December 9, 2021

Book 5/Extract 20

By aarondkey

“We can sleep in the summerhouse,” Will said, “There are seat cushions in there which will be very comfortable and perhaps you could lend us a couple of blankets.”

Timonthy found himself warming to Will. He believed him to be a solid, dependable person, full of common sense and consideration. He was surely a good indicator that Peter might not be too bad as an employer. It was hard to imagine that he was involved in whatever elaborate plot Gerard was pursuing and hard to think that he was part of a cult requiring sense to be left behind.

They carried on chatting as they finished their tea. The front door opened again and Lizzie’s voice rang out clearly.

“We’re back.”

Does she know me better than I know myself, thought Timonthy, but overestimate my chance of success.

He went out into the hallway. “How did you get on?”

“We’ve had a nice day,” Paris said smiling, “and a beautiful walk back through the nature reserve. How about you? Have you been bored without us?”

”It’s been alright,” Timonthy said reservedly. “We’ve had some deliveries as you can see out the front and a bit of a change of plan.”

He explained what the situation was and as he finished Will came into the hall, followed like a helpless sheep by Gerard.

“I hope that you’re happy if we sleep in the summer house,” Will said. “If not we should try and arrange something else before everything gets booked up.”

Lizzie looked at Timonthy impassively and then at Paris who shrugged.

“I think that would be fine with us, as long as you think you will be comfortable,” she said with the hint of a question.

“We’ll be very comfortable,” Will said. “We slept in the van last time. This will be luxury in comparison.”

“Did Elena sleep in the van too?” Paris asked and she sounded shocked.

Will quite obviously blushed.

“No. There wasn’t room for all of us and Elena wouldn’t have enjoyed that at all,” Gerard said. “Fortunately we found a tavern, with one free room for her.”

“I thought you normally stayed here,” Timonthy couldn’t resist adding. He had the feeling that pretty much all they were saying was lies but he didn’t know why. He wondered whether the blush was out of respect for Elena’s dignity or just because he had been nearly found out telling a stupid lie.

“We broke down on the way home,” Will said simply and in a tired tone. He looked deflated compared to his normal air of self-assurance. “Anyway, we’d better get back to work.”

They both left out of the front door. Paris went upstairs with her shopping bags and Lizzie followed her. She shook her head at him with a quizzical look. He didn’t know why but he assumed that he would find out later.

He returned to the seat in the living room where he had left the story he had been reading earlier and returned to reading. Every so often the two men would walk across the terrace and put something down on it. He tried to ignore them but found his eyes straying to Gerard with irritation. He had tried to make excuses for his strange behaviour but none of them worked completely. They were all bound up with the mystery of what had actually happened to Stolid he assumed and he hoped that that would be explained tomorrow.

Everything to wait for, only this strange whimsical story to amuse him and Gerard to look at and to be honest he was not much to look at. Timonthy was definitely fascinated. Everything the man said made him confused or angry. He looked at him and saw only an untidy, lanky, sinewy man with large hands and a distinctive nose and yet he could not stop looking. Was it only because the man had shown an interest in him? Was he really that lacking in discrimination?

He wasn’t left on his own for too long to ponder the mystery of his own mind as Lizzie and Paris joined him soon after. He was annoyed by their company although he try to control it. He wanted to be left alone with his thoughts but he knew it wasn’t going to happen. He needed to control his obsession and focus.

“Did you have any lunch in the end?” Paris asked.

“Yes thanks,” he replied. “I had a cheese sandwich. How about you?”

“We had something in town,” Lizzie replied. “How did you get on interrogating them? Did you find out anything useful?”

He thought about it. He had established that Gerard was decidedly odd. He suspected that Will was lying through his teeth about a lot of things but he was unsure as to the motive.

He had lots of new ideas in his head but nothing absolutely definite he could share.

“Just more questions than answers,” he said briefly.

“It looks like we’re in for a boring afternoon,” Lizzie sighed. “Mind you a rest would be welcome, after that walk.”

“I’ll do a bit of housework,” Paris said and made her way to the kitchen.

“What is it you’re excited about then?” Lizzie said as the doors swung to behind Paris.

“I didn’t know I was excited about anything,” Timonthy replied lazily. “There is definitely something odd going on. Those two men are odd, there’s no other word for it.”

“And now they’re staying overnight,” Lizzie mused.

“They’re outside though. There’s nothing to worry about,” Timonthy reassured her.

“You’re going to ask them for their key then?”

“Yes I will,” he promised.