Thursday, August 9, 2012
The Press Conference
The smile was absent that morning as Stevie stepped to the microphones. Nor did a cheery "good morning" seem appropriate. She simply began reading the statement she and Robert had polished. "Sometime between ten o'clock last night and two-thirty this morning, Wes Bellardi, twenty-year-old son of Senator and Mrs. Daniel Bellardi, disappeared from the family ranch in Redding. His whereabouts are unknown at this hour. Senator Bellardi left Susanville for the ranch at six o'clock this morning by helicopter.
"Preliminary investigation at the scene indicates the possibility of foul play. So far, no—"A sudden and very inconvenient swell of emotion stopped the words in Stevie's throat. She continued to stare at the printed statement on the lectern, but her mind's eye had been diverted by the image of her firstborn son lying gray-white and still on the emergency room gurney. For the first time it occurred to her that Wes might not only be missing but dead. At this very moment he might be lying somewhere lifeless, his creative mind and budding potential stilled forever. O God, not Wes, too, she begged silently.