Picket Fences

Previously in Picket Fences…

Payton and Xavier have broken into Connie’s house and were in the process of downloading information from her computer when someone intruded on their endeavor, forcing them into hiding. Connie and Angela were poised to reconnect the mysterious Martin Cray with his father.

As the cool night air makes its way across the dark crystal waters of Benicia, the feeling of luxury and sounds of music permeate the air around the Jefferson Street Mansion. Party-goers are busy buying their art and keeping the champagne flowing.

But for two party-escapees, the party was reaching its peak.

Xavier and Payton hear the footsteps at the door and the nob turning as someone starts looking in on the room. Payton can see through a slit in the curtain the green light from the flash drive; he starts to tense up with fear and tries to be extra quiet.  Communicating through his eyes, Xavier warns Payton not to move. The person leaves the room, appearing to be satisfied with finding nothing. The two breathe with a quiet sigh of relief. They give themselves a few seconds before making any sudden moves. Payton moves swiftly to retrieve the flash drive. “Did you get it?” Xavier whispers. “Yeah, I got it, let’s get out of here,” Payton replies. The two peek out the doorway. “It’s clear,” Xavier states. The two start down the dark hallway and through the shadowy kitchen back the way they came with Xavier leading the way. When the two reach the door, Xavier hears Payton yell out in pain, Xavier turns around to see a shadowy figure lifting their arm with a large oddly shaped object about to deliver a second blow in his direction. Reacting quickly, he braces himself on the counter and delivers a kick to the chest knocking the assailant down.

 Xavier scoops Payton up and the two rush out the door, scrambling into the truck. Looking back, Xavier sees the shadowy figure giving chase with a knife in hand, but he could not make out a face. He gets the truck started and takes off in a plume of exhaust.

The two young men aren’t the only ones trying to avoid disaster.

Back at Jefferson Street Mansion, Connie has located Martin’s father, Mr. Cray. She asks him, “Are you ready to reunite with your son?” “This is a long time coming, so I have to be ready,” Mr. Cray replies. The two head towards the office to meet Martin and Angela.

Wanting to break the silence as they wait for Connie and Martin’s father, Angela asks, “How long has it been since you’ve seen your father?” “I haven’t seen my father since he committed my mother to a mental facility and blamed me, saying the stress of my addiction drove her to a breakdown… he tried to commit me too, and when that didn’t work, he used my addiction to put me in prison.”  Listening to Martin as he looks out the window telling his story Angela can’t help but feel empathy. “I’m so sorry, Martin,” she says. “My mother and I were an inconvenience for my father… We were dead weight to him. When Mother died, questions started to come up as to why she was committed… that’s when he hired Connie and you to fix it… to change the narrative,” Martin says, looking at Angela. The silence is tense and palpable; Angela can hardly look him in the eye. The silence is broken when Connie and Mr. Cray enter the office. Martin and his father come face to face. “Hi, Dad,“ Martin says trying to hold his anger in. “Son … how are you?” 

The Crays aren’t the only ones reconnecting.

Madalyn and Hank are having a drink by themselves, laughing and talking. It strikes them both suddenly that they have felt like this in a long time. Hank caresses Madalyn’s cheek. “I miss you,” he says looking into her eyes. She takes her last sip of champagne. “Why don’t we start over?  …Clean slate. We’ve been through a lot together and I know we haven’t been the best to each other but I love you, Hank, and I want to be present in this marriage with you. But you have to meet me halfway, Hank.” Madalyn says, trying to hold back tears. Taking and kissing her hands, Hank replies, “I would want nothing more than to have my wife back.” Hank and Madalyn share a passionate kiss and hold each other. While holding his wife he can see Saraya beckoning him to meet her. Hank can’t help but feel guilty, thinking to himself, “What have I done?” Wanting to erase his mistake.