It sounds like spring outside. A Cardinal is singing, the sun is coming up and yesterday it was in the low 60s. Spring. I don't think I'm quite ready for spring though. I want a good snowfall first. The rest of this week is supposed to be sunny and in the 60s, but we could get snow next week.
Though I haven't had as much time to write this week as I would have liked, I'm making progress on this new Graham Quartet mystery. It's getting quite interesting because of the new twists the story seems to take when I least expect it.
I know this is short but I can't seem to think of a single thing more to tell you. Oh, well. You probably won't mind too much as it just means you can get to the next part of the Graham Quartet sooner.
The Graham Quartet
Matt, watching him, saw an almost startled expression cross his face,and then his lips settled into a straight line. “Lieutenant, is something wrong?”
There was no answer, but the glasses didn’t move from the spot they had focused on.
The Quartet exchanged glances. Why wasn’t the lieutenant answering? He had been lighthearted only moments before and now he looked almost grim. What was he seeing? Each pair of brown eyes turned once more to the water, but it was difficult to see the vessel Matt had asked about, though it was heading towards the harbor.
“Lieutenant?” Selena gently placed one hand on his arm.
“Yes.” The glasses didn’t move and the navy officer kept his gaze focused.
“Is something wrong with the boat?”
No answer came.
By this time the boat had come closer and the Quartet could see the shape of it without the aid of the binoculars which the lieutenant still kept fixed lakeward. “What time is it, Matt?” Elsa asked softly.
Matt shrugged. “I don’t know. I left my watch in my room.”
Stepping closer to Lieutenant Ashwood, Tim tipped his head to look at the officer’s watch. “It’s almost five-thirty.”
“I think we should head back.”
“Oh, just a few more minutes, Elsa,” Tim begged. “I don’t want to go in yet.”
Lieutenant Ashwood lowered the binoculars and said, as though he hadn’t heard a word that had just been uttered, “It’s about time we headed back. We don’t want to miss supper.”
He smiled, but there was a worried glint to the calm blue eyes and the Quartet saw it. Handing the binoculars back to Matt, Lieutenant Ashwood remarked, “It can be fun to watch boats and the people on them with some sort of glass. Thanks for the use.” He said nothing about the boat he had been watching.
As they strolled back the way they had come, the lieutenant kept looking out across the water, and now and then stopped as though to get a better look at something.
Finally Tim could keep quiet no longer. “That boat you were looking at, Lieutenant, was it doing something wrong?”
Startled, the lieutenant glanced quickly at Tim. “No. It just looked quite a bit like a boat I saw several years ago.”
“Could you see who was on it?”
“Tim!” Elsa scolded softly, giving her younger brother a nudge with her elbow.
The lieutenant, looking out over the waters once more, shook his head. “No. Too far away.” The large old house loomed up before them and, as though he had tossed aside his worry, suddenly Lieutenant Ashwood grinned and suggested a race to the house.
This challenge was welcomed and moments later the Graham Quartet and Lieutenant Ashwood stood laughing on the porch.
“Well, Lieutenant, what are you planning on doing this evening?” Mr. Hawkins asked, pushing back his chair from the supper table and leaning back with a contented sigh.
Scratching his chin, the young officer hesitated as though uncertain. “I was thinking of strolling into town for a look at the sights. But it’s not as much fun if you’re alone. Do you think I could find anyone to go with me?”
The Graham Quartet flashed quick looks across the table at each other. Then Matt turned to his father. “Can we go, Dad? We’ll stick together.”
Before he replied, Mr. Graham looked questioningly at Lieutenant Ashwood. “Do you want these four along this evening?”
“I wouldn’t mind the company, sir.”
Mr. Graham looked at his wife and then nodded. “All right, you all may go, but Tim,” he added, “remember you’re not at home.”
“Yes, sir.” Tim’s smile tugged at the corners of his mouth though he tried to stay sober. He knew his dad was referring to his love of asking questions.
It didn’t take the Quartet long to finish their dessert and put on their shoes. All four of them were eager to see some of the town and get to know their surroundings.
“Think we’ll see that boat, Matt?” Tim whispered as the brothers stopped in the hall to wait for their sisters.
Matt shrugged. “I don’t know, but we’ll keep our eyes open. The lieutenant seemed mighty interested in it.”
The door beside them opened and Elsa and Selena came out and joined them. “Do you think the lieutenant minds us coming along?” Elsa asked.
“He practically invited us, didn’t he?” Matt asked. “I don’t think he’d do that unless he really wanted us.”
“Yeah,” Tim put in. “Maybe he’s going to take us to the docks and show us that boat.”
“Or maybe not,” retorted Matt. “Come on, he’s waiting for us.”
As the Quartet meandered their way through the little lakeside town, they longed to know what it was about that boat Matt had seen which had attracted the attention of their new friend, but no one ventured to ask. The long, easy stride of Lieutenant Ashwood, and the casual, friendly talk, gave the appearance that he had no worries or concerns. His eyes gleamed once again like they had beside the lake and he seemed content to wander wherever the Quartet wanted to go. Only Selena noticed how frequently he glanced at his watch or sent a sharp look now and then at groups of men as they passed.
“What do you say we mosey down towards the docks?” the lieutenant suggested. “There is still plenty of light. I don’t know if there’ll be any boats or not, but it’s worth checking, if you are interested.”
The Quartet quickly agreed and followed their guide down the streets to the wharf. Each was wondering the same thing. Would the mysterious boat be docked in the harbor? If it was there, would they be able to recognize it? Only Matt had seen it with the binoculars.
Arriving at the harbor and rounding the corner of a hotel, the dock came into sight.
What do you think they'll find?
Do you think the lieutenant has a reason for going to town?
And is there something about that boat?