It was nearly midnight when they got back to Peter’s apartment. Connor looked down at the shoes in Lindsay’s hand and broke into a grin. "Another good pair of panty- hose ruined?"
"Hmm?" Then she understood, and laughed. She made a "1" in the air in front of her. "I’ll think of an answer to that one tomorrow."
He laughed and shook his head.
"Are you hungry, darling? I think there’s still some stale donuts in the fridge."
Connor rolled his eyes and moaned.
Lindsay laughed, and they both got ready for bed. A good night kiss, and she snuggled deep into his arms, her head on his shoulder, and was asleep in two minutes.
He lay there, holding her close to him, and felt their child moving against his stomach. He smiled as he remembered the time he had almost kicked him out of bed. Lindsay stirred a little and sighed, and he thought how passionately he loved this beautiful woman and his soon-to-be child; this woman who loved him as much, or maybe even more, if that were possible, than he did her. He smiled, kissed her forehead, and then, closing his eyes, drifted off to sleep.
They slept late the next morning, had a wonderful, casual breakfast, then did the New York Times crossword puzzle together. Anton came about noon and taught them both some basic hypnosis techniques, then they spent the afternoon wandering slowly, hand in hand, through Central Park, buying hot dogs from a vender, and hiring a horse-drawn carriage. It was a perfect day, spent together, and sweetened with love.
"Come on, honey; we’ll have to face the Monday morning traffic if we don’t hurry."
Lindsay came out of the den, looking a little distracted, and smiled at him. "Just checking to make sure. I’m ready."
The traffic was heavy, but not overwhelming as they headed northeast out of the city after they had dropped Peter’s key off at Anton’s.
Once they got out of the city the travel was pleasant and Lindsay could relax. She loved being on the road, enjoying the ever-changing scenery. She adjusted the seat to a semi-reclining position and sighed in contentment.
"It was a wonderful weekend, wasn’t it, darling? Being part of the wedding, and seeing all our old friends again. But I will be sooo glad to get back to our little house, and Sooty. I’ve really been missing him on our bed at night."
Connor laughed. "It was wonderful. I miss Peter a lot, and Anton, and the others." When she was quiet, he flicked her a look and saw an unspoken question in her eyes, and smiled. "Don’t worry, darling. I miss them, but not enough to go back there. I like my life just the way it is, right now. You, the baby, my job –" He heard her sigh of relief. "What about you?"
She shook her head. "New Hampshire’s my home. And you," she added, briefly slipping her hand in his.
He squeezed it gently and let it go, returning his to the wheel.
After several hours’ driving, Lindsay fell asleep, waking just as they were entering their town.
"What time is it?" she yawned.
"Nearly seven. Almost dark. You slept a long time. You okay?"
She nodded. "I guess I was more tired than I thought," she laughed.
Their house was at the edge of town, at the end of the street, and as they pulled up, they saw the lights were on inside.
"Hmm. Odd," said Connor. When he opened the door, they were surprised to see their housekeeper in the middle of the great room, beaming.
"Ah! ‘T’is so good to have ye back! I’ve got a supper waitin’ for ye; I knew ye’d be hungry, an’–" She was startled as something black streaked past her.
"Sooty!" Lindsay called, as the little cat jumped from the floor into her arms. She hugged him tightly, rubbing her cheek against his pricked-up ears. "Oh, sweetie, I’ve missed you!"
Connor laughed and gave him a scratch. He loved the little kitten, too.
"–an’ I knew ye’d be tired, after that long drive. And no one should come home to a dark house," she finished.
"Oh, thank you," Lindsay answered. "I’m starved, and this is so good of you."
The woman chattered happily while they ate, delighting in hearing Lindsay and Connor talk about the wedding, then, when they were finished eating, she began:
"I have a surprise for you. While I was cleanin’, I was down in the basement, and came across somethin’." She went over to the small utility room off the kitchen and they followed her. They were both surprised to discover some wooden chairs in poor repair, but one glance told them they were something special. They were carved from a dark wood, the seats shaped in a heart-fashion, the backs carved with a beautifully crafted rose!
"Abra’s chairs!" Lindsay gasped. She looked at her husband. "They have to be! There’s no other explanation!"
"You’re right; they have to be. We’ve always assumed they–" he pointed with his thumb to the table, "were the ones they were talking about. But these fit the story." He looked up. "How did you find them?"
"Ah, an’ wasn’t it the kitten that did it? He slipped down the stairs when I wasn’t lookin’, and off in a real dark corner, he was sniffin’, and I found a door back there. Never knew it was there. These were in it."
Connor examined them again. "Do you know anyone who can restore these?"
The old woman nodded. "I know just the one."
A few days later, the chairs, returned to their original splendor, again graced their old home. Lindsay had made some heart- shaped, red velvet cushions for the seats, and they stood in the kitchen, admiring them.
"Aren’t they beautiful?" Lindsay asked, her head on Connor’s shoulder.
"They are. And back where they belong. Just like us," he added, gathering her into his arms.
"Hold his heart gently in your hands."–From "shadow of the hawk"