This is the fourth part of a fiction serial, in 781 words.
Unable to settle that evening, Roger got in his car and made his way to Lakeside Drive. Not that he was going to call at the house, but he had an overwhelming curiousity to see it. As Delia had said, it was in the very best part of the area, and close to countryside and woodland as the suburbs gave way to open land. Each house had a name, not a number, and Emily’s address was Lake View.
It was at the end of a cul-de-sac, with just enough room to turn the car around in the road outside. He was disappointed when he saw large metal gates across the entrance to the house. They looked like the type that open and close electronically, and a matching metal postbox was attached to one side. So even the postman didn’t have to go up to the door.
Determined not to have made a wasted journey, Roger parked the car and walked up to the gates. Through the small gap between the two solid gates, he could just make out the house at the end of the driveway, illuminated by two security lights that shone onto the grounds surrounding it.
Mostly glass, and all on one level, it seemed to back directly onto the lake. In front of a separate garage, he could clearly see a new model Rolls-Royce car parked. But all the blinds or curtains were closed, so he had no view of anything or anyone inside.
Whoever this Yamada was, he certainly had a lot of money. Or perhaps the money was Emily’s, an inheritance from her deceased parents? There had to be at least five bedrooms in such a large house, and the luxury of it all seemed excessive. A girl from such a wealthy background could easily have been sent to the best private school in England. Why come to a moderately affluent suburb and got to the local school?
When he got home, there was a message on his answerphone. It was Delia. “Oh, I’m sorry to have missed you. I didn’t think you went out much in the evenings. I just thought you might like to come round to mine for a nightcap and a chat. If you are home at a reasonable hour, please ring me back”. Roger cursed the woman. Now he was going to have to come up with some excuse why he was out, and why he wasn’t back early enough to return her call. What was she doing ringing him at home anyway? She must be getting desperate.
The next morning, Roger got to Delia first. He apologised for missing her call, and told her he had a migraine, and had gone to bed early. She gave him her most sultry look. “Oh you poor thing. If I had known, I would driven over and looked after you. Perhaps we can do something next weekend? There is a good film on at the local”. He wanted to keep her onside, and he really didn’t like films. But he heard himself say, “That sounds good. I would like that”.
As he left the office, Delia looked like the proverbial cat who had got the cream.
Richard Mason was the physical education teacher who took Emily’s class for various sports and exercise, though Anita Day ran the Netball team and the girl’s swimming club. Richard liked to be called Rick, though he was old enough to know better. Roger managed to catch them both as they left the staff room to sort things out in the gym. He asked them both how Emily was doing, and offered no explanation as to why he was interested.
Anita spoke first. “Well she is a non-swimmer, and there is a letter excusing her from the pool due to the fact her parents drowned. As for Netball, she is hopeless, no stamina”. Rick nodded his agreement. “Hopeless in gym class too, out of puff in record time. I have asked the Headmaster to check if she has some kind of illness. I don’t want to push her to a collapse”.
Thanking them, Roger headed off to his class of third years.
So despite her average size and build, Emily was not good at any exercise or sports. So much so that one of her teachers was worried that she might have something medically wrong with her. And no swimming, with a very convenient excuse that was unlikely to be challenged.
The third years were rather noisy and disruptive, but he let them get on with it for a while. He was putting all the pieces of Emily Hartmann together in his mind.
And none of them were fitting.