Indeed, as Steve said, it turned cold over the evening. Niles had a cold blistering rainy walk to the Harbor Inn for his morning coffee.
Niles poured his coffee and looked around for Steve in the dining room. He set his coffee on a table. He walked back to the kitchen. Just as Niles entered Shelly pulled a pan of muffins from the oven and placed them on the counter.
“Hold you’re horses, I’ll have them out in a minute,” Shelly said.
“It’s Steve,” Niles said, “where is he?”
“I don’t know,” Shelly said. “It’s not like him to be late.”
“He didn’t call?” Niles said.
“No,” Shelly said.
The entire conversation Niles had with Steve flashed through his mind, but above all the fear he expressed. “Is he in danger,” he thought.
“Is something wrong,” Shelly said.
“No,” Niles said, “but I’m going to check on him.”
“You think there’s something wrong, don’t you?” Shelley said. “Maybe Charley should go with you.”
“No,” Niles said.
“I think nothing,” Niles said and left the kitchen. Just as he reached the door Steve came in from the cold, wind, and rain.
“Where you heading,” Steve said.
“He was heading to your house,” Shelley said.
Niles’ and Steve’s eyes locked in on each other. A curious suspicion crossed their faces.
“When we get a strong wind passing over the hill to the north in a certain fashion and velocity it blows out the pilot to my furnace,” Steve said. “I had quite a time lighting it again.”
“Let’s get some coffee in you,” Shelley said.
Shelly poured Steve a coffee. “I’ll have those muffins in a couple minutes.”
Niles and Steve sat silently at a table and sipped their coffee for a couple minutes.
Shelly brought a tray of muffins from the kitchen. “You guys help yourself, blueberry, apple cinnamon, and chocolate chip.”
Niles stood and asked Steve, “Blueberry?”
‘Yeah,” Steve said.
Niles returned to the table with two muffins.
“Shelley does a good job on muffins,” Niles said.
“You were coming after me?” Steve said.
“Yeah,” Niles said. “I take a special interest in friends.”
“Shelly knows her muffins,” Steve said, “fresh blueberries, that’s the secret, always moist.”