Information Overload (64)

Annette Gardner stood outside Elaine’s hospital room collecting her thoughts before she went in to see her sister-in-law. The stresses of life were getting to her as of late. Elaine’s condition, coupled with a now-impending divorce and a baby on the way was not at all healthy for the mother-to-be.

“Hello, Mrs. Gardner,” said Doctor Mathews from down the hall. His deep voice was pleasant and genial as he flashed a bright smile.

“Hello, Dr. Matthews. I’ve been meaning to tell you, please, call me Annette. We’ve run into each other so often, I feel like we should be on a first name basis now.”

“Well in that case, Annette,” said the doctor, “I want you to call me Brian, okay?”

Annette nodded in agreement. Usually, the doctor would make some causal remark about his day, ask Annette about hers, then go on to detail Elaine’s condition. Instead, an awkward pause came over them.

Finally, Doctor Matthews said, “So I noticed you got a little one on the way there…I’m sure your husband’s very proud…uh…so how’s that going?”

“It’s not a baby, doctor, I’m fat,” Annette deadpanned.

“Oh! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to–I hope I didn’t offend you!”

“Relax, relax! I’m kidding!” said Annette patting his arm, “Actually, my husband and I are no longer…together, unfortunately.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said the doctor. His tone suggested otherwise.

“These things happen…just part of life I suppose. Do you have any children?”

“No, no I’m not married or anything like that. I hope to someday, though.”

“I’m sure you’d make an excellent father,” said Annette with accidental flirtation.

The doctor considered. He had always hoped to have children. Annette Gardner was a fine woman, the kind of woman he could see himself having a family with.

***

After another one of their covert phone calls, Laura Gardner met Steven Bains at Burton Heights.

“Steven, why’d you call me so late? I don’t mean to be rude, but Frank and I were just about to go to bed. You can’t imagine the time I had explaining why I suddenly needed to leave after the eleven o’clock news.”

“I’m sorry Mrs. G, but I’ve got some stuff I think you’ll want to hear–about everyone.”

“Oh Steven, that’s what church is for. Betty Abernathy and I always talk about–“

“No, Mrs. G. I mean about Teddy and Elaine, and Redmond and Annette too.”

“What about them Steven? I know full well my daughter’s not right and Redmond, well, Redmond’s in a lot of trouble as it is.” Laura Gardner’s face was hardened now. She had been trying desperately to move on from the tragic events of the past few weeks.

“You’re going to have to bear with me. Listen, about Teddy, I know who shot him. She’s to blame for everything, including Annette and Redmond.”

“You said she Steven. Oh my God! Was Teddy cheating on Elaine! Oh God help us!”

“No, nothing like that. Have you ever heard of anyone by the name of Samantha Flint?” Laura Gardner shook her head, confused as usual. “Did you know Peter Falcone had a daughter from a previous marriage? Well, this Samantha character seems to have made a reappearance in Peter Falcone’s life because she needed money. He paid her to seduce Redmond and break up his marriage.”

“But Steven, why? That doesn’t make any sense!”

“I don’t know the ‘why’ yet, but trust me. Well, she came up here, hoping to have Red all to herself. He refused her and he broke it off. At the wedding, she planned to shoot Annette, but she missed and hit Teddy instead after Redmond distracted her. She killed Teddy and broke up Red’s marriage!”

This was too much for her to bear. The world began to spin, and Laura Gardner fainted.

END

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