The Mystery of Seagrass Island (Chapter 3)

It was only a thirty minute drive to Bess’s apartment. They pulled up in front of the colonial style two story building with red brick and white trim and immediately saw their daughter’s cherry red Volkswagen bug sitting out front. Everything seemed fine for a Saturday morning so far.

When they reached Bess’s second floor apartment and knocked on the door, they could hear her inside fumbling around.

“I’ll be right there!” she yelled. A moment later she opened the door wide.

Shock and then happiness ran across her face as she saw her parents. “Mom! Dad! I didn’t know you were coming here!”

Margie said, “Bobby said he texted you last night?”

“Oh, he did. He said you were safe at his house hiding out from the storm. He just forgot to mention that you were coming to see me,” she said, annoyed.

“Well, we’re here now!” Lloyd said. “Won’t you invite your old parents in to sit down and have a cup of coffee?”

“Of course,” Bess said as she waved them in and gave them each a hug.

She started picking up clothes and papers strewn everywhere. The place wasn’t dirty, it was just a shamble. That was pretty much the usual for Bess but most people would think the place had been shook down from a robbery or crime scene as her parents continually reminded her about her bedroom when she was at home.

As she picked up a stack of items, a photograph fell out. Margie quickly swept it up.

“Who’s this?” she asked as she closely examined the lanky, good looking blond fellow with his arm hung loosely around her daughter’s waist. She noted that they were both smiling in the picture as if they didn’t have a care in the world.

Bess quickly snatched the picture from her mother’s hands. “Nobody!” she quickly replied. “You make me feel like I’m in high school all over again,” she retorted snidely.

“Well, you are acting like you are in high school too,” Margie replied.

“Now ladies,” Lloyd said. “Shall we have that cup of coffee and visit?”

Bess started the coffee maker and they all enjoyed some flaky strawberry-filled scones and coffee. Lloyd leaned back on the sofa and surveyed the room.

“Stop that, Dad!” said Bess.

“Stop what?” he said innocently.

“Looking for clues in my apartment.”

Margie patted her daughter’s knee. “You know he can’t help himself, Bess. It’s just second nature by now. He’ll be doing that in the nursing home.” She laughed as she picked up a magazine off her daughter’s coffee table and snagged a couple of pieces of her mail along with it.

“Oh, what’s this letter, dear? It looks like it’s from Seagrass Island. Are you thinking of moving closer to us? That would be wonderful…” she began.

“Mom, stop looking through my stuff! Geez, you’re just as bad as Dad!” Bess interrupted. She scooped the mail out of her mother’s hands, then laughed to soften the statement when she saw a worried look on her parent’s faces. “You two just relax for the rest of the day,” she added quickly, to change the subject. “I have work to do right now but tonight we will do something fun together. I know, let’s go out for dinner! How does that sound?”

“Great,” said Margie and Lloyd nodded in agreement. Margie and Lloyd both noticed that she took the picture and the envelope from Seagrass Island with her when she went to her bedroom. They looked at each other and nodded slightly.

Later that evening, they took a table near the window at the Chez Mexican restaurant. Bess knew that her parents would be satisfied with nothing less. They had to always have the best view of whatever establishment they were in so they could monitor what was going on. Having her parents here was going to make her plans more complicated but she also knew that they suspected she was up to something. That meant that there wasn’t anything she could do to throw them off the scent until she proved to them that everything was fine. She had learned that lesson well in her teenage years. The children of detectives always make the best criminals. She smiled to herself at her own joke.

After a very nice meal in which her parents joked far more about her childhood memories than she would have liked, Bess waved at a friend across the room. She did not look at all surprised to see Seth Logan but her parents were. He was the same lanky blond from the photograph with their daughter that they had spotted in her apartment earlier.

Bess touched Seth’s shoulder in a familiar way and said, “Mom, Dad, I would like for you to meet a very good friend of mine, Seth Logan.”

Seth shook hands with them both. “So nice to meet you,” he said, with a warm smile. “Bess has told me so much about her detective parents. I’m sure I will see you around the island soon. I just haven’t been out and about much lately.”

“Seagrass Island?” Margie asked.

“Oh yes, I’ve lived there all my life. Well, most of it, anyway,” Seth said. “I’m a bit hurt that Bess didn’t mention meeting me at the Arts Center during the summer.” He made a fake pout towards her and she waved him off. “Well, I have to run! Hope to see you again when you visit the island, Bess!”

As he left Margie noticed that the group of people he was with included a young woman with very, very red hair. “Do you know his friends, dear?” asked Margie pointing to them.

“No, not at all, Mom.”

“Not the young woman with the red hair either?” she asked again.

“No, why all the questions?” Bess asked with a bit more nervousness in her voice than Margie thought was normal.

“Just curious,” Margie said, with a reassuring smile.

The rest of their visit was pleasant and uneventful. After only two short nights with their daughter, Margie and Lloyd packed up their stuff and headed back home to Seagrass Island. They were excited to go home but dreading what they might find after the storm had blown through. The news on the car radio droned on about the number of people who had lost their homes and the amount of damage to local businesses, mostly from flooding. The radio announcer said that they were lucky and that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. Margie reached over and squeezed Lloyd’s hand and shared a mutual look of thankfulness that everyone they knew was safe from harm.

To be continued…