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…)