Eileen spent the next two days at the B&B, sleeping off her jetlag. It took her a while to get used to the time difference. When she felt normal again, she studied the map of San Fran-cisco and talked to her host, Mrs Hernandez.
Miss Catherine! I was just about to put away the breakfast. Would you like to have some tea? Or maybe a toast with peanut butter?
That would be nice, Roberta.
So my dear, what are your plans for today? The weather is great today, isn't it? Not too cold and not too warm.
Er, maybe I'm going to the Pier today. Maybe check out Alcatraz, or walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. And I have to stop by somewhere and get me a pancake!
Ah dear, you should definitely do that. But don't go to get the pancakes. I'll make you some tomorrow morning. Would you like them with Nutella or with Maple Syrup?
Are you sure you don't mind? Thanks a lot, Roberta! I would prefer Maple Syrup. And er, Roberta? Could you please tell me how to explore San Francisco best? By bus? Or bike?
Oh, Catherine, don't take the bike. It is too exhaust-ing! All the hills of SF… No, take the bus, it's cheap. Did you know that the Pier is only a, hmm, about 30 minute's walk?
Yes, Catherine. I recommend you to go there. Take your cam with you and just enjoy the streets of San Francisco!
So she put her cam, a smaller map of the city and her current book into a blue handbag and after saying goodbye to Roberta, whom Eileen began to like very much, she left Bush Street walking downhill towards Market.
The first time she'd drove through SF in the cab she was very sleepy and her eyes hadn't really absorbed anything of the city. Now she saw SF as if for the first time: The city was beautiful. Eileen was awed by the beautiful houses, the warm weather, the people and she was shocked by the dimension of San Francisco.
It was 10 o'clock right now and Eileen wondered what Ben would be doing. Had he left Maria Alm, had he gone back to Cork? Or was he staring at the note she had left him not to follow her, like in these movies? Eileen shook her head. She didn't want to know. She didn't care. Though, maybe that was a lie. Perhaps that kiss they had exchanged had been more important than she thought it had been. After all, they had been drunk. It had happened on a Friday. Stephan, Christina, Ben and her had gone out to a place called Party Meadow. And as Eileen and Ben usually never drank, the alcohol influenced them to do funny stuff. They danced all night long and had so much fun. Later that evening Eileen kissed Ben out of an impulse – or Ben had kissed her? She didn't remember that all so well. Anyways, they had never talked about it, but Eileen had realized that Ben had been staring at her with a new intensity since then.
A few days after the kiss, Eileen found something strange in her room – a huge brown envelope. She opened it and found a very interesting file. It was the file concerning her father's death. Pictures of his blue-lipped face. Eileen thought she was going to throw up. And there was more. The suspected mur-derer of Fergus. LIAM SMITH.
RH-Association: Criminal organisation in the USA, CA, San Francisco. Known for stealing from the wealthy, especially in the Richmond district
Suspected to be involved in the assassination of Fergus Beckett
Eileen had never heard of this before. And what did RH stand for? Why would a theft organisation out of San Francisco kill her father? He didn't have anything to do with international crime, did he?
Her head was spinning. By the way, how had that file ended up in her room, for god's sake? It hadn't arrived by post; it had been lying on her bed, waiting for her. That indicated that somebody had been here, in her room. She looked around in panic but didn't find any hint for a break-in.
This whole thing didn't happen just by coincidence. Eileen had to do something. She wanted to know the truth. The truth about how, and – most of all – why her father was killed. She had a right to know. She couldn't stand sitting around here any longer, waiting for the police to act. Eileen wanted to act herself.
And that's how Eileen ended up here, in the United States, San Francisco, on her way to the seaside. She took some pictures of the amazing houses in the streets and promised herself that one day she would own one of them.
When she arrived at the pier she ordered some tickets to cross the sea and visited the former prison Alcatraz. The lady, who had sold her the ticket, told her that the next boat would go in one hour and so Eileen went off wandering around the pier. She looked at the seals, there were lots of them. She took a ride on a carousel and bought herself some ice cream and a golden necklace with the name Catherine written across it in an artistic way. She sat down on a bench and enjoyed the feeling of warm sunlight against her white skin. At about seven pm she was back at the Bed and Breakfast. She went into her rooms and looked at her photos again, when Roberta knocked on the door.
Catherine! Good evening. How was your day? What did you do?
I went to Alcatraz and to a little park somewhere nearby.
What do you think of our city?
Oh it's wonderful. There are so many things to discover!
Oh yes. I came because I wanted to ask you whether you would like to have dinner with me.
Yes I'd love to!
They went downstairs into the dining room. Eileen hadn't noticed how hungry she was until she saw the lovely fried potatoes waiting for her in the kitchen. Afterwards she went to bed early and slept very good.
The next week Eileen explored the rest of San Francisco. She spent time at the beach, the museums, the shopping mall, Chinatown, the huge city centre, the Golden Gate Bridge and on the "Hippie" streets. Every day, after returning to the B&B, Roberta took good care of her. Eileen had a great first week but she knew that now her fun time would be over and she had to begin with the work she came here for.