Strolling along the side of a bridge, Ellen Sinclair couldn’t get the images from what she saw when she played the USB drive out of her mind. Being at home seemed stifling to her, so she decided to go for a walk, though it was dark and chilly.
She had finally resolved to give the USB drive to Douglas Frost. As she stands there on the bridge, she opens her phone and dials his number.
And rings with no answer.
So she sends him a text.
Meanwhile, during this time, Douglas is in the shower when his phone lights up with a message:
I saw what’s on the USB. I know why they died.
She slowly walks up a street that leads to her home. She lifts her cell phone to see he hasn’t responded to her message.
She walks around the corner, right by a car that has been sitting there for quite some time. She also doesn’t see the car turn around and slowly follow her. As she takes a smaller side street, the vehicle drives on past her.
Ellen walks along a fence, unaware that someone has started to follow her.
Ellen comes to an opening in the fence, turns, and begins a descent down another pathway as the person continues to follow her.
An eerie feeling crosses over her as she suddenly turns to look back, seeing the man following her now, so she speeds up in a run.
The man begins to run after her, then suddenly he stops.
He turns off in another direction.
After a moment, Ellen turns around and sees that she’s lost him when suddenly, she’s tackled from the side and taken down.
Douglas has finished his shower. He steps into the room and looks at his phone, seeing the missed calls and a text from Ellen Sinclair.
I saw what’s on the USB. I know why they died.
He immediately tries to call her.
Someone is driving on the freeway.
Next to his seat, a cell phone lights up with the Caller ID of “Trash.”
In the back seat, Ellen Sinclair has been tied and gagged. Her eyes slowly open, and she tries to figure out what happened to her.
Douglas calls again and begins to look concerned when she doesn’t answer.
The car pulls over to the side of a bridge, and the driver picks up the phone.
He rolls down the passenger side window.
He throws the phone out of the window, rolls the window back up, and then pulls back out onto the bridge.
The phone slowly sinks into the river as the screen lights up again as Douglas tries calling once more.
Douglas is driving when he puts Carlos on his speakerphone. “Yes, the same Ellen Sinclair from the trial. I need you to track her phone. Find out where she is.
A bit later, Douglas is in Ellen’s home searching through her bedroom. He is pulling books from the shelves, opening and emptying drawers, and digging through her desk.
After checking all of those places, he sits down at her desk and just looks around the room.
I saw what’s on the USB. I know why they died.
The words ring in his head.
He flips open her laptop and turns it on. He starts to dig into her hard drive when an older woman walks in, “My granddaughter is okay, isn’t she?” she asks him.
He doesn’t answer it directly but instead asks, “Didn’t you say she left after getting a call from her manager?”
The woman nods, “Yes. She said he was waiting outside.”
“Do you have his number?” he asks.
As Douglas leaves the house empty-handed, he dials the number she gave him but is sent directly to voicemail. As he hangs up, his phone starts ringing.
“What do you have, Carlos?”
A while later, Douglas is walking the bridge that Ellen was on earlier. He stops when he spots a camera when he hears a voice, “Mr. Frost!”
Carlos finally catches up to him, “What’s going on in the middle of the night?”
Douglas points up to the video camera, “Can you give me a list of all the vehicles that have passed here in the past four hours?”
Confused, Carlos just nods. “Sure. But do you know what happened to her?”
Douglas shakes his head, “I’m not sure yet. But, do me a favor and check on her tomorrow and see if she made it home or not.”
The next day, Stephen Spinet and a young man sit in an interrogation room with Paul and Sue Ann sitting across from them.
“Are you just fucking stupid?” Paul asks the young man. “Why would you think we would ever let you run over a prosecutor?”
“I was just doing what I was told,” he says, looking over at Spinet.
“Was it Dante Schumer who asked you to do that?” she’s not looking at the young man when she asks. She’s looking at Stephen Spinet.
No one says anything.
She slides a notepad to the young man. “Write it all down.”
Back at Spinet Entertainment, Stephen drops onto his couch and rubs his face as Tenta sits across from him on another sofa.
“That crazy bitch was about to put my ass in jail over this,” Spinet says. He looks up at Tenta, “I’m dying here. Schumer cannot treat me this way. I’m doing everything he wants, and he’s going to sit back and pretend not to know a damn thing.”
Tenta just stares at the man, not saying a word.
“What I mean to say is,” Spinet starts to say when suddenly Douglas Frost walks into the office. He’s surprised at first to see Tenta there, knowing that Tenta is Dante’s muscle. Then he slowly walks over. Stephen looks up at him, “How can I help you?”
Slowly, Douglas shoves his hands into his pocket, then asks, “Where’s Ellen Sinclair?”
“Pardon?” asks Spinet.
“You met with her yesterday, so where the fuck is Ellen Sinclair?” he asks again, getting agitated.
Spinet doesn’t seem to have a clue why Frost is asking about Sinclair, “She’s probably at home.”
Douglas shakes his head and takes a step closer to Spinet, “After going out to meet you, she never came home.”
Spinet’s turns his head slowly from looking at Douglas to look at Tenta.
Tenta sits there stoically.
Peeking around the corner, Todd has heard part of this conversation. He slowly turns around and leaves unseen by the others.
“Did you kill her?” Douglas asks bluntly.
There’s a long pause of silence as Stephen is trying to make sense of all this. “What are you doing barging into my office?”
“I’ll call the cops,” says Stephen.
Douglas shrugs with a cocky smirk on his face, “Go right ahead.” He suddenly lashes out, kicking the couch that Stephen is sitting on and clenching his fists, “Did you fucking kill her?” he asks again. “I heard you recently lost an actress who was murdered. Did you kill Ellen the same way?”
Stephen sighs deeply, placing his head in his hands, “Goddamn it! Why is this shit happening to me?”
Tenta rises from his seat and nods to Douglas before starting to walk away.
“Whoever took her needs to bring her back immediately, or I’m going to start causing a hell of a lot of trouble.” He says this loud enough for Tenta to hear. Douglas turns to look at the bodyguard, “Where is Dante?”
Tenta pauses in his step and slowly turns around, “He is at home.” When Douglas doesn’t ask anything further, Tenta walks out.
“He’s looking for Ellen Sinclair?” asks Dante, who is sitting in his office at Schumer Construction.
Tenta is standing in front of his desk, “Yes, sir. He showed up at Spinet Entertainment while I was there.”
Dante nods his head, deep in thought.
Tenta realizes he’s no longer needed and walks away as Dante pulls open a desk drawer laced with different makes and models of cell phones. He reaches in and pulls out one in particular, and dials it.
When someone answers, he asks, “What happened?”
Douglas sits in his car on the street that Ellen lives on. He is trying to connect the meeting between Sinclair, Dante, and Stephen Spinet, and Tenta being at Spinet Entertainment. It cannot be a coincidence.
His phone rings, “What’s up, Carlos?”
“I checked all the cameras on the bridge. There was one suspicious car. It stopped on the bridge at the exact time her phone stopped working.”
“I’m on my way,” says Douglas as he sets his phone down and pulls out onto the street.
A little while later, he’s walking on the same portion of the bridge the car stopped from last night.
Carlos is on the phone, “Looking for a car with that license plate. It’s a black car. It stopped here at around 1:44 am. That’s the one. I see. Thank you.”
Carlos goes to meet Douglas, but Douglas already knows. “It was stolen.”
“So, can we check a few other cameras in the area and find out where that car went?”
Carlos nods, “Sure. The phone’s last location was the Duwamish River,” he says, pointing at the body of water underneath the bridge. “Where she was taken from here, that’s what we’re going to have to find out.”
“Carlos. Speak to Ellen Sinclair’s grandmother and show her how to fill out a missing person report with the police. Maybe with police involvement, we can put a little pressure on whoever took her.”
However, Tenta is sitting in a car, watching them closely. He’s close enough to see them but not close enough to have any attention drawn to him.
Tenta walks into Dante’s office, “Douglas Frost is actively investigating her disappearance. He’s all over the bridge over Duwamish River.”
Dante nods his head as he stares out the window.
Tenta asks, “What will you do with her?”
“I’ll take care of it,” says Dante. “She knows too much to cut her loose now.”
Someone is poking around Ellen’s bedroom. Whoever it is, they are cautious as they have gloves on. It doesn’t take them long to find what they want as they remove some diaries from her bookshelf and leave.
A police officer is trying hard to communicate with Ellen Sinclair’s grandmother, “Ma’am, you are in the wrong place. You need to go to Missing Persons. This is Violent Crimes.”
Grandmother doesn’t seem to care, “She left home, saying she was meeting someone, but she never returned. We live in this district, so you need to take a report.”
The cop sighs.
“She works for Spinner or Spinich or something Entertainment company,” the woman continues to try and get the cop to help her do something.
Paul Young is doing some research on his new laptop when he overhears the conversation, and he gets up from his seat.
“They have a lot of people on the TV,” she continues.
Young walks over and leans down to the woman, “Ma’am, did you say your granddaughter is with Spinet Entertainment?”
Excitedly, the woman cries out, “That’s the one! Yes!”
“What’s her name?” Young asks.
Young turns to the frustrated cop, “I’ll handle this.” The cop is more than happy as Paul turns back to the woman, “Can you follow me?”
As he escorts the woman to his desk, he picks up his phone and dials Sue Ann.
Meanwhile, paying very close attention to what’s going on is Officer Bryant.
Paul Young and Sue Ann Clark walk into Ellen Sinclair’s bedroom and begin to look around.
Sue Ann immediately notices the new clothing that was still in shopping bags in the corner of the room.
She walks over to the bookshelf that has attracted her attention. She pulls one of the diaries from the shelf and begins to look through it. She places it back and then notices there are diaries for each year going back many, many years.
“Detective Young,” she says. “I found Ellen’s diaries. However, the ones for 2013 and 2020 are missing.”
“2013?” he asks. “Seven years ago?”
“I wonder if she had written something about the murder from seven years ago in that diary?” Sue Ann asks. She grabs the rest of the diaries, “Let me take these back and go through them. Perhaps there’s something in there we can use.”
Young nods, “According to the grandmother, the last person she was to meet was Stephen Spinet. We should track him down too.”
“You all are driving me crazy!” screams Spinet as he finds himself once again with Young and Clark as guests at his office. “Yes, I met with Ellen Sinclair. It was for work. You know what work is, right?”
“Stop lying and tell us what happened to her,” asks Young.
“Come on!” Spinet sighs, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
Sue Ann seems to be thinking of something else as she turns to him, “When they first come in here, they must be all wide-eyed and innocent—wanting fame and fortune. They want to see their name in lights and on posters and billboards. What do you do to them that changes that?”
Spinet has no idea what she’s talking about, “What?”
“Where is Ellen Sinclair?” she asks. “I don’t care what you do when we leave, but get her home. Immediately.”
Stephen stands up, “You think I don’t want her to come home safely? If she doesn’t work, I don’t get paid. You need to find her!”
Sue Ann doesn’t respond to that as she stares at Ellen’s publicity picture on the wall.
Stephen lowers himself into his chair again and lowers his voice, “Listen. I don’t know what you know about Ellen, but she’s not a nice girl. She stole my corporate credit card, bought a bunch of expensive clothing. She probably ran away because she didn’t want to go to jail.”
Sue Ann leans forward, “Why would a girl who stole your card to buy nice clothing disappear and leave those same clothes behind?” She remembers seeing the clothing in Ellen’s bedroom. “Mr. Spinet. Do you think we are playing police here?”
“You have a dashcam in your car. I saw it when I walked by it in the garage. I want to see the footage,” she says.
Spinet looks up at her, but he doesn’t move from his seat.
Sue Ann stands up and walks out of the office as Spinet watches her leave.
“You might want to follow her,” says Young. “She means to get that footage one way or another. If you value your car, it might be better if you get it for her.”
Spinet looks at Young, who looks deadly serious. “That crazy bitch,” Spinet mutters as he gets up and rushes out of the room. As he climbs down the steps into the parking garage, Sue Ann is in her car. She guns the engine and then drives forward, straight at Spinet’s car.
“The fuck?” Spinet says as he charges to get in between her car and his car as she slams on her brakes, “What are you doing?” he screams at her.
She smiles at him.
Young steps down into the garage, “I like her style,” he says with a grin as he walks over to Spinet, “If there’s an accident, you have to hand over the footage, so I suggest you give it to her before she causes an accident.”
Spinet looks between Young and Clark. She revs the engine again.
“Motherfuck–” Spinet starts to say, then drops it and walks over and gets into his car.
Sue Ann chuckles on her breath, “Works every time,” as she gets out of the car. Spinet walks over and places the SD card into her hand. She looks at him, “Make sure she gets home safely, or you’ll regret it.”
Sue Ann and Paul get back into her car as Spinet yells, “I don’t know anything about that! You bring her back to me! Do your fucking job!”
As they are driving back, Young asks, “We need Spinet to get Schumer. Did we jump the gun?”
Sue Ann stares ahead as she drives, “If we don’t act fast, something bad could happen to Ellen Sinclair. There’ve already been two murders. I feel like we don’t have long on this one.”
Young’s phone rings. “Yes? Okay, send it over.” He looks at Sue Ann, “Ellen’s cellphone history is being sent to my phone.” His phone chimes, “This is odd.”
“What?” Sue Ann asks.
“Just before she went missing, she sent a message to Douglas Frost, the lawyer.”
That took Sue Ann by surprise.
Sue Ann marches right into Douglas’s office and stalks right up to his desk.
“Tell me more about this message that Ellen Sinclair sent you before she went missing. What USB? What did she mean when she said she knows why they died?”
Douglas doesn’t look up from his paperwork, “I don’t know. I tried to call her back, and she didn’t answer.”
“Why would she even send you a message like that?”
“I honestly don’t know.”
Sue Ann is appalled at Douglas’s casual tone in light of the situation. “You realize that if we don’t quickly find her, she may die. If you know something, you need to tell me now.”
Douglas still doesn’t look her in the face, “If you’re done, I have work to do.”
Sue Ann just stares at him, speechless. She starts to turn away, then pauses as if she will say something, but she doesn’t. She finally turns all the way around and leaves his office.
Douglas watches her leave, then sighs. He picks up a pen from his desk and throws it across the room before leaning back in his chair and sighing almost painfully.
As Sue Ann walks out of his building, her phone begins to ring. “Dad?” As she continues the conversation with her father on the phone, someone watches her from a distance.
As he has been known to do, Dante is standing in his office looking out the window when Tenta walks into the room.
“Sue Ann Clark went to Douglas Frost’s office.”
Dante nods his head, “I wonder what exactly they had to talk about.” He lifts his cell phone and dials Douglas’s number.
At home, Douglas stands at his counter and looks down at the phone as it rings with the Caller ID for Dante on the screen. After it rings for a few seconds, he reaches down and declines the call.
It’s very dark outside as Dante stands with someone next to him. We can only see them from the back, so it’s hard to determine the second man’s identity.
“Don’t you dare decide that by yourself again. I saved you once. I cannot promise to do it again,” Dante tells the man.
“I understand,” comes the response.
Dante turns his head to look at the man, “Is she alright? Do not make any mistakes. Make sure there are no problems. That’s your job.”
“I don’t want to do this anymore,” says the man. “I won’t lie, it’s pretty boring.”
Dante shakes his head, “Hang in there. She will be the last.”
As the man turns to face Dante, we see that it’s Twill, who wasn’t killed at all.
Dante drives off. Twill pulls out his cell phone.
“Dante Schumer just left. He told me something very interesting. He said this girl would be the last.”
Brandon Tanner is looking at a newspaper headline that reads, “Court Battle of Methanol Poisoning, Is Tanner to Blame?”
He stares at it for a while before a smile crosses his face, and he turns around, “Sorry.”
A line of suit-clad men stands behind him. He turns to them, “We will get this all straightened out. There’s no reason to worry.” He begins to walk down the line, “What time is the trial?”
“2 PM” comes the answer.
Brandon nods his head, “You have until then to decide which of you let Douglas Frost look through our files. Five of you will be fired today, so figure it out.”
“Sir…” comes the protest.
“Someone has to take responsibility.” He waves them off, “You can go.”
They all file out of the boardroom as he tosses the newspaper on the floor.
Someone else walks into the room with a folder, “You asked for information on Douglas Frost. Here is the report.” Brandon takes the report and begins to look through it.
As he flips over the front page, he stops and pays special attention to the second page detailing the former romantic relationship between Douglas Frost and Sue Ann Clark.
He flips to the next page, and it reads about his brother’s car accident.
“You have an interesting story to tell, Mr. Frost.”
The court is in session as Douglas Frost gives his opening statement.
“Tanner Electronics works in many different types of devices. However, their primary source of revenue comes from cell phones. In producing these cell phones, Tanner Electronics failed to inform the workers of the dangers of methanol. They failed to inform or provide them with proper protective gear. In addition, Tanner Electronics approached victims who lost their eyesight and made secretive agreements to keep them quiet.”
As Douglas speaks to the jury, Brandon Tanner is seated near the front of the spectators, watching intently.
“I would like to submit these agreements as evidence,” Douglas says, turning to the judge.
Douglas walks over and picks up a binder from his desk, and submits it. As he walks back towards his desk, he makes eye contact with Brandon Tanner.
Tanner suddenly stands, and everyone in his row and the row behind him all stand, making quite a spectacle of leaving the courtroom as they file out.
During recess, Douglas walks to his car. As he gets in, he notices Jewel and Buddy behind him in the rearview. It looks like Buddy has received a call and steps away from Jewel to take it.
He is suddenly reminded of the time Ellen Sinclair approached him after her court case. It was probably the first moment in a very long time that he had a crisis of consciousness. And now, as he stares at Jewel in the rearview, he may be having another.
For the moment, he pushes it away, starts up his car, and drives off.
“Douglas Frost continues to provoke me,” says Brandon Tanner. “It also seems as if you aren’t going to do anything about it.”
Tanner is standing, leaning against his desk as he looks at Dante Schumer, sitting stoically on a chair.
“He’s suspicious of the fact that I want him to end this lawsuit. He’s suspicious of my relationship with you. I decided it would be best to pretend as if I’m going along with his plan,” says Dante, who looks forward, not to the side where Brandon is staring at him.
“I don’t get it,” says Brandon as he walks towards Dante. “You keep letting him get the upper hand here.” Soon Brandon is standing directly in front of Dante. “If he continues to annoy me, I’m just going to have to kill him. You know that, right?”
That gets Dante’s attention as his eyes draw up to the CEO.
Brandon takes a seat across from Dante and slides a binder onto the coffee table between them.
Dante reaches for the binder. Leaving it on the coffee table, he just flips it open, and the first thing he sees are pictures of Sue Ann Clark, along with pictures of Justin Frost’s accident.
Brandon laughs. “I could kill him just like his brother was killed seven years ago. Now, you kept this a secret from me back then. I wonder how Douglas Frost would react if he found out that his beloved Dante Schumer, his friend, and confidant, was the one who killed his brother. I imagine he’d probably kill you with his bare hands.”
Dante makes eye contact with Brandon, “Douglas Frost isn’t the type of guy who would just kill me and end it there. When he finds out who really killed his brother, I believe that you and I would be in the same boat. This is why I’m trying to steer him away from this so that we can get to the end result.”
“Wouldn’t we get to the end result a lot faster if we just pushed him out of the boat?” asks Brandon.
Dante shakes his head, “The prosecution is making moves behind the scenes. Something is going down. They are looking into the death from seven years ago and this most recent case, both directly connected to Spinet. If this isn’t covered up perfectly…”
“Exactly,” interrupts Brandon. “But, I hear there’s someone else missing from Spinet’s group. To be honest, I don’t really care about all of that. Just get this lawsuit dismissed. I don’t care how you do it.”
Dante Schumer is meeting with a couple of politicians at Kam Loon Restaurant. One takes a shot of alcohol and asks, “Things are heating up with Tanner’s methanol case. It’s all over the news.”
The man seems to be a high ranking person in one of the major media outlets. Dante turns to him, “I trust you’ll make the right decision.”
They both laugh and clink their glasses together.
The man gets serious, “We need to get the media behind this. If we can persuade all the major publications in the city to go along with our narrative, then when the verdict is in, no one will question it.”
Dante reaches over and pats the man on the shoulder, “You always have the best ideas, your honor. I will make sure that you are paid for your kindness.” He turns to the other man, “Though, and I hate to do it, but I need to ask you for a favor as well.”
The second man holds up a hand, “Think nothing of it. I know that judge personally. I’ll put in a word.”
Dante nods, “I appreciate your support as well. Your rise among the judges needs to happen sooner than later. I’ll put in a few good words for you as well. See if we can get that ball rolling.”
They all clink their glasses together and take another shot.
“Now that we have all the business out of the way, perhaps it’s time for some fun?”
Dante rises, “I’ll leave you both to it. I have a few more things to take care of before the evening is finished, but please enjoy the rest of the evening.” He rises from his seat, and he leaves by the main door.
Once he’s left, the other two stand, “You heard the man. We should enjoy ourselves tonight.” However, when they go, they use a different exit—one towards the back of the restaurant. The makeshift door is smaller, so much so that the men both have to duck to get through.
Douglas walks into his office, and Carlos immediately approaches, “I don’t think we’re going to find that vehicle. Sue Ann Clark has already requested all the video footage from that area.”
“We’ve got footage from all along the bridge and some of the roadways leading on and off of it,” says Paul as he walks into Sue Ann’s office. “However, I feel like this may not be the best place to be looking through this stuff. You have eyes on you at all times here.”
Sue Ann stands up to meet him, “I know. I already have a crime wall created at my place. You can go there. If you want to go ahead and start looking through the video, that’d be great.”
“I can do that,” Paul says. “What about her call log? Anything there?”
Sue Ann shakes her head, “Just calls to her grandmother and those at her work. The strangest thing about it all is her message to Douglas Frost. It may have something to do with his brother’s murder, but he’s not telling me a damn thing.”
Paul nods, “So, do we know that the cases are related? His brother and the actress.”
Sue Ann shrugs, “I’m not sure, to be honest. They are a day apart, and it could just be a coincidence that a package was delivered to her the day before. If the message that Ellen Sinclair sent to Douglas Frost is true, then there is a connection. We need to find out what.”
Her phone rings, and she looks at the Caller ID. “I have to take this,” she says to Paul as she walks out of the office.
She closes the door behind her and asks into the phone, “What?”
“Yes, I took them.”
“Why should I show them to you?”
Douglas Frost is on the other end of the line, “You want to know about the USB?”
Sue Ann chuckles, “Are we negotiating now?”
Douglas sighs. “Seven years ago, Ellen Sinclair and my brother met.”
That piece of information gets Sue Ann’s attention as she gets a serious expression on her face.
Sue Ann pulls into the parking lot and hurries into Douglas’s building, unaware that the building is being watched by Tenta. After she goes inside, Tenta pulls out his phone and dials.
Inside the office, Douglas shares the video he obtained of Justin and Ellen meeting seven years ago, and then later between Ellen and Twill.
“So, Twill has this USB drive?” Sue Ann asks.
Douglas shakes his head, “I’m not sure. She disappeared right after texting me.”
“So, Justin was delivering this USB to the victim seven years ago, but she died before she received it. But recently, Ellen saw what was on the USB and then disappeared. How did Ellen get the USB drive?” Sue Ann asks.
“I looked into the shipping label, and the address and the name on it were fake. So, it was sent by someone who didn’t want to be identified.”
Sue Ann thinks about it for a moment, “So, I wonder if whoever took her diaries also took the USB drive?”
Douglas looks surprised, “Diaries?”
She looks at him, “Ellen kept annual diaries. The one from seven years ago is missing, as is the one for this year. She must have written something in those diaries about the murders.”
Douglas reflects on it for a moment, then shakes his head, “I don’t think Ellen took the diaries or the USB drive.”
“That’s what I was thinking,” says Sue Ann. “Whoever kidnapped her probably took them.”
Douglas’s cell phone lights up as it rings with Dante’s name on the Caller ID. Douglas looks at it for a moment and then reaches down and declines the call. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Sue Ann.
She watches him for a silent moment and then, as if trying to be very casual about it, asks, “I don’t suppose you found anything suspicious about Dante Schumer while you were looking into this, did you?”
Douglas doesn’t even look at her as he answers, “No.”
Sue Ann sighs and leans back in her chair. The expression on her face seems to indicate that she might not quite believe Douglas, but she doesn’t have much of a choice at this point. She finally says, “The one thing I don’t understand is the motive. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Suddenly, Dante walks into the office, much to the surprise of both Douglas and Sue Ann. Dante tries to play it cool by acting surprised that Sue Ann is there.
Douglas looks up at him, “Hey,” he says as he slowly closes the laptop. Sue Ann kind of rolls her eyes at the intrusion.
“I tried to call, but you didn’t pick up. I was close by, so I thought I’d stop in,” Dante explains.
Douglas picks up his phone and looks at it, “Did you call? I guess I was a little busy and didn’t hear it.” He motions to the couch, “Have a seat.”
Sue Ann reaches for her jacket and starts to pull it on. Dante asks, “Did I interrupt something important?”
Sue Ann asks, “You knew Ellen Sinclair? The victim in the rape case involving that Congressman. She’s suddenly disappeared. Since Mr. Frost was the opposing lawyer for that trial, I thought I’d ask if he’d heard anything.”
Dante gives her a warm smile, “Seems as if you’re working very hard.”
Sue Ann nods. “I’m going to need to find the one responsible. You’ll let me know if you hear anything?”
The warm smile starts to fade as Dante nods, “You bet.”
Sue Ann nods her head, then exits the office as Dante walks over and takes a seat on the couch.
“I didn’t know you two were still close,” he says casually.
Douglas shrugs, “I mean, we’re not strangers.”
Dante turns to look at him, “Stephen Spinet told me you stopped by his office.”
“I was looking for Ellen Sinclair, but she seems to have disappeared.” Douglas leans back in his chair, “I saw your man Tenta there. What was he doing hanging out there?”
“He was there asking about models for the company magazine.”
“Why your driver and not your PR team?”
Dante answers quickly, “Tenta and Spinet are well acquainted.”
Dante doesn’t answer that question.
Douglas nods, “Well, watch yourself. Something is going on over there at Spinet Entertainment. The death of several actresses, A disappearance. But the crazy thing is that none of this has been brought up until now.”
Dante nods, “That’s what concerns me about Sue Ann Clark’s involvement. If she keeps digging, she may end up in danger herself.”
The threat seems to hang heavy in the air.
“But it doesn’t anything to do with us, right?” says Dante with a grin.
Douglas just nods in agreement, though he knows better.
“Seems as if Sue Ann Clark is closing in on Spinet Entertainment,” says Brandon Tanner as he stands in front of that awkward painting. A few feet behind him stands Dante Schumer. “This is getting fascinating, isn’t it?”
“We may have to utilize Twill,” says Dante. “Otherwise, things are going to get tough for us.”
Tanner turns away from the painting to look at Dante, “I guess you’ve failed to find her weakness since Twill is a last resort. Stanley Clark is an old friend of my father’s. I’ve known him since I was a child. But, we never really got along. He never could understand me, but he could see right through me.”
Dante doesn’t seem to like what Tanner is implying here.
Stanley Clark is in his office, reading a news article on the methanol case. He sets the paper aside and pulls out a file from a stack on his desk. Inside are pictures of himself, a young Brandon Tanner, and Tanner’s father. He reflects on something that happened several years ago.
“You must get well, sir,” he says to Tanner Senior, who lies in a hospital bed. “I owe you so much.”
Tanner looks up at him, “I beg you,” he has to pause to cough, “I have no idea what he will do. Please keep an eye on him and take care of him, my friend.”
His thoughts are interrupted by Sue Ann, who has slipped into the room. “Who are they?” she asks, seeing the picture.
Stanley folds up the folder and sets it aside, not answering the question.
“I knocked, but you didn’t answer. What had your attention?” she asks. “Who is that boy in the picture? Are you hiding a half brother from me?” she teases him.
Stanley isn’t in the mood to be teased. He rarely is. “None of your concern,” he says.
She was joking, but now he has her attention. She places some documents on the desk, “Here’s what you asked for earlier.”
“Thank you. You can go home now,” he tells her.
“I just barely got here. You can’t spend ten minutes with your daughter before kicking her out?”
He doesn’t answer, so she turns to leave when he stops her, “Oh right.” He reaches into a drawer and pulls out some files, “I found these old cases where the victims are women in their 20s. Find a common ground on how these cases grew cold.”
Sue Ann grins, “Aww. You were thinking of me. I’m lucky to have you. Goodnight, dad,” she says as she walks out.
He watches her leave and then gets out of his chair and begins to look on a bookshelf. In between two binders, he pulls out a hidden folder labeled, “Spinet Entertainment Murder Case.”
Carlos knocks on Sue Ann’s door, and Young opens it up. “Come on in.”
“Douglas Frost sent me to help you go through the video footage.”
Young nods, “I was told to expect you. We have to have this all finished tonight.”
They each take half of the drives and begin their search.
“You said the diary from seven years ago went missing?” Douglas asks Sue Ann on the phone.
Sue Ann is in her office, “And the one from this year.”
“How many were there in total?”
Sue Ann looks at the stack on her desk, “11 in total, 2 missing.”
“It’s strange that he didn’t take them all. He wouldn’t have known what was in the diaries, so why not just take them all?”
Sue Ann seems confused, “What’s your point?”
“I need you to bring them out to me. I’ll be there shortly,” he says before hanging up on her.
A few moments later, Douglas pulls his car up to the front of the prosecution building, and she walks up and sets a bag in his passenger seat, “What’s the plan?”
“I’ll explain later,” he says as he drives off.
Douglas slams the stack of diaries on the desk of Stephen Spinet.
Stephen looks up at him, “What’s this shit?”
“Ellen Sinclair’s diaries.”
“You brought them to me. Why?”
Douglas scoffs. He picks up the diary on top and opens it up. He holds the open page in front of Spinet, “Read it.”
The entry in question mentions that Spinet made inappropriate contact with an actress, and when she rebuked him, he slapped her.
Spinet takes the book and shakes his head, “She wrote some crazy shit in here, didn’t she?”
“She was very diligent in her writing. She kept daily entries for years,” Douglas says.
Spinet shrugs, “What’s that gotta do with me?”
Douglas explains, “Seven years ago, something happened. Whatever it was, it was written in detail in her diary.”
Stephen lifts his eyes up from the diary.
“What was on the USB?”
That gets Spinet’s attention as he looks up at Douglas. He closes the diary and sets it on the desk but doesn’t answer.
“If the contents of that diary get disclosed, your lives are over,” Douglas says as he leans down over the desk.
Stephen laughs, “You’re bluffing.”
Douglas doesn’t look at all like he’s bluffing. “Are you willing to test me on that? Bring Ellen Sinclair back, or I’ll release the contents of her diaries to the public.”
As soon as Douglas left Stephen’s office, Stephen made a beeline for Dante’s office.
“I even made sure it was her handwriting. Douglas Frost has her diaries,” he explains. “That fucker even asked me about the USB drive.”
At the mention of the USB drive, Dante looks up at Spinet, “What exactly did he say about the USB drive?”
“He said it was because of the USB drive that people were killed. Look, sir, I think he knows everything. You have to help me. He’s going to take me down for this.”
Dante stares up at Spinet, “When you met with Ellen Sinclair that day, she didn’t say anything to you?”
“All I know is that for some reason, she was scared to death. She cried and threw a fit that she wouldn’t go back to the restaurant.” Stephen looks down at Dante, “Do you know where she is?” he asks.
“What are you implying?”
“I’m not implying anything,” Spinet says desperately, “I can’t go down for her being missing. I had nothing to do with it, but Frost said she wrote everything in her diary. I’ll tell everything…”
Suddenly, Tenta slaps Stephen right across the face.
Dante just stares a hole into him as Spinet reaches up and touches his cheek. He turns and walks away, not saying another word.
“What should I do?” asks Tenta.
Dante is silent for a long moment before answering, “We need to find out for sure what he knows.”
Paul and Carlos are going through the video when Carlos leaps up. He rewinds what he’s looking for, “What this?” he asks aloud.
Young rushes over and looks, “Is that a cigarette butt?” he asks.
They rewind again, and we see the car that Ellen was taken in stop by the side of the road and flick out a cigarette butt.
Paul looks at Carlos, “Let’s go.
Unfortunately, when they arrive, there are cigarette butts scattered all over the side of the road.
The two are picking up butts and placing them into plastic bags when Carlos looks over, “Don’t you have a forensics team for this shit?”
“Just keep picking up. If we can identify a fingerprint or DNA from any of these, we can match his identity,” Paul says in response.
Carlos sighs and bends down to start picking up again, then something occurs to him. “If I help in the arrest of this criminal, is there a reward?”
Paul looks at him for a moment, then chooses to ignore him as he goes back to picking up butts.
Brent Koff is sitting at his desk reading through a document. He flips back and forth between a couple of pages, “You’re not hiding anything from me, right?”
Standing in front of his desk, Brenda Wright shakes her head, “How could I…”
“Spinet Entertainment,” Koff interrupts before she can finish. “It’s an interesting case. Were there other leads?”
Brenda pauses uncomfortably for a moment before speaking, “Another girl has gone missing. Another one of Spinet’s actresses.”
Brent seems surprised as he looks up at her, “Really? You’re telling me that Schumer Construction is backing Spinet, but girls keep disappearing?” Instead of look appalled at this, Koff just smiled, “With promotions right around the corner, we need to be on top of this.”
Brenda nods, “Okay.”
Koff gets up from his chair and walks around his desk to stand in front of Brenda, “Bring me every case Sue Ann Clark is working on. I don’t care if you have to lie or steal them. If you need to send a spy in there to get the files, do what you have to do. I want to know everything.”
“You think this will lead to Schumer?” asks Brenda.
Koff grins, “Who can know? But, perhaps I can shoot right to the Attorney General if this goes our way.”
Brenda smiles at him as he turns and walks out of his office. Once the door closes, that smile disappears quickly.
Sue Ann closes her office door as she looks to leave for the night. As she goes around the corner, Brenda Wright calls after her, “Heading home?”
Sue Ann turns around, “You’re still hanging around here?”
“You’re working very hard lately,” says Brenda.
Sue Ann shrugs, “Just lots of little cases,” she lies.
“And the Spinet Entertainment case? Didn’t another actress go missing?”
Sue Ann has a look on her face that expresses she’s busted.
Brenda smirks, “You think I wouldn’t know if you kept it on the down-low? You know you can be fired for working on cases without reporting up, right?”
Sue Ann nods, “I thought you might try and stop me again. Look, these girls keep going missing, and no one is doing shit about it. For some reason, someone doesn’t want us looking into this.”
“I’m not stopping you, Sue Ann. Find the bastards responsible,” Brenda scolds her, “But if you want to work here, report your progress through official channels.”
“As long as I’m not pressured to stop this investigation, then I will report it.”
Brenda nods, “Good. You must have found something big.” Sue Ann has a feeling Brenda is fishing for information until Brenda continues, “Be careful. Brent Koff is close to Dante Schumer.”
That stuns Sue Ann as she stands there. Brenda walks by her. Sue Ann turns around and sees Brenda disappear behind her office door, “What the fuck was that?” she asks herself.
Douglas is sitting at his counter, having a drink, when Dante walks in.
“Drinking alone, I find it just doesn’t taste the same,” he says, and he takes a seat next to Douglas. He spies the bottle of scotch, “You got the good stuff out,” he laughs. “Good for you. I’ll make a sophisticated man out of you yet.”
Douglas still hasn’t said a word as he reaches for a glass and sets it in front of Dante, then pours him a drink before refilling his own glass.
Dante drinks from the glass, savoring the flavor as he holds the glass out in front of him, “Single malt is always the best when I have it with you, Douglas.”
Douglas puts a little smile on his face but doesn’t say a word.
Finally, Dante rises from his seat, “Douglas?”
“Are you still looking into your brother’s death?” Dante asks.
Douglas turns to look up at Dante, “Would it concern you if I was?”
Dante shrugs softly, “I’m not sure what’s going through your mind.”
Douglas laughs, “That’s funny. I’m starting to worry about how much I can tell what’s on your mind.” That smile fades.
“Do you think Ellen Sinclair is alive?”
“Is there a reason she shouldn’t be?” asks Douglas.
Dante is quiet for a moment, “I have a feeling she isn’t coming back, Douglas. Otherwise, she’d be back already.”
Douglas doesn’t like that at all, “Well, we’re going to have to find out one way or the other, right?”
“You can’t expose the truth with diaries, Douglas.”
Douglas turns to look at him again, “What is it they’re trying so hard to hide that they feel it necessary to erase a person’s life?”
“Don’t you know?”
The two men stare at each other in silence before Douglas scoffs and reaches beside him and pulls out the stack of diaries, and sets them on the counter, “There wasn’t much there. I thought I’d try and scare a confession out of Spinet. But it’s curious that you already knew about them.”
A clerk pulls some papers off the printer and rushes them over to Sue Ann, who quickly flips through them and then bolts out of her office.
She storms into Douglas’ office. He rises from his seat as she comes in. She walks up to him and hands him the paperwork.
“We analyzed all the cigarette butts from the scene. Everyone had an alibi except one person.”
Douglas looks down at the paper.
“It’s someone you know,” she says.
As Douglas flips the paper over, his eyes go wide with confusion. He looks up at her, “But, he’s dead.”
“That’s what we thought, but here we are,” she says. “It looks like Twill is the one who kidnapped Ellen Sinclair.”
Twill is in a dimly lit room as he watches over Ellen Sinclair. She’s been sedated, but she starts to come around as her fingers begin to twitch.
His cell phone rings. “Yes?”
“Don’t get any weird ideas,” says Dante Schumer on the other end. Then he hangs up.
Douglas sits at his desk, trying to make sense of all of this when Carlos walks in.
“So, by all accounts, Twill is dead as a death can be. All documents are processed, and according to this record, it’s his body that is in that grave.”
Douglas looks up at him, “Then how could he have taken Ellen Sinclair? Is he a ghost? What the fuck is going on?”
Carlos gives a shrug, “What I can tell is that if he is alive, someone with a lot of power had to help him with this cover-up. It’s not something someone can just do without powerful people behind him. My question is, he had it made. He was in the clear. Why come out of the shadows to snatch Ellen Sinclair?”
Douglas knows that’s the question. What he doesn’t know is that answer.
Young bursts into Sue Ann’s office, “I have something,” he says as he carries a laptop over to the conference table. Sue Ann gets up from her desk and joins him.
“This is an alley downtown. There are many little businesses in this area that no one really pays attention to because it is super cheap in this district. I got this off of Spinet’s dashcam.”
As the video plays, Spinet, Sinclair, and Deliah Loper are seen walking in front of the dashcam.
“Wait,” says Sue Ann. “I recognize her. I saw her picture on the wall at Spinet Entertainment.”
“That’s Deliah Loper,” says Young. “She’s one of his girls as well. But guess who else was there?”
Sue Ann looks up at Young, “Who?”
“Look,” says Young. On his laptop screen, clear as day, is Dante Schumer.
“Ellen Sinclair and Dante Schumer were in this alley on July 16th. Sinclair, Loper, and Spinet went into this restaurant here, and a little bit later, Schumer also goes into the restaurant.”
“It can’t be a coincidence.”
Young shrugs, “I checked with Spinet. He said he treated the girls to dinner. Spinet doesn’t come across as someone who’d treat anyone to dinner.”
Sue Ann looks at the screen, “Can you back that up a little?”
Paul does so, and she points, “Is that… Brent Koff?”
Sure enough, on the video, Brent Koff is also going into the restaurant. He is followed by two other men as well.
Paul looks closely, “I didn’t go much past this point. That looks like the tax controller, and is that the mayor?”
Sue Ann turns from the video to look at Paul, “What’s going on with this place that all these people are meeting there? What is this Kam Loon Restaurant?” she asks. “A hangout for VIPs? So why are Ellen Sinclair and Deliah Loper there? They certainly aren’t VIPs. How long did they stay?”
Paul fast forwards the video until we see Dante Schumer step out, get into his car, which drives away. “That was about 30 mins.” He continues to fast forward until everyone else leaves, “This is about 2 hours after they arrived, ninety minutes after Dante Schumer left.”
Sue Ann stares at the screen, “But what’s the connection?”
Ellen Sinclair slowly opens her eyes as she lies on a bed. At first, confusion sets in as her eyes look around the unfamiliar room. Then she slowly sits up. She’s still a little fuzzy as her eyes adjust to the surroundings after being drugged.
She slides her feet from the bed and onto the floor, then stands up. She walks to the door and grabs the handle, and tries to open it, but it’s locked. She tries to force it a couple of times, but it doesn’t budge.
This is when she starts to panic. She begins to bang on the door. “Excuse me!” she yells. “I’m locked in here!” She hits some more, “Is anyone out there?”
She steps away from the door and looks around for another possible exit. When she finds nothing, she goes back to pounding on the door, “Excuse me! Let me out!”
Meanwhile, Twill is watching the entire thing on a monitor as he eats some chips.
Douglas drives his car down a small alley. Sue Ann Clark is already standing there waiting for him.
As he gets out of his car, she asks, “Have you been here before?”
Douglas shakes his head, “No. Never.”
There’s a dirty painted sign over the door that reads “Kam Loon Restaurant.” The alley itself looks like a place where folks come to dump the trash. Chairs are stacked up, broken signs, trash cans, and other odds and ends lying about.
Douglas knocks on the door of the restaurant.
Sue Ann says, “I asked around the neighborhood. The restaurant isn’t typically open for any normal hours of operation. I didn’t get an answer when I knocked either, but I thought maybe you’d been here before. I guess I’ll come by later this evening.”
Douglas steps back away from the door and looks at the place, “You say that Ellen Sinclair came here?”
Sue Ann points down the alley, “She went in a door down this way. That’s the last time anyone saw her.”
Douglas looks down to one end of the alley that is a dead-end, then he looks down the other way he drove in from. He walks that way, then spots a smaller entryway right next to the restaurant. He walks down it, and Sue Ann follows.
It’s like a tiny corridor, barely wide enough for a large male to fit through. When the passage reaches the end, another corridor runs perpendicular to it. Douglas looks down each way. Sue Ann mentions, “This place is supposed to be under redevelopment, but I’m not sure what all these inner corridors are for.”
Douglas turns to her, “Did you see Twill on any of the footage?”
Sue Ann shakes her head, “No.”
Douglas walks into Dante’s place. Dante is sitting at his bar, having a drink.
“I just found out something very interesting,” Douglas says.
Dante turns his attention to the lawyer, “Hm?”
“Twill is alive and well.”
Dante looks surprised, “How can that be?”
“Sue Ann Clark was following a lead, and recent fingerprints came up. It’s all on video. They think he’s involved in the Sinclair kidnapping.”
“What fingerprints?” asks Dante.
“They found fingerprints. She also asked me if there was a connection between the seven-year-old murder and my brother’s death.”
Dante turns the barstool around to face Douglas, “Have they located Twill?”
Douglas shakes his head, “No. Not yet.”
“He knows quite a bit. We should probably find him before she does,” says Douglas as he stares at Dante.
Douglas watches as Dante takes another drink from his glass. Dante looks a little shaken.
When Douglas leaves, Dante walks over to his desk and pulls open his drawer and removes a cell phone, and dials.
“Is everything okay?”
Dante is driving, but he doesn’t see that Douglas is following him.
However, Douglas gets stopped by a red light as Dante turns at the yellow. Douglas knows he will lose him, but then, as a car drives across from him, he recognizes the driver.
Douglas watches the car drive in front of him. The light turns green, and he turns to follow Twill.
When Twill makes a left, Douglas stops his car and watches the car drive down the road. He parks alongside the road and gets out of his car, and walks along the route.
Near a lake, Dante is meeting with Twill. Dante takes out a cell phone from his pocket and throws it into the lake. He extends a hand to Twill, who hands him another cell phone. Dante throws that one into the lake as well. Dante then gives him another cell phone. “Use this one now. Only urgent calls. Try not to be out in the open.”
“Did something happen?” asks Twill.
“They know you are alive. The prosecutor is looking for you. Ellen Sinclair is attracting way too much attention. Things are getting complicated.”
Twill nods. “I hate complications.”
Dante spins his head around as if he has heard something. He looks around but doesn’t see anything.
However, Douglas has seen it all.
“How is she?” Dante asks.
Twill doesn’t answer that question, “How long before I should kill her?”
Dante snaps his head to the man, “You can’t kill her this time. If there’s an issue, call me.”
“She is pretty,” says Twill.
A few moments later, Douglas is back in his car, still parked on the side of the road.
Headlights come his way, so he ducks down. He sees Dante come down the road, and he turns one way, then Twill comes down the road and turns the opposite direction. Douglas thinks about it for just a moment before deciding which one he’ll follow as he turns after Twill.
When Twill turns down an alley and parks, Douglas pulls off to the side of the road and watches as Twill gets out of the car and enters through a door. Douglas gets out of his car and walks into the alley. He walks through the doorway where graffiti has been drawn all over the walls.
He walks in further when suddenly a knife is at his throat, “Why are you following me?”
Douglas freezes but asks, “Where’s Ellen Sinclair?”
Twill smirks, but as he lowers his guard, Douglas grabs the wrist and shoves Twill against the wall, “Did you kill my brother?”
“I thought you wanted to know where Ellen Sinclair was?” says Twill as he pushes Douglas and punches him in the jaw, sending the lawyer sprawling onto the ground. Douglas quickly gets back to his feet. Twill comes at him with the knife, but Douglas hit him with a two-by-four and then spears him into a table that crumbles under the weight of both men.
The two men get to their feet. Douglas throws a punch but is blocked by Twill, who drives his knife into Douglas’s side.
As Douglas drops onto his hands and knees, Twill looks down at him. “Stupid fucker,” he says and starts to walk away when Douglas grabs him by the ankle. Twill kicks him off. He looks down at him, “This is on you.”
Twill turns and walks off.
Douglas watches him leave, but something catches his eye. He crawls across the filthy floor until he reaches for the phone that Twill dropped. He flips it open and goes to the call log, and dials.
He hears the voice of Dante, asks, “What is it?”
We see Dante is sitting in his car on the side of the road waiting for someone to respond. When he’s hung up on, he immediately dials back.
Douglas crawls a few feet more before collapsing on his back as the phone in his hand begins to ring. He passes out.
Douglas wakes up in a hospital bed. He struggles to sit up, then reaches for his clothing. He digs through the pockets to find the cell phone that Twill dropped. He stares at it as a sense of betrayal washes over him.
At home, Dante is drinking scotch and seems to be deep in thought. He hears a cell phone ringing, gets up, walks over, and picks it off his desk. He watches it go to voice mail and then immediately rings again. He finally answers it. “What’s this number?” he demands.
“Douglas Frost came after me,” says Twill.
Dante walks back over to where he was sitting and drops down into his chair, “I understand. Lay low. Do you hear me?” He hangs up the phone, but his elbow hits the bottle of scotch and knocks it onto the floor, shattering it.
He stares at the floor as he can feel it all beginning to unravel.
The next morning, Douglas is sitting up on his hospital bed, looking out the window. He pulls open the gown to reveal his bandage, blood appearing to seep through.
Dante sits at home, just staring at a glass of scotch, when his cell phone rings again.
“Douglas Frost” comes up on the Caller ID.
He stares at the phone, letting it ring before he slowly picks it up and answers.
“I got stabbed,” says Douglas. “Come visit me at the hospital.”
“Are you okay?” Dante asks softly.
Douglas responds, “Come see for yourself,” then hangs up the phone.
Dante throws the phone across the room.
Brandon Tanner is leaving his mansion, “Are you sure?”
His assistant nods, “I called the hospital myself.”
Brandon seems amused, “Douglas Frost was stabbed with a knife. Dante Schumer tried very hard to keep him tamed, but Frost seems to be unleashed now.”
Dante and Tenta walk down the hospital hallway. Tenta moves ahead to open the door, but Dante stops him. “Go find a doctor. Find out how bad this is,” he says before opening the door and going inside.
Tenta walks off, and Dante peeks through the window for a moment, then pulls the door open. Douglas is standing in front of the window looking outside, still attached to an IV drip.
Dante walks up beside him. Nothing is said for several seconds, and then Douglas turns to look at him. “What’s this? No flowers? People usually bring flowers to people in the hospital.”
Though Dante realizes that Douglas is trying to lighten the mood, he responds by simply saying, “I’m sorry.” He finally turns to look at Douglas, “Are you alright?” he asks.
“Are you really worried about me?” Douglas asks.
“Just ask me what you really want to know, Douglas,” says Dante.
“You know what, Dante? I thought all night about what I wanted to ask you. But no matter how I try to rationalize what’s happened, I can’t understand it. Tell me. Tell me right now that you wouldn’t do this to me,” says Douglas as his eyes tear up.
“There was a reason that I had to…”
Douglas interrupts, “I will find that reason for myself. I will ask you questions, one after the other. Don’t you fucking lie to me.”
Dante stares at Douglas as his own eyes begin to tear up.
A while later, Tenta and Dante are walking away. Tenta asks, “Are you okay, sir? I think Douglas…”
“How’s his wound?” Dante interrupts.
“It wasn’t deep. He’ll recover just fine.”
“There were no other injuries?”
“Sir,” says Tenta causing Dante to stop walking and turn to face him. “He’s going to find out the truth. You need to end this now before it’s too late.”
Angry, Dante snaps, “Are you telling me what to do?”
Tenta realizes he may have overstepped as Dante turns and walks off.
Douglas looks through his phone at the pictures of his wound. He sends one in a message.
As soon as Sue Ann gets the message, she stops walking and takes a closer look. She immediately calls him.
“What is this?” she asks.
“Compare the stab wound to the most recent victim. Then compare it to the one from seven years ago. Find out if it’s the same guy,” he says.
“Did you find that asshole?” she asks.
“I won’t know until you compare the wounds,” Douglas says.
Sue Ann asks, “So, who got stabbed?”
“Let me know when you get a result,” Douglas says as he hangs up on her.
Desiree Schumer approaches her father as he sits outside, drinking scotch. “What are you doing out here? It’s cold.”
Dante holds up his glass, “This will keep me warm enough. Want some?”
“You gonna drink with me?” she asks.
He answers by filling a glass with scotch and sliding it towards her, then refilling his own. He lifts his glass, and they toast as Desiree drinks from her glass. She gets a concerned look on her face, “Did something happen?”
Dante shakes his head, “Nah. How’s work?” he asks.
Desiree can tell that her father is trying to change the subject, “You don’t have to hide things from me, dad. I’m a big girl now, and I can something is wrong when you get those sad eyes.”
Dante offers a cheesy smile, “Better?” He chuckles, “Seriously, it’s just about the company.”
Desiree nods as she swirls the drink around in her hand, “Ever thought about retiring? Letting someone else run the company? I’ve seen you bring yourself up from nothing to be the most successful businessman in Seattle. You can take a break, travel. Shit, have you even dated anyone since mom?”
Dante looks over at her, “I may not have always done things the righteous way, but I always did my best for you.”
“I know, dad.”
Her phone rings. She checks it out, “Let me get this,” she says as she stands up and walks away from the table.
Dante picks up his glass and swallows it all as he watches her walk away.
Douglas is dressing.
“Boy are you a stubborn guy,” says Carlos. “You just got stabbed. Shouldn’t you…”
“I’m an adult who can make adult decisions,” interrupts Douglas.
Carlos knows he can’t talk him out of this. “Did you called Schumer?”
“He came by yesterday.”
Carlos stands up and walks over to stand next to Douglas, “This case is getting dangerous.”
“If you want to step away, I understand,” says Douglas.
“I’m not saying that at all. I’m in this for as long as you want to pay me to be in this.”
Douglas grabs his jacket, “Then let’s go earn that paycheck.”
As Douglas walks into his office, Sue Ann is there waiting for him.
Douglas sits down, and she walks over and holds up two photos of his knife wounds, “Who is this?”
“Was it the same criminal?” he asks.
She drops the pictures on the table, “Who is this? Who got stabbed?”
“Any other leads?” he asks, avoiding the question. “Any other similar crimes?’
Sue Ann raises her voice, “Who got stabbed, goddammit!?”
Douglas still doesn’t answer as he reaches for the photos. She walks up to him, pushes him back on the chair, and tries to open his shirt. He grabs her wrists. “What are you doing?”
She ignores him and tries to unbutton his shirt when Carlos walks in, “Whoa. Should I step back out?”
Sue Ann turns to him, “How long ago did he get stabbed?” she asks the investigator.
“A couple of days ago.” Douglas glares at him, “I mean, what stabbing?” he tries to backtrack.
She looks angry as she looks from one to the other. Finally, Carlos caves, “He got stabbed. It wasn’t deep. He’s fine.” He turns and walks out of the room.
Sue Ann turns a concerned expression towards Douglas now, but he won’t look her in the eye. She sighs, running her fingers through her hair, and walks around the table to sit down across from him.
“Why aren’t you in the hospital?”
“I’m fine. Tell me about the result.”
Sue Ann pauses, considering whether or not to say anything under the circumstance, but she decides to spill it. “The wounds are similar, but they concluded it wasn’t the same attacker.”
She places a folder on the table. “It was Twill, right?”
Douglas looks through the documents.
“You’re not going to answer me? Where is he?”
Douglas finally looks up, “I don’t know. I followed him, thinking he would lead me to Ellen Sinclair, but he attacked me.”
“Why did you follow him?”
He doesn’t answer.
Sue Ann leans close, “Are you trying to protect Dante Schumer? You know he is involved in this. He was more than likely involved in your brother’s death too.”
Douglas looks up at her, “Can I see all the case files you have?”
As he explains his idea to her, she looks at him like he’s lost his mind.
“You realize that if we go to press about all of this, Ellen Sinclair’s life is over,” she tells him.
Douglas shakes his head, “We need to put some pressure on him. Draw him out in the open. This isn’t a typical abduction case. He hasn’t asked for a ransom or made any demands. Once we go public with her disappearance, they can’t touch her.”
Sue Ann is thinking about all of this, “If we put too much pressure, he might kill her and then pin it on someone else.”
Douglas nods, “But if we don’t, we will never find her.”
Sue Ann steps out of her building. It’s nighttime. She isn’t happy, but as she looks up, she smiles when she sees her father approaching, though he seems to be deep in thought about something. “Why are you here?” she asks, not reading his expression well at all.
“It’s late. I wanted to make sure you had dinner.”
She grins, “Well, I could have a nice dinner if you’ll give me some money.”
She holds out her hands.
He scoffs at her, then reaches for his wallet. He pulls out some cash and drops it in her hand.
“Thank you,” she says.
“How is the case?” he asks.
Sue Ann looks at him, “Who kidnaps someone, doesn’t ask for ransom, or have any demands? We have no leads whatsoever.”
Stanley looks at her, “Put some pressure on him! You have the authority to squeeze this guy out into the open.”
“Like the media?” she asks. “The rule is to be silent about abduction cases. He might harm the victim.”
Stanley shakes his head, “The internet has a huge influence these days. The landscape has changed with all this new technology. Is it fair to go by the rules of days gone by? Think about it, okay?”
Sue Ann grins, “Looks at my pops, changing with the times.”
He doesn’t respond to the joke, “Stick to your principles. Not what others think.”
“I will,” she says. “Want to have dinner with me?” She holds up the money he just gave her, “It’s on me.”
Later that night, Sue Ann is in Douglas’ office. She’s about to hand him some papers when she pulls it back. “It sure seems like I’m doing all the giving around here.”
Douglas shakes his head, “I literally gave you the knife wound.”
“Which I gave you the CSI report.”
Douglas doesn’t look amused, “What do you want?”
“What’s Dante Schumer’s relationship with Ellen Sinclair?” she asks.
Douglas shakes his head, “Nothing that I know of.”
She doesn’t believe him. “Fine. I’ll be going.”
“Wait,” he stops her. “I really don’t know if something is connecting Dante with Sinclair. I really only saw him with Twill. That night I got stabbed.”
She nods, finally believing. “It’s my ass on the line if this doesn’t work.”
Tenta walks into Dante’s office, “As soon as he left the hospital, Douglas met with Sue Ann Clark.”
Dante’s phone rings, and he looks at the caller ID. Brandon Tanner.
“I really admire you, Dante,” says Tanner as they meet on his balcony. “I thought you admired Douglas Frost, but you allowed him to get stabbed.”
Dante doesn’t answer. He is well aware that Brandon Tanner is trying to bait him.
“I mean, let’s be real. This is the best possible solution, isn’t it? We can close the methanol case and the Spinet Entertainment case if we just get rid of Douglas Frost.”
Dante shakes his head, “The Spinet case isn’t going away. Douglas is only involved because it ties into his brother’s death. You need to clean up your end. If Tanner Electronics is found at fault because of your poor decisions, it’ll only get worse.”
Tanner laughs, “Is that your best advice?” He slowly walks over and sits down across from Dante, so they are face to face, “I need you to fix this. Do you know where Ellen Sinclair is?”
Dante shakes his head, “No.”
Brandon gets deadly serious now, “Look, if you aren’t going to clean this up, then I will. You won’t like the way I clean it up.”
Douglas is having dinner with someone as he passes him an envelope. The man picks up the envelope that appears to be filled with cash and some other documents. “Nice. What do you need?”
“I need something spread as wide as possible. Print, web, radio, TV. Everywhere. Except those on the list that I gave you. Do not give them this story. Everything else you need is there. You can do it, right?”
The man chuckles, “Of course.”
Douglas nods, “I want multiple stories every day on every site you can get in touch with. Make it sound as scandalous as possible.”
Sue Ann is walking down the Kam Loon Restaurant alley when her phone rings.
“Did you ever find the missing diaries?” asks Douglas.
“Nothing yet. We are still looking,” she says as she gets to the restaurant. “Oh, it’s open. I’ll call you back.”
She hangs up and goes inside. The restaurant looks horrible. It’s basically a room with a couple of tables, a few chairs. The windows are boarded up on the inside. She takes a seat in the first chair she sees, though she could sit anywhere since the place is empty.
An elderly lady comes by with a tray and places some water on the table. “I’ll bring your soup in just a moment.”
“Soup?” Sue Ann asks.
“All we serve here is soup,” the lady says as she walks away.
Sue Ann looks around the room, hardly believing this place would pass any sort of health inspection. From the side, a man walks through from the back, she assumes perhaps the restroom. He’s dressed in a very nice suit, and Sue Ann could have sworn she recognized him from somewhere.
He walks to a table and finishes a drink. Sue Ann ducks her head so as not to be noticed or recognized. The man looks at her for a moment, then picks up his jacket and walks out of the restaurant.
When he leaves, Sue Ann is trying to figure out where he came from. She gets up, walks to the side, and peeks around the corner where she sees the smaller door. She pushes it open and looks around. It looks like a storage closet. She turns around and goes back into the restaurant, not seeing the blue tarp covering one of the walls.
She walks out of the restaurant after eating her meal and calls Douglas, “There was a man here, I could have sworn I’ve seen him… wait a moment. I think he’s the mayor’s chief of staff. He was alone, but his table looked like it had enough dishes for two or three people.”
“Did you see Ellen Sinclair or Deliah Loper there?” he asks her.
“No. I didn’t see Stephen Spinet either.”
“We need to find her diaries. Then we can find out why she was there that day,” Douglas says.
She hangs up and looks back at the restaurant as if there was something she missed.
Dante is sitting down when Tenta rushes in.
“There are articles about Ellen Sinclair online. They are everywhere,” he says, handing a tablet over to Dante.
Dante takes the tablet and reads through the article. Tenta continues. “We are getting them removed, but for every one we take down, five more pop up.”
“Any major papers?”
Tenta shakes his head, “None yet.”
“Arrange a meeting with the prosecutor’s office,” Dante says.
The next morning, Dante walks into his office, surprised to see Douglas there reading a paper.
“You’re here?” Dante says to him. “You should have stayed a few more days at the hospital.”
Douglas places a paper in front of him, “I was reading something exciting in today’s paper. I came over because I was curious about how your face would look once you read the article.”
Dante walks over and looks out a window, “When you bring in a wolf cub, the cub would consider the human its mother. However, eventually, the cub will grow up and begin to show its teeth. Now the human must decide whether or not to return the wolf back into the wild or put it down and make a rug from its fur.”
He turns to look at Douglas, who is looking up at him.
“That cub may follow you around for a very long time, but not forever. Isn’t that the nature of a wolf?” Douglas responds.
Douglas rises to his feet. He walks towards Dante, “What I really want to know is where is Ellen Sinclair?”
Dante looks him square in the eye, “I don’t know.”
“Then do me a favor,” Douglas says as he reaches into his pocket and produces the cell phone that Twill dropped. “Give this back to Twill. He will probably need it.”
When Dante doesn’t reach for it, Douglas tosses it onto Dante’s desk and walks out.
Twill is looking at a new article where his face is on display for all to see. “This will complicate things,” he says as he looks up at the four monitors that show him Ellen Sinclair’s room. “I hate it when things get complicated,” he mutters.
He swipes away the news article and makes a call.
Dante and Tenta are looking at the phone as it rings. It eventually stops, and Dante says to his bodyguard, “Find him another clean phone and take it to him.”
“When this dies down, shift the blame for Ellen Sinclair’s death to Twill and get rid of them both.”
As they step outside to get into the car, Dante’s phone rings yet again. He glances at it and sees who’s calling, and shoves the phone back into his pocket.
Watching from around the corner as he sees Dante ditching his call, Twill doesn’t look very happy.
Douglas walks into his office as his phone begins to ring. He doesn’t recognize the number but answers anyway.
“Who is this?”
A man’s voice comes across, “I know where Ellen Sinclair is.”
“This is Twill, right? Where are you?
Next, Douglas is speeding down a highway, weaving in and out of traffic, obviously going way over the speed limit.
We see Dante’s car pulling up to his construction company entrance, and Tenta opens the door to let him out. As Dante walks into the building, his phone rings. He sees it’s Twill again and ignores it, instead turns to Tenta, “When we get upstairs, call him and find out what he wants.”
They start to walk when Dante looks up and slows down as he sees Twill walking towards him, phone in hand.
Tenta rushes ahead and grabs his arm, “What do you think you’re doing?”
Twill look at Tenta, “He wouldn’t answer the phone. I have something I need to say.”
Dante looks pissed, “Take him out of here.”
Tenta starts to pull, but Twill yanks his arm away and walks up to stand up to Dante. “I have a meeting here,” Twill explains.
As Dante looks beyond Twill, he sees Douglas getting out of his car. He grabs Twill by the jacket, “Listen up to exactly what I’m about to say.”
Douglas rushes into the foyer, where he sees Dante and Twill. Seeing them together causes him to stop walking as he looks on in disgust. He starts to walk towards them.
“It’s like a fucking reunion,” Douglas says.