Disclaimer: I don't own Persuasion and Detective Conan.
"Anne? Are you there?" Mary knocked again.
"Yes, yes. I'll be out soon," Anne said without opening the door. She didn't want her sister to see her like that.
"OK, I'll go down now," Mary said from behind the door.
Anne retouched her make-up before she left the room. Her dress was a little crushed but she was sure nobody would notice. She took a deep breath and opened the door to the study.
Charles smiled widely when he saw her. "Here she is. Where have you been?" He didn't wait for an answer before he continued, "Frederick was telling us he is worried about his cat. I told him you're a vet. Maybe you could help him."
It turned out Frederick was cat-sitting his sister's kitten. While Sophia Croft was on holiday to Spain with her husband, she left her pet kitten in Frederick's care.
Anne was stunned. Then she felt relieved, as if a huge stone was lifted from her chest. Like a fish put back into the water. Like… oh, stop that! She kicked herself mentally. That's what you get when you listen to other people's conversations, she scolded herself.
Anne listened to Frederick describing the feline's behavior. Being a veterinarian, she's familiar with those symptoms. She assured him, "It's okay, that was definitely a dream. It's the reason for the muscle twitch. In her dream she was playing and as a response her nerves started to twitch."
"So you think she's fine?" he asked her.
She smiled reassuringly, "Yes. If you want to, I can examine her to make sure she doesn't have any illnesses."
His face lit up. "Would you? Thank you." He paused. "When can I see you again? To bring the kitten, I mean," he said a little nervous.
"You can come to my clinic tomorrow. Let me get you my card," she said as she stood up. She went to her room again and took a business card from her purse. She was already at the door when a thought occurred and she went back in. She scribbled something at the back of the card and walked out of her room with a satisfied smile.
"Here," she said as she gave him her card. "That's the clinic's address and phone number." She added, "I wrote down my personal phone number at the back. In case you want to call me. Umm, about your cat."
He flipped the card back and smiled as he saw the numbers.
"What's her name, anyway?" she asked him, curious.
He replied, "Tiffany, but I call her Tiff for short."
She raised an eyebrow. "May I ask why you named her that?"
He shook his head. "Not I. She's Sophy's cat. My sister chose that name. At first she wanted to call her "Cat," like Audrey Hepburn does in the movie "Breakfast At Tiffany's" but her husband said it was ridiculous. So she called her Tiffany instead."
Anne laughed and he joined her. His eyes were on her. She looked back this time. She remembered those dark blue eyes. How she often dreamt about them. If only he knew.
"Anne," he called her softly. She replied, "Yes?"
"Can I call you tonight? I mean if Tiff suddenly fall ill or something, is it okay if I call you?" he asked nervously.
She smiled as she answered, "Yes, you can call me any time. I'll always be here for you."
He pondered her words for a moment and asked again, "And if nothing happens to Tiff, can I call you still?"
She nodded shyly as she said, "Of course."
He took her hand and held it in between his hands. "Oh, Anne," he said as he stepped closer.
Whether he would have proceeded farther was left to Anne's imagination to ponder over in a calmer hour, for Charles was calling out to him from the other side of the room, "Frederick, please come here. My wife wants to hear your plans concerning Hayter Inc."
"Yes, Charles," Frederick said as he glanced behind his shoulder. "I'll be right there."
He turned back to Anne, his hand still holding hers. "Shall we join them?" he asked her.
She was still blushing when she nodded her head. "Yes," she said softly.
Who can be in doubt of what followed? He called her that night and they talked for hours. When he came the next day to the clinic with Tiffany, he asked Anne to have lunch with him. And she said yes.
Sometime in the future.
Woof! Woof! A dog ran past her, followed by two 5-year-olds. "Tom! Jane! Be careful!" she yelled across the garden. The kids slowed down, yelled back, "Yes, Mum!" and resumed their pace.
She wanted to run after them, but as a 9-month-pregnant woman she had difficulty walking, let alone running. So she sat on the garden bench. An older woman walked toward her and said, "Mrs. Wentworth, you must not over exert yourself."
"I'm fine, Nanny Rooke. I'm fine. Don't worry. Have you seen my husband?" she asked the nanny.
"I haven't seen him yet. What time did he say he was coming from his business trip?"
"His plane was supposed to have landed hours ago," she said with a frown on her face.
"Then I'm sure he will arrive soon. Now if you'll excuse me, I must find the children. They must wash before dinner." Nanny Rooke said and left her.
She sat back, watching her children played at the other side of the garden.
"Catherine!" she heard her husband's voice and she got up to see him running toward her. His jacket was flipping wildly.
He came to her side and hugged her tight, as close as her huge belly allowed. "I'm sorry Darling. The plane was delayed. Oh, how I miss you. But I'm here now. Where are the twins?" He turned left and right, looking for his children.
Catherine pulled her husband down to sit next to her.
"Playing with Goldie. They just adore him. I'm warning you, next Christmas Santa might have to bring a dog down the chimney," she said with a serious look.
He laughed heartily. "I don't think I can handle a pair of twins, a baby, and a dog. If they want a pet they have to understand the responsibilities." He kissed his wife before he continued, "Maybe when they're older. Like fifty years from now." He laughed at his own joke. She smacked his arm lightly but she laughed when she said, "Well, Edward, we'll see what you will say when they look at you with their big blue eyes. We both know you never say no to them."
"Say no to what?" they heard a deep voice from behind them.
They turned around and saw Frederick holding a baby in his arms.
Edward stood up, watching the baby in awe. "So this is my new niece. Hello there, Beautiful."
Frederick's face lit up with pride. "Isn't she gorgeous? Anne said she looks like me but I think she looks more like her mother. Look at her hair. Although I admit she has my eyes."
Catherine chuckled. Edward asked his brother, "Have you decided on a name yet?"
Frederick shook his head. "No, we've been searching for names ever since we found out that Anne was pregnant, but we still can't decide."
Catherine frowned and said, "But you can't call her 'Baby' forever. You must choose a name for her." She held the baby's small fist in her bigger hand.
Frederick grinned as he asked, "What do you think about Tiffany?"
Edward looked at him incredulously. "You're going to name your daughter after Sophy's cat? While you're at it, why not Goldie after your dog?"
Frederick was laughing. "That was a joke."
When he realized the other two were not laughing, he told them, "My bad. Sorry. It's a personal joke between my wife and me."
Catherine's voice broke the awkward silence. "Let's get back to the house. I'm sure Anne will love to see you, Edward,"
Frederick said, "Oh, I just remembered I was sent by Anne to call you. The Crofts are already here. Dinner will start soon."
And the three of them walked together into the house.
A/N: I took the idea about the cat from Detective Conan manga. I used a few lines from that manga and also from the book Persuasion. I'm sure you know which ones.