Three days... You're stuck here for three whole days. Your sister is having a wedding and apparently you have to help with it. Now you're sitting in her lavish guest room, waiting for this whole ordeal to end. You guess you should be happy that she's getting married, but why should you be? The man she's marrying doesn't love her. They're just getting married for each others money. Your family is rich and so is his. He told you that he never really loved her.
Taylor bursts into the room and announces, “It's time for dinner, Stephanie.” You sigh and follow after her. The really sad thing is that Taylor really does love Richard. She wouldn't marry for anything but love.
You arrive in the dinning hall and see all the people who are there. It seems as though you and Taylor were the last to arrive. Your eldest brother, his wife, Taylor's fiance, and her closet two friends all sit around the table. They greet you and Taylor with big smiles and some hugs.
Dinner is delicious as was to be expected. Soon night has fallen and everyone goes to their own guest rooms. You are having trouble sleeping and just as you are about to lose consciousness, you hear frantic feet running down the hall. Then there sound three very quiet taps on your door.
It is enough to rouse you. When you open your door, your sister is standing in the doorway with tears in her eyes. “It's gone!” she yells out quietly, “Stephanie, it's gone! Someone took it!”
“Taylor,” you say calm as ever, “what is gone?” Her eyes are still welled with tears. She wipes her face despite the fact that she is still crying.
“My dress. My wedding dress is gone. The wedding is in three days and my dress has been stolen.” She was without any composure. It was so obvious that this was her worst nightmare come to life.
“It's okay Taylor. I'll call the police. I'm sure they can sort-”
“No!” she yelled, then covered her mouth. She didn't want to wake anyone. “I want to hire your services. No cops.” Her composure had somewhat returned, but you were afraid saying no would break her fragile resolve.
“Okay, Taylor. I'll take on your case.” Did I neglect to mention that your a private investigator? Oh, well, surprise!
You head into your room to find now you can't sleep worse than you were before. You get up and start thinking about the case. Everyone in the house is an instant suspect. The night passes and you haven't gotten even the slightest amount of sleep. The good news, however, is that you solved the case.
You gather everyone in the biggest living room in the house and begin to speculate. You start by breaking the news, “Last night a theft took place. My sister's wedding dress was stolen and you all had motive and opportunity. Unfortunately, only one of you could have done it.”
You start by hassling your brother, Harold, and his wife, Nancy, “Nancy, it's no secret that you hate my sister and Harold we all know you don't approve of Richard. Hate is the strongest motive other than greed, but you didn't do it did you. I know because I heard Harold snoring all night and he's a light sleeper, so Nancy couldn't have gotten out of bed without waking him.”
“Speaking of greed, Lisa, you're poor right. That dress cost what, over two thousand dollars. You could pawn that off for some serious money. Not to mention the great opportunity you had. My sister lent you something nice to wear to dinner. You were all alone in her closet with that gorgeous expensive dress.”
“What are you accusing me off?” she said in a shy and unbelieving tone of voice. “I can't have stolen it. The butler was waiting right outside for me. He would have seen me with the dress.”
“Ah yes, the butler. You had plenty of reason to despise Taylor. She treats you like a second-class citizen. Not to mention you had the greatest chance to do it. All you had to do was sneak in before she went to bed.”
“Good try, but I spent the majority of the evening with your father, trying to coax buttons, his cat, off a bookshelf. I didn't have time to ruin the brat's wedding.” He said in his usual abrasive manner. He actually was a good butler, but he really disliked Taylor.
“There's only one person who would want to ruin the wedding for the sake of ruining the wedding. Everyone knows the kitchen is understaffed, yet Taylor insisted on having the banquet here. The chef had the perfect excuse to be about lurking the house too. He brought my mother dessert in the parlor. He would have passed my sister's room on the way.”
“I might have done it,” he conceded, “except, as you already said, we are understaffed. I was doing the dinner dishes all night. You can ask any chef in the kitchen. They'll vouch for my honor.”
“Honor, did you say. As in maid of honor, but who would accuse her? I happen to know that Bethany was very jealous of your wedding Taylor. It's her greatest dream to get married and you are younger than her. Not to mention that she tried on her bridesmaid dress yesterday to check the fit.”
Bethany smiled and said, “I would have had the same problem as Lisa. Taylor was just beyond the door when I came out to show her. I can't have taken it.”
“That leaves just Richard and the maid. Richard you had the perfect opportunity. I mean it is your room and you were there. All Taylor had to do was leave for a moment. I can't think of a more perfect person to have committed this crime.” You could see him squirming. Obviously, there is something he wasn't telling you. “Unless, of course, you weren't with Taylor at all. Where exactly were you last night?”
It isn't Richard who answered, but the maid. “He was- he was with me.” One look is all she gave him. She tries to appear casual, but being a private detective you see a longing in her eyes.
“Do you love him?” Her silence is plenty answer. “Maybe you took it while you were cleaning Taylor's room last night. Thought you two could run away together and get married.”
“No!” she shouts, losing her perfect composure, “I did go to clean her room, but I ran into Richard on the way there. He kissed me and one thing lead to another. It just got out of control. I should have stopped it sooner, but I love him.” Her face falls in shame. I wait knowing I should not be the next to speak.
Sure enough Taylor says angrily, “If they didn't do it, who did? Was this just a random hate crime or a petty theft?”
“Taylor I'm not done yet. There is one person left with motive and opportunity.” I knew all along this would happen. I had the case solved long ago, but I needed to do it this way. If I didn't she would have just gone to the police and this would have escalated too far.
“Who a you going to blame next? Father? Mother?” she spit bitterly. She doesn't see the wall she's walking into here.
“No Taylor, it was you.” She freezes and her eyes widen in utter shock. Maybe she didn't think I would solve it or maybe she thought I would never blame my own sister, but it was clear she hadn't expected this.
“The man you loved enough to marry is in love with your maid. You claimed it was missing No one was around when you claimed this. You refused to go to the police as someone who had something to hide would. If you didn't do this, give me an alibi.” Her mouth finally shut, but it did not open again.
“Taylor, just end this now. Call off the wedding and leave Richard alone. Neither he nor the maid deserve to go to jail for something they didn't do.” Her face is absolutely blank.
“How did you figure it out?” she asks in a lifeless voice.
“When you told me you were sobbing so much, too much. It couldn't have been over the missing dress. I surmised it must have been something to do with Richard. Only a broken heart produces that many tears.”
She hugs you and everyone leaves. The wedding is off. The maid ends up being fired and she and Richard get married. Two years after the tragic incident your sister finally marries a man as madly in love with her as she is with him. As for you, well, there are only two words left to say: case solved.
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