In today’s cookie, Sukey and Toogood started their first day on the job together with a fight AND Toogood has skipped his breakfast. Noooo! It’s the most important meal of the day!
“You didn’t eat breakfast, Mr. Toogood,” Sukey sang out as John carried the breakfast silver past the kitchen door. She stood at the sink, washing Mr. Summers’s plate and cup.
Relieved she wasn’t holding a grudge, John quashed the urge to snap, When would I have done that? He’d been run off his feet ever since his conversation with Molly—first laying out Mr. Summers’s clothes and shaving things with Larry, Molly underfoot emptying the chamberpot and bringing up water when that ought to have been done first. Then he’d helped Thea finish preparing the morning rooms for use, then shaved himself in the near dark before waking the vicar and dressing him. He’d laid the breakfast things, some of which had had to be returned to the kitchen because there were bits of yesterday’s butter and marmalade on them. Now if he could just polish this damn silver, he could finally consult with Mrs. Khaleel about the day’s remaining meals and what wines to bring up from the cellar…
“Shh,” he said, coming closer, and not dulling the edge in his voice as much as he’d hoped to. The tray was heavy. “Mr. Summers has a visitor, and very likely neither of them are fascinated by my eating habits.”
Her teasing smile faded. “Oh, I see,” she said drily. “Well, I’ve got an urge to start singing. Aye, there’s a very bawdy song rattling around in my head trying to get out.”
He regarded her impassively, inwardly mystified and vaguely hurt. Was she holding a grudge after all?
“Or you can eat that.” She pointed with her elbow, almost knocking Mr. Summers’s teacup against the side of the sink as she set it on the drying board. “Won’t take but a minute.” John glanced in the direction indicated, and saw two fat slices of toast dripping with butter and marmalade.
He opened his mouth to tell her he was busy—but he couldn’t. Something wobbled in his chest, and probably in his face too. Sukey ducked her head, blushing and trying to say with every line of her body that it was nothing and why was he making such a fuss?