Zachary’s voice had put Michael in a daze. He was completely silent on the other end as if he had lost his voice.
Charlotte rubbed her aching temples and hurriedly chimed in. “Michael, thanks for calling, but I have to go. We’ll be in touch.”
With that, she hung up.
Charlotte raised her head and glanced at Zachary, but there was no way to calm her heart that pounded furiously in her chest. “Well, you heard it. Michael meant to call and inform me that Helena was getting married. He didn’t mean anything else.”
Zachary then returned her phone to her and walked into the bathroom without a word.
Charlotte gazed at him calmly, but she was frightened. The silence was unsettling. Was he a time bomb waiting to explode? Was he going to go after Michael quietly?
She was deep in thought when a knock came from outside the door. ‘Are you awake, Miss?” Mrs. Berry’s cheery voice came through. “The children want to have breakfast with the both of you.”
“We’ll be there in a bit!”
“Okay, I’ll set the table for you.” Mrs. Berry then left.
Charlotte walked barefooted into the bathroom cautiously. Zachary was still in the shower. “The kids are waiting for us to have breakfast together.”
“Yeah.” Zachary responded.
Charlotte didn’t dare say more but promptly started on her skincare routine in silence.
After a while, Zachary walked out of the shower in his towel, with one hand drying his still-wet hair. While he did not lose his temper, he also did not even glance at Charlotte.
Charlotte observed him from her mirror as the anxiety wormed its way into her heart.
Is this a change of strategy, perhaps? A cold war instead of your usual temper?
“I’ll go down first,” said Zachary.
Before Charlotte could ask him to wait for her, he had already left the room.
Charlotte was frustrated and disappointed by his behavior. After all, what did she do wrong?
He was unhappy when she brought up her father. And now, he gave her the cold shoulder over a phone call?
There was no way she could win.
All she could do was grit her teeth and bear with him.
Charlotte sighed audibly, got dressed, and went downstairs.
When she reached the spiral staircase, she heard a cheerful voice that came from the dining hall.
“Daddy, this is delicious!”
Ellie fed Zachary a piece of her banana pancake.
Zachary chewed thoughtfully and nodded in agreement. “Yes, it’s delicious.”
He was not usually the type to have sweet things for breakfast. Ever since the children moved in, he noticed that his diet had changed drastically.
“Daddy, taste this!” Jamie picked up a piece of his honey-soaked waffle and fed it to Zachary. “Mrs. Berry made it herself!”
Zachary ate the waffle piece and again, remarked on how good it tasted.
“Okay, stop bothering Daddy and finish your breakfast.”
In the midst of chiding his siblings, Robbie silently slid a piece of fruit on Zachary’s plate.
Zachary patted his head affectionately and continued with his meal.
Charlotte broke into a grin as she observed them from a distance. The children have now adapted to Zachary and could get along with him nicely.
“Miss? Breakfast is ready and the milk is already cold. Let me get you another glass.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Berry,” said Charlotte and took her seat at the table.
“Good morning Mommy!”
“Mommy, why are your eyes puffy? Didn’t you sleep well last night?”
“Something like that.” Charlotte yawned. “And did you guys sleep well?”
“Yes Mommy!” replied the three children in unison.
“Daddy gives us lessons every night. But we’re tired after class, so we sleep very quickly!” Jamie’s voice was full of admiration for Zachary.
“Me too.” Robbie idolized Zachary too. “Daddy taught me a lot of things, and he will take me to the company today.”
“To the company?” Charlotte looked at Zachary in surprise. “Really?”