White Boxes

Two young women from widely disparate backgrounds are thrown together when twelve white boxes go missing. Ultimately, the contents of the boxes right an old wrong, unearth an ancient mystery, and solve a murder.

The facade of the Royal Grand theatre had been restored to a reasonable facsimile of its'  former glory. The interior was now being renovated as well.

Workmen had been in and out all day every day for months. Lillian Plummer went about her business of making costumes, and stayed out of their way as best she could.

They were renovating the annex  where she lived, so it wasn't always easy to fade into the woodwork as she usually did. The annex was also the living quarters of her foster parents, Gordon and Anne Willard. Joel Markham the handyman, and his wife Lucy the maintenance lady, and Ron Logan the stage manager were the other permanent residents.

The Willards had been her foster parents since her infancy. They would have adopted her then, but they couldn't afford to. They needed the foster money from the government to raise her and two now adult foster siblings.

Lillian had aged out of the system two years earlier at eighteen, but she had stayed on at the theatre to help out in any capacity she could. The willards had been forced to sell the theatre six months ago, because they were buried under a mountain of debt.

Ogden Pierson the third was the rich actor that had bought the theatre.   He was just as ostentatious and fake as his name. He had been born Harry Ogden, but he had changed it because it was too common to command the respect that he felt he deserved.

Harry Ogden as he was then, performed his very first play at the Royal Grand, right after high school. It was there that he met and married his wife Margaret, who was now deceased. His daughter Barbara had been born in the annex during one of his performances on stage. Lillian had shared a bedroom with Barbara until she was six and Barbara was five.

The Willards had given Ogden good parts before he was good enough to perform them, but they kept him on anyway. They had nurtured the little family of three, and given them a home.

As soon as Ogden got his first big acting part, he moved out early on a Saturday morning, without so much as a thank you. The ungrateful and surly way they left, still angered Lillian, even after fourteen years.

When the renovations began, three months earlier, Lillian and Barbara met in the foyer, at the bottom of the classic curved staircase that led up to the balconies.

Barbara had come in to look over the place, before the work began. She admitted later, that she was looking for anything of value to take away before it became a part of the restored theatre.

Barbara had walked in the place like she owned it, which in fact her father did. At five feet seven inches, Barbara had a regal, although cold and insolent bearing.

Her hair would have been a mousy sand colour if she hadn't been dying it  golden blond ever since she was twelve. She was pretty enough when fully made up and had a smile on her face, but without the make up and the attractive smile, she was rather ordinary looking.

Lillian on the other hand, was stunning with or without makeup, and with or without a smile. She had long curly auburn hair that cascaded down to the middle of her back, and unusual aquamarine eyes. Barbara had always been jealous of Lillian's looks. Lillian was sweet and shy, and caring, where Barbara was arrogant and selfish, the very epitome of the spoilt rich girl.

Their very first meeting after fourteen years, was not a good one. Lillian was scraping old paint and varnish off the carved baluster in preparation of being refinished. Barbara walked across the old carpet and approached Lillian like a queen approaching a peasant.

"Hey you.  Where is the chandelier that used to  hang over the foyer?"

Lillian stopped what she was doing and sat down on the bottom step.

"It's in storage, waiting to be cleaned, why?"

"I wanted to see if it was real crystal. If it is,  I'm taking it home with me. We have a huge ballroom I want to put it in."

Lillian's  blood ran cold. She loved that chandelier. It was real crystal, and it was beautiful. She made up her mind right then that the chandelier would not leave the theatre. She immediately started thinking of the best place to hide it.

"Well, take it out of storage, clean it, and send it to my house." Barbara ordered.

"No."  Lillian folded her arms and glared at the other girl.

Barbara was stunned. No one ever said no to her!

"what do you mean, no, you have to, I own it, and I want it!"  She stamped her foot like the spoilt brat she was.

"You don't own it, your father does, and it would cost him a small fortune to replace it with anything that would suit the grandeur of this place."

"well we'll just see about that!" She stomped across the foyer and went out the door, slamming it behind her.

In the end, this was one of the few times that Ogden's little princess didn't get her own way.

Ogden was self centred and arrogant, but he wasn't stupid. There was nothing modern that wouldn't look ridiculous in this beautiful classically built entrance. even to have something fake made to look like the old one would  cost too much, when the old one just had to be cleaned.

After that, the two girls avoided each other altogether.  Lillian had surprised herself when she talked back to Barbara that way. Lillian had never been one for confrontations. She usually avoided them when she could.

One day during the second week of renovations, something happened that  forced  Lillian to confront Barbara again. She hated conflict, but this time something so terrible had been done to her, that she just had to fight back!

The End

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