Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thursday's Main Characters Murder and Mint Tea #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Cozy mystery

 Katherine Miller - The pale winter sun shone through the kitchen window.  I cleaned up the last of the mess from my adventure.  The caper hadn’t gone as planned.  How many do?  In my many years of life, most of my plans have taken an unexpected turn.

Merup.”  Robespierre my Maine Coon cat announced a visitor on the way.  He’s almost as good as a doorbell.  The firm rap on the door told me this wasn’t one of my female friends.  “Come in.”

Pete Duggan strode across the room and thrust a bouquet of bright carnations into my hands.  A red hue, almost as vivid as his hair, stained his face.  “Mrs. Miller, got to hand it to you.  I’ve come to eat crow.”

To hide a smile I buried my face in the flowers and inhaled the spicy fragrance.  “How about chocolate chip cookies and mint tea instead?”

“Sounds great.”  He straddled one of the chairs at the table and picked up the local newspaper.  “Local Woman Thwarts Robbers.”  His grin made him look like the ten-year-old who had moved into the corner house on my block.  He cleared his throat.  “The guys at the station ribbed me about this.  Did you forget the plan?”

     How, when the idea to catch the real thieves had been mine?  A series of burglaries had plagued the neighborhood for months and had troubled me.  Especially when the police had decided two teenage neighbor boys were the culprits.  I knew the pair and had disagreed strongly enough to set myself up as a victim.  Then I informed Pete.

     “Did you forget?”  he repeated.  “When I crept up the stairs and saw you grappling with one of the men, I nearly had a heart attack.”

     Heat singed my cheeks.  “How was I to know my date would poop out early?”

Edward Potter, Maria and Paul -      The arrival of Edward Potter, pastor of St. Stephens, ended Pete’s visit.  The small, dapper man’s ringing tenor voice dripped with sympathy and gossip.  While he regaled me with stories I would rather not have heard, Paul and Maria Prescott arrived.  I eyed the thermos in Maria’s hand and sighed in anticipation.  One of my wishes had come true.

     “Mrs. Miller, I was so sorry you have the accident and I am not here to give you the help.  When Paul and I come home last night Mrs. Sarah tell us you have the misfortune.  I have brought the tea.”

     Edward coughed.  I made the introductions without mentioning Paul and Maria’s last name.  Edward’s face showed a hint of disapproval.  He stared at the gold hoop dangling from Paul’s ear.  Edward kissed my cheek.  “Katherine, I’ll keep you in my prayers.”

     Would his prayers be for my healing of about my choice of friends?  I hadn’t told Edward that Paul owns the most successful antique store in town or that Prescott Reproductions is on the way to success.  Maria designs jewelry and has a growing reputation in her field.

Rachel and children - Mrs. Miller, so nice to meet you.  Andrew has told me so much about you.”  Her voice reminded me of whipped cream.  Tight jeans hugged her hips and slender waist.  Her red tee short emphasized the size of her breasts.  As she walked toward me I realized she was braless.  “So nice to finally meet you.”

     “So good of you to come down.”  The expression in her blue eyes belied her words.  “Andrew said you were confined to bed because of an accident.”

     “He’s over-protective.  Being confined makes me edgy.  I’m practicing to escape.”

     Her throaty laughter held a slight wheeze.  Was she a smoker?  “Good for you.”  With feline grace she sat on the chair.  “I’ll have to apologize for instant coffee.

     “That’s fine.”

     “Did you say you’d fixed a platter?”  I nodded.  “That’s so nice.  You’re every bit as nice as Andrew said.”  She ran a hand along her arm in a lover-like gesture.  “When you leave, one of the kids can go with you.”

     Thoughts of the sullen Tim in my apartment brought a chill.  “Susie.  She’s about the same age as my granddaughter.”

     “Andrea, right?  I saw her picture in Andrew’s office.”  Her smile hinted of secret knowledge.  “A lovely child.  Poor Susie’s so awkward.  I think she’s a changeling.  I was never awkward.  Neither was her father.”

     I put my cup down.  “Most children outgrow their awkward stage.”

     “Maybe she will.”  She leaned forward.  “Now I see why your son is such a warm and caring person.”

     Warmth had never described Andrew.  Contained, efficient, inhibited, role-playing were words that came to mind.  What part had he chosen to play for Rachel?  Understanding doctor, comforting friend, sympathetic teacher?  I shivered and reached for the crutches.  “Thanks for the coffee.  I’ll let you get on with settling in.”

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