Byron Forbes went to Madison’s room hoping she had pulled herself together enough to listen to reason. He liked the odds of this occurring. She could be willful and overly sensitive, but she was intelligent. Given time to allow the unfortunately effect of her occasional emotional upheavals to wear off, Madison could usually be reasoned with. He knocked on the bedroom door again, calling out.
“Madison, can we speak? I did not invite you here to fight. It was only a joke. In poor taste perhaps, but a joke none the less. There is no need to carry things this far.”
No answer was forthcoming. He shook his head in dismay thinking they had progressed to the second plateau of female guilt trips, the silent treatment. It was nearly as annoying as her opening barrage, the tear laden tantrum. She could be such a tiresome tigress. But, as the saying went, enough was enough. He cracked the open the door and peeked inside.
“Madison?” She was no place in sight. Good lord, she had not taken to hiding under the bed or in the closest? Even Madison would not stoop to such childish lengths, would she? He pondered a moment then decided to check. He knelt down and pulled the blankets back staring under the queen sized bed he saw nothing. Not even dust or a stray scrap of paper. Melissa’s handiwork. The woman was an insufferable neat freak. He doubted a germ lived within 50 paces of the house.
He rose and made his way to the closet. Slowly he opened it and glanced inside. Nothing but coats, suits and pants, neatly pressed and folded. Melissa again. The woman was wonder of nature. If he could figure out a way to mass produce her, he would make a fortune, he mused.
Where else would Madison be? The bathroom door off the bedroom was ajar, not in there. He stepped back out into the living room, Melissa was clearing off the dishes and heading into the kitchen. The second bathroom off the living room was open as well. She never could have got out here anyway. She would have been seen. She lack the ghostly stealth of Melissa. So where could she have gotten too.
“Good lord! The Shelter!” Would even Madison go down there without asking first? A stupid question. Of course she would. Madison was a bigger snoop than miss Marple. He made his way downstairs quickly praying she had not touched anything. He had everything in order.
Downstairs as he stepped to the shelter doorway sure enough, he came across Madison. His eyes narrowed dangerously even as he spoke.
“The silver is in the utensil drawer and the money is in the safe behind the picture of Niagara Falls. Please, help yourself.”