Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Episode 2

The Adams' House

John Donati figured he was in for a weird shift. He'd lived in Pine Lake his entire fifty-two years, and he knew the place better than anyone. Knew all the streets, most of the people, and more than his fair share of the secrets. He could tell by the feel of the air how things would go down on any given day. It was part of what made him a good cop.

Since this morning, he'd sensed something in the air, kind of like a low hum, but so far nothing had been out of the ordinary on this late September day as he cruised Zone 6. The first couple of hours had been typical evening shift. By the end of rush hour, he'd popped three cars for speeding. Just after dark, he'd caught a couple of high school kids with a twelve pack of MGD. Half an hour late, he'd run by Matt and Caroline Wilson's to cool down a domestic. Again. John didn't get what made a couple stay together when they fought that hard and often.

He was tempted to swing out to Zone 3, see if April was home. Eight-twenty by the dashboard clock. He'd wait until later. Or not go at all. Last time he went, it just pissed him off. He'd been working midnights and had driven past her place at two in the morning. There was a sleek BMW 650 in the driveway, so naturally he'd run the plates. Car belonged to a Paul Harrison, white, male, 56. Chicago address that sounded pretty swanky.

Well, bully for her. They'd been divorced for eight years and John still didn't know if he loved her or if she made him too crazy to function in the real world. Probably both. The only good thing to come from their marriage was Jack. Great kid. John just wished he'd grow up a bit.

At twenty-five, Jack should be getting himself established in a solid job, instead of screwing around waiting tables and hoping to be discovered as the next Brad Pitt. Not that the kid didn't have looks or talent. Especially the looks. John glanced in the rear-view mirror. His last name might be Italian, but he and his son both had the coloring and features of John's Irish mother. Dark blond, blue eyes, symmetrical features that most women found appealing. April was still pretty hot, too, for a woman past forty. John rethought doing a quick drive-by.

He was headed south on Sheridan when he caught Tanya's voice on the radio. Though the frequency was shared by three towns, all the cops on the Pine Lake force recognized Tanya's voice above the general chatter.

"Zone six, we've got a reported D.O.A. at 1600 Lake. Ambulance enroute."

Holy crap. 1600 Lake was the Adams' mansion. Who the hell had died?


Built in the 1920s, the house at 1600 Lake Road was not the only mansion on the shores of Pine Lake, but it was among the most impressive. Artisans from all over Europe had been imported to create the decorative plaster moldings, install flooring fashioned from 19th century sailing ships, and set the extraordinary tile work in the master bath.

Blake Adams paced the hallway between the formal living room at the south end of the house and the rooms at the north end where the family spent their time. On a normal evening, he'd be in his study reviewing the day's transactions. Genevra would be in her office or the garden room. Of their three children, there would be little evidence. David had his own digs in town. Whitney spent most of her time at Taverna or with her friends. Their youngest, Billy, would be wherever the hell Billy went these days.

Tonight, Genevra was in the den with a large scotch. The garden room, her favorite place, was not a good choice tonight. Even she wasn't that cold-blooded.

Blake heard the sirens, and his stomach roiled. Reaching in his pocket, he tore a couple of Rolaids from the packet he always kept nearby. The chalkiness almost choked him, but without the stuff, he'd be doubled over in pain. He bit his tongue to encourage saliva flow, swallowed a couple of times, took a deep breath, and went to the front door. In a few minutes, whatever peace there had been in this house would be shattered for God knew how long.

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