Flight of the Monarch (Chapter 3, page 2 of 4)

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Chapter 3

"You do not even know the request." He turned his head slightly to blow smoke away from her face.

"Whatever it is, that is fine." She felt butterflies taking flight in her stomach.

"You must be homesick for Maddie these last three days." Mr. Lawrence sat in the chair beside the fireplace.

"Yes sir, I would be really happy to see her again."

"It will only be for a day." He looked into the bowl of his pipe.

"Might that be Thursday, father?"

He gave her a puzzled look. "Yes. Mr. Christman will deliver you to the Sommers' estate along with food, he is preparing for the birthday celebration.

A message was sent along with my invitation, requesting that you accompany him and stay for the day.

It seems that Maddie is missing you too."

"I can't believe she has asked me to come!"

Hayley ran out of the parlor and up the stairs to her room.

Mr. Lawrence smiled and shook his head. She did not allow time for him to tell her it was Maddie's request.

_ _

On the day of Austin's birthday, Hayley arrived early at the Sommers' estate with Mr. Christman. Grateful for the opportunity to see Austin again, she wasn't sure what she would say to him.

She was promptly escorted into the kitchen by the resident butler. Every corner she turned along the way, she anticipated catching sight of the man she loved. The moment she walked through the doorway, she saw her father's housekeeper. They hugged each other, as though they had been apart for months. Maddie took Hayley by the hand, led her to the kitchen table, and motioned for her to have a seat.

"Hayley, I'm so glad your father agreed to let you come."

"I would do anything for you."

"Mrs. Sommers asked for you to come, at my suggestion." Her slight smile melded into a serious expression. "Hayley, it may not be what you expect."

Hayley looked confused.

"Mrs. Sommers had asked for additional help for Mr.

Sommers' party. Of course, I knew you would be perfect."

"What kind of help?"

"You will serve appetizers and drinks, during the party." Maddie reached for a smock and handed it to Hayley.

Before she had a chance to respond, Mrs. Sommers announced her presence with her boisterous voice.

"Miss Hawthorn, what is Miss Lawrence doing with that garment?" She glared at Maddie, pulling her spectacles down on her nose.

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