Charlie’s mouth fell open in surprise at Madam Bailey’s remark, stuttering for a moment as Janielle simply stared at her in confusion. They then looked at each other as Madam Bailey stood there grinning at the two of them, “Oh come now, the way you two’ve behaved? You are quite the pair, you know. So much mischief in such little time.” She smirked, her deep blue eyes almost appeared to dance as she laughed before turning and going toward the table. She reached under and grasped something, then a sound like a bell came from under the table.
Seconds later, in returned the maid with two cups of fresh tea on a silver tray. As the maid approached the company, she bowed her head and offered the tray to Madam Bailey who took one cup. She then offered the tray to Mrs. Laikos who accepted her cup of tea. The three of them collectively sipped at their drinks silently for a moment, the maid placed the tray on the large table and gave a curtsy to the company.
“If that’d be all, Madam Bailey, I’ll return to help in the kitchen for dinner prep, Ma’am.”
Madam Bailey looked at her and smiled, shaking her head, “Off you go then, girl. I’ll ring if I need you dear.”
The maid nodded, then disappeared into the foyer then off into the direction of the kitchen. Charlie glanced at Janielle who was looking at Madam Bailey, who was watching where the maid had just been. He cleared his throat, and suddenly they both looked at him.
“Well, I think I’ve had enough excitement for one day.” he said, slightly more gruffly than he’d intended.
Janielle’s face became somber as she looked at his bandages then his broad pale face, “I truly am sorry, Mr. Gablou. I never intended to hurt you, honest, I didn’t.” she fiddled with her parasol which had clattered to the floor when she collapsed into the butlers arms. She looked at it closely and saw blood glinting off the sharp metal point.
Charlie looked at her, and nodded, “I know you didn’t mean to. You’re too kind and gentle a lady to go about hurting people, even if your parasol does make for a perfect weapon.” he grinned grimly.
Her face became flushed as she brushed away a loose hair from her face, “My husband said I needed protection while he was away in the war, so he had it made specifically for dangerous encounters, Mr. Gablou. Though our encounter was far from dangerous until it hit you.”
Madam Bailey eyed the parasol’s tip and shook her head, “That thing is dangerous, you know. How did it come to be that you even struck Mr. Gablou, Mrs. Laikos?” her brow raised, trying to imagine just exactly how the events had transpired.
Janielle’s face became a bright pink and she lowered her head, “I simply was trying to catch up to him before he got too far… I was distracted by trying to put my shawl on while running and my parasol was held out when I collided with him.“
Charlie chuckled lightly and began putting his shirt back on, “It is fine, Mrs. Laikos, no need to feel ashamed. It was an accident. I should be the one ashamed, I’ve acted quite the buffoon all morning.“
Madam Bailey started to laugh, “Oh the two of you really are a sight, a sight indeed.” She finished her tea and set her empty cup on the silver tray on the table. Madam Bailey looked to Janielle’s cup and saw it was still at least half full, meanwhile Charlie had barely touched his drink. “Are you two going to mope about while trying to decide who owes who an apology, or are you going to chipper up, drink, and be merry?“
He looked at Madam Bailey and blinked a couple times before looking at his glass, “Well, if there is anything to be learned here today, it is one ought to question before reacting.” With that said, he downed his scotch and set the empty glass on the tray, the ice clinking lightly as he put it down.
Janielle sipped daintily at her tea, not speaking a word as she tried to think of what she could even say to the matter at hand. Just before she could open her mouth, Mr. Gablou clasped one of her delicate hands between his hands, “You’ve no need to be sorry, Mrs. Laikous. I know that you did not mean to, and all is forgiven.” His face formed into a bright smile as he looked into her eyes. Janielle could see that his words were true and genuine, which caused a smile to form on her face.
She nodded, “Thank you, Mr. Gablou. It means so much to me that you hold no feelings of ill intent from me.“
Charlie released her hand and she resumed drinking her tea. He stood and faced the lady of the establishment, “I cannot thank you enough for your quick thinking and for bandaging me, Madam Bailey. One would almost think you’d done so many times before.” He paused and looked her over, “You managed to keep such a level head, I am surprised and pleased to be living under your roof, though temporary as it may be.“
Madam Bailey smiled and nodded, “There is no need for thanks, and you’re free to stay as long as you would like. It isn’t often we get gentlemen this far out, it is most definitely a nice change of pace from the usual. All this drama today has definitely given me an appetite though!“
Charlie laughed at this and nodded in agreement, “I’m finding myself also quite famished.” He looked to Janielle and offered a hand, “How about you, M’Lady?”
Her eyes widened, “Why, Mr. Gablou, I do hope you’re not getting fresh with me. I am a married woman, you know!“
Chuckling to the point he was nearly doubled over, he shook his head, “I only meant it in the most respectful of ways, Mrs. Laikos. I know full well you are married, after all, it is your husband who I came to see!“
I know this is an extremely long post, but for those willing to read it, if you haven’t discovered yet, there is a lot more where this came from! This is only part 4 in this little story, and I’d love some feed back if anyone has some.