12th June 2010
That was the last time I saw Lewis for a while. Now I know what he was doing with that time I understand why he suddenly disappeared but I remember at the time feeling inexplicably hurt and depressed when he failed to make another appearance for a week. But if I’d known what news he was going to bring when he returned I wouldn’t have minded the wait.
21st June 2009
The tension had been gradually building again at home. Rupert and I hadn’t talked about our argument but I hadn’t mentioned anything about moving away. This hadn’t stopped me from thinking about finding a place in London and a job. I liked the thought of asking Lewis for help so I could get a job and move away from the middle of nowhere.
But I knew nothing about getting a job. I hadn’t been to university despite good results in my school exams and had never had to compete for a job in my life before. What did I have to offer that every other applicant didn’t? Maybe Rupert had been right. I shouldn’t leave Ship Cottage. But then again, there was still time.
I was musing this, on the windowsill in my room of course, when I heard a loud banging on the front door, followed by the heavy footsteps of my father going to answer it. I didn’t think anything of it, even though we rarely had visitors. I was too wrapped up in my own thoughts.
But the next thing I knew there was a knock on my door and Rupert’s head appeared.
‘Evie. There’s someone downstairs for you.’
‘Who is it?’
Rupert shrugged his shoulders. ‘No idea. He’s a smart looking guy whoever he is.’ His head retreated around my wonky door and I listened to his footsteps retreating back down the stairs.
‘A smart looking guy,’ I thought out loud. ‘I don’t know any smart looking guys.’ I got to my feet and checked myself in the mirror. My hair was a mess, I was wearing a massive old jumper that used to belong to my father and leggings with holes in them and I looked like I hadn’t slept in days. I listened to the internal debate in my head, arguing about if I should attempt to make myself presentable. ‘Oh what the hell,’ I said, leaving my room.
I heard voices coming from the kitchen as I reached the middle floor and mounted the last flight of steps downwards. There was a familiar voice talking enthusiastically, telling a joke I think, followed by Rupert’s loud laugh.
‘I know, it’s hilarious isn’t it,’ Lewis insisted as I entered the room.
‘What’s the joke?’ Lewis immediately stood, his smile fading slightly at the side of me. For some reason I had a sinking feeling in my chest as his smile disappeared, which I ignored and continued to smile.
‘Evie, you never said you’d made a new friend,’ Rupert said cheerfully.
‘It never occurred to me to say anything. It didn’t seem important.’ My eyes were involuntarily fixed on Lewis’ face and his eyes were looking at me. ‘Would you mind if I had a chat with Lewis alone?’ Rupert looked at me, then at Lewis and got the hint, leaving hastily. ‘It’s nice to see you again,’ I said as soon as Rupert had left, ‘you never mentioned you’d have to leave so soon, I thought you were meant to be here for a few weeks. Can I get you some tea?’ I busied myself with mugs and sugar and the kettle, suddenly unable to look at the handsome man who was standing in my kitchen.
‘I’m alright thank you.’ Lewis was nervous, he was tapping his fingers rapidly against the tabletop. ‘Could you stop for a moment please Evelyn. There is something I really need to talk to you about.’ I didn’t stop, still pouring hot water into a mug. ‘Evelyn, please.’ He grabbed my wrist and boiling water went over the counter, only narrowly missing me. ‘I’m so sorry,’ Lewis apologized, searching for a tea towel on a kitchen surface.
‘Don’t worry, it’s only water.’ I grabbed the dishcloth from the sink and carefully mopped up the spillage. ‘I’ll stop. Now what is it you wanted to talk to me about?’
‘I think you should sit down.’ I raised my eyebrows at this but Lewis looked perfectly serious. ‘You’re scaring me Lewis. What is it?’
‘Sit down and I’ll tell you.’ I moved back over to the kitchen table and sat down, wishing I had a cigarette in my hands to steady my nerves. ‘Well the first thing is-‘
‘There’s more than one thing,’ I joked. It was an impulse, I wasn’t sure what made me say it but I couldn’t take it back. ‘Sorry, carry on.’ I blushed slightly and resolved to keep my mouth shut.
‘The first thing is, I’m not who you think I am.’ I restrained myself from asking him any more questions by biting my lip. ‘My name is Lewis and I am from London, but I’m not Mrs. Carter’s grandson and I’m not here on a holiday. I’m working.’
‘Really? What’s your job then if it’s brought you here?’
‘I’m a private investigator.’ The words were obviously hard for him to say. ‘I’ve been working on behalf of a client to find someone.’ My stomach was sinking ominously and I thought I was about to be sick as I asked the next question.
‘Who are you looking for?’ Lewis didn’t look at me as he replied in a cold but hushed tone.