Enter Shannon and the Bledsoe’s
That evening, at the airport, Atticus stood behind the last checkpoint, near the front exit, holding a handmade sign that read, “Chris and Shannon Bledsoe, welcome.” Malcolm stood alongside him. The airport was crowded, and the sounds of roaring jet engines could be heard, along with a female voice over the intercom.
“Flight 262 from Phoenix now approaching Gate 12…”
When a group of six- three women and three men, approached, pulling their rolling luggage behind them, one of the men spoke.
At the Airport
“Yes, and you must be Chris Bledsoe,” Atticus greeted as he stuck his hand out for Chris to shake. Chris shook his hand.
“That’s me,” Chris responded.
“This here is Malcolm Malone,” Atticus greeted, introducing Malcolm.
“Malcolm,” Chris greeted as he nodded and shook Malcolm’s hand.
Chris then introduced each of the people with him, pointing each person out as he went along.
“My wife Shannon, and my brothers Daniel and Miles. This lady here is Miles’s wife Cindy, and this here is Alexandra McGregor, Shannon’s oldest daughter,” he said.
“How do you do?” Atticus and Malcolm greeted as they went down the line of guests, shaking their hand.
Suddenly, Atticus cellphone vibrated in his belt case.
The Bledsoes Make their Introductions
“Pardon me for just a moment,” Atticus said before he grabbed his smartphone and checked his texts. As promised, Jo had sent a text message that read, “The cops just pulled up. They must have gotten their warrant. I’ll give you an update after they’re gone.”
After reading the text, Atticus looked at their new guests.
“Would you mind stopping in Bush County on the way? My sister, Josephine just texted. Those creepy cops just arrived at the house with a search warrant, and we don’t want to pull up with you all in the vehicles while they’re still there,” he informed them, “Jo will send another text to let us know it’s okay to head back once they’re all gone.”
“That’s certainly understandable,” Chris said. “When we get to Bush County, we can find somewhere to eat while we wait.”
Bobby and the Deputies Question Jo
Meanwhile, back at the Carpenter property, Jo sat on the living room sofa as Bobby, Ashton, and Aaron stood over her. Four more deputies scoured the grounds outside.
“Now, Jo, where has Atticus run off to?” Bobby asked.
Thinking up a good story, Jo answered cleverly.
“He’s gone on a date,” she lied.
The cops stood there and chuckled as they looked at each other.
“Did you hear that, Aaron? A date! Damn! I didn’t think that dry-dicked old buzzard had it in him!” Ashton laughed derisively before returning his eyes to Jo.
“Really? And where did he go to have this date?” Ashton grilled.
“Look, I’m his sister, not his damned shrink! He’s a grown-ass man! He doesn’t tell me where he goes when he leaves! All he told me was that he was going to meet a woman and they were going on a date! He doesn’t have to give me any further details!” Jo chided.
Aaron chortled and looked at Bobby.
The Crooked Lawmen get Personal
“Guess old Atticus has gone to get him some tonight!” he taunted.
Jo glared at the cops who stood over her.
“So, what if he has? It’s none of my business and it damn sure isn’t any of yours! He’s a red-blooded man and has needs just like every other man! And the last I read; this is America, not Iran! Having an occasional booty call isn’t a crime!” she shouted.
“It sure makes you wonder if he’s diddled Brielle a time or two, don’t it? He’s sure been awful friendly with that bitch!” Ashton said, looking back at Bobby.
Jo stood up and her glare at the lawmen became more intense.
“Well, I can assure you that he hasn’t! That much, I do know! But, if he had, it wouldn’t be any of your damn business now, would it?” she growled in contempt.
When all the other deputies came back into the house, Bobby looked up.
The Lawmen Get Insulting
“What’d ya find?” He asked.
“Nothing. Brielle’s not here,” one of the deputies answered.
Bobby looked at Jo and smiled.
“I guess that bodes well for you, don’t it? You have a nice evening…Miss Carpenter.” he said pompously before he and the rest of the county cops left.
Chris sat in the passenger seat of Atticus’s SUV while the women sat in the backseat. Miles and Daniel rode with Malcolm after having loaded all the luggage into the bed of his pickup, which Malcolm covered with the truck bed cover. Because it was getting dark by the time they left the airport, they were able to stop in Bush County to eat. Once Jo texted the okay to come home, they left Bush County and drove over the County line. As they made their way back to Thomasville, Atticus and Chris looked to see that sheriff’s cars were parked at the county line, one at the junction of each side road and a few more at the Sugar Village exit.
“A Cop-cop Here and a Cop-cop There”
As they got closer to Thomasville, they saw several more squad cars. Chris looked at Atticus.
“There’s an awful lot of cops out tonight, Atticus. Are you sure they don’t know we’re coming?” he asked.
“Nope. They’re out looking for Brielle. I and few friends helped her escape jail last night. I’ll tell you the circumstances around that when we get back to the house,” Atticus told them.
With that, Chris continued to scan the landscape outside the vehicle as they drove down the highway as he began to sing a song parody.
“…with a cop-cop here and a cop-cop there…here a cop, there a cop, everywhere a cop-cop…”
Atticus and the women chuckled.
Luckily, they were able to arrive at the Carpenter estate under the cloak of night and without being spotted.