The following day, bright and early, I stopped at Fiona’s house and knocked on the door. This time she was ready for me and was appropriately dressed in her jeans. She had the coffee pot on and we sat and drank coffee before I started work. I found her interesting to talk to and it turns out, was a bit of a writer herself. She showed me some of her work and I thought it was pretty good. I worked throughout the day and made arrangements to come back the next day to finish it off. Fiona kept me well supplied with both coffee and entertainment. As we had a lot in common, conversation was easy.
The next morning I was back and after the coffee ritual, I worked for the rest of the day and stopped around five o’clock. There was just a little left to do mostly painting and I said I would be back the next day to do that. She asked if I would like to stay and have dinner with her as she could use the company. As I had nowhere in particular to be, I agreed and helped her prepare a meal of a salad and spaghetti and meatballs which I had previously told her in one of our conversations was one of my favorites. I think what I said was that I liked all Italian food and her choice was very agreeable to me. We lingered over the meal and I found her conversation to be very pleasing. We had a mutual topic in our writing and she told me more about her woodworking prowess. Turns out she had learnt it from her father who originated from around these parts. She told me about her previous marriage to some rich business man who had been killed in a plane crash not only leaving her all of his wealth but a huge settlement from the airline.
What was odd about all of this is that we had only known each other for a few days and yet our comfort zone was such that she felt perfectly at ease telling me all of these intimate stories about herself. Me, on the other hand, only divulged enough to keep her interested not that my stories came even close to rivaling hers but I was able to make them interesting enough to keep the conversation stimulated. She wanted to know what the rest of the villagers said about her so I mentioned the two missing men that had been connected to her. She started to laugh so loudly I thought she was going to have a fit. “The first was my brother, John who had come into town unexpectedly and had spent a few days with me before driving off early one morning. The other was my son who was visiting from New York City and was really just passing through and had made a detour to visit his Mom. What’s wrong with that” she asked.
“Nothing, I guess but you sure have the locals wondering. They have associated their coming and going as some sort of mystery, yet to be solved. Maybe you should put something in the newspaper and explain to everyone who they were”.
“Your not serious are you”? she asked.
I looked at her and said “Of course I am not. It’s none of their business who you see and how you lead your life. They will probably be talking about us next”. She thought about it for a while and then said, “You know, you are right. I would imagine they are wondering what we are doing right at this minute”. I helped her clear away the dinner things and we sat for a while drinking coffee and making small talk. I felt that I was being drawn into her web and needed to get out there so I bade her “Good Night” and went back to my hotel room. I sat in the room pondering over the evenings events and wondered what it was about Fiona that made her so dangerous. Under normal circumstances, I would have welcomed a fling with an attractive lady but there was something about this one that was not quite right. I could not put my finger on it but decided that I would have to be on my guard while around her.
I decided to take a walk and then end up in the bar for a stiff scotch or two which I duly proceeded to do. When I walked in, the place went very quiet and everyone was looking at me as though I was a ghost. Then everyone turned away and went back to their conversations. I walked up to the bar and took my usual seat.
Julie came over and said, “How did it go”?
“How did what go” I asked. “Don’t be coy, you know what I mean” said Julie
“Are you talking about my work for Mrs Duncan. If so, it went well and I am almost finished. Just have a little painting left to do and then I am out of there? There is something about her that worries me and I can’t put my finger on it”.
Julie looked at me and said,”I tried to warn you to stay away from her. She is trouble waiting to happen and you are not the first man to have succumbed to her charms”.
“I have not succumbed to anything but I have to say, it is a struggle to not get swept up by her”, I said. “She seems to be a bit like a witch trying to put me under her spell”.
“Stay away, You don’t know how close to the truth your words are. Don’t go back to finish the work. Leave town. Go back somewhere else, anywhere else but don’t stay here or she will get you” Julie said.