Episode 3-3: Tarnished Pearl

Previously:

  • Quinn visited Pearl and told her the truth about Megan’s death.
  • Pearl told Quinn she wasn’t ready to make love due to her pregnancy.
  • Megan visited Damien who showed her the engagement ring and she also revealed the real truth about her death, which prompted Damien to ignore his family and propose to Pearl.
  • Jude’s mother told him how she remembered he and Quinn—and that she feels Christoph will return for them.

Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, early evening

Duncan Tyler lay still in the bed, tubes hooked up to his body and his head completely wrapped in a white bandage. A heart monitor beeped every few seconds. If it wasn’t for the continuous sound of the monitor, one would think he was a corpse.

Two people stood above Duncan. One was a woman that appeared to be in her fifties. She had dark curly brown hair with a slim figure. She had a small nose and tight-lipped mouth, similar to Duncan. A look of steel was on her attractive face. Next to her was a handsome man in his early sixties, with short gray hair and a pointy chin.  He had a hand on his wife’s shoulder, his face full of despair.

The door to Duncan’s hospital room opened. The couple turned around to see a doctor in a long white lab coat, with two men in dark suits looking grimly behind her.

“Mr. and Mrs. Tyler, this is Detective Morgan and Detective Elliott. They’re investigators from Lewiston who’ve been assigned to your son’s case. They’d like to ask you a few questions.” The doctor turned to the two men. “I would advise you try to make this brief as possible, given the situation,” she gently warned.

“Of course, it will only take a few minutes,” Morgan responded quietly but firmly.

The doctor nodded and left the room. Morgan approached the couple. “Mr. and Mrs. Tyler,” I won’t keep you. I know you would rather be with your son.”

“This won’t take long at all Detective,” Mrs. Tyler said coldly. “I know who tried to kill my son.”

“Amelia, don’t. You shouldn’t throw around baseless accusations,” her husband scolded. “She couldn’t have possibly—“

“Don’t take up for her Sheldon!” she replied harshly, her voice fraught with tension.

“Mrs. Tyler, who do you think tried to murder your son?” Detective Elliot asked, somewhat astonished.

Without skipping a beat, Amelia Tyler answered, as calm as the eye of a hurricane. “My ex-daughter-in-law, Pearl Tyler.”

 ******************************

 The Lawrence Farm

Pearl Tyler and Quinn Nightshade were sitting on the living room couch, listening to the radio, after having tea in the kitchen. The big band station was on, playing a romantic instrumental ballad. Pearl closed her eyes and leaned back.

“Sometimes I imagine what it would have been like to go dancing back then, with the live band. I’m sure it was a lot of fun,” she said dreamily.

Quinn took the opportunity to cuddle even closer, pulling Pearl into his arms. “I don’t want to relive the past. I want to live in the present, with you,” he lovingly told her. Pearl gazed at him and he gave her another one of his passionate kisses. She wriggled herself out of his arms and stood up, smoothing her pastel pink shirtdress, another gift from Iva. “Gene, Iva and Sadie should be home soon. You should go,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Why do you want to be rid of me?” Quinn asked dejectedly, a trace of hurt in his voice. “You told me you didn’t want to make love and since then I haven’t pressured you. You’re acting like you’re scared of me for some reason and I don’t like it at all.” He stood up and placed his hands softly on her shoulders, beginning to rub them.

“It’s not that Quinn,” Pearl sighed. She turned around to face him. He took her back into his arms and she looked down at his chest.

“Then what is it sweetheart?”

Her face rose up to meet his. He could see the doubt in her eyes. He was afraid of what she would say.

Pearl fixed her gaze on Quinn. “Duncan was almost beaten to death last night, and I want to know if you were the one that did it.”

 ********************************

Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center

“Amelia, you don’t know what you’re saying. “Pearl didn’t try to kill Duncan,” Sheldon Tyler argued. He looked at his wife incredulously. “You’re just saying that because you don’t like her.”

“I know she did this Sheldon, I know it!” Amelia insisted tearfully. She wiped the salty drops from her eyes and tried to maintain her composure.

“Mrs. Tyler,” Detective Elliott cautiously began, “do you have concrete proof that your ex-daughter-in-law committed this crime, or are you making this accusation with your emotions?”

The steely look returned on her face. “Who else could it be? She hates him. She hates him for divorcing her because he didn’t love her anymore.”

“Pearl moved hundreds of miles away after the divorce Amelia,” Sheldon quickly reminded her. “She wanted nothing to do with our son.”

Amelia whirled around to challenge her husband. “Why are you defending her? She hates our son!”

“Have you forgotten Pearl is pregnant? She’s carrying Duncan’s child—our grandchild. Despite what we may think of her, she’s not a cold-blooded murderer,” Sheldon insisted.

Amelia went back to the detectives. “Detectives, Duncan came to Maine to get Pearl back after finding out where she moved to. God only knows what was going through his mind, wanting to reunite—I told him it was a mistake—but he was determined to bring her back home and give their marriage another shot. Before he died, he told me that he spoke to Pearl but she hung up on him. She must have come to his hotel room afterwards and beat him senseless!” Amelia started to sob, and Sheldon put comforting arms around his wife.

“Detectives, please forgive Amelia. She’s trying to make sense of this nightmare. But I know Pearl couldn’t do this. Yes, we really didn’t care for her after Duncan started to date her and we weren’t happy that he married her, but she’s not a violent person and she’s pregnant. She wouldn’t risk the life of their baby.”

“Mr. Tyler, if I may ask, why don’t you and your wife like Pearl?” Detective Morgan inquired in a businesslike manor.

As his wife continued to sniffle in his arms, Sheldon spoke. “Duncan is our only child and we’re very protective of him. We wanted the best for him. We didn’t think Pearl was right for him. She came from a working class family and well…” His voice trailed off in a bit of embarrassment.

The two detectives exchanged glances. “Mr. Tyler, if I may be blunt, coming from a working class family isn’t a very good reason to dislike someone. Did Pearl do anything during the marriage that raised any red flags?” Detective Elliot asked.

“No, not really. She didn’t talk to us much after the wedding—I guess she realized how we felt about her,” Sheldon answered, his voice contrite and somewhat sad.

Amelia, now composed again, extracted herself from her husband and looked at the detectives with a stony glare. “She was always trying to isolate Duncan from us. She was always telling him how horrible we were…she tried to poison his mind! That’s why he got tired of her and found someone else.”

“Someone else?” Detective Morgan’s interest was peaked. “You mean an affair?”

Amelia didn’t answer, but Sheldon did. “Yes. Duncan began a relationship with a young woman he met while conducting business. This woman was a secretary for a company he was working with. She was younger and prettier and said all the things he wanted to hear. Unfortunately, Pearl found out she was pregnant the same time she learned of the affair and filed for divorce.” Sheldon looked down at the floor, the same forlorn expression on his face as earlier, then looked up again at the detectives. “Pearl and Duncan had been trying to conceive for some time and when it finally happened…everything fell apart.”

“What about this woman he was seeing? There may be a chance that she might have easily come to Maine and confronted your son about ending their affair to return to his ex-wife,” Detective Elliott evenly replied.

“There’s no way Bridget could have done this. She comes from a respectable family. I know her parents—they’re wonderful people who donate a lot to charity. She wouldn’t do something so brutal and barbaric. No, this has Pearl’s handiwork all over it,” Amelia countered.

Detective Elliot sighed. Okay Mrs. Tyler. We’ll question Pearl. Can you tell me where she is?”

“Duncan told me she was staying in this nothing town called Haven with a family called the Lawrences,” Amelia answered, her tone haughty.

“I know where Haven is. We’ll check it out,” Detective Elliott said, trying to appease her. He exchanged another glance with his partner. Both men knew this case wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.

 *****************************

The Lawrence Farm

“What? Duncan was almost killed last night?” Quinn was in total shock. “How did you find out?”

“It doesn’t matter how I found out, what matters is, were you the one that did it?” Pearl pressured.

He shook his head vehemently. “Absolutely not! Why in the hell would I want to kill him?”

“He was plotting to take me back to Lancaster and I know you would have done anything to stop it. You even paid a visit to his hotel room and told him to stay away from me.” As the color drained from Quinn’s face, Pearl went on. “I know this because he called me and told me.”

Quinn shook his head again. “I’ve done a lot of things in my lifetime Pearl, but attempting to murder you ex isn’t one of them.” He frantically rubbed his head and sighed. “How was he attacked?”

“Why on earth do you want to know?” Pearl asked, her voice rising with alarm.

Quinn’s handsome face turned sober to the point that a chill ran down Pearl’s spine, different to the chill she experienced when she saw him coming towards her on the porch earlier that day.

“If I were going to kill Duncan, you know how I would do it. You know what I am. His blood would be completely drained out of his body. Now unless there’s another half-vampire loose in Maine besides Jude and I, and Jude hasn’t tasted blood since the day he was born, I did not try to murder your ex-husband.” He stared at her with ferocious intensity.

Pearl was silent as she thought over Quinn’s reply. As morbid as it was, it made sense. “You’re right,” she said, in defeat. “Duncan was beaten with what the police believe was a pipe or a two-by-four. Why would a half-human vampire feel the need to use a weapon like that when they’ve got fangs?” She laughed in spite of herself. “Oh God, I still can’t believe you really exist.” She sat down, shaking her head incredulously.

Quinn sat beside her. He took her right hand in his and squeezed it with affection. “I do admit there was a time I would have killed him, but Jude made me realize how stupid that decision would have been.” He smiled weakly. “We may fight like alley cats sometimes, but he’s always there to keep me grounded. Well, as grounded as I want to be.”

He pressed his cheek against hers and closed his eyes. “Do you want to know where I was the night of the murder my dear?

“You weren’t home? Pearl asked.

“No. After I left you and I fought with Megan, the only thing I could think of doing was just getting away from here, to clear my head. I didn’t even tell Jude where I was going. Anyway, there’s a place on the outskirts of Haven, right before you get to Bigelow, and it’s deep in the woods. There’s a river which leads to a waterfall, and there’s an abandoned mill that was turned into a house a long time ago. Not too many people know about this place.”

“You stayed there, during that awful storm?” Pearl inquired, wrinkling her nose in disbelief.

“The house may be abandoned but it’s not a dump. Jude and Mother and I would go there to get away, to escape from the world sometimes. It became our little home away from home, our little haven away from Haven if you will. When I go there, I just listen to the water and the crickets and my problems just disappear.”

He grinned. “Besides, a pipe or a two-by-four is not my style. It’s animalistic and common if you think about it….” A devious gleam suddenly appeared in his eyes and he began to chuckle.

Pearl, on the other hand, was not amused. “I don’t find any of that funny.”

Quinn squeezed her hand again. “I’m not talking about Duncan. I’m talking about who may have really tried to kill him.”

“Well Quinn, if you didn’t, who did?” Pearl asked him.

He chuckled again. “Easy. Damien.”

“You’ve got to be kidding. Damien wouldn’t beat someone senseless like that,” Pearl argued.

“Sure he would. Like I said, it’s animalistic and it’s common and that describes Damien to a T.” Quinn leaned back with a smug expression on his face.

Pearl was not convinced. “I don’t buy that for a second. Damien is none of those things.” She stood up again, walking over to the living room windows. “Besides, if he wanted to kill Duncan, he would have done it Wednesday night when the moon was full and he was a werewolf, just as you would have drained his blood as a half-vampire.” She turned around and glared at Quinn. He went after him you know, that night. But all he did was scare him. He doesn’t set out to purposefully kill humans. You’re just jealous.”

Quinn got off the couch and went to Pearl, placing his hands on her shoulders and rubbing them slowly, methodically and sensuously. “I am a bit jealous. He was the one that found you after your accident and cared for you. He got to spend time with you that I could only dream about.” He stood there and gazed at her, a wistful look spreading across his face.

Pearl’s expression softened. “You’re just trying to flatter me Nightshade,” she said playfully.

Quinn grinned and leaned in closer. “I certainly hope it’s working angel. I don’t want us to fight like this. I’m sorry for getting you upset.” He brought her into his arms and kissed her. Pearl relaxed her stance and wrapped her arms around his waist, grateful that he was being honest with her. But a tiny prickle began to form in the back of her mind about whether Damien’s insistence that he didn’t go after people while he was a werewolf was really true…

 **********************************

The parking lot of Willa’s Family Restaurant, Bigelow

Gene and Iva Lawrence, along with their niece Sadie Todd and new found friend Micah Johnson, were laughing and joking while leaving the restaurant. Each was satisfied after eating a delicious home style cooked meal.

“That pot roast was just as tasty as Gran’s jerk chicken casserole,” Micah said with hearty approval. “It’s almost making me forget about my car.” Earlier in the day, Micah got the bad news that his car had been totaled in the accident back in Haven and beyond repair. “I’ll have to book a bus trip to Boston if I want to attend the conference with Gran.”

Just then, Micah’s cell phone rang. “It’s Gran,” he said confidently. He took the tiny red instrument out of his jacket pocket and answered it. “Hi Gran,” he said.

Gene, Iva and Sadie watched him speak to his grandmother. “Yeah, the car’s totaled…I have to try to catch a bus to Boston…What? You don’t want me to come? Why?”

The three exchanged worried glances as the conversation continued. “You can’t be serious! How did you know about Sadie…nevermind…your psychic powers.” He laughed. “Okay Gran, I will talk to you later in private…yes…that’s right. Okay, I love you. ‘Bye.” He hung up the phone and slipped it back into his pocket and met the extremely curious gazes of his friends.

“I know what you’re thinking, and you’re all right. Gran got a vision of Sadie and apparently she feels that I should stick around in Haven for a while.” He smiled at her and her face instantly turned red.

“Oh my God, I’m so embarrassed!” she cried. Iva put a comforting arm around her.

“Sadie, I know this is probably the wrong time for this, but Gran believes I should ask you out on a date, so that’s what I’m doing, With Gene and Iva’s permission of course,” he added quickly.” He looked at the couple for approval.

Sadie composed herself and approached him. “I don’t need their approval. Where should we go?” she asked with a flirtatious smile.

“Oh Good Lord, here we go,” Gene told his wife, but he was smiling too. Iva could only giggle.

“You’re the one that lives here. Pick a place,” Micah replied just as flirtatiously.

“We could go to this diner in Lewiston, across from the hospital there that has the best burgers in Maine,” Sadie cheerfully responded. Trust me.” Then after hearing herself say Lewiston, she sighed and slapped her forehead. “Darn—I forgot that I promised Pearl I would take her to the hospital to visit her ex-husband. Maybe another time?” She gave him an apologetic glance.

“Hey, don’t worry, it’s no problem. I know how important that is,” he said, having heard of what happened to Duncan Tyler during the car ride to Bigelow.

Sadie smiled warmly. “Thanks for being understanding.”

“I hate to interrupt, but it’s starting to get chilly and it’s getting dark now, we should be getting home,” Iva spoke. “Micah, you can stay with us as long as you need to…but if there’s going to be any hanky-panky, I want to know about it first.” She gave Sadie and Micah a knowing look. Sadie’s face turned red again, as did Micah’s. Iva giggled again and went over to them, placing a hand on each of their shoulders. “I’m sorry. Come on you two, let’s get going. I’ll fix us some cocoa.”

 ***************************

The Lawrence Farm, later in the evening

Quinn had already left for the night, after another passionate kiss and a declaration of love. Gene, Iva, Sadie and Micah were relaxing in the den. Pearl was laying on the couch in the living room, still listening to the big band music on the radio and finishing up The Hound of the Baskervilles. It was promising to be a quiet late October night. Then the doorbell rang…

Just as Pearl was getting up, Gene was in the living room and heading for the door. “I’ve got it Pearl. I wonder who could be paying us a visit at this time of night?”

“It may be the police, about Duncan,” Pearl surmised.

How right she was. Gene opened the door and saw two men on the porch. They each flashed their badges and introduced themselves. Gene moved to let them in. The two detectives entered, and upon seeing Pearl, knew who they were looking for. “Are you Pearl Tyler,” one of them asked.

Growing apprehensive, Pearl nodded. “Are you here to talk about Duncan’s attack?” she asked.

The two calmly approached her. “We need to ask you some questions,” the other told her in a serious tone.

“Of course. May I sit down? After five months of carrying this little one around, I’m still not used to her.” She smiled and patted her swollen stomach.

“Yes, get comfortable. We could be here awhile,” one of the detectives said.

Pearl’s face turned a little gray and Gene hurried over to her. “What’s this all about gentlemen? Please don’t tell me you suspect Pearl had anything to do with her ex-husband’s horrible attack,” he said in a gentle yet defensive tone.

Iva, Sadie and Micah had entered the living room after hearing voices. Gene saw them and motioned for them to be quiet. The three stood by the windows, still.

The two men looked directly at Gene for a moment before one of them spoke. “That’s exactly why we’re here sir. I’m Detective Jim Morgan and this is my partner Dennis Elliott. We’re here to question—and possibly dismiss—Mrs. Tyler about the possibility she might have attempted to kill her husband.”

Coming up:

  • Pearl goes to the hospital to visit Duncan and gives her former in-laws an earful about accusing her of attempted murder.
  •  Quinn and Damien accuse each other of attacking Duncan and warn each other to stay away from Pearl; Damien shows him the engagement ring.
  •  Megan visits Jude, who tells her he supports his brother in his quest to win Pearl’s heart, and advises her to return to her grave and leave his brother alone.
  •  Bridget Walsh arrives in Maine after Duncan’s parents tell her where he’s at.
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