“So, you think that the ghost sounds, which are more likely sex sounds, are coming from the Shaft?” Jiggles asked, pointing down the corridor toward the hidden door.
“If I was having secret sex in a house like this, the secret passage used by the staff is exactly where I’d be doing it.” Ally said, nodding agreement.
“Especially after what you heard Lynes and Clive talking about. Did they hint at when the meeting might happen?” Ginge asked.
“None, I’m afraid. But you can be sure it will be after the lights have gone out. When we’re all supposed to be in our beds.” Ally and Ginge recognised Jiggles’ smile. The Jiggleswick Air team always did their best to be in somebody else’s bed. Tonight promised that for her, with an opportunity for voyeurism for Ally, and who knew what adventures for Ginge.
“Well, we should head down for supper. Any longer and we’ll be well past fashionably late.” Ally announced, leading the way to the stairs.
Toby had reclaimed his place at the head of the table, after letting himself be usurped by Donald earlier. Everyone else, it seemed, was happy to be later than the Jiggleswick Air crew. They took the seats that put their backs to the windows, and exchanged pleasantries with their host. He didn’t seem to notice them until they spoke, lost in thoughts of business, or the pleasure that awaited him later that evening.
Erin arrived almost as soon as the conversation started. She was back in trousers once more, but these were looser than the jodhpurs everywhere but for her buttocks. Her top was daringly low cut, and, when she bent forward to take her seat, Jiggles couldn’t help but stare down it. She had seen the lovely breasts uncovered and excited, but the tease was just as alluring.
Godfrey stopped just as he came through the door, and turned to hold it for Melissa and Donald. He was only being a gentleman out of habit, and deference to his hostess, his eyes throwing daggers at the back of Donald’s neck.
Donald glared at Toby, as if he should be at the head of the table. Godfrey took the opportunity to nip past him and seat himself beside Erin. “How was your walk?” he asked. It almost sounded like an innocent enquiry.
“Well, we found a building that I didn’t know existed, even after all the times I have visited over the years.” Erin told him, flickering an unconscious glance across the table at Jiggles.
“Some sort of pagoda, or maybe pavilion. I don’t know, perhaps it wasn’t large enough to be a pavilion. Anyway, it has a rather nice view down the valley to the nearest village.” Jiggles elaborated.
“I think I know just where you mean.” Toby said, breaking off his glaring match with Donald. “Just over the hill from the generator building?” When Erin and Jiggles nodded, he went on. “I found one of Grandpapa’s journals, with the plans in it, and some details of what he used it for….” He went a little pink. “I shall see if I can find it again, and show you it.”
Melissa’s cheeks had gone red as well, but not from embarrassment or excitement. “That place! I thought it had been torn down. Well, I shall have to see that the job is finished.” She reached a hand out to Donald, but didn’t quite go far enough to touch him. That wouldn’t have been proper. “Terrible things went on there. They could be the cause of the haunting, you know.”
“Perhaps I should have a look at this place. I could take a reading, and see if the spirits are disturbed around it.” Donald assured Melissa. “That will tell you whether it needs to be demolished.”
Toby didn’t quite slam his hand on the table, but there was a distinct heavy slap of skin against oak. “We’ll not be tearing down any of the family’s heritage on your say-so. It can stay just where it is, thank you.”
Before the argument could escalate, a door opened, and two maids and two footmen entered with the first course of supper. The soup had already been served into gilt rimmed bowls, and they carried two each. None of these servants were familiar. They must be the evening shift.
Erin nodded toward the maid putting a bowl before Melissa, and mouthed, “Lucy.” Jiggles checked her out. She was short and rounded, in a sexy, Rubenesque way. Her full, heavy breasts threatened to burst out of the demure uniform she wore. Luscious was a good word for them, Jiggles decided.
The soup course was consumed in silence. Most of them had built up quite an appetite over the afternoon, and welcomed the sustenance. However, as they waited for the main course, Donald made the mistake of attempting a lecture on the fine character of chancellor Hitler, and how the English could benefit from some National Socialism. He stopped when he realised he was being glared at from the other side of the table.
There was a drawn out silence. Ally and Ginge sat with arms crossed and sharp expressions, but Jiggles leant a little toward Donald. She gave him a smile, and her tone could almost be mistaken for friendly as she said, “You know, earlier this year, we were in Africa. Whilst we were there, we helped to kill several Nazis, and one Englishman fool enough to betray us to him.”
A wiser man would have recognised that they should change the subject. But Donald was too sure of his own intelligence to make a wise decision. “That does not sound very diplomatic.”
“Neither is shooting innocent men who were just doing their jobs, helping at an archaeological dig. Or wanting to sacrifice one of our friends because you have some damn fool idea that it will make you powerful. We have learnt a lot about National Socialism, first hand, and it is the last thing this country needs.”
“I suppose you’re one of those damn fool Bolsheviks….” Donald growled. He was deep in his hole, and thought that digging faster would solve the problem. He was saved by the arrival of the main course.
Given a little time to think, Donald slowly realised he had the wrong audience for his political views, and kept sensibly quiet for the rest of the meal. Before coffee was served, he excused himself, and left the room. Melissa tried to wait an appropriate number of minutes before she, too, exited.
“The man’s a damned fool.” Godfrey hissed. “He’s lucky he didn’t get a steak knife in the thigh.”
“Only through the thigh?” Jiggles asked.
“Well, if you do it properly, you can inflict a lot of pain with the minimum amount of blood getting on these heirloom chairs, or the hundred year old carpet.” Godfrey grinned, twirling his proposed weapon between his fingers. “I’m so glad you shot him down, old girl. You were far more eloquent than I could have been. And, in my anger, I may have revealed more about my job than was appropriate.”
“He has rather put a dampener on the mood, hasn’t he? How about we all turn in, and make a fresh start in the morning?” Toby suggested. He did his best to hide how a good night’s sleep was the last thing on his mind.
Erin and Jiggles smiled at each other across the table. Ally hid her grin of anticipation as best she could, and Ginge feigned agreement. The only person who was disappointed by this idea was Godfrey. “I’m going to play a few rounds of snooker against myself before I turn in. If you don’t mind?”
“Of course not. Winner drinks a finger of whisky? The usual wager?” Toby asked.
“Of course. It’s the only way I have any chance of beating myself.”