The Death of Jerome Butler

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Falcon, Nov 20, 2013.

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  1. A cold rain pounded on the windows barely visible against the darkness of the early morning outside. The house stood lonely and isolated on the hilltop surrounded by trees, but there were several police vehicles stationed outside including two ambulances, their drivers waiting patently as the bodies were loaded into the back on stretchers. Two more police cars drove away their passengers held in cuffs.

    On the front stoop of the mansion stood two men. One a younger fellow who kept playing with his badge looked nervously at the pavement in front of him as an older gentleman with salt and pepper hair shot question after question at him barely waiting for one to be answered before he asked the next, only occasionally remembering to remove the pipe from his lips as he spoke.

    “Tell me, sergeant,” the older man growled finally, “who was it? Who started this whole fiasco? Who killed Jerome Butler?”

    The questioned seemed to echo in the night as the sergeant looked at his shoes, “I – I’m sorry chief. It’s going to take some time to explain.”

    “Then explain!” the Chief of police barked.

    “Well,” the sergeant mumbled finally meeting his superior officer’s eyes, “let me start at the beginning . . .”


    5pm the day before:

    It was a drizzly day in the Hills as Jerome Butler flipped through his newspaper. He could hear the maid, Cynthia, humming as she dusted the parlor and the sound helped him feel entirely relaxed, not caring for an instant that this was the day that had made headlines around the world. This was the day he invited several virtual strangers into his home to . . . well he wasn’t exactly sure what we wanted to do just yet. Present himself as himself that was sure. Let them see the man he truly was, that he was human and not just a figment of rumor.

    It was an interesting collection of guests that was for sure. Some he knew hated him, some he believed just wanted to be entertained by him, and some might believe they were here to entertain him. It didn’t matter. Within a few hours they would all be seated around the dinner table over an award winning meal, prepared by Alice his chef, and everything would be made clear.

    On the mantelpiece over the fireplace in the study an old clock ticked away the minutes until finally there was a chime at the bell. Jerome smiled as he heard the footsteps of his loyal butler, Nigel, rushing to the front entrance hall to answer it.
  2. "I believe we've arrived, Mr. Winston," a woman spoke, her voice velvety and melodious. She sat in a manner that was very obviously taught to her, as it seemed an unnatural pose to sit so still within her car, gloved hands folded politely together with her spine erect. The feathers on her hairpiece swayed rhythmically back and forth as the wind gently pushed against it.

    As the car coasted to a stop in front of the stairs to a large mansion the woman exclaimed, "What a large house! Surely no man would enjoy such a place alone--oh dear, the present!" Realizing the present had become wet from the drizzling rain filtering in through a raised window, she pulled away her gift: a miniature replica of the Genius of Arts like that on the Louvre which stood about a little over one feet tall. With much effort she dragged her hefty gift closer to her and, with a quickly retrieved handkerchief from her leather clutch, wiped away the water.

    As she cleaned her gift to Jerome Butler, her driver came to the passenger's door with an umbrella in hand. "Please, Miss Ingalls, allow me to escort you," Mr. Winston said as he opened the car door and shielded her from the rain.

    "Thank you, Mr. Winston." Together they traversed up the steps, him guiding her along as she huffed and heaved air through her lungs while she carried her weighty figurine up the stairs. "Miss Ingalls, would you like me to carry that? Y'ought to conserve your breath if you're to entertain the other guests tonight."

    As he reached to take the figurine, she turned away slightly, "It's quite alright, Mr. Winston. If I can't carry a simple thing as this up stairs, I'll never let myself live this down."

    "But ma'am, you're Felicity Ingalls! The Songbird of Nigeria! Were I to not offer a gentlemanly hand, many would scorn me!"

    Felicity laughed a sweet laugh, replying, "Thank you, Mr. Winston. I'll have you know you've been quite the gentleman today, and I do appreciate what you have done." She gave a slight oof as she stretched herself to the last step and towards the door. "If you'd like, you could ring this doorbell for me, and you'll have done plenty to be such a gentleman for me tonight." Mr. Watson smiled and nodded, reaching for the doorbell set in an intricate engraving. Ding!
    #2 Levusti, Nov 22, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  3. Nigel Morris reached and opened the door swiftly.
    "Welcome, Madam, to to Mr. Butler's humble home. You are the first to arrive, but I believe our other guest will be along shortly." He bowed and welcomed the woman known as The Songbird of Nigeria into the front entrance hall, giving her time to look around and collect her thoughts as she entered. She was a beautiful woman, Nigel thought, with an even more lovely voice. Truth be told he was a huge fan and part of the reason for her presence this night had been his recommendation. Nigel couldn't help but be a bit proud of himself.

    "If I may, madam, will you allow me to take that? It is such a heavy item and I I would hate to see you strain yourself before the evening has even begun. And then, if you would allow me to put up your coat and show you into the lounge . . ."
  4. Felicity was greeted at the door by the butler, a tall man with well-pressed clothing and meticulously coiffed hair. With a grand and graceful gesture of greeting, he ushered her in. Felicity turned to Mr. Winston and gave him a nod of dismissal, and he nodded back replying, "Have a good evening, Miss Ingalls."

    As she stepped into the large entrance hall where various statues, framed portraits, and elegant vases adorned its walls. "My, what a beautiful place!"

    The butler stretched out his hands, saying, "If I may, madam, will you allow me to take that? It is such a heavy item and I--I would hate to see you strain yourself before the evening has begun." Felicity smiled and handed the figurine to him without hesitation, allowing a brief grunt of relief to escape her lips. Immediately, she felt as if her arms were too light since she had already become accustomed to carrying the large item. "And then, if you would allow me to put up your coat and show you into the lounge..."

    "Why, thank you, sir," she replied as she disrobed her coat and allowed him to take it away with careful fingers. As she followed him into the lounge, she took time to observe the mansion, decorated with incredibly expensive and rare items everywhere you could see. It was very extravagant, but not in any way gaudy. As she entered the room, she found herself rapt in an antique vase of sorts, its origins unable to be traced at first glance. Everything was kept immaculate, though she had the notion that most of the house was rarely soiled by dirty hands and grimy fingers. "Do you alone clean everything, sir? It's quite a lot to clean, though I must say you do wonderful work, sir. Everything is very clean! Pristine, even!"
    #4 Levusti, Nov 29, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013

  5. Nigel found Miss. Ingalls to be a very present and polite sort of woman. He was impressed. So many of the entertainers he had met while working for Mr. Butler had been the type that could only be described as divas. He was gratified to find she admired the collection shown in the house, and even more pleased to find that she had obviously noticed all the hard work the staff put in to keep everything immaculate.
    "No, Madam," he said bowing politely and setting the statue she had brought on a coffee table where it would be easy to present to the host. "I believe the care of this room is Miss Hendricks responsibility. I will of course relay your praise. I'm sure she will be quite pleased to learn her hard work is appreciated."

    Just then the bell rang again. "Excuse me, Madam," Nigel bowed from the room and returned once again to the front door.
  6. It was something of a mystery to the friends and acquaintances of Miss Eleanor Clemonte as to why she was being invited to this highly anticipated dinner party. She was a well known socialite, but there were better known, more notorious young women available. She was considered pretty by some, but she was certainly not the most beautiful. Well to do, but again not the richest. Well bred, but not a member of the peerage. Educated, but there was many more intellectual than Miss Clemonte. Mr. Butler and her father were acquainted, but it was hardly the late Sir Francis Clemonte that earned his eldest daughter this prestigious invitation. Nobody was certain, and the young lady in question was keeping mum about the reason why she, out of all the young, eligible girls, received an invite.

    When Eleanor found out the names of the other guests, she herself wondered the same. Why her? The only connection, the only reason she could think of was her father. At first she was set to turn him flat down; she couldn't care less if he revealed himself to be the Queen of Sheba. But as she garnered more attention, she grew maybe not to like the idea, but to certainly view it as a more interesting prospect. If nothing else, it would earn her bragging rights for a month or two.

    Of course, her driver wasn't a little bit impressed by the entire ordeal. While he had escorted his charge and her sister to various venues and houses of dubious reputation, at least he had known who their company was. He vaguely recognized the name of Miss Felicity Ingalls, but it didn't stop him complaining and grumbling all the way. Eleanor's response was to tut softly, fix the bouquet of fresh, exotic flowers she had brought as a token gift, and to touch up her make-up.
    "Don't think I don't notice how slow you're driving, Mr. Ellis, and don't pretend it will either make me appear late, or put me off altogether." The young socialite snapped in frustration, beginning to fret over an imaginary droop of her curls. "You're simply being quite horrid."
    There was more grumbling, before the man finally spoke up again as they pulled up. "It just... It's just that I'm worried about you. I'd hate for something to happen to you now, madam."
    He had stepped out of the car before Eleanor could come up with a retort, leaving her to compose herself before she met her mysterious host for the evening. Driver and charge remained silent up to the doorway to press the bell and announce their arrival, the former handing her the flowers and leaving with a quick good bye, umbrella still in hand. The flowers had been impeccably arranged by her mother, but she had just enough time to fix them once again before the door was opened by a man who was obviously Mr. Butler's butler. A smile jumped to her lips out of little more than habit. "Miss Eleanor Clemonte," She introduced herself before breezing in, not accustomed to waiting for an invitation inside. She was forced to admit that the house was well-furnished and equally as well kept. Even here there were so many beautiful, undoubtedly valuable objects and ornaments, that she lost herself for a moment or two. "Might I find some water to put these in?" She asked, turning to the butler with a smile again as she broke out of her spell.

  7. "I haven't brought a gift, Jerry," Clara muttered, feeling the tendrils of nervous anticipation creep into her thoughts as the mansion on the Hills came into view. Her eyes, ever curious, wandered over the lay of the place, making out the details of the mansion's many windows through a veil of fog that clung in the air, masking the place in obscurity. Jerome Butler's mansion, his place of residence, nestled in the Hills, shrouded in much the same haze of mystery as the owner himself. How fitting a castle to hide the legend of such a man.

    "You wont need a gift, Claire," Jerry snorted, deftly managing to pull a cigarette out of a case in his coat pocket. Keeping one hand on the wheel and driving straight, he placed the cigarette between his lips and leaned his face to Clara's side of the car, "Give me a light it will, ya'?"

    Clara hesitated before breaking her gaze away from the window; the two storied mansion looming ever larger as their drive brought them nearer. She found a lighter on the dash and complied to her companion's request. Crisp air filtered in through the driver's side window, and she resisted the urge to shudder, willing off the cold. Jerome Butler. She was going to meet him. Face to face. Along with the rest of the honored guests.. Why now? Had the man grown a conscience overnight? Was this his attempt at embarking on a more humane presentation of himself. What frivolous whim had come upon Jerome Butler to give birth to this chance circumstance.

    "I mean it," Jerry said, grinning at some joke he'd come up with in his head as he blew out a smokey breath, "Your presence here, Claire, that's your gift. This place is a mausoleum. Can't you feel it? Ever since we came into these dreary old hills.. ha. That man has some character, at least, for asking the lot of you here. You're a colorful bunch, the lot of you," Jerry slowed the car to a stop, parking before the walkway to the massive doors to the Butler mansion, "But won't he be surprised when he realizes just what a hellion he's set loose in his home. Go easy on them, Claire."

    Clara flashed a smile to her companion before opening the passenger side door of the car and stepping out. "Tell the boys back at the office that I'm going to bring back the headline story for them. Save some space for my column in the next edition." Jerry laughed and Clara shut the car door. She'd been anticipating this day since the intriguing delivery of her invitation, and now that she was here she felt bubbly. Running a hand back through her curls, she inhaled deeply as she took in the sight of the mansion before her.

    She made her way purposefully to the door, hand bag clutched to her side.
    'A mausoleum?' She wondered at Jerry's wording for the place as she came to stand in the doorway. For all the mansion's size, she hadn't felt much life from it's exterior.

    Clara rung the bell in the doorway to the Butler mansion and waited to be received.
    #7 esorasorous, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2013
  8. Nigel hurried to the door to answer it before the next guest could grow impatient at being left outside. Some days it seemed his whole life was nothing but hustle and bustle, fetch this, bring me that, go there, did you do this. Even this party was his doing down to the last detail, well except for the supper menu. Mr. Butler was hardly the type to plan social occasions as each of the man’s ex-wives had learned to their disappointment.

    Taking a deep breath Nigel swung the door wide and stepped back. “Welcome- ” he started only to be cut off as the next guest stepped into the hall without waiting to be invited. Not that it mattered to Nigel. He had encountered far ruder persons during his lifetime.

    "Miss Eleanor Clemonte," seemed to know exactly who she was, but at least she stopped to admire the house before she spoke again. "Might I find some water to put these in?"

    “Of course, Madam,” Nigel said with a bow taking her coat and the flowers at the same time. “I shall have Miss. Hendricks find an appropriate vase while I show you to the lounge.” As if on cue Cynthia soundlessly appeared from a dark corner and took the flowers in careful hands before disappearing back to the kitchens. “One of our other guest has already arrived,” Nigel continued leading the way to the lounge. “A truly delightful woman. I’m sure you will enjoy each other’s company.”

    He opened the lounge door and bowed Eleanor inside before making introductions. “Miss Eleanor Clemonte, may I present Ms. Felicity Ingalls.” It was at that moment the bell rang again and Nigel was forced to make his excuses and leave the two women to themselves as he one again rushed to greet a guest.

    This time he was allowed to present his welcome to the woman waiting outside. "Welcome, Madam, to Mr. Butler's humble home. We are very pleased to have you as a guest this evening. May I take your coat?"

    Cynthia Hendricks, meanwhile, had taken the flowers back to the kitchen where she swiftly retrieved a vase from a cupboard, dusted it off, filled it partly with some water, and the placed the flowers inside. Over at the stove the chef and creator of the evening’s supper was lifting a lid off a pot so she could stir something that smelled delicious.

    “Cynthia, dear,” the cook, Alice Wright, called, “Wasn’t that cabinet locked?”

    “No ma’am,” Cythia answered without missing a beat as she carefully wiped the outside of the vase to insure it was perfectly dry when the flowers were returned to their owner.

    “That’s odd,"Alice mused, "I’m sure I locked it back up after I took the setting out. You know that table setting was given to Mr. Butler at his first marriage by-” but Cynthia didn’t bother to hear the rest of the story as she slipped back out of the kitchen, flowers in hand, and down the hall to the lounge.

    Easing the door open the young maid managed to enter the room and set the vase down on the coffee table, beside the statue the singer had brought, before slipping back out again all without being seen.
  9. While perusing through the other items in lounge while the butler had gone to answer the door, she found herself fixed onto a small piece. It was a replica. "Oh, what's this?" she wondered aloud. "Oh, dear. Is that the Louvre too?" A sigh of distress slipped from her lips while she glanced at her own present. All of a sudden, after seeing that small replica of the entire Louvre, her present to Mr. Butler was suddenly diminished. She walked over to it, bringing out a handkerchief to wipe away some fingerprints still left on the statue.

    As soon as she tucked away the handkerchief, someone entered the room, startling her. It was the butler and an unfamiliar woman being escorted--though how she held herself it almost seemed as if she was escorting him. "Miss Eleanor Clemonte," the butler said, "may I present Miss Felicity Ingalls." It sounded as if he was about to say something else but another ring of the doorbell called him away.

    "Good evening, Miss Clemonte. A pleasure to meet you," Felicity said extending a gloved hand. "Isn't this such a fascinating house? All these exotic souvenirs! In fact, I too have brought one, but he already has one with a similar image." Felicity gestured to her statue as she glanced towards it. "Oh, flowers? I don't remember them there, but they're beautiful, are they not?" Though she spoke politely and made small talk as would be appropriate according to social protocol, she had reservations about the woman she spoke to. Something about Eleanor Clemonte didn't sit well with Felicity.


  10. "Yes, please, thank you," Clara returned dazedly, caught by the grandeur of the mansion around her as she stepped into the Entrance Hall. She set her decorated handbag down on an adjacent reception counter with a weighty thump and stepped back to be helped out of a long blue coat lined with soft khaki fur along the neck and cuff lines.

    "Clara Williams," she said as means of introduction, holding her out her hand to the butler. The pleasantries surfaced naturally, but she felt her manners fell short in response to the butler's impeccably well-mannered nature; he stood so unassuming, an example of innate formality. Clara couldn't help but feel obliged to reciprocate what hospitality she could manage.

    Picking up her handbag Clara held it before her, hands crossed over top of it. The Entrance Hall was expansive, and it was only a fraction of the expanse of the mansion as a whole. She noted several doors around her and a hallway to the left from which more doorways stood, and she wondered at the size of the place and it's seclusion from the rest of society.

    Her eyes wandered, exploring the impressive furnishings around her. Impressed as she'd been by the size the place, any one of the decorations her eyes found would have been stunning in itself. The appearance of the mansion overall was fantastically remarkable, and all of it, every spot of every surface in the place, was immaculate.

    "This place.. it's extraordinary," Clara said hesitantly, as she wondered at the work entailed by such upkeep.

    'Jerome Butler, man of mystery,' she thought to herself, 'He's fashioning the world to revolve around his own private kingdom; it's fitting.. The stories I could think to write just from being here.. If the guys at the office could see this..' Again she found herself wondering at the privilege Jerome's invitation had been for her. And for what?.. She could only speculate.

    "Have the rest of the guests arrived?" she asked with a smile and a glint of excitement in her eyes, prepared for the man to escort her to a reception room.
  11. Compared to the other two guests Nigel had ushered into the lounge, he found Clara Williams to be the most personable. She was polite and observant, as he noted by her entrance and survey of the front hall, and while her manners fell short of the polished society women he was used to serving, she was by no means rude or self centered as so many of the aforementioned ladies often were.

    "Have the rest of the guests arrived?"

    “Some, Madam, but not all.” Nigel answered her question with a very polite nod, finding as he did so that this woman was so far nothing like what he had expected from reading her published stories. He supposed writers were forced to be a bit more creative with their writing than what they could get away with in normal everyday interaction. “Two others have arrived before you already. If I may show you to the lounge?” and he led the way to the room in question, made the proper introductions all around, and excused himself from their company before the door bell rang for the fourth time that evening.
  12. It was hard not to admire the efficient, yet well mannered butler. It was so hard to find good staff, especially good butlers these days. She smiled and uttered her thanks as he led her into the lounge. “Miss Eleanor Clemonte, may I present Ms. Felicity Ingalls.” Whatever was said after that was lost on Eleanor as she grinned like a Cheshire cat, eagerly stepping forward to meet the singer. "My pleasure entirely Miss Ingalls," She beamed, gripping her hand in a firm shake. While she wasn't a huge fan herself, her sister and several of her friends would be positively gagging at the chance to meet the 'Songbird of Nigeria'. She nodded in agreement, taking a moment to take in the room around her. "It all adds to the mystery, don't you think? Unless he's like Charlie Barclay, my, you should see his house with souvenirs from all over the world. The poor old sod hasn't put so much as a hair outside the country; he just thinks it gives him a worldly air," She chuckled, oblivious to the fact that Ms Ingalls was unlikely to have met or even heard of Charles Barclay, waving a hand dismissively. She glanced around again, beginning to wander around the room, her eyes landing on Miss Ingall's gift. She tilted her head slightly, glancing between the gift and the model. "Well, it's the thought the counts, isn't it? It's a fine piece of workmanship, and it's hard enough to buy for a man when you actually know something about him,"

    Eleanor continued her meandering for a bit, until Felicity indicated the flowers that had mysteriously appeared. She blinked for a moment; they looked like the flowers she had brought, but surely she would have seen someone bring them in. She frowned as she approached them again. "Why, I brought them for Mr. Butler, but..." She paused, the grin returning to her lips again, "As I said earlier, how does one decide what to get a man one's never met?"
  13. Felicity stood attentively as she listened to Eleanor Clemonte's banter. She heard the name "Charlie Barclay" uttered quickly, but Felicity wasn't sure to whom she was referring. Not many realized that though she was a singer, she was still a person of color. This Charlie Barclay person would have most quickly dismissed her presence or held her attendance as only mere formalities, never as intimate friends would.

    It was amazing she had a chance to even be recognized by Jerome Butler, much less to be invited into his abode.

    Eleanor Clemonte meandered and perused around, tossing back replies to Felicity, though she didn't make any eye contact as she did so. Felicity felt distraught at this, though she made no mention of the lack of eye contact.

    "As I said earlier," Eleanor Clemonte smirked, "How does one decide what to get a man one's never met?" Felicity opened her mouth in reply before she was abruptly cut off by the entrance of the butler and another woman.

    The butler escorted the young woman inside the lounge and introduced her before he took his leave yet again. "Good evening, Miss Williams. It's a pleasure to meet you," Felicity said instinctively. She looked at Clara Williams and gauged that she was a bright woman--perhaps not in the conventional sense. Clara seemed alert to her place as studying eyes glanced once to Felicity's eyes and then whipped to the house. "Mercy, will this be a party of only young women and I the only one of considerable age?" Felicity chuckled. "I believe I'm old enough to be your mothers. Perhaps even one of your grandmothers!"
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