Before Rose however had the chance to press a single key, the office phone rang. Mal picked up, listened for a moment, then slammed down the receiver.
"What's happened?" Rose asked, with a sense of foreboding.
"They can't find Jake anywhere at the hospital," Mal replied.
"He disappeared?" Rose asked, incredulous as to how something like this could happen, again.
"I don't think so," Des suddenly said. "You both need to see this. Now."
Mal and Rose joined Des at his laptop.
In the video playing on screen, a newscaster was reporting from what looked like a downtown street corner which had been cordoned off with crime scene tape.
"Around 1:45 this afternoon, downtown St. John's was transformed into a war zone when a police car transporting Sergeant Leslie Bennett, chief suspect in a bombing which has already rattled the population, was ambushed in en route to the courthouse. The police have yet to release a statement, but the unprecedented level of violence only underlines how narrowly this town has escaped a major disaster..."
Des muted the video and turned to Rose and Mal.
"If Jake somehow saw this on the news..." Des trailed off.
Rose checked her watch. "This happened less than 20 minutes ago. You better stay on this. There isn't much we can do until we know more," Rose told Des. "Mal..." she began, trailing off when she noticed the expression of Mal's face.
"Are you okay?" she asked, growing slightly concerned.
"I don't like this," Mal commented, not answering her question. Instead, he grabbed his coat and hurried out the door without another word.
Cursing him under her breath, Rose was torn between staying at the office and continuing her research into Sydney Parker's history and following her husband, who once again shutting her out. Deciding that Mal knew her feelings on the subject, she made up her mind to stay and, with a sigh, returned to her desk.
Although a rhythmic motion was lulling her back to deep sleep, Leslie had the nagging feeling that there was something that required her waking attention. Several times, she came close to waking, only to be pulled back under by what seemed to be irresistible fatigue and a strange, monotonous humming sound, accompanied by a slight vibratory motion.
When she finally did regain her senses, it didn't take her long to realize that both the sound and the motion she had experienced in her semi-conscious state earlier where present because she was inside a moving vehicle. Sitting up on the backseat where she had been lying in drugged sleep earlier, Leslie look around, still in the process of gathering her bearings and trying to figure out just exactly how she had gotten to wherever she was right now.
"Finally, you're awake," a familiar voice commented from the front of the vehicle, startling Leslie.
Suddenly reminded of the ambush on the way to court, she looked around in alarm, but it was just her and Sydney Parker in the SUV.
"I was afraid that I've given you a bit too much of the sedative, but I couldn't risk you waking up and causing trouble," Sydney went on.
"Why did you do this?" Leslie asked. Her head felt like it was about to explode. She had many questions, more than she could count almost, but this seemed as good a question to start with as any.
"Isn't it obvious? I love you, Leslie Bennett. I would never allow you to go to jail. No, we belong together. Now more than ever."
Leslie could hardly believe her ears. Sydney had to be even more insane than she was herself if he could delude himself to the point of believing that they could have a future together. But as crazy as the whole scheme was, there was actually a twisted kind of logic to it. Although Leslie still didn't know how, he had managed to successfully alienate and isolate Leslie from everyone she knew, leaving her, at least in theory, nowhere else to turn to. The fact that Leslie would rather be on her own than to ever collude with the likes of Sydney Parker was a flaw in the plan, but she doubted that Sydney Parker perceived her wishes as much of an obstacle.
The clothes he'd borrowed didn't fit very well - the trousers were too long and the sleeves of the shirt were too short - but they definitely beat the hospital gown Jake had been force to wear previously. Careful not to been seen, Jake snuck around a corner and into the elevator where he pressed the button to go down to the lobby. Nervously, he tapped his foot, waiting for the elevator doors to slowly close. It seemed to be taking forever. Finally, the doors slid closed and the elevator set itself into motion. If Jake had felt powerless before, seeing the news broadcast of the ambush had renewed his determination to solve this case and help Leslie. He still had no idea how her was going to do so, but he knew that he couldn't stay on the sidelines if he wanted to keep his sanity intact. His first stop, not really be choice, but out of necessity because he needed both up to date information and a car, was going to be the office. Mal would probably kill him for leaving the hospital, but if he could prove Leslie innocent, Jake didn't really care.
Having paid the cab fare using money found in the trouser pocket of the clothes he'd borrowed, Jake faced the difficult task of tackling the stairs leading up the their office. Determination provided ample motivation, but no amount of willpower was enough to compensate for the loss of strength and the pain brought on by his injuries. By the time he made it up the stairs, he was trembling from the effort and breathing hard. He took a moment to steady himself and calm his breathing before entering the office, not wanting to look as exhausted as he felt.
Stepping inside, he noticed that while Rose and Des appeared be to hard at work, his father was nowhere to be seen.
"Jake!" Des exclaimed. "You can't be here! Mal's..."
Jake gave him a sharp look, effectively silencing him. Des, looking somewhat crestfallen, returned his attention to his laptop. Rose, however, aimed a none too pleased expression at him next and Jake knew he was in trouble. Rose wouldn't be intimidated as easily as Des and even if she were, he wouldn't dare to try.
"Where's Dad?" Jake asked quickly before Rose had the chance to launch into possible recriminations.
"Looking for you, I assume," Rose replied acerbically.
"How'd he know..."
"The hospital called." Rose told him.
"Oh great," Jake said and sighed, feeling slightly guilty all of a sudden. He ruthlessly quashed the feeling however, reminding himself that bigger things were at stake right now. He sat down on the nearest chair, feeling the effort of the journey start to catch up to him rapidly. "We need to find a way to help Leslie," he said.
"Actually," said Rise, "I might have found something that could help. Sydney Parker has a twin."
"A twin?" echoed Jake. "How...why...How come the police don't know this?" he asked
"Probably because Calvin was given up for adoption right after birth. I was able to get the name of his adoptive parents, a couple by the name of McAllister, but other than that, nothing. On paper, he's a ghost."
"Can you get me the address of the McAllisters'?" Jake asked.
"Good," Jake said, "It's time someone had a talk with him. Where's my car?"
"That's rather complicated," Rose replied at length.
Jake's eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Nothing, much. Except some bullet holes," Rose confessed.
Jake was about to ask how on earth that could have happened, but then decided that finding out could wait. Right now, they finally had a lead that might just help them solve this case and prove Leslie's innocence. He wasn't about to let the lack of a car stop him, so if he couldn't take the GTO, he would just have to improvise. It wasn't like he didn't have any other options. Besides, it would probably better if he didn't drive just yet, not that he would ever admit as much, but he could feel the strain even in his ability to concentrate. Right now, he felt pretty foggy and no one would be helped if he managed to wrap his car around a tree just because he wasn't feeling well.
Mal pulled up near the police station intent on seeing what information he could get from Hood and whoever else might be willing toss him a bone or two. He had already reached for the handle of the car door when he thought better of it and decided to call Hood first. The man had risked his career and his pension for Leslie by photographing those files and getting the pictures to Jake and him. With Leslie under arrest, Hood was no doubt under scrutiny as well and maybe he wouldn't be too happy if Mal came barging into the office for all his colleagues to see. Mal grabbed his cell phone and started dialing.
"You got some nerve, you know that," Hood commented as he climbed into the passenger seat of Mal's truck.
"You didn't have to come," Mal pointed out quietly.
"Anything's better than filling out paper work. Well almost anything,"
"Desk duty," Mal asked, sympathy in his voice.
"You know how it is," Hood answered, before turning to the issue at hand. "I take it you've heard?"
Mal nodded. "What exactly happened, do you know?"
"Just what's been on the news plus the rumours that are flying around like crazy. They're not letting me anywhere near this one. From what I hear, it was a real ambush."
"What about Bennett?"
"Vanished. Every officer in the province is looking for her. They'll find her, sooner or later."
"That's what I'm afraid of," Mal said. "Until we can figure out what really happened that night and who is behind all this, it's probably best if she stays out of sight."
"You don't happen to know something...?" Hood began.
"I don't know anything, really," Mal confessed. "I do know that Jake is convinced that Leslie is innocent and despite everything, he is a good judge of character."
Mal's cell phone chirped. He glanced at the display. "Speaking of the devil," he commented, before answering.
"Where are we going?" Leslie asked, settling for the practical question first while giving herself time to assess the situation. From what she could see of the landscape flying by outside the car window, they were on the highway, but she had yet to see any signs that would allow her to get a better idea of where exactly they were headed.
"To see a friend. He'll help us." Sydney replied. It figured, she hadn't really expected him to give her any real information that she could use to her advantage anyway. It was a minor miracle that he hadn't tied her up, but he clearly wasn't deluded to the point where he thought he could fully trust her.
"Help us do what exactly?" Leslie asked, her tone challenging. "What's the plan here? she demanded.
Sydney remained silent.
"Oh, come on. You got me into this. Thanks to you, everyone thinks I'm some kind of terrorist. They're probably looking for us all over the country by now. There is nowhere for either of us to go."
"It's you they are looking for, not me," Sydney pointed out.
Leslie frowned; that didn't make any sense. Sydney was on the run just as much as she was.
"So, you're telling me you didn't escape from jail?" she asked incredulously.
Sydney laughed as if she had just told the funniest joke he'd ever heard. "I see." he finally managed. "I thought you'd have noticed the difference by now," he said. "Sydney is my twin brother. I'm Calvin McAllister."
Suddenly, it all made sense. How Sydney could appear to be in two places at once and also why his behaviour toward her had seemed strangely erratic. The police had to be in the dark about Calvin's existence, that was why nobody had believed her.