"Thank you, Phoebe, I think we can take it from here," Marie Irving told the plump, young maid after she had set the tea pot and cups on the table. After a quick smile & nod toward her employer, Phoebe headed back to her previous task.
Marie had invited her good friend Jeanie over for afternoon tea & to catch up on each others' latest news.
"It feels like we haven't done this for ages," Jeanie commented as she mixed sugar in her tea.
"Yes, it has. We've been so busy, I would welcome a lull in our schedule anytime. By the way, how's your mother?" Marie questioned knowing that Jeanie's mother had a weak immune system and took ill more than was common (LOL).
"She's doing a little better. Dr. Arlington came a few days ago and said that she seems to be much stronger. It was just a slight cold and she should be up and about in another week." Jeanie stopped and took a sip of her tea, then continued. (Hers was thirsty!) "She has been getting restless being confided to bed, but I try to keep her occupied."
"And how are you doing? I know that when Henry's mother was sick, I had many nights where I got very few hours of sleep. I don't know what kept me going, but I functioned." Marie said, speaking of her mother-in-law who had died from a lung disease two years before.
"I'm doing pretty well, and I usually get a fair amount of sleep each night. however, I do miss doing things like sewing and reading and I haven't been out in my garden in ages. Even though I usually look after them, Carlos (hehe) is doing a good job at keeping up my sunflowers," she said speaking of her law boy. (LOL)
"Mrs. Irving, I'm sorry to interrupt you but someone is here to see you. A woman by the name of Lezlie Wildwood (enter the Roziers!!) is here." The two women looked up to see that the Irving's butler had come to stand right inside the door of the green room. "Shall I tell her you're occupied?"
"Lezlie Wildwood?" Marie sat thinking of the unfamiliar name for a moment. "Oh, that must be the family who is moving in next door. I knew that name sounded familiar. I was going to pay them a visit but I never have had a chance. No, Tobias, that's okay. Show her in."
When Lezlie Wildwood entered the huge parlor she let her eyes roam over the features of the room. Against one wall was a gigantic painting of the house she was in. underneath it was a plaque that read, "Brier Wood 1874." The next wall held a wonderful bay window that overlooked the Irving's courtyard. The walls were painted in a hunter green and the rugs were made with many designs filled with different shades of green and touches of maroon. Across from the beautiful fireplace that held a warm, crackling fire that chased away the early March chill, sat a lovely couch made of a lighter green fabric with dark green designs on it. On either side of the couch were two identical chairs and foot stools covered in the same print. (Geez! Have an adjective! I hope you now have a good idea of what the place looks like!)
Sitting on the couch were two women. One had bright red curly hair and lovely blue eyes that were early to spot even from across the room. She wore a dress that matched the color of her hair and a lovely flower hat with many shades of reds and pinks. The other woman looked about the same age with dark brown hair and beautiful light yellow day dress. (What the crap is a day dress?)
"Mrs. Wildwood, please come and sit down." The dark haired woman was now standing to greet her guest. "I'm so glad you came. I saw that your family was moving in next door and I wanted to come and see you, but time hasn't allowed. I am Marie Irving and this is my friend Jeanie Haltom."
"It's nice to meet you Mrs. Irving, Mrs. Haltom." Lezlie shook each lady's hand politely before she took a seat in one of the empty chairs.
"Please call us Marie & Jeanie," Jeanie responded, taking in Lezlie's southern accent. "Where have you moved from?"
"We lived in Laurel, Mississippi (A real place??) for 15 years. My husband, Thomas, is a pastor. We have some friends who live here that just lost the pastor of their church to the mission field, so they were in need of another one. After much praying, we felt like that was where God was calling us to." (WOW! Lots of info for just "Where did you move from?")
"That's wonderful! How do you like it here so far?" Marie asked, and then remembered her manners. "Oh, I'm sorry, where are my manners? Would you care for some tea?"
"Yes, thank you. We love it so far. Our home is beautiful and North Carolina doesn't have the intense heat as Mississippi does." Lezlie took the cup of tea offered by her hostess with a quiet thanks.
"Just wait until summer comes, it can get pretty hot (ignorant cow!). Do you have any children?" Marie asked.
"Yes. Sarah Jane is our oldest at 15 (who talks like that??) and then our twins, Samuel & Rebekah (HAHAH!) are 11."
"Twins! I bet you have your hands full." Jeanie responded. "I have two boys. Ashley is 21 and Christopher just turned 19."
"What about you Marie? You have children don't you? I thought I'd seen a young lady coming from the house yesterday." Lezlie inquired.
"Yes, I do, two girls actually. Michal' and Anne are 17 and 18 (respectively ...)."
"Wonderful! (That's the most amazing thing EVER!!) We must get together soon with our girls," Lezlie said flashing a smile. The grandfather clock in the corner sounded to say it was 4 o'clock. "Oh, look at the time. I didn't intend to stay half as long as I did! (15 minutes??) I must be getting home."
All three women stood and Marie thanked her guests for coming while walking them to the door.
"It was lovely meeting you, Lezlie. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to come see you soon and meet your family," Marie said as the women gathered their coats.
"Yes, I'd like that. Come whenever you can."
The women bid their final good byes and Jeanie and Lezlie left for their homes while Marie turned to go back inside, her thoughts on the afternoon. (I was wondering what her thoughts were on ...) Being very involved in the running of her house, Marie was headed to the kitchen to see how the dinner preparations were going when she saw her husband come out of his study.
"Hello," she said as he came to stand in front of her.
He smiled at her and dropped a kiss on her cheek before answer, "Hi. How was your afternoon?"
"Very nice. Lezlie Wildwood, our new neighbor dropped by and had tea with Jeanie and me. She seems to be very nice (everything is SO very nice!) and her husband is a pastor."
"Really?" he said taking her hand and walking with her toward the kitchen. "Where are they from?"
"Mississippi. We should have them over before the month is up. Are you finished with your paper work?" She questioned, changing the subject (duh!).
"Almost. I just came out to stretch my legs. What are you getting ready to do?"
"I was on my way to see how dinner was coming."
"Alright then, I'll leave you to it and get back to my papers." Before he left, he put an arm around her shoulders and gave her a quick kiss. Although they had been married 22 years, no on could have guessed it to look at them. For their eyes still twinkled when they saw each other and they were still as much in love as the day they were married.
(What the crap happened to dinner with David??)
To be continued ...