Upstairs, I found the book I’d been reading and brought it downstairs into the back parlor, where I wound up the Victrola. Strains of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” filled up the room. I threw myself down on the couch, but no sooner had I opened my book than someone knocked on the door.
“I’ll get it!” I called, bouncing back up again.
The knock came again just as I reached for the knob. Peering through the window. I spotted George’s tall frame.
He face split into a broad grin when he saw me. “I’m so glad to see you. I was worried you got into trouble last night.”
“Well, I did, but not trouble with the law. Not exactly, anyway.” Letting him in, I explained briefly about my mother, the raid, and the breakfast discussion. “I’m still waiting for the hammer to drop.”
“They can’t go too hard on you. You never get in trouble.”
George raised an eyebrow at my hesitation. “The Grants wish Alex and Archie took after you.”
Laughing, I conceded defeat. “I see your point.”
Hands in his pockets, George glanced in the direction of the kitchen. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
“But you didn’t come to see me?” I asked quietly, raising an eyebrow.
He shrugged slightly, a little color in his cheeks.
I looked out the window at the brilliant blue sky. “Wait here.”
Elizabeth had emerged from the apartment by the time I got back to the kitchen.
“Rose, what do you have planned for lunch?”
The housekeeper raised an eyebrow. “If you’re hungry now, maybe you should have had more breakfast.”
“Oh, no. Not right now. But George just arrived. We were thinking of going for a picnic. With Alexandra and Archie, since it’s such a lovely day. You should come too, Liza.”
“Oh, Mama, may I?” Elizabeth asked, the two thick braids at her shoulders swinging as she turned to her mother.
“It’s washing day, Elizabeth. I’ll need your help with the linens.”
“We won’t be gone long. I have to be back in the afternoon to help Daddy with this experiments. If you wait to do the linens last, it will give us plenty of time to get back. And you won’t have to make us lunch. We can just take whatever is in the icebox. There’s chicken from last night, isn’t there? And some of that lemon tarte?”
Rose pursed her lips, but Elizabeth pleaded with her eyes. At last, she sighed, unable to resist the combined force of our persuasive powers. Quickly, before she could changer her mind, Elizabeth got down the picnic basket and we loaded it with the contents of the icebox, adding some boiled eggs, bread and butter, and a few apples.
George’s face split into a broad grin when we came back out to the hall, laden with the heavy basket.
“I hope you’re driving, because Daddy took the car to the hospital this morning.”
“Sure thing.” He took the basket and offered his arm to Elizabeth.
“I should call Alexandra. I told Rose we were inviting her and Archie, and I want to make sure they got home safely last night.”
I lifted the receiver, asking the operator for the Grant’s number. It rang several times before the housekeeper picked up. She confirmed both siblings were at home, but still sleeping. As it was still only nine o’clock, this was hardly unusual. Alex and Archie were both night owls
George’s car was parked on the street in front of the house he shared with his parents. The deep red touring car had seen better days, but George was more proud of it than any other accomplishment. He’d only bought it at the beginning of the summer. It still needed to be cranked, so Elizabeth and I climbed inside and waited while he hooked up the crank to the front of the car, grunting slightly with the effort of turning it. Finally, the engine turned over. Throwing the crank under the front seat, he climbed inside, putting the car into gear and we trundled off down the lane.
“Where are we going?” I shouted as we drove past the park, turning North to follow the river out of town. I had to lean forward over the back of the front seat so he could hear me. The engine roared as we gained speed. I couldn’t help but smile at the rumble that reverberated through my whole body.
“I’ve got a spot in mind.”