After dinner, Elizabeth asked to
speak privately with Angelique and the two women adjourned to
the study. Once there, Elizabeth invited her to sit and
poured two glasses of sherry. "Angelique, why did you
agree to marry Barnabas tomorrow?"
"If you're worried that I'm after his money, Mrs. Stoddard -"
"That thought didn't occur to me," Elizabeth said quickly.
Angelique looked at her over the rim of the glass. "Didn't it?"
"Perhaps for a moment, but I dismissed it."
"Because you obviously care about your child. And because of something I see in your eyes when you look at Barnabas."
Angelique chose not to comment on the second reason. "Sarah is the most important person in my life, Mrs. Stoddard. I didn't tell Barnabas about her originally because I knew I would lose her to him."
"Oh, yes. I was a model, Mrs. Stoddard, no established home, no money at that time to speak of. Barnabas was heir to a large estate, could give her everything I couldn't."
"Did Sarah ever want for anything?"
"I hadn't thought so -until she met Barnabas. She's only seen him three times, Mrs. Stoddard, and already there's a bond between them that almost makes me feel an outsider. Then, earlier, she told us that she's always wanted a family."
Elizabeth nodded thoughtfully. "Which explains Barnabas asking you to marry him again."
"If I refused him, I'd lose her still. At least, as Barnabas' wife, I'll be at the Old House, with her."
"And to Barnabas? You still love him." Her eyes met Angelique's and the friendship and understanding she saw there made Angelique decide to be truthful with this woman.
"I have from the first moment I saw him. I suppose I always will. Even when I was married to Sky, I still loved Barnabas. I suppose that sounds terrible of me. And Barnabas still thinks me a fortune hunter. His opinion of me will never change."
"Oh, I think you're wrong."
"How can you say that? The only reason he wants to marry me is because of Sarah."
"At least you have her in common. Barnabas is the type of man who will give every bit of himself to his child - and will have some warm feeling toward the mother of that child. He might have trouble showing those feelings - or even admitting them to himself, but they're there." She smiled. "I believe things will work out."
"I hope you're right, Mrs. Stoddard."
"Please. Call me Elizabeth. And remember, if you need someone to talk to, that I'm here."
As they returned to the drawing
room, the telephone rang and Julia picked it up. "Collinwood
. . . Hello, Roger."
Hearing the warmth in her tones, Angelique cast a surprised look toward Barnabas. Julia and -Roger?
"You're . . .Oh. I see. . . What time will your flight arrive? . . " She glanced at her wristwatch. "That doesn't give me much time. . . I'll be there. . .Good-bye." She turned to the others. "Roger's in New York. He's about to catch a shuttle flight to Bangor."
"Why did he come home early? He usually prefers to come through Bangor during the day so he can visit David at Edgewood." After three governesses in three months, Elizabeth had finally agreed to send her nephew to a boarding school in Bangor. Edgewood Academy was an excellent institution, and David seemed happy there.
"I spoke to him yesterday and told him about Angelique and Sarah's arrival. I think that has some bearing on his haste to return home." She picked up the telephone and dialed a number. "This is Dr. Hoffman. How is Sarah? . . .All right. I'll check again in the morning. Gooodnight." She looked at Angelique. "She's still asleep. I'd better go."
"Would you like some company, Julia?" Carolyn asked.
"If you're ready to leave now," Julia said.
After their departure, Barnabas finished his sherry and stood. "I'd better pack my bags. Since Roger is returning -"
"Why don't you move into another room for the night, Barnabas?" Elizabeth suggested.
"I don't know if I should - I've been so anxious to return to my own home -"
"This way, when you return, it will be with your family, not alone."
Barnabas smiled. "Very well, Elizabeth."
"And you're more than welcome to stay as well, Angelique."
"Thank you, Elizabeth, but I'll feel better at the Inn, nearer Sarah."
Barnabas spoke up immediately. "I think you should stay here, Angelique," he said. "Sarah will no doubt sleep through the night. If she does wake, there are nurses at the hospital. I'll drive you into town to get your things."
Angelique knew that losing her temper would achieve nothing, so she adopted a demure tone. "As you wish, Barnabas." Time enough later to remind him that she wasn't one who enjoyed being ordered about.
Julia saw Roger immediately in
the terminal, and was surprised how simply seeing him made her
feel. He pulled her to him for a quick embrace, then kept
his arm around her shoulders as they moved through the crowd.
"I missed you."
"In Japan? I find that difficult to believe."
"It's true, nevertheless. I even brought you a present back with me."
Julia shook her head. "We'd better get your luggage."
"Quentin's taking care of it."
"Quentin?" Julia repeated, looking up at him. "He's -here?"
"I am," that man himself said, having heard her question. He smiled down at her. "Hello, Julia."
"When did you decide to come back?"
"I ran into Roger in San Francisco last night, and he told me what's been going on around here. Is Angelique really here with her daughter?"
"Hers-and Barnabas'," Julia confirmed.
"Has anything new developed?"
"I'd say so," Julia said. "Why don't we go out to the car? Carolyn's waiting."
During the drive, Julia and Carolyn told them about Julia's discovery of the cause of Sarah's illness -and about the wedding planned for the next afternoon. "So Cousin Barnabas is actually going to marry the lady again," Quentin commented.
"Tell me, Julia, do you think Barnabas' father was right about Angelique?" Roger wondered.
"If you had asked me that a year ago, I would have said yes. But now," she shook her head, "no. The most important thing to Angelique is her daughter."
Carolyn's voice was serious as she agreed. "Angelique's -different somehow."
Quentin turned his attention to the blonde woman at his side. "How do YOU feel about her being back, Carolyn?"
"I was troubled at first, Quentin. Especially after I found out that she was Nicholas Blair's sister. But after I thought about it, I realized she wasn't responsible for what Sky Rumsen did. She had already left him because of his connection with Nicholas. Like I said, she's different. And I think she's still in love with Barnabas."
Angelique woke early -actually,
she'd slept very little - and made her way to the drawing room.
Roger was standing by the fireplace, a cup of coffee in his hand.
"Come in, Angelique. Have some coffee."
"Thank you. I couldn't sleep -" she explained.
"Nervous?" Roger guessed.
"A little, I suppose." She sipped the black liquid gratefully, hoping it would clear away the cobwebs in her head.
"I was - surprised to discover your relationship to Cassandra -"
"Before you continue, Roger, I think I should apologize to you for any trouble she and Nicholas may have caused -"
He waved aside her words. "Nonsense. You had nothing to do with whatever they were planning. Tell me, have you seen Cassandra lately?"
Angelique lifted wide blue eyes to him. "You don't know?"
"I assumed you would have been informed. Cassandra was killed a year ago - an automobile accident. I'm sorry, Roger. I thought that surely someone would have notified you -"
"No. No one did."
Julia had listened to the brief exchange before entering the room to say brightly, "Good morning. I thought I heard voices."
"I thought you were going to sleep late," Roger reminded her.
She shrugged. "I have too much to do. I have to arrange for Sarah's release -"
"Are you on your way into town, Julia?" Angelique asked.
"Yes, I am."
"May I go along? I'd like to tell Sarah the news."
Julia hesitated. "Shouldn't you wait for Barnabas to go with you?"
"He left the house earlier. I think he was going over to the Old House."
"Then let's go. We'll be back in no more than two hours, Roger."