He was in the library when Benson informed him that he had a visitor and that she was waiting for him in the drawing-room. “Has she been waiting long?” he asked.
“No, Sir. She arrived about ten minutes ago.”
“Thank you, Benson.”
He straightened his sweater and combed his fingers through his hair. His heart was beating fast in anticipation. After the afternoon they spent together touring the grounds and then having lunch, he was looking forward to seeing Alexandra again. It pleased him that she had stopped by. Perhaps he could persuade her to spend the afternoon and stay for dinner.
He went into the drawing-room expecting to see her standing by the window or sitting in the same chair she had occupied the first time they met but it wasn’t Alexandra who greeted him with a smile. It was Lilith.
After he got over his disappointment, he approached her with a smile. “Hello, Lilith.”
“Hello, Gerhardt.” They hugged.
“You were expecting to see someone else, weren’t you?” she asked when they parted.
“How are you, Lilith?” he asked, evasively.
“I’m fine, thanks. And you?”
“You can’t fool me, Gerhardt,” she said, watching him closely. “I could see the surprise and disappointment on your face when you walked in and saw me. Were you expecting someone else?”
He sighed. “Yes.”
“She mentioned that she was given a tour of the grounds. She was very impressed.”
“I showed her the tree for Helena.”
“She mentioned that too and how touched she was by it.”
“I invited her to stay for lunch.”
“She didn’t mention that but I’m happy to hear it.”
“To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?”
“I just wanted to give you a copy of the program so that you know what to expect. And other information as well.”
“Let’s have a seat over there,” he suggested indicating the sofa.
They sat down and Lilith went over the program with him. “I will give a short speech telling people why they are there and encouraging them to donate. Lexie will introduce an awareness video which will highlight our cause. There will be fun activities such as Heads and Tails. Are you familiar with it?”
He nodded. “Yes. It was one of the activities at a gala Helena and I attended and she won.”
“Good. We will have a door prize to put people in a generous mood.”
“Alexandra mentioned that the decorations and tables will be set up the day before.”
“Yes. She will be coming by to supervise that. You’ll be home, won’t you?”
“Yes.” I’ll make sure that I am, he thought.
“Good. She’ll probably be in touch to let you know when she and the team will be stopping by.”
“She also mentioned that you have hired an orchestra.”
“Yes, a string orchestra. We thought it would be more appropriate than Jazzy and jubilant music.”
“Well, I think I’ve gone over everything with you.”
“I see that your theme this year is Bright Heart.”
“Yes. It’s someone who is light-hearted and prepared to enjoy life. We want to make it clear that people who have heart failure can be active and enjoy life. We want people living with heart disease that life doesn’t have to look or feel grim. One of our celebrities will share her story and how she wears her scar from heart surgery as a beauty mark and how she is optimistic about her future.”
“It looks like we’re in for an unforgettable experience.”
“I hope so. Well, I’ll be on my way.”
“Wouldn’t you like to stay and have tea and scones?”
“I’d love to but I’ve got to run. Maybe another time?”
They stood up and he escorted her to the foyer where Benson brought her her jacket. “The next time I see you, it will be at the ball,” she said.
“Yes, I’ll see you then.” A pause. “You know I’m always happy to see you.”
“Usually you are but this time you weren’t and it was because of Lexie. Honestly, Gerhardt, I’m not the least bit upset about it.” She smiled and touched his face.
“I’m relieved to hear that.”
They hugged and then, she left.
He returned to the drawing-room. Ten minutes later, Alice brought in the tray with tea and scones.