THE CALLISON HOME -
I don't...I don't know if that's such a good idea." Charles
eyed her cautiously as he mulled over the logistics of her plan in his
head. "You aren't exactly the most liked person with my family.
I just don't know how well this would turn out."
"Oh, darling, it would be
wonderful!" she cooed softly as she gently laid her
hand on his cheek. "Just think! It would finally give the
children a chance to see me in a different light...a different setting. It
would give us all a chance to get to know one another better."
"Dear, I think they might
know you about as well as they want to." He moved away from her and
walked across the room before lighting a cigarette.
He took several long drags,
buying himself time to consider her idea. Was it wise to put everyone
together under the same roof, let alone in the same room? Reginald had
been more than vocal about his disdain for his relationship with Annabelle and Trevor's own anger had forced him to move out of the house. And what about
poor Maggie? She'd already been so traumatized by the whole ordeal between
him and Francis. Would such an event hurt her even more?
"Charles, no matter what
woman you were to wind up with, if it isn't their mother, then they'll be
Annabelle walked over to him
and wrapped her arms around him. She just had to convince him of this
dinner. She knew she could be on her best behavior. Without
the support of Charles' family, she realized that she might never convince him
to marry her. She just had to get in their good graces.
"Are you going to let
your children control your every thought and every move for the rest of your
spun around to face her and looked her in the eyes. "I am my own
man. My children do not control me!"
"Oh, Charles, your
children are adults! Surely they can accept that you are an adult,
as well, with your own desire for happiness. Why aren't you willing to
show them how happy we really are? If they see that, than surely they'll
give their blessing and support. I just know they want you to be
"Maggie is not an
adult!" He glared at her angrily. His daughter had probably
been the most traumatized by this entire situation. She had been the one
to discover him in the arms of Annabelle, a woman that was not her mother or
his wife. He clearly realized how much Maggie blamed herself for
everything that had gone wrong between him and Francis.
"She's also not a little
girl, anymore, Charles," Annabelle reminded. "She's well on her
way to being a grown woman. I know she wants to be treated like an
adult. Just think, Charles, your entire family together at once, seeing exactly
how happy we are together. A family dinner is just the thing to bring
everyone together again."
He rested his chin in his hand
as he began to consider her idea. It would be nice to have the entire
family together, for a change. It seemed like so long since everyone would
gather around the dining room table for breakfast, discussing their plans, and
for dinner to talk about the events of the day.
However, he quickly realized
that it wouldn't be the same. Francis would not be there and
Annabelle was only a poor and improper substitute in the eyes of his
family. Although, it would give them a chance to see that change was a
part of life. Maybe they would see Annabelle in a different light
and accept, if not approve, of their relationship.
relented as he reached out and pulled her into his arms. "If it means
so much to you and you think it's a good idea, we'll have this dinner
"Oh, Charles, you won't
regret this!" she said excitedly as she rested her head on his
shoulder. "This is just the thing to make everything all right."
He silently prayed that he
wasn't opening up a can of worms best left sealed. It was all against his
better judgment, but how could he say 'no'? Unfortunately, he couldn't
shake the uneasy feeling that the night would be doomed to disaster.