Before I post 13, I have to apologize and ask those of you that are following this story to go back to part 12 and read the last paragraph which I left off in error. Sorry about that. ☺


Clara answered her phone. “Hello”.

“Clara good morning. I just got a report back from Jack. He went over Clem’s body very carefully again. The only mark on his body was a small scratch or cut on his neck, he said it could have been done while he was shaving or scratched himself. No needle marks anywhere on his body”.

“What about his Potassium level”.

“Let me look. It says here it was slightly high but not high enough to kill him. And, his alcohol level was high of course”.

“What about the time of death”?

“Somewhere between eleven-thirty pm., and nine thirty am., when his Handyman called the station”.

“How does Jack know it was eleven thirty pm.”?

“I told Jack that’s the time I took him home. We were at the Black Magic, he had too much to drink and I told him I would drive him home. Beanie offered but I told her I would handle it. I drove him home, he passed out on the sofa. I checked to make sure he was breathing and put his keys on the end table and left”.

“He was with you that night”?

“No, he was there when I got there. He was dancing with Beanie but was already two sheets to the wind. Why”?

“Oh, no reason, you surprised me. I didn’t know you were with Clem that night”.

“I didn’t get there until about ten pm., Beanie said he got there about eight pm., or so”.

“Was Jeffery at the Black Magic”?

“No, not when I got there”.

“Why so many questions Clara. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill and play detective. Clem died of a heart attack, let the poor man rest in peace”.

“I am not playing detective Marcus Kent. I just find it strange that Clem died of a heart attack. He was fit as a fiddle. Is his body being released now”?

“Not yet, Jack is waiting for the rest of the toxicology results”.

“Alright Marcus, thanks for getting back to me”. They hung up. Lena had come into the kitchen at the tail end of the conversation. “What happened Clara”?

“I just found out that Marcus was with Clem the night he died. He said he drove him home from the Black Magic because he was too drunk to drive. He was the last person to see Clem alive. That little shit told me I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. The nerve of him. After all the times we have helped him. I still have a gut feeling there is something more to this than meets the eye”.

“Was Jeffery at the house when Marcus took Clem home”? Lena asked.

“Good question Lena, I didn’t ask, but I will find out”.


Friday morning Clara and Lena dusted and straightened the room that Gloria would be staying in and made sure the house was tidy. “Did Marcus call you yet Clara”?

“No, he didn’t, but I didn’t expect him to call me for a few days. That’s if Jack does a thorough job of examining Clem’s body”.

Gloria arrived at the agreed time. Clara and Lena helped her with her bags to her new room. “We hope you are comfortable here Gloria”.

“How could I not be, Clara. It’s a beautiful room and I appreciate yours and Lena’s kindness and generosity”.

“Why don’t you unpack and Lena and I will go make a pot of tea, or would you rather have coffee”.

“Tea will be fine, thank you”. Clara and Leana left Gloria to settle in. Gloria stepped out on the balcony and admired the ocean view. Savored the beauty of her new room. Thinking about her life in New York and the struggle it was for her mother to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, and how it would have been so much easier if she had a father there to help. Only fifty-seven and her heart gave out, too young she thought but Gloria promised her mother and herself that she would take care of it. She went back to the room to unpack. Took the letter and the other papers out and put them safely in one of the drawers. She would be needing them soon enough. She could smell the ocean breeze and her life was about to change….Soon.

Lena and Clara were in the kitchen when she went downstairs for tea. Gloria could hear them talking but when they heard her coming they stopped.

“All settled in dear”? Lena asked.

“Yes, thank you again, ladies, it’s a beautiful room and I do appreciate your kindness. Please let me know if I can help in any way this coming season”.

“How sweet of you Gloria, we might take you up on that. Right now sit and have some tea and one of these delicious blueberry muffins, I have had two keys made for you too, one is for the front door and the other is the door that opens to the back balcony in your room so you have a private entrance, if you work late it will come in handy and give you some privacy as well”. Gloria took the keys.

“How sweet of you, thank you, Clara. Now maybe I can start saving enough to get a car. The two of you are wonderful and I feel so welcome. I wish you could have met my mother, she would have liked both of you and she would have loved your home”.

“We are sure she was a wonderful mom, after all, she raised such a sweet daughter”.

“Yes, she died too young working long hours never able to enjoy life”.

“So sorry dear. How did she pass”?

“Her heart gave out, she was only fifty-seven”.

“Oh my, she was too young”.

“Yes, she had a bad heart and struggled for a long time. We came to Cape May once when I was about fifteen and she loved it here. Now here I am living her dream”.

“How sweet”. Lena said. Gloria smiled.

Gloria smiled. The three of them chatted and discussed how much Gloria’s portion of the electric would be and what additional channels she would like to add. Clara called the cable company and added the new channels for the television in the room. When she hung up she told Gloria that the technician would be there on Tuesday and offered to let him in her room if he came when she was working.

“That would be great, thank you, Clara. Just then the doorbell rang. Lena got up to see who it was. Jeffery Bristol stood there. “Jeffery, what a surprise, please come in”.

“I just came to bring your containers back and thank you both again for the delicious meal”.

“Would you like a cup of tea? Clara, Gloria and I are having tea and muffins in the kitchen, come and join us won’t you”? He looked surprised when she mentioned Gloria’s name but said; “Yes, thank you, I’d like that”. They headed down the hall to the kitchen.

“Jeffery! Hello so nice to see you, dear”. He looked at Gloria. “You know Gloria”.

“Yes, from the Tea Room. Hi”. He said. She smiled and greeted him.

“Take a seat and I’ll get you a cup of tea and help yourself to a muffin if you like. “Gloria is staying here now, she just arrived today. We are getting acquainted”.

“Welcome to the neighborhood Gloria. I am sure you will like it here. Ms. Clara and Ms. Lena are wonderful ladies”. Gloria smiled and said; “Yes they are”. As soon as he finished his tea Jeffery left. He told them he had some things to take care of. Clara thought he looked a bit uneasy seeing Gloria and finding out she had moved in. She would talk to Lena about it later. Gloria excused herself. “If you ladies don’t mind I would like to go up to my room and finish putting a few last things away”.

“You go right ahead dear and there is a linen closet in your bathroom and you can use the washer and dryer that Lena and I use if you like. It’s in the pantry off the kitchen and pointed the door. The guests use the washers and dryers in the basement in the summer but you can use ours”.

“Thank you, that is so kind of you”. She said and left to go back upstairs.

“Lena, did you notice the look on Jeffery’s face when he saw Gloria sitting here”?

“Yes, I thought he looked surprised but that’s only natural”.

“I don’t think so Lena, it’s not like he doesn’t know her. I’ve seen them chatting at the Tea Room and they seemed quite friendly”.

“Please don’t let that imagination of yours make more of this than it is Clara”.

“No, I think something is going on”.

“Yes, I know and you intend to find out what it is”. They looked at each other and laughed. Gloria went back to work on Saturday. The weekend passed quickly. Monday Gloria was off and slept in but she took the sisters out to dinner and the three had a nice evening. They liked having a young person living in the house, and Gloria liked living with them. She was a little Leary at first but started to feel more comfortable as the days passed.

Tuesday morning Clara was having her breakfast and the phone rang. It was Marcus Kent.


When Clara arrived home Lena was having breakfast. “Clara, please don’t tell me you’re playing detective again”.

“I am just trying to make sure Clem died of a heart attack or if he was murdered”.

“According to the autopsy, he had a heart attack”.

“Lena did you know that if someone gave you an overdose shot of Potassium Chloride you

could die”?

“No, I didn’t know that”.

“It’s true”. Clara handed Lena the extra copy of the information she gave to Marcus Kent. Lena read it and looked at Clara. “Oh my goodness, Clara, are you thinking someone did this to Clem”?

“It’s possible”.

“But, who would want to kill Clem. Everyone liked him”.

“There is a possibility that someone didn’t, Lena”.


“A disgruntled son, a lady friend that was jealous. I don’t know for sure but Clem was a healthy active man and I can’t believe he just had a heart attack out of the blue. I gave a copy of that sheet to Marcus, he is going to talk to the coroner and make sure he examined Marcus’s body thoroughly. He promised to call me with the result”.

“Do you think Jeffery would do that to his own father”?

“I don’t know Lena but anything is possible”.

“What about Gloria”?

“What about her”.

“She is moving in tomorrow remember”?

“Yes, I know Lena but what has this got to do with her? She’s only been in Cape May for about six or seven months. She really didn’t know Clem that well. Why would she do something like that, and don’t mention this to her when she moves in tomorrow, I don’t want to scare her away”.

“Ok, Ok, I won’t say a word”.

Gloria finished her shift at the Tea Room and took the bus back to her room. She was all packed and couldn’t wait for the morning. She would have a beautiful room in one of the finest homes in Cape May and at no cost to her, except for Cable and electric. She was over the moon. And, she would be living practically next door to Jeff Bristol. She was over the moon. What luck, she thought.


Thursday morning Clara woke early, showered and dressed. She took the paperwork she printed the nite before and went down to the kitchen and made herself some breakfast. It was nearing seven o’clock, she would call Marcus shortly.

Marcus Kent sat at his desk drinking his first coffee of the day. Being Police Chief suited him. He had worked long and hard to attain his position and was popular with the people of Cape May and the officers that worked under him. He was reading one of the reports when his phone rang. He picked up the receiver. “Cape May Police, Chief Kent speaking, how may I help you”.

“Marcus, good morning how are you, this is Clara Hayes”.

“Oh, fine Miss Hayes, good morning to you too. How can I help you”?

“If you have some free time I would like to speak with you”.

“Is everything alright Clara”?

“Yes, I want to speak to you about Clem Bristol. We were away when he passed and just read it in the newspaper when we returned a few days ago. We had dinner with Jeffery last night and he told us the autopsy result was death by heart attack”.

“Yes, that’s right Clara”.

“Marcus, don’t you find it strange that Clem died from a heart attack”?

“Clara he was seventy-four years old, no I don’t find it strange”.

“Well I do, and I would like to discuss the situation with you. I have been doing some research on the internet and I have a few questions I would like answered”.

“Clara, I appreciate your help in past cases and your interest, but, the coroner did a throe job and didn’t find anything else. I know Clem was a friend and neighbor but I think this is an open and shut case”.

“You listen to me Marcus Kent, nothing is just open and shut. There are circumstances in all cases and I think I have proven that to you several times. Wouldn’t you agree”?

“Yes, Clara both you and Lena have been a great help on quite a few occasions”.

“Well, hear me out then”.

“Alright, I’ll hear you out. When do you want to come in”?

“Is now a good time for you”?

“Yes, as long as it doesn’t take too long. I have a meeting at nine o’clock”.

“That’s fine. It won’t take that long. I’ll be there in about twenty minutes”.

“Okay, I’ll be in my office waiting”.

“Fine, see you soon. By Marcus”.

“By Clara”. Marcus hung up, wondering what she was going to come up with this time. Clara left Lena a note that she was going to see Marcus and would be back before ten o’clock. Grabbed her paperwork, her keys, and purse and headed out the door. Less than a half hour later she was sitting in Marcus’s office.

“Okay, Clara what is it that you have to show me”? Clara handed him the following.
Potassium Chloride:
Potassium Chloride is known to be among the ingredients in many prescription drugs, such as Klor-Con, Klor-Con 8, Klor-Con 10, and Klor-Con/25, among others. Potassium Chloride breaks down into both its’ individual components, potassium, and chlorine. Both are found in the human body and the presence of either or both of these will not raise suspicion by either the attending physician or the coroner, who will carry out the autopsy.
This compound breaks down into both potassium and chlorine, in which the chlorine (Cl) binds with the human body’s naturally occurring sodium (Na) to create NaCl — sodium chloride — common table salt. The resultant heart attack is found to have no known cause — as all that is found in the body is a slightly elevated level of NaCl. Too much potassium in the body causes tachycardia (fast heart rate), which then leads to something known as ventricular fibrillation, which is one of many types of cardiac arrest.
Calcium Gluconate:
Calcium Gluconate is available in a 10% hypertonic I.V. (intravenous) solution, which simply means that the concentration is higher than what normally appears in the human body. The process by which this works is known as osmosis — the hypertonic solution removes the water and glucose from the body’s cells — replacing it with Calcium Gluconate. The calcium and the glucose are deposited in the body to be used as energy/fuel. The glucose is used for fuel, while the calcium remains in the body.

The Calcium Gluconate removes chlorine and replaces it with calcium, thus creating an electrolytic imbalance. The three compounds that become imbalanced are sodium (Na), potassium (K), and chlorine (Cl). This interferes with the normal LUB-DUB heartbeat impulse, which can then be regulated either too fast or too slow, creating a heart attack.

Marcus put the sheet down and looked at Clara. “So you think someone came in with an IV bag, hooked it up and killed Clem”?

“Don’t be ridiculous Marcus. It can be injected with a needle into a vein too”.

“We’re waiting for the toxicology report now and if anything is off I will look into it”.

“It won’t show up Marcus. Did the coroner look for needle marks”?

“I am sure he did Clara. However, it wasn’t mentioned in the report so I guess he didn’t find anything”.

“Did he check the body thoroughly. You know there is more than the veins in the arms”.

“I am sure he did. Jack has been doing his job for over twenty-five years and he is good at what he does”.

“Well ask him to check again and I would like to speak with him”.

“Oh, no Clara. I will not let you badger Jack the way you badger me. I will speak to him and get back to you. Now I have a meeting to attend”.

“I will be waiting for your call Marcus”.

“I know you will Clara. Have a nice day”. With that Clara left.


Clara and Lena packed up the chicken dinner and brownies. They headed over to Clem’s house to deliver the meal to Jeffery. “I hope he invites us in to share the meal with him”, Clara said to Lena.

“If he does don’t question him……too much Clara”. The sisters giggled as they walked.

Jeffery Bristol answered the door when the bell rang. “Hello Jeffery, how are you doing”? Lena asked, giving him a hug, as did Clara.

“As well as can be expected”. He replied. “Please come in ladies and thank you for bringing me dinner”. The sisters stepped into the house. “We brought you some roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, and we made some brownies, we hope you like brownies Jeffery”.

“I do, thank you, Miss Clara”.

“Let’s go into the kitchen, and let me take those packages off your hands”.

“Thank you, Jeffery”, and they followed him to the kitchen.

“The food smells delicious and I am hungry. Would you like to stay and have dinner with me”?

“If you’d like the company, we’d love to”. Lena and Clara opened the packages and Jeffery got plates and flatware out to set the table. “Did you get the autopsy result yet”? Clara inquired.

“Yes, but they are waiting for the toxicology report”.

“Did they find the cause of death”?

“Yes, it was a heart attack”.

“Really? That’s so hard to believe, Clem was always the picture of health and he was very active”.

“I know”. Then, looking at Clara said; “he had quite an active social life, as you probably know”, and then added; “I don’t understand it myself”.

“We are so sorry Jeffery if there is anything we can do to help please don’t hesitate to call us”

“Thank you, Miss Clara. My father was well liked and everyone has been so kind offering to help. Why don’t we all sit and eat this delicious food you brought”. They chatted as they ate, but Jeffery didn’t seem to want to discuss his father’s death. When they were finished Clara asked;

“Will you be staying here at the house now or will you be going back to California”?

“I have to go back to California to tie up some loose ends, but will return in a few days. This dinner was delicious ladies. Shall we have the brownies now”? Clara could see that this was not going to be easy. Jeffery was not willing to talk about anything right now. She didn’t know if it was out of sorrow or a different reason. “We are going to pass on desert Jeffery. It’s getting late and we have to get home, but we will be happy to clear the table and do the dishes for you”.

“No, no thank you ladies, you have done enough. I will take care of this. It will keep me busy”.

“We will say goodnight then. Are you ready Lena”? She saw the look in Clara’s eyes. They said goodbye to Jeffery and the sisters left. As the ladies walked the short distance to their house Lena said; “What is it Clara”?

“We have to go see Marcus tomorrow and get some information about the autopsy. I don’t believe Clem had a sudden heart attack. And, did you see the look he gave me when he said, “as you probably know”.

“Clem Bristol had many affairs. He was not looking to get married again. Last I heard he was pretty hot and heavy with Beanie. Maybe his son hated him for that. I think that’s why they didn’t get along. And, what was he doing back here anyway, staying at the Golden Lion and not with his father”. As they entered their house Clara said; “There’s more to Clem’s death than meets the eye, Lena”.

“Clara, they did an autopsy”.

“Well, I don’t believe the result, I think they are overlooking something, and I intend to find out what they are missing”.

“Clara, let’s have a cup of tea and get some sleep. Don’t read more into what Jeffery said. His father just passed away. He was a child when you and Clem dated”. Lena put the kettle on and made the tea. She knew tomorrow was going to be a busy day. Clara was working on the computer for quite some time before she went to bed. Lena heard the printer humming away as she drifted off to sleep.


Lena looked at Clara. “Talk about a third degree. I thought she was going to get up and walk out”.“Oh, Lena, I wasn’t that bad, I was just trying to get to know her”.

“Oh, Lena, I wasn’t that bad, I was just trying to get to know her”.

“Get to know her! She might as well have been in an interrogation room at police headquarters”.

“You are so dramatic, Lena. She took the room didn’t she”?

“Yes, thanks to my intervention”.

“I can always count on you to back me up sis”. She smiled at Lena. “How’s that meal coming for our next victim”.

“He’s not a victim, he just lost his father. It’s the neighborly thing to do. I dropped the temperature so it wouldn’t overcook. It should be done just about seven o’clock. And, don’t question him if he invites us in”.

“I just want to know if he got the autopsy report yet, but, I will be subtle, I promise”.

Jeffery Bristol saw Gloria leaving the Hayes house as he drove up to his house. He pulled in the driveway and wondered what was going on. Why would she be visiting the Hayes sisters? He didn’t think she could afford to rent from them on her salary. He made a mental note to invite the ladies in to dine with him when they brought over the meal. His father was gone and he was the master of the house now. It was just a matter of the autopsy, then he would have his father cremated and he would be on easy street. He decided to take a short nap and then shower and dress before the Hayes sisters arrived.

Gloria arrived at her room and started packing. She was so excited to have such luck. She liked Lena but she thought Clara was a busy body. Always asking questions but it would be worth the aggravation she thought, the room was gorgeous and free. She made sure the letter was packed safely in the first suitcase and then made herself something to eat. Yes, she thought, now it’s my turn, and smiled to herself.


“You could make a fortune renting this room out”.

“It was our mother’s room and we have never rented it. If friends visit we let them stay in it, but other than that it’s empty”

“Why me though”?

“Because we like you Gloria and you look like you could use a little kindness in your life. I just had a gut feeling about you, that’s it”. Lena chimed in with;

“It sounds like you like the room so is that a yes”?

“Yes! It’s a big yes and a big thank you”.

“Good, Clara and I are happy to have you stay here. Why don’t we all go down to the kitchen and have a cup of tea or coffee if you like and get to know each other better.” They all started down the steps. “Oh yes Gloria, there is a lock on your door and I will give you the key before you leave today.”

“That would be wonderful, thanks”. In the kitchen, the ladies sat at the table and decided on tea. Lena said she would get it ready and checked on her food and brownies in the oven. “These brownies are just about done”. She removed them from the oven and placed then on top of the stove.

“They smell delicious, and so does whatever else you made”, replied Gloria.

“It’s just chicken, potatoes and carrots, but they have a while to go yet. If you like you may have a brownie as soon as they are cool enough to handle”.

“I’d love one, thank you, Lena”.

“So”. Clara said; “Where are you from originally”?

“Rochester, New York. I was born and raised there”.

“Do you have any children”? Clara inquired.

“No, I don’t and was never married. It was just me and my mother. I lost her almost two years ago and miss her terribly. She was a wonderful mom”.

“Is your dad still in New York”?

“I never knew my father”.

“I’m so sorry Gloria. Your mother raised a wonderful daughter. How old are you? I figured about thirty”?

“Ha, I wish, I’m thirty-seven”.

“I don’t believe that”.

“I can show you my drivers license if you like Clara”.

“No, no it’s just that you look younger”.

“Thank you, I’m flattered”. Clara looked at Lena and said;

“She’s just a few years younger than Jeffery”.

“Yes, that’s right”. Lena replied.

“Do you mean Jeffery Bristol”? Gloria asked.

“Yes, do you know him”.

“Not personally Clara. He stops into the Tea Room a few times a week to eat and I chatted with him a couple of times because he is always alone. I always wondered why he wasn’t with his father but it was not my business to ask and he never mentioned anything so I didn’t ask”.

“He never mentioned that he was Clem’s son”?

“Yes, he did mention that his father was Clem Bristol and that he owned a house here on Beech St.”.

“What’s your last name Gloria, I forgot to ask, and we have to add it to the mail box”.

“It Mandell, Gloria Lois Mandell. My mother’s name was Lois and she gave me Lois as a middle name”.

“Do you have any other family in New York”.

“I have a couple of cousins on my mothers’ side, but they are both married and live in California”.

“I wasn’t close to my mother’s sister and after mom passed there was no reason for me to hang around Rochester so I decided to move here”.

“Were your parents divorced”?

“No, they were never married. I don’t know who my father was or is. Why? Does that make a difference”? She sounded defensive. “Of course not Gloria, we are just trying to get to know you a little better”.

“OK, enough of that Clara. The brownies are ready Gloria, would you like one”?

“I’d love one, thank you, Lena”. Lena shot Clara a look.

“When would you like to move in Gloria”?

“Is Friday alright with you and Lena”?

“That’s fine”.

“I don’t have any furniture, just my clothing and a few items that belonged to my mom. It will be just me and my luggage. Friday is good for me because I am off. I work the weekend. It will give me the whole day to enjoy my new room”.

“That will be fine with us dear”. Clara handed her the key to her room and Gloria smiled.

“I am hoping I can save for a car now, wouldn’t that be wonderful”?

“Yes”! The sisters replied in unison.

“Although it doesn’t matter because your house is so close to the Tea Room it only takes about ten minutes to walk, but I would love to own a car. Thank you again and I will see you on Friday, is ten thirty to early for you”?

“No, not at all, it’s fine. We are looking forward to you moving in. It will be nice to have a young person in the house”.

“Bye ladies”. Gloria was practically skipping along the sidewalk.


Lena and Clara arrived home with the groceries. Two chickens, potatoes, and carrots. It would be an easy meal to fix and along with that, they purchased a brownie mix. Lena would add nuts and a bit of sour cream and no one would know they were from a box. She was an excellent cook. Within a half hour, the chickens were seasoned and in the over along with the potatoes, carrots and the pan of brownies.

Three thirty the bell rang. “Right on time”. Clara announced.

“Don’t give her the third degree right off Clara”.

“I won’t don’t worry, I don’t want her running off before we get to know her”. Lena answered the door.

“Gloria how nice to see you again, come in, come in.”

“Thank you, Lena. Your home is beautiful”.

“Than you dear, we do try to keep it in order. It’s been in the family for many years”. Clara appeared.

“Gloria come and sit in the drawing room, or would you like to see the room first”?

“If it’s alright I’d like to see the room”.

“Fine, just follow us”. The three headed up the stairs to the third floor. Clara opened the door to the room. “Well, here it is. What do you think”.

“It’s beautiful Clara. It’s so big and airy. Oh, my! It has a view of the ocean. It’s just gorgeous”. The room was painted a pale yellow, on one wall was a queen size bed with a light gray and pale yellow duvet. There was a nightstand on each side of the bed and a lamp on each one. Tow big windows directly on the opposite end of the room gave a view of the Atlantic Ocean. There was another window on the wall to the right that looked over the garden and you could see a couple of houses beyond the property. There was a nice walk in closet, a chest of draws, a sitting area with a love seat and small coffee table, a television and an on suite next to the closet. “This is gorgeous, I can’t believe you are letting me stay here for free. There has to be a catch. Is there a catch”? She looked at the sisters.

“No there’s no catch, just keep the room tidy and if you spill something on the carpet please tell us right away so we can have it cleaned. You will have to pay for cable if you want it and there will be a small charge for electric. In the summer we have a few women that come in and clean and cook for all of us, but Lena and I usually eat our meals in the kitchen. They will clean your room too so if you would like to tip them occasionally I am sure they would appreciate it”. Gloria’s eyes were as big as half-dollars, she was overwhelmed. “I’ll take it, and thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. But, why? Why are you letting me stay here without charging me? Lena shot Clara a nervous look.


“Here you are Ladies, two Corn Chowders, and two Cobb Salads”.

“Thank you, Gloria, we are famished aren’t we Lena”.

“Yes, famished”. Lena smiled.

“What time do you get off today Gloria”? Clara asked.

“Three o’clock”.

“Why don’t you come by our house and we can discuss your move”.

“That sounds good to me, are you sure about this Clara”?

“Of course we’re sure, right Lena”.

“Yes, of course”. With a wry smile.

“Thank you, I’ll be there around three fifteen, would that be alright”?

“That will be fine” Clara smiled. Gloria left to tend another table.

“Since when did we not rent out mother’s room”? Lena asked.

“Since today, and don’t say anything to Gloria about it. After we finish here let’s go see if Marcus is on duty, just to say hello”.

“Just to say hello? I wasn’t born yesterday Clara, and neither was Marcus”.

“Oh Lena, stop worrying it’ll give you wrinkles, or should I say more wrinkles”. The sisters started laughing. Gloria came to the table and asked if they were enjoying their lunch. Lena looked up and said in the sweetest tone she could conjure up.

“It’s delicious, thank you and the service is excellent. We are ready for the check, please”.

“Oh, no I told you this is on me. It’s the least I can do, I’ll see you both at 3:15 pm, and thank you again”. She left and headed toward the kitchen. “The least she could do, ha, said

“The least she could do, ha, said Lena and looked at Clara. The sisters started laughing again.

“You do beat all Clara”.

“You’re right there with me Sis and you know it”. More laughter. The ladies finished their meal, left a good tip on the table and said goodbye to Gloria.

“See you later dear”. Clara said in a sweet voice. As they walked toward the door Lena in a low voice said, “Nice touch”. About ten feet before they reached the door to leave, the door opened and in walked Jeffery Bristol. Clara was the first to speak. “Hello Jeffery, we were so sorry to hear about your father. We were away and just found out last night”. As she hugged him.

“Yes, so sorry Jeffery, if there is anything we can do please don’t hesitate to call us. We go back a long way and he was a good friend as was your mother God rest her soul”.

“Thank you, ladies. Right now I am just waiting for the autopsy report so I can put him to rest”.

“Will you be having a service for your dad”? Clara asked.

“Yes, but I have to wait until they release his body to me. Right now I just want to get a bite to eat. I am exhausted from answering questions at the police station and I’m starving”.

“Of course”. Clara replied. “Would it be alright to bring a nice home cooked meal to your house this evening. You are staying at home now, aren’t you”?

“Actually no, but the police said I could move in today. I wanted to get something to eat first”.

“Of course, you poor boy. Well don’t worry about dinner Lena and I will be over about 7:30 tonight with a nice hot meal and maybe even a nice piece of pie. Would you like that”?

“Thank you ladies, I look forward to seeing you tonight”. The sisters left. Outside Lena said; “And, who’s cooking this nice home cooked meal for Jeffery Clara”?

“Why you are Lena, you are a much better cook than I”.

“I figured that thanks a lot, Clara, we better go to the market and we can see Marcus tomorrow”.

“Okay, sis, whatever you say. You’re the boss”.

“Yeah right. We better hurry don’t forget pretty Ms. Gloria will be ringing our bell not too long from now. You do beat all Clara you know that”?

“Aw, you love it, Lena, you can’t-fool me” Again they laughed as they got into their car and headed toward the market.


“Lena, listen when Gloria comes back to take our order, just follow my lead. And, for goodness sake don’t get that wide-eyed look on your face. I have an idea and it just might work”.

“What idea”?

“She’s coming over, just follow my lead. I will tell you later, okay”? Gloria was at their table.

“Ready to order ladies”?

“Yes, I’ll have a Cobb Salad and a small bowl of that delicious Corn Chowder, thank you”. Clara replied.

“It is delicious chowder, I have it every time the chef makes it”, Gloria said. She then looked at Lena.

“I, um, I’ll have the same, thank you”.

“Gloria, before you put our order in I, heard that you were living at the Rock Hill B&B. How do you like it there”?

“It’s alright I guess, the room is pretty nice but it’s a little pricey and I have to take the bus to get here. If I work late I always have to bum a ride from someone to get home. I am looking around for a more affordable place, why do you ask”?

“Well, we have a spare room at our place that we never rent out because it was our mother’s room but you are such a pleasant girl and a great waitress and our house is so close you could walk here and we are right across from the beach”. Lena’s eyes shot open but Clara kicked her under the table and she put a big smile on her face.

“Yes! That’s a wonderful idea”. Lena said.

“I don’t think I could afford your price. I make pretty good money but I don’t think it’s enough to live in your beautiful house”.

“Oh, don’t be silly. We could never charge you for our dear mother’s room. You are such a lovely young lady. We will even throw in whatever meals you would be home for”.

“You mean I could live there at no charge? Are you just kidding me”?

“No, we’re not kidding. One thing though, do you have a boyfriend? It would be only for you not for two people”.

“No, I don’t have a boyfriend and if you’re serious I’d love to move in. This is so kind of you, I can’t believe it. I’ll even help whenever I can when your summer rentals arrive”. She was smiling from ear to ear and Clara could hear the excitement in her voice.

“Thankyou, thankyou so much. I can’t believe this. It’s like a miracle. Let me put your order in ladies and lunch is on me”!

“There is one other thing Gloria”.


“We insist that you call us Clara and Lena”.

“Of course, if that’s what you would like”.

“Yes, we’d like that fine, wouldn’t we Lena”. Lena just smiled and shook her head yes. Gloria rushed off to put their lunch order in with a big smile on her face.

“Are you nuts”? Lena asked.

“Oh, please sis we will have her right where we want her. It is the perfect plan. Don’t you think”?

“No, I don’t think, what I think is you’ve lost your mind”.

“Lena, don’t be an old fuddy-duddy, this will be interesting and it will be nice to have a young person around. Next, we have to find out what the autopsy concludes. Then speak to Marcus Kent, maybe even invite him over for dinner. After we get the autopsy report of course”. Lena just shook her head and smiled. “You are unbelievable Clara Hayes. You’re nuts, you know that”.

“Shush, here comes our lunch, our free lunch I might add”.