“Do you remember the forty-ish woman, a tad heavier than the usual wife of a developer who’s grown the final crops of six Chester County farms as McMansions? Wearing a burgundy Monique Lhullier dress just a teensy bit too tight with expensive shoes a teensy bit too high? And following Mark around just a teensy bit too close?”
“Oh, her,” said Dex. “She made quite an impression on Mark. With her fingernails. He had dents in his arm.” She took a bite from her sandwich, finally cool enough to eat and waited for Claire’s reaction.
“They acquired Edgecombe Hall sometime last year, he vetted the place for them. So she pre-dates you with Mark and obviously feels a little…proprietary?” replied Claire. “They’ve made extensive renovations on some of the rooms downstairs, and one of the baths upstairs so they could move in, and now Laura is hearing things.”
Dex snorted. “People always hear things in old houses. This place isn’t that old, and I hear things. I hear mice and god knows what else. Darcy hears things, but that doesn’t mean the place is haunted.”
She took another bite from her grilled cheese, savoring the crunch of toasted bread and the sweetness of a fresh, homegrown ripe tomato. Good pepper jack really was the best way to stuff a grilled cheese sandwich, with homemade sourdough bread a good base. No response from Claire…yet.
“Well?” Dex asked. “Are you at a loss for words (finally), or are you still thinking?”
She could hear Claire rummaging in a container. “What?” said Claire. “Oh! Sorry, the puppy I’m running on was playing tug of war with one of my bar towels. What did you say?”
“I said, all old houses make noises,” replied Dex. “Edgecombe Hall would be no exception.”
“Yes, but…” began Claire.
“No buts,” said Dex, chewing another bite of her sandwich. “The Inn was a one-off, I’m sure. I’d always had, well let’s just call them feelings, there, and what I think I saw–”
“What you know you saw,” interrupted Claire. “You saw the skeleton we found in the well put a bag of gold behind a loose stone in the cellar. And you know it. Don’t try to bamboozle me.”
“One-off,” said Dex definitively. “Never had those feelings anywhere else.” She relaxed the frown on her face and smiled. “Maybe I’m just attuned to your Inn.”
“Doesn’t matter,” said Claire, “I told Laura Peters I’d bring you along to check it out. Did I tell you she described you as my ‘voodoo girl’?”
“Oh cool,” replied Dex, “shall I kill a chicken and sprinkle blood on her porch? That would be a nice touch. My neighbors have a rooster I bet they’d part with.”
“Mind you,” Claire began, “on the other hand, she might just be trolling for Mark. I think she has a thing for him, and her husband is a bit…gruff.”
“The developer?” asked Dex, then dropped the phone. Claire heard running footsteps, and a whippet skidding on a non-carpeted surface.
“Darcy, you stinker,” she could hear Dex shout. “I wasn’t finished with that.” Dex returned to the phone.
“He pinched the last quarter of my sandwich!” said Dex. “Practically out of my hand! He’s getting worse. That’s it, I’m setting mousetraps.”