The Boy Next Door - Pt. VI: Brunch & Tell
Updated: Mar 7
What's the real Loganville history? Was Essie kidnapped? What ceremony are they planning?
Based on true events
Bobby's Home - San Antonio, TX
Detective Miller sits in his car across the street from Bobby’s house. His seat is slightly reclined so he isn't seen. He watches as Officer LD walks into the home and is welcomed by Bobby. He can see that LD’s car is full of duffel bags.
“The hell is she doing, moving in?” Miller rattles to himself. His phone starts ringing– it’s Jone. He answers.
“Did you find anything?”
“Not as much as I hoped on LD so far, but tons on Bobby. LD is definitely a regular, but not just as a customer.”
“Tell me more.”
“Of course, but before that. I checked with Jake– the officer on night duty tonight. He said he never called LD back in. That was suspicious because who wants to pull an extra shift for the hell of it? Not me! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love you guys, but–”
“Sorry, sorry. Ok, so remember how I asked about LD and what it is short for? Well, now I know. Introducing behind door number one… Lenda Dobbs.”
Miller sits in silence.
“Sooooo? What's special about that name?”
“Nothing… but I found another name that links everything together– it’s kind of funny how I stumbled upon it– I mean I literally stumbled upon it. So I got up to get another cup of coffee– not like I needed one.”
Miller begins to tune her out as he watches Bobby’s house closely. He can see Bobby and LD through a window. LD is letting him have it. She’s yelling at him and Bobby is taking all of it. LD paces back and forth with her hands flailing up and down. Bobby then stands and looks as if he’s putting up a fight. He starts yelling and continuously points to his chest. His fight doesn’t last long. LD approaches him and Bobby immediately backs down. He returns to his seat and admits defeat.
Miller tunes back into his conversation with Jone– who continues to ramble.
“I finally get back to my desk with hot coffee and at this point, I’m walking as fast as possible so my hands don’t burn and boom! I bump into the desk and graze my keyboard in the process. Luckily I have napkins and clean it up. I sit back down and look at the screen and Dobbs is still entered as the last name, but now the first name only has the letters L-E-N-N. And there you have it, the missing piece to this puzzle! So I present to you behind door number two–”
“One sec.” Miller says before promptly ending the call and leaning back in his car seat. He watches as LD stomps her way out of Bobby’s house and into her car. LD speeds off. Miller watches as Bobby paces back and forth with both hands on his head. He’s obviously overwhelmed by the conversation.
Miller waits until he can no longer hear LD’s car engine. Once the coast is clear, he quietly exits the car and walks towards Bobby’s door. He gives the door a light knock and it opens almost simultaneously by Bobby who is clearly frustrated.
“God dammit Len, I said I wouldn't–” Bobby stops abruptly when he sees Miller.
“Oh… um… hey Detective. Wh– what um… are you doing here?” Bobby’s body language wreaks of paranoia. His head is on a swivel as he constantly looks around Miller to make sure no one is watching.
“Who me? No, not this late. I mean who would I be expecting?”
“Maybe we should go inside and talk about that.”
“You know it’s pretty late Detective, can we do this tomorrow?”
“I’ll only be a second.”
“Sorry, it’s been a really long day and I’m not sure how much I can really help tonight.”
“Yeah, yeah, no problem.” Miller pauses for a second. He takes his phone out and begins to type. As he types, he turns to walks away from Bobby’s door. Bobby remains in the doorway and watches anxiously as Miller walks away. Miller suddenly stops.
“I’ll just let LD know that I stopped by but you were busy so she can follow up tomorrow.”
“Wait, I thought LD was off the case?”
Miller stops and smiles like a confident fisherman after baiting his hook. He reeled in this fish perfectly. He continues.
“Now how would you know that?” A look of defeat is plastered all over Bobby’s face. He realizes there’s no way to wiggle off this hook. Miller starts walking back towards the door and enters the house.
“Would you like some tea?” Bobby asks as Miller walks past him into the house.
“A beer would be nice. It’s my preferred drink when I go fishing,” Miller replies with a smirk.
The Logan Home - Logan, Illinois
Essie lays on Dr. Edwards’ shoulder in the backseat of the car as the Uber driver pulls into a driveway. Dr. Edwards shimmies her shoulder to wake Essie up.
“We’re here.” Essie slowly opens her eyes and begins stretching from a long nap. Dr. Edwards exits the car and walks around to the other backseat door. She opens the door and grabs her suitcase.
“Welcome home!” Dr. Edwards yells with a cheerful tone. Essie– still partially asleep, drags herself out of the car. She gives her eyes another good rub and lets out a yawn. She blinks several times as her vision clears up. She’s taken back by her view.
“Wait, is this the–”
“Yes, come on in. Dr. Edwards grabs Essie’s hand and leads her into the house.
“Hello!” Dr. Edwards screams once they enter the house. Essie stops at the door and lets Dr. Edwards walk ahead. She steps back outside and looks at the neighbors driveway. She sees Greg’s car and lets out a snarl. She then connects her eyes with the spot on the lawn where she threw up, just two days ago. She thinks to herself: They cleaned that up well. Her attention then goes to the gold-colored house she’s about to enter. It’s just as beautiful as she remembered it. And this time she can enjoy it without the nerves.
She re-enters the home and hears Dr. Edwards talking to someone. To her surprise, she still isn’t feeling any butterflies or nerves. In true oxymoron fashion– her lack of nerves makes her worry. She begins to think: Why do I feel so comfortable?
Her thought is broken by a white haired, caucasian woman with thick bifocals who is holding a glass of water.
“I know you usually get a little sick in new situations. Don’t worry, it’s hereditary. Take this glass of water.” Essie looks hard at the woman.
“Aren’t you the lady from the desk?”
“My name is Marlene, but yes. That was me who signed you out yesterday. It’s nice to see you again.”
“So what exactly is the RA doing here? Isn’t this.. like.. still considered a crime scene?”
“You must still be recovering from yesterday and that crime scene.”
“Wait, how do you know about that?” Dr. Edwards runs up to Essie with a photo in hand.
“Oh my God you’re not going to believe what I found! Look at how adorable you were!” Dr. Edwards hands Essie the picture. She stares at it for a moment. It’s a little girl holding up a book next to a tall bookcase. Essie stares at the picture for a moment. She then looks down the hallway, beyond Marlene and Dr. Edwards and sees the same tall bookcase.
“Lisa! Let her drink some water and relax before you start scaring her off.”
“I say we waste no more time and start prepping for her ceremony,” says a deep voice from down the hallway. A burly, black man steps into sight.
“Lisa, where’s that brother of yours?” the man says.
“Please don’t say that when she gets here,” Dr. Edwards replies.
“I own the damn house, I’ll call him what I want,” the man rebuttals.
“Jack, please,” Marlene pleads.
“What ceremony?” Essie asks Dr. Edwards.
“Your ceremony,” Jack yells.
“Jack, I think this will be a little more digestible over brunch, no?” Marlene responds in an overly-sweet tone.
“Lisa, tell your brother we’re eating without him.” Jack says as he walks into another room.
“Let’s get some food shall we.” Marlene says with a big smile. Dr. Edwards extends her hand to Essie. She grabs Dr. Edwards hand and they walk into the dining room with Marlene.
There’s a table full of food spread across the long dining room table. Three plates of pancakes and waffles. two plates of bacon, a large bowl of eggs– most of them scrambled, but two boiled. A thin plate stacked with sausage links, next to a platter of baked chicken wings, two large bowls of salad, four bottles of champagne and two gallons of orange juice. The layout catches Essie's eyes and stomach by surprise. Her stomach immediately grumbles as they sit down.
“Somebody’s hungry,” Marlene chuckles. Essie feels embarrassed by her stomach’s request for food. She sinks in her chair. Marlene notices Essie’s unease.
“Don’t you feel bad one bit Essie. Your parents used to make meals like this all the time. Whenever I walked in and saw it, my stomach did all types of dancing.” Marlene chuckled. Marlene’s comment was made to comfort her, but Essie’s demeanor stayed the same. She tries a different tactic.
“Well, let’s get that stomach of yours some food.” Marlene says as she grabs a plate. She goes across the table adding food to the plate.
Essie watches closely as Marlene seems to ponder over each type of food. She seems to be thinking and compiling the plate in real time. Marlene skips over the scrambled eggs, and bacon, but fills half the plate with salad.
“Pancakes, yes, that’s right,” she whispers to herself as she adds two pancakes to the plate with the salad. She skips the sausage links and waffles and adds two chicken wings. She takes a step away from the table to examine the plate. She tilts her head and looks into the corner of her eyes– thinking to herself.
“There’s something else,” Marlene whispers to herself again. Her eyes pop as she seems to remember whatever she was thinking about.
“Boiled eggs,” Marlene whispers. She adds two boiled eggs to the plate, then walks the plate over to Essie and places it infront of her.
“Just the way you like it… or… liked it. Hopefully you still like it,” Marlene chuckles.
Essie stares at the plate in amazement. Boiled eggs and pancakes are her favorite breakfast. Baked chicken wings and salad are her favorite combo for lunch. Her demeanor changes. She sits up in her chair.
“Well?” Marlene asks as she waits for Essie’s reaction.
“How’d you know?”
“The question is what do you know?” Jack interjects and disrupts the moment.
“Way to lighten the mood Jack!” Marlene says sarcastically.
“You said you wanted to do this over brunch. We here… at the table… over brunch,”
“But do you have to be so anal about it?” Marlene rebuttals.
“Since when you gotta problem with anal?” Jack replies with wit.
“Alrightyyyy! I think it’s time for my first drink of the day!” Dr. Ewards responds as she pops the champagne bottle. The champagne begins to overflow, but Dr. Edwards instantly throws her head back and takes the bottle to the head.
“Jesus Lisa,” Marlene says as she rolls her eyes and lightly smacks her forehead.
“I thought Noah was the drunk disciple?” Jack replies.
“Noah wasn’t a disciple,” Marlene rebuttals.
“But he was a drunk,” Jack responds. Dr. Edwards puts the bottle down and lets out a loud belch.’
“I apologize, that was not lady-like, but Noah was a drunk, it’s in Genesis.”
“Can we just act normal for once!” Marlene screams.
Essie sits and watches as the three bicker back and forth over drunks, the bible and sexual jokes. She thinks back to her conversations with Greg and how he talked about the Original Owners. He spoke so highly of them, sharing what they accomplished for this community and how stern they were about the rules. She then began to think about her relationship with Dr. Edwards. How she admired her and how she was always well mannered and professional. Essie compares those thoughts with what she’s seeing now. It reminds her of how her parents would bicker about the dumbest things. Their conversations always made her laugh. Nina continues to listen and giggle. Her giggle turns into a soft laugh. Her soft laugh turns into a loud one.
The family stops bickering and focuses on Essie’s laughter. Essie feels the comedic relief. She picks up the boiled egg and takes a bite.
“What’s so funny?” Jack asks. Essie continues to eat. She takes a bite of her salad and nods her head. She takes another bite of the egg and mumbles with food in her mouth.
“It must be a Loganville thing,” Essie says.
“Come again?” Marlene asks. Essie swallows her food and repeats herself.
“It must be a Loganville thing. The way y’all argue with each other,” Essie says.
Jack, Marlene and Dr. Edwards all give each other a concerned look.
“Essie, what exactly do you know about Loganville? Marlene asks.
“Not much. I mean… I know about the name change– Greg told me that. I know about the family that died– well, I guess, my birth family– The Logans. My parents told me that. Well… I guess they’re not really my parents, but I just don’t know how to feel about that yet,” Essie says.
“You spoke to Mona and Ray?” Jack says as he cuts her off.
“Yeah, we met at the diner last night before…” Essie stops talking and pauses for a moment. She can feel the sorrow trying to overtake her emotions, but she quickly pushes the feeling away and continues.
“Y'all know what happened, but we talked for a few minutes.” Jack, Marlene and Dr. Edwards looks even more concerned now.
“Oh, so the three of you got a chance to talk,” Jack says. Essie takes another bite of her egg. Jack and Marlene both turn to Dr. Edwards– giving her an unpleasant stare. Jack continues.
“That’s different from what I heard.”
“Yeah, me too,” Marlene agrees. Dr. Edwards pours another glass of champagne as she tries to avoid eye contact.
“You know the purpose of orange juice is to mix it with the champagne.” Marlene says facetiously. Dr. Edwards opens the gallon of orange juice. She pours a literal drop of orange juice into her glass. She gives Marlene a fake smile and takes a sip.
“That damn boy lied.” Jack says.
“Girl,” Dr. Edwards rebuttals. Jack gives Dr. Edwards a mean stare.
“What else did they say Essie?” Marlene asks.
“She said they’re from here and met me here. They knew my birth parents, Denzel and Melanie and my brother Rob. They told me my name was Essie, but Greg kind of ruined that surprise. I showed them the picture Greg gave me from the Logan family album and–”
“I told that boy to not touch anything in this house–” Jack interjects.
“Jack, please! Go ahead Essie,” Marlene responds. Essie continues.
“They were both shocked when I showed them the photo. They were even more shocked when I told them I got it from Greg. They gave each other this scary look when I mentioned Greg’s name though. Dad said, ‘Greg is not’, but then that’s when the shooting happened.”
“Did they say anything about a family business?” Marlene asks.
“Oh my god, don’t even get me started on that. They wouldn’t let me in on nothin’! That’s how Dr. Edwards and I got close. I was getting ready to graduate and we were at odds because they wouldn’t tell me what the family business was, but wanted me to stay and help with it. Like, I know you’re my parents, but how can you expect me to commit to something I know nothing about? What if I commit and I hate it? Then what? The whole thing was so strange. But I loved them, you know? So I kept trying to make peace and ask. Then I just said forget it and made the plan to go to college far away so I didn’t have to deal with them. Then I started meeting with Dr. Edwards every week for like six months to apply to schools. I was scared of what they might say or do if they found out so I asked Dr. Edwards if I could use her mailing address. Low and behold, I got into Logan Community College. It was so hard not telling them once I got my acceptance letter, but I didn’t want to leave on a bad note and was still so curious about it. So… I told them that I was going to stay and work in the family business after graduation– just to see what they would say, but they didn’t buy it one bit. I was fed up with the secrets and they didn’t trust me after lying and things got worse than ever before. That last week before graduation, I caught them sneaking into my room and opening my mail a few times so I took matters into my own hands and left before graduation. Now that I think about it, the only thing she ever said about the business was that night at the diner. She said it started because of Loganville and that this town isn’t what I think. And that they know first hand because they grew up here,” Essie finished.
“Of course she did. Typical Mona,” Jack responds.
“Essie, I hate to speak ill of the dead, but Mona and Ray got what they deserved,” Marlene says. Essie is taken back by the comment. She continues.
“I know that’s harsh to say, but what’s even worse is what they did to you. Essie… Mona and Ray kidnapped you from your real family. From your real community, from all of us.” Essie looks to Dr. Edwards for approval. She receives a look of disappointment and a soft nod from her– agreeing with Marlene’s statement. Marlene walks over and takes a seat next to Essie.
“Now it’s time for you to learn the true story of Loganville,” she says.