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Light of Love Pt. 2

   "Well,  I'm going to finish going through Dad's stuff.  Tomorrow's the funeral.  They had both forgotten that it was a sad occasion that had brought Lindsay to town.
    "You know, we're still investigating what happened to your father."  She had forgotten all about the photo album.
    "Oh,  I forgot,  look what Dad got in the mail."  She showed him the brown envelope containing a photo album.
    "That's strange.  Who would send this?  Do you think your mom did?"  Lindsay shook her head.
    "I got the impression that she didn't know where he was."  Lindsay looked off into space deep in thought.
    "Do you mind if I take it down to the station?"  Lindsay shook her head.
     "Most of those pictures are copies of one's my mom has."
     "I need to head in to work.  I'll see you tonight?"  She smiled and shyly kissed him on the cheek.  Lonnie took her into his arms and kissed her deeply.
    She spent the rest of the afternoon going through boxes getting to know the man she had only dreamt about the last fifteen years.
    She saw picture's of her father's life here in Sparta.  She saw pictures of her father and Brenda.  He looked happy.  She thought about the funeral tomorrow,  and got sad again.  she wished that she had known him.
    What Lindsay didn't know,  was that someone was watching her.  Was she snooping around trying to find out who killed her father?  Had she found anything?  What had Palmer done with the papers?  They had already searched the house thoroughly.  No papers.  They were watching Palmer's kid to see if Palmer found some way to get those papers to her.  So far,  he had seen nothing but some good moments between the girl and that cop.
    When Lonnie arrived at work that morning,  he received looks and smirks like the one's in the ice cream store.  God,  he hated small towns.
    "Chief in?"  he asked to know one in particular.
    "Yeah,  he's in."  Lou Ann answered.  She thought that all of the teasing was juvenile.  It was about time that the Lt. got himself a steady girlfriend.
    "Chief,  Lindsay Stevenson this in her father's mail."  Lonnie handed Chief Gillespie the brown envelope containing the photo album.
    "Who would send a photo album of the man's family to him.  the wife didn't know he was in the Witness Protection Program,  did she?"
    "No,  Chief.  Uh,  Chief,  what if it was somebody letting him know that they knew who he was?"  The Chief nodded.
    "Yeah, but who?"  
    Then,  there was a knock on the door.  It was Parker.
    "Uh,  Chief.  . ."  
    "Parker,  you're supposed to wait after you knock to be asked inside.  What is it?"
    "We found out who was the last person to see Mr. palmer alive.  It was Susan over at the diner.  She's right out here if you want to talk to her."
    "Well,  don't just stand there Parker,  show her in."
    Susan Tolliver was the town's resident gossiper.  Chief Gillespie wondered how much of what she had to say would be an actual account or gossip.
    "Well, now Ms.  Tolliver, can you tell us about seeing Robert Palmer the night that he died?"  Susan Tolliver could barely wait until the Chief finished talking before she started talking.
    "Well,  Chief i was working that night  but I was just about to go home.  I saw Robert Palmer sitting in a booth having pie and coffee.  The next time I looked,  there was a man sitting with him."
    There was a pause.
    "Well,  go on.  Who was the man sitting with Palmer?"
    "I don't know. It wasn't my station.  It was Mona's station.  I didn't see the man."
    Well,  it wasn't everything that he had hoped,  but it was a start.
    Parker, who had gone back out when Susan Tolliver came in, was asked to return to the office.
   "Parker,  do you know where Mona down at the diner lives?"
   "Uh,  yes sir she lives on Canard."
    "Jamison,  get Sweet and you two head over and question Mona.  I want to know who was with Palmer."             
    Jamison nodded and headed out.
    "Come on, Sweet."  Jamison filled Sweet in on the way to Mona's.  Sweet knew that his friend Lonnie was a quiet guy - not willing to talk about his personal life.
    "So,  I hear you and Palmer's daughter are an item."  Lonnie knew what Sweet was doing.  Everyone was trying to get information on he and Lindsay.
    "Well,  I'll tell ya.  Lindsay and I are seeing each other.  I enjoy her company - a lot.  End of story."  Sweet knew that it was all that he was going to get.
    When they arrived at Mona's,  things looked a little creepy.  If asked later,  they wouldn't be able to explain it.  For one thing,  the front door was open.  Lonnie and Sweet drew their weapons as they went inside.
    As they walked around,  they came to the dining room.  There,  on the floor, was Mona,  the waitress from the diner.  She was dead.
    "Somebody didn't want to be identified." Lonnie and Lindsay were relaxing together and talking to each other about their day.
     "So,  Lonnie,  someone really did kill my dad."  When she saw his look of surprise,  she continued.
    "I was just hoping that it was just an accident like you guys originally believed.  Pretty naive, huh?"  Lonnie took her into his arms.
    "No,  it just means that you're a good person."  She didn't know why,  but it was important to her that he thought good of her.  She shyly turned and kissed him.  It didn't take much for Lonnie to continue kissing her.  Almost before it started,  Lindsay stopped.
    "I'm sorry.  It's just that tomorrow is Dad's funeral.  I want to be alone tonight."  He understood.
    "You're okay,  though, right?"  She nodded.
    "You'll call me if you need me,  right?"
    The funeral was a solemn event.  It rained,  which was predictable.  The whole town seemed to be there.  Lonnie looked around to see if there was anyone suspicious,  but the whole town was at the funeral.
    He looked at Lindsay.  She was dressed conservatively in a black suit which contrasted dramatically with the paleness of her face at this moment.  She was crying silently and Lonnie wished that he could be holding her right now.
    When it was over,  however, Lonnie did move to be by her side.
    "How are you holding up?"  She was glad that he was there.
    "I'm okay.  Everyone is being so nice."  People had been bringing and dropping off food since early that morning.
    "Are you coming over to the house?"
    "If you want me to."  Lindsay smiled.
    "I want you to."
    He was watching them closely.  He had to find the papers.  They had been through the apartment,  the store and the house.  No papers.  Somehow Palmer must have gotten the papers to his daughter.  She was getting too buddy-buddy with that cop.  If Palmer did manage to send something to her,  he'd never be able to retrieve them with that cop around.
   Back at the apartment,  people were still bringing over food.  Right now Virgil and Althea were there.
    "So,  Lindsay,  do you know what you're going to be doing now?  Are you going back to Virginia?"  Althea was smiling and looking from Lindsay to Lonnie.
    "I hadn't really thought about it.  at first,  I was just going to settle things and then go back.  But now, I don't know."  Lindsay stole a glance at Lonnie.
    "So,  what are you thinking about?"  Lonnie was holding Lindsay as they sat on the couch.
    "Oh,  I'm thinking about what Althea asked.  About me staying here.  You know,  there really is nothing or me in Virginia,  except Momma.  My question is how would you feel about me coming to live in Sparta?"  She waited to see his reaction.
    Lonnie knew that she was only down there to settle her father's affairs and that she would probably be leaving soon.
    "Well, you know how I feel about you. . ."  He was avoiding her eyes.
    "No,  how do you feel about me?"  She had cornered him which was not her intention.
    "I'm falling in love with you."  She had not expected that.
    "Lonnie,  you don't have to say that.  I didn't mean to trap you into saying anything."  
     "You didn't trap me.  It's true, I'm falling in love with you."  Lonnie looked at her for a second before taking her into his arms and kissing her.  When they broke apart,  Lonnie said,
    I don't want to influence your decision in any way." Lindsay laughed because that's exactly what he was doing.
    "I had thought about staying in Sparta and turning the grocery store into a coffeehouse."  Lonnie laughed.
    "A coffeehouse,  here in Sparta?"
    "Well,  I thought I'd put in some computers,  get some entertainment. . ."  Lonnie made a face like he didn't believe it word work.
    "You don't want me to stay?"  She was teasing now.
    "Of course I want you to stay."  He kissed her again.
    "We've made some more headway in the Palmer case."  Virgil had been questioning people that had been out in the square at the time.
    "You know who that is?"  Virgil pointed to a scruffy looking man in his sixties sitting in the lobby.
    "That's Squirrelly Evans. He's kind of like the town drunk.  Just a harmless,  lonely guy.  But,  Virgil how can we trust anything that he says.  He's drunk 90% of the time."  Lonnie,  who wanted to solve this case just as much as anyone,  saw the reliability of this witness slipping away.
    "Ah, but it's the 10% we're worried about.  Squirrelly had just been released from the drunk tank.  He was sober."
    Virgil called for Parker to bring in Squirrelly.
    "We just want to ask you a couple of questions,  Mr. Evans.  When you were released the last time,  where did you go?"
    "I headed down to the diner.  I hadn't eaten since they brought me in.  I saw Mr. Palmer come out of the diner.  he went to his car.  He took a brown envelope out of his car and mailed it in that mailbox in front of the diner.  Then he got in his car and drove away.  That's all I seen."  The men seemed disappointed.
    "Did you see anyone else that maybe came out after Palmer?"  Squirrelly shook his head.
     "Nope,  didn't see anyone else.  I went into the diner to eat."
     They thanked Mr. Evans and sent him on his way.
    "So that brings us back to a question we've asked before."  The Chief held up the photo album that Lindsay had given Lonnie.
    "Why would a man mail himself a photo album containing pictures of his own family?"  There were a few seconds of silence,  then Lonnie had an idea.
    "Chief,  do you mind if I take this.  I want to ask Lindsay some more questions about it."  Lonnie barely gave the Chief time to give permission as he bolted from the room.
    Lindsay had sold all of the stock in the grocery store and was working with an architect to design the Cyber Cafe.  She knew that it would be a shock to Sparta, but,  unlike Lonnie,  she thought that it could work.  With the high school kids alone,  she could turn a nice profit and it would keep the kids off the street.  From what she heard about her dad,  she thought that he would approve.
    "Lonnie,  what are you doing here?"  She hugged him.
    "I see that you didn't waste time."  He was referring to all of the workman rushing around.
    "Can we go up and talk?"  Lindsay nodded and said,
    When they got upstairs,  Lindsay asked, "Want some coffee?"  Lonnie nodded and headed for the couch.  he opened the photo album on the table and waited for Lindsay.
    "We found out that your father was probably the one that mailed this to himself.  I know that it sounds ridiculous, but maybe he was sending it to someone who could help.  Either you or Brenda or. . .   It would have to be someone who would understand the message. "  She knew what Lonnie wanted her to do.  She turned the pages and told Lonnie about each picture.
    "So,  you said earlier that there were some pictures you didn't recognize?"
    "Yeah,  I think that they're from before I was born or when I was really young.  Like this one.  I think that it's from my parent's honeymoon or some trip they went on without me.  And this one.  Oh, I remember this.  Mom said that dad owned this boat,  but he sold it right before he disappeared."     "Where's the boat located?  Do you remember?"  Lindsay couldn't remember,  but she knew who would.
    "I have to call my mother anyway.  I've been putting it off, you know, telling her that I'm moving here.  Well,  this gives me the excuse that I needed."  Lonnie squeezed her hand.  He knew that it would be difficult due to everything that she had told him.
    "Hi mom,  it's Lindsay.  I'm fine.  Yes,  the funeral was yesterday.  Look mom,  I have a question,  where was that boat that dad had located?  Okay,  yes I know where that is.  Um,  mom, there's something else.  I'm planning on staying here.  Yes, Dad left me his store and apartment.  I planning on opening a cafe and living in the apartment.  yes, mother I know.  Well, I found someone. . ."  She walked away with the phone as Lonnie realized that she was talking about him.  the next thing he knew,  Lindsay was throwing the phone and crying.
    He immediately went to her side.
    "I'm sorry.  she always knows how to push my buttons and I let her." She let Lonnie comfort her.
    "I guess we need to travel to Virginia Beach.  Got any time coming?"
    "Yes, sir.  They are headed for Virginia Beach.  The clue was in the photo album.  Yes, sir.  We're on our way there."
     "Well, Lonnie I think we can spare you around her to go up to Virginia Beach.  The girl is sure about this, huh?"  Lonnie nodded.
    "It's the only thing that makes sense."
    Lonnie had packed  and was now going over to pick up Lindsay.  He hoped that they found what they were looking for.  the stress of the whole thing was starting to wear on Lindsay.
    "Hi,  ready to go?"  Lindsay nodded and grabbed her bag which Lonnie promptly took from her.
    The drive was pleasant.  Lonnie tried to talk about things other than the case.  Again,  Lonnie did more talking than he had ever done.  Anything to keep Lindsay's mind off of the case.
    They had already booked a room at a seaside motel.  Because it was off-season,  they were able to get in.  They were planning on spending the night,  going to the boat in the morning and returning home that evening.
    When the went down to the dock,  photograph in hand,  they weren't prepared for what they found.
    "My name is Will Riley.  Mr. Palmer pays me to supply upkeep and maintenance for the boat."  Lindsay was confused.
    "I thought that my father sold this boat."  Riley shook his head.
    "It still belongs to Mr. Palmer.  Mr. Palmer bought it fifteen years ago when he hired me."  Lindsay was starting to catch on.
    "Who did he buy it from?"
    "John Stevenson."  Lonnie and Lindsay looked at one another.
    "That's my father."
      "We've got to get rid of that girl if we want that property."
      "She's always with that cop.  We'll never get at her."
      "You'd better find a way."
    Everyone was in an uproar.  Stallman Development was having a rally to drum up support for the Whispering Hills Resort.  Everyone in town was there on one side or the other.  Sparta Police was out in force.  Lonnie had barely made it back from Virginia when he was told that he was on this detail.
    Before they could deal with the rally,  Lonnie had to report on what he and Lindsay found.
    "Chief,  we found papers in a boat up there that belonged to Lindsay's father John Stevenson."
     The last part of Lonnie's statement was the most important.
    "John Stevenson?"  The Chief was confused.
    "The boat was listed in John Stevenson's name not Robert Palmer - that's why it wasn't listed with the house and the store.  the mob guys thought that the boat was sold,  so they didn't bother with it."
    "Speaking of the mob guys.  I suppose that these papers tell us who they are."  Lonnie nodded.
    "It's a second set of books for Whispering Hills.  Not only are they taking peoples' land,  but they are using it to launder money."
     Everyone in the room immediately thought about the rally.
    "What do you say we go and break up that rally."  The Chief said as he rose from his chair.  A smile came to Bubba's face as they left.
    There was a sense of satisfaction as the Sparta Police took Stallman away and shut down the rally.
    "You know. . . "  Bubba said to the Chief later, "This still doesn't tell us who killed Robert Palmer.  Stallman had an alibi."
    They had made some headway,  but it was too soon to celebrate yet.
    "Who was the man in the diner?"
    Lonnie came over to Lindsay's apartment after work which had been his routine for the past few days.
    Lonnie kissed her and she asked, "How was your day?" this gave them the feeling that they were married.
    "Well,  I gave the Chief the papers that we found.  We went and arrested Stallman.  We sill don't know what happened to your father."      Lonnie felt that he had somehow failed her in some way.  she suddenly realized this and went over and held him in her arms.
    "Lonnie,  I know that you've done your best and I thank you.  It's not your fault that my dad's killer hasn't been found."
    She was sitting on his lap now and bent down and kissed him.
    Lindsay had the store converted into the coffeehouse just as she wanted.  Gone were the display racks and refrigerated cases.  The middle of the floor was clear and would soon contain small,  intimate tables.  At the back of the room would be the coffee bar,  to the front was a small stage where she hoped to find local talent.
    There was also a room that had tables with built in computers for those who wanted to surf the net while enjoying a soothing drink.  She was pretty proud of her accomplishments.
    As she was working that day,  she started thinking about the case.  She started thinking about who could have killed her father.  It had to be someone there in town who wasn't caught in the development scandal.  Somehow she felt that the guy was running around loose.  She had to think of a way to flush him out.
    The guy had to have been afraid when she showed up.  Maybe she knew something because her dad left her some clue.  Lindsay grabbed her purse and ran out before she lost her nerve.

    Lindsay walked into the diner and took a deep breath before she headed over to the counter.  She noticed Susan Tolliver and flagged her down.
    "Can I have a cup of coffee?"  Susan brought the pot over and filled up the cup.
    "Hey,  you're Robert Palmer's daughter, aren't you?"  Okay Lindsay it's now or never,  she thought.
    "Yes, I was so sorry to hear about Mona.  Hey,  you know they're really close to solving my dad's murder."  Susan was always up for some juicy gossip, came back over to listen to what Lindsay had to say.
    "Yeah, it turns out that my father left information about who killed him in the photo album."
    Susan looked really interested and Lindsay knew that the whole story would be all over town by dinner time."
    "Lonnie.  There's something I think you need to know."  Parker had just gotten off the phone with someone and hurried over to Lonnie's desk.
    "I just got off the phone with Lorelei Spencer.  She said that Lindsay was down at the diner telling Susan Tolliver that she knows who killed her father."  Lonnie jumped up and ran toward the door.
    "Oh good Lord,  she's trying to flush out the killer."
    Lindsay didn't know what she would do if the killer came after her.  Oh,  what have i done,  she thought.
   When he heard the news,  he knew what he must do.  The buzzer sounded.  Lindsay jumped when she heard it.
    "Who is it?"  She asked shakily.
     "It's Mr. Dryer,  Ms. Stevenson.  There are some papers here that I need for you to sign - about the property."
    Lindsay went over and released the latch that allowed Mr. Dryer entrance.  She waited by the door for Mr. Dryer to reach the top of the staircase.  When Dryer reached the door and knocked,  Lindsay opened the door.
    "Mr. Dryer, come in.  I thought that I signed all of the paperwork."
    Dryer came in and shut the door behind him.  Instead of producing the paperwork, Dryer presented a gun.
    Lindsay was taken totally off-guard.  She started backing away.  Oh,  great Lindsay Stevenson,  you have really done it now.
      "We're going to take a trip out to Sawyer's Lake only,  you're not coming back."  Lindsay was determined that she wasn't going anywhere with Mr. Dryer.
       "You' re going to have to drag me out of here, you know.  And that's not going to look very good."  Dryer was getting angry,  but before he could do anything about it,  Lonnie kicked in the door.  Lindsay took that opportunity to throw the lamp at Dryer's hands.  He dropped the gun.
    It was Lindsay's Grand Opening.  The place was packed.  Most people had come just because they were curious,  but Lindsay didn't care.  She stood there with Lonnie smiling at how things turned out.  It seemed that Dryer had been working for Stallman who was also working for the mob.  It was Dryer that killed Lindsay's dad on orders from Stallman and the mob.  It was finally over.
    "Now I feel safe Lonnie,  and happy."  Lonnie didn't say anything,  he just smiled and held her.     

                                      Light of Love
             (Written by Grant Cunningham, Matt Huesmann and Sterling Gittens)

Light of Love shine on me
I'm waiting for the break of day
Here I am, how I long
To feel the sun upon my face
I'll let the sweet light surround me
Falling down from above, I am found in
Your love

I know that heaven's light can make
It's way to a heart
A ray of hope can make the day of
the dark
It's so hard to believe
It's too good to be true
But I'm seeing in me
A reflection of you
Light of Love