Joan was busy shredding the chicken and chopping garlic in the sumptuous kitchen, with its 6-seater breakfast table, cold room, scullery, laundry and pantry so much convenience so much disuse she never cooked unless Laelia was coming over. So having the Doctor as a border was going to at least make sure she ate properly instead of just grabbing a fruit or sandwich here and there.
Laelia is going to either be very upset or, actually who am I kidding Laelia is going to be more than upset.
As Andreas walked down the stairs he was wide-eyed, who owned all this opulence, why have it all and not make use of it? I could never abandon this magnificent place if I owned it. He told himself nothing would make him give it up. Although he was a billionaire himself he had never gone in to own opulent homes and sports cars, he donated to cancer research and attended many galas in lieu of goodwill and always donated generously but he had just never thought of broadcasting his wealth but this place was amazing he would love to live here it was elegant and actually very welcoming.
Hey Joan, he said as he rounded the corner into the immense kitchen. He had just spent the last 30 minutes taking himself on a makeshift tour of the mansion and he hadn’t even seen half of it yet. Anything I can help with?
Evening Andreas, you can look in the cupboard above the sink and take out some wine glasses for us; I have already selected a Grenache Blanc to pair with our Chicken mayo-avocado sandwiches this zesty white was produced in the South of France and has flavours of lemon and white flowers, the zestiness will cut the fat in the avocado. She winked at him. Will that be fine for you? Or do you want to choose a different wine? Andreas was staring at Joan like she had just grown an extra head.
First the mansion, now you’re a wine connoisseur. This old lady had a few secrets she wasn’t sharing. Joan just laughed it off.
Clearing his throat Andreas got the wine glasses and wiped them out with a terrycloth towel hanging from a towel rack next to the fridge. Putting the glasses down on the table he turned towards Joan, anything else I can do Joan he asked politely.
Yes dear she replied almost instantly, there is a bottle opener in the second drawer from your left, if you could just open the wine for us and pour, that would be lovely. She smiled at him contentedly while sliding the sandwiches into the full-length grill.
There we go now it will only be a couple of minutes and we can have a delicious light meal and enjoy a little chat. What do you say, doctor?
Andreas, please call me Andreas I am a doctor but it really isn’t who I am I would prefer if you just call me by my name Joan. He said it all with a smile.
I apologise my dear I am so used to calling Dr Miles's doctor that it has become a little habit of mine, but I will try my best. Now tell me a little more about yourself or do you want to tell me why you think my goddaughter is a hussy that doesn’t know the paternity of her baby? She said it while smiling but she had a twinkle in her eyes that spoke volumes.
Andreas actually blushed a deep red, I actually thought she was a prostitute, to be honest, he heard Joan choke and looked up she was trying not to laugh he could see it but the damage was done she had sprayed expensive wine all over herself and looked very comical so he started laughing himself.
I hope she can forgive me, I hadn’t looked at her file as the files were brought in during the consultation and as such, I jumped to conclusions when she said routine and pregnancy tests in the same sentence. When she stormed out she screamed at me and called me a pompous ass, I have to agree with that assumption because that is exactly what I was at that moment in time.
Joan, I am really sorry for how I behaved, I only picked up her file after she left my consultation room and then I felt like the absolute heel, seeing what she has gone through in the last 5 years and then I go and make a dumb assumption like that, I should have just kept quiet and read the file after she left. Do you think she will ever forgive me?
Chuckling lightly Joan reached across the table to pat his hand, Andreas I think we can start your apology in the morning you are going to help me make Dinner and I will teach you how to make Malva pudding, you can present the Malva pudding tomorrow evening and apologise with her favourite dessert. What do you think dear?
Andreas just couldn’t understand how this elderly little lady had so much patience, she wasn’t upset at him she just offered him a solution to his woes. Yes please, Joan, I would love to help you make dinner and if it will get me out of the dog box with Mrs Hart all the better.
She was watching him, this young doctor from another country worlds away looked so lonely just like Laelia, she had seen the sparkle and faraway dreamy look Laelia had when she spoke about the pompous man but she had also seen how Andreas’s face changed when he spoke of her goddaughter. This was going to be an interesting dinner.
She was sure he was thinking of Laelia right now, he had a small frown on his face and he was pensive.
The only thing Andreas could think about was Laelia, she invaded his mind and his senses, thinking back to those moments in the consultation rooms when he had touched her face and received a shock that ran up his arm and then spread through his entire body. She was the most enchantingly beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on, and he was desperate for her to forgive him because he was going to do everything he could to make those hazel eyes sparkle.
I think I’m in love he blurted out, and then sucked in air and clamped his mouth shut. He looked up at Joan and to his horror, she was nodding at him. She touched his hand and then patted it.
Yes, dear, I think you are. She said sombrely.
Ha! Forget I said that my head is all over the place I am having to apply some effort to focus on things other than your goddaughter’s hazel eyes, and I don’t even know if you would approve and if she is single and on top of all of this I only met her a few hours ago and I insulted her so badly that she must hate my guts.
Joan just chuckled. Yes, dear, she is single, and yes dear you look like a love-sick puppy and you made a fool of yourself and upset her, but I am sure you can make amends. She said this all as a matter of fact.
Joan removed the toasted sandwiches and they ate in silence for the next ten or so minutes.
So Andreas do you want to wash or dry?
He was startled, excuse me? He asked a bit confused.
Do you want to wash or do you want to dry the dishes? She repeated.
Oh! I’ll do both just point me in the right direction for the soap and where to pack the dishes away, and then I’ll do it no need for you to worry about it, you can just keep me company if you don’t mind.
She told him the whereabouts of everything and sipped her wine while chatting about this and that, about the area and the house and then she threw in a surprise question.
Why are you single Andreas?
He dropped the plate he had been holding.
He looked up into Joan’s face and she saw anguish, pure unadulterated sorrow, and it was fresh and raw. Andreas picked up the shattered glass threw it away in the bin and looked for a broom, there wasn’t a broom. But there was a little round robot vacuum cleaner that whizzed past his feet to suck up all the fine shattered glass and then promptly put itself away again. He was staring at the flap in the wall where the little vacuum cleaner had come from.
They're all over the house dear, don’t look so worried. The plate can be replaced.
She wanted to ask him about the sorrow she had seen on his face, but now was likely not the best time so she said instead, I’ll be up bright and early so we can start teaching you how to make dessert young man. She had a bright smile on her face but also a small frown was marring her brow.
Goodnight Joan, and thank you for having me stay over till my house is finished, I appreciate it and hope the owner won’t mind.
Oh! I have the owner wrapped around my little finger there won’t be any issues. She said. But thought to herself I’m going to be in hot water tomorrow.