Jan Johnson took a deep breath and walked inside the branch of her local bank. There were a few customers and staff members buzzing around but none of them took any notice of her as she walked up to the counter and spoke to the cashier.
“I need to access a safety deposit box please,” she asked in her politest voice. The cashier smiled at her.
“Can I take your name please?”
’Yes it’s Jan Johnson. Mrs Johnson.”
“Of course Mrs Johnson, please take a seat and I will get someone to come and assist you.”
Mrs Johnson went and sat on a row of three cushioned chairs and waited. Earlier that morning she had woken up to find Mr Johnson gone. She had taken note of the date on the morning paper, 18th June 2017. It was something that she had been expecting to happen for the last thirteen years. All that time ago she had been sitting in the park on her lunch break eating her sandwiches when a very young and beautiful couple had approached her and sat alongside her on the same bench. Nothing unusual in that, but the conversation that followed had been very unusual indeed.
“Miss Saunders, we really need your help.” were the first words they had said to her. She was confused at first, how did they know her name and how could she help them. They had gone on to explain that they were expecting their first daughter and had bought a house that morning at an auction and had decided to sell the house straight away through her sister Isobel’s estate agency in the town.
They had told Isobel that they expected a man called Dave Johnson to buy the house from them and that he would come into the town that very day and say that he had always lived nearby but that this was not true. They also told her that he would come into the community centre this afternoon and approach Jan and would eventually ask her to marry him. She remembered laughing at this. At fifty nine years old the last thing she had expected was for someone to propose to her. Love at first sight was definitely not something she believed in.
The young couple had continued in their story and had asked her if she would help them. There was something in the way they acted that had seemed so pure, so truthful, so sincere that she knew that she had to help them and she promised them that when the time came, that’s what she would do. They had offered her a large sum of money in return for her help but she had turned this down. She did everything they asked and everything they had told her came absolutely true. She had often wondered what had happened to them and if she would ever see them again. The last she had heard from them was when her sister had told her that she had received a letter from them telling her that they had had the baby. Maybe they would come back, maybe they wouldn’t. Although right now it did look like it was possible that they would be back very soon.
That morning when her husband was gone had not been a shock to her. He was never really her husband. Oh for sure they both played their parts but she knew his agenda all along. He had thought that she hadn’t known anything about him but she had known all along. That’s why last night when he was lying about finding the house in the rainstorm and overhearing the couple arguing she had played dumb. She knew that this was one of the final steps in the part that she had to play and now she was finishing off the job.
After she had checked around the house, she had got herself ready and waited until after nine thirty as instructed and then had driven straight over to her sister’s office.
“I’ve just come off the phone with a young girl,” she had said. “She was asking about a young couple who had bought the house before you and Dave. Today’s the day isn’t it?”
“Yes 18th June 2017. He’s gone already, he went in the night. Do you have my letter?”
“Yes of course, I’ve been waiting for you to arrive,” Isobel handed her sister an envelope with the words written on the outside,
“Do not open until 18th June 2017,” on the outside.
They both looked at each other and Jan opened the envelope and read the letter out loud,
“Dear Jan and Isobel. Thank you so much for everything you have done for us. It will not be long now until we can return and thank you in person. Thirteen years ago we rented a safety deposit box in your name at the bank. It is box number eleven. There is a key for this inside this envelope. Inside the box are further instructions. Jan please go into the bank in town and open the box. We are forever in your debt. Love Adam and Anna.” Jan tapped the envelope and a small key fell out into her palm.
That had been an hour ago and Jan now had been sat waiting at the bank for another five minutes. Presently a tall blonde lady in her early thirties came over and thrust out her hand. Mrs Johnson stood up.
“Mrs Johnson, I’m Rebecca Stevens. I’m the assistant manager,” she said shaking her hand. “Please follow me and I’ll take you to your safety deposit box.”
Mrs Johnson followed her across the banking hall and downstairs into another smaller reception area with a large secure door in front of her.
“I need you to just sign in here please,” said Rebecca as she pointed to a desk with a large book on top of it in which Mrs Johnson needed to fill in her name, address and signature, which she quickly did. The banker behind the desk smiled at her broadly,
“Please can we see your identification Mrs Johnson.” he asked in a friendly manner and Mrs Johnson showed him her passport. He looked at it for a few seconds and then pressed a buzzer and the large security door swung open. They went inside and waited for a few seconds for it to close.
“Ok Mrs Johnson I will wait here for you while you go in and access the box. You will see them all clearly marked with numbers and if you have any problems at all just give me a shout.”
Mrs Johnson nodded and smiled. Rebecca pressed another code into a security pad and another door in front of her opened. Mrs Johnson stepped inside and stared at a wall covered in numbered boxes. She walked up to box number eleven and took the key from her pocket. She turned the key and heard a click and the small door swung open. Inside was a small drawer which she pulled out and placed onto the table in front of her. Inside was another envelope a small velvet bag and a note which had written on it,
“Dear Jan. Please give this envelope to Rose this afternoon. By the time you reach her it will be around three PM. She will need the instructions that we are giving her along with what’s inside the small bag. Please take a quick look and then place the bag carefully inside your handbag and leave the bank and close your account.”
Mrs Johnson picked up the velvet bag. It was quite heavy considering it must only be small. She tipped it up gently into her hand and out slid a large multicoloured gemstone, all the colours of the rainbow but with the brilliance of a diamond. She gasped at its sheer beauty and then carefully placed it back inside the velvet bag.
With that, Mrs Johnson closed up the box and explained to Rebecca that she needed to close her account. This took about twenty minutes and she was now ready to head over to the house to give the news to Rose. Whatever this turned out to be, she was about to get an amazing surprise!