At one thirty on the nose the doorbell rang. Amanda had been fluttering about the house like a high-strung butterfly all day, unable to contain her excitement. Not much of consequence happened in her life these days, other than the disappearance of her brother and she was giddy at the prospect of doing something new and oh so very daring.
She fretted a bit that she had agreed to this meeting before remembering it was the maid’s day off but she hadn’t wanted to put it off. She tried her best not to appear too anxious as she opened the door.
“A very good day to you Amanda. Bruce Farnsworth at your service.”
He bowed slightly and gave her a winning smile.
Amanda felt as though she might swoon. He was such a dashing, handsome man with the most impeccable manners. She felt twenty years younger and wished that it were so. She held out her hand.
“Bruce. How very nice to meet you. Do come in.”
She led him to the sitting room and his eyes were everywhere as they went.
“Your home is lovely. I admire your taste.”
“Why thank you, Bruce. Would you care for a cup of tea before we begin?”
“Only if it wouldn’t be any trouble Amanda.”
“No trouble at all. I’ll just be a minute.”
The moment she was out of the room he went into action, examining the photos first, checking the backs for names, then going through every drawer he could find, gathering information in the quick and efficient manner he had developed over time. When he heard her returning he moved to the sofa and sat down.
“Here we are. I hope you like Earl Grey.”
“Why yes, I do. Amanda, don’t tell me you’re psychic!”
She giggled like a schoolgirl and hoped she wasn’t blushing as she sat down and poured the tea.
“Well then, how do we begin?”
“The first thing I need to do, and I hope you won’t be alarmed, is to hold your hand in mine for a moment so that I can absorb the vibrations that will allow me to access the nature of the matter and to find the answers. Are you amenable to that?
“I suppose. I mean, if that’s what’s needed.”
She held out her hand and he clasped it in both of his and closed his eyes and appeared to be concentrating. She started to ask him a question but he shook his head and she fell silent. After a couple of minutes he opened his eyes and released her hand.
“Amanda, you are very concerned about someone. A relative.”
He watched her face for clues and continued.
“A close relative. A man.”
He could see he had hit the mark. He had ascertained that she was unmarried and her father couldn’t still be alive given her age. He went for the obvious.
“Is it your brother?”
An audible gasp gave her away. He delivered the coup de grace.
“Your brother Edward?”
Her hand flew to her throat and he allowed himself a slight smile. They always put names and dates on the back of photos. It was so easy.
“Bruce, that’s astonishing!”
She sipped her tea and he could see her hands were trembling. Sometimes it was just too easy. He nodded with gravity and then leaned over and patted her hand.
“Fear not, Amanda. You are in good hands. Everything is going to be fine.”
For me, he thought. In fact, he fully expected it was going to be downright grand. Several grand in fact.
Tomorrow, Part 3