Chapter XXIV – Timothy Teller
When Timothy first caught sight of Eddie lying on the floor with a stab wound to his chest, time seemed to freeze and he with it. It could only have been seconds before Ginger screamed and Adrian stated the rather obvious need for medical attention, but it felt like an hour. Memories raced through Timothy’s mind, all but blinding him. Then, he heard Adrian, the images vanished, and he could work.
He heard everyone around him, while he cleared and checked the wound, kept watch over Eddie’s vitals as best he could, and applied pressure with the towels that Adrian and Anna had found. He only spoke when he had to, and kept the majority of his attention on Eddie and stopping the blood flow. He needed to stop it before it grew critical.
The fighting between Ginger and Mary alarmed him, but he decided that he could only do one thing at a time, so he didn’t even turn to watch them. Eddie’s distress worried him, but he could scarcely assuage that either. When the injured man asked for Ginger, Timothy couldn’t be certain that calling her over would be a good idea, but Eddie seemed to calm somewhat while she remained quiet beside him.
When Kimberly began her interrogation of Ginger, Timothy became annoyed.
I’m trying to save a man’s life. Who argues that someone cares about a possibly dying man? Insanity.
He grit his teeth and held his tongue, though he wanted to tell the older woman to be quiet. Eddie appeared to ignore them all and Timothy wished he could do the same.
“Well?” Kimberly’s voice grated on Timothy’s nerves every time she spoke. “Why do you care so much?”
He glanced at Ginger. She looked exhausted as she watched Eddie. “Because…” She barely looked at Timothy when she raised her head. She saw something and her eyes hardened. “Because, Eddie is my younger brother.”
Eddie’s eyes flew open and he stared at Ginger. Timothy blinked and tried to process this new bit of information.
“I knew it!” Fabian sounded exultant. “I just knew it!”
“I don’t believe it!” Kimberly snapped.
Ginger tilted her chin up. “You don’t have to believe it. He is. Your belief of a thing does not determine its truth.”
“If he’s your brother, then why on earth have neither of you said anything before?” Kimberly seemed determined. “Did she say anything to you and your cousin?”
“No.” Adrian’s voice came from somewhere behind Timothy. “No, neither of them did.”
“Then, if it’s true, then why haven’t you said anything?”
Eddie cried out in pain as Timothy shifted the pressure on the towel, and Ginger sighed.
“Because…” She watched Eddie, who squeezed his eyes shut against the pain. Timothy just saw her grimace. “Because, we parted ways four years ago.”
“Parted ways?” Fabian sounded amused. “Sister, you two are co-workers – and didn’t one of you mention earlier that you have been co-workers for years? That’s not parting ways.”
“I disowned him.” Ginger’s annoyance flared again. “Just trust me, I did.”
“Must have been fun working together then.”
Timothy wished that Fabian would be quiet.
“What did he do?” Kimberly asked.
“You disowned him, so what did he do to make you disown him?”
“He has a criminal record and she didn’t want to be associated with it!” Mary’s voice made Timothy jump. “I can see it in her face! He’s been in trouble with the law before!”
Ginger practically snarled. “You don’t get to make any assumptions, Mary Dill! In trouble with the law? You are going to be in trouble with the law whenever we get out of here!”
“I-I-I was protecting us!”
Ginger glared, but Timothy caught her eye.
“Don’t what?” She spoke through grit teeth.
“Don’t keep the argument going.” Timothy glanced down at Eddie’s drawn face. “If this is your brother and you want to help him, do not engage.”
“She’s a liar!”
“And you’re going to change her mind?”
“Just tell us what he actually did.” Renee still knelt nearby, ready to offer assistance if needed. “Truth is the best contradiction for falsehood.”
“He didn’t do anything!” Ginger raised her voice somewhat and Kimberly heard her.
“If he did nothing, then why did you want to get rid of him?”
“I didn’t say I wanted to get rid of him!”
“You disowned him!” Kimberly almost seemed to laugh. “Of course, you wanted to get rid of him.”
Pressure applied to Eddie’s wound seemed to be doing its job at last. Timothy didn’t dare to stop just yet, but he began to feel a bit hopeful.
“Well?” Kimberly didn’t give up.
Eddie opened his eyes. “Just let it go, Ginger.”
She didn’t respond, but sat still, watching him. Timothy couldn’t be sure if she actually saw him or just her thoughts.
“Failure to respond is admission to accusations.”
“Kimberly, please,” Anna said. “You don’t know that.”
“We don’t know much of anything,” Fabian added.
“Mary’s probably right. He was a criminal and Ginger just doesn’t want to say.”
Ginger shook her head. “I told you. He didn’t do anything. I had to… Sometimes you have to choose between two people because they aren’t compatible with each other. When I chose, Eddie got cut off in favor of… someone else.”
“You’re saying that he’s never been implicated in any criminal activity whatsoever?” Kimberly asked.
Ginger glared at the woman as her only response.
“He was!” Mary squealed. “Maybe he’s murdered before this!”
“You people are incorrigible!” Ginger glanced at Timothy and then softened her voice. “Fine. Yes. Once, several years ago, the police took Eddie in for questioning regarding a shoplifting case. But they never charged him and that has nothing to do with why I disowned him.”
“Sure it doesn’t. No charges filed also doesn’t mean that he didn’t do it.” Kimberly tapped her foot.
“He says that he didn’t do it!”
“You think that Eddie killed Gary Bradshaw.” Fabian spoke in a measured tone. Timothy imagined him with his arms crossed and watching Ginger, but he didn’t turn around to see.
“What? No, I don’t!”
“That’s why you keep protecting him so adamantly.”
“Fabian, please don’t…” Adrian tried to intervene.
Fabian pressed on. “It’s not just that he’s your brother, you think – or you’re afraid – that he’s guilty and you’re desperate to protect him.”
“That’s not true!”
“Don’t get me wrong; if my little brother had a murder charge hanging over him, I’d probably get pretty desperate too.”
“I told you that he did it!” Mary’s wail pierced the room. Again. “I told you!”
“He didn’t! Eddie wouldn’t kill anyone!”
Possibly the only one in the room doing so, Timothy watched Eddie. He’d opened his eyes, but too weak to defend himself, in a world of pain, and in obvious distress over Ginger, his face was a study in various emotions.
Adrian left the others, kneeling near Timothy. He nodded toward Eddie, speaking in a quiet voice aside from the rest of the group. “How is he doing?”
“He’s stabilizing. He still needs a hospital, of course, but he’s stabilizing for now.”
“Thank the Lord. Can I ask him a few questions?”
“You can try. He doesn’t seem able to speak very well though.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Adrian smiled a bit and bent over Eddie. “Can I ask you a few things? You can nod or shake your head.”
Eddie nodded carefully. Ginger watched Adrian, but didn’t try to intervene.
“Is Ginger your sister?”
Eddie glanced at Timothy and then nodded.
“Did she disown you?”
Eddie nodded again, this time more slowly.
“Did the police questioning you regarding a case of shoplifting have any bearing on her disowning you?”
This time Eddie shook his head.
Adrian sighed. “Were you charged with a crime in regard to the shoplifting?”
Another shake of the head.
“Were you guilty?”
Eddie shook his head again.
Adrian paused for a long moment. “Eddie, if the truth, as you know it, contradicted anything Ginger had already told us – would you tell me the truth right now, despite that?”
Eddie took his time responding, but finally nodded just before a wave of pain took over. He squeezed his eyes shut and Adrian sighed.
Timothy looked over at him.
“I wanted to hear it from him, not only Ginger.”
Mary, possibly emboldened by Kimberly’s doubts, stepped closer to Eddie. Ginger stiffened, apparently ready to spring at a moment’s notice. Adrian stood and Fabian came forward.
“You did it! Just confess!” Mary wrung her hands. “It would be better for all of us and then everyone would understand why I had to stab you! Just confess!”
“Why don’t you back up…” Fabian took another step forward.
Eddie didn’t say anything and even Ginger held her tongue.
Timothy had turned to keep an eye on the woman and saw her point a shaking finger toward Eddie. “I know that I’m right! I saw it in your face!”
“Maybe he knew Gary Bradshaw.” Kimberly still had her arms crossed. “Just because he’s not a regular here, doesn’t mean that Eddie doesn’t know him from anywhere else.”
Mary jumped and pointed at Ginger. Fabian put a hand on the excited woman’s arm. “He knew him! I see it! I see it in your face!”
“For goodness sake, stop claiming to see everything in someone’s face!” Renee probably voiced what everyone thought.
Timothy looked at Ginger, who had gone nearly white, but she neither said anything nor moved from Eddie’s side.
“Confess!” Mary resisted Fabian’s attempts to make her step back.
Eddie watched Ginger, the furrow on his brow showing utter confusion. Ginger didn’t look at him.
“No!” Ginger took a deep breath, and then sighed. When she spoke again, she used a normal tone. “If I know anything, and I’m not saying that I do, I’m certainly not telling you.”
Mary tried to speak again, but Ginger had no intention of allowing it.
“I’ll speak with the people who we asked to investigate. Not to a lunatic woman who thinks that stabbing an innocent man is the best way to solve a murder.”
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