I had no intentions on doing that though. Back then I’d thought I would just stay in my room and read on those days, but now there were much better prospects.

He seemed pleased that I was willing to help out even on my day off, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it.


I felt just a little bit guilty about the fact that it was the father I wanted to stay close to. But spending time with little Isabelle was no hardship either.

When we got back to the house there was a strange car in the driveway and a woman came bounding down the steps as soon as the Rover came to a stop.

She smiled and called out to Callan who jumped out of the truck just as excited as she was and I felt a slight pang in my chest. He opened my door and helped me down before getting the baby.

I looked around to find the new arrival staring at me open mouthed as if she’d seen a ghost. “Callan, she’s…” Whatever she was about to say was cut short when he interrupted.

“This is Noelle, Isabelle’s nanny. Noelle my sister Priscilla.” Her hand was limp in mine when she took it and her eyes went back and forth between her brother and I.

“Welcome Noelle!” The words sounded strange but I smiled in acceptance. I also pretended not to see the strange look that passed between the siblings over my head.

Noelle

Trudy took one look at Priscilla and disappeared, curious indeed. While Priscilla stared at me the whole time she was here until her brother had to warn her to quit it.

I disappeared into the kitchen with Ella who unlike me never seemed to have a day off while the baby took her nap upstairs. “Ella, is there something on my face?”

She looked and shook her head no. “Why do you ask?”

“Priscilla keeps staring at me.” She stopped stirring for a second before starting up again.

“It’s because of your pretty face that’s all. Don’t take it to heart she’s a very sweet girl if a bit scatterbrained at times.”

She went on to tell me the girl’s whole history. I was surprised to learn that she was only a few years older than I but had already been married two years. She lived in the city with her husband but was a regular here since she and her brother were very close.

It was obvious that Ella loved the whole family the way she goes on and on about them when given the chance. And I sat there greedily eating up every word. Especially the stories about Callan when he was younger.

“Why do you never talk about his wife or the time he was married?” Or Trudy? I didn’t say the last out loud because I already knew the answer.

“When the time is right Master Callan will tell you all you need to know.”

“Why do you call him master? He wouldn’t even let me call him mister.”

“Just habit I guess. I’ve called him that since the day he was born.”

“Now if you’re done interrogating me, come stir these pecans. I’m making your favorite pecan pie.” When did I tell her that that was my favorite? I couldn’t recall, but I probably had during one of our gabfests.

Priscilla came in to say goodbye not long after and again she gave me that strange look. She opened her mouth as if to say something but Ella interrupted her before she could.

“When are you going to give me a baby to bounce on my knee? Just flitting around the place with those heathen friends of yours down in Atlanta.”

She sniffed and the younger woman walked into the room and wrapped her arms around her. “I’m young yet Ms. Ella. And besides, you’ve got Isabelle to keep you busy.”

“I’m off now. It was nice meeting you Noelle, I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again.” I returned her sentiment just as Callan entered the room with the baby.

The siblings said one last goodbye before he placed the baby in her chair and got the strained beans Ella had prepared.

“I’m making pecan pie, make yourself useful and get out the ice cream maker. Some homemade vanilla would go nicely don’t you think?”

She addressed this to Callan who for some reason looked at me before leaving the room to do as he was told. “Yes ma’am!” He left the way he came.

Now I was really beginning to wonder just when it was that I’d told those two of my fondness for pecan pie with homemade ice cream.

I played with the baby while she ate and the pies baked in the oven, adding a nice homey scent to the atmosphere.

Callan spent the next few hours outdoors making ice cream and it was only then I realized he was using an old fashion maker and not one of the electrical ones from the store. I would’ve objected but after dinner that night, and dessert was served I was very appreciative of his efforts.

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