“Hello,” says Brandon Tanner as he kneels in front of Ellen Sinclair, who is sitting up on the edge of her bed.
Ellen looks at him silently, and then slowly, her eyes turn to look at Twill, who is still standing by the doorway, watching.
She turns back to Brandon, asking, “Who are you? Why did you bring me here?” She shuffles uncomfortably on the bed, “Please. Let me go. My grandma is waiting for me.”
Brandon continues to smile at her, “You’ll get used to this place soon,” he tells her.
“What do you want from me?” she asks.
Brandon tilts his head at her, “Well, I thought it would be fun.” His smile grows wider.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” she asks.
“I know at first you’ll fight and scream, but you’ll slowly give up and give in. You’ll realize it isn’t so bad. Maybe even come to realize it’s where you belong,” he tells her. “It’s been fun watching you slowly turn into…”
She interrupts him, “You’re fucking crazy.”
“… a piece of property,” he says, not missing a beat.
Dante walks into his home after his confrontation with Douglas, and as he turns the corner, Desiree is looking through some books in the library. She turns and sees that he’s been beaten up, and she rushes to his side, “Daddy? What happened to your face?” she asks.
Not wanting to worry her, Dante brushes it off, “Just a bit of an accident. I took a fall,” he tells her.
She looks him over, “Are you hurt? Do I need to take you to the hospital?”
Instead, Dante pulls her in and hugs her tightly.
He whispers to her, “It’s great to have you back.”
Douglas staggers into his office, having walked back from the restaurant. Carlos is kicking around on one of the couches and sits up, “You’re back? I thought you went home.”
Carlos pours Douglas a drink, which is quickly devoured by the lawyer.
“Looks like you needed that,” says Carlos as he offers some of his sandwich to Douglas, who passes. “So, who beat you up tonight? I thought you were done getting into fights after Twill,” Carlos asks him. “You know, if you want an easier job, I hear they are hiring for stuntmen.”
Douglas laughs, though it is painful to do so.
Carlos finally looks at him, “So, you know everything now?”
The pain returns to Douglas’s face as he hesitates. He turns to Carlos, “You ask that with such indifference, yet you know how painful this is for me.”
Carlos nods, “But, I ask it that way, so it hurts less. You know, make it seem like it’s smaller than it is,” he says as he refills his paper cup with alcohol and takes a drink.
Douglas looks at him, “You already knew? You figured it out, didn’t you?”
Carlos doesn’t answer it directly, “Douglas, we’ve known each other a long time. You always keep things close to the chest. If you don’t start spilling your guts, letting those close to you know when you’re in pain, then your heart dies.”
Douglas reaches for the alcohol and fills his glass, and drinks it down. “Do people really change?” he asks, changing the subject.
Carlos turns to look at him, “My mother, God rest her soul, always said that people never change. Take me, for example. While I’m ugly as fuck, I’m extremely charming. Plus, I’m smart. This is all I’ll ever be.”
Douglas chuckles, “You’re right about that. I have fatal charms, a killer smile, and an ice-cold aura.”
“You’re arrogant, as well, don’t forget,” Carlos says, sitting up to pour them both another drink, which Douglas downs quickly, and Carlos quickly fills it up again.
Douglas brings the drink up, but a tear runs down his cheek, and he sighs in frustration as he quickly wipes it away before Carlos can see. But, one tear leads to another, and then they just keep coming.
The next morning, Tenta steps out of the house, followed by Dante and Desiree.
“Hop in,” says Dante to Desiree. “I’ll drop you off.”
Desiree shakes her head, “I’ll take the bus. It’s too far out of your way.”
Dante rolls his eyes, “Just get in.”
Despite his earlier promise not to visit Justin’s grave, Douglas finds himself placing flowers at the grave again. “I know I said I wouldn’t be coming back, so why am I here again?” he says out loud to the tombstone. “It’s irritating.”
He places his hand on top of the tombstone, “Be patient, Justin. I will kill every single piece of shit responsible for your death.”
As he turns to walk away, Dante and Desiree are walking up as well. Desiree has flowers in her hand.
They all spot each other. With a purpose, Douglas stalks over to them.
“Mr. Frost…” starts Desiree, but Douglas turns to Dante, “How dare you come to his grave.”
Desiree turns to her father, wondering what’s going on.
Douglas turns to Desiree, “This is my brother’s grave.”
Desiree nods, “I know.”
“I was going to forget it all,” he says before turning back to Dante, “But I just can’t.”
Desiree again looks from Douglas to Dante, not having a clue what’s going on between them.
“Bring Ellen Sinclair back,” Douglas demands. “You’re making this worse. Leave.” He tells them before turning and walking back to his brother’s tombstone.
Dante turns and walks away as Desiree, with tears in her eyes, looks from Douglas to Dante and back again, wondering what the hell is going on with these two.
As Douglas stands before the tombstone, his cell phone rings.
Sue Ann is in the restaurant’s love suite when Douglas walks in. It’s been cleared out.
“Everything is gone,” she tells him.
Douglas looks around, “They probably knew immediately that we had found this place.”
Sue Ann looks at him, “So, who filmed the sex tape here?”
“I’m putting pressure on Schumer. Perhaps we can at least get him to release Ellen Sinclair.”
With a heavy sigh, Sue Ann asks, “Where in the fuck is that USB? Ellen Sinclair watched what was on it.”
Douglas nods, “We need to ask Todd if he has any more photos of her diaries?”
Sue Ann agrees, “Okay.” She tries to call him.
Meanwhile, Todd is getting the crapped kicked out of him by Stephen Spinet while Tenta sits and watches.
“How dare you threaten me, you motherfucker,” Spinet says as he kicks and stomps on Todd. He kneels and tries to punch him in the head, but Todd is covered up.
“Put your hands down, you punk,” says Spinet.
A bloody Todd looks up at him, “Where’s Ellen? Bring her back!”
Stephen punches him in the face again, “I should fucking kill you. Do you want to die? Keep running your mouth. You keep talking to prosecutors and lawyers. I’ll fucking kill you. Keep your fucking mouth shut.” Spinet punches him once more before getting to his feet.
He starts to walk away when Todd grabs him by his leg, “Bring Ellen back! Bring her back!”
Spinet kicks him hard in the ribs, sending him back to the concrete floor, “Shut your goddamned mouth.”
Todd sits up, “You took her!”
Tenta has had enough. He gets up from his chair and kicks Todd right in the jaw. He walks over and kneels, “You have a choice. I suggest you make the right one.” Tenta gets up and walks off with Spinet following, leaving Todd alone on the parking garage floor.
Douglas pulls up to the curb as Sue Ann hangs up again, “He’s not answering,” she tells him.
Douglas and Sue Ann get out of the car just as Deliah Loper walks out. She looks at them and shrugs, “I really don’t have anything more to say.”
Douglas asks, “Where’s Todd?”
Deliah shrugs, “I haven’t seen him today.”
“We can’t seem to reach him,” says Douglas.”Any idea where he could be?”
With a cocky look on her face, Deliah responds, “Why would I know that? I’m not his keeper. He’s supposed to be mine, and he’s nowhere to be found.”
She starts to walk off when Douglas steps in front of her, “Did you know he had Ellen’s diaries?”
She shrugs, “What if I did?”
“Did you take them?”
Deliah looks at him, “No.” Again, she starts to leave, but Sue Ann asks, “You met some men with Ellen Sinclair, didn’t you?”
Deliah looks at her with disdain.
“You honestly don’t know where she is?” asks Sue Ann.
“I don’t,” Deliah says before finally stepping between the two and walking away.
Douglas and Sue Ann watch her leave. Sue Ann says, “She knows something, but just isn’t talking.” She turns to Douglas, “I think Todd is in some sort of trouble. Do you think someone found out he talked to us?”
“We need to focus on one person for the time being,” Douglas says. “Let’s work together on this now. I think we have enough of a lead to find out what we need to know.” Douglas walks back to his car.
Sue Ann has moved all her documents to Douglas’s apartment.
Carlos and Paul are building a crime wall on a dry erase board.
“I’m sorry to have you all over to my house for this,” says Douglas. “I felt like this place was safer than your offices or my offices, which are open to the public. Let’s get down to business.”
Sue Ann says, “From now on, we all work together to solve this case.”
Paul shakes his head, “I’m not sure why we should, to be honest.”
Douglas nods, “I think we all want the same thing. The safe return of Ellen Sinclair and to solve the mystery behind the seven-year-old murder.”
Sue Ann nods, “Besides, we are both working on the same thing. Instead of working separately to solve this, we should get together and share our resources, so we aren’t getting in each other’s way. It’s the best way to ensure we find her as soon as possible.”
Douglas turns to Carlos, “We need to find out if there are any other VIPs connected to Kam Loon Restaurant.”
“We are especially interested in Daniel Salcon, the mayor’s current chief of staff. We are aware of several luncheons between him and Dante Schumer. Let’s focus on him for the time being.”
Sue Ann nods, “I agree. If he’s receiving sexual favors at the restaurant, he’s somehow involved in all of this. The hard part is tracking his whereabouts and how often he meets Dante Schumer.”
Paul raises his hand, “I’ll track him. I have better resources for that.”
Carlos nods, “I’ll start looking around for chauffering services to see if they’ve picked him up and taken him anywhere in particular.”
After a bit of digging, Carlos finds himself speaking to a parking lot attendant.
“I had an accident in the basement parking lot, and I’m trying to find the unit for the owner of the vehicle that hit me.”
The attendant nods, “What’s the license plate number?”
Carlos gives him the number, and the attendant looks it up in his record, then looks up, “Unit 103.”
Later that evening, Douglas is walking up to unit 103 and ringing the doorbell.
A young woman opens the door, “You could have just used your key…” she starts to say, then realizes it’s not who she was expecting.
Douglas smiles, “Pardon me. Are you expecting Mr. Salcon? He said something came up and wanted to meet you tomorrow instead.”
Annoyed, the woman shakes her head, “Damn it.” She starts to dial Salcon on her cell phone when Douglas puts his hand over her phone.
“You can’t call him. He’s meeting with the mayor.”
“The mayor?” she asks.
Douglas pulls a cell phone from his pocket, “He asked you to give you this new cell phone, and he’ll call you tomorrow.” He swaps cell phones with her. “As you can see, it’s the latest model.”
The woman beams, seemingly willing to forget the chief of staff’s cancellation in exchange for the gift.
Paul and Carlos are conducting a stakeout in the parking garage when Carlos’ cell phone rings.
“Yes, boss? A safe?” He turns to Paul, “Can you open a safe?”
Paul shakes his head, then recalls, “But I know someone.” He pulls out his phone and begins to dial.
“Someone will be right there.”
Paul’s safecracker is silently turning the dial on a safe with a stethoscope in his ears. Paul, Sue Ann, and Douglas are standing over him, watching silently.
Dramatically, the safecracker pulls back and slowly reaches for the safe handle and lifts it, opening the door.
Paul helps him up, “Thanks, pal.”
The safe is filled with cash and a couple of binders. “Looks like he took a lot of bribes,” says Douglas as he begins snapping photos of the inside of the chief prosecutor’s safe.
Meanwhile, back at the parking garage, a while car passes by that matches the license plate Carlos was asking about earlier. Daniel Salcon gets out of the car and buttons his jacket as he walks towards the elevator.
Carlos immediately calls Douglas.
Salcon walks up to the same unit that Douglas was a while ago and punches in the code, and opens the door. He’s a bit confused when the apartment is dark and flips on the lights.
“Hello?” he yells as he takes off his shoes.
When he walks in, Douglas is sitting on the couch.
“What are you doing here?” asks Daniel. “Don’t you work with Dante Schumer?”
On the table, stacks of money, bonds, and the two notebooks that look like financial ledgers. Douglas rises from the couch and motions towards the stuff on the table, “It’s not too smart, leaving all the evidence of your bribery deals sitting unattended in your safe.”
Daniel’s eyes go wide, and he moves towards the table.
“Oh, before you try and get rid of the evidence, I already took plenty of photos,” Douglas informs him.
Daniel stares at him, “Are you trying to extort me? Do you have any idea who I am?”
Douglas nods his head, “I know full well who you are, Mr. Salcon.”
“If you know who I am, why would you even attempt something like this with me?”
Douglas gives him a cocky grin, “Let’s talk about Kam Loon Restaurant.”
Salcon stares at him, “What?”
“We know you’ve been there.”
Salcon is getting furious, “You’re going to get hurt.”
Douglas scoffs, “You’re kidding me, right?” He pulls out his cell phone and shows Salcon a picture of Ellen Sinclair. “Remember her? From the restaurant?”
Salcon barely looks at the picture, “I never met her.”
“We both know that’s complete bullshit, Mr. Salcon,” says Douglas as he lowers his phone. “On the day she was supposed to go to the restaurant, she vanished into thin air.”
“What does that have to do with me!” shouts Salcon.
Douglas steps up to the man, face to face, “If she’s not returned unharmed very very soon, I am going to bring all the details about the restaurant to light. The press would kiss my ass for a story like this. I hope you understand that.”
Salcon’s eyes go wide.
“Now, if she’s returned, what I see here on the table will remain in the dark. All I want is the girl back,” Douglas tells him. “Oh, one more thing,” he says as he reaches into his back pocket and pulls something out, “You can add your mistress’s cell phone to the list of things I can use to expose you.”
Salcon shakes his head, “You are completely insane. Do you think this is enough to bring me down?”
Douglas chuckles and nods, “I think it’s plenty enough to bring you down. That and your arrogance. The public won’t take too kindly to a married man in your position cheating on his spouse with a girl young enough to be your daughter, never mind the fact that you use your power to do so. You’re an embarrassment to your position and authority.”
Salcon suddenly sees things a different way, “Look, I think we got off on the wrong foot. I have no idea where that girl is.”
“No?” asks Douglas. “You probably don’t, but I bet you can ruffle a few feathers. Enough so that she magically appears out of thin air. You know where I would start if I were you? Dante Schumer.”
Douglas brushes past him as he leaves the apartment.
Dante has a little firepit going in his backyard. He has one of Ellen’s diaries in his hand, and after he finishes reading a page, he rips it out and drops it into the fire.
“What are you burning?” asks Desiree as she steps through the door.
Dante drops the rest of the diary into the burn barrel. He turns towards her, “Just some useless stuff.”
Dante’s phone begins to ring. He sees who it is and answers it, walking away from Desiree, who slowly walks over and curiously looks into the burn barrel. Unfortunately for Dante, when he dropped it in, it extinguished the flame, so all it does is smolder. Desiree reaches down and plucks a piece of the diary out. It has Ellen’s name and something written by her on it.
“Ellen?” Desiree says softly to herself. Then she remembers earlier at the cemetery that Douglas Frost mentioned Ellen’s name to her father.
“What are you doing?” asks Dante as he sits in front of Douglas at Douglas’s office. Douglas is peeling an apple with a knife.
“Don’t get scared yet. We’re just getting started,” Douglas tells Dante.
“You know this won’t help get her back, right?” says Dante.
Douglas takes a bite of the carved apple, “Won’t it? Then I’ll keep trying something new until we get the result we want.”
Dante looks over at him, “These people you’re harassing? They have no idea where she is. All you are doing right now is poking the hornet’s nest.”
Douglas scoffs, “They don’t know? Fine. Who knows?”
“No matter what you do and how well you do it, you will not be able to destroy these people, Douglas,” says Dante. “These are the most powerful people in the city. The richest people in the city.”
Douglas tosses the apple onto the table, “Don’t worry, Dante. I don’t care how dirty I have to get my hands. I won’t stop until Ellen Sinclair is returned safely.”
Dante’s face has a grave expression, “You need to stop. Now. If you continue, you’ll only hurt yourself and those you care about.”
Douglas is quiet for a moment, then looks up at Dante, “You think you can hurt me more than you already have? How can this get worse for me?”
The two stare at each other for a long moment, then Douglas nods his head, “Bring Ellen Sinclair back. You realize at some point, working for me, Desiree is going to find out what a scumbag you are, right?”
That gets Dante’s attention.
Douglas stabs the knife into the table and stands up, walking away from Dante.
Dante bows his head as he hears the door to Douglas’s office close. He knows Douglas is right.
Brandon Tanner looks at Dante, “Excuse me?”
“We need to let her go,” says Dante.
Brandon chuckles, “And why would I do that?”
“The police, the prosecutors, investigators are all looking for her. I wouldn’t have brought her here, but you made that call without consulting me. You’ve complicated things.”
Brandon gets quiet, nodding his head, “I did bring her here without talking to you first. Does that mean I should just let her go? She’ll implicate us all.”
Dante shakes her head, “I’ll ensure that she doesn’t say a damn word. It’s the only way to make all of this go away. The entire infrastructure that we’ve created is about to fall down around our ears. This is the only way to make it stop.”
“Why, all of a sudden?” asks Brandon. “You were fine up until now. Did Douglas Frost tell you that he’d let you slide for killing his brother if we let her go?”
Dante doesn’t answer.
Brandon scoffs, “I told you we should have killed him back then too.”
Dante shakes his head, “It would have been the wrong decision.”
Brandon chuckles and leans forward, “Dante, do you know how many girls you’ve sent to me up until now? You sent them to me. Every one of them is now missing or dead. If this gets exposed, your daughter will never forgive you.”
Dante snaps his eyes up to Brandon.
Brandon smiles widely.
“I’ll give you another girl,” says Dante.
Brandon’s smile fades.
“Ellen Sinclair is far too dangerous to keep or kill,” says Dante.
“Another girl?” says Brandon, as if considering it. “Another girl from the restaurant?”
Walking out of Spinet’s office, Deliah Loper walks down the sidewalk when Twill moves in behind her. She hears his footsteps and slows down. She turns around, “Are you here to see me?” she asks.
Twill nods. “I am.”
Deliah smiles, “Are you, by chance, a fan of mine?”
She motions with her fingers, “Do you want an autograph?”
He doesn’t answer her.
“Perhaps a selfie?” she asks.
“A picture?” asks Twill.
Deliah smiles, “Sure. Let’s take one together.”
Twill pulls out his phone and walks up to her, and aims his camera at her.
“Aren’t we going to take one together?” asks Deliah.
He takes a picture.
Then he just keeps pressing the button as Deliah’s smile fades, and she’s starting to get creeped out. Twill finally lowers the phone, and she nods to him, “Thank you.”
She turns and walks down the street away from him, and he stands there watching her leave.
Outside of Todd’s apartment, Sue Ann calls him again, but there’s no answer. “He won’t pick up,” she tells Douglas.
Douglas sighs and walks up to the door, and begins to pound on it. Suddenly, around the corner, Todd limps into view, and Douglas is the first to spot him and hurries over to him. “Todd! Who did this to you?”
Sue Ann hears Douglas and runs over as well.
Todd waves him off, “I’m fine. Really.”
“Spinet did this because you threatened him with the diary, didn’t he?” asks Sue Ann.
Douglas looks at Todd, “We need to know if you have any other pictures of her diary?”
Todd shakes his head, suddenly nervous, “I don’t have anything like that,” he says. “I don’t know anything about any of this.” He brushes past them.
“Todd,” yells Douglas, but Todd ignores him and fishes his keys out of his pocket, and opens his door.
“Wait, we need to talk!” yells Sue Ann, but it’s too late as Todd slips inside and closes the door behind him.
Douglas shakes his head, “He’s terrified now. Something happened.”
“Fuck!” yells Sue Ann. “We can’t catch a break!”
But Douglas is trying to think of their next move.
Douglas walks into his office and sees Desiree sitting at her desk.
“Desiree,” he says to her as she looks up. “You can stop coming in.”
Desiree looks from Carlos to Douglas, “Did I do something wrong?”
“I’m not feeling comfortable with you working here. To be honest, your father asked me to hire you, but things are a little slow at the moment, as you can see. There isn’t much legal work for you to do as I’m not taking any clients at the moment,” Douglas explains, though it isn’t his real reason for letting her go.
Desiree steps out from behind her desk, “Has something happened between you and my father?”
“Does it matter?” Douglas asks.
“It does if it’s the reason you’re letting me go. Why were you talking about Ellen Sinclair the other day?” she asks him. “Who is she?”
Douglas stares at her, “If you want to know, you should ask your father. He’s very familiar with her.” He turns and walks to his desk.
Carlos motions for her to stay where she is for the moment and walks after Douglas.
“I don’t think she knows anything,” says Carlos.
Douglas sits on the edge of his desk, “Perhaps it’s time for her to know.”
Carlos nods and hands Douglas a paper, “I looked into the owner of Kam Loon Restaurant. Someone from Tanner’s group owns it. And that’s not even the weirdest part.” Carlos flips the paper over.
Douglas looks, and his eyes get very curious.
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” says the mayor. “Over the past couple of decades, no one has been able to touch us.”
Dante shakes his head, “I’m sorry. I should have managed this a little better.”
Salcon is also at this meeting, and he’s not happy, “He has all my documents! What if he takes it all to the press? I’m done for! I don’t like this one bit.”
The mayor shakes his head, “Don’t worry about it. If he goes to the press, I’ll handle it. We’ve never had a problem with the way that Schumer has handled our business. If something goes wrong, we’ll handle it.”
“That lawyer is a nutjob,” says Salcon.
Dante shakes his head, “I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry.”
Douglas walks into Kam Loon Restaurant. Brandon Tanner is sitting at a table and eating. He nods politely to Douglas. “Long time. Here to eat?”
Douglas seems surprised to see him. “I am.”
“I’ve heard this place has great food, so I decided to give it a try,” says Brandon. “It’s excellent.”
Douglas walks over to another table and takes a seat.
A man walks in, and Douglas stands up, “Are you Henry Adkins?”
“I am.” Douglas motions for a seat. Brandon seems curious now though he continues to eat.
“You used to work for Tanner Electronics?” Douglas asks him.
“I did,” Henry says, curious where this is going.
“I heard this building belongs to you, or that you bought it seven years ago,” Douglas asks.
Henry nods his head, “That’s right.”
Douglas looks over at Brandon, who seems very amused by all of this.
Brandon finishes his drink and stands up. Douglas motions to him. “You must be well acquainted with the CEO of Tanner Electronics then, I would imagine?”
Henry looks over, “Oh, I didn’t see you there, Mr. Tanner. My apologies.”
Brandon looks at him, “You work for my company?”
“Looks like he makes a pretty good living,” says Douglas. “He was barely working for your company when he was able to afford this place. He could barely manage his debt. So, let’s get down to the truth. Who owns this building?”
Brandon puts on a ball cap and lays some money on the table. He looks over at Douglas and chuckles, shaking his head, then walks out of the restaurant.
Douglas fumes as he watches him leave.
Back at Douglas’s office, Carlos turns to Desiree, “I need to go out for a bit. Can you watch the place?”
Desiree rises in her seat, “Carlos, is Ellen Sinclair…” she starts to ask, then shakes her head, “Never mind. I won’t keep you.”
Carlos nods. He wouldn’t even know what to say to her at this point.
As soon as Carlos leaves the building, Desiree walks from behind her desk and heads over to Douglas’s desk, and begins going through all the paperwork about what he’s working on when she discovers a picture of Ellen Sinclair. She gathers up all the paperwork, walks over to the copy machine, and copies the entire file.
We see the inside of Ellen Sinclair’s grandmother’s home.
“You mean, if I give a statement to the reporters, it might help me get my Ellen back?” the woman asks. As the camera pans around, we see Brandon Tanner sitting across from her, ready to record her statement.
“The more exposure she gets, the easier it will be to find her,” Tanner explains.
“Really?” the older woman begins to weep, “What do I need to do?”
Tanner reaches over and touches the recorder on his phone. “It must be rough.”
The grandmother continues to try, “It’s unbearable,” she says through weeping. “That poor baby…”
Tanner clears his throat, “First, explain to me in detail how she went missing.”
“Do you,” the woman sobs, “Do you think she’s still alive?”
Brandon Tanner is trying not to smile at all of this. He finds this all amusing in his sick twisted way. “I do. I think she’s alive.”
As Brandon Tanner is being driven away from the woman’s apartment, he places his earpiece in his ear and listens to the woman sobbing on the recording.
He glances up and yells, “Stop the car!” He’s looking at something as he removes the piece from his ear and opens his car door, “I’ll walk from here,” he tells the driver.
“We meet again,” he says as he rushes over to greet Sue Ann Clark, who is holding a large stack of files.
“Oh, hello,” she says.
Tanner reaches for the files, “Let me help you.”
Sue Ann doesn’t want his help, “I’ve got it.”
But he takes them anyway, “I was on my way up anyway.” But as they walk up the stairs, she spots her father. “Dad!”
Brandan glances up.
When Stanley Clark spots them together, he slows his pace, obviously unhappy to see them together.
Brandon buys a couple of juices from a vending machine outside of the prosecutor’s building and then walks over to hand one to Stanley, then sits across from him on a bench.
“I didn’t realize it when I was younger, but your daughter is quite charming,” Brandon says as he pops the top of his juice open.
Stanley doesn’t want this particular conversation, so he changes the subject, “Have you been getting your treatment?”
Surprised, Brandon asks, “Do you think I can get better?”
Stanley nods, “Of course, I do.”
Brandon chuckles, “You’ve believed that since I was young. My father was never quite convinced.”
Stanley shakes his head, “Sometimes kids make mistakes.”
Brandon nods his head, “Don’t worry. I’ve become much better.”
Stanley smiles at him.
“By the way,” asks Brandon, “what are you going to do about your daughter?”
Stanley’s smile disappears.
A little while later, Attorney General-to-be Stanley Clark is sitting across from Brenda Wright.
“I have a favor to ask,” he finally admits.
Brenda is curious, “What’s the favor?”
“You know this seven-year-old murder that my daughter is looking into?” he asks.
“Of course I do,” Brenda admits.
Stanley tells her, “I need you to take this case from her.”
Brenda purses her lips and then asks, “Is it the same reason why you stopped me from digging into it seven years ago?”
Stanley nods, “Back then, it was only speculation. Now, I’ve become certain.”
Brenda raises her eyebrows, “Are you telling me you know who the murderer is? Perhaps I should say, the mastermind?”
A deep heavy sigh comes from Stanley Clark, “Once the hearing is over, I will focus all my resources on it as Attorney General. But before then, there are too many people who will get hurt.”
This gives Brenda something to think about.
Sue Ann walks into her home and announces, “Are you here, dad?” She removes the purse from her shoulder and sets it on her table as she walks into her dining room, where her father is looking over her crime wall.
“I have to change and go right back out,” she tells him. “I have to take care of some things.”
Stanley looks at her, “Must you be in charge of this case?”
Sue Ann turns to look at him.
“You haven’t found a single lead, and it just seems you are going around in circles,” he explains. “I’m told you’re neglecting other cases assigned to you. They could fire you for that.”
Sue Ann chuckles, “You worry too much. I promise I’m working on all of my cases alongside this one. But why are you worried about this case? That’s not like you.”
Stanley knows if he tells her it’s dangerous, she’ll ignore him. “Why does it have to be you to find the answer to this case? I know what it’s like to be obsessed over a case. It’ll end your career.”
Sue Ann sighs softly, “What I want is to be the prosecutor you would be proud of—giving up? I don’t think that would make you very proud. So, no, I won’t stop digging into this case. There are girls out there who have been sacrificed without even knowing why.”
“It’s only going to get worse, Sue Ann,” he tells her.
She looks her father in the eye, “If I give up, they’ve died for nothing. I know you’re worried about me, but I need you to trust me.”
Her father just nods his head.
Sue Ann tries to change the subject, “Your hearing it tomorrow! Are you excited?”
Stanley just shrugs his shoulders. They suddenly feel very heavy. “You know me. I’ll just go with the flow.” He turns his head to look at everything on her wall.
It’s late, and Douglas Frost is standing outside of Todd’s apartment again. He tries calling again. Sue Ann comes around the corner and hurries up to the door, and begins to knock on it.
Douglas calls again as Sue Ann continues to knock on the door and yell his name.
Inside, Todd is looking at a picture of Ellen on his phone. He can see Douglas is calling, and he just lets the phone ring as he sits there on his kitchen floor. He swipes to the next picture and then the next before finally closing down the app.
Outside, Douglas is looking through some of the pictures Todd sent him of Ellen’s diary when he gets an idea.
Inside, Todd hears his phone chime as he receives a message. When a shakey thumb, he presses the button to read the message.
“I skipped my meals and walked for two hours to save bus fare. I ended up with a nosebleed. I need to hold on. I have to save every penny. My grandma doesn’t even go to the hospital when she needs to because we have so little money. All I need is that one big break, and all our worries will be done. Would it be easier just to give up?”
Todd begins to cry as he reads the diary entry.
Outside, Sue Ann and Douglas lean against a brick wall.
“Do you think he’ll change his mind?” she asks Douglas.
Douglas nods, “He will.”
“He must have been scared to have gotten beat up like that,” she tells him.
Douglas nods, “But he’ll man the fuck up because he seems to care about her.”
Sue Ann kicks a rock at her foot and watches it bounce across the street, “I’m kind of jealous of her. Ellen. I knew a man once, and he ran away because he was scared. ”
Douglas knows she’s talking about him. “Running away might have been the most courageous decision he could have made.”
She turns to look at him as he says that.
The door opens to Ellen’s room, and Twill walks in with some stuff to restock her refrigerator. As he opens the door and starts putting away the items, she asks him, “Am I locked up here because of that USB? Kam Loon Restaurant?” She is seated in the corner, on the floor, furthest away from the door.
Twill’s eyes go wide as he turns to her, “You watched it?”
She leans forward on her knees, “I won’t tell a soul about what I saw. I’ll take it to my grave. Please, just let me go.”
Twill seems upset, “You weren’t supposed to watch it.”
He stands up and pulls out his cell phone, and dials.
Dante nods to the phone, “I see.” He slowly lowers the phone and picks up another phone, and calls.
“We have a problem,” he says when Brandon Tanner answers.
Brandon Tanner walks into Ellen’s room and closes the door behind him. He walks in and sits down on the edge of her bed. She’s still over in the far corner but rises to her feet and walks over to him, “Please let me go,” she asks. “I’m begging you. I won’t tell anyone. I won’t tell anyone about the USB or what was on it.”
Brandon answers her as if he may not have even been listening to her, “When I was young, I was scolded for torturing people. It’s impolite, they told me. Back then, I didn’t understand what they were saying to me.” He finally turns to look up at her. “Why must I be polite to people? Now people can’t wait to please me or be intimidated by me. So, I just started torturing people in private. That way, no one finds out.”
“Oh my God, you’re crazy,” Ellen stammers. “Look, please. I won’t tell anyone what you told me. I won’t say a word until the day I die. I need to take care of my grandma.”
Tanner has pulled out his phone, “Exactly,” he tells her. He begins to play the recording of her grandmother he recorded earlier.
“Please find Ellen,” the woman’s voice comes over the speaker on the phone. The older woman just wails as she calls Ellen’s name. Ellen begins to shake as she hears her grandmother’s voice on the phone.
Brandon begins to smile.
“What did you do?” Ellen asks. “What did you do to my grandma? What did you do?” she’s screaming now as she grabs him by his collar and shakes him.
Brandon keeps that amused smile on his face as he clicks the next smile.
“She’ll come back to me, won’t she? To take care of me?” Ellen begins to choke as she hears her grandmother’s words, “I’m sure she’ll come back home…”
Brandon is eagerly watching Ellen’s every reaction to the recording, knowing that it’s torture for her. As she begins to sob violently, Brandon finally asks her, “Where is the USB?”
The next morning, outside of Todd’s apartment, Douglas and Sue Ann are still waiting. They’ve been there all night. Sue Ann is putting the hairband in her hair, creating a ponytail. She raises her phone and looks at herself in the reflection, “I look like shit. I stayed up all night, so I guess that is what I get.”
Douglas chuckles, “You look fine.”
She smiles and looks at him, “I know. I’m trying to be humble. To be honest, I always look stunning, no matter what.”
“It’s nice to see you are bragging so early in the morning,” Douglas tells her.
“I know. I managed to pull an all-nighter and still look this good.”
Douglas is about to retort when Todd’s door suddenly opens, and they rush over.
Todd steps out to meet them, “You were here all night?”
Sue Ann looks at him, though he’s cleaned himself up and looking much better, “Are you alright? We should have thought to protect you better.”
Todd looks between the two, “You promise me that you’ll find Ellen, right?”
Sue Ann nods, “We will find her. Trust us.”
Todd nods. “I have some more photos of her diaries. There is something there that I can’t quite understand. Seven years ago, the day Samantha died, Ellen…” he starts to say, then just hands over his phone to Douglas instead.
Douglas reads, “I met with Samantha today. She’s a trainee. She left after handing me a music box. She told me I had to keep it safe until she came back for it. I’m not sure why she gave it to me.” Douglas hands the phone back. “That music box keeps coming up.”
Suddenly, Douglas recalls seeing the music box on the delivery receipt that he read from before. “The music box!” he says as he turns to Sue Ann. “I think I know where the USB is.”
Sue Ann’s phone rings. “Yes, Detective Young?” She looks up at Douglas, “I’m on my way.” She hangs up and says, “Deliah Loper has gone missing now.”
“Deliah?” asks Todd.
Sue Ann nods, “We’ll find her.”
Douglas turns to her, “We need to go to Ellen’s house. The USB is there. I’ll go to Ellen’s. You go meet with Detective Young.” He turns to Todd, “You stay out of sight.”
Sue Ann is the first to get to Spinet Entertainment. As soon as she gets out of her car, Young runs out to meet her, “Deliah Loper hasn’t answered her phone. She was supposed to be filming today as well and didn’t show.”
Sue Ann thinks for a moment, “Let’s try her house. She lives alone, right?”
Young nods, “She lives near Ellen.”
Tenta is going through Ellen’s room, looking for the USB.
He opens drawers and empties them. He tears apart her closet. He removes all the books off her bookshelf and accidentally knocks over the angel music box, causing the USB to fall out.
He picks it up when Douglas storms into the room, and they have a face-off.
Tenta smirks at Douglas and places the drive inside his jacket pocket. He takes a step towards Douglas, who takes a swing at him. Tenta quickly grabs his arm and gives him a throw, and then rushes out of the room.
Douglas leaps up and runs after him.
Outside, Tenta runs through the alley but stops when he sees Paul and Sue Ann. Paul runs after him, and Tenta turns to run the other way. Soon, Paul and Douglas are chasing him. Tenta makes them chase him through a maze of alleys and houses.
Paul gets close enough and just lunges for him, knocking Tenta to the pavement when the USB falls out of his pocket. Paul reaches for it, but Tenta kicks at him, and Paul has to duck. They begin to fight in the street. Tenta finally gets in a good kick.
He reaches down to pick up the drive when Douglas grabs him, spins him around, and punches him in the mouth. He tries to grab the USB, but Tenta grabs him and gives him a couple of punches. Tenta starts to walk off when a shot rings through the air causing him to stop.
Paul holds his weapon on Tenta, “Put your hands in the air, asshole.”
Douglas walks over as Tenta complies and pulls the USB out of his pocket.
In his car, Douglas pulls out his tablet and slides the USB into it. As the video comes up, Sue Ann, sitting next to him, leans over to check it out.
There’s a female voice that says, “This video is recorded to expose the selling of sexual favors. My name is Samantha and with me is April. We are aspiring actresses.” The scene changes to inside the restaurant where men are speaking at a table. The video is being recorded without the men’s knowledge from a distance. “We are the press, the prosecution, the banker, and an assemblyman. Together, there is nothing to fear,” one man says as they all drink. Another pipes in, “We are untouchable. No one would dare to lay a finger on us.” The scene abruptly cuts to the inside of the room. It looks like the camera is inside of something, so the edge of the video is obscured. Samantha sets it down in the corner and then kneels, so we get a good look at her face as she adjusts it to get the best view of the bed. She then walks over and sits on the edge of the bed, waiting. We hear the door open and close, and a man steps into view, removing his jacket. Then it shifts suddenly to a different perspective. This time April is sitting on the edge of the bed. She takes a glance back at the camera before turning around just as another man steps out of the bathroom in a robe. He saunters over to her. He tries to push her back on the bed, but she moves to the side, and he lands on the bed. He turns to her, “How dare you! If someone like you died tonight, no one in this world would find out.”
Douglas pulls the drive out of his tablet in disgust. Sue Ann is in tears, “Those motherfuckers,” she says under her breath.
Brandon has set up a feed from Ellen’s room to his laptop to watch her obsessively.
Dante rushes into the room and up to Brandon’s desk, “We’ve lost the USB. If you don’t let Ellen Sinclair go, everything will be exposed.”
Brandon nonchalantly looks up at Dante and shrugs, “No thanks. I like her.”
Brandon ignores him, “She’s very haughty and charming in a way that I just can’t give up. I plan to play with her for quite a while.”
“You realize this puts you in danger, too,” Dante tells him.
Brandon scoffs as he continues to stare at the screen, “And you too.”
Dante can feel it all spiraling out of control as he stares down at the other man.
Sue Ann is putting together some paperwork when her office phone rings.
“I’d like to make a report,” says the female on the other end, “about the prostitution at Kam Loon Restaurant.”
Sue Ann’s eyes go wide, “Kam Loon Restaurant?”
“Yes. I was involved in it.”
Douglas saunters into Dante’s office at the construction company. “I’m sure you are aware, but we have the video of your buddies at Kam Loon Restaurant receiving sexual favors.”
Dante doesn’t even look up from his paperwork, “And?”
“And if you don’t let Ellen Sinclair go, that video will be exposed.”
Dante looks up at him for the first time, “I don’t think that’ll be happening,” he tells Douglas.
Douglas just stares at him, and so Dante goes back to doing his paperwork.
We see a pair of legs walking up the steps to the prosecutor’s office. The woman, when inside, keeps her sunglasses on as she walks through the hallway. When she finds Sue Ann’s office, she steps inside.
Sue Ann is staring at Deliah Loper from across her desk. “You were involved in the prostitution yourself?” she asks.
Deliah, very reserved, answers, “Yes.”
“Do you remember who you were involved with at the restaurant?” Sue Ann asks.
Deliah nods her head slowly, “I do.”
“Who was it?”
Deliah glances at the television screen behind Sue Ann. “It was him.”
Sue Ann looks confused for a moment and then slowly turns around to see that her father’s hearing for Attorney General is on the screen.
“It was Stanley Clark, the candidate for Attorney General,” Deliah says.
Sue Ann, in shock, turns back to Deliah, “Say that one more time?”
Deliah nods. “I gave sexual favors to Stanley Clark for money.”