Hidden Treasure

Here is the next part to The Unexpected Guests

Sitting in her cubicle at work she replayed the events of Sunday night once more. Jordan, the man who outbid her had taken her out on a date.

Belinda had been full of high hopes for the date, but things hadn’t gone as planned. Now she wanted to crawl in a hole, at least until work was over.

She had been such a blatherskite telling everyone the story of how she had met Jordan and their upcoming hot date.

MaryBeth and Angela had already been trying to ask her for details about the date and she kept excusing herself saying how busy she was. But she knew she could only avoid them for so long.

Finally, tbe time came to go home. She was ready to dash out the door before anyone could stop her. As she was running down the stairs she didn’t see Angela or MaryBeth. Taking that as a good sign that she was ahead of them she breathed a little easier.

Yes! She exited the building into the parking lot. The coast was …. OH NO! Her relief quickly drained away.

“Here comes the hardworking girl. We figured since we hadn’t been able to talk to you all day, we would wait by your car. Now spill the beans. We are dying to hear what Mr. Handsome and Wealthy was like.”

Angela and MaryBeth were grinning like Cheshire cats, their eyes held a teasing glint.

“There really isn’t much to tell.”

“Riiight! We weren’t just born yesterday.”

It was useless, when MaryBeth and Angela were set on something, they didn’t give up easily.

“Sorry to disappoint he may be wealthy. handsome and have a precious grandmother, but, he has to be one of the most boring men that I ever met! He talked all night about himself. Talk about egotistical!”

Her co-workers looked so disappointed. “So, back to square one in the search for Mr Right.” Belinda said.

“Don’t worry, he is coming, but he may be riding a slow turtle instead of a white horse. Thats the cause for the delay.”

Laughing, Belinda opened up her car door. “Thanks for that reassurance. Have a good night, see you both tomorrow.”

They said goodbye and headed for their cars. Belinda was ready for a relaxing evening at home. Driving home she saw that the new thrift store in town was open. Pulling into a parking space she decided to check it out. Sometimes treasures could be found where one least expects.

She wasn’t in the thrift shop for more than five minutes when she saw it! It was stunning.

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Belinda was so excited she didn’t look for anything else. She got in line at the register and was back out to her car in a jiffy.

She would put the painting over her fireplace. Driving home, there was a song in her heart. She had a peacock painting! Sometimes the simplest things could make her happy. She studied the painting for a little, admiring it once more. Wait, what was that on the painting?

There appeared to be something that wasn’t quite right. A bump in the painting. Belinda ran her hand down it and then cried out. It was a little white pocket in the painting and something was inside!

She pulled out a hand drawn treasure map. There was much detail and an X marked the spot!

Feeling intrigued she looked closely at the names of places on the map and they weren’t far. Within a couple hours drive. Suddenly she knew how she would spend her Saturday. Yes, it could be a fake treasure map, but what if it wasn’t???

(To be continued… on Saturday)

The Unexpected Guests

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The weather outside was freezing but Belinda was cozy by the fire. She was wrapped in her fuzzy lavender blanket with a book. A book that she was trying to concentrate on, but failing miserably.  She had already re-read the one page four times.

Sighing, she studied the flames. Why was she still so fixated on that peacock painting that she had been outbid on? What made her bid so high to begin with?

It had been  a few weeks already but not a day had gone by without her thinking about it.

“Admit it Belinda, you are obsessed with him.”

“Him?? I was talking about the painting.”

“Yeah, keep letting yourself think that.”

Hmmph! Belinda hated when her subconscious was right.

Okay, so maybe she had been a tad smitten by the mysterious guy who kept bidding against her. He was good-looking, she wasn’t blind. Their eyes had met once across the room.

Belinda knew that if she was ever to find a soulmate , that it needed to be someone fascinated with art like she was. With his outrageous bid, he obviously enjoyed paintings. He had good taste too, for the peacock painting was the most beautiful one there.

“So mystery man, will I meet you again at another auction. Was our destiny created that night, our paths meant to cross?”

Oooh, she grabbed the couch pillow and smacked her face with it, she had to stop daydreaming. If she was going to meet the mysterious guy at all, it would happen whenever it was meant to. Her romantic heart wasn’t going to make it happen any faster by wishing on it.

For all she knew he was married with kids and wanted that painting for an anniversary present for his dear wife.

Perhaps his wife had always admired peacocks. Maybe they lived on a farm and had a few peacocks that strutted around feeling proud. Until the sad day when a delivety man sped into their driveway and hit the three peacocks, killing them all.

The painting would be in honor of them. She wiped a tear, having a soft heart for animals. 

Well, if that was the case she was more than happy that he got the painting. Now she would put him out of her head, letting him live happily ever after with his wife.

Smiling, she picked up her book again and began to read

“Ding Dong!” Belinda’s heart jumped. Who was out at this time of night?

Feeling slightly hesitant she opened the door.

She was startled to see a young man standing at the door along with an elderly lady.

“Hi Miss,  I am so sorry to disturb you. My name is Jordan and this is my dear grandmother Tess.”

Tess smiled and put out her hand, which Belinda shook.

“Our car broke down and my phone died. May I please use your phone and would you mind if we came in to warm up. My poor grandmother is really cold.”

“Certainly, come in, come in! Warm yourselves by the fire.” Belinda figured it was safe. The gentleman couldn’t be an ax-murderer. Not with his grandmother with him!

“Would you like some hot tea?”

“That would be lovely dear.” Tess’s eyes shone with appreciation as Belinda led them to the fire, giving them blankets.

“What lovely paintings you have on your walls.” Tess and Jordan looked at them with admiration, as ones who love art.

“Thank you! I am an art collector, wonderful paintings catch my eye.”

“Looks like you have exquisite taste.” Jordan smiled at her.

Feeling a little shy, Belinda could only smile in return.

“Oh, let me get you my phone. I will be right back.” Belinda left the room, and Jordan continued to admire the paintings,  along with his grandmother.

“Here you go”. She handed Jordan the phone and he excused himself to make the call.

Belinda made some coconut almond tea and sat down on the couch with Tess.

“Do you paint?” Belinda asked Tess.

“No, but my late husband did and oooh was he talented. He knew I grew up liking peacocks and that my favorite color was pink. He gave me a painting of the most beautiful pink peacock on our wedding day.”

Goosebumps were breaking out on Belinda. A pink peacock?

In a shaky voice she turned towards Tess. ” I am sure you treasured the paining.”

Jordan walked into the room, “Grandma, Bill is comimg to help us get back on the road again. I know you need to get home to bed. He will be here as soon as he can. I am so sorry about all this. “

His grandma shook her head. “Stop apologizing, its not your fault that your gas gauge is broken and so we ran out of gas. I may be old but I am not frail! I will be fine.”

Jordan put his hands up, “Yes, you are definitely not frail. I am only watching out for you.”

Belinda enjoyed them banter and then she felt as if all the air had rushed out of her lungs when Tess spoke again.

“My grandson is an angel! He found my pink peacock at an auction and bought it for me. The painting that I had thought was forever lost!”

Belinda couldn’t speak, she had thought he looked familiar but what were the odds. At that moment she felt Jordan’s eyes intently on her. “Its you.” He said, softly.

Their gaze held as she gave a simple nod.

“Ding Dong!” The moment was broken.

Belinda opened the door, “Hi! I am Bill.”

“Hi Bill!” Belinda moved aside as Jordan greeted Bill.

Tess took Belinda’s hand in hers. “Thank you dear for your sweet hospitality. Keep collecting the beautiful paintings. One never knows the stories that may lurk behind them.”

Then she looked at Jordan and back at Belinda.”Perhaps we will meet again.” She gave her hand a soft squeeze and a wink.

“Perhaps…” said Jordan, looking once more into Belinda’s eyes. “Perhaps we shall.”

Secrets of The Garden

Painting by Randy Burns from Pinterest

He had made it. After getting lost on back roads and having to wait for sheep to cross the road he finally ended up at his grandmother’s Secret Garden.

Owen had always felt close to his grandma. Many days he had spent at her house as a child. Fond memories kept coming to his mind over this past month, while he had contemplated her special, somewhat mysterious request.

Being a top executive of highly successful business kept him real busy. Due to that he hadn’t made it to his grandmother’s house for awhile. Quite a long whilr, being that he got lost coming today.

He had been surprised to get her phone call earlier in the month asking him to please come see her. That she had important business to discuss with him. Surprised and perplexed. What kind of business? He had to change his plans but he did and traveled the three hours distance to come see her.

When he got out of the car he looked around. He smelled the lilacs blooming and he smiled. How grandma loved her flowers. Hearing the screen door slam, he looked up and saw her standing on the porch.

“You made it! Didn’t know if you remembered the way here.”

“No problem! I just roll down the window and follow the scent of the lilacs.”

She laughed, “Well hurry up here so I can give you a hug dear boy. Its been too long.”

Feeling his grandma envelope hin in a hug warmed his heart. She may be small but there was nothing frail about her hugs. They were always strong.

“Come in,come in. I have milk and cookies for you.” She winked. “One is nevet too old for cookies, right?”

“When it comes to your cookies, no way!” His taste buds were already dancing in anticipation.

They had a wonderful chat and Owen told himself that he had to make more time in his schedule for this. He felt the stress of his job melting away, sitting in his grandma’s kitchen.

“So, I guess you want to know why I called you to come.”

Nodding his head, Owen replied. “I am a little curious. Nothing is wrong is it?” His eyes showed some concern.

“Oh No, nothing is wrong. In fact everything is right! I am going to Europe!”

Owen almost dropped his glass. “Europe! With who??”

“With my book club group. Lydia’s son owns a travel agency and got us super prices for a trip to Holland. Oh, I can’t wait to walk through their fields of flowers.” She was beaming.

Owen loved the sparkle of excitement in her eyes. Her bookclub was a tight group of ladies, he was sure she would have a grand time Did she want him to go along with her? Maybe that was it. He could look after her. He didn’t know if he could manage it but he would try. Would be fun to get away for awhile.

“So what do you think, would you be willing?”

“Yes, I would love to go with you.”

His grandmother gave him a strange look, “Go with me? Did you hear a word I said? We are going with a tour group, we will be fine. I need you to stay at my house and tend to my garden while I am away. I will be gone for two weeks.”

Most of the time he worked from home so he could do it and after his enthusiastic response about going with her, he would he embarrassed to say no to helping her out.

“Yes, I can stay here, though I will need instructions about your flowers, so that I can keep them alive.”

“Wonderful! Thank you so much, you always were my favorite grandson.”

Owen shook his head. That had been a saying of hers since he was little. Of course he was her favorite, he was her only grandson!

She had shown him all around her secret garden and the days flew by, Soon he had his bags packed and was heading out the door again. To go over the river and back country roads to his sweet grandmother’s house.

It was evening by the time he arrived. At least he hadn’t got lost this time. It felt strange to walk into the house without his grandmother being there.

Once he got settled in the guest room he decided to take a walk outside on the warm night.

Her garden was a piece of art. Owen sure hoped he could keep everything looking vibrant and fresh.

He pushed against the bricks a little, not sure why, just checking if they were secure. One moved. A loose brick? Theb he felt something behind it. It was a folded piece of paper. There was a hole in the brick and it was tucked inside.

Startled he unfolded the paper and read it once he got inside and under better light.

Wow! Owen had never known why his grandmother called her garden The Secret Garden. He thought maybe it was because of the children’s book that she used to read to him. But now after reading this note he didn’t know what to think!

It was like reading the first clue of a mystery. Did his grandmother know about this secret brick, with the note? Were there more? Would he be able to solve this mystery in two weeks?

Looking at the note again, he read. “Safe within this garden I lie. Nestled among the flowers, but safe from the bitter cold and sweltering sun. Rain and snow won’t bother me.”

The Secret Drawer

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.

“L.M.A.”

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…)

The Boxes of Secrets

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.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“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.

The House of Mysteries

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The door creaked open. Bethany shivered in the cold room and she coughed at all the dust in the room. This must be the storage room. Boxes were all over the place. An old rocking chair and an organ that had seen better times. Why did they hide it away up here?

Bethany remembered her mom playing the organ. Magic came alive when her mom touched the keys.

An old ripped piece of music laid on the organ. Bethany picked it up. Had it been a masterpiece at one time?

“Miss Bethany?”

Bethany dropped the piece of music as she turned around and faced her employer, Mrs. Harrington.

Mrs. Harrington didn’t say anything about her being in the room, but Bethany felt the tension in the air.  She had never said that any rooms were off limits in the mansion. Bethany though made a mental note that she would stay out of the room for right now. She couldn’t afford to make a bad impression her first week on the job!

Biting back the temptation to ask about the orgsn she smiled at the older lady.  “Is there something you would like me to do Mrs. Harrington?”

“I would like you for you to bring  some tea to my bedroom please,  I feel a headache coming on.”

“I will go make some Earl Grey tea right away Ma’am.”

Bethany walked out of the room and hurried down the hall, feeling Mrs Harrington’s eyes on her. She heard the click of the door shutting when she was halfway down the hall.

The tea kettle whistled. Mrs. Harrington insisted that tea tasted better when made on the stove. No heating a cup of water in the microwave or using a Keurig.

After adding 2 teaspoons of sugar to the tea she carried it up to Mrs Harrington’s bedroom. Bethany found her sitting up in the bed with the curtains drawn.

“Here you go. I hope it helps your headache. Can I get you anything else?”

“No thank you, but make sure my supper is ready at five o’clock promptly please.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

Mrs Harrington nodded her head and waved her off with her hand. “You may go now. Close the door softly behind you.”

Bethany left the room, looking at her cell phone.  It was three o’clock. She had a hour before supper nseded to be started. Perhaps she would relax for a little, start her new book.

Walking past the storage room again she couldn’t help but stop. Feeling curious she turned the knob. The door was now locked.

Why did Mrs Harrington lock it? Was there something in there she didn’t want Bethany to find?

Bethany walked downstairs to the front room and took a seat on the chair that she had been reading from earlier. The book was lying there waiting for her to lose herself in its pages once more.

Bethany picked it up, starting to read it again but couldn’t stop wondering about the storage room.

When Bethany accepted this job she didn’t think it would be hard. Sounded perfect for her. Free room and board for her in a Victorian mansion. All she needed to do was clean and cook for Mrs Harrington plus anything else that the older lady  wanted.

Mrs Harrington was rather aloof, not chatty and warm, but that was okay. Bethany was a more quiet person too, so the arrangement was fine.

So far the hardest thing was dusting all her antiques and valuable glass figurines around the mansion. She feared she would drop one and break it. With her luck it would probably be the most valuable one.

Finding her place in the book once more she proceeded to  read, trying to block the storage room out of her mind.

A hour later she closed the book and headed to the kitchen to cook Crab Rangoon. All the while her mind was wondering if there was a mystery to be solved from something in the storage room.

She had already seen the organ, was there something in the boxes that Mrs Harrington didn’t want her to see? Had Bethany unknowingly stepped into a mansion of mysteries?

Okay dear readers, time to put your brains in gear and lend me your help. What items could be in the boxes that may hold a mystery to them? I will incorporate your ideas into the story. There are no wrong ideas, BUT No, there aren’t any dead people in the storage room. Sorry, Mrs Harrington may be a little eccentric but she isn’t a murderer. Have fun.

The Secret Plot Begins

This is the continuation of my Adventure Awaits! post from Monday. What adventures are in store for Mary at the North Pole?

Childhood memories flooded back into Mary’s mind. Memories of Santa Claus, and trying her hardest to fall asleep on Christmas Eve so that he would come. Now here she was at the North Pole!

Riding through the clouds with Dinosauris was amazing. Her heart was still soaring as she eagerly waited for Candy Cane to come give her a tour of Santa’s workshop.

She was going to meet Santa’s elves! Dinosauris had told her to wait and Candy Cane would come to greet her soon. Meanwhile he had to get a drink. Flying was hard work!

“Welcome to the North Pole, where the  magic never ends!”

Mary saw a girl walking towards her grinning from ear to ear. The girl was short like Mary expected Santa’s elves to be, but she didn’t have pointed ears.

“Hi! I am Candy Cane. We are so glad you are here. I hope Lolly the Leprechaun was friendly.”

Mary thought about how Lolly had jumped out in front of her one day when she was walking, giving her quite the scare. But he was friendly.

“I was quite surprised by him, but he was friendly. I thought maybe he would lead me to a pot of gold, but this is even better. I am going to meet Santa!”

Candy Cane smiled. “He is the jolliest guy you will ever meet, with a roly poly belly. ” she said, with a wink.

“But first let’s see his workshop.” She started walking, leading Mary there , chatting along the way.

“A head’s up, there are some crazy elves you will meet. Don’t be worried, there are plenty of normal elves, like me.”

Mary laughed, she liked Candy Cane. Soon they reached Santa’s Toy Hop. You couldn’t miss it. There was a huge sign with blinking lights on top of the building.

Mary stared at the sign. “Toy Hop?”

Candy Cane smacked her head. “This is what happens when Santa puts Snowball and Alabaster in charge of the sign! Take note, they are two of the crazy elves that I was talking about.”

Candy Cane opened the door and all the sounds assailed Mary. Lots of elves were working hard at making toys that beeped, and played music. As well as dolls that talked and cried. It was loud, happy chaos and Mary stood in awe, looking around.

Watching a certain elf in a corner for a little while she asked Candy Cane what he was doing.

“Oh, that is Tink. Tink is Santa’s accountant, but he makes toys as well. Though he does have a slight obsession with numbers. He is busy counting all the toys. Listing them by category, he is very organized.

Candy Cane grabbed a toy horn. “Watch this. ” She blew it right into another elf’s ear. The elf had been dozing in his chair. He jumped up, falling off the chair.

Mary laughed with Candy Cane. “HOP to it, Snowball! After all this is Santa’s Hop, right? Is that a new type of dance?” she questioned Alabaster, who was working beside Snowball.

They both glared at her, especially Snowball, who was feeling a little sore from falling off the chair.

“Not my fault, I told Alabaster we were missing a S.”

“Looks like coal for you, Alabaster! Though maybe the big guy’s heart will be kind and like the name “Santa’s Toy Hop!” She dodged, just in time, from a rubber ball thrown at her.

The elves were crazy, just like Candy Cane had said, but they did seem to be having fun.

“Ho Ho Ho!” Everyone stopped what they were doing and greeted Santa. Mary felt like she might faint. She was seeing the real Santa. Her palms were sweaty from excitement and nerves.

When Santa came up to her she felt like her heart would fly out of her chest.

“Hi Mary!” He bent down and his kind, sparkling eyes drew her in.

“So, what do you think? How would you like to be one of my elves. Poor Frost got really sick and he is out of commission for the rest of the year.”

Mary gulped! Santa was asking if she wanted to be a helper!”

Well, no one had to ask her twice to be Santa’s helper. It sure beat her toiling in the hot sun, back home.

“It would be my pleasure!”

“Wonderful!” Santa clapped his hands together. “Now you need a new name. A more elf like sounding name.”

After a short discussion, he asked for silence. Then he proclaimed Mary’s new name. “I would like to introduce a new member to our family.”

Mary blushed, tingling with joy. She would be the member of such a special family. Tears threatened to come.

“Please give a warm elf welcome to “Christmas Cookie, you can call her Cookie for short.”

She humbly smiled as everyone clapped and cheered. Mary was sure that was going to like it here.

Noone noticed that Licorice the elf wasn’t clapping. So Santa thought he could so easily replace Frost. Wonder what he would think when more of his elves got sick. He smirked.

He had to bide his time. Would wait til closer to Christmas, tbe busiest time of the year. If all the elves got sick the week before Christmas, oh how awful that would be. Rubbing his hands together, he plotted the downfall of the elves. Loving the thought of all the gold that would be his reward from the leprechauns!

The Secret Hiding Place]

Image from Pinterest

The golden glow of the morning sun shined down perfectly. Casting a glow upon the remains of tbe 100 year old castle.

A tbrill passed through Ryan’s body as he looked around in wonder. What treasures may he find. Yes, the castle was crumbling but there was still a lot of it standing, ready to be explored.

To his curious mind tomorrow seemed far away , but he would try to wait. His boss elidated, made it clear, that no one goes into the castle alone!.

They were traveling around researching old castles and this one stood out to them. It was cloaked in a mystery. Ryan was determined to find the missing piece of the puzzle and get the real story. He read a lot of Hardy Boys, he knew how to solve a mystery.

The mystery of the Eladavere Castle was that no one knew what happened to the royal family that had lived in it for many years. One day they all disappeared and never returned.

Had some trouble hefallen them, were they forced to leave? One would think they were with as suddenly as they disappeared.

None of their servants, or guards were around either. They had all disappeared before the youngest girl was supposed to be married. Had the family decided to break the promise they had made to Prince Edwin? No one knew for all records had appeared to be lost.

They were a royal family, but of a really small, insignificant country. The country was known for basically two things. The mystery surrounding the disappearing of the royal family and that it was the home of the oldest, friendliest dragon, Puff.

Ryan was wide eyed and bushy tailed the next morning, ready to explore.

The day was almost over and nothing had been found, much to “Mr. Hardy Boy’s” disappointment.

What had he missed? What had everyone missed? Surely there was some clue, at least thats how it worked in detective movies.

“Time to leave everyone! We will come back tomorrow!” His boss yelled, so that everyone heard and no one would be left behind. Time to kick back and relax for the evening. Ryan wanted to keep exploring and sighed about having to leave.

Whoa! A big fluffy, white sheepdog was running straight towards Ryan. He brushed up against his leg and kept running.

“Go after him! Crazy dog!” His boss muttered.

Ryan ran. Where was the dog running and why?? Then he saw it. There was a cat ahead of the sheepdog. Ooh this could be trouble.

The sheepdog was drawing closer when the cat jumped and dived into a crevice in the wall! How could cats make themselves so small?

Ryan talked to the cat soothingly as he lifted him out of the crevice. OUCH! The cat clawed him and jumped out of his arms. Leaving his signature down Ryan’s arm.

The chase was on once again! Ryan looked in surprise again at the crevice and how the cat has slid in so easily.

What was that? There was a green book tucked into the crevice. She pulled out the book and opened it up. “This journal belongs to Princess Alana.”

WOW! It was the journal of the missing Princess! What a treasure! He had been thinking unkind thoughts about the dog who chased the cat who scratched his arm. But now! He had to find some dog and cat treats.

Smiling like a cat who swallowed the canary he walked over to his boss to show him what he had found.

The boss looked incredulous as he opened up the Princess’s journal.

“Well done! A fabulous find! I will let you read it and then report back to me . ” He handed it to Ryan and Ryan couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel, so that he could read.

Finally he arrived and sank down onto the amazing soft bed. Opening the book he began to read.

‘Dear Diary, My heart is bursting with this secret that I have carried so long. I have to tell someone but who can I trust? …

( to be continued on Monday)

The Inner Debate

Is Roman really a wonderful “Romeo”? I decided that we needed to find out. This is Part 2 to The Encounter

Three times. Jessica had a dreamy look in her eyes. Three times now Roman had brought her a French Vanilla Cappacino. He has been staying longer with her each day and Jessica felt herself becoming more captivated.

Today she had begun to worry that he wasn’t coming. He didn’t come until around 6pm. All day she had waited, her heart was flip flopping inside of her as she waited, arguing with herself to go out, why was she waiting for him? But all she could do was sit on the deck, trying to read, as thoughts of Roman ran through her mind. What was she doing falling for a guy who she might not see again.

Her mom and aunt had called earlier while she was waiting for him. They had wondered if she had met anyone there and she said a friend and her enjoyed coffee every morning.

She may have left out the little detail about him being a guy and quickly changed the subject. They were more than happy to talk about plans for her 21st birthday coming up.

As much as she was enjoying his visits there was something odd about him. One moment he would appear suave and confident and the next moment cold and distant. That would be when he would abruptly leave, like he did again today.

Everything was going fine. They were talking, getting to know each other and laughing together. He asked her about going on a hike tomorrow. His face had brightened at her cheerful response, before his face grew somber.

What caused the change? Had he not wanted her to say yes? He had grown quiet and then said he had to go, leaving her wondering. Men! They could be so confusing. They said women gave mixed signals, but why ask someone to do something if you really didn’t want them too! She kicked a stone in ber path as she walked back inside.

Roman needed something to kick as he was walking back to his cottage. Why did Jessica have to be so vivacious and friendly? He was drawn to her and hating himself more and more for it! It had only been a few days but she filled him with joy and he wanted to know her better.

It was with much regret that he knew what he had to do. But for his peace of mind he had too, there really was no other choice to make. If only he didn’t have to go back to the cottage tonight and face the “woman”, or as she preferred to be called, “her Highness.”

“Where is the girl?” He tried to make it up the stairs before she saw him but it didn’t work.

“I said, Where is the girl?” The woman had stood up now and was glaring at him, expecting an answer.

“She…she wasn’t there.”

The woman looked at him with a skeptical eye. “Wasn’t there? You were gone for a long time. What were you doing if she wasn’t there?”

“I was waiting for her, my Highness.” He thought he better try to sweeten her up as much as possible. Though he doubted it would do much good.

“Well maybe you should have waited longer. You are running out of time you know. ”

He tried to ignore the tightening knot in his stomach and the sardonic smile on her face. Without a comment he walked up the stairs to his room to go to bed, though he knew that tonight, sleep would elude him.

(To be continued…)

What Happened to Bob?

*Thanks to those wbo gave me some words on Friday to make a story around. It did add a challenging twist for me! Here is the list of words that were given. Spaceship,Sphygmamanometer, Fly swatter, Deli sandwich,Family Bible, Umbrella,Truss.

Image from Pinterest of an actual bridge in Kentucky.

Bob and Jerry stopped and stared. They had taken a break from fishing and went on a walk, coming to a stop at this most unique, covered bridge.

Jerry clapped Bob on the shoulder, “How did you get your school bus up there?” He joked. Bob had recently retired from being a bus driver.

Jerry put his hands on the trusses. “The framework is solid.” He had retired from being a construction worker.’ Now the old friends spent a lot of time fishing and enjoying a more laid back pace.

They both had always lived a life of bachelor hood. Thats how they met one day. Both ate at the same deli often and were ordering aandwiches. Ham and Swiss cheese on rye with a pickle please, was the sandwich that Bob had asked for, with some salt and vinegar chips on the side. Jerry stood behind him ready to order the same thing. A friendship was born and has been going strong eversince.

One day Bob visited his sister. He opened the screen door and smelled fresh apple pie baking. He stood there for a moment inhaling the sweet aroma.

“Close the door! You are letting the fly’s in! I been chasing fly’s all morning with my fly swatter. Tina had her three young boys here earlier, and they were running in and out.

Bob closed the door right away. He didn’t want to make Naomi mad and not get some fresh apple pie.

“Sorry I missed seeing the boys. They are fun little rascals.”

Naomi shook her head. “And you are the biggest rascal of all.” She smacked his hand that was holding the knife to cut a piece of the pie. “Its still hot, patience!”

Bob stuck out his bottom lip.

“Your poor wife would have had her hands full with you! A good thing you didn’t get married.”

“HA! I am the lucky one. I don’t have a Honey-do chore list a mile long every morning. Remember those lists mom made for dad?”

Naomi laughed. “Yes. And you could always hear him muttering to himself as he walked out of the house with it in his hands.”

At last the pie was cooled off enough to cut and Bob was rewarded for his patience. Naomi joined him at the table and they chatted about the day.

“The boys enjoyed looking at the Family Bible this morning. They wanted to know who all the names were written inside on the Family Tree. I could only tell them some. Do you know who Cora Beth or Alice were? ”

Bob shrugged his shoulders. “Nope, ask Aunt Clara, she may know. Maybe Cora Beth was the special sister, the one no one ever talked about. Know what I mean, the crazy one. Every family has one, right?”

“Most definitely and I think they are all given the name Bob.” She said with a wink. Bob made a face in reply. They had a pleasant visit and then Bob rushed out the door to meet Jerry at the lake.

Bob had just reached the lake with his fishing pole and bait when the clouds opened up. Jerry wasn’t there, apparently he had checked the forecast, unlike Bob. The rain showered down upon him as he thought about his umbrella in the car.

Later that night Bob was sitting out in the glider on his porch listening to the crickets chirping. The rain storm had passed over pretty quickly and it was the perfect temperature outside.

In the distant Bob saw flashing bright neon green lights. What were they? The brightness was growing in its intensity as they got closer!

Bob started feeling a little dizzy. Was he hallucinating? Perhaps his blood pressure was up again. He had misplaced his sphygmanometer and hadn’t checked his blood pressure in awhile.

Bob stood up. No way! It couldn’t be. A real spaceship was landing in his yard! Jerry would never believe this.

The spaceship landed and Bob was mesmerized. When the door to the spaceship opened he was blinded by the light that he almost fell down. Slowly he managed to walk towards the ship, as if he was in a trance.

Nobody could figure it out the next day. There was a big circle in Bob’s yard. The grass had been burned and Bob was nowhere to be found.