“Well here you are.” Oscar smiled at his friend in the review mirror. “You take care and we’ll see you when you get back.”
“I hope we don’t see you before then Oscar.” Steve opened the door for his new bride. “Come on sweetie. We don’t want to miss the boat.”
“I caught the boat when I caught you.” She teased. “But I know what you’re saying.” She stepped out of the car and onto the curb.
Oscar and Steve stepped to the trunk to get out Steve and Laura’s bags. “I have to say this Steve.” Oscar looked toward the pretty blonde growing impatient standing by the front of the car. “You sure know how to pick them.”
“Thanks Oscar.” Steve placed the last of their bags on the curb. He turned and smiled at his bride.
“By the way have you told her yet?” Oscar wondered.
“Told her what Oscar?” Steve reached down to pick up the bags.
“You know perfectly well what. Have you told her about your bionics?” Oscar glanced again at Laura who was growing even more impatient.
“Not yet Oscar I thought I would wait till we got back.” Steve patted Oscar on the back. “I’ll see you when I get back. Not before.”
Oscar watched as Steve carried the bags in one hand and put his other arm around his new wife. “Have a good time pal.”
Steve and Laura climbed onto the ship that would take them on their honeymoon.
The cruise director greeted them “Good morning. I’m Sally I’m you’re cruise director. May I have your names and I’ll tell you where your rooms are.”
“We’re Mr. and Mrs. Steve Austin. And we better well be in the same room!!” Laura snapped. Much to Steve’s shock, this was a side of Laura he had never seen before.
“Why yes, of course.” Sally stammered as she thumbed through her passenger list. “You are in the honeymoon suite.”
“Thank you very much!” Laura continued to snub poor Sally. “Please have our bags brought to our room.”
“That’s ok Laura. I’ll carry them.” Steve smiled an apology to the Cruise Director.
“Steve you’re paying enough for this trip, the least they can do, is bring our luggage to us.” She smiled sweetly but for some reason it made Steve feel very uneasy.
“We’ll see that your bags make it to your room.” Sally assured.
“Very well” Laura grabbed Steve by the arm “Come on let’s go check out our room.”
Steve made sure all the bags were together then followed his bride up to their room.
“You know, you really didn’t need to be so short with her.” Steve said once they were settled in the room.
“I hate to argue with you Steve, but sometimes you have to be. We are paying for this cruise. They work for us. They really need to know their place.”
“Laura.” Steve was still shocked. “I’ve never seen this side of you before.”
Laura walked over to him. “I’m sorry honey. It’s just that….well you know I was a house keeper for a number of years?”
“Yes I remember your telling me that. I believe it was our second date.”
“Right” She led Steve to a love seat that sat in their room. “Here.” She patted the seat next to her. Steve sat and put his arm around her. “Well anyway. The people I worked for were less than kind…”
“Most people in you situation vow to be just the opposite” Steve reminded.
“That was my intention I’m sorry Steve it won’t happen again.” She smiled at him then laid her head on his shoulder. “I promise, forgive me?”
“Of course I do.” Steve kissed her warmly. “Why don’t we take a little walk around the deck before dinner?”
“I didn’t come on this cruise to walk around the deck.” She smiled at him.
“That’s my girl.” Steve smiled back at her…..
“Well.” Steve said as he locked the cabin door. “They have us down for the 7:00 seating for dinner.” He glanced at his watch. “It’s 6:45. I suppose we better make tracks.”
Laura grabbed onto Steve’s arm. “Let’s make it a quick dinner.” She whispered.
“Those were my intentions.” Steve put his arm around her waist
Sally met them at the entrance to the dinning room “Col and Mrs. Austin?”
“Yes.” Steve replied.
“We have you seated at the captains table.” She escorted them to their seats.
Again Laura became angry “In the future missy!” She once again condemned the poor cruise director. “I would prefer to choose where I sit myself! As I stated before, my husband and I are on our honeymoon. Did it ever occur to you we just might like to dine alone?”
Sally blushed. “I am sorry. Most people consider it an honor to be seated at the captain’s table, especially on the first night.”
“And we do.” Steve apologized. He took Laura by the hand and led her to her seat. “My wife is just a little excited.” He pulled out Laura’s seat. “Here you are.” He helped her to her seat.
“I understand.” Sally smiled. She gave Steve a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.
Sally leaped out of her seat. “Don’t you ever touch my husband again!!” She shrieked.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean anything by it.” Sally turned quickly and made a hasty retreat.
Steve sat next to Laura “I thought you were going to stop that.” Steve whispered as to not further embarrass his new bride any more that she should be already.
“Old habits die hard.” She smiled as she whispered back.
“Try to control yourself a little better. She’s only doing her job.”
“Well her job doesn’t include trying to take my husband.” Sally snarled.
“That was not her intention at all. She’s just trying to be friendly and make us feel welcome.”
“Well she can be friendly with someone else’s husband. Now let’s decide what we are going to eat.”
Soon they were joined by the captain. “Col Austin I’ll admit sir it’s a real pleasure having you on board ship.”
Steve rose to greet the captain. “Thank you for saying so. May I present my wife Laura?”
“Good evening Mrs. Austin. I hope you are enjoying the cruise thus far.” The captain shook her hand.
“Yes. It’s just lovely.” Laura smiled at him.
Back in Washington Oscar, Rudy and Russ sat talking in Oscar’s office. “I want you to do it on the Q T Russ. If Steve even suspected I was having Laura investigated, he’d give me the bionic boot to Mars or something.”
“I understand Oscar. I’ll be as discreet as possible.” Russ assured.
“Thanks Russ. I just get a very uneasy feeling about this, about her.” Oscar sat back in his chair. “I don’t know what it is. I wish I could put my finger on it.”
“If you ask me” Rudy smiled. “I think Oscar is jealous.”
“I hope that’s all it is Rudy. Once Russ completes the background check, I’ll feel better.”
“Me too I suppose.” Rudy agreed.
The knocking woke Steve from a sound sleep. He glanced over at Laura who remained sleeping.
Steve got out of bed and slipped on his robe. He then stepped over to the door. “Who’s there?” He glanced at the clock it was three in the morning. ‘This better be good’ he thought.
“It’s the Captain Sir. I hate to disturb you…”
Steve opened the door. “What seems to be the trouble?”
“Well sir there’s been a murder on board ship.”
“A murder?” Steve could hardly believe what he was hearing.
“Yes sir. We were wondering if you could help us out a bit.”
“I’ll do what I can. I’ll be right down.” Steve stepped over to closet and began to get dressed.
“Steve? What’s going on?” Laura called from the bed.
“Nothing, the Captain wants to see me about something. I’ll be right back.” Steve gave her a kiss.
“Let the Captain handle what ever it is by himself.” Laura screamed. “I want you here with me!”
“It will only take a minute.” Steve was beginning to wonder if he should take Oscar up on his offer to do a background check on the newly wed Mrs. Austin.
The Captain was waiting outside the door when Steve stepped out. “I’m so sorry to interrupt your honeymoon.” The captain spoke softly “but we thought you could give us a hand on this.”
“Glad to help out as much as I can.” Steve yawned.
The Captain led Steve to the victim’s room. “The victim’s name is Alice Aarons. The captain informed Steve.
“Was she traveling alone?” Steve wondered.
“Yes she was. She is…rather I should say was a teacher from Columbus Ohio.”
When Steve arrived back in his cabin, Laura was fit to be tied. “What took so long?” She screamed.
“Laura. Just take it easy.” Steve tried to calm her.
The pattern repeated for the next two nights. The second victim was Barry Ackerman.
“Same as before” The captain greeted Steve at the door of Barry’s cabin. His wife Chris was in no condition to answer any questions.
“Are there any other clues?” Steve was beginning to wonder if maybe he should call Washington.
“No none what so ever.” The captain replied.
“If it would be possible I might just need to make a ship to shore call.”
“We can arrange it, it may takes a couple of hours.” The captain replied.
“That’s fine, just get it arranged.” Steve knew it was time to call in the troops. “I’ll let you know
By the third night when Barry’s wife Chris was murdered the Captain took Steve and his crew aside. “Well gentlemen, as much as I hate to admit it. It looks as if we have a serial killer on board, and it looks like he’s working in alphabetical order starting with the A’s…
“May I see the passenger list?” Steve asked
“I believe that could be arranged.” The captain agreed. He turned to Sally “See to it that Col. Austin has a list of the passengers by morning.” He ordered.
“I’ll get it ready right away.” Sally assured.
When Steve arrived back at he and Laura’s stateroom Laura was standing in the door tapping her foot on the floor. “This is beginning to get a little annoying. Can’t they handle this situation themselves?”
“They probably can, but they have asked for my help. In fact they are arranging a ship to shore call so I can call Oscar.”
“What ever for?” Laura snapped.
“This is more his department, than mine.” Steve sighed.
“Well maybe he should take over. I came here to have a good time, and that’s what I’m going to have.”
Steve could only stare at her. “The Captain’s thinking of recalling the cruise.” Steve informed her. “Although the rest of the passengers don’t know what’s going on I’m sure they’ll figure it out.”
“They can’t recall it!” Laura screamed. “Nothing or no one is going to ruin this trip.”
“It’s already ruined.” Steve muttered as he stepped into bathroom to shower. When he stepped out Laura was lying on the bed. “Come on over I’ll help you forget you trouble.” She smiled.
“Not now Laura.” Steve headed for the door. “I’m going to see if the Captain has anymore information.”
“Well then I’m coming with you.” She jumped out of bed and walked to the door with Steve.
Sally stood outside the door poised to knock.
“What do you want?” Laura barked.
“I came to tell Col. Austin his call is ready to go through. And here’s the passenger’s list. I hope it helps you.”
Steve took the list. “Thanks.” He brushed past Laura and followed Sally to the communications room on the ship.
“Just tell the operator the number you wish to call.” Sally instructed.
“I will. And thanks.” Steve gave the operator the number for Oscar’s private line in Washington.
Oscar and Rudy were just getting ready to leave when Oscar’s private line rang. The two looked at one another in astonishment. They knew that only a handful of people had that number.
Oscar grabbed it and picked up the receiver. “Russ?” He asked.
“No Oscar it’s me.” Steve’s voice was crackly coming from the ship.
“Steve? I can hardly hear you. What’s the trouble?”
“I need your help Oscar.” Steve gave him a brief rundown on what was going on. “The captain has cleared the way for you and Rudy to come and give your assistance.”
“How do we get to you?”
Steve thought for several minutes. Oscar was beginning to think they had lost him. “Call Bill Richards, he’ll be able to get you out here in a chopper. They have a deck for such landings. I’ll tell the captain.” He gave Oscar the information Bill Richards would need to radio the captain, then he headed back up on deck.
“Oscar Goldman of the OSI is on his way.” Steve informed the captain. I’m sure with his help, we can get this resolved.”
“I hope so. But if one more person is murdered, I’m afraid we are gong to have to recall this cruise.”
“I understand.” Steve gave him a pat on the back and headed for his own stateroom.
“I’m feeling very neglected.” Laura cried when Steve opened the door.
“I’m sorry Laura.” Steve apologized. “I had to make that call.”
“Who did you call?” Laura was demanding.
“I called Oscar.” Steve informed her. “I think he can help us out. The captain says if one more murder occurs he’s going to recall the cruise.
“He can’t do that!” Laura stammered. “I mean we can’t disappoint all of those people.”
“Well the choice is not mine.” Steve muttered. “I have some more work to do. You can come with me or stay here.”
“I’ll come with you.” She replied sweetly
Steve was beginning to wonder about his new bride.”
After leaving information with Russ on how to contact them Rudy and Oscar headed for Dulles where Steve’s friend Bill Richards was waiting to helicopter them out to the ship Steve and his bride were on.
A short time later Steve and the captain greeted Rudy and Oscar as they exited the chopper. “I appreciate your calling us in.” Oscar spoke to the captain.
“I’m just glad you agreed to help.” The captain offered his hand.
Oscar shook it and they headed for the captain’s quarters to devise a strategy to see if they might be able to find out who was doing the killings before they struck again.
“I have someone working on the passenger list. I hope you don’t mind.” Oscar stated when they were seated. “They are quietly doing background checks on every one on board.”
“The passenger’s won’t know about this will they?” the captain didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.
“My people are very discreet.” Oscar assured. He turned to Steve. “If he continues to go the way he has been going, then David Anderson will be his next victim.” Oscar looked at the list. He was counting the rest of the names till he came to Austin. “Only one more” he muttered “only one more after Mr. Anderson.”
“What was the Oscar?” Steve wondered.
“I said there is only one more person between you and David Anderson. That would be Ella Attlee.”
“But L comes before S. Steve pointed out. He did a husband/wife number already. Even that is done alphabetical.
“You have a point there Steve. I say we get ship security to guard Mr. Anderson tonight. See if we can’t catch him in the act.”
The captain agreed to place a guard outside David Anderson’s stateroom. He then found a room for Rudy and Oscar.
“Thanks for being so accommodating.” Oscar replied as he opened the door to the stateroom.
“I’m sorry you have to share, but this cruise was booked solid for weeks. And I can’t give you the rooms of the victims. I’m sure when we get back the police will want to conduct their own investigation. That is if we have come up with nothing.”
“I understand. We appreciate everything you have done.” Oscar recounted.
“Well good evening then.” The captain left the two of them alone.
“Where do we begin Rudy?” Oscar wondered. He was more concerned for the well being of his friend. He and Rudy were perfectly safe. If the killer stuck to his pattern it would be a while before he got to G and W.
They met Steve and Laura in the dining room where they four of them sat quietly talking.
Late in the evening Oscar, Steve and Rudy unable to sleep sat in the main dining room sipping coffee. “Let’s just hope we can get through the night and David Anderson is still here in the morning.”
That wouldn’t happen. They were just getting ready call it a night and head back to there rooms when the captain came running up to them.
“What is it?” Oscar asked the frantic captain.
“It’s happened again. We found David Anderson dead.”
“Where was the guard?” Oscar demanded an answer.
“Mr. Anderson said he was going for a walk on deck. The guard tried to stop him. By the time the guard caught up to him. David Anderson’s throat had been slashed.
Oscar, Rudy and Steve followed the Captain to the deck where David Anderson’s body lay in a pool of blood. This time they left a note.
“I’m almost through the A’s only three more, then I start with the B’s
Oscar gave Steve a serious look knowing he was one of the three.
Once again they assembled in the Captain’s quarters. “Well gentlemen.” The captain began. I have the safety of my passengers to consider. I’m going to turn this ship around and head back to NY. I have no choice.”
“I agree. Have the authorities in NY deal with it.” Oscar agreed.
On their way back to their staterooms Rudy reminded everyone that they were three days away from New York and it was going to take the Captain at least a day to turn the ship around.
“That’s one thing I admire about you Rudy. You always find the bright spot.” Steve laughed.
Steve tiptoed back into the room as to not wake Laura. He quietly slipped under the covers and was soon snoring.
The next morning Steve found Laura on deck leaning over the rail. “What’s the matter?” He questioned.
“Steve what’s going on? When I have come out to this deck this time of day, the sun is the other direction.”
“That’s because the Captain turned the ship around last night. There was another murder.”
“So because some loser gets himself killed my honeymoon is ruined.” Laura spat at him.
“It can’t be helped.” Steve turned away from her. She was really getting on his nerves.
Oscar was just getting ready to leave his room when Sally knocked. “Sir I have a phone call for you from a man named Russ. He said it was urgent.”
“I’m right behind you.” Oscar grabbed his jacket and followed Sally to the Communications room.
“Right here” she pointed to the phone.
Oscar picked it up praying that the connection had not been lost in the time it took to get him down here.
“Yea Oscar” Came Russ’ crackling voice. “I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
“Just give it to me Russ.”
“It’s about Steve’s wife. First of all her name is not Laura Finster. Actually Finster was her married name. Her maiden name is Laura Dolenz. She’s Jeffery’s sister. Second of all prior to Steve meeting her she had spent the past 12 years in prison. Get this for murdering her former husband…”
Oscar’s face went white. “Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure?”
“I’m afraid so Oscar…” Russ’ final words were cut off when the connection was lost.
Oscar returned to his room to tell Rudy the bad news. “I’m afraid Steve’s new bride just may be the one committing these murders…” Oscar began.
“You can’t be serious?” Rudy stared at him.
“I’m afraid I am. I just had a call from Russ, the background check proved that not only was Laura Finster married before, which by the way Finster is her married name…”
“What was her maiden name? I’m almost afraid to ask.”
“Her maiden name is Dolenz. She’s Jeffery’s sister. Plus she murdered her first husband. She served 12 years for that.”
“We better tell Steve.” Rudy jumped out of his seat.
The two ran down the hall to Steve and Laura’s stateroom. “Steve its Oscar” Oscar pounded on the door.
“It’s open come on in.” Steve called through the closed door.
Oscar and Rudy stepped in. “Where’s Laura?” Oscar looked around the room.
“She went up on deck for a bit. She’s a bit miffed that the captain chose to recall the cruise.”
“I’ll bet she is. Steve I had Russ run a background check on…”
“You did what?” Steve screamed. “You investigated my wife?”
“Steve if you will just hear me out…”
“I won’t hear you out but I want you out!” Steve continued to shout. “I want you out of my room NOW!!!”
“Steve please hear me out.” Oscar pleaded.
“You have thirty seconds.” Steve seethed.
“First of all Finster was her married name…”
“Is that all you have that she was married before. She told me that.”
“Did she also tell you he maiden was Dolenz? She’s Jeffery’s sister.” Oscar continued.
“Do you believe that?” Laura asked from the doorway.
“Laura?” They all gasped.
“Steve, I asked if you believed that?” Laura gave him a cold look.
“I don’t know. Is your name Dolenz?” Steve demanded an answer.
“Does the name bother you?” Laura persisted.
Steve looked from Rudy to Oscar. “No I can’t say it does.” He lied. Is that you’re maiden name?”
Laura nodded. “Yes it is. Now for my other question, do you believe them?”
“I don’t know what to believe.” He muttered. “I need sometime to think. I’m taking a walk around the deck. I’ll be back in a while.”
Steve left the room followed by Rudy and Oscar. “I meant what I said.” Steve pointed out. “I want to be alone with my thoughts for a while.”
“Just see to it that you don’t get your throat slashed.” Oscar cautioned.
“I’ll be careful ‘dad’” Steve smiled.
“I mean it Steve. She’s already killed what four times. She just may decide to skip Ella Attlee and go for you.”
“I think I can take care of myself.” Steve assured.
“Just be careful.” Oscar cautioned once again.
They headed their separate ways Steve started walking around the deck while Oscar and Rudy headed back to their stateroom.
“What do you think?” Rudy asked.
“I don’t know what to think.” Oscar sighed. “Steve married to a cold blooded killer. I suppose we should inform the captain.”
“Steve asked us not to remember?” Rudy reminded. “By the way is Ella Attlee being guarded?” If Laura can’t get to her she just may go after Steve.”
“I don’t think she would I mean with the two of us knowing all about her I don’t think she would dare.”
“You may be right.” Rudy agreed. “I still don’t like it very well.”
“I don’t either Rudy but until Steve believes us we have no choice but to go along with him.”
“I suppose you’re right.” Rudy agreed once again. “I just hope Steve decides to trust us over Laura.”
“Me to” Oscar stood and began to pace around the stateroom. They had sat for several
minutes when a knock came to the door.
Oscar and Rudy both jumped afraid it was the captain going to tell them they had found Steve’s body.
Rudy slowly stood and answered the door “Steve!” he called out.
“Shhhhhhhhh I don’t want Laura to know I’m here.” He whispered.
“You believe us then.” Oscar asked
“I never doubted you.” Steve stepped into the room. I just had to get away from her for a while so I made up that story about going up on deck. I think we should tell the captain what we know.”
“I’m all for that.” Oscar reached for the phone to call the captain’s quarters.
“Yes Captain this is Oscar Goldman. I believe we just might know who the killer is.”
“I’ll be right there. Are you in your stateroom?” He asked.
“Yes we’ll wait for you here.” Oscar assured.
“I’ll be there if about twenty minutes. I have to go up on the bridge first then I’ll come right down.”
“Thanks.” Oscar hung up and turned to Steve and Rudy. “He’s on his way, he has something to do on the bridge, and then he’ll be right down.”
The three men sat together waiting for the captain to come down. “Do you suppose he’ll take Laura into custody right away?” Steve asked.
“I would assume so.” He turned to Rudy “How far from NY do you think we are?”
“At least a day, say did anyone think to check on our killer.”
“I’ll go.” Steve volunteered. “I’ll just see if she’s still in the room.” He tiptoed across the hall to his own room. It was amazing that the captain was able to find a stateroom for Oscar and Rudy right across the hall from his own. He opened the door and observed the lump under the covers. Assuming Laura was sleeping, Steve went back over to Rudy and Oscar’s room.”
“She’s sleeping.” Steve informed them “any word from the captain?”
“Not since I called him.” Oscar noted.
“Well at least she’s asleep.” Steve directed his thumb toward the door.
They were beginning to give up when the captain finally knocked on the door. “You say you know who the killer is.” He said when he stepped into the room.
“I’m afraid so.” Steve mumbled. “It’s my bride.”
“Really?” the captain questioned.
All Steve could do is nod. “She’s across the hall in bed. Come on I’ll let you in.” The four walked across the hall and Steve opened the door. He walked over to the bed feeling safe with everyone around.
“Laura.” He spoke softly. “Laura you need to wake up.” He reached out and pulled the blanket down to reveal nothing but a clump of pillows. “She’s gone!” He cried.
Steve frantically looked around the room. “She’s gone I’m telling you.”
They all looked around the room. Steve opened the door to the bathroom to see if maybe she was in there. He didn’t find her but he found a note taped to the mirror
I can’t take it that you don’t trust me. I’m leaving.
Steve didn’t believe what he had read. “We have to find her and fast, before she kills again.”
They were too late. As they were leaving Steve’s room the cruise director came dashing down the hall. “Captain I’ve been looking all over for you. Ella Attlee was murdered.
“That means Steve is next.” Oscar moaned….
“Do you have any idea where she could be?” The Captain asked.
Steve shook his head. “No I really don’t. But I’ll help you find her.” Steve offered
“No you won’t.” Oscar spoke. “I don’t want you running around not knowing where she is. She’s probably watching your every move. You won’t know where she is, but she’ll know where you are.”
“Oscar she’s my wife, I feel responsible. I brought her on this cruise, and now she’s killed five people in as many days.”
“I understand your frustration Steve, but I can’t risk it.” Oscar stated.
“I think I can take care of myself.” Steve snorted.
“If I may,” the Captain interrupted. “Col Austin I don’t blame you at all for any of this. Now had you known she was a cold blooded killer…well then that would be a different story all together.”
“I had no idea.” Steve slumped down on the love seat where ages ago he and Laura had shared an intimate moment.
“Let us handle it Steve” Oscar added. “I want you to lock the door and don’t let anyone in.” He cautioned.
“Oscar I’m sure she has a key.” Steve muttered.
“We can have the locks changed in a matter of a couple of hours.” The Captain suggested.
“That might not be a bad idea.” Oscar agreed.
“I’ll get right on it.” The Captain turned to leave the room. “On second thought.” He continued “Why don’t I find you another room.
“That sounds better yet.” Rudy spoke “Why not take our room Steve?”
Steve shook his head. “No that would be too obvious.” Steve thought for a moment how about one of the rooms where the people were just killed? I won’t touch anything I promise.”
“That might also be to obvious, but I have no more available state rooms. As I told your friends this cruise has been booked solid for months.”
“I understand.” Steve sighed. “I think one of the other state rooms will be just fine.”
“That’s great. I’ll make the arrangements. Someone will be here in a few moments to escort you to your new room” He turned to Oscar and Rudy, “are you two coming?” They all left the room and headed out to try and find Laura, hopefully before she found Steve.
Oscar and Rudy followed the Captain to his quarters. His first objective was to inform his crew as to what was going on and have them search the ship for Laura. His next order of business was to get Steve into a new room. He handed the keys to stateroom 12 to Sally and asked her to please escort Col. Austin to that room.
“Yes Captain. I’ll do it right now.” Sally took the key and headed up to Steve’s room and knocked on the door. “Col. Austin?”
“Yes.” Steve spoke through the closed door. “Who’s there?”
“It’s Sally, the cruise director. I’ve come to take you to a different state room per the Captain’s request.”
Steve opened the door. “Thanks.” He replied. He followed her to room 12.
“You should be safe here.” Steve told him as she opened the door. “Here’s the key. Just let us know if you want anything. Everyone thinks you’ll be safer if you don’t leave the room.”
“Thanks again.” Steve took the key from her and locked the door as soon as she left.
Unbeknownst to Sally and Steve, Laura had followed them all the way up to room 12. She walked up to the closed door. “I’ll deal with you later my sweet.” She lightly touched the door. “I’m afraid I have a surprise for you that may change you mind about me. But first I take care our Miss Sally. I know I’ll get off track just a bit, but she deserves it.”
She continued to follow Sally down the hall. When she was sure they were all alone, she let her presence be known.
She walked up to Sally and grabbed her from behind. “I thought I told you to stay away from my husband.” She seethed.
Sally tried to get out of her grip, but Laura held her tight.
“Did you hear me?” Laura continued.
“Yes.” Sally squeaked out.
“Good cause I want you to know why you’re going to die.” And with that Laura snapped her neck. She left Sally in a heap on the deck.
“Now for my dear husband” she hissed. She started back to the state room where Sally had left Steve. Laura started down the hall. She was getting close to the door when the Captain, Oscar and Rudy approached the door. She quickly ducked into another hallway.
She watched as Oscar knocked on the door. ‘Dam’ she thought.
“Steve its Oscar” Oscar called through the door.
“Just a minute” Steve opened the door and let them in. “Did you find her yet?”
Oscar shook his head. ‘We’re still searching.
“Maybe I should set myself up.” Steve suggested.
“That might be a good idea.” Oscar began “We could just move you back to your own room and stay there till…” There was a frantic knock at the door
Steve answered it. “Yes?” he spoke to one of the crew members.
“I hate to bother, but is the Captain here?” He asked.
“Yes I am Frank, what is it?” The Captain was irritated about being bothered.
“I’m afraid I have some bad news sir. Sally Kemp was murdered…”
“What?” They all voiced in disbelief.
“I’m afraid so. We found her body on the deck. Her neck is broken.”
They followed Frank up to the deck where Sally’s body lay. “When did this happen?” The Captain barked.
“We don’ know sir. We found her about ten minutes ago. We’ve been trying to find you…”
“We’ll take care of it.” The Captain sighed. “Poor Sally, she was a wonderful cruise director.” He sobbed.
“That’s it!” Steve shouted. I’m going to find her if it’s the last thing I do!”
“Steve! Don’t be ridiculous. I’m sure she’s watching your every move.” Oscar cautioned.
“I agree with Oscar.” Rudy added “You’re only inviting trouble.”
“Haven’t you heard?” Steve smiled. “That’s my middle name.”
Oscar was right. Sally was watching everything. “Don’t worry Steve.” She whispered. You don’t have to worry about finding me. I’ll be more than happy to find you.”
“At least let me send a crew member with you.” The Captain offered.
“No way Captain!” Steve was adamant. ‘You’ve already lost one crew member. And a very lovely one at that I’m not going to let one more person be murdered on this ship. Remember what we discussed earlier?”
They all nodded.
“I think it’s time we put the plan into action.”
“Ok Steve. I just hope you know what you’re doing.” Oscar whispered wondering if Laura was within earshot.
Laura followed as Steve headed back toward his room. She watched as Rudy, Oscar and the Captain all went separate directions.
Steve let himself back into his own state room then sat back to wait for his wife to come in and try to kill him.
Laura stood in the hallway for well over an hour to see if Steve would leave. She watched as the Captain approached the door.
“Are you in for the night sir?” The captain asked.
Steve scanned the hall with his eye. He saw Laura hiding behind a doorway watching. “Yes Captain I’m going to call it a night. Let me know if you need me for anything. He gave a slight nod toward the doorway and the Captain too saw Laura.
“Well then I’ll see you in the morning.” He left and rounded up two crew members to watch Laura.
“I don’t want you to approach her she’s a very dangerous woman just watch her. Let Col. Austin know if she moves from where she is.”
“We will Captain.” They assured. They watched for several moments and when Laura moved from the doorway and headed toward the dinning room they called Steve’s room right away. “She’s gone to the dinning room.” They informed him.
“Very good” Steve hung up and told Oscar, Rudy and the Captain it was safe to come in.
In the room everyone got ready for Laura’s impending visit. “I just hope she doesn’t kill another innocent before she gets to me.” Steve sighed. “Maybe you should have grabbed her when you had the chance…”
“They couldn’t prove it Steve.” Oscar reminded. “This way we’ll catch her in the act.”
“I suppose you’re right. And I’m the one she really wants. Ok it’s past 11:00 I suppose we better all take our places
Rudy and the Captain hid in the bathroom, while Oscar took the closet and Steve laid down on the bed.
They waited for what seemed like hours, then everyone jumped when the heard the key in the lock.
Steve tried to remain still, but was very nervous.
Oscar as well as Rudy and the Captain opened the doors to their hiding places just a crack, just enough to watch Laura approach Steve with a butcher knife.
As she readied to plunge the knife into her supposedly sleeping bride groom Steve leaped out of bed and wrestled the knife away from her.
The Captain, Rudy and Oscar all came out from their hading places and Steve handed Laura and the knife over to her.
“Thanks for the help Col. Austin.” The Captain replied. “I’ll lock her to another room until we reach NY tomorrow, then I’ll hand her over to the authorities in NY”
“Sounds good” Steve agreed. “At least everyone on board ship will can sleep easy tonight.”
“Wait a minute!” Laura screamed as she tried to get out of the Captain’s grip. “I have something to tell you.” She glared at Steve.
“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say!” Steve spat.
“Oh you’ll want to hear this. I don’t think you’re going to want me to go to prison.” She smirked.
“And why is that?” Steve questioned.
“I’m pregnant.” She laughed. “I don’t think you want your child born and raised in a prison cell, no do you?”
Steve could only stare at her. Could it be true? Was she indeed pregnant?....
“What did you say?” Steve wanted her to repeat.
“You heard me silly.” Laura broke away from the Captain and walked over to where Steve stood. “We’re going to have a baby.”
“Are you sure? I mean we were just married…” Steve stammered unbelieving.
“Steve, remember the night you asked me to marry you?” Laura reminded.
Steve nodded. “Yes I do.”
“Well silly I’m going to have a baby.” She repeated. She reached up and stroked Steve’s cheek. “Now you don’t want your child born in prison do you. Do you really think the mother of your yet to be born child could commit murder?”
Steve turned from Oscar and Rudy to the Captain. There faces said it all. Steve grabbed her arms and held tight. “Of course I believe it. You tried to kill me. I saw you.”
“Steve please.” Laura begged.
“No Laura.” Steve again thrust her toward the Captain.
“Ok have it your way. I’ll see to it that you never see this baby!” She shrieked.
“If there even is a baby” Steve surmised.
“I wouldn’t lie about a thing like that.” Laura hissed. “I’m going to have your baby, and you’ll never see him!”
“There is one way to find out.” Rudy suggested. “I’ll give her a pregnancy test.” He turned to Laura. “You will submit to one won’t you?”
Laura nodded. “To prove to him” she pointed to Steve. “Of course I will!”
Ten minutes later the ship’s doctor allowed Rudy to use his office for few minutes while he confirmed weather or not Laura was pregnant.
Steve sat on the edge of his seat waiting for the answer minutes ticked by that seemed like hours. Rudy finally emerged from the office of the ship’s doctor. Steve jumped to his feet.
“Well Rudy?” He demanded.
“No doubt about it Steve, she’s going to have your baby.”
Steve sighed as he slumped down into a chair. “Now what do we do?”
“We’ll help you anyway we can Steve.” Oscar assured. “We can’t let her keep your child.”
“I may have no choice Oscar. The courts…”
“…Aren’t going to give custody to a felon.” Oscar finished.
“I wouldn’t count on that Oscar.” Steve sighed. He watched as the Captain escorted Laura out of the room.
“Don’t worry Steve. We’ll help you.” Oscar again assured.
“I hope you can.” was all Steve said.