"Willow's Tail" 6
The door bell rang as Perfidia was passing the front door, not seeing Martha nearby she shrugged and opened it, and promptly froze.
“Mr. Appleton?” Perfidia blinked twice thinking she was not seeing him there, but he didn’t go away.
“Ms. Mishapsham,” he nodded and gave her a bright smile.
“What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you still be in the hospital?” she asked looking at his crutches and his pale complexion.
“I thought so too but when I got your invite to recuperate here, I couldn’t resist.”
“Your invite,” he repeated pulling a letter from his jacket to show her and he added with a smile, “I like the perfume on it too.”
“I di…It isn- Oh come in your about to fall down,” she said opening the door wider and catching his arm just as he was about to fall off his crutches.
“Thank you, this left hand is still unsteady…darn snake,” he said with a self depreciating chuckle but he did let her help him into the house.
Martha was setting the table for dinner when she saw Perfidia walk in with a man on crutches, and that appendage gave a hint to his identity.
“And who is this?” she asked Perfidia with curiosity.
“Hello, I’m Roger Appleton.” Roger said sticking out his hand to her, “Perfidia has offered to help me recuperate.”
“Has she? How nice of her,” Martha stepped over to shake his hand but her brow furrowed with surprise. It didn’t sound like something Perfidia would have offered and by the bewildered look on Perfidia’s face, she was sure she hadn’t.
“Whatever is that amazing aroma?” Roger asked sniffing the air.
“I’ve made a roast and you’re welcome to join us for dinner.”
“Oh, that would be most appreciated, if I may freshen up first I would gladly accept your invite.”
There was that word again, Perfidia frowned, and she’d dearly have loved to know who had sent him one in her name. She turned a meditative look towards Martha.
“Perfidia, why don’t you show Mr. Appleton to the guest bedroom next to yours,” Martha said with a small smile.
Perfidia gave her a stubborn look before turning to Roger.
“Yes, it’s up the stairs do you think you can manage?”
“With your help, I’m sure I can,” he gave her a bright smile and leaned on her arm.
Perfidia grudgingly supported his weight up the stairs.
Martha finished placing a setting on the table for their new guest when Perfidia walked back into the dinning room.
“Martha, why would you bring him here?”
“l didn’t bring him here Perfidia.”
“You had to have…how else...”
“No, sorry Perfidia, I wouldn’t interfere with his life, or yours.”
Perfidia locked eyes on her and could tell she wasn’t lying.
“I guess I believe you so…than who?”
“You can’t think of anyone who might think you deserved to help him recover?”
“His mother!” Perfidia said with force but then she hesitate, “that doesn’t make sense; she wouldn’t send him this far from her…it couldn’t be her.”
“Well. Whoever sent him here, he is here so can you handle being his therapist?”
Perfidia looked ill at the thought and Martha walked into the kitchen to get the platters of food.
The low meow from the corner of the room had Perfidia turning to see Willow watching her with interest.
“You wouldn’t have done this would you?”
Willow yawned with disinterest and laid down for a nap.
Perfidia had to admit it didn’t appear to be the work of the bothersome feline either.
"Thank you Martha, that was delicious,” Roger said finishing the last bite.
“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” Martha said as she cleared his plate.
“I did,” Roger beamed then turned to his redeeming angel, “And Perfidia I still can’t believe you invited me here. I was so sick of that hospital and mother was cloistering me. Your invite was a godsend.”
“So glad,” Perfidia said weakly sipping her wine thinking, would it be terrible of her to make him go away?
“Oh by the way, the hospital arranged for me to have daily therapy sessions at a rehab center not far from here and tomorrow is my first day. I’ll give you the address.”
“Give me the address?”
“Yes, I’ll need you to help me after I do the exercises; I tend to feel the paralysis more after a workout.”
“Oh bother,” she mumbled.
“Of course I’ll…help you.”
“You know the Amazon was a good idea and I did enjoy the few hours I had to explore before my accident, just sorry I never did see any cave art.”
Perfidia smiled and said nothing; she had no words for how sorry she was that she had sent him there. She should have let Gloria have him. She’d love to let her have him now.
The strange sounds coming from the sleeping feline had Perfidia turning to the cat just as Martha walked back in the room with a pot of tea.
“Oh listen to that,” Martha said.
“What is that?” Perfidia asked.
“That’s Willow laughing, something must have struck her as very funny,” Martha told her as she placed the pot of tea on the table.
Perfidia’s expression soured even more.