See part 1 for disclaimers

This update is rated "R" for content

The Tides of Fate

part 3

By Lena



"Did your men find anything, Jimmie?" Chelsea inquired of the detective whose men had been scouring the area for any sign of the shooter.

"The shooter was on a motorcycle. By the size of the tires and the indentation in the soft soil, my guess is a small one and a lightweight rider. We havenít found the gun yet, or the shell casing. But thereís still a few hours of daylight left. If itís out there, my men will find it."

"Thanks. I think it would be wise for me to contact some of my friends on the force and get around the clock protection for my client. This guy is taking chances that just donít fit my picture of him."

"I think that is a very good idea. I can send a squad car to patrol the area."

"Thanks. I appreciate it. I know you are always short handed."

"Wait a minute. One of my men is flagging me down. Let me go see what theyíve found."

"I hope itís good news. I have to look in on Tracy, then Iíll catch up."

* * *

Chelsea opened the bedroom door to find her client lying in the dark with an ice pack on her head. "Head hurts?" Chelsea whispered.

Tracy groaned. "Even my hair hurts."

"Can I get anything for you?" The concerned blonde sat next to the bed and took her friendís hand in hers.

"Can you tell me why some nut is trying to kill me?"

"I canít. Not yet. Iím sorry, Tracy."

Tracy slid the ice pack off of her dark head. "I know." She softly said.

Chelsea nodded and left the room.

* * *

"Weíve got the shell casing. Itís bagged and off to the lab. Youíll be glad to know that there were matching fingerprints on the envelope and the license plate we collected from Mrs. Chandlerís but we couldnít find a match in our database. However, it is definitely not Allyson or Tracy Chandlerís. The grease found on the envelope also matched that found on the murder weapon. Unfortunately, they werenít able to lift any clear prints off." The detective stated.

"Well, thatís something we didnít have before. Do you think that we could get a search warrant for Joseí Moralesí home based on those results?" Chelsea asked hopefully.

"Itís already in motion." James stated with a grin.

"You know. . . You are a pretty nifty guy." Chelsea observed with a huge grin.

"So Iíve heard. Iíll call you in the morning. In the meantime keep Mrs. Chandler safe. This guy isnít going to give up until we catch him."

Chelsea sighed. "Iíll do everything I can. That patrol car will be gratefully appreciated."

* * *

"Charlie, let's get security lights on all corners of the house. I want an alarm system and I want it from a company that has 24-hour monitoring. Iíll call and get four off-duty cops to guard the property. I want it done yesterday."

"You got it." Charles pulled out his cell phone and started calling.

* * *

After making all the security arrangements, Charlie, Tracy and Chelsea sat around the kitchen brainstorming, looking for any details that theyíd missed that could point them in the right direction. Tracy and Charles were excited over the search warrant and the possibility of finding the matching fingerprint they needed. They were about to dive into their soup and sandwiches when Tracyís cell phone rang.

"Tracy, check who it is before you answer." Chelsea warned.

"Itís my brother-in-lawís number. . . Hello Alex."

"Howíd you . . . Oh, caller ID."

"Yep. I have all the modern conveniences." Tracy smiled at hearing his familiar voice.

"Tracy, I called because I may have done something stupid and Iíd rather you hear it from me first."

Tracy looked up at her friends with a worried expression. "Alex, what did you do?" Tracy asked with a look of dread on her face.

"I was thinking about what that kid did to Joseí and how his grandfather let him get away with it. You know, none of this would have happened if the old bastard had punished that punk like he shouldíve. He took advantage of your Dad being so ill to save face, and . . . and now my sister is dead." Alexís anger and frustration evident in his tone.

"Alex, what did you do?" Tracy demanded an answer.

"I called Mr. Atkins and gave him an ear full. I told him just what I thought of him and little Timmy." There was a pregnant pause. "Anyway, you may need to do some damage control."

"What did he say when you confronted him on the phone?" Tracy inquired.

"Not much. Oh, except that I may want to look for other employment if I am so displeased with how he runs this business."

"How he runs this business? He sure has a high opinion of himself. If it werenít for my Dadís illness heíd still be the head of marketing for the Region, certainly not the Director. Oh boy, he has another thought coming. . . . Look, brother-in-law, you didnít do anything wrong. Itís high time I had a little talk with Mr. Atkins. He should definitely start looking for another position, since I will be taking over his duties as Regional Director. And, as Director, you are rehired."

"Thanks, sweetie. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when you fire his ass." Alex heaved a sigh of relief.

"Maybe Iíll tape it and send it to Americaís Funniest Videos." Tracy joked, although she didnít feel much like laughing.

"You do that. Look, thanks for understanding. Iíll talk at ya later."

"Iíll take care of it. Donít worry. Bye now." Tracy disconnected the cell line.

"What was that all about?" Chelsea asked.

Tracy filled her lawyer in on the details.

* * *

"James, I canít concentrate with you looking over my shoulder. Will you please just go sit down, drink your coffee, and let me do my job!?!" Joe Epstein was getting frustrated with his friend. He had slipped the detectiveís request for an I.D. on a fingerprint in ahead of all the other ASAP requests that were on his desk so the detective wouldnít bust the blood vessel that was pounding in his temple.

"Ok. Iíve done my part. The rest is up to the computer database. Sheís off and searching." The Assistant Medical Examiner fixed himself a cup of the hours-old brew, sat next to his impatient friend and waited for the results, if any, to appear.

"Bingo! Weíve got a match." Joe hopped out of his chair and read the results. The fingerprint is that of a Timothy Richard Atkins, age 18. Previous arrests are many and varied. You have a real winner here." Joe handed the information from the printer to the detective, who immediately set out to get a warrant for young Mr. Atkinís arrest on a charge of attempted murder.

* * *

Chelsea was rudely awakened by the incessant ringing of the telephone resting on the bedside table inches from her disheveled blonde head. "This had better be important." She croaked.

"We got him." Detective Hardie stated.

Chelsea rubbed her bleary eyes. "What?"

"Itís me, Jimmie. We caught the son of a bitch whose been terrorizing your client. You know. . . , the killer?" James chuckled triumphantly.

"Youíre kidding. Thatís awesome! So, the fingerprints matched? You are a god!" Chelsea whooped as she pumped her fist.

"Yeah. He didnít go far. We picked him up at his grandfatherís home. Atkinís didnít protect him this time. He handed him over on a silver platter. Seems heís been buying him out of trouble for years. You should see his record."

Chelsea stopped cold. "Atkins? What are you talking about? What happened to the Morales lead?"

"Nothing. I havenít gotten those results yet. Why? The boyís fingerprints were on the shell casing, we found the rifle in his bedroom and the scooter in his grandfatherís garage. What else do you need?"

"A motive, for one thing. The Atkins boy didnít have a reason to hurt the Chandlers. He didnít even know Allyson or Tracy at the time of the murder."

"I have irrefutable proof that he tried to murder Tracy Chandler." The detectiveís frustration made him raise his voice.

"I think I can explain that. Tracyís brother-in-law confronted the boyís grandfather with his part in all this. The grandfather takes it out on the boy and he decides to take his revenge. But, it has nothing to do with the murder of Allyson Chandler." Chelsea insisted.

"Iím not sure you are right, but Iíll call Joe Epstein and ask him to put a rush on the fingerprints from the Morales house."

"Thanks, Jimmie."

"Yeah . . ." James hung up the phone in disgust. "Joeís just gonna love this."

Continued in Part 4

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