It was getting very late now and Jen was worried that something may have happened to Elizabeth.
Howard wasn’t worried that Elizabeth was in danger. His only concern was that Jeffrey Scott may have taken his daughter and run off to elope. Howard picked up his phone and called Jeffrey’s parents.
“Hello?” answered a sleepy voice on the other end.
“This is Howard Johnston. Put Jeffrey on the phone!” Howard demanded.
“Do you know what time it is?” asked the angry voice, fully awakened by Howard’s rudeness.
“Of course I do, damn it. Put Jeffrey on this instant, it concerns my daughter.” Howard was angry.
Clare Scott got up, slipped on her robe and slippers and walked to her son’s room. She knocked on the door, then entered. Jeff’s bed hadn’t been slept in. “Bill, where’s Jeff?” She was almost hysterical. Jeff was never this late coming in unless he called. He was a very reasonable and considerate young man.
“Jeff who?” answered her husband half asleep and jokingly.
“Oh, come on Bill! This is no time for your silly ass remarks! He hasn’t been home.” It was now 2:00am.
Bill got out of bed stark naked and slapped Clare on the behind as he looked over Clare’s shoulder into Jeff’s room. “Where’s Jeff?” he asked sarcastically. He rarely took anything seriously. He chuckled to himself as Clare ran down the hall.
“You bastard!” Clare was furious with her husband. She couldn’t understand how he could joke so freely about something that could potentially be serious.
“He probably went out for a walk or met up with some of his buddies and just lost track of the time.” Bill wasn’t worried. He trusted his son. He knew he was just fine. “I’m sorry, Clare,” he spoke softly to her. It was just his nature to make people laugh. She knew he had always been the class clown, the neighborhood joker, and the family smart ass when she married him.
Clare remembered Howard was on the phone and waiting to talk to Jeff. She picked up the phone and put it to her ear, not knowing if he was still there. “Mr. Johnston, Jeff must have gone out again. He’s not here,” she told him as politely as she could without gagging. She hated being nice to disrespectful people.
“Damn you people and your perverted ways! Your son has run off with my daughter,” Howard yelled. “I’m calling the police!”
“Damn you too, you filthy rich bastard! I’d like to kick your ass all the way to China, you and that better-than-thou attitude!” Clare was angry and threw down the phone. She was unaware that Howard had already hung up and didn’t hear anything she said. She despised people like Howard Johnston. He seemed to think that having money meant he could be disrespectful to others. That poor woman, Clare thought to herself. How the hell can Jen put up with that man?
By now it was 2:24am. Howard was on the phone with the police. Jen was panic-stricken with worry over Elizabeth and with what Howard might do to the Scotts. They were good people and Jen had never had a problem with any of them.
He hung up the phone, still very angry. He poured himself some whiskey and sat down on the sofa to wait for the police to come.
“Howard, what’s going on?” Jen asked as she sat down in her mother’s antique rocking chair.
“Bob’s on his way over,” he told her without even looking up at her.
Detective Bob Keller was a close friend of the family. Howard knew that Bob would rush over if he were in need of anything.
“Howard, calm down before Bob gets here. You know your temper gets in the way of rational thinking sometimes.” Jen knew her efforts to calm him were of no use.
“Don’t you lecture me about rational thinking, woman!” Howard was cold and careless with his words. He got up and poured himself another drink.
Jen knew Howard was reminding her (in his own hateful way) of the period of time she spent in the Sandy Oaks Mental Facility 2 years ago. She did not take the death of her mother well and needed help in coming to terms with it. Jen left the room, with a hatred in her eyes that could have killed. She didn’t love Howard anymore. She hadn’t for a very long time. Love started to fade when Howard put her in that facility for 6 long months, and after she returned home she felt no love whatsoever for Howard Johnston. She stayed with him only for their children. She was faithful, but she longed for something more fulfilling. She really truly hated Howard tonight. She would soon find the strength to leave him.