The Trouble with Ashley Conclusion

Act Three

Thursday, October 5, 1989

Georgetown University

12:30 PM

“Lisa Cantin was found in the Goldsby Hall parking garage early this morning.” Manny stood in the middle of the now nearly empty dorm room as crime-scene investigators milled around. “Two gunshot wounds—one to the back and a second to the head. You knew her?”

“Sort of. She gave us information concerning the death of Mallory Thomas,” Lee told him.

“The judge’s daughter?” Manny asked. “You think that could’ve had something to do with the murder?”

“It’s possible,” Lee said.

“Should’ve known there’d be spooks involved. Well what is it that you want from me?”

“We just want to see if Lisa was holding on to any evidence about Mallory’s death,” Amanda said. “She seemed so sure that it hadn’t been an accident—maybe she had some information.”

“Check for yourself.” Manny handed both Lee and Amanda a pair of latex gloves. “Those two large boxes there are all that we have. But I don’t know if you’ll find anything.”

SMK SMK SMK SMK

Half an hour into his search and Lee was beginning to believe that maybe Manny was right—there was nothing to find. So far he’d leafed through several composition books full of doodling and class notes, a plastic box containing jewelry and cosmetics and an old photo album. The album contained several pictures of Lisa and Mallory together, making faces for the camera, but certainly nothing that would count as evidence.

“Lee,” Amanda’s voice broke into his thoughts. “I think I might’ve found something.”

Lee looked up. In Amanda’s hand was a clear plastic bottle—purple letters across the side of the bottle read ‘California Bodies’.

“It has Mallory’s name taped to the side,” Amanda said. “It must have gotten mixed up with Lisa’s things.”

“I see that.” Lee took the water bottle in his gloved hands, turning it slowly as he studied it. “But I still don’t see what that—wait a minute.”

“There’s something in the bottom of the bottle,” Amanda told him. “See? There’s water and then there’s something else.”

“Yeah,” Lee said slowly. He could see a few grains of some sort of powder in the bottom.

“What do you think it could be?”

“I don’t know.” Lee shook his head. “But we’re going to take it to McJohn and find out.”

4247 Maplewood Dr.

4:30 PM

“Ashley?” Jamie knocked on the door. “Grandma wants you to help us set the table for dinner.” There was no reply, so Jamie knocked again. “Ashley?” Silence. Jamie pushed the door open and went inside. He could see Ashley lying facedown on the bed. At Jamie’s entrance her head jerked sharply upwards.

“Christ!” Ashley sat on the edge of the bed, her hands wiping at her tear stained face. “Haven’t you ever heard of knocking, shrimp?”

“I knocked twice. I guess you didn’t hear me.” Ashley wiped her nose on the sleeve of her leather jacket.

“Are you all right?” Jamie knew that probably sounded like a lame question. Talking to girls always came more easily to Philip—Jamie could never think of the right words to say.

“Am I all right?” Ashley’s voice turned harsh. “Do I look all right? My sister’s been murdered, my father’s too busy with his stupid court cases to care and I’m being held prisoner here in the Beaver Cleaver house and you ask if I’m all right?”

“Look I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m just sorry you’re going through a rough time.”

“A rough time,” Ashley snorted. “That’s an understatement. What would you know about rough times?”

“More than you think. You’re not the only one who’s been through stuff.”

“Save it.” Ashley stood. “Cause from where I stand I think you have it pretty easy. My family might have money but at least you have someone who cares about you. I have nobody.”

“Well you have me.” Jamie’s cheeks felt hot as Ashley stared at him. Philip was right, Jamie thought. He really could be a dork sometimes. “I care—and I can be a good listener too if you want to talk.”

Ashley slowly walked over to Jamie. For a moment she just stood there nose-to-nose, her still-teary blue eyes looking into his own. Then without warning her arms wrapped around him in a tight embrace. Not knowing what else to do or how to respond, Jamie wrapped his arms around her. His hands lightly touched her back—he could feel her body trembling slightly.

As suddenly as she had done it, Ashley broke the embrace. There were still tears in her eyes, but oddly enough, she was smiling.

“Thanks, Jamie,” her voice was soft. “It means a lot. Let’s go set the table, okay?” Turning away from him she disappeared down the stairs. Jamie stood there for a few moments more, trying to get his breathing and heartbeat back under control.

The Agency Laboratory

8:30 PM

“The drug in the water bottle is called Isoniazid,” Dr. McJohn said. “It’s used to treat microbial infections—at present it’s most commonly used for treating TB patients.”

“Why would a drug like that be in someone’s water bottle?” Lee wondered.

“I’m not sure,” McJohn said. “But it definitely fits with the pyrodoxin supplements you found.”

“How so?” Amanda asked.

“Well Isoniazid can be very toxic in high dosages. Initial symptoms would be blurred vision, uncoordinated movements and slurry speech—”

“—just like someone who was drunk.” Lee finished the sentence, thinking back to what Lisa had said about Mallory’s behavior at the party that night.

“Exactly.” McJohn nodded. “Later symptoms would be more serious—seizures, liver destruction, respiratory distress—if left untreated death would follow in a matter of hours.”

“And that fits in with the pyrodoxin supplements?” Amanda asked him.

“Vitamin B6 is the only known antidote to Isoniazid poisoning,” McJohn answered back. “As long as Mallory took those supplements she could ward it off—without them death would follow very quickly.”

Amanda looked at Lee. “I think we’ve found the missing puzzle piece.”

4247 Maplewood Dr.

9:45 PM

“What are you doing?” Jamie asked.

Ashley paused, her left leg hanging out of the open bedroom window. “I’m starting a new Olympic sport. What does it look like I’m doing?”

“It looks like you’re running away.”

“Not exactly.”

“What does that mean?”

Ashley sighed. “It means that with any luck I’ll be back in this room in a couple of hours. I’m meeting someone.”

“Who?”

“None of your business, that’s who,” Ashley replied. “Look, Jamie, this has to do with my sister and it’s really important to me. Are you going to rat me out or not?”
“I won’t rat you out,” Jamie said. “If you let me go with you.”

“Go with me?” Ashley repeated. “Are you insane?”

“Well what if it’s dangerous? Ashley if you run into trouble—”

“You’ll what, Jamie? You’ll protect me?”

“I could,” Jamie said. “I mean, if I had to. Sorry I know that sounds lame.”

“There’s no way I can talk you out of this?” Ashley asked. Jamie shook his head. “Fine, come on then, but be quiet.”

Jamie followed Ashley out onto the narrow ledge, balancing carefully.

“You ever done this yourself?” Ashley said.

“Not really.”

“Well it shouldn’t be a big deal.” Ashley squatted on the roof, using her hands to balance herself. “If we grab that tree branch right there we should be able to slide down and jump.”

Jamie looked down at the ground far below, and for a minute things seemed to sway before his eyes. He swallowed hard.

“Unless you’d rather go back inside.”

“No.” Jamie swallowed hard. “I’m fine, I can do this.”

“Okay, follow me then.” He watched as Ashley grabbed the branch and carefully inched her way down, jumping the last few feet to the ground and landing in a crouch.

“Come on,” she called to Jamie. “We don’t have all night. Don’t look down and you’ll be fine.”

Jamie bent down, his shaking hands grabbing the tree. When his feet left the roof he swung a little—and for one dizzying moment he was sure he would fall. But he didn’t—his hands managed to keep their grip.

“Move on down,” Ashley told him. Jamie’s palms scraped against the rough bark as he inched downwards, trying to keep his body from swinging too much as he did. It seemed to take forever, but finally he reached the end of the branch and jumped, landing lightly on his feet.

“Let’s get a move on.” Ashley‘s boot-clad feet pounded against the pavement as she practically ran down the block. “We don’t have much time—the meeting place is just a few blocks from here.”

“I’m afraid there’s less time than you think, Miss Thomas.” A voice said. A tall very thin man in a suit stepped out from behind a telephone pole. In his hands Jamie could see that he held a small revolver.

“Just what’s going on?” Ashley asked.

“Well in a game of chess this would be known as checkmate,” the thin man replied. “But of course you wouldn’t know about chess—from what Tony here tells me you never even crack open a book.” Another man, short and stocky appeared behind the thin man.

“Tony?” Ashley whispered. Even in the dim light Jamie could see her face grow paler. “You too?”

Tony shrugged. “Afraid so, kid.”

“You see, what you are is a pawn.” The thin man walked until he was only inches away from Ashley, pointing the gun directly at her chest. “And if your father declares Akbar Quadiri to be innocent, you get to go home.”

“And if he doesn’t?” Ashley asked.

“If he doesn’t,” the thin man continued, “you get a one way trip to see your sister a lot sooner than planned.”

“At least let him go,” Ashley said pointing to Jamie. “He has nothing to do with this.”

“True, but I’m afraid he is a witness.” The thin man snapped his fingers. “Tony—get them into the van.”

“Yes, Mr. Tambouri.” Tony pulled a set of handcuffs from his belt as he approached them. Mr. Tambouri kept the gun trained on them.

“I’m sorry, Jamie.” Ashley’s voice was trembled.

Tony handcuffed their wrists together and pulled Jamie by one arm, leading them towards a dark blue van. Opening the doors he shoved them inside.

“It’s okay,” Jamie told her. “We’ll get out of this somehow.” He wasn’t sure if he believed his own words, but he knew that she probably needed to hear something reassuring.

The doors to the van shut with an awful-sounding clang, leaving both of them in darkness.

Act Four
California Bodies Fitness Center

Thursday, October 5, 1989

10:30 PM

“Jamie, what are you doing?” Ashley asked.

“Tapping on the walls.” Jamie pounded his palm against the rough bricks, methodically working his way down the walls. “Trying to see if there’s a way that we can get out of here”

Ashley laughed in disbelief. “What do you think? That it’ll be just like Scooby-Doo and some secret passage will open up or something? Get real.”

“Well at least I’m trying to do something. All you can do is sit there feel sorry for yourself.”

“Why do you think they took off our handcuffs? They know that there’s no way out of here. The door’s thick metal and the walls are solid brick. We’re stuck.”

Jamie tapped the walls a few more times before gave up. He sat on the floor beside Ashley. “Are you always such a pessimist?”

“No, I’m a realist, and I’m telling you that there’s no hope—you might as well give it up”

“There’s my mother and my stepfather.”

“What can they possibly do?”

“You’d be surprised.”

“Even if you’re right, how would they find us? No one knows we’re here, remember?” Ashley stared down at her hands—Jamie could see tears gathering in her eyes. “I was such an idiot to trust Tony—I mean, I’ve known him since I was little and I never thought— and now I’m going to end up just like my sister.”

“Ashley, come on— don’t be like that.” Jamie put his hand over hers.

“I’m just sorry that I got you involved,” Ashley said. “It’s like— you know—at first I thought you were kind of a dork, but now—well—I really like you, Jamie.”

Her hand squeezed his own and suddenly Jamie found it hard to breathe. Ashley looked at him—even in the dim light he could see her eyes, staring deep into his own. As if by instinct Jamie leaned closer—her eyes closed as their lips met—

SMK SMK SMK SMK

“We’ll contact Judge Thomas tonight, Tony,” Mr. Tambouri said. “Once he knows that we have his precious daughter I’m sure he’ll be willing to play ball.”

“What about the other kid?”

“Wrong place, wrong time.” Mr. Tambouri shrugged his shoulders. “It’s regrettable, but you know what we have to do. After all, we can’t afford to have any witnesses, can we?”

“Yes sir, Mr. Tambouri. I’ll take care of it right away.”

“See that you do.”

10:35 PM

“Here we go.” Lee pushed the gym door open, putting the lock-pick back in his pocket. Amanda followed Lee down the dark corridor. “We’ll check the office first—he’d be most likely to hide any evidence there.”

Amanda nodded. They were just about to turn the corner when they heard voices. Lee drew his gun—both he and Amanda flattened themselves against the wall.

“Let him go—please,” a girl’s voice said. “He knows nothing about anything—he’s no danger.” Ashley’s voice, Lee realized. He and Amanda exchanged glances.

“Wrong,” the man’s voice was cultured sounding—the faintest trace of an accent remaining. “It’s like I told you before, Ashley. He’s a witness. Even someone with your limited abilities should be able to figure that out.”

“I’m begging you,” Ashley pleaded. “Please—” There was a loud ‘crack’, followed by a thud.

“Shouldn’t mess with us, little girl,” another man’s voice said—Lee recognized it as Tony Bryson, the man they’d spoken to on their first visit.

“Don’t touch her!” The voice Lee heard caused his blood to run cold.

“Relax, lover boy,” the cultured voice said. “She’ll live—unlike some I could mention.”

Amanda’s hand clutched Lee’s sleeve.

“It’s Jamie,” she whispered. “Lee, they have Jamie.”

“I know.” Lee carefully peered around the corner. He saw Ashley first leaning against the cinder block wall—a thin man that Lee didn’t recognize towered over her. As for Jamie, Tony Bryson had the boy’s arm jammed up behind his back.

“Follow me,” he said to Amanda. “I have a plan.”

SMK SMK SMK SMK

“Do it right here.” Mr. Tambouri told Tony. “Then Ashley here can see what the consequences of misbehavior are.”

“Very well.” Tony threw Jamie back against the wall. Ashley stared at him, one hand still cupping her cheek protectively.

“I’m sorry, Jamie,” she said.

“End of the line.” Tony drew his gun and cocked it, taking aim. Jamie closed his eyes—

The next sound Jamie heard was a thud. He opened his eyes to see Lee wrestling with Tony, trying to get the gun away. And his mother—Jamie watched in amazement and disbelief as she kicked Mr. Tambouri, knocking the gun from his hand.

Lee’s fist rammed into Tony’s solar plexus—the man fell to the floor, gasping for breath. Breathing hard, Lee picked up the gun and trained it on the man.

“Next time pick on someone your own size,” he told him.

“Not so fast,” Mr. Tambouri said. The man held his mom by the arm, a gun against her head.

“Let her go!” Lee yelled.

“You shoot me and I’ll shoot her.” Mr. Tambouri smiled thinly. “And at this range, I’m not very likely to miss.”

“Lee,” Amanda whispered. Jamie could see the hesitation and fear in his stepfather’s eyes.

Before anyone else had a chance to do anything a black Doc Marten boot hit the back of Mr. Tambouri’s head. The man gave a slight grunt—and his eyes rolled back in his head as he fell. Ashley stood over the man, her blue eyes venomous.

“That was for Mallory, you creep!” Ashley bent to pick up the gun but Lee placed his hand over her own, stopping her.

“You don’t need that,” he spoke gently, plucking the gun from the man’s nerveless fingers and tucking it into his waistband. “It’s over.”

“Jamie.” Amanda’s arms wrapped around him, pulling him close. “Sweetheart I’m just so glad you’re all right.”

“What were you two doing here, anyway?” Lee asked. “As I recall you’re both supposed to be at home.”

Ashley and Jamie exchanged glances.

“That’s kind of a long story,” they said in unison.

Tag

Saturday, October 7, 1989

10:35 AM

“Lee I don’t care what you say, you’re going to the doctor,” Amanda told him.

“Amanda, you’ve got to be kidding me. For the stomach flu?” Lee’s voice rose.

Amanda crossed her arms. “I think we know by now that this has gone on far too long for the stomach flu.”

“But going to the doctor would be ridiculous.”

“Ridiculous or not, you’re still going.”

“You can’t make me go.”

“Would you two keep it down to a dull roar?” Dotty came into the house, carrying a large brown box. “Did you know that you could be heard out in the street?”

“Sorry, Mother,” Amanda apologized. “What’s in the box?”

“Well that’s what we’re about to find out.” Dotty grabbed a pair of scissors from the table by the front door. “There’s no return address and it says it’s for ‘The Stetson’ family.”

“Here let me do that.” Taking the scissors Lee cut through the brown tape that held the box together. The only thing he saw at first was a mound of white tissue paper.

“Hey what’s that?” Jamie came downstairs, followed by Philip.

“That’s what we’re about to find out.” Lee pushed the mounds of tissue paper aside. “There’s an envelope here—says it’s for Jamie.”

“For me?” Jamie took the envelope and opened it. “It’s a card,” he said. “But I don’t know who—” Suddenly his cheeks turned pink.

“Who’s it from, Jamie?” Amanda asked him.

“Looks almost like a valentine,” Philip teased, looking over his brother’s shoulder. “Don’t tell me that you actually managed to get a girl all hot and bothered. Who is it? Let me see. I bet it’s that girl from Computer Lab, right? The one with the coke-bottle glasses?”

“Stop it.” Jamie tried to push his brother’s hand away.

“It’s Ashley?” Philip said. “Ashley actually sent you a card? With a lipstick kiss on it?”

“A lipstick kiss?” Amanda asked.

Jamie’s face was a deep shade of plum by now. He pushed past his brother and ran up the stairs. Philip shook his head.

“Who would’ve thought that a girl like Ashley would go for someone like Jamie?” He said bewildered.

“Philip,” Amanda said, a warning note in her voice.

“I don’t think this is for Jamie though.” Lee held up a baby-sized leather outfit with matching black booties. “I think that Ashley’s trying to thank us for what we did—in her own way of course.”

“Well it’s—certainly ah—” Amanda’s eyes were wide as she stared at the outfit. The same loss of words didn’t seem to have affected Dotty.

“If you have a baby who wears clothes like that,” she said. “I’m disowning you.”

The End

22 Comments

  • By smkjunkie, October 3, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

    have not yet read this want to finish re-reading season 5 and 6 will continue to comment when cought up in a few days.

  • By RAF, October 4, 2008 @ 4:40 am

    Great start to Season 7!

  • By Kate, October 4, 2008 @ 7:22 am

    Jennifer, I loved this. Dotty was a stitch with Ashley. I am sorry not to see more of Dotty and Ashley that poor child needs her.

    Love LEe’s “stomach flu”

    Jamie was wonderful in her episode so true to form for his character.

  • By Patti, October 4, 2008 @ 9:52 am

    This was a wonderful start to the season. It leaves lots of possibilities open. I can’t wait to see you follow through with what was left open-ended.

  • By gayraud, October 5, 2008 @ 1:34 am

    I wait the next because it’s great story.

    Can’t wait for read more.

    Thank you very much for this great story.

    Fabienne

  • By gayraud, October 5, 2008 @ 1:38 am

    I like your story very much and the conclusion is great.

    Wonderfull story. I wait to read you more…

    Thank you very much. Have a nice day and week.

    Take care,

    fabienne.

  • By Annette, October 5, 2008 @ 6:40 am

    Jennifer – terrific first episode. Very excited to read what is coming up next.

    The website looks great ladies.

  • By Sue, October 5, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

    Great story, Jennifer. You kicked off season 7 with a bang. Can’t wait to read the next episode. Loved Dotty threatening to disown Lee and Amanda.

    Sue

  • By Ana, October 7, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

    Fabulous start to Season 7…can’t wait to read more.

  • By Linda, October 9, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

    Jennifer – this story is great. Looking forward to more stories. I enjoy your writing as well on fanfiction.com. Keep writing! Linda

  • By JenVan92, October 9, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

    Loved it! I’m so happy to see this started! Can’t wait to read more episodes. Great job Jennifer C.!

  • By smkjunkie, October 9, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

    finally caught up and on with season 7. great start so may ways to go from here I cannot wait to see what is next for the Stetson family new and old

  • By TS, October 9, 2008 @ 9:05 pm

    YEEHAW!!!

    Season 7 has gotten off to a Scarecrowiffic start – in my humble opinion.
    The website looks awesome – the 1st story rocks – I’m positive that it will rock & roll throughout the rest of the season!

    Keep up the fabulous work ladies!!!

    TS

  • By Heather, October 13, 2008 @ 11:01 pm

    I just recently reread seasons 5 and 6 and was (once again) wishing for a season 7…and voila! ;) Thanks for getting this started.

    Fantastic work, Jennifer!

  • By TS, October 14, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

    Did I mention that I LOVE the fact that for each episode teaser so far, you’ve put in pics that I absolutely LOVE?!?!

    And, you’ve kept up ep #1. Will you be doing that for each ep so that I can continue to drool over my favorite spy?

    I hope so!

    TS

  • By admin, October 14, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

    A certain number of episodes will stay on the home page at a time :) So you get to see him a while longer. Glad you like the pictures though! Drooling is always welcome.

  • By Adda, October 16, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

    great episode! I love the black leather baby outfit! lol I can’t wait to see what else you guys do!

  • By Calinour72, April 20, 2009 @ 9:25 am

    love this season opener–especially Lee’s morning sickness and weight gain lol-the best.
    pls do not stop the GREAT & AMAZING work.

  • By Terry Kay, July 21, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

    Great start to the 7th season. Can’t wait to read more. Dotty was perfect!! Thank you!!

  • By Ardeliah, June 26, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

    Love this! I’m loving all SMK stories I can read and digest.

  • By Dava Desjarlais, January 14, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

    I agree with everyone’s comments. Great start. Excited to read more of Season 7.

  • By mandy, June 15, 2012 @ 12:30 am

    LOVE. Pure awesomeness that I stumbled upon seasons 5, 6, and 7 on an internet search. Mega marathons. Great start to season 7, even though I’m a couple years behind. ;D

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Disclaimer: Scarecrow and Mrs. King and its characters belong to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Enterprises. No infringement is intended. This is written for entertainment purposes only.