Picket Fences

Angela and Sarah head into the kitchen where Angela puts the kettle on to start the tea.

“First thing, I want to know if you can guarantee my son a spot on this list for a new kidney,” Sarah says, sitting down at the island. “Yes, I can. There is a child in a coma at Queen of the Valley Hospital who isn’t going to make it, and his parents have agreed to donate his organs,” Angela says, turning around to face Sarah. “How?” Sarah asks. “You should know better than to question me. Just know that if you help, I’ll help you get little Timmy to the top of that list,” Angela says, leaning on the island and facing Sarah, knowing that she has no choice but to say yes. “Damnit… You and Connie are just alike. She taught you well,” Sarah says, putting her face in her hands and holding back tears. Angela waits for Sarah’s response and says, “It’s just one favor.” This shocks Sarah out of her self-pity. “Are you kidding me? I shouldn’t even be here. After Chicago, we swore we’d never see each other. It’s safer that way. And now we’re here with my child’s life in your hands,” Sarah reflects. She takes a deep breath as she hears the tea kettle whistle, then asks Angela, “So, what do you need me to do?” Angela, while pouring the tea, replies, “I need you to get this detective off my back. He’s getting too close. I figured explaining the situation with the house would be enough to satisfy him.” The two women begin to hatch a plan. 

But Sarah isn’t the only one making choices.

Madalyn and Sidney pull in behind Trisha’s blue Maserati sedan in their BMW station wagon that has seen better days. They sat down at a table to discuss the party. “I take it this is your son. A handsome young man,” Trisha says. “Yes, he decided to hang out with me for the day,” Madalyn replies, glowing with pride. She loos at Sidney in wonder. “Your return has caused quite a stir in this town, and I get to see you in the flesh,” she says. Sidney, not knowing what to say, mutters “Thank you.” 

The two women talk about the preparations for the party, and when they finish, Madalyn accompanies Trisha to her car. “What a beautiful car,” Madalyn says, admiring it and thinking about how her own car looks old in comparison. But beyond that, the car also symbolizes her old life and the son she had lost, but later regained. At this moment, Madalyn feels the need for a change. Lost in thought, she hears her son’s voice, “Mom, are we still going for ice cream?” “Yes, we are,” she replies, with newfound confidence.

But Madalyn isn’t the only one on the hunt.

Payton walks into the kitchen and is immediately greeted by what smells delightfully like a five-star steakhouse. “Something smells good in here,” he remarks. Xavier turns around and replies, “Wait until you taste it. It’s the one thing my dad can cook, and I learned from him,” with a goofy grin of pride. Payton holds up the flash drive and asks, “So where can I find a computer?” “Down the hall and to the left is my grandfather’s old office. Give me a minute, and I’ll come set you up,” Xavier says. Payton heads down the hall, passing family photos and accolades displayed on the wall. He finds the office and lets himself in. The office is green with wood paneling that just screams importance. He sits at the executive desk and takes it all in. Xavier enters shortly after Payton. “So, my grandfather used a medical coding system called ARIES for his patients. He used to share notes,” Payton said, looking at the folders on the screen. “Yeah, there it is. If any of those sessions on the flash drive were performed by a colleague, we can access it.” Payton found the access codes at the bottom of the keyboard. Payton was shocked and said, “That’s where he kept the passcode?” “Let’s just say that Grandpa shouldn’t have been practicing medicine, he was too much of a jokester,” Xavier says. With the key access granted, he exclaims, “Holy crap, it worked! I’ve got to get back to the grill,” and with that, he runs to the kitchen. Payton hovers the cursor over the Angela Wingate folder, takes a deep breath and whispers to himself, “Here we go,” before opening the folder….Click.