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   Chapter 7 Brownie Oxford and the Idlewild Incident

Brownie Oxford and the Idlewild Incident: Brownie Bk 2 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 15135

Updated: 2018-03-07 14:35

Chapter 7

The next morning I woke, still feeling good about my choices. I also awoke early. After several days of forced inactivity while driving, my body was craving some exertion. I pulled out my running clothes and made certain my brown contact lenses were in place. Deciding I would probably sweat enough that make-up and hair products would be pointless, I tucked my curls under my hat and promised to straighten my hair after my shower.

"Good morning Martha, " I said as I began my stretches in the living room. "It is going to be a good day today, I can feel it." Deciding one direction was as good as any other; I left the apartment and went down to the parking lot. I took a right onto the sidewalk and after checking the time, began my run. As I ran, I thought through the previous evening. Noah was planning to pass my name and number on to those who might need my dress making services and on Saturday Crista was going to take me to one of the weekly large scale flea markets in the area so I could pick up some new-to-me furniture. Apparently when not working at a marketing firm, Crista picked up items there and either refurnished furniture or turned them into creative design elements. The apartment she and Matt shared was a stylishly eclectic mix that suited both of them well.

Thus far my life had not been conducive to hobbies of really any kind, let alone on a scale similar to Crista's, but as I needed furniture of some sort, I was willing to give it a shot. "It could be fun, " I told myself. My run took me away from town and into one of the older residential sections. The houses became larger and more grand, trees were mature and not spindly little after thoughts added by optimistic developers. It was a pretty place to run in and I figured once the seasons turned the shade the trees threw to the ground would be quite pleasant.

The neighborhood ended and I passed a small stand of trees. Spotting the entrance to a park, I turned my steps in that direction, figuring a turn around the park would be fun. At this time of day I had the park to myself, although I could see signs posted marking the mileage for other runners using the park's pathways. The paths were well maintained and the benches and trashcans looked rather new.

I chose one of the winding paths. The park was picturesquely wooded and it was an interesting change from Mayenfield. There I ran on one of the roads through a heavily wooded area and into a Victorian era cemetery. Here I was in a park that appeared designed for modern recreational purposes. The paths circling back to the entrance rather than proceeding out of town. I looked around as I ran and to my left I saw a tell-tale wrought iron arch half hidden by a stand of trees. I slowed my steps. There was a short dirt pathway leading away from the running path. I looked around. I was still the only one in the park and I could see no video cameras set up for surveillance. I left the running path and walked up to the cemetery entrance. Spelled out in the archway using curling letters was the cemetery's name, Idlewild.

Thoughts of Mayenfield flashed through my mind but I pushed them away. After all I couldn't avoid the dead forever. This wasn't a large town cemetery, but a smaller plot. From where I stood it looked as though Idewild contained less than a hundred graves. I paused just outside the entrance and let my power flow into the earth, gently calling to the residents so I could introduce myself. Slowly the residents rose, their shadowy forms gathering. I found myself oddly relieved that they were the standard black and white, no silver linings and no green eyes. As usual, the cemetery's emissary approached. This was a very proper looking woman with a long thin nose, glasses perched on the end of it. At a guess I placed her clothing in the early 1900s. Many of the cemetery's residents dated from that age or earlier from what I could tell at first glance. I had the feeling this had not been an active cemetery for some time.

"Good morning, " I said politely as she approached.

"And good morning to you as well young lady, " the woman replied, smiling politely, warm despite her formality. "I am Mrs. Kensington."

"A pleasure to meet you Mrs. Kensington. I'm new to the area and thought I would introduce myself. I'm Brownie Oxford." Once basic introductions were made, Mrs. Kensington informed me that I was welcome to stop by for conversation when I felt it appropriate. The residents were happy

to the top for the cashier. Slowly we went through my mountain, chatting amiably as the mass became something much more manageable. Finally, Susan was finished and with a friendly wave sent me to the cashier. A little while later I was back in my car, heavily laden and feeling pleased with myself.

"And I don't need to call Maryann for a ride, " I told myself thinking of the closest thing to a taxi service Mayenfield had. I needed her services on more than one occasion while staying there. A wave of panic washed over me as I wondered if Maryann kept records of her fares. If so then Swift could find out that Maryann frequently picked me up from the Busy Bee Sewing Supply store downtown. He could know that I sewed by now. He could be looking into fabric stores and seamstress and tailoring jobs. He could investigate fashion schools. It might not be safe to apply. I swallowed hard and gripped the steering wheel hard enough for my knuckles to go white.

"No, " I said trying to talk myself down. "He can't look at all application packets to every fashion school and study every incoming student to every university." I swallowed and counted slowly to ten. "At best he will know I went to the fabric store. All my purchases were made in cash. If he questions people he might get lucky and find out some of the things I bought. I never wore the clothes I made in Mayenfield." I reminded myself.

I took several slow, deep breaths to calm myself. "So we don't use anything made of fabric that we bought in Mayenfield for the portfolio, " I said slowly. "Just in case he is able to identify some of the fabrics." The fist squeezing my heart loosened and I took in a deep breath. I put the key into the car's ignition and turned it, the engine rumbling to life. As I drove home I tried to forget my fear and regain some of my enthusiasm.

I got to the apartment and my gaze fell on the boxes of files innocently sitting in my living room. "No, " I decided shaking my head at them. "Not today. There will be no Dr. Harding, NCS, or creepy Matheson today." I set my purchases down in the center of my new rug and took the boxes to the hall linen closet. At the moment it was occupied by one spare set of sheets. I put the file boxes on two of the empty shelves and closed the door.

"Tonight I'm going to work on making something pretty." I told the closed door. I slipped off my coat, tucking my hat and gloves into one of the pockets while the scarf dangled out of the other one. I took one of my new hangars and hung the coat in the front coat closet by the door. It looked a little lonely.

"I'll make a second coat soon and you'll have a friend, " I told it. I then hung up the rest of my clothes in the bedroom closet and placed one of the sets of plastic drawers in each closet, filling one with undergarments and socks and the other with miscellaneous sewing supplies. Satisfied with myself, I returned to the living room and tried to decide what pretty thing I wanted to make first.

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