Having just returned to Brooke Manor, Devlin and Chantal saw Sierra as she drove up in the driveway when she arrived from her trip into town. They waited for her near the front door by the colorful hue of flowers in the flower bed.
“Hello,” said Sierra walking towards them.
“Hello Sierra,” said Devlin.
Noticing the picnic basket in Devlin’s hand, Sierra asked, “How was the picnic?”
“It was lovely,” said Chantal. “We have some leftovers.”
“Yes it was,” added Devlin.
“That’s nice, I am a little hungry.”
“You look tired, how was your day?” asked Chantal.
“Let’s go inside,” said Sierra.
They walked inside to the kitchen. Sierra grabbed a bottle of cold water out of the refrigerator and wiped sweat from her brow. Chantal placed her sketch kit on the kitchen counter and sat down at the table, while Devlin unpacked the leftovers and placed them on the stove.
“My day was eventful from the start as I sat down to meet with Leslie Brent,” said Sierra. Especially when I ran into Miles Banks, she thought to herself. “By the way Devlin, do you mind telling me about the cemetery and mausoleum located here on the estate? I discovered it yesterday during my inspection of the grounds and exterior structures. There was no information about it in the packet you gave to me.”
“I apologize, it must have slipped my mind. What would you like to know?” asked Devlin.
“Would you like for me to move forward with an analysis of restoration costs for the cemetery?”
“Let’s hold off on that for personal family reasons until further notice,” he said to her.
“That’s fine, I understand, but Leslie shared some interesting details with me.”
With a curious look on his face, Devlin asked, “What did he tell you?”
“He did some research and told me that no one has access to enter the mausoleum. Gary Lloyd hid the key after his son and daughter in law’s entombment following their deaths in the hurricane.”
Chantal had a fixed gaze of curiosity on her face after hearing Sierra’s last statement about the hurricane.
“Tell us more,” she implored.
“What else did he tell you?” asked Devlin with brooding eyes, unnoticed by Sierra.
“He spoke to me about the size of the family, a few child deaths, and that was basically it. I wanted to learn more. So, after we finished our meeting, I went to the Mystic Woods Historical Society to research the archives about the cemetery and family history. First I met with the preservation architect to discuss the guidelines for my proposed work to restore the original architecture of the Brooke Manor mansion. Then, I was just about to start reading about the Lloyd family tree and history, but had to wrap things up and leave because business hours were over and they had closed for the day.”
Feeling uneasy, Devlin announced, “It’s getting late, and I must go before it gets dark.”
“May I give you a lift somewhere?” asked Sierra.
“No thank you,” said Devlin. Chantal, will I see you tomorrow?”
“Of course you will. Wait, what about Ella? Is she still here?” asked Chantal.
“I believe she left already,” said Devlin.
“But how? Where? I did not see her leave. Did you see her leave?”
“No, but I’m pretty sure she’s gone. She told me she would leave after she cleaned the kitchen and the rest of the rooms.”
“Please thank her for me, for the delicious food today.”
“I will. You two enjoy the rest of your evening. Goodbye,” said Devlin.
“Goodbye,” said Sierra and she smiled at him. He sensed her approval of his friendship with Chantal and began to walk away.
“Oh Devlin,” Sierra called out to him as he was leaving.
He turned around and replied, “Yes.”
“Do you have an idea where the hidden key to the mausoleum is?”
“With an agonized look on his face, Devlin replied, “No, but we can talk more about that later.”
“That’s fine, goodbye,” she said.
“Goodbye,” he said.
“Sierra, I am so happy!” gushed Chantal.
“Dearest, that warms my heart.” Should I tell her now about Miles Banks? she wondered. “I’ll be back. I want to take a nice hot bath before I eat. Don’t forget to take your heart medicine.”
“OK,” said Chantal. I can’t wait to tell you more about my day when you come back downstairs to eat.”