(Part IV – Previously: Sam and Kristie’s vacation gets interrupted by a wild party at the back of their B & B. Mialee’s sister Jen is caught with a smoking gun and one of the guests ends up dead.)
Later, the three of them were back from the station. Mialee went off to buy supplies for the kitchen and Bill was outside raking leaves. He got a rake for Sam. They dumped leaves into a green plastic bin.
“Honest to God, Sam, I didn’t realize these girls were so young. You know how it is with some of these gals. They can be fifteen, they put on a bunch of make-up, heels and Presto! They look twenty-five.”
Sam shrugged in agreement.
“Plus, I wasn’t really around any of them for any period of time. They were always in the back house. coming and going very late. We’ve been so busy with customers. . .” The big guy stopped and leaned on his rake. “Honestly, I just wasn’t paying that much attention. Didn’t think it was a problem. That and Mialee. . . well, I love her. But, you know, this is family, and you don’t rat out family.”
“There’s that,” Sam replied.
“I am not really sure how much she even knew.”
“The cops said they found crystal meth, coke, marijuana, pills and alcohol there. Did you know about that?” Sam asked.
“Jen has always been a bit on the wild side. It seems like things have been getting more out of control recently. I knew she drank a fair amount, and even some MJ now and then, but the other stuff. Whew! That surprised even me.”
“Well, Jen is going to have her hands full when they catch her. Manslaughter for sure, depending on what she says. Corruption of minors and prostitution. She could be looking at some real time. The good news is, I had a heart to heart with the detectives and they will try to keep the name of the B & B out of the papers as much as possible.”
“Whew! Well, thank God for that little bit.” Bill stared down at the leaves. “Bad press could kill the business.”
“Well, if you get any calls from the press, act like it was on a neighbor’s property and you know nothing. Got it?” Sam shot his friend a stern look.
Bill looked sheepish. “Got it.”
Sam was getting tired after the events of the day and decided to follow Kristie’s example. He went upstairs to take a nap and was completely out of it for several hours.
Then, “Sam, Sam, wake up.” A groggy Sam came to with the large face of Bill peering down at him.
“What. . .?”
“She’s on the bridge.”
“What bridge?” Sam asked.
“The jumper bridge. Colorado Street Bridge. And she’s got Crystal with her.”
“She sent a text to Crystal that she needed help and Crystal went to help her.”
“We’ve got to go!” Sam cried jumping out of bed. He grabbed a sweater and pulled on his pants. He had his boots in his hand as they stomped downstairs.
“My car!” Bill shouted.
They jumped into Bill’s car and raced off. In a few minutes they were at the Pasadena bridge. Cop cars were everywhere. They could see Jen posed at the edge of the bridge, leaning against a railing.
Sam stopped and stared. In one hand, Jen still held the gun she had had last night. The other arm was wrapped around Crystal’s neck. They teetered perilously close to the edge. Bill froze in place.
Out of the crowd, Mialee came running up and grabbed Bill. She was weeping.
“She’s going to kill her. I know it. She is going to kill her! Oh, my God, Bill.” The big man wrapped his arms around her.
Sam stared at the scene, his mouth moving soundlessly. He turned to Bill.
“In your car. Get it.”
“Oh,” light was dawning on Bill. “Softball?”
Bill let go of Mialee and ran to his car. He was back in a few moments bouncing an old hardball in his hand.
“You got one shot at this pal,” Sam said tersely.
“I know,” Bill answered.
The big man rotated his arm several times. Sam whispered to the sargent close by and the cops parted from in front of Bill. He scrunched and scrunched the ball several times in both hands.
Then, taking a mighty breath, Bill pulled back and threw the ball as hard as he could. There was a ‘thunk’ sound and Jen fell backwards. Several things happened all at once. The gun clattered to the asphalt, Crystal ran away from her aunt and the cops galvanized into motion. A bunch of men ran for Jen and had her in handcuffs within seconds. She was still knocked out cold so, they let her lie where she was.
Crystal ran to her mother who grabbed her, and they both started sobbing. Pretty soon Crystal, Mialee, Bill and Sam were all in a big group hug. Even Sam cried a little.
The next day, Sam and Bill were busy packing Bill’s red Mustang convertible for the trip back to Tranquility. He had insisted on driving Sam home. Sam tried to protest, he could take the train or rent a car, but Bill wasn’t having it.
Mialee packed them a big basket lunch and they were on their way early.
“Thanks for letting me drive you, Sam. Truth be told, I really needed a little time away. . . “
“From the girls?” Sam finished.
“Yeah, they need a little alone time together and I need a little. . . “
“Yeah, that’s it. It’s all been pretty stressful and this last bit was the topper.” Bill nodded philosophically as he drove.
Sam peeked into the basket. “So, now have we here?” He pulled out some good-looking grapes and cheese to go with his mug of coffee.
“Well,” the big guy breathed out, “she can’t come back.”
“No doubt,” Sam popped some grapes in his mouth.
“Apparently, what they got out of her at the station last night was she was defending one of the girls when she shot the guy.”
“Ah,” Sam broke off some cheese and handed it to Bill.
“He was roughing the girl up and Jen came to her aid. Things got ugly.”
“So, maybe she’ll get manslaughter under a self-defense kind of thing.”
“But” Sam added, “although her motives were good, there is still the question of what was the girl doing there in the first place.”
“Exactly.” Bill added, “Sixteen and out on a school night. What’s up with that?”
“Do they even know who the girl was?”
Bill shook his head. “Apparently, everything was on a first name basis. No last names. And you saw those girls running for it. It will take a while to get any of them to come forward as witnesses.”
“I bet so,” Sam munched. “So, the money, on the mortgage? Jen’s half?”
“Well, like I said, she is half owner of the place, and we will have to buy her out.”
“Could be a lot. But, then again, Jen is going to need money for attorneys, etc.”
Bill laughed. “She’s already asked Mialee for money for her attorney.”
“Ten thousand, cash, up front. No credit.”
Sam whistled. “And that is only the beginning.”
“I know,” Bill grabbed some grapes, “we may be negotiating this ownership deal of the house for some time to come.”
“Well, if you need some help. . .” Sam grinned at his friend. “I do know some good attorneys.”
“You’ve already helped, Sam. You helped get our Crystal back. And thank you, brother.”
The two guys did a fist bump.
“Plus,” Bill brightened, “I have a little saved up and if that B & B really starts to get successful, we won’t need Jen’s money. The place will pay for itself.”
“Well, you got a regular customer with us, buddy.”
Bill beamed at his friend and hit the button. The canvas top rolled back and settled on the back seat. Sun was shining, and the breeze ruffled their hair.
It was a beautiful day in California… not a cloud in the sky.