In the last episode: Tina Majors takes Mark Masters to Ritter’s Park. She offers him guidance to utilize the potential she sees in him to make a difference in the community. She also informs him that there are people in the community who fear the power and influence of the De La Croix – Sunny and Celia as well. This information only causes Mark more confusion to the point that he turns to God only to gain no wisdom from God.
Finding no immediate answers but only more questions, Mark becomes agitated with himself.
Mark finds his way to his couch as bewildered as ever. His biggest question at the moment is not whom to trust or believe, but how he became so entangled in this.
He was only an acquaintance of the De La Croixes. His connection with Tina Majors or Gina Franklin was limited. His parents and grandparents were closer to all three families through their work with the Foundation.
He knew Blake but their relationship was more enmity. He also knew Blake and his family were involved heavily in white nationalism. Mark wonders if Blake, Buck or Bud could be the one Madison recognized as the driver of the other vehicle in Kate’s accident.
Mark determines that is what he needs to focus on. Was Kate’s death an accident? Was Monica’s death an accident? Why aren’t Monica’s family and friends focused on this?
Mark decides to call Sunni. But just as he pulls out his phone, it rings.
“Hello, Mark Masters here.”
“I need to talk to you, privately,” J. T. Mendoza is on the other end of the call.
“Where can we meet that is private?” J.T’s tone is anxious and solemn.
“I’m at home, now. Why don’t you come over here.”
After a disappointingly long silence, J.T. agrees, “You are alone?”
By the time J.T. arrives Mark had made a pot of coffee and invites J.T. to his kitchen and offers him a cup. J.T. halfheartedly accepts and they sit with their coffee at the small kitchen table. Mark momentarily senses a slight chill in the air that quickly rushes over him.
Mark sits sideways in his chair and leans back against the wall, one hand wrapped around his cup and his other hand freely resting atop his chair. Mark is relaxed and trying to help the obviously uneasy J.T. to do so.
J.T. stares at his cup, both hands engulfing it, “I’ve got to say what I came hear to say quickly or I’m certain to change my mind.”
“Then say it,” Mark remains calm.
“I want you to know I had no idea it would kill her,” JT blurts out clinging to the still full cup of coffee.
Mark is pretty certain who “her” is, but he cannot afford to be wrong, “Kill whom, JT.
JT places one hand over his eyes and nose, “Monica, Monica De La Croix.”
“Maybe you should start from the beginning and work up to what it is you thought wouldn’t kill Monica and how you’re connected to it,” Mark repositions himself to where he is leaning with both elbows on the table.
When JT pulls his hand away from his face, he finds himself nearly face to face with Mark. JT straightens up to back away a bit from Mark.
“It was meant to be a joke on Monica. At least that’s what Celia told me.”
Somehow Mark knew Celia would be involved, “Okay, go on. Tell me more.”
“Celia sent me to get a drink and stop by just to say hello to Monica. You know. You were there.”
“You said the drinks were for you and Celia,” Mark recalls that moment.
“Celia told me to say that. She hoped Monica would forget Celia was now old enough to drink.”
“Was there something in that drink?”
“Some sort of sleeping pill or something, I think.”
“Did you put the pill in her drink?”
JT sighs and acts as if he starts to speak but doesn’t. Mark waits for a response for several moments.
“So, why did you put the sleeping pill in her drink?”
“Celia said it would make her appear drunk,” JT’s words tumble out slowly.
“Does that sound funny to you?” Mark uses a judgmental tone.
“Please, Professor Masters, try and understand. I don’t know what to do.”
Mark thinks the police got it right the first time. He wonders why they allowed him to go free.
“I told the police I gave Monica a drink but I didn’t know it was drugged.”
Mark thinks to himself that JT lied to the police, “You need to talk this over with a criminal lawyer. I’m not the one to advise you.”
“I don’t want to get Celia in trouble.”
“Did she give you the pill?”
“Look, maybe I shouldn’t have come here,” JT jumps up so quickly he nearly tips his chair over.
Mark wishes now JT hadn’t come here, “Do your parents know what you told me?”
“No one else knows except Celia… and now you,” JT turns to leave and then turns back to face Mark.
Mark stands and takes a defensive stance uncertain what JT might think or do. To Mark, JT’s posture shows signs of aggression.
“Promise me you won’t tell anyone what I just told you,” JT spews the words out.
“I’m not sure I can make you that promise unless you promise to seek legal counsel.”
JT grunts in a kind of mock laugh, “Have you forgotten the justice system in this town leans heavily against people of color?”
“You’re not looking for justice if you’re not willing to accept your responsibility for Monica’s death. So, don’t preach to me about justice like you know what that means.”
JT slowly maneuvers around. He has to pass by Mark to leave through the front door. Mark follows him with his eyes and his body like a heavyweight boxer measuring his opponent.
Neither man speaks a word or dares to take his eye off the other. Finally, JT comes between Mark and the hallway. After one momentary hesitation, JT hastes toward the front door. Mark stands at the doorway of the kitchen and watches him.
JT reaches the front door and turns back to point his finger toward Mark, “Remember, if you go to the cops about this, you get the De La Croixes in trouble.”
Mark closes his eyes, bows his head and whispers, “What do I do, now?”
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.