A Croatian Adventure – Episode 48

Mel was full of trepidation coming down to breakfast. She now knew that Makso was up to no good. She’d seen him skulking around under cover of night, but she must act normally as Cesare had insisted.

Makso was already sitting at the table when she arrived. The dark shadows under his eyes appeared even darker and he kept fiddling with the rings on his fingers as if he was agitated. This was most unlike his usual cool self.

“I have a large amount of documents I signed last night which I would like you to copy today and get sent off.”

“Of course.” She found it hard to force down her mango and yoghurt this morning, and at every word she felt as if she would choke.

As he talked to her, he seemed for some reason to be studying her.

“Let me get you some coffee. You look tired.”

She tried to smile and hoped it didn’t come out as a grimace while he turned to the sideboard and poured her a large cup.

“Here, drink that up. I have added some of our home-produced honey; you should try it.”

She was grateful for the hot sweet liquid, the caffeine hitting her right in the heart, and she felt a little better as she saw Makso smile in her direction.

“I am very pleased with all the sales we have made recently, but all the goods need customs certificates and shipping documents. If you have finished your coffee and are ready, I will show you what needs to be done.”

They got up and made their way to the office. Makso installed her by the photocopier with a huge pile of forms marked with Post-its. It all looked perfectly in order until she found herself feeling slightly out of sorts. Things had been so busy lately, and so trying.

“Do you think I could have a chair?”

“Of course.”

Makso’s steel grey eyes swam before hers as he observed her intently.

“You have been very busy lately.”

“Yes, but there’s nothing I can’t cope with.” Her legs felt wooden and heavy, and as she took the weight off them she found she had to hang on to the photocopier to steady herself.

“Oh,” Makso replied. “I don’t doubt it. I have kept a very close eye on you and I have people in this house who are exceedingly loyal to me who have also been interested in your movements. You have been very busy.”

Mel felt a sick feeling in her stomach. Who had been watching her? Had Greg Brodie been tracking her?

Her thoughts were becoming fuzzy. She tried to act normally, but as she reached out to the papers, her hand, instead of grasping knocked everything to the floor.

“I’m sho sorry.” It was as if she was drunk; her head began to swim, her speech to slur. What on earth had been in that coffee?

Makso’s voice grated.

“I suppose you think you are very clever. Hiroko’s nurse heard you on the phone through the door. It was she who alerted me to the fact that you have a policeman boyfriend. I suppose the two of you thought you would spy on me.

“You ungrateful woman. I give you a job and let you into my home and that is how you repay me. It seems my world is full of ungrateful women.

“Hearing of your treachery, I instructed Hiroko’s nurse to tell me of anything she discovered which sounded odd. Imagine my dismay when she told me she saw notes being thrown on to your balcony in secret by Severina. Severina who has always been as loyal as the day is long.”

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!