Chris’s jaw dropped. Emily smiled sweetly. “Weren’t expecting us, were you?”
“Nnno, actually,” stuttered Chris. “I I I … was going to come looking for you today.”
It was Emily’s turn to look stunned. “Really?”
“Yes, my darling,” and Chris took her into his arms. Their hug was interrupted by a throat being cleared.
“As much as I am enjoying this touching reunion, I would prefer to remove myself from the doorstep.”
Chris looked around in surprise at the haughty voice. Emily jumped. “Oh, yes, Chris, I’d like you to meet my mother, Helen.”
Her mother had been quite insistent about using a pseudonym. “We don’t know who he’s been talking to, dear, or who will find him later. It’s bad enough as it is, how much of our private business we will have to tell this young man.” Emily preened at the use of the word ‘our’ and agreed.
Chris stood back from the door and ushered them into the tiny stone cottage. He arranged three chairs in front of the wood stove.
As they seated themselves, Helen spoke. “I suppose I shall have to tell you what this is all about. You two children have been caught up in an ongoing feud between two criminal gangs, mine, and my arch-rivals. The other gang is searching for the trove of hidden gems I stole thirty years ago, when I was about your age. I hid them, and no one has seen them since. But my rivals have caught word of them, and will not rest until they find them.”