Annalise woke with a start, she rolled over and reached for her clock. It took a few empty grasps in the general direction of her bedside table before she remember where she was. Annalise sat up straight, rubbed her eyes and waited for her eyes to adjust to the low level of light in the room. She leant over the side of the bed and grabbed her phone, it flashed 4:03am.
“My god” Annalise yawned. She slipped out the bed and tiptoed across the landing. When she reached the stairs she heard voices from one of the nearby rooms.
Her curiosity got the better of her so she crept over the the door and pushed her ear against the wood. It was Mr and Mrs Stately and it sounded heated.
“Maria, enough of this,” Mr Stately was talking in hushed tones which was unusual based on her past experience with him, “you’ve been sobbing all night, enough is enough. It was 3 decades ago woman, you need to get over this!”
“I’ll never get over it, James,” Mrs Stately was barely understandable between her sobs and sniffling, “I’ll never forgive myself for what happened”
“Maria, stop it. I need to sleep, I’m not feeling well and need my rest.” Mr Stately words sounded cold and harsh.
Annalise heard a noise behind her and spun round, it was Kris.
“What are you doing?” he whispered.
“Nothing, what are you doing” Annalise retorted.
“No need to be snippy, I heard something and woke up. I’m heading down for some water, you want some?”
“Sure, I’ll come with”
They both made their way to the kitchen silently. Annalise jumped up to the breakfast bar while Kris went through the cupboards looking for glasses for their drinks.
“So, who were you eavesdropping on up there? Was it Marco and Lena?” Kris asked.
“No, it was actually Mr and Mrs Stately, they were arguing over something,” Annalise paused, she wanted to take a second to think how she would word her next statement. “It sounded like Mr Stately has upset Maria, she was sobbing and talking about not forgiving herself for something.”
Kris wandered over with two glasses of water and sat next Annalise.
“What was it?” Kris had an eager tone to his voice that wasn’t sitting well with Annalise.
“Well, I don’t know do I, someone rudely interrupted me,” Annalise teased and started to run her finger along the rim of the glass, creating a low humming sound. “So, tell me a bit about you Kris. You never got much of a chance to introduce yourself earlier.”
“Oh, I’m not all that exciting, just a boy living his life one day at a time.”
“Surely not? There must be something interesting in there,” Annalise and Kris locked eyes across the counter.
Their gaze was interrupted by an ear piercing scream.
Mrs Stately was stood at the top of the stairs. Lena and Marco had just come out of their rooms and Annalise and Kris were stood at the foot of the stairs.
“He’s, he’s….gone” Mrs Statelys’ voice was shaking.
Lena ran into the Statelys room, another scream echoed around the house. Annalise and Kris rushed up the stairs, they were the last ones to get into the room.
Everyone stood around the body of Mr Stately, Annalise bent down and held her hand in front of his face to confirm the lack of breath coming from him. She looked up at everyone else.
“Well,” Kris asked.
“He’s gone,” Annalise looked over at Mrs Stately who was sobbing.
“How? Was he ill? He seemed alright to me at dinner” Lena directed her question to Mrs Stately who was now sitting on the armchair in her room, still sobbing.
Annalise stood up and noticed she had been kneeling in something wet on the ground. She bent down to inspect further, “guys, there’s vomit down here and look, he’s got discolouration on his palms as well, I’ve seen this before”
“Oh please, what do you know? You’re like 12, he’s old,” it was Marco, “Mrs Stately, did yous talk about who was going to inherit your business, so we can get out of here”
Mrs Stately let out a wailing sob. Lena retorted, “Way to be sensitive, jerk”. Marco was less than impress, “Shut up, woman.”
“Both of you shut up, Kris, take Mrs Stately to the kitchen, get her some water,” Annalise was taking charge of this situation before it all got out of hand.
Once Kris and Mrs Stately left the room Annalise turned to Lena and Marco.
“Guys, listen, I’ve seen this before in the lab. Mr Stately was poisoned.”
Previous: Chapter Two
Next: Chapter Four