EPISODE #2010-41 Part #2

"So is this how it's going to be from now on?" Jamie mused. "You're just going to glare and give me the cold shoulder every time you see me?"

Lorna studied the ceiling with such incredible concentration one would have thought the meaning of life was inscribed upon it.

"And now you've added the silent treatment to your rotation," Jamie finished changing her bandage, and stood back, arms crossed, studying Lorna equally as intently as she'd focused on the hospital's ceiling. "Which is unfortunate, since that means you can't explain to me how my telling you the truth about what happened the other night makes me the bad guy. Which means I win this argument by default. Ha."

"You lied to me about the other night. You only told the truth after I made you. You were perfectly happy keeping me in the dark."

"One, I wasn't happy about it," Jamie ticked off on his fingers. "And two, I didn't lie. I admitted that you kissed me — "

"You tried to blame it on the drugs when you know that — " She clammed up, face flushed, refusing to say the words aloud.

"I was trying... I didn't want to embarrass you," he finally said.

"I'm a big girl, Jamie. I can handle making a fool of myself hitting on a married man while high and getting rejected. I've done it sober, too. I'm a pro. What I can't handle is being treated like a five year old."

Jamie hunched his shoulders. "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck..."

"Excuse me?" Lorna looked at him in disbelief.

"You heard me," Jamie shot back. "I try to spare your feelings, and you stomp around in a huff and hound me until I tell you the truth. I tell you the truth, and instead of talking about it like an adult, you kick me out of the guest house with your deadly feet of fury."

"There was nothing more to talk about. I had nothing else to say."

"Well, maybe I did."

"Like what? That what I did doesn't change anything? That we could still be friends?"

"Yes," Jamie nodded passionately. "I still want us to be friends. What's wrong with that?"

"I already have friends," Lorna dismissed. "I do!" she insisted when Jamie's snort was followed by unrestrained laughter. "Okay, fine. So, I don't have a lot of friends. So what? Friends are overrated. All they do is make you a co-dependant mess. Exhibit A: My mother and Cass."

"Would an affair be any better? Because that's what anything that happened between us right now would be. At best, I would be betraying Marley, my friend — and it's not like I have that many, either — who has put her neck on the line so I can keep my son. At worst, I'm committing adultery, making you the other woman — again, and jeopardizing my family. Either way, I don't want to be that guy. You shouldn't want that guy, and you most definitely deserve better than that guy."

His flurry of words left them both speechless.

Jamie, because despite it not being the entire truth, he had inadvertently admitted more than he'd intended to.

And Lorna because, as she processed Jamie's flurry of words and the look on his face, she felt an unbidden, fragile bloom of hope opening up inside her as she realized that it wasn't a question of if he was interested or if anything could happen, but when. Lorna could work with when.

Unfortunately, before she could ask him that very question, Jamie's cell phone rang.

And, of course, it was Marley.

What? Did the woman implant a listening device into his wedding ring?

No, not very likely, considering the circumstances under which Lorna discovered it in the first place.

But even Lorna's annoyance shifted toward concern when she heard Marley's hysterical voice sobbing out of Jamie's phone. This, Lorna realized quickly, was no drill.

"Marley, I need you to calm down," Jamie commanded gently. "Tell me exactly what happened."

Lorna tensed, watching Jamie's face swirl from shock to overwhelmed weariness before settling into cool efficiency, all in the blink of an eye.

"First of all, apply pressure to the wounds to stop the bleeding. Don't let up, even if whatever you're using becomes soaked through, just put more cloth on top. Try to elevate her arms above heart level so that she doesn't go into shock. I'm hanging up right now and sending out an ambulance. Help is on the way; sit tight. I'll meet you both here at the hospital."

"What happened?" Lorna called after Jamie as he dialed for the promised aid.

He was already headed for the Emergency Room, calling over his shoulder, "Marley claims your father just tried to kill Donna."

"I suck," Steven announced.

"True." Sarah, currently curled up in his lap, craned up her neck for a kiss, observing afterwards, "But that's not always a bad thing."

He rewarded her with a half-smile, then continued. "Allie just sent me a text — in all caps — to reiterate how much I suck for telling GQ she was pregnant."

"Oh, please. It's not like Allie asked you to keep it a secret. It's not like Allie could even keep it a secret for long. GQ would have figured it out eventually, whether you told him or not."

"I didn't know about them," Steven swore for the umpteenth time to his already convinced — or maybe by now indifferent — audience of one. "You should have told me."

"Why? So that in the middle of revolutionizing cyberspace you could look up and get distracted by the image of your co-conspirator banging your cousin? Would that have contributed positively to the hi-tech future of mankind?"

"You make a good point."

"I usually do," Sarah compliment herself and pulled Steven down for another kiss.

He shook his head, pulling away. "I'm still worried about Allie."

"She's got Gregory to look after her."

"She needs you," Steven said. "I know she still misses you. She tells me all the time."

Sarah crossed her arms and looked at the wall.

"Come on, Sarah. If I'm who you fought over, and I don't care... Allie can call me every name in the book. That's kid stuff. She's in real trouble. She needs her friends. She needs her best friend."

"I told you I didn't want to talk about this anymore," Sarah said, her voice colder than Steven had ever heard it. "And if you bring it up again, I am walking out that door, and I am not coming back. Your choice."

"Get me four units of O neg and the surgeon on call down here, stat." Jamie followed Donna's gurney from the ambulance, through the Emergency Room doors and down the hall towards the OR, Marley doing her best to keep up, despite his pointed, and, she supposed, compassionate attempt to keep her from getting a good look at her mother. Jamie asked the paramedic who'd brought Donna in, "Did she regain consciousness at any time?"

"No. Minimal response to stimuli. Pupils were sluggish — "

Jamie gestured to the side with one hand, and a nurse skillfully cut in front of Marley, blocking her from following as Donna was wheeled through yet another set of doors that led deeper into the care unit. "I'm sorry. You'll have to wait out here."

"Jamie," Marley called out for him automatically, in a panic. That seemed to be the only action she was capable of taking now.

"I phoned Matt, he's on his way," Jamie reassured. "I'll be back with news for you both, soon."

"Fix this," Marley pleaded. "Please, Jamie, fix... all of this."

"I can't," he told her honestly. "But I'm going to do my best for now."

He'd barely left before an out of breath Matt was skidding to a stop next to Marley, his firm hand whipping her around to face him.

"What happened?"

"I went to the house, to pick up some things, and I found them in the bathroom," Marley blurted out.

"Them?" Matt frowned, shaking his head. "Them who?"

"Donna. And Lucas. He was standing over her... she was on the floor and her wrists.... they were cut... she was bleeding... there was so much blood..."

Matt paled, his voice dropping to a whisper. "Was — Is she...?" he asked, unable to articulate the rest of the question.

"She's still alive. Barely. I tried to stop the bleeding — Jamie told me how... but there was already so much on the floor... I don't know if... I don't know if I got there in time."

"Where is she, now?"

"Back there," Marley nodded towards the double doors, Matt's eyes shooting over as if he were contemplating barreling through to see for himself. "Jamie's with her. He said he'd be back soon with news."

"What the hell was Lucas doing at Donna's?"

"He was standing over her. He was trying to kill her — "

"I was trying to save Donna's life," Lucas's voice boomed from behind Marley. "Trust me, death is too good for the likes of your mother. I want her alive and bursting with health so she can rot in prison for many, many years to come."

"I saw you," Marley accused.

"You saw me trying to stop the bleeding. I was about to call for an ambulance myself when you arrived. Donna couldn't face the music she knew was coming, so she took the coward's way out. I'm not surprised. Avoiding problems rather than facing them has been her M.O. from the start. It's what got all of us into this mess."

"What were you doing there?" Matt challenged. "Why were you in Donna's house in the first place? Coming to finish what Lorna started?"

"Lorna?" Marley asked, feeling like she'd walked into the middle of a movie everyone else had watched from the beginning.

"Lorna broke into Donna's room the other night and nearly killed her by setting the place on fire. Didn't Jamie tell you?" Matt asked Marley before leaning into Lucas's face. "Guess the bitter apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

"Leave him alone!" Lorna suddenly appeared and stepped between the two men, shoving them away from each other. "My father had nothing to do with this. About time Donna finally recognized the world would be a better place without her in it."

"I'm sure plenty of people have said the same about you," Marley challenged through angry tears.

"I'm sure they have," Lorna shrugged. "But unlike your mother, I haven't killed anyone, then stood around batting my eyes, wondering: Why, oh, why is everyone so mad at me?"

"No. You, Lucas and Dean just terrorized a woman to the point of suicide," Matt charged.

"So now we drove her to it?" Lorna laughed at him incredulously. "When the hell has Donna ever done anything she didn't want to do?"

Matt shook his head. "You don't know a thing about her. You don't know what she's been through. She's been hurt more than you can — "

"Oh, God, Matt, when will you stop making excuses; see her for what she really is? A demented, twisted person who should be put down once and for all?"

"I'll be the judge of that," an authoritative voice boomed, effectively taking over the conversation from the group.

"Who the hell are you?" Matt stepped forward, instantly on the offensive.

"The District Attorney," Lorna identified with grim satisfaction.

"I don't believe this!" Toni Burrell slammed the phone down in a fit of frustration.

"What's up, Chief?" Detective Chiang asked, knowing that the excrescence had truly hit the fan if his normally unflappable friend — and boss — was assaulting innocent inanimate objects.

"Donna Love tried to commit suicide. She's at Bay City Hospital, right now."

"Going to make it?"

"Not sure, yet."

"You think she's pulling for a mentally incompetent plea so she can skate on the De Poulignac murder?"

"Worth a shot," Toni shrugged. "Odds are in her favor she'll get off. Golden trifecta and all: Female, rich, white. Who cares that we've got her dead to rights for means and motive?"

"Not quite," another officer interrupted, handing her a file. "The coroner's tox report for De Poulignac."

"Cecile De Poulignac died from an allergic reaction to a chemical substance?" Toni read incredulously. "What chemical substance?"

The officer shrugged. "Coroner's not sure. Never seen anything like it before."

"Strike two," Chiang muttered. "The scarf is out. Says it was put on and tightened after the fact, to make it look like strangulation. Now we don't have physical evidence tying Love to the murder scene."

"Not yet," Toni gritted, looking at the officer. "Get the inventory to the search of Donna Love's house and grounds. Look for any medicines, vials, powders, unidentified liquids, pills, anything that might prove poisonous under the right circumstances, and send it over to the lab to test against De Poulignac's blood work. Maybe we'll find a match."

Chiang looked at his boss. "Think we'll be that lucky?"

"Luck has nothing to do with it. When we find the evidence, we'll nail our killer. I'm not letting this case fall apart. Not without a damned, good fight."

District Attorney Chase Hamilton was unknowingly on the same wavelength with Chief Burrell when he informed Marley, "If your mother believes this feeble bid for sympathy will prove even peripherally adequate for getting her off via an Insanity plea, she's got another thing coming."

"What?" Marley raised her head, as if resurfacing after being shoved underwater.

"You think Donna staged this?" Matt demanded.

"Let me see," Hamilton ticked off on his fingers. "Not one, but two people coming by to insure she didn't actually bleed out."

"Donna didn't know I was going to be there," Marley insisted.

Lucas figured she hadn't been expecting him, either. But saw no reason to contradict Bay City's esteemed public servant.

"Uh-ha," Hamilton agreed. "Then an ambulance just happens to be standing by. I checked the log. That was some speedy turn-around from phone call to dispatch."

"I called my husband. He's a doctor. He was already at the hospital."

"Another incredible coincidence!"

Lorna recalled Jamie's reaction, and doubted he was in on any sort of plan. But, like her father, decided to keep her opinions to herself.

"This is no set-up," Marley pleaded, nearly bursting into tears of relief when Jamie stepped back in through the doors.

"How is she?" Matt managed to beat even Marley to the question.

Jamie looked from his brother to his wife. "We've got her stabilized. She's going to pull through. There was a lot of blood loss, but the wounds themselves were superficial."

"Color me surprised," Hamilton interjected. And then he told Jamie, "I'd like to speak to her, please."

"She's in no shape to be questioned."

"Perfect. That's just how I like it. You never know when a suspect might be moved to make a deathbed confession."

"Are you for real?" Matt wondered.

"You want to speak to Donna," Jamie said. "You go get a warrant. But, keep in mind, anyone who comes into this hospital after a suicide attempt, we're obliged to put under a 72-hour hold for psychiatric evaluation. Good luck finding a judge who'll let you interview a patient in the psych ward. And even better luck locating one who'll consider any evidence you get admissible. Yeah," Jamie smiled rather nastily. "I've done this before."

At that, Hamilton simply harrumphed and left with a McArthur-like promise to return, while Marley clung to Jamie's arm and gazed up at him with such adoration, Lorna felt compelled to look away, her arm starting to throb again with a vengeance.

"I can do this myself, Mom," Allie told Amanda as they walked down the hospital corridor the next morning, on the way to Allie's sonogram appointment.

"I know you can," Amanda agreed. "But you shouldn't have to."

"Gregory is going to meet me here in a little bit. He's got class, and I figured there was no reason for him to sit around, watching me fill out paperwork for an hour."

"So I'll stay with you until he comes."


"Besides, there's someone I want you to talk to, first."

"Oh, God. Carl, again?"

"More like the exact opposite." Amanda made a sharp turn, diverting Allie into the office of: "Alice Frame."

Alice looked up from her desk, surprised. "Good morning, Amanda. Hello, Allie."

"Good morning, Dr. Frame," Allie said grimly. "And I'm sorry."

"For what?" Alice asked, confused.

"For this," Allie indicated her mother.

"I'm afraid I don't understand."

"What my daughter means," Amanda translated from Sullen Young Adult, "Is we're sorry for barging in on you like this, I'm sure you're very busy. But I was wondering if you could talk to Allie for a few minutes?"

"About what?"

"About how," Amanda couldn't think of a more polite way to phrase it, "Messed up Kevin is because he was given up for adoption."

"Mom!" Allie looked helplessly from Amanda to Alice, and clarified. "This is what I was apologizing for in advance."

Alice surveyed Amanda's waistline and guessed, "You're pregnant?"


"And you're thinking about giving the baby up for adoption?"

"I've made up my mind."

"She has no idea what she is getting into," Amanda insisted. "And she certainly had no idea what she is subjecting her child to. Every issue Kevin has — and he's got a lot of issues; believe me — they all stem from Sally's giving him up."

"Actually," Alice corrected gently. "He'd tell you they all stem from Sally's coming to take him back."

"See?" Allie demanded.

"In addition," Alice went on, her voice nonjudgmental, but firm. "You know that I adopted Sally, as well. It may not have always been easy — for either of us — but I like to think that it was ultimately for the best."

"Nice going, Mom," Allie offered. "Now you've insulted her."

"That wasn't the same thing," Amanda plowed on. "Sally's parents were dead. She was an actual orphan. Of course, Alice adopting her was for the best. Your baby has parents. And grandparents and uncles and cousins... "

"I'm not going to do this," Allie said. "I'm not. I'm going to my appointment now. Mom, stay away from me. Dr. Frame, I'm sure you're used to hearing this from the women in my family: Sorry. Again."

"It's alright, honey," Alice said, but whether to the huffily departing Allie or the utterly at loose ends Amanda, wasn't clear.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," Amanda told Alice. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I'm trying to be supportive but, she's making a horrible mistake, I know she is. I'm her mother. It's my job to protect her."

"You can't," Alice counseled. "Any more than your mother could protect you."

"My mother had other stuff going on. My mother always has other stuff going on."

Alice let that go in favor of observing, "If you'll forgive me, Amanda, it sounds like maybe you also have more going on here right now than just Allie."

Amanda owned up, " Kevin knew that Allie was pregnant before I did. He's her attorney, can you beat that? He didn't see fit to fill me in. I... I may have overreacted. I called him a couple of choice names, and stormed out."

"I'm sorry," Alice said.

"I'm.... something," Amanda admitted.

"Trying to distract yourself by overcompensating with Allie?" Alice speculated gently.

"That could be it." Amanda parried, "Did you know Kevin had a daughter?"

"And now you're trying to distract me."


"That's alright, I'm happy to help. And yes, I did know. I met her, Jennifer." Alice sighed wistfully. "Of course, her name would be Jennifer."

"That's just a coincidence," Amanda mollified "It was already her name when Kevin adopted her."

"Ah," Alice said. "She's adopted. Thank you for clarifying that much, at least. I was having a little trouble with the timeline."

"I only saw them together briefly, but I think he's a good father. That wouldn't have been possible, if he hadn't been raised by someone like you."

"Jennifer has excellent table manners. That's about the only thing of value I ever gave Kevin, as far as he's concerned."

"He loves you," Amanda insisted.

"He loves you, too."

Amanda shrugged.

"Exactly," Alice said.

"You know, just because I eat a good many of my meals here," Jamie approached Marley, sitting, despondent, on a chair by the vending machine, as if she yearned to disappear behind it. "Doesn't mean you need to follow suit. You've been here all night. It's morning. Let me take you to the cafeteria, get you some breakfast." When that failed to illicit much of a reaction, he switched tactics, reminding, "Donna is going to be fine, Marley. We were able to stop the bleeding in time and get her transfused. She's awake and talking so there doesn't appear to be any brain damage. Looks like she'll make a full recovery."

"Physically," Marley corrected in a low voice. "Mentally, she's... she's a mess, Jamie. How did I not see it? How did I not see this coming?"

"You didn't see it coming, because Donna didn't want you to see it. She was making a concentrated effort to hide things from you and pretend like nothing was wrong. She had no intention of letting you in to help her. Even if you had been at the house and even if you'd somehow divined to hide every razor, rope, extension cord, and bottle of prescription meds, she still would've found a way to hurt herself, because that's what she wanted to do. There was nothing you or Matt or anyone could have done, ultimately, to stop her."

"I could have been more... I could have been less... I was so horrible to her, Jamie. The things I said — "

"Didn't matter. I know that's hard to believe, but it's not the things that other people say, but the things we believe about ourselves that determine the choices we make and the actions that we take. Just like there was nothing you could say or do to stop her, there was nothing you could say or do that would have driven her to this. She's sick, Marley."

"I've been sick, too," Marley reminded.

"It's not the same. Wanting to hurt other people versus wanting to hurt yourself... What she does... it's not going to make sense to you."

"It seems to make sense to you."

"I've been where she's been," Jamie said without a trace of self-pity. "Nothing anyone said or did made me try to kill myself. And there was nothing anyone could've done to stop me from trying, because, at the time, I was determined to do it. I can look back now and realize just how messed up I was, but when I was living it... I couldn't pull myself out. I needed help. Which is what Donna needs and it's what she's going to get."

"Do you think she can get better?" Marley asked after taking a moment to absorb what he'd just told her. "After everything that's happened? After everything she's done?"

"I got better," Jamie offered.

"You weren't responsible for someone's death."

Jamie hesitated. "I have my own demons to live with," he finally said, then deftly changed the subject. "And I didn't have nearly the same level of support as Donna does. Between you and Matt and the kids, Donna has a lot of people pulling for her. A lot of people who want her to get better. Once she starts getting the help that she needs, she'll be able to see that and appreciate it."

"How did you do it? If it was as bad for you as you say, how did you do it when there was no one there, no family, to support you?"

"I thought about Steven. He did more to help me recover than any drug they pumped into me. I decided I owed it to my son to get better, no matter how much it hurt. I just wanted to be his Dad again. He was the best motivator. You'll see, you and the kids will be that for Donna, too."

Marley said, "My dad died on Valentine's Day. Twelve years ago."

"Your mother is not going to die," Jamie said firmly. "Not today. You have my word."

"Thank you," Marley sniffled. "Thank you, Jamie, for everything. Thank you for everything you've done. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being you."

She leaned in to kiss him then, while, on the other side of the vending machine, hidden from view but having overheard every word, Lorna quietly hurried away.

"You're lucky," the technician doing Allie's sonogram told her.

"Yeah," she turned her head to look at Gregory sitting on a stool next to her. He winked and took her hand. "I'm real lucky."

Oblivious, the tech went on, "Back in the day, we used to pour cold jelly on your stomach to make the sensors work. Now it comes warmed up." She demonstrated, smearing a thick layer of translucent, sticky — albeit, as promised, tepid — goo across Allie's belly. "Trust me, it's a lot better."

"What are you looking for, exactly?" Allie asked.

"Oh, just making sure everything is where it should be." She counted off, "Arms, legs, brain, internal organs, no cleft palates, all four chambers of the heart... We can also tell you the gender. You interested?"

Allie looked at Gregory, questioningly. He shrugged, indicating it was up to her.

"Yeah..." Allie said slowly. "I think I'd like to know."

The tech double-checked, then told Allie, "Congratulations, it's a boy."

"A boy..." she repeated.

"Gonna name him after his dad?" The tech nodded her head in Gregory's direction.

"I'm... " Allie began, only to be interrupted by GQ suddenly appearing past the curtained divider of her examining area.

"Sure," he said. "As soon as we find out exactly who that is."

The tech looked up, started. Especially when GQ jabbed his finger at the sonogram and challenged, "You can narrow down the conception date pretty closely with one of these, right? Sometimes down to the day?"

"GQ!" Allie regained her voice. "What the hell? Get out!"

"Gladly. Just show me the data, and I'm gone."

"This isn't your computer lab."

"No. But I'm pretty good at reading a technical display. Now let me see... " GQ attempted to get closer, skimming through the fluorescent tables of numbers with an upraised finger to track down the exact statistics he was looking for.

Gregory stood up, blocking his view.

"I don't want to fight you," GQ said. Towering almost a full head taller than Gregory, he attempted to simply shove him out of the way with both hands.

Gregory widened his stance, dug in, and refused to budge. Or comment.

"Come on, man," GQ dropped the aggression, resorting to beseeching, "We don't want to drag this out. Just let me see, and we'll settle it once and for all."

"Please leave," Gregory declined to raise his voice. "Allie doesn't want you here."

"Why not?" GQ challenged.

"Because you're a son of a bitch, that's why," Allie shrieked. "Whatever happened to your being done with me?"

"Actually," the tech interrupted. "We're the ones who are done here," and flicked off the monitor.

Standing outside of Donna's hospital room door, Jamie lowered his voice and instructed Matt, "Don't tell Marley I let you do this. Better yet, don't tell anyone. I wasn't just blowing smoke up that smug DA's ass, we really are obliged to put her under a 72 hour evaluation; she shouldn't be seeing anyone right now."

"I really appreciate this, bro."

"Yeah," Jamie glanced over his shoulder, making sure no one could overhear them. "Thing is, even if it were possible, I don't want Marley seeing Donna now. I don't think she'd be able to handle it."

"It's that bad?"

"Not exact — You better see for yourself." Jamie opened the door, let Matt in, and quickly closed it behind him, Jamie remaining on the other side.

Matt drew back the curtain from around Donna's bed, expecting... well, he wasn't sure what precisely he was expecting, he just knew that he was braced for anything.... Except the sight of Donna propped up in bed, hair brushed and swept back into a tidy, albeit visibly homemade, French twist, applying lipstick and generally acting as if the two thick bandages swaddled around both her wrists, and the plastic IV tube filled with clear liquid protruding from one vein were the latest in fashionable accessories.

"They won't let me have a mirror," she complained to Matt. "Not even so much as a compact, can you imagine?"

"Actually, I can," Matt replied slowly, visualizing all the ways a glass mirror would come in handy — or not — to someone who only a few hours earlier had attempted to slit their wrists.

"Well, I think it's preposterous."

"Donna. You tried to commit suicide."

"Yes," she concurred most agreeably. "But I'm fine now. Be a dear and ring the nurse, tell her I'm ready to go home."

"I — I don't think that's going to be possible."

"Why not?" she seemed genuinely curious.

"Uhm....Suicide?" Matt repeated, unable to think of a way to make it any clearer.

"I said I was fine," Donna's voice clipped as if speaking to a particularly dim — or insolent — servant. "Don't I look fine?"

"The doctors think — "

"What do doctors know? Really, you recognize how fond I am of Jamie; I couldn't be happier about him and Marley, truly. But, just between you and me, your brother isn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, is he?"

"Are you out of your mind?" Matt was about to spit the routine cliche out in sheer frustration, just before he realized... oh.

"No news, huh?" Chiang commented as he entered Toni's office to find her pacing the floor, maliciously eyeing yet more inanimate objects.

"Hamilton says Donna Love's doctors are screaming to have her committed. I'm sending over one of our psych guys, but after what's sounding more and more like a legit suicide attempt; plus she's got a damn history of mental breakdowns — "

"She's going to be untouchable to us, at least for a while." Chiang grimaced. "What about the inventory search? We find anything there?"

Toni was about to shake her head, when an officer entered, looking much happier than she felt.

"Got something," he held up a clear, plastic evidence bag. "Empty vial found on the Love grounds, dumped in the back, by the stables. Lab says the residue is a match for the toxin found in De Poulignac's screen."

"Do we know what it is?" Toni snatched the bag and examined it.

"Some experimental drug. They're using it to treat brain cancer in Europe. Lab tech sent a sample over to Bay City Hospital for them to run their own tests."

"Make sure they put a rush on it," Toni instructed, sending the officer off.

"Where are you going?" Chiang asked as Toni stalked around her desk with renewed purpose.

"I'm walking this down to the prints guy myself. I'm not leaving anything to chance."

"Even if Donna Love's prints are there in glowing Technicolor, she's still going to stroll right into a cushy mental hospital. Do not go to court, pay a whole lot more than two hundred dollars for the privilege."

"You never know," Toni shook her head, refusing to give up. "She might not be that lucky. And if she's not, I want to make sure we have all our 'i's' dotted, 't's' crossed, and the evidence ready and waiting to send her to jail for a very long time."

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