Authors: Gillian Larkin
insisted that Cara go home while she prepared the food for the evening meal. “I
like to cook on my own,” Ada explained. “You’ve already done enough for me
me if you need any help,” Cara said reluctantly as she left Ada’s house.
gave her a friendly wave from Ada’s side. “I will do.”
gave him a quick smile. She was glad he was going to stay with Ada. She’d be
lost without Robin’s help.
in Gran’s house Cara unpacked some of her boxes and made herself at home. She
had a little explore around Gran’s house. Gran had left her a note in her
office which told Cara to make use of anything in there. She found some
interesting things in Gran’s office.
held up a small button and said to herself, “So, this is a listening device.
Gran, you are full of surprises. What else have you got in here?”
a good rummage around Gran’s devices, she decided to catch up on some of her
own work. She was in the middle of designing a new website for a dog walking
company when Robin appeared at her side.
is it?” Cara jumped up. “Is Ada okay? Do I need to go round there?”
put his hands behind his back and peered at Cara’s computer. “Do people really
employ someone else to walk their dogs?”
Why have you appeared?”
turned his attention to her. “Just wanted to let you know that Ada is fine.
She’s made a leek and potato soup for the starter, that will be followed by
shepherd’s pie. And to top off the meal there will be apple crumble.”
mouth watered. “Sounds lovely. And how is Ada?”
She’s been singing along to the radio all afternoon. I don’t think anything is
wrong with her mind. She didn’t need any cookery books.” He tapped his temple.
“She’s got it all up there.”
she had any visitors? Has she taken any tablets?”
shook his head. “She’s had two cups of tea, decaf ones.” He looked again at
Cara’s computer. “What other canine services do they offer?”
sorts. Are you going back to Ada’s?”
He grinned at her. “I can tell when I’m not wanted. I’ll see you in a few hours
for dinner. Don’t be snacking on anything! Ada’s gone to a lot of trouble with
pulled a face at him as he disappeared. She stood up and headed towards the
kitchen. She needed a snack, she couldn’t wait hours for Ada’s food. She gave
herself a mental pat on the back as she choose an apple over a Mars bar.
few hours later she knocked on Ada’s kitchen door. Ada opened the door and
beamed at her. “Come in! Would you like a glass of wine?”
stepped into the kitchen. “What a welcome! Yes, thank you, that would be
lovely.” Cara quickly took in the black death line that surrounded Ada. Did it
look thicker? She couldn’t tell.
smell from the kitchen caused Cara’s mouth to water uncontrollably. She quickly
wiped away a small unladylike dribble that escaped from her mouth. Cara said,
“Can I help you with anything?”
put a glass of white wine in Cara’s hands and shoved her towards the living
room. “Absolutely not! Ben and Maria will be here soon.”
was at Ada’s side. He looked over at Cara and said, “Not too much of that wine,
you need to keep your wits about you.”
and Maria arrived a few minutes later. Ben gave Cara a hug as he entered the
room. Cara stiffened, she didn’t want to be hugged by a potential murderer. Ben
didn’t notice. He smiled at her and said, “You’ve hardly changed.” He patted
his round tummy. “Unlike me! This is what happens when you get a desk job. You
haven’t met Maria, have you?”
shy-looking woman stepped out from behind Ben. Her long dark hair framed a
petite face. Cara could see that she was wearing make-up, but it had been
applied in that clever way so that it looked as if Maria wasn’t wearing any.
Cara had never been able to achieve that look.
smiled at Cara and said, “Hello, it’s lovely to meet you. Ada’s told me all
about you. She’s so pleased that you’re living next door.”
came into the room and announced, “Dinner is ready. Everyone into the dining
moved over to Ada and said, “Let me help you.”
tried to wave her away but Maria was insistent. “You’ve done enough today,
preparing this food for us. At least let me bring in the first course.”
put her hand on her brow. “I could do with a sit down, thank you Maria.”
led them through to the dining room, Robin was still at her side. Cara sat
opposite Ben so she could keep an eye on him.
brought in the soup and placed a bowl in front of everyone. The aroma tickled
Cara’s nose and she felt another dribble threatening to appear.
in!” Ada said.
didn’t need telling twice. She lifted a filled spoon to her mouth and shoved it
in. A second later she started to cough.
and Maria did the same. Everyone put their spoons down and looked at the soup.
brow wrinkled. “What’s wrong? Don’t you like the soup?” She took a small sip.
“Oh! That’s disgusting!”
said, “Just a bit too much salt, Mum.”
didn’t put more than a pinch in!” Ada’s voice began to rise. “I don’t
understand it. I’ve made this soup hundreds of times! It’s never tasted like
said, “Mum, calm down. You’ve made a mistake, that’s all. Didn’t you sleep well
last night? Have you been taking your sleeping tablets?”
eyes narrowed as she studied Ben. Look at that pretend concern on his face!
stood up and walked round to Ada. She put her arms around her shoulders and
said, “Please don’t get upset. I’ll take the soup away. I’m sure the rest of
the meal will be delicious.”
patted her hand gratefully. Cara stood up and helped Maria take the bowls into
the kitchen. Once in the kitchen Maria wiped a tear away. She said, “I hate to
see Ada like this. She won’t admit it but she needs help. I don’t know if you
know, but Ben’s employed a nurse to look after Ada. I wasn’t sure that she
needed one at first but after this,” she pointed towards a bowl of soup, “I
think he’s right.”
don’t talk about me,” Ada said as she came into the kitchen. She nodded towards
the dining room. “And will you please tell that son of mine to stop going on
about those stupid sleeping tablets! I’ll take them if I need them, and I’m the
one who’s going to make that decision.”
looked towards the dining room through the kitchen wall and gave Ben a glare
that he couldn’t see.
smiled at Ada and said, “It’s only because we care about you.”
voice shook as she said, “I know you do. Come on, let’s get the shepherd’s pie
out of the oven. I hope that’s okay!”
rest of the meal was delicious. The only low point was when Ada admitted that
she couldn’t find her favourite gravy jug. “It’s that one your dad gave me,
Ben, the one shaped like a cow. I keep it in the plate cupboard but it’s not
sure it will turn up,” Maria assured her.
did turn up. Ben returned from a trip to the bathroom with the gravy jug in his
hand. His voice was grim as he said, “Mum, I found this next to the sink.” He shared
a look with Maria and then looked back at Ada. “I think I’m going to ask the
nurse to visit you every day from now on. And I’m insisting that you take your
picked up her glass and regarded Ben over the top of it. Something funny was
going on here, and she knew what she was going to do about it.
was round at Ada’s house early the next morning. She flinched as she saw how
tired Ada looked. Ada indicated for her to sit at the kitchen table.
said, “I wanted to say thank you for the lovely meal last night.”
sat down with a heavy sigh. “That’s kind of you to say. After the soup I wasn’t
sure what the rest of the meal was going to be like. At least I didn’t poison
knelt at Ada’s side. “Cara, she barely slept last night. And when she did, she
kept tossing and turning. She muttered, ‘gravy boat’ at one stage.” He shook
his head. “She’s worrying too much.”
thought for a moment. “Ada, you look as if you could do with a break. Why don’t
we have a day out at the seaside? We could have a stroll along the beach, stuff
our faces with fish and chips. What do you say?”
brightened up. “I haven’t been to the seaside for years! That sounds
wonderful.” Her smile slipped. “I could do with getting away from this house.
Things are going missing all the time. Unless I have a ghost that’s moving
everything it must be me that’s doing it.” She shook her head. “But how can I
move things and not remember where I’ve put them?”
forget about that for the day. Shall I give you thirty minutes to get ready?”
smile returned. “Give me ten. How exciting!”
stood up and placed a hand on her earlobe. “I think I lost one of my earrings
last night. Do you mind if I have a quick look around?”
stood up and waved a hand at her. “You go ahead. I think I’ll change my dress.
Fish and chips at the seaside! I can’t wait.” She walked away, a spring in her
reached into her pocket and took out several small items. Robin peered over her
shoulder and said, “What are those? They look like buttons.”
held one up. “Spying devices. Something is going on in this house and I’m going
to find out what.” She paused. “If it really is Ada that’s becoming forgetful,
well, we can deal with that later. But if someone is sneaking in here and
moving things on purpose then we’ll soon find out who it is.”
not sure about spying on her.”
said, “You’ve been watching her every move for the last two days. This isn’t
any different. Robin, I have to do all that I can to stop Ada from being
nodded. “I understand.”
quickly placed the buttons around Ada’s house, including the bathroom. She
sneaked upstairs and placed some on the landing and in the smaller bedrooms.
She smiled as she heard Ada singing to herself.
just made it back to the kitchen as Ada came downstairs. Ada twirled slowly in
front of Cara and said, “How do I look?”
You look like you’re ready for a day out.”
was a tap at the kitchen door. Ada opened it to the smiling face of Maria.
Maria came into the kitchen and said hello to Cara. She turned to Ada and said,
“Are you ready?”
crossed Ada’s face. “Ready for what?”
our day out. We organised it last week. Do you remember?” Maria asked.
hands flew to her face. “Oh! I’d completely forgotten.”
moved to Ada’s side. “That’s okay, Ada. We don’t have to go out.” She looked
over at Cara questioningly. “Were you and Ada planning on doing something
said, “Just an impromptu visit to the seaside. It can wait, you made your plans
sob escaped from Ada. “I’m so sorry Maria. I forgot. I’m always forgetting
things! What’s wrong with me?”
put her hand on Ada’s arm and said, “We can go to the seaside tomorrow. It’s
not going anywhere!”
gave her a weak smile. “Thank you, Cara.” She wiped her tears away. “Well then,
Maria, where are we going?”
said, “On a mystery trip. Don’t ask me any more questions about it!” She
reached into her bag. “I got you some more decaf tea and coffee. I noticed you
were a bit low last night.” She moved over towards the decaf tea and coffee
containers and began to fill them up.
rubbed her brow. “I could have sworn I bought some last week.”
forget things all the time,” Cara said. She moved towards the kitchen door.
“You two have a lovely time. Ada, I’ll call by later if you like, you can tell
me all about your mystery trip!”
like that,” Ada said.
said goodbye to Maria and left the house. She pushed the fence gate open and
walked through. Robin floated at her side. “Are you leaving her? Do you want me
to follow her?”
shook her head and stepped into Gran’s house. “I’ve no intention of letting Ada
out of my sight. I’m going to follow her and Maria. Let’s see where they’re
going on their mystery trip.”
bounced from foot to foot. “I love a good mystery!”
pointed to his wrist. “Your watch just made a noise. Has it got something to do
looked at his watch. He raised a fist and shouted, “Nigel! No!”
frowned. “Who’s Nigel?”
glared at his watch as if wishing it would disappear. “He’s a soul saver. I’ve
mentioned him before. I work with him too.”
yes, your other friend.”
not my friend, just someone I have to work with.” Robin tapped his watch. “A
case has come through for him. I have to go and see him and give him the
details.” Robin looked upwards and raised his fist again. Cara wasn’t sure who
he was raising his fist to.
said, “You’d better go.”
looked closely at her. “Don’t let Ada out of your sight. And don’t let her
gulped. “I’ll try.”
isn’t enough.” Robin sighed. “I’m not sure when I’ll be back. Please, Cara, you
have to save Ada’s life, you can’t let that sweet lady die.”
stuck her chin out in an effort to summon confidence. “I won’t let Ada Clement
my girl. I’ll come back when I can.” Robin gave his watch another disgusted
look and then he disappeared.
confidence went with him. She suddenly realised how much she’d been relying on
Robin to help her with Ada’s case.
was all alone now.