Anne drove Ann into Deloraine the next morning just before the kids appeared with their breakfast. They left a note saying they would be back within the hour. The bank they entered was able to give them what they wanted. Ann couldn’t believe how easy it was. All she did was show her passport for identity purpose. Anne smiled. Matilda and the kids would be happy. She hoped. Anne and Ann had talked about how much. Ann was going to give them enough so they could all visit England later in the year but Anne could see how Matilda and Graeme would feel about that and the kids needed to learn to save as Matilda was teaching them to. So, Ann only gave them a small deposit for their trip.
As they walked back to their car they saw Matilda park on the other side of the road. She yelled out. ‘What are you doing here, Matilda?’
I needed to get a letter in the post. I should have asked you but you had left before I had a chance.’ Ann looked sorrowful. ‘It’s okay. We are out of milk and bread so I am going to Woolies to get some. Do you want to follow me?’ Anne nodded. Matilda posted her letter and they went to Woolies. Ann was still smiling when they returned home.
‘I have something I want to give you.’ Ann said as they sat around the kitchen table. ‘It’s not as much as I wanted to give you but Anne says if I did give you more you might be embarrassed.’ She handed an envelope to Matilda who felt it gently before opening it up to find a small stack of $100 notes. She blushed. ‘You didn’t need to do this. You have spent so much on us already and have helped prepare a future for our children.’ Matilda said as she wiped tears from her face. ‘I honestly can’t accept it. What about your sister’s children? She does have children.’ Matilda couldn’t remember if Ann had told her about her sister. ‘Yes, Elizabeth had three children but they will inherit her share of the Crow Nest estate.’ Matilda’s jaw dropped. How big was Ann’s estate? She had never talked about it was Matilda. Ann reached out and placed her hand on top of Matilda’s then she smiled. ‘It’s your deposit for your trip to England or whatever you want to do with it.’ Anne said. ‘And Ann won’t take no for an answer.’ Matilda smiled. ‘Thanks.’ She called the kids in. They smiled broadly when Matilda told them what Ann had given them. ‘And you will have somewhere to stay while you are visiting us.’
‘Where?’ Matilda asked. ‘With us at Shibden or at Crow Nest. It is unoccupied at present or will be when we return home. I am moving in to live with Anne and her family.’ As if I haven’t moved in already Ann thought. ‘There are a few things I want to take to Shibden.’
‘It will be a while before we can visit. None of the kids have passports but thanks I am sure we will visit one day soon.’ Ann smiled. ‘That would be great. We can visit the lake district.’ Anne said sincerely. ‘And maybe visit the blue house?’ Anne and Ann looked puzzled. As far as they knew there was no blue house in the lake district.’ Matilda smiled. ‘Family! I will tell you about it later when we are there.’
They spent the next two days playing scrabble and badly losing. Ann thought she had a good word then realized she couldn’t use it. While Anne was good with words she found it impossible to find a word that would give her a decent score. Every time she thought she could use the triple word space one of the kids beat her to it.
They slowly packed their suitcases and carryon bags. Ann didn’t want to leave but she didn’t want to stay either. While she enjoyed Matilda’s company her home was with Anne at Shibden and like Anne she was itching to return. That didn’t mean leaving would be hard. It always was hard.
Their last night there Anne and Ann wandered around the land. They couldn’t believe how luck Matilda and Graeme were to have such a great place to raise their kids. ‘I wonder what they will do with the money we gave them, Dearest!’ Ann said. ‘Do you think they will come visit us one day?’
‘I am sure they will, Adney. Anything is possible. This blue house has me puzzled though. I wonder what Matilda means by blue house.’
‘I think she will tell us one day.’ Ann said as they strolled back inside. It was getting very chilly. So they were glad to feel the warmth of a fire blazing in the wood heater. Ann stood close to it after she had taken off her coat. Anne sat on the sofa. She was beginning to like the idea that one day they would be parents. Only she wouldn’t mention it again until they were home. Well, she might mention it on their flight back home. She wasn’t really sure.
‘Anne Lister, what are you thinking about?’ Ann asked as they sat and watched the kids prepare their last meal. ‘Nothing.’
‘You’re lying to me again. What are you thinking about, Dearest?’
‘I was just thinking about what we will do when we get home.’ Anne blushed. Ann saw the blush. ‘Now, you are really lying. I thought we had decided to move some of my gear into Shibden. Then talk to Elizabeth as to what we were going to do with Crow Nest.’ Anne shrugged. ‘Sorry, I forgot we had already had that talk.’
‘You’re lying again. Come on, What are you thinking about? Anne didn’t say anything but as her eyes wandered to where the kids were Ann could see what Anne was thinking. ‘So, you do want to be a mum after all.’
‘What makes you think I am thinking that?’ Anne said. ‘Just the way you are looking at Matilda’s children. I can see the glint in your eyes.’ Anne smiled. ‘I guess you know then. Okay!!’ Ann smiled. So, did the kids.
That night in bed Anne and Ann talked about their future. They were more open with each other than they thought they had been. ‘There is only one question I need to ask you, Dearest. Who is going to get pregnant?’ Anne smile. ‘I guess it will need to be you. I can’t imagine being a birth mum.’
‘Can’t you? I thought you would look great nine months pregnant and waddling around like a duck.’ Ann smiled. She was teasing but Anne bit. ‘No, Adney. It has to be you or not at all.’ Ann laughed. Then Anne realized she was joking. ‘You little pill. I think I need to get you back for that.’ Then Ann’s phone buzzed. She thought she had turned it off. ‘Hi Elizabeth.’ Anne said as she looked at Ann as if to say why is she calling us now. Ann shrugged her shoulders. ‘Hi Anne, is Ann there?’
‘Yes! I will give Ann her phone.’ Anne said as she passed Ann’s phone to her. ‘Hi Elizabeth what’s up?’
‘I was just wondering when you will be returning home.’
‘We will be leaving here noon tomorrow from Launceston airport. We…’ Ann told her when they would be landing and taking off at all the airports. ‘We arrive at Heathrow at around 8PM. I had forgotten. It could be later.’ Ann said. ‘Why?’
‘I was just wondering. What’s your flight number?’ Ann found their itinerary on her phone and sent it to Elizabeth in an email. ‘I have just sent our itinerary to you in an email. Okay!!’
‘Thanks. Talk to you soon, Ann.’ Ann disconnected the call. What did Elizabeth want? Anne asked. ‘She just wanted to know what time our plane lands at Heathrow. So I sent her our itinerary, Dearest. I hope you don’t mind.’
‘No! But I wonder why she wants to know when we get home.’
‘I have no idea. Let’s get some sleep. We have a long day tomorrow. We leave here at 9AM to get our first flight at noon and won’t be home until around 5AM here.’ Ouch Ann thought.