Part Twelve

Angelique was alone when she woke, and for a moment wondered if the previous night had been a dream. Until she moved and discovered the sore, aching muscles that were the legacy of her night in Barnabas' arms. They had come together two more times before she had fallen into an exhausted sleep. Looking at the clock, she discovered that it was only eight o'clock. Getting out of bed, she found a robe and went downstairs.
Willie was in the parlour, his cheery whistle filling the room. "Good morning, Willie."
He looked up, smiling. "Angelique. Barnabas said that you'd probably sleep late again."
"I couldn't. I guess you won last night?"
"Always do," he said with a grin. "Barnabas and Sarah are in the dining room. I'll get you a plate."

Sarah was giggling at something Barnabas had said when Angelique came into the room. Over the child's head, blue eyes met hazel. Angelique felt chilled by that look, and hid it by bending to greet her daughter. "Good morning, darling. How are you feeling today?"
"All right."
"I'm glad." She sat down across from her husband and smiled as Willie set a plate before her. "Thank you, Willie."
"If you want anything that's not on the table, just let me know."
"I'm not very hungry. Thank you anyway. I'll just have toast, juice, and coffee."
"You should eat more than that," Barnabas chided.
"That's what she ALWAYS has for breakfast," Sarah told him while putting another slice of ham on her own plate.
"It's a holdover from my modeling days," she explained.
Barnabas deliberately folded his napkin and rose before coming around to where Angelique sat. Picking up her plate, he began putting eggs, ham, and toast on it. "You're not modeling now, so you will eat a proper breakfast."
"I am not a child, Barnabas, and I will NOT be treated like one."
"Then stop acting like a child and set a better example for your daughter," Barnabas suggested. He kissed Sarah on the top of the head. "I'll see you at dinner."
Angelique followed him out of the room. Willie went to the door, then turned upon hearing a giggle from Sarah. Her brown eyes were bright. "It's working. I know it is."
Willie shook his head, lifting a finger to his lips to quiet her.

"Barnabas, you can't talk to me like that and then leave," Angelique told him, watching as he put on his coat.
Lifting his cane, his voice never wavered. "Your breakfast is getting cold."
"I don't care. I'm not going to eat it."
"I would if I were you," he said calmly.
His hand went up to curve around her neck, then he lowered his mouth to hers. When he raised his head, Angelique was dizzy. "You're going to need the extra strength," he told her. "I'll see you later."
She was still standing there when Sarah spoke. "Mother?"
"Yes, darling?"
"Willie's fixing you some fresh eggs and warming the ham."
"All right." She looked down at the girl. "Will you sit with me while I eat?"
"After I get dressed and straighten my room."
Willie was setting a fresh plate on the table when Angelique returned to the dining room. "Thank you, Willie. You needn't have gone to any trouble."
"It was no trouble. I guess things are better between you and Barnabas?"
"What makes you say that? All we did this morning was quarrel."
"That's normal for you and him," Willie said with shrug. "And I went in to make his bed right after he came down. It hadn't been slept in."
"I see. I don't know where we stand, Willie, to be honest." She smiled. "But you are right about our quarrelling being the norm for us."
The telephone rang and Willie went to answer it in the kitchen. Sarah ran in as he returned. "That was Julia. She'll be here for lunch to see Miss Sarah Collins."
"I was hoping we could go over to Collinwood," Sarah said.
"We can go this morning," Angelique suggested. "As soon as I finish my breakfast."
"Willie-" Sarah began, her smile angelic, "May I have another glass of orange juice, please?"
"Coming right up," he said.

Elizabeth watched Sarah as the child ran her fingers over the piano keys. "She's very good."
"Yes. She hasn't had much chance to play during the last few months."
"She's welcome to use this one. I bought it hoping that Carolyn would learn to play, but her talen came from me, I'm afraid. Or her lack of talent, I should say."
"I don't know where Sarah's talent came from. She's always been very musical."
The front door opened and David Collins entered the house, greeting his aunt. "I know," he said, heading off her questions. "Why aren't I in school. I had exams all day yesterday and none today, so I decided to come home and meet my new cousin. Hello, Angelique."
"David. You've grown so much -" he had turned to see the little girl sitting at the piano. She had stopped playing when David had entered the room. "David, this is Sarah."
"I guessed that," he said. "She -" he shook his head. "Hello, Sarah."
"Hello, David," she said brightly.
He sat down on the bench beside her. "Keep playing. It sounded good."

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