Situations Like These (78)

Annette Gardner and Louise Falcone sat at the counter of Dooley’s conversing over a light lunch.

“I’m glad you called Louise,” said Annette, “I’ve missed you these past few weeks.”

“To tell you the truth, I needed to vent to someone,” said Louise wearily. Annette rolled her eyes. Usually when Louise needed to ‘vent’ she had to clear her calendar.

“It’s just I don’t know if Michael and I can live in that house, with his parents, I mean,” said Louise.

“Really? It seemed like it was working out so perfectly,” said Annette with a wry smile.

“Please, be serious,” said Louise, “I can’t stay where I’m afraid for my life.”

“What could you possibly mean by that?” said Annette impatiently.

“The long and short of it is, that Josephine wants me dead and gone…she tried to poison me, I’m sure of it. Now, she’s acting like these are her last days on earth because of some damn checkup, and now she’s being all nice to me again. I won’t fall for it! Not this time!”

Annette took a sip of her ginger ale. It was useless to try to counsel Louise when she was like this.

“I mean, I really feel like I could kill her, and not even feel sorry about it, considering all she’s put me through!”

“Now you don’t mean that!” shouted Annette, “You may get even with people Louise, but that’s all. You’re no murderer.”

“I just can’t be there anymore…I never know if when I go to sleep I’ll ever wake up again in that house! If she were out of the picture–”

“Stop it, just stop it, will you! You’re being absurd. I don’t doubt she’s behind all your…trouble…but this hypothetical talk of killing her is insane!”

Little did Annette know, Louise had already started her plan. The question was then would she stop?

***

“I’m sorry to drag you here again so late at night, Mrs. G. I’m sure Frank isn’t too happy,” said Steven Bains. He and Laura Gardner sat on a bench in the park of Burton Heights. It had become quite the spot for covert operations.

“Oh it’s no trouble, Steven. He fell asleep watching The Mentalist’,” said Laura Gardner genially.

“It’s just, well, you’ve been really good about all this and I wanted you to be the first to know. Mrs. G, I think I’ve got enough evidence to ruin the Falcones once and for all!”

“Now Steven, I don’t need you ruining anyone. We just need justice, that’s all,” said Laura sensibly.

“I’ve been talking with my superiors at the department and they think that my testimony alone will put Peter away for life! As for Josephine, well, I found the atropine in her kitchen, along with the plant in her backyard. Given her relationship with my sister, it more than adds up.”

“Steven, now that you’re…alive…I’ve been meaning to ask you, why didn’t you testify against Peter two years ago when the Romano case was fresh? Surely it would’ve saved you all this hassle,” said Laura.

“There wasn’t time Mrs. G. I knew that Peter would have me killed in a day if I didn’t take immediate action. Besides, the guys have been collecting everything they can on him to make the case stronger. It was better we have concrete evidence the first time around.”

“They’ve certainly gotten themselves into a fine mess,” said Laura. She paused a moment, then said, “Steven, what about Teddy? Have they found Samantha yet?”

“That’s the one Falcone who always seems to get away,” said Steven, “But don’t worry Mrs. G, we’ve got a thousand witnesses that can testify she did it. They’re all going away, except for Mike and Louise. They’re getting what they deserve, finally.”

Laura breathed a sigh of relief. Knowing someone would pay for the grief her family suffered was a great weight lifted from her shoulders.

END

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