Original cover work which will change when the tale is released a bit later this month…If you missed the sneak peek for Maggie’s birthday on my facebook page on 2/5, here it is again.
((maybe the formatting will hold here))
“You weren’t due in ‘til noon.”
“I know. I was going stir crazy.”
“Sorry Mags, I guess it must be hard.”
“No Jade, not really. I closed that book a few weeks back. I just want to be done and move on and I can’t yet, one more day.”
“Will you sleep at all tonight?”
“I hope. Everyone will be here first thing tomorrow. It might be too much without sleep.”
Jade winked. “Ri-ight. Cuz you’ve never done anything without sleep before.”
“Not the point smarty-pants. Tomorrow will be the first I’ve seen everyone since the funeral. I closed that book, it doesn’t mean they have.”
“Guess that makes sense. Let’s see if we can tire you out then. Charlie came back late and full. Help me get through the bags.”
“Okay I’ll help, but for my generosity if Mr. Markley’s bag is in the bunch, it’s yours.”
Jade made several gagging noises before responding.
“Fine. Consider it my housewarming present.”
They both laughed hard and got to work. Noon came and passed quickly. Jade left promptly at one as scheduled without leaving extra work thanks to Maggie’s early arrival. True to her word too, she had donned the makeshift hazmat suit and done the bag tagged ‘Markley’.
The added bonus didn’t appear until near the bottom of the last pile around two-thirty in a flat black canvas bag marked ‘Eldeiress’. Finally Maggie thought. It had been weeks.
Knowing she would want to savor the experience if the bag was anything more than regular clothes, she forced herself to save it for last. It was painful to wait. Her every urge shouted to grab the bag and just have a peek. She resisted. As she busied herself with the last few before her prize she wondered how exactly how one went about negotiating the cleaning of such personal items. As she pondered, she thought to herself that Ms. Eldeiress must not be modest if she would send such things out to begin with. That or she was very busy.
Her mind spun wild. Did she have a secret cupboard for such items or were they out on display? Did she have a bat cave like Bruce Wayne hidden away behind a sliding bookcase with a fireman’s pole too? What about a butler? Maggie dismissed the butler idea or why would Wenstry’s be doing her leathers? So many questions coursed her mind. More questions than answers. She wanted the answers.
Anxious to get to the final bag, she nearly missed the front door chime. A tall, svelte, fairly nondescript man stood at the counter.
“Can I help you?”
“Perhaps so. The laundry was taken before Mistress had finished. Is it too late to add items?”
“No sir. Do you know the name on the account?”
“Yes miss. G. Eldeiress.”
BINGO! Maggie bit her tongue to keep from smiling before responding.
“I have just gotten to that bag now, would you like it back?”
“No-no. If you could just add these to it, Mistress would be grateful.”
As he finished he handed her a pillowcase that clanked as she set it on the counter. It was everything she could do to hide her excitement.
“Just a moment while I get you a ticket for this bag since it came in separate.”
He stood stock still at the counter and waited. Maggie issued the claim ticket after noting it that it was additional to the one they already had and should be returned together. She handed him the ticket, he nodded and walked out. Curbside a dark sedan waited. The rear window lowered, an arm encased in red leather down to fingerless gloves reached out and patted the man’s head as he dipped down toward the door before it was withdrawn. He looked content as a praised puppy as he turned and got into the front seat before the car lurched forward and pulled away.
Maggie bubbled up with laughter thinking he might have piddled on the sidewalk he’d been so happy as he turned. Excitedly she began talking to the empty room.
“That was her. I almost saw her. What was the head pat? Ho-ly crap on a cracker she was here.”
Maggie absently remembered the bags then and took several deep breaths to regain her composure. She laughed at herself a little too thinking this must be the feeling mama talked about from seeing the Beatles ages ago. She shook her head on an out loud ‘Wow’ and headed for the bags on the sorting counter.
Amid the odds and ends were the items she had seen before. A few new ones were included but nothing shocking. It seemed that her glimpse of an arm was to be the big event of the day.