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The Price of Love
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The Price of Love
by AshleyTara

CHAPTER 8
Crane Mansion

ĎHow strange," thought Pilar. She looked at her watch and noted the time. It was only half past seven and all was dark and quiet at the mansion. She hadnít seen Mr. Craneís car when she arrived outside, but Mrs. Craneís car was parked out in front.

Pilar pulled out her key and unlocked the door. The mansion looked abandoned. As she entered the dark foyer, Pilar almost tripped on something. She looked down and noticed the shopping bags Ivy had discarded by the door earlier in the day. As Pilar reached down to pick up the bags, she heard a car drive up and squinted as she looked into the headlights of the approaching vehicle to see who was coming. She stepped outside the still open door while the car shut off.

Sam got out of his car and shut the door. "Hey Pilar."

"Sam, youíre here again."

"Yes, well, Iím here to see Julian and Ethan. Are either of them around?"

"Well, I saw Ethan just before I came and Julian doesnít seem to be home. Iím sure heíll be home soon, though. Itís not usual for him to be out after seven. Would you like to come in and wait?"

"I donít know. Is Ivy home? I had a little run in with her today at the hospital and Iím just trying to steer clear of her," Sam replied cautiously.

"Well, her car is here, but all is quiet. If she is home, she must already be asleep."

Sam hesitated for a moment then relented, "Alright. Why donít we go inside, itís a chilly night."

Pilar led the way inside, but when she flipped on the lights, she stopped short in the doorway. Sam looked over her shoulder at the scene that lay before them.

He could see her hat, handbag, and keys lying on the table in the ample foyer, but that wasnít what disturbed him. Sam moved Pilar aside and proceeded in. There was broken glass on the floor along with small, dried droplets of blood that started at the table and led to the stairs. Pilar was in shock, "Oh my God." She bolted up the stairs and Sam began to follow, taking in the scene on the stairs. There was the prominent stain of blood on the stairs along with a cream heeled sandal. Then, something caught his eye. As he got closer, Sam recognized the familiar object. It was the locket he had given Ivy over twenty years ago. He picked it up. There was something seriously wrong here. The scene left on the steps and in the foyer could have meant almost anything. Maybe someone in a clumsy, drunken stupor for example. But the locket with its broken clasp was a completely different story. No matter what state she was in, Ivy would never leave the locket out for their secrets to be found out. Thatís when his reverie was broken by Pilarís scream.

Sam ran up the stairs two at a time, slipping the locket into his pocket without thinking. He rounded the corner on the dark second floor hallway and entered a room on the right with the door open and the lights on. The sight before him was worse than anything he could ever have imagined.

A crying and praying Pilar was kneeling on the floor, and she was crying over the lifeless body of Ivy. Sam didnít know what to do. After about a minute and a half of helplessness, he recovered and knelt down next to Pilar and embraced her as he looked at Ivy.

Ivy was wearing nothing but a torn and blood stained cream slip and the ever-present large diamond on her left ring finger. There was trail of dried blood trickling down from both her nose and the corner of her mouth. Her left eye was purple and her right cheek red and swollen, as if she had be slapped. Sam could see bruises in the shape of fingerprints on her arms and neck. He felt sick to his stomach. Who would do something like this? He wanted to reach out and touch her one last time, but he couldnít bring himself to do it. Sam was certain she was gone, and even though he had told himself so many times that she didnít matter to him anymore, he knew it was a lie. Why else would he feel like a part of him had just died?

Sam pulled Pilar away from his shoulder. "We have to do something, Pilar. We canít just sit here and hope sheíll wake up. I donít think thatís going to happen."

Pilar started crying again, "Sam, she canít be gone. Ethan will be devastated. He loves her so much. And so do I, even though at times I felt like she was an extra child to take care of. Iíve been working for her since she was thirteen." Pilar continued sobbing.

"Weíve got to call the hospitalÖand Ethan. He should be the first to know." Sam saw something out of the corner of his eye. He hadnít looked back at Ivyís body since he had started talking to Pilar.

Now he turned around completely. She was moving! "Pilar, look," Sam nearly shouted as his eyes began to well up with happiness. "Sheís still alive!"

Pilar started praying again and thanking God for miracles as Sam got down closer to Ivy. "Ivy, wake up. Can you hear me? Itís Sam. We need you to wake up."

Ivy answered in a whisper, "Sam? What are you doing here? Whatís going on? Pilar? Pilar, where are you," she was getting frantic.

Pilar rushed over, "Iím right here, Mrs. Crane. What happened to you?"

"I vaguely recall a few things, but Ė aauugh!" Ivy called out and cringed in pain as she tried to move.

"We can talk about it later. Right now we need to get you to the hospital. Pilar, go and call an ambulance. Iíll get the sick bastard thatĖ"

"NO," Ivy shouted.

Sam and Pilar were shocked.

Ivy could feel her eyelids growing heavy as she began to speak, "You canít. Iím fine. No hospital. No police investigation. I donít want this getting out. The Cranes.Ö" With that her head dropped back down on the floor.

Pilar put the phone back in its cradle. "Sheís right Sam. The Cranes are known worldwide. If it was found out that Mrs. Crane had been attacked in her own home and hospitalized, there would be no end to the media attention and no rest for anyone."

"I know, but thereís no denying that she needs medical attention, Pilar. What are we supposed to do? Iím the Chief of Police. I canít just turn my head to something like this, and Iíd bet my badge that Julian had something to do with this. He probably hired a hit man or a burglar. Thatís probably why heís not home."

"I canít argue with you on that point, Sam. But you can do your investigating later."

"Right. Well, Iíll take her out of town somewhere and get her medical attention. You stall with Ethan and everyone else until I call you. Tell them that Ivy will call soon to let them know where she is," Sam said as he scooped Ivy up in his arms.

"Alright. Iíll help you out."

After Sam had laid Ivy down in the back seat of his car and placed his coat around her, he started the engine and sped out of the driveway and Harmony.

"Oh dear God," Pilar looked skyward. "I pray that sheíll be alright."

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