A/N Thank you for your patience in the delay. For the next several chapters I'm issuing a blanket TRIGGER WARNING for references to violence though no sexual assaults and details won't be graphic. Also, there will be representations of PTSD and recovery.
Bill, Nathan, Gabe, and Patrick were sitting in the study, looking over notes before dinner while the others were resting, when the phone rang.
"O'Reilly residence," Patrick said, answering the phone.
"Patrick, this is Brian Henderson. Gustave has woken up and had a lot to say." Then he began telling of all the connections they hadn't known. But by the time he was finished, Patrick hardly knew what to say.
"Oh really," was all he was capable of at the moment. "Thank you, and I'll pass that on to the others. Please keep me updated, Henderson."
He sat there in stunned silence, in disbelief at what he had just been told. He was also trying to figure out how he was going to tell the three men in front of him.
Finally, he cleared his throat and said. "I need you both to let me finish what I have to say before you speak, all right?"
They reluctantly agreed. "Should we get the others?" Gabe asked.
"I'll brief William as we need to. Rosemary certainly doesn't need any more stress." Bill said. Patrick nodded and began to fill them in.
"Brian Henderson just talked to Gustav; he is not Lucas's cousin. He worked for Lucas's in-laws. Lucas is married to Jeanette, the daughter of Amos and Helen Dixon. The Spurlocks and Walden are working together to gain control of the town. The man that got away in Brookfield was Henri Dixon, Jeanette's brother. They definitely knew that Jack and Allie were there. Henri called, telling Lucas to get out of Hope Valley that the timetable had been moved up."
"I knew there was something up about that man," Bill said. "So, who shot Gustav?"
"Lucas was the one that ordered Julius Spurlock to shoot Gustav because of what he knew," Patrick answered.
"Bill, do you realize what this means?" Nathan said. "It confirms that Elizabeth was specifically targeted and gives even more weight to the revenge theory. Remember, the widow from Cape Fullerton's name was Jeanette. Lucas claimed that Amos was after her."
Nathan hung his head, shaking it back and forth as he tried to comprehend everything. All the senseless pain that Lucas had caused threatened to overwhelm him as he began to feel tears welling up. Suddenly Jack's words came to mind again 'look at everything because it all connects.'
"There's more," Patrick said. "They found evidence that two days ago, the Saloon and Oil business was sold to Wyman Walden. But before that, it wasn't owned by Lucas but owned by a company Nexxus Corporation."
Something tells me that the Nexus Corporation may be connected to the Syndicate." Nathan said. "Which, if it is, then Lucas is definitely part of the Syndicate.
We need to see if we can get Jameson to find pictures of this Henri and Jeanette, Bill. Something is telling me that they were from the train and are probably with Elizabeth right now." Nathan said. "I can't explain it, but something is telling me we are on to something."
"If we can verify them as being on the train, Nathan, then we can begin seeing if they have been spotted in any of the towns," Gabe said.
"Let me make a call because I may be able to get them," Patrick said, picking up the phone.
Nathan turned to his best friend and said, "Gabe?"
"I'm thinking that I need to go to Martinsville to help Jameson and Tim. If Elizabeth is found, there will be a familiar face in case she needs help." Gabe said.
Nathan's eyes glistened, and he just nodded. Then said, his voice choked as he said, "I would go, but I can't leave the children, and they have been through enough already."
"It's all right, Nathan. If our positions were reversed, you would do it for me," Gabe said. "We are brothers, and it's what we do for each other. I will stop at nothing to bring Elizabeth back to you and the children."
Patrick hung up the phone and spoke. The pictures will be here in the next hour. Apparently, there is a recent photo from 3 weeks ago of Helen with her children.
"We think that it would be best if Gabe went to Martinsville to work with Tim and Jameson in case they find Elizabeth," Bill said, looking at Patrick.
Patrick only nodded in agreement because he had thought the same thing. If it took Gabe being in Martinsville, where they suspected Elizabeth was being held, to keep Nathan calm, then he would be fine with it. He just prayed they found the Thorntons soon.
Jameson and Tim arrived in Martinsville and, after a quick bite, headed over to the café. They were not wearing their Serge so as to not alert anyone. Looking around, they didn't see anything out of the ordinary.
Finishing up their meals, they headed over to the Hotel. As they were heading to their room, they saw a woman they recognized arguing with a gentleman around their age. They couldn't make out what the couple was saying, but it was clear by the kiss they shared that they were involved. Making note of the room number the couple went into, they moved on to their assigned room. After settling in, they made their way over to the Mountie office. They needed to find out the names of the people assigned to that room number. They also wanted to let Patrick know that they were on the right track because they had just seen the woman from the train.
Unfortunately, when they went to the Mountie office, it was empty. A search for the Constables revealed they were away on a mission but expected back sometime in the morning. As they began to lose daylight, they headed back to the Hotel, hoping to get a fresh start in the morning. Until they could identify the woman from the train and her gentleman friend, it was best to wait for the Mounties to return. They didn't want to tip their hand if they didn't need to. SO notifying Patrick would also have to wait until the morning.
John was happy to see Ken was finally stirring and had lost that dazed look. He eventually was lucid enough to do more than wake up and eat. He was able to begin asking questions about where they were and what had happened.
Briefly, John introduced him to everyone and then told him about them being kidnapped. How he had been drugged through the food and spent most of the two weeks they had all been there, asleep.
Before John could say anything else, the door opened, and Spurlock and Yvette walked through the door. There was another young man with her that looked familiar to Elizabeth, but she was struggling to recall.
"So, our sleeping beauty has decided to awaken," Yvette said with a smirk. "I was beginning to think that all you were good for was eating and sleeping."
"No wonder you are so soft; you don't work for a living." Spurlock sneered.
"You know these pretty rich boys are useless for doing real work," Henri said.
Ken instantly bristled at the implications!
Walking towards the bars, Ken looked at Henri and Spurlock derisively up and down before sneering, "That's ironic coming from a drunk who probably hasn't done anything but lift a bottle. As for you," Ken continued looking at Henri, "Obviously, you are destined for a jail cell sometime in your future if you haven't already seen one. Maybe the two of you can even share a cell."
The others gasped in horror as Spurlock gave an evil grin. Elizabeth had gone white as a sheet, knowing what was coming. Spurlock grinned wickedly, obviously satisfied given how quickly he had achieved his goal.
"I see no one told you about the rule for causing trouble!" Yvette said with a smirk. "Well, let me show you firsthand.
Yvette cast a pitying glance at Elizabeth, but the smirk revealed her pleasure at what was about to happen. Then she said, waving a hand towards Elizabeth's cell. "Mr. Spurlock!"
With a chuckle, Charles stalked towards Elizabeth, enjoying the fear on her face. Charlotte went to say something, but Henri seeing it went over as Spurlock took out the keys!
"Is there something you would like to add, Mrs. Thornton?" Henri said, looking at Charlotte with a brow raised in challenge. Charlotte just closed her eyes, feeling helpless, and shook her head, a tear escaping as the cell door opened next door. Thankfully a short time later, the cell door closed, followed by the main entrance behind the three laughing figures.
Charlotte sat near the bars of the cell, running her hands over Elizabeth's hair in comfort, silently plotting her revenge against Spurlock. Thankfully Elizabeth had fallen asleep, but her breathing was shallow thanks to the abuse recently dished out by Spurlock. Charlotte's hands trembled with the strength of her anger. She looked over at the three men and saw they were feeling the same.
"We need to get out of here because she can't take much more of this," Charlotte said. Then looking at John's brother-in-law, she said, "I know that you weren't aware of the price for causing trouble, so I will let this time pass. But from now on, keep your mouth shut and do as you are told unless John or I tell you differently. Do you understand, Ken?"
The other man nodded. "Good, now John, have you come up with any ideas?"
"I have had a few ideas, but …." John just let the words trail as he looked at Elizabeth.
Charlotte sighed. "I know that it will be hard getting away because of her injuries, but if we don't do something …." Charlotte commented, unable to finish. Then strengthening her resolve, she continued, "Elizabeth and I have pistols, and the three of us have knives. I suggest we start there and figure out how to deal with Spurlock."
Before John could respond, Ken said, "I also have a pistol hidden in my boot."
Once more, Charlotte looked at the man. "Do you know how to use it? Have you ever had an occasion to use it?" She asked, trying to assess his usefulness. "Aiming a gun at a person is a lot different than shooting at a target, son. If you pull a gun on someone, you better be prepared to use it; otherwise, you become a liability."
"I've never had to do that before," Ken admitted.
"John, I think you should swap with him," Charlotte said. "He wouldn't be unarmed and defenseless, but we would have another pistol."
"I agree," John said as they quickly switched.
Elizabeth moaned as she began to try and find a more comfortable position. Her eyes opened, and Charlotte could see the pain reflected in them as she tried to sit up.
"Elizabeth, you need to stay still," Charlotte cautioned softly. "Moving around will only make the pain worse."
"I can't imagine pain feeling any worse than I am already in." Elizabeth rasped gingerly, touching her lip.
"It stopped bleeding finally," Charlotte observed before wincing. "But like your eye, it's swollen and turning colors. Elizabeth just nodded and hugged her chest wincing at the pain it caused.
"Oh, Lizzie, I just feel so frustrated and powerless that we are stuck here, and all I could do was stand there and watch you being hurt," Charlotte said, choking up as she recalled what had happened earlier.
"It's all right, Charlotte," Elizabeth said as a moan escaped. "Let's focus on getting out of here because it will only get worse from here—Charles Spurlock ….is the worst kind of lowlife."
"He seems to have a particular interest in hurting you, Elizabeth," John observed.
"There is, and the story isn't pretty. Jack put him in jail for trying to coerce a recently widowed young mother with three children to be friendly to him. But when she wouldn't cooperate, he attempted to frame her for arson when the church burned down. Jack and I were able to find the evidence to prove her innocence, and he went to jail."
"Along with attempting to kill you because you found the evidence," Charlotte added. When Elizabeth looked surprised, Charlotte explained., "Jack told me all about it in the weekly letters he wrote home. Before he met you, his letters were infrequent, but after you, they were like clockwork." Everyone chuckled until Elizabeth moaned at the pain it caused.