Disclaimer: I don't own Persuasion.
Anne Elliot was surprised. No, she was shocked to see who was behind the door: her ex-boyfriend, Frederick Wentworth! She felt a little relieved when she saw he was also surprised to see her.
"What are you doing here?" he asked. After eight long years, they were his first words to her. She couldn't help herself as she snapped back, "I live here." It seemed to be the logical thing to say. She technically lived there, in Charles and Mary's house, while her apartment was being renovated.
They stood in the foyer awkwardly, not knowing what to say, when Walter ran into the room, followed by his older brother, Junior. She welcomed the intrusion gladly. After sending Junior to take Frederick to Charles, she led her younger nephew to the dining room. He was always eager to help his favorite aunt. Anne gave him spoons to put on the table. She would take care of the knives and forks herself. After all, Walter was only three.
Crash! She was startled to hear a loud noise from the kitchen. She told Walter to stay in the dining room while she ran to the kitchen. She found the maid standing behind the counter, her left hand on her mouth. "Jemima, what happened?" she asked the terrified girl.
"Miss Anne, I'm… I'm sorry," she turned around. "I was going to take the lasagna out; but when I reached in, my arm touched the inside of the oven," she said, as she stared at the red burn mark on her right forearm.
Anne hurriedly came to her side and dragged her to the kitchen sink. "Put it under running water for several minutes. The water will take the heat away. I will give you an ointment later," she said, as she turned the faucet on.
"And what about the noise I heard just now?" she asked Jemima again.
Jemima looked scared. Her voice was trembling, "When I burned my arm, I jumped back and accidentally knocked a salad bowl off the counter."
She paused before she said, "It was new. Mrs. Musgrove bought it yesterday for tonight. Please don't tell her. She will be very angry." She looked at Anne with pleading eyes.
Anne sighed. "Don't worry, I'll think of something," she said, as she put on a pair of oven mittens and took the lasagna out. 'Smells good,' she thought to herself.
She walked back to the dining room and took Walter to the play room. She gave him crayons and papers to draw. Before going downstairs she went to her own room to get a tube of cream for burns.
When she was back in the kitchen, she gave the medicine to Jemima. After explaining how to use the cream, she took a broom from a cupboard and swept the glass shards.
Jemima left the sink and went to her, trying to take the broom from her hand. "You don't have to do it, Miss. That's my job."
Anne stopped what she was doing and talked to the girl kindly, "Put your arm back under the water. I don't care whose job this is. One of the boys could walk in here any moment now and I don't want any of them to get hurt."
Someone did walk in, but he was a lot older than her nephews. Frederick Wentworth entered the kitchen from the hallway. He looked confused.
"I, uh, I was looking for the bathroom," he said to no one in particular. Jemima, water flowing along her arm, started to giggle; but she was cut short when Anne shot her a warning glance.
Anne pointed to the corridor behind him and said, "It's the first door on the left."
He muttered his thanks before he turned around and walked out of the room. She sighed heavily and resumed sweeping.
They had dinner in peace. Mary didn't make any remark about the missing bowl. She apparently had forgotten all about it. But Anne was nervous for reasons other than dinnerware. She watched Frederick across the dinner table when she thought he wasn't looking. A few times she caught him glancing her way, but she quickly looked down.
'What am I doing?' she thought to herself. 'I'm acting like a love struck school girl. I'm a grown woman, I can handle this. But he is handsome in that suit. His face looks a little different, a little older, but it makes him much more charming. His voice, oh, how I miss his voice. And look at his broad shoulders. I'm sure he still swims regularly.'
She tried to hide her chuckle when she realized that she was thinking about her brother-in-law's business associate in a very un-businesslike way. But, apparently, she wasn't successful.
Mary asked her in a serious tone, "Anne, what's so funny? I was only telling you that I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow."
Everyone's attention was on her. She could see Frederick staring at her, waiting for her answer.
She struggled to find something to say. "I, uh, I just remembered watching an episode of House today. You know the TV series about that sarcastic doctor? He said something very funny to his patient." She hoped they wouldn't ask what he had said to the patient because, actually, she hadn't watched TV that day. After she had come home from work she had been busy playing with her nephews and cooking dinner.
Luckily, Mary decided it was enough and she began telling them the gossip she had heard from Mrs. Bennet that afternoon.
Anne released the breath she was holding; and, when she lifted her fork, she noticed Frederick was still looking at her. She looked down at her plate, her heart beating fast.
After dinner, they went to the study for coffee. Anne went to the children's playroom to check on the boys. They had eaten supper earlier. It was Friday night, so they were allowed to watch a movie before they went to bed. She left Jemima with the boys to watch over them. Junior loved his younger brother, but he liked to tease him a lot.
On her way to the study, she passed the French doors that led to the terrace. She could hear Frederick's voice.
"I'm worried about her," he said to someone invisible. Apparently he was talking on his cell phone.
Anne stopped, frozen in her tracks. She didn't like to eavesdrop, but she was curious. She wanted to know who he was talking about. No, she wanted to know everything about him. Was he married? There was no wedding ring, so there was hope. Where did he live? Was he still angry about their break-up? Did he still love her? So she just stood there, next to the open doors, trying to get any information about him.
"During the day she's all right, playing like usual. But last night, while sleeping, she suddenly started twitching and shaking. She's so small; I'm worried she might get sick." He paused for a while. "Maybe she misses her mother. When are you coming back?" He paused again. "I'm at a client's house. I asked Mrs. Harville next door to keep an eye on Tiff while I'm gone. Her daughter loves playing with Tiff."
Anne couldn't stay any longer. Not only was he married, he also had a daughter. She ran to her room. She buried her head on the pillows to make sure nobody heard her sobs.
She didn't know how long she had been crying when she heard a knock on her door, followed by Mary's voice. "Anne? Are you in there? Why don't you join us downstairs? Frederick said he needed to talk to you."
Anne was surprised. He wanted to talk to her? Whatever for? It looked like he was over the past and had moved on. He had a wife and child, while she was stuck in eternal regret.
A/N: This is a sequel to "Impressions And Perceptions." Kellyroxton requested it. I hope you all like this. Tell me what you think.
I replaced this chapter because Mockingbyrd's Tune had been so kind to beta my fics. Thank you, M.T.
I hope the readers will enjoy this story more after the grammar mistakes have been corrected.