It Comes Back At You


Chapter 5


On Sunday, Trixie headed up to Manor House in the late morning to meet Honey for their ride.  Mart walked her up before heading off to meet Dan.  He didn’t want to look like he was watching her, but he really didn’t want her walking around alone.  Going to see Dan was a convenient excuse to have to walk in that direction.

At Manor House, Celia showed Trixie into the living room and told Trixie that Honey would be down in a minute.  Madeleine Wheeler was just finishing a song on the piano when Trixie entered.  As she finished she smiled at her daughter’s friend.

“Hello, Trixie.  How are you today?” she asked politely.

“Just great, Mrs. Wheeler,” Trixie replied.  “Honey tells me you are going to visit Jim next weekend.”

Maddie nodded.

Trying to sound casual, Trixie asked, "So, when will you get there?”

Maddie noticed how nervous Trixie seemed to be, so she watched her carefully as she responded, “We are going in to New York on Friday after school.  We plan to have dinner with some friends before heading for Boston, so we won’t arrive until late Friday night.  We’ll go right to the hotel, and we’ll go see the boys in the morning.”

Trixie tried to hide her relief, but Maddie noticed anyway.  Her curiosity was piqued, but she didn’t think asking Trixie outright would get her anywhere.

Honey came bursting into the room just then.  The two girls started laughing at something Honey said, and with a wave to Maddie, they headed off to the stables.

Maddie watched them go, then headed for the phone.  I’ve just got to ask Helen about this!



The next couple of days passed uneventfully.  Tuesday afternoon Trixie headed to the elementary school to pick up Bobby, and they went to the community center together.  Bobby started his Squirts basketball league, and Trixie met up with Chris, Merrissa and Paul.

She was a little nervous at first, but the four quickly settled into a comfortable rhythm together.  They didn’t play cutthroat; rather, they all tried to help each other increase their game skills.  Since Trixie was new to the group, they concentrated on learning her strengths and weaknesses, while letting her learn theirs.

When they called it a day, they gathered together at the bench.  The boys grabbed water bottles and took long swigs.  Merrissa mopped her damp face with a towel.  Trixie took a sip of water, then brushed her curls back off her forehead.

Merrissa watched her and said, “You know, Trixie, if you let your hair grow out it’s easier to pull back.  It helps to stay cooler while you play.”

Trixie nodded.  “I just might do that, Merrissa.”

With a grin Merrissa said, “Call me Riss.”

Trixie’s eyes widened.  “I heard that you beat people up who try that.”

Chris and Paul burst out laughing.  Merrissa flushed in embarrassment.  Then she chuckled and said, “Yeah, well, I usually do.  Only a select few are invited to call me that, like Chris and Paul.  I hereby invite you to do so.”

Trixie placed her hand over her heart.  Her face was deadly serious, but her eyes twinkled as she said, “I am most humbly honored.  You have bestowed upon me a great gift.  I will treat it as such.”  Am I starting to sound like Mart?  No, that’s more like something Tad would say.

They all laughed together.  Paul threw his arm around Riss’ shoulder and announced, “Well, we’re headed to Wimpy’s.  Care to join us?”

Chris looked at Trixie.  “Do you need to get your brother right home?”

Trixie flushed, and nodded.  “I promised my mother to get him home before dinner.”  She was feeling like a little kid, tagging along with the big kids but not really being old enough to do what they did.

Chris sensed her discomfort, and wanted to put her at ease.  “No problem.  I think I told my mom I’d be home for dinner tonight.”  He turned to Riss and Paul, “We’ll take a rain check.”

As they said goodbye and left, Merrissa made note of the fact that Chris had said “we.”  Interesting.  Very Interesting.

Chris turned to Trixie.  “Come on, Blue Eyes.  Let’s go grab your brother so we can get you home,” he said as he grabbed her hand in his and headed for the door.

Trixie’s heart skipped a beat.  His voice had turned the words “Blue Eyes” into a sweet, gentle caress.  His hand felt so warm and comfortable holding hers.  He only wants to play basketball with me, right?  He’s not interested in anything else, right?  But am I?



Mart and Dan took the bus home after school and went right to the clubhouse to study together for a quiz the next day.  They stopped short upon arriving at the door, however.  There before their horrified eyes was a dead quail, a knife thrust through its body, pinning it to the door.  A bob-white quail, to be specific.

Mart paled.  Dan’s face turned red.  Fighting back his anger, Dan said succinctly, “Stay here.  I’m going to the stable to call Molinson.”

Dan turned on his heel and stalked off toward the stable.  He stormed into Regan’s office and grabbed the phone.  Regan had seen him coming, and followed him into the office to see what was wrong.  He listened as Dan asked for Molinson, then as he told the officer what he and Mart had found at the clubhouse.  After promising to meet Molinson at the old gatehouse in a few minutes, Dan hung up the phone and looked to see his uncle, hands on hips, frowning at him anxiously.

“Dan,” Regan began.

Dan cut him off.  “Don’t even ask what Trixie’s up to.  The answer is nothing.  Someone is stalking her, and she doesn’t even know it.  And I don’t want her to know.”

Regan ran his hand through his red hair and sighed in exasperation.  “That may not be wise, Dan.  How can she be careful if she doesn’t know she’s in danger?”

Dan gave the groom a pointed look.  “And when has danger ever caused Trixie to be careful?” he asked in irritation.

Giving the younger man a rueful smile, Regan had to agree with that.  “Come on, let’s go meet Molinson,” he said.  He gave his nephew a clap on the back, and the two headed off to join Mart at the clubhouse.



After Molinson and one of his officers had dusted for fingerprints and collected the quail and the knife as evidence, he sent the other officer back to the station with the evidence.  He stayed to speak with Mart, Dan and Regan.

“Where is Trixie now?” he asked them.

Dan glanced at his watch and saw that it was 4:45.  “She should be home in a while.  She was playing basketball at the Community Center until about five o’clock.”

“Do you need to go pick her up?” Molinson wondered.

“Not at all,” Mart said, sounding very annoyed.  “Chris Zack will be driving her home,” he ground out.

Molinson raised an eyebrow.  He exchanged a look with Regan, and both men fought to keep their amusement off their faces.

“Have you seen any other signs of someone following her since Saturday?” the sergeant asked, steering the conversation back on track.

Both boys shook their heads.  Dan spoke, “We’ve been watching, and she hasn’t gone much of anywhere except school.  Even when she went riding with Honey on Sunday, we followed discreetly.”

Regan frowned.  “You were worried about someone following her, and you let her go riding?” he asked incredulously.

Mart sighed in exasperation.  “If I tried to stop her, then she’d want to know why.  I do not want her trying to figure this out on her own!”

Molinson hesitated, carefully choosing his words.  “As much as I’d like to keep her out of this, if anything more serious happens we’re going to have to tell her.  You know she notices things we don’t.  She may have information without realizing it.”

Dan’s jaw dropped.  Then he started to laugh.  “You are so lucky I don’t have a tape recorder, Sergeant.  Ooh, the blackmail potential that would have!”

Regan and Mart started laughing.  Molinson turned red, and grumbled good-naturedly.  Then he cleared his throat.  “Oh, I almost forgot.  I haven’t found anything out about that Buck person, except this: two Croton High jackets were stolen from the locker room at the school last week.”

The laughter abruptly ended.  It was a somber group that said their goodbyes and went their separate ways a few minutes later.



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