Leaving the town behind, they drove on towards the castle. Cate
could see it clearly, sitting stoically in the distance. It grew larger and
larger as they approached. Cate also saw the rolling lawns with their perfect
landscaping surrounding the castle.
As they pulled in the drive, Cate couldn’t believe this was her
life. Mr. Smythe drove on toward the house as Cate gaped from the backseat.
Riley, sensing Cate’s excitement, was darting from window to window to peer
out, wagging his tail and eyeing Cate as if to confirm that his reaction was
As they approached the castle, Cate could see a few people
standing near the front entrance. “Ah, good,” Mr. Smythe said, eyeing them, “I
asked the staff to meet us, they’ve timed it well.”
“Probably got the warning call from the village,” Gayle joked.
“Staff?” Cate mumbled to herself, her brow furrowing.
She said it a bit too loudly as Mr. Smythe overheard her and
replied, “Yes, Charlie and Emily Fraser. Mr. Fraser oversees most of the handiwork,
landscaping and the external landscaping company, Mrs. Fraser provides light
cooking and house cleaning. A hired company does most of the other house
cleaning. Finally, Jack Reid, the estate manager, a new addition who will also
take over most of the handiwork and landscaping from Mr. Fraser soon. Lady
MacKenzie hired him just before passing away.”
Cate was impressed. She hadn’t given much thought to the upkeep of
the castle, it was good to know someone else had.
Mr. Smythe interrupted her thoughts. “Can I assume that you will
keep the staff on?” he questioned.
“Ah, yes assuming they would like to stay on.”
“I think they very much would, Cate,” Gayle answered. “I think
they may have been on edge that the new owner would do a clean sweep and bring
in her own people. They will be relieved to find out that you are keeping them
“Oh, yes, no, I mean to say, I’d never do that to anyone!”
As the conversation came to a close, Mr. Smythe eased the car
parallel to the front entrance. The youngest of the three staff, Jack,
approached the car to open doors and begin unloading luggage. Cate scooped
Riley into her arms and stepped out of the car. Kissing him on the top of his
head, she looked up at the castle and said, “We’re home, Riley, we’re home.”