Evelyn O'Connell joined her husband in his study, rearranging a couple of artefacts as she walked past his bookshelves.
"Will you please leave my ornaments alone? Just this once? I had them exactly as I wanted them!" Rick said with exaggerated patience, smiling slowly as Evy put her hands on her hips, ready to do battle.
"How many times do I have to tell you? They are not ornaments..."
"They are artefacts!" he finished for her, grinning as she aimed a blow at his head that he easily fended off. He dragged her onto his lap and gave her a long slow kiss, effectively stopping her from making any more complaints.
"Mmm, that's better," he murmured, looking at her flushed face, pleased at his handiwork. "Now that I've got your undivided attention, let's take another look at this letter."
Evy took the piece of folded paper from his hands and straightened it out. "Well, I don't know anyone by the name of Wilson, as far as I can remember. Nor does Jonathan, but then, who can tell if he knows what he's talking about half the time?" She smiled as Rick nodded enthusiastically in agreement with the last statement. "And you yourself said that the name rang no bells. It's all a bit of a mystery."
"And you love a good mystery, right?"
You know I do!" she grinned at him. "Who do you think she is?"
He shook his head. "I have no idea, but we only have to wait until tomorrow and then we will finally meet this..." he glanced at the letter again, "Matilda Wilson. Then we'll discover what this is all about."
"Well, you'll meet her anyway! I certainly won't! I wasn't included on the invitation!"
Rick arched an eyebrow at her. "Jealous?"
"Completely! Why would a strange woman want to meet with you alone?"
"I could name several reasons. My charm, my good looks, my intelligence..." he ticked off his attributes on his fingers as he spoke.
Evy jabbed him in the ribs. "Let's not forget your arrogance!"
"Okay, that too!" he agreed happily before getting more serious again, a calculating glint lighting up his eyes that Evy didn't miss. "You know nobody could ever hold a candle to you. Whoever this woman is, she couldn't possibly be as beautiful as you are."
"Flatterer. Stop trying to divert me and lets get back to the matter in hand."
"I know what I'd like to have in hand," he whispered, wiggling his brows at her.
"Later! Now, where are you to meet her again?"
"The Regency Hotel. That sure beats digging in the sand!"
"Hey! Don't knock digging in the sand, darling. It bought everything in this house. Not to mention the house itself. Where there's sand there's gold!" she said in a knowledgeable tone.
"I thought it was 'where there's muck there's brass' or something like that? That's a weird saying."
"Not as weird as some of the things we've been through in the past few years!"
"And certainly not as weird as Jonathan," Rick muttered, glaring at the other man as he walked aimlessly into the room.
"Hello all!" he said cheerily, throwing himself into a nearby chair. "Shortage of seats lately?" he inquired, nodding toward Evy seated on Rick's lap. Rick glared at him even harder and Jonathan squirmed, loosening his collar with one finger.
"Yes, well...erm...so, what's going on then? Anything that requires my derring-do?" he flexed his thin shoulders. "Trips to exotic places and all that?"
Evy got elegantly up from her perch and placed a kiss on top of Rick's head. "I don't think so Jonathan. Not yet anyway. But you never know, we may need that good aim of yours again one day! I know Ardeth was glad of it at Ahm Shere. If not for you, he'd be dead."
"Yes, well, I don't like to boast or anything..."
"Of course not," Rick interjected mockingly.
"Ardeth never actually said thank you, you know. You'd think he'd have written or something. It's very rude if you ask me!"
"We didn't ask you!" Rick said impatiently. Evy shushed him.
"Ardeth did nod his thanks to you if you remember correctly. I'm sure he has other, much more important, things on his mind. He was probably very glad to see the back of us when we left!"
"It's a good job we haven't had any reason to go back again. I expect the Med-jai are having a well-deserved break from our company. As far as I can see, there shouldn't be any need for us to return to Egypt." Rick commented.
"Well, actually darling, I wanted to talk to you about that..." Evy began hesitantly.
"Oh really? About what exactly?" he said slowly, all suspicion.
"Well, the Museum wants to do a dig at Karnak...well, just next to Karnak actually and...well, they want me to go."
"They do...and what about Alex and me?"
"You'd come with me of course! I certainly couldn't go without you, you're my protector!" She smiled dreamily at him and he perked up at her look of admiration.
"I'm not sure Alex should go this time," he said, frowning.
"Perhaps not. He's had quite enough excitement over the last few years. But there won't be any danger this time, I'm sure."
"Famous last words," Jonathan said with a dramatic sigh.
"For once we agree on something," Rick said with a faint look of disgust at being caught agreeing with Jonathan. "Honey, it's always dangerous. There are always Mummies...and bugs and things!"
"You're not scared are you?" she teased, stroking his hair away from his forehead.
"Me? Scared? No! I just don't want you to get hurt. I nearly lost you last time and I'm not willing to take that risk again."
"There's no risk. And even if there were it would be mine to take. We're going and that's an end to it."
"You're really determined huh?"
"It is my job, you know. And you know how much I love it out there! Say you'll come with me," she said in her most persuasive tone, bumping up against him as he turned his chair toward her. He reached out and drew her to him, caressing her waist.
"You know I can't resist you. Okay. But promise me you won't take any unnecessary risks this time?"
"I promise. Anyway, you'll be there to do that for me, won't you? And Jonathan of course!"
"Jonathan's going too?" he burst out, frowning. "You never said that!"
"I have to go! The British Museum has appointed me head of acquisitions!" Jonathan piped up.
"I'm so glad you want to go! It's next week by the way." Evy smiled as she stroked his cheek, trying to divert him again.
"Next week? Oh my God. And what's this new job of Jonathan's? When did that happen? Don't I get to hear anything any more?" Rick shook his head. "Where was I when all the people at the museum went crazy?"
"Actually, it was only today, my dear boy. I'm sure you'd love to congratulate me?"
"You can be sure, if it makes you feel better. I'd rather send my commiseration's to the museum, although I must say you are over qualified for the position. I've never known anyone who could carry so many valuable items at the most dangerous times!"
"Why do you think they hired me?" Jonathan said, smiling inanely. "Well, I'm off to bed. It's very late," he said, staring knowingly at the two people who were rapidly becoming oblivious to his presence. He left the room in disgust, muttering to himself 'Oh, for heaven's sake!'
Matilda Wilson stepped off the steam train and glanced around her at Victoria Station. It was her second time in London but only her first travelling on a British train. The last time she had been in the City was with her Aunt Amelia on a trip that her Aunt had told her 'would turn her into a Lady of Intelligence and Wit' but in truth had bored her. Until, that is, they had gone to the British Museum and seen all the artefacts from Egypt. It was a subject she loved, now more than ever, but there would be no time for such frivolities on this visit. No, this visit would be very different.
She felt apprehensive about the meeting that was to come, but she had high hopes that Rick O'Connell would welcome her visit and her news, even if it all came as a shock to him. He had thought himself an orphan without relatives, but she was here to tell him different.
Matilda had discovered, three years ago, that she had a cousin called Rick. They had both been placed in the same orphanage when he had been a young boy and she only a baby. Thinking that her adoptive parents were in fact her real parents, it had been quite a shock to find that it was all a lie, if a kindly meant one.
She pushed the memories forcefully to the back of her mind and concentrated on the present, focusing on the porter who was busily loading her cases onto a trolley. She glanced nervously about at the crowds of people, drawing a few curious looks from some of them. She ignored the curiosity, used to being looked at because of her unusual colouring. She smoothed her hands down over her new coat, thankful that she was at least wearing the latest fashions and didn't stand out too much and proceeded to follow the porter out to the small line of Taxi's outside.
She smiled as the driver helped her into the rear of the vehicle and then went off to help the porter stow her cases away. By and large she didn't like motor cars, preferring to ride horses; a skill she had acquired back home in Arizona. But unfortunately there seemed to be a lack of the graceful animals on the London streets, taken up as they were by more motor cars, buses and trams. It all seemed very busy to Matilda, very noisy. She hoped she would get used to it before too long.
She looked up with appreciation as they pulled up outside her hotel, admiring the huge elegant building that would be her home for the next few days. Now all she had to do was brace herself for the meeting with Rick O'Connell the next morning. She fervently hoped he would believe what she had to say. Time would tell.
Rick stepped out of the car and walked confidently up the steps of the large hotel, not bothered one bit by the fact that most of the men he passed were wearing smart dark suits. He himself was wearing his habitual adventurer's outfit, comfortable in the unusual garb and not in the least fazed by the odd looks he received. His one concession to convention were the trousers he was wearing, smart brown ones as opposed to the desert khaki he usually sported.
Not bothering to give the sumptuous interior of the hotel a second glance, he marched directly up to the Maitre d' at the restaurant entrance. The man looked astonished to see this unusual person striding toward him, but his training took over and he set his features into a polite mask.
"Yes, Sir, and how may I help?"
"I have an appointment for breakfast with Miss Matilda Wilson," Rick drawled lazily, smirking as the man looked him slowly up and down before looking at the bookings. His attitude became immediately more respectful once he found the information he required.
"Ah, yes Sir. Miss Wilson is waiting for you. Do follow me." He led Rick into the large dining room, only half full with hotel guests eating their breakfast. He looked around at the people in front of him with interest, wondering which table held the mysterious Miss Wilson. He didn't have long to wait.
The Maitre d' stopped at a small table occupied by a young woman in her twenties and seated Rick in the chair opposite her, promising to return and take their order in a few minutes.
"Miss Wilson I presume? I'm Rick O'Connell, I'm pleased to meet you," he said politely, shaking the hand she held out toward him. "Although, I have to admit I'm a little puzzled. I've been trying to work out if I knew anyone by your name and, now that I've seen you, I'm sure we've never met before."
Matilda smiled, studying him briefly and liking the openness of his face. "I'm sorry to have confused you. I have some things to discuss with you, Mr. O'Connell, that may confuse you even more. I apologise now for any shock I might cause you but, hopefully, my news will be welcome too."
Rick smiled at her. "Well, okay, so what's the news?"
"I guess the best thing to do is to just say it. Mr. O'Connell, I'm your cousin."
"You're my cousin?" he repeated dumbly, his expression unchanged.
"Yes. I know it comes as a surprise..."
"It sure does. Considering I spent my entire childhood in an orphanage with absolutely no relatives...well, perhaps you could explain how you could possibly be related to me?"
Matilda grimaced at the impatience that appeared on his face. "I knew this wouldn't be easy, Mr. O'Connell, but please let me explain. I don't mean you any harm and I'm not trying to con you or anything."
Rick looked for any sign of dishonesty, but all that shone out of her clear green eyes was concern at that moment. He couldn't in all honesty believe what she had said, but he forced himself to relax and listen to what she had to impart; even if she turned out to be a lunatic. He nodded for her to continue.
"Shall we order some coffee...or tea? The British like tea better don't they?"
"I'm not British. Coffee will do me fine, thank you."
They waited for the coffee to arrive and only then did Matilda continue to talk.
"Mr. O'Connell, I was adopted at six months old from an orphanage in Cairo. The same orphanage you were placed in. I have lived my entire life in a small town in Arizona and until my parents died I had never questioned where I came from. I never had any need. But it seems that my..." she hesitated, "...adoptive parents failed to mention that I was actually adopted. I believed, always, that they were my true parents. Now that I look back on it I can see that it must have looked strange, a child of my colouring..." she indicated her red hair, "...belonging to two dark-haired parents. But you never really question those things do you?" she asked him, taking a sip of her coffee.
"I guess not," Rick agreed.
"Anyway, my father died in an automobile accident four years ago and my mother followed him a year later. Natural causes this time. If that wasn't bad enough, I then learnt from her will that they weren't even my real parents and that I had been adopted as a baby and taken to America. They mentioned that I had had a cousin at the same orphanage, a young boy of about nine who went by the name Rick O'Connell. It's taken me three years to find you..." she tailed off and studied his face. "You don't believe me, do you?"
"It's not that I don't believe you. It's just...this all seems a bit..." he struggled to find the right words.
"Surreal? I understand that feeling, Mr. O'Connell. It's how I've felt for the last three years. Even now, looking at you, I can't see any resemblance between us. But for some reason I do feel a connection, I can't explain it. Let me continue and then make your mind up, okay?"
"Fair enough. Go ahead," he invited, taking a fortifying sip of the hot coffee.
"It seems that our parents were assisting on a dig in Egypt when they had an accident. My mother's will didn't say what sort of accident, I'm not sure she even knew. But whatever, they died, all of them. My real father and your father were brothers, which makes us cousins. We weren't with them when the accident occurred, obviously, but our mothers were. They all died and we were taken to the orphanage. Apparently, both of our mothers were Egyptian. From what the will says, I was adopted and a nurse told them how we had come to be there in the first place. For some reason our origins had been covered up, but this nurse told them the truth, maybe at great cost to herself. My parents decided not to do anything about the information, I suppose they didn't want to have to give me up. I had a good life with them, I never wanted for anything and I'm now a woman of some means, thanks to the will. I'm only sorry that you never had the life I did." She reached across the table and took one of his hands in hers, feeling him tense slightly at the unexpected contact. "So when I found out about you, I hired a private detective to find out all he could. It's taken such a long time, but I'm so glad that we're finally meeting."
Rick frowned down at the table. "I can't believe this. I've always thought, always, that I had no living relatives. How can this be?"
"I know it's a lot to take in. It took me long enough, so I should know. Don't you remember anything about your time at the orphanage?"
"Not much, really. But I do remember a baby..."
"That would be me, I guess."
"I guess so." He shook his head in amazement. "I have a faint memory of holding a baby, and then that baby not being there any more. I thought that was all a dream. I guess it wasn't. This is so weird!"
"Tell me about yourself. I don't know much about your life and I'd like to."
Rick smiled as he thought of some of the stranger things he had done in the past. He started to tell her his life story, laughing out loud a few times at the shock on her face.
Two hours later they stood on the pavement outside the hotel as Matilda prepared to say goodbye to her new found cousin, at least for a few hours.
"Are you sure your wife won't mind me coming to dinner?"
Rick looked down at her. "Of course I am. Evy will beat me to death if I don't invite you!" He laughed and took her hands. "Thank you for finding me Matilda. I can't wait to make you part of my family."
"Please call me Tilly, everyone does. Matilda sounds like a cow!"
He laughed again. "And call me Rick, everyone does that too. A cow, huh?" He shook his head and opened the door of his car. "We'll see you promptly at 7.30. I'll pick you up!"
"I'll be right here!" she laughed, indicating the spot she was standing on. She stood and watched as he drove away, waving until he turned the corner. Pleased that it had all gone so smoothly, she smiled happily. The fact that she actually liked Rick O'Connell was an added bonus.
At 7.30 that evening she was standing anxiously outside the hotel, twisting her small bag in her hands. She had been there for ten minutes already and she was beginning to feel the cold, but she had been unable to bear pacing around her room waiting. She turned towards the sound of an approaching car and studied the man driving as he stopped at the kerb, sighing as she realised it wasn't Rick. Her attention went back to the road, and she found herself wondering if he was going to be held up. She hadn't taken any notice of the other car until she had the strange feeling someone was staring at her and she reluctantly looked back at it. The driver was leaning comfortably against the side of his car, his arms folded as he studied her. He was medium height, slender build and he had wavy hair and, she thought, kind eyes. He was wearing a smart, dark suit and he was every inch the playboy in the way he was observing her. Her cheeks reddened at the fascinated stare she was receiving. Most of the people who looked her way would quickly look away again and continue on their way, but this man seemed to be examining her a little too long and he had a strange smile on his face.
Before she could turn away from him he began making his way towards her, a friendly smile appearing on his face.
"Hello, you must be Matilda!" he said cheerfully, placing a hand under her elbow.
"I...yes70;I am. Are you70;are you here to drive me to my cousins house?"
"Well, yes, I am indeed. I'm Jonathan Carnahan, Evy's Brother. Pleased to meet you. It had to be you. That hair is a dead give-away, Rick was right about that."
"Oh, I see! I'm very pleased to meet you. Rick told me about you when we met today. You do a lot of exploring with them, don't you?"
"Yes, lots, and I am extremely brave when the situation calls for it, let me tell you," he happily bragged, pleased to have a willing ear to boast to. "Oh, the adventures we've been on and the scrapes we've been in. We have a fair drive ahead of us, I'll tell you all about them on the way."
They arrived at the car and he helped her inside before jumping back in the driving seat. He started speaking the moment he sat down and Matilda had a feeling he wasn't going to stop until they got to their destination.
"Well, now, where shall I start? My old buddy Imhotep or perhaps the Scorpion King? Or our good friends the Med-jai? Better to start at the beginning I always say. Now, a few years back70;"
Matilda sat back and listened as he recounted some of the stories that Rick had told her that morning. Jonathan's tales seemed to go a little differently though and she decided she must ask Rick about his brother-in-law's sanity when she arrived at his home.
Fifteen minutes or so later they pulled up in front of an enormous mansion, and Matilda got her first glimpse into her cousins' life. As she stepped out of the car the front door was flung open and Rick came bounding down the stairs and grabbed her arm.
"Matilda! I am so sorry, I couldn't get away and I had no choice but to send him!" he said, nodding toward the thin man just walking around the car. "Was the journey all right?"
She laughed up at him. "It was fine, honestly. Jonathan was good company."
Rick looked shocked. "He was good company? Are you sure you feel all right?"
"And yet you enjoyed his company?" he asked her, his brows knitting in mock confusion. Not waiting for an answer, he took her arm and pulled her into the house where a pretty, dark-haired woman and a boy of about ten or eleven stood waiting.
"This is my wife, Evelyn, but everyone calls her Evy. And this is my son, Alex, a would-be adventurer and a real pain in the neck at times. Guys, this is my cousin Matilda."
They all shook hands and Matilda liked Evy immediately. Alex seemed a boisterous young man, but he was unfailingly polite which reflected on his mother and father very well. "Are you really my Dad's cousin?" he asked, narrowing one eye as he tried to detect any similarities between his father and the young woman in front of him. Tilly nodded. "I sure am. Which means I'm your cousin too."
"Do you know anything about Egypt?"
"A little yes. I find it fascinating!"
Alex let out a sigh of relief. "Phew, that's good. Most people Dad knows are really boring! They don't know the first thing about Egypt or archaeology, not like Mum. If you want I can tell you lots of things about the pyramids..." he began eagerly.
Evy placed a hand over his mouth, laughing at the disgruntled look he gave her. "Maybe later, Alex. We want to get to know Matilda first before you scare her off with ghoulish tales!"
"It's not fair, you never let me talk to your friends!"
"That's because you'd never stop! Now why don't you go and wash your hands before dinner?"
Alex went reluctantly up the stairs, mumbling all the way and casting some petulant glances down at the adults.
Before too much time had passed they were all sitting in the dining room chatting about some of the groups adventures while they enjoyed a glass of after dinner wine.
"The meal was lovely, thank you." Tilly said to Evy.
"Oh don't thank me, I didn't cook it! I have someone to do that for me. Rick insisted upon it." She cast a glance at her smug husband.
Rick grinned. "If I hadn't we'd have starved to death long ago. Evy has many talents but cooking isn't one of them."
"I have to agree. I could burn water given the opportunity!" Evy replied, not minding in the least what Rick had said. "Well, now, let's tell you a little about the trips we've made. I'm sure Rick told you most of it this morning, but there are other things that might interest you!"
It didn't take long before Matilda realised that Jonathan wasn't mad at all, or if he was, then so were all the other people sitting at the table.
"I can't believe these things all really happened! I mean this is something you read about in fictional adventure magazines, not real life. Rick, you didn't tell me all of this before! But, if they are true, oh, how I wish I could go with you one day! That is, if you ever go back again after the things that have happened to you. I'd love to see Egypt, to actually see the Pyramids and temples, to touch something so old70;it must be fabulous. I don't think I'd like the scary part though, the monsters and such." She shuddered at the thought.
Evy exchanged a strange look with Rick and they both grinned. "Well, they were mummies actually. Except for the Scorpion King, he was a sort of big bug. You know, we were hoping you'd feel like that. You see, I work for the British Museum now and they want me to go to Karnak in a week's time to oversee a dig near the temple. We were wondering if you'd like to come with us and get a taste of the real Egypt?"
"Really? Oh, I would just love to! Would we all be going?"
"All except young Alex here. He's had quite enough excitement for a few years yet." Evy looked fondly down at the obviously disappointed boy. "It's been nearly two years since the Scorpion King incident, but we think he should stay at home this time and try to lead a normal life for a while. Plus he has lots of schoolwork to catch up on!" Alex gave a snort of disgust at this, folding his arms and sulking. Evy ignored him, letting Rick tell the young boy that he wasn't acting like a proper gentleman. She turned her attention back to the younger woman. "So you really want to go Matilda? I did so hope you would! Perhaps on the way back from the dig we could try and find out more about your origins from the orphanage? Besides, it will be so nice to have another woman along for a change, a bit of civilised conversation for once!" She grinned at Rick who just gave her an 'I'll get you later' look.
"Yes, I really want to go and please, call me Tilly, everyone I know does. Matilda sounds so formal somehow."
"Actually, she thinks it sounds like a cow," Rick supplied helpfully.
"Tilly it is." Evy hesitated. "Would you mind if I asked you a question?"
"Not at all!"
"Is your hair...natural?"
Tilly laughed. "Yes, it's my real colour, not out of a dubious bottle. Mind you, there is a strange story behind it..." she began and Evy sat up expectantly.
"As you can see, my darling wife loves anything strange and unusual. She did, after all, marry me!"
"Well, you see, I had brown hair, not unlike Rick's, until I was thirteen. Then it just sort of...changed."
"What, overnight?" Evy asked, aghast.
"Oh no, it took about six months, give or take. It just started off with the occasional streak and then it changed entirely. But that's not all," she glanced nervously at her new found family, wondering how odd they would think her.
"Yes? Go on, go on!" Evy said quickly, her eyes sparkling at this unusual discovery.
"My eyes...well, they weren't always green either. That happened at around the same time. They used to be blue, like Rick's. I guess if I had kept my original appearance I might have looked more like him!"
"So your eyes changed too? That's very odd. I've never heard of that happening before. Did you have an illness of any sort?" Evy enquired, grasping at straws.
"Not that I know of. My mother just said it was unusual but nothing to worry about, so I didn't. Up until I lost virtually all of my friends because of my appearance. I think they thought I worshipped the devil or something!"
Evy looked down at the other woman's hands, chewing her lip thoughtfully as she wondered how to ask about something she had noticed earlier.
"Tilly, your hands...how did you get those scars?"
Tilly held out her hands, palms up. "These? I've had them for years, I don't know how I got them. Strange aren't they?"
Evy took her hands and studied the thin white lines on the palms and her eyes widened. "Why, this looks like..." she began and turned Tilly's hands so that they were palm outwards in front of her face, thumbs together. "I don't believe this. Rick, look at this!"
Rick came around the table and stared at the scars, his mouth opening in surprise. "Isn't that..."
"The Wedjat, the eye of Horus, yes! But how on earth did you get it scarred onto your hands Tilly?"
"I don't know. Like I said, it's always been there as far as I know. I always assumed I must have grabbed something out of the fire when I was a toddler. But you say it's a ...Wedjat? What's that?"
"It's a symbol, known as the eye of Horus, a powerful protective symbol. Somebody must have done this to you deliberately. But I have no idea for what reason!"
"Do you think it might have anything to do with her hair and eyes changing too?" Rick asked.
"It could well have a lot to do with it. Maybe she got these marks in the orphanage, like you did with your tattoo."
"What tattoo?" Tilly asked, a little taken aback by everything that was happening. Rick undid his cuff and showed her the pyramid tattoo on his wrist.
"This, according to Ardeth Bay, means that I am a 'warrior for God, one of the Masonic Templars, a Med-jai' apparently!" he said, doing a fairly good impression of the serious Arab. "I must admit, he does have a point though. I saw this on the wrist of a carving on a wall at Ahm Shere and it showed me how to defeat the Scorpion King. So it's not all hokum. Evy could be right about your scars. If I'm a warrior for God you may be something too!"
"The question is...what?" Evy said slowly. "Maybe we can sort all this out when we're in Egypt. We could even ask Ardeth, he may know a myth about all this. If we can find him of course." She studied Tilly's troubled eyes and decided to change the subject before they upset the young woman. "Anyway, for now, it's getting late. Now that we've had dinner perhaps we can show you around and then tomorrow we'll do some sightseeing!"
"I'd like that," Tilly said, smiling with relief that they now seemed to be back in the normal world.
"Yeah, I guess you'd like that too?" Rick asked his son, giving him a knowing look. He looked up at Tilly again, his expression one of resignation as Alex started chattering away about Egypt and all the museums in London. "He knows more than Evy does about the British Museum, so he can help be your tour guide. In the meantime, we'll get you back to your hotel where you can pack."
"Pack? I thought we weren't going for a week?" Tilly asked in confusion.
"We aren't. But you're family. I don't want you staying at a hotel, when you could stay here with us."
"I don't want to impose..."
"Don't be silly!" Evy said, smiling. "We want you to stay here. In fact, we wouldn't have it any other way!"
"Well then, thank you. I'd love to," she said.
"Well, we'll do that in a little while. First, let me show you around the house. I think we have a few things you may be interested in!" Rick said, laughing at her enthusiasm for all things ancient as he showed her around their artefact filled rooms.