The Eighth Guest

Chapter Two

by TT (a.m.tilmouth.s99 at
The knocking reverberated round the house, quick sharp taps that sent a little shower of paint off of the back of the door. Miss Fayre looked up from the table she was dusting and laid down her dust rag. It was early morning; upstairs she could hear the floor creak gently as her nephew got washed and dressed for school.
"Who could that be at this time in the morning, I wonder?" She took off her apron and went out into the hall. As she opened the door Tessa barrelled in, her white belt, gloves and shoes correcting the distance between her body and the door. She laughed and outstretched her hands.
"Caroline, you'll never guess what happened to me last night! I'd dance with joy if I could see where to put my feet." As it was, Tessa was stepping from foot to foot in her excitement, Miss Fayre put her hands on Tessa's shoulders and tried to guide her to a seat, but she wouldn't be led. "Where's Tenny? He has to be here, too." She let go of Miss Fayre in her excitement, moved two steps and shouted, "Little bro, where are you?"
Miss Fayre followed her as Tessa slowly moved her way slowly along the hall. "He's upstairs changing. I thought you went out with Peter last night."
Tessa turned in the direction of the voice. "I did. That's what I have to tell you. Where's Tennyson?"
There was a whir in the direction of the stairs. The hoverchair came down, Tennyson wrapping his red bandanna with one hand and driving his chair with the other.
"Beep." He moved his chair to her side and took her hand; she jumped.
"Don't sneak up on me, rascal. Lets go and sit down."
Miss Fayre put a hand on Tessa's shoulder and they led her into the living room and sat her down. Caroline could feel Tessa shaking with excitement.
"Guess what happened!"
Miss Fayre smiled at her. Tennyson looked puzzled.
"Nope, try again."
"I think you better just tell us, Tessa, or Tennyson will be late for school."
Tessa gasped. "Oh, yeah, I forgot. Sorry, little bro." She reached down and pulled off one of her white gloves. A ring sparkled in the light of morning, a diamond encircled by hundreds of little twists of white gold.
"Oh my." Caroline hugged her tightly. Tessa grinned.
"Peter proposed, Tennyson. Tessa's engaged."
Tennyson honked his horn.
"Well, how could I refuse and miss the chance of Tennyson looking so cute as a page boy?" Tennyson blushed and pulled Tessa forward, enveloping her in a hug as tight as he could manage. She felt him kiss her cheek through the bandanna and then released her.
"We're having a meal to celebrate tomorrow night. You both have to be there; please, it would mean so much to me."
Miss Fayre smiled and squeezed her hand. "Of course we'll come, but why so soon?"
"Peter starts training at the end of this week and then it will be nothing but specially prepared packet meals until the season's over. We'll do a proper party then." She reached down and gave Tennyson another hug, and slipped some cards into his hand. "These are invitations for Deidre and Wiggins, I wasn't sure where they lived. Do you think they'll want to come?"
Tennyson honked his horn again and nodded emphatically. He was still a little shocked about the news, but in a good way; he hadn't seen her this happy for a long time. He couldn't wait to tell the other Irregulars the news, or Holmes for that matter... a thought struck him and he tapped his computer. "Whurrrr?"
Tessa laughed. "Of course I've invited Holmes and Watson, and Lestrade, may I add, but their names are easy enough to find in the phone page and their invitations went through the post. Do you really think I would leave them out? They're the reason I'm still alive to get engaged."
Tennyson honked his horn again and Miss Fayre glanced at the clock.
"Oh, my. Your lunch is on the kitchen table, Tennyson; hurry or you're going to be late." Tessa watched Tennyson rush to get ready. She was so excited about tomorrow night; already her mind was skittering ahead wondering what to wear, how in the world to fit her guiding sensors into the other clothing. But she was also worried; something was lurking at the back of her mind and she couldn't quite place it -- something... sinister.

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