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Story A Day--- Cross and Martin, part 21--- "Greenhouse", 573 words.....

Greenhouse


          I stood at the gate of the Adell estate, struggling to find the words to tell Miss Mary of the death of her second fiancé and the danger that she might be in, though I knew not what this danger actually was.  And, I’m quite sure that Cross would never have told what he suspected the danger to be, even if I asked him.

           From the beginning, I disliked my role is the entire affair, but never as much as I did at that precise moment. Who was I to be bringing such terrible news to such a lovely woman?

I stared, hopelessly, through the bars of the gate, as if the answers to all my problems might suddenly spring from the verge. The garden appeared the same as before. I suppose I should have taken comfort in the consistency of the garden’s beauty. It was something to see, the exotic foliage, creeping and coursing through the front lawn of one of our city’s manor houses. There were only one or two plants that I vaguely recognized, and I’m sure I had their names wrong.

The pace I took along the garden path that led to the Adell’s front door was slow, slower even than the speed I took in my journey from the police station. With no more haste than I moved, I found that I was able to take in a full view of the house and its surrounding gardens. The last two visits to their esteemed estate did not allow me the luxury of such a view. It was this third journey through the Adell’s foreign foliage that allowed me to see a small greenhouse just to the east of the house.

The whole greenhouse was nearly covered in creeping vines so that the casual passer-by might miss it, or, so that the casual passer-by should miss it. I paused for a moment when I saw the movement of someone in the greenhouse. Someone moved through the greenhouse, exiting through a door closest to the manor house. From the distance that I stood, the only characteristic I could make out of the person was that he was male and he wore a long workman’s coat. Once he slipped into the manor house, I continued my slow pace up the front steps to the door.

I was greeted by the same fresh-faced maid as before, and was left standing, unceremoniously on the front steps as before. The same shocked look covered the maid’s face so that I wondered, honestly, if she had any other expression.  

When the door opened once more, Miss Adell stood at the threshold, her arms crossed and a stern look on her face. I never thought that so lovely a face could hold such harsh features. “I didn’t expect to see you here, ever again.”

My face burned as her words were all but spat at me, “I know. I do apologize for my intrusion, yet again.”

“Come now, Mary. Don’t be inhospitable,” came a voice from further in the entranceway. The figure that turned to face me, just behind Miss Mary, I recognized immediately as the person who fled from the greenhouse when I stopped along the garden path. I knew, now, that I had the pleasure of meeting Miss Mary’s father, Jonathan Adell. “Show our guest in, I’m sure he could do with a cup of tea, he does seem to be a bit harried.” 

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