The Mysterious Disappearance of Marsha Boden
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“Yoo-hoo! Kate! We’re back!”
Kate’s knees almost gave way with relief.
“Billie! I didn’t know you were in the area. Why didn’t you say something?”
“Hello Mum”, Billie said calmly. “It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. How are you?” and he leaned in to kiss his mother’s cheek, the perfect, adoring son.
“Thank you so much, Mrs Tidmarsh,” Kate gushed, gathering the boys towards her. “I’m sorry it’s so late.”
“Oh, not at all, dear. It was a pleasure. They’ve been fed and watered and Mr Tidmarsh showed them how to make a catapult.”
“What do you say to Mrs Tidmarsh, boys?”
“Thank you Mrs Tidmarsh and for the yummy cake,” they sang out in unison as they scampered up the stairs, arguing as they went about who had the best Transformer toy.
“You look very pale, dear. Are you alright?”
Kate shot a look at Billie and then looked at Mrs Tidmarsh. She thought very carefully before she answered the question. “Billie thinks that I have some information about something but I don’t. As you know, Mrs Tidmarsh, I’ve just got back from Nigel’s inquest. It’s been a long day.”
“What’s this all about, Billie?” Mrs Tidmarsh asked sternly, clearly concerned that a neighbour and friend was being paid a visit that clearly wasn’t romantically connected, because even she had picked up on the tense atmosphere between them.
“It’s nothing, Mum. Really. I just called round to check to see if Kate needed anything, that’s all.”
“I don’t need anything and I certainly don’t need anything from you, Billie Tidmarsh” Kate said harshly. “Now, if you’ll both excuse me, I have two boys to get ready for bed.” She thanked Mrs Tidmarsh again and ushered them both out of the door and locked it behind them. Then she rang the police.
“Lucy! Darling, how lovely to see you. You’ve lost weight, are you alright?”
Lucy was hardly through the front door of Pear Tree Cottage when she was bombarded with questions from her concerned mother.
“Mum! Stop fussing, I’m fine,” and she gave her Mum a perfunctory hug.
“Well, you don’t look fine to me, dear. You look terrible. What’s up? Come on through and tell me all about it.” Sometimes her mother was like an overbearing Headmistress.
Lucy made eyes at her Dad, who was sitting by the log burner reading a book. He got up to greet her with a warm hug and kissed her on the cheek.
“You know how your mother worries about you”, he whispered. “Are you alright?” he asked, holding her at arm’s length.
“Yes! I’m fine, honestly. Mum, can I have a cup of tea?”
“Of course, dear and I’ve made your favourite: cinnamon buns. I’ll go through and get some and bring the tea through here.”
As soon as she was out of earshot, Lucy told her Dad all about her plans.
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