For the story so far
“There,” I presented him with a receipt. “I did fill my car up.” I was relieved. I had been wondering if I was having side effects from my wild youth.
“So your sphere of influence is currently very small,” he asked. I don’t think he knew what to make of that. Hey, I pretend to be confident, it helped me feel it.
“Any strange or odd incidences in the last six months other than the phone calls,” he asked. What the hell did I say, how much? Maybe he saw me hesitate, maybe he saw me flinch but whatever he noticed and he pounced.
“Come on Indy, the more I know the sooner I can get the bastard,” Sam’s gulp from his cup was incongruent with his focus.
“I’ve had a couple of flower deliveries. No note,” now I was really reluctant. This was like baring my innermost secrets. Jeez, there was not going to be much left by the end of this. Damn fucking stalker.
“What was odd about the flowers,” Samuel had always had been perceptive, but I couldn’t pick what tell I had given to indicate there was anything odd about the flowers. Perhaps I had tensed? I didn’t know.
“Half the buds were cut off. There were only one or two open flowers on each bunch. No greenery, just dead stalks. The flowers reminded me of a garden I could view out of my dormitory window at school. It was a pathetic attempt at a garden. Before the accident, I used to go down and weed it. Little Rebel Indy would sneak out of the dorm late at night and spend an hour in the garden. I never really got anywhere but there were always one or two flowers. Half the buds didn’t bloom and all the greenery seemed to die.”
“Anyone used to give you the creeps at school.”
“Nah, I probably gave them the creeps after the accident, not the other way around.”
“Have you told anyone about the garden,” he asked. Sam looked good. His eyes, they were so expressive, even now, I could see his worry hidden behind a layer of intensity. I liked seeing concern for me in his eyes.
“No, but most of the dorms looked out that way. It was years ago, I can’t imagine it being anyone from school. I dropped out of contact.” I sorted the rubbish from what I actually needed and stood, dumping the rubbish in the bin.
“What about the gardener, did he notice your efforts?”
I thought about the old couple that gardened and maintained the school grounds. He’d had one leg, a leftover from Vietnam. She’d come up with solutions to any problem that his leg presented. She’d redesigned the ride on mower for him. Once he’d showed me how to graft an apple tree and repot plants. She’d given me a cup of tea and cake a few times after my parents had died, but they had moved on.
“It was a couple, he was a Vietnam vet with only one leg and she was a grandmother type. They were both nice to all the kids, nothing special about them. They’re probably dead by now.”
“It’s only been a few years Indy, you should look them up,” his tone softened. Damn the man. “What else, you in any clubs, what are your interests?”
“I told you, I lead a very dull life these days and I quite like it. The only interest I have is paying off my townhouse. You need a dog.” I said.
Sam rolled his eyes at me.
“I do not, I have a perfectly good alarm system and it certainly isn’t a cheap off the shelf monitored alarm from a dime a dozen company.”
“Make yourself at home Indy, I am going to spend some time working on the house.”
“Can I help you,” I asked.
This time, when the silence was interrupted by a sound, it was Sam’s phone. He pulled it out of his pocket in an economy of movements. We’d had a quiet afternoon and evening working on finishing off the main bathroom upstairs. Samuel had good tastes, masculine but when he eventually settled down, whomever the lucky girl was, she’d be able to add her touches. I wanted it to be me but Sam deserved special. I was no one special.
“Yep,” he handed the phone to me, “It is Matt and he’s at your townhouse.”
I took the phone off Sam.
“Indy, your house has been broken into,” my brother sounded angry.
“What, when?” I asked. My house, the stalker had been in my house. I breathed. It could have been random.
“Settle down, the neighbors heard something last night, saw your back sliding door open and thought you had come in late. Whoever did it, knew your security code. Just as well you were with Samuel.”
“Did they take anything,” I asked.
“I don’t know. Did you have anything of value,” he asked me.
“No, the most valuable things I own are clothes but I buy them really cheaply.”
“What about Mum’s jewelry, I gave that to you when you bought the house.” It was like the Spanish Inquisition. I know people find my brother really friendly and approachable, but I find him about as approachable as trying to tell parents you are pregnant at 15. He was not going to like my answer.
“The jewelry,’ I said quietly, “I gave that all to Beth.” I was a bit surprised. Surely Beth had told him. Truth was, just like my confidence, me being over my parents was pretty much an act. I was getting better at it, to the point that I could now function without any medication, prescribed or otherwise. It was still an act. I missed both of them so cruelly. “There was just the entertainment system, a few books, nothing much of value. Perhaps some of my clothes might have been worth something.”
Matt was silent. “Put me onto Samuel,” he said after a moment.
I handed the phone back and rose, leaving the room. I didn’t want to hear any more. Why was I being targeted? Me, I wasn’t anyone special, just an ordinary girl who’d scrapped back a living after bad shit. I went to work, window shopped, searched Op shops for bargains, perhaps I had stolen a pair of shoes from someone. They were just shoes, they could have them. What the hell had I done?