This story dives deeply into the movie "TCOT Lost Love", features characters from "TCOT Notorious Nun" and is the sequel to my story "The new Mrs Robertson". I want to spare you to read the story (unless you want to, of course) because it is actually about ten years old, so here's a small recap:
After TCOT Lost Love we discover that Laura let Perry believe he is the father of her daughter named Ellen that she had given up for adoption. Of course, Laura lied about it all and wishes nothing more than keeping the identity of Ellen's biological father a secret. Why, we don't know, but since it's Laura we can assume the reason is shady and justified. But Ellen is very much her mother's daughter and does everything in her power to discover the truth.
She is married to Glen Robertson's son William who is no friend of Laura either.
Stefan Corro, Archbishop and friend of Perry, helped to arrange the adoption. His friendship to Perry is strained since he confessed of being in love with Della.
John Silver (OC) is the priest who raised Laura's daughter. He's the kind of man who always has his own agenda and we never know what he's up to next.
TCOT Lost Cause
"If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause." T.S. Eliot
Chapter 1 - Square One
Los Angeles, Saturday
Perry Mason couldn't remember the day he first wished he had never heard the name Laura Robertson, but for the last few weeks he had kept repeating it like a mantra. Laura's name had become the overbearing cloud that hung over his head and never left. He couldn't shake it like Tower Bridge couldn't shake the fog. Everything associated with her was a part of him, of his life, of his biography. Even the young woman in his apartment connected him to her even though it had been proven (much to his regret) that there was no biological bond between them.
Ellen Crane Robertson was like a younger version of her mother. Her looks, her hair, her way of moving, even what was left of her British accent was a shadow of Laura. Every time Mason looked at Ellen or Raven as she was called by close friends, he felt a stitch violating his heart. She was the living proof of Laura's betrayal. It was a wound that wasn't closing. And just like he couldn't really get past her mother, he couldn't get past her. Ellen believed he could still help her in her cause, but no matter how often he refused her, she always returned with the same request. While he had learned to say no to Laura, it was much harder to say no to Ellen. He didn't want to admit it, but just like Ellen he wanted to know who her father was. Did he know him? Met him? Had he ever shaken hands with him? Had he been a client?
"So, will you listen to my story?" Ellen asked the lawyer who stood at the window, his back turned on her. When she had announced her visit via telephone she had insisted on seeing him in private. He had wanted to refuse her, but in the end, he couldn't. Just as Ellen he felt the need to know the truth. Being a crusader for the truth himself, he understood how it left Ellen restless not to know everything about her roots.
"Of course, I'll listen, but nothing you say can change my mind," Mason answered stoically. He didn't want to get involved, despite everything. He had promised it to himself, and much more important, he had promised it to Della.
"All right. Maybe I won't change your mind, but I think I've learned something that will still catch your interest."
Mason was glad she couldn't see the smile he suppressed. She had once told him, she had written a paper about him at university. Perhaps she thought to know him well enough to bait him with a piece of information that probably never led to anything but more dead ends.
"A few days ago I received a phone call from Elliot Moore. I think the name is familiar to you."
"He was one of the partner's in your mother's law office. As far as I remember Glen and Laura kicked him out, after they realized he had hired Luke Dickson to steal Laura's medical file."
"Quite right. Mr. Moore was the linchpin in the whole story. His hate for Laura and his wish to bring her down was the reason for the whole disaster that cost Laura her political career. He came off unharmed, because he called in a few favors, pulled some strings. In the end he never had to face any charges himself. He bowed out and opened a new law office, as if nothing had happened. Do you want to guess who his new partner is?"
"Interesting." Mason wasn't really surprised. Jennifer Parker always searched for the one person that could offer her the best opportunities, and since Laura had lost her influence and her reputation, she sought out for the next best object she could suck dry. Ambition was a terrible flaw if misused, and it seemed to him Miss Parker hadn't learned anything from Laura's story.
"What did Moore want from you?"
"Oh, it's not the question what he wanted, but what he offered. Apparently he has information about my biological father. He wants to share his knowledge with me."
Mason scoffed, "If I were you, I wouldn't trust Moore any further than I can throw him. He's been sabotaging Laura for almost two decades now. Why would he help you? After all, you've become a partner in the very same law firm that kicked him out. I doubt he has any more sympathy for you than he has for Laura."
He turned around to face the young woman. She was without a doubt a beautiful woman, and this afternoon, dressed in all black and with her long hair falling over her shoulders she looked more mysterious than ever. She smiled at him, grateful that he finally looked at her, and answered, "I'm aware, he can't be trusted, Perry. But I think he could be of big help for me. Seems Laura's file isn't as lost as we thought."
Ellen drew a deep breath and a satisfied smile crossed her face. "Everybody, including Moore, assumed it was hidden in Dickson's safe deposit box, but when the police opened it, it wasn't there and it hasn't resurfaced ever since..."
Perry started to understand. "And Moore says he has it? We know he hired Dickson to steal it and after Dickson was killed, his brother offered to sell it, but he died in an accident and the file was gone."
"Exactly, but what if Dickson's brother really believed the file was in that safe deposit box, but never checked it out? What if he had no idea the box was empty?" Raven asked eagerly.
"What are you saying?" Perry asked one eyebrow crooked.
"Quite simple; Laura had the file. She took it with her the night she killed Dickson. She had it all the time and lied about it, because she didn't want the file to become relevant in the trial against Glen. She didn't want anyone to know what's in it."
The thought had occurred to him, of course, but he had always dismissed it. After she had confessed killing Luke Dickson, there hadn't been any reason for her to lie about this particular detail. The contents of the file, or least the compromising details about her breakdown had become public knowledge during Glen's trial. So why lie about taking the file in the first place?
"You actually think there's information about your father in that file?" Perry summed up. Ravens' eyes glittered, as she nodded.
"According to Elliot Moore there's proof of it in the file. During her treatment, Laura received shock treatment, high doses of medication, psychotherapy, and hypnosis. The whole package. Maybe she mentioned something connected to me or to my father during her therapy. What if it weren't her psychological problems she wanted to hide, but something entirely else?" She had started to pace the room, agitated like a tiger in a cage. "There must be something in that file that could be the lead I'm searching for!"
Perry sighed. Ellen had a point, but he still couldn't bring himself to believe it was true. If there was something in her life Laura had buried somewhere in the depth of mind, it was the identity Ellen's father. He was sure that whether conscious or not, drugged or sober, there was no way Laura would ever reveal the name of the man who had fathered her abandoned child.
"And what does Moore know about the file, if it's in Laura's possession?"
"I was asking myself the same question and so I started to use some of my contacts in the police department. Last week someone broke into Laura's house, but according to her statement nothing was stolen."
"Someone broke into her house?" Perry asked, alarmed by the idea.
Ellen dismissed his concern with a wave of her hand. "Yes, but she wasn't home. At least that's what she told the police." As if she were annoyed with his reaction, she added quickly, "Oh, don't worry. Last week I hired someone to follow her. He keeps me posted about her whereabouts. She's absolutely fine. And I'm convinced Moore had hired someone to break into her house to get the file."
"You have hired someone to keep her under surveillance?" Mason asked, again astonished about the lengths this woman went to achieve her goals.
She smiled, "You know what they say: keep your friends close and your enemies under surveillance."
"Is that how you see her?" Mason asked darkly. "As your enemy?"
"That's the place she put herself in." She rolled her eyes in amusement when she saw the disbelief on his face. "Don't be so shocked. You knew I wasn't about to let this go."
"And what, exactly, is it you want from me?"
Her answer came quickly and precisely. "Come with me, when I get the file from Moore."
"Did he say what he wanted in return?"
"Of course, he did. What do you think? He wants a favor. It seems his new partner is running for congress and wants some well-meaning financial support for her."
"Why would Elliot Moore support Jennifer Parker in her political ambition? I never thought he took a special liking for women in politics."
"Use your imagination and you'll get to the bottom of that mystery," Raven suggested with a smirk.
"You checked them out as well?"
"Of course and it seems that two are an item - in and outside the office."
Again he wasn't surprised, but disgusted. These two as a couple made perfect sense. They deserved each other. "I see."
"I guess he thinks if Laura finds out about it, she'll be less than pleased. I doubt she cares. "
Perry contemplated what he heard and came to a decision.
"Ellen," he started reasonably. "Do you really think that conspiring with someone like Elliot Moore is worth finding out something that will probably lead you into the next dead end? Maybe the man is already dead or, and that's what I fear, is someone who will mean nothing but a lot of trouble for you?"
Ellen sighed. "I know you're worried and I appreciate your concern, but I need to know... I'm aware this has already gone too far, but it made me who I am. I'll let myself down, if I let her get away with this. I need to know who my father is and so you do!"
Perry believed it. Every word of it, but he decided it wasn't his mission.
"And I can't help you."
She seemed crushed and her voice was shaking when she spoke again, "Is that your final word?"
Mason nodded firmly. "It is."
"Seems I've misjudged. Or perhaps you're still afraid of her."
"I have nothing more to say." He turned his back on her and seconds later he heard the angry drumroll of her heels on the floor and the door to his apartment falling shut behind her.