Can a dead man reach out from the grave to exact revenge against those responsible for his death? Welcome to the nineteenth installment of a story that explores that possibility. If you've not done so, read the story from the beginning HERE.
She drew the shawl tight around her shoulders, shivering from a sudden gust of the cold December wind. As she watched Marjorie drive away, a feeling of dread crept over her. Her lower lip began to tremble.
Agnes Nolan knew that this day would come eventually, but yet there was no way she could've ever prepared herself for it. Marjorie was a woman now, no longer the little girl she'd been sheltering from the truth for so long. Would her daughter be able to handle the truth? She sighed heavily and stepped back into the house. She closed the door and caught a final glimpse of Marjorie's car disappearing beyond the bridge.
She picked up the coffee pot and poured some of the hot liquid into a cup. She was getting tired of playing the feeble game. What would everyone say and think if they knew she was actually in total control of her faculties, that there was no dementia - no Alzheimer's sickness? The charade, however had been necessary. It was the only way she knew that would allow her to keep the truth bottled up for so long within her.
The truth? She wished she could cry, but her tears had dried up on that terrible night ten years before. She wanted nothing more than to be able to cry for her dear Marjorie. She had prayed to God many times for her eyes to let loose tears for her daughter. It was upon them - that day when she would finally learn the truth - and cry she would.
It was when those tears would eventually stop flowing that Agnes feared the most. Marjorie's emotions would then shift to hate. Where would that hatred be directed, at she her mother, or at the father she'd never known? Would she be able to fathom the legacies of George Cooper and Samuel Nolan and how inexplicably they had affected the lives of so many? Then and only then, would she be able to show pity on the poor woman who lie comatose in a hospital bed?
Catherine looked upon her mother. Despite the tubes and wires connected to her, she looked peaceful. She'd heard that people in comas were sometimes aware of those around them. She gently squeezed her hand in hopes that there might be some response. There was none but she maintained the contact not wanting to let go, afraid to let go.
Jack had dropped her off at the hospital entrance. During the ride there from the house he hadn't spoken a word. His silence spoke volumes and it would probably be some time before he would talk to her again. Steven, on the other hand, had taken her revelation without displaying any signs of anger. If anything, because of his own anguish he had understood her plight.
She felt sorry for Jack. He was on his way to pick her up for that big meeting at the quarry. Both he and Tiffany were under the impression that everyone thought they were nothing more than just good friends. The two of them thought no one knew of their secret trysts. Well, she did. She'd confronted Tiffany one day.
She'd denied the extent of their relationship at first, but in the end had admitted the truth to Catherine. In time they'd become in Tiffany's eyes, friends. To Catherine it was more of a symbiotic friendship. It had kept her close enough to keep up to date with everyone who had been at the quarry that night. Also, she could keep a keen eye on Tiffany.
To Catherine ... Tiffany was a gold digger. Tiffany never did anything unless it was in her best interest. It was to her advantage to convince Hunter Jameson that he was the father of her baby. It was in her best interest, as well as it was for her unborn child, to give the baby Hunter's name. Jack and she were led to believe that Eddie Nolan was the father and that she'd discovered she was pregnant only after his death.
Once the two girls had developed their friendship, there came a day that Tiffany had finally confided openly to Catherine. The truth was that at the time, she'd wasn't sure who had fathered her son. She said it could just as easily have been Eddie or Hunter. Then she had dropped a bombshell on Catherine when she said that it might have even been her brother Jack! A few months later, after collecting some of Jack's hair and nail clippings, she gone for a DNA test. Jack was in fact little Billy's father. To that day she'd never told Jack, and Catherine had vowed to keep the secret.
Mildred Cooper could sense Catherine's presence. She couldn't see or hear her, but she could feel her pain. The burden of the past was heavy on her daughter's soul, as heavy as it was upon her own soul. My poor, poor Catherine, she thought. She has been carrying the weight of that terrible secret for almost thirty years.
She prayed that Catherine would be able to forgive her when she learned those secrets that were still hidden from her. Then there were her brothers, Jack and Steve. Would they be able to find forgiveness within their hearts?
Why did she have to be stricken with a stroke at that time? If she didn't come out of the coma, how would everything ... how would the truth be revealed to the two families? Could Agnes Nolan handle it? Would there ever be closure for all concerned?
She felt a chill. She sensed another there in the room.
She climbed into the truck and leaned forward to kiss him. She waited until he engaged the transmission before she spoke. "Jack, something strange happened earlier in the yard."
He glanced at her and asked, "What's that, Tiffany? What happened?"
She told him about the man who had given Billy the copy of the ad. She looked straight ahead when she continued, "...And whoever it was called our son 'nephew.'" She felt the truck slow down as Jack pulled over to the side of the road.
"Nephew? Neither you nor Hunter has any brothers or sisters! And the copy of that stupid ad? Somebody's messing with you," he said trying to make sense of this new development. "Who would do that?"
She shrugged, "I don't know. You don't suppose Steve had anything to do with it? After all, he is your brother."
"What?" he asked somewhat stunned. He studied her face for a brief moment. "What are you implying? Why would Steve....?" His words trailed off and he seemed to be lost in thought.
Tiffany grimaced. She'd almost let the cat out the bag. She'd been dropping subtle hints to him for the past several weeks. She couldn't quite bring herself to come right out with the truth - that he was Billy's father.
He leaned over and let his lips brush lightly against hers. Maybe it was starting to sink in she thought.
"Jack," she said. "I have something to tell you."
(to be continued Echoes of Eddie -20.)