The Ties That Bind
Part One of this story dealt with the events of a week in the life of our heroes, mostly from Maddie’s point of view and very little from David’s. Part Two reveals what the heck he’s been doing with himself while Maddie’s been planning baby showers and IRS audits.
We begin early Saturday night, before Terri’s baby shower.
David blows Maddie a kiss and starts off from the house. Watching her in the rearview mirror as he begins to pull out of the driveway, he almost pulls in front of a gardener’s truck, speeding down the street. He slams on his brakes in time and receives a long honk and a middle finger salute just in case there’s any doubt about who had the right of way.
David: And they say no one in L.A.’s neighborly.
Unfazed, he smiles, waves and pulls onto the street; in just a couple of minutes he’s too far away to see the house. In a few more minutes he’s past the hilly residential neighborhood, approaching the thoroughfare that will lead to the freeway. Driving away from Maddie, but never too far away.
He turns up the radio to listen to the Fabulous Thunderbirds being tough enough at way too high a decibel level.
I would walk ten miles on my hands and knees
Ain’t no doubt about it baby; it’s you I aim to please
I’d wrestle with a lion
And a grizzly bear
It’s my life baby, but I don’t care…
He taps out the beat on the steering wheel, sticks his elbow out the window and hits the gas pedal. When the refrain comes on, he sings along. He drives with that sense of well-being a man feels when everything is right with his world. The right music, the right car, the right road, finally the right woman. He checks out his reflection in the rearview mirror.
David: Ah, don’t get all mushy on me, Dave.
He accelerates as he approaches the onramp, but has to brake quickly when he finds himself in the middle of a huge traffic jam. This is not the usual late rush hour traffic as becomes apparent when he spies an ambulance with lights and sirens blaring as it attempts to get to some unseen accident up ahead. Cars are moving, but only at a crawl.
David: Ah, man.
He hits the steering wheel with the palm of his hand. Looks around, there’s a truck behind him with rakes and brooms sticking out of it in all directions. The same gardener’s truck that he almost ran into earlier. The guy behind the wheel isn’t looking too charitable, so it doesn’t appear that he’s going to let him back up and get out of this mess.
He checks his watch as the corvette inches along the onramp at a snail’s pace. In fact, maybe the snail could outpace him right about now. Finally he merges onto the freeway. He looks down at his watch again. Ten minutes has passed.
David (mumbles): Jeez, at this rate I’ll get to the bar right about dawn.
Traffic has come to a complete standstill. He hears people impatiently sounding their horns up ahead.
David: Better get comfortable. Doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere for a while.
He leans back in his seat, removes his sunglasses since the sun is now over the horizon. There’s nothing like being stuck in L.A. traffic on a Saturday night with all these important people with other important people to see and important things to do. He grins knowingly as a driver up ahead lays on his horn. His mind starts to drift. Think Maddie and Terri bought that fern bar talk? Walter said he would be late too so maybe it’s no big deal. But Robin Hammond is also waiting.
The grin droops as he remembers that he’s driving toward a client who will not want to hear what he has to tell her. If he decides to tell her. What a helluva week. His mind wanders back to that Wednesday meeting with Bert and MacGillicuddy…
Scene One: David’s office, Wednesday Afternoon
David is looking through some photos. MacGillicuddy sits on the front of his desk. Bert is behind David, breathing down his neck.
David: Garlic for lunch, Bert?
Bert: Yes sir. I tried that new place—oh right, sorry.
Bert backs up a couple of inches but continues to lean in as David scrutinizes the photo array in front of him. David whistles.
David: Talk about your Silicone Valley. You know what this means, boys?
Bert: Yeah…I’m getting to be a pretty good photographer.
David shoots Bert a look.
David: All those women…all hours of the night and day. I guess this guy practices what he preaches.
David looks closely at one particular photo, even taking a magnifying glass out of his desk to inspect it further.
David: But this one…
MacGillicuddy: She looks more like the girl in the picture than any of the other blondes. What do you think, Mr. Addison?
David: Could be Lark Hammond. I don’t know. The picture’s pretty dark. It’s hard to tell.
Bert smiles enigmatically.
David: What is it Bert? Lunch repeating on ya?
Bert: No sir. That girl.
David: What about her, Bert?
Bert pauses for dramatic effect. He looks very proud of himself as he pulls out a notebook.
Bert: She arrived at the estate at 2100 hours in the suspect’s classic 300SL Mercedes Benz Roadster. I noticed she’s the only woman who went in and never came out until this morning, sir.
David: Boys, boys. Don’t start fighting now. You’ve been playing so nice today.
He stops talking for a time, looks at the picture again, then at a report sitting on his desk. Bert and MacGillicuddy give each other the evil eye. Sticking out tongues can’t be far behind.
David: I’m an equal opportunity theorizer. So I want to know what you think, Mr.—
Bert and MacGillicuddy begin talking at once.
Bert: That she’s—
MacGillicuddy: I think—
Bert: Shut up, MacGillicuddy. She’s—
MacGillicuddy: Hey, short stuff, the big people have the floor—
David: Hey, hey, HEY! One at a time. Mr. Viola…what twangs your antenna here?
Bert looks at MacGillicuddy triumphantly. He starts pacing in front of the desk.
Bert: My theory, sir, assuming that the woman in my photo is Lark Hammond, is that she and this Ross guy have some kind of connection. (He weaves his fingers together.) She must have something on him or she’s made herself invaluable to him in some way. (MacGillicuddy sniffs.) She obviously has more juice with him than the other tootsies. She’s driving his $100,000 vehicle and she stayed all night, longer than any of the others. Maybe…she’s his…
Bert doesn’t look so sure of himself any longer.
Bert: Maybe she’s like his…favorite pleasure princess, sir.
David makes a noise like a buzzer on a game show.
David: Baaaamp! Next theory Mr. MacGillicuddy.
Bert: A concubine? A dominatrix?
MacGillicuddy: I don’t think their connection is sexual, Mr. Addison, unlike some idiot who can’t seem to keep his mind out of the sewer.
Bert (grits his teeth): MacGillicuddy…
David: Boys…Mr. MacGillicuddy, continue please.
MacGillicuddy: Like I was saying, I think the connection has more to do with who she is rather than what she does. I was looking at the mother’s background check sir.
David: Very good detective work, Mr. MacGillicuddy.
MacGillicuddy: Thanks. As you can see, the mother, Wren, was separated from her husband and staying in L.A. twenty-two years ago.
MacGillicuddy: And…she…well maybe they’re… related to each other.
David: Ding, ding, ding! Mr. MacGillicuddy! The prize for the best theory goes to you today. Better luck next time, Bert. Now before we tell Mr. MacGillicuddy what he’s won, let’s hear the rest of your theory!
MacGillicuddy puffs out his chest.
MacGillicuddy: The background check we did on the mother revealed that she had a brother. So maybe she stayed with that brother when she was separated from her husband and came out here. And maybe Lark Hammond is William Ross’s niece!
David: Mr. MacGillicuddy, I had such high hopes for you. Did you bother crosscheck to see if William Ross has a sister?
David: Well, he doesn’t. You know, you could have a great future as a detective if you’d leave the Irish Catholic Choirboy at home when you come to work.
MacGillicuddy: I don’t get it, Mr. Addison.
David: You gotta think sleazier, MacGillicuddy. Get down in the sewer with Mr. Viola.
Bert: Thank you, sir.
David: You’re welcome, Bert. Now, my theory…and I have to give you both partial credit on this exam since you both had components of this thing correct. My theory is that there is a definite connection between this girl, whoever she is, and William Ross. She seems to have the run of the estate. Comes and goes when she pleases, drives his Mercedes whenever she wants. She seems to have some influence and control. But Bert, as much as I like the way you think, this doesn’t sound like a dominatrix thing to me. Sounds more like when my dad let me borrow his 1973 Delta 88.
MacGillicuddy looks vindicated but still confused.
David: Now I want to show these pictures to Robin Hammond and see what she thinks. If she says it’s her sister, then we confront Mr. Big Shot with our evidence and see what he says. When I met him, he glanced at that girl’s picture so quick, you would have thought he was looking at…you know…who’s the broad with the snakes in her hair?
David: Yeah, that’s the one. Anyway, as quickly as he checked out that picture I swear I saw something flash in those beady little eyes.
MacGillicuddy: What does Miss Hayes think?
David: She thinks I’m definitely barking up the wrong Greek myth, but I have a gut feeling about this. Look at Lark’s picture then look at the picture on the cover of this book.
Bert: Oh, you found the William Ross biography sir.
David: Yeah, checked it out of the library using your card, Bert. Oh, by the way, thanks for letting me know about all those fines.
Bert: Sorry sir.
David: That’s ok. It’s coming out of your check. Anyway, compare the two pictures side by side.
Bert and MacGillicuddy line up behind David, jockeying for the best position by jabbing each other out of the way.
David: If you two don’t knock it off, I’m going to have to revoke your off-campus privileges and send you back to your desks permanently.
They sneer at each other but stop shoving and look intently between the two photos David is holding side by side.
Bert: Wow…what a resemblance. She could be his—
David: Daughter. Exactly.
MacGillicuddy: But William Ross doesn’t have a daughter, sir.
David: Not on the record he doesn’t. Look, I hate to break it to ya Choirboy, but birth certificates are faked all the time.
David: OK, so that’s everybody that went in and out? Any more pictures for me to take to Ms. Hammond to check out?
Bert: That’s the lot, Mr. Addison.
David: Boy, this guy really likes to stay busy with the ladies.
Bert: He’s insatiable, Mr. Addison.
David: I’m sure he’s just trying to stay in shape. The man has abs of steel. I know. He displayed them prominently for me.
Bert: Actually the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, Mr. Addison.
David: You would know that, Bert. Well what, MacGililcuddy?
MacGillicuddy: There were other people going in and out of the estate last night.
David: Other people?
MacGillicuddy: Yeah, you know, starting with the gardener, then what looked like housekeeping staff, oh! And that one guy with the Jag.
David: One guy? And where’s his picture?
David starts riffling through the stack. MacGillicuddy and Bert look down at their feet and shuffle.
Bert: Well… we uh…
David: You mean you didn’t give him a Kodak moment, Bert?
Bert: Well, I…we only took pictures of the women, sir.
David: Did you get a license number?
Bert’s silence tells that story.
David: Bert, I’m surprised at you. What is the first rule of investigation?
Bert: Anyone is a potential suspect.
David: Right. So?
Bert turns on MacGillicuddy.
Bert: I told you we should have taken pictures of everyone!
MacGillicuddy: You ran out of film, Stubby!
David (mumbles): Send two boys to do a man’s job, Dave.
He watches them argue for a moment longer.
David: I’m reassigning you two. MacGillicuddy, your assignment is to read this book and to find out all the information you can about William Ross.
He hands him the unauthorized biography.
David: Mr. Viola. Start running the license plates you did bother to write down and interview the women they belong to. And talk to the neighbors.
Bert: But I—
David: That’s it guys. Maybe next time you are given an assignment, you’ll complete it to Professor Dave’s satisfaction. Now hit the road, you two knuckleheads, and don’t come back until you have something interesting to show me.
The two men turn and leave, bouncing off each other like beach balls.
Bert: I told you, MacGillicuddy…
MacGillicuddy: You didn’t tell me anything, midget…
David rubs a hand over his face in exasperation. He sighs and picks up the phone, buzzes Maddie’s office.
Go to Split Screen of Maddie and David:
David: Ms. Hayes…so good to hear your voice. Certainly beats the two voices I’ve been hearing today. So how’s my favorite executive love object today?
Maddie: Fine, thank you. I’m sorry you’re having a bad day, but I don’t have time to talk right now. Mr. Pitts of the Internal Revenue Service just arrived and he’s a very busy man. So if there’s nothing else…
David: Pitts? His name’s Mr. Pitts? How are you keeping a straight face right now?
Maddie: That’s a difficult question to answer at this time. Perhaps we could connect after office hours to discuss it.
David: Believe me, there’s nothing I’d like better than to connect with you after office hours, but it looks like I’m going to have to work late. Surprise, surprise, The Boy Wonder and Tonto screwed up the stakeout I sent them on.
Maddie: I’m not surprised at all by that information, but I am disappointed.
David: You and me both, Gorgeous. Well, if you’re still awake when I get home…we’ll connect.
Maddie: That’s agreeable. Now if you’ll excuse me, please?
David: What did you do, burp?
The phone slams in his ear. He grins, lays the phone back in the cradle softly.
Cut to late Wednesday evening.
David sits in a rental car outside the gates of the Ross estate. No one has been in or out for two hours. At least he got the license number and a picture of the Jag guy. He shakes his head and yawns, looks at the dashboard clock. The digital face reads 12:15 PM. He fixes his eyes on the glowing numbers; watches the dots between the numbers flash. His eyes alternately droop and pop open as he fights sleep. He rolls down the driver’s side window all the way to let in as much fresh air as possible. As he turns his face to the cool night air, he catches a flash of light from high above the estate. Headlights. They stop, then wink off. He scowls, looks up and down the deserted street, turns the key in the ignition, makes a U-turn and drives away.
Scene Two, Early Thursday Evening
David and Robin Hammond pull off the road at a scenic overlook on a bluff. This vantage point gives them a perfect view of the city lights, but more importantly a bird’s eye view of the Ross Estate. Crushed beer cans and discarded fast food containers litter the perimeter. Moments later, another car pulls up next to them; a low-rider vehicle with three gang bangers in the front seat, two men and a woman in the middle. Robin looks to David, a little concerned about their safety. He’s more concerned about the safety of his corvette as he stares down the driver. The driver grins at him widely, turns up his car stereo to a deafening thump, thump, boom.
David: Should have driven Bert’s car.
Robin (holds tightly onto a large set of binoculars): Are we safe up here?
David: Ah, we’re fine. Those folks are up here as a public service to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Robin’s wide-eyed expression shows a touch of eagerness.
Robin: Oh…should I sit closer to you?
David: Uh, no. That’s ok. If we just sit here talking they’ll probably get bored and leave. (He chuckles softly.) I’m sure they would have been a lot more interested in me last night when I was up here all alone.
Robin looks down in her lap. She smiles slightly but says nothing.
David: Hey, I’m sorry. Did I embarrass you?
Robin: No. Sometimes I just don’t know what to say to you. It’s not that—I mean you have an interesting sense of humor…but I’m not very good at comebacks.
David: I’m sure Maddie would be happy to give you lessons.
At the mention of her name, Robin looks up at the city lights. A hush settles inside the car for a time as they both look out the windshield.
David: Robin, thanks for doing this. I don’t usually bring clients on their own stake-outs but in this case, well, I think the only way we’re going to know for sure that the woman we keep seeing is your sister is if you identify her up close and personal. Too bad the closest we can get is with these.
He indicates the binoculars.
Robin: I’m sorry I couldn’t identify Lark from that photograph. It was so dark.
David: No problem. Those damn tinted windows are a private eye’s worst enemy.
He leans closer to her to point out where she needs to focus her attention.
David: But keep your eyes on the front gate down there and the guesthouse over there. Maybe if you see the way she moves…
Robin (turns to face him): David… I really appreciate the interest you’ve taken in me—my case.
David: At Blue Moon we aim to please. Every case deserves our personal interest.
Robin: And I’m happy to come out here with you if it can get us to the bottom of this. Plus, it’s kind of exciting.
David: Exciting? You call this exciting? No offense, but you must lead a pretty dull life.
Robin: You don’t know the half of it. My career in nursing? Where I’d be able to help people? Mostly what I do is give patients their medications. It’s nothing like I thought it would be. At least working the graveyard shift at the hospital means I’m used to staying up all night.
David: Well, we shouldn’t have to be here all night if this girl holds true to form. Once she drives through the gates, she doesn’t leave again until afternoon.
The disappointment from the passenger seat is almost palpable. They continue to watch the estate in silence for some time.
Robin: What you said about her staying in until the afternoon? That sounds like Lark. She loves to sleep in.
David: Don’t get your hopes up, kid. It may not be her, you know.
Robin: I know, but I just have a feeling.
David: So, tell me about Lark. What does she like to do?
Robin: Besides look beautiful?
David: Runs in the family.
She turns to face him.
Robin: Is this your idea of professional detachment toward your clients?
David: Well, usually—
Robin: Why are you taking such a personal interest in me—I mean my case?
He thinks for a moment, considering but immediately discarding the urge to tell Robin about William Ross and Maddie. And he definitely doesn’t want to tell her his suspicions about the man and her sister until he has some evidence. In fact, this conversation is getting a bit heavy for him all together. He decides to put her off with that disarming smile of his.
David: When my mother was pregnant with me she got startled by an obsessive-compulsive pit bull.
It works. Robin laughs. He decides opening up just a bit won’t hurt.
David: And…I don’t know. Maybe you remind me a little bit of me.
Robin: You’re kidding.
David: No, no, really. You lost your mom when you were young. Me too.
Robin: I’m sorry.
David: You also have a sibling that you have nothing in common with, am I right?
David: Me too. My brother, Rich, well let’s just say there have been a few times when I thought of pruning the family tree down to a stump.
David: But…if he was ever in trouble…
Robin: Yeah. Funny how you can want to kill them one minute, then protect them from the big bad world the next. Sounds like your brother is younger than you too?
David: Only in common sense.
Robin laughs again; she seems enthralled with whatever he says, and David loves a captive audience. As headlights approach the estate David looks through a long camera lens, then shakes his head at Robin but takes a picture anyway. Things quiet down for a time, except for the car stereo in the next car, which is rattling their rolled up windows. Robin takes a deep breath.
Robin: Can I ask you a question?
David: Shoot. (He glances at the car next to them.) Forget I said that.
She doesn’t laugh at his comment this time.
Robin: How long have you and Miss Hayes been together?
David: I’ve only been a partner in the agency for a couple of years but we’ve worked together for a long time.
Robin: That’s not what I meant. I meant how long have you been a couple?
He gazes at her serious expression for a moment before he answers.
David: Oh that. How’d—
Robin: By the way you look at her.
David: How do I look at her?
Robin: Like you share a secret. There’s a definite bond there. (She looks down.) Looks pretty unbreakable to me.
David: You got all that from a little look?
Robin: I’m pretty observant. It’s important in my line of work.
David: You’d make a good detective.
Robin: Thanks. You would too.
She laughs at his pretend-hurt expression.
David: Now I have a question for you.
Robin: Sure. Shoot.
He relaxes in his seat, noticing the gang in the car next door has lost interest in them. They are in the process of rolling up their windows and starting the car engine.
David: I gotta know… Robin, Lark…were your parents a couple of bird watchers or what?
Robin: My mother had a weird sense of humor. Her first name was Wren after all. And I remind myself that it could have been worse. She could have chosen to name us Magpie and Pigeon.
David: Not to mention Buzzard and Turkey.
Robin: Grouse and Ducky.
David: Loon and Cuckoo. But seriously, your mom must have been a hoot.
David: Ok, I’ll limit myself to one bad pun tonight.
Robin: Thanks. When we were little I remember her always taking my hand and saying, “birds of a feather stick together”. Yeah, my mom was great. She was a little eccentric for our small town and maybe for my dad too. But we had a lot of fun. When she died, Lark was so young; too small to understand what was going on. Who knows what went through her little mind and how she assimilated it years later? I often wonder if the choices she’s made in life would have been different if our mother had lived.
David: What about your dad?
Robin: When she died, he went through hell. He was always very protective of us girls, maybe overly so. I guess that’s why Lark was so rebellious. I mean is! God, why do I keep talking about her in the past tense? It’s like I want her to be dead or something.
Tears rise briefly, and he sees her blink them away; she holds both hands up to her mouth as if she wants to keep any more frightening words from escaping. David tenderly takes hold of her petite hands and moves them back to her lap. He holds them there.
David: Robin, it’s natural to think the worst when someone you love disappears. You’re just worried about her so stop kicking yourself.
Robin looks deeply into his eyes and replies very quietly.
He quickly removes his hands from her lap and backs away.
David: Now, I meant what does your dad think about your sister’s disappearance?
Robin: He thinks she’s just trying to drive him crazy. That’s been her sole purpose in life lately. I just can’t figure out what Lark would be doing out here In Los Angeles…in that big mansion…with that man. He’s much too old for her. God, what would my dad think…
David: If there’s any jumping to conclusions to be done around here, let me do the jumping. Your job is watching what goes on down there.
All business again, he points toward the estate. As he does, taillights come to life on a late model convertible as it pulls away from the circular drive. Robin quickly puts the binoculars up to her eyes.
Robin: I’m not sure, but I think I see three women in that car. They’re leaving.
David: Right on schedule. They’ve been in there for one hour. Now in a couple of minutes, one more woman will show up in a beat up Toyota and after her, the Jag guy.
Robin: What is going on in there? All those people coming and going? Mostly women coming and going…You don’t think—
David: You’re jumping again. Come on, we don’t know anything. They could be helping him count his money, dust his artwork AND his first edition Yeats…
He says with disdain. As the convertible passes through the front gates another car waits outside. A hand comes out the driver’s side window and waves at the convertible as it drives away.
David: Wait! It’s her. She’s the one I want you to see.
The headlights come toward them, heading to the guesthouse at the back of the estate. The car comes to a stop. A woman exits from a Mercedes a few seconds later and runs to the guesthouse. She inserts a key in the locked door, apparently using the car headlights to see the lock. She pops inside the house for a few quick seconds to turn on an outside light then she walks back to the Mercedes to shut off its headlights. She looks perfectly at home. She tucks a strand of long blond hair behind an ear and her face glows in the lights momentarily before she is wrapped in darkness.
Robin: That looks like Lark. It is Lark. I’m sure of it.
She reaches for the door handle.
David: No, don’t do that. She won’t be able to hear you from up here anyway. You’re positive it was her?
Robin: Her hair, her gestures, yes, I’m positive. What do we do now?
David: We’re not going to get in there tonight. I need go home and get some sleep and so do you.
David: Look, Robin. We know where she is. I’ll come up with some excuse to get in there tomorrow.
Robin: I’m coming with you.
David: I don’t think that’s a good idea. Obviously, she’s hiding out and seeing you might scare her off. Then we’re back to square one.
Robin: I just can’t—
David: You did your job kid. Now let me do mine—
The scream of a siren startles David out of his reverie. He looks in his rear view mirror, sees a fire truck pushing its way onto the shoulder of the freeway, around the stalled line of cars. It passes him slowly, tilted precariously toward his beloved corvette. He looks cautiously out the passenger side just as the fire truck kicks up a dust fog into the open window. He coughs, sputters and waves his hand in front of his face.
David: Thanks a lot guys. Next time, I’ll call ahead for a reservation.
He looks down at his watch. 8:30. Traffic hasn’t moved a foot in twenty minutes. He tilts his head back and closes his eyes.
Go to Split screen of Maddie and David:
Maddie (holds the phone away from her ear): Where are you?
David: I’ll be back to the office in awhile. Just have to make one quick stop.
Maddie: You still haven’t told me where you are.
David: I’m stuck in traffic on the freeway. I’m on my way to Willy’s house.
Maddie: Honestly, David, continuing to bother a man like that could be dangerous—
David: There’s no danger in talking to Willy once more for old time’s sake.
Maddie: David, check out your own boundaries and try to keep some perspective on this.
David: No problem, Maddie. How’s our pal, Mr. Pitts?
Maddie: Gone, never to be seen again, thank Goodness.
David: What did you do? Kill him and stuff him under your desk? No wait. He’d never fit.
Maddie: David! The audit is done. We passed with flying colors. I’ll tell you all about it at dinner tonight.
David: About dinner, why don’t we make it one of those romantic things where you don’t cook and we don’t talk and we just sit there and stare at each other?
Maddie (yells into the receiver): Oh no you don’t, Addison. I expect a full account—
David: Hmmm, I thought it was the weekend…
He looks at his surroundings. A few cars whip past him in the commuter lane, but most of the one-occupant vehicles move slowly alongside him.
David: Yep, Friday afternoon, office drones all going home at the same time… but I guess it was just my imagination, running away with me…
Maddie: You can’t Motown your way out of this conversation, David. Haven’t you figured out yet what a wild goose chase this case of yours is?
David: Actually, it’s a wild Lark case, Ms. Hayes.
Maddie: Well, whatever it is, when will you be done with it? And why are you seeing William Ross again?
David: Maddie I’m heading into a tunnel, I…can’t… hear you…Maddie? Maddie?
He clicks off the phone and throws it on the seat next to him.
David: Uh oh, darn new-fangled car phones…
Cut to the William Ross Estate:
David stands in the library once again eyeing William Ross’s back. The producer is spooning white powder into a glass of thick, greenish liquid. Today he is wearing only red running shorts and running shoes. He talks to David over his shoulder.
William: Are you sure you won’t join me, Mr. Addison?
David: Uh, thanks, no. And thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Mr. Ross.
William: Quite all right. Tell me, have you found your young woman?
David: Yes, as a matter of fact, I think we have.
William Ross turns around, seemingly surprised. The grin slips an iota.
William: Well, now, that is good news. At least I hope it is. The woman is all right, I’m assuming.
David: I’m assuming too.
He has a seat on an overstuffed leather sofa and gestures for David to sit in a matching club chair across from him. David remains standing.
William: Now you said you wanted to tell me something. Does this still have to do with that young woman or do you have a concept you’d like to discuss?
The producer smiles widely at David and takes a sip of his potion.
William: Mmmm, delicious. Don’t be so coy, Mr. Addison. Surely you’ve read that I have a development deal for a new cable channel. And what with the success of theme networks such as the SciFi Network, the Comedy Network etc.—
David: And my personal favorite, the Gameshow Network.
William: Yes, well, I’m sure you’ve heard that the theme of my new network will be all mystery shows, twenty hours a day, seven days a week.
David: I’m just a dumb lunk, but when I was in school, I seem to remember that a day had twenty four hours in it.
William: Indeed, but in the world of cable television, those early morning hours are dedicated to paid programming.
David: Oh, I get it. Those hours are for hawking gismos and gadgets…and hair plugs.
David hides a smile when he sees he hit a bull’s eye; William fights the urge to touch his hair.
William: As I was saying…a model turned detective…seems like an idea that would practically write itself. I like it, and I’ll do anything in my power to help out an old friend who has hit on hard times.
David: That’s big of you. If I know anyone that fits the bill I’ll let you know.
William: Come now. I know all about Maddie’s, shall we say, financial plight?
David: Maddie’s fine. Financially and otherwise. She doesn’t need your help.
William: Then I misunderstood. I apologize. But please do me a favor and tell her I would love to renew our acquaintance. She’s still a very striking woman and we did have some very… special times together.
The look on the man’s face, both wistful and lecherous at once, bristles David.
David: I’m not your pimp either, Ross.
William takes in a deep breath; his fake smile belies the fact that he’s taken aback by David’s audacity.
William: I didn’t mean to imply that you were, Mr. Addison. Hmmm, by your reaction I sense that you and Maddie are more than business partners, yes?
David: Look, I’m not here to discuss Maddie. Or cable TV or concepts or tax brackets.
William slams his protein drink down on the table; some of the goop spills onto his prized first edition Yeats. He takes the time to wipe it with a monogrammed handkerchief before he stands up to face David. The fake smile has completely disappeared, replaced with a sneer.
William: Well, what is it then? This is quickly becoming rather tiresome.
David: Hey, don’t get your Nikes in a twist. You agreed to this meeting, remember?
William: You made it quite impossible to say no to you, Mr. Addison. Parking outside the gates and refusing to leave. Perhaps I should have called the police instead.
David: Why didn’t you?
William: Just say your piece and get out of here. Your next unsolicited visit will be followed up by a phone call from my lawyer.
David: No need to call in the show biz shark, Ross. I just want to know why you lied to us the other day.
William: What are you talking about? I didn’t lie about anything.
David: You lied about knowing Lark Hammond. Her sister identified her entering your estate last night and I also have pictures of her coming and going and driving your very expensive hotrod over the past three nights.
William: Let me see that photo again… Oh, her. She’s my masseuse.
David: Your masseuse drives your car and spends every night with you? She must have some pretty magic fingers. You know you could just go out and buy one of those motel beds. I know a way to rig it so you don’t need to keep feeding it quarters.
William: I don’t owe you any explanations for my behavior or the comings and goings of my friends and family.
David (cocks his head): Family? I thought I read in your biography you didn’t have any family.
William: I guess you can’t believe everything you read, Mr. Addison. And I still feel I don’t need to explain anything to you. My private life is none of your business.
David: You’re right, it’s not. And I’m not interested in your private life. I need to know why you are apparently hiding Lark Hammond. Her sister is worried about her. She came all the way out here, hired us to find her and now that we have you want to just send her back home? She just wants to talk to her.
William: She is owed no explanation either. And I can assure you that no one is in hiding on this estate.
David: Somehow I don’t think she’s going to give up based on your word. Would you mind if I took a look around here?
William: I most certainly would mind! This has gone on long enough. Just tell that woman whatever you want and leave me alone.
David: Ok, then, here is what I want to tell her. I think Lark Hammond made a discovery recently. I don’t know how or why, maybe she’s always wondered about her family…if she was adopted. I think somehow, she found out about you. That famous Hollywood smile of yours is identical to hers, well except for the capped teeth. I think she’s your kid. So is that what you want me to tell her?
William Ross’s demeanor changes abruptly. Still trying to smile, his face suddenly looks like it has lost its tone, as if someone has pulled out his cheekbones. The puffed out chest sinks, the haughty smile fades for just an instant but returns with a vengeance.
William: Are you threatening me?
David: Not at all, just hypothesizing. Playing with a concept.
William: Good, because I don’t respond very well to threats. Quite frankly, Mr. Addison, I don’t care what you think. I don’t care to hear about your theories and suppositions. In fact, you and your client are becoming rather a nuisance. I don’t know why the both of you have decided to harass me but I want to end this now. Whatever she’s paying you to stalk me, I’ll triple it to make you go away.
David: This ain’t about cash, Ross. Just tell Lark to contact her sister, Robin, so everyone knows she’s ok. Here’s my card. The number of her hotel is written on the back.
His hand shaking with rage, William Ross takes David’s card.
William: Defame me and I’ll sue your ass.
David: Everything stays in this room if Lark contacts her sister.
William: If any of this tripe reaches the papers and I find a hoard of reporters in front of my house, I’ll have to tell them a story of my own.
David: Ok, I’ll bite. What’s your story?
William: This is all hypothetical, you understand.
David: Sure. Another concept.
William: I could tell them about life in the fast lane in Hollywood twenty odd years ago. Wild parties every night, sex orgies, drugs…lots of drugs and sex, actually. I could tell them of a young woman who has been staying with me recently, hoping to find out about her past and connect with her birth parents—without interference from strangers or anyone else. Of her joy at finding she had a father who always loved her and always wanted her but found no recourse but to give her up all those years ago.
David: Don’t stop now. You’re on a roll.
William: I could also tell of the young woman’s sorrow and anguish that her mother didn’t feel the same way. Never gave her existence a second thought and rejected her when she came seeking her out.
David: What are you talking about? Lark’s mother never rejected her.
William: Really? Well, hypothetically speaking, perhaps this young woman was adopted twenty odd years ago by a friend of mine and her husband. This woman took home a beautiful blond haired, blue eyed baby girl that wasn’t her husband’s child, but wasn’t hers either.
David: Who are you really, the Riddler?
William: I guess I’ll have to spell this out for you. Maddie Hayes could well be that child’s heartless mother in this hypothetical scenario.
David: What’s in that drink, LSD? Anyone who knows Maddie knows she would never do that.
William: But what about the people that don’t know her?
David: So what? Who cares about them?
William: I’ll venture a guess that Maddie does. Her professional reputation has always been very important to her. I could let slip some very damaging information to the tabloids that would annihilate that reputation. Her willing participation in, no— her orchestration of those wild drug parties, sex orgies and a child she never acknowledged. I could even supply the photographic evidence. And I’d be happy to plant this information with the sleaziest rags in town. And you know they’d be happy to print everything without checking the reliability of the source. But if they did, I could always confirm it. I’ll ruin her, Addison.
David: You’d hurt her just to protect yourself? You’re a prince among men, Willy.
David is livid. Vibrating with rage, his hands balled into fists, he stands so close to William Ross that he smells the nauseating odor of his power drink.
David: I’d love to knock every one of those caps down your throat.
William (calmly): I told you I don’t respond well to threats.
David: This is no threat. There’s new technology being developed. DNA testing— She’ll sue your ass and win and then I’ll have the pleasure of kicking it out of this mausoleum.
William: But, unfortunately, by then the damage will have been done. I have influence. I can do it and you know I will.
David doesn’t speak but holds his threatening stance.
William: Now, if you don’t mind, I have work to do. And you have a case to close. Donald!
Donald appears as quickly as he was summoned. He must have been just outside the library door.
William: Please show Mr. Addison the door. For the last time.
David: No need Donald. I can find my way out.
David picks up the half finished protein drink and sniffs it. He makes a face, then purposely pours it onto the coffee table and the Yeats first edition.
David: Oops, guess my mom was right. You should keep food and drinks in the kitchen where they belong. Sorry for the mess.
He turns and walks out; his footsteps echoing on black terrazzo. William Ross’s angry eyes follow him all the way to the door.
David arrives back at the office not nearly as glib as his usual Friday afternoon self. The staff, in their usual Friday afternoon selves are clock watching, waiting for that 5:00 world. Today they are in party hats. A few empty champagne bottles litter the room. David has apparently missed the party but he doesn’t seem to care. He stops at the reception desk. The first question he asks:
David: Where’s Maddie?
Agnes: Went home. Did you hear? We passed the audit!
She blows a noisemaker in his face.
David: Yeah, I heard. That’s great. Listen, it looks like you’ve gotten a jumpstart on the weekend anyway so why don’t you all go—
Wobblies instantly pop out of their seats and head for the door en masse. Bert and MacGillicuddy look at each other but don’t attempt to make the break.
David: What are you two waiting for?
Bert: We thought you’d want to hear our reports, sir. What we’ve found out about William Ross. But I feel it’s only fair to warn you that I’ve had two glasses of champagne. I’m going to need a nap soon.
David: You always were a cheap drunk, Mr. Viola. Go home with Agnes. Both of you go home. The case is over.
Bert and MacGillicuddy start to protest until David shoots back a look at them.
MacGillicuddy: But don’t you want to know what we found?
David absently looks through the mail on the reception desk.
David: Not really. Maddie was right. This has been a wild goose chase from the start. We’re going to drop it.
Bert: But sir! What about Robin Hammond? What are you going to tell her?
David: I’ll think of something.
MacGillicuddy: But she swears she saw her sister.
David: Look. Even if the girl at the estate is Lark Hammond, she’s over twenty-one. If she wants to be left alone, that’s her legal right.
Bert and MacGillicuddy look at each other uncertainly.
Bert: But what if there is something more sinister about the womanizing creep? Don’t we have a moral obligation—
David: To do what? Call the cops? She wasn’t kidnapped. She’s living the high life. So she’s found a reality she likes better than the one she was living before. Good for her. If she wanted to explain her actions to her family she would do it. Therefore, we don’t have a moral obligation to do anything but go home and enjoy the weekend.
Bert: But what about our obligation to the client, Mr. Addison? You still haven’t said what you are going to tell her, and just possibly when you find out some more information about William Ross you might not want to drop this case so quickly.
David: I know everything about the great and all-powerful William Ross that I want to know.
He looks from one sunken face to the other. He sighs deeply.
David: Ok, you got fifteen minutes to show me what you got. And I’m not making any promises.
He rolls a chair over as they begin excitedly gathering papers and print outs on their desks.
David: You first. (He points at MacGillicuddy.) What have you found out about William Ross?
MacGillicuddy: That he started out directing commercials, made a name for himself after that in late night soaps. Won a couple awards, one from the Producer’s Guild, quite a few Cleos.
MacGillicuddy: Advertising awards. And this is interesting. The book said his first award winning commercial was for Blue Moon Shampoo. Did you know Miss Hayes knew—
David: Yes, I knew she knew him. Anything else? Any reference to a woman named Wren?
MacGillicuddy: That’s Lark Hammond’s mother.
David: Yes it is.
MacGillicuddy: Most of the stuff in this book is stuff you could get out of TV Guide, and the rest is just innuendo that stops just short of slander. Rumored to be involved with just about every beautiful woman in Hollywood, blah, blah, blah. Especially the ones that he works with, blah—oh, I don’t mean to say that Miss Hayes—
David: It’s all right, MacGillicuddy, Maddie told me she dated the jerk. Casually. For a split second.
MacGillicuddy: Oh…well there is a passing reference to Ms. Hayes in the book. No more than a paragraph about her.
David: That’s it? You’re sure? Come on, MacGillicuddy, Maddie told me everything so don’t hold back.
MacGillicuddy: No really. That’s it.
MacGillicuddy hesitates, glances at Bert.
David: Spill it, Choirboy.
MacGillicuddy: The author does say that William Ross goes for one certain type: Women with long blond hair and blue eyes, but other than that he’s not very discriminating.
David: In what way?
MacGillicuddy: Even though they didn’t come right out and say it, I guess because they’re afraid of being sued, the book implied that he likes them…young.
Bert: That’s disgusting.
David: Save the moral outrage, Bert. Lark Hammond isn’t jailbait. Neither are any of those other women. Go on.
MacGillicuddy: Well, in my opinion, this book is strange. Usually these things make the subject look bad. In this one there are all these rumors and innuendo floating around about his sex life but it’s almost like they were put in there to make him look good. Like he’s some kind of sexual icon or something. It’s like he’s telling the author what to say.
David: I wouldn’t doubt it. But that’s it? Nothing about his family, rumors about illegitimate children? Anything we can use?
MacGillicuddy: No, that’s about it. Sorry.
David: Who wrote that informative tome anyway?
MacGillicuddy: Some guy named Donald Adorno. Probably a nom de plume. His picture’s inside the dust cover.
David’s face wilts when he sees William Ross’s assistant smiling back at him.
David: Great. Ok…Mr. Viola, your turn. What have you been able to come up with? And in ten minutes or less, Bert.
Bert: I asked around the neighborhood about William Ross. Everyone is very tight-lipped about the guy. A few people admitted to seeing the woman in the Mercedes driving around lately but no one has actually talked to her. I was able to track down three of the women we saw at the estate through their license plates. Both slammed the door in my face as soon as I mentioned William Ross. So I hope you don’t mind. I took the liberty of calling your friend Pete at LAPD, and he’s checking for rap sheets to see if they have records for prostitution.
David: Still liking the party girl angle, eh Bert?
Bert: I’m telling you, even if the guy’s not hiding Lark Hammond, he’s hiding something. We just need to keep digging.
David does not appear hopeful.
Bert: I’ve got six months worth of phone records here. Maybe we can run down a few more leads.
David runs a hand over his face.
David: We don’t have any more leads.
Bert: We have the Jag guy.
David: What about the Jag guy? Did you find out who he is? Some high income lawyer?
Bert: His name is Tomassian. First name Jonathan. The guy’s a renowned physician. Big time researcher headquartered in Paris, but he also consults to the National Cancer Institute.
David leans forward, suddenly interested. Bert pauses.
Bert: And he and William Ross have known each other for years.
David: Then I think we’re finished. Good work, boys.
Bert: Can’t we at least wait for Pete’s call, Mr. Addison?
David: You really want to do that Bert? I haven’t seen anything that justifies keeping this thing going.
Bert: Well, one of the neighbors invited me in for tea. She said that the doctor’s been practically living there the past few weeks. And lots of delivery trucks have been going in and out. One that she sees frequently delivers oxygen.
David: That’s a bit more interesting.
David thinks for a moment.
Early Saturday morning. Very early. David sits at his desk scouring a print out. Dark undereye circles, rumpled clothes and beard stubble show that he’s been at it all night. Bert snores on the couch. MacGillicuddy is long gone. David grabs his coffee cup and takes a swallow. He grimaces as the cold, bitter liquid goes down; he wipes his hand over his mouth and beard stubble. The ring of the telephone suddenly breaks the silence. Bert sits up, startled awake.
Voice: Mr. Addison? I was expecting to get an answering machine.
Voice: No…this is Lark Hammond. I think we should meet and get this over with. My…William said you probably won’t give up until we talk. So let’s talk.
David: Tell me when and where.
He writes down an address.
Lark: And don’t bring Robin. I want to talk to you alone.
David: Fine. I’ll be there.
The phone goes dead and he hangs up. Bert sits up, rubbing his eyes.
Bert: Was that Pete?
David: That was the long lost Lark Hammond. She wants to meet me.
Bert: I’ll drive you sir.
David: You don’t have to do that, Bert. You’ve put in a long night. Go home to your wife.
Bert: You’ve put in a long night too, Mr. Addison. And it looks like you haven’t slept at all. I’d feel better if I drove.
David: Suit yourself. I mean thanks, Bert. I just need to get home and shave first.
Bert: And check in with Ms. Hayes?
David: Yeah, better do that too…
Scene Three, A Nondescript Restaurant on the Sunset Strip
David walks into a diner that is long in design but short on taste. Seventies style orange and silver wallpaper lines the walls and opaque glass orbs hang over the booths like flying saucers. He scans the room. It isn’t difficult to pick her out over the other patrons. She sits with her head down, reading the menu. As he approaches, she tucks a long ribbon of loose hair behind her ear and looks up at him. Her beautiful face takes his breath away. He sinks into the orange vinyl booth and tries not to stare.
David: Lark Hammond, I presume.
Lark (looks up warily): That’s me. And you must be Mr. Addison.
David: You got it. Close up I see the strong family resemblance. To your sister…and—
Lark: My father? Yeah, well.
Her tone is sarcastic; she takes a sip of coffee.
David: Why all this cloak and dagger stuff?
As a time worn waitress pours coffee, she launches into a long, droning speech about stupid girlfriends, stupid ex-boyfriends, stupid teachers, stupid parties, the stupid life she lived back home.
David: You could have saved your family a lot of worry if you had just told—
She favors him with a bitter smile.
Lark: The truth? No way. My dad would have had a coronary. He doesn’t think I know the truth. He should have told me.
David: Ok…but what about Robin?
She starts playing with her sunglasses; flashes him a look that’s blue-eyed innocence.
Lark: She’s older than I am but she’s younger in a lot of ways. I thought she’d maybe start living her own life and stay out of mine for a change. Besides I could do without any interference from my big sister while I’m getting to know dear old dad.
David chuckles cynically.
David: How did you find out he’s your dear old dad?
Lark: When I turned twenty-one, I was contacted by a lawyer guy. Very mysterious and he kinda creeped me out until he told me that he wanted to talk to me about a trust fund. I go to his posh office and the guy hands me a check for fifty grand! It had just been waiting for me to come along and spend it. Then he tells me the trust fund is supposed to help pay for my college education, and I told him I had dropped out that semester. So he snatches it back and says I couldn’t have the money till I was thirty. What a rip off! So then I get mad. Can you imagine giving someone a check for fifty grand then taking it away like that just because I quit school? So I start telling him that I’m going to yell rape so everyone in his big office can hear me unless he gives me the check back and tells me who set it up and why. So that’s how I found out the money came from William Ross and…ta da. I’m Hollywood royalty.
David: So then what? You waited a year to come out here.
Lark: The more I thought about it the more I thought, the nerve of that guy. Here he is with all this money and all he gives his own daughter is a measly fifty grand? I figured I deserved more, and I deserved it now. Why should I have to live on a cocktail waitress’s salary when I had a real live sugar daddy in beautiful Los Angeles, California?
David: Eau de cash. Does it every time.
Lark: Well, I have to admit I was a little curious about him…my father, I mean.
David: You don’t sound very comfortable calling him that.
Lark: It feels strange. It’s not like he raised me or had anything to with me while I was growing up. You know, now that I think about it, maybe I’m kinda using William to get back at them, my dad and Lark. Maybe deep down I wanted them to find out where I was.
David: When you got here, were you welcomed with open arms?
Lark: Not at first. His assistant, Donald, thought I was some loony tune until I was able to tell him my mother’s name and my date of birth. Everything got all sentimental then and William asked if I’d stay for awhile. He even gave me a whole guesthouse to myself plus my choice of which of his cars to drive.
There’s a moment of silence as the waitress refills coffee cups. David continues to deliberate and decides to take the leap and ask at least one of the million dollar questions floating around inside his brain.
David: Lark, was there ever any…did Ross ever try to…
Lark: Eeoohh, no! Never, nothing like that, he’s never laid a hand on me. Not for anything creepy or even for normal affection. But that’s just fine with me. The less time I have to spend with him the better. Now I’m liking it out here. I’m thinking about staying permanently. So please just tell Robin I’m fine and she can go back home.
David: Why don’t you tell her?
Lark: I really don’t want to see her right now. And my—William wants me all to himself for some reason. Besides, she’s going to act all hurt and try to tell me why I should come home. I really don’t need the lecture. I just want to have a good time, drive that Mercedes around town and chill. Mr. Addison, all this family junk is turning into a drag.
Here comes the other million-dollar question.
David: What did Ross say about your mother?
Lark: Just that they had a brief affair before I was born and he had, like, all these regrets and guilt and stuff that he never saw me. God the way he talks…
David: Did he tell you specifically that Wren was your mother?
Lark: What the heck did he tell you? Look, I’m sure who my mother was. Everyone has always said I’m just like her. We even have the same birthmark.
She moves her spaghetti strap out of the way and reveals a brown splotchy mark over her left breast.
Lark: It doesn’t show up right now because of my tan, but ask Robin. There’s even a baby picture of me and my mom where she’s showing it off.
David nods, relieved. Then he adds,
David: So what do you expect me to tell Robin?
Lark: Tell her whatever you want. Tell her the truth, tell her I’m dead for all I care. Just tell her I’m not going back. Now, I’m hungry. Do you want to eat? It’s on me.
David: That’s ok. I’ve lost my—HONK!!!
David is startled out of his daydream by the gardener’s truck. He sees traffic moving smoothly alongside his corvette. The truck behind him honks again.
Truck Driver: Hey! Come on, buddy! What are you waiting for? A formal invite? Move it!
David: Impatience is a virtue in this town.
David hits the gas. Onto the freeway and onto…
Scene One: Robin’s Hotel Room.
David stands in front of the door, his hand up and ready to knock. He just stands there. What the hell is he going to tell her? She’s a totally innocent victim of her sister’s deception. And he doesn’t want to be the one to hurt her.
David: What to say, what to say?
…That the woman at the house is really Robin’s half sister, and that her parents lied about it? And that Lark doesn’t want to talk to her? AND that she’s just a gold digger to boot?
David: You really should have given this a little more thought, Dave.
Suddenly Robin opens the door, takes one look at him and starts backing into the room, her eyes widening with every reverse step.
Robin: You sounded sad when you called. That was Lark we saw, wasn’t it?
David: Hold on a minute. Let me think about how to say this.
She frowns, blinking, consulting some interior agenda. In the next moment she falls into his arms and begins to sob long, loud, inconsolable sobs.
Robin: Oh, my God…she’s dead, isn’t she?
He struggles to get out of her clinging arms without hurting her.
David: No! She’s not dead! I swear! She’s fine. Robin, did you hear me? She’s fine!
Robin (blinks up at him): She is?
David: She is. This is kind of a long story. I wasn’t sure I wanted to even tell it to you, but I think you have a right to know. Maybe we should sit down.
He moves into the room and closes the door behind him. Glances back at her and scowls, noticing something strange as she closes the bathroom door. The toilet seat was up. He’s about to say something when he feels a shock of pain; something striking him on the back of the head.
Sometime later that night. David lies motionless on the bed in Robin’s hotel room as she tenderly strokes his face with a cold washcloth. He begins to come to, turns his head from side to side. Her worried expression is the first thing he sees through shaded lids. The bright light of the bedside table hurts his eyes. He tries to sit up, winces and gingerly lays his head back on the pile of pillows and closes his eyes. An ice pack is placed on his forehead.
Robin: You hit him so hard. Why did you do that?
Male Voice: I thought I was protecting you from some weirdo. I saw you struggling with him. I didn’t know you knew him!
Robin: Of course I know him. He’s the detective on Lark’s case.
Male Voice: He doesn’t look like a detective. He looks like a weirdo.
Robin: He’s not a weirdo, Dad. And he’s been unconscious for hours. He must have a concussion. I am a nurse. I know a concussion when I see one. I’m going to call for an ambulance.
Dad: See? He’s waking up. He’s fine, Robin.
Robin: Miss Hayes is going to be worried. I should call her.
Dad: Don’t call anyone!
Robin: Why not? What is wrong with you? This man has been trying to help me. And his partner is Maddie Hayes, Dad. You haven’t met her, but she’ll be here soon enough. And she’s a pretty intimidating woman.
David (mumbles): Oh don’t let her fool ya. She’s a pussycat. Jaguars are pussycats, right?
Robin: David, thank God you’re awake. Can you see how many fingers I’m holding up?
David (squints): Looks like about twenty-nine. What’s going on? What time is it?
Robin: My father thought you were trying to hurt me so he hit you. It’s about two in the morning.
David: Ah Jeez—
He tries to sit up again, but the pounding headache stops him cold. He reaches blindly for the side table.
David: Give me the phone. I need to call Maddie.
Mr. Hammond: Robin, honey, go out to the ice machine and get some more ice for his head. I’ll keep an eye on him and let him make his phone call.
After he hears the door close, David feels hot breath on the side of his face. The man whispers in his ear.
Mr. Hammond: You are not calling anyone. And you are not telling Robin what you found out about her sister. Do you understand?
David: You didn’t have to hit me. You could have just called me up and made a simple request.
Male Voice: I’m protecting my wife’s memory. I’m protecting all the family I have left.
David: By keeping the truth from her? What does it matter anyway?
The hostile baritone hesitates.
Mr. Hammond: I’ll tell her when I’m ready and in my own way. Now, when she comes back in this room, I’ll tell her I’m driving you home. And you’ll go along with it too.
David gingerly opens one eye and gets his first look at Robin’s father. He’s not what he was expecting to see. He’s a small man; so this is where Robin gets her petite size. He’s balding on top and pudgy around the middle. Everything about him is stunted and small. His hands, his eyes, the sweat stains under his arms—oh—except for the gun he wears in a large holster tucked under his left arm. David chuckles at the absurdity of the picture.
David: You’re not thinking about heading over to a certain house in Brentwood are you? Because let me tell you, showing up with me is not going to get you the welcome mat. I’m persona non grata around those parts.
Scene Two: The Addison/Hayes Home, 6AM Sunday Morning
Maddie is inside the front door, agitated and hurriedly searching for her car keys in the pockets of a coat. She finds them, opens the door and is startled to find Bert standing in front of her with his knuckles raised.
Bert: Ms. Hayes! I came by to tell Mr. Addison something. Where are you going at this time of the morning?
Maddie: David didn’t come home last night. He’s making a habit of that lately. I’m going to look for him.
Bert: Gosh, I hope he didn’t have an accident or something. There was a really bad one on the freeway last night—
Maddie interrupts, not wanting to hear her own nagging concerns voiced openly.
Maddie: I’m going to Robin Hammond’s hotel.
Bert: Why would he be there?
Maddie shoots him an exasperated look.
Maddie: Because that’s where he was heading when he left the house last night. He was supposed to meet Walter after that, but he never showed up. What did you want to tell him? Something about the Hammond case?
Bert: Well, yeah, I finally heard from Pete. It took him long enough, but what he told me really got me thinking—
She grabs his shirt and starts dragging him to her car.
Maddie: Mr.Viola, you can fill me in on the way.
Bert follows Maddie down the hallway toward Robin Hammond’s hotel room. He’s having a hard time staying up with her.
Bert (breathlessly): So I had this hunch. I wish these hunches would come during work hours and not while I’m sleeping, but you know, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been looking for something or trying to think of something and then as soon as my body is relaxed and my mind’s at rest, boom!
Maddie stops abruptly and spins around. He runs into her.
Bert (sheepishly): It comes to me in a dream…
Maddie: Is it there now, Mr. Viola?
Bert: Sorry, I’m working on my tendency to over think things.
Maddie pounds on the door in front of her. Bert keeps talking.
Bert: Anyway, all those women we’ve seen at the Ross estate…and Dr. Tomassian.
Bert: This doctor that comes to the house every night. We thought he was just a friend of Mr. Ross’s, another low life with the same prurient interests, if you will.
Maddie gives him a strange look as she pounds on the door again.
Bert: And then I checked out the women with Mr. Addison’s friend on the force, Pete? Well, I was expecting Pete to come back and tell me that these women were all, excuse me, Ms. Hayes but…hookers.
Maddie rolls her eyes.
Bert: But Pete told me that one woman was a massage therapist, one was a dietician and one was a nurse. Get it?
Maddie: I’m afraid not.
Bert: When you put them together with the doctor who is a famous cancer specialist…
Maddie: William is being treated for cancer?
Bert: Looks that way to me.
Maddie: But he appears to be so healthy.
The door opens to a stunned Robin Hammond. Her hair is messy and nightgown disheveled like she has just put it on in the dark. She’s in the process of putting on her robe and blinks at the bright lights in the hall. Maddie gives her the quick once over.
Maddie: Is David here, Ms. Hammond?
Robin (grabs her robe closed): No, he went home a long time ago.
Maddie: I assure you he did not.
Robin: Then I’m confused. I don’t know where else my dad would have taken him.
Maddie: Your dad?
Robin: My dad flew in yesterday. He hadn’t met him and when he saw me crying in his arms—
Maddie: Wait. Who saw you crying in whose arms?
Robin: My father saw David holding me in his arms and he thought—
Maddie: Excuse me, but why were you crying? And why were you in David’s arms?
Maddie: May we come in, please?
Robin: I guess…
Maddie pushes her way into the room. Moments later, the three of them are out in the hall again. Maddie waves an empty holster.
Maddie: Obviously, your father is unbalanced. And obviously he didn’t take David home. But I think I know where he did take him.
Robin’s protest follows Maddie and Bert back down the hall.
Robin: My father is not unbalanced! The gun is just for protection!
She cinches her robe and runs after them.
Maddie’s Lexus swerves around a corner and up to the Ross Estate. The iron gate is open so she speeds onto the grounds. In front of her, looking very out of place, sit two police cars, an ambulance and David’s Corvette. One police officer stands in front of the entrance and barks down to his partner as Maddie runs up the steps to the grand house, Bert and Robin close behind.
Officer #1: Is it ok for the paramedics to take that guy to the hospital?
Officer #2: Yeah, he can go.
Officer #1: What about the other one?
Officer #2: The doctor said they can’t do anything for him.
Officer #1: What about the guy with the gun? Are we taking him in or what?
Maddie doesn’t wait to hear any more. She runs into the house.
Maddie: David! David!
Officer #1: Hey lady! Where the hell do you think you’re going?
He stops her in the foyer.
Maddie: My partner. David Addison. That’s his car out there. Where is he? David!
David (off camera): I’m in here, Maddie…
She follows the sound of his voice into the library. David sits on a gurney, his head bandaged and a paramedic wrapping a blood pressure cuff around his arm. He looks at her with a weary smile.
David: Good thing you’re the brains and I’m the looks, Blondie.
He touches the back of his aching head.
She kneels down in front of him.
Maddie: David, are you all right?
Paramedic: The doc wants us to take him in, Ma’am. He’s got a pretty good bump on the back of his head and he says he was unconscious for awhile. Might even need a neuro work up.
Maddie: Maybe someone will finally find out what’s wrong with him.
She smiles, but still looks worried.
Bert: Would that doctor be Dr. Tomassian?
Paramedic: The one and only.
Bert: Can I ask you a few questions about him?
Paramedic: Sure. If you don’t mind talking while I take some stuff out to the van.
Bert follows the paramedic out of the room.
Maddie: What happened to you tonight? What’s been going on?
David: What didn’t happen to me? I dropped the case, I picked it back up, I had breakfast with Lark Hammond, I got stuck on the freeway, I decided not to tell Robin that I found her sister, I got cold cocked, then I got kidnapped. I think that’s about it.
Robin: Why weren’t you going to tell me about Lark?
David: Robin…I didn’t see you standing there.
Robin looks confused, hurt and childlike as she stands there clutching the collar of her robe. She takes a step further into the room.
Robin: I thought you wanted to help me. I thought we were friends. Why weren’t you going to tell me about Lark, David?
Mr. Hammond: Because that’s my job, honey. Come here. The three of us have to talk. Mr. Ross is waiting too.
Maddie turns to David.
Maddie: That’s the man that cold cocked and kidnapped you?
David: Hey, he caught me off guard.
Maddie: Well, I hope you’re pressing charges against him.
David (shakes his head): He’s not a bad guy. He was just trying to protect his daughter. Make that daughters. I can understand that.
Maddie: Sometimes I don’t understand you, Addison.
David: Gotta keep you on your toes, Ms. Hayes.
The paramedic reenters with his female partner and announces:
Paramedic: Ma’am, we need to get going.
Maddie: Of course.
She watches as the paramedics go about gathering up their equipment.
Maddie: As soon as we get to the hospital, I’ll call Terri. She was having contractions at the shower last night.
David: That was last night? Seems like it was two weeks ago.
Maddie: I know…
They unlock the gurney and start wheeling it outside. Maddie takes David’s hand and walks alongside.
David: Guys, is this really necessary? I can walk.
Female Paramedic: Doctor’s orders, sir. By the way, lucky for you Dr. Tomassian was here tonight or you could have been walking around with a serious concussion. Could have lapsed into a coma without treatment.
They carefully take the gurney down the steps and toward the waiting ambulance. Bert stands at the foot of the stairs.
Female Paramedic: Hey Greg, I don’t see the BP cuff. Better check back inside the house. Wouldn’t want to lose another one.
The other paramedic goes back inside to retrieve his blood pressure cuff as the group waits. William Ross walks onto the front steps with his arm around Lark. She gazes up at him lovingly then gives David a look that can only be called threatening.
Maddie leans down and whispers in David’s ear.
Maddie: What’s with her?
David: She’s just staking her claim and wants to make sure I know it.
Bert (whispers): Mr. Addison, you know how I thought Dr. Tomassian was an oncologist? Well, he still is, but Greg the paramedic told me that he switched his focus a few years back to AIDS research. He’s making strides in the field as far as treatment and he’s developing a vaccine.
Maddie and David lock eyes. They look back at William and Lark still standing by the door. William stares at them imperiously.
David: Oh man. Looks like she’s going to get her mitts on his money maybe sooner than even she expected.
He turns to the waiting paramedic.
David: Boy, you sure are right. Lucky for me Mr. Ross and Dr. Tomassian are such good friends and he just happened to be staying here.
The woman nods, flips a switch to unlock the gurney’s wheels and it drops to the ground. By now the other paramedic is there to help guide it into the ambulance. Maddie continues to hold David’s hand until the last moment when it slides away from her. The woman paramedic looks back down at Maddie.
Woman: You can ride to the hospital in the ambulance if you want to.
Bert: I’ll go get the car, Ms. Hayes.
Greg the Paramedic: Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. Are you looking to get written up or what? You know we’re only supposed to let immediate family ride with the patients.
Marsha: You’re not his wife?
Maddie shakes her head no.
Marsha: Oh. Sorry. Immediate family only.
Maddie: That’s ok. I wouldn’t want to get anyone in trouble. I’ll just follow in my car.
The woman begins to close the doors and Maddie smiles to herself as she hears the driver tell David:
Greg: No, you can’t have the lights and sirens.
As soon as the doors slam shut she hears David yell.
The engine starts and the ambulance begins to drive away slowly. She can still hear David’s continued protests. As she walks back to her car, Maddie bites back tears for some as yet unknown reason. The ambulance comes to a sudden stop beside her. The driver rolls down the window and looks at her guiltily.
Paramedic: Oh what the hell. Jump in, Ma’am.
…But we still have one more episode to go so stay tuned! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for reading, everyone. And thanks Diane and Lizzie, for everything else. It’s been fun, girls.