The Mysterious Disappearance of Marsha Boden - Chapter 34
Lucy finally decided to broach the subject of the elephant in the room with Sapphire
Rosy’s Ramblings is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Detective Superintendent Clive Daniels headed up the team briefing on the disappearance of a woman from Little Twichen. “The discovery of a letter purported to be written by Marsha Boden has surfaced. Lloyd Peterson received it a few days ago in the post. He seems to think it’s kosher. What have we got?” He looked expectantly at his team gathered around him.
Della stepped up to the plate. “We’ve got some DNA from the letter which matches that of Marsha Boden and the handwriting has been compared by an expert and it all points to it being the real deal. I guess she changed her mind about the whole leaving her husband scenario and decided to kick her lover into touch.”
“Right. So where is she then?” DS Daniels asked sarcastically, his hands thrust into his trouser pockets. “If she changed her mind about moving in with Peterson, Guy Boden must have been cock-a-hoop. Let’s say he and Marsha had words and he threatened her that unless she ended the affair with Farmer Giles, things could get nasty and they did.”
“But why would she write the letter then?” Della asked, looking confused and bewildered.
It was Damien Henshaw who piped up. “What if it’s not connected to the husband? Somebody else is holding her against her will and she wrote the letter to throw us off the scent?”
“Who and why?” DS Daniels countered. “None of this makes sense. The letter was posted several weeks after Marsha disappeared. Why the delay?”
“She might have been depressed. Gone away to think things over. Decided to stay with her husband and came back with her tail between her legs. Guy Boden got angry and…”
“But we’ve been through the place with a fine tooth comb and found nothing. We even dredged through the ashes of bodies he had cremated and exhumed some that had been buried. Nothing. What would he have done with her? And more importantly, we don’t have any sightings or anything suspicious being reported around the time of her disappearance.”
The mood in the office at West Mercia Police Headquarters was sombre. The more the team members learnt about Marsha Boden, the more they warmed to her, Della in particular. She was curious about why a woman who seemingly had everything to live for suddenly vanished into thin air without a trace.
“What have we got on that fella in Mudlowe who was seen talking to Marsha on the evening she disappeared?”
“Sam Greene,” Damien volunteered. “He disappeared after the forensic accountants found some anomalies in the accounts for his ‘antiques business’. His last known movements were in Mudlowe when he was seen talking to Tom Jones, the butcher in The Rose and Crown.”
“What about his premises?”
“All locked up. Ashcroft’s are keeping an eye on things. I spoke to a guy there…” Damien referred to his notebook, “Alexander Best. He was very helpful. Said something about the owner having family problems and having to go abroad for a while to help sort things out. An ageing parent in the South of France. It all sounded legit.”
“Track this Sam Greene down and keep an eye on him,” DS Daniels instructed.
DS Clive Daniels rounded the meeting off by saying that if no hard evidence could be found of Marsha Boden’s whereabouts in the next few weeks, the operation to find her would be wound down.
Back in the Hotel Suite, Lucy was frantically searching for her passport.
“Quick! Billie could be back any minute,” Lucy screeched, panic coursing through every fibre of her being.
“Calm down,” Sapphire soothed in her Aussie accent. “Panicking isn’t going to help, is it? Let’s just think things through, shall we? What’s Billie going to do once he finds you gone?”
Lucy stopped in her tracks, a bikini in one hand and a wash bag in the other. “What do you mean?”
“Think about it. He’s not gonna let you just walk out, is he? Where will you go? He’ll track you down. You have to have a plan, Luce, otherwise, it aint gonna work, is it?” Sapphire was sitting cross-legged on the elegant sofa and Lucy crumpled in a heap on the floor. Big, fat tears rolled down her cheeks.
“What the hell can I do? What are my options? I’ve got nowhere to go.” She felt like it was the end of the world.
“D’ya know what I’d do?” Sapphire suggested. “I’d be as nice as pie to Billie when he gets back and pretend that everything’s just hunky-dory between the two of you. Enjoy being wined and dined and act completely normal. Keep your wits about you, so to speak. Then, once he flies you back home to whatever little town you hail from in England, carry on your life as usual and bide your time. If Billie loses interest in you, you might be able to escape from his clutches. If he’s taken a real shine to you, then you’re in trouble…”
Lucy thought she was going to throw up again and ran to the bathroom. Her stomach was empty and she was still feeling the effects of the night before.
“Here. Drink this.” Sapphire appeared in the doorway of the palatial bathroom with a glass of water with some ice tinkling in it. “We’d better get this room tidied up before Billie comes back and susses us out, so to speak.”
When the two young women had squared the room away and the suite looked immaculate, they sat on opposite sofas and began to plot the rest of their stay on the Cayman Islands.
“Thanks for looking out for me Sapphire. I don’t know what I would have done today at Stephanie’s without you.”
“Ah, don’t mention it. I’ve seen so many girls come and go on this island but you’re different. You’re not the kinda girl to get caught up in this lifestyle. You should be back in your little village doing whatever it is that you do there. What do you do, by the way?”
“I’m a Sales Negotiator in the property sector.”
“You work in an estate agent’s office?”
Lucy smiled. “Yeah. I show people around properties and try and get the best deal for us and them. It’s all based on percentages. I used to be a sales assistant in Boots but I always wanted to work in property; I love houses and seeing all the different sorts out there. One day, after I’ve served my apprenticeship, I hope to become an estate agent and then I want to open up my own business.”
Sapphire nodded her head. “Good on ya girl. That’s more like it. A bit of fighting talk, so to speak. I like it!”
“I could murder a coffee. Would you like one, Saff?”
“Sure. A skinny latte with oat milk for me.”
Lucy dialled room service and ordered two skinny lattes with oat milk to be delivered to the Presidential Suite. She was feeling a little better and decided to broach the subject of the elephant in the room.
“Last night, Saff, when we… I’d had too much to drink and I…”
“Listen, Luce. The guys plied us both with far too much alcohol. I was offloading some of mine when they weren’t looking and drinking plenny of warder. I knew they wanted a show of lezzie action. Men love that kinda thing. Besides, you seemed to enjoy it.” She smiled at the innocent young woman opposite her.
Lucy blushed. “It’s just that I’ve never done anything like that before.”
“Yeah, I could tell you’re a strictly vanilla girl. But hey, don’t worry about it. It was just a bit o’ fun, so to speak. Nobody got hurt and everybody had a good time. You stick to your one-on-one with Billie if that’s what you prefer. But remember, don’t be too good – you don’t wanna get under his skin.”
Lucy’s stomach lurched at the thought of Billie making love to her but everything she had learnt about him from Sapphire meant that her feelings for him were now all mixed up, and she wasn’t sure if she could act normally both in and outside of the bedroom, but she would give it her best shot. She had no choice if she was going to get herself out of this bloody awful situation that she had been lured into.
To be continued.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places, events and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.