Here is Chapter One.
Last week’s Chapter.
As they trudged thru the cold again Sharon silently shook her head. Guys are clueless. When Gary and Sharon had found Andrew he was sitting on a couch with Bobbie’s bare feet in his lap, and like a lunk head he was rubbing her feet. Gary had coughed to let them know they were back and Andrew looked up as though this was perfectly normal. Sharon meanwhile had been watching Bobbie and saw that she was not pleased they were back so soon.
Gary being Gary and totally clueless had told Andrew they needed to go. Andrew blurted out. “We have another clue?”
Sharon tried to be patient with the guy, while at the same time not wanting Bobbie to have any more information. “Something like that. We need to go now.”
“Some scavenger hunt your guys are on, I hope the reward is a big one.”
“Scavenger hunt?” Gary replied.
That is when Sharon squeezed his hand tight and replied quickly. “Really more of school project, for extra credit.”
“Oh really it must be for you Sharon, I heard Gary was not going to start classes until this semester.”
“Yeah it is for me.” She said curtly. “Guys, we really need to get going.”
Andrew looked down and realized what he was doing, as if he forgot he was rubbing the Bobbie’s feet. He disentangled himself and walked across the large room to his coat.
“Andrew, do you want to go out to dinner tonight, then maybe to party?”
Sometime while zipping up his coat the spell Bobbie had been weaving over him was broken. “No sorry going I am going with Sharon and Gary to see the JLA movie along with a bunch of other people.”
Sharon saw a part of the girl snap, somehow she still thought she had Andrew wrapped around her finger and she saw now knew that was not the case,. “That comic book movie, are you still into that stuff.” Sharon saw the girl change tactics quickly after the snarky comment, she did not burn bridges if she did not have too. “Okay some other time then.”
The three were now walking back across the campus and Sharon was wondering if boys were always this clueless or is it something they grew out of, her father was clueless only some of the time. As they walked along she was half listening to Gary explain to Andrew what they had found in the Jules Verne book.
“So what do you guys think of Bobbie, I think I really liked her hair short, she used to wear it long, but I kinda like it short.” No one replied immediately and then he Andrew added. “Okay so we are going to Main Street, you guys want to grab a slice at Pizza House before we go I am getting hungry.”
“Oh how gross.” Sharon replied.
They had stayed longer at the pizza joint then she had wanted to and now it was past one o’clock when they had gotten back into Andrews car. Gary looked back at her. “We have got to go back to the shop; we need to get the key.”
Sharon was ready for this and reached into an exterior zippered pocket of the bag, “Got it.” she said showing it to Gary.
“You are amazing.” Gary said kissing her hand that he had been holding across the table.
The ride to Main Street was short only a few minutes, and then they turned toward the 600 block.
Sharon noted the numbering system and commented. “Six two seven should be on the right hand side.”
Andrew just nodded and Gary seemed lost in thought. Sharon was about to open her bag and check some items but decided against it. She knew exactly where everything was in the bag, she had checked it once a week for the past month, and she had packed it herself very carefully when this all started.
“Four hundred block coming up.” Andrew stated calmly as he drove.
They were about a mile from the down town area of their small college town and as Gary commented earlier it was all residential, but they were older homes Sharon noted and the yards and homes were getting bigger.
“Five hundred block.” Andrew stated as they crossed another residential cross street.
The houses were definitely bigger now, fancy and older. Andrew spoke up again, acting as a pseudo tour guide. “The houses out this way were owned by higher ups in the coal industry and forestry companies, a lot of coal companies are defunct but some of the houses still are owned by the families, some old money in this town.”
“What was your father doing out here?” Sharon asked, knowing Gary would not have an answer.
“More importantly what are we going to say when we get to this house?” Gary said thinking out loud.
“Well you had better think of something quick because we are here.” And with that announcement Andrew started to pull the car over to the side of the road. Luckily there was a wide paved shoulder.
After getting out of the car Gary looked around, the mailbox was clearly marked in large gold colored letters, ‘627 Main Street’. “This is the place.”
Sharon looked over the house, it was an old Victorian style, very large, probably at least six bedrooms and two turrets, transom above the main door, three bay window, all painted in a very nice yellow and green color scheme.
Gary saw that the driveway and sidewalk had been fastidiously cleaned and freshly salted even though the weather forecast was not calling for snow.
They all looked at each other and Gary was the first to walk up the long driveway, the other followed behind unsure of what else to do. A few minutes later they walked up the front steps to the main door.
“Guess I should ring the bell.” As he looked at the other two, and both of them just nodded silently. He reached out and pressed the ornate button, from inside the house they could hear large chimes ringing. A few seconds later they heard footsteps coming towards the front door. After a few seconds after the approach the door opened and a man dressed in dark grey slacks and a darker grey sweater opened the door.
The older man looked over the three of them and immediately said. “Your boss stated you were due to arrive at 3pm sharp it is not even 2pm, why are you here so early.”
Gary was about to answer, when the man continued. “And you were given strict instructions to come in the back door, which is where the kitchen is, I will not have you traipsing through the main hallway before the guests come, the floors have just been waxed.”
Gary responded. “Ah we don’t have a boss, we are here about my.”
The man was taken back for an instant, but then saw his mistake. “Oh you are not from the catering company, sorry about that, but I am sorry we are not interested in buying anything, nor in signing any petitions, I am very busy right now, good day.” The man started to close the door dismissing the three of them. And with that the door closed in their faces and they heard the man walk away.
Gary looked at the other two a bit shocked. Sharon stepped up close to Gary now, and rang the doorbell twice.
The footsteps came back a little quicker now and the door opened suddenly. The man was still as calm as before but he was a little more adamant in his tone. “I am sure whatever you want is important but so is my time, please leave now and do not ring the bell again.” And if a door could be slammed without slamming it, this one was.
Andrew started the leave the porch and got to the top step and turned to see if the others were following him, Gary had turned and was about to regroup at the car, but Sharon just stared at the door for thirty seconds.
“Oh he did not.” Sharon said, and reached out and pushed the doorbell in a rapid staccato fashion. Andrew and Gary could hear the chimes make some weird noises, as the doorbell was pushed and released repeatedly.
This time the footsteps coming back to the door were quick and as quick as the door had closed before it opened this time.
Sharon was ready for the man and held up her hand as if to say stop. “We are looking for his father Wyatt and his godfather.” She said pointing with her other hand, towards Gary.
This along with the hand motion stopped the man and he looked at Gary who was standing next to Sharon. “You are Gary, Wyatt’s son?”
“That is me.” Gary said as he was looked over by the man.
The man in grey looked around quickly to see if anyone else was around, and then he spoke again. “Are these friends of yours?”
“Yes.” Gary answered, wondering who else he would be hanging out with on a stranger’s porch on New Year’s Eve.
“You were not followed here were you?” The man in grey said peering up and down the street.
Andrew looked towards his car, and answered the question. “Not as far as I know.”
The man looked at Andrew. “That’s your car on the street,” he said not really a question “move it back behind the garage. You two come inside your friend will join you after he moves his car.”
Sharon and Gary followed the man into the house; it was a beautiful entryway with an impressive wooden staircase and ornate floors.
“I will be right back.” The man disappeared down a hallway and thru a set of doors.
Gary and Sharon looked at each other and unzipped their coats as the house was warm, a few minutes later Andrew open the door cautiously and when he saw they were standing there entered as well shutting the door behind.
The house was quiet and they could hear a grandfather clock ticking somewhere.
The man in grey reappeared a few minutes later. “May I take your coats, and Miss if I may your bag.”
Sharon responded quickly. “My coat sure, but not my bag.”
“As you wish.” He took the coats and hung them up in a closet that was almost hidden by the ornate woodwork in along the wall.
“If you would follow me, and make yourselves comfortable in the drawing room. He led them into the front room of the house, decorated with very formal furniture and he motioned for them to sit on the love seat and an overstuffed chair. Andrew took the chair and Sharon and Gary sat on the loveseat. Once they were sitting, the man in grey stood in the center of the room. “Mrs. Eastman will be down shortly, can I get you any refreshments, water, tea, coffee.”
The three shook their heads silently.
“Very well, again Mrs. Eastman will be down shortly.” And with that the man in grey left the room.
“Any clue who Mrs. Eastman is Gary? Sharon said in a whisper.
Before Gary could answer Andrew answered. “Oh, she is the richest lady in town, maybe the richest person in the county.”