|Written by:||Fangirl4545, Hurshbr|
|Release date:||August 9, 2013|
|Previous chapter:||Back Into the Scenes|
Cassandra wasn't shocked to see two people standing outside when she opened her door, badges glinting in their hands. Other visitors lately included neighborhood gossips, concerned friends, inquisitive reporters, nosy but condolence-oozing journalists, and members of Riverview Police Department. The staff of Goth Mansion had kept beverages and hors d'oeuvres ready for hours each day, and they'd come to expect the hordes. Mortimer was grieving even more deeply than before because, only the day after the crime scene was set up around Bella's body, Alexander had run away from home, leaving only a note. So poor Cassandra had to take on the police, neighbors, strangers, newspapermen, and stress by herself. "Come in," she said, cordially but wearily. Olivia introduced the two of them. "Hello, Ms. Goth. I'm Detective Ridge, and this is Detective Drake. We have a few questions regarding your mother's untimely death, and we think you might be able to help us." "Of course I will," Cassandra said, trying to rally her brain. She wanted the affair of her mother over as soon as possible, with the murderer behind bars. "Please, sit down," Cassandra gestured to two armchairs, leaning diagonally towards a sofa. After Cassandra was seated in one chair, Olivia in a chair, and Drake on the sofa, they began to ask. Ridge began with, "Are you sure Donovan Lothario wasn't implicated in the death of Bella?" She knew it was bad tactics to start off with a pressing question, but she didn't care. She could forgive herself for dating a sleaze. But for dating a murderer without discovering that he'd killed someone was something she could never stop beating herself up about. Cassandra almost burst into tears at Olivia's question. "No!" she cried out. "Why does everyone say that? Bella and Don got along fine. She just went over to his house to give a present to him for our engagement. Don is the most trustworthy man I've ever met." I feel sorry for you then, Ridge thought. "It's hard enough," Cassandra went on, gaining volume, "with my mother shot to death without you police people accusing someone who's always been there for me!" "I'm sorry," Drake hastily said. "We didn't mean to upset you. We're just trying to consider all possibilities here." Cassandra softened, but she still said defensively, "Well, it's not a possibility. Don would never do something so awful to anyone, let alone me." "Okay," Ridge said, backing down. "Did your mother have any enemies?" she asked. "No," Cassandra said, like it wasn't worth even considering. "The motive was obviously an attention-grabber, a prelude to another crime that will hopefully, to the perpetrator, be investigated less." But then she paused. "Unless it was Olive Specter. She's a bit screwloose, you know, and after Bella gave the author grant and medal to Olive's enemy, General Buzz Grunt, about his piece on the work of a soldier over Olive's bit about death, Olive sat on top of Mom's window all night, bending her head down to look in, and screaming she'd get the money one way or another if it was the last thing she did. Maybe she changed her mind about the money and simply got revenge." "Do you have a whiteboard I could use, and some dry-erase markers?" Drake asked. "Sure."
In a few minutes a whiteboard big enough for all three to lay down on was in the room. "Alex used it to teach himself Trigonometry," Cassandra said, looking sad for a moment. "Are there any other people who come to mind that may have killed your mother?" Drake asked gently. "Circe Beaker. But she'd kill anyone who'd make a good expiriment." As Cassandra talked, Ridge had jotted up Olive's initials and possible reasons, and then did the same with C.B. "I'd like you to tell us everyone who may have done it," Olivia asked. Cassandra sighed. At first the reasons came slowly, but then rushed. Kaylynn Langerak the maid had had her hours cut, then when she fumed over Don's engagement to Cass (she had a crush on Don, unrequited, of course) was fired. Brandi Broke insisted that the accident of her late husband had been suicide because Skip had loved Bella and it wasn't returned. Her son Dustin was suspect for the same reasons. Cornelia Goth hadn't approved the Bella-Mortimer relationship from the start, and had simmered with anger for years over losing control of her son. Darren Dreamer had loved Cassandra, but she asked Bella to let him down for her, and he had blamed Bella for coming between them. Mary-Sue Pleasant had gotten fired because Bella wanted another guy to have Mary's job. Daniel Pleasant had wanted her to be his mistress and was rejected. The local Therapist hadn't cracked the mysteries of her mind open, and hated her for befuddling him. Dina Caliente had flirted with Mortimer, but he told her he was a happily married man, making Bella the problem in her eyes. The Unsavory Charlatan had gone to jail for life after she accused him of theft, making both him and a won-over Mrs. Crumplebottom enemies to Bella. Tiffany Burb's furniture had been repossessed by Bella and sent to the Goth home, and eventually the house was taken as well and sold for simoleons to upgrade Bella's private resort. Fourteen suspects covering the whiteboard, and the detectives still both had a feeling they had only scratched the surface.
The murders stood in front of their board. As they went along with their plan they erased, and now there was little left. For the mastermind, the revenge was done. For the accomplice, the opportunity was on its way.