The Adventure of the Mysterious Benefactor

Part 26

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)
For a moment there was a kind of stunned silence. Suddenly, Tennyson shot forward and stopped beside his mother.
Mrs. Fayre turned, leaned between the bars of the hoverchair's safety cage, and wrapped her arms around her son. "Oh, my precious baby boy, can you ever forgive me?"
Tears still flowing, Tennyson nodded into her shoulder. "She loves me." he thought to himself. "My mother loves me!"
Wiggins, Deidre, Watson, Holmes and Miss Fayre just smiled at each other.
The morning of December twenty-fourth, Holmes sat in front of the large computer screen in his rooms, one hand grasping the neck of the keyboard-like instrument he'd taken up and with the other hand poised over the keys. The other end of the instrument rested under his chin.
"And now," the curly-haired maestro on the screen announced, "We shall begin 'Ode to Joy'. One, and two, and--"
Blink! The image on the screen changed to that of a blonde woman sitting behind a desk with a sheaf of papers in her hands.
"Local buisnessman Ashton Fayre leaves country. News on demand."
Holmes sighed and laid the instrument in his lap, but was nonetheless intrigued. "More," he requested.
The woman on the screen continued.
"Ashton Fayre, CEO of Fayre Technologies, is leaving for the U.S. today on what he says is a prolonged business trip. Sources say that Mrs. Lynette Fayre is seeking a divorce, for what she says are irreconcilable differences."
Holmes sighed deeply. "Computer, off."
The screen went dark.
"How sad," Watson commented, "--that it couldn't have turned out better."
"Truly." Holmes agreed, standing up. "The Fayres, I fear, are a perfect example of what can happen to a marriage not founded on the Lord."
"And what of Tennyson?"
"I, for one, shall certainly pray for his strength. I suspect he shall stay with his aunt for now."
Ding...dong....
"I'll get that." Watson volunteered, heading for the door.
Both he and Holmes were surprised to see Miss Caroline Fayre there, a brown paper package in her hands.
"Miss Fayre, do come in," Holmes said, rising.
The woman brushed the snow off of her shoulder and stepped inside. "Thank you, sir. I wanted to stop by and invite you to a Christmas Eve tea this afternoon."
"I should be delighted."
Miss Fayre grinned at Watson. "My neighbor gave me a can of oil for a squeaky hinge that was taken care of long before you all came and repaired it again. You are welcome to what's left, Doctor Watson."
"I would be most appreciative, Miss Fayre."
"I'm sorry -- I heard about your brother and sister-in-law," Holmes said quietly.
"Yes--" his guest said with a deep sigh. "If only they had accepted on one of the many occasions I tried to tell them the Lord's plan of salvation...."
"They both may yet have a chance." Holmes answered her.
She nodded. "I know...it just goes to show how Satan tears things apart."
"Maybe your sister-in-law will listen now," Holmes speculated.
"Perhaps." Miss Fayre said with a smile.
Suddenly she seemed to remember the package in her hands. "Oh -- this is for you."
She held it out to the detective, who blinked. "Miss -- I couldn't."
"I insist," the youngest Irregular's aunt said, pulling his hand toward her and placing the package in it. Holmes placed his other hand on top of it to keep it from falling.
"It is not payment for finding out who my mysterious benefactor was, but a gift," Miss Fayre said with a smile, "--and I know you are too much of a gentleman to refuse a gift."
Holmes closed his eyes, grinned and shook his head. "I suppose I cannot."
Miss Fayre grinned back. "I noticed you eyeing this the first time you were in my home. The kids said you were in need of one, so I want you to have it."
"Many thanks, Miss Fayre."
The woman looked at her watch. "Do open it before tomorrow -- I must be off. Tennyson requested that I make the honey buns that he and Wiggins like so well. If I'm going to make enough for the two ofthem, along with everyone else, I'd better get started."
"Of course. See you in the afternoon, Miss Fayre."
Watson watched her go out, then shut the door behind her. "What could it be, Holmes?"
His roommate carried the package to the couch, where he sat and gently placed it on the table. "I have an idea."
After cutting the string that tied the package, Holmes gently tore away the brown paper, A cardboard box was on the inside, and Holmes lifted the lid.
Sure enough, nestled among crumpled pages from a magazine were the three porcelain figures he'd seen on the mantel the first time he'd visited the Fayre home -- Mary, the Babe Jesus, and Joseph -- the father who loved the Child that was not his own.
"Watson--" Holmes said in a quiet tone. "Help me decide how to arrange these on the mantel, won't you?"

THE END
Back to Part 1,Part 2,Part 3,Part 4,Part 5,Part 6,Part 7,Part 8,Part 9,Part 10,Part 11,Part 12,Part 13,Part 14,Part 15,Part 16,Part 17,Part 18,Part 19,Part 20,Part 21,Part 22,Part 23,Part 24, andPart 25.
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