Chapter Twenty-Five

"We have an ID on the Jane Doe previously identified as Carly Roberts," Garcia announces as he enters Mac's office.

Mac looks from the papers he's working on. "Who was she?"

"One Caroline Benson--adopted daughter of Virginia Benson of Florida."

"I take it the Roberts' knew her?"

"You take it right. She'd been their daughter's best friend."

"Interesting. Any idea why the why the assumed name?"

"None, but apparently they told Mrs. Benson and she's on her way here to identify the body and take her home for burial."

"Poor woman. Look, I'm going to take this over to Tony and see if he has any ideas about this. I asked him about the pregnancy the other day, and he didn't say anything about her not being Carly, so I didn't ask. I thought I'd wait until we had made inquiries on our own."

"Makes sense to me. She must have been keeping a lot from him."

"She had a lot to hide," Mac points out. "Her identity, her pregnancy, and her reasons for concealing both."

Mac is about to leave, when a woman enters the room. Her tearstained face ravaged, she says, "I'm Virginia Benson," then collapses into a chair, sobbing.

"You're Caroline Benson's mother?" Mac asks.

"Yes," she answers, adding, "adoptive mother. How can this have happened?? She was so happy-she'd found a wonderful man...and now, she's dead."

"Do you have any idea why she might have been using an assumed name?"

"She was never happy being Caroline-felt that somehow she was not good enough, that somehow she was responsible for her mother giving her up in the first place. I tried to tell her that she was wrong, but she wouldn't listen. She was so hardheaded sometimes." Virginia wipes her eyes, and says, "We were so close to finding her."

"Who?" Mac asks, wondering at the sudden change in conversational direction. "Who was looking for her?"

"Her natural mother and uncle. They'd been searching for her."

"Who are they?" Mac asks gently. "They'll need to know about Caroline."

"I had so hoped for a joyous reunion," Virginia continues.

"I'm really sorry, Mrs. Benson, but if we're to find Caroline's killer, we'll need all the information we can get."

"Okay," she sobs "but please tell me that she didn't suffer long. I need to know that my little girl...that it was quick."

Mac kneels in front of the distraught woman, and makes the effort to comfort her. "Mrs. Benson, from what we understand, it was quick-she did say a few last words to the woman who found her-something about you. I believe it was "Momma-love you."

Mrs. Benson smiles through her tears. "I want to thank that woman. Can you give me her name?"

"I can, but you can't speak to her. Apparently your daughter's death upset her greatly and she's...she's apparently attempted suicide."

"My god, poor woman! Who is she? I'd like to at least send flowers."

"Bobbie Jones," Mac answers and is shocked when the woman turns white and faints. Hmmmmm

"Will you be comfortable down here?" Nik asks Lucky who has taken up residence in the catacombs yet again.

"I've bunked in worse places," Lucky answers. "Thanks for the food."

"I told you that I'd look after you."

"This really goes against the grain," Lucky admits as he takes a sandwich, offering half to Nik who takes it, realizing that Lucky still needs proof that it wasn't poisoned. He takes a bite, chews and swallows. "It's safe."

"Just checking," Lucky grins.

"I understand," Nik says. "I've hated the Spencers for as long as I can remember-but now, I see that the cost of that hatred, and it's too high. There are no benefits to this ongoing hatred between our families."

"That's not what my dad says."

"Nor my grandmother. She enjoys hatred. I think she feeds on it. I've only recently learned how evil she is."

"I can imagine," Lucky says, popping open a canned drink. "I've heard some pretty scary stuff about her."

"So have I," Nik agrees. "About how she was responsible for the death of my other grandmother, the one we share. I have to stop her from whatever evil she's planning now."

"I thought she was bedridden," Lucky says.

"Grandmother? She's incredibly healthy. She runs three miles each day on the beach."

"But my dad says she's on oxygen."

"Oh, that. She fancies that breathing purified oxygen enhances her physical condition. She does that nightly. She's intrigued with the idea of things like cryogenics and various forms of suspended animation and life prolongation." Hmmmmmm

"Dublin!" Lucy grumbles as she disembarks from the jetliner that has been forced to land in Ireland due to an airlines strike that has closed down Heathrow in London. "Not that I have anything against the Irish, but I specifically wanted to go to London."

She's so engrossed in her own thoughts that she fails to see the white-haired, bearded individual that quickly hurries away from the area.

Turning to the attendant at the desk, she says, "I really don't need this. I'd ask what else could go wrong, but I really don't want to know. First Kevin goes nuts, then Gina gets killed and my Doc is under suspicion, and now I can't even get to London! I keep getting these flashes of yellow brick roads and wiener dogs, and now, purple dinosaurs!"

The clerk eyes her warily, and asks, "Can I help you get a room for the night?"

"I don't want a room, I want a plane to London."

"Due to the strike, we can't help you. A boat, perhaps, but the water is very rough between Ireland and England just now."

"I don't want a boat. I hate boats."

"Then a room? Let me get you a taxi."

Moments later, Lucy finds herself en route to Berkley Court, one of Dublin's luxury hotels. "If I can't get to London, at least I'll be comfortable," she grouses, picking up the phone in her room. "Send up champagne-no, make that hot chocolate. No, champagne. And Godiva chocolates. Bavarian chocolates, too. And Swiss truffles."

Pleased, she takes the phone into the bathroom where she fills the jacuzzi and then, after her chocolates have arrived, Lucy sinks into the water. But, hardly relaxing, Lucy instead begins her search for a plane.

A few hours later, after offending a good number of the Irish, Lucy is ready for bed, but her night's sleep is hardly restful. "I need a diversion," she decides. "I can't leave until tomorrow, and I can't stop thinking about Kevin. Which isn't bad, only I keep getting strange flashes."

So, Lucy heads off towards downtown Dublin, admiring the shops, banks, travel bureaus and theaters. Her mind isn't on shopping, but she manages to acquire a few new sweaters that she thinks will look good on Kevin before she heads over to the Custom House, noting that it resembled a miniature state capital. A visit to Paul Costelloe's on Drury Street was mandatory, and she finished her brief visit with a walk down O'Connell Street, admiring the shops, ending her tour next to the "Floozie in the Jacuzzi", a statue of a young maiden lying in running water.

"You've got the right idea," Lucy tells the statue. "My feet are killing me. Still, I can't keep still or I think about Kevin, and my thoughts aren't making sense. I mean, maybe they are all symbolic, but where's the symbolism in a dachshund and a dinosaur? Kevin!!! Where are you? This isn't how things are supposed to be. We're supposed to be happy! The holidays are coming, and will we have anything to celebrate? Thanksgiving, and how can I give thanks if you aren't with me? Or, Christmas? We need a miracle!"

Then, she stops, and takes a breath. "I can't do this, can't get discouraged. Kevin needs me."

So, with that, she heads over to St. Stephen's Green where she dines, then heads back to her hotel. Hmmmm

(Special note to readers: information about Dublin was furnished by Maribel. thanks so much!)

Stay tuned!! Have Mac and Garcia come up with an important clue? Will Carly's true identity come as a surprise to Tony? How will he feel about this? Will Nik and Lucky become close friends, or is this just a temporary truce?? What's this about Helena? So, she's not bedridden??? Hmmmmmmmm