Picket Fences

On a beautiful Sunday morning in Benicia, residents are enjoying various activities.

While some may be attending church, others may be spending a lazy day in bed. However, for one resident named Angela, it’s a time for strategizing to deceive someone. In her kitchen, Angela and her friend Sarah are preparing for Sarah’s upcoming meeting with Detective Benning.

Angela pours coffee into Sarah’s cup and asks, “So, do you know what you’re going to say to Benning when you meet him?” She pours herself some coffee and takes a sip from her cup. “I’m going to tell him that it was an investment I purchased on my own, without my husband’s money. It was something I could afford. With it being a two-million-dollar house, he’ll be impressed and not suspicious. It’s a nice round number, you know. People love a woman’s story like that,” Sarah says, taking another sip from her cup. Angela suggests, “I was thinking you could wear the all-white slanted shoulder jumpsuit. It’s nice and simple with a nice camel coat. “Sarah responds, “I like where you’re going, but I think this casual two-piece ensemble would be better. I do like the cream pants though. I could pair them with a royal blue top and some simple platinum jewelry. “Angelic and trustworthy, he’ll be eating out of the palm of your hand,” Angela says. “Maybe a nice clutch?” Angela asks.”No, most men don’t like clutches. They associate them with cocktail parties. I’ll use my light gray Hermes with gold hardware. I’ll carry it by the handles with the strap hanging, and when he asks me to have a seat, I’ll put it on the floor. But if he offers me a chair for my bag, well, that’s class. Then, I’ll know who I’m dealing with and how far I can take the story,” Sarah says. Angela pauses and says, “You miss this just a little… You can’t tell me you use this stuff in the PTA meetings.” ” Well, just a little,” Sarah admits.

Meanwhile, at the lake house…

Xavier is awakened by the sun coming through the window and Payton in his arms “Well, this is a welcome surprise. What sparked this?” he asks, pulling Payton in closer.  Payton takes a deep breath in. “Have you ever felt something bad is coming and you have to cling to something solid?” he asks. Instinctively, Xavier knows that saying less is more and holds Payton tighter. They lay in silence, feeling the warm sun coming through the window, and to Payton, it felt like a little hope. But knowing he has to listen to more of his mother’s sessions also brings fear for what’s to come. “So, what are we doing today?” Payton asks, breaking the silence. “I’m going into town for breakfast and I’ll bring us back some stuff from the bakery. I figured you would want to finish listening to those sessions. Then, after that, anything you want, the day is yours, I’m yours,” Xavier replies as he feels Payton pulling him in closer. 

Later that day, Madalyn and Sydney are out running errands in Benicia and run into Saraya coming out of The Filling Station. “Hi Saraya.” Saraya turns around to see Madalyn. “Hi, Mrs. Walker,” she replies, awkwardly. “I haven’t seen you since the party, how have you been?” Madalyn asks, making small talk.  “I’m fine, just trying to figure life out, applying for schools, but how are you all doing?” she asks. “Fine, staying busy. I heard that you and  Xavier are an item. Where is he?” Madalyn says, smiling. Before Saraya can answer, Sydney blurts out, “He’s with Payton, out of town.” Saraya’s face drops as she constructs a reply, trying to cover that she didn’t know. “Yes, he is… Yeah, well I have to go,”  Sarya says, wanting to end the conversation.

But Saraya isn’t the only one about to receive some information.

Agent Bennings is sitting at his desk when an officer’s head pops in the door, “There’s a woman here to see you.” “Me? I’ll be right there,” Agent Benning replies. 

Walking out to the lobby, he calls out, “Who’s here to see Agent Benning.” A beautiful woman in crème pants and a navy blue top turns around. “I hear you have a question about my house, I’m Sarah Bennett.”