"Willow's Tail" 8
Perfidia walked into the parlor after helping Mr. Appleton back to his room and gave a tired smile to Martha.
Martha didn’t return it.
“Cat step on your foot Martha?” Perfidia teased as she flopped into a chair.
Willow’s grumbling meow from her vantage point on Martha’s chair was in true affinity with her human’s mood.
“Perfidia what have you brought to my door step?”
“You’re right,” Perfidia agreed, it was a chore having Mr. Appleton there, and it was her fault, “I never thought he’d show up here but with your help, I think we can get rid of him,” Perfidia added with mischief dancing in her tone.
“I am not speaking of Mr. Appleton.”
Martha’s tone rang with censure and Perfidia’s eyes lost their happy gleam and turned puzzled.
“You aren’t? Then what are you talking about?”
“Yes, he was here. Don’t deny you placed my address back into the directory so he could find me.”
Perfidia took a moment to digest what Martha had said before defending herself.
“Sorry to disappoint you Martha, but I didn’t. Oh I’ll admit after Mr. Appleton showed up, when I thought it was you who’d sent him here, I had thought about some kind of havoc but you’d convinced me it wasn’t you…I am not the cause of your uncomfortable visit from Mr. Goodfellow.”
“It wasn’t you?”
Martha’s brow furrowed with the mystery this created but she still thought Perfidia may have had a hand in it.
“I believe you; you may not have placed my address back in public domain but did you change Percival’s love letters, switching recipients by erasing my name and adding in Miriam Simpleton?”
“What? Why would I care and…What?
Martha saw the bafflement in Perfidia’s expression; it appeared Perfidia hadn’t inflicted this havoc, then who?
“I know it sounds preposterous but that is what Percival claims happened and I am not sure I believe him,” Martha mumbled.
Perfidia’s interest sizzled.
“I think it sounds fascinating and I want to hear all about it but first let me make us some tea and I think I’ll brew the strongest blend.”
“Yes,” Martha agreed, “We’ll need the oldest leaves for insight.”
Over blueberry scones and strong cups of tea, Martha told Perfidia all about Percival’s visit and his unusual explanation.
“So where are these recipient fickle letters?” Perfidia asked.
“I’ll get them,” Martha said and walked back to the parlor to retrieve them.
Martha found the letters sitting on the side table where she’d left them; she picked them up and stared at them.
Willow picked up her head and looked at her human.
“What do you think Willow? Is this a packet of hope or deceit?”
Willow’s ears flattened and her dainty nose sniffed the air. She gave a soft meow still not sure what to make of that packet either.
Willow followed Martha into the kitchen.
Martha placed the letters on the counter by Perfidia and shook her head.
“I’m not sure what to do with them; I don’t want to read them.”
Willow jumped up on a kitchen stool and put her paw on the packet. She lowered her nose to the letters and sniffed then sneezed three times. Something irritated her dainty nostrils and she looked up at her human with a warning in her cat eyes.
“Not a good sign, I’d say.” Perfidia assessed the feline’s reaction.
Martha agreed as Perfidia picked up the packet and waved the letters under her nose. There was a scent on them that was oddly familiar, though it wasn’t hers.
“Martha, I think I’ve whiffed this fragrance before.
“You have, where?”
“Mr. Appleton wears perfume?”
“No, but my invitation to him, which I never wrote, wore it too.”
“So whoever sent Mr. Appleton to you…sent Percival to me.”
“It would appear so,” Perfidia confirmed.
“We need to discover their identity before whatever trap they’ve set for us is sprung.”
Martha’s eyes grew pensive as she ran her hand over Willow’s fur.
Willow’s eyes glowed and Perfidia’s glittered with pure havoc.