HARDYS INN DANGER by Ann
CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE
Joe and I finally got back home after everything at the wharf and the inn. It’d been several hours since that phone call of Tony’s. We needed sleep. Not only did we have the second day of the show, but also helping Peter and stopping by there first. We were also determined to find out what was going on at the inn and improve things there.
“Just a second,” I called quietly to my little brother after we had gone up the carpeted stairs to get ready for bed. Motioning for him to follow me, I walked a few more steps to the bathroom and flipped on the light. Moving as silently as possible, trying not to wake our sleeping parents, I got out some bandages, hydrogen peroxide, and antibacterial ointment. Then I looked at Joe. “You blocked some of the punches with your face, didn’t you?”
He grinned. “Yes. The punk hurt his hand on my head and jaw, I think.”
I nodded and carefully began to clean his injuries. Earlier I’d noticed that he had a couple of cuts that were going to need some more attention when we got home. Slapping a Band-Aid on it wasn’t quite enough.
“How are you feeling?” I asked, working steadily.
“Not bad.” He drew in a breath as I gingerly checked the cut on his forehead. “Ouch.”
“Sorry. Man, Joe, wish you could have missed that punch. Did you black out at any time?”
“No. A little dazed with some shiny stars surrounding me after that punch. He was really fast. He actually caught me as I was ducking because I think he had been aiming for my jaw again.” Joe was quiet a moment as I applied some pressure. “But I got in several great punches. Don’t worry.”
“I’m sure you did.” I applied some ointment. It had pain relief in it, so that would help. “Hey, you know what? We should buy a replacement phone for you so you’ll have a temporary one until we find yours. It has to be somewhere.”
“Swell! Cool!” Joe had picked that up pretty quickly. “Thanks for letting me use your phone.”
I smiled in response as I gently pressed down on the edges of the bandage to protect the cut.
“So you mentioned the Sleuth, our boat. I can’t wait to see it,” he said.
“Well, maybe we can check it out in person sometime in the afternoon or evening. For right now, though, I’ll tell you how to get to videos on my phone.”
I directed him to the app and he watched some video of the Sleuth as I finished fixing him up. He was too excitedly distracted to notice even the slightest twinge of pain.
“This is amazing! What a cool boat!” He was grinning big as he watched the screen. “I know about pictures and movies, but to be able to carry this around with you all the time since it’s so small is really great!”
“Yep, very true.” I dabbed some medicine on a small cut. “I’ll redo the bandages after your shower. You can get yours first.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
He thanked me and while he got his shower I went to my room and started charging my phone since it was about out. Once Joe had gotten showered, I replaced the medicine and bandages. Right before he left the bathroom, he looked at me seriously. Or at least pretend seriously.
“This isn’t going to mess up my looks, right?” Then he grinned and laughed. My little brother’s laugh is good medicine to a tired big brother.
I grinned and lightly punched him in the shoulder. “No, you won’t be any uglier than usual.”
“That’s a relief. Thanks.” Then his expression turned truly serious. “Thanks, big brother, for….being you and being there for me.”
“No problem.” I smiled. “It keeps me out of trouble.”
He left with a chuckle and I took my shower before I fell asleep on my feet.
Once I was clean and ready for bed, my head couldn’t hit the pillow fast enough. I slept pretty well considering everything. After getting ready for the day ahead, I went downstairs to the kitchen. Mom was in there and looked up at me when I came in. She was working on fixing lemonade.
“You two okay?” she asked. “How bad are Joe’s cuts?”
“We’re okay,” I told her, giving her a kiss on the cheek before sitting down on a stool across from her as she set things on the counter. I figured she must have checked on us last night. “Joe’s got a couple of cuts, but he will be fine.”
She looked relieved. I admired her quiet strength. Taking care of her three boys was a lot of hard work and she did such a great job.
“Your dad is checking on some things about the inn. He got the message you left him. Are you and Joe stopping by Peter’s before the car show or are you riding in the Doozy then walking there?”
“We were thinking maybe driving there first. Then if anything came up, we’d have another vehicle.”
“I thought that’s what you’d choose.” She smiled at me.
“Thanks, Mom,” I said.
“For what?” she asked curiously.
“Well, everything you do for us. We appreciate all that you and Dad do, and Aunt Trudy. Thanks for raising us to be a close family, one that hugs and isn’t shy about saying ‘I love you’,” I said.
She gave me a hug and regarded me with a loving look. “I love you.”
“Love you, too, Mom.”
We had a quick breakfast after Dad, Joe, and Aunt Trudy joined Mom and me. Joe and I headed for Peter’s while the rest of the family got in the Duesenberg to go to the show.
Once at the Bijou, Peter showed us the spray paint damage and the security video. He sent the video to my phone so we could look at it again later. Then he told us his idea.
“I have a mortgage on the Bijou that I’ve been trying to pay off. I’ve been getting pressure to sell as well as problems with the mortgage. If I could pay it off, they’d have less to give me trouble with,” he explained. He laid a paper on the desk. “I think I know how to do that.” He tapped the browned paper and with a sparkle in his eye, asked, “You know what this is?”
“Paper,” Joe stated. “Don’t you still use paper for some things?”
Peter laughed, assuming Joe was joking, since he does say things like that kidding. “That’s right, but not just any paper. It’s supposed to be a treasure map. How would you and your girlfriends and friends like to find it? If so, I’ll split it with you.”