A Crying Shame: A Jesse Watson Mystery (6 page)

BOOK: A Crying Shame: A Jesse Watson Mystery
9.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“We went to the bar in his living room and he fixed us a
drink. We talked about the situation. He became belligerent and raised his
voice. I didn’t want the neighbors to hear, so I tried to calm him down. It was
like he was on drugs or something. He was out of control. He yelled at me and
then reached behind the bar and pulled out a gun. Of course, I stepped back at
the sight of the pistol in his hands. Guns scare me when they’re in the hands
of someone like him.”

All I could do was shake my head as Billy continued with his

“He was crazy and had a gun; I didn’t trust him anymore. He
kept waving the gun at me and made threats. He said terrible things about
Claire, but when he said that you had chased after him ever since he married
Claire, I went off. I called him a liar and a cheat. I told him I knew all
about his affair with that woman whose husband had shot him, and I knew about
the bathroom scene at his own wedding. I told him he should be ashamed of
himself! I called him a callous


“Close enough,” Billy responded. “I called him a wolf.”

“What did he do next?”

“The white man does not like it when you speak and they
cannot understand your words.”

“Neither does the white woman. Get to the point, Billy.”

“He reached back as if he was going to hit me with the gun,
so I punched him in the face with my fist and then grabbed the gun from his
hand. It all happened so fast. He got in a couple of licks, but I barely felt
it. He stumbled to the floor. His mouth was bleeding.”

“Oh, no, tell me it isn’t true! Blood! There was blood on the

“No… well, maybe a little. He wiped his mouth with his hand
and then I noticed his hand was covered in blood. He might have gotten some on
the rug when he went to stand up, or maybe a few drops got on the hardwood

“Even if he tried to clean up the blood later on, blood
stains never come out completely! Luminal; remember that stuff? If you bleed,
it’ll find the blood even if it’s only a trace! A drop—that’s all it takes! So
now we have trace evidence left at the scene.”

“I didn’t think I’d have to worry about it at the time. I
figured nothing would come of it. Carl’s nobody to put up a fight. He’s afraid
of his own shadow. I know men just like him. They talk big, but when it comes
time for action, they run and hide.”

“See, you were too close. People get hurt when you’re too
close. Isn’t that what you told me? Isn’t that what you accused me of being?
That’s what you said. That’s why you wouldn’t let me go.”

“I didn’t want you to go because we had just come home from a
long trip. You needed your rest. I was thinking of you and our baby. It’s
important for you to keep up your strength. Having a baby is a big deal. It’s
not the easiest job in the world.” He looked away and then back at me. “And I
thought that you were too close. I made a mistake.”

“You sure did make a mistake! What do you think is going to
happen if Carl doesn’t turn up? I’ll tell you what’s going to happen! The cops
are going to find that blood, put two and two together, and come after you.
They know you went to the house and took the kids. I’m sure you explained all
that to the sheriff. You were at the scene and now Carl’s missing, and there’s
blood on his floor.”

“Carl isn’t missing. If anything, he’s in hiding.”

“What about the gun? What did you do with it?”

“I emptied the chamber and threw it up on the bar.”

“Oh, say it isn’t so!” I replied. I couldn’t believe what I
was hearing. Billy is probably one of the best private eyes there is, yet he
goes and makes such an egregious error. Even I would know better than to leave
a weapon with my fingerprints on it at the scene. What was he thinking?

Billy said as he held up his hand. “I know I screwed up, but
it’s too late to do anything about it now. We’ll just have to wait to see what
develops. I’ll bet Carl shows up with some crazy story and tries to cause

“You did hit the man. He could accuse you of assault.”

“It’s his word against mine.”

“I have one last question. Did you bleed at the scene? You
said Carl got in a couple of licks.”

“I don’t think so. I got a busted lip, but it barely bled. I
wiped it with my shirt sleeve. It was nothing.”

“I have a feeling this is going to get real ugly. God, I hope
you didn’t leave even a drop of blood—guilty verdict!” I looked straight into
Billy’s eyes. “Guilty verdict—twenty to life! Lord, help us. What happened
after you threw the gun on the bar? Did you leave?”

“Yes, I did. I turned and walked out of the house.”

“Carl didn’t come after you?”

“No, he didn’t, and that was the last I saw of him.”

“But he was okay when you left?”

“He was fine, Jesse. I didn’t kill him; I just hit him.”

“I believe you. What kind of questions did the sheriff ask?”

“Pretty much the same stuff you just asked.”

“Can we get on with our lives, or do I need to worry? I can’t
believe what’s happened in the last few days. One minute we’re on our
honeymoon, and the next, I’m in the hospital and you’re on your way to prison.”

“`Ge ya, everything’s okay. You have nothing to worry about.
The sheriff said that as long as Carl shows up and isn’t the recipient of foul
play, I have nothing to worry about. If Carl goes missing for too long, my
brothers and I might have a problem.”

“Is there anything else you want to tell me? Anything at

“I love you.” Billy sat down on the edge of the bed and put
his arm around me. He leaned over and whispered in my ear. “There’s one
important thing we need to discuss.”

“What’s that?” I looked into his warm eyes.

“We need to pick out a name for our boy.”

“How about Dark Cloud?”

“I’m afraid that one has already been taken,” Billy said as
he chuckled, and then became serious. “What made you come up with that?”

“Because I see one coming.”

Chapter 6

After a fitful night of drifting in and out of one bad dream
after another, I awoke to the screeching sound of a curtain being pulled
back. I was soaked in sweat.

“Good morning, Mrs. Blackhawk. How’re you feeling?” The nurse
didn’t wait for an answer before continuing. “Your breakfast is here.”

I opened my eyes and realized that Billy was no longer
sitting on the bed. I looked around the room and after seeing that he had gone,
fear began to set in. My heart pounded harder and harder. I started to pant.
After what he had told me last night, it appeared that a panic attack would be
served with my morning coffee.

“Are you okay, Mrs. Blackhawk?”

I regained control by taking deep breaths and then telling
myself that my new husband wasn’t going to jail. He hadn’t done anything
terrible to Carl, so everything was going to be fine. Carl’s a weasel and he’s
up to his usual tricks. It will pass.

“I think I’ll survive,” I replied.

I still hadn’t gotten used to being called Mrs. Blackhawk.
I’d been single for so long, it was foreign to be called anything other than
Jesse Watson. I had also led a very simple and uneventful life up until now. Is
that what happens when you get older? Do things happen too fast, or is it just
that you slow down and can’t keep up anymore?

“After breakfast,” the nurse continued, “the doctor wants you
to get up and walk around for a while to make sure you aren’t getting dizzy
anymore. You can’t leave the hospital until you can do that.”

“I’m doing much better. The headaches have been replaced by a
ringing in my ears.”

“That’s normal,” she replied. “You’ll probably have that
ringing for a few days. As long as you’re not dizzy, you’ll be fine. The
ringing will go away.”

“I sure hope so. It’s a little nerve racking.”

“How does your arm feel?” she asked as she wrapped the blood
pressure cuff around my good arm.

“It feels like it’s going to explode. I think there’s some
swelling.” I wiggled my fingers and then tried to ball up my fist. “See, I
can’t close my fingers.”

“That’s normal. The swelling will go down.” She released the
cuff and replied, “Your blood pressure is normal. Everything looks good. The
doctor will be in soon, so you might want to eat your breakfast and get up as
soon as you can. You don’t want to be stuck here another day.”

“Boy, you’re right about that.”

“Call for a nurse when you’re ready to take a stroll.” She
turned and left the room.

“Thanks, nurse,” I called out to her, but she was too fast
for me. She was gone in a flash.

I guess hospital personnel have to be fast and able to
multi-task when they work in a busy hospital. I couldn’t imagine having so many
things going on in my head at one time. What would happen if you forgot even
one patient? It could mean the difference between life and death. What a huge
responsibility! It’s surely not one I’d want. I looked down at the plate
sitting on the hospital tray. I pulled the cart closer toward me and began to
dig in. The food was satisfying, but I wasn’t in the mood to eat. I pushed the
half-eaten food aside and threw my legs over the edge of the bed. I wanted to
get out of this place and the only way I was going to do that was by getting up
and walking around without getting dizzy. I made it to the bathroom and back
without a hitch. I was ready to go! However, I was stunned to see the bruises
on the side of my right leg, and when I pulled up my shirt and looked at my
back in the mirror; there was a huge bruise on my right shoulder. They would
heal in time. It was par for the course, as Mom would say. I’d been in a car
accident and was lucky to be alive, and so was Billy, according to everything
I’d been told. However, Billy’s truck hadn’t fared so well. I was told that it
was in pieces. My next concern was to find my husband. I reached over and
picked up the telephone off of the bedside table. I dialed my house and let the
phone ring and ring, but no one answered. I dialed Mom’s number, but after six
rings and no answer, I hung up. I dialed my cell phone number just in case
Billy had it with him, and after two rings, I heard his voice.

“Hello,” Billy replied.

“Where are you, Billy? I woke up and you weren’t here.”

“I’m in the parking lot. I ran home early this morning and
took a shower. I’ll be right up.”

“I’m ready to go home,” I said to him before hanging up.

Ten minutes later, Billy walked in the room and then over to

I crawled out of bed and wrapped my good arm around his neck.
I was so glad to have him near me. I missed him every minute that he was away.

“You say you’re ready to go home?” he asked as he brushed a
few hairs from my face. He kissed me gently on the lips. “How do you feel?”

“I made it to the bathroom without falling down.”

“I’m impressed. I say we get that doctor in here and get him
to release you. What do you say?”

“I say, I’m with you, pal.”

“I’ll go check with the nurse.”

“Wait a minute.”

“What’s the matter?”

“Is everything okay on the home front?”

“In what regard? The dogs are fine; your mom’s at our house
awaiting your arrival, and Carl’s still missing, if that’s what you’re
wondering about.”

“You know it is. Where is he?”

“I have no idea where he is. We can talk about him later.
Let’s get you out of here. We have things to do.”

“Yes, we certainly do. I need to take a vacation.”

“We just had one.”

“You know what I mean. I want to go home, flop down on the
sofa, eat all day long, and have you take care of me.”

“In other words, you want to be pampered.”

“Yes, I could use a little…”

“Good morning,” Dr. Bryant said as he walked in the room. “I
guess you’re ready to leave. Have you had your walk this morning?”

“I went to the bathroom. Does that count?”

“Did you have any dizziness?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Then you’re ready to go.” He looked over at Billy. “Make
sure she reads the instructions I gave her and have her in my office in two
weeks. I’ll want to check her progress.”

“Sure thing, John,” Billy said as he shook hands with him.
“Thanks for taking such good care of my girl.”

“My pleasure,” Dr. Bryant said as he turned to leave. “Make
her take it easy, Billy. She had a nasty concussion, and that injury to her
elbow isn’t going to be a picnic. She needs to rest and recuperate.”

“Don’t worry; I’ll take care of her.”

Dr. Bryant left and I couldn’t get dressed fast enough. By
the time the nurse came in, I was sitting on the bed, waiting for her to give
me the okay. Thirty minutes later, I was being wheeled out the front door. I
was shocked when Billy pulled up to the entrance driving my Jeep. The last time
I’d been in that car, I had almost died. Memories came flooding back. My heart
skipped a beat.

“I can see from the look on your face that you’re not happy
with the idea of riding in this car anymore,” Billy said as he helped me out of
the wheelchair. “It’s all we have for now.”

“I loved this car so much when I first got it,” I said as I
crawled in. “But too many bad things have happened in it since then. I think
it’s time to get a new one.”

“I understand,” Billy said as he drove out of the parking
lot. “I’ll have to talk to Daniel about getting me a new pickup truck. What
kind of car do you want?”

“How about a nice little convertible? When the summer gets
here I’ll put the top down, ride around town, and just enjoy the warmth of the
sun. Actually, I don’t really care as long as it’s not a red car. I should’ve
known that red wasn’t my color. Having red hair is one thing, but driving a red
car is another.”

“Yeah, but red isn’t your true hair color.”

“That’s correct,” I mumbled as I stretched out my legs and
lay my head back. I was so comfortable that I fell asleep and didn’t wake up
until we pulled up in the driveway.

Mom’s minivan was parked off to the side. I looked over at

“Before you say anything, your mom wanted to be here when you
got home. She intends to make sure that you’re going to be okay. She
straightened up the house and has plans for a nice dinner for us.”

“She’s going to be here all day?”

“You know your mom; she’s worried about you.”

“Didn’t you tell her that you’re my husband and you could
take care of me?”

Before Billy could answer, I looked up and saw Mom standing
on the front porch, waving at us.

“Let’s go, before she freezes to death,” I said as I opened
the car door.

Mom greeted me with a big hug. “I’m so glad you’re home. I
have a big fire going. All you need to do is lie down on the couch and rest.
I’m here to help, and later I’m fixing dinner.”

“Billy told me,” I said, walking inside. “Thanks for your
help, Mom, but...”

Athena and Thor came to attention at the sound of my voice.
They ran up to me with their tongues hanging out and their paws slipping and
sliding on the hardwood floor. They both barked a few times, and then Thor
licked at the air, while Athena licked at my hand. I bent down and patted their
heads. They got the attention that they wanted, turned and walked back over to
the fireplace. They stretched out and lay down by the fire.

“Now you look here, Missy,” Mom starting in on me. “I don’t
want to hear one word about you being able to take care of yourself. I know you
can, but sometimes you need a little extra help. Isn’t that right, Billy?” Mom
guided me over to the fire. “Take off your coat and put your feet up. I’ll
bring you some hot chocolate.”

Billy closed the front door and walked toward the bedroom.
“I’ll just put your bag from the hospital in here.”

I looked up and saw the smile on his face. He was getting out
of the way. He would quietly sneak out of the room and leave me alone with my
mother… and I would be ten years old, again.

“Don’t you dare leave me alone with this woman,” I shouted to
him. “I’ll be knitting a sweater before she’s finished with me.”

“Oh, Jesse, you’re so silly,” Mom said as she headed to the
kitchen. “Would anyone like a sandwich?”

“I would,” Billy yelled to her as he walked out of the
bedroom. He came over to the sofa and sat down beside me. “You know she’s only
going to be here for a little while. She’ll be going home tonight, so why don’t
you let her do whatever she wants. It’ll make her happy.”

“I know, but…”

The phone rang before I could finish.

The dogs let out a howl, and then went back to what they were
doing…which was nothing.

“I’ll get it,” Billy said. He rose, walked over to the
computer, and picked up the receiver. He spoke quietly, but at the end of the
conversation, I heard him tell the caller to come on over.

“Who was that?” I asked.

“It was…”

The phone immediately rang again. Billy looked down at the
phone for a second and then picked up the receiver. “This one’s for me,” he
said as he turned his back and walked out of the room. I heard the bedroom door

“Here’s your hot chocolate and sandwich, dear,” Mom said as
she leaned down and placed the tray on the coffee table. “I hope you don’t
mind, but I thought we’d sit and have a little chat.”

“That’s fine, Mom.” I reached over with my good arm and
placed it around her shoulders. “You’re such a good mother. I just hope that…”
Before I knew what happened, tears started pouring out.

Mom reached over and grabbed the box of tissues from the
coffee table. “It’s okay, honey. Everything’s going to be fine, but you can cry
if you want to.”

I had to laugh at her. She always had a way of making
everything seem like it was going to be all right, even if it wasn’t. I guess
that’s how she coped all these years with life and the tragedies of it. I was
just thinking about how strong my mother is when Billy walked out of the
bedroom. He went over to the desk and replaced the receiver. He walked over to
the fireplace and stood with his back to it as he talked.

“That was Brian Cherry. He wants me to recommend an

“Does that mean he doesn’t need our services? He’s just going
to go ahead and sue the hospital? He must’ve found the proof he needs, or
enough to at least make a case. That’s okay,” I said, looking up at Billy. “I
didn’t want us to take this case to start with. It hits too close to home for
me. I’m sure I’m going to see plenty of things I don’t like about doctors and
hospitals before I have this baby. I don’t need to intensify the trip.”

“That’s not exactly the situation here.” Billy sat down on
the hearth and crossed his arms over his knees. “I guess I still have much to
learn about the way of others. As a Cherokee, I have spent my whole life trying
to live up to the expectations of my people. And this, I feel I have done. I am
proud of myself and the fact that I have also lived up to my own expectations
even though my first marriage did not last. I have a good life, and I love my
family. Isn’t that what it’s all about? For the life of me, I can’t figure out
why the white man does some of the things he does. Why do they hurt each other
so badly?”

BOOK: A Crying Shame: A Jesse Watson Mystery
9.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

SLAM HER by Jaxson Kidman
Undercover Lover by Tibby Armstrong
Apaches by Lorenzo Carcaterra
Jamie Brown Is NOT Rich by Adam Wallace
The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
08 Blood War-Blood Destiny by Suttle, Connie