Armand fixed Johnathan with a penetrating gaze. “You are in pain. We must get Penelope to bring you your medication,” he said. Armand pushed away from the table and walked down the hall. Johnathan stared woodenly at the table attempting to take in the magnitude of the last month's worth of events. It boggled his mind how he could have gone from overjoyed at his plot with Margaret to reunite with Vivian to how he found him sitting in Louis Abril's house with Armand Pariseau as master of the household and Louis buried somewhere on the property.
Still caught in contemplation, Johnathan absentmindedly noted Armand's return with Penny by his side. Penny took out of her pocket an amber colored bottle. She shook a few pills into the palm of her hand and offered them to Johnathan. He picked up one of them and held it up in front of himself. He muttered quietly, “To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there's the rub, for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.”
“If you must quote Shakespeare at your medication, must it be so maudlin?” Armand said lightly, “The world's mine oyster. A far superior quote,” Armand chided. Johnathan gave him an annoyed look.
“The words of a buffoon...” Johnathan stared when Armand cut him off.
“Are more welcome during a time of trial then those of a prophet of doom,” he retorted, “Take your medication. Then we are bundling you off to bed with your lovely maiden. And this sweet creature shall ensure bold Andrew's rest.” Armand looked over at the rifle in his hand. Johnathan was half expecting him to make some sort of comment about it being an uncivilized weapon. Instead, he looked at it with a critical eye. “It was good that this was not needed today. It needs cleaned,” Armand said.
He thrust the rifle into Penny's hands as Johnathan took the pills. As he was swallowing down another mouthful of coffee, Armand returned with a cloth and a gun cleaning kit. With all the care of a surgeon preparing for his trade, Armand laid the cloth out and readied his supplies. Gingerly, as though taking a newborn, Armand took the weapon from Penny. As he began the task of disassembling the firearm, he looked closely at the various parts.
“Louis, Louis, Louis,” he muttered in disappointment. Armand was half way through cleaning the weapon when Andrew and Granville returned. He absorbed in his work, he ignored the arrival of the two men. Granville set the keys down on the table and walked back into the kitchen. There he sat down with his wife.
Andrew looked at Armand as he was cleaning the gun. “Penny said that the scope was off,” Andrew said. Armand nodded. Andrew looked over at Johnathan, who was glaring bleary eyed into his almost empty coffee cup. The medication had taken the edge off of his wits and left his thoughts just disjointed enough that he could not adequately express the utter disgust and disappointment he felt with the situation. Johnathan wanted to rage but he found he simply had no energy left for it. “You look exhausted,” Andrew said quietly.
Johnathan looked up at him. “I suppose I am,” he said, “If anything, we must check on Vivian.” Johnathan stood and started towards the front stairwell. He paused and looked over at Armand. “What is the plan if some one decides to come looking for us here?” he asked.
“They will simply have to discuss the matter with Louis,” Armand said, not looking up from his work. Andrew frowned but said nothing. The two men walked to the foot of the stairs. Andrew started to go up the steps behind Johnathan when he waved him off. Andrew watched as his master made his way up the stairs. Once satisfied that the man wasn't going to tumble to the ground, Andrew went off in search of something to eat. He hated to admit it, but stress had a terrible habit of making him hungry.