All the while Alice was distracted with surgery and after care for Lovell, Morgan, Mr Yates and Carolyn Ashby kept working on the various tasks to upgrade Hour House. She was quite surprised at how far things had progressed. The house had a warm glow as she moved from room to room.
Furniture pieces were now returned with a rich new polish and shine and sitting in their appointed places, the Art work cleaned and restored and the Curtains & Drapes hung. Hour House was certainly coming back to life, in a good way. The ceiling was restored in the Oratory, the door looked like it had always belonged at the outer wall along from the lancet windows and the sunshine glinted through them to the Refectory tables now set in place with the well polished pews. A curved table in front of the Oratory window seat looked like it always belonged. Carolyn had done a wonderful job and oozed with an infectious excitement as she took Alice on the tour of the house. Large boxes of china, glassware, cutlery and table vases were temporarily stacked on tables & chairs in the banqueting room.
“Oh joy of snobbish, asparagus fork-waving joys, this house is coming alive. Close your eyes and listen: You can almost hear and smell the satisfaction of happy customers enjoying the fruits of our labours.” It was Morgan who spoke as he entered the room.
Not long now, Partner, until we are ready to open for business and live our dream.
In the mean time, how does a rasher sammidge grab you? For myself, I don’t mind if I do, thanks very much. I am starving and I am sure that you and Carolyn must be hungry, after wandering the house all morning. Come on girls, I will do the honours, I am dying to test out this new kitchen of ours.”
After the tasty snack prepared and served by Morgan, Carolyn left them to go check on the delivery of the library seat and the copy one for the private quarters, It was promised for this week.
Sitting quietly for a few minutes finishing lunch, Morgan suddenly broke the silence saying:
“Alice, healthy relationships don’t just happen; they take time, patience and two people who truly want to work together to create something meaningful. I think we have that patience in abundance. Look at what we have achieved so far, with help of course, but we are getting close to our dream. The next task ahead of us is to choose our team. The staff. When they are in place and Lovell comes home, we can concentrate on ourselves a little more. You never did answer my question. Good grief woman, you cannot keep me dangling like last years Christmas decorations forever!” He winked and smiled as he uttered the last sentence.
“You mean I was not dreaming? That question was for real, you were not just playing along with Lovell? No bended knee malarkey?” Now it was Alice’s turn to wink and grin.
Morgan was on his knees in a flash. Right here on the new kitchen floor, grinning from ear to ear. Always a step ahead, he pulled a small box from his pocket, opened it and presented it to Alice’
“Don’t get too excited, it is not new, just some old thing I bought from Mr Grimes! By the way, I paid him full price for it, no cheating our Alice of her inheritance!” I know you liked the stone, you always took your time with this one.”
Alice was awestruck, this was indeed her favourite piece from all the items designed by Andrei Shuyski. Not alone was it a treasure, but so was Morgan to think of buying and saving it for her. There was only one answer to the question, and now was the time to say the few words long awaited.
“Morgan, when Sidney died, my world was shaken like an earthquake. You came to my aid and helped me steady the ground. You encouraged, cajoled and urged me out of that darkness. Your kindness to both Lovell and I was heart warming, but remarriage never entered my reckoning.” She paused as if thinking what to say next.
Alice began again.
“Working side by side as we have done for months, I have not alone appreciated your expertise in areas I know nothing about, your gentle drive to get me to test the waters of this adventure, your sense of fun and the dreadful singing!
That night when Lovell asked the question, I realised deep down, for the very first time, that although White Knights don’t usually have names, my White Knight certainly did.
You have wormed your way into my heart, how could I say no?
My answer is YES!”
Morgan jumped to his feet, danced about in front of her singing: “Yes. Yes. Yes. She said yes!”
With that he pulled her to her feet, wrapped his arms about her and kissed her.
The spell was broken by a tap on the door. It was Carolyn, “The chairs are ready and will arrive in the morning. She also had news that her friend George Knowles, a three star chef, was looking for a new direction to get his teeth into. “He would be interested in speaking with you both in the next week, otherwise he will head to fresh green fields across the sea!”
The spell broken for the moment, they discussed George Knowles with Carolyn. It turned out they had eaten his food in the past, enjoying not alone the food, how it was served and the ambiance of the restaurant. They agreed to meet and asked Carolyn to get him to call for an appointment.
When she left the room, Morgan kissed Alice again. Slowly.
When the moments passed. He said. “I think it is almost time for visiting. Let us go together and share our news with Lovell. Now she will have another reason to get well, we have a shopping spree to think about and plan. Remember, I promised her a new dress. We have plenty of time for that, first we need to engage a chef and all the other staff to get Hour House up and ready for a very grand opening!”