Part Thirteen

Elizabeth smiled as she watched David and Sarah. "We'll be on the terrace, David." Once outside, she sat down. "I suppose you know how much she looks like the first Barnabas' sister?"
"Yes," Angelique said. "I'm aware of it. Why does David know about it?" she wondered.
"Not very long after Barnabas arrived at Collinwood, David began seeing Sarah Collins' ghost. We never found out why. Then, one day, she just stopped coming to him. I suppose we had all forgotten about it. Until the day you arrived with your Sarah." She smiled. "Our Sarah. Does Julia have any leads on a cure?"
"Not that I know about. Hopefully she'll find something soon."
"What about you?" Elizabeth asked. "How are things between you and Barnabas?"
"I wish I knew," Angelique said. "We communicate on only a few basic levels."
"Things will work out, dear. Somehow. I want you to remember that I'm here if you need someone to talk to."
"I will."

David watched mother and daughter as they left the house, a faint smile on his face as he told his aunt, "I should be used to it by now, Barnabas looking so much like his ancestor. But seeing Sarah was like - like it was five years ago and I was eleven again."
"I don't think any of us want to relive that year," Elizabeth commented.
"No," he agreed. "A lot of things happened that are best forgotten. I guess I'd better go and see if Father's free for lunch now. Is he still seeing Julia?"
"They've gone for a walk after dinner the last two nights," Elizabeth told him.
David grinned widely. "Sounds like I might be getting a new stepmother soon. I won't mind this one, though. I like Julia."
"Tell your father that," Elizabeth suggested.

Quentin was coming up the path from the parking area when he met Angelique and Sarah. "Hello, princess."
"Hello, Cousin Quentin."
He lifted his gaze to her mother. "Good morning, Angelique."
"Quentin." She hoped he didn't notice how cool her tone was.
"How about lunch again today?"
"You don't give up, do you? Julia's coming out to see Sarah. You're welcome to join us."
"Will my cousin be there as well?"
"I don't know. Did you know David is at Collinwood?"
Quentin's eyes lit with pleasure. David might be Roger's son, but to Quentin he would always be Jamison, Quentin's nephew and the only person he had ever truly cared about other than himself. "David's home?"
"He arrived this morning. I'll understand if you change your mind about lunch at the Old House."
"I think I'll do that." His blue eyes told her that he knew her intention behind telling him of the younger Collins' arrival. "Can I have a rain check?"
"It can be arranged."
Quentin turned and saw David coming down the path. "See you later. Hello, David."

Julia examined Sarah, then left the girl resting while she went to talk to Angelique. "She seems a bit stronger physically," she said. "I won't know about the blood sample until I get back to the lab."
"Are you saying she's getting better?"
"No. Her improvement is most likely nothing more than being at Collinwood. I can't explain it, but this place seems necessary to a Collins' survival. They might leave, but they're always - drawn back."
"Like Quentin?"
"Yes. The psychological effect of finally meeting her father and having you both with her can't be overlooked, either. How are things here?" she asked, her sharp eyes examining Angelique's face carefully.
"Before I answer that, Julia," Angelique began, looking at the fire, "Have you spoken to Barnabas this morning?"
"No. I've been either in the lab or in meetings."
"Quentin took me to lunch yesterday, and Barnabas was here when we returned."
"And he wasn't pleased?"
"That's putting it mildly." She rose to pace the room restlessly.
"What did he do?"
"Nothing then. But he gave Willie the evening off and after Sarah went to bed, we sat here and talked about the yards and Sky's will. I thought we were getting closer -and then he brought up Quentin." She shook her head. "I have seen Barnabas angry, Julia, many times. But last night he was out of control. Before I knew it what was happening, we were upstairs -" She sat down. "I hoped that things would be better this morning -but Barnabas was autocratic and impossible. He insisted I eat a large breakfast - no he dind't give my any choice in the matter. When I followed him and told him that I wasn't going to be treated like a child, he - he kissed me and left."
"Have you told him how you feel?" Julia asked, her voice carefully neutral.
The blonde head was shaken slowly. "I spent so many years begging for his love, Julia. I can't do it again. I just can't."
"My only concern at the moment is Sarah's welfare. You and Barnabas MUST work settle your problems without involving or upsetting her."
"Excuse me," Willie said from the dining room doorway, "Lunch is ready. I'll go get Sarah."

Barnabas was about to enter his office after a tour of the yards when he heard Julia call his name. She crossed the street. "Can you spare a few minutes, Barnabas?"
"For you? Always."
"Your office or mine?"
"Since mine is closer -" he said, opening the door. Janet Brown was sitting behind her desk, typing. "Where they any calls, Janet?"
"No, sir. Hello, Dr. Hoffman."
"Hello, Janet."
"We'll be in my office, Janet."
"Your calendar is clear for the rest of the day, Mr. Collins."
"Thank you."
For Julia, stepping into the offices of the Collins Shipyard was like stepping back in time. The rooms had been decorated and some part restored, to resemble the original yard office. Highly polished wood and leather, combined with the tweed conference area, created an atmosphere that suited Barnabas' old-world aura. Sitting on the sofa, Julia looked up at her old friend. "I just had lunch at the Old House. I needed a blood sample -"
"How is she doing?" Barnabas asked, coming to join her.
"As I told Angelique, she seems a little stronger physically and mentally. But -" she added, before he could interrupt "- I think it's due more to the combined effect of being at Collinwood and being with BOTH of her parents."
He had heard her theory that there was something necessary to the survival of the Collins family at Collinwood before. "Are you any closer to finding a serum to cure her?"
"I have a promising lead -" she said, only to see Barnabas frown.
"I think I've heard that before," he commented, rising to go to the window and stare unseeingly out at the yards.
"Sarah's 'illness' isn't like yours was, Barnabas. There are some basic differences."
He was silent for a long moment, and when he spoke, Julia had to strain to hear his words. "Would Sarah's recovery be deeply affected if Angelique were to leave, Julia?"
"It would seriously jeopardize her chances. Why do you ask?"
"I'm afraid she's considering it."
"I doubt that," Julia said, hoping to relieve his fears. "She didn't mention it to me earlier."
"Then she'll go after Sarah's better."
"What makes you so sure?" Julia went to stand beside him when he didn't answer. "Angelique DID tell me what happened last night, Barnabas."
He tensed, but didn't look at her. He looked down at his hands. "Seeing her laughing with Quentin yesterday, and then those few minutes when we seemed close - like I wanted us to be," He shook his head. "When she lost her temper, I suppose I lost mine. I wasn't angry with her, but with myself."
Barnabas turned abruptly away. "I was afraid, Julia. I don't want to lose her again. So I- I decided to try and tie her to me any way I could."
Julia shook her head. "You and she are really two of a kind."
He did turn to look at her then, confusion in his eyes. "What do you mean?"
"Both stubborn, unwilling to make the first move. It's no wonder you spend so much time arguing. I'm going to tell you what I told Angelique, Barnabas. I don't care how you and she settle your problems, as long as the method doesn't upset or involve Sarah."
"I won't involve her."
"I have to get back to the hospital and finish some tests before Roger comes to pick me up," she told him, moving toward the door.
"You're seeing a lot of him these days."
She smiled. "I think Roger would like it to be even more."
"Has he asked you to marry him?"
"Not in those words. I think he's waiting to discuss it with David."
"I'm sure he'll approve."

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