Unbreakable 2, The Mystery of Lilly (Cypress Grove Series), page 15
Like a lightning strike, all my hairs stand up straight. There it is. The missing piece I couldn't put my finger on. January James married Ted Sumnor in 1984. January was Jane, Jane was my aunt. My father got his wife's sister pregnant. That's why she hated me so much, of course. I looked just like Samantha, a constant reminder of the betrayal.
Emma grabs the paper from me. Seeing the light bulb go off in her eyes as well, it gets passed to Luke and then Jimmy. Everyone is stunned silent not knowing what to say.
"We need to find dear old Aunt Jane's assistant, McKayla Calvin. She might be the only one we can scare the truth out of," I finally speak. As if on cue Lucy runs back to her office.
"Where do you think she is?" Emma asks.
"No idea, I haven't seen her since the funerals, but Jane commanded her all the time, so there is no doubt in my mind that the McKayla that was there the night of my mother's murder is in fact the McKayla that jumped every time Jane said to. I also have a feeling that the other women there that night were probably Adeline and your mom," I tell Jimmy, who doesn't say anything just nods.
"Do you think Daddy had anything to do with it?" Emma's concern is painted all over her face.
"Honestly, I don't. If I have to guess, I bet your father is the one who arranged the adoption. I bet there was some very fancy paperwork involved to have it look like Ted and Jane were unrelated to me, and it was just a normal adoption of an orphaned girl." I feel as if I've known this all along deep down in my subconscious. Maybe it was the constant little things said over the years to me. Jane telling me I was going to be nothing but a whore like my momma, Ted telling me I was just as beautiful as my mother, small things over many years that my brain is just now putting all the pieces together.
"I hope you're right, Lilly, I would die if Daddy knew or had any part in this." Emma holds up the letter from Dr. Piper.
I walk over and give her a hug. "We will find out everything and finally put this all behind us. I swear to you that whatever part your father played will be kept between us. If it comes down to it, I will spend every cent I have to keep his name out of it," I tell her and she gives me a half smile.
"I know you would, but if he did have any part of it I want to know," she says squeezing my arm that is resting on her shoulder. It doesn't matter because I know in my heart of hearts that Elliott Williams did not have anything to do with my mother's murder. I also know that neither did my father. The one thing I don't know is why Jane got away with murder and that is what I need McKayla for. Out of all of them, I know that I can get her to talk.
Two days later, Lucy found out McKayla had moved back to her home town in Monroe. She was living in her parents' house, and from what Lucy could tell she did not have a job. Finding her phone number, we came up with a plan to get her here. We were certain it would have to be good to lure her to Cypress Grove.
Standing at the kitchen counter with everyone watching on, I take a deep breath and dial her number.
"Hello," she answered, her voice sending chills down my spine. It is like a sudden flashback of the horrible life I once had. "Hello?" She says again when there is a moment of silence as I get my nerve.
"McKayla?" I force out, my mouth going dry.
"Who is this?" Her voice, as it has always been, is like nails on a chalkboard.
"Lilly Sumnor." I answer and wait for a reply, only hearing a sharp intake of breath through the phone.
"What do you want?" If the tone of a person's voice could stab you, hers would have.
"There was a mistake in Ted and Jane's will, but if you're going to be that way with me I don't think I will tell you." I send attitude right back through the phone. Luke is eyeing me, he told me this morning to be strong. She can do nothing to me. "Remember, you will have all the control of the conversation, don't give her any reason to suspect anything," he had said during his little pep talk.
"What do you mean a mistake?" Her tone calmer, her interest piqued.
"Now that's better." I can't help but feel the need to make her beg for it.
"What was the mistake?" I can hear her ask through gritted teeth, trying to not scream at me. It brings a smile to my face. Luke can see that I have my confidence about me and gives me a beaming smile and a sexy as hell wink. I keep my eyes focused just on him even though I can feel everyone staring at me intently.
"Jane had filed an addendum mentioning you that was not seen until recently."
"Really, what did it say? Do I get something?" It's like a 180 in her tone. She sounds like she is about to jump through the phone with excitement.
"I assume so. It's for your eyes only. You have to come here and sign for it." Bait and hook.
I tell her the address and there is dead silence.
"McKayla, you there?" I ask after a few seconds.
"Umm, yeah. What was that address again." Her voice is noticeably shaky.
"It's called Cypress Grove, we moved here after the fire." I'm trying to sound as nonchalant as I can. "It still needs a lot of work, but it is a beautiful old house."
"Oh, I see. So you bought this house?" Her voice is still hesitant.
"Yeah, it was a steal. An investment I couldn't pass up on." I assume she didn't know that Ted still owned the house, or at least she is trying to find that out.
"How did you find it?"
"My realtor, I've been buying up a lot of old properties and fixing them up. We were going to flip this one, but then there was the fire. I assume you heard about that?"
"Yes, I'm so glad you're okay." I can hear the strain in her voice as she forces that comment out.
"So anyways," I am trying not to sound annoyed, "we needed a place to live so we moved in here."
She is silent again, I can almost hear her mind whirring as she is trying to decide if whatever is in the imaginary envelope that I made up is worth coming back here for.
"I would think we would take care of something like this at an attorney's office."
"Normally we would, but they are doing renovations to their office so we decided we could meet here. My assistant is a notary so we can get it all done and you can be on your way." Come on take the bait, bitch. After another moment of silence she finally agrees. We set up a time for tomorrow before I hang up. With a large sigh, I put my phone on the counter gently.
"You did great, flower." Luke gets up and walks around the counter pressing his lips to my temple. "You're so close to finding the truth, baby."
"Yeah, if we can get her to talk that is," I say with a knot forming in my belly as I think of what will happen tomorrow. Just seeing McKayla is going to be a nightmare.
"Jacob and I have been talking. She won't be leaving this house without giving answers," Luke says as I glance from him to Jacob.
"Just a little intimidation, that's all," Jacob answers. 'What have you got planned?' is written all over my face.
"I'll be standing in the kitchen door with Oscar, and Jimmy will be standing at the back door with Gus," he says reaching down and scratching the back of Oscar's ear. They have been pacing around me all morning, it's as if they can sense something is up.
"We can't keep her here against her will!"
"Lil, don't worry. This is my part. You, Emma, and Luke do your part," Jacob says putting his arm around Lucy, "and Lucy will do her part."
We spent the rest of the day working out what we were going to say, and just how we were going to get her to talk.
The dogs go crazy when McKayla enters the house. Oscar has his teeth showing and growling standing guard next to me. They say dogs have a sixth sense about people, and the way they are acting with McKayla, I believe it. Jacob calls to them in a German command and they hesitantly leave my side. Luke and Emma are standing close as I greet McKayla.
"Please, come in," I tell her with a huge lump in my throat. Seeing her is bringing back horrible memories. It's as if I can see her following Jane around like
"Lilly, you are looking wonderful," she says with a plastered on smile. She is having just as hard of a time as me at playing nice.
"Thank you, as do you." She looks horrible actually. I'm not sure if I've ever really looked at her before, but seeing her face now her eyes are sunken in and her cheeks are hollow. I always thought she was much younger than Jane, but really looking at her now she must be in her late fifties. Deep set wrinkles line her face and she is wearing too much makeup. Her hair is long and frizzy, and I swear she has lost fifty pounds since I last saw her.
"We don't have to play nice, Lilly. You know as well as I do that the sooner we get this over with the sooner we can be out of each other's lives again." Her voice has done a 180 to the shrill sound I was so used to. She couldn't even stand the thought of playing nice for more than five minutes.
"All right then," I snap at her tone change. "Fine, if that's how you want this to be, we are set up in the kitchen." I turn on my heels and beeline away from her, seeing Emma smirking out of the corner of my eye.
"Sit." I order when we are at the kitchen table. Lucy is already sitting there with official looking documents in front of her. McKayla sits across from Lucy, looking at her as if she is an alien. She scans the table with her eyes and looks up at me just before I sit next to Lucy. Just like he said he would, Jacob shows up in the kitchen with Oscar and Emma and Luke sit on either side of McKayla. If intimidation is what they are going for, I'd say it's working by the worried look on her face.
"Let's get this over with shall we," she says, her voice going a little higher as she scans the room. It's like she is looking for an escape.
"Lucy, Ms. Calvin would like to skip the pleasantries and get right to it." I turn my head toward Lucy who just nods, all serious like.
"All right, Ms. Calvin, first we have a signed affidavit from Dr. Sheldon Piper stating that you were present at the time of Samantha James ’ murder," Lucy says calm and serious as she places the forged made up affidavit in front of McKayla.
"What are you talking about?" McKayla spits, her eyes darting from me to Lucy.
"This here is a forensics report with your fingerprints in the blood of Samantha James found at the scene of the crime." Lucy places another very official looking paper in front of McKayla.
"You people are crazy!" A much panicked McKayla says getting out of her chair with haste and making a run for the door. Jimmy steps in front of the kitchen door that leads to the foyer with Gus who is showing his teeth and gives a very low growl. Doing a spin she turns to see that Jacob and Oscar are standing in front of the back door to the kitchen, Oscar making the same noises as Gus.
"You can't keep me here, this is kidnapping!" She yells at no one in particular. She walks slowly back to the table when no one responds.
"This is also a signed affidavit from Matthew Henning, stating that you knew about the contract Jane Sumnor had on Lilly Sumnor which ended with her death." Lucy continues laying down another official looking forged document. The girl can make this shit look real.
"I didn't know about that!" She screams at me this time.
"Have a seat, McKayla, let's talk. You have one of two choices here. You can leave in handcuffs, or you can tell me what I want to know. If you are honest and we get all of our answers, there is one million dollars in it for you." She nervously sits back down watching me as I lean on the table glaring into her eyes. My hands are sweating and I'm having a hard time staying calm, but I do it with all I have in me.
"I assure you, I don't know what you are talking about." She averts her eyes around the room again.
"Let me tell you what we do know and then you decide." I settle back into my chair after a look of encouragement from Luke. He tells me with his eyes to settle down, everything is going to be all right. "We know that Samantha was my mother, Ted was my father." I stop to gauge her reaction. She is fidgeting in her seat as it all seems to be sinking in.
"I also know that Jane was Samantha's sister and the night my mother died she and you were there. As you can tell by the affidavit, Dr. Piper is willing to testify that you were in fact there that night." This makes her stop and take notice as she looks at me. Her eyes seem even more sunken into their sockets as she realizes what is actually going on.
"I. . .don't know. . .I mean," she stutters, her hands wringing nervously on the table.
"There are things I need to know, McKayla. You are the one who can answer my questions. All you have to do is tell us what we don't know. I swear to you that you will walk out of here a free woman and never have to hear from me again." My tone is softer now as I see the ultimate panic on her face. I think that if I can get her to calm down this might work.
"Okay, first off, I knew about Jane's plan to hire someone, but I didn't know she actually did it. I thought she was just being paranoid." She is rubbing her hands together so hard that I think the skin might come off.
"Paranoid about what?"
"She overheard a conversation, Ted on the phone saying something about an account set up for you for when you turned eighteen. She was paranoid that Ted was going to divorce her and make sure that you got all the money. She was convinced that Ted found out about what really happened that night." McKayla is talking a mile a minute and I am having a hard time comprehending all she is saying. Thank God Luke and Emma are here.
"About what happened what night?" Emma questions digging into McKayla's story.
"The night. . .the night your mother. . .um died," she stutters out.
"You mean the night my mother was murdered!" I scream at her.
"She died on her own. We did not kill her, Lilly."
"You didn't help her either, did you?" I'm so mad I'm shaking.
"I swear I didn't know what all she and Miss Jeanette had planned. She made me help and after that night. . .I was scared. She threatened to go to the police." Tears are streaming down McKayla's face, but they are not tears of sadness. The woman is scared shitless.
"Miss Jeanette had planned it also?" Luke asks scooting his chair away from McKayla a little bit like he is afraid of catching a disease.
"Yes, she was the leader." McKayla blubbers.
"The leader of what?" Emma asks.
"Miss Jeanette's family worked for your Grandma Ceila’s family when she was a little girl. Miss Jeanette's mother died and her father ran off. Celia took in Jeanette as if she was her own. She adored Ceila, and after she married your grandfather she came to live here with them. She was her idol and wanted to do everything she did. Ceila practiced Voodoo; I hear she was brilliant at it," McKayla begins as I glance toward Luke who gives me a reassuring wink. "She only practiced the good kind. Harmless stuff, like love spells and a few healing spells. She loved it and was good at it. People came from miles to have her do 'make me prettier spells' and so on."
"She was never into dark magic?" I have a hard time believing this given all the books in the library that are just black magic.
"No, God no. She read about it and studied it, but never performed any of it. According to Miss Jeanette, she believed that to be a good Voodoo priestess you had to know everything about the craft," McKayla says finally looking at me.
"Continue." I tell her. She thinks for a second remembering where she left off.
"Ceila gave birth to Jane, and Miss Jeanette loved her. She was like a little sister to her. I think she was eleven or twelve when Jane was born. Jane and Jeanette were like two peas in a pod. They did everything together. What they didn't realize at the time was that Ceila and Joseph were trying to get pregnant. I hear she had two miscarriages before she finally got pregnant with Samantha. Ceila was very sick with this pregnancy. It took a toll on her body. You could say that
"So she blamed Samantha the whole time?" Emma speaks up.
"Yes, she did. They both did. Jane grew up under Jeanette's hatred of Samantha. Plus Joseph was the broken hearted widower that had to take care of a new born. He was so busy with Samantha he didn't even notice that Jeanette was teaching Jane some black magic. Apparently, they spent hours in the library looking for ways to bring Celia back.”
"They were trying to resurrect her?" I stare at McKayla.
"Not at that point. They were trying to learn how to. Jane was about ten when I met her and Jeanette. They had formed a secret society at that point."
"Who were the members?" I ask even though I already know the answers.
"Adeline, Lindsey, Jeanette, Jane, and me," she says looking around at all of our faces.
"Jeanette was the leader. She was the oldest, in her twenties by then. Jane was the youngest. We met every day wherever we could. I really only joined because I didn't have many friends and they were willing to take me in." McKayla admits with a horrible look of guilt on her face.
"For the next ten years after the society formed, it was much of the same thing, talking about how much everyone hated Samantha and what we wished we could do to her. Truthfully, I barely knew her, but I was so brain washed to hate her that I did." She stops for a moment. "Can I get a glass of water or something?" She asks looking around. Jacob is leaning up against the counter engrossed in the story. I glance at him.
"Yeah, right," he says standing straight and getting a bottle of water out of the fridge then handing it to McKayla. She takes a long drink before she continues.
"Anyway, Jane met Ted and they married almost instantly. Everything changed then. Jane was rich and everything became about her. I moved in with them and became her assistant. Adeline and Lindsey also married, leaving Miss Jeanette alone still holding a horrible grudge. That is when she went to live with the Carmichael ' s.
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