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What can I tell you? Looking back on things, I really don’t think I noticed the woman until she wasn’t there. All those journeys without any trouble and then it started.

I’ve been travelling up to the city for the past thirty years; stuck to the same job all that time. I’m a steady sort of fellow. Always catch the same train. It gets in to Victoria at 8.49 giving me a comfortable ten minutes to get to the office. At the end of the day, I get the 5.20 home.

I prefer the return journey. Work is over for the day and I can relax with the crossword. I’ve been doing the one in the Times for years. Always the same one; much better than all the other papers. The clues seem to suit me, and I usually finish it a few minutes before we arrive at Pevensey. It gives me time to pack it away in the old briefcase before I get off.

Miss Harvey got on every day at Three Bridges and always took the seat opposite. Not a very stunning kind of person, a bit mousy, if you know what I mean. She had rather faded blue eyes and nondescript hair pulled back into a tight little bun. It was almost as if her hair, tied back that way, tightened her skin and raised her eyebrows because she had a permanently surprised look about her face. The way she dressed, in dull little suits and always the same brown coat, made me think she might be a secretary, a clerk, or something in that line.

It was only when she was missing for a week that I noticed her absence. Couldn’t think what was different at first. Having that vague feeling that there was a change to the normal pattern of things, but not being sure what, was a bit like being on the beach and no seagulls about or in the park with no dogs to foul the footpaths. Nasty things, dogs….

 Anyway, I just couldn’t put my finger on it and it was only when she returned that I realised it was her not being there, in the seat opposite, that I’d missed. And looking back, I seem to remember that, throughout the journey, I had always been used to seeing her with her nose in a book.

 But she had started to knit. All through the spring she knitted. First, it was some purple horror - I’m not sure what that was - and then a green hat. By June she had embarked on her third garment - orange this time - and then she went on to crochet. I know it was crochet - all those loops and running trebles, or whatever they call it - because Kitty, my wife, does it.

Kitty sits all evening, with her feet up because of her varicose veins, and crochets or, more often, knits. All evening long there is this clatter of her knitting needles; click clack, click clack, knit one, purl one, click clack, slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over. I know the stitches because she talks to herself as she does it. That’s when she’s not regaling me with all the wonderfully important details of her day; the cat was sick on the kitchen floor; Mrs Philips at number twenty-seven has got new net curtains; the assistant gave her the wrong change at the greengrocers. You know the sort of thing.

I used to do my crossword in the evening but all that confounded click clacking and drivel was too distracting so I took to watching television. I had to turn that off when it couldn’t compete, and took up stamp collecting.

Now where was I? Oh, yes.... at Eastbourne, the train separates. It slips into the station and then, after an interval of five or so minutes, the last four carriages are uncoupled and we proceed on the last leg of the journey. Last week, when we got to Eastbourne, the uncoupling procedure caused such a jolt that Miss Harvey’s ball of wool fell from her lap and rolled towards my feet. I picked it up and handed it to her.

 Fatal mistake! She took it as an opening and prattled on about nothing in particular all the way to Cooden. Her inane conversation didn’t stop there. Oh, no! The next day and the next; she kept up this infernal noise. I tried changing my seat, even the carriage, but somehow she always managed to find me and carry on that infernal chatter.

 This last time wasn’t any different. The train had only just pulled out of Three Bridges and I had hardly got into the crossword. I was just trying to think of three down - a six letter word; M, something, R, D, something, something - when she started.

“Nice day isn’t it? Can’t think when it was so hot.”

“Mmm” I muttered and rustled my paper.

 I had taken to the odd monosyllabic grunt, not wanting to encourage her. I suppose I hoped she would find me dull company and give up, but it didn’t seem to deter the damn woman. I kept returning to my crossword, every time there was a pause for breath, but she just wouldn’t take the hint. Click clack, went those infernal knitting needles as she worked on a scarf that was growing, daily, into a longer and longer rumpled pile on her lap. How could I possibly concentrate? I can put up with a lot of things - have done for years - but when she started reading the pattern out loud, well, it was more than any mortal body could stand.

Leaving the scarf round her neck was a mistake. I see that now. Nobody wears a scarf in summer. If it hadn’t been for the scarf she might not have been found until the train stopped at Hastings.

But you do understand, Officer? You do understand why I had to do it?













A Time for Change



Margaret Penbury sank, with relief, into the back seat of the crowded little bus that was already setting off through the airport car park. It had all been such a rush. Another delay and she would certainly have missed it.

She settled herself, as comfortably as the ancient seat would allow, and fished in her bag for a peppermint. The heat had hit her as she stepped off the plane and now she was so thirsty. She could do with some water but she hadn’t had time to buy any.

What a rush it had been! All because she had lost an earring. She had to wait until the plane emptied before she could go on her hands and knees to look for it. Why had she bothered? It wasn’t as if it was an expensive one. It had rolled some distance and by the time she found it and got through passport control, all the passengers had left the baggage area and it was only her suitcase riding the carousel in splendid isolation.

Still, she was here now and it was going to make a nice change. The girls in the office had been surprised when she had announced that not only was she, for the first time, going to travel abroad but she was going alone and without the added benefits of a travel company.

It was the offer of a half price flight, one she had found in the Sunday paper, and the alluring prospect of certain sunshine and seeing for herself the country she had so often read about, that had tempted her to  forsake the comforting predictability of  Mrs Bishop’s guesthouse at Shoreham-on-Sea for this trip to Southern Spain.  She wondered if Mrs Bishop would miss her annual visit; after all, she had been going there for the last nine years. Yes, she thought the change would do her good.

But she was already concerned about the cost. There had been a lot of expenses this year, what with the central heating of her tiny flat breaking down in February and the repair to her little car after she had reversed it into that stupid wall. It had certainly eaten up a chunk of her savings so this was definitely going to be a budget holiday. She hoped that the small sum she had allocated for pocket money would be enough. Still, she had booked her room at an inexpensive hotel with half board so her meals would be taken care of and she  couldn’t foresee any need for spending much apart from the few trips she had planned.

As the bus hurtled down the dusty roads on its two hour journey, Margaret shut her eyes for a moment and sighed. A whole week of pleasing herself. A whole week of not rushing around, no clock to watch, no meals to cook, no office to go to, no having to listen to those silly girls, giggling together, as they talked about clothes, makeup and boyfriends. She had no time for such things.

The countryside sped past; tiny farmhouses glaring white in the brilliant sunshine, surrounded by groves of oranges or olives, glimpses of a dazzling sea sparkling with a million points of light, a workman leading his heavily laden donkey, women in black gossiping in the street. She began to relax. Very different from Shoreham-on-Sea. It was going to be a good holiday.

Margaret looked at her watch. Only another twenty minutes and they should arrive. She was looking forward to a shower and changing out of her travelling clothes; the cream trouser suit with its comfortable elastic waist and sensible flat shoes. She should never have worn such a light colour though. It was already looking very grubby especially since she had spilt some of her coffee into her lap when the plane had encountered a spot of turbulence.

The bus discharged some of its passengers at a large, grand looking hotel. She watched as they claimed their baggage from the side of the bus, tipped the driver, and disappeared through the hotel’s plate glass doors. Goodness, she hadn’t thought about tipping! She didn’t have any small change. She would just have to hurry off with her case as soon as she arrived.

At last, the bus pulled up outside a modest low-storey building that even from the outside looked as if it had seen better days. She grabbed her suitcase as soon as the driver had retrieved it from the hold and muttering a quick  ‘Gracias’ hurried inside.

It was dim in the foyer after the bright sunshine. She waited patiently for the receptionist, a sullen faced man, to finish sorting out a sheaf of papers before he gave any indication that he was aware of her standing there. Eventually he slid a form along the counter for her to fill out and, this done, handed her a key.

The room was shabby with old fashioned furniture and a small shower room with a cracked wash basin. It was a little disappointing  but what could she expect for the price she paid? She’d feel better after a shower and a change of clothes.


It was only when she hauled her case onto the bed that she realised something was wrong. Her heart missed a beat as she stared down at the navy blue case.

It was the same case but it wasn’t hers. Someone must have taken her case and left theirs to ride the carousel alone.

Margaret sank onto the bed and put her hand over her mouth as she stared at the case, her mind racing in several directions all at the same time. Whose case was it? Where was hers? What was she going to do? What was she going to wear?

As she showered with the meagre bar of soap the hotel provided and dried herself with the rough towel, she contemplated her options. She could see if there was a bus that would  take her  back to the airport tomorrow but what if the  person who had taken her case hadn’t returned it? And what about the expense of the bus? She would have to buy a ticket to get there and another to get back. Still undecided as to her course of action, she dressed again in her travel weary clothes and went down to dinner.

The meal was surprisingly good, that is to say, when she got it, as the service was appalling. Two waiters seemed to ignore her in favour of the other guests. She might as well not have been there for all they cared. She glumly ate her meal, grateful that she had been shown to a small corner table, all the time conscious of her dishevelled appearance and glad when she had eaten and could escape to her room.

The case still sat on the bed reproaching her and she was still undecided as to what to do. The label that the airline had attached to the handle gave the name Langham but there was no tag that gave the passenger’s destination. She had bought her case in a chain store so there must be dozens of suitcases exactly the same. Perhaps her key would fit and she could see if there was any identification inside. The key turned easily in the cheap padlock and feeling like an intruder she unzipped it and lifted the lid.

The contents told her that the owner was a woman, possibly young and certainly with a taste for glamorous clothes. Carefully she lifted out a scarlet sundress, a tee shirt with a sparkling silver motif, shorts that were incredibly short, a tiny bikini that would leave little to the imagination. Desperately, she emptied the case searching but finding no answer. Just as carefully she replaced the clothes, the hair straighteners, the sun tan lotion and makeup bag and closed the lid.

She slept fitfully that night, wishing she was safely in her own bed, or at least in Mrs Bishop’s guesthouse, but in the morning she had reached a decision. She would borrow some clothes from the suitcase, just for the day, just while she washed out her travelling clothes, and then return the case at the end of the week when she made the homeward journey.

The little red sundress with its tiny shoestring straps fitted her perfectly and the strappy sandals were comfortable on her feet. She looked at herself in the speckled mirror on the wardrobe door and someone else looked back.

The transformation was amazing. She was looking at quite a different person; younger and more stylish. It would take a bit of courage to go down to breakfast dressed like this, she told herself, noticing that the skirt stopped well above her knees and she was showing more cleavage than she‘d ever done before. But so what? No one had taken the least bit of notice of her the evening before. She would sit at the same corner table and leave as soon as possible.

‘Buenos Dias, Signora!’ The waiter greeted her with an appraising smile and led her to a table in the middle of the room. The couple at the next table smiled and greeted her too. They said something she didn’t understand.

‘No hablo espagñol,’ she replied. It was one of the few phrases she had learnt. The couple nodded, smiled again and resumed their meal.

The waiters fussed about her; nothing was too much trouble. Even the receptionist wished her a good day when she left the hotel to explore the village. People she passed in the street smiled and said ’Buenos Dias.’ It pleased her to return their greetings.

The clothes she wore made people notice her; heads turned to watch her as she passed. The Spanish men gazed at her with open admiration. She found herself enjoying the unaccustomed attention and when she stopped for a coffee at a pavement café and a young man tried, in halting English, to engage her in conversation, she actually found herself giggling  at his lavish praise of her beauty. He asked her name and when she told him, he called her Marguerita and it sounded so lovely compared with plain old Margaret. It was a wonderful day.

That evening she looked again in the case and found herself trying on a little black dress. Just to see what she would look like, of course, but the temptation was too great and she wore it when she went down to dinner.

Once more the waiters were attentive and the guests friendly and she realised for the first time that she didn’t need to be a dowdy middle-aged spinster who everyone ignored.

It was so easy to be tempted by the contents of the suitcase. She didn’t touch the personal stuff, the makeup and underwear, but washed out her own every evening and treated herself to a lipstick and mascara. It was as if  wearing these clothes gave her a new personality; her posture improved, she held her head high and sauntered through the hotel, looking directly at staff and guests alike with a confident smile. It was very different from the Margaret Penbury who had scuttled with the wrong case to her room on that first night.

And so the week passed. All too soon it was time to go home. Reluctantly she packed Miss Langham’s carefully washed and pressed clothes into the suitcase, put on her own travelling clothes and caught the bus.

At the airport, she found the lost luggage office and handed in the suitcase, apologising profusely and nervously explaining that she had been unable to get to the airport to return it before. The attendant was stern, asking if she realised how much trouble she had caused the owner. They had been searching for Miss Langham’s case all week.  Margaret meekly bore his lecture  knowing it was justified but silently thinking it served Miss Langham right for taking the wrong case in the first place. When he had finished, she tentatively asked if they had her own case and was relieved to have it returned.


Margaret returned to work on the following Monday, once more in her sensible office clothes.

The girls asked her how she had enjoyed her holiday. ‘Did you have a nice time, Miss Penbury? Did it make a nice change?’

‘Oh yes,’ replied Miss Penbury. ‘It was quite a change.’

For a moment, a secret smile lent a gleam to Miss Penbury’s eyes for she was already planning a whole new wardrobe in readiness for her next trip.



Wedding Vows

It was Pam who gave me the idea. I wasnt going to tell anyone about Harry but she came round for a coffee and caught me crying.

            It strikes me, Maria she said, after I had told her what had happened, that youve got three choices. You can go to this womans house and tell her to keep away from your husband, or you could play him at his own game and have an affair yourself. She paused and I had the distinct impression that she had already dismissed that idea. I couldnt blame her.

            And the third? I asked.

            You could do something to stop him wandering. Pam looked me directly in the eye. What you need to do is tart yourself up a bit. Get a new hairstyle. Youve got lovely hair but screwed up in a bun like that makes you look old. And you could put a bit of makeup on for a change, lose some weight. You want to do something to stop him straying.

            I thought about it for days. Pam was right. I didnt bother much with my appearance. Its easy to neglect yourself when theres so much to do. And no time for proper meals so I snacked on biscuits and anything going; a big wedge of fruit cake, a packet of crisps or a bar of chocolate. No wonder I was putting on weight. Yes, I thought gloomily, I had let myself go.

            But that didnt give Harry the right to be unfaithful. What happened to those vows? Forsaking all others. Till death us do part and so on. Im the mother of his children, for Heavens sake. Dont you think I deserved some loyalty?

            So I considered the three options. Confronting his bit on the side didnt seem a good idea. What if she refused to stop seeing Harry? They thought the affair was their little secret. It would have been too if I hadnt found those theatre tickets stubs in the pocket of his best suit. They were for an evening when he had told me he was working late. So I did a bit of snooping. and it wasnt long before I found out about Mrs Celia Gardner, widow and husband stealer. I even knew where she lived so there was nothing to prevent me going round there and speaking my mind. But what would it achieve? Once I did that and the secret was out, Harry might decide to leave me; move out and in with her.

            The second suggestion that I have an affair? With the selection of men in our village? There isnt a man within five miles that comes halfway to being fanciable, except for Jack Byers who runs the Coach and Horses over by Langley Green. Now there was a man worth making an effort for. But if it was wrong for Harry to have an affair because he was married then it would be wrong for me too. Apart from that, if I couldnt keep my own man, how the hell was I going to get another? I thought about it for days and eventually decided on a plan.

            Our wedding anniversary was in September, far enough away to give me time to get ready; I had things to do and the first was to pull myself together, make myself look more attractive. I dieted. I had tried before but never had the will power but this time I had a goal, a real incentive. This time I stuck to it and watched the pounds gradually slip away.

            I had my hair cut in a fashionable new style, short with a wispy fringe that framed my face and softened my features. I practised putting on makeup until I got it exactly right and was amazed at the transformation. I went shopping; a new dress, shoes, black stockings.

            There was only one other item I needed. The thought of it sent a thrill shuddering through me. But where to start, I hardly knew. I couldnt bring myself to ask anybody; how could I explain? And then I had an idea. Its amazing what you can buy on the Internet.

            It arrived a week later, fortunately when all the family had left the house. Breathless with excitement, I carried the package into the bedroom and sat on the bed while I opened it.. It was very much smaller than I had expected and now that I had actually got it I had a few misgivings. Was this what I really wanted? I hid it in the back of the wardrobe, in a plastic bag of old clothes destined for the charity shop. No one would find it there. I didnt want any awkward questions. 

            I called it my little black number, it seemed appropriate somehow, and every so often when I could be sure that I wouldnt be interrupted, Id take it out and hold it up in front of the mirror, posing this way and that and then smile at the thought of Harrys reaction. Wouldnt he be surprised. I dont suppose he would think his quiet wife had it in her. Oh, yes, this would stop him dead in his tracks.

            Everything went according to plan. Mother took the children mid-afternoon so I had plenty of time to prepare. A pot roast, Harrys favourite meal, simmered gently on the stove while I set the table with our best linen and the crystal glasses Aunt Mary had given us on our wedding day. The last of the pink roses made a pretty centre piece and two tapered candles completed the picture. I chose some romantic music to create exactly the right ambiance and gave a satisfied sigh. Every thing was ready for me to seduce my husband.

            I knew Harry wouldnt arrive home until at least eight as hed gone to play a round of golf. He always has a drink in the clubhouse after but he had promised me not to be late.

            So I ran a hot bath. I turned on the taps and poured plenty of bath oil under the rush of hot water and as I tried to relax I thought about the evening ahead. It was going to be wonderful. I was going to make Harry want me, just as he used to before he met up with that woman. I wanted him to want me. It was important to know that I could still be desirable. I thought of my little surprise in the back of the wardrobe and smiled.

            When Harry came home, he stared at me in my slinky red dress. I could see he was impressed. I dont think he could believe it was me at first.

            Whats all this? he asked when he saw the table romantically set for two.

            Its to celebrate our anniversary. Ten years. You havent forgotten?

            No. No, of course not, he said but I could tell that he had.

            I brought the meal to the table and produced a bottle of wine. As we ate we talked. I flirted with him, as I hadnt done for years, toying with the stem of my wine glass, licking my lips with the tip of my tongue, slowly… sensuously. I watched, fascinated, as his indifference changed to interest and by the time we finished eating and were enjoying a coffee and brandy on the sofa, I had kindled a desire in him I had long thought dead.

            Ill never forget the moment he took me in his arms; how he kissed me, touched me, eagerly wanted more.

            Not here. In the bedroom, I whispered in his ear. Finish your brandy, Ill call you when Im ready.

            I was quaking inside as I prepared for the final part of my plan. As soon as I was ready I called to him, enticingly. Harry!

            He stood in the doorway, eyes wide and mouth gaping, unable to believe his eyes. Oh, Maria…I cant believe this. And then he understood and began to shake his head. No. Oh no…

            Yes, Harry.

             But Im your husband, he pleaded, his voice suddenly hoarse.

            Yes, you are. Forsaking all others till death us do part. I aimed straight for his cheating heart and pulled the trigger. Yes, Harry, till death us do part.


Miss Maybury’s Misunderstanding



Nobody ever really noticed Miss Maybury. She was as much a part of the office of Seymour, Seymour and Wilcox, solicitors, as the grey battered filing cabinets, the heavy dark furniture and the walls lined with bookshelves that bore the dusty tomes of law. Miss Maybury was Mr Wilcox’s secretary. She was efficient and conscientious, often the first to arrive and the last to leave, when she would cover the typewriter and give it a final satisfied pat as she glanced round the office to check that everything had been left neat and tidy.


          Miss Maybury had looked after her ailing mother for years but now at forty two, she lived alone. A scrawny woman with faded blue eyes and lack-lustre hair.  In her shabby cardigans, faded and stretched so they had become quite shapeless, and her stout lace-up shoes she gave the appearance that she had given up on life. She told herself that she was happy to be a spinster with no one  but herself to consider although there were moments, especially on cold winter nights with the wind howling round the chimney pots, when she would have liked someone more than her ginger cat for company.


          In October Mr Wilcox suddenly retired. Because of ill health, Miss Maybury thought, for he constantly smoked and had been coughing and wheezing a lot of late. Miss Maybury was sorry to see him go. But he was replaced by a new man to the firm, a Mr Grumfeld, a serious man, possibly shy because he had little to say in the way of pleasantries to Miss Maybury although he did seem to appreciate her efficiency.


          He had been there about three weeks when, one morning, Miss Maybury opened the right hand drawer of her desk to find an unfamiliar small box nestling there among the packets of staples and paper clips and the supply of ready sharpened pencils and shorthand notepads. On the top of the box was a piece of paper with her name on it. Miss Maybury, it read and it was in Mr Grumfeld’s hand.


          Miss Maybury placed it carefully in front of her on the desk. Her hand covered her mouth as she sat in silent contemplation. It was obviously a gift box; the kind that came from fancy jewellers like the one in Barton Street that had prices enough to make your eyes water. And it was meant for her. It must be for there was her name as clear as can be on the paper beside it. And from Mr Grumfeld! He had given her a gift.


          Such excitement fluttered her heart and brought a tremble to her hands as she reached for the box and when she removed the lid, a gasp escaped her narrow lips, for there, resting on a pad of black velvet, was an exquisite silver brooch. It was fashioned in the shape of a bird with outstretched wings and a little  black stone for an eye. It had been many years since she had been given any kind of  gift, apart from at Christmas time when all the staff names were put in a box and each drew a name for whom to buy a five pound present. Every year she was given the same old lavender bath sets, that were never used but packed away on the shelf in her wardrobe, although one year, it must be remembered, she had received a rather nice green scarf from Miss Goodall, the senior Mr Seymour’s secretary.


          But she had never been given a gift such as this. It was as much as she could do to concentrate on the letters she had to type until eleven o’clock when it was time to take Mr Grumfeld his morning coffee.

He was poring over a law book, lost in concentration when Miss Maybury entered his office and placed the yellow cup of sweet, milky coffee on his desk. She hovered uncertainly for a few moments until he looked up and saw her standing there.


          “Yes, Miss Maybury. Did you want something?”


          “Mr Grumfeld“ She hesitated a moment, overcome with emotion and then it all came out in a rush. “I’d like to thank you for the beautiful gift. It was ever so kind of you… and it’s not even my birthday! Thank you. Oh, thank you!” And with that she gave a girlish giggle and scuttled from the room leaving Mr Grumfeld to stare open mouthed at the closing door.


          In the days that followed, a subtle change came over Miss Maybury. There was a bounce in her step, a brightness in her eye and, to Mr Grumfeld’s consternation, she took to smiling inanely at him and hovering uncomfortably at his elbow when she had occasion to be in his office. On one occasion he thought she had actually fluttered her eyelashes at him!


She surprised everyone by turning up one day in a neat grey skirt and matching little jacket instead of her usual blue or green shapeless cardigan, and she exchanged her manly lace-up shoes for a pair of neat court shoes with a little heel. What is more, the unmistakable fragrance of lavender wafted from her at every move. It was said that she had even been heard humming On the Street Where You Live’ as she bent industriously over the filing cabinets. Something had to be done, Mr Grumfeld decided, when she started filling his office with vases of flowers and potted plants.


How had all this come about? Where he had worked before, his secretary had been used to doing the odd personal chore for him. Little things like booking the odd theatre tickets, making a restaurant reservation or purchasing the odd greetings card. He had simply assumed that Miss Maybury would do the same.


          It was his sister, Margaret’s fault. If she hadn’t phoned when she did the misunderstanding wouldn’t have occurred. It was the one day when he had been working late. Everyone had gone home, even Miss Maybury and he had suddenly remembered the present. He had just started writing the note.  Miss Maybury, he was going to write, Would you please gift wrap this for me. It is for my mother’s birthday. But no sooner had he written Miss Maybury than the phone had rang. It had been  Margaret, reminding him that he was already half an hour late for dinner and she had especially invited Gloria, her friend who quite liked him, and would he please get over there straight away before the dinner was ruined. So he had shoved the box in the drawer, not wanting to leave it in sight of the cleaners, and rushed off  to Margaret’s without a second thought.


          Now the poor deluded woman thought that the gift was for her and he hadn‘t the heart to put her right. It wasn’t the loss of the brooch that bothered him - he could well afford to buy another - it was the fact that Miss Maybury thought he had developed a fancy for her. Nothing could be further from the truth but how could he let her know that it had all been a  misunderstanding without hurting her feelings? He didn’t want to risk losing her because she was such a good secretary. He thought about it for a long time, even asked Margaret for a solution. She had thought the situation hilarious so he had had no help there. And then it came to him.


          A few mornings later, Miss Maybury opened her desk drawer to find an identical box and another piece of paper. On it was written. Miss Maybury, would you please gift wrap this for me. It is for my mother for her birthday.


          Miss Maybury sat there for a long time, typing forgotten, while an icy desolation gripped her soul. At lunch time she slipped out to the corner shop and bought a sheet of blue wrapping paper and some silver ribbon. That afternoon she wrapped the gift and, slipping quietly into Mr Grumfeld’s office, carefully placed it in the centre of his desk.


          Nothing was said but it wasn’t long after that, that Miss Maybury went back to wearing her dreary cardigans and those awful lace-up shoes.

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