Alistair supposed that logically he should be concerned
about Rachel being able to figure out when he was lying. And had it been ANYONE else he would have been. But not
She hadn't bought up the day that the police came to the mansion since it had happened, and for that he was grateful.
And somehow he couldn't bring himself to deny her ANYTHING, as was being demonstrated at the moment.
"Please? It's only for one day - please?"
He laughed good-naturedly at her determination. "It's tempting but no. I can't Rache, I'm sorry."
"Oh Alistair," she sighed. "I understand that you have to work but it just wouldn't be the same
without you. I'd feel so much happier if you were there."
"Rachel try to understand what you're asking? You show up at my home ONE DAY before you're going to leave
for London to pick up you're wedding dress and ask me to come?"
"But you love the fact I'm impulsive, right?" she asked, biting her lip. He couldn't help but smile at
that. "Alistair I thought my father would be accompanying us. What if someone tried to take advantage of three
"Two helpless ladies and you" he smiled affectionately, reaching down absently to brush a strand of loose
hair off her cheek.
"Please?" she asked again, smiling up at him with her fantastic blue eyes.
"Oh all right," he said finally, shrugging. " I guess I can come for one day."
She bit her lip again. "Well it's really two days one night if you include the plane ride there and back,"
she said as quickly as possible.
He raised one eyebrow. "Rache-" he tried to begin warningly.
"Oh please, Alistair!" she cut him off earnestly, grabbing at his arm. "I'd love it more than anything
if you could just come."
"I'll talk to my father," he said finally. She smiled triumphantly, knowing that meant he would go.
The next afternoon at 3pm London time two expensive cars pulled up to the Regal Hotel. From the back of one descended
Elizabeth, Rachel, and Katherine Barrett. Out of the other came Alistair Crane.
Rachel seemed to naturally gravitate toward Alistair and took his arm as they walked, laughing, up the hotel steps.
Katherine glared at them in open jealousy and something new - a small amount of acceptance. She knew that this
trip was JUST to pick up her sister's wedding gown. And she knew that in just over two weeks her sister would BE
Mrs. Alistair Crane.
They checked in very quickly and secured three large suites- one for the sisters, one for Alistair, and one for
Elizabeth. In record time they were off again, to a small, exclusive dress shop. Alistair waited patiently as Rachel
tried the gown on for a final fitting and refused to let him see it, insisting it would be bad luck.
When she finished they sat don and sat through the 'mandatory' questions about how long they had known one another,
when the wedding was, and finally the designer asked "Are you nervous?"
"No." Alistair and Rachel said together.
The designer laughed. "Not even a little bit?"
Rachel snuggled closer to Alistair on the small couch. "No. Not even a little bit."
Rachel shifted slightly in her evening gown as she tried to sit down gracefully. Alistair pushed in her chair slightly
and she angled her head slightly to smile up at him before turning toward the table.
"I've heard that the caviar here is only somewhat good - " Katherine commented slightly snobbily.
Rachel smirked at her. "Have you?"
"Yes, and apparently the escargot is only the middle of the line too-"
"I'll bear it in mind," Rachel said with mock seriousness, fingering a menu.
"You should," Katherine sniffed. "Once you live in the Crane mansion it will be you're job to be
the hostess there and know-"
"Which restaurants in London have good escargot and caviar?" Rachel asked in an amused voice, raising
Katherine flushed. "I just mean that you should know these things."
Rachel gave a half shrug. "It won't matter anyway, once me and Alistair move out of the mansion."
Alistair choked on his water. "Move out? We won't be moving out, Rachel."
She paled considerably. "But surely eventually-" she began, but he cut her off.
"Three generations of Crane men have lived in that house, making additions as necessary. It's a family TRADITION
to live there."
Rachel raised her eyebrows. "Well we'll have to break it," she snapped, just a little too loudly.
"NO!" he hissed. "I thought you understood this!" They glared at one another across the table.
Without saying a word both of them stood up and began to walk hurriedly toward the lobby. Katherine gazed after
them in shock, then began to smile.
"Well, well, well," she murmured. "How TERRIBLY intriguing."
Once in the lobby Rachel placed her hands on her hips. "No." she declared bluntly. "Just NO. I won't
live in that house for the rest of my life."
"Come on Rachel!" he snapped. "Be sensible. My house has been in the family for GENERATIONS, you
"Yes, and it feels like that every time I go inside. It's stuffy. It's FORMAL somehow. I could never live
"Well you're gonna have to!" he yelled.
"I WON'T" she screamed. "If NOTHING else I REFUSE to look at you're father every morning!"
"Well what do you suggest?" he demanded.
"I think we should build our own house. Make it with huge windows so there will be a lot of light. And a lot
of space, just for the two of us," she coaxed gently. "Doesn't that sound wonderful Alistair?" For
a long moment he looked wistful. "You know it does," she smiled gently.
"I can't!" he finally snapped. "It's Crane tradition."
"So why not make our own tradition?" she demanded.
They glared at one another for a long, long moment. Then, unexplainably, Rachel started to laugh.
"WHAT?" he demanded.
She shook her head. "Nothing. Never mind. Promise me we'll talk about it again in a few years."
"All right," he agreed slowly.
She kissed his cheek lightly. "I don't know what we were fighting about anyway, I don't care where I live
as long as it's with you."
He smiled. "You are IMPOSSIBLE to stay angry with you know."
Rachel smiled too. "Well good. Let's never be angry with one another."
"All right," he agreed
Later that night, after they'd returned to the hotel from the expensive French restaurant, Katherine and Rachel
sat in their suite talking.
"So everything is all right between you and Alistair?" Katherine inquired.
"Perfectly," Rachel confirmed. Katherine fought to keep the disappointment off her face.
"What did he say to you?" She inquired.
"Nothing," Rachel smiled. "I love him. I didn't want to fight about something so silly. Anyway,
I'll get my way about it - just not right now. I'll need to work on it."
Katherine shook her head. She turned her attention to Rachel's well covered wedding dress. "You're going to
look so beautiful," she murmured wistfully.
Rachel laughed. "PLEASE! Me? I'll be a mess as usual. I should be worried about you stealing all the attention
Katherine giggled demurely. "Taking the attention form you on you're wedding day would be difficult."
Rachel smiled distractedly. "Yes, I suppose so - I don't really mind if you do, so long as Alistair only notices
Katherine's smile vanished. "I don't imagine THAT would be difficult," she said coolly.
"Oh Katherine," Rachel said at once, "You'll meet someone wonderful, I KNOW you will, and you'll
be the only one he notices, always."
"But he won't be a Crane!" Katherine blurted, but what she really meant was 'He won't be Alistair.'
"Well no - " Rachel said, brow furrowing at not REALLY being sure what her sister meant. Katherine sighed.
It never ceased to be a wonder to her that her perceptive sister hadn't yet figured out she was in love with Alistair.
Then again - Rachel probably didn't WANT to.
"No," Rachel continued, "But the Crane's aren't as wonderful as you think they are Katherine, I
swear they're not."
"What's wrong with them?" Katherine asked, genuinely interested.
"You're so young sometimes - you look at them and see a lot of money, a great lifestyle, a big house-"
"Well, what do you see?" Katherine demanded impatiently.
"Alistair," Rachel stated simply, softly. There was an eternal silence. Then, finally, Rachel said "Go
to bed, Katherine."
"Aren't you coming?"
"In a minute," Rachel answered, hoping Katherine would go to sleep the instant her head hit the pillow.
Hurriedly she began yanking back on stockings and shoes. After a moments hesitation she yanked her evening dress
back on. She grabbed a lace shawl and walked quietly back to the bedroom. Katherine appeared very asleep. Rachel
walked hurriedly back into the main room, and, grabbing a key ran out the door.