Friday, March 23, 2007

I'm Gonna Get Used To This, Right?

Chapter Sixty-Nine
We made love on the couch like a couple of teenagers, coupling in a frenzy, both of us impatient to feel the other. Then we rolled onto the deeply plush-carpeted floor and did it again with equally satisfying results. In all the rush we hadn’t even undressed all the way; I still had the nightie on and Adam was still wearing his shirt. I had to laugh because that made it seem all the more like a back-seat make out scene.

Eventually we chased each other up the stairs and fell into the bed. We were both very tired, and we had to get up at 7:00 in the morning to be ready to go to the airport.

That silent reverie was disturbed a few minutes later when the phone rang. We were snuggled together, and I think we both groaned in unison. There wasn’t an off switch on it that we could find, so Adam finally, reluctantly picked it up. There also wasn’t any caller ID on the phone so we didn’t have a clue who it was.

“I suppose I should answer it, love, it must be something wrong since they are calling on this number, or at least there had better be,” he said to me. I nodded and he reached for the phone.

Adam’s voice was irritated when he answered and I’m sure the caller had to have known that. But it was even more irritated after hearing the message.

The line went dead while Adam was yelling, “Who the bloody hell is this?” into the receiver.

“Adam,” I asked, truly scared at the look of horror on his face. “Who was that? What did they say?”

He sat there in bed, his face a mask of fury, cursing the person who had given him the message.

“Adam, what did they say?” I asked again, getting more scared by the minute.

“They said, ‘Adam, Rachel figured it out. She had to die! It’s all your fault.’ The voice was low and sexless, Sarah, I couldn’t recognize it, I haven’t a clue who it was, even if it was a man or a woman.”

He launched himself off the bed, storming around the room. His eyes were flickering with a dangerous light in their chocolate depths. “What secret? What fucking secret?” he yelled, his voice strangely tight. He was gulping in huge breaths as he went to stand in front of the window, his hands braced on either side of it. “There is no bloody secret, Sarah, there isn’t!”

I sat there, wishing for the numb feeling again. This was like some badly made ‘B’ horror movie. It just kept getting worse and worse. And that message was tearing Adam apart, I realized as I saw tears in his eyes. I went to stand in front of him and I put my arms around him and pulled his head down to my shoulder. I had to be strong for him this time; I had to.

I softly smoothed his hair down and repeated how much I loved him and believed in him. He wrapped his arms around me tightly and as he rested his head on my shoulder again, I could feel the wetness of his tears. I shushed him like you would a child; if only kissing his tears away would work, but we were past that point. And I didn’t want to mention it yet, but we had to call the police.

I led him back to the bed and we both sat on the edge with big sighs. I was quiet, thinking about that call. Anger started to flow through me now that the first shock of it had worn off, and I felt indignant at the audacity of whoever was doing this. War had been declared; war not only against Adam’s world, but against mine as well. I just wanted to launch myself at the person behind all this, but how was that going to happen when I didn’t know who I needed to fight? I’m not into covert operations; when I fight a war it is dead on, straight in the face. But I didn’t have a face, and of the faces in front of me, I couldn’t imagine any of them being behind this.

There was no doubt now that it was someone from the movie; we hadn’t given this phone number to many people. My family, Tamara, and the people from the movie set, that was it; they were the only ones who knew this number. I didn’t think it could be easily obtained by anyone else. Of course, I didn’t know that for sure, but still it just didn’t seem likely.

I could feel Adam beginning to relax a bit as I we sat there on the edge of the bed and the immediacy of the phone call started to fade just a bit. It was cruel; its intention was to make Adam feel responsible for Rachel’s death. And the awful thing was, that was exactly what he was beginning to think. I didn’t know how to make it better and our choices of who to trust were getting smaller all the time.

“Adam,” I began, “You are not to blame for Rachel’s death; you’re not. The person who did it, well I mean, people who can do things like this are crazy and they will use any means available to justify what happens, including trying to make someone else responsible for their actions. Whoever is doing this is ill Adam; mentally ill.” As I thought about it, I realized they were also building to a grand crescendo, and I was so afraid of what would happen next.

I took a deep breath and said, “Adam, we have to call the police.”

He looked at me for a moment and I watched as his eyes flashed with anger. Not really at me, but at everything. “Why on earth should we, Sarah? Will it help anything? All that will come of it is that they keep us up half the night asking endless questions that will not be answered.” He shook his head adamantly and added, “No, it will do no good.”

“Adam, do you think we are going to get much sleep anyway?” I was gazing into his eyes that were almost black and flickering with charged emotion. “We have to, Adam; we have to.” And suddenly, any other words I might have said dissolved in my head as I saw the scowl on his face fall away. I saw the intensely vulnerable man underneath the anger and pain fighting to stay in control and I realized that I had to take the control from him; he needed me and I was going to get him, get US through this.

I picked up the phone to call 911, and I had a brief and twisted thought about having a direct line to them installed as often as we talked to them. The dispatcher put me through to the detectives without delay and soon I was relating the details to them. They told me that someone would be there quickly, and I hung up the phone and decided I needed to get dressed. I might as well make some coffee while I was at it because I didn’t think there was going to be much sleeping tonight.

Adam hadn’t said a word as all this was happening; I think he was in shock. I could only imagine how he felt; I mean, having all these horrible things happen was one thing, but to have someone tell you that it is your fault for someone’s death would be enough to put anyone into shock.

After I got the coffee going I came back upstairs, where Adam was still sitting on the edge of the bed. It looked as if he hadn’t moved an inch, and I knelt down in front of him and gently said, “Adam, the police will be here soon. You need to get dressed, okay?”

He looked at me, and I saw that the angry light had gone from his eyes and now they just looked dull and lifeless. I stood up and held out my hand to him, and he stared at it blankly for a minute and then reached for it, standing almost a bit unsteadily. I hugged him for a minute and then I heard the doorbell and pulled away.

“I’m going down to get the door. I’ll see you downstairs in a moment,” I told him as I headed out of the room. I glanced back as I closed the door, and he was moving toward the closet and I let out a thankful sigh.

I answered the door only to find it wasn’t the police, but the security patrol. Mr. Keaton stood there in the doorway, and he did not look happy.

“Ms. Marcus, I just heard a call over the radio that the police are on their way here. You must alert us first. What is the problem this evening?” he asked, trying to peek over my shoulder into the room.

I suddenly felt very weary myself and I stepped aside to allow him to come in. I saw a Dallas police car pull up just then and waited while the officers headed our way. Mr. Keaton was looking around the room inquisitively and I tossed over my shoulder, “Nothing dead here tonight, Mr. Keaton.” It was rather a crass thing to have said, but something about that man irritated me. Maybe it was his officious manner or maybe it was his nosiness, I wasn’t sure. He had sandy brown hair that was balding and a light dusting of freckles. Despite his unimposing looks, his air was pompous and arrogant, much like the proverbial banty rooster.

Sgt. Tate and Officer Nguyen greeted me politely, and I ushered them into the living room. Adam came downstairs then, dressed in jeans and a tee shirt, and introductions were made all around. The officers were curious as to what Mr. Keaton was doing here, and that sparked off a serious tangent as the odious man explained how and why he was there.

Sgt. Tate spoke up, and I decided I liked her immediately. “Mr. Keaton, please take no of fence but this is a criminal matter, not a security issue. Now, since the security neither of the complex nor of the other residents is in question, Dallas PD needs to handle this and I’m going to have to ask you to leave now. If,” she said, holding up her hand as Mr. Keaton started to interrupt her, “If something is revealed that might put the safety of the complex into question, we will certainly contact you immediately.”

I hid a smile behind my hand at his look of evident outrage. Sgt. Tate kept her voice calm and her face blank as Mr. Keaton started to sputter, but he looked at her and knew that she wasn’t going to entertain his rampage. He cast a baleful look at Adam and then me before heading reluctantly for the door. Officer Nguyen, a young and handsome man, turned to me with a smile. I had the feeling that he admired Sgt. Tate a great deal. She sort of looked like someone’s sweet grandmother, but I’d bet my next paycheck she was tough as steel. “They never give her any problems,” he said in explanation with a shrug.

“Thank you, Sgt. Tate,” I told her gratefully. “That man rubs me the wrong way, although I don’t know that I could tell you why.”

There was another knock on the door and Adam opened it to find a giant of a man standing there. His name was Detective Little Elk and he was of imposing height (about 6’5”), copper skin, and Native American heritage. If he was the little elk, I hated to see the big one, I thought dryly.

The coffee was done and we all decided to have some. We sat at the dining room table and each of the people, true to their nature, pulled out their notebooks and took notes on the conversation. I noticed that it was almost 11:00 pm as I glanced at a clock visible through the kitchen doorway.

“Now Mr. Richland, can you please tell us about the telephone call you received?” Detective Little Elk asked.

“It - it was about 10:30 or so I guess. Do you think that’s right, Sarah?” he asked me, trying to verify the time. I nodded my head and he continued on after taking a deep breath. “I answered the phone. The house phone has no caller ID on it, so we didn’t know who it was. Very few people have the number, so we answered; mostly I think because we were worried something might be wrong.” He told them what the caller had said and that he couldn’t identify the voice or even the sex of the caller.

Detective Little Elk was busy taking notes when his cell phone rang and he answered it. As he listened he first frowned and then nodded his head and a slow smile spread across his face as he hung up the phone.

“We do have one piece of information about the call already,” Detective Little Elk said, as a preamble to what would surely be endless questions. “The call was traced to a disposable cell phone, which was purchased through a local convenience store.”

“A disposable cell phone?” I asked. I’d never heard of anything like that. “What is a disposable cell phone?”

“It’s a term used to indicate a phone that uses cards with minutes, rather than a regular account. A random phone number is assigned to it; you don’t even need ID to acquire one unfortunately.  You buy the phone and the card and you’re set. When that block of minutes is gone, you can buy another card or toss it away. They are great for someone who is perhaps making a trip and wants a phone to take with them, but otherwise don’t want or need cell phone service. But they are also unfortunately used by drug dealers and criminals at large because of their anonymity and convenience.  They call them 'burners',” he clarified for us, his voice deep and resonant. 

“Wow,” I said, thinking about that. I glanced over at Adam, who was sipping his coffee and still not saying a word. The pale and pinched look was slowly fading from his face, and that was a good thing at least.

“We will be checking with the convenience store to view security tapes for the time when the phone was purchased, which was – “ he hesitated, flipping though his notes. “Ah, it was purchased two days ago. So hopefully the store will still have the tapes. And we should soon have a satellite tracking on the phone since it does have a GPS tracker on it. Many times criminals don’t realize that all those phones can be tracked like that.” His eyes sparkled for a moment as his mouth turned slightly upward at the corners and he said, “We try to keep things like the quiet.”

I tried to smile back at him but I’m afraid it was probably more of a grimace. His cell phone rang again then and again he answered it. I saw that Sgt. Tate had drunk all her coffee and I started to ask her if she would like some more, but I was interrupted as we heard what the detective was saying.

“It’s where?” he exclaimed. He got up and headed out the front door. Sgt. Tate and Officer Nguyen followed and Adam and I watched as Detective Little Elk said something to the officers and all three pulled out flashlights and started searching around the front of the house. Adam and I watched from the front porch and they were all still for a moment and then Detective Little Elk pulled on a pair of latex gloves and pointed to something on the ground.

That something was the cell phone, of course.

Detective Little Elk went to his vehicle and brought back a camera with a flash on it. They all focused their flashlights toward the ground and he snapped several pictures from different angles of the phone and the surrounding ground.

Adam and I stood rooted on the porch, fascinated in an eerie way with the scene we were watching. “Oh my God,” I said, seeing the detective pick it up and examine it. He walked towards us, holding it, and I could see something else; it had a note wrapped around it.

Adam saw it too and we grabbed onto each others’ hands, hanging on tightly.

We silently followed Detective Little Elk inside; the officers were calling for backup and were searching the area for other evidence.

We all sat at the table and Detective Little Elk laid the phone on the table and looked at us, his guarded eyes watching our pale faces closely. I was horrified by this new discovery; whatever that note said was not going to be pleasant. Or helpful, I was sure.

Adam’s hands were shaking, and I thought he looked ill. His face was pasty and his eyes unnaturally bright. I took his hand in mine, and he grasped it gratefully and his eyes shut briefly before opening again and looking at the phone lying on the table in front of us.

The note was attached by a rubber band, wrapped several times around the note and phone. The detective focused at it closely, not yet picking it up so we could read the note. And that’s when I noticed something, caught up in the rubber band. I pointed to it and asked, “What’s that?”

He picked the phone up and looked at it with a frown; a frown that quickly turned into a smile. “Ms. Marcus, you have very good eyes!” and he gave a small laugh that sounded more like a snort. He sat the phone back down and picked up the camera and started focusing before taking several more pictures.

Adam was watching all of this going on silently. I wasn’t exactly sure what I saw so I sat quietly as well, waiting for Detective Little Elk to finish his pictures. He then reached into a pocket and pulled out a small leather case and opened it and then extracted a small pair of tweezers. He held the phone with one hand and the tweezers in the other and frowned some more as he used the tweezers to gently work loose what was intertwined in the rubber band.

“Ah,” he declared with a nod of his head, “Maybe we’ll get a break in this case yet!” He extended his hand out towards us and displayed a small hair, the follicle still attached. He chuckled and added, “They all mess up, sooner or later, yes indeed they do!”

I stared in amazement at the hair, held firmly in the tweezers’ grip. It was very short and sort of blondish, pretty nondescript actually, but that follicle could tell them a lot. A smile spread across my face as I looked up at the detective and nodded. I felt like giggling too, even though we still had the note to read; I felt ebullient and buoyed up by this discovery. Finally, something that may connect this phone with the person behind all this, I thought with satisfaction.

Adam was still silent, watching the detective and me smile, and he looked confused about that. The shock still hadn’t totally left him I could tell. “Adam,” I said, “The hair has a follicle on it; they can get DNA from it!”

Relief flooded his face briefly and he nodded his understanding. I squeezed his hand and finally felt him respond by squeezing mine back. A very good sign, I decided as I cast him a sideways look and saw that he even had a little color back in his face.

The detective placed the hair into a small envelope and wrote something cryptic on the outside of it before placing it in a pocket. He carefully removed the note from around the phone and Adam and I were both solemn again as we watched him unfold and then read it.

I watched his eyes as he read it, eyes that were almost black, and he betrayed nothing of whatever he was thinking. I’ll bet he is a great poker player, I thought absurdly.

“Would you like me to read it to you? I can’t let you touch it, you know,” he informed us.

“Yes, we understand that. Please,” I told him, indicating the note, “Go ahead.”

The hearts of foolish women
waste away and innocent souls falter
no steps to follow in
History and lives are lost
while misery stalks those
who deserve the eternal slumber of death
All actions have a cost

Adam closed his eyes as he listened in silence to the words read by Detective Little Elk. I raised my hand to my mouth as I gasped in surprise at those taunting words.

The shock and dismay ebbed away a bit as I gazed at Detective Little Elk. I shook my head sadly because it seemed to tell me that this was a death threat against Adam. My eyes opened a bit in question as I met the detective’s, and he nodded. We both glanced at Adam and I worriedly noticed he seemed to be back into the shock again.

“Adam,” I said gently, watching his face for any reaction, but I could detect nothing to indicate he even heard me.

“Mr. Richland,” Detective Little Elk tried, still getting no response. “Mr. Richland,” he tried again, a little louder and a lot more determined. “You need to talk to us, Mr. Richland.”

Adam rapidly blinked several times and slowly his eyes focused on me. “Why is it that when people write these bloody notes they can’t just speak plainly? I mean really, that could mean many different things, I just don’t understand.”

The meaning seemed pretty clear to me, but I didn’t know if I was up to trying to enlighten Adam on it. The detective had no qualms about it, though – none at all.

“Mr. Richland, the uh, meaning of that note is actually pretty clear,” he said, looking at me then. “Wouldn’t you agree, Ms. Marcus?”

“Yes, yes, I believe I understand it. Adam, honey, it’s um, a death threat. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, yes, Sarah,” he snapped. “I know that much, I’m referring to the first part of it; the part about history and such. It would all be so much easier if I understood what the hell they are referring to. Obviously something from my past, but what or who?”

I guess I was relieved that he understood about the death threat part, but it seemed strange to me that he was more consumed by the first part of the note. Although maybe it made some sense; if we figure that part out we will have solved the mystery. The fact that it was a death threat to him was maybe not the most important information contained within the note, I began to think. I brought that up to the detective and he nodded as I spoke, possibly agreeing a bit.

“It’s all relevant though, Ms. Marcus,” he told me, while flipping through all his notes again. I had a brief bit of curiosity about that notebook, wondering if they passed it around. He hadn’t taken that many notes, and yet he seemed to have pages in that notebook. He scanned the pages, pausing briefly at times to read something before flipping the page and moving on. The two police officers came back in then to talk to him, and he reluctantly closed the notebook and shifted his attention to what Sgt. Tate was saying.

“Doesn’t look like they left any other clues, Little Elk. The ground is very dry, so there aren’t any footprints that we could find out there, or any other physical evidence. Maybe in the light, I don’t know…”

‘I’m reasonably sure they didn’t leave anything. But they may not have been as smart as they think. We found a small hair with the follicle attached to it caught up in the rubber band. So we’ll get some DNA off of it I’m sure. I wonder if Morgan has got anywhere with the video tapes at the convenience store?”

“Haven’t heard. We have another call, so we’re heading out now,” she said, nodding at Adam and me. Officer Nguyen gave me a brilliant smile and waved affably before turning and following Sgt. Tate out the door.

“Rookies!” Detective Little Elk exclaimed, shaking his head. “Always eager…”

Adam and I remained silent, and I was still thinking about the note. Adam was right; the first part was what we needed to focus on. It contained an answer, I was now sure of it. But that didn’t mean that I had any answers.

Detective Little Elk was still flipping through notes, and finally he looked up at us and inquired, “Mr. Richland, after the last incident here, Ms.Tomlinson’s murder, acquiring some additional security was discussed and you agreed at the time to do that. But apparently you have not taken those precautions yet?”

I glanced at Adam and saw his face pale again. “No,” he answered, “We went to California the next day and I rather forgot about it. I know that Lyle did hire more security for the set.”

“But you haven’t hired any for yourself personally?” he queried.

“No,” Adam replied, his voice tight and clipped.

“Mr. Richland, I hope I don’t have to stress how important that is for you now, especially after tonight?”

“Would having security have helped this any, detective? Prevented the call? Helped to catch the person who did this?” Adam asked, anger creeping into his voice.

“Perhaps not, but at this point having some obvious security around can’t hurt anything.”

I looked at Adam and said, “He has a point.” Adam’s face wore a pained expression and I reached to hold his hand while I spoke. “Look Adam, it can’t hurt. I know you are concerned with our privacy, but we’ll make it work.”

Adam stood up then and wandered around the room, almost aimlessly. I watched him as he thought over what he wanted to say. Finally, he opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again immediately. He returned to his chair and sat down again and started to speak. “Detective Little Elk, I’ve been in this business for a long time. I’ve never been a fan of the notorious ‘Hollywood’ type of celebrities. I don’t condemn them, but that’s just not my style. I prefer to live quietly and keep my family away from the scrutiny of the press,” he told us, reaching for my hand and giving it a squeeze. “Many celebrities thrive in the spotlight; I do not. Many thrive on being constantly noticed; again I do not. Having bodyguards insures that you will be noticed. It will draw attention to me, and I personally feel that it is a false sort of attention or in other words, ‘look at me, I’m important,’ and I loathe that. And it is guaranteed to draw attention to my family.”

Detective Little Elk started to speak, “I understand that, Mr. Richland, but…”

Adam interrupted him mid-sentence, “Please, let me finish, detective. It will draw attention to my family, but I understand now that we don’t really have a choice. I will hire some extra security for us, for all of us,” and I understood that meant the boys and me. I knew what a hard decision it was for Adam to make as well, and my heart hurt for him.

The detective nodded in understanding and said he would be happy to provide some names for us. Adam reminded him that we would require someone who has a passport and also someone in California for the boys.

“I think we can accommodate that, Mr. Richland. I will be in touch with you tomorrow then,” he told us, preparing to leave.

“All right. Please keep in mind that we are leaving early in the morning to go to California for Rachel’s funeral.”

He shook his head briefly and we knew that he didn’t like hearing that. “Yes, well I suppose that will be safe enough,” he told us as he headed out the door. Adam closed it behind him and locked it.

I looked at the clock in the kitchen and amazingly it was only midnight. 


We both slept fitfully, and when the alarm rang to wake us up we both groaned and responded with a lack of enthusiasm. But this was a morning when the time frame wasn’t up to us; we had to be ready when the car got here, so that meant getting into the shower and getting dressed.

I got the shower going while Adam took his nasal spray and we both crawled into the shower, half asleep and smothering yawns. There wasn’t time to play around this morning, not that either of us felt like it, I thought.

While I was drying my hair Adam made us some coffee, which I sipped as I got dressed. I didn’t have any black dresses with me, but I had a nice black pantsuit that I could wear. It had flowing pants that were well-fitted at the hips and waist and a button up jacket that ended at the waist. It was tailored well and I knew it looked fine for a funeral. I hated to wear it today, though, because it was a favorite of mine and from now on I would always remember wearing it for Rachel’s funeral. It was, however, the only option I had with me. I put on a little makeup and slipped my shoes on and was ready while Adam was finishing dressing himself.

He had shaved this morning and looked good, if a bit pale. He wore a beautiful black pinstriped suit, the faint grey lines making the suit look very reserved. We headed downstairs and only had to wait for a few minutes before the limo was here and we headed out to get in. It had picked up Lyle right before us and Krista was also there, looking very pale.

“Krista,” I said, reaching for her hand in order to squeeze it briefly. “How are you?”

She caught her breath for just a moment and then said, “I’m – I’m all right I guess. I just can’t believe she is gone is all.”

I looked around the limo, the inside of it. It wasn’t huge or terribly ostentatious I thought and then laughed at myself when I realized I had nothing to compare it to. It was comfortable and roomy, with a large back seat and two ‘jump’ seats facing them. Krista sat in one of them while Lyle had sat down next to me. There didn’t appear to be a bar or TV or anything like that, but then I didn’t really know where to look. We made one more stop and William Richards got in and took the other jump seat.

I found it an odd little party, with Krista being the wild card. She was quiet on the way to the airport, but I saw a few tears slip down her pale cheeks and watched as she tried to brush them unobtrusively away. William, Lyle, and Adam chatted a bit, about the weather and other little details that mattered not at all, and before we knew it we were at the airport and I looked up as we drove directly onto the tarmac where a large personal jet was waiting.

There were 19 of us going on this trip, less than a quarter of the cast and crew, and I thought how sad for Rachel. This was a day to remember her and many people would, but for all the wrong reasons.

As we got out of the limo, I saw Sunni waiting with some of the others who were going and spotted Paul and a few other friendly faces, none of which were smiling. Sunni rushed up to Krista and hugged her, and Krista clung to her briefly before pulling away and walking determinedly towards the waiting jet. Sunni hugged me as well and while it surprised me I hugged her back. Everyone responds to death in their own way, and perhaps Sunni needed comfort. Her face was certainly strained, I thought, noticing how pale and drawn she looked.

Right before takeoff the door opened one more time and Detective Morgan got on the plane. He asked to speak with Lyle and Adam, and I silently watched the exchange. Both men seemed calm, and finally the door was shut and Detective Morgan took a seat. He was obviously coming with us. He glanced at us and nodded his head in greeting. Many people on the plane were looking at him and wondering why he was here. But Adam and I knew exactly why he was going with us.

After we were in flight, Adam called Tamara with the location of the airport where we would be landing and Tamara agreed to meet us there. She must have asked how things were going because I heard Adam mutter something about talking to her when we see her. I understood how much he was going to hate having to tell her last night’s events and what we had decided about security.

We landed at a small airport on the outskirts of the LA area, and Tamara and Mark were there waiting for us with the limo. There didn’t seem to be press anywhere and I thanked God for that fact. Although I had to wonder about their investigative skills; hadn’t they scouted out other airports besides LAX? I wondered.

There were other limos waiting as well, and since Detective Morgan was unexpected and unaccounted for, by default he went with us because ours was the only limo with a seat for him. He was probably happy about that, but I could tell that Adam wasn’t.

As we walked through a gate to where Mark and Tamara waited, Adam said to him, “Was it really necessary for you to come along today, detective?” Adam had his arm around me as we made the walk, and I could feel how tense his body was.

“Sorry, Mr. Richland, but we thought it was best that someone accompany you, and since they have all seen me anyway, we decided it would work in our favor. It will hopefully be a deterrent to anything else happening. And by the way, we looked at the video from the convenience store. Can’t identify the person. Now is this your ex-wife we are meeting?”

I felt Adam stiffen in response to his question and knew that there was more than one purpose to this trip; they were also there to check Tamara and Mark out. But I didn’t care because I knew that Tamara and Mark had nothing to hide. And a moment later we were there with them and I hugged her eagerly.

Fuck the police, I thought with vehemence.

********Author's Note********

As I move closer to publication we find that it is necessary that this story be copyrighted. So below you will find that this has been done. I have always written under the name Hope, which is my middle name. However the copyright is under my legal name. You may continue to call me Hope or you may call me Cyndy, which ever you prefer!

Copyright 2006 by Cynthia Hope Hodge


Kristin said...

Happy Friday, All!

Pleasure to meet you Cyndy Hope Hodge!!!! (Big Smile)

Still need to read the post, but just had to welcome Cyndy Hope to the circles of a copywrited author!!!

Val said...

Hi everyone!

Great post again, Hope! I have known your name for a while, but I still like calling you Hope. It's nice to have a nom de plum, eh?

It's Friday, and I'm sitting here in the shadow of my treadmill trying to work up the want-to to climb aboard. I'll be getting to that in just a few minutes, but I had to read the post for today first!

I can't believe the story is winding down. I can't wait to read the ending, but I sure don't want it to end, does that make sense? I can't wait for the new website too, that will be nice to keep up with everyone who has been on this journey together.

Well, it's treadmill time, ladies, have a good Friday and an awesome weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for me, weigh in is tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

I think I've come to recognize and cherish you as Hope, so that is what I shall continue to call you!

Great post,but I'm starting to be sad about it winding down. I don't want it to end. Anyways, I just got home from work, and need sleep. I doubt I will see you all at lunch, so enjoy!


Hope said...

Good Morning All!

I suggest we have something wonderful for lunch in celebration of my copyright status! It's kind of scary actually. It is all seeming so much more real...

I just had a chance to go back and read yesterday's posts and wanted to make a couple of comments.

Stef (Diet girl)- I adore the idea of a movie, but seriously I'm not sure I can handle the thought of working for a movie from this and having Colin be in it. My Gosh, I don't think my heart could take it!!!

Holly D - I hope you will jump in for lunch, we have a blast, although you have to keep an eye on Kristin, she's sneaky!

Laurie, I do have other stories on my Hopefuljourney blog site, but they are different than this, non-fiction. Some are funny, some not. I will be writing more fiction though, I promise! And on the new web site we will have message boards, like this and also the option of a chat room, if enough people show a desire to have it.

Rock out everyone! It's Friday!

Anonymous said...

Oh my...just when you think that there is nothing else the stalker can do to make trouble!

I want to share the big news that happened here yesterday! I became an Aunt. My brother and sister-in-law's adoption finally went through!:) They brought home a little baby girl. She is now 2 months old due to all the lawyers and paperwork that must be completed! We are very thankful that everything went through!

I still can't believe that this story is almost over *sighs*


Anonymous said...

Congrats on being a copywrited author! Wow! That is an awesome accomplishment! The story is getting very interesting and is reaching the climax- while I don't want it to end, I do want to find out who the "bad guy" is :) Congrats again and have a great weekend!


Hope said...


Congratulations on becoming an aunt! You get to be the 'cool' aunt!

Anonymous said...


Congratulations!! That is great news for you and just one more step closer to the book actually being published!

Have tried many times to join in but my computer seems to have other ideas and always freezes up one me, hope this one works.

Like everyone else, I am really looking forward to see who is behind all the pain cause to Sarah and Adam but at the same time dread not being able to read the story. What will I do at work from now on?!!

So what is the special lunch today for Hope? I am starving!!

Heres to a wonderful Friday and great week-end to all!


Kristin said...

Great post! Smut, mystery and intrigue in one setting, and its Friday to boot!!! YEAHHHHHHH!!!!

Congrats L, on becoming an aunt!

I agree with Val, though we now know the real identity of Superman's alter ego, I'll still call you Hope! =)

As for the sneaky me, I surely don't know what you are talking about! Neither did my pirate Richland when he rolled outta bed this morning! HAHAHAHA!

Hope said...

Jackie, I am so excited that you finally were able to post a comment, although I have always enjoyed hearing from you be e-mail! Lunch will be fun, I promise!

And Kristin, you little marauding wench - You know very well where Richland was last night! AARRGGG!

Anonymous said...

I do want to be the "cool" aunt that is for sure. I am so excited I think I might burst! LOL I am going to the store today to buy baby stuff. I guess the spoiling can begin:)

Just Dreamin' said...

Hope-great post! I can't wait for the website to be up! I LOVE this blog! It is my favorite! What is for lunch today! I really could use a drink! How about a shot? My favorite - a B-52! Or tequila! HAHA

L- Congrats on becoming an aunt! I am the cool aunt! Spoil her rotten! HAHA

Happy Friday everyone!

Hope said...

Okay JustDreamin', what is a B-52?

Engbunny said...

Cyndy Hope...I like that. *LOL* Wow, you have a copywrite! How cool is that? Congrats! The post was awesome, as always. I've said this before - the thing I love most about Sarah and Adam is that they are a "normal" couple. Yes, there is a lot of drama in their lives but they still act like real people instead of Adam being on the whole star trip thing.

I love the idea of a movie starring Colin...but who would play Sarah? That should be today's debate. I'll start with Courtney Thorne Smith (Somewhat off the wall but for some reason she strikes me as a great choice.

I can't wait for the new website. I'll go check out Hopefuljourney today.

So...what's for lunch ladies? Anyone up for deli today?


Kristin said...

Hey Laurie!

I think Sarah should be played by this fantastic newcomer (in her breakout first acting role) named Kristin Richland! HAHAHA!

Just Dreamin' said...

Ok Hope here is what a B-52 is:

You need a shot glass, of course, and you need a spoon. The three ingredients you will need are the following:

Baileys Irish Creme
Grand Marnier

You take your spoon and hold it over the glass (the underside is up) pour the kahlua overtop the spoon, then pour the Baileys overtop the spoon onto the Kahlua (they should be layered) and then the final touch, the Grand Mariner. Everything should be layered. Then take the shot! IT GOES DOWN SMOOTHLY!

It is great! Very smooth! If it doesn't layer well, than it is ok! You might want to get a bigger than normal shot glass to get a better layered "effect".

Anonymous said...

Hope, CONGRATS on the copyright...I am so excited for you!!

Great post today, I can't wait to find out who this person is!!


Anonymous said...

PS...I love the movie IDEA...if the books does well...I think you should consider it!! Let me think about who should play the part.


Hope said...

That sounds pretty tasty Just Dreamin'. I think I'll have a couple of those!

At a party not long ago I had something called a Slippery Nipple, and it was very tasty as well! But I don't have a clue what was in it. It tasted sort of like caramel maybe. But that may have been influenced by margarita's I had first!

Anonymous said...

I remember becoming a new niece is now 3 and the funniest human being I have ever come across...
Advice on being the cool aunt always have gum (when age appropriate) and pennies to throw in wishing wells, keep a sing along CD in the car (trust me, you'll listen to just think of them) and a drawer somewhere in the house with special treats (baby bags of animal crackers, fruit treats, M&Ms)so they know it's always there for them, galvinzed steel tubs make great impromtu swimming pools, and a watering can will provide endless amusement, teach them to steal kisses and say I love you in a sing song voice often, these things will catch on quickly and warm your heart when they do it to you on their own...
Good luck and God Bless the new little one and family...

Auntie Lauren

Anonymous said...

First things first - loved this post!

I am so excited and eager to find out what is going on, but at athe same time totally bummed out that this story will be coming to an end!

You rock - as one of the best authors ever!

Thanks for the escape you provide me with your story.


Just Dreamin' said...

Hope - Slippery nipple has baileys irish cream and butterscotch schnapps! And yes, it is very yummy! One day you should try an "upside margarita". It is a little bit different. You have the person that wants the drink to sit down. Then get three other people standing behind him/her. They each have either a bottle of triple sec, tequila, and lime juice in their hand. The person sitting down tips their head back and each person fills their mouth with the specific bottle and then the person puts their head up and "shakes" it and then swallows! That's an upside margarita!

Hope said...

Well, at the party she was pouring margaritas into our mouths, which of course meant our heads were tipped back.

Yes, ladies and gents, it WAS quite a party . . . indeed!

Cynthia =) said...

Hi Cynthia,

I have been reading your blog forever now but never left a comment. But then I saw that we share the same name and had to leave one!

I love the characters and I love how detailed you are with your writing. Everytime I come into work on the days you post, I get all giddy knowing I'll have a good day...wondering about Adam and Sarah.

Thanks for making my workdays entertaining!

Just Dreamin' said...

You go Hope! Wow! Now that I think about it, I haven't been to a party, club or bar in about 4 years! I need a break! I need a life! HAHA

Just Dreamin' said...

Hope what is your website again? I need to save it on my favorites, like this one is.

Anonymous said...

hi everyone!

i don't drink so i guess i'll just be the designated driver, lol!

anyway hope, i love the story and although i've been thinking about this for a while, i think the person is Adam's son or daughter.

i think maybe he had a child with that most serious ex from his past, Penelope?? could be Krista cos she said she had no parents and the note from the phone said something about no steps to follow and the hearts of foolish women waste away, that is someone (foolish) who loved Adam and might not be around anymore (waste away).

i don't know, maybe not Krista, maybe now the security guy and maybe the mother is alive, but that's my two cents, Adam's child.

keep up the great work Hope!

Anonymous said...

Auntie Lauren
Thank you for all the wonderful ideas. I will keep them in mind for sure. We need all the advice we can get, since this is my husband and mines first time as Aunt and Uncle.
My brother and sister-in-law are so happy they can barely contain themselves. It has been a long hard road to parenthood for them. They tried to concieve for several years and could only handle a limited amount of "help". The hormone therapy was not good to her. They have been waiting for over a year for an adoption to come through. They have worked with several organizations in other countries and the US happened to be the fastest. I am not sure how the stars adopt so quickly from other countries! LOL

Thank you for letting me share with you my excitement!

Hope said...

Just Dreamin', the website is Right now it only says Under Construction in the most boring of way, in black and white. My web collaborator thinks it's funny. But he's a man, what can you expect?

Cynthia =)Welcome, we are glad to hear from you! Drop in at any time! And please, join us for lunch!

Carma - you are so sweet. Thanks for the lovely things you said and thanks so much for being a part of this wonderful community of readers.

Auntie Lauren, are you new? I don't remember seeing your name before, but I'm so glad you stopped in!

Just Dreamin' - I heartily recommend a good party! I hadn't been to one quite so much, er, fun in a long time. Break out of that shell girl!

Anonymous said...

Dear Hope/Cyndy and everybody,

I hope you're all ok and spring is approaching, wherever you live!

I haven't commented for quite some time, just didn't feel up to it. But now I have to congratulate Lauren on being an aunt and Hope on the new copyright status!

Thanks all over again for your great work, three times a week this blog just makes my day. Especially recently, as three weeks ago my boyfriend and I split up. We had been together for just half a year, but I had never felt so deeply for anyone before. He was my own special Adam.... *sigh*

So when suddenly he confronted me with the fact that, thinking about it, he doesn't really love me, I was absolutely shocked. We had spent the most wonderful time together and all along I thought he felt the same way. Well, obviously he didn't...

I'm still struggling, having to cope now without the one I thought was the love of my life... So, maybe you can all have a little pity drink on me during lunchtime? Over here it's half past five, my work day nearly over, so I won't be able to join you.

See you all again on Monday!

Sandy said...

This is one of the best posts (actually they are all great). I can't wait to see who this evil person is. I have no idea! Congratulations on the copywrite. I am looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us next. I think the desert for lunch today should be something chocolately and gooey to celebrate! Congrats L on the new baby in your family. Nothing greater than a new baby.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hope
New to commenting but not the story.. at the risk of repeating what everyone else says the story is wonderful, exciting and moving. What goes on in the comments is amusing to say the least. I enjoy the lunches!!! (usually while I am noshing on a salad or cereal or something healthy/diet friendly. Getting married in May 08 so I figured I would "practice" dieting now, I will have to get serious about it soon!!!)

Hope said...

Andrea, I've missed you and wondered what you had been up to. I'm so sorry to hear of your breakup, been through it too and it's horrible, especially when you think they are the 'one'. Hang in there and we will absolutely have a drink for you!

Lauren, I'm really glad you decided to jump into the pot with the rest of us! Put your feet up, grab and drink and have a laugh!

And Sandy, something chocolatety sounds fabulous. And remember our dieting friends, WW has some chocolate desserts!

becky said...

COngratulations, Cyndy Hope, as you are getting closer & closer to being published! I am thrilled for you. Someday...I will join you in that!


PS So much excitement and great clues. Can't wait until Monday. Since we missed our traveling potluck shall we do it next week?

Val said...

Congrats on the niece, L!

I would love some chocolate. I found these awesome Hostess cakes that are 100 calories (for my fellow WW'ers, that's only 1 point because it has 5 wonderful fiber grams!) So I'll pass around the box, AND I have some Cherry Crack (Coke Zero Cherry) to chase it down with. :)


Lisa Lynn said...

Congratulations, Hope, on your copyright status! I'm very excited to see your story published. I can tell you that once I find an author I like, I generally read EVERYTHING they you can count on several book sales here!!

Another great post leading into another great weekend -- have a good one everyone!

Kristin said...

Did I miss lunch? If so, as long as I made it time for the Death by Chocolate dessert! YUMMMM!

Val - I absolutely adore Cherry Crack, as well as regular Crack Zero. The greatest thing to hit diet soda ever!!! I also found that WW bagels with 0 calorie spray butter, and sugar free strawberry preserves or orange marmalade is a delightful dessert for only 2-3 points (depending on how much preserves)!

Andrea - Welcome back! You were missed!!! You are worth so much more than that piece of poo, and I wish you much love and healing!

Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo!! Go Hope! Can't wait to buy the book so I can read this great story over and over again!! :)

I just love reading how close everyone is on the posts as well. So much fun!!

Count me in on several margaritas!!!


Jo said...

I'm going to keep calling you Hope (as in I Hope this book becomes a movie of the week and I Hope there are more stories coming...).

I loved this chapter because, reading it, I was up when they were on the couch ;-) and then I was down when the phone call came and then I was up when I thought they could trace the phone and then I was down when they found the phone and note and then I was up when they found the hair....

Have I mentioned I love this roller coaster!?!?!?! :-D

I've given up trying to guess who the bad guy is but I can't wait to see whose DNA they find in that hair strand. Perhaps someone "related" to Adam????

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anonymous said...

For something chocolately...try THIS drink. Make yourself a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate, add a shot of cherry vodka and a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream. It is like drinking a chocolate covered cherry. And you can get away with this at soccer games! (just make sure you don't share your drink with a child!)

I am lovin' this story...and the plot thickens daily!

You ladies are a riot!


Hope said...

Well, I've had a huge margarita for lunch, so forgive me if I slid under the table a bit.

Charlotte, that sounds very yummy. Of course, it's chocolate, so it has to be good, right?

Val, never tried cherry crack. Is that what it really is called?

Nicole, there are plenty of margaritas left, so pull up a chair.

Jo, darlin you do my heart good! Movie of the week, of course, I'd have to work closely with Colin, er, Adam on this, wouldn't I?

Becky, traveling pot luck sound wonderful for next week!

And Kristin, wake up there under the table, you're drooling...

Hope said...

Oh Lisa Lynne!

Thank you so much for the support for future book sales! I do so appreciate it! Here, have a margarita on me!

tita said...

Congratulations for your copyright, it was good to have settled that matter at last!!
I'm really sad because I don't want this story to end, after all this is the best one, but on the other hand I can hardly wait to know what's going on truly...OMG...
Thanks for everything Hope

Shar said...

Hope, I'm dying over here! I want to know who the killer is!

In celebration of Hope's copywrite, I will be consuming many B-52s at happy hour today.


Val said...

It's not REALLY called Cherry Crack. It's Cherry Coke Zero or Coke Zero Cherry or some crap like that. Cherry Crack just sounds so much more fun!

I thought I'd share something I read the other day in Ladies Home Journal:
The Pleasure of Page Turners
"Many women love mystery novels, but the kind of detective story you crave reveals a lot about you. Do you love mysteries that take a surprising twist at the end? People who prefer less-predictable endings tend to have higher self-esteem than those who like to be able to finger the killer from the very start, found a new study conducted at Ohio State University that investigated the popularity of crime stories.

What's behind the difference? 'Whodunit stories with foreseeable endings can boost the spirits of people feeling down on themselves,' says Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Ph.D., assistant professor of communications and coauthor of the study. 'People with low self-esteem enjoy feeling that they knew all along who committed the crime, probably because it makes them feel smarter.' Even if you usually feel pretty good about yourself, solving a mystery can also lift your spirits when you've just had a bad day."

How funny, sometimes these studies crack me up because they really do seem to assume a lot with their groups and with their results. What do y'all think?

Holly said...

I don't know if anyone else has said it, but I'm going to be childish and snicker that it is post 69.

Great post as always hope, I think I might have figured it out, but I don't want to be wrong.

Ok, I think it's Sunni.
Have a great weekend everyone!

dietgirl said...

ok so i didn't want to write this because i didn't want to spoil it in case i ended up being right, but since a couple of you have, i too think Krista is Adam's child, she never knew her father and it seemed like she really resented that, she was pale faced today and i am sure she could have been the one in with Rachel at the time of her death. Rachel would want some kind of call on to get her drinks or whatever she needed and would have let someone like Krista in.

I also think she is not alone in this. there is an accomplice.
Thats my two cents, haha i just feel it man!

love to you all and congrats hope, I will always call you hope, if thats alright, i got a step mom cynthia and a cousin cindy, but its all good, you're the only hope in my life! :) thanks for giving me this time each week it truly is a nice wind down for me!

Engbunny said...

I love Cherry Zero Coke...I thought I was the only one! I also love Diet Lime Coke. I am totally addicted to both.

D said...

Congrats Hope! Great post, once again.

It's looking more and more like Krista I have to say... but who knows... only Hope.

It's been a couple stressful days for me. My grandfather was admitted to the hospital late Thursday night, and on Friday even suffered a heart attack (his second in the past 2 years). He is now breathing through a tube, and his vitals are stable, so hopefully he can pull through it. Please keep him and my family in your prayers. I would be ever so greatful.

Hope you're all having a great weekend!


Marvene said...

You write very well.