Angelique woke to a light knock on her door. "Who is
"It's Willie. I got you some breakfast here."
"Come in," she said, glancing at the clock. "Ten? I NEVER sleep this late."
"Barnabas told me to let you sleep," he explained, placing the tray across her legs before turning to open the heavy drapes.
"Where is Sarah?"
"She was up at first light," Willie informed her with a grin. Barnabas had her rest until he was ready to leave and took her to the shipyard with him."
"To the-? A shipyard is no place for her. I -"
Willie held the tray to keep her from getting out of bed. "He'll bring her home if she gets tired. And don't forget that Julia's right across the street. Look, Angelique, I been through a lot with Barnabas, and I know how much thta little girl means to him. So do you."
She went still. "Yes. I do."
"So you know he won't let anything happen to her. You gotta trust him, Angelique."
"Thank you, Willie. For the advice, and for this excellent breakfast." The telephone rang and Willie looked up.
"I'll get that. You just relax."
Angelique took a sip of the coffee, her expression thoughtful. Willie was a surprising ally. She could hear him talking, and when he returned, she held out the empty tray. "That was delicious, Willie. Was that Barnabas?"
"No, Quentin. He's on his way over to see you."
"I'd better get dressed them. What time shall we decide on this week's menu?" she asked as he started for the door.
"We can make a start when you get downstairs."
"I shan't be long."
They were going over the household budget when Quentin arrived.
Since Angelique was busy, Willie let him in.
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything," he drawled, making himself at home.
"Angelique's just tring to figure out my book-keeping," Willie told him with a grin.
"It's not that bad," Angelique insisted. "Not REALLY."
"I KNOW I'm a lousy bookkeeper. I haven't even started this month's books."
"At least I'll have something to keep me busy," Angelique commented, only half in jest.
"And here I had hoped to rescue you from absolute boredom," Quentin joked.
"How?" Angelique asked, closing the ledger. "I'll do these later, Willie. Perhaps after dinner this evening."
"Okay. I got work to do in the kitchen."
Angelique sat in the chair across from Quentin. "Well? How do you plan to rescue me?"
"By taking you out to lunch."
"I don't know if I should -"
"Why not? Don't tell me you're afraid Barnabas will disapprove. How could he possibly object to your lunching with an old friend?"
"You're right," Angelique agreed, ignoring the warning voices in her head. "He can't possibly do so. Where will we be?"
"There's a place up the coast -beyond that, I'm not telling."
"You are just as irresponsible as ever, Quentin Collins," she said, laughing softly.
"It's part of my charm. Are you ready to go?"
"Let me tell Willie that I'll be out."
Barnabas laid the sleeping child in her bed and pulled the
quilted comforter over her, then went back downstairs to find
Willie. The servant was in the study, polishing the mahogany mantle.
"Hi, Barnabas. Where's Sarah?"
"I guess she had a good time, huh?"
"Yes. Where is Angelique, Willie?"
"She - uh- she went out," he said, paying closer attention to the work he was doing.
"Alone?" Willie began rubbing the wood harder. "Willie, who is she with?"
"A - friend," Willie muttered.
Barnabas reached around to take the rag from Willie. "You're trying not to tell me something, Willie."
"Look, I got a lot of work to do -"
"She's with Quentin," Willie said quickly. "He came by and asked her to lunch. They ought to be back any minute."
"I have to go back to the yards."
"I'll keep an eye on Sarah until Angelique gets back -"
The front door opened and they heard Angelique's laughter mingled with Quentin's. Willie watched Barnabas' expression and felt sorry for Angelique. HE certainly wouldn't want to bear the brunt on of the anger he saw in that face.
"Oh, Quentin. Thank you. I needed this more than I
He bowed at the waist. "It was entirely my pleasure, dear lady. I am at your service, any time. Just call." Taking her hand, he kissed it before looking behind Angelique to where Barnabas stood. His blue eyes grew serious. "I mean it, Angelique."
"Quentin, I appreciate the offer, -" she stopped, some special sense telling her that they weren't alone. Turning, she met her husband's eyes. The hazel gaze had changed to a dark brown, and indication of his anger. "Barnabas. Where's Sarah?"
"In her room. Asleep."
"She's over tired. I KNEW it would happen -"
"On the contrary. She enjoyed herself. We had lunch at the Inn and she fell asleep on the ride home."
"I'm going to check on her anyway." Her retreat was only in part concern for her daughter. She wanted to escape that accusing gaze before they began to argue. "Thank you for lunch, Quentin. Excuse me."
Barnabas turned his gaze on Quentin. "Don't give me that look, Cousin. All I did was take her to lunch and make her laugh. I'm surprised that it bothers you at all."
"She IS my wife."
"You couldn't prove it by me. Two minutes after the ceremony yesterday you were ignoring her, treating her as if she weren't even in the room."
"Do you have a point, Quentin?"
"Just this. If you let her get away from you again, then you're a fool, cousin. And that's onle thing I've never thought you were. Tell Angelique that I'll be in touch."
Willie had overheard the conversation but wisely kept his silence until Quentin was gone. "Uh, you still going back to the yards, Barnabas?"
"Yes, Willie. I have some things I can't put off. I'll be home for dinner."
"Okay." He didn't sigh with relief until the door closed.
Angelique came down the stairs. "Is he gone?"
"He had to go back to work. But he'll be back in time for dinner. He's pretty angry."
"Maybe he's jealous of Quentin?" Willie suggested.
"Not likely. Barnabas has a possesive streak, Willie. If he considers something his, then he'll fight to keep it -even if he no longer wants it for himself." She shook her head. "No. You have to love someone to be jealous of them - and I'm afraid I destroyed any love Barnabas may have felt for me a long time ago. Sarah's still asleep, so I might as well make a start on those ledgers."