“Chantal, wake up,” said Sierra as she tapped her on the shoulder.
“Wake up,” she said again.
“What do you want?” Chantal asked slowly squinting her eyes.
“It’s after nine o’clock and Ella is here. We need to talk to her about our dinner party plans for tonight. She’s going to need our help with the preparations.”
“OK, I’m up,” said Chantal reluctantly, stretching her arms up in the air.
“Good. So, will I see you in the kitchen soon?” asked Sierra.
“Yes,” said Chantal.
“By the way, breakfast is ready. Ella cooked some of the Lloyd family favorites for us,” said Sierra as she walked out of the bedroom and closed the door.
Chantal sat up in bed and contemplated whether she’d made the right decision to invite Miles to dinner at Brooke Manor. Then, she went into the bathroom to take a shower before going downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast.
“Good morning Ella,” said Chantal.
“Hello Chantal, how are you?
“I’m fine, thank you. The food smells delicious.”
“I’ve cooked a variety of Welsh breakfast foods for you and Sierra.”
Smiling, Sierra said, “Ella cooked enough food to get us through the entire week.”
“What do we have here?’ asked Chantal walking over to the kitchen counter stocked with covered casserole dishes of cooked food.
“There’s Welsh sausage, fried mushrooms with tomatoes, black pudding, smoked Kipper, porridge, and fried eggs,” said Ella as she proudly lifted the glass cover of each dish to reveal its contents.
“May I have some porridge?” asked Chantal.
“Sure,” said Ella. “Would you like sugar and milk in it?” she asked.
“Yes please,” said Chantal.
“Sierra, would you like anything?” asked Ella.
“I’ll try the smoked Kipper and fried mushrooms with tomatoes,” said Sierra.
“What is Kipper?” asked Chantal.
“Kipper is a herring fish,” said Ella.
“And it’s loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for your heart,” said Sierra.
“OK, nice tip,” said Chantal.
“Ella, we’ve planned a dinner party for four, for tonight,” said Chantal. “We went grocery shopping last night and bought everything you’ll need.”
“We were hoping you would cook the items listed on this menu,” said Sierra as she gave Ella a small notepad.
Reading softly to herself, Ella said, “Rack of lamb is one of Master Devlin’s favorite recipes. How did you know?”
Sierra and Chantal were relieved. They looked at each other blissfully.
“Umm, I didn’t know that,” said Chantal. “It was our father’s favorite dish. He had a very discriminating taste.”
“I see, well, I will be happy to take care of the dining arrangements. I will even stay and serve the guests.”
“Are you sure?” asked Chantal.
“Yes,” said Ella.
“We can’t ask you to do that,” said Sierra.
“It’s not a problem. I can call my son and he will dress for the part to help to me. We will impress your guests. Besides, it’s only dinner for four.”
“Well, it’s possibly five, since I did tell one of the guests he could bring someone with him,” said Chantal.
“No worries. You two finish your breakfast and I will take care of the preparations for the dinner party,” said Ella.
“Thank you,” said the sisters in unison.
Ella excused herself from the kitchen to do her regular cleaning chores. She hummed a song she’d learned as a child, while dusting the furniture in the foyer. Then, there was a knock at the door. She looked out of the stained glass bay window, saw Devlin, and opened the door.
“Good morning Master Devlin. Please come in,” she said.
“Hello, Sweet Ella. My, you’re in a good mood today. Then, he began to whistle “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.”
“I was just humming that.”
“I know,” he said. There’s life in Brooke Manor again and it’s wonderful.”
“Chantal and Sierra are in the kitchen,” she said. He followed her into the kitchen.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Hello Devlin,” said Sierra
“Hi Devlin. Would you like some breakfast or tea?” asked Chantal
“No thank you.”
“If you don’t have any plans tonight, I’d like to invite you here to a dinner party at six’o clock this evening,” said Chantal
“What’s the occasion? Who are the guests?” asked Devlin.
Chantal glanced at Sierra with a deadpan expression on her face to hide her discomfort with the question about the guests.
Standing in the kitchen near the stove, Ella sensed their uneasiness. For the first time, she wondered about the motives for having the dinner party.
“Please excuse me, I have more cleaning to do,” she said, and left the kitchen.
“Devlin,” said Chantal, “I’ve invited my ex-boyfriend, Miles. He’s on an assignment in Woodbine to investigate an explosion for his family’s oil company.”
“I will be here,” said Devlin.
“Great. I was hoping you could hang around until eight or nine o’clock after the guests leave.”
Devlin thought to himself, my physical transformation from this world into the spirit realm begins during the first phase of twilight. I have to be in my final resting place.
“I’m not sure I will be able to stay until seven-thirty, so lets play it by ear,” he said.
“OK,” said Chantal. She turned to Sierra and asked, “May I please speak with Devlin privately, alone, for a moment?”
“Of course. I will go and see if Ella can use some help. Goodbye Devlin,” said Sierra.
“I’ll see you later,” said Devlin.
Chantal walked over to him and leaned in closer to him.
“Listen Devlin, I’m sorry for springing this on you at the last-minute,” she said.
“I’m fine,” he said
“I’m glad to hear that,” said Chantal, and she reached out and held his hands.
He kissed her on the cheek.
“Thank you,” she said. “If all goes well this evening, I will never have to see Miles again. I will have closure and my life will come full circle.”