Picket Fences

As the Sun kisses the waves of the Benicia bay, signaling morning has come, it’s time for the residents of Benicia to start their day. For some residents this means nursing a hangover from last night’s event, critiquing questionable art purchases, or relaying last night’s gossip.

For one couple, the morning brings with it new hope for new beginnings. Hank is awakened by the smell of fresh coffee permeating from downstairs, he shuffles himself out of bed and heads down the stairs to find Madalyn sitting outside on one of the pool lounge chairs, sipping coffee in his grey t-shirt. “Morning, I haven’t seen you in one of my t-shirts in so long,” he says, taking a seat beside her and kissing her hand. “I haven’t been in the mood to wear it for quite some time. I meant what I said last night… this is a  new start.” Madalyn says caressing his face. “I know. And I’m in,” he replies.

“What’s your day looking like?” He asks, taking the coffee from her hands and freely taking a sip. “Well, I have to stop at Angela’s to go over the final tally for the event… but after that, I should be free,” she replies. Hank takes Madalyn into his arms, “How about when you get done we can meet up at Amore Bistrot for some food, and then after that, we can go for a stroll to the waterfront,” Hank suggests. Still in his arms, she says “Yes.. that sounds like a date.” “It is,” Hank mutters. “Then, I will see you there. I have to take a shower,” she says, breaking the embrace. Hank watches her walk away and blurts out “Should we conserve water?” Madalyn stops in her tracks and turns around with a smirk “Come on.” Hank doesn’t miss a beat to join her.

The Walkers aren’t the only ones with an exciting morning,

Angela and Bruce lay in bed talking about the day. “What do you have planned today?” Bruce asks with his arms around her, not wanting to get out of bed. “I have to meet with Madalyn today, and I might go into the office for a minute.” She says, enjoying his embrace.  The two are interrupted by a knock on the bedroom door “Hey! You two up? Mom, Dad?” the two giggle and roll their eyes. “Yes, how can we help you son?” Bruce answers. “I need fifty bucks,” Payton says through the door. Angela responds, “Look in my clutch on the sofa.” This is followed by silence. “…Okay, you’re welcome.” they both say to themselves. “Why don’t I head down to One House Bakery and you can whip us up some of that cinnamon coffee and we meet back here in bed,” Bruce suggests. “Now that sounds like a plan.” Angela says, rolling over to steal a kiss.

As the residents of Benicia transition into midday, Oliva Leavenworth is busy.

Olivia Leavenworth is in her kitchen grabbing a snack, taking a break from her crunching numbers and organizing art pickups and deliveries. Xavier enters the kitchen, still sweaty from the gym. “Hey, Mom,” he says in passing.  “‘Hey, Mom’… that’s all I get? I think that should be followed by an explanation,” Olivia says, leaning on the island and taking a sip of sparkling water. “What do you mean?” Xavier replies. “I mean Saraya Foster. What’s going on there? Diahann Foster called three times this morning wanting to meet with me. Now, are you going to tell me?” Olivia demands, visibly annoyed.  Xavier stands there wanting to tell his mom the truth, desperately trying to find the courage to say the words that could free him and Payton to be together, but the only thing that comes out is, “We are together, Mom,” Xavier says with a sadness in his heart.  Sensing something is off, Olivia replies, “I don’t know what you’re not telling me, but something is not right here.” “Don’t worry, Mom, I’m fine,” Xavier says, leaving Olivia puzzled and worried.

Oliva Leavenworth isn’t the only one being left with a sinking feeling.

Madalyn arrives on time for the meeting with Angela and in true Madalyn fashion, she lets herself in. “Angela… Angela, are you here?” She calls out to her.  “I’m in the office, come on back here,” Angela answers back to Madalyn with her voice echoing down the hall.  Madlyn enters the office and they greet each other. But before a word can be said the phone rings. “Hello… This is she… Yes, Wingate,” Madalyn notices Angela’s face and tone switch and whispers, “What’s wrong?” Angela is still on the phone. “What? When? … Yes I’ll be right there … Got it  … Thank you, officer,” Angela hangs up the phone in disbelief. “Angela, what’s wrong?” Madalyn asks. “That… that was the Benicia Police…they found Connie in her backyard. She’s at Queen of the Valley Hospital.” Trying to catch her breath, Angela manages to get out the words, “She was beaten, she’s in a coma.”