by Stephanie


Disclaimer:  As always, this is just for fun!   I do not own the characters of Jessica Fletcher or George Sutherland.  And like everyone else who is participating in this Writer’s Challenge, my intent is not to infringe on anyone’s copyright, nor is it to make any money. 


Note from the author: This story is came about when I began another Writer’s Workshop project – writing Donald Bain’s “Coffee, Tea, or Murder” in George Sutherland’s voice. As you will see, I am approaching that project by re-writing the story as it might have been before it was edited by the powers that be. This segment is the first installment in yet another fan fiction 100 trilogy, and picks up the story during the final chapter. Part two can be found under “Pendulum” and part three under “Million.”



            Sounds like you’re getting ready to apply to SilverAir for a job as a stewardess, Jessica,” Seth quipped.

            “The last thing I’d want to do,” she replied. “I’m too old. And they’re not called stewardesses anymore, not with so many men holding those jobs.”

            “There’s no age restriction on being a flight attendant anymore,” Jim Shevlin pointed out.

            “That doesn’t matter,” she retorted. “Besides, I’m not about to be asking, ‘Coffee, tea, or me?’ of anyone.” When she turned and looked at me, I simply smiled and patted her knee.

            Although Jessica had offered me the use of one of her spare bedrooms, I opted to stay in one of Seth’s. Don’t get me wrong. I was tempted – very tempted – but the last thing I wanted to do was to make Jessica the lead story on Cabot Cove’s gossip wire.

            The following morning we met for breakfast at Mara’s, a local eatery that specialized in blueberry pancakes. Everyone looked surprisingly rested and moods were considerably lighter than the night before. Other people in the dockside restaurant knew of our adventure through reports on the telly. Naturally, there were questions, including a flurry of them by two reporters from Cabot Cove’s daily newspaper who’d tracked us down that morning. Fortunately the group elected Mayor Jim Shevlin to speak on behalf of all of us.

            “What’s on your agenda today?” Maureen asked after we’d consumed stacks of Mara’s famed pancakes, and plenty of her strong coffee.

            Jessica was the first to answer. “I thought I’d go flying for an hour,” she announced.

            “How could you possibly even think of doing that after what we went through yesterday?” Mort’s wife exclaimed.

            “It’s the most relaxing thing I can think of,” Jessica answered confidently. Confidence - that is another thing I love about Jessica. She exudes confidence.

            “Mind a passenger?” I asked.

            Jessica smiled broadly. “I’d love one.”


            “You’re brave to fly with me,” she said after we were airborne in the Cessna Skyhawk that she’d rented for an hour from Jed Richardson’s flight service. “I don’t have much experience.”

            “Knowing how capable and responsible you are with everything else you tackle, Jessica, I’m sure flying isn’t an exception.”

            We took a leisurely flight over the area surrounding town, including a short jaunt up the coast. Jessica seemed to take great pleasure in pointing out landmarks that she’d become familiar with both during her flight training Jed and during her many years of living in the picturesque little village. As for me, I not only found great pleasure in the beautiful scenery below but also in watching Jessica at the controls of the small aircraft. She is an amazing woman!

            We fell quiet for a time, both content to focus on the sights two thousand feet below.

            “I feel sorry for the flight attendant, Ms. Molnari,” I admitted, breaking our comfortable silence. “She had her nasty little fling with Silverton and then fell madly in love with Captain Caine. She told me when I interviewed her during the flight to Boston that Caine was insanely jealous of Silverton and of her affair with him, as brief as it might have been. Caine threatened to break off their relationship. That’s why she feigned her suicide attempt, an ill-advised grandstand play to get his attention.”

            “With Christine Silverton’s sleeping pills,” Jessica added.

            “Yes. Unknown to Mrs. Silverton, Caine had announced to Ms. Molnari that he was ending their relationship. He was in the enviable – or perhaps unenviable – position of having two attractive women in love with him. Ms. Molnari and Mrs. Silverton. Shortly after being told by Caine that he was breaking it off, Molnari was berated by Mrs. Silverton in her hotel room for having stolen Caine from her. This twin assault was too much for the poor woman. She grabbed the bottle of pills from Christine’s bathroom, returned to Caine’s room, and swallowed several in his presence. Foolish woman.”

            “Desperate is more apt,” Jessica corrected.

            “I suppose you’re right. The reason she didn’t accompany the rest of the crew into London the night you arrived was that she and Caine had a few drinks at Stansted. I don’t believe there ever was an old flying buddy, as he claimed.”

            “We both knew that, George, without being told, she added as she made a slow turn in the direction of the airport. “It’s nearly time to return the plane,” she said, explaining our change of direction.

            “You seem to be supremely relaxed up here in control of your airplane,” I commented.     

            “I am,” she agreed. “I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a feeling of freedom and relaxation before. Everyone kids me, of course.”

            “Because you fly a plane but you don’t drive?”

            She nodded. “Exactly.”

            “From the statistics you’ve cited to me, we’re considerably safer up her than down there on the highway.”

            “It’s more than that,” she said as the airport came into sight. “The world disappears when I’m flying.”

She reached down to the floor between our seats and turned a small black wheel to trim up the plane. “My biggest regret,” she said once she was done, “is not having more time to enjoy it.”

            “You’re a busy woman, Jessica,” I pointed out. “You fly. You write bestselling novels. You tend your garden and cook elaborate meals and travel the world and…”

            “I can’t ever imagine not being busy,” she said as she banked the plane into a shallow turn.

            “Would you ever consider slowing down a bit and moving to London?”

            “I’ve thought of it many times, George. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world, and knowing you’re there only enhances the concept.”

            This was my chance. “Well?”

            She shook her head, much to my dismay, and then added a little more throttle to maintain altitude. “It’s just not in the cards for me, I’m afraid, at least not at this juncture.”

            I laughed to myself. Jessica was content to split time between Cabot Cove and New York City while I was content to remain in London. It’s not that I hadn’t considered other options but London had become home over the past thirty years.

“Recently, I’ve wondered whether I could be happy living in – oh, let’s say, the States,” I admitted. “I’m coming up on retirement age and…”

            Jessica looked at me and shook her head again. “You? Retired? I can’t imagine it. You’d be bored silly.”

            “You’re probably right, although the notion has a certain appeal.”

            I watched as Jessica started the process of setting us up to enter the airport’s traffic pattern. “Aye, time to go back,” I mumbled almost to myself. “I wish it weren’t the case.”

            “I’ve only rented the plane for an hour,” Jessica replied, looking over at me for just a moment.

            “I wasn’t talking about going back to the airport, Jessica. I meant having to go back to London tomorrow. I like it here.”

            “And I love having you here.”

            I sighed noticeably. “So where exactly does that leave us?” I asked, failing miserably to hide my frustration.



For Jessica’s response, continue by reading “Pendulum.”