|Time To Go Home
By Leanne Clugston
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Story Index Part One:
that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Doctor Samuel John Beckett stepped
into the Quantum Leap Accelerator and vanished.
He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better.
His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time who appeared in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and here.
And so Doctor Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life striving to put right what once went wrong, hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.
And for several long and traumatic years this had been the only existence that Nobel Prize winning Physicist Sam Beckett had known. Until now that is, for now it was finally...TIME TO GO HOME.
Outside Project Quantum Leap's old and battered cover building Doctor Samantha-Josephine Fuller found herself standing looking up at the stars. She closed her eyes as tears escaped from them and rolled down her cheeks. She was filled with a sadness which had driven her to the surface, a sadness which she knew stemmed from a sixth sense that told her, this was her last night on the Project she had come to know as home. A shiver crawled down her spine and she pulled her thick coat round herself in an attempt to stop her shivering.
She stayed outside to watch the dawn, and the arrival of the lightning storm which would take her into the past and bring Sam home.
There was another flash of lightning followed by a long, loud rumble of thunder. Sammie-Jo's line of thought was interrupted by a throat being cleared loudly enough for her to hear it over the thunder.
"Sammie-Jo, you're needed in the Control Room."
She paused to watch the continuing storm and took a long deep breath, letting it out slowly, so as not to be understood as a sigh. She then turned to face the person who had spoken to her.
"I guess this is it?" Sammie-Jo said, failing to manage even a grim smile. She sighed to her companion, "Im doing the right thing arent I? I mean I have considered everything that could possibly go wrong, havent I Al?" Al stopped Sammie-Jo from saying anything else.
"Shhh!" He gently placed a finger over her lips. Al sighed and so did Sammie-Jo. He placed his arms around her shoulders and pulled her tight to him, hugging her as tightly as he could. He closed his eyes and placed his lips on her forehead. A single tear rolled down Sammie-Jo's cheek.
"Im proud of you." Al told her.
Sammie-Jo grinned, Als pride in her meant a lot. He had been a true friend to her in the years that she had been at the Project. His pride in her gave her the courage that she needed to go on. She hugged him tight again, and when they broke apart Sammie-Jo said nothing. She walked towards the complex, it was then that she knew for sure that it would be a long time, if ever, before she saw it and the people within it again.
Al's eldest daughter Katherine was the first person to greet her when she walked into the Control Room. "Hi Sammie-Jo, are you ready to do this?" She smiled and hugged her friend as tightly as she could, then sighed, creating a nervous and tense silence. Ziggy took the opportunity to speak and break the silence.
"Doctor Fuller, the static in the air is nearly at the maximum needed, one more lightning bolt and we will be ready."
The hugs came from Gushie, Tina, Beth and Al's daughter Kate again. "I'll see you soon Kate." Sammie-Jo smiled.
"Jo, I'll be the first hologram that you see." Kate smiled and Jo relaxed.
Abagail was the last person to hug her. "Oh Sammie-Jo you take good care of yourself!" She said while trying to keep the tears from her eyes.
"I will momma." Jo sighed and began to cry, as did her mother. "Oh momma, don't cry, I'll be back... You know that Sam can get me home. I just need to take his place for a little while and let him figure out how to do it."
Sammie-Jo paused and began to wipe her eyes with her hand. Gushie gave her his handkerchief. She smiled and hugged her mother again. She stepped back and smiled at everyone trying to mask the utter terror that she felt about leaping out.
The door to the left of the Control Room opened and Al entered. "Does anyone mind if I say goodbye to the kid alone?" Al asked, looking sternly. Everyone made their way out of the Control Room, allowing Al to say goodbye to his best friends daughter in privacy.
Jo sighed, and Al walked over to where she stood, tears rolling down her cheeks.
"I'm really going to miss you!" Sammie-Jo said crying.
Al hugged her, holding her close, "Same here... But if youre lucky, youll be all Swiss Cheesed " Sammie-Jo didn't want to hear anymore, she quickly and gently placed her fingers over Al's lips.
"Shhh!" She whispered.
Al did as she asked and didn't say anything else. He just hugged her tightly and kissed her on the forehead again.
Their silence was interrupted by a mechanical cough from Ziggy. "Doctor Fuller?... There sufficient static, please prepare to step into the Accelerator Chamber." Al released his grip and Sammie-Jo walked towards the Accelerator Chamber. She walked slowly up the ramp to the chamber and the door slid closed behind her. She turned to face it. Taking a deep breath she spoke. "Ziggy, initialise the Retrieval Program." Sammie-Jo closed her eyes, reading herself for her very first leap.
"3...2...1..." She heard Ziggy count. Her skin began to tingle, and she felt light headed. All at once her senses seemed to heighten. Just before she felt her surroundings disappear she heard Ziggy's voice for a final time. "Retrieval Program activated. All readings within normal parameters... Admiral Calavicci... working... They are.... Loosing them.... gone..." That was all she heard. The final words began to echo in the dark emptiness which had engulfed her. Jo was aware of nothing.
It was happening again, Doctor Samuel John Beckett was enshrouded in the blue-white light which marked the transition from one person to another. The same feelings of nothingness and complete disorientation enveloped him. He knew that it would not be long until those feelings subsided, making way for the total blackness. Nothing would ever prepare Sam for the leap in, no matter how many times it happened. Exactly where or when he would emerge he could never tell, for until the blackness subsided and his surroundings revealed themselves he would never know what situations or questions would be thrown at him.
When his situation made itself known to him Sam read the flagstaff of the newspaper that he was holding when he leaped in. "Baton Rouge Gazette, July 28th, 1978... Louisiana!" Sam whispered to himself as softly as he could. It wasn't over. His memory was fading, but in his soul he knew it wasn't over. He was still in the South, and somehow Abagail Fuller had summoned him back into her life for the third time. But why he was there he still didn't know, he could only guess that for some reason Abagail needed him. Sam carefully rose out of the chair that he was sitting in and walked slowly over to the mirror hanging on the wall close by, anxious to know who Abagail had called him back as this time. He took "his" glasses off and stared at the reflection, as it triggered off a memory of one of his previous encounters with the Fuller family. "Larry Stanton?!?" He asked himself bemused.
Another figure's reflection in the glass caught his attention and he turned to face a large middle ages woman. Apparently he was her "hot blooded Southern rebel" and he was supposed to be melting her down. Sam stood looking at her, his mouth wide open.
"Tonight Lawrence Stanton the Third I am Jane Fonda." She pouted at him provocatively.
Sam turned back to the mirror to look at the reflection of Larry Stanton again. "oh boy!!" He told it. He glanced again at the woman waiting to be melted down. "I've got a bad feeling about this." He said.
She strutted over to him, "28 years of marriage and I know every feeling you've got!" She began pouting again, rubbing her hands all over Sam's chest as he grew more and more nervous.
"I'm your husband?" He asked thoughtlessly.
"Well of course you're my husband, unless you want to be that wicked Blackbeard again." She cooed in an attempt to seduce him.
"Why am I here?" Sam asked rhetorically, thinking out loud.
Suddenly and sharply, "his" wife grabbed hold of his collar, spinning him around to face her so fast that he was left dizzy.
"Oh no you don't!... Don't you start that!!" She scolded, all of her attempts at seduction disappearing.
"Start what?" Sam asked innocently.
"That-that-that craziness about hearing voices!" She made an attempt to continue in her seductive measures. "I don't want to hear another word!" She cooed again as she began to undo the buttons on the front of Sam's shirt.
"I heard voices." Sam said, half asking half repeating.
"I said not another word!" The woman warned him.
"But what do you mean?" Sam asked in a vain attempt to get some information from this woman.
"That is it!" She said throwing her arms up into the air, turning and walking away from Sam. "That is it! You have gone and done it! You have ruined everything!" She announced turning back to him, folding her arms tightly across her large chest. "I am no longer in the mood." She told him, and Sam had to admit that half of him was more than a little relieved. "You will have to hang up your holsters until next Saturday night!" She began to walk away from him again, then again she turned. "Aren't you going to stop me?" She asked, staring at Sam.
"Stop you?" He asked still confused from his leap into Larry Stanton.
The woman began to wail, "I'm calling my mother!" She cried as she disappeared through the door she had entered through. Sam walked over looking through the door after her, when he heard the door of the Imaging Chamber open and close. "Oh boy!" He said again before turning to face Al.
"Oh Sam you're not going to believe this yo-yo in the Waiting Room!" Al laughed.
"Larry Stanton?" Sam asked him.
Al tapped on the handlink he held in his hand and began gesturing with the cigar that he held in his right hand while he spoke. "Lawrence Stanton the Third actually, you have a lucrative law practice in Baton Rouge Louisiana, and your counterpart in the Waiting Room thinks that he's dead. ."
"He thinks that Im Saint Peter and Im going to send him to hell for over charging his hours. Reminds me of my last two divorce lawyers." Al mused.
"Do you remember Larry Stanton?"
"Yeah." Al replied.
"I mean, there were... I remember, aha... There was a hanging... and a lot of people... and he was hurt...I think that he tried to save her..." Sam said, trying to piece together the fragments of memory that he had retained from his last leap into Abagails life.
"Who, her?" Al asked gesturing to where the woman who has been attempting to seduce Sam had disappeared through.
"No! Not her!" Sam denied, "Thats Mrs Larry Stanton, she wants to melt me down!" Sam told his friend.
"oh!" Al said understanding it now. "Well no wonder Larry the Third would rather go to hell than come back here!"
"Hes going to be in big trouble if he comes back here talking about heaven and angels, because Mrs Larry already thinks that hes nuts!" Same said, beginning to pace up and down.
Al tapped the handlink again, "Aha, Mrs Larry, her name is... Cherlyn Stanton, shes 51 years old and is going through her second husband. She killed the first one off at the tender age of 17, and Ziggy says shes going to bury the second one as well." Al nodded to Sam as if that were supposed to be some vital piece of information that he was supposed to form an opinion on.
"Murder?" Sam asked coldly, trying to figure the woman out in his mind.
"No." Al announced. "Heart attacks."
Sam turned and looked at his friend with a puzzled expression on his face.
"Mr Stanton the First was 77! Now according to Ziggy," Al continued tapping his handlink to the parallel hybrid computer, "there is a 41.2 percent... 43 percent change that youre here to..."
"If you think that Im here to save their marriage Al, you can forget that!" Sam interrupted. Before Al could reply the door bell chimed.
"Ah no... Actually Ziggy hasnt the slightest idea why youre here, so I suggest that you go and open the door and see what drifts in!" Al said and the door bell chimed again. Larrys wife appeared thought the door way again.
"Larry, will you please answer the damn door! Im far too upset to be entertaining guests." She ordered him before turning and disappearing through the doorway again.
Sam accepted both his friends advise and Cherlyns order and opened the front door just as the visitor was turning to leave.
"Hello." He said softly, and an aged black woman with greying hair turned back towards the front door and smiled on seeing him. Same looked at her blankly, her face was familiar, but he couldnt place her.
"Its been a long time councillor, a very long time." She smiled at him.
"Would you like to come in?" Sam asked still attempting to place a name and a memory with the face that was before him.
The visitor read the look that meant he didnt recognise her and her smile faded. "No, itll be alright out here... You dont remember me?" She asked him.
Sam shook his head.
"Its Marie." She told him.
"Its Marie from Pottersville, your brain is Swiss-Cheesed Sam!" His invisible companion informed him.
"Marie, from Pottersville, Marie Billings..."
"Marie Billings." Sam repeated.
"This is the woman who worked for Clayton Fuller and..." Al continued.
"Abagail!" Sam said, realisation dawning on him, he took Marie by the arm.
"I knew you didnt get my telegram!" She smiled at him.
"Is Abagail alright?" Sam asked with grave concern.
"Well, Ive been working for that family for almost thirty years, and I practically raised that child myself after her daddy died...." She told Sam as he walked her over to the seats which were placed on the front porch. "...She didnt have no one else, after Henry died, neither did I" She added regretfully.
"Whats happened to Abagail?" Sam asked as he sat down in front of Marie, willing her to tell him what he needed to know, the reason why he was here, why Abagail needed him.
"They found those bone, and then there was that horrible murder... Theyre accusing Abagail of murder!" Marie told him, tears coming to her eyes, the raw emotion coming through in her voice.
"But that happened over 25 years ago!" Al responded in an amazed laugh.
"And the trial starts tomorrow," Marie continued unaware of the interruption, "but nobody would take it Mr Stanton, nobody! She said maybe you?"
Al looked very confused and began to tap the handlink to see if Ziggy knew what was going on.
"Well, you were there for that horrible night, and she said that only Will and you believed in her!" Marie pleaded. Sam opened his mouth to answer Maries plea, but instead a voice came from behind him.
"My husband doesnt take charity cases any more, besides, hes retired!" Cherlyn said forcefully. Sam and Marie both stood up to be on eye level with her.
"No wonder Larry would rather stay dead!" Al smirked.
"This is very important Mrs. Stanton." Marie smiled politely.
"You remember Marie Billings from Pottersville." Sam asked rhetorically.
"I said my husband is retired, he has a very bad heart!" Cherlyn informed Marie sharply.
Al tapped the handlink, "Oh Sam, Larry never took Abagails case!" Al warned him. Sam turned to talk to Marie, and "his" wife continued. "Ive told you a million times, we dont have to work with this kind of nigger trash any more!"
"Ouch!" Al commented.
Marie looked at Cherlyn bitterly, and Sam was quick to step in.
"Marie," he said glaring at Cherlyn Stanton over his shoulder, "Id like to apologise for what my wife just said, will you excuse me a moment?" Sam smiled as sweetly as he could to try to ensure that Marie wasnt any more insulted than she already had been. When h turned back round he saw Cherlyn standing open mouthed at what Sam had just done. He took her by the arm and forcefully led her back towards the front door. "Id like for you to go inside and make Marie and me some lemonade and take your time!" Sam scolded.
"But Lawrence, I..." She protested.
"Get inside!" Sam added with a tone of sheer disgust cutting through his voice. He glared at Cherlyn until she had gone inside and closed the door.
Marie was going to leave, "I dont want to cause any trouble!" She said and she walked past Sam. He caught her by the arm, turning her back towards the chair she had just left.
"From the look of it, Miss Racist-in-a-Moo-Moo could use a dose of trouble!" Al responded. He was just as disgusted as Sam was by Cherlyns outburst.
"Just sit down, Im so sorry!" Sam apologised again.
Al began to supply him with more detail as he got them through on the handlink. "Sam maybe youre here to see that Larry takes Abagails case!" Al suggested, and Sam glanced sideways at his companion.
"You remember that little Aider girl? Well, she disappeared two years before you moved to town. Folks thought that she had been taken by a pack of wild dogs..."
"Violet Aiders bones were discovered sealed in the town well." Al interrupted.
"... The bones were found in the town well last week, and everybody thought that Abagail..." Marie put her hand over her mouth, overcome with emotion.
"Abagail didnt kill that girl!" Sam said denying what Marie was about to say.
"I cant believe this is really happening!" Al said, totally stunned at what he was hearing.
"You and I both know that!" Marie cried. "After they got the bones out, Miss Aider put together a case with some lawyer..."
"Denton Waters," Al said tapping on the handlink again. "Ziggy says hes never lost a case."
"For something that happened 25 years ago?!" Sam asked in confusion.
"No, no, no!" Marie responded, "That was just it. The lawyer told Miss Leta that he couldnt trial Abagail for Violets murder."
"Abagail gets convicted for murder Sam." Al told him.
"But she was only eight years old!" Sam argued.
"Miss Leta was found with her throat cut open on Abagails kitchen floor." Marie told him.
Als eyes widened as he read the information out that Ziggy was giving him. "Abagail is executed for the murder of Leta Aider!" Al shook his head in disbelief.
Sam rose to his feet, he couldnt breath, it was as though someone had just punched him in the guts, winding him, and now they had their hands round his throat taking his life from him. Al watched his friend closely with a deep concern. Sam was still madly in love with Abagail and he and Sam both knew it. Marie followed him, making sure he was okay.
"Now dont go having a heart attack on me Mr Stanton, Abagail needs you real bad!"
It was as if those words gave him strength, she needed him and he couldnt let her down, not now, not when her life was in danger and she needed him the most. He took a deep breath and turned to Marie.
"Ill go pack my things, Marie!" he told her.
"Now weve got to call Sheriff Loman and tell him that youll be up there this afternoon." Marie told him.
"Ill do all that." Sam assured her, leading her back to her chair in front of the house. "Now you just sit there and relax and Ill be back in a few minutes, okay?" Sam asked hesitantly.
"Abagail said you would come!" Marie told him proudly. Sam glanced at Al, whose expression didnt change. He was reminded of Will and Abagails wedding day, when Al had believed that Abagail had known that Sam was there instead of Will. Could she know this time too? Sam sighed and put the thought to the back of his mind as he walked to the front door.
Al followed Sam and faced him, scrutinising the expression on his friends face. Sam flinched under Als watchful stare. "Youre still in love with Abagail, arent ya?" He asked, his eyes waiting to spot any give away signs that Sam might let slip.
"Im taking the case Al, does history chance?" he asked avoiding Als question, believing that if he fooled Al he could fool himself too.
"Not unless you do something to change it." Al replied looking at the handlink. "Abagail Fuller does in the electric chair, June 30th, 1984."
The words tore at Sams heart, he could barely hold himself up and ended up leaning on the door frame to keep from falling down. He could feel his eyes burning as he fought to stop tears from forming. He only hoped that he wouldnt fail. That again, like he had before, he would be able to save Abagail Fullers life.
Pottersville hadnt changed very much since Sam had last been there on that night in June 1966, at least it hadnt changed much from what he remembered about it. Little Violet Aiders body had been patiently waiting for 25 years for someone to find her, and now someone had. Leta Aider had come after Abagail with a vengeance, needing revenge, needing to somehow make her pay for what Leta felt was right, wanting Abagail to end up in the electrical chair for what Leta desperately believed she had done. But now Leta was dead, and had taken with her a truth that somehow Sam had been called back into Abagails life to try and discover.
Sam walked into the Sheriffs office and sighed. His memories from the past leaps into Abagails life were sketchy, but he still held enough of his memory to make him feel wary. He sighed and glanced around for Beau Loman, Pottersvilles Sheriff.
"Oh here he is!" Beau smiled, extending a hand for Sam to shake. Another man stood behind him and Sam noticed that he has that cocky lawyer demeanour, and figured that he must be the lawyer that Leta had hired before her death. "Hey Stanton, how come I stayed so young and you got so old?" Beau joked.
"Good to see you again Beau." Sam smiled shaking the Sheriffs hand.
"This is Denton Waters, hes a special prosecutor for the state." Beau said, gesturing in the other mans direction.
"Mr Waters." Sam said, as he shook the hand of his opponent.
"Mr Stanton. I understand you used to live in these parts." Waters replied.
"They moved away in 66, right after that incident with the Takings boy getting lost." Beau answered for him.
"What incident was that?" Mr Waters asked.
"Oh, a couple of the townsfolk decided to talk the law into their own hands, they were going to string up Abagail." Beau replied.
"Is that so?" Mr Waters commented. Sam could see in his eyes and hear in his voice that Waters thought that this would be useful in his case against Abagail, and Sam couldnt help but interrupt that line of thought.
"As I recall Leta Aider was one of the main instigators!" He informed Waters.
"Larry packed up his bags and his wife and kids and left damn near the next day." Beau continued.
No one was aware of Abagails presence until she began to speak, not even Sam.
"Mr Stanton said that he had no intentions of letting his family grow up in a town so backwards it was capable of lynching one of its own." She spoke softly, and she was wearing a standard blue jail dress, but she hadnt changed in the years that Sam had missed. She was still the beautiful woman that he had fallen in love with and made love to, and when he saw her, he knew that this was going to be harder than what he had first thought. "I always admired you for that." She smiled at Sam and he tried his hardest to keep control of his feelings.
"Mrs. Kinman." He greeted her.
"Theres a name I havent heard in a long time..." Beau said.
"Still Fuller." Abagail interrupted, and it was almost as though she was ashamed of it.
"Yeah, well, Abagail never quite made it to the altar!" Beau said heartlessly.
"If you dont mind," Abagail defended, "I would prefer to discuss my past with Mr Stanton myself!" She finished, glaring at Beau through hurt eyes.
"I thought hed rather hear it from me than get an earful from the Potter Parish." Beau reasoned.
"I dont think that Miss Fullers marital status has any relevance to the trial does it?" Sam asked, looking at Waters.
"Neither does my being here." Waters agreed, "Im sure you two have a great deal to discuss before tomorrow."
"Starting with a continuance." Sam replied.
"Im afraid that weve had two already, a third is out of the question."
Abagail looked a little lost and Sam politely offered to introduce Abagail to Denton Waters.
"Mr Waters and I have already met!" Abagail informed Sam, with just a touch of bitterness to her voice.
"Ill need to see the rest of those files now. Oh, and make sure Mr Stanton has copies, we wouldnt like him to declare a mistrial for lack of disclosure." Denton Waters added condescendingly as he walked away.
Sam looked at him as he left, and had an instant dislike for him. Not only did he dislike him for his condescending nature, but the suggestion that he was making that the only way that Sam was going to get Abagail off on this trial was through lack of disclosure and a mistrial.
"Stanton." Beau said, snapping Sam back into reality. "Why dont you go in and use my office. Take as much time as you want to. Jim-Bobs going to be outside and the files on the desk." Beau told him and walked away.
There was a nervous moment when Sam and Abagail stood opposite each other, neither of them quite knowing what to say. Abagail moved inside the office breaking the pause and Sam closed the door.
"Im very glad that you came Mr Stanton." She told him as he turned to face her.
"I never should have left!" Sam said, the words coming from his heart. Being so close to her and yet so far away made Sam nervous. He could feel his palms begin to sweat, and his mouth begin to get dry.
"There arent any hotels in town so I told Marie that youd be staying at the house." Abagail said, beginning to pace the office.
"Yes thank you, she told me." Sam was stumbling over his words.
Abagail lifted an envelope out of her pocket. "Ah, could you take these home for me, theyre just a bunch of bills, but ah, right now, they kinda seem unimportant." She asked.
He looked down at the envelopes in her hand and took them off her. In doing so their hands touched against each others softly for just a few seconds. She still feels the same, Sam thought, her skin is still so soft. He looked at her and for a moment he was overwhelmed by his emotions, so much so that he had to look away and think of something else. "Sorry about what happened with you and Will." He said, looking deep into her eyes again.
"Do you mind telling me...?" Sam asked cautiously.
"Theres not much to tell!" Abagail shrugged and laughed nervously. "But, ah, one minute we were very much in love and getting married, and the next he was moving out west to write a book." She said, and as she spoke she turned away from him, to sit on the chair that was behind her.
Sam felt sorrow, something inside, despite all logic and common sense, was telling him that it was his fault. He fought to lose that feeling. "And I hear that hes doing real well." Abagail added, regret filling her voice. "What else do you want to know Mr Stanton?" She asked.
All at once a thousand thoughts flooded into his head, but as Larry Stanton, he could ask her none of them. He thumbed through the file that Beau had left on his desk for him. And he let himself ignore her question.
"Im going to stretch 15 hours into three weeks to get ready for your trial." He told her.
"Should I be afraid Mr Stanton?" She asked him nervously.
Yes! His heart told her, I am! "Only if youre guilty." He told her.
"I didnt kill Leta Aider!" She replied, looking up at him from where she sat. "Do you believe me?" She asked, and Sam could see in her eyes that although she was calm outside, she was as nervous as hell inside.
"Yes I do." He told her and attempted a weak smile. She looked at him like a lost child would, and he couldnt do anything about it. He swallowed hard and perched himself on the edge of Beaus desk.
"Now, do you want to tell me what happened?" He asked her.
She looked away, considering where she should begin her story, instinctively her hand moved up to her lips, touching them very softly, and for a minute, Sam had to shut his eyes and gain control of himself.
"Well, it was a little after three oclock on Tuesday. Id just been to the market to get a few things and ah..." Abagail swallowed and breathed deeply before continuing. "I came straight home and I went to the kitchen to put the groceries away... And then I saw Leta."
"Where there any signs of a struggle?" Sam asked.
"The while place was a mess." Abagail answered.
"So you phoned the police?"
"No... No, I didnt I..." Abagail folded her arms around her body, as though to block out the chill that the memory caused. "I was just standing there, looking at Leta in all that blood." She shifted nervously in her seat. "Then Beau Loman showed up and said that he had gotten a call from someone saying that theyd heard a woman screaming."
"And your first attorney wanted you to plead self defence?"
"I didnt kill her." Abagail told him again.
Sam was getting frustrated. He got up and began to pace around the office, thinking better on his feet.
"Now, Denton Waters was approached prior to the death of Leta Aider to come up with a case against you for the murder of Violet and of her father, Bart Aider." Sam said trying to get the facts straight in his head.
"I know, theyre supposed to exhume Barts body tomorrow." Abagail told him.
He turned to look at her. "Abagail..." He said softly as he moved back round the desk to her, "didnt you know that no matter how much evidence that they got together to bring you to trial that they couldnt because the crimes were committed when you were a minor?" She asked her.
She leaned forward to talk to him. "I remember that day that Violet disappeared so clear, and yet sometimes I feel, well everyone else was so sure, maybe I remembered what I wanted, maybe..."
Sam looked at Abagail, and again his emotions got too much for him. He wanted to hold her, to tell her that she wasnt crazy, that she didnt kill anyone, but he also wanted more than that, with Abagail he always wanted more, and knowing that he couldnt, he lost his self control. His heart began to pound and his throat began to close over. He got up and walked back round the desk, attempting to use it as a mental barrier between himself and Abagail as well as a physical one.
"Are you alright?!" She asked with deep concern. And when he looked round and replied, his soul called out to her and for a moment she saw the real soul that lay behind the eyes, the soul that she had seen in Will Kinman that night before their wedding, the soul that loved her with all its heart.
"Ahh..." She laughed nervously and backed away. "Strange... It was just for a moment you..." and her face was suddenly serious as though her heart understood who was there, even if she didnt. "It was just... in your eyes..."
Sam looked away and changed the subject. "I dont believe that you killed Violet, otherwise I wouldnt be here..." Abagail sat back down, suddenly bought back to reality with a slap. "Who discovered Violets remains?" Sam asked, trying desperately to keep calm and keep control.
"The restoration crew. They were tearing down the old well, one of the workmen dropped his watch or something, and went down to get it and found the skeleton... Funny the games that Fate plays."
"I imagine that was enough to get Leta Aider started again."
"Oh, she never stopped." Abagail told him wearily. "Not really... I mean, all she needed was Violets locket and the case would be complete!"
"Abagail, I need you to remember everything about the day that Violet disappeared. And about Bart and about Leta."
"Why?" Abagail asked sadly.
"Because I need to know everything about your past, good or bad." Sam told her. "Why dont we start with Violet?" He suggested.
Abagail sighed wearily.
"Well. I cant really say that we were friends, Violet and I." Abagail began as she got up and started to walk around the room. "I guess we were rivals. She, ah, she used to tease me all the time. And that day... That day shed been taunting me about a little gold locket that Id been saving up for but couldnt afford, And just to spite me she bought it. She kept pushing it in my face, telling me that my family was poor and that we were crazy, so I hit her. She laughed harder, so I hit her harder. Her nose started bleeding on her sweater and she started crying, but I just kept hitting her and hitting her, it was like I couldnt stop! When I finally did stop, she ran off and said she was gonna tell her mother... I didnt like Violet!" Abagail smiled that way you do when you remember something silly from your past. "But I didnt kill her." She said, her smile fading, her sadness returning. "I didnt kill her." She told him again. "I didnt kill her." She repeated again, tears beginning to fall from her eyes, and instinctively her hand went up to her lips again in nervousness. Sam walked up to her slowly, and she turned towards him. He placed his arms around her, holding her close, comforting her, and his emotions became controllable. He would be able to get through this leap now.
When she was calm again, she continued to talk to him for another three hours. She told him all about Violet and her father Bart, and how she had been present when they died. She talked about her grandmother and her mother, and the more storied from her past he heard, the more Sam remembered about what had happened the two previous times that he had been in Abagails life. Somehow, through his Swiss-Cheesed brain, everything was crystal clear, as though they had only occurred yesterday.
When Sam walked into Abagails house, it was silent, with no sign of Marie coming to greet him. He was weary and needed to sit down, relax for an hour and have something to eat. He was shocked to see a child on the stairs.
"Are you going to save her? Are you going to save my Mommy?" She asked.
Sam was tired and not thinking straight when he spoke. "Abagail?"
"Abagails my mother." The girl told him.
"Your mother? But she said that Will..."
"Mary Beth said that you cant help her." She began to cry, "Mary Beth said that the judge was going to take her to jail and that they were..."
Sam held out his hand for the young girl to take. "Come here." He said soothingly. "Nobodys going to hurt your mother." He told her as they both sat down on the stairs, Sam sitting a little lower so that he was on eye level with Abagail's daughter.
"But Mary Beth said that they were gonna..." She sobbed.
"I dont care what Mary Beth said. Im not about to let anybody hurt your mother."
The little girl stopped crying blinked her beautiful eyes and asked, "You mean that?"
"With all my heart." He smiled broadly at her. "You know that I came from... very far away to help your mother, and I dont think that Id have been brought here, if I couldnt do the job... So why don't you dry those pretty eyes, and lets not worry about this a bit okay?" He smiled again, handing her his handkerchief. He smiled at her as she dried her eyes, she was so like Abagail it was unnerving, so unnerving that when she asked him his name, he told her his own.
"Sam... Ah, Larry Stanton. Whats yours?" He asked her as he heard the Imaging Chamber door open and close.
"Sammie-Jo." She smiled back at him.
"Im very glad youre here Mr Sam Larry Stanton. Very glad!" She told him. He smiled back, blushing slightly.
"Ah Sam, Ziggy says youre not here just to save Abagail, youre here to save Sammie-Jo." Sam looked at his friend who was deadly serious, his arms stiffly at his sides. "Theres a 91.9 percent chance that Sammie-Jo Fuller is your daughter."
Sam blinked and swallowed, trying hard to take in what his friend was telling him. He looked again at Abagails daughter, his daughter, as she smiled sweetly at him, and in his heart, he knew she was his. "According to Ziggy she has an IQ of 194, so she must get her brains from her father." Al told him tapping on the handlink to bring up the information. Sam rose to his feet and walked away from the stairs, still trying to let the news sink in. Al continued telling him about Sammie-Jo. "But the tragedy in all of this is that shes so traumatised b the death of her mother that she drops out... Shes living alone in Mobil right now, she writes computer manuals for some rinky dink little company."
"No." Sam lamented for his daughters future.
"No what?" She asked turning to him. In his shock he had forgotten that she was still there with him. He turned to her quickly and smiled. "No way am I going to get busted for keeping a ten year old kid up so late!" He told her, walking back over to where she still sat on the stairs and crouching down to her eye level.
"Im not ten Im eleven." She smiled. "And youre not keeping me up. Im waiting for Marie to wake up so we can go." Sammie-Jo told him.
"Where are you going?" He asked absently, scared that if he lost sight of her she would disappear. Feeling guilty for all the time that he had missed being with her, and not wanting to lose any more of it.
"Ah, well, you know I think its kinda creepy "
"Just to Maries."
"... You know, for a kid to stay in a place, you know where dead people were!"
"Im staying with her til Mommy comes home."
The sound of yawning came from the lounge and Sam turned to see Marie walking towards them. "Lordy!" She yawned. "Were all going to turn into pumpkins! Ive got to get you home child!" Marie said, stretching out her arms as Sammie-Jo walked into them. "I see youve met our Sammie-Jo... Smartest little girl in the whole parish!" She told him proudly. "Ive put up some chicken and rice for you, Mr Stanton, in the Kitchen. Do you want me to warm it?" She asked.
"Youd better get her home, huh?" Sam replied.
"Sammie-Jo why dont you run on into the kitchen and..." Marie said, pushing the child in the direction of the kitchen.
"No!" Sammie-Jo cried. "No, I cant go in there, please dont make me go in there..." She begged, sobbing. Al and Sam both looked distressed, both wanted to do so much to take her fear away and help her with hugs and kisses, like any other child. Al couldnt because he was a hologram, and Sam couldnt, because to her he was just Larry Stanton the lawyer who would help her mother, not the father that he longed to be, and that only served to make things worse for Sam. Al looked at Sam and knew what his friend was feeling, knew that all he wanted to do was be her father, treat her like any other father would his daughter, but he couldnt. Instead he was left to stand there feeling useless and totally empty.
"Oh, Im sorry! Im sorry, Im sorry! I dont know what I was thinking about, baby!" Marie said her voice full of regret as she hugged Sammie-Jo. "Your Marie is just getting old and forgetful! Now Ill get you out of here, and into a nice warm bed!" Marie smiled at her as she led her towards the door.
"You know, shes probably right, if you, you know, put on some nice pyjamas and get into a big warm bed, and have a good nights sleep!" Sam wanted so much to say more, to do more for her, but he knew that it would have seemed out of place. But somehow, it was enough for Sammie-Jo.
"Will I see you tomorrow Mr Stanton?" She asked him.
"Sammie-Jo, I dont want you anywhere near that courthouse!" Marie told her.
"Ill be here everyday after five oclock." He told her.
"And I could come and see you?" She asked him sniffing back another tear.
"Ill be sad if you dont!"
"Goodnight" She said to him as Marie led her towards the door.
When the door had closed after them, it was only then Sam spoke to Al. "I have a daughter, Al!" He said in shock. Al said nothing. For what can you say to a man whose daughter will never know him as her father, and who cant do a single thing to take any of her hurt away.
Now there were two people who Sam had to save. Abagail, and their eleven year old daughter Sammie-Jo. And even though Leta Aider was dead, from her grave she held the key to Sams success.
Sam and Abagail sat nervously before the judge and jury in the court room. Al was pacing up and down eager for the whole messy situation to be over.
"Mr Stanton, would you care to address the jury?" The judge asked.
As Sam rose to his feet Al started on his plea for the defence. "Ah yes, well firstly, there is no evidence that Abagail killed either Violet or her father!"
"First of all," Sam began, walking round the defence table to stand beside his invisible companion, "I would like to clear up some of the clutter that Mr Waters has thrown in your way about this trial." Sam began to pace up and down in front of the jury while giving them his opening remarks. "We are here for one reason, and one reason only. To determine the guilt or innocence of Abagail Fuller with regards to the murder of Leta Aider."
As he spoke, unknown to Abagail and himself, Sammie-Jo crept into the public gallery to watch the days proceedings.
"Now since Mr Waters brought this up," Sam continued, "I feel I must remind you all that it has never been proven that Abagail Fuller committed murder. It has never been proven that Abagail Fuller took the lives of Violet or her father. Now that fact haunted Leta Aider. It haunted her because she desperately needed someone to blame for the loss of her family was taken from her, but I do know that my client, Abagail Fuller was not responsible."
"She had no motive to kill Leta!" Al told them.
"And because she is innocent..." Sam continued.
"And even if she did, she wouldnt be responsibly because she was just a minor!" Al reasoned.
"...Since she did not kill Violet or Bart, she would have no reason to murder Leta...No motive to murder Leta Aider. Now Mr Waters omitted the fact that by statute the state of Louisiana cannot convict a minor of a felony, thats if she committed a felony, which she did not! Why would this woman jeopardise her life and the life of her daughter. The answer is she would not."
"Yeh, theyre barking up the wrong oak!" Al agreed.
"There is a murderer and a killer," Sam went on, "a killer who came into Abagails kitchen and for whatever reason took the life of Leta Aider. A crime was committed but not by this woman." Sam said gesturing towards Abagail. "Now, you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have a very difficult task ahead of you here..." Denton Waters watched Sam closely as he delivered his remarks. Adopting a slight air of intrigue over Sams comments.
"... You have to throw out the gossip, and the rumours and the lies that have followed Abagail Fuller for the past 25 years and listen only to the facts, and using that knowledge and that knowledge only, you must determine the guilt or innocence of Abagail Fuller." Sam paused for a brief second, his emotions starting to overwhelm him as he considered what could happen to his daughter if she lost her mother. "You must determine her fate." He said as he looked at Abagail. "And the future of her daughter and everyone else who loves her." Sam wanted to tell Abagail that it had been him, not Will that night who had loved her so completely, tell her that he was here again now to be with her. To do anything to save her. To be the man who would slay tigers for her. But he couldnt.
Al approached his friend scrutinising his expression. "Sam are you okay?" He asked. Unable to reply Sam continued his speech, telling the jury that he would do his utmost to present the facts to them as he saw them, telling them that Denton Waters would be doing the sam; telling them that it was up to them to determine the truth. Sams throat began to close over again, his heart pounding in his chest.
"Sam?" Al asked him, as Sam tried to breathe deeply, trying to calm himself in an attempt to regain his composure. He leaned against the table. Both Abagail and Sammie-Jo watched him with concern. Al tapped on the handlink trying to get some sort of information out of Ziggy on the situation.
Sam practically collapsed back into his seat beside Abagail, thanking the jury for listening. "Are you alright?" She asked him with grave concern. "Are you alright?" She repeated.
"Sam I dont like the way you look here!" Al told him as he began to tap on the handlink. "Whats going on?" he asked.
Sam was pulling on the collar of his shirt, Abagail trying to help him, the courtroom aghast at the goings on.
"Im alright." Sam gasped trying to reassure both Al and Abagail.
"I just need a moment..." He continued.
"Sam theres a problem in the Waiting Room... Ah, tell them... Tell them you need a break!" Al told him before punching the keys on the handlink and disappearing. Sam glanced at where his friend had been.
"Your Honour, if I could just have a m-moment please?" Sam requested.
"The court will take a 20 minute recess before we begin the prosecutions first witness." The Judge announced before banging his hammer.
Sam found Larry Stantons nitro pills in his briefcase and took them, and they managed to take the pain in his chest away long enough for Sam to get through the first day of witnesses in Abagails murder trial.
Sam had listened as Denton Waters had presented to the court a variety of experts and a ton of evidence. Evidence which included the knife which had been used to kill Leta Aider, the knife with Abagails finger prints on it, as well as Letas. Sheriff Beau Loman recalling how he found Abagail standing over Letas body, adding in his memories of the deaths of Letas husband and child, Bart and Violet.
When the court was over for the day, it left Sam with one person to face. The other life affected by this trial. His daughter, Sammie-Jo.
Sam arrived back at Abagails house to find Sammie-Jo sitting on the settee, off in a daydream, humming to herself. He handed his jacket and briefcase to Marie and walked over to her.
"Sammie-Jo?" He called to her, but she didnt move or stop humming. "Sammie-Jo are you alright?"
"Brigadoon..." She replied.
"What?" Sam smiled.
"I was just remembering..." She told him as he kneeled behind the settee to be on a level beside her.
"See when I read a book the pages, they stay like pictures in my mind, whenever I wanna I can just go back and remember it all over again." She told him.
"Youve got a photographic memory." Sam replied.
"Sometimes..." Sammie-Jo answered as if it was something she was used to hiding.
"Ive got a photographic memory." Sam told her, smiling at the fact he had something in common with his daughter, as he moved round to sit beside her.
"Brigadoon... Brigadoon..." Sam said replaying the story in his own mind. "That was one of my favourite stories too."
"Mine too!" Said Sammie-Jo excited. "My grandmamma says she likes it when the old reverend asks God for a miracle and he makes Brigadoon disappear for a hundred years."
Sam watched his daughters face light up as she talked to him about her favourite part, which happened to be where the town was called back early.
"Do you believe in miracles Mr Stanton?" Sammie-Jo asked as Sam smiled at her with pride.
"Miracles?" He asked her.
"That someone, if they really loved somebody, could go back in time and be part of their lives?"
Sam smiled warmly. If only you knew, he thought. "Well if thats a miracle, then yes, I believe in miracles."
"I wanna go back in time someday." Sammie-Jo told him. "I wanna meet my daddy. I wanna tell him..." Sammie-Jo stopped, embarrassed to finish what she was going to say.
"Tell him what?" Sam asked, longing to hear what Sammie-Jo would say, if only she knew.
"Just that I love him... but he knows... My grandma Phyllis says he knows and she knows everything!" Sams smile rapidly faded. He remembered Sammie-Jos grandmamma, he remembered Laura Fuller. Suddenly things began to come together in Sams mind.
"Sammie-Jo Fuller, I love you, and I want you to know that everythings going to be okay!" He said, kissed her on the forehead, and got up.
"Where you going?" Sammie-Jo asked him.
"Im going to tell your grandmamma that its okay to remember!" He told her. She smiled at him as she watched him leave.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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