Thaddeus pours two glasses of wine. The bottle’s label is the same as the wine that poisoned in the earlier episode.
He and Betsy sit across from each other at the dining table as Thaddeus offers her a glass of wine, which she accepts with a smile.
Betsy (voiceover): If this were any other night, I would have been waiting for my husband who was late without so much as a phone call.
They clink their glasses together.
Betsy: I would’ve pretended to be the happy, doting wife in front of my husband who graciously brought our favorite wine. I would have shared a toast with him.
Betsy brings the wine glass to her lips and takes a swallow.
Betsy: I would have thought, “I’m happy enough.”
Blood begins to seep from Betsy’s lips as she chokes and slowly lays her head on the table.
Betsy: If it had been an ordinary night, I would have died. But would I have died happy?
She lifts her eyes from where she lies and looks at her husband, holding his glass. Not a drop of wine had so much as touched his lips.
Betsy: It’s a good thing this wasn’t any ordinary night and none of what you just saw came true.
As Betsy lies in the hospital room, her head bandaged. Her finger was wrapped up. She slowly opens her eyes.
Betsy: Of course, tearing off my own fingernail and getting hit in the face hurt quite a bit. But none of that mattered to me. The question I’m asking myself as I lie here is this. Did my plan fail? Or did it succeed? I think it all started…
TWO YEARS AGO
The cemetery was crowded this day. Betsy’s father, the owner of one of the largest corporations in the country, will be buried next to her mother. We see Betsy standing there, stoic, as the minister reads the familiar passages that most hear at a funeral. The corporation employees, those in the area, had all come to pay their tribute to the man who put food on their table.
Standing next to Betsy, of course, is Thaddeus.
A couple of months later, they are sitting next to each other as the chairperson of the board announced that from this point forward, all profits earned by the corporation will be donated to charity at Betsy’s request. The reality was that she didn’t want to rely on her father’s money. There was so much of it, she only took what she needed to be comfortable for the rest of her life.
Ten million dollars.
As the announcement is made, Thaddeus’s eyes go wide. She never once mentioned this to him. Betsy noticed the look on his face and asks, “You’re okay with this too, correct?”
Thaddeus couldn’t disagree with her in front of all these people, so he clears his throat and responds with the only answer she needed to hear. “Of course.”
What else could he say?
Driving home from the announcement, Thaddeus finally asks, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“It has nothing to do with us,” Betsy tells him. She turns to smile at him as he drives them home, “I bet everything I had on you when I married you.”
Flattery is nice, but for Thaddeus, money is better. “You still should have told me.”
“I knew you’d be upset,” Betsy tells him. “But I never wanted his money. I wanted to devote myself to you as your wife. It’s not like we didn’t get anything. Ten million dollars is enough to live on for the rest of our lives.”
Thaddeus whips the car over and parks at the curb, “Are you sure it wasn’t because you didn’t trust me?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I must prove that I love you. I must prove that I’m competent. Every single day. Do you know how hard that is?” he asks her as he finally turns to her.
Betsy places a hand on his arm, “I know how stressed you are. Listen to me, Thaddeus. I already know that you love me. There’s no reason for you to feel the need to prove yourself.” She smiles at him, “Besides, we’ve enough money now to start the restaurant that you’ve always wanted.”
Well, now Thaddeus feels like shit. “I’m sorry I was angry.” He puts the car back into gear, “Who needs his money anyway? All I need is you.”
Betsy: And so, the process of creating a restaurant began.
On opening day, everyone gathered outside of the restaurant for a photo. Once taken, Betsy brought a basket with baked goods and handed them out to all the staff. She walked up to Mary and offered her one. “I made them this morning.”
Mary’s face brightens as she smiles and accepts one. “I’m so happy to be working here,” she tells Betsy as she takes a bite of the muffin. “Mmm. Delicious! I hope you come by often,” she smiles.
“Let’s get ready to open,” Thaddeus calls out and Mary pardons herself to run inside.
Betsy: I don’t know when it began. But it did.
As Mary walks by Thaddeus to go inside, he gently places his hand on her back.
A FEW MONTHS BEFORE THE KIDNAPPING
“About the loan…” Thaddeus starts to ask as he places some fruit into his oatmeal.
Betsy glances up with a surprised expression, “This again?”
“You don’t have to be upset. I haven’t even told you what it’s for,” Thaddeus says to her.
Betsy nods her head. “You’re right. What do you need it for?”
“The restaurant, of course,” Thaddeus tells her. “Two million should cover everything. It’s really not that much.”
Betsy seems confused by that last statement, “It’s not a small amount either, Thaddeus.”
Thaddeus is silent for a moment and then throws down his spoon. He rises sharply from the table, knocking his legs against the table, sending a glass to the floor and it shatters as it hits the stone tile. He stands there for a moment, considering what to do and then just storms off up the stairs.
Betsy watches him go as she gets up and starts to clean up the glass.
Betsy: His business started to struggle. The fights became more frequent. But not long after that particular fight, suddenly they stopped.
Betsy is seen sitting on the couch, obviously waiting for Thaddeus to come home as it gets dark outside.
Betsy: Every Friday night, he would come home with fresh cologne on. If I were being honest, it couldn’t completely mask the scent of another woman. It was then that I vowed to bring my husband back to where he belonged. I knew it would take patience, but the rage boiled up inside of me. I couldn’t wait any longer.
One night after the restaurant had closed, Betsy is watching as everyone leaves the restaurant. The last two to leave are Thaddeus and Mary.
They walk away from the restaurant, holding hands.
Betsy can only watch with tears in her eyes.
TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE KIDNAPPING
It’s late one night.
Betsy is ironing Thaddeus’s shirts while Thaddeus is sound asleep. She finds herself watching him, but shakers herself out of her depression and starts to carry the shirts to the closet when Thaddeus’s phone chimes.
She stops walking.
Betsy looks over at the phone on the nightstand and gently lays the shirts on her bed.
She slowly creeps between the beds and reaches for his phone. Reaching for his hand, she places a finger on the sensor and the phone opens up. She swipes up on a message from Mary that reads, “You were amazing tonight, honey.”
Then she read the rest of the texts.
Mary: Are you attending the funeral tomorrow?
Thaddeus: I should pay my respect. Such a sad thing for someone to pass after only being married for a year.
Mary: Are you envious?
Mary: Then maybe you should do something about it.
Thaddeus: I’ve heard it said that most beautiful goodbye is when a spouse dies.
Mary: Would you like help with your beautiful goodbye?
Thaddeus: I should have known you’d already have a plan.
Mary: You should start preparing for the funeral.
Thaddeus: Very proactive of you.
Tears begin to stream down Betsy’s face as she reads the texts between the two lovers. In order not to wake him, she covers her mouth and hurries out of the room, down the stairs. Only when she gets to the bottom does she catch her breath.
As she sits on the bottom step and weeps, she knows now that her husband and his lover plan to kill her.
ONE MONTH BEFORE THE KIDNAPPING.
Thaddeus is about to head out for his morning job when Betsy stops him and hands him a bottle of water.
Once he takes off down the street, Betsy waits until he rounds the corner and bursts into action, running back up the stairs into the house.
She knew that everyone else would be at the restaurant, getting ready to open. She digs through his wallet and find the key.
She had been working a month towards this moment. She had already checked his keyring for any strange keys but nothing. Betsy eventually found the stray key in his wallet.
Moments later, she’s running up the stairs to an apartment.
Peeking her head in, hearing nothing, she creeps into Mary’s apartment.
It’s a strange feeling, walking into your husband’s lover’s apartment. It’s tiny. As she steps into the living room, she finds herself face to face with the bed.
The bed that Mary shared with her husband most Friday nights.
Betsy starts to get angry but gets even angrier when she turns and spots a photo.
Her husband and Mary. Together. Smiling. Sharing a milkshake. Betsy picks it up, resisting the urge to smash it when she sees what she needs. She gently sets the picture back on the nightstand and picks up the alarm clock.
It wasn’t a new fashioned digital one, but an old wind up one with the big bells on top.
Betsy gets to work.
She begins to unscrew the back to the alarm.
Betsy places a bug into the clock.
That night, she hides another bug behind an outlet cover inside her and Thaddeus’s bedroom…
It was Friday night, so he would be coming home “late”, so it was the perfect opportunity to test the equipment.
Parked outside of Mary’s apartment, Betsy heard more than she bargained for.
Mary told him how she could make the toxin they needed to kill Betsy.
Thaddeus: So, what if you can make it? We’ll get caught.
Mary: It’ll be easy to fool that naïve wife of yours.
Thaddeus: I’m not talking about my wife. I’m talking about the police. I’m not built for jail.
Mary: Is that so?
There’s some rustling, some laughing and then Betsy had to listen to them having sex.
She couldn’t do it. She throws the car door open and spews her stomach onto the street.
Betsy: That’s when I made up my mind… to die. Just like they wanted me to.
The next morning, Betsy spots someone familiar as she walks by an art store.
Betsy: But first, I needed someone to help me with my tragic death.
She knew she needed to find a casual way to bump into Jerry, so she walked past the store and waited. When she could see him through the window, near the door, she turned around and walked back towards the store.
Jerry is browsing a piece of art, but something catches the corner of his eye, and he turns just in time to see her walk by. He rushes out of the store, “Betsy!”
“I was shocked at first and then started blaming myself,” Betsy admits to Jerry as they sit across from each other. “Maybe I pushed him into her arms.” Tears begin to stream down Betsy’s face. She reaches up to wipe them away, “I’m sorry. I’m just rambling about my own problems. Let’s talk about something else.”
Jerry just shakes his head, “Same ol’ Betsy.”
Betsy’s eyes go wide. She wonders if he’s already saw through her.
“Taking care of everyone else before you take care of yourself,” Jerry finishes.
Betsy dabs the corner of her eye with a hanky, “Did I do that?”
“You tell me what you need to do. Everything,” Jerry tells her. “And whatever I can do to help you, I’ll do it.”
Betsy leans forward and places her hands on Jerry’s as they lay folded on the table. “Thank you.”
Jerry looks down at the hands together, perhaps a bit smitten with Betsy.
And Betsy knew full well that he was.
THE MORNING OF THE KIDNAPPING
Thaddeus turns and places a kiss on Betsy’s cheek, then turns to walk into the garage.
As he disappears from sight, Betsy thinks to herself, “It’s Friday. Tonight, he will go to his lover’s apartment.”
THREE HOURS BEFORE THE KIDNAPPING
Betsy stands at the stove and the tea kettle is whistling that it’s ready.
After a moment, she reaches for the kettle and fills two mugs with water, turning the brown powder into hot cocoa.
Betsy: I prayed to God to allow my husband to come home early and drink cocoa with me.
Instead of drinking the cocoa, she moves over the sink and carefully pours the chocolate down the drain, leaving a little in each mug.
Then she changes into her nightgown and sits at her desk and begins to brush her hair.
“She just gave him the poison,” Jerry’s voice comes over her phone’s speaker. Jerry is sitting outside listening to the conversation through the bug that Betsy placed in Mary’s apartment.
He then placed his phone to the speaker, allowing Betsy to listen to the rest of the conversation. This was one of the reasons that Betsy needed Jerry. She knew that she couldn’t sit outside of that apartment every Friday and listen to them having sex.
As the conversation between Mary and Thaddeus is played to Betsy over her phone, she begins to slow down the brushing of her hair, becoming distracted by the conversation.
When Mary asked him about what wine he would buy, the name of the wine was familiar to Betsy. It was the same wine she pledged her undying love to Thaddeus and he to her in return.
Betsy: As soon as he said the name of the wine, I knew he would go through with it.
TWO HOURS BEFORE THE KIDNAPPING
Inside their bedroom, Betsy places another bug behind an outlet cover, screwing the cover back into place.
Downstairs, she drives a needle into a vein on her arm and begins to fill a blood bag with her blood.
She takes the bag and dumps her blood all over the floor and uses gloved hands to spread the blood all over the floor. She wraps some paper towel around her hands, removing the gloves and throwing it all into a trash bag. She then takes her hands and makes a bloody trail towards the door, ensuring she leaves her fingerprints in the blood.
Betsy puts on Thaddeus’s running shoes and walks through the bloody floor.
Back upstairs, she washes her hands. She cleans the sink and then as she looks at herself in the mirror, she reaches back and removes her hairband, letting her hair fall down around her shoulders.
Moments later, she’s dressed in black slacks, black shirt and a black cap and carrying a bag over her shoulder.
She walks out of the house, goes down the stairs and then sits.
When Thaddeus returns home, she sees him drive right into the garage, unable to see her where she sits.
She gets up, hurries back up the stairs and moves around to the back of the house where she can see into the living room just as Thaddeus opens the door.
She sees him freak out over the blood.
She sees him call for her.
She sees him run upstairs looking for her.
She sees him come back downstairs.
She sees him try to call her phone.
She sees him find the note.
Betsy: That’s right. Now you’ll see my husband isn’t evil. He values my life more than five million…
She sees him smirk.
She sees him almost seem relieved.
She sees him call the police.
Betsy: And I was wrong. With that, there was no more hesitation.
Betsy moved into the garage. Opened her bag of tools and pulled out a pair of pliers.
Removing her glove, placing it between her teeth, she positioned her fingernail between the clamps and as she squeezed, she pulled hard and cried into the glove.
Betsy: Instead of my wedding ring, I put the fingernail from my ring finger into the envelope.
Betsy lifted the hatch to Thaddeus’s car and squeezed out a couple of drops of blood onto the carpet.
After placing a bandage over her finger, she pulled out the note she had already printed up. She walked across the street and placed the envelope into the neighbor’s mailbox.
Betsy: I was content to be the loving, devoted wife. But that person is now dead.
The following morning, Betsy was getting everything in place for the video.
She put up some plastic curtains, painting streaks of red so it looked like blood. The TV was set up in the corner on the news channel so they would have proof that the video she was about to make was filmed the same day.
Her nightgown was soiled in dirt and debris. Her hair was mussed up.
She turns towards the television when she sees Thaddeus pleading for help from the public.
“If you know of anything, no matter how small you might think it is, please contact the police,” he says before being placed into a squad car.
Instead of being touched, she scoffed. As far as she was concerned, it was all just an act.
As she sat down in the chair, placing her hands behind her, gripping the remote control, she hit the play button and the news channel began to replay the news coverage.
Betsy: At first, my tears were fake. All acting for the camera as it rolled. Then suddenly, I began to cry real tears. Tears of mourning for the death of the person that I used to be. But now, it will be my husband’s turn to cry.
Mary apartment and their home wasn’t the only place that Betsy bugged.
“Auntie Betsy will be okay, right?” tears began to well in Betsy’s eyes as she heard the question from her niece, Lydia. “She’s not dead, right?”
She listened as he found the bankbook in his name in the hallway of their home. She heard him crying, not fake tears for the police or the camera. Real tears.
TWO DAYS LATER
Betsy steps out of the shower as the news replays the arrest of her husband. She walks into the living room and with a gloating smile, she watched with glee as he is placed into the squad car as she used a towel to dry her hair.
Room service brought food and she ate like a queen as she watched news of the money exchange at the bank.
Betsy: It was almost touching to see him working so hard to raise the money to save me.
Betsy is again dressed in all black as she sits in the stands at the baseball stadium, watching Thaddeus run around with that heavy garbage bag of cash.
Betsy: I decided to give him one final chance.
She watches as Thaddeus reads the note taped to the phone under the chair. When Thaddeus only reported about the site change and not the bag exchange, a tear ran down Betsy’s cheek.
Betsy: When he didn’t give away the swap, there was a glimmer of hope that perhaps after all of this, maybe he did value my life after all.
“It’s touching to watch the kids play, isn’t it?” comes the question from someone seated nearby.
Betsy can only nod her head and place her sunglasses back on as she gets up. She walks to the trash can where the swap occurred, pulling a large rolling cooler behind her. She stops, removes the bag from the trash can, drops it into the cooler and begins to roll it out of the stadium.
Betsy: There was only one thing left to do.
Pulling out her burner phone, using an app to disguise her voice, she reports to the police that she saw Thaddeus injecting something into a bottle of wine.
That night, she received congratulations from Johnny.
“May I come by and see you?” Betsy asks him. “I have something I need you to hold for me.”
“Of course,” Johnny tells her. “I’ll be waiting.”
THREE DAYS AFTER THE KIDNAPPING
Betsy is sitting in a car under an overpass. The marks on her face had begun to heal. She was preparing to make herself known once again. The plan she executed went perfectly in her mind and now…
Betsy: It was time to resurface.
As Jerry tied her arms and legs together, Betsy had put back on the dirty nightgown, smeared dirt on her face and mussed her hair back up. Her gown is stained in her own blood. This was going to be the moment of truth for her.
Jerry is careful as he ties the rope around her ankles and then with a resigned sigh, he glances up at her.
“You should get going now,” Betsy tells him.
Jerry nods his head, “I guess this is it.”
Betsy agrees, “This is all that’s left.”
Jerry seems hesitant. What she’s asking, he doesn’t want to do. Not for anything.
“Please,” she begs him. “I need you to do this for me or everything we’ve worked for until now is for nothing.”
The look of anguish on Jerry’s face says it all. With great reluctance, he lets his hand fall down and wrap itself around a rock. His hand is shaking as he lifts it up and grips it with both hands.
He scoots closer to her and then takes one of his hands and places it over his eyes, not wanting her to see what he’s about to do even though she’s asked him to do it. He slowly raises that rock into the air and after a bit of hesitation, he brings it down against the side of her head.
Jerry is breathing heavy, tears streaming down his face as he tries to catch his breath. There is fresh blood streaming down the side of Betsy’s face as she slowly turns to look Jerry in the face.
Unphased, she says, “Thank you.”
Jerry takes the cloth bag and places it over her head.
Moments later, Betsy is placed on a gurney and carried to the ambulance.
At the same time, Thaddeus is being lowered from a noose and the detectives try to wake him up.
As we return to the present, we see the back of a man walking down the corridor in the hospital.
As Betsy lies on her hospital bed, she thinks to herself, “I wonder what his expression will be when he sees me. Will he love me once again? Will his smile return? Did I win or did I lose? It’s time to get my answer.”
The man stops in front of the room, and we see that it’s Thaddeus, obviously recovered from his suicide attempt.
The door to her room pushes open and Betsy turns her head to look at him. For a moment, Thaddeus just stands there, and his face softens, “Betsy?”
He walks in, sits at her side and takes her hand, “Betsy. Thank God,” he cries as he presses his forehead against her hand, the one with the bandaged finger.
Betsy slowly sits up as Thaddeus looks up into her eyes, “I’m so grateful you’ve come back to me,” he tells her with tears in his eyes.
She places her other hand over his, “You must have been terrified,” he continues to ramble on, so relieved to have her back.
“Welcome back, the Thaddeus that I once loved.”
As tears start to stream down her face, standing in the door way, JC and Alex are watching the two reconcile.
After letting them have a few moments, the two detective walk into the room, “I’m glad you have returned safely,” JC tells her.
“Thank you,” Betsy responds.
Alex asks the obvious question, “Did you happen to see the face of whoever kidnapped you?”
Betsy has become quite the actor as she just stares down at her hands, “He was wearing a mask,” she says as she feigns trauma.
“So, he was definitely a man?” asks JC.
Betsy just slowly nods her head.
“Just one person then?” he follows up.
Betsy again, just nods her head.
“How about a location? Do you know where he took you?” Alex asks.
Betsy is silent for a moment, then stammers out, “I—I don’t know. He had me tied to a chair. He wouldn’t even let me use the bathroom.”
Thaddeus places an arm around her, “I think that’s enough questions for today.”
JC ignores him. He still suspects that Thaddeus played some part in all of this. “Do you have any idea who it might have been who kidnapped you?”
With a tear streaming down her face, Betsy looks up at the detective. “I don’t.”
JC knows that Thaddeus is getting annoyed, “I have just one more question.”
“Detective,” Thaddeus starts to interrupt but JC isn’t waiting on this.
“Who did you share cocoa with that evening?”
As the tension builds for this all important question which could very well lead to the identity of the kidnapper, JC is let down with her answer.
“I made too much cocoa, so I put it into two mugs.”
For JC, that answer was not at all helpful.
For Betsy, that was the point.
Thaddeus walks out Betsy’s room and JC is waiting there for him.
“Now that she’s back, am I cleared of all charges?” Thaddeus asks.
JC shakes his head, “Not quite.” Thaddeus doesn’t seem to understand, so JC continues, “It’s unfortunate she didn’t see the kidnapper’s face. That would have been enough to clear you.
JC steps up to Thaddeus who takes a few steps back, “We have a few more leads we need to follow before we conclude our investigation.”
“Listen,” Thaddeus explains, “I have an alibi. I was at someone’s apartment…”
JC just laughs. “Finally, you’re going to use your affair as an alibi?”
Thaddeus nods his head, “I’m going to come clean to my wife about that. She can punish me as she sees fit. For now, I’d just like to focus on her recovery.”
Thaddeus starts to walk back towards the room when JC reminds him, “Attempted murder. Don’t forget, we have the wine bottle that’s currently being examined. You may have gotten rid of the wine, but there will still be traces of the poison. Whether or not your wife forgives you for being a selfish bastard, when this bottle comes back with poison in it, you’re going to jail.”
Thaddeus has stopped in his tracks. He slowly turns around to face the detective, “I have no idea what this is all about. I didn’t try to poison anyone.”
JC nods confidently, “I guess we’ll see for ourselves when the test results come back. If you want to know what I think, the only reason you attempted suicide was because you already know what we’re going to find. Suicide allows you to avoid telling your wife the truth about the affair, which is now all over the news.”
Suddenly, Alex rushes up and whispers something into JC’s ear. “What?” JC seems shocked.
“There was no poison detected in the wine bottle,” Alex says a little louder.
Thaddeus is trying so hard not to smile at this news.
JC glares at Alex before turning to Thad, “Focus on your wife’s recovery. We’ll be in touch.”
Alex winces knowing that she’s in for an earful as she follows JC down the hall.
As the detectives disappear, Thaddeus isn’t sure what exactly happened. He put the poison in the wine bottle so why was there no poison?
Suddenly, he breaks out into a little happy dance that he’s in the clear now! He pumps his fists and shuffles his feet. His wife was back. They detect the poison in the wine. What a fucking good day this has turned out to be. He mellows himself out as he walks back into his wife’s room.
Johnny walks into the bar with a bag of groceries and sets them onto the bar. He walks over and turns on the old-fashioned radio as the news begins to report.
“Betsy Pride has been returned safely, but there is no progress on finding her kidnapper. The police are hopeful that someone may have seen something and will report it. Meanwhile, her husband Thaddeus Pride has been cleared of all charges. Mrs. Pride has reported she does not know who kidnapped her.”
Johnny pulls out his lighter and begins to light candles in the bar as the report continues.
“The police report that Mrs. Pride is currently dealing with trauma from her kidnapping and with the help of therapy, will continue to investigate her kidnapping.”
Johnny walks over and turns off the radio.
We see a brief vignette of Betsy and Thaddeus attending therapy.
Thaddeus feeding Betsy, then tucking her in when she falls asleep.
He stays with her and watches her sleep.
“Thank you for coming down to the station,” JC says as he sits across from Mary in an interrogation room. For some reason, she seems happy to be there.
“I’m so very happy to cooperate,” she tells him.
JC isn’t really buying her little routine. “Are you certain you aren’t here to find out how much we know?”
Mary’s fake smile fades.
“We confiscated wine from Mr. Pride’s house,” JC says as he rises from his chair.
He’s being watched from behind the one-way window as he moves around the table and places a receipt in front of Mary and taps it a couple of times with his finger.
Mary seems curious, so she reaches for the receipt that shows her buying a particular plant, imported from China. “Yes, I purchased this,” she says, looking up at him. “Is there something wrong?”
“It depends on why you bought it,” JC informs her.
Mary is playing this very cool, “This particular extract has some anti-cancer benefits, as well as being overall healthy for women. I’m actually surprised you haven’t heard about it.”
“Actually, I did look into this particular plant. Of course, as you say, if mixed with the proper ingredients, it can server as a healthy supplement. However, mixed with other ingredients, it can be a deadly poison.” JC says, then adds, “Kind of like certain relationships. Some are healthy. Some are poisonous.”
Mary isn’t impressed with the turn this conversation is taking.
“Looks like the relationship between yourself and your boss took a poisonous turn,” JC says to her.
Mary leans forward, placing her elbows on the table, “Just ask me what you want to know.”
JC nods his head, “Fine. What was your plan? When did it all start?”
Mary stares at the detective, not answering his question.
“You used him from the start, didn’t you?” JC asks.
Again, Mary stays silent. She’s damned sure not going to incriminate herself.
JC sees that she’s got nothing to say about that, so he walks over and pulls some photos out of a folder and one by one lays them on the table in front of her.
The photos are of her at the stadium the day of the money drop.
“You’re a very cunning woman,” JC continues. “You didn’t just want the money. You wanted to test this man to see just how much he loved you. I’m sure you gave him the ultimatum. You or the wife, right? You made him choose, right?”
Mary leans back in her chair again, crossing her arms across her chest. She’s not saying a word.
JC has one other piece of evidence in his possession. He places it in front of her.
“I’m watching you. Don’t forget our pact.”
Mary glances at it, then turns away from it defiantly. However, some of that confidence has begin to chip away.
JC walks back to his chair and takes a seat, “You know Thaddeus Pride well, don’t you? You knew if you gave him the poison, he didn’t have the balls to actually kill her. Regardless, you wanted to get your hands on that five million dollars. And you didn’t want to share it with that gutless bastard, right?”
Mary smirks at him, “You should write novels for a living.”
JC chuckles at the comment. “Just how much do you trust Thaddeus Pride?”
“Do I need to trust in him?” she asks.
This answer causes JC to laugh. “Did you know that Thaddeus tried to commit suicide because he was so overwhelmed by guilt?”
Mary’s smirk fades. She hadn’t known that. “Is he okay?” she asks.
JC nods his head, “He’s at the hospital now.”
Mary looks up at him wondering just how serious Thad’s condition was. She wasn’t expecting what JC had to say next.
“He’s busy taking care of his wife.”
Mary’s eyes go wide as jealousy begins to spread through her.
“No poison was detected in the wine.”
Mary wasn’t expecting that news either.
A bit later, as Mary walks out of the police station, she knows what she must do next.
Thaddeus walks around the corner, heading back to his wife’s room with a picture of water.
“Isn’t this quite the twist?” Jackson says as he leans against the wall outside of Betsy’s room causing Thad to stop in his tracks. “This went from being a thriller to a melodrama in just a few days.”
They sit on a nearby bench and Jackson asks, “Aren’t you curious who the kidnapper is? They have your five million dollars.”
Thaddeus shakes his head, “Right now, my wife’s recovery takes priority.”
Jackson gets a curious look and then pulls Thad’s scarf away from his neck, revealing the red marks made by the noose, “Are you okay?”
Thaddeus is quick to cover it all up, “I’m fine.”
“I don’t get it. You didn’t kidnap her or poison her, so why attempt suicide?” Jackson asks, not one to mince words.
Thaddeus sighs and leans back against the wall, “If I’m being honest, I have imagined her gone before. Not divorced gone, but death gone. I’ve even wished for it to happen. I made a grave mistake. From now on, I will spend the rest of my days making this up to her.”
“That’s all good and all, but what about the money?” Jackson asks as he leans closer.
Thad shakes his head, “All that’s important right now is that she’s back and she’s getting better. Jackson, I’m going to start fresh with my wife.”
Jackson leans back. He knows that money is out there somewhere.
The restaurant has long been closed when Mary walks in. She sets her purse down on a counter. That detective’s statement rings in her ears.
“There was no poison detected in the wine.”
“You cowardly fuck,” she mutters as she reaches into the cupboard and pulls out some pasta. She turns to the fridge and pulls out some sauce.
She begins to cook.
A bit later, she’s sitting alone, eating some spaghetti.
Someone is watching her through the door, and when the door slowly opens up, Jackson is actually surprised the door wasn’t locked.
He watches Mary eating her pasta and finally asks, “Is this a feast for a winner? Or a feast for a loser?”
Mary is startled at the sudden voice and gets up out of her chair. “How did you get in here?”
Jackson is trying to be very charming, “I guess you had a lot on your mind. You didn’t lock up.” He begins to walk around the restaurant. “You should be more responsible in my brother-in-law’s restaurant.” He corrects himself, “I guess I’m the ex-brother-in-law. Confusing, I know.”
This is starting to weird Mary out, “What are you doing here?”
“It’s just a happy coincidence that you were here,” he tells her. “I wanted to find out if you were behind the kidnapping.”
Angry tears begin to form in Mary’s eyes, “If I had five fucking million dollars, do you think I’d be sitting here eating something I made for myself?”
That doesn’t quite answer Jackson’s question. “Typically, a large appetite like that is usually the result of sexual frustration or anger. Which is it?”
“Why do you care?” Mary asks him. She’s not sure his angle is in all of this.
Jackson sure seems rather overconfident as he tells her, “I’m just looking into a family matter.”
Jackson looks at her for a moment, then nods his head. “Fine. Fine. I’ll go. But I’ll be seeing you again soon.” As Jackson walks towards the door, Mary looks at him and then walks over and locks up after he disappears.
“The fuck was that?” she asks herself.
JC is scouring this toxicology report. Alex leans over behind him, “We’ve been over this for hours now. Nothing’s gonna change, so what’s important?”
JC doesn’t remove his eyes from the document, “It’s not what’s in this report that’s telling. It’s the reaction to the report that’s more important.”
Back at the hospital, JC actually circled back in time to see Thaddeus doing his happy dance after hearing the news about the wine.
“I’m convinced that Thaddeus Pride put the poison in the wine. Now I want to know why it’s not in there,” JC continues to explain to Alex.
Alex plops down in a nearby chair, “If he put the poison in, we would have detected it.”
“He returned home with the poison wine,” JC thinks out loud, remembering the struggle between himself and Thaddeus over the bag of wine. “Either there was no poison, or someone got rid of the poison.”
“This whole case is starting to put me off marriage,” Alex says as JC slowly turns to look at her.
The twins are running around the apartment, throwing things.
Crystal is sitting in the middle of the floor, eyes glued to the television set with news about the Pride kidnapping. A ball bounces near her, she catches it and bounces it back.
“I’m home!” JC says as he walks into the apartment.
The boys rush over to their father and hug him, “Did you find the criminal?” one of them asks. “Who was it?” the other asks.
Crystal briefly turns to watch the exchange, then turns back to the television and says, “I want to be kidnapped too.”
“What?” JC asks, overhearing her.
She ignores him and lies back on the floor, her attention returning to the news.
JC stands there and just shakes his head, “I’ve been gone for days, and not a thing has changed.”
JC is in the bathroom, brushing his teeth when Crystal just walks right in, drops her pants and sits down on the toilet. He looks at her as if she’s lost her mind, “What are you doing?!” he demands, scaring Crystal with his yelling.
“Why aren’t you answering my phone calls?” she asks instead of answering his question.
JC rinses off his toothbrush as Crystal reaches for toilet paper, “I was working! Plus, you never have anything special to say when you call. I can’t just stop what I’m doing and answer every call.”
Annoyed now, Crystal pulls up her pants, standing up. She reaches in front of him to wash her hands and JC yells at her, “Flush the toilet!”
She does so and then asks, “Do you think you’ll be able to catch this kidnapper soon?”
JC puts his toothbrush back in the holder, “I’ll catch this son of a bitch, no matter what.”
As he starts to leave, Crystal steps in front of him.
“Goddamn!” JC says. “You scared me.”
Slowly, Crystal turns around and walks out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
Then she turns off the light.
“Hey!” JC yells from inside, in the dark.
The next morning, Betsy opens her eyes and the first thing she sees is Thaddeus, sleeping with his head on her bed. She smiles and reaches over and pets his hair. Perhaps her plan was a success after all, and he really will come back to her.
“Auntie!” comes the yell of young Lydia as the door opens up and the child runs inside.
“Lydia!” Betsy says, holding out her arms to embrace the child. Tamika comes in after.
All the commotion wakes up Thaddeus, who rises just in time to get hit by Tamika, “This is all your fault,” she tells him before turning to Betsy, “I’m so sorry for all the trouble my brother has caused.” Tamika turns back to Thaddeus and hits him again, “Have you begged for forgiveness yet?”
“I’m just grateful that it’s all over,” Betsy says. “And that we’re all back together again.”
“So, he didn’t?” Tamika says and then grabs Thaddeus’s sleeve and drags him down onto his knees. “You beg her right now. You apologize to this kind woman who you betrayed.”
Thaddeus slowly lowers himself down, though to be fair, he’s being dragged down. He finally looks up at Betsy, “I’ve done some horrible things and I’m sorry. I promise to be completely devoted to you from this day forward and I sincerely beg you to forgive me.”
It’s a little embarrassing to do this in front of his sister and his niece, but he knew it was coming. The thing for Thaddeus is that he means every word.
He reaches for Betsy’s hand, “Please, give me one more chance.” Tears form up in Betsy’s eyes, “I promise I’ll make you happy.”
Betsy couldn’t be happier. All her planning, her pain and suffering. Everything was to return to this very moment.
“We have confirmed that Thaddeus Pride was at his mistress’s house at the time of the kidnapping. We also believe that his footprints in the house were staged in order to direct suspicion to him.”
Alex is briefing the task force on what they’ve come up with so far in this case.
The questions start to come, “So, we targeted an innocent person?” “What about the wine? There was no poison.”
JC stands up, “All of this is true, but we are slowly piecing everything together and are confident that we will have a suspect very soon. This entire thing was an elaborate staging. The blood in Mr. Price’s trunk when he couldn’t have possibly been at the scene. It all leads us to believe the kidnapper wanted our suspicion on Mr. Price.”
“So, when did the blood get in the trunk?” asks the police chief.
“We believe the kidnapper was still in the area when Mr. Pride arrived home and he put the blood in the trunk then,” JC explains. “The culprit must have known he would be arriving home late that night.”
The police chief nods, “That means…”
Alex finishes his sentence, “That means that someone who knows the couple is behind this case. After confirming that Mr. Pride called the police, the kidnapper placed the drops of blood into the trunk and then left the crime scene.”
“If he had just wanted the money, he didn’t have to go through all this trouble,” JC interjects. “This kidnapper was intentionally diverted our attention to Mr. Pride. Someone with a grudge.”
The police chief nods his head, “And who is that?”
Alex flips the slide, “Jerry Wither.” Jerry’s face lights up the screen. “A background check shows that he attended the same university as Betsy Pride. We believe that Mr. Wither kidnapped Betsy, staged the crime scene, sent the letters and the video. We have him on camera near places that would lead us to believe he might be the one behind it all.”
JC nods, “We believe that Jerry Withers flew the drone while an accomplice took the five million dollars from the baseball stadium trashcan.”
Another question is asked, “What about the mistress? Wasn’t she found on video at the stadium?”
The police chief asks, “Is it possible the mistress and this Jerry were working together?”
The detectives hadn’t considered that angle.
“Where is Jerry Wither now?”
Jerry is doing some drawing outside the city limits where he’s renting a place. A text arrives from his boss at the gallery.
“The police have come by and would like your assistance in an investigation. We have provided them your address as required by law. Please assist them.”
Suddenly, there’s a knock on his door.
“Hello? Is anyone home? We’re with the police,” JC’s voice is heard.
Jerry slowly, quietly gets up from his seat and moves to the closest corner and waits.
When know one answers, JC and Alex move around and begin to look into the windows, but from where Jerry is hiding, they can’t see him inside.
After a bit, they decide he’s not home and head back to their car, while Jerry breathes a sigh of relief.
Jackson is standing across the street from Betsy and Thad’s house. The crowds that had previously gathered have slimmed down.
Jackson happens to he standing in front of Sierra and Emmy’s place when they walk up after taking an afternoon stroll.
Jackson turns to them and smiles, “Hello.”
Emmy asks, “Who are you?”
Jackson doesn’t know this couple, so looks confused at the question.
Sierra clarifies, “We live here.”
“Ah,” Jackson says, now understanding the nosy neighbors. He points to the Pride home, “I’m a relative.”
Sierra and Emmy nod their head, “I see. There’s so many strangers in the neighborhood these days,” Sierra explains. “They haven’t caught the kidnapper so we’re just being vigilant.” Sierra places her arm around Emmy, “If my wife got kidnapped, I’d probably go crazy.”
Emmy shoves at Sierra playfully, “Stop being silly. How can you say that in front of a complete stranger?”
“It’s true!” Sierra protests. “I can’t even stand to live a week without you.”
Jackson has heard enough and takes his leave, walking across the street.
Emmy turns to Sierra, “I wonder how they’re dealing with his affair,” she asks.
Inside the Pride home, Thaddeus has gone all out. A large banner has been put up that says, “Welcome home, Betsy!”
As Jackson walks in, Thaddeus turns and is surprised to see him.
Jackson sees the banner and the balloons and claps his hands, “That is a warm welcome home, if I do say so myself.”
Thaddeus is tying one last balloon up, “It’s the least I can do after all she’s gone through.”
“She’s amazing to have survived this entire ordeal,” Jackson says, then turns to Thaddeus, “And your lover? How she is?” Zing.
A brief flash of annoyance crosses Thaddeus’s face, but it quickly disappears. “I’ve realized something through all of this. I know now who I cherish the most in this world.”
Jackson just watches him for a moment, and then nudges him with an elbow. “I think you’ve said that to yourself so much that you might actually have yourself convinced. I know I’m convinced.”
“I just want to live quietly, as if none of this ever happened,” Thaddeus tells him.
“You mean like putting poison in the wine never happened?” asks Jackson.
Thaddeus turns to look at Jackson. He’s not sure what his angle is in all of this. He just shakes his head, “That never happened.” Thaddeus walks over and takes a seat on the couch and starts to blow up more balloons.
Jackson follows him towards the couch, “It’s kind of weird how that poison wasn’t detected.”
Thad glances up, “That’s easy. There was no poison to begin with.”
Jackson walks over and places a hand on each side of Thaddeus’s face, “You can’t fool me. I know you need that five million dollars. I can help you find it. All I ask is a fair split, right down the middle.”
Thad’s grip on the balloon lessens and it flies around the room until it’s deflated. Thad looks at Jackson, “It’s not as if we’ll ever get it back.” Then he whispers, as if someone else could hear. “Could you get it back?”
“Answer my question first,” Jackson says. He grabs a stool and plants himself on it, scooting up close to Thad, “The police got a tip that you used a syringe to add poison to the wine. It’s the truth, right?”
Thaddeus doesn’t respond.
“You even did it with the interior lights on!” Jackson tells him.
“They weren’t on!” Thaddeus tells him.
“Bingo,” Jackson says, finally getting to the truth. “Look, if you’re outside of a car, it’s hard to tell what someone is doing inside a car in the dark. Either they’re psychic, or they already knew you were going to do it. Someone was following you that night and they knew you were going to poison the wine. They called in a tip to the police.”
Thad’s eyes go wide, “There is one person who knew.”
Jackson nods. “Mary. Right. I suspected her too.” Jackson shakes his head, “It’s not her. She gave you the poison in the first place. Sharing that information with the police could backfire on her and she’s not going to jail for anyone, not even you.”
Thaddeus leans back on the couch, thinking. Then his eyes light up, “There is someone!” he says leaning forward again.
Thaddeus is trying to recall, “He said he was a college friend of my wife’s. He’s the guy who was following me outside of the pawn shop.”
Jackson nods his head, “No we’re talking. Let me see if I can dig up anything about this guy.”
“Thank you,” Thad says.
Jackson points a finger at Thaddeus, “But let’s make one thing very clear. I’m could care less about the kidnapper. I only want my cut of the five million.”
Thaddeus nods his head.
Jackson gets up and starts for the door, “And I’d bet a wooden nickel that he has an accomplice.” As Jackson leaves the house, that last comment has Thaddeus thinking about who it could be.
His eyes fall on a wedding picture featuring himself and his wife.
Betsy is outside, reading a book on a bench outside of the hospital when Jerry walks up. He sits on the bench next to hers, but they are still a good distance away.
“The police came to my studio.”
“Did they?” she asks, not looking up from her book.
“If they arrest me, I am not sure I’ll be able to hide the truth for very long.”
Betsy lowers her book, “It’s fine. If they arrest you, tell them that I told you to do it. Everything.”
Jerry sighs, “I don’t know what to do.”
“Calm down, Jerry.”
Jerry wrings his hands and finally turns to look at her, “Betsy. Run away with me.”
Betsy looks straight ahead.
“That bastard tried to kill you!”
“You voice is way too loud,” Betsy scolds him.
Jerry composes himself. He realizes his request was going unanswered. “What will you do now?”
“I have a plan,” she answers.
“I have a plan too,” Jerry says. He turns to look at her, “I’m going to protect you, no matter what the cost. I’ve realized something through all of this. You are more important to me than even my art.”
When Betsy doesn’t respond, Jerry rises up and starts to walk off.
Betsy slowly turns to watch him leave, realizing he left something on the bench for her.
Emmy and Sierra are walking back to their place, when reporters start asking them questions. Sierra steps in front, “Turn off the cameras. We have nothing to say.”
She leads her wife into the house.
Inside, Sierra is looking out into the street. While the crowd has mostly dispersed, there are still reporters out there. “Were you close enough to her that you shared secrets?” Sierra asks.
Emmy is sitting on the couch, “I’m sure it was a secret she’d want them to know.” She seems uncomfortable. She rises up and walks over to stand next to Sierra at the window.
“Are you still jealous of them?” asks Sierra.
Emmy doesn’t get to answer as suddenly, shouts of “They’re here!” are heard outside as Thaddeus and Betsy drive carefully through the crowd and up next to their house.
Thaddeus gets out and walks around to open the door for his wife. Reporters start throwing out questions, but Thaddeus is determined to get his wife inside. He leads her to the stairwell, when she grabs onto his arm. “Honey, wait.”
He looks at all the reporters and then back to her, “Are you sure?”
Betsy nods her head with a smile, then she turns to the reporters.
“I want to thank all the police officers who worked hard to rescue me. I want to thank everyone who brought their money to exchange for my ransom. I’m mostly thankful for my husband who never gave up on me. I want to thank members of my family for believing in me. Thank you.”
As Thaddeus turns her away from the reporters who are still taking pictures, Betsy grins.
Johnny is at the bar, enjoying a glass of wine. There’s a couple sitting at the bar and the man notices their bottle is empty. “Let me get some more.”
The woman places a hand on his arm, then turns to Johnny, “Can you recommend something?”
Johnny nods his head. He grabs a bottle of wine and a close up of the label shows that it’s the same brand that Thaddeus poisoned.
Johnny walks over and begins to pour the wine into their glasses, “This wine is called the perfect “wedding wine.” It is the best wine to have if you’re planning to propose,” he explains.
The man at the bar reads the label and Johnny nods his head, “It means eternal love.”
Thaddeus leads Betsy into the bedroom, “I’m going to cook for you. It’s been a long time, but while I do, I want you to rest.”
As he leans down to pull her covers back, she sees the redness around his neck and looks closer, “What is this?”
Thaddeus sighs, “I’m sorry. When I thought you were dead…”
“Oh, honey,” Betsy says softly.
He takes her hands in his, “I couldn’t bare to be without you in this world. But all of that is in the past. You should prepare yourself for how happy I am going to make you. Now, crawl into bed and rest while I get dinner. I’ll come get you.”
Betsy does as he asks, and he tucks her in and disappears back down the stairs. She’s about to close her eyes when she remembers something and hurries out of bed.
Mary is watching Betsy’s performance outside of their home. What she notices most is Thaddeus’s face as he watches his wife.
Mary knows she’s lost. She sneers as she glances over and sees the photo of her and Thaddeus together and she smacks it off the dresser, but it also hits the clock and they both fall to the floor.
The back of the clock falls off and a small device with a red LED on it falls out of it.
She bends down and picks up the little device and looks at it curiously, then her eyes are drawn to the television and to Betsy.
Betsy opens a makeup drawer and removes the screwdriver she had hidden there. She walks over and begins to remove the cover from the outlet where she planted the bug.
“Betsy?” Thaddeus voice is heard.
She freezes with the bug in her hand. She slowly turns to look at Thaddeus, who is staring down at her.
“Was it you?”
All Betsy can do is grin at him.