(To return to chapter 12, click here.)
As Ben pulled the car up to the front door, Michael reached over and took Adelaide’s hand.
“Welcome to your new home,” he smiled.
“You didn’t tell me you lived in a castle! It’s beautiful.”
“I'm glad you like it," he responded.
Ben opened the door for her, and extended his hand to help her out of the car. The hard, roughness of the hand confirmed that he definitely was responsible for all the beautiful landscaping surrounding her. Addie stepped from the car onto the flagstone walkway and waited for Michael to join her.
“Come on,” he requested, as he took her elbow and escorted her through the door Ben held open for them. Addie stepped onto the rose marble-tiled floor of a foyer with ivory walls and dark wood trim.
The foyer emptied into a cozy-looking sitting room with a leather couch the color of fresh butter, and stuffed arm chairs of cocoa brown facing a huge brick fireplace. The rest of the room was tastefully decorated. Dark wood wainscoting covered the lower half of the walls, while the upper half was papered with an abstract-print in pale green with bits of the butter and cocoa shades in it.
There was a floor lamp next to one of the chairs along with a small table with a folded newspaper on it. The dent in the hassock in front of the chair led her to suspect that might be where Michael often sat to read his newspaper. The upper walls were the background for some lovely artwork. In the wall directly across from where she stood were huge glass doors which opened on to a flagstone patio and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
“Let me show you where you will be staying,” said Michael as he lad her down a hallway to the right of the fireplace. He opened the door to a large bedroom with lilac-colored walls above white wainscoting. The queen-sized bed sported a floral bedspread in shades of lilac and orchid topped with deep purple and sunny yellow throw-pillows. The floor was covered with plush white carpeting, and there were glass double doors opening onto the same patio and pool she’d seen from the sitting room.
Deep purple draw drapes were hung which would allow her to shut out the light if she chose and give her some privacy. There was a sitting area, a flat screened television, and a table on which sat a vase with some of the lovely yellow mums she’d seen outside.
Adelaide crossed the room and ran her fingers over the softness of the flowers. “This room is so pretty!” she exclaimed. Then she noticed two doors. Unable to contain her curiosity, she opened the first and discovered a large walk-in closet with shelves on one side, a full length mirror opposite the door, and a pole with coat hangers on the other side. She closed that door and crossed over to the other one.
Beyond the second door was a large bathroom with a garden tub, a separate glassed in shower stall, and the other usual bathroom fixtures, plus a vanity with cushioned stool. There were also shelves with thick, fluffy towels, and extra sheets and blankets for the bed.
“Michael, I had no idea,” she said, as she turned from the bathroom door to look at him. He just stood there, grinning. It was obvious that he was enjoying this. “When you asked me to come here, I didn’t know I’d be given the “Queen’s quarters!”
“It’s no more than you deserve,” he smiled. “Now let’s go see what’s for lunch.” They left the bedroom, walked past the sitting room they had been in earlier, and entered the dining room.
The table was set for two, and a slightly rotund young woman with curly black hair, brown eyes, and a big smile was pouring water from a pitcher into stemmed goblets.
“This is Maria, my housekeeper,” explained Michael. “She prepares the meals, cleans the house, and does laundry. She’s Ben’s wife. If there’s anything you need, she’ll be glad to help you”
Maria nodded to Addie, then she returned to what Adelaide assumed was the kitchen. Michael pulled out a chair for Addie, and they sat at the table. Maria returned with a wheeled tray-table holding broiled chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, and tiny wheat rolls the size of ping pong balls.
“I see you received the dietary instructions I faxed to you,” Michael observed.
“Yes, Mr. Chandler. I hope everything is correct?” Maria looked to Michael expectantly, waiting for his response.
She smiled widely, obviously relieved that the meal met with his approval. Then she returned to the kitchen.
Michael and Addie ate slowly, savoring the deliciousness of a home-cooked meal and chatted as they ate. To Addie it seemed heavenly to be able to eat a leisurely meal, relaxing, enjoying the peacefulness of their surroundings after the bustle of the Langdon Rehab dining area, where there would be the din of conversation and dishes clashing.
The conversation flowed freely; Addie told Michael about her career in education. He shared stories of his past in the world of business; how he had moved to Maine after he sold his wine import business and retired. When they finished eating, they moved into the sitting room and continued chatting. Suddenly, Addie looked at her watch.
“Oh, my God! It’s 4:00 p.m., and I forgot to call Felicia! She’ll be on her way to Langdon to pick me up!”
“You didn’t tell her you were coming here?”
“I intended to, but she wouldn’t let me get a word in. She just went on about my having to wait ‘til her soaps were over, and to be ready so she could get back in time to see Dr. Phil at 5:00! Oh, this is going to be bad!” said Adelaide as she reached for her cell phone.
(to be continued..)