Lillian stepped forward shyly.
"I talked to the workman that helped move the armoire out of the annex this morning. He didn't mention taking the dust covers off."
Lee Gutterfisk rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"I don't know why the covers would have been removed anyway. the armoire was to be returned to the annex as soon as the floor was repaired. there was no reason to take the covers off at all."
"Do you know who was working in the rehearsal hall this morning Mr. Gutterfisk?"
Barbara chimed in.
"There wasn't supposed to be anyone in the rehearsal hall anytime this week. The armoire was supposed to go to the wardrobe department. It was going to be used to hang costumes."
"Hey wait. I just thought of something." Jake interjected.
"There was a guy wheeling a grey bin past the prop room where Lionel Chapman and I were working this morning. I had to take some debris out to the dumpster in the bin I had, and I assumed the other guy was doing the same. I did see something white poking out of the top of it."
Lillian's face flushed with hope and interest as she stepped to Jake's side and put her hand on his arm. She spoke breathlessly.
"Did you get a look at the guy? Did you recognize him? Which way was he headed? "
Jake was a little caught off guard. This was the most that Lillian had ever spoken to him. He had seen her flit in and out, but he had never been close enough to actually speak to her. He thought she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and she was asking for his help! He intended to turn over every rock till he found those boxes for her.
"Now that I think of it, he wasn't wearing a yellow florescent hardhat with our construction company's black logo on it. It was just a yellow hardhat with no logo, pulled forward over his eyes. The weirdest thing was that he had a hoodie on under the hat. It hid most of his face."
Lillian's face fell with disappointment. So did Barbara's. She was beginning to feel the friendship toward Lillian that had been such a big part of the first five years of her life. She didn't know why this was happening. The fact that Lillian was one of the few people that remembered her mother might have something to do with it. She'd been dreaming a lot about her mother.
Barbara clutched the doll to her side and wondered what she was going to do with the jewel inside. She had to put it somewhere safe while she looked for those boxes. If only she hadn't left the bin there. She should have at least asked the foreman or somebody about them before they were thrown away.
As Jake and Lillian were talking, the rising scream of an ambulance could be heard coming toward them. Mr. Gutterfisk's cell phone rang and added to the din. He put his hand over one ear to block out the siren while he answered the phone.
"What?..... That's not possible!...... I saw him no more than a hour ago when I asked about Lillian's boxes and bin number thirteen.... How bad is it? .....We'll be right there!"
When he turned to speak to the three young people, his face was deathly pale.
"Mr. Ogden and Mr. Willard just found Lionel Chapman in an alley down the street. He was halfway in bin number thirteen, clutching a white box. His head has been bashed in! He's on his way to the hospital now. They don't know if he'll live or not!"