Mystery and Crime Fiction posted January 9, 2019 Chapters:  ...4 5 -5- 5... 


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The cottage gets a cleaning

A chapter in the book Murder and the Angry Avenger

Changes, Part 1

by krprice



Background
Franci is a suspect in a murder investigation. She also cares for a house full of cats.
"Don't you glower at me like that," I snapped. "It's not my fault some people here are so narrow minded." I finished my tea, rose, and went to the fridge brought back the pitcher, and refilled everyone's glass.

A thought whirled in my mind like an amusement park ride, an easy solution to the problem. I sat and glanced at each man, one at a time. "What if Jeremy moved into my cottage? Liam could then have the other side of the duplex. Jeremy's here much of the time helping with the kitties.
However, the cottage has been vacant for a while and probably is in need of a good airing and cleaning."

Jeremy smiled. "That is an excellent suggestion." He sipped some tea.

"What about rent?" Liam asked. "I don't make as much as these two do." He indicated the Jefferson brothers.

"We could work something out," I said.

"And I could help you if it's money you need." Jacen reached over and squeezed Liam's hand.
He blushed at the display of affection in front of me.

We spent the rest of the time talking until we realized it was time to feed the kittens again. Jacen and Liam left, so Jeremy and I made sure my furry friends were all taken care of before we lay down on the pallets. I found dreamland quickly.


The next morning after Jeremy and I filled not only the cat's bellies but ours too, he got ready to leave to pick up some boxes, pack his things, and clear his side of the duplex for Liam.

"Do you have a big glass measuring cup?" I asked as I washed the bottles from last night and this morning.

"Yes." He began loading the dishwasher. "Bet you want me to leave that out, bring it over, so we can warm the bottles up faster."

"Are you reading my mind?" I laughed.

He grabbed hold of the dishtowel hanging on the fridge door and swatted my behind.

I spun around and splashed water on him.

"Thanks," he playfully barked at me, ready to swat me again when I turned around. "Now I'm all wet."

"You'll dry quickly in the summer's heat." I finished the bottles and nipples and stuck them on the tray to take upstairs.

"True," he agreed. "And no, I wasn't reading your mind. I was thinking the same thing." He put the dishtowel back where it belonged. "Better get moving." He turned and left.

After taking the tray up to the girl's room, I went back down, collected my cleaning supplies, and got the cottage key off the hook by the back door.

We'd already put Daisy and Jangles into their playroom, so I opened the gate to the boy's room.

"Come on, Smokey, Midnight," I invited. "I bet the cottage has some unwanted inhabitants for you to catch and kill."

The duo dashed out and followed me through the back door to the yard.

I had never learned why my ancestor built the pink cottage with white trim nearly a century ago. The cats romped around as if glad to be out of their prison. I opened the door. Dust and a musty odor plumed out like ash from a volcano. I coughed and then stepped onto the wooden floor, opening all the windows.

A couple of mice darted out the door with Smokey and Midnight in pursuit.

I started my inspection in the bedroom with its gray walls. It held a double bed mattress that stank and a head board, a closet which was as filthy as the rest of the place, and two dark brown dressers. The bathroom held the usual equipment. Next came room with pale brown walls empty of furniture. This would make a good writing room for Jeremy, I thought. The yellow kitchen held only a sink, counters, and cupboards. There wasn't any furniture or appliances. The living room had dark blue walls and was bare too. Need to furnish this place, I decided, but at least it would make it easier to clean. I set to work on that chore, rousing a nest of mice.

I walked out to the door and called, "Smokey, Midnight."

The two came running, spotted the intruders, and gave chase.

I had managed to get both the bathroom and kitchen spotless before Jeremy arrived.

"The floors in both the bathroom and kitchen are wet," I announced.

Jeremy glanced around. "Place seems a bit bare."

"Yeah," I said. "And the mattress needs to go too."

"Then let's cart that out," he said. "My stomach is growling like an angry bear, so I know the kits are hungry."

I nodded, and we hauled the offensive item out to the curb. I locked up the cottage, rounded up the cats, and we returned to the house.

With the kits and us fed, we swept and mopped the place, washing the windows until they sparkled, before we stopped. It was mid-afternoon by then.


Cast of Characters
Vivian Francine Kimball (Franci)--heiress to great-aunt's estate, mystery author,
Jeremy Jefferson--science fiction author, Jace's twin
Jacen (Jace) Jefferson--LGBTQ romance writer
Liam Townson--Manager of used bookstore, Jace's lover



This is the first in the Cat Lovers mystery series.
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© Copyright 2019. krprice All rights reserved.
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