If you are new to Darlene’s Story, here’s the gist: Darlene Whitman always heard that you can pick your friends but not your family. She realizes the lie in this statement when nosy eighty-two-year-old neighbor, Myrtle Crawford, insists on helping unravel the mystery behind the disappearances of her husband and father. Darlene discovers her father’s involvement in illegal cancer drug testing, which is also linked to her husband’s courier business. Her ties to Myrtle are more complicated than she thought, and now, she must piece together the truth before it’s too late to save either of them.
The last segment left off with Darlene talking to Jeff, Darlene’s pseudo uncle, and her father’s former business partner. (Scott is Darlene’s husband, killed in part 12.)
And now, for the next segment in the story:
Darlene looked at Jeff expectantly. Her heart fell when he didn’t answer. She repeated, “Did my father love her?”
She couldn’t read his expression. “I’m twenty-eight. I can take it.”
“Not how she deserved to be loved. Greed took over.” He paused. “Your mother deserved to be wrapped in love twenty-four hours a day. Breakfast in bed, a kiss and a rose each evening, and passionate caresses throughout the night. But making deals drove him.”
“So he didn’t do any of that?”
“Not in her eyes,” Jeff said.
“She confided in you?”
“Sometimes… I mean, only a few times.”
“No. It’s too much. I can’t do this.” Darlene slipped the tote bag straps over her shoulder and slid out of the booth. “I’ve heard enough.”
“When did you stop chasing the rainbow, Dolly?”
Darlene halted mid-step and turned around. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Jeff shrugged. “Well, Myrtle needs help, and your mother deserves justice, and you’re running because you don’t like what you hear.”
“I just need time…I need-”
“There’s no time, Dolly.” Jeff shook his head. “In high school, you expected to change the world. We need that girl now.”
“She was foolish,” Darlene said.
“She didn’t know any better.”
“Reckless optimism can topple the foe.”
“Meaning, my father.”
“MEG. But your father is a big part of it.”
Darlene slumped into the booth. “I don’t understand how. My father works for New Way Pharmaceutical, MEG’s competitor.”
“That was true, until 2004.”
“The year mother died,” Darlene whispered.
“The year I died,” Jeff added.
“Why did you fake your death?”
“I had to keep my promise to your mother.”
“To protect you. And I almost failed.”
“The fire at your cabin. I should’ve seen that coming.”
Darlene shook her head. “Scott set me up.”
Jeff reached into his jacket and pulled out some papers. He unfolded and smoothed them before his fingertips pushed them across the table. “I don’t think Scott knew.”
This is my response to the Trifecta weekly challenge, which is to write a 33 to 333-word response (mine is 331) using the following word/definition:
RAINBOW (noun): 3. [from the impossibility of reaching the rainbow, at whose foot a pot of gold is said to be buried] : an illusory goal or hope
If you want to read other responses, or try the challenge yourself, click on link above to view Trifecta’s site. Happy writing (and reading!)
This continuation of Darlene’s Story is still in Darlene’s point of view. Click here for Darlene’s Story page if you want to read the entire piece. Thanks for stopping by!