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   Chapter 15 No.15

My Sister's Keeper By Bill Benners Characters: 5146

Updated: 2018-05-28 11:01


PEARL BAIMBRIDGE SAT on the edge of her daughter's bed as the Channel 3 News began: "A local photographer was taken into custody for questioning earlier tonight in the case of missing twenty-three-year-old Ashleigh Matthews."

Pearl clutched Martha's hand. "This is going to devastate your father."

"Teresa Hedge has more in this live report."

The picture changed to a female reporter standing in front of Ashleigh's house holding a microphone.

"Police arrested Wilmington photographer Richard Baimbridge earlier this evening on suspicion of murder in connection with the case of missing twenty-three-year-old Ashleigh Matthews."

Martha had taken a Percocet that left her groggy and thick-tongued. "Oh, Richie, " she moaned as they played video of Richard being paraded through a crowd of reporters and pushed into the back of a police car. Tears streaked Pearl's cheeks and collected on her chin.

As the reporter continued, the picture changed to video of the police going in and out of Ashleigh's house. "Matthews was reported missing Monday morning after her landlord found her door open and evidence of a violent struggle inside." The picture panned from Ashleigh's dark pool house to the left as the reporter pointed to Richard's house next door. "Thirty-two-year-old Baimbridge lives next door to the missing woman and is thought to have been romantically involved with her."

Martha squeezed her mother's hand. "He didn't do it, Mama. I know he didn't."

"Sources close to the investigation say evidence linking Baim

h!"

Martha dropped the phone, rolled off the side of the bed, and dragged herself across the floor. "Daddy, open your mou'h!"

Pearl saw the terror of knowing he was going to die in Gus's eyes, and realized her worst nightmare was becoming a reality. Her skin flushed. With perspiration pooling in the creases of her neck, she straddled him on her hands and knees and shook him. "Don't you die on me, you—you—BASTARD!"

She cupped his neck, hooked her thumb in his nose, and wrenched his head backward forcing his mouth open. As Martha fell on his shoulder, Pearl dropped the pill under his tongue.

"Don't die, Daddy. P'ease don't die."

The nitroglycerin dissolved quickly and as it entered Gus's bloodstream, his blocked arteries began to dilate, and the blood began flowing past the blockages. As his panic subsided, Gus relaxed, closed his eyes, and drew a deep breath as Pearl planted a row of kisses across his forehead. Then the three of them lay on the floor until the ambulance arrived and took him away.

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