The Missing Papers: A St Andrews Mystery Chapter Thirteen


Sally awoke the next morning, having had a restless night. Her harshness towards Julian had plagued her thoughts the previous evening and had troubled her in her sleep causing her to wake every few hours. She didn’t like the person she had become yesterday and made up her mind that even though she believed that she had been right in telling Julian that he should give up on this mystery as it was too far out of his reach, she felt that she could have maybe handled things better. Darrell hadn’t said as much yesterday but Sally knew her friend would think it best that she apologised.

Sally didn’t like the idea of making a special trip to St Salvator’s just to apologise to Julian as she thought that it touched a little too heavily on the feelings she was beginning to have for him, and would make things all too obvious. However the idea of waiting was torturous.

She took a deep breath and reached across the room to poke Darrell on the shoulder as she slept in her bed not three feet away.

“Darrell!” Sally called gently. “Darrell wake up! Oh do wake up! I need to talk to you about something rather important!”

Darrell rolled on to her back, groaning in protest against being woken up so early. She yawned and when she finally opened her eyes, the first thing she did was reach for her alarm clock.

“Sally its half past five in the morning! Whatever is so urgent? Why aren’t you asleep?” she yawned propping herself up in bed on her elbows and peering bleary eyed at her best friend.

“I’m very tempted to say that if the building is not on fire then I’m going back to bed,” she added sulkily. She hadn’t spent the night worried about how her words yesterday had affected anybody and had been quite blissfully asleep until her friend had poked her, but Darrell guessing that Sally wouldn’t have woken her without good reason and did her best to be awake and listen to her.

As Sally poured out her conundrum, Darrell began to wish that Sally could have held on a little long before asking her these questions.

“So what do you think I should do?” Sally asked Darrell, feeling bad for waking her, but at the same time desperate for an answer. “Should I go over before breakfast or wait until we see him later today?”

Darrell yawned again, burrowing under her blankets so her head was the only part of her that could be seen.

“Before breakfast might not be a good idea,” Darrell conceded after a moment’s thought. “Maybe you should try and catch him and David as they go to their morning lecture. You don’t start until ten today, so you’ll have plenty of time to meet them at their lab and then go on to your lecture,” she said carefully, hoping that this would be a sensible idea. It was usually Sally who had sensible ideas not her; Darrell was usually the one who needed a sensible word and help to solve a problem, not Sally. Darrell wasn’t all too sure that she liked this new role reversal.

Sally nodded with understanding.

“I think you’re right,” she said with a small smile. “That would be the best way. I just hope that I can find him… them before their first lecture.”

“I’m sure that won’t be a problem, but now, if you don’t mind, there is still a good two hours before we actually need to be up, and I would like to get a bit more sleep. Do try not to fuss until then and get a rest, there’s a good sport,” Darrell said turning over on her side again, her face away from Sally.

“Yes, alright, I shall try,” Sally said, turning over with a slightly easier mind now and pulled her blankets up over her shoulders.

With her back to Sally and her covers pulled almost over her head, Darrell grinned to herself. Sally had slipped up a little bit. Julian seemed to be playing on her mind more than she would care to admit. Darrell had to stop herself from chuckling, it was slightly amusing to see Julian and Sally dance around each other even if it was something that would quickly become tedious. Darrell was still amused as she dosed off again until the alarm woke her two hours later.

Sally was rather quiet and serious as they got ready for breakfast and got their books together for their first lecture, she was thinking about what she would say to Julian if she could catch him before his lecture. Darrell kept sending her little encouraging smiles as they got ready to go down to breakfast.

The girls went down rather quietly, Sally clearly being slightly nervous at her task ahead. Darrell chattered a little about the weather and the work they had left to do. Sally responded as naturally as she could but her mind wasn’t really paying attention to what Darrell was saying as much as she would have liked. Darrell relented over breakfast and dug out one the novels she had to read for English literature, while Sally tried not to worry herself silly over Julian’s reaction. She still wasn’t sure what she was going to say to him exactly.

As soon as she had finished her breakfast Sally began to make a move, but stopped half way through her preparations to leave. Darrell looked up at her inquiringly.

“What’s up?” she asked marking her place in her book with her finger. “You look scared. Julian’s not going to bite your head off,” she grinned.

Sally couldn’t even return the smile. “I’m not sure that this is the best thing. Oh Darrell, please come with me?” she said sitting back down and reaching out to her friend.

Darrell fixed Sally with a pitying look. “Do you know how silly that would look if I came too, old thing?” shesaid giving Sally’s hand a little squeeze and her arm a small shake. “And David is going to be there, there’s nothing to worry about!” she insisted. She looked at the clock on the wall and added;

“If you don’t go now you won’t catch them before the lecture at all.”

Sally sighed and nodded, reluctantly picking up her bag and heading out of the dining hall and towards the laboratories.  Her feet dragged as she made her way there, her heart thumping uncomfortably inside her chest.

Sally began to despise herself for being so nervous. She shouldn’t be nervous about apologising to Julian; it was the sort of thing she had looked down on girls for at school. It was a new feeling to her. She had never been properly nervous, exam nerves were about as nervous as she had ever gotten. She tried telling herself off as she got nearer the laboratories. She was just about to start hunting through the groups of boys standing outside the rooms when she felt a tap on her shoulder.

“Hello! We don’t usually see you all the way down here! Got lost did you?” said David’s cheerful voice behind her. Sally turned and her face flooded with relief.

“I was looking for you,” Sally explained as she spotted Julian some way behind David, chatting to some other boy, who Sally assumed was in their class.

David turned his head and followed her gaze. “You know, somehow I don’t think you were. I think you were looking for Julian over there,” he said seriously. Sally’s cheeks flushed telling David all he needed to know.

“He’s still a little sour about what you said yesterday, he was sulking when I got back to halls last night,” David informed Sally simply. “I expect that he will talk to you and if you are here, as I think you are, to apologise I’m sure he’ll accept it.”

“It would help if I knew exactly what I was apologising for,” Sally murmured as Julian started towards them.

“I just know that I have to apologise,” she added to David as he raised an eyebrow at her.

David managed a smile as Julian appeared behind him.

“Good morning,” Julian said politely to Sally, only a hint of stiffness to the greeting. He wasn’t quite as free with the smiles as he usually would have been. Sally took a steadying breath as David gave her arm a discreet squeeze.

“Good morning to you too. I don’t suppose you have time for a quick word?” Sally asked nodding to the end of the corridor that was empty. Julian nodded and motioned her forward to lead the way. David caught his arm as he started to move after Sally.

“Go easy Ju,” David warned him with a significant look.

Julian raised an eyebrow to David to signify that he thought his friend was being over protective. David sighed as Julian moved away, heading after Sally.

Sally took a deep breath as Julian joined her and got ready to speak.

“About yesterday,” Sally started unsure how her words were going to come out. “I want to apologise for what I said. It was insensitive of me, and I shouldn’t have said that. I do believe that we are possibly chasing our own tails, but you have much more experience in these things than I do, and I also want to apologise for questioning your ideas.”

Sally waited in silence after she has finished speaking, her heart thumping harder and faster as Julian appeared to consider her words.

Julian knew that Sally was being sincere as she apologised. He was beginning to understand why it might be hard for some people to believe that he had any idea of what he was doing and that there would be people throughout his life who would question every motive. With his head bowed so that Sally couldn’t see exactly what emotion was playing on his face, he said;

“I completely understand why you said what you said, and I probably shouldn’t have walked out of the cafe. I forget that this is all a bit strange to you and that it looks like we’ve got nothing, but you have to believe me when I say I know we’re definitely in the middle of something here,” Julian said quietly. “Thank you for the reality check,” he added softly.

There was a quiet, unspoken moment between them where neither of them knew what to say to the other. Julian carefully reached for Sally’s hand and instead of giving it a squeeze like Darrell and David had done; he carefully pulled her into a one armed hug. Sally smiled against his shoulder.

“Does that mean, however horrible I was yesterday that I’m forgiven?” Sally dared to ask.

“Possibly,” Julian said with a slightly less stiff tone. Sally’s words had hurt him quite significantly, but he wasn’t going to let her see how much she had hurt him.

Sally allowed that was as good as it was going to get right now. She pulled back from Julian, some of her awkwardness returning.

“You better go, don’t want you to be late for your lecture,” she said softly motioning to the boys pouring into a laboratory. Julian looked over his shoulder and nodded.

“I will be seeing you later though, won’t I?” Sally asked suddenly, making a grab for Julian’s arm as he turned to head into the class room. She caught his hand instead. Julian looked at her and smiled gently.

“I wish I could say that you will, but there are some things I need to sort out this afternoon, and I have some work to do. So I can’t say for sure,” Julian said honestly. “David will be around I suspect,” he added quietly.

“What do you need to sort out that means we won’t see you?” Sally asked as Julian let go of her hand and patted her gently on the cheek. He just smiled a little and ignored her question as he headed into the laboratory after the rest of his class.

As he walked away from her, Sally felt herself get a bit annoyed at his attitude. If she had been any younger and had more of a temper like Darrell’s she probably would have stamped her foot and walked off in a huff. However as it stood all Sally could do was watch Julian head off to his lecture in the sure knowledge that he was up to something.

David noticed the slight smile on his friend’s face as he sat down next to him in the laboratory. He allowed himself a small smile as he figured out that things between Julian and Sally were now probably on slightly better terms than they were before.

Professor Doaty was on fine form that morning; constantly losing his spectacles, and writing the wrong equations up on the board. It would have been almost endearing if they were back in school, David thought, but as this was at degree level he felt it was a bit much to have a professor who didn’t seem to know where he was most of the time.

David and Julian had often heard other boys in their class recently start to say things like they didn’t understand why the thief who had stolen the papers hadn’t just sat in their class and waited for Dotty to accidentally write the whole thing up on the blackboard. They were sure he would do it sooner or later.

Julian had reminded David, in hushed tones that the thief would have also have had to wait for his uncle to do the same thing instead of botching up the attempted break-in at Kirrin Cottage all those weeks ago.

Professor Doaty changed his routine that morning; after the theoretical half of the lecture he would usually just settle down in his seat to work on something else as the boys did their practical experiments if there was one, or had a seminar group. Today he decided to walk around the laboratory while the boys were working on their experiments, seemingly eyeing each boy up. He still didn’t help them with their experiments and had made it clear at the beginning of term that they were here to learn, not to be spoon fed.

There was something odd in his actions however, especially when he spent a lot of time watching Julian, David and Anthony. The three boys didn’t talk much while they worked, they never did. Julian and David weren’t confident in the idea that they could talk between themselves with Anthony around without giving something away.

At the end of their lecture Doaty was still acting in a peculiar manner. As Julian approached the equipment trolley, Doaty grabbed him by his bad shoulder and said to him;

“I would like a word with you Kirrin. Come up to my office in about half an hour.”

Julian was too busy wincing at the pain that the professor was causing him and didn’t get a chance to protest or ask questions as the professor let go of his shoulder and pushed him back towards the trolley. Julian caught David’s eye and they shrugged.

In the confusion that follows the end of any class, with the clatter of stools covering their voices, Julian told David what Doaty had said.

“I need you to do me a favour David,” Julian said as they walked out of the class room. “You’re perfectly entitled to say no,” he added in a hurry.

“Go on, you don’t really need to ask,” David said as they walked along the corridor.

“Would you mind, waiting somewhere along the professor’s corridor and watching to see if anyone comes and tries to listen in at the door?” Julian asked his friend as they made their way to the library. David grinned. Sally’s apology that morning seemed to have woken Julian up a bit.

“I would ask who are you expecting to see there, but I won’t, you’ve got a hunch. Of course I’ll do it!” David said enthusiastically.  Julian smiled happily at his friend as they headed off to the library for half an hour.

As they settled down in the study area where they usually waited for the girls, Julian appeared to have slipped back inside his head for a while. David sighed and was unpacking his bag when Julian spoke.

“David, do you think it would be possible to signal from anywhere along the coast line do you? You know out the back of St Salvator’s,” he said in an interested voice.

“I don’t know Julian, surely it depends on where someone was signalling to,” David said with a shrug at his friend. “Honestly, you have the most random thoughts sometimes. Do you think it is possible to signal from anywhere along this coastline?”

Julian turned to look at David, unsure whether his new friend was teasing him or not.

“I think it might be possible. There are at least three points there it would be possible, but they would all be out to sea,” Julian said looking down at the pad of paper in front of him.

David sighed inwardly; Julian was being cryptic. David wasn’t sure whether he liked it when Julian was cryptic, it usually made him feel like he wasn’t completely trusted by his new friend.

“Are you going to elaborate any further or do I have to make do with that rather useless statement?” David asked rolling his eyes at Julian as he pulled out one of the textbooks he was carrying around with him.

Julian looked at his friend and smiled apologetically. “Sorry,” he said. “It was more a thinking out loud. I do apologise. Basically I was wondering if there was a place along the coast where, with a strong enough light, someone could signal out to a boat on the coast.”

“Surely it’s been too cloudy for signalling?” David pointed out mildly, settling down into his chair, slightly happier that he had been included in the entire thought.

“See if the light was strong enough, it wouldn’t matter that it was cloudy,” Julian said with a sigh as he settled down into his chair. He looked at David and smiled slightly.

“Do you really not see where I’m going with this?” he asked his friend, slightly amused. David raised an eyebrow at Julian, shaking his head ever so slightly.  Julian grinned at him as he checked his watch.

“Better get a move on,” he said quietly. “Give me a couple of minutes head start, just in case anyone’s watching.”

David considered rolling his eyes at his friend, but resisted.

“Yes Captain!” David said pulling off a textbook salute. They both grinned at each other.

“Do you think it will be alright to leave the bags here?” David asked a second later, the thought only just occurring to him.

Julian considered this. He was certain that he and David couldn’t have anything in their possession that would lead to someone looking through their bags, but he was not one hundred percent certain of this fact.

“Maybe it would be wise to take them with us,” Julian said slowly. “I mean I have my wallet with me, but I’m not sure I like the idea of just leaving my bag lying around for anyone to go through.”

“I think you are probably right,” David said picking up his bag and slinging it over his shoulder. “Meet back down here when you’re finished?” he asked as Julian made to leave.

“Yes. Probably best,” Julian said nodding.  “Good luck!” he wished David a second later. “And remember to try and keep out of sight,” he added with a grin.

“I’ll do my best!” David said with a chuckle. “You had better get going otherwise you’ll be late!”

“Right!” Julian said and flashed David a smile and a wink before he left the library.

David gave Julian a few moments head start. Two minutes later, David headed out of the library, after his friend. He walked stealthily, but with a purpose towards where the professors’ studies were, his head down against the people surging around him.

He was making good progress until he was almost at the back stairs for the study corridor, when without meaning to and purely by chance he bumped into Darrell and Sally.

“Oh hello! We were just wondering where you had gotten to. We’ve just seen Julian rush past and upstairs,” Darrell said in a chatty tone as David was forced to stop and talk to them. “Got a meeting has he?”

“Yes, a professor we had asked to see him after the lecture,” David said quietly, craning his neck to see if anyone headed towards the stair case. The unfortunate thing about being stopped down here was that he was unable to keep an eye on both entrances to the corridor.

“Where are you headed in such a hurry anyway?” Darrell asked as Sally stood at her shoulder.

David desperately wished he was able to lie at this point, but he had never been good at lying, plus the idea of lying to anyone left a horrible taste in his mouth.

“Julian wanted me to check and see if anyone followed him to the professor’s study and tried to hear the conversation going on inside,” David said in a hushed tone, pulling the girls to the side of the corridor.

“Why on earth would he think that someone would be interested in listening in on a conversation he was having with a professor?” Sally asked, raising an eyebrow. Her tone was sceptical.

“It’s not just any professor he’s talking to,” David said urgently. “It’s professor Doaty; you know the one who had his papers stolen? Julian thought that someone might think that the professor might want to talk about the project, having found out that Julian is Quentin Kirrin’s nephew,” David said, his voice barely above a whisper.

“Needs his head checking if you ask me,” Sally said quietly, apparently still a little bitter over their conversation this morning.

David threw her a look. “Now, now, none of that please,” he said softly. “Now if you ladies wouldn’t mind excusing me, we’ll be in the library in probably no more than an hour…” he said carefully.

“Now hang on a minute,” Darrell said, catching David’s arm as he turned to head up the back stairs. “You go charging up there now and you’ll frighten away anyone who’s there. I’ll tell you what, you go up the back stairs and watch for anyone coming down from the studies and Sally and I can go up the main stairs and check to see if there’s anyone outside.  If someone is listening in at the door, seeing you will only cause them to run,” Darrell pointed out. “If we go, it just looks like we got lost.”

“Why am I suddenly part of this?” Sally asked amazed. “It seems like a stupid idea on Julian’s part.”

“If you tell him that, you two will end up having another row,” Darrell said pointedly. “Now come on, it won’t take long, and it’ll put you back in his good books. Alright, David? Meet in the library in no more than an hour, or about ten minutes after Julian comes out of that office if he over runs.”

David, amazed the swiftness that Darrell had managed to work things out at, nodded soundlessly, and then gave a sudden grin as he gave them the thumbs up and headed towards the back stairs. He had a strange sort of excitement pulsing through him.

As he raced off to the backstairs and managed to slip up then without being noticed. He wondered if the adrenaline he was feeling as he played his part in this was the reason why Julian seemed so keen as to run around and find mysteries. He could see how this could get addictive.

David slipped up to the hallway where the professor’s studies were and stopped just before he reached door to the corridor. He peered through the gap in the door, hoping to see anyone in the corridor.  He couldn’t see anyone outside the professor’s door at all. David felt now that he was sure that there wasn’t anyone there, he could move from the staircase and into the hall. That way if anyone came up these stairs then he wouldn’t be there to see them.

Slipping though the door, David darted along the corridor to a little alcove near the professor’s room that was hidden by a heavy curtain. David paused by it, wondering if someone could be hiding in there. He carefully pulled the side of the curtain up a little. It was so dark behind that curtain that David still wasn’t sure that there wasn’t someone in there; but he slipped in anyway, using the gap that was there to spy on Doaty’s door.

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One Response to The Missing Papers: A St Andrews Mystery Chapter Thirteen

  1. Francis says:

    Great story giving much more scope to the characters and relationships of the
    characters involved.
    Francis

    Like

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