THE GARDENS RESTAURANT
you so much for asking me out to dinner," Francis smiled as she looked
across the table at Fred. "I think this must be the first time in
months that I've allowed myself a chance to relax."
"And you deserve it,
dear." Fred reached across the table to hold her hand. She
nearly pulled away, but reconsidered and allowed it to rest comfortably in
his. "After everything you've been through these last few months, you
deserve any shred of happiness you can find."
Fred." She stammered slightly and looked away. "I really
am impressed by how nice and gentlemanly you've been. Considering all the
stories that have floated around the hospital, I was a little concerned."
"I thought I assured you
that that's all they were! Those are just stories spread by old
harpies who have nothing better to do with their time." He grumbled
slightly as he was again reminded that some things would never die. He
thought he'd managed to get over the rumors of the past, but they kept returning
over and over again to haunt him. "You know all too well about
"Y-yes, I do."
Francis felt embarrassed for again judging him based upon the comments of
"I'm nowhere near the
womanizer those catty nurses have made me out to be." He smiled at
her warmly as she again looked into his eyes. "They're all just
resentful that I won't have anything to do with them. Why, I wouldn't even
give the time of day to the majority of those spinster hags."
"Honestly, I-I don't see
that horrible side to you, at all." She allowed a sigh of relief to
escape her lips as she felt the momentary resurgence of tension slowly begin to
slip away. "You've actually been very charming, gentlemanly, and
supportive as far as I'm concerned."
"Uh oh," Fred
muttered as his eyes quickly caught sight of familiar faces in the doorway.
"It looks like we have
unexpected company in the restaurant, this evening."
Francis allowed her eyes to
glance in the direction of Fred's gaze. Her draw dropped when she saw what
had brought about his response. Charles and
Annabelle were standing in the
doorway of The Gardens and requesting a table.