A Crime Story Part III
Early Friday Morning
The next morning Linda is not only being pampered by her father and mother but by the entire housekeeping staff as well. Stacie, the head housekeeper, makes sure that Linda’s sunken tub is filled to the brim with rich lavender bubbles and the scent permeates the room. Chastise, the cook makes her favorite blueberry pancakes smothered in fresh maple syrup and Della, Peg’s Special Assistant is on hand to give Linda any additional aid she may need.
“Oh, it’s so nice having you here again, Miss Linda.” Della says all in a flutter. I remember when you were just a tiny little thing always trying to bang on my old Compaq Presario computer. That was back when Windows 98 was the PC operating system.” Delta smiles.
“I was 14 years old, hardly a tiny thing and besides I think I was pretty good.” Linda smiles back.
“I’m afraid that Linn won’t be staying, Della.” Peg interrupts. “She’s taking a mini-vacation and will be busy. I’d imagine that she’ll be working on that great American novel.”
“WOW ... that’s exciting! Just where are you going?” Della asks excitedly.
“She’s going with me.” Martino interrupts teasingly looking extremely handsome. “I’m just going to whisk her off to some wonderful rendezvous where I can make wild and passionate love to her; giving her all the research she needs for this great novel she’ll be writing.”
Linda studies Martino’s frame. Well-tailored expensive cut jeans ride evenly over narrow hips and fit snugly around his firm buttocks. Martino’s powerful legs gently slide into a pair of elegant Italian leather boots. His snowy white starched shirt is opened at the throat; discretely revealing glimpses of a massive expanse of chest and very fine black hair. Linda blushes at her wayward thoughts regarding her childhood friend.
“Ok, if you can free your mind from the gutter ... are you ready to embark on this exciting adventure of your?” Martino says with a twinkle in his eye.
“I’m looking forward to the journey!” Linda says in reply embarrassed at her unveiled imagining being discovered.
Linda pushes herself away from the table just as Peg offers Martino a cup of coffee.
“No thanks, Ms. Peg,” Martino says. “I think we’d better get started. Weather man’s calling for torrential rains and I’d like to get there before it gets too bad outside.”
“Ok, Marty,” Linda says. “Let me get my bags and I’ll meet you out at the car.”
“The car,” Marty chuckles as he thinks to himself.
Off to a Muddy Start
The precinct has provided him with one of their finest vehicles most often used in undercover assignments. She is a sleek black, Dodge Ram 3500... built for quick, tough, off-road performance. The truck is the best they have to offer anyone!
Martino gives his goodbyes to Peg and Frank and then goes to the truck to clear a way for Linda’s baggage. Suddenly, he hears her behind him.
“This is the car?” she asks confused.
“Yep,” Martino laughs. “Not registered to anyone and impossible to trace. Now give me those and get in.”
Martino takes her luggage and places it in the back. Linda climbs into the truck holding a basket of essentials from the house. While snapping her seat-belt shut; she sits smiling... just as it starts to rain.
“Nothing like it,” Martino grumbles, “Liquid sunshine!”
Linda laughs, “Then I guess we had better get moving.”
As the duo exits the driveway progressing toward the main gate; the rain increases in its intensity. Linda observes through her window and propagates pensive thoughts. A small slide of the rear tire when navigating a corner brings her back to the present.
“I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to get so quiet!” she laughs but then concentrates on Martino’s maneuverings with a simply smile. “It’s been awhile since we’ve traveled together …,” her voice trails off feeling a bit uncomfortable.
Reaching for her hand, he slides his fingers between hers. “See? I won’t bite, promise!” Martino chuckles seductively.
“That’s too bad,” Linda answers. “I was kind of looking forward to it!”
They both laughs and Linda seems to relax just a little more.
“How about some music?” Linda asks. “I have a CD with me which I made from some music on my father’s computer.”
“Oh boy!” Marty chuckles. “This should be good!”
Linda doesn’t respond; just places the CD in the tray and waits for the first song, which is CHANCES ARE sung by Johnny Mathis. She notices the immediate pleasant reaction; sits quietly again listening as the melodious sounds permeates the vehicles.
Martino’s attention returns to the road and the rain which seems relentless.
“I have the directions here if you want me to read them to you,” Linda says.
“Sure. I know the highway here, but I need to know where we turn off the main road.” Martino says.
“OK, it should be up here somewhere,” Linda answers as she surveys the map. “No Wait! Right there, See?”
The warning comes a little too late and the truck slides into a mound of mud which has congregated from the steady river of rain.
“So sorry about that Marty,” Linda replies with a small voice. “Do I need to push?”
Martino gives Linda a mischievous nod.
“Got a shovel?” Linda questions.
“In the back,” Martino gives a choked reply trying hard to contain his amusement, but Linda detects a small chuckle as she exits the truck.
Starting with the driver’s side, she ascertains this will be the wheel needing the most leverage. Between the buildup of mud, the streaming rain and the developing rapids, Linda has a difficult time retaining her momentum. After about 10 minutes, she is ready to surrender.
“I don’t think this was such a good idea.” Linda bemoans quietly looking up to see a tickled Martino.
“Get back in the truck,” Martino laughs.
Throwing the shovel back where she found it, she climbs in the truck ... cold, soaked, muddy and shivering.
“It’s so cold out there!” Linda complains. “The rain is cold and I’m soaked through! Think it will move?”
“Of course it will move, Honey. It’s four-wheel drive!” Martino laughs climbing into the truck after her. Linda grimaces with the cold realizing the dirty trick just performed.
“Why did you let me go out there then Marty?” Linda asks through chattering teeth.
“I’ll turn the heater up for you. Why on earth would you even offer to assist outside?” Martino says summarizing that this incident will teach Linda a valuable lesson in independence when he’s around.
It’s 35 miles of slippery terrain until they reach the cabin's paved drive. Fallen debris has created a small obstruction to the cabin.
Home Away from Home
“This is it!” Linda exhorts feeling relieved to be there at last.
“You sit in the truck while I clear a path.” Martino states knowing he will get no argument from Linda.
After Martino arranges a few select branches, he climbs back into the truck and heads up the road. By this time he and Linda are both soaked through. Linda grabs the basket Chastise has packed with essentials and Martino seizes the luggage.
“I think we both could use a shower before we sort things out.” Linda replies as she reaches the front door; standing to one side she holds it open for Martino.
“That will work.” Martino enters and set the suitcases down. He turns towards the door as Linda steps inside, closing it with her foot and stepping right into his arms.
“I’ll shower first; then you can follow next while I prepare us a meal.” Linda pushes herself free of Martino and gives him a stern look.
Martino laughs at the mental reprimand and says, “Yes ma’am—I’ll get the fire going before we both get pneumonia.”
“Now that sounds like a plan.” Linda chimes as she heads toward the back.
It is a beautiful log cabin. The wood has been smooth to perfection and the logs have a permanent lacquered look. The knob on the outside door has the letter “M” carved on it. There is also an inconspicuous camera pointing toward the entrance which is monitored from inside the cabin.
The interior of the cabin possesses highly buffed hardwood floors covered environmentally by a combination of faux animal skins and Persians rugs. Although Frank Morgan enjoys occasional hunting; he prefers small game that can be later converted into a meal.
There are all the conveniences of home within a pastoral atmosphere. The great room possessed a 70” plasma screen TV housed in a rustic walnut breakfront. The cabinet also contains a DVD/blue-ray player, an elaborate stereo system and a small espresso bar. There is a majestic leather-covered sofa with an elegant matching pillowed chair.
The cabin has two bedrooms, one is in the loft and the other is off the recreation room. The loft bedroom has an excellent view of the plasma TV and the monitors that survey the front entrance as well as the rest of the house. There is a queen-size bed, double-mirrored dresser and small night stand. Because of the way the loft is made, a 40” LED TV is mounted on the opposite wall of the bed. Strong beams supported the loft and stand in the great room like beautiful well- polished pillars. During his earlier years Frank loved this area of the house. But due to his special needs he will never be able to navigate the winding stairs leading to the loft.
So Linda’s father finds sanctuary in the bedroom off the recreation room because of the privacy it affords its occupant. It also possesses its own 60” plasma screen. The bed in this room is king-sized and round. And this is the most characteristic about this room; it is round! Everything in the room is extremely beautiful and comfortable. There are oak and cedar furnishings everywhere. This back bedroom allows its occupant a spectacular panoramic view of the Canadian wilderness.
The recreational area is also equipped with a 70” plasma screen TV. However, the cabinet is built into the wall. There is a pool table, a table tennis area, and a vintage arcade setup. Frank thinks that PS4: Call of Duty is an amusing past-time however, he prefers the old fashion sounds of the arcade machines of the sixties!
One wall has a built in refrigerator, dishwasher and double microwave oven. This area also serves as a kitchenette. Off to the right of the appliance wall is the huge bathroom. It contains a sunken tub, a glass enclosed shower stall, and a toilet plus urinal bowl. The floors are polished marble and the ceiling is cedar logs. There is a double sink with a gigantic mirror mural.
The cabin is located on the edge of a sharp drop. There is no back door and there is no other way of entrance except for the front door. One of the construction workers almost lost his life building the structure except for a safety rope. The cabin is truly a architect’s dream.
“Wow ... I’ll bet your father has many remarkable moments in this cabin!” Martino exclaims in admiration.
“Yes, he does ... there are only a handful of people know of its existence. They were killed in that raid that crippled my father ... except for one man ... Victor Paccio. He is the only other person that knew of this place.” Linda retorts pensively. “I remember dad saying this is the perfect hideout. I believe Mr. Paccio has a similar one.”
“So ... you really don’t think that he’s dead ... that he was silenced for wanting to live a normal life with another woman?” Martino questions her studying his stunning friend closely.
“No Marty, I don’t. There is more to this story than dad is telling. Come on let’s visit that kitchen. As the cowboys say ... Let me rustle you up some grub!” They both laugh.
While Linda prepares a small meal; Martino continues his assessment of the place.
“It’s a remarkable place! I know that any man would love to be able to call this place home. It is a wonder that your father doesn’t move here permanently.” Martino says with envy.
“Then it would cease to be a welcomed retreat and become just another home!” Linda replies with conviction.
“You are right of course. How does he manage to keep such a place so clean?” Martino wonders aloud.
“Just before the cabin is closed for the season, this place receives a good cleaning. Since the majority of the things here are self-cleaning, only minor adjustments have to be made. Dad’s pretty good with a vacuum cleaner and the loft is seldom used anymore.” Linda says smiling. Then she replies on a more serious note.
“I know how worried dad is about me but I can’t stay here indefinitely. Sooner or later I am going to have to return to civilization and release my story to the public. It’s about time certain people were brought to justice.” Linda says and the way she turns her head remind Martino so much of her father.
“Yes, “he thinks to himself again, “this girl is Frank Morgan’s daughter.” Then he speaks aloud.
“Yes, I know.” Martino says. “But you must admit; if you have to hide away like a prisoner running from the law ... this is the perfect place to do it.”
"Yes, but no matter how beautiful or well stocked a prison is ... it is after all still a prison." Linda replies sadly.
The end of Part III