A MATTHEW ALEXANDER MYSTERY

CHAPTER I

“Hey Aunt Lillie.  Is Gloria home?”

“Where else would she be at nine o’clock in the morning on the first day of summer vacation, Diane?  She won’t like you waking her up this early,” Lillian Williams answered without looking up, her attention focused on the fragrant pan of sizzling country ham she was nursing for her husband’s breakfast.

“I’ll only be a minute, Aunt Lillie.  I need to borrow one of Gloria’s skirts to wear to Tiffany Frazier’s birthday party tonight!” Diane breathlessly explained as she ran across the polished kitchen floor under her aunt’s close scrutiny.

Lillie Robinson was doubtful at the prospect of Tiffany Frazier’s sixteenth birthday party.  She had never liked Tiffany despite the fact that she was one of her daughter Gloria’s best friends.  As far as Lillie was concerned, Tiffany Frazier was a brazen young hussy of questionable virtue who was experienced beyond her years and not to be trusted for an unsupervised minute around boys.  And, while her niece Diane wasn’t as bold as Tiffany, Lillie didn’t cut her any slack either.  “She’s full of herself and too fast for her mother, Cora, to keep up with her,” she had informed Diane’s father and her older brother by five years, Junior Williams, whose given name of James was rarely used by anyone other than his wife, Cora.  But despite her continual warnings, neither Junior nor Cora saw fit to tighten the reins on Diane, so Lillie was unfortunately forced to keep her eagle-eye honed on both Diane and Gloria which didn’t make her life any easier.   

Diane could feel her Aunt Lillie’s eyes through the back of her head as she streaked through both the dining and living rooms before she bolted up the staircase of the airy Victorian house on her way to her first-cousin Gloria’s second-story bedroom.  She shouted “Hey Uncle Joe!” as she just missed colliding with Gloria’s father Joseph Robinson at the top of the stairs before she raced down the corridor to her cousin’s bedroom.  She cast a furtive glance behind her before she slipped into the room and locked Gloria’s bedroom door behind her.
“Wake-up Gloria!  Wake-up!” Diane demanded.

Gloria’s eyes popped open to find Diane standing at the foot of her bed.  “Hey, Diane.  What you doing here?  What time is it?” she asked between yawns.

“It’s going on nine o’clock, but I couldn’t wait to come over here to tell you about my phone call last night.  Guess who called me,” Diane excitedly whispered as she perched at the foot of Gloria’s bed.

“I can’t guess, Diane.  I’m too sleepy.”

“Frank Porter, that’s’ who!”  Diane gave a soulful sigh as she lay back on Gloria’s bed and clasped both arms across her bosom.  “I couldn’t believe it was him.  Just think, Gloria, the best looking man in D.C. called me last night.”  Diane said before she abruptly sat up and scooted down the side of the bed and placed her head very close to Gloria’s. 

“Frank is leaving for Chicago tomorrow, Gloria.  His brother, Ken, is giving him a going away party tonight.  Frank invited me to his party and I’m going.  I told him I was eighteen and he believed me,” she whispered.

Gloria sat up, shocked from disbelief.  “I don’t care how old he thinks you are Diane, you can’t go to a party with a thirty-year-old man!  Uncle Junior and Aunt Cora would kill you and him, too!  Girl, you must be crazy!”

“Hush, Gloria! Don’t talk so loud! You know how Aunt Lillie creeps around upstairs when I’m in your room.  I’m not going to the party with Frank Porter; I’m just going to meet him there.  It won’t take but a minute.  I just have to see him one more time before he leaves for Chicago! I’m too scared to go by myself, so I figured we could leave Tiffany’s party early and go over to Frank’s party for a little while.  Mama is letting me drive her car, so you’ll still be home by twelve o’clock.

© 2007 by Silver Maple Publications

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