It was a surprise for Harry to see Ellen back in the office.
When he’d disappeared, she had correctly made the call to close the office, and maintain her distance until he’d reappeared, if, of course, he’d reappeared. Now that Harry knew Giselle had a hand in her employment, she would have kept Ellen informed of developments, and, finally, of his recovery and return to work.
The last advice he had was that she had joined her grandmother on a world cruise, or as it happened, her grandmother had bought a permanent cabin on some luxury liner and spent most of her life at sea, and Ellen had become her traveling companion.
To be honest, he’d not expected to see her again. The idea of traveling the world held more appeal than working for a dreary Private Detective who nearly got himself killed.
But she was back, sitting in her seat, as though she had never been away.
The door was unlocked and open, and Harry had been expecting to see Felicity.
“So, not all beer and skittles on the Liner?”
“Since I don’t drink beer, or play skittles, hardly an apt analogy. How are you?”
“I was going to visit you in the hospital, but the ship got stuck in a weather front.”
“I could think of worse places to be.”
Harry hung up his coat and sat in the chair opposite her desk. As a chair for clients, it was not comfortable. Harry preferred they stay, not leave as soon as they could get away.
“Aunt Giselle told me you twigged to the great secret.”
“That she got you the job?”
“Suggested, Harry, suggested. She is of the Grandmothers who have awkward grandchildren society, and I am an awkward child.”
“So am I, I’m guessing.”
She smiled. “Less than me. I do not play well with others in the sandpit. This was ideal. Still is.”
“And being the faithful companion?”
“Not all it’s cracked up to be. Old women can be so demanding. Ellen, will you do this, Ellen, will you do that, Ellen, that man is highly unsuitable.”
“The second officer with good prospects of becoming a captain, I thought so. Pity, he already had a wife.”
“In every port?”
“Not quite. But I’m done with boats, ships, and seafarers. And grandmothers. Did Sykes find who did for you?”
“No. Still an ongoing mystery. Felicity has a lead, but we have a case and that takes priority.”
“Felicity? Oh, the girl whom you met at the conference. Aunt Giselle said she was working here now her father has, well, the equivalent of sending her to Coventry. Aunt Giselle thinks she has gumption whatever that means.”
“The ability to get into trouble mostly. You’ll like her.”
“And the current case, a missing father?”
“So mother thinks. We have a note, but I don’t think that truly describes the situation he’s in. I think it has something to do with what happened to be, and over the same plot of land.”
“Down at the old wharves?”
“Yes. We have to be careful how we investigate that lead in the future.”
“I’ve opened a new file for both your father and the block. I see you have a new filing system.”
“The place was trashed. Corinne came looking for me and found it a mess. Another surprise, she thinks she’s working for me in her spare time. Just another ball you’ll have to juggle, trying to keep her out of trouble.”
“Is it too soon to ask for a raise?”
“Good try. Ask me again in a few weeks.”
He was glad Ellen was back. She was old enough to know how to handle Corinne and firm enough to handle Felicity. Harry was not sure why he thought that would be necessary, only that he knew he wouldn’t be able to handle her.
As either a boss or a boyfriend.
But she was like a dog with a bone, and not let up until she got to the truth. She would just have to be careful.
And something else that made him feel slightly better. That he had at least one family member treating him seriously, Aunty Giselle. So much better calling her that than Granny Giselle.
Harry just got to sit down behind his desk when his cell phone buzzed telling him there was a new message.
From Felicity. “Your mother just met up with Florenz. Something going on between them, as once old lovers perhaps. Will discuss this when I see you. F.”
And here he was thinking his mother was just a boring housewife.
© Charles Heath 2020-2021
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