Elizabeth could not sleep. She tossed and turned all night. In the last few days, everything had changed. Mr. Foster had received a telegram from Sir Walter Raleigh confirming Francis letter. They were coming back. Mr. Foster was glad for he liked Mr. Raleigh and enjoyed his company.
"Charlotte, they really are coming back. Indeed. Ah! I am glad", shouted Mr. Foster after receiving the letter.
Mrs. Foster, however seemed concerned with the whole affair and she could see Elizabeth was acting different too. She was worried about her daughter. Boys really seem to complicate life for girls, thought she to herself.
"I wonder why they are coming back again", Mrs Foster talked to herself.
"What do you imply with that question? This is home"
Preparations for the arrival of Raleigh family were being done. Maids busied themselves in Raleigh House on the request of Mr. Foster.
Thank Heavens for James, Elizabeth thought, there would be food on the table. Everyone was so occupied with work in Raleigh House. She engaged herself with Anna most of the time learning. When she would be alone, she would entertain herself with books.
Tomorrow, they will be here, Elizabeth thought. She turned in her bed. She could not sleep. Now that the day was here that she would finally meet her best friend after four years, she could feel the anticipation of the meeting. She thought for some time, how he would look, how tall he had become, and slowly immersed in her thoughts, she drifted to sleep.
"Miss Elizabeth, Elizabeth." Elizabeth could hear someone calling her name, she opened her eyes and saw Martha hovering above her with a smile plastered to her face.
"A pleasant morning to you, miss. I am afraid you need to get out of the bed right now." Martha explained. She opened the curtains and allowed the morning sunshine light the room.
"Oh! Martha, let me sleep for a while. I beg of you. I am sure Anna will understand if I am late. I had trouble sleeping yesterday night", she reasoned and pulled up the covers and hid her face.
"Well, I am sure Miss Anna would understand." Martha came to her side and sat on the bed. "But the pressing matter is that Young Master is downstairs waiting for you."
Elizabeth gasped. She could not breathe. She took her head out of the covers and looked at Martha. "Martha, is he really here?"
Martha smiled and nodded. "Now get up. I will prepare for your bathe."
With great effort Elizabeth got out of her bed and made her way to bathe. She got into the adjoining small room attached to her room. There was a tub in the center of the room, she undressed herself and got inside the tub. The tub was filled with warm water, she closed her eyes and allowed herself to relax.
"Do not sleep." Martha came to her side and began to wash her hair.
"Is Mr and Mrs. Raleigh here too?" Elizabeth queried.
"They were here but are long gone." Martha simply said.
Elizabeth did not bother asking anything. Martha helped her wash, she helped Elizabeth come out of the bed and wrapped her in a towel.
"I expect you to come downstairs as soon as you are dressed." Martha ordered and left the room.
Elizabeth searched through her closet and decided on wearing a simple green gown. She dressed up as hurriedly as she could. She tied her hair into a bun and finally came out of her room. She took a long breathe and made her way to the sitting room. Her heart began to pound and slowly she descended down the stairs. There he was sitting on a chair with a cup of tea, talking to her mother. He looked fair and handsome, his careless smile as same as she had seen before. His blond hair was messy and a bit long than before. His eye.......
"Ah, Elizabeth you are here." Mrs. Foster noticed Elizabeth standing. "But what is that you are wearing", she questioned quietly.
Francis looked at Elizabeth and stood up. Elizabeth took the last three stairs. He smiled widely, stood up and came towards her. He took her hands and kissed her. Elizabeth bowed and looked into her deep oceanic eyes.
"Hello, friend" His clear voice sent chills over her body.
"I will leave you kids now. For you must have so many things to talk about." Mrs. Foster cleared her throat and left the room. As soon as Mrs. Foster left the room, Francis grasped Elizabeth and hugged her.
"I have missed you so much, Lizzie. You have no idea how lonely I used to feel." Elizabeth freed herself from his grasp and looked into his eyes, gave a wide sarcastic smile.
"Actually I have the idea." She replied.