Chapter 24: Mission Accomplished

Chantal stared with a fixed gaze out of the bay window overlooking the front entrance of Brooke Manor, and watched Devlin as he walked away. She listened to the sound of his fading footsteps, which crackled in the gravel until he disappeared from sight beyond the giant sycamore trees.

“I wonder what summoned him away?” Chantal asked herself. Then, the moonlit sky sprinkled a mist of rain to the earth. “Oh, my poor guests!” she shouted.

Sierra overheard her after she returned from the courtyard with Miles and his mother. “No worries dearest,” she said when they joined Chantal in the foyer.  “We came inside when it rained.”

“I’ll take a rain-check for another tour on a future date. That is, if you don’t mind,” said Miles as he turned to Chantal.

“That will be fine, but may I please speak with you alone for a moment?” she asked.

Miles had a look of elation. “OK,”  he said.

Chantal pulled him away to the side for a private discussion. “Miles, you’re always welcome to come back. Please understand, Devlin is an important part of my life. You and I are friends.”

“Just like that?” asked Miles.

“Yes, just like that,” said Chantal.

“If that is your wish,” said Miles.

“It is,” said Chantal.

“Understood,” said Miles. He walked back into the foyer.

“Well ladies, thank you for a lovely evening,” said his mom. “We must be going. My flight leaves early tomorrow morning.”

“I guess we better call for the car,” said Miles.

“Sierra had Leslie call Barrymore while you were talking to Chantal. He’s outside waiting now,” said Miles’s mother. “You darlings were wonderful hostesses. Thank you both for the nice evening.”

“Madame Banks, here’s your handbag,” said Leslie.

“Thank you. Good night,” she said.

“Goodbye Sierra,” said Miles.

“Thanks for coming, we enjoyed you and your mother,” said Sierra.

“Chantal, it was great to see you again,” he said.

“Take care,” said Chantal.

Then, Leslie escorted Miles and his mom to the car. Chantal and Sierra walked into the parlor room and sat on the sofa.

Turning to face Sierra, Chantal asked, “What did you think of the evening?”

“Everything went well considering that Miles brought his mother along as his dinner companion,” said Sierra.

“Although, she loathed me for being the object of Miles’s affections, in a strange way I’m glad she came with him,” said Chantal.

“How so?” asked Sierra.

“She was opinionated, which broke the ice and made for interesting discussions. There was never a dull moment.”

“Touché,” said Sierra. “We won’t argue on that point.”

“Miles still loves me. I got the distinct impression he was more interested than his mother was, in knowing if Devlin lived here.”

“I agree. He recognized your warm relationship with Devlin, and could see you’re not into him anymore.”

“Without a doubt, I am over Miles. But, I felt his pain when Devlin told him, he entertains me while you are working.”

“Well, he and his mother noticed a change in you. Mission accomplished. It was a favorable outcome,” said Sierra.

“Devlin was the quintessential gentleman. He did not appear to be the least bit jealous,” said Chantal. “I wanted him to stay after dinner was over to help me resolve Miles’s desire to reconcile with me.”

“Did you notice he excused himself again soon after it became dark?” asked Sierra.

“Yes,” said Chantal. “Do you think he’s in a relationship?”

“If you mean another woman, I don’t know,” said Sierra. “I’m sure Ella could  answer that question.”

At that moment, Ella and Leslie approached the opened double doors to the parlor room. Sierra and Chantal stood up and walked towards them.

“Thank you both for the excellent job you did tonight,” said Chantal. “The dinner was delicious.”

“It was my pleasure,” said Ella.

“Mine too,” said Leslie.

“You’re a first class team,” said Sierra. “Miles and his mother complimented you both on the dinner.”

“That was nice,” said Ella.

“Mother and I cleaned the kitchen and put the leftovers in the refrigerator,” said Leslie.

“There should be enough food for the next few days,” said Ella.

“Thank you,” said Chantal.

“We appreciated your efforts,” said Sierra.

“It was not a problem. Good night,” said Ella.

“Until we see each other again,” said Leslie.

“Let us show you out,” said Sierra.

They walked to the front door and said good-bye.




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