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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Dame - 17. Chapter 17

Dorothy figures it out because she's one smart gal!

When I was nine years old, my brother and I had a tree house in the wooded lot that bordered our backyard. Rickety construction as only two boys could cobble together, it became the center of our world that summer. Whether we were cops waiting to get the jump on some bad guys or two supermen out to stop evil villains, this was where our childhood fantasies played out.
 
Until one afternoon when Everett decided we needed a secret passage for escaping Martian attacks. I had just climbed over the side to an upper branch when it snapped. Those moments of free-fall before hitting ground were terrifying. But they were nothing compared to how I felt watching that man try to squeeze the life out of my gal.
 
Dorothy’s gasping breaths rang in my ears as I knelt to set her down on the grass several yards away from the house. At that moment I could think of nothing more than easing her fear and pain.
 
“Sweetheart, look at me.”
 
She grabbed onto my arm and gesturing with the other hand behind me. I braced myself for another attack as I leaned over her, shielding her. Instead, to my surprise, I looked back to find Danny hovering near us. His expression mirrored mine, or what I expected mine looked like; it was almost comical.
 
His eyes wide he asked cautiously, “David, you all right?”
 
“Wha– what are you doing here?” Dorothy’s voice rasped as she choked out the words.
 
I shot Danny a look but the emotions on his face ran from worry and concern to anger. A loud bang of the front door being slammed shut distracted us both from any conversation. Michael Rutherford strode out of the carriage house and across the lawn coming to a halt in front of us. Danny’s fists clenched as he turned his anger toward the man but was interrupted.
 
“You touch her again and I’ll kill you myself!”
 
In that moment I sounded like a madman. But Michael ignored me addressing Danny in a manner I figured he reserved for politicians. Let the negotiations begin.
 
“We can work this out, Daniel. There’s a bright future for you in politics as long as we keep our reputations clean. All we have to do is cover this up. The police don’t really have anything on you.”
 
“You killed two people and now you expect me to keep my mouth shut?” Danny sneered.
 
Dorothy’s voice rasped out, “He didn’t kill Damian.”
 
Danny whirled around to us, “What are you talking about?”
 
But Dorothy was looking at Michael, her grip on my arm squeezing hard.
“It was Jennifer, only you didn’t know that at the time, did you? You must have thought it was the Senator. Tried to cover it up.”
 
“And the Senator?” Danny asked.
 
“Did the Senator know it was your wife, Mr. Rutherford? Maybe he threatened you? If you made Danny look guilty, the police might have pinned both murders on him.”
 
Michael Rutherford’s eyes turned mean no longer wishing to bargain.
 
“Your little visit pushed that sniveling, political puppet over the edge. He thought the police were only days away from his arrest. I tried to reason with him but he wouldn’t listen. He was panicking – I had no choice.”
 
“And set me up to take the fall. Not this time. You can go to hell!” Danny shouted.
 
The man took another step toward Danny.
 
I can’t say what would have happened then because it was obvious Danny wasn’t going to be intimidated or step back even from a murderer. The wail of a siren pierced the silence at that moment shattering the atmosphere like a glass window imploding on impact. As I knelt there in the setting sun, I looked down at Dorothy whose breathing had settle and for the first time in weeks I felt my shoulders ease up.
 
In spite of the police’s imminent arrival, Danny’s posture remained rigid as if he wanted a reason to let his fists do some talking.
 
“I’m sure that detective was following me when I left the courthouse this morning. No doubt he’s on his way.”
 
I turned back to Dorothy and whispered low enough only she could hear.
 
“How did you know?”
 
“I always found it strange that my earring was in Damian’s hand. Who would do that? What would be the point? When I remembered Jennifer was wearing gloves that night, I realized, like those gloves, my earring could have been used to incriminate me. But only by someone who knew it was mine. No man other than you would have recognized it. Yet it was Jennifer who complimented me on them earlier that evening. I was quite lucky you retrieved it.”
 
I noticed it was increasingly difficult for him to speak.
 
“We should get you to a hospital.”
 
“You might want to check out one yourself. You’re bleeding.”
 
I looked over my shoulder to where Danny pointed. Of course, now that he mentioned it, pain flared up. Dorothy pulled me around to look at it even as I tried to get her to settle back down.
 
“Seth, you’ve been stabbed!”
 
 
Negotiations for Japan’s surrender took less time than the police needed to sort out our stories. Particularly Danny who violated his bail by leaving the city. He came looking for Michael and found us just when everything went to hell.
 
My stab wound was more of a gash from Jennifer’s attack with one of the kitchen knives. Despite the amount of blood it only needed a few stitches. Some dames just can’t be trusted with your back to them. Damian found that out the hard way.
 
Detective Cavanaugh was less than impressed by Dorothy’s play to discover the truth but seemed relieved when the doctor declared her throat would not suffer lasting damage.
 
“What I don’t understand is why Mrs. Rutherford killed your friend in the first place.”
 
I wasn’t prepared to provide the truth of Damian’s affair with the senator yet didn’t have an easy lie. As smooth as ever Dorothy did, “Blackmail. Damian had a habit of it and must have had something on the senator. When Jennifer overheard them arguing, she reacted to the threat. She’s ... unstable.”
 
“Sounds like you had this figured out last night. Care to tell me why you couldn’t share that story with me, Miss James?”
 
The detective almost sounded hurt. The thing was I could understand why his feathers were ruffled.
 
“She didn’t exactly tell me either.”
 
“If I told you, would you have gone through with it?”
 
I could see her point, “No. Given what happened, I would have been right to stop you.”
 
“And Danny would still be under arrest. My story was all just a guess. We needed one of them to confess.”
 
Detective Cavanaugh sighed, “Next time, let the police handle it. That’s our job. You got very lucky, Miss James.”
 
Dorothy smiled looking at me, “Yes, I did at that.”
 

So one more chapter to wrap it up and we're done.

Copyright © 2017 Natasha Chesterbrook; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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I agree with Jeff! Um, two things: Danny didn't call her David at the precinct? He certainly can't bring himself to say "sister" or "Dorothy." And the doctor didn't notice the Adam's apple? :0)

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Loved this chapter, Natasha! :)

 

Dorothy is one smart girl! Jennifer did practically confess though, didn't she? When they were all in the kitchen, but then Mike came in and tried to protect her...I pretty much thought she confessed to killing Damien.

 

I'm really going to be sorry when this is over. :(

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