Larkspur

Larkspur by Sheila Simonson Read Free Book Online

Book: Larkspur by Sheila Simonson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sheila Simonson
Tags: Mystery, romantic suspense, Murder
Maybe he was. Maybe he was not entirely
stupid.
    At any rate he caused no direct crises though he sulked in a lawn chair on the edge of the
gathering. Angharad fetched things for him like a well-trained gun-dog.
    Miguel set up the bar as the sun sank behind the hills to the west. Twilight lingered. I
wished for fireflies. Jay and Janey and I took our beers down to the boat dock and looked at the
fireworks set-up then drifted back across the lawn.
    Llewellyn was sitting with Lydia and Bill in a nest of lawn chairs. He smiled at me, so I
pulled an extra chair up beside him. Bill sat on my right.
    "Pleasant day?" Llewellyn was drinking Campari and soda. He toyed with the stem of
his glass.
    "Fantastic. This place is paradise."
    "I thought all you young people liked fast boats and hot music." Bill, in a grumbling
tease.
    "Your daughter supplied the entertainment."
    "Dear Janey," Lydia murmured from the other side of Llewellyn's chair. "She looks like
a seal in that wet-suit."
    That was unkind. Janey was only a little bottom heavy. I took a sip of beer and didn't
comment.
    Bill gave a snort of laughter. "Barks like a seal when you jaw at her, too, Lydia. Better
lay off." He sipped at his scotch. "She's a good kid."
    Lydia sighed and rose. "I know, darling. I wish she didn't live so far away. We don't see
enough of her." Janey worked in a small town up north in the Columbia Gorge, the better to
wind-surf. And, I suspected, avoid her stepmother.
    Lydia strolled over to the others and sat by Denise. I could see Janey edging away from
her.
    "Tell me something, Lark."
    I looked at Bill over the rim of my schooner.
    "Your mother's name, Mary Wandworth Dailey..."
    "I know." I resigned myself to answering the inevitable question. "It's too good to be
true, but it's her real name. She was Mary Wandworth, and she'd published a couple of poems by
the time she and Dad married, so she kept both names. It's just a coincidence that they make her
sound like Wordsworth and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow."
    Llewellyn said drowsily, "Nothing would compel Mary to sound like Longfellow."
    I grinned at him. "True. She was well-taught. No bumpity-bump meters for Ma."
    He took a swallow of the bitter red wine. "You have a way with words."
    "No, sir, I do not. The Wandworth eloquence skipped a generation. Ma always says she
should have named me Audrey."
    Both men looked at me.
    "You know, in As You Like It --Jacques's shepherdess."
    "'I would the gods had made thee poetical'?" Dai Llewellyn gave a crack of laughter.
    I was pleased with my little joke, though Bill had the uneasy look of one who doesn't
quite get it.
    Llewellyn was still choking. It took me a second to realize he was not choking with
laughter.
    I jumped up. "What's the matter?"
    "Wine..." He gave a convulsive shudder and leaned forward. The wine glass tipped over
on the little metal table between us. Red liquid puddled the white enamel.
    I set the glass upright. As I reached out with the vague idea of helping him to his feet, he
began to vomit.
    Bill shot up, overturning his chair. I took Llewellyn's shoulders. "Help me. He's
sick."
    Jay was at Llewellyn's other side before the words were out. He must have seen we were
in trouble.
    The poet's frail body shuddered under my hands as he retched up his dinner. Bill was
making bleating noises.
    I tried to pat Llewellyn's shoulders. "Can we take him into the house?"
    Jay met my eyes briefly. He was frowning. "In a minute. Bill, go for the phone--911. Tell
them to send the life-flight helicopter."
    "Good God, he's just sick, ate a bad egg or something."
    "Do it, man."
    After a moment of hesitation Bill shambled off toward the house. The others had come
closer, Lydia and Denise clinging to each other, all staring. I noticed they stood out of splattering
range in their finery. Miguel, crying out in Spanish, ran up with a bar towel.
    Jay took it from him and rapped out an order in the same language. Llewellyn grabbed at
the damp towel and tried to wipe

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