Chapter 18: I’m in a Happy Place

That evening after dinner, Chantal sat alone in her bedroom on the bed, while Sierra worked from the office in her bedroom reviewing a checklist of remaining tasks that she needed to finish to complete the restoration project at Brooke Manor.

Chantal held Miles’s business card in her hand when she stood up and walked over to  the window above the courtyard, and opened the blinds to see the last glimmer of sunset. Reveling in the scenery below, she remembered the quality time she had spent  with Devlin in the courtyard after their first lunch date together. She said to herself, “I’ve become accustomed to Devlin. I like him. I’m finally in a happy place, and I’m laughing again.”

Looking at the cell phone number on the back of the card, she took a deep breath  and asked herself, “Should I reach out to Miles and invite him to dinner? The way he ended our relationship is still too painful to talk about, but I’m sure he will want to discus it, which does not give me an incentive to want to contact him.”

As if responding to her concerns, she heard a man’s voice that said, “You will have to face him again one day. If not now, when? Don’t be afraid, I will always be with you.”

Startled by the clarity in which she thought, she’d heard the spoken words of someone else, Chantal dropped the business card on the floor. Then, feeling encouraged without further hesitation, she picked the card up, took her cell phone off the dresser, and dialed Miles’s phone number.

Miles answered his phone right away.

“This is Miles Banks. May I help you?”

“Hello Miles, it’s Chantal.”

“Oh my goodness, Chantal, it’s so nice to hear your voice. I was starting to wonder if you would ever call me. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine, How are you?” she asked.

“I’m great now that I’m talking to you. I will be in Woodbine with our investigative team for a few more weeks. I was hoping, well, for an opportunity to see you. There is so much I need to say to you.”

“What did you want to talk with me about?” asked Chantal.

“I’d like to discuss  the way things ended between us. I owe you an apology and I need to know that you’re OK.”

“OK,” she said.

“I could not believe it when I bumped into Sierra a few days ago in Mystic Woods, and she told me you had traveled there with her while she completes a restoration project.”

“Yes, Sierra thought it would be a nice summer adventure for the two of us.”

“Chantal, I don’t believe in coincidences. So, I figured it is our destiny to see each other. Who knew I  would be here in Woodbine, thousands of miles  from California, at the same time that you are next door in the neighboring town of Mystic Woods?”

“Go figure,” said Chantal. “Would you like to join Sierra, me, and a friend of ours for a casual dinner at Brooke Manor tomorrow evening at six o’clock?”

“Of course I would.”

“Great, we’re just ten miles west of Mystic Woods, on the outskirts of town. You can’t miss the signs. They will guide you in the right direction.”

“That would be great. Should I bring anything?”

“No, but you may bring a guest if you’d like.”

“OK. Thanks Chantal, I appreciate the invitation.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Goodbye,” he said.

“I will see you then, good-bye.” said Chantal. She went across the hallway and knocked on Sierra’s bedroom door.

“Sierra, it’s Chantal.”

“Come in,” said Sierra.

“It’s done. I made the phone call. Miles accepted our invitation to dinner tomorrow evening at six o’ clock. ”

“Nice work, but do you think Devlin will be there?”

“Yes, we already have plans to see each other tomorrow evening, and a home cooked meal will be a bonus for him.“

“Yes, but how late can Devlin stay? He always seem to leave right after sunset.”

“You’re right. I’ve noticed that, now that you’ve mentioned  it,” said Chantal. “I will be sure to ask him if he can stay for dinner from six o’clock to nine  o’clock when he arrives tomorrow.”

“You may have to call Miles and ask him to come sooner or change the dinner date altogether,” said Sierra.

“I hope not, but I will keep my fingers crossed. Will Ella be available to cook dinner tomorrow evening?” asked Chantal.

“Yes. I looked at the schedule and she will be here tomorrow morning to do her routine cleaning. She will take care of anything else we may need until five o’clock. We just need to give her the menu items we will need her to cook for dinner. What would you like Ella to cook for your guests?”

“Let’s see. We can start by serving potato onion soup followed with a spinach, feta cheese, and tomato salad with vinaigrette dressing,” said Chantal

“My mouth is watering already,” said Sierra writing down the menu items.

“Then we’ll serve rack of lamb with an asparagus and hollandaise sauce bake.”

“These were all of dad’s favorite foods,” said Sierra.

“Yes I know, so we can’t go wrong.”

“OK. What about dessert?” asked Sierra.

“We can have frozen tangerine parfait.”

“Sounds good. Let’s go shopping now so Ella will have everything at her fingertips when she arrives tomorrow morning,” said Sierra.

“Hopefully, she will not feel overwhelmed,” said Chantal

“I will meet you downstairs in ten minutes.”

“OK, good deal,” said Chantal.

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