the danger moves in
"Yes, can I help you?" he asked the small timid boy who was stood on the doorstep.
"I...I...I'm looking...for... a Miss B. Mays" stuttered the boy, who was over come with fear at the sight of Fred.
"Well I'm afraid she's not here at the moment, shall I take a message or would you like to come in and wait?"
The boy glanced round nervously before nodding, Fred held the door open for him, pointed him in the direction of the kitchen and shut the door, he did have a quick look outside before closing it but found that there was no-one unusual about.
"Now, would you like to tell me your name and what you want with my friend Beth?" Fred asked as he entered the kitchen, in the tone that he used with the annoying kids that always threw flour bombs at his house.
"Please don't be cross with me, sir, it's just that Miss Mays always takes me in for breakfast at ten twenty ever since she found me pick pocketing her a few years back, you see me Mam died when I was just seven and me pa was never around so I had to pick pocket just to give me sis and me some food, but when she caught me, which is hard to do, only one other person caught me and that were me Mam before she died and I was just startin' then, any way, when she caught me she brought me back 'ere and sat me down, gave me breakfast and started asking me all these questions, like who I was, where I lived, did I have any family left, and I told her, told her everything, me name's, Bobby by the way, and then she told me to come back here at ten twenty every morning and I have done since then, she always gave me breakfast, some food for the day, enough to feed me and me sis and then by twenty to eleven I left and went home to look after me sis, you see she's only eight and she needs looking after and that's left to me."
"Well Beth left at nine thirty this morning and she said she'd be back at eleven, so is it possible that she could have forgotten?"
"Oh no, sir she's never forgotten, all these five years I've been coming she's never forgotten, even when she was ill she left a package buy the door so's I could have food."
Just then the front door went and in came Beth with armfuls of shopping and a bundle of papers.
"Oh, hello Bobby, sorry I'm late I had to leave first thing to sort some things out, I hope Fred hasn't been to mean?" she asked as she sorted out the shopping.
"No, no miss he was very nice, I was just telling 'im all 'bout our arrangement."
"Ah, here we are!" she pulled one of the papers from the bundle she had brought in and put on the side, "Now, Bobby I have some wonderful news! All these years I've had you coming for breakfast I've been sorting out some adoption papers for you and May, and now it has been confirmed, so run and get any things you want to keep from your home and bring them and May back here."
Bobby's face was lit up with happiness, he ran up and hugged Beth around the middle, then left to get some things from his house.
"Is this true, Beth?" Fred asked picking up the paper Beth had pulled out of the bundle and reading it carefully
"Yes, and you will notice that I've named you as their adopted father, or Pa as Bobby would say, and that's why I made you stay last night, I knew you wouldn't have said yes last night or until you'd met Bobby, so that's why I left early this morning before you got up. So what do you say? You can move in here and out of that small office that you also call a flat, but keep it as an office and we could form a joint business."
"Well, I'm not sure Beth there's only two bedrooms and four people..."
"Oh go on Fred there will be more room once I've got my stuff out of here and there's an other room up stairs that you don't know about; come on I'll show you."
She led Fred up stairs and stopped at the door at the end of the corridor.
"but I thought this lead up to the attic?"
"It does, but it has changed since you last were up there; look" she pulled a large black key from her dress pocket and unlocked the door flicked the light switch and headed up the stairs, with Fred following wondering what she had done up
"It's amazing! But how could you afford to get this done?" Fred asked as he looked around. There were two windows in the roof, under which were two beds, one had pink bedding on and the other had light blue. There were bedside tables either side of the beds with a lamp, a coaster and a book on each, a rug in between the beds, a large wardrobe that was sloped at the top to follow the slope of the roof so that it could be pushed right up against the wall, the carpet was brown and two small toy chests stood opposite the wardrobe. It was the perfect room for two growing children.
"Well a few years ago a poor builder came to me to help find his missing child, but he had no way of paying me so I made him write me an I.O.U and I used that to get this done." Beth replied excitedly, "Come on lets go back down stairs, Bobby and May should be here soon.
They left the new bedroom, but Beth didn't lock the door, and headed into the front room so that Beth could watch out the window, just as she had done the night before, for Bobby.
About half and hour later Bobby and May arrived. When May came into the sitting room, after Beth had let them in, Fred thought she was the most beautiful eight year-old he had ever seen, her hair, although dirty, was bright blonde, she had bright blue eyes and she had an air of beauty about her; Fred decided there and then that he would move in and be their father, father he would have to get used to that.
Beth took the children upstairs to get unpacked and Fred went to make lunch. Fred was half way through cooking the chicken when Beth came in,
"How are they?"
"They're just fine Bobby's just unpacking what they brought and May is playing with the doll I got her." Beth answered clearing the table of all her papers, "So Fred have you decided yet?"
"Yes I have, and I've decided to move in here with you and the children. There really isn't enough room for me in that flat any way and you won't be able to look after the children and run a business on your own, so I shall come and help."
"Oh Fred, that's wonderful!" she cried, running up and hugging him as tightly as she had done when he first arrived, "well when do you want to move your things?"
"Well now it's Friday today, how about tomorrow?"
"Yes that should be fine, you can put all your things in one van, bring them here and I'll put all my stuff to go to you office in an other van and send it to yours so that we don't get lots of stuff in the way of the other stuff if you get what I mean."
"Well that all seems very nice but hiring two vans will cost a lot of money"
"Oh don't worry I have an old client who owns a van company who owes me a favour."
"Well if you're sure"
"Yes I am. How long will lunch be?"
"About half an hour more, why?"
"Because I'm off to sort the vans out, I won't be longer that twenty minuets and Bobby and May are still busy upstairs, alright?" Beth said getting her hat and coat from the cupboard under the stairs
"Yes that's okay but don't be late, I'm going to go and see how they are getting on up there."
"Alright then I'll see you later then." Called Beth as she left.
Once upstairs, Fred could hear Bobby whispering to May but he couldn't hear what they were saying, he tried to get closer but one of the floorboards creaked and then they stopped talking and went back to playing.
"Are you both alright?" asked Fred as he came up the stairs
"Yes, thank you," answered Bobby with a look that said 'I know you were trying to listen'
"Well I just came to say that lunch will be ready in about twenty-five minuets"
"Thank you we'll go and get washed up soon."
"Okay then" Fred said, as he left he thought 'there's something not right about those children'
Fred was setting the table when Beth arrived home
"Hallo Fred" Beth said as she came in and washed her hands
"Did you get the vans sorted?"
"Oh yes, the van renting man was very nice and said we could use them as half the price"
Fred came over to the kitchen to get the food
Beth threw the towel at him she was using to dry her hands
"If you say so"
Fred threw the towel back
"I do say so!"
Instead of throwing the towel back, Beth went and rubbed it in his face
Fred picked her up and over his shoulder
"Don't you 'what ever' me and PUT ME DOWN" Beth said thumping him in the back repeatedly but with no avail
"I'll 'what ever' you if I like! And no!" Fred began to spin around
Fred stopped and put Beth down and as they turned round they saw Bobby and May stood at the door to the kitchen.