It was turning out to be a late night. As he re-read the sentence for the third time he knew he was going to have to call it a night. Tomorrow would be another day. Another day to try to forget the mysterious woman. How many books would he have to read to get her out of his mind.
Tomorrow would be Saturday, he would have all day. He closed the book and stood up. Oh his body ached! How long had he been lying in the same position. Long enough to get stiff.
Once he stood up he had one goal in mind. Getting to bed before he fell down. Skipping flossing for one night wasn’t going to hurt anything. He brushed his teeth and was in bed within minutes and asleep seconds later.
What was ringing? Why was his alarm going off, it was Saturday! He banged the alarm but the ringing persisted. Right before he threw the alarm clock across the room he realized it was his phone that was ringing.
“Hi Kyle, I will be there in 10 minutes to pick you up. I am finishing up breakfast now.”
There was silence. Kyle looked at the alarm clock. It was 6am! Why was Jeff calling him at 6am.
“Umm..Jeff, its 6am and its Saturday, why…”
“Did you forget? Don’t you remember our plans?”
Kyle smacked his head, “I was thinking next Saturday. Will be ready as soon as I can.”
He dropped the phone and jumped out of bed. Ugh! How could he have forgotten! Grabbed his clothes off the floor, ran the comb through his hair and got the last couple gulps of orange juice and last piece of bread for toast. He apparently needed to go grocery shopping.
He heard his friend’s loud car rolling down the road. Kyle was sure that his neighbors weren’t too happy.
Running out the door he hopped into the truck. “Still haven’t fixed the muffler I hear.”
“Soon I will.”
Kyle nodded his head and saw Miss. Weatherby from next door, peeking out of her blinds
Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes Kyle turned to Jeff. “Why so early, didn’t we say 8am?”
“8am to be there, it takes a couple hours to get there.”
Kyle shook his head, he felt all out of sorts. Yesterday had totally messed with his head. It was all Rapunzel’s fault! Woman were trouble!
While Jeff drove, Kyle closed his eyes as thoughts about the mysterious woman drifted through his mind.
She was at a Halloween party he had gone to last week. She was dressed as Rapunzel and unfortunately he wasn’t dressed as a Prince to rescue her, but he did dress as a fireman. He told her he would rescue her anytime. She gave a small laugh and walked away from him. He hoped a hole would swallow him up, could he have said anything more cheesier.
But they had talked later and he felt a connection, something he hadn’t felt before. There was something special about her.
Kyle opened his eyes. He hadn’t meant to groan out loud. “I am fine. Just have Rapunzel on my mind.
Jeff laughed, “I did see her watching you at the party.”
“Watching me? Really? We had talked for a little but then she went off with her friends.”
“Well, don’t stress it, if its meant to be you will see your fair maiden again. For now think of how we soon will go sky diving! All we need to do is pick up some old furniture from this lady’s house and then we will be on our way, my friend.”
Jeff was right, he had already wasted too much time thinking about her. Today he would at last be doing something he had dreamt about for awhile, excitement started to take over his thoughts. He was really going to fall from the sky.”
“Here we are. Lets load up the furniture and get going. Wow! This is one stunning mansion!”
They ran a little side business of picking up things that people wanted to get rid of. Either they would resell it or get rid of it. From the looks of the mansion they may get a lot for this furniture. Worth the early morning hour.”
Jeff rang the doorbell. “Good Morning!” He said, when the door was opened by a young woman.
“We are here for the furniture.”
“Its all in the basement, right this way.” The young woman pointed over to her right, and down a few steps into the basement. Jeff went down into the basement. Kyle lingered behind. There was something about the young woman’s eyes and her voice. She was staring at him as he followed her.
She stumbled on the step and Kyle reached out to grab her and keep her from falling. Their faces were closer and the young woman smiled. “You did say you would rescue me, didn’t you.”
He knew it! Thats why her face looked familiar. “Rapunzel?” He touched her face, holding her gaze as if he was under a spell.
“Excuse me sir but I hired you to take away some of my furniture not to stand here distracting Aria.”
Aria’s face flushed. “Do you need something Mrs Harrington?”
She looked between Kyle and Aria and smiled. “Yes, I do. Young man do you paint? I been needing to have some painting done around here. I will pay you well.”
If painting meant he could see Aria again than yes, he painted. He had done a little before.
“Yes Ma’am, I could paint for you.”
“Good. Will see you next Saturday.”
They heard a yell, “Kyle, where are you? I can’t carry this dresser myself!”
Kyle gave an impish grin as he excused himself and hurried down the stairs.
Aria looked at Mrs Harrington, “Painting?? The painters were here last month.”
“Right you are, child. Hmmm….I must have forgotten.” She winked at Aria as she walked away.
Eye Dr appt soon … Dilated eyes … Means sunglasses inside … Will reply to comments tonight when I can see …
When your child says, “If you only knew what I did back then…” and you reply with , “I did know..“
Campfires … Burnt hotdog … Crispy marshmallows … Perfect….How do you like your roasted marshmallows? Burnt or tan? What do you roast over the fire? Ever make a Hobo meal?
Here is the next part to The Secret Drawer , my post from Monday night. I would say this is the conclusion, but … its usually best for me not to say that.
Long ago when Aria was a child she was thrilled to go to amusement parks. The spinning rides were always her favorite.
After the news that Mrs Harrington gave her last night she felt like she was on an amusement ride again. Her head was spinning!
They were eating supper. Sweet corn, roasted chicken and cornbread. Aria had been quiet at the meal mulling over everything that had happened the night before.
“You look like you are a thousand miles away, child. What has you so deep in thought? My mouth is feeling rather parched waiting for the drink that I asked for.”
Aria dropped her fork, it clattered as it hit her plate. “I am so sorry!”
She got up in haste and went to the kitchen to grab the pitcher. Almost spilled it as she filled Mrs Harrington’s glass.
“Thank you. Please take a seat and tell me what has you all ferhoodled? Are you still thinking about Louisa Mae Alcott and her manuscript?”
“Yes! How can’t I? The story was so good. I wonder why it never got published. If it really does belong to Louisa Mae Alcott.”
“Being.that I do have proof that the desk was indeed hers, I think we can be pretty certain that its her manuscript. Why else would it be there?”
Aria’s mouth dropped open. “You have actual proof?”
Mrs Harrington kept eating looking calm as Aria stared at her. After a few moments she spoke. “Why don’t we finish supper first and then we can go to where its more comfortable. My old bones can’t sit on hard chairs too long anymore.”
Supper was finished pretty quickly. Aria didn’t take the time for small talk, she had been waiting all day for Mrs Harrington to tell her more about the desk.
The dishes could wait. Aria would clean up later. She stacked them in the sink and went into the sitting room, where Mrs Harrington was waiting for her.
“So what is the story behind the desk? Oh my! Are you … you aren’t related somehow to her, are you?” Aria’s body tensed with excitement, waiting for the answer.
“Well now, wouldn’t that make for an intriguing story. Hmmm…”
There was silence. Mrs Harrington sure did test Aria’s patience at times. The GrandFather clock was ticking loudly and getting on Aria’s nerves.
To Aria’s relief, Mrs Harrington started talking. ‘It was only a few years ago when Julia asked me to come to a charity auction with her. She had heard that there would be some items auctioned off from a museum. Items belonging to famous people. The auction was bound to bring a lot of money. Randall had died the year before and I rarely went out. I knew I had to get out of the house more, but it was hard to be excited about anything anymore. The world kept turning, but I had stopped.
When Julia told me that Louisa Mae Alcott’s desk was going to be auctioned off I knew I had to have it. Julia said I was more excited that night then I had been in a long time. What I didn’t know was how much more excitement was to come.
It was a few months later after buying the desk that I found the secret drawer. Imagine how shocked I was to find a manuscript inside it!
I didn’t know what to do with it and I still don’t. Should I return the manuscript to the museum or keep it?
“A tough decision but I think you should find a trustworthy publisher of classics and show it to them. They would think they hit the jackpot.”
“Good answer! That is what I have been doing lately. Looking for publishers. And there you have it, the story behind the desk.”
Aria rolled everything over in her brain. “Such a cool story! Should I be aware of any other treasures from famous people in this house? Aria gave a sly smile.
Mra Harrington laughed. “Feel free to go treasure hunting in this big house.But beware… my child” She spoke real low in a spooky tone. “You may find something worse than fake eyeballs.”
Aria made a face.
They talked more about all sorts of things. Aria was pleased, Mrs Harrington shared more about her dear son Randall. Her eyes shone when talking about him.
You could see her soft and still wounded heart when she made herself vulnerable and bared some of her soul. In those moments Aria felt closer to her employer. As if they were becoming friends and letting down some of their guard.
Aria thanked Mrs Harrington for all she had shared and bid her goodnight.
Mrs Harrington sat at the desk again. The desk that brought her inspiration. The house was still. She pulled out her notebook and began to write. There were still some secrets that Aria didn’t know. Only a few more pages to go and Mrs Harrington would be finished her novel.
I won’t keep you waiting too long for the next part in the Mrs Harrington stories, but had to take a break tonight when I saw this photo from a dear reader! Thanks Monika for the laugh and for stirring my imagination.
She was steaming mad! Wanted to scream, but she couldn’t. If she did she would get a mouthful of leaves!
Plainly the idiot salesman did not know what he was talking about when he had told her it was a self propelled broom. That it would steer itself. He said she could close her eyes and go to sleep.
Cofficina did exactly that and she awoke to find herself stuck upside down in a pile of leaves! That salesman was going to be so sorry. All she needed to do was remember his name. He would rue the day when he tried to pull a fast one over on her.
After some effort, she managed to get out of the pile of leaves, brush herself off and fly home. She kept her eyes open and steered it herself this time.
Once home Cofficina made herself some tea made from snails and armadillo tails. Why could nothing ever go right for her. Granted she was better off than her poor sister from the West. Being stuck in a leaf pile was a whole lot better than having a house fall on you.
She also knew to stay away from water, like her other unlucky sister but she was tired of living in their shadow! No one knew about her!
Her sisters had a movie made about them … they were famous! Everyone knew who they were. Young and old people alike. But ask people about Cofficina, the witch of the North, and you only get blank stares. She had enough. It was time for people to know who she was!
Cofficina got busy over the next week. She spent all of her time researching and reading, thinking and plotting. Many nights she burned the snake oil until at last she had concocted a recipe.
She took the first sip after mixing it together in her big pot. Ahh! It was perfect. She poured herself a cup and drank it. This was much tastier than snails and armadillo tails. After three cups she smiled with pride.
Over the next few days she worked day and night mixing up the magic potion and making several jars of it.
Then early one morning she took a jar full of her magic drink to a friend’s shop where her friend offered to sell it for her.
Within the week her friend was calling her asking for more! Cofficina was kept busy. Her drinks were becoming famous and Cofficina couldn’t be happier.
It felt wonderful making something that people liked. Cofficina wasn’t like her sister’s, she enjoyed making people happy. They were thanking her and wanting her autograph. She would visit the shop at times meeting them.
Over time word of her magic drink spread and demand for her drink increased. Shops kept springing up everywhere. Cofficina became a household name.
When Cofficina grew old she was content in knowing that she had created a legacy. Her name would be on peoples lips forever. Every time that they ordered Cofficina’s drink, better known as Coffee.
Oh, and even though she was a good, friendly witch, she did get back at the idiot salesman for the broom he sold her long ago. But, thats another story.
Happy Tuesday! How is your week going? Is anyone like me in wishing that Election Day would be tomorrow? No more commercials and flyers would stop filling my mailbox. I am also thinking of grabbing my enchanted cowbell and letting it take me to Bittersweet Creek, where there are no elections and everyone is kind and peaceful all the time. Plus the sweet coffee is always flowing at Mason’s Diner. If you want to go on a magical bike ride you can walk to Tippner’s shop and he will generously give you a discount on one of his special bikes. Sounds good, doesn’t it.
I hope you have a touch of magic in your day. Enjoy the quotes!
Mrs Harrington grew on me while writing my last two stories. Plus I still have more of your suggestions to use about whats in the boxes. So here is the next part to The Boxes of Secrets
Aria had not gone back into the storage room since that one day when the fake eyeballs scared her. No more snooping for her, she was afraid of what else she may find. She had hoped that Mrs Harrington would share more with her about her time on Broadway but so far she hadn’t.
Time would tell as to how much she would ever learn about her employer’s past. Julia was coming by more and Aria enjoyed visiting with them. She was able to learn some things from memories they would share.
One time Mrs Harrington left it slip out about Julia’s ex husband. Aria never knew sbe had been married. Mrs Harrington had made a duragatory comment about him and noticed Aria’s look of surprise.
Julia turned towards her, “Trust me, you really don’t want to know about him. I made a huge mistake but not my problem any longer. We took care of him, didn’t we sis!”
“We sure did, all it took was a shovel and dirt. You know my garden plot in the backyard.”
Julia rolled her eyes, “You are going to make poor Aria run for the door!”
“You can catch your breath, Aria, he is in prison, not in our backyard.”
Aria silently nodded her head not saying a word, but her mind was whirling. Mrs Harrington was still trying to suppress her giggles at Julia’s scowl.
Yes, life was far from boring, living with Mrs Harrington, thought Aria.
A week later on a Monday evening they were in the sitting room reading when Mrs Harrington spoke up.
“What kind of books do you like, Aria? I have noticed that you do seem to enjoy reading.”
Aria paused in her book and looked over at her employer. “Yes, reading is a favorite hobby ot mine. I like a wide variety of books. Right now I am rather fascinated with the Classics. Authors like Mark Twain, Jane Austen and Louise Mae Alcott.”
“Hmmm … Interesting”, was all that Mrs Harrington said, while looking at Aria for a bit, before dropping her head and returning to her sewing.
“Aria, could you please make me some tea?”
“Umm…it is 8pm Ma’am.”
“I am aware of that. Do you think I suddenly forgot how to tell time?”
“No Ma’am, its only that you usually don’t want any tea after 8pm. You say it keeps you awake.”
“Am I not allowed to change my mind sometimes, child?” Aria felt the heat of her stare and jumped up from the chair.
“No, Ma’am, I mean Yes, Ma’am, you can change your mind. I will make your coffee, I mean tea right away.” Aria’s cheeks were burning as she hurried away to the kitchen.
Mrs Harrington watched her with a bemused expression. Julia would often tell her that she shouldn’t give Aria a hard time, but sometimes she couldn’t resist. She smiled, thinking of her sweet Ben. How he had loved to tease her. Their first dance together she had stepped on his toes for he had her blushing so badly that she wasn’t thinking about what she was doing.
Aria walked into the room with the tea and handed it to Mrs Harrington. “Thank you dear”.
“So do you like the book “Little Women ” I assume so since you mentioned Louise Mae Alcott?”
“Yes, delightful story. Jo and Beth are my favorite characters. Do you like the book?”
“It is okay. I like their Aunt Josephine March, old and cranky. I have strived to be like her.”
Feeling tongue tied, she didn’t know what to say. She breathed easier when Mrs Harrington started laughing. “Oh child, your face, you can’t take me seriously, you know.”
Aria shook her head. “I am still learning” she replied, with a smile.
The rest of the evening passed by in a comfortable silence. Aria went back to reading and Mrs Harrington continued working on her cross-stitch, in between muttering out loud about her eyes getting worse. “One would think I am getting old or something.”
When the GrandFather Clock struck 9 she bid goodnight to Aria and went upstairs. In her bedroom she grabbed the little key and walked into the storage room.
It didn’t take long to find what she wanted. It was exactly where she had found it the first time. Lying in the secret drawer in the antique desk.
She wasn’t one for auctions but this one had been to benefit veterans so she had gone with Julia. The antique desk turned out to be worth every penny that she had spent on it.
What a surprise it was when she found a secret hiding place in the top drawer. The bottom lifted up making a little drawer inside the drawer. Perfect spot to hide important papers.
Aria felt her eyes growing heavy. It was time to put the book down and go to bed.
She walked up the stairs to her bedroom. Why were there papers on her bed?
Picking them up she began to read. It was a story and it engaged her from the beginning. Forgetting about being tired she read on. This story was so good, where had it come from?
The story had some crossed out words and notations. 0ne could tell it was a rough draft, but it was impressive for a rough draft.
Aria frowned, who was L.M.A? Thats all it said at the end of the story.
“One of your favorite author’s, right?” Aria turned around to see her employer at her door. Aria had been so curious about the papers on her bed, she hadn’t closed the door.
“What?? Who is L.M….,? Aria’s face changed as it dawned on her. Louisa Mae Alcott! Are you certain? How? How do you have a copy of a manuscript of hers?”
Mrs Harrington smiled. “That my child, is a story for another night. Old ladies need their sleep, you know.” She winked and turned around, softly closing the door.
(To be continued…)
I asked for suggestiona about what may be inside the boxes from my The House of Mysteries post. Some of you truly rose to the challenge with your answers. I hope you enjoy how I incorporated your answers. Thanks for the challenge. I never quite know what to expect when I ask for suggestions but I have learned to not underestimate the creativity some of you have. Enjoy the story!
A few weeks had passed since Aria went into the storage room. She yearned to go back in. Maybe open some of the boxes in there. Her Dad always called her “Nancy Drew” for a reason. Once her curiosity was sparked, she couldn’t stop it.
There had to be more to learn. Mrs Harrington must have a reason for locking the room. Would she ever unlock it again?
The bell rang and Aria walked at a brisk pace to Mrs Harrington’s room.
Aria walked in and Mrs Harrington was sitting at her desk. Sunlight was streaming in through the windows and she was smiling.
“Good Morning! A beautiful morning, isn’t it. My sister is coming to take me out for the day. We are going to the Museum of Art and we might catch a Broadway musical. Will be gone most of the day.
“How wonderful to have a day with your sister. She is such a pleasant lady. “
Mrs Harrington sighed, “Yes, Julia is a charmer. People love her. I on the other hand, am a bore.”
Aria started to object, but Mrs Harrington interrupted her. “Its okay, you know I am right. Don’t try to defend me. I was never the outgoing one, though there was a time when I was more carefree and happy. A time long ago.”
A wistful look flickered actoss her face and there was silence for a moment before she spoke again. “But we can’t go back to yesterday can we. So, on to other things. While I am gone can you please move my winter wardrobe into my dresser and closet. The cold is coming.”
“Thank you Aria, I may not be good around people but I like you. I hope you are planning to stay with me long term?” She looked at Aria with raised eyebrows, waiting for her answer.
Aria felt immense relief, she hadn’t been able to tell before quite where she stood with her employer. “I will be most happy to stay with you long term. Thank you! It is a pleasure to work for you.”
Mrs Harrington smiled, “Good, then its settled. You will get a raise next week. Now please grab my handbag my sister will soon be here and she hates to be kept waiting.”
The doorbell rang. “Told you!”
Aria grabbed her handbag and within five minutes Mrs Harrington was out the door and the house was quiet.
It had taken ber quite awhile to move Mrs Harrington’s wardrobe around but she was finally almost finished. She had her one drawer open pulling out of it a couple more tops. Something dropped on the floor, making a clinking sound.
Aria looked down and saw a little silver key. Her heart skipped. Could it be the key to the storage room? Dare she try it? Mrs Harrington was going to be gone for the day, what better time!
Quickly sbe finished up what she was doing and then with nervous excitement she tried the key in the door and it opened!
Aria was shocked as she looked around. Mrs Harrington had done some cleaning. The piano had been dusted off and the rocker. Plus the room was warm. She must have been spending time in here. Was it at night while Aria slept?
Her eyes fell on a box that was open. Aria bent down to look and pulled out several sheets of music. At first she assumed it was organ music but then she looked closer. It was music for the saxophone. That was strange. Was there a saxophone in the room?
As she started going through the stack of music she found organ music as well. She recognized the names of several pieces of music. They were songs from popular Broadway musicals.
There was another box right beside the one with the music. Opening it up she found an assortment of playbills for Broadway musicals. Mrs Harrington must have been a huge fan, there were so many of them.
Aria didn’t look through many of them for that didn’t solve any mystery. Collecting playbills of musicals wasn’t anything real big.
Ahh! Now that may be a box she needs to check out. Aria saw the bold writing on the top of the box with black permanent marker. “Keep out!”
Her conscience pricked her. What was she doing? These boxes were Mrs Harrington’s, she didn’t have a right to go through them. But yet … she couldn’t stop.
If it was something really personal, like letters in the box she wouldn’t read them. She only would open the box to see.
Aria screamed when she opened the box. There were jars of liquid with floating … Oh, she ran out of the room. She was going to be sick.
The tea kettle whistled. Aria made some peppermint tea to calm her stomach. Dare she go through any other boxes?? After drinking the tea she made her way back upstairs. Yes, she would continue going through the boxes unless they said “Keep Out!” She did not want to know if there were any more jars of floating eyeballs!
Aria looked through a couple more but didn’t find anything of interest. She decided to stop for now and take a break.
Walking by the other boxes she noticed one of the playbills was on the floor. She must have dropped one. Picking it up she looked at the title. “The Music Man” Her parent’s liked that musical.
Words on the playbill caught her eye. Aria covered her mouth. No way! Mrs Harrington played for Broadway! She was not only an organist but a well accomplished one!
Aria sat down and looked more intently at the playbills. There were so many. From long ago to recent times. The last one was five years ago. This time not only was she listed as an organist but there was a Randall Harrigan listed as the sax player.
Randall? That was her son! Aria saw photos of him and while Mrs Harrington didn’t say much about him, she did tell Aria that she had a son that had sadly passed away a few years ago.
Aria paused in thought. It was coming together now. The organ probably brought back memories of when her and Randall both played on Broadway.
Sympathy welled up in Aria’s heart for Mrs Harrington. She could understand it being hard for her to go into the room. That part made sense but oooh why the jars of floating eyeballs!
Seeing them made her think of her neighbor Mason, when she was young. He never had jars of floating eyeballs but he had posters of aliens, who were freaky looking. He was always doing science experiments in his garage. Aria never forgot the day a rocket went through the roof of the garage. That was exciting!
She didn’t want to dwell on the eyeballs so she thought she would open one more box. There were letters tied together with a ribbon. In the return address it said Corporal Harrington. Mr Harrington? Yes, he had been in the army.
Downstairs in the front room was their wedding photo on the wall. Enlarged into a beautiful portrait. Mr Harrington looked quite sharp in his uniform.
Poor Mrs Harrington had been through so much. She not only lost her son but also her husband.
A room of sentimental memories. Aria carefully closed the box, leaving the letters undisturbed.
She walked out of the room and locked the door. Perhaps the longer she worked for Mrs Harrington the more she would confide in Aria. She would love to hear about her time on Broadway, but that was Mrs Harrington’s story to tell when she was ready.
Later in the day Mrs Harrington and Julia came back. Their voices startled Aria, who had dozed off on the couch.
Was that laughtet she heard? Mrs Harrington was laughing. Oh, being with her sister was good for her, thought Aria.
“Sounds like you ladies had a fun time. ”
Mrs Harrington was bright eyed. “We most certainly did! Julia was reminding me of fond memories of Randall. He could be such a tease. There was this one time when … Wait here. I will be right back.”
She went upstairs and it wasn’t long at all before she was back down.
Holding something behind her back her eyes glinted with mischief. Aria had not seen this side of her before.
“BOO!” She held the jar of eyeballs in front of Aria who bit back a scream. Then Aria’s eyes were like saucers as she watched Mrs Harrington pull an eyeball out of the jar.
Mrs Harrington laughed and Julia chided her. “You are scaring the poor girl!”
“Look closely Aria.” Not everything is how it appears to be.”
Aria made a face but looked closer and then blushed with embarrassment. They weren’t real eyeballs they had been carefully constructed to look real.
“My son thought he would play a joke on me. He knew I was a terribly curious person so one day he put a box in his room that said “Keep Out!” on it.
Knowing that I was headed to his room to gather laundry he purposely put the clothes on top of the box and hid in his closet. I came up, grabbed his clothes and saw the box. I thought I would take a small peek. I screamed and out he came, bent over with laughter.’
Aria laughed feeling much relief to find out that they weren’t real.
Oh, what a day. Aria had a feeling that life with Mrs Harrington would be anything but boring.
Some suggestions didn’t fit into this story but stay tuned you may see them in another one.
Fiday night … A night out … Time for some Thai Food … What is on your menu tonight?
When its that time of year again … Time to buy a new pair of fuzzy slippers.
When you wish that Betsy’s magical cowbell could work real magic!