Times Change For Sister Joan – Episode 41

JOAN put a hand to her head and groaned.

“She’s a man, ain’t she? I bloomin’ knew it! It’s been on my mind for days, so it has. Are you in some sort of danger? Is it anything to do with that bloomin’ great yacht moored out there from time to time? If anyone’s trying to take advantage of a quiet house of holy ladies for smuggling or such, I’ll have something to say about it!” Bill banged a fist on the desk.

Joan put a hand over his clenched fist. There was no other option. Leaving out Ben’s personal heartache about Emma, she began at the beginning and told Bill everything.

“You should have taken me into your confidence right from the start,” Bill said. “Did you think I weren’t to be trusted?”

“Oh, Bill, of course we trust you! But it was decided that the fewer people who knew the safer it would be,” Joan explained. “Even my sisters were unaware, except Madeline. She used to be a nurse and was needed to attend to his wound. Just the Fathers and PC Bradley know about it.”

“So how did the other sisters find out?” Bill was puzzled.

“Sister Emma caught him shaving,” Joan replied.

“Oh, dear!” Bill covered his mouth with his large hand to suppress a guffaw. “Well, now you’ve got me to help.”

“Thank you so much for your concern. I’m very grateful.” Joan smiled. She felt a lot better for having told the whole story to their kindly neighbour.

“Don’t give it another thought.” Bill got up from his chair and took the crumpled cap out of his pocket. “I’ll put on this old thinking cap and see if I can’t come up with an idea to keep him busy – you see if I don’t.” He grinned.

“He has his studies and music practice,” Joan said.

“Music and reading don’t develop the muscles,” Bill said profoundly. “Something to work at for some of the day, something to make him tired and ache a bit, that’s what’s needed. It’ll make him sleep sound.”

He placed the cap on his head.

“Give me some time and I’ll come up with an idea. I’ll find my own way out – goodbye, Sister.” He let himself out of the study.

Joan was left with a feeling that a burden had been lifted. Almost immediately there was a tap on the study door.

Bill put his head around.

“Just had a thought,” he said. “That there yacht, off and on in the bay. Had a word with the coastguard, have you?”

Joan smiled.

“Yes, Bill, I have – it’s just a charter yacht from France, stag parties and such.”

“Ah!” Bill nodded. “I won’t worry about that, then. By the way, I looked through my binoculars at her. She’s called the Stella Maris. Now there’s a coincidence, eh?”

Joan was surprised.

“Yes, indeed,” she said.

“That’s all for now, then, Sister.” Bill touched the peak of his cap. “I’ll be off, but I’ll be in touch, you can be sure. Dressing him up like a nun – I’ve never heard the like!” He closed the door again quietly.

Alison Cook