Grace left a tender kiss on the forehead of the little girl who had just hours ago been rescued from a bridge. "You won't be an orphan for long," she whispered, whilst patting Sandy lovingly on the head. Bedtime ritual accomplished, she turned to leave and was both surprised and heartened to find Oliver standing in the doorway.
"Asleep?" he asked, indicating the small girl in the oversized bed.
"Yes, just," Grace answered, confused that just two hours ago, this man had held her hand and comforted her when they thought that Annie was close to death, and yet now the air seemed filled with a sense of awkwardness which she hadn't felt since she had rather enthusiastically declared, "oh I could just kiss you!" She really could have too.
"Grace?" the sensual timbre of Warbucks' voice startled Grace back to reality.
"Erm . . .well . . .I . . .I just . . ." Grace must visibly have been anticipating some kind of emotional confession, as Oliver looked into her eyes and was visibly struck by some kind of doubt, " . . .goodnight," he finished, much to the disappointment of both of them.
Turning to walk away after his secretary's soft, "goodnight," was done so with a heavy heart. Oliver Warbucks had always believed in total honesty, something that had gained him rather a fearful reputation, but here he was, lying to himself. He knew that he had been in love with Grace Farrell for sometime, probably ever since she walked through the door of his mansion, a brave young woman applying for a job for which she was neither qualified or, it seemed, suitable. But even then, he had seen something in those eyes, a spark which he knew he could never be without once he had seen them over breakfast that first morning.
"Yes," he sighed to himself, "you've got it bad for this woman."
Opening the door to his suite, the sight of an empty bed caught his eye. A bed which he would much rather prefer to share with her. Unable to face sleep just yet, knowing that his dreams would simply be invaded by thoughts of her in the most inappropriate ways, he simply changed into his night clothes and wandered down to the kitchen, thinking that a nightcap might help, but not having the heart to awaken any of the staff after the day they had all experienced.
"Fool!" he whispered to his reflection as he passed the mirror in the hall, "just tell her for heaven's sake!"
In the same wing of the house, Grace had dressed for bed and was perched on the end of it, close to tears.
"Fool!" she whispered to the darkness, "why on earth would a handsome, successful millionaire want to marry his secretary . .with crooked teeth! Oh stupid woman, you've been reading too many romance novels," she sighed, passing the mirror in the hall as she made her way to the kitchen; thinking a nightcap might help her to sleep.
Reaching her destination, Grace flicked on the light and gasped as she saw the man torturing her conscience sat at the table, nursing a rather large glass of Napoleon brandy. Hearing said gasp, the lone figure glanced up and, as the more restrained of the two, merely mentally gasped at the sight of the woman he dreamed of in sheer silk nightgown, and very little else.
Realising that she had neglected to put on her slippers, Grace felt the cold stone floor beneath her feet and was compelled to move. Unfortunately, with her employer there, she didn't think it a good idea to move towards the table and so instead, drawing her matching silk robe more tightly around her, she headed towards the door with a mumbled, "sorry sir, I didn't realise you were here."
"Grace?" he called softly.
"Please stay," he managed to croak, "and please, it's Oliver, remember?" he even managed a slight smile at this point, as did Grace, and both felt rather a weight being lifted from them as the awkwardness of the evening's previous events seemed to be dissipating.
Pulling a chair from beneath the table and sitting down, Grace's eyes subconsciously drifted from her cold feet to the glass of brandy which the strong, broad hands before her were caressing.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I'm forgetting my manners, would you like a drink?"
"Oh I couldn't, besides, I'm really not a fan of alcohol, I just thought perhaps a little sip would help me to sleep, so I . . "
"Grace," he began, silencing her ramblings, "please, take a sip of this, at least then your feet won't be so cold."
How did he notice that?
she thought to herself as she watched the glass being slid across the table.
"Thank you . . Oliver," she managed, before taking a drink and allowing it to slowly trickle down her throat, feeling the warmth spread throughout her entire body. Although, she couldn't be sure whether this was the alcohol or the fact that a rather intense looking employer seemed to be tracing the journey of the drink through her body with his eyes.
Both pairs of eyes met and before Grace had a chance to look away, a rather husky voice came from the mouth in front of her.
"Grace . . .there's something that I've been wanting to say to you.