Mystery and Crime Fiction posted October 13, 2021 Chapters: 1 2 -3- 4... 


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A chapter in the book Revenge

Lady Marian

by Begin Again




Background
A member of the crime team is drawn into a diabolical scheme by an ex-con, Vito Moretti, who spent eight years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Upon his release, he set out to get revenge.

JEKYLL ISLAND
Carrington Manor
Garden Veranda
Saturday, 8 A.M.






Dressed in a white shirt and black pants, Charlie joined Vito on the garden veranda. "Hey, Vito, got you a cup of mojo. Just like you like it, black and strong."

"Have you lost your mind?" Vito jumped out of the chair and walked to the dining-room door, checking to see if anyone was around. "What if Marion had been downstairs?"

"What? I'm dressed, and I was bringing you coffee. Isn't that what the butler is supposed to do?" Offended, Charlie gave Vito an indignant look.

"In front of Lady Marian, you are Charles, remember? And I am her husband, James. She might have dementia, but one never knows when a lucid moment might occur."

"I'm sorry, James. I guess I forgot."

"You can't afford to forget if you want to remain living in this luxurious home. James sent you here to care for his wife, and now that he--well, I-- have returned home, we must do our best to keep my wife happy." Vito sighed. "I know it's confusing, but that's the way it has to be. Just do your job, and I'll do mine. Okay?"

Charles set the coffee on the table. "I brought your coffee, sir. It's strong and black as you requested."

"Much better." Vito took several swallows of the hot brew. "Any mention of the beach party on the news this morning?"

"Matter of fact, they announced the East Beach was closed due to an investigation into the death of an unidentified woman. The Sheriff's Department won't be releasing any further information at this time."

"Good. By now, the law has gathered all the clues we conveniently scattered around the bonfire and will contact the California authorities to reach out to Miss Shelton." Vito laughed. "I sure wish I could be there to see her face when they ask her to come to Savannah to identify the body."

"The make-up artist did one fantastic job of transforming Angel into Jasmine, but that was on a video. What about when your journalist sees her in the morgue?"

"Well, I imagine seeing your sister looking like a burnt marshmallow will make her skin crawl."

"Do you think all the stuff we left on the beach will convince her it's Jasmine?"

"Guess if it does, then we'll know she's not as good as everyone says she is. It makes our job a little more complicated, but not impossible. It's a game of Clue, my friend."

"Charles." A female voice called his name as she exited the house. "Oh, there you are. Lady Marian has requested a poached egg, jam and toast, and a cup of Earl Grey on the veranda. Lemon, No sugar." Cheryl hadn't noticed James sitting in the lounge chair. "Sorry, James. I didn't see you there."

"Not a problem. Nice to know my darling wife will join me this morning. I hope she slept well last night."

"Oh, not to worry. I gave Lady Marian the medicine, and she drifted off to sleep immediately." Cheryl smiled. "It was wonderful not to worry about her walking around all night. You get a big thank you from this girl for coming up with that suggestion."

"Can't take credit. I mentioned your concerns for my wife's welfare, and the doctor gave me the prescription." He failed to mention the doctor no longer had his license, and he had paid him handsomely for the pills. "Just doing my best to make life easier for everyone, including our guests in the West Wing."

Cheryl and Charles laughed at Jame's mention of guests. "You mean those wanna-be actresses. I was sorry to hear Angel left so suddenly. Charles said she was Hollywood-bound. Poor girl. She'll be living on the streets in no time instead of in the lap of luxury she enjoyed here."

"I tried to tell her, but she decided to leave. I doubt we will ever hear from her again, though. She said something about getting discovered by Spielberg or Scorsese because she was so hot."

James smothered a laugh. "Hot? She'll probably be one of those that goes down in flames. She wouldn't need much make-up for one of Tarantino's horror flicks."

"She might get burnt real bad, fooling around with the wrong guy." Charles turned away from the others, unable to hide his amusement from James' cruel joke.

Unaware of the undertones shared by the men, Cheryl chimed, "I'll try to make time to clean out Angel's room today. Lady Marian keeps me busy, and she says she's on set today."

"Don't worry about the West Wing, Cheryl. You concern yourself with keeping my wife happy. Charles and I will tend to the area until I can hire some additional help."

"Are you sure?" Cheryl's eyes widened in surprise. "Some days, it is rough, but I don't want you to think I can't do my job."

"You do a great job, my dear. Keeping Lady Marian content is a full-time job. You shouldn't worry about the film studio and a few spoiled starlets as well." James smiled. "Have our leading actress wear the red gown today. I believe she'll be starring as Scarlet O'Hara today. She loves playing feisty women, especially when Rhett Butler is involved."

Cheryl sighed and smiled at her employer. "She's so happy you've come home. And catering to her delusions is unbelievably kind." She turned to leave. "I'll bring her down for breakfast and then lay out her wardrobe. You're a true gentleman and loving husband, James."

"Thank you. That's very kind of you." Both men exploded in laughter as Cheryl disappeared inside.

"Guess I better get breakfast ready for the lady of the house." Charles started to leave but stopped. "What do you want me to do with the Francesco set?"

"We've got a busy day today, so just put it in storage. You can burn it later unless you haven't played with enough fire." James swallowed his cold coffee. "I'll take another cup when you bring Marion's breakfast."

"Sure thing, boss. Oops! I mean, yes, sir. Anything else?"

Before James could answer, Lady Marian, dressed in satin leopard pajamas and an iridescent black taffeta lounging coat, made her grand entrance, swishing the full skirt from side to side.

James jumped from his lounge chair and walked swiftly to his wife's side, planting a passionate Hollywood Style kiss on her lips. "Good morning, darling. I hope I didn't smear your lipstick, but I couldn't help myself. You look gorgeous this morning. I am sure even the sun dims in comparison to your beauty."

Her eyelashes fluttered as she swooned at his words. "Oh James, my heart can't take all this flattery. You tease me so."

"Tease? Never, my love, unless you were referring to our exquisite lovemaking last night." James did not doubt that she would play along, not wanting to admit she couldn't recall anything about last night. "You haven't forgotten, have you?"

"Forgotten?" Marion pressed her ruby lips against his lips. "What woman could forget a night with such a handsome man. Your soft touch drives me wild."

"Ahh, you remember, my love." James took her hand and led her to the table. "Come, let's have breakfast before they need you on set."

"On set?" For a moment, Marion appeared confused, but in acting style, she recovered quickly, pressing her manicured nails against her lips. "Dear me, I'd forgotten. What's my role today, darling?"

"Scarlett, of course." James lifted her hand to his lips. "Aren't you eager to be with Rhett?"

Marion's eyes sparkled, and her smile was dazzling as she looked into James's eyes. "Frankly, darling, with you by my side, I don't give a damn."

James laughed. "Fair lady, I believe you stole my line."



Recognized


Characters:
Vito Moretti - a black-hearted ex-con with vengeance in his blood
Charles (Charlie) Dubois - a childhood friend who enjoys living luxuriously
Marian Carrington - a star in her own mind and suffers from dementia
Henry and Tina Pagani - an elderly couple living on St. Simon Island
Cheryl - Personal maid to Lady Marian
Angel Bearrows - a wanna-be actress in the wrong place at the wrong time

Alyssa Shelton (Allie)- Investigative Journalist and unofficial FBI Agent
Jasmine Shelton (Jaz) - wanna-be-movie star and living on the edge of life
Garth Woodman - FBI Agent and Allie's love interest
Hank and Emmy Armato - retired detectives and current Private Investigators
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