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Chapter 4

The afternoon at work crawled by for Trixie. She and Cooper spent five hours doing interviews and making notes on the Anderson case. On the way to the Manor House, Trixie stopped by her duplex to pick up the items she would need for her photo shoot with Nick. Arriving at the Manor House only minutes before dinner, Trixie ran upstairs to put her purse, garment bag and duffle in Honey's room. Removing her gun from the waistband of her slacks, Trixie took her lock box out of her duffel and secured the weapon. She looked around for a place to store the lockbox safely. Deciding the bedside table was the best bet, Trixie placed it in the second drawer. Quickly washing her face and hands then running a brush through her unruly curls, Trixie hurried downstairs to the dining room.

"Good evening, Mrs. Wheeler," Trixie said, slipping into her chair next to her hostess. "I'm sorry that I was late. I needed to
finish up a few things since I won't be in the office tomorrow morning."

"Maddie, dear, please. Why are you going to go into work late? Do you have an appointment?" Maddie asked curiously.

Trixie smiled as Miss Trask took her seat at the table. "Well, I saw Nick Roberts today. He is going to take photographs of me riding Lady so I can give it to Jim." And I have an appointment with the doctor but you don't need to know that, Trixie thought with a grin.

"That will be wonderful, Trixie," Maddie enthused. "When you say riding Lady, do you mean dressed like you were when Jim took you out over the holidays?"

"Yes, exactly," Trixie smiled bashfully. "Do you think it's a silly idea?" she asked nervously.

Miss Trask observed with a smile, "I think it is a wonderful idea. That was a very romantic gesture on Jim's part and a photo would be a superb reminder."

"I just hope Regan agrees when I ask him after dinner," Trixie sighed.

"I'm sure it will be fine with Regan," Maddie assured with a raised eyebrow at Miss Trask.

The remainder of the meal was spent discussing the events of the day. Trixie explained how Nick and his wife, Lori, would be working on the photographs. After their sherbet was served, the swing door to the kitchen was nosed open and a furry face appeared.

"Sherlock," Trixie said happily. "Come here, girl," Trixie crooned to the puppy.

As Trixie picked her up, Celia stuck her head through the door. "You might want to take baby dog out, Trixie," she advised. "She hasn't been out since about five."

"Thanks, Celia. I'll take her out now and go see Regan. May I be excused, Maddie?" Trixie asked politely, standing.

"Certainly, you may, Trixie. Whenever you girls get back inside, we can watch Memphis Belle and drink a little wine. We'll have a girl's night," Maddie suggested. "It has that gorgeous redhead, Eric Stoltz, in it."

Trixie loved that movie. "I'd really like that, Maddie," Trixie agreed. "I'll be back shortly."

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Trixie walked Sherlock slowly back toward the house thinking about the photographs she wanted taken the next morning. She had taken Sherlock to her favorite 'watering' spot before walking to the stable to gain Regan's approval of the ride the next morning. Surprisingly, Regan even volunteered to help with the horses and any setup that Nick would need.

Trixie and Sherlock walked briskly toward the house enjoying the cold of winter and the starry night. As they paused for Sherlock to take care of business, Trixie felt her phone vibrate. The caller ID put a smile on her face.

"Hi, handsome," Trixie purred into the phone.

"Hey, beautiful. How are my girls tonight?" Jim asked.

"We're doing great. Hang on a sec. I need to police the yard for Sherlock," Trixie advised before shifting the phone to her coat pocket long enough to use the newspaper bag to clean up after the puppy. "Your daughter and I are out for a stroll but now I think we need to get inside. It's pretty cold out. It's even supposed to snow," she said, urging Sherlock toward the house. "How was your afternoon, Jim?"

"Oh, Trix, I wish you could see this place," Jim began. "I've taken about a hundred pictures and recorded at least an hour of video showing the school structures, offices and classrooms. They built the buildings to bring the outdoors inside. We are all going out to eat tonight at an exclusive ski lodge about five miles from here. How was your afternoon? Seeing Nick about the pictures didn't cause you to be late back from lunch did it?"

"No," she assured him. "I actually only used what time I had available. Cooper and I are busy all day tomorrow. I wanted to let you know, in case you called and I didn't answer." I'm not lying exactly, Copper has interviews and I have appointments. Stopping at the trash container, Trixie deposited her bag before continuing toward the house. "I really miss you, sweetie. Your mother and I are going to watch a movie together and have a girls' night."

Jim grunted, "Let me guess. She wants to watch Memphis Belle, doesn't she?"

"How did you know that?" Trixie asked, intrigued, as she sat on the glider, placing Sherlock on her lap.

Laughing, Jim answered, "Dad, Honey and I think she has a crush on Eric Stoltz. Every time we turn around that move is in the DVD player. Dad actually caught her with the screen frozen on a picture of Stoltz."

"Well, he does have red hair. I don't think it's any secret that your mother and I have a weakness for redheads," she giggled.

"Ms. Belden, you had better have a weakness for only one redhead," Jim growled teasingly.

"I wonder who that would be. Now let me think," Trixie teased back. Hearing a grumble through the phone, Trixie rhetorically asked, "Have I told you today that I love you?"

Jim chuckled, "Well, not in the last six hours." Trixie heard voices in the background. "I'll be ready in just a minute," Jim said to someone with him. "Trixie, baby, I need to go. Everyone is ready to go to dinner. I'll try to call or text in a bit. I love you today and always, Shamus."

"I love you today and always, too, Jim," she vowed softly. "Bye, sweetie."

"Bye, baby."

Ending the call, Trixie remembered to take the phone off vibrate and told Sherlock quietly, "I sure miss your daddy, Sherlock. I miss him like crazy." Setting Sherlock on the patio, she continued with a grin, "Let's go watch an Eric Stoltz movie with Grandma Maddie."

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Sniff, sniff. "Here you go." Maddie passed the box of tissues to Trixie. "It gets to me every time. Even though I know they make it back, I am always on the edge of my seat."

"It's the dog. That poor sad dog laying there at the airfield, everyone else has given up and he's still there." Trixie sniffed again, petting Sherlock who was curled up between them on the sofa. "And then the guy who's shot, you don't think he's going to make it. Even worse…" Trixie was now gesturing with the tissue to make her point. "…is when you remember that this is based on a true story." The movie's credits rolled across the screen as Harry Connick's voice crooned in the background.

Maddie handed Trixie her glass refilled with merlot. "I just adore this movie. It reminds me of my grandparents. We really don't take the time to stop and think about everything they went through during that time."

"Thank you," Trixie said, taking the glass and taking a deep sip. "Not only is Eric Stoltz adorable but do you think Harry Connick, Jr. looks kind of like Dan?"

Maddie cocked her head to the side and looked at the TV, considering Harry. Trixie thought she looked a lot like Sherlock when she did that. "Dark, yes, but Dan isn't as angular. Harry reminds me more of Frank Sinatra."

"Harry sounds like Frank but I think the hair is all Dan." Trixie said. "Heaven knows Dan doesn't sound a thing like Harry or Frank." Softly, from the folds of the blanket on her lap, came the familiar 'bob-bob-white' ringtone. "Oh, where is my phone?" Trixie started searching in the blankets, like she used to search for eggs in the chicken coop. She finally found the phone nestled under Sherlock. By the time she got it, the phone had stopped ringing. Trixie couldn't help but pout at the missed call.

"Jim, right?" Maddie asked but didn't wait for the answer. Trixie's searching had awakened the puppy. She had jumped down and was pacing by the door. "Well, how about I take Sherlock out and you call Jim back?"

Trixie looked up expectantly. "Do you mind? I could take her for a walk and call him back at the same time."

"Go! It's too cold outside to stay out there too long and you two can play bill and coo longer. Miss Sherlock and I will be fine." Maddie got up and walked out of the den. "Sherlock, come." The puppy turned and looked toward Trixie and back at the now empty doorway.

"Go on, go out! I'll tell Daddy you say 'Hi'," Trixie told the puppy. Sherlock didn't look back again; she took off out of the den. Trixie heard a loud thump from the hallway as the clumsy puppy ran into something. Luckily, the thump wasn't followed by a crash, so it didn't sound like anything was broken. Trixie hit Jim's speed dial number and waited while the call was connected. It rang through to voicemail. Trixie didn't bother to leave a message. She did type a quick text message: 'missed your call. miss you. love you.' and hit send.

Trixie stood up, put her phone on the coffee table, folded the soft fleece lap blanket and put it back in the antique chest next to the sofa. She carried the tray with the empty wine glasses and bottle back into the kitchen. After rinsing the glasses and placing the empty wine bottle in the recycling, Trixie stood and looked to the west, towards Ten Acres. Lester and his crew had finished clearing the area and the grading had begun. "It's going to be wonderful, just like Jim always planned," she announced to the empty kitchen.

As she was walking back into the den, Trixie heard the tell tale beep of a text message. She grabbed her phone and saw she had a new message from Jim, 'Miss you too. Just finishing dinner. Back @ hotel by 10 your time. I'll call. Love you!'

"Darn! I can't believe we keep missing each other." Trixie was still staring at the phone and rereading Jim's text when Maddie came back in with the puppy.

"Off the phone already? Is everything alright?" Maddie asked when she saw Trixie's discouraged look.

Trixie let out a deep sigh, "We keep missing each other. I called and got voicemail, so I sent a text and Jim texted me back. He's going to call after ten. Guess I could go up, get ready for bed and go over my notes for work." Trixie smiled at Maddie, "Thanks for asking me to stay here and for looking after Sherlock. I had a lot of fun tonight. Maybe next time we can watch Band of Brothers or The Forsyte Saga? Not that I'm into super realistic war movies or extremely unhappy tales from Victorian England, but have you seen Damian Lewis? I must say, he's just as yummy as Eric Stoltz."

"Ooh, I've seen him in Jeffrey Archer. You're right, Trixie, he is dee-lish." Maddie giggled. "Guess I had half a glass too much. Don't think I've ever said dee-lish before. Well, my dear, you and Sherlock sleep well. I'll see you both in the morning for breakfast, right? Then you'll have your photo shoot?"

"Ugh, I almost forgot I volunteered to have my pictures taken. What was I thinking?" Trixie pushed her hands through her hair and grasped her curls in distress.

Maddie placed her hands on top of Trixie's and tilted the young woman's face up so she was looking into her eyes. "You are doing it because you are a beautiful girl who is in love with my son. The pictures will be lovely, I promise."

Trixie smiled widely, "Thank you. I am so glad that you moved here. If you hadn't, Honey wouldn't be my best friend. We never would have found Jim. You wouldn't have adopted him. We wouldn't have created the Bob-Whites. You wouldn't be best friends with my mother and Mrs. Lynch. I wouldn't have my job with the FBI. Oh, gosh, everything would have been different." Trixie hugged Maddie tightly.

"Trixie Belden, we're the lucky ones for knowing you. Everything would have been different if it wasn't for you." Maddie kissed Trixie on the cheek. "Now, don't stay up too late. You need to be well rested for your photo shoot tomorrow. Good night!"

"Good night, Maddie. See you in the morning." Trixie scooped up Sherlock and picked up her phone, she climbed the stairs and went into Honey's bedroom to get ready for bed. After washing her face, brushing her teeth and combing through her curls, she got into her pajamas.

Trixie looked at the clock on Honey's desk, twenty minutes until Jim would be back to his hotel. She picked up her notebook and tried to review the notes for the Anderson case but after reading the same sentence five times, she gave up and put her work away. Trixie wandered around Honey's room looking for something to distract her.

She picked up a framed photo of the Bob-Whites taken the summer before Jim and Brian had gone to college. They were all down at the lake. Trixie remembered how Celia had come with some brownies and ice cream. Honey had asked her to take a picture. The group of them stood together in one mass. Mart was standing behind Diana with his arms wrapped around her middle. Brian was next to them just behind Honey. Dan was standing between Honey and Trixie with his arms around their shoulders. Jim was standing slightly behind Trixie.

She had seen this picture dozens of times but she never noticed the look on Jim's face. He was smiling but he wasn't looking at the camera. He was looking at Trixie. "Sherlock, your father and I are dolts. We couldn't admit to each other how we felt for so long. If it hadn't been for Sally, we'd probably still be just friends." Trixie put the photo back on the shelf and rubbed her arms. It was cold in Honey's room. The vents must still be closed.

She opened one of the drawers of Honey's dresser, summer clothes. Trixie went to the closet and found dresses and suits. "If I were a sweatshirt, where would I be?" Trixie asked, looking at the sleepy puppy. Sherlock let out a quiet woof. "You are so right!" Trixie walked across the room, opened the door, crossed the hall and went into Jim's room.

Trixie pulled open the second dresser drawer and right where she knew it would be was a well worn burgundy Harvard sweatshirt. She pulled it over her head and rolled the sleeves up several inches. The waistband hung well past her bottom. The sweatshirt was more like a short mini dress on her, but finally she was snuggly warm.

Knowing it was cliché but not really caring, Trixie sniffed the sweatshirt. It smelled like Jim. She was standing in Jim's room when she heard her phone, 'bob-bob-white.' Trixie ran across the hallway, stubbing the baby toe of her right foot on the door frame. Trying not to shout out in pain, she hopped on her left foot across the room, trying to make it to the phone before it went to voicemail.

"Oh, damn! Ow!" Trixie was saying as she picked up the phone. "Hello?" she cried into the phone.

"Trixie? Is that you? Are you OK? What's wrong?" Jim asked, concern deepening his voice.

"Oh, Jim, I'm OK." She moaned a bit. "I just stubbed my baby toe. Ow! I'll live. How are you?" Pain was still cracking her voice.

"Baby, you need to put an ice pack on it. Now before it swells. Can you make it across to my bathroom? There's one of those emergency ice packs in the medicine cabinet. Go get it." Jim instructed. "Are you going?"

"Yes, yes, yes, yes. I'm going." Trixie stood up, her toe throbbing. She waddled across the hallway into Jim's bathroom. "So, how was your dinner?" Trixie tried to sound normal but it wasn't working.

Jim interrupted, ignoring her question, "Do you have the ice pack yet?"

"Got it," Trixie hobbled back into Jim's room and sat down on his bed. She squeezed the ice pack to activate it, shook it a bit and then wrapped it around the aching toe, instantly the throbbing calmed down. "Aaahhh! Much better, thank you for making me get an ice pack. Hope I didn't break it."

"Can you move it?" he asked.

"I'm not trying that for a while. I'm going to sit here and let the ice work for a minute or two. Of course, now my hand is frozen and I'm cold again," she answered, trying not to shiver.

"Put one of my socks on over the ice pack to hold it on your toe," Jim suggested.

Trixie stood up and limped to Jim's dresser for the second time that night. She pulled a pair of sweat socks from the top drawer and sat back down on the bed to put the sock on over the ice pack. "Perfect! What would I do without you?"

"Well, I hope that's something we never have to find out. How did you stub your toe anyway?" he questioned.

"I was in your room when my phone rang and I didn't want to miss your call again. So I ran to get it and, graceful as I am, I slammed my toe into the doorframe." Trixie continued, "So, case in point, Mr. Frayne, you caused me to stub my toe. It's all your fault."

Jim laughed at her defense. "My fault? And you were in my room, looking for what…carbon paper?"

"Very funny, Frayne. I was cold. I wanted to borrow a sweatshirt. I couldn't find one in Honey's room. She's just got summer clothes. I knew I'd find something I could wear in your room. But if you object, I'll take Harvard off and go back to shivering," Trixie sighed.

"I love the thought of you in my sweatshirt," Jim confessed. "What else are you wearing?"

Trixie snorted. "Seriously? We're going to go there, are we? OK, I can play. Sure you wanna? I play for keeps," Trixie baited him. "I'm wearing your Harvard sweatshirt and not much else." Trixie
looked down at her flannel pajama bottoms and shrugged her shoulders. All is fair in love and war, right? "What are you wearing?" Trixie asked in what she hoped was a sexy whisper.

Jim's tongue seemed to roll up in his mouth. He was having a difficult time forming words. "Um, I'm just about to head to the hotel gym. I've got my running pants on."

"Is that all?" Trixie purred. She sat back on his bed, leaning against the headboard. "I'm sitting here, curled up on your bed, thinking about you and wanting you here, with me."

After getting a bottle of water from the mini fridge, Jim unscrewed the top and took a long gulp. "Did I say I was on my way to the gym, how silly of me? I'm just getting back. I'm all sweaty; I need to take this t-shirt off." Two can play this game! Jim thought.

"I wish I was there. I'd love to help you out of that sweaty shirt." Trixie could barely contain her laughter. "Then we could take a shower and I could help wash your back."

Unfortunately, Jim had just taken another drink of water. When he heard Trixie's shower suggestion, he inhaled quickly, causing himself to choke. He was coughing, sputtering, but also laughing. You asked for it. You went there. Trixie warned you, she does play for keeps. "Uncle! Uncle! I give up." Jim's voice was scratchy from the coughing. "You win, baby. I can't play with fire, I'm getting burned here."

"I'm sorry, sweetie. I did warn you though." Trixie giggled.

One final deep cough and Jim had his voice completely back. He took a deep breath, cleared his throat and asked, "How's your baby toe?"

"How funny. I'd completely forgotten about it. It seems to be better and I can wiggle it. Ouch! Still hurts a little bit but I don't think it's broken. It'll be fine tomorrow," Trixie said as she removed the ice pack and assessed her sore toe.

"You make sure Cooper does all the hard work and running down of criminals tomorrow, just in case. OK?" Jim requested.

Trixie smiled to herself, thinking about her schedule for tomorrow…running down criminals wasn't anywhere near the top ten. "I promise to just sit around and take it easy. Are you really heading to the hotel gym?"

"I was going to go for a run on the treadmill, work out a little of my tension. But now I think I might just take a cold shower," Jim teased.

"How about you go for your run and afterwards, take a shower. Then you can go to sleep and dream about me," Trixie suggested, standing up and crossing the hallway to Honey's bedroom. She turned off the lights as she walked across the room.

"Baby, I've been dreaming about you since I was fifteen."

"When are you coming home?" Trixie's question bordered on whining but she didn't care. This was the first time the two of them had been apart since both of them had returned to live in Sleepyside. "Sherlock misses you." She reached down to give the puppy a rub behind the ears as she slept on her pink donut dog bed. Then she climbed into bed and pulled the covers up.

"The dog misses me? Is she the only one?" Jim queried.

"No. Your mother misses you," Trixie taunted, "and so do I. Hurry home." She reached over and turned the bedside lamp off. "I love you."

"I love you too, Shamus. Be good tomorrow. I'll be home as soon as I can get Dad on the plane." Jim's voice had softened. "Sweet dreams, love."

Trixie snuggled into the pillows and sighed, "I hope your dad finishes his business early then. I'll call tomorrow when I can. Sleep tight; don't let the bed bugs bite."

"The only bed bug I want biting me is currently snuggling down to sleep in my sister's bed," Jim admitted. "Soon, baby, I'll be home soon. Good night, I love you."

"Love you too, Jim," Trixie said, sleepily. "I miss you. G'Night." Trixie ended the call, turned on her side, and placed the phone on the night stand. She snuggled down to sleep, drifting off dreaming of red hair and green eyes.

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"Hmmm, Jim, stop." Trixie murmured, twisting in her sleep. The wet kisses were not letting her sleep. They were forcing her to consciousness. Trixie ran her hand through her sleep-tousled curls and turned over to face the wall. The kisses once again interrupted her slumber. Trixie finally opened her eyes to see who was assaulting her to alertness. A sweet, brown-eyed puppy was staring back at her. "Oh, Sherlock, how did you get up here?"

Trixie sat up and looked around the room, which was just being lit by the sunrise. There was the puppy's accomplice…Honey's hope chest, just the right height for a short-legged puppy to use. She could see Sherlock hopping from her bed, to the hope chest, to the bed, and finally to Trixie's side. "Well, love, if your father can't wake me up, I suppose you're the next best choice, except for Orlando Bloom, that is."

Looking across to the clock on the desk, Trixie realized that she needed to get moving if she wanted to meet Nick. She got up and looked down at the sweatshirt she was still wearing.

"At least I can sleep with his clothes, even if I'm not sleeping with him," Trixie announced to the puppy who was sitting patiently by the door. "Let's go out, Boo-boo," she said scooping up the puppy and heading out into the hallway.

She carried Sherlock downstairs and walked out through the front door. She set the growing beagle-mix puppy down on the flagstone path. Sherlock bounded across the lawn freshly covered with snow and sniffed a few winter-wizened bushes before she found the perfect victim. Trixie stood on the front porch, with her arms wrapped around herself, wondering why she wasn't smart enough to wear a coat outside. It's February for gosh sakes. You'd think I'd be getting smarter. Come on, puppy. Pee quickly! Trixie thought to herself.

Sherlock stood next to a snow-covered boxwood and sniffed the air, trying to sense any fierce rabbit enemies. "Sherlock, come!" Trixie said forcefully, the cold air motivating her to get back into the warmth of the Manor House. Surprisingly, the puppy gave one last sniff and trotted over to her pajama-clad mistress. "Let's go get some breakfast. How does that sound? Good?
Puppy chow, yum!" She opened the large front door and the puppy scampered inside and ran directly to the kitchen.

Trixie followed the puppy into the kitchen and grabbed up the ceramic dish from the sideboard. She scooped up a cup of the puppy kibble and set the dish down on the plastic mat that protected the floor from Sherlock's eating efforts. The puppy took one look at her mistress as if to say 'Kibble again…where's my Steak Florentine?' and then she set to gobbling down the small chunks of dog food.

While she waited for the puppy to finish her food, Trixie went to the coffee maker and poured herself a generous serving of the freshly brewed beverage, adding a generous dose of sugar and cream. As she was standing at the counter, Cook came into the kitchen. "I'm sorry, Miss Belden, was there something you needed?"

"Oh no, I was just feeding the puppy. I helped myself to coffee. I hope that's OK?" Trixie answered. "Please just call me Trixie. I've been here too long for formalities."

"I was just returning from putting the coffee cake in the dining room. Mrs. Wheeler has informed me of your appointment at eight. Would you like your eggs now or after you get ready?" Cook asked as she rapidly bustled around the spacious kitchen gathering pans to cook the eggs. "What kind of eggs do you prefer for breakfast?" Her hands were going a mile a minute as she selected bell peppers and onions and began chopping them with precision.

Now that the whirlwind in the kitchen stood still, Trixie smiled and said, "Scrambled would be great. Thank you." I bet this woman could cook a four-minute egg in two-minutes. Wow! She's a dervish.

Sensing she was being dismissed, Trixie picked up the puppy, who had finished her breakfast, and said, "I guess I'll have my eggs now then. Thank you." Trixie was still shaking her head when she saw Miss Trask. Trixie put the puppy down and Sherlock scampered off to find her bone.

"I take it you've met the new cook. Mrs. White is quite a dynamo, isn't she?" Miss Trask asked when she saw Trixie's wide-eyed look. "Let's sit down and have some coffee cake while she cooks our eggs. Are you ready for your photo shoot?" Miss Trask took a slice of the freshly baked coffee cake and passed the plate to Trixie.

Trixie placed her napkin in her lap and took a slice of coffee cake but she knew she wasn't going to eat it. She was beginning to feel a bit queasy at the thought of the pending photographs. "I still need to get ready but all my clothes are upstairs, so I should be on time. Regan said he'd have Lady ready and he wanted to help make sure everything goes well at the schoolhouse, so he's going to go along."

Mrs. White came hustling into the dining room carrying two plates of eggs and a rasher of bacon. She placed a plate of fluffy scrambled eggs in front of Trixie and an egg white omelet in front of Miss Trask. "Please let me know if you need anything else. I'll have Mrs. Wheeler's poached eggs ready when she is." And with that statement, the middle-aged cook walked rapidly out of the room.

"I'm exhausted just watching her," Trixie whispered to Miss Trask, as she tried a forkful of the eggs. "Mmmm, these eggs are the best I think I've ever had. They are wonderful. How is your omelet?"

Miss Trask put her fork down and wiped her mouth. "The omelet is scrumptious. I am so glad we were able to engage Mrs. White's services. She used to be the concierge chef at Briarwood. I was telling Mrs. Vanderpoel we were going to need a new cook once Melissa left to have her baby. She suggested we talk to Mrs. White, who turns out to be her second cousin by marriage."

As she was listening to Miss Trask, Trixie continued to eat her breakfast and had completely forgotten about her earlier nervousness. She was crunching on crispy bacon when Maddie Wheeler came into the dining room. "Good morning, Maddie."

"Good morning, Trixie, Margery. Breakfast looks wonderful. Oh, fresh coffee cake," Maddie said, as she sat down and reached for the coffee. She was pouring a cup when the cook entered with a plate containing gently poached eggs over toast points. She positioned the plate in front of her new employer.

"Mrs. White, these eggs are delicious," Maddie said to the cook after she tasted the breakfast. "I am so glad you've been able to join us. I look forward to many delectable meals."

"Thank you, Mrs. Wheeler. We will be having beef Wellington and seasonal vegetables for dinner if that meets your approval," Mrs. White said, picking up the empty bacon platter.

"I look forward to it. Matthew is going to be sad to miss it. Beef Wellington is one of his favorites."

Maddie's comment started a lively discussion of favorite foods. As they finished their eggs, Celia announced, "Mrs. Wheeler, you have a telephone call."

Rising, Maddie replied, "Thank you, Celia. I'll take it in the library." Glancing at Trixie and Miss Trask, she added, "I'll be back shortly."

As Trixie and Miss Trask drank their coffee, they talked about the pictures that would be taken. Trixie looked at her watch. "I really should get moving or I'm going to be late to meet Nick and Regan."

Maddie entering the dining room, commented, "Trixie, dear, you don't want to be late."

Trixie's trained eye noticed the uncommon flush on the older woman's cheeks. "So, how are the men doing in Colorado? That's a pretty early call for a mountain state, isn't it?" Comfortable in her new relationship with her boyfriend's and best friend's mother, she couldn't resist teasing her a little bit.

"It's just two hours behind us, not too early for a wakeup call," Maddie smirked as she took a sip of her coffee. "Anyway, changing the subject, shouldn't you be getting ready?"

"Oh my goodness! Where did the time go? I've got to hurry. Nick is going to be here before I'm ready. Would you mind letting him know I might be a few minutes late?" Trixie asked, grabbing another cup of coffee and rushing out of the dining room.

"'Perfectly perfect' as Honey would say," Maddie stated, turning toward her long-time assistant and friend. "Margery, I have a plan and I need your help. When Mr. Roberts gets here, please let me know. I have a request of him."

"Well, to continue quoting, as Trixie would say, 'how mysterious.' I'll be sure to let you know as soon as he is here," Miss Trask smiled.

"Wonderful, simply wonderful; I'll be in my study reading my email. There is one I am expecting and I look forward to reading," Maddie said as she picked up her coffee and walked out of the dining room with a twinkle in her eye, anticipating the naughty email Matt had promised.

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AUTHOR'S NOTES

We need to thank our editors, Pam, WendyM, Mylee, BonnieH and Donnis. Any typos or errors of any kind are by the Smush Sisters and not these lovely ladies who try to save us from ourselves.

We need to express our special thanks to BonnieH. She hosted this story for us when we first wrote it. {hugs}

Memphis Belle is a truly excellent movie that is highly recommended by us. Description: Description: C:\Users\Jim\Documents\Jo\WORD Web Pages\Stories\mm4_files\image004.jpgDescription: Description: C:\Users\Jim\Documents\Jo\WORD Web Pages\Stories\mm4_files\image004.jpg

Harvard is a great college that has warm sweatshirts.

Orlando Bloom……. 'nuff said.

The carbon paper comment comes from The Gatehouse Mystery when Trixie used it to prove Dick could have forged signatures on his letters of recommendation.  Description: Description: C:\Users\Jim\Documents\Jo\WORD Web Pages\Stories\mm4_files\image004.jpgDescription: Description: C:\Users\Jim\Documents\Jo\WORD Web Pages\Stories\mm4_files\image004.jpg

Header photo is of Jo's grandma.

Background and dividers are from All Free Backgrounds.