Mr. Pendlebury’s Suspicion

“Antonia, I suggested to Martina and Laird that I wanted to have dinner with her parents the night before the wedding and they both said it was a good idea.”

“Won’t Laird–and Martina be there?”

“No. Just the two of us and her parents.”

“Are you going to have the dinner here?”

“No, at a restaurant.”

“Why do you want to take them out for dinner?”

“I thought it would be a good idea to meet and get to know them before the wedding. So, what do you think?”

“I think it’s a great idea, Dad, but I won’t be able to join you.”

“Why not?” he asked, surprised.

“I have other plans.” The truth was, she didn’t want to go.

“Oh. That’s a shame.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll meet them on November 20.”

“That’s less than two months away.”

“Dad, I have asked Martina and Emma to have lunch with me next week.”

“That’s great. I’m sure Laird would be pleased about that. How was your lunch with him, by the way?”

“It was great. We went to a Lebanese restaurant. The food was very good.”

“I’m happy to hear that. Speaking of restaurants, I’d better ask Martina which one she would recommend that I take her parents to. It’s too bad you’re not going to join us.”

“I’m sorry, Dad.”

“Don’t be. You have your life to live too.”

“Dad, Laird mentioned that he knew Emma longer than her husband.”

“Yes.”

“Were he and Emma ever more than friends?”

“No. Why do you ask?”

“I-I was just curious.”

“As far as I know they have only been just friends.”

“I don’t know much about Laird’s personal life at all. Does he talk to you about his work or the people he works with or his friends? I don’t know anything about him and I’m his sister. I don’t know anything about him like what sorts of things does he like to do in his past-time. Does he play any sports? What’s his taste in music? I feel like we’re strangers. I don’t know him as well as Martina and Emma do yet I’ve known him much longer than both of them.”

“Well, I can tell you that he likes to play Badminton and croquet when he has the time. He still enjoys reading and he likes classical music, particularly Vivaldi.”

“What about his love life?”

“As far as that goes, he has dated several women but was never in a serious relationship until he met Martina.”

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“Did-did you meet any of the women he dated?”

“No. Martina was the first one I met. And now, she’s going to be my daughter-in-law.”

Agitated, Antonia rose to her feet. “Well, I must be going,” she said. “I’ll see you later.” She went over to him and kissed him on the forehead before she hurried out of the study.

Mr. Pendlebury sat there, a frown burrowed his brow. Why all those questions about Laird and his personal life, specifically, his love life? Was it really just curiosity or was it something else? He returned to finishing the fifth chapter of his book. As he typed the words, Moonbeams sparked a connection, it slowly dawned on him that what Antonia felt for Laird wasn’t sisterly love. He stopped typing and sat back in the chair.

It would explain her reaction to his news about Laird’s engagement and her behavior on the night they had dinner with the engaged couple. She had questioned Laird’s decision to marry Martina, insinuating that he might have been rushing into it and after they left, he could tell that something was wrong although she denied it, saying that she was tired. Did her mother suspect that she had feelings for Laird and that was why she had tried to throw them together before he managed to talk her out of it?

He hoped with all his heart that he was wrong about Antonia’s feelings for Laird because if he wasn’t, it would mean that Karson was going to marry a girl who didn’t love him. And that was something he didn’t want to even think about.

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