Isabelle placed Thomas in the playpen with his sister Tegan and scattered some toys about. She looked at the clock on the kitchen wall. Bessie would soon be here to babysit and she hoped she'd be on time.
It was to be a huge night in the small town of Portland. Two ships were moored at the Port's wharf an American Ice-breaker, the other an Australian Navy ship.
Everyone was excited as there was a Ball being held to celebrate the opening of the new harbour. The man made harbour had been a project which had taken several years to attain.
Two bands were to alternate playing for the big crowd of people. This was held in a large tin shed which was part of the foreshore works. But for this special occasion it was transformed into a night spot.
Isabelle was almost ready to go, she was waiting on her dressmaker to deliver her gown. She had had her hair styled earlier at a local salon. She hoped her gown would fit?
Her better half, Lester, was shaving in the bathroom and making humming noises. His dinner suit was laid out on the bed ready to wear.
At last both dress and sitter arrived at the front door. She put her turquoise long gown on and admired resell in the mirror and got an approving wow from Lester.
"We're to be there by 9o'clock so better get a move," she told Bessie. "I've left food in the fridge and you've got our phone number? " Yes, now off you go and don't worry all will be ok here,said, Bessie eyeing off a large bowl of ripe cherries on the bench.
The Ball was a grand parade of people of people from all walks of life. There were sailors galore. The Mayoral party and all the local gentry. It seemed that the whole town was there.
Isabelle danced her legs off. A grand supper had been provided with several sittings.
It became quite stuffy and over crowded. She saw one lady being carried out who had obviously passed out. It was the leading Chemist's wife who had earlier made a fuss about her hair at the salon where Isabelle had her hair done. Isabelle laughed to herself.
Arriving home in the wee hours she checked to see the children were ok. They were fast asleep and likewise Bessie in the spare room.
Isabelle noticed all the cherries were gone from the fruit bowl and not even a pip insight?
She thought Bessie must've eaten them as the twins were too young for them.
Too tired to fuss over small matters she tumbled into bed and kissed Lester goodnight.
Next morning Isabelle questioned Bessie about the cherries.
"Did you eat all of the cherries last night Bessie?"
"No, I did not ," Bessie retorted.
"oh, I don't mind you having a few cherries," laughed Isabelle, but there were quite a lot she added.
"Well, I never had any!"
Isabelle let the matter drop.
"She's lied to me, Lester, she said after Bessie had gone home. "you know the bowl was full of cherries!"
Lester shrugged,"it's only a few cherries!"
"It's the lie, not the cherries, Lester, she said unhappily.
When a second lot of cherries went missing,Isabelle questioned Bessie again and again she denied it.
The following morning Isabelle heard a din in the kitchen. She found the door closed. She tried to open it.
Lester shouted:"Don't open the door! There's a rat in here. I've got the dog onto it. Hear's your cherry thief!!