The Mysteries of Riverside Gardens

Chapter 7: Suspicions are growing…

The investigation is continuing and the suspicions of each of our heroes are growing closer… Would they come any closer to the truth?

Suspicion, Photo by Hal Ozart on Unsplash


Susan was looking at the ceiling. Her breath was just beginning to return to its normal rhythm. She was still wondering how she had gotten to this point. Images flashed through her mind, she relived the moment when John had put his hand behind her neck and pulled her up against him. She closed her eyes, and suddenly opened them again, no she wasn’t dreaming. John’s snoring reminded her that she was no longer twenty and neither was her lover.

She was feverish. What had she just done? And Rick in all this? She ran her hand over his worn skin, she hadn’t felt such pleasure in so long. Before the cancer, before this residency, yes, she felt like a woman again, and it hadn’t happened to her in over a decade.

The look in John’s eyes had set her on fire, she hadn’t struggled. The cowboy’s eyes shouted out their desire. Through the old man’s pupils she had felt beautiful and desirable again. So why run away, why not enjoy the moment? She wouldn’t have many more moments like these.

But then, naked in the bed of this man she barely knew, she felt ridiculous. She wasn’t Paula, she didn’t feel in her element. John turned around and put his arm around Susan’s frail body. He grumbled and went back to sleep.

There she was, now she was trapped under that warm, crumpled body. She didn’t know how to get out of it. As she glanced at the clock, she realized it was almost three o’clock. She had to hurry, her grandchildren were going to arrive in less than half an hour.

Slowly, she raised John’s arm. He woke up and gave her a look of tenderness. She was unsettled. She had to leave, she had to run away before her body would ask for more. “I have to leave. My grandchildren. “she said in a breath.

When she got up, she was ashamed of this body that had gone through too many years, too many pregnancies, too many summers, too many trials. Under John’s almost amorous gaze, she searched in vain for her clothes. He giggled slightly and pointed to the chair on which he had folded each of Susan’s clothes. She tried to hide the remnants of her intimacy as she walked across the room.

Without looking back, she put on each of the clothes one by one. She felt John’s gaze detail her throughout the process. Once completely dressed, she felt protected by the fabrics again, she felt herself again.

Without turning around, she wished John a good afternoon and ran away. The minutes of walking home seemed interminable to her, it was imperative that she arrived in time to take a shower before her grandchildren arrived. She had the unpleasant sensation of being dirty, sticky. Yet when she breathed in the scent that John had left on her skin, the desire rose instantly.

Arriving in front of the porch, she didn’t have time to see her daughter’s car, which her two grandsons were already jumping on her neck.


Bruce was observing the sudden movements of Franck’s eyelids. The gardener was shaken with tics. It had already been more than half an hour that Franck, confused, tried in vain to explain to Bruce his problem. His voice was interrupted only to clear his throat. The words seemed to come out of his lips without having passed through his neurons. It was simply incomprehensible.

Bruce liked Frank, he was a good guy. He was trying to do the right thing. Well, things didn’t always go well up there, or they went too far, he didn’t know. But he had become attached to this little guy, to his rambling speeches, to his desire to do well, which constantly struggled against his lazy nature. He was an original, that’s what he was.

When Bill had left them, he had taken little Frank under his wing. Like a surrogate father, he was there when Frank needed him. He didn’t hesitate sometimes to call him to order, to put his head back on his shoulders. Moreover, Franck made him feel good and regularly helped him to tinker in his van during breaks.

But this time it was serious, he had never seen Franck in such a state. He only understood what was happening when Franck took an empty bag out of his pocket. Bruce instantly recognized the transparent bag. The pink border on the edge left him in no doubt, he had hundreds of them in the van’s closet.

How silly he had been, Franck had found the bag of course. It had been weeks that he seemed more energetic than ever, why hadn’t Bruce made the connection? Well, he was reassured. If Franck seemed to be running out of pills, he hadn’t had a heart attack or any discomfort. Maybe Andrews hadn’t died because of him? Who knows?

He put his hand on Franck’s shoulder and raised his head. Looking him in the eyes, he told him that everything would be fine. These few words were enough for Franck to calm down and resume an almost normal breathing rhythm. Bruce had Frank sit on the van bench and opened one of the kitchen cupboards.

When Bruce handed Franck the sachet filled with pink pills, Franck almost choked with joy. He couldn’t believe his eyes, there were at least two weeks’ worth of pills, it was paradise. Franck looked at Bruce in amazement, but Bruce still wouldn’t let go of the bag.

If Franck wanted to enjoy the sweet pink pills, he would have to do a few things for Bruce. The gardener dropped the bag for a moment and looked at the old man suspiciously. He had already been in prison and he wasn’t planning to go back. Bruce reassured the little man, nothing he would ask him to do would put him behind bars.

Calmly Bruce explained to Frank what he expected of him, and the people involved. He made sure that the gardener was not mistaken about the mission or the client. Finally, in a ceremonial gesture, he handed the bag of pink pills to Franck. He was going to need energy to ensure.


Rita was pacing around in her kitchen. She couldn’t help but think about Bruce’s strange behavior over the past few weeks. At first, she really blamed it on grief. Bruce and Andrews were close, and his friend’s death had probably thrown him off balance. However, as the weeks went by, Bruce did not seem to return to normal behavior.

Every day he would leave the house at dawn to work on his van. His van was already almost finished and she couldn’t see why he was spending so much time in it. He had a mistress, she was sure of it!

It wouldn’t be the first time! Bruce was an exemplary husband in many ways, except for fidelity. He didn’t know that she knew, that she knew every mistress he had had during their years of marriage. Oh sure, she had felt jealous at times, she had questioned herself, lost weight, tried to win him back. But each time she knew he would come back to her. He was her Bruce, she was her Rita, and despite all the mischief, they couldn’t live without each other.

Only the story with Paula had threatened her. She knew that she herself was no stranger to it, that it was she, Rita, who had set it all in motion. Since Paula, since the whole thing was behind them, she hadn’t suspected anyone, but in the last few days her instincts told her that something was wrong. So she was going to put the Andrews investigation on hold for a while and find out what was holding her husband back.

She grabbed her jacket from the coat rack, walked to the door, and got ready to go out. Suddenly she turned around, her steps led her to the kitchen, opened the lid of the cookie jar and grabbed a handful. It would take her strength to spy on Bruce. She closed the jar and finally left the house.

With her sneakers on, she felt she was walking faster, keeping a reasonable pace. Yet she felt that she was already out of breath after only a quarter of the way through her journey. Come on Rita, you can do it. How far away was this wasteland! She needed a break, she saw a bench a few meters away. Her feet hurt terribly, why didn’t she take her car?

It was necessary to be discreet, that’s why. She finally arrived at the bench, she was about to sit down when she saw Sue’s buggy. Oh no, she wouldn’t do her that pleasure. Sue was already judging her enough, she shouldn’t think she was tired or out of breath. So Rita pretended to tie her shoelace on the bench. She greeted her lifelong enemy with a distracted greeting and then set off again.

When she finally arrived near the wasteland, she hid behind the fence. She caught her breath under a large gumtree. A shiver ran down her spine, what would she find out about Bruce. Her inner self was struggling with her desire to deal with the truth and her desire to return to her peaceful life.

Now that she was there, she couldn’t turn back. She walked along the wall of the overflow area, and rushed through the small gate. With her extra pounds, it was difficult for her to sneak in between the garbage cans, discreetly. She barely caught one of them before it crashed to the ground. Phew, she had been at one finger to be discovered.

The van was finally in sight, she recognized Bruce’s large and imposing silhouette. Oh but, there was someone else with him. A woman? The half-long hair could have put her on the wrong track. But when he turned towards the window, she recognized Frank immediately.

What was Frank doing in Bruce’s van? She knew they were friends, but she felt that it was something else that bound them together now. As she was about to leave her hiding place, she saw Bruce handing a huge bag of pink candy to Franck. Candy, or something else? She had to find out.


The few words of the SMS she had received kept turning over and over again in her mind. “You thought your secret would be buried with Andrews? » . Who could have known about it? Would Andrews have leaked the information? Sue’s hands began to shake again.

The nightmare continued, and she was out of control of anything new. And she hated it. Being in control of everything and everyone, that’s what reassured her. But she felt that the situation was already getting out of hand. She had to get her head straight. Yes, she had to tap into her resources and resolve the situation!

She thought for a moment. Who could have sent her such a message? The acerbic tone of the few words reminded her of the verve of the nymph Paula. Yet she doubted that Paula knew anything about the secrets that Andrews held. They had slept together, of course, but that was the end of it. Um, but Susan, on the other hand, had been very close to Andrews these few years and it would not be impossible…

She knew that the two women had teamed up with the horrible Rita to investigate. She had heard about it in conversation. Everything was known here at Riverside Gardens, and if they were going to keep a low profile, it was a lost cause!

Sue frowned and turned back with the buggy, she was going to pay a small visit to these shrews. She was not going to be blackmailed again, she was not going to be tormented by three old ladies playing detective.

Her foot pressed on the gas pedal. She was going to start with Paula, her resentment was overwhelming and she felt that her own rage was protecting her from the evil spells of this unscrupulous woman. The buggy was going at full speed, she passed Rita on its way and her face took a malicious grin, without her even realizing it.

Arriving in front of Paula’s house, she skidded down her driveway and hurried out of the buggy. Her heels clicked on the cobblestones, she stopped in front of the door, contemplated the garden devoid of any figurines, with flowering bushes in the shape of… In the shape of vulva !!! The nymph had not dared ?? All the plants in front of her house looked like a female sex! That’s what she thought, Paula did not have all her head.

She didn’t have time to knock on the door, which opened on the plumber of the residence, disheveled and looking scared. Sue’s blood was all over the place, what had Paula done to the poor man? The plumber in his deep voice announced to Paula that she had a visitor, and he disappeared into the street.

After a few minutes Paula showed up, wrapped in a black satin bathrobe, smiling victoriously. Her smile disappeared immediately when she saw Sue in the doorway. What did the cursed witch want? Paula opened her mouth to speak words that remained silent, Sue interrupted her before she had even begun.

“I know the blackmail is coming from you, I won’t let it happen! If there are any secrets on your side, I have no doubt that I will dig them up and your life will become a living hell, don’t doubt it! I have my eye on you! “With those words, Sue turned her back on Paula, satisfied, and walked to the cart.

She was about to start when Paula’s sweet voice whispered to her, “You will give Pete my regards…”.


Franck left Bruce’s van both relieved and panicked. To recover, he took two of the pills from the bag and tried to swallow them. Oh no, it was too big, he was going to choke. One of the tablets was already falling off his tongue and the other was stuck in his throat. He tried to cough, impossible.

Panicked, he ran to the workshop. He turned on the faucet and put his whole head under it, lapping as much water as he could. Ahhh, the pills were finally able to slide slowly down his esophagus. He coughed again, phew, he was saved. Pfff, he stood up, his head completely soaked. He straightened his hair on both sides and blinked frantically. Then he realized that he was not alone. Melanie and Benjamin were looking at him cautiously. Decidedly, Franck was really a strange character.

He didn’t have time to explain to them. He had to accomplish his first mission, Bruce was not to be disappointed with him. Well, he had to go to Steven’s house… And that… Geez, he had already forgotten. He took a memo out of his pocket, he reread the notes scattered on the little piece of paper.

Destroy Steven’s garden, because he had not paid. That was his mission. Franck made up an excuse for a broken sprinkler and told Melanie and Benjamin to extend their break, he was coming back. He started the Ute with a bang. He had a doubt about the number of Steven’s house, 52… Or 25… No 52 it was on, yes, yes 52. He went around the village and parked in front of number 52. Nobody on the horizon, it was time to get to work!

Franck grabbed his chainsaw and headed towards the pretty garden. He first kicked several of the garden figurines. The garden gnome and one of the ducks broke into a thousand pieces. Then he turned on the chainsaw. The machine started to whirr. Franck randomly cut flowers, branches, bushes, he committed a real massacre.

Once his task was finished, he admired his work. He almost saw something artistic in it. Ah, he had enjoyed it. If he could do it again for Bruce, he would do it again. Then a doubt crept into his mind. He was going to have problems, that was for sure. Oh no, he didn’t want to go back to prison. For pity’s sake, as long as no one suspects that he was the perpetrator.

He grabbed the chainsaw, threw it in the Ute and ran away. On the ground, his orange noise-cancelling headphones contrasted sharply with the pile of green branches lying on the ground.


Paula placed some nice diced fruit on the table, Rita raised her head and made a grimace. Every house had its traditions, if she had known, she would have brought cookies. Susan, for her part, stared at the corner of the table looking absent.

“Okay, let’s get started? “Paula asked impatiently. At the same time she pricked a toothpick from a piece of watermelon and brought it sensually to her lips. Susan stared at her, how this woman could make everything sexual and voluptuous. She took a toothpick and picked a piece of pineapple to bring it to her mouth, unfortunately, the result was quite different.

Paula picked up a small fruity square and began her summary. The little gardener, who was really very well built, she could not help adding, hadn’t been too eager to play spies for a few dozen dollars. He would be busy spying on Martha and Sue. On the other hand, she lowered her head looking disappointed, she had not managed to approach James Court. But she would not give up, she would persevere no matter what. If she had to stand in front of his house, she would.

Rita looked at her satisfied, she had done a good job. Yet Paula felt stupid, why couldn’t she get close to the handsome neighbor? With the other men it was so easy, why did he run away? What did he have to hide? She wouldn’t give up, oh no, she wouldn’t give up this prey, she would have it, whether he wanted it or not. If she had to drug him for it, she would.

Paula looked at Rita in disgust when she swallowed four pieces of watermelon at once. She really had to teach her friend to be more graceful. More sensual maybe. No wonder Bruce had gone elsewhere several times. Ah Bruce, he had been a strange lover, a little sticky, a little gruff, but not so bad. Rita was lucky to have him in her bed, she should enjoy it more.

Speaking of bed, she had to make her own bed, the sheets were probably still wet from the intense frolic she had had with the plumber. Oh well, now she remembered Sue’s visit, it had completely slipped her mind! She had to tell Rita and Susan about it.

She banged her fist on the table and the two grannies turned around in surprise. What was happening to poor Paula, was she losing her mind? She told them in detail about the witch’s arrival, and took great pleasure in describing Sue’s amazement when she saw the plumber and his scowl when Paula mentioned Pete.

Rita frowned, didn’t Paula? You haven’t slept with Pete either. Paula laughed heartily. Of course she did, and besides, it wasn’t a success. But what a victory over Sue, the nymph was gloating. For some time now, conquering men had become too easy, so she chose them to be married, usually to women she didn’t carry in her heart. Double victory. Well most of the time, the sex was not up to the task, but this high satisfaction of destroying a small part of the esteem of these women exalted her!

Paula had talked enough, it was time fort Rita and Susan now to tell their progress to her. Rita lowered her head and mumbled. Paula didn’t understand a word she had just said. She made her repeat it. Melanie was going to help. Well, mission accomplished, she had nothing more to add. Yet Paula felt that Rita wasn’t telling the whole truth. She didn’t push her any further, but she would tell Susan.

“How did you Susan do with John?”. Susan took an instant make-up stain, stuttered, and then went back to it several times. She ended up saying in a thin voice that she didn’t think John was guilty, and that she hadn’t learned much. Paula looked at Susan’s embarrassed face and looked into his. Susan tried to escape Paula’s inquisitive gaze, but it was already too late.

“Naughty! You slept with John!? “Paula shook her amused head. It was good news, Susan was getting back on the horse! Susan couldn’t lie, she nodded her head. Then all of a sudden, words rushed out of her mouth, she hadn’t controlled anything, he had kissed her and it was all happening. She blamed herself and at the same time … Paula smiled benevolently at him, it was very good. Perfect, even, she needed it. And then, sex was life! Even at their age. Rita cleared her throat and pretended a pressing desire.

Paula took the opportunity to grab Susan’s hand and whispered to her, “That’s a good one, plus John, right?!”.

More next week

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