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Chapter 19: The Return

Kelly was asleep in her room at the inn when she was awakened by a pain in her arm. She fumbled to get out of bed and crashed into the dresser. Eventually, she made her way to the desk, picked up the phone, and dialed a number into it.

"Hey. You there?" There was a pause as she listened. "Good. This is taking too long. We need to accelerate the plan."

--

Soon, Kelly was hiding behind a bunch of crates.

"It's almost nine." She turned to face Hilary. "You all set? You know what to do?"

"Operation Cobra is always ready. I just..."

"You just what?"

"I don't understand what this has to do with getting Jack to believe."

Kelly peeked out around the crates before turning back to Hilary. "Sometimes other priorities assert themselves. Can you handle a little improvisation?"

"Yeah. Can you?"

"We're a go." Kelly smiled. She patted Hillary on the back as she ran across the street, into the shoe store.

The front door bell rang as Hilary entered the shop. Ms. Cordwain emerged from the back room, confused by Hilary's appearance.

"Hey, Ms. Cordwain."

"Buenos Dias, Hilary. What can I do for you?"

"I wanna get a new pair of sneakers."

"Oh, I see."

"Since... mine are kinda falling apart."

"Good thinking."

Kelly snuck in through the back door to the back room. She closed the door silently and began looking around the room. Suddenly, Ms. Cordwain walked into the room. "May I help you?"

Kelly looked at her, surprised. "Yeah. I'm looking for some boots. I'm a bit of a hiker."

"Yes. Well, I have boots in the shop. This is my office."

"I thought this was the entrance."

"It's not. The shops are in there." She pointed through the door to the showroom.

Kelly left, and Ms. Cordwain looked around suspiciously.

-------

At the hospital. Evelyn was awake and being assessed by Dr. Whale. He noticed Jack standing outside.

"Jack. Come on in. Look who's awake."

Jack entered the room. "Evelyn, hi. Listen, I don't wanna take a lot of your time. But do you remember what happened?"

"I don't know much. Uh, I was in a car accident, and I remember the airbag going off." She slightly shook her head. "And the next thing I knew, I was in the dark, in some basement. I didn't see anyone, but there was food and water. And then I guess I was drugged?"

Dr. Whale nodded. "Yeah. We're still trying to flush that out of your system."

"And then I woke up in a field at the edge of town, and I started walking. That was it."

"You saw no one? You didn't hear a voice? Smell perfume?" Jack asked. Evelyn slightly shook her head. "Cologne? Anything?"

"Nothing. No. I'm sorry. I wish I could help. Especially since... While I was gone, you thought I was dead?"

"Your DNA matched the heart we found."

"They're grilling everybody down at the hospital lab to see who doctored the DNA results." Dr. Whale added.

"Why would anyone do this?"

"I think somebody was trying to frame Clark."

"But why? I mean, who would do something like that?" Dr. Whale and Jack exchanged a questioning look.

-------

"You broke our deal." Derek angrily stormed into Ms. Wood's shop.

"I've never broken a deal in my life, dear."

"Evelyn was supposed to die, and Clark was to get the blame."

"Yeah, murder seems so much worse here, though, doesn't it? You didn't say 'kill her'. We agreed that something tragic should happen to her. Now, abduction is tragic."

"The intent was perfectly clear."

"Oh, let's not talk about intent. Intent is meaningless."

"Intent is everything."

"Please." Ms. Wood walked away from the counter.

"This is going to raise all kinds of questions about where she was and how the test's results were fake."

"Oh, yes. And, um... and who put the key in his cell." Find authorized novels in Webnovel, faster updates, better experience, Please click <a href="https://www.webnovel.com/book/once-upon-a-time-pixar-style_17741301305638405/the-return_48670694321478379">www.webnovel.com/book/once-upon-a-time-pixar-style_17741301305638405/the-return_48670694321478379</a> for visiting.

Derek gasped. "It's all gonna lead to me, isn't it? You witch! This doesn't make any sense. You and I -- we've been in this, together, from the start."

"Oh, have we?" She chuckled.

"You created the curse for me-- The curse that brought us here and build all this."

"Yeah, it's about time you said 'thank you'."

"Why did you do it?"

"Well, you're a smart man, Syndrome. Figure it out."

-------

Clark approached Evelyn's hospital bed. He went to kiss her, but she woke up.

"I'm sorry."

"What are you doing?"

"I was trying to kiss you on your forehead. It was meant to be sweet."

"Well, thank you. It's... it's good to see you."

"Evelyn, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I lied to you. I'm sorry I cheated on you. I'm just so sorry for all of this."

"Clark, it's okay. You know, what we had... it wasn't it for you. Maybe for both of us. I can't blame you for just being the first one to see it."

"You are, uh... kind of amazing." They both smiled.

"Yeah, I am. Now go on. Get out of here so I can get some rest."

"I'm going to give you that kiss on the forehead now."

"Knock yourself out."

Clark kissed Evelyn on the forehead and left the room.

-------

Ellen entered the Grimm house where Clark's welcome home party was being held. "Hi!"

Felix came over to her. "Hey. How are you? Would you like some?" He handed Ellen a drink and took the tray of food that she brought.

"All of these people-- just to welcome me home?" Clark said to Jack in wonder.

"You've got a lot of friends."

"Didn't feel like that yesterday." He brought a platter of drinks over to some guests.

Hilary spotted Ms. Cordwain, who was off by herself, then turned to Kelly.

"How bad was it?"

"Getting caught in her office? Not bad. I played it off."

"What were you looking for? Did you find it?"

"Nope. But I have a feeling it's going to find me."

"Hilary, we should get you home before your dad finds out. That won't be pretty." Jack led her to the door and opened it to see Laura Reed standing outside.

"Hey. Hilary. Leaving already?"

"Yeah. Gotta get home and do homework."

Jack looked to Clark, who shook his head. Laura Reed started to enter the house, but Jack blocked her way.

"He's kinda tired. I think if you just give it some time."

"I just wanted to--"

"Hey, Hilary, why don't you head home with Laura Reed?"

"Okay."

"Sorry." He looked at her, sympathetically.

"Okay." She left the party with Hilary. Jack closed the door.

"Hard to let her go, isn't it? Your daughter." Ms. Cordwain came over to Jack.

"Yeah." He nodded. "Pretty much the hardest thing."

"Tell me. What do you know about her?" She gestured towards Kelly.

"Goes by 'Kelly'. She's a writer. Typewriter wrapped in an enigma wrapped in bright colors. Why?"

"She was poking around my workshop today. Kelly Monal -- clearly a false name."

"Writers go by pseudonyms. What does it matter?"

"You trust her?"

"Yeah." He walked over to Kelly and talked to her. Ms. Cordwain watched them.

-------

Ms. Cordwain picked the lock to Kelly's room at the inn. Inside, she found Kelly's typewriter on the desk, along with stacks of papers and a dog-shaped paperweight. She moved a sheet of paper aside, revealing a drawing of Hector's guitar.

-------

Jack entered the diner and sat down across from Olga, who was enjoying a coffee.

"Hey, Olga."

"Jack, hey. So things certainly did work out, didn't they, for your friend?"

"You told me you could help me with Clark and I wanted to believe you. But eventually, there are things that even a blind sheriff," He placed the crushed bug on the table between them. "can't ignore."

"Is that a bug?"

"Oh, please, Olga, drop it. You fooled me, you spied on me, and you reported it all back to that sick, crazy man. I can't even imagine what he has on you, but it must be something huge."

"He's a good mayor."

"He tried to get Clark convicted of a murder that didn't even happen. You're in a lot of trouble. There's a DNA trail in the basement of some house out there, and I'm gonna find it, and he's going to go away."

"Maybe. But I wouldn't bet against him. He's an amazing man."

"Do you--" He stared at Olga for a moment and then realized. "Are you in love with him?" She said nothing. "Fine. Whatever. Here's the thing-- Before you know it, I'll have that evidence, and you need to think long and hard. You can either help me and help yourself, or you can go down with him, too." Jack got up and exited the diner.

-------

Kelly got onto her motorcycle and drove off down the street, unaware that Mrs. Cordwain was watching her from inside her car. She decided to follow Kelly in the direction she drove off.

-------

Outside the convent, Kelly talked to Sister Julia. Ms. Cordwain waited for her as she went back inside.

"Good afternoon, Sister Julia."

"And good day to you, Ms. Cordwain."

"Tell me-- that woman who just left here... who did she say she was? What did she want?"

"I don't have to tell you that."

"And I don't have to sell you any shoes. What did she want?"

"Advice and counsel. She came to town looking for her family after a long separation, and she recently found them."

"Ah. And have they reunited?"

"No. She hasn't spoken to them yet."

"And why not?"

"Mm, it was a difficult parting. There are many issues to be resolved between them."

"I see."

-------

Later that night, Laura Reed was walking down the sidewalk when Clark passed by.

"Clark." He just ignored her and kept walking. "Please wait. Look, I'll leave if you want. I... I just think we need to talk."

"So talk."

"I need to apologize."

"Yes, you do. Keep going."

"I didn't believe you. I didn't stand with you."

He finally turned around to face her. "You know, I'll never forget that moment... The moment sort of blows you backward, and the one person you thought would always be there to catch you... she isn't there."

"Look at what was going on. It was your shoebox, your fingerprints, knife in your house."

"It was a setup."

"And a really good one. I'm human. I fell for it. I'm sorry, but... we have to move forward."

Clark shook his head. "But we can't. It's like something in this world doesn't want us together."

"Like what? Dark forces?"

"Maybe. I don't know, but it's like something just keeps pouring poison between us. And what I don't want is to have all of those good memories... replaced by moments like that-- When I looked at you and I saw you didn't believe me." His voice trailed off.

"No. I know. I'm so sorry."

"I know."

"But I love you." She whispered, feeling tears in her eyes.

"And that... is what makes it all so sad."

-------

Outside Cutter Psychiatry Office, Ms. Cordwain hesitantly knocked on the door, but turned to leave.

Felix opened the door and noticed her. "Ms. Cordwain? I didn't order any new shoes."

"That's not why I'm here."

"Oh. Would... would you like to talk?"

She slightly shook her head. "I don't know."

"Well, um... if you like to get something off your chest, please come in."

After a brief pause, they entered his office.

"A daughter?" Felix asked, curiously. "Wow. I-I didn't know you had a daughter. How... how old is she?"

"Let's start with something easier."

"Okay. Um, what do you mean to say that you may have found her?"

"Let's just say there's someone acting the way I would expect her to act."

"So you-- so you recognize her."

"Maybe." She slightly shook her head. "Or maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see. I don't know."

"Okay, well, I mean, wouldn't she recognize you?"

"We weren't on the best terms. I'm not sure she's ready for a tear-soaked reunion."

"So she sought you out and she's hanging back? Maybe she's watching to see if she's welcome, looking for a sign that all is forgiven."

"No. No. She's-- she's not the one that needs to be-- I think she might still be mad at me."

"Anger between a parent and a child is the most natural thing in the world."

"I drove her away. I've spent my entire life since trying to fix it, and now she's finally here, and I just don't know what to do."

"Be honest. Just tell her what you told me. And ask her for forgiveness. And when you're face-to-face, you'll know what to do."

-------

Later, Kelly was walking by a cabin in the woods. Ms. Cordwain appeared and approached her.

"I know who you are. And I know what you're looking for."

"Well, then... I guess I can stop hiding... Mama."

"You were right, Coco. You were always right. I let my anger and pain get the best of me. I never should have tried to make you forget your father. I know it's little consolation, but I just want you to know that ever since you ran away, in every waking moment... I've been looking for you. And now that I've finally found you… I know I can't make up for the past, for the lost time. All I can do is to ask you to do what you've always done-- that's to be the bigger person…" Her voice began to break. "And forgive me." Tears streamed down her cheeks. "Lo siento, Mija. I'm so sorry, Coco." Finally, Kelly turned around and hugged Ms. Cordwain. "Oh, Mija. Mijita Preciosa. Can you truly forgive me?

"I forgive you, Mama."

After a moment, they pulled back.

"You were looking for his guitar."

"I thought if you still had it, it would mean that things had changed."

"Well, let's go and find it and see."

---

"I hid it here shortly after Jack came to town. Things were changing. Didn't want to take the chance of Derek finding it."

"Of course."

Ms. Cordwain took out a large case that she had kept hidden in her workshop, and opened it to reveal a white guitar with the headstock shaped like a skull. She handed the guitar to Kelly. "I want you to take it. Use it, the way I know he would've wanted you to. I found you, and now we can have music again."

Kelly took the guitar in her hands and carefully examined it. "It's beautiful." She strummed the guitar and pointed the skull at Ms. Cordwain. "With the power of music, I command you, Rivera. "

She looked at Kelly in disbelief. "You're trying to control me?"

"I command you, Rivera!"

Ms. Cordwain now understood what was going on. This woman wasn't who she thought she was. She had been tricked. "You're not my daughter. You're not Coco."

"Mama, why would you say that?" Kelly asked, nervously trying to keep up the charade. "I'm just trying to use it to help us."

"Enough! It's over, Monal, or whoever you are." Ms. Cordwain shouted, angrily. "My daughter would never try to use music against me, and she would know, that this guitar can't harness any magic in this world, because there is no magic in this world." She grabbed Kelly's wrist and wrestled the guitar from her hands.

"So, why hide it?"

"It still smacks rather nicely. It's about time you start answering some questions. Why the theatrics? Why didn't you just come to me?"

"I needed you to work for it. I needed you to want it so bad, you would ignore what your eyes were seeing. Do I even look like her at all?"

"How did you know about this guitar?"

"I hear things."

She circled around Kelly. "No one here knows about this guitar."

"No one here remembers."

"And yet you do. You're from there, aren't you? From my world?"

"The fact that you're asking the question means you know the answer."

"Now, that's that settled-" Ms. Cordwain lunged at Kelly, pinning her against the tree behind her. She held her boot to her throat. "How about my other question? Who told you about me and the guitar?"

"A little ant."

"Why did you want it? If you know who I am, then you know who I am. The chances of you surviving this little encounter are pretty slim. So, why take the risk?"

"Because I'll die anyway."

"What?"

"I'm sick. I'm sick and I need magic. I was going to get the savior to believe. But that man, I don't think I'm going to make it long enough to see that happen."

"He trusts you. It might be enough. Try again." Ms. Cordwain stood back.

"You're gonna let me live?"

"You're gonna die either way. This way at least I might get something out of it."

-------

Jack entered the Sheriff's office, where Derek was waiting for him.

"Congratulations, Sheriff Swan. There's about to be a big break in your case. You just got yourself a confession. But I want you to listen to the whole explanation so you understand why this happened."

"Oh, I'll hang on every word you say." Jack said sarcastically.

"Olga, you can come in now." Olga entered the room. "Tell him what you told me."

She quickly glanced at Derek. "It was me. I confess. I abducted Evelyn and I held her in the basement of an abandoned summer home by the lake." Jack looked at her as if he didn't believe a word she said. "I bribed a lab tech to get me the heart from the hospital, and I used that same person to doctor the lab results."

"And the other thing?" Derek reminded her.

"I borrowed some skeleton keys from Derek and... planted the knife in Clark's house."

"My keys. Can't help to feel personally violated by that part."

Jack gave her a look of disbelief. "I'm supposed to believe you did this for why now?"

"I was going to find her after the conviction, be a hero, then get the inside track on the biggest story to ever hit this town. I'd get my job back. Plus a novel and a movie, and I don't know. It sounds crazy now."

Jack stepped closer to her. "I don't know about crazy, but false, yes, false as can be."

"I have maps to where the house is. You'll find chains in the basement, lots of fingerprints, I'm sure – hers and mine. But I didn't hurt her."

"The woman has obviously suffered some kind of mental break." Derek chimed in. "She clearly hasn't been herself for a while."

"Yeah. It's like her words aren't hers at all." Jack agreed, still glaring at Olga.

"Wow. You're so sold on your own rush to judgment that you can't even see the truth anymore."

Jack angrily turned to face Derek. "A word in the hallway, please." Before Derek followed Jack, he locked eyes with Olga and slightly shook his head. He met up with Jack in the hallway. "Well, that's the biggest lie I've ever heard."

"I'm pretty sure that's not true."

"That poor woman. I know you're behind all this. I understand that you own the game and you've set the board so that no one else can win, but I'm about to start playing an entirely different game." He took a step towards Derek. "I don't care about what happens to you. I don't care about what happens to me. All I care about is what happens to my kid. And you're going to leave her alone."

"Am I?"

"Uh-uh. I'm talking. You're a sociopath, Mister. You tried to take away someone that I love, and now… I'm going to take away someone you love. I am taking back my daughter."


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