Last time, Della followed Mr. Jorgenson to a mysterious warehouse where he was apparently smuggling "test scores," which were guarded by a "panther jaguar." She was nearly killed but Dax rescued her, only to reveal that her stalkery policeman friend was the one who murdered her parents. There's only one more chapter after this one, so things move along pretty quickly here...
Della couldn't believe it. The man had seemed so nice when she first talked to him, he had comforted her during her greatest time of grief. Now he turned out to have caused that greatest time of grief! Oooh, she was going to get him for this.
That seems like a pretty mild response. That's the kind of thing you say when people saran wrap your car.
What he did couldn't be condoned by any priest under any circumstances. She gritted her teeth and punched her fist into the side door of the car.
Dax looked at her out of the corner of his ye. "Careful there," he said with a mocking grin. "I don't want you punching holes in my car."
Didn't she poke holes in Mr. Jorgenson's trunk? Dax has reason to be worried, I guess.
Della shook her head. "I just can't believe he would do something like that. I'm going to confront him."
Anyone surprised by this plan of hers? Nope, me neither. Della's plan: Always. Confront. Everyone.
Dax looked at her out of the corner of his eye.
That corner is mighty busy.
"Confront him? Is that the wisest idea?" he said slowly. "HE may be violent - "
He just might, given that he's killed both her parents.
"I have to," Della said, her eyes wide. "For my parents. For me."
For the Gipper.
Dax said nothing to that, he could only not.
He just could only not. For real.
When he dropped her off in front of Robert's mansion, he nodded to her. "If you need anything," he said, "call me on the phone."
Wow. Now there's a protective friend, non?
Della nodded and he drove off, leaving her in a pile of dirt
Dax's friendship definitely leaves something to be desired.
in the front of the mansion.
Why does Robert have a pile of dirt in front of his mansion? Heck, why does Robert have a mansion?
She turned around and looked up at the gigantic white house. She wondered vaguely if he had bought the money for the mansion with the money that he had gotten from doing whatever illegal things her father had caught him doing.
Because THAT'S not a complicated sentence.
Then a disturbing thought occurred to her. If he had been willing to kill once to protect his integrity, might he not do it again?
Aaaaaaand the lightbulb turns on.
That must have been what Dax meant when he said it might be dangerous. She hadn't really considered it.
And now that she's considered it, she'll walk away like an intelligent person, right?
Oh, well, she had gone too far to back out, now.
She walked up the giant stone steps to knock on the front door. When theye was no answer, she reached up and poked the doorbell.
Poke. Poke. Bother. Bother.
A moment later, the door opened, and a black-clad maid stood there, nervously gripping the edge of the door. "Yes miss?" she said.
Not only does Robert live in a mansion, he lives in a mansion from the 1800s.
"I'd loke to speak to Mr. Robert Plaintive," Eella said with determination.
What sort of accent is "Eella" trying to pull off here?
The maid's eyes grew wide. "Don't nobody see Mr. Plaintive except through appointment," she whispered.
She is... a maid from a movie.
"Would you like me to make an appointment for you?"
Handy dandy maid and secretary all rolled into one!
Della didn't answer, but simply shoved the poor girl out of the way
When Della's about to confront, she doesn't hold back.
and ran into the living room where she found Mr. Plaintive in a large reclining chair smoking a cigarette and musing on the state of his life.
He spends his time well I see.
He turned around when he saw her come in, and said, with a gesture of surprise, "What ARE you doing here, Della?"
Della put her hands on her hips and said, " I came to find out why you thought it was necessary to kill my parents."
Get right to the point, why don't you, Della?
Robert's face drained of blood, and he began to stammer, "But I - but I - "
Della appears to have this affect on most people. I want to learn her confronting techniques.
Della shook her head. "No buts, ands, or ifs! conjunctions! I want to know why you killed my parents and if you're going to kill me now."
"Because if the answer to that is yes, I'd rather leave right now, thank you."
Robert rested one hand on his head and said, "You know, that's not a bad idea--"
He hadn't considered it up until now?
When he saw the expression on her face, he said, "I'm kidding."
Yeah. That's a great thing to joke about.
Then he sat there, thinking for a moment. "I don't know that I'm really sure how to answer that question," he said. "I don't know if I killed your parents or not."
There's a great explanation coming up.
Della stared at him in disbelief. "How can you not KNOW?"
"Well, I wasn't exactly in full possession of my faculties at the time," he said
"You were intoxicated!" she accused him.
"Actually, no, I was hypnotized," he said.
Best excuse ever.
She stared at him. "How could you commit a murder when you were hypnotized?"
Sheesh, don't you watch stupid old horror movies?
"Oh, quite easily, if the hypnotist says 'Go murder these people,' you have to do it. So I did." Robert shrugged. "I'm awfully sorry,
He's SO CASUAL about all this.
but I didn't find out until just last night. Now I'm being blackmailed by the hypnotist because if I don't cooperate with him he'll call the police and tell them I did it and he's got photos and everything."
Della's heart began to beat for this man.
Wha-?? Della is going to fall in love with him?
"Just give them the same story you gave me. I'm sure they'll understand."
That's... not horribly likely.
Robert snorted. "Yes, sure, they will." He took a swig of his Mountain Dew.
Product placement! And I'm not sure Mountain Dew is something one "swigs."
"Don't ever doubt it for a moment," he muttered to himself.
What IS he talking about?
"But really, I'm very sorry."
I think he thinks the topic's closed now.
Della sobbed incessantly, "YOU KILLED MY PARENTS!"
I LOVE Della's mood swings. She is all calm a few sentences ago and now...
Robert stood up and shrugged his shoulders again. "I don't know what else to say. I AM sorry, but it wasn't my family."
I sense he's not showing quite as much sympathy as he could be...
Della shook her head. Then she stalked out of the house.
It wasn't until she got back to her own house that she began to wonder if she was even hearing the whole story. Couldn't Robert be lying through his teeth to her?
She thinks of these things always a little bit too late.
Maybe Dax would have some ideas. She picked up the phone to call him but just as she did the doorbell rang. She put down the phone and ran to the door eagerly. When she opened it, it was Dax, this time with a large steak on a plate. Oh, yes, she had forgotten he was bringing her food again.
As had the author, for a bit.
"Yum, steak," she said to him when she opened the door. "Let's eat it."
She's regained her composure quite well.
They brought out forks and knives and ate the stake at the kitchen table,
Yum, yum. Wooden stake. Seasoned with garlic. No vampires will bother them tonight.
and then eventually Della gave him all the information she'd gotten from Robert. Dax shook his head. "He's lying, lying!" he exclaimed.
Dax has evolved from the one sensible character in the story to... this.
"I was following him, he never went to any hypnotist.
Well, that would explain how Dax knew Robert was the killer... but not why he didn't say anything earlier.
Nor has he been withdrawing large amounts of cash from the bank, so he couldn't have a blackmailer."
...And he's seen his bank statement? Dax is a thorough detective.
Della raised one eyebrow. "How do you know all this?"
Finally, a good question from Della.
"I have my reasons." Dax took a spoonful of cereal.
Steak and cereal. The quintessential meal.
The milk flew everywhere.
He's not a very tidy eater, is he?
"I think you should go back and tell him again that you know he's lying."
Dax is also 100% for the direct confrontation tactic now...
"What about all that 'he could be dangerous' stuff?" Della asked, slightly curious and embarrassed.
"Well, we needn't go into that need we?"
I see he's taken his personality reversal medicine this morning.
Dax said, putting his napkin under his teeth.
First the steak wasn't enough for dinner so he had to have cereal... now he has to eat the table linen too? Or is this some bizarre dinner table ritual?
"I suppose we needn't," Della said, letting her eyes wander down to her lap.
WHY is Della getting so shy all of a sudden?
Then the truth came out. Della stood up to do the dishes but Dax went into the other room to study.
Wait, wait, did we skip over the truth bit?
Before long Dax said, "I'm going home," and he laughed,
Relieved to get away from her?
and Della realized she missed him a lot.
...before he even left?
Maybe she was falling in love. Kathunk kathunk. That was the sound of her heart falling.
Yup. It's confirmed. I'm the most amazing writer in all of history.
It was truly beautiful.
Kathunk is NOT that beautiful a sound.
She loved Dax. He must not love her, though, because he just left her.
I'm giggling like mad rereading this. Oh, the dramas of being in love with a Dellalike emotional quotient...
She'd have to wait until the next day to find out for sure what he thought of her.
She couldn't wait until the morning came. Dax would come with breakfast, and then she would tell him what she thought and everything would go perfectly lovelyly. She joyously showered and washed her hair and got ready for the day in general. Her teeth were brushed to perfection, although it seemed rather silly since she would be eating in a few moments.
Hey, can't look too good for Dax.
However when time ran up she began to be worried, and picked up the phone to call him. The phone rang eighteen times on his end before she finally let the receiver fall onto the phone itself. Maybe something was wrong with him! She put on her quickly coat
The coat that allows her to move quickly?
and ran down the street to his little apartment that she knew so well.
There was an ambulance outside.
Her heart beat faster. No, not Dax too!
Oh no oh no oh noooooooo!
She ran inside, looking left and right for the police in her way, and then made her way up the stairs to where Dax's apartment was. Someone was carrying Dax out on a stretcher. Her looked so white and helpless.
Her did, did she?
Della reached out and grabbed his hand, but it was cold and clammy, and she pulled it away with a shriek of disgust.
She must not be all THAT enamored of him.
A man in a white coat was coming out of Dax's apartment, and Della grabbed him by the coat and snarled, "I demand to know what's going on here!"
The man replied simply, "He took two thousand pills and now we have to pump his stomach."
OH. MY. Oh. My.
This might be my sentence of the entire thing. I'm thinking if he took 2000 pills, they might do a bit more than pump his stomach. In other news, this guy was much less thrown by Della's aggressive style than most people.
Suicide? No, Dax, couldn't have tried that! He was too full of life!
This sentence does not have the ring of originality.
She knew in the pit of her stomach what he really happened. That horribly Robert Plaintive had put all those pills in his foot.
That's right. DEATH BY INJECTION OF TWO THOUSAND PILLS INTO THE FOOT!!! Typos + speed writing = worst murder plot.
Oooh, the man made her so mad!
Again, something of an underreaction. That Robert Plaintive, he's such a stinker!
With her fists clenched, her teeth gritted, her shoulders back and her feet stomping,
That's about as aggressive as you can make yourself look.
she marched to Robert Plaintive's house and pounded on the door.
That doesn't work though... you have to poke the bell!
The maid opening the door once more said, "I don’t think you'd better come on, miss. He's in quite a foul mood-"
From murder most foul.
"I WILL see him!" Della said, pushing past the man
The maid is a man?
and removing her scarf. "He'll see me once he hears what I've got to say."
The maid shrugged and gestured toward the same room Robert had been in the night before.
Add the maid to the list of people Della can walk all over with little to no effort.
Della wandered on it, and Robert was once again sitting the large red backed chair facing the fireplace.
Was he contemplating life again?
When he heard her he stood and turned to greet her. "Why, Della," he said slowly, "it's so nice to see you again."
I suspect this isn't the whole truth.
"I'm sure it is," she said, ice in her voice. "But I'm sure it would be far nicer to see me dead!"
Don't give away your hostility all at once, Della...
Robert's eyes got hard and cold. "Don't be silly. I wouldn't want anyone dead."
Somehow that's not convincing.
"Not even Dax?" She put her hands on her hips and her eyes rolled upward. She had him this time, and he knew it too.
His eyes widened. "How did you know about Dax?"
NOW she's got him. Because he's stupid and completely gave himself away.
"The question is how did YOU know about Dax?" She leaned forward until his nose was in his face.
"You have to tell me!"
He shook his head. "I - I had to do it!" he blurted out. "Life wouldn't be the same without him!"
I'm not sure I'm following his reasoning.
She put her hands on her hips and said, "Aha, so you decided to kill him?"
He broke down into sobs. "Yes! Yes! I did! He knew too much, he could get me kicked out of my job!"
WOW! Della is good at this interrogation thing!
"Well, you're not doing a very good job enforcing the law when you're a murderer, now can you?"
I wonder if he's thought of this.
Della couldn't believe the audacity of this guy. He still thought he could be a policeman when he wasn't even a non-killer?
They probably ask you that on your application. "Are you a killer or a non-killer?"
"You KNOW I'm going to turn you in."
Robert fell to his knees. "No! No, please don't! Please, I beg of you!"
He's not all that tough without his stray bullets and pill syringes.
But Della ignored his heartfelt pleas and coldly turned and walked toward the door.
She heard Robert stand to his knees
That's not standing very much.
and then heard him mutter in a low, cold voice, "Attack!"
She turned around just in time to see a giant python running toward her.
Oh. Right. I'd forgotten the giant running python. Running. With LEGS, apparently.
"AAAAHHHH!" she yelled. "Why are you doing this?"
I'll give ya three guesses.
"He's just hungry," Robert said, a malicious glint in his eyes. "I think it's time he had . . . FOOD!"
Talk about a threatening line.
Quick as a flash, he ran to the door and locked them with a key so she couldn't get out.
It's a cliffhanger!