Chapter Twenty-Seven

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"Richard? Can we not be happy just for a moment. We have so much to be grateful for?" Juliana asked struggling to sit up and wincing in pain as she did so.

Her sharp intake of breath brought Richard to her side to assist her, he smiled down at her, "Of course, you are my priority. I will let the rest wait until you are well enough to stay by my side not just now but always. I never want you away from me not even for a moment. So, tell me Love what can I do for you today?"

Juliana could think of several things but she would need more strength to pursue them so instead, she settled for, "Well, I am hungry?"

"Done!" Richard said and left the room immediately to fulfill her request.

Annabelle and Cyril were in the parlor about to sit down to breakfast when Richard had entered. Annabelle looked surprised but pleased to see him. "Richard, does this mean you are going to join us?" she asked hopefully.

"Where are the boys?" Richard asked looking around.

"Oh, they are at Clara's after what had taken place I thought some time away in the country would be best."

"I see, well then I guess that means you have enough for two then?" Richard said stroking his chin in a pondering way.

"Two?" Cyril asked momentarily confused until his wife leaped up squealing. "Juliana!!!" Annabelle ran from the room nearly knocking Richard over in the process who just laughed at his little sister's reaction. Juliana cringed from the pain of laughter as her best friend practically crushed her, hugging her voraciously.

Cyril was close behind. "I can not believe it!" Cyril said, joining his wife in hugging Juliana.

"Careful! I am not totally healed but thanks to you both and Richard I have no doubt it will be a complete recovery." Annabelle's tears were evident when she pulled away from Juliana.

"You are awake! You came back to us! Oh, Juliana, I was so scared! You are to NEVER, EVER do that to us again! Oh, and you must be starving!" Annabelle was a flurry of energy and appeared to be all over the place. She shook her head to clear her thoughts and ran from the room only to return shortly with a light fare of food and some strong tea to drink on a tray.

"Thank you!" Juliana said grateful for some sustenance but taking it slow as she still felt a bit shaky.

They all ended up eating together in Juliana's room. It was wonderful to enjoy a meal but even more so surrounded by her family. Juliana knew Richard was worried over the fact that Marcus was not the killer but if Marcus was correct then Cecilia took her own life but it was evident by Richard's demeanor he did not believe that. If he still expected there to be foul play he would not rest until he got to the bottom of the issue.

Juliana desired no more than to be free of the whole fiasco and truthfully just wanted time with Richard. They have missed out on so much and she knew it was selfish but she no longer cared what happened to Cecilia. She was eager to begin her life with Richard and she did not care for more delays.

"So when is the big day?" Cyril asked almost reading Juliana's thoughts it would seem.

Richard looked over confused.

"I have the license, you just, name the date and time and I will make the arrangements," Cyril added.

The wedding? How could he have forgotten? He had said upon his return. "Today!" Richard said. "I do not wish to waste another moment without making it binding that this beautiful woman is my wife."

"Today?" Juliana said wistfully.

Annabelle jumped in as the voice of reason. "No, no, no! Absolutely not!"

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