but be prepared her face is pretty bruised up”. Nurse Dunn took the sisters into Gloria’s room. Her face was badly bruised and swollen, she was on oxygen and had several I V’S hooked up to her arm. Lena and Gloria were shocked. Lena started to cry. Clara put her arm around her sister and said; “Let’s let her rest, she’s going to be fine”. Nurse Dunn said there was some paperwork that had to be filled out and was hoping they could help. Clara told her not to worry she and Lena would take care of the hospital bill if Gloria didn’t have any insurance. The nurse asked for the nearest relative and Clara told her that it was an aunt but she didn’t know her name or where she lived, and, her mother had passed about two years ago, her father had also passed. Lena started to say something but Clara shot her a look and she stopped. Clara gave their address as Gloria’s home address. Nurse Dunn said she would call them if there was any change in her condition. The sisters left. In the car Lena asked Clara; “Who would want to harm that poor girl? Do you think Jeffery did it”?

“I don’t know Lena, but, I am going to call Marcus”. The sisters arrived home at five am., but neither one could go back to sleep. Lena put the kettle on and made tea. Clara called Marcus, but, was told he was not there. She left a message for him to call her. The ladies showered and dressed. The phone rang about eight am. It was Nurse Dunn letting them know that Gloria had come around and was going to be fine, but the doctors wanted her to rest and they could come and see her later in the day. Jack called right after Lena hung up with the nurse. He asked her if he could meet her about three pm., at her home, there was something important he had to do. She asked if he heard about Gloria, he said he had, and, would discuss it when he saw her.

Jack finally arrived, Lena let him in, they went into the kitchen where Clara was. “Sit down ladies I have something to tell you”.

“What is it Jack, you look ashen”.

“The reason I had to cancel earlier is that I called the state police to take over this case”.

“Why”? Lena asked.

“Because Marcus Kent is under arrest for the murder of Clem and attempted murder of Gloria, it’s a long story. I saw Kate Kent a couple of days ago and while we were chatting she mentioned that she was worried because there was a bottle of Potassium Chloride missing from the medicine cart. She was in charge that night and they can’t find it. I asked her what night it went missing and she told me it was the night Clem passed away. She remembered that Marcus had visited her that night and she had unlocked the cabinet and only stepped away for a few minutes to help one of the nurses with an emergency, but she wasn’t worried because Marcus was right there, however they didn’t discover the missing bottle until the change of shift. All of the narcotics were accounted for and she was thankful for that. She asked her husband when she got home if anyone came by the cabinet because it was open. Marcus told her he didn’t notice anyone, but, he was on his telephone and had his back to the cabinet while he was speaking. They made everyone check their pockets and looked everywhere but the Potassium Chloride was never found.

I knew Marcus wanted to buy Clem’s house. He’d been saving his money for years and figured when Clem was ready to retire he would sell it. Marcus knew Jeffery didn’t have any interest in it. Then Clem told Marcus about Gloria being his daughter but told him not to say anything to anyone especially Jeffery because he hadn’t told him yet. That’s when I really suspected Marcus. He visited his wife at the hospital which was not unusual, only this time he got his hands on a bottle of Potassium Chloride. He knew that injecting an overdose of it could cause a heart-attack because his wife was in the medical profession for years. The night he took Clem home he had the Potassium on him. He also had taken a syringe. He thought with Clem gone Jeffery would be more than eager to sell the house to him. He knew Clem would be at the Driftwood that night and when Clem got too drunk to drive he offered to drive him home, when Clem passed out on the sofa he injected the Potassium Chloride into his jugular vein, And, that, dear ladies is premeditated murder. That’s when I called the State Police. I gave them the information and they came over to talk with Marcus.

“How do you know he attacked Gloria”? Lena asked.

“Because when the state police questioned him he broke down and confessed everything.

I also met with Jeffery and told him about Marcus, and, about Gloria”.


“About an hour ago”.

“How did he take it”?

“He was shocked, to say the least. I told him I was coming over here and I would see him as soon as I told you and Lena. If it wasn’t for you ladies Marcus would have gotten away with the perfect murder”.

“I knew Clem was too healthy to just have a sudden heart attack. Marcus’s family must be devastated. Poor Katie and the children”.

“You probably saved Gloria’s life as well”.

“I must confess I did consider her a suspect for a short time”.

“A short time”? Lena replied.

“Oh, hush Lena, you had your suspicions too”.

“Well, I guess that’s it for now. I am going over to see Jeffery, would you like to tag along? I think Jeffery would like to speak to both of you”.

“Yes, and we would like to visit Gloria if she’s up to it”.

“Jack, can I ask you a question”?

“What, Clara”?

“Nurse Dunn told us that first night at the hospital that the First Responders said Gloria said the word chef several times before she went unconscious”.

“What she was trying to say was chief, nurse Dunn, relayed that to the officer that was guarding her room and he called me. Between what I found after you insisted I re-examine Clem’s body, and then with nurse Dunn’s information. I started to put two and two together, so I called in the State Police. It’s the proper procedure in a case like this. And, I didn’t want him to bolt before he was questioned”.

Jack and the Hayes sisters left their house and walked to see Jeffery.


Post Script:

Jeffery and Gloria had a long talk. Another DNA test confirmed they were related. Jeffery was happy to know he had an older sister and Gloria was happy that she was part of a family. Jeffery and Gloria now run their Bed and Breakfast. Clara and Lena helped get them get started and brother and sister are doing fine.

Marcus Kent waved a jury trial, his family was devastated, and, his wife moved back to New York.

There is a new Police Chief in Cape May and the Hayes sisters are getting to know him, much to his dismay.


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”?


“Oh, my goodness. Is he sure”?

“Lena, he’s a certified coroner, he knows what he’s talking about”.

“What does that mean. Is there going to be an inquest”?

“I don’t know, I am supposed to meet with Jack on Sunday at the Tea Room for lunch. I have something I want to run by him, but, I could be wrong and don’t want to create any problems”.

“What is it, Clara”?

“I’ll tell you tomorrow, I don’t want anyone else to know about it. I also want to speak with Jeffery when he comes back tomorrow. I want to know if he knows that Gloria is his half sister. I would also like to know if Clem changed his will”.

“Do you think he’ll know”?

“I don’t know Lena, I don’t know. Right now we need to go up to Gloria’s room and calm her down about questioning her. I tend to believe what she told us. What about you Lena”?

“I think she’s telling the truth”.

“Let’s go and get this over with Lena”. The sisters headed up the stairs. Gloria heard a knock on her door. “Come in, it’s open”. Lena and Clara entered her room.

“Gloria, we are sorry if we upset you, but, Clem possibly did not die from natural causes”.

“You think I killed him”?

“It did cross our minds. We found the lab report and the prescription slip. You have to admit it does raise questions”.

“I didn’t kill anyone, I was just trying to make sure my mom was right about Clem being my father. And, as far as the prescription it was something my mother’s doctor left in error and I just added it to my memories. It might sound stupid to you, but, you have no idea how my mother suffered and how much I loved her, so who are you to judge me”?

“Would you mind if we asked you just a few more questions”?

“Not right now if you don’t mind. And, if you want me to move out, I’ll start packing”.

“Please don’t do that Gloria, we believe you, but, we just need to know a couple of more things. Why don’t you rest a while and come downstairs when you feel better and we can have some tea or coffee if you like and if you want we can talk some more. Maybe you can even help us solve this”. Lena and Clara left the room and closed the door. They could hear Gloria crying as they walked away.

Marcus knew Jeffery would return on Saturday and wanted to speak with him. He had arranged to take him out to dinner at the Surf and Turf, it was located at the edge of town and not too many locals dined there, the food was good but pricey. He was sure Jeffery didn’t want to keep the B&B and hoped he could purchase it from him. It had been a dream of his for many years. This was his chance.


Clara returned to the table. Gloria and Lena were enjoying the meal and chatting about what a beautiful day it was going to be. “Well, ladies looks like I did a good job with breakfast. Gloria was the first to reply. “Everything is delicious Clara, you are a wonderful cook”.

“Thank you, Gloria”. Lena noticed that Clara looked a bit pale.

“Are you feeling alright Clara”?

“Yes, I’m fine Lena, why do you ask”?

“You look a bit pale”.

“Nonsense. I’m just hungry”. She sat down and started eating. When all three were done and were enjoying another cup of tea Clara looked at Gloria and asked.

“Gloria, why didn’t you tell us that Clem was your father”? Gloria’s face turned red and Lena looked shocked.

“Clara”! Lena said. The three of them sat there looking at each other in silence.

“How did you find out”? Gloria asked. “Did Clem tell you”?

“No, he didn’t. We sort of found out on our own. Clara replied. Then Clem knew before he died that you were his daughter”?

“Yes. I told him”.

“When”? Tears welled up in Gloria’s eyes.

“I wasn’t really sure if my mother was telling me the truth so I sent a napkin that he used hoping there was some DNA on it and a swab with my DNA to a laboratory for analysis. I didn’t know if I would get any results but it came back positive. I told him about it when I got the positive results. He was shocked, to say the least. He didn’t know because my mother never told him about me. He wanted another test done so we went to a lab together and the results were positive again”.

“Well that’s quite interesting”, replied Clara. “Do you know if he told Jeffery”?

“No, I don’t think so he passed a few days later and Jeffery never mentioned anything to me. I assume he doesn’t know. The only thing I wanted was for him to add his name to my birth certificate. You can’t imagine what it was like growing up with unknown typed in the space where it asks for Father’s name”.

“Was he willing to do it”?

“Yes, but it does take a while and now it will never happen because he’s gone”.

“You do realize that Jeffery is your half-brother I’m sure. Have you spoken to him about this”?

“No Lena I haven’t. I don’t know if Clem told him or not, he never brought it up so I assumed he doesn’t know”.

“What about this? Clara put a copy of the blank prescription pad on the table.

“Where did you get that? What were you snooping in my belongings? Is that why you offered me a room here rent free so you could snoop around and dig up information that is none of your business? I thought you both really were sweet and kind ladies but I guess I was wrong”.

“Not true Gloria”, replied Clara.

“We do like you and I found this information quite by accident while cleaning your room as we were waiting for the plumber”.

“Are you going to tell me it just fell out of the dresser drawer by accident, I wasn’t born yesterday Clara”.

“You have every right to be upset, Gloria”. Replied Lena.

“But Clara feels that Clem was murdered and we are trying to find out if we are right or wrong. Maybe Clem did die of a heart attack or maybe someone had a motive to kill him”.

“Well, it wasn’t me! Why would I want to kill my own father? He didn’t even know I existed. I couldn’t hold that against him”.

“Can you explain why you have a blank prescription pad sheet”?

“Yes, I can, not that it’s any of your business but the doctor left it there one day after he came to see my mother, and I never returned it to him because my mother passed shortly after and then I just kept it for sentimental reasons”. Lena and Clara looked at each other. “I believe her Clara”.

“So do I, the question now is who killed Clem”? The sisters apologized to Gloria for snooping and told her they truly liked her and this was all a coincidental misunderstanding. Gloria was crying, she took the prescription paper and went up to her room. Lena got up to follow her but Clara told her to leave Gloria alone for a while. They could talk to her later. “That phone call I received was from Jack, there was a needle hole in Clem’s jugular vein”.


Thursday night Gloria found the note that Lena and Clara left inviting her to have breakfast with them. She showered and fell into her warm comfortable bed happy to have such a beautiful room. She fell asleep almost instantly, she had a long day at work as the Tea Room was busy and she was exhausted.

Clara rose early as usual and headed to the kitchen to start baking biscuits and muffins. She would also have bacon, eggs and hash brown potatoes, coffee and tea for her and Lena. As she was preparing everything she couldn’t help thinking about the conversation she had with Jack Peterson on Thursday afternoon. She saw him as she was driving past the Beauty Bar and pulled over to speak to him. He was dropping his wife Millie off for her appointment as she didn’t drive since she had a heart attack last year. It was not that she couldn’t drive but she was quite frail and was afraid to get behind the wheel for fear something would happen. So Jack or one of her friends drove her where ever she wanted to go. Clara greeted Millie before she entered the salon. “Hi, Millie going for some relaxation I see”.

“Oh, Hi Clara and they hugged, yes, I have to keep my man happy you know, don’t want any young chicken catching his eye”. They both laughed and Millie entered the salon. Jack was just starting to leave when Clara called out to him to wait a minute. He stopped and she walked over to the driver side window. “Hi, Jack, do you have a few minutes to spare”?

“Hi, Clara. Yes, but I’m heading to work. Is everything alright”?

“Yes, yes, Lena and I are fine. But, I need to inquire about something and I need your expertise, do you mind”?

“No, not at all as long as it doesn’t take too long”.

“If someone was given an injection in the jugular vein would you be able to tell while doing the autopsy”?

“Probably, why”?

“Did you check Clem’s jugular vein carefully and if you didn’t could you”?

“I could but what reason would I have to do that”?

“I think he was given a shot of Potassium Chloride and that’s what killed him. You said there was a small cut on his neck. If someone gave him a shot in the vein and then scraped the needle on his neck wouldn’t it look like a slight cut”?

“Well, yes, but that’s pretty far-fetched, Clara”.

“Could you please check it before you release his body to Jeffery. If you don’t find anything then my gut feeling is wrong and I can lay this to rest.

“Clara, Clem was an elderly man, a heart attack is not unusual”.

“I know Jack, please do this one thing for me. I knew Clem for many years and I just have a bad feeling about this. You know I have been right in the past, please. You can call me and if I am right it’s a kudos to you, and if I’m wrong we can lay him to rest in peace”. Jack agreed. That was yesterday Clara thought and Jack hadn’t called her yet. She heard Lena and Gloria coming down the stairs to the kitchen. “It smells delicious from here”. Gloria said as they headed into the kitchen.

“Yes, it does, Clara is an excellent cook”, replied Lena.

“Come and sit down you two before everything gets cold”.

“All of a sudden I’m starving”. Gloria replied. Just then the phone rang, Clara said; “You two start eating, I’ll get it”. It was Jack.


“It’s a doctor’s prescription pad but it’s blank”.

“I see that Lena but what is Gloria doing with a blank prescription paper.

Is this the only one she has or could she have had more than one”?

“Don’t jump to any conclusions Clara.”

“I am not jumping to conclusions Lena, but, there is something fishy going on here and I intend to find out what it is. I wonder if Gloria confronted Clem about their relationship and if Jeffery knows he has a half sister. I left a note on her dresser that if she is off on Friday we would enjoy her company for breakfast”.

“Clara, she seems like such a sweet girl, don’t go giving her the third degree while we’re eating”.

“I won’t, I’ll wait until she is finished, smiling at Lena. I also just remembered something that is bothering me”.

“What is that”, replied Lena.

“Isn’t Marcus’s wife a nurse at the hospital”? In a sarcastic like tone, Lena said,

“Yes she is, has been for over twenty years, why? Do you think she could have killed Clem too”?

“Not really but, there might be some sort of a connection there”.

“You do beat all Clara, you have a twisted mind, did you know that”?

“It’s not twisted Lena, I am just inquisitive, always have been”.

“You don’t have to tell me that Clara, I live with you remember”. Just then the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it”. Lena said. It was Jeffery Bristol. “Why Jeffery, what a pleasant surprise, do come in”.

“Thank you, Miss Lena but I’m on my way to the airport, I will be gone for a few days and was wondering if you ladies would just keep an eye on my house while I’m gone. I should be back by Saturday”.

“Yes, of course, Jeffery, have a safe trip and we’ll see you soon”.

“Thank you, the house is all locked up but it’s always nice to know someone is keeping an eye on it. And, if you see anything just call the police don’t take any chances I would hate to see you or Miss Clara get hurt”.

“Alright, we’ll be careful, I promise”. With that, he left.

“Who was it, Lena”?

“It was Jeffery, he asked us to keep an eye on his house, he is going out of town for a few days”.

“Really. Did you tell him Clem had given us a key to the place years ago in case anything happened while he was away”?

“No, I forgot about the key”.

“Well, I didn’t”. Clara replied with a smile.


“I have just read something I can hardly believe. It seems our Ms. Gloria is the daughter of Clem Bristol”.

“What! Where did you hear that”?

“I didn’t hear it, you know that envelope, we saw. I opened it and it was a letter from her mother telling her that her father was Clem”.

“I don’t believe that”. Lena replieD.

“Believe it, Lena. It seems Clem was in New York on business and she met him at a restaurant she was working in and they had a short affair. In the letter, she wrote that she never told him because she knew he was married but she didn’t want Gloria to go through her life not knowing who her father was”.

“I am shocked, just shocked”. Replied Lena.

“If you think that’s a shock, listen to this, there was also a form of a DNA testing lab stating that the results were 99.9% that the two samples that were sent were related. Examples were brother and sister/brother/mother/father”.

“How would she get a DNA sample from Clem”?

“Oh, come now Lena, she works in a restaurant that Clem frequented, ate from the utensils, drank from the cups and glasses. It’s a no-brainer. I only wonder if she told Clem. And, Jeffery for that matter. When Gloria is off on Friday you and I are going to have a nice long chat with her, but first I have to do a little research”.

“What research? What are you talking about”?

“I also found this”. She handed Lena a slip of paper.


Clara picked up the phone and dialed the police station’s number. Marcus answered. “Chief Kent, how can I help you”.

“Marcus. Hi, I am sorry to bother you but I forgot to ask you before, was Jeffery home when you took Clem home”?

“No, Clara he was at the Town Pub according to his statement”.

“Will there be an inquest”?

“I don’t think so unless the rest of the toxicology report shows something”.

“Yes, of course, thank you, Marcus”.

“You’re welcome, Clara”. The line went dead. Lena waited for Clara’s answer.


“No, he was at the Town Pub”. Clara’s phone rang it was Gloria. “Hello, Gloria. Is everything alright”?

“Yes Clara, I just wanted to let you know that the bathroom sink faucet is dripping”.

“Alright dear, I will call the plumber and have him fix it today”.

“Thank you, Clara. I left the door to my room open, but I would prefer if you or Lena would be there when the plumber comes to repair it. Would you mind”?

“Of course not dear, I was going to vacuum your room today anyway”.

“Thanks, Clara, I have to hang up, we are busy right now, I will see you both later”.

Clara dialed the plumbers’ number and asked him to come over and check the faucet.

They made an appointment for one o’ clock. Lena was vacuuming Gloria’s room. She noticed a photo of her mother on the dresser and a few little nick nacks here and there. The room was neat and tidy. Clara walked in just as Lena was finished. “Wow, I came into to dust and see what else I could do, but, I see Gloria is quite neat”. Then she noticed the corner of a white envelope sticking out of the bottom drawer of the dresser.

“What’s that”?

“What’s what”? Lena replied. Clara walked over to the dresser and opened the drawer, she pulled out an envelope. It was not sealed but it was closed. “Clara don’t you dare read that”.

“Oh, hush, Lena. I am just going to take a peek and I’ll put it back exactly the way I found it”. Just then the doorbell rang. Clara put the envelope back with the end sticking out and closed the drawer.

The plumber had arrived and Lena showed him up to Gloria’s room. He examined the faucet and fixed the leak. “Just needed a new washer ladies”. They paid him and he left.

“Now back to the envelope”. Said Clara.

“Clara, you wouldn’t want Gloria snooping around your room would you”?

“I am not under suspicion, Lena, and besides if it’s nothing I will put it right back and no harm done”. Lena just shook her head.

“I won’t have any part of it Clara, you’re on your own”.

“Alright I’ll be right back. You make a couple of sandwiches and some tea for lunch”.

Lena headed toward the kitchen and Clara up the stairs to Gloria’s room. She opened the draw just enough to get the envelope out, opened and carefully removed the papers. She was sitting on the floor not to make an imprint on the bed. She opened the paperwork and started reading. The more she read, the further her jaw dropped open. She quickly put the paperwork and envelope back exactly the way she found it and headed down to the kitchen. The sandwiches and tea were ready. Lena took one look at Clara and knew something was wrong. “What’s the matter Clara”?

“You are not going to believe this Lena. You better sit down.


Clara and Lena packed up the chicken dinner and brownies. They headed over to Clem’s house to deliver the meal to Jeffery. “I hope he invites us in to share the meal with him”, Clara said to Lena.

“If he does don’t question him……too much Clara”. The sisters giggled as they walked.

Jeffery Bristol answered the door when the bell rang. “Hello Jeffery, how are you doing”? Lena asked, giving him a hug, as did Clara.

“As well as can be expected”. He replied. “Please come in ladies and thank you for bringing me dinner”. The sisters stepped into the house. “We brought you some roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, and we made some brownies, we hope you like brownies Jeffery”.

“I do, thank you, Miss Clara”.

“Let’s go into the kitchen, and let me take those packages off your hands”.

“Thank you, Jeffery”, and they followed him to the kitchen.

“The food smells delicious and I am hungry. Would you like to stay and have dinner with me”?

“If you’d like the company, we’d love to”. Lena and Clara opened the packages and Jeffery got plates and flatware out to set the table. “Did you get the autopsy result yet”? Clara inquired.

“Yes, but they are waiting for the toxicology report”.

“Did they find the cause of death”?

“Yes, it was a heart attack”.

“Really? That’s so hard to believe, Clem was always the picture of health and he was very active”.

“I know”. Then, looking at Clara said; “he had quite an active social life, as you probably know”, and then added; “I don’t understand it myself”.

“We are so sorry Jeffery if there is anything we can do to help please don’t hesitate to call us”

“Thank you, Miss Clara. My father was well liked and everyone has been so kind offering to help. Why don’t we all sit and eat this delicious food you brought”. They chatted as they ate, but Jeffery didn’t seem to want to discuss his father’s death. When they were finished Clara asked;

“Will you be staying here at the house now or will you be going back to California”?

“I have to go back to California to tie up some loose ends, but will return in a few days. This dinner was delicious ladies. Shall we have the brownies now”? Clara could see that this was not going to be easy. Jeffery was not willing to talk about anything right now. She didn’t know if it was out of sorrow or a different reason. “We are going to pass on desert Jeffery. It’s getting late and we have to get home, but we will be happy to clear the table and do the dishes for you”.

“No, no thank you ladies, you have done enough. I will take care of this. It will keep me busy”.

“We will say goodnight then. Are you ready Lena”? She saw the look in Clara’s eyes. They said goodbye to Jeffery and the sisters left. As the ladies walked the short distance to their house Lena said; “What is it Clara”?

“We have to go see Marcus tomorrow and get some information about the autopsy. I don’t believe Clem had a sudden heart attack. And, did you see the look he gave me when he said, “as you probably know”.

“Clem Bristol had many affairs. He was not looking to get married again. Last I heard he was pretty hot and heavy with Beanie. Maybe his son hated him for that. I think that’s why they didn’t get along. And, what was he doing back here anyway, staying at the Golden Lion and not with his father”. As they entered their house Clara said; “There’s more to Clem’s death than meets the eye, Lena”.

“Clara, they did an autopsy”.

“Well, I don’t believe the result, I think they are overlooking something, and I intend to find out what they are missing”.

“Clara, let’s have a cup of tea and get some sleep. Don’t read more into what Jeffery said. His father just passed away. He was a child when you and Clem dated”. Lena put the kettle on and made the tea. She knew tomorrow was going to be a busy day. Clara was working on the computer for quite some time before she went to bed. Lena heard the printer humming away as she drifted off to sleep.