Cat Among the Pigeons by: Laura

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Note From Laura: This is important for anyone who's actually read the book. (If you haven't, go get it now!) Okay, I know the book only has sixteen players to the Westing Game. But I couldn't just kick four people from the book out of the story. So now there's twenty players, to make room for the four from Capeside. This will work out, eventually. I will get the number back down to sixteen before the clues are given out. Also, many parts of this story are taken directly from the book. The will itself, and some other sentences describing characters are taken from Ellen Raskin's original text. Don't sue, whoever it is that can sue me, k? Just an innocent little story here.

The cab circles the culdesac and slowly comes to a stop in front of the sparkling glass doors of the apartment building. Sunset Towers was only 5 stories high, with a tiny coffee shop in the main lobby and an exquisite Chinese restaurant on the top floor. It was small, but luxurious. Joey steps out of her cab as another pulls up behind hers. Dawson fumbles out after Joey, trying to get a glimpse of Jen as she gracefully exits her own cab. Joey stares up at the glittery, glassy building as she pulls her bags from the trunk, a bit puzzled. She turns to Dawson.

"If this joint is called Sunset Towers, why the heck is it facing east instead of west?" Pacey smirks as he follows Joey towards the building. He punches her shoulder.

"They did it just to mess with your head, Joey," Joey glares at him and he backs away.

"Bite me, Pacey," she replies as a Mercedes Benz pulls up to the curb. The odd-looking doorman hurries to open the door for the driver. Joey and Pacey watch intently, and soon Jen and Dawson join them. A tall, slender, elegant looking black woman nods to the doorman and hands him a twenty dollar bill as a tip. He beams. "No wonder he ran out there," Joey says. "Must be nice to have that kind of money." Since the doorman is in other ways occupied, Joey throws open the door and goes inside, letting it go so it almost shuts in Pacey's face.

"Gee, thanks Jo, I always look forward to having my face crushed by a heavy glass door," he tells her sarcastically. She just smiles.

"You're welcome." Dawson gazes around the lobby in awe, setting his heavy suitcases on the plush carpet.

"Well, I don't know why we've been put up in an apartment instead of a hotel, but I'm certainly not going to make any complaints," Dawson says, and his three other friends nod in agreement. The elevator dings as they walk to the receptionist's desk, and the doors open to reveal a young girl, with her hair tied back in a braid. She runs out like a bolt of lightning and zooms outside. Dawson gets their room key and they go to the elevator.

When the doors open, they all realize they can't all fit in one ride because of their luggage.

"I'll go on this one," Jen says, lugging her bags inside. Dawson starts to go in, but Jen stops him. "Joey, why don't you come up with me." Joey looks at her oddly. Before she can think of a nasty reply to direct at her enemy, Jen pulls her in. The doors shut, leaving Dawson and Pacey alone.

"Real suave, Dawson. Following Jen around like a puppy dog ain't going to win her back," Dawson rolls his eyes at Pacey.

"And how would you go around achieving my goal, then?"

"Come on, Dawson. If I were you I wouldn't even attempt it. You honestly want *Jen Lindley* back when you've got Joey Potter sitting right there?" Dawson laughs.

"*Joey*? Pacey, are you completely *nuts*? Joey's my best friend-nothing more," he continues to laugh at his friend as another elevator reaches the lobby and he enters it. Pacey shakes his head and follows Dawson.

"Man, one day you're going to wake up and realize that isn't the way of it!" Pacey warns, but Dawson just shakes his head.

********

Jen and Joey step out of their room, locking the door behind them. Pacey and Dawson are walking down the hallway toward them. Joey sticks the key in her pocket and heads toward the elevator, not bothering to wait for the two boys. She jabs at the down button, as if she's trying to kill it.

"Hey, Jen. Joey." Dawson greets them, smiling at Jen fondly. Joey rolls her eyes and disappears into the elevator as soon as the doors open. Pacey smirks and follows her.

"All ready for some *fun*, Josephine?" Pacey asks her. She glares at him.

"We're going to a reading of a will. If you think that's fun, you're even more demented than I ever dreamed." Jen and Dawson join them in the elevator.

"How is your apartment?" Jen inquires, glancing at Dawson.

"Amazing. Looks out over the lake. Floor to ceiling glass."

"Same here. It's strange though...it makes me feel like someone's watching me." Joey snorts at Jen's remark.

"It's one way glass, Jen. You can see out, no one can see in." The elevator doors close and they start their ascent downward.

********

The whole group stops on the massive lawn in front of the huge mansion in awe and in dread. The Westing House held something for them, though none of them knew what it was...yet. Slowly, the four teens walk to the front door.

It is opened by an older woman, dressed in black, which only made her pale skin look more deadly white. Her hair is tied back in a tight bun. Her whole appearance is rigid, and righteously severe. The house was empty. They are the first to arrive. The woman takes their jackets. Joey shivers and asks for her jacket back; The house is cold as ice. The door is soon opened again, and a dolled up woman wearing an expensive fur coat saunters in. She too, keeps her coat on.

A rather beautiful young woman follows, wearing a blue velvet dress with white collar and cuffs. Pacey's eyes almost bug out of his head as he sees her. Dawson nudges him and Pacey quickly puts his jaw back in its place. An awkward-looking young girl ("Must be the younger sister," Joey deducts to herself. "Her mother looks like a first-class jerk.") storms in, holding her coat tight around her. Once the jacket is wrenched away from her body by her mother, the whole group saw why. She is dressed in a pink, ruffly party gown, which was way too large and way too long. Pacey and Joey stifle their laughter.

Crow, which was the old woman's name they had learned, directs them to the library.

"Please sit anywhere," says the lawyer standing at the head of the long library table. He is busy sorting envelopes and doesn't pay much attention to the newly arrived guests. Joey notices the long open coffin draped in bunting resting on a raised start. In it, the dead man, assumedly Samuel Westing, lays. Joey turns away, not wanting to look.

"I hate coffins," she mutters to herself, the image of her own mother's coffin rising in her mind. Hurriedly she takes a seat next to the girl in the pink party dress. She looks angry, glaring down the aisle at her mother who made her move to make room for her older sister's fiancÚ. Joey had heard the girl's mother ordering her around. She was right, the mother was a first-class jerk.

Another guest arrived shortly. She was timid, but had a warm smile painted on her face.

"Hello, Mrs. Baumbach," said the pretty young lady. "I don't believe you've met my fiancÚ, Denton Deere." She gestures to the young man sitting next to her, still dressed in hospital whites.

"You're a lucky man, Mr. Deere."

"*Doctor* Deere," the snobby woman corrects her contemptuously.

"Yes, of course. I'm so sorry." The woman hurries away, heading straight for the seat on the other side of the teenager Joey was seated next to. "Hi, mind if I sit next to you? I promise not to pull your braid." Joey eyes the girl's braid. Mrs. Baumbach takes her seat. Dawson, Jen and Pacey plop down in the row behind Joey.

The next to arrive was an obnoxious old man wearing an aviator's cap, who loudly announced his name was Otis Amber. He was followed by an athletic looking Oriental boy and a man Joey assumed was his father. The next person Joey recognized as the doorman of the hotel.

Soon, an exceptionally good-looking young man entered, pushing another boy in a wheelchair. They were greeted as Theo and Chris Theodrakis. She watched helplessly as the invalid's thin frame was suddenly torn and twisted by convulsions. Joey looks back at Dawson, unsure what was going on.

Suddenly, Angela, the attractive young woman gets up and races out of the room without a word.

********

Joey was engaged in an interesting conversation with Turtle Wexler, the girl she was sitting next to, when the lawyer stood up and let out a cough. All the expected heirs had arrived. Well, all except Madame Hoo, the Oriental man's wife, who didn't even speak English, and Dr. Wexler, Turtle's father.

"Dr. Wexler was called away on an emergency operation," Mrs. Wexler explained snottily.

"An emergency Packers game in Green Bay," Turtles confides to Joey and Mrs. Baumbach. They all snicker.

The last two remaining heirs were interesting. Judge J.J. Ford was one. Joey admired her; she had led a brilliant and prestigious career. She had seen her before, getting out of her Mercedes in the parking lot of the apartment building. The other was a large woman named Sydelle Pulaski, who was decked out in a tacky white dress covered with purple wavy stripes, and crutches to match.

"Purple waves," Turtle had murmured under her breath as the woman had entered the room. Joey had no idea what she was talking about. Sydelle took a few minutes to get situated, then pulled out a small notebook and pencil. Then the lawyer, who introduced himself as Edgar Jennings Plum, began to read the will.

"I, Samuel W. Westing, being of sound mind and memory, do hereby declare this to be my last will and testament.

First- I returned to live among my friends and enemies. I came home to seek my heir, aware that in doing so, I faced death. And so I did.

Today I have gathered together my nearest and dearest, my twenty nieces and nephews

"What!"

(Sit down, Grace Windsor Wexler!)

The lawyer stammered an apology to the still-standing woman.

"I was only reading; I mean, those are Mr. Westing's words." Mrs. Wexler silently sits down, stunned. The four Capeside teens look at each other, clueless and confused. Mr. Plum begins to read again.

Today I have gathered together my nearest and dearest, my sixteen nieces and nephews (Sit down, Grace Windsor Wexler!) to view the body of your Uncle Sam for the last time.

Tomorrow its ashes will be scattered to the four winds.

Second- I, Samuel W. Westing, hereby swear that I did not die of natural causes My like was taken from me-by one of you!"

Re-reading her notes, Sydelle Pulaski now utters a small shriek. "Eek!"

"Murder? Does that mean Westing was murdered?"

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