Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Two Small Rooms - Heather, Tom, Susan, Michelle, Rich, Kitty, Sam and Nancy

This post directly follows the events in this one from Halloween:

In two small rooms in Alexandra sit Heather Ruby and Tom O'Leary. Just an hour ago they were planning their lives in a room they'd share. Now they sat worlds of pain apart, lives changed forever.

Tom sat silently in the holding cell in the Alexandra PD looking absently at the floor. He was waiting for some first aid that had been spoken about when they arrived. He hadn't said a word to anyone, just moved where they wanted him to move and complied completely.

 Rich Newcastle walked into the holding cell, carrying a dinner from the Breakfast Nook. The food was hot and good, he knew. Turning towards their prisoner, he knelt and slid the tray through the small slot at the bottom of the solid clear cell door. After a moment, he stands and looks evenly at the prisoner, who he's seen around town, but never met. It was like that sometimes in Alexandra. Clearing his voice, he speaks, keeping his voice even. "After you have your breakfast, you might want to give a statement. Or make your phone call." Both would be better. He'd not spoken to anyone really since coming in the night before, saying only that he wanted to speak to his lawyer, but declined to call said lawyer. Rick wondered if this was some kind of delaying tactic. Did he think they would forget what happened? He turns and heads for the door into the shop, pausing to see if there was any comments forthcoming.

Susan McKinney came into the small clinic room with a tray in her hands. A thick waffle with some butter pats and a cup of milk. The patient was going to be fine, but the anesthesia may make her sick, so she was getting something bland. Noticing her patient was awake, she smiled softly, knowing exactly who she was. "Try and eat, if you can." she tells the girl. "I called Michelle, but I know she was exhausted and don't know when she will get the message." she looks down at her. "How are you feeling this morning?" she was more asking than examining.

Heather looks at the food and, for some reason her eyes begin to fill again. "I still hurt, but ..." she sniffs, struggling with the night before still. "Where's Tom?" she asks. Everything was sort of fuzzy. She thinks she passed out when Ken stabbed her. Ken. She also wondered what happened to him. She has heard the fight and a crack, but then everything went dark.

Tom takes the food with a nod at the officer but no words. Then he stares at it like he's struggling with the idea of eating but gives and and devours it. He's going to need his strength for this. After wiping his hands and face politely with the napkin he calls out to the officer "Thank you and I'd like my phone call now please."

Michelle Kim bursts into the clinic after the buzz of her phone finally woke her up. She's in the clothes she fell asleep in the night before looking a little disheveled with her hair standing right up on one side. She speaks to another nurse at the front desk and then quietly goes to the room Heather and Susan are in and knocks quietly at the door.

Rich sits, casually on a chair in the holding area as the man eats. Seems he hasn't lost his appetite. When he asks for the phone call, Rich nods at him to beak up and, as long s he does, he opens the clear cell door and takes the man by the elbow. He leads him into the Chief's office, which is the place usually reserved for those calls. The door to the main part of the shop, Rich makes sure is securely locked. Brate is still in the hospital and Green wasn't in yet, since he had a pretty long night. "I can give you ten minutes ... knock on this door when your done." he taps on the door between the Chief's office and the cells.

Susan doesn't answer, but in a way she doesn't have to as Michelle has conveniently lent herself as a distracting influence. Holding up her hands, Susan assures her. "Nothing major was hurt, but I gave her some stitches. Depending on how she is feeling, I will release her tonight or tomorrow.".

Heather sees Michelle and breaks down into tears. "He found me. He found me and he stabbed me." suddenly her mind is filled with panic. "Tom was there? Oh God! Ken killed him! Oh God..." and she is crying hysterically again.

Michelle steps in, nodding at Susan and looking grateful and then seeing Heather's distress she walks to her and puts a comforting arm around her "Heather, Tom's alive." She looks up at Susan as if to get approval about how much to say but then just continues "Ken is not. Tom's been arrested. I'm sorry, but he is alive."

Tom just nods and starts dialing, As an operator comes on he says "I need to make a collect call to Nancy O'Leary. 709-412-1942. Thank you, I'll hold." Tom bites his lip and tenses up "Nance...." as soon as he hears his sister's voice he breaks down "I need help. I've been arrested in Alexandra. I need a lawy...I need you....I'll pay you back for the fare...please....."He curls himself around the phone sobbing and answers his sister clearly from a direct question "Murder an attempted.....but Nance I didn't......OK I'll wait till you get here." He inhales trying to get a hold of himself, wiping at his tears and clearing his throat "Haven't said a word to them, no. Yep....thank you." Tom exhales hard and then straightens up, dries his face and knocks, again assuming his stoic silent approach.

Heather slumps in a bit of relief and then begins to cry again. "Arrested? For what?" she demands. "He was protecting me from Ken." she tries to sit up a little.

Susan moves forward to help her. "Well it was a bit confused. Ken .. he wound up in the parking lot so they assumed Tom stabbed you and then killed Ken. Josh and the others will probably have that sorted out by the end of the day." she assures her.

Rich stands int he area of the door, not listening .. that is illegal and immoral. But he goes in the cell to take out the finished breakfast for the man, at least. Moving back, he hears crying and snorts to himself. They cry a lot when they get busted.

Michelle works on keeping her face passive. She's not sure what's in store for Tom but she wants to let Heather have hope. "Heather, just focus on resting. you're safe. Tom's alive and safe." She keeps her voice steady like when she's coaching a birth.

Tom gives another little knock like the officer said to, even more stoic now after a few breaths.

Heather cries for a little longer and then slumps a little, moaning. "I have to tell the police what ...." and she remembers that she doesn't remember much. "Ken tried to kill me!" she protests. She looks between the women earnestly. "Tom would never!"

Susan smiles. "Rest." she all but commands and pushes the plate in front of her again. "Eat, rest and get your strength back. I have little doubt someone from the police department will be here to talk to you. Until then ... heal."

Rich opens the door for Tom. "I hope you got through." he begins, leading him right back across the way. "I can get your statement now." he assumes he called his lawyer. "Then we can see about bail." although considering the nature of the crimes charged and where they happened, he wonders if this kid can AFFORD bail.

Tom shakes his head "I know my rights. I will give a statement when my lawyer is present. She's on her way." He knows he can't afford bail, but he also has confidence that Nancy will do the best she can to guide him through all this. He desperately wants to ask about Heather but knows it could be incriminating based on what he's being accused of related to her.

Michelle sighs quietly and sits down by Heather "Dr. McKinney is right. You need to be well Heather."

Heather sighs and pulls the plate close to her. Ignoring the butter, she cuts into the waffle and takes a small bite, watching her caregivers as if to say see I am eating. She drinks a little milk and does feel a little better. "When will I be able to ..." she pauses and changes from asking when she can see Tom. "Go ... home ..." in a way she doesnt want to go home. With Tom in jail, she isnt totally sure she can make the rent on their room. Not and eat.

Susan arches her brows, encouraging her to eat more. "Tonight or tomorrow, depending on how your strength comes up." she grins, hoping to cheer her patient as much as she can.

Rich nods. "Could you be a bit more specific?" he asks. "An hour? Tomorrow?"

Tom just looks at the officer and simply says "No I'm sorry I can't." in a very polite manner. He sighs and lies down on the bed, staring up at the ceiling.

Michelle nods along with Susan and then says "I'll help you when we're home too. You aren't alone in this Heather."

Heather nods and ties to eat, even though she isn't hungry. "He didn't do anything wrong." she proclaims between bites and sips. Then she sighs. "But it looks awful, doesn't it?" she bites her lip.

Susan watches her eat, satisfied. "Well, once you give YOUR statement to the police, I am sure at least the attempted murder charges will be dropped." she says with confidence. But the other charge ... she has no idea.

Rich sighs and nods. "Well once you have representation, we can take you for bail, unless you want a free lawyer."

Michelle doesn't say too much but watches Heather, and then Susan as they talk. Finally she says "It's gotta get better than it was an is."

Tom just nods. He almost feels sorry for the cop just doing his job. He has a free lawyer, sort of. He'd love to pay Nancy back someday, if he's ever employable again after all is said and done.

Heather sighs. "True." she admits. She looks at the doctor. "Is Ken REALLY dead?" she asks, as if wanting spoilers to a horror movie.

Susan sighs deeply. "I examined him myself. He is being autopsied today, probably, but the cause of death was a broken neck." she stops herself from offering condolences, not sure what the deal was, except that she seemed more concerned with the murderer than the victim. Could be she was abused.

Rich nods. "Call out if you need anything." he tells this man. "Shift change is at noon, so I won't be bringing your lunch." he leaves and sits at his desk to write the simple report ... the suspect has nothing to say until his lawyer arrives.

Tom opens his eyes and then closes them again. He was still in the holding cell. He chin was throbbing. Ken Hall was dead. And this had all really happened. He heard various noises of the cops working in the station, muted conversations, a phone ringing and being answered, the shuffling of feet, the clinking of a spoon on a coffee cup. He slowly sat up, sore allover from his fight with Ken. He had no idea what time it was. He had know idea where Heather was or if she was OK yet. His eyes filled at the thought and then he quickly blinked hard, fighting the lump in his throat whenever he thought about her. Hurry up Nance, he thought, hurry up.

Michelle has been called to a birth sometime in the night. They were usually in the night. This was a third time mom with blessedly fast labour. She has the baby at home without complications surrounded by her loving family. With all the stress going on right now, it was nice to have something go right. Now Michelle walked back into the clinic after a power nap, hoping Heather hadn't been released in the early morning. It was her plan to help get her home when it was time. she'd even brought a golf cart she was able to sign out through the clinic and midwifery work.

Susan had been pleased with her patient. The waffle had gone over well and she had carefully considered where to get her lunch One option was Statutes, where Peter O'Brian made a pretty mild lamb stew, but Peter was in a real state over the World Series and, as a fellow ex-pat Chicagoian, she knew he would drag her into talk of the city. So she decided on Zabats and a large gyros salad after discussion with her patient and finding out she had no dietary restrictions or preferences. Bringing it back she set it in front of Heather with a smile.

Heather really DID feel better after several more hours of sleep and, when presented with the salad, ate it. Zabat's was one of the more expensive restaurants on the island, if you included the pub in the hotel on the beach, and she found it pretty tasty. But now she realized she was restless. Reaching for her phone, she found several messages from Kitty Carmichael, who announced that she was on her way back to cover the restaurant. Sighing, Heather wondered if she would be able to go back to work or not. And if she did ... would Tom?

Sam Wright brought in the prisoners lunch, straight from across the street at Statutes. He hadn't seen Tom since the time he and Darcy had talked to Ken. Of course Kitty told him everything she had known and, at the same time, all but demanded he simply let Tom out of his cell and send him home. Now he knelt and slid the tray into Tom. "Lunch time." he called. "Lamb stew and soda bread from Statutes, plus coffee. Not Irish coffee, but ya can't have everything, right?" he makes light.

Tom looked relieved to see Sam's face and took the food kindly but with one whispered urgent question "Is Heather alive? I just need to know."

Michelle sat with Susan and Heather while Heather ate, a little quiet from her own exhaustion but trying to keep Heather's moral up by commenting on the food "Those are the best, aren't they?"

Susan nods. "They really are." she admits. "And Chris knows it." she looks at Heather. "Chrostophoros Zabat. Owns the place. Very confident in his abilities in the kitchen. And the salad it one of the best for sure."

Heather nods as she eats. "It is good. Thank you." she sighs heavily. She wants to ask about news, but is afraid of what that news might be.

Sam nods quickly. "Yea. She's recovering in the clinic." he tells him. "Probably, she'll get released today." he is about to say more when the door opens and Josh green comes in from the Chief's office holding a piece of paper. "The prints on the knife don't match yours." he says, his voice devoid of emotion. "There Hall's. So we're dropping the attempted murder charges on you. Once your lawyer gets here, we can get the judge in here for your bail hearing." and he turns around and leaves.

Michelle giggles "If only he was 20 years younger right?" she winks knowingly at Susan and then explains to Heather "He's a bit of a charmer as well as a great cook."

Tom looks hopeful at Sam as he tells him about Heather. He sets the tray down on the bed and is about to say something more when Josh comes in with his news. As he hears it he sinks back into the wall closing his eyes tightly and taking slow deep breaths. He couldn't exist in a world that thought he could ever hurt Heather Ruby.

Susan laughs lightly. "He's maybe 55, and yes. An incredible flirt who can also cook." she smirks. "I don't know if he can cook, but I bet Gareth will be like Christophoros when he gets older."

Heather giggles a little bit. "He sounds charming. If ..." she stops and closes her eyes, gathering her courage and hope for the future. "WHEN Tom gets out, maybe we will celebrate there."

Sam waits for the interim Chief to leave. Then he comes right up to the clear barrier and lowers his voice just a little bit. "See ... that's one less hurdle. When your lawyer gets here, give your statement and have hope. And when they get here, tell the lawyer to go to the First Street Law Building. It's where visiting defense attorneys have their offices. Basically that building you might have seen on your way to the beach. Looks just like the clinic building, except more run down." he knows he should, if Kitty's talks were any indication. "I can't officially take your side, but you need to know that much."

Tom opens his eyes and smiles at Sam "I understand. Thanks. It's my sister Nancy. She's flying in." He notices the food again and begins to eat "And thanks for this."

Michelle looks hopeful too about Tom "That's a good plan Heather." She laughs at Susan "Gareth...yeah maybe...I can't imagine him mellowing out at all as he ages."

Susan snorts. "A town full of perverts. Our only saving grace is that I don't THINK Mrs Norris has any children ..."

Heather shudders. "That would be kind of scary, to he honest." but she giggles. "I have been keeping Kitty and Megan informed. Kitty is on her way back to cover the store." she blew out a breath.

Sam nods. "We'll be expecting her, then." and he grins. "Small town ... the restaurants all get paid and none of them have crap food .. just mostly a matter of taste. We don't have any Asian food on the island .. we USED to, but the place burned down. The studio is there now."

Michelle laughs at Susan's words and then looks happy that one of Heather's closer friends will be around. She'll offer support of course, but she's just getting to know her too. "Glad to hear about Kitty coming home." she offers.

Tom nods, eating and then says "Well can't have em all I guess. I do love this lamb stew...bit like me mum's." despite still being wanted/locked up for Ken's murder, he looks like a weight has been lifted.

Susan grins and leans back. "Well it's November now. Things should be calming down. Winter festivals. Adum will be back, too. You have friends here, Heather." she assures the young woman.

Heather sighs. "I know I do, and thank you. I'm just .. worried." she admits.

Sam grins. "Good. Food is supposed to comfort. If you'e still here, I can arrange to get you some more. But maybe dinner from Zabat's. Greek lamb." he teases.

Nancy O'Leary strides confidently into the Alexandra PD in a light blue sweatered suit, carrying a simple black briefcase and pulling a light rolling suitcase. She approaches the desk and says "I'm Nancy O'Leary and I'm here as legal counsel for Thomas Patrick O'Leary." Her Newfoundland accent is even thicker than Tom's but she doesn't use any of the local dialect in her professional encounters.

Tom is still in the cell talking to Sam and jokes "How many sheep are we gonna go through today....the wee lambs..."

Michelle pats Heather's hand. She doesn't try to dispel the worry but just replies "That's understandable."

Kitty Carmichael walks into the clinic, calling "Hellooooooo."

Susan glances up. "We're back here, Kitty. Room four."

Kitty comes back and breezes in. "Hey!" she moves over to Heather and hugs her lightly. "You holding up?"

Heather smiles at the entrance of Kitty, who was always like a breath of fresh air to her. "I'm ... I hurt but I'll live. I .. can't work for a few days.."

Waving that away, Kitty scoffs. "No worries. I can handle it. You just rest up."

Susan nods her agreement. "She's absolutely right. Just rest."

In the holding area, Sam is about to reply when the voice of Mert comes through the closed door, sounding as if she is in the room with them. "Of course, Miss O'Leary. They're expecting you. One moment."

Sam shrugs. "I think your lawyer is here." he sighs and waits. The door to the Chief's office soon opens. "Wright, get the prisoner in the interrogation room so he can consult with his attorney. I'll get on the phone across the street and see if someone can come by and do a bail hearing when they're ready."

"Yes, sir." Sam replies and opens the cell door. "Come on." he leads him across the room to the door of the IR, where there are scuffed chairs and scuffed tables and a mirror wall .. they stereotypical one way mirror. "And don't worry. We're all professionals. The blinds are closed and speaker off in the Chief's office." he promises.

Tom and Nancy clasp hands in greeting both looking like they're holding back an ocean's worth of emotions. The family resemblance is almost uncanny, as if each were the opposite gender variation on the other, with Nancy looking a little older than her brother. Neither says a word to each other but both thank Josh and Sam quietly as they go into the room. Once the door shuts they embrace and Tom shudders as he silently cries into Nancy's shoulder. After a long time, they move to the chairs across from each other on the table. Nancy pops open her briefcase with a click and pulls out a long yellow legal pad and a nice looking ballpoint pen.

"Tell me what happened, all of it. And then we'll go through it and formulate a statement that puts you in the best possible light." She poises her pen to write and leans in looking intensely at Tom.

Tom presses on his eyelids with the thumb and middle fingertip pads of his right hand and then nods, sitting forward a bit more and sliding both hands onto the table.

"I started renting a room at the Olin when I came to town, room 8 was mine. There was a couple in room 9 that I heard through the wall and saw coming and going. I connected with the woman and we started talking, Heather Ruby. It turned out her boyfriend was not such a nice guy in the worst ways possible. She and I hit it off and started having an affair. She was afraid to leave him, Ken, because she thought he would really try to hurt her bad like. She told me he was abusive and I saw bruises on her all the time. He was away a lot for his work. I fell in love with her.

It turned out his work was armed robbery for cash and drugs at pharmacies and such, real nice guy eh? He and another follow robbed the one here and the other fellow shot the police chief, Adum Brate. Ken took off and we thought we were rid of him. He was a wanted man so I figured he'd have to be nuts to come back here. Heather and I started to move in together, really build a life. She was free of him, free to be with me. We were so happy.

Then on Halloween Ken came back, I think to try to get Heather to leave Alexandra with him. or hurt her, I don't really know. We had to go back to the Olin to grab a few things. She went ahead of me and Ken was there with her when I got there, threatening her with a knife. As soon as I walked up...he...."

Tom gets all shaky again and fights his emotions.

Nancy reaches a hand across the table and gives one of his a squeeze "I know this is hard Tommy. I'm sorry. I do need it all though."

Tom catches his breath and nods "He stabbed her and she fell down. I didn't know how bad it was but seeing that made me go after him. We fought. At some point he bested me for a moment and then went after her again saying he's kill her. I dragged him away from it and punched him. He fell into the railing from the punch and it broke off. Nance, I'm good, but not that good. The railing was already loose. I didn't ever mean to kill him. I just wanted to stop him from killing Heather."

Nancy nods along, scribbling like mad.

She looks up "The affair is not going to be in your favour but the railing will be. I'm assuming and hoping it was kept at the crime scene to examine. you can give this statement as is but then don't speak about the case to anyone but me. Is that understood?"

Tom nods solemnly "Thank you Nance."

Nancy smiles "And I'll post your bail. I took out a line of credit against the house so I could do all this."

Tom winces "No don't.....I can stay here. Please don't go into debt for me. You've got two girls coming up on university age b'y. It's enough for the flight and the accommodations. by the way i don't recommend The Olin."

Nancy laughs now "You don't say? I'm checked in at the Mariner's on the Lake, and I plan to write it off at tax time Tommy. OK, stay here for now, but if it gets to be a long stay we can revisit it." She walks to the door and knocks to signal the end of their meeting.

When they come out, Tom will tell the police what he told Nancy pretty much word for word while she sits nodding beside him.

Sam is sitting in a chair clear on the other side of the room by the door to the bull pen when Tom and his lawyer come out. Without a word, he lets Tom back in the cell and holds the door open for his sister/lawyer to exit. "Being his lawyer, you can visit anytime as long as you need to, of course." he reminds her, being completely official. "If you want to wait the interim Chief is across the street talking to the judge." he pauses. "But of course, you can enter the plea on his behalf. And then, you'll probably want to meet with the prosecution. Lucius Bellegarde. His office is across the street on the second floor." he gives her specific instructions.

Kitty explains to Heather that she still has a job and can consider this a vacation while she heals. Susan then suggests they let her rest while she begins the process of discharging her.

Nancy takes in all this information with a few nods "I'll enter the plea. It's cleaner without the client. No offense Tom. Then I'll go meet my adversary in this case. "

Tom completely defers to his sister's expertise "None taken." He sits down on his cell bed, looking emotionally drained.

Michelle stands by for info on the discharge time and calls the other midwife on the island to trade on call times so she can just be there for Heather. Then she texts Gareth so he knows what's going on too in case he's home when they come in later.

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