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The topic of conversation during dinner related to their upcoming holiday. “My holidays start Friday, you still up for camping out at Long Beach?”

“Mom that would be wonderful, do you think the guys could come?”

“Sure.  It would mean taking two cars and renting  another cabin or bringing a tent along.”

“I imagine that Brandon could borrow his mom’s van.  They can stay together out there.”

“Theresa, what do you think?”

“I don’t mind, I’ve never been.”

Christina asked,”Do you think Cliff would like to go?”

“I’ll ask him.”

“We’ll leave Friday after I get off work, of course.”

“Great!” they chimed in unison, high-fiving in unison.

Andrew started on the dishes while Eilea called the manager of the Maquinna Lodge at Uclulet.  “Do you have any cabins available from Saturday next, to Friday the following week?”

“You do? Great.  I’d like to book a cabin and campsite.”

“I’ll send a deposit in the mail tomorrow.”

“It’s all set, if Brandon wants to park the van in the driveway, there will be room for that too.”

“Ooooh I have to call Brandon right away.”

“Absolutely, the sooner we know who’s coming, the better.”

Grabbing the phone, Christina dialed.  “Brandon, you are there.  For a minute I thought I’d missed you.”

“Listen, mom rented a cabin at Long Beach next week.  You interested in coming with us?” There was a significant pause after which Eilea heard,  “Maybe you could borrow the van; Mom had them hold a campsite in case you’d rather tent and you can always park whatever vehicle you’re bringing in the driveway of the cabin.”

“Yeah, the sooner the better so we can finalize our plans.  Yep, sure.  Talk to you later.  Bye.”

“He says he loves the idea and he’ll talk to his mom.  If she says no to the van, he can always get a tent and sleeping bag.  He’s looking forward to going. I’ll be right back, I’ve got to get something from the bedroom.”

Theresa piped up, “I’ll have to call Cliff later, he’s probably still at work.  This is exciting!”

“Is anyone expecting a visitor?”  Eilea asked on the way to the door.  “Hello.  That was fast.  Christina barely hung up the phone.””Mom said it wasn’t a problem as long as I put insurance on my car, she can drive it while I’m gone.  I wanted to let you know right away.”

“Mom said it wasn’t a problem as long as I put insurance on my car, she can drive it while I’m gone.  I wanted to let you know right away.”

“Come in, come in.”

“I understand there are some boat rentals and I thought Christina might enjoy hang-gliding.”

“I imagine she’d love that.”

“Go on, go tell her.  She’ll be thrilled.”  He didn’t require a second bidding but disappeared down the hall to Christina room.  She heard a knock.

“Hi.  What are you doing here?” then a muffled answer and a click of the door.

“I guess I’ll stay here and leave the love-birds alone,” Theresa winked. “On second thought, I’ll head to Subway, I’m sure that’s where Cliff is anyway.”

“See you later.”

“Andrew plopped on the sofa beside her, “Any chance I can go whale watching?”

“Probably.  Got any money saved?”

“Yeah, a fair bit.”

“Good.  If everyone pitches in on the extra activities, or we combine our money in a pot and vote on what to do, we should be able to enjoy a variety of entertainment.  The cabins are pretty expensive, and that’s a large part of my input I’m afraid.”

“I don’t mind mom.”

“Thanks, Andrew.”

“I’ve got to go to work now, mom, so I’ll see you later.”

“Ok.  Enjoy the movie.”

“Yep.”

As Andrew headed out the door, the phone rang.  Eilea answered with a song in her voice, “Hello.”

“You went to the cops.  You shouldn’t ‘a done that!”

“What?  Who are you and what do you want?”

“I saw you.  I was watching you!”

“You can’t work there!”

She slammed the phone down.

“Mom, who was that?”

“Oh, Christina, you startled me.  Just a disagreement.”

“That’s not the way you usually settle problems.”

“I know but I got a little hot under the collar.”

“We’re heading to Brandon’s, we want to talk a few ideas over with his parents.”

“Sure.  Don’t be late though, ok?”

“See you later.”  Christina walked up to her mother and kissed her cheek.

“I love you mom.”

“I love you too, Christina,” She answered immediately and didn’t realize how distracted she looked.  No sooner had they left, than the phone rang again.  Lifting the receiver, she yelled, “Leave me alone!” slamming the receiver down dropping her head on her hand.  Seconds later it rang again.  Balling her hands into tight little fists, she shook them in the air, refusing to answer; the persistent ringing continued.  The caller hung up as soon as the answering machine kicked in, and dialed again.  By the fourth attempt, she was ready to scream. This time the caller waited for the answering machine to identify himself.  “This is Officer Morton.  Please pick up, Ms. Martin.”

“Hello, hello?  I’m here, please don’t hang up,”  Eilea replied a mixture of relief fear and frustration in her voice.

“You’ve been receiving more phone calls!”

“Yes, he said it was a mistake to go to the Police and that he’d been watching.”

“What did you say?”

“Nothing and he said something about me not working there.”

“Interesting that he knew we’re looking for a new receptionist.”

“How did the tests go?”

“We were unable to find any useable finger-prints the stationary has been handled by too many people which we expected, but it was worth a try.”

“Damn.”

“However, we also got lucky.”

“What do you mean?”

“Each post office has its own distinctive postmark.  I’ve managed, with the help of the local post office, to narrow down the range of possibilities.”

“Really?  That’s wonderful!”

“Yes, and no.  It means that whoever is sending you the mail, is posting them from down island, possibly from Duncan.”

Eilea mulled the idea over in her mind,  “I don’t know anyone in Duncan.”

“Have you ever been there?”

“Not for several years.”

Eilea explained about the man who’d entered her house and what she’d found. “That message said he was watching me too.  Seems to be a reoccurring theme.  Seems to suggest he’s spending time in the area so it follows he has a job here.”

“It would explain why his calls aren’t consistent. It’s nearly five hours one way. That’s a good 10 hours drive time in order to mail the letters.  That’s a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle and himself.  Quite the pace he’s set.  He’s going to tire of the pace or he’ll slip up. It’s a relief knowing you have a little lee-way.  He’s not here every minute of every day.  I have a plan I’d like to discuss with you.”

“Your place or mine?” she quipped. “All things considered, it would probably be best if you came here, the kids have gone out.  I don’t expect any of them back for a couple hours, which should give us enough time to talk.”

“I’ll be there shortly.”

“Officer Morton, are you a coffee drinker?”

“Yes, I am.”

“I’ll put a pot of coffee on then, ’cause I could sure use one.”

“Your apartment 208?” Following her confirmation he said, “I know the place, see you shortly.”

 

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