The Secret Of The Silver Locket – Episode 14

GLENBARRIE House! The name sounded familiar. Could Grace perhaps, while playing or studying with Rowena, have heard her mother mention that name to Emma? She needed to explain her status before he fabricated some magical family history for her that patently did not exist.

“Harry, I think I need to make something clear to you. I’m afraid you might have misunderstood my presence here.”

“Well, you’re obviously not a servant. I wondered whether you might be here to supervise the house preparation.”

“I’m here to help with it. Lord and Lady Carmichael are officially my employers although they have acted as my guardians ever since I lost my mother when I was just thirteen years of age.”

It was Harry’s turn to stop walking now.

“I am so very sorry to hear of your loss, Grace. So you have no connection to my Scottish friends? Yet how is it you sound so… so deliciously aristocratic?” he added.

“I act as companion and lady’s maid to the daughter of the house. But my late mother was employed at Seymour House. That’s how she became so friendly with Emma, who became my second mother in many ways. I’ve been educated with the Honourable Rowena Seymour and we get on very well but my social life is virtually non-existent, Harry.

We can go back to the house if you wish. I’ll understand if you feel cheated in some way.”

“Cheated! Grace, right now I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet. May I kiss you?”

The tenderness in his eyes drew her closer to him. She leaned towards him and kissed him lightly on his cheek.

“We should continue walking,” Harry whispered at last. “You must think me very forward.”

“Different,” she said, taking his arm again. “We’ve hardly got to know one another. I might not share your interests. I know nothing about baseball, for instance.”

He chuckled.

“OK. I like fossils. I’m crazy about them and always have been. That’s why I’m here renting a house all on my own. And I like tennis and jazz and, oh heck, lots of things. Not dancing – I have two left feet.”

“I’ve never had dancing lessons but I play tennis with Rowena sometimes.”

“Will I get to meet this girl some day?”

“I think it’s highly likely. But I probably won’t be in evidence if you attend a dinner party here. If she hasn’t invited an escort, you’ll be paired with her or some other suitable young woman.”

“No way. I shall refuse point blank to attend unless I have you at my side.”

“I’m afraid I’m firmly out of bounds for you.”

“Grace, don’t you dare say such a thing. Why are Lord and Lady Carmichael treating you in such a strange manner?”

“They’re treating me very well, considering my social status.”

He pulled her close to him. She leaned her head against him and he stroked her hair into place after the playful breeze lifted it away from her face.

“So do you have any kin who care about you? Do you have your mother’s photograph album and stuff like that?”

“Nothing except a beautiful silver locket she left me. You can imagine how I treasure it.”

He looked thoughtful.

“Hmm. You’re a bit of a mystery woman. My mind’s working overtime here.”

“I can’t think why. I’m very ordinary and I shouldn’t have played along when you called out to me in the garden. We should leave things how they are.”

“You think I’m about to let you go now that I’ve found you? No-one has ever made me feel like I do over you, Grace Walker.”

She moved away from him, feeling the tears spring to her eyes.

He pulled her close again and stroked her cheek.

“We can sort this. I can visit you in London. We’ll meet in secret if that’s what it takes. I’m kind of getting a hunch about certain matters and I need to talk to people, apart from the boffins I have to hook up with to talk about my geological assignment.”

“So you teach?”

“I’m a college professor.”

“Oh, my word.” Grace swallowed hard. Of course… hadn’t she read his business card? Her eye had picked up the name of a single man but hadn’t registered his professor’s title. There could be no future in their relationship, such as it was.

At that moment, despite his pledge to see her again, she felt plunged into a well of despair, something she’d never envisaged feeling when she set off for the coast with Emma and Alfred the day before. If this was love, it could only bring heartache.

But when he asked her if she’d allow him to drive her to a little place up the coast the following evening for supper, she heard herself accepting the invitation.

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!