“She touched the little box in her pocket and smiled, Mom, I know it.”
Megan waited for her mother to respond, but Jenny Ballard was too engrossed in her novel to do more than nod.
“Mom! Mom, you aren’t even listening to me!”
“Meghan darling, how do you know Mrs. Gregory even had a box in her pocket?” Her mother didn’t look up from the book.
“She wears tight pants, Mom. It was hard to miss.”
Jenny suppressed a sigh.
Meghan grinned. She knew that would get her mother’s attention. She tried not to grin too much as her mother slid a piece of paper between the pages of her book.
“Alright, so there’s a box. But how do you know she was smiling? And what were you doing spying on the neighbors, again?”
Her mother arched a single eyebrow in her direction. “And so the binoculars are. . . ?”
“Dad’s,” Meghan said, glib. “He’s taken up birding.”
Jenny rolled her eyes. “So Mrs. Gregory was with Mrs. McMurphy. She’s her caretaker, honey. I’m not sure how this translates into a tale of mystery and intrigue.”
“Well, she’s either robbing Mrs. McMurphy blind, or they’re setting it up so that the kids get nothing when the old broad dies.”
“Meghan Ballard! What in heaven’s name have you been reading?! You don’t go around calling Mrs. McMurphy an old broad?”
“You know Mrs. McMurphy is wealthier than anyone in town. John Townsend says she has gold bricks hiding in that mansion of hers.”
Jenny sighed. “John Townsend doesn’t know anything about the McMurphys. That family is just sour grapes because they used to work for Old Mr. McMurphy.”
Meghan avoided her mother’s eyes. “So, Mrs. McMurphy isn’t giving all her jewels to Mrs. Gregory now so the kids won’t find ‘em, and Mrs. Gregory won’t have to pay the taxes on ‘em?”
Jenny laughed. “If that’s what she’s doing, then more power to her. Her children are a heartless lot. Mrs. Gregory is the only one who spends any time with her – tight pants or no, young lady.”
“I suppose. But Mom, my story was more fun.”
“Perhaps – perhaps not. Maybe you should ask Mrs. Gregory to invite you to tea with her and Mrs. McMurphy. I think the two of them have some stories of drama and intrigue that really happened. Those may be better than anything you can cook up.”
Meghan scowled. How had her gossip turned into a morality tale? There was no getting around it now, though.
“Besides,” her mother picked up the book and looked at her over the edge. She was smiling. “Now I want to know what was in the little box, too!”
For the Day 10 Creative Writing Challenge: Start a story with the words: “She touched the little box in her pocket and smiled . . . “