Warning! This is a tale about men loving men. If you find this disturbing - click off. If it's unlawful for you to read this - click off. If you under age - good luck if you can get away with it.
This is not a story for getting your rocks off. Just thought I'd let you know so you won't waste your time if that's what your looking for.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my writing.
I appreciate feedback and do my best to respond to it all. I may be contacted at:
J S . Collection at Verizon . Net
Those Golden Eyes
edited by TLC (a big Thanks for the Tender Loving Care with which it was done)
Jean was flabbergasted as she hung up the phone. But she quickly got her things together and was waiting when the chauffeur knocked on her door. She was even more astounded when the limo detoured into a private sector of the airport and stopped next to a small passenger plane. The pilot and a stewardess were waiting beside the steps to usher her into the plane. She smiled and thanked the chauffeur as he handed her bags to the pilot. She followed him as he ascended the steps. The pilot stowed her bags and then closed and latched the door as the stewardess introduced herself and asked if she would like a drink.
"Just a cold glass of iced tea would be wonderful. Thank you, dear."
"You are welcome, Mrs. Gates. And if there is any thing else I can get you, just ask. We'll be taking off in just a couple of minutes."
Jean sat down and strapped herself into the seat. The stewardess returned and placed a tall glass of iced tea into holder built into the wide comfortable seat.
Within minutes the plane was in the air and in less than an hour it was landing. Jean had never flown before and she found it exciting and exhilarating.
Dave was standing there waiting for her as she descended the steps to the tarmac. She noticed immediately that there was something different about him; an air of quite confidence and he was more slender and physically fit. This Joe of his must be a good influence on him she thought as she hugged her son in greeting.
"My son, you look wonderful. It looks like life is really being good to you."
"Thanks, Mom. It's so good to see you again."He kissed her cheek while returning her hug.
The pilot of the plane had placed Jean's bags in Dave's new Lexus. Dave thanked him and opened th passenger door for his mother.
"My, this is a luxurious car. Is the bookstore doing this well or did you new partner buy this for you?"
"No, Mom, Joe did not buy this for me. And the bookstore is doing well."
He closed her door and walked around the car and got in behind the wheel.
"Joe did insist I get a new car though, he hated my old Buick. He was totally embarrassed to ride in it."
As they left the airport Dave commenced to tell Jean all about the inheritance and what he had learned about Bill's parents.
"I always felt that Bill was hiding something. I can see why he sought the kind of life he had with you. So you are a rich man now."Jean said.
"No, Mom. I have control of one of the largest fortunes in the world , having inherited both the Way Fortune and Edith's wealth."
"My the tax on such a huge inheritance must be mind boggling."
"Well, the way that William had it all set up in a corporation, when Bill died I became the head of it. Everything is owned by the corporation and I simply have control of it. It's really kind of complicated. However, Edith wouldn't let William have control of her money. And she never incorporated herself, yes, there was a large chunk of it that the government got. So now all of her money is now been invested and incorporated in to the Way Corporation."
"So why did Edith and William stay together all their lives? I just can't imagine living like that."
"Well, it all comes down to one word really. Greed. The way that Edith's father set up the loan that saved William's father from financial disaster was contingent on Edith and William staying married. And Edith's inheritance would go to distant relatives in East Texas if she divorced William."
"My goodness, Edith's father certainly a controlling bastard, wasn't he?"
"You don't know the half of it, Mom. I'm going to have William's Journals published. I'll give you a set and you can read for yourself just how evil the man was. Well, Here we are."
Dave pulled up to the building site of Joe's newest tower.
"And just where are we?" Jean asked as she got out of the car.
"I'm taking you to meet the most wonderful man in the world."
Joe had given Dave a private tour of the building while it was still a tower of steel beams. Now it was nearing completion on the outside and one could see the magnificence of the structure.
Dave looked at the building, his gaze rising to the top of the forty-five story building. Jean followed his gaze.
"It's a beautiful structure. Is this part of your corporation, too?" She asked
"No, Mom, this is Joe's baby. He designed it and has had total control of the building of it."
"Come on. Let's go find him. I can't wait for you to finally meet him."
Jean laughed to herself as Dave grabbed her hand and pulled her along like a kid eager to get to the candy store.
As they stepped into the location office which was little more than a long mobile home, they saw a group of business men in suits and ties standing around the drawing board looking at renderings and blueprints. Joe looked up and grinned at Dave when he saw them enter.
"You gentlemen go ahead and discuss just what you need and I'll be back with you in a few minutes." He told the men studying the drawings. He stepped way from them and strode over to Dave. He grabbed him around the neck and gave him a juicy kiss on his cheek. Dave blushed but didn't pull away from him. The men standing around the blueprint table watched. One of them raised his eyebrow ane smiled at the others as if to say 'Those Italians love to kiss everybody" They went back to discussing the layout for their offices.
"Joe, this is my mom, Jean. Mom, this is Joe Paolini."
Jean had already fallen under Joe's spell. She beamed up at him as she held her arms out to hug him.
"It's wonderful to finally meet my new son. Hi, Joe."
Joe bent down and hugged her back.
"I knew the moment you stepped through the door you had to be Dave and Mary's mother. I see where they get their beauty from."
"Oh, he's got a sweet tongue, besides being so handsome." She said to Dave. Joe blushed. This tickled Dave, he hadn't seen Joe get embarrassed before.
"Gee, Mom, maybe you should stay around all the time it's nice to see that someone can get under his skin.
Joe ignored the comment.
"So did you just decide to drive down this morning? I hadn't heard that you were coming."He said to Jean
"Well, that was my plan, but Dave flew me down on a private plane."
Joe looked at Dave; his eyebrows raised in surprise."
"Looks like you're finally learning to accept being a rich man, Babe. I'm right damnned proud of you." Joe turned to Jean. "It has been almost impossible to get Dave to spend any of the money he inherited. I had to embarrass him into buying that new car." He grinned at Dave with pride and love in his eyes. Jean knew that Dave had found himself a good man.
"I should be through here in about half and hour or so. Where are Lloyd and my nephews?" Joe asked.
Jean grinned; she liked this man more and more.
They are going to meet us at The Bean Pot at twelve."
Joe looked at his watch.
"That still gives me little over an hour. Would you like to see the inside of the building while you wait? Or should I just meet you at the restaurant."
"You think I just drove all the way downtown so my mother could meet you? I won't leave here until I've seen everything."
"Okay, let me get Tom Duncan to give you a tour while I finish up with these gentlemen. You need to meet him anyway, Dave."
A few minutes later a man dressed in Levi,s, a white T-shirt and heavy work shoes walked into the office. He had a hard hat in his hand. He looked at Dave and Jean and smiled. Jean watched her son assess him. She noted that there was a bit of jealousy in his expression. She could understand why, the man was very good looking, shiny black hair, intense blue eyes and a killer smile. He was about the same height as Dave, but a little heavier built. By the way the T-shirt fit she knew there wasn't an ounce of fat on his body.
He walked over to them. Joe had his head down with the men he was selling to.
"Hey, Dave, I'm Tom Duncan."
Dave smiled and held out his hand.
"It's nice to meet you and put a face to your name."
Tom took his hand and pulled him into a one armed hug.
"Joe's talked about you so much that I'd recognize you anywhere, you lucky devil." Tom said in his ear. He let go of Dave and turned to Jean.
"And you, lovely lady, must be Joe's new mother-in-law. I can see where your son gets his good looks."
Jean grinned and offered him her hand.
"Why, thank you, young man, I am Jean Gates."
He took it and lightly squeezed with his thumb on the back of her hand. Jean was impressed, she had expected to have her hand crushed.
"Since Joe is busy making us all some money may I have the honor of escorting you on a tour of the building?" He made a slight bow and held out his arm for her to take.
"Well that would be most gracious of you. Are you coming, Dave?" Mary asked as she took Toms proffered arm.
Dave rolled his eyes in disbelief at the way the handsome devil was flirting with his mother and the way she was sucking it up.
"A team of mules couldn't keep me from it." He muttered under his breath.
Tom picked up a couple of metal hard hats offering one to Mary.
"Since the building is still under construction this is a must." He handed the other to Dave.
Tom escorted Mary out of the office, across the unfinished courtyard and up the steps into the opulent lobby with Dave tagging along behind.
"As you can see the lobby is finished. We've completed several of the office suites that will be leased to small companies. The large companies like the one Joe is working with right now will take a little more time. The courtyard will be finished and ready for plantings in about two weeks. The underground parking is ,of course, completed and already being used."
Tom had maneuvered them towards the bank of elevators. He pushed a button and one of the elevators opened. He motioned for Dave and his mother to enter. As the doors closed he continued.
"The top floor where we are headed now will be a grand restaurant with roof top dining. From what I understand it will be what they are calling Continental Cuisine with a Pan Pacific flare. It seems to be the in thing on the west coast and completely new to this area. They've brought in a group of young chefs, each trained in their own specialty in famous restaurants in San Francisco and L.A. It should be a big success."
The elevator opened into a smartly decorated vestibule. It reminded Dave of something out of an old thirties movie right down to the hat and coat check counter.
Tom led them into the dining room. Somebody had definitely taken it right out of an old movie. Dave could see Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers whirling across the room. Three sides of the room was two story high windows. Palms and ferns softened the slick swirls of the polished terrazzo stone floor. On the back wall near where they entered was a stage for an orchestra. Workers were setting up booths and putting finishing touches to every aspect of decorating the room.
"This restaurant seats how many?"
"I'm not sure, maybe two hundred?"
"Wow,and there is also al fresco dining on the roof?" Dave asked.
'Yes, lets go up top and I'll show you."
Tom led them to another elevator they hadn't noticed. They stepped out into a glass conservatory that gave one a 360 degree view of the city. Mary audibly gasped.
"How does one kitchen service all of this?" Dave asked.
There are two floors of kitchen. You noticed that the main restaurant is two story high? Well in the kitchen area that space is divided into two floors. There are four elevators in the service area to get the prepared food to where it needs to go."
"Wow, who ever thought this all out?"
"Well, Joe designed the layout to his cousin's specs."
"I'm sure you've eaten in his other restaurant, Dave. Gio Gio's."
"This is Gio's ?"
"Well, he's one of three partners in it."
Joe being one, who is the other?" Dave asked.
"Me." Tom beamed with pride.
Dave took a moment to digest that before responding.
"Well, congratulations. It looks to me like you fellows are going to have a huge success on your hands."
"What do you mean you fellows? Aren't you in this with Joe?" Tom had a strange look on his face. Dave got the impression of a clam that had just snapped closed.
"I didn't know anything about this. Besides, this had to be planned long before Joe and I met."
Tom hurriedly guided them back down to the office floors. Dave spent the rest of the time that Tom was showing them the interiors of offices and such, pondering how he felt about not being told about the restaurant.
Dave got the distinct feeling that Tom had said something he shouldn't have. He wondered what it was. It seemed to Dave that Joe knew nearly everything about him while he suddenly felt he really didn't know that much about Joe. He began to get irritated that Joe would keep things from him. By the time they were back at the office Dave had succeeded in convincing himself that Joe was purposefully hiding things from him.
As they stepped into the office Joe looked up from his desk and grinned at them and stood up.
"So what do think? Grand, isn't it?"
"My! I am really impressed Joe. Dave had told me you have won awards for your building designs, but that didn't prepare me for this. I don't know what to say. It's just so impressive. Beautiful."
Tom stood to the side watching. He had noticed Dave go from effusive and ebullient to withdrawn.. He wondered what had brought it on. He had a feeling that he had said something in the restaurant that was the cause of it.
"And what did you think of it, Babe?" Joe asked Dave as he wrapped an arm around his shoulders.
"Very impressive." He muttered.
Joe looked hurt. He glanced at Jean and then Tom. Jean was looking confused and Tom turned his hands palms out and shrugged.
"Tom, Why don't you take Jean out and show her the fountain and grounds."
"Sure, Joe." He turned to Jean. "May I show you the grounds, Ma'am?"
Jean looked at Dave and then at Joe. Joe gave her a reassuring smile. Jean turned to Tom.
"I would be delighted, Sir." She replied, taking his arm and smiling at having made the young man blush.
As they left Dave slumped into a chair. Joe knelt in front of him. Dave wouldn't look at him. Taking Dave's face in both his hands he raised it and kissed him.
"I don't know why you're acting this way. It makes me feel like I've done something wrong, and I don't know what I've done."
Dave squinched his eyes closed in a pained frown rather than look at the hurt in Joe's. He knew in his subconscious mind that he was being foolish and that Joe would do nothing to hurt him. But he'd put himself into this stupid mind set and that in and of its self made him angry. He obviously wasn't thinking straight and now he was feeling guilty.
"I love you, Dave, with all my heart and soul. You know that, so why don't you tell me what is bothering you."
"I am feeling childish. I know there is a logical explanation, but I let my imagination run rampant. When I saw that beautiful restaurant up on top and Tom told me that Gio, he and you are partners in it -- I don't know -- I just felt left out, I guess.
"I--I--I didn't even know it existed. You haven't said a word about it in all your talking about what's been going on with the building. Like your hiding something from me."
Dave was rubbing his palms together in his lap as he studied them. Joe sat back on his heels.
"I'm sorry. I fucked up, Dave. I was planning on giving you the tour of the building without taking you up to the restaurant. I forgot to let Tom in on my plans."
Dave looked up at him in shocked surprise.
"Your telling me that you intentionally didn't tell me about it? You really were hiding it from me?"
Joe stood up. Sticking his hands into his pockets, he strode across the room to the window and looked out and up at the top of the building where the restaurant was.
"That's exactly what I was doing, Dave."
He sighed and turned back to his lover.
"I was going to surprise you with it at the grand opening. Tom didn't tell you the name of the restaurant, did he?"
Dave, still in shock from Joe's blatant admission, shook his head. It didn't register that Joe had wanted it to be a surprise.
"Would you mind if I kept that much of the surprise until the opening?"
Dave lost the look of shock as he considered the implications of Joe's question. Now he was really feeling embarrassed by his childish behavior. He finally asked.
"When is it?"
"Yeah, it's your birthday present."
Dave stood and buried his face in Joe's chest.
"I feel really rotten now. I've ruined your surprise. I'm sorry, Joe."
Joe hugged him.
"Don't be. It was my fault you found out about it. At least there will still be a little of the surprise left."
Dave turned his face up to Joe.
"God! How I do love you, Joseph Paolini."
Their lips met in a passionate kiss. As Joe broke the kiss, he heard the door open behind them and ignored it.
"And you know that I love you, Dave, with all my heart and soul." He dived back in for another kiss.
Tom and Jean stood there watching.
"You know," Tom said to Jean. "I've known for years that my best friend is gay. But I don't think I ever quite understood what that meant until now."
"I know what you're feeling, a little shocked but thrilled that love is the same no matter where you see it. These two are obviously very much in love."
Tom cleared his throat and chuckled.
"Alright you two, enough PDA. Time to come up for air."
Joe broke the kiss and looked over Dave's shoulder at Tom. He grinned as he kept Dave pulled tight against him.
"Give us a break man, we're still in our honeymoon stage."
He looked at Jean.
"You don't mind if I give your son a little needed TLC do you, Jean?"
"Jean looked him straight in the eye and smiled.
"I'm glad you are here to give it to him. He was looking like he really could use some."
"Ditto. Dave was certainly down when we got back here. It's a good thing you could supply the TLC, Joe." Tom piped up.
Dave had his head buried against Joe's chest.
"I'm in the room, too, guys."
"Oh, not being able to see your face I didn't realize that." Jean laughed.
Dave let go of Joe and turned around, but stayed against him.
"Mom." he whined like a little boy.
"Oh, you're a grown man, Son, I'm only seeing if I can still yank your chain."
They all laughed; it was obvious that she still could.
"So are you two ready to go find my nephews and get some lunch?"
Jean and Dave nodded. Joe turned to Tom.
"Well, I'll see you tomorrow, Tom. You know how to reach me if there's an emergency or something you can't handle."
"Don't worry, Joe, I'll keep thing under control. Go have some fun."
When the threesome walked into the restaurant Max immediately spotted them.
"Uncle Dave!" He called out.
Dave waved as they walked across the restaurant to their big round booth. Lloyd was sitting in the back with one of his sons on each side of him. Jean chose to sit next to David whom she hadn't seen for several weeks. Joe slid in next to Bobby, grabbing him around the neck and giving him a noogy on the top of his head. Dave slid in next to him, his heart filled with the joy of having his family back. He grinned at Lloyd. There was no rancor in his heart toward his brother-in-law for isolating him from them for so long.
"Grandy Jean, make him stop." Bobby hollered, trying to duck out of Joe's grasp.
"Give him one for me too, Joe." Jean responded, grinning devilishly at her youngest grand son.
"That's not fair, I'm the smallest one here. Dad make him let go."
Lloyd ignored the shenanigans.
"So how is the building coming along?"
"Oh man, it is fantastic. It makes every other building down town look ugly and antiquated. And there a grand restaurant up on top. It takes up the two whole top floors. And the roof top is another one." Dave enthused. Joe looked at him and grinned. Their eyes exchanged a whole conversation.
"Uncle Dave, tell us about the Way Mansion."
Dave looked at Bobby and grinned.
"Did I tell you it's haunted?"
"No way! Ghosts are just a movie thing."
"Maybe you're right. But, if this ghost is who I think it is I certainly hope you're right."
"Who do you think it is?" David asked.
"Well, the way that it was only me that it seemed to pick on, I'd suspect it might be Edith Way."
"So tell us about her, Uncle Dave."
"Well, the way I see it she was a very tragic person. As a child and a teenager she was spoiled. Her daddy gave her everything she wanted. And then she fell in love with Buddy, but the young man wasn't who her daddy wanted for her to marry.
"Her daddy was a very wealthy nouveau riche man. He loved the power that his money gave him. He forced another man whose family was basically the wealthiest and oldest in this area of the country into near bankruptcy through some unscrupulous deals.
"To save the family fortune and their good name the man had to force his son, William to marry Edith. All of the legal paperwork was set up so that if he tried to divorce Edith he would forfeit the money used to save his family. In turn Edith's daddy's will was set up so that Edith would forfeit her inheritance if she were to divorce William. So-- being that both William and Edith were raise in extreme wealth and it's position in society they stayed married their entire live despising each other, rather than face being impoverished.
"Their marriage was never consummated. Edith had a continuing affair with Buddy. He married and had several children and continued to see Edith until she became pregnant. He insisted that she have an abortion, but being the baby was his, she refused. He left her never to see her again when the child was born. In retaliation she went to her lover's wife and revealed their affair. That ruined his marriage and his career. He died soon after that. In her bitter grief she couldn't stand the sight of the child she had born, so William took the child and with the help of a loving nanny raised him."
"That was Uncle Bill, right?"
"Yes, the child was Bill."
"Wow, it must of been hard on him to have a mother that hated him."
"Bill always thought of his nanny as his mother. And his real mother a just a mean old harridan that lived in the same house as his father."
"So, Uncle Dave, do you think the mansion is really haunted?" Bobby asked.
"Well," Dave replied. "If everyone is finished what do you say to going over there and find out."
As they left the restaurant Joe whispered to Dave.
"You're acting awfully nonchalant for someone that was knocked out by a ghost."
"I don't know that there was a ghost. Maybe our imagination just ran away with us. There is probably a logical explanation for everything that happened."
"O--kay let's go find out."
The large iron gates with a big gold plated W in the center of each, swung open to allow the two vehicles to pass through. As the approached the front of the mansion they saw that Clyde was already there.
"I didn't know that Clyde was going to meet us here." Joe said.
"Neither did I. Although I do remember I had mentioned to him in passing that we would show up here today."
The big oak door was standing open as they all piled out of the two vehicles. They cautiously approached the entrance. Clyde appeared in the doorway startling them all.
"Welcome back to Way mansion. I've searched the place from one end to the other and have found no ghosts. I have a couple of maids cleaning up after those winds that mad such a mess in here the other day."
"Oh good, I brought a broom and dustpan. I guess I won't have to use them after all." Dave said.
"Thus speaks a wealthy man." Joe laughed.
Clyde and Lloyd joined in the laughter.
"Don't laugh at my son." Jean said indignantly with a grin on her face. "He was brought up to clean up after himself."
"Alright, alright, I'll try to get a grip on how to act. Geez, I'm still me no matter what." Dave said.
"And it's that you that we all love, Dave. Don't go changing on us. And you, Buster,? Lloyd turned to Joe, "stop picking on my favorite brother-in-law."
"He's your only brother in-law, Dad." Bobby said.
"Hush, Dave might find out." Lloyd scolded, grinning at Dave.
Dave grabbed Lloyd around the neck as they stumbled into the foyer.
"You're one of my favorite brother-in-laws too. He chuckled.
"One of? You mean you've got more than me?"
"You haven't met Johnny yet have you?"
"And Johnny is?"
"Joe's younger brother. He's hooked up with the young fellow that saved me when I got kidnapped."
"Kidnapped!?" Jean nearly screamed. "When did this happen."
"A few weeks ago. It was a real fiasco. I'll tell you all about it later. Let's explore."
"You bet you'll tell me later David Robert Gates. In the mean time I want to see what a kitchen looks like in a place like this."
"I'll join you, Jean. You two fellows stick with Dave and Joe." Lloyd said to his sons as he followed Jean toward the dining room.
"Shall we be brave and explore Edith's end." Joe jokingly asked.
"Why not. Clyde are you going to join us?"
"Thank you, but I think I'll stay right here and observe."
The two men followed by their two eager young nephews ascended the grand staircase. As they stepped in to the wide hall that led down to Edith's private rooms they felt the temperature drop. No one commented on it.
"Let's see what these closer rooms look like." Joe said taking the keys from Dave's hand.
He tried several keys before finding one that worked. As he swung the door open the stuffy smell of a long closed room swept over them.
"Wow, this is like stepping into a time warp." David muttered as they stepped into the richly appointed Victorian bedroom. Joe walked over to the tall window a flung open the heavy drapes and rolled up the shade to let light into the room. The elegant overly detailed furniture was obviously some of the best of the period with the cut velvets and delicate lace. On the walls were gas light sconces. There was no evidence of any electricity.
There were several paintings in rich gilt Rococo frames hanging on the walls. Dave stepped up to one that he had seen pictures of in art books.
"My God, Joe this is a Degas. It's whereabouts has been unknown for decades." Joe and the boys stepped up to gaze at the painting too.
"It is beautiful."
Dave broke away and went to look at the others.
"These are all long lost paintings. I wonder if all the rooms are decorated with more."
Joe turned and looked at him. They both turned and almost ran across the hall to the next bed room. Joe fumbled with the keys finally finding one that opened the door. They could see paintings on the walls before they even opened the window coverings.
"I wonder if the rooms on Williams side are filled with these, too."
"There is one way to find out." Joe said as he headed back towards the landing and on to William's side of the mansion. Quickly finding a key that opened the first door, they rushed in and open the window covering. Again there were four paintings hanging in the room.
"Alright, there are four paintings in each room. How many rooms are there in each end."
They stepped out into the hall and counted doors.
"There are eight in this wing. One of them is all photos of Bill. So let's assume for the moment that there are seven with four paintings each. That's twenty-eight paintings. I'd guess its pretty much the same in Edith's wing. That would be fifty-six. And there are paintings in every other room we've been in, too. This is a virtual art museum."
"Okay, what I have to do immediately is get this old relic of a building secured. I mean with alarms on every window and door in the place."
"Dave, the museum of art as a huge secure vault. Dad is a good friend of the curator. I think these paintings should be moved i to a secure place until this building is ready for them to be put on display."
"Alright, but I think that the fewer people that know about this the better for now."
Max was quickly bored with his uncles carrying on about old paintings and wandered down the grand hall trying doors as he passed them. They were all locked.
David was interested in the paintings, but when he noticed that Max had wandered off by himself, he followed. When he saw Max open the big door at the end of the hall, he hurried to catch up with him.
It was dark in the room. All of the windows were heavily draped. The massive velvet drapes on one of the windows on the west wall wasn't quite overlapped, letting brilliant sunlight through the gap. The contrast between the dark room and the streak of light on the oak floor momentarily blinded David as he looked around the room for Max.
Max was making his way straight across the room to the North windows. He bumped a small table sending a glass vase crashing to the floor
"Shit." He yelped.
"Stand still. Let me open this curtain." David said as he hurried over to the light coming through the window on the west wall.
Before David got to the window Max let out a frightened yowl.
"David, something touched me." he said in a harsh whisper.
David grabbed hold of the edge of the drape and yanked it open. He turned to look at Max. Out of the corner of his eye he caught some movement in the still dark far end of the room. Whipping around he saw an old woman dressed in black standing at the foot of the big four poster bed. He could see the post though her.
He had always thought that ghosts would have serene expressionless faces like a dead person. Not this one. She looked angry.
"What?" Max asked when he saw his brother blanch.
Dave pointed a shaky finger. Max whirled to look where his brother was pointing. He saw the ghost, screamed and headed as fast as his legs would carry him toward the door. When David saw Max run he broke out of his trance and ran toward the door, too, never taking his eyes off the apparition. He collided with Max was they got to the door. In a tangle of arms and legs they tumble out of the room. Scrambling to their feet they headed down the hall yelling for Dave and Joe.
Dave and Joe were so caught up in the discovery of the paintings that they had forgotten all about David and Max. When they heard shouting from Edith's bedroom both men ran to see what the fuss was about. They saw the two boys tumble out the door, scramble to their feet, and run toward them.
Max was hell bent for Joe's protection. He grabbed him around the waist and clung to him as Joe wrapped protective arms around him. David was pointing back toward the room from which they had just fled.
"Ghost! Dressed on black. Ugly old woman." He got out between gasps for breath.
"Calm down, Guys, she can't hurt you." Joe said.
"She scared us."
"I know, Max, she scares me, too." Dave admitted.
Lloyd came running up the stairs with Jean and Clyde close behind.
"What is all the ruckus?" Max let go of Joe and ran to his dad.
"Dad we saw a ghost."
"My goodness, where?" Jean asked.
"Down there in that big room. She was standing in front of the bed post and I could see it right though her. Man! She really looked mad."
Jean turned to look toward Edith's suite and gasped. Clyde who was standing right next to her look in the direction that she pointed. He saw Edith standing in the door way with her arms folded under her ample bosom. She seemed to be staring right at him. He blanched and grasped Lloyd's arm. He collapsed to the floor. Lloyd barely caught him be for his head hit the floor.
Joe couldn't help but chuckle seeing Clyde faint.
"Clyde didn't believe in ghosts. I bet he does now."
Jean knelt beside him digging in her purse. She pulled out a small bottle, opened it and waved it under Clyde's nose. He turned his head away and opened his eyes.
"Smelling salts, Mom?"
"Certainly, one never knows when they might be needed."
"I thought that went out with queen Victoria's death."
"Nonsense, you can still buy it in any drug store."
When they saw that Clyde was okay they turned back toward the door. Edith was gone. Clyde got up, apologizing for causing a scene.
"Did we really see her?" Dave asked.
"Damned right we did. Do you really doubt it?" Clyde said with vehemence,
They all had a good laugh that relieved the tension.
"Well, shall we go see what Edith's bedroom looks like?"Joe asked.
Why not. Come on every one let's go see what we find." Jean said.
"Thank you kindly but I think I'll stay right here."