“There is something… I’m not sure whether it will work, though, especially if the connection between Phillip, sir, is true, (which I do not doubt at all). Your heart has always been in the right place, as has Miss Aidelle’s; nothing was bad about your fabled union, and nothing could be incorrect about your sudden strong feelings. If you are willing, sirs, everything must be done- that is, if you want to find Miss Aidelle again?”
“Of course,” Peter and Phillip responded together, the only thing different between the brothers was the tone of happiness in their voices.
“Very well. But how much time do you have on hand? The evening meal must be overseen to, and I must be the one to take charge of it all. Of course, there’s also the matter of when Mrs. Costello will want to see you up there. No doubt, you are eating with Master Ryan and the other young men who will arrive home tonight?”
“Oh no…” Phillip moaned, “I forgot that we are having a big meal together, to celebrate the end of the war. With…everything that’s been going on, it slipped right through my mind…”
“We’ll take whatever time we’re given,” Peter responded helpfully.
“Certainly, sir. I’ll send a message to Beth to inform us if your parents start to ask questions.”
Beth was one of the scullery maids, and a great friend to those of the family who accepted her friendship; she had a kind, and sensible, heart, not known to flight, and one that, being an orphan with no siblings, knew of loss, and was more than happy to be empathetic.
With that, the butler was gone from the dark room and out into the daylight of a normal life.
That just left Phillip and Peter, alone.
“Mother and father never told you how they thought that I was going to be the last, did they?” Phillip said quietly, finally looking directly at his brother again. “You were the surprise, but mother was certain. I remember that she was so happy carrying you; she knew, at once, that her suspicions of being pregnant were true. She was certain that you were a boy, too. Although, it was known that she so wanted a baby girl, she told me, with so much definite joy, that I would have a little brother to play with. When I asked her how she knew, I remember that laugh and her giggled reply of ‘mother’s intuition’. I never believed it, I always thought that maybe she had some lucky guesses…until now.”
“Until you’d seen for yourself how strong intuition can be? I guess that it’s your love for Aidelle which is keeping her alive-”
“But she is alive!”
“Alive here with us, in spirit, in mind, in the room, I mean. As Richards rightly said, your ties are too strong to be broken, even by time.”
Phillip nodded, and then went back to staring (this time, at the coat-hooks), deep in thought. The silence resounded all around the boys and sunk deep into their thoughts.
“No, they didn’t, by the way,” Peter finally said, “Mother and father never said that they never expected me. That explains why, deep down, I’ve always felt separate from the rest of you, then.”
Phillip opened his mouth wide to speak, but was distracted as Richards returned, the splashes of white in his grey hair shining from the light outside the office.
“Sirs… Beth says that there is no telling how long dinner would take until it is ready, and so, you have the go-ahead to proceed”
“Great!” Peter grinned at Richards and gave him a one-handed thumbs-up.
“Now, follow me,” Richards turned and held the door open for the boys to walk through.
“Where are we going?”
“To my room.”