The lake is where they spent their vacation every year..
The first part of Why the Two Of Them? can be found here
The voice of her receptionist reminding her that it was three o'clock brought Randi back to the present. After shutting down her computer, she pulled out her purse, locked her laptop into her briefcase and headed out the door. As she pulled onto the fifty-nine north interstate, Randi realized there were a lot of people heading out of town. Reaching over she turned on her favorite Carley Simon cd's, listening to music as she drove along. She hoped her mother would be ready and in a good mood when she got to her house. Lately, her mom appeared ready to jump out of her skin at the least provocation. She had lost a lot of weight and aged ten years since Randi's father, Jamison, had died.
Leaving the city behind, Randi could feel herself relax. This was one of her favorite drives. By the time they reached the lake, in the past anyway, she would have left all of her frustrations and worries at the outer limits of Birmingham. It is such a scenic route, a straight shoot north, with farms, trees and quiet. Exiting onto ramp 141, she turned left onto Deerfoot, then left onto Old Springville Road. Her mom lived in the older section of Trussville. When she pulled into the driveway, her mom was sitting on the shaded front veranda, waiting. Placing the car in park, she pressed the trunk lid release. Before she could open her door, her mom was already coming down the sidewalk.
"Mom, let me have your suitcase, I'll put it in the trunk." Her mother handed it to her and went on around the car to the passenger side, getting in. Before getting back in the car, Randi glanced in at her mother who was sitting stiffly with her back pressed against the seat and her lips in a thin line.
"What's the matter, Mom?"
"You're fifteen minutes late. If you were going to be late, you should have called me. That way I could have called your Aunt Vera to come and pick me up."
"Mom, the traffic slowed me down, you know how it can be on a Friday afternoon. We'll make it up once we pass Ashland."
They drove in silence, which was fine with Randi, as she wanted to go over in her mind what she wanted to discuss with Sheriff Matthews tomorrow. She had decided to drive to his office and ask to view all they had on her Dad's and Tana's death. It was time to either solve the case or file it away. Hopefully, it would be solved, otherwise, the not knowing would just about drive her crazy.
Randi looked over at her Mom, who seemed to have relaxed some. She wanted to ask her questions about whether the Sheriff had told her anything about what they had discovered. She hesitated after her Mom's behavior at the house. She decided to just wait and discuss it with the Sheriff tomorrow. She'd not met him before, only had talked with him over the phone.
It was a quiet evening, her mom was still in odd behavior, and didn't want to talk. She claimed she had a headache and went off to bed early. Randi was sitting on the deck, listening to the night sounds. The tree frogs, the soft breeze whispering through the pines, bringing along the scent of honeysuckles and pine. Out here, she could look up into the sky, and without the city lights, see millions of stars. Occasionally, one would appear to twinkle. The sound of a car's tires crunching the gravel as it drove up the road broke into the peaceful night. When it passed under one of the lights, she realized it was the Sheriff's car. After he turned off the motor, he must have been on his cell phone, she could hear the clinking of the metal as it cooled off. Finally, he opened his door and stepped out. She really couldn't see his face at first, but once he stood, she realized he was a tall man, one who kept in shape.
Suddenly, a deep voice boomed out, "Miss Grayson, you have a few minutes to talk?"
"Sure, come on up, you want a cup of coffee?"
"That would be nice."
While he climbed up on the veranda, Randi went inside and placed cups, cream, sugar and coffee on a tray. When she came back out, he was sitting in one of the rocking chairs, smoking a pipe. She loved the smell of the tobacco he was using. A faint cherry smell.
"I hope you don't mind me smoking, it's the way I unwind in the evenings."
"No, I love the smell of pipe tobacco. It reminds me of my Granddad Grayson. He would smoke a pipe. I loved the smell it left on his clothes." She poured the coffee into cups and offered him cream and sugar. "What's on your mind Sheriff?"
"Miss Grayson, how's your mother? Does she seem alright since your dad died? Does she talk about what happened to you?"
"No, Sheriff, as a matter of fact, she doesn't. She's become extremely edgy, she's loosing weight, she's gotten forgetful and fearful. Why?"
"There's no easy way to say this, all the evidence points to your mother killing your father as well as your cousin, Tana."
"What! There's no way! They loved each other, mother would never kill dad!"
"Normally, I would agree with you, Miss Grayson, but"
"Call me Randi!"
"What, oh, okay, Randi, are you aware your mother is being treated for schizophrenia?"
Randi sat there stunned, she shook her head no, "How, when did this all start?"
"According to her doctor, she began to exhibit the symptoms about six months before your father died. Your father came in and talked with him two weeks before he died."
Randi began to shiver, "Why did dad want to talk with him?"
The Sheriff stood up and walked over to the swing, he pulled the afghan from the seat and wrapped it around Randi's shoulders., "It seems you mom had stopped taking her medicine. She began accusing your dad of having affairs and fearing he was going to divorce her, " he poured her a cup of hot coffee, spooning sugar and stirring it up, "drink this to keep you from shaking."
She took the cup and drank the coffee, "Dad has never had an affair, nor would he even consider it."
"It doesn't have to be true for your mom to believe it. Your dad confided to the doctor that she was following him. She would suddenly appear at a restaurant or on the sidewalk, just staring at him."
Randi murmured, "That explains the tensing of his body when I suddenly walked up on him. He was afraid of her. But why kill Tana, she was his niece for Pete's sake!"
"I don't think she intended to kill her. From what your Aunt Vera said, Tana, had just gotten off the phone with her boyfriend. They'd had an argument. I think Tana went down to her boat to think. She was probably lying there asleep, having dozed off. Your mom killed her thinking she might wake up and see her."
Randi pulled the afghan closer, "What's going to happen to her?"
"We'll arrest her, then admit her to the psychiatric ward at Medical Center East. Once she's been evaluated, we'll know how to proceed. My deputy and the doctor are waiting in his car for me to call them up. We'll wait for them to arrive before we wake her."
As he pulled out his cell phone and called them, Randi stood there numb and unsure of what to do next. She couldn't believe what he'd said, and yet, the signs were there.
A young woman dressed in a police uniform got out on the driver's side, while an older burley man got out on the passenger side.
He walked up the steps and held out his hand, "Miss Grayson, Charles Burton, your mother's doctor. Where is she?"
"She's asleep in her bedroom. Follow me and I'll show you. Will she be okay, she won't try to hurt herself or anyone else, will she?"
Dr. Burton replied, "I don't think so, but I have a shot ready to give her if she becomes violent. We'll go in first and talk with her."
She stood outside and waited. The only voices she heard were the doctor's and the Sheriff's. The door opened just enough for the Sheriff to step out. He took her by the arm and led her into the livingroom. In his hand he had a paper, "Randi, your mom killed herself and left you this letter. It's confusing, one minute she asks for your forgiveness, the next she feels that there are people trying to hurt her. I'm sorry."
Randi kept her head down, "I'm not sorry", she thought. It means the poison she'd placed in her mother's coffee at dinner had worked, in the nick of time. She had gotten quite a scare when the Sheriff's car had driven up. Now, it was all she could do to keep from smiling and giving away her secret. Instead, she looked up at the Sheriff, "Thank you Sheriff, now what do I do next?"
Tuesday Morning Writings is a project sponsored by Gaelikaa and Judy Harper. The words are copyright of Judy Harper.