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"Your young man called me again," Mrs. Miller said with a broad smile as she walked into Tobias' office at the farm house. "Is he as polite to you as he is to me?"
Tobias looked up from his desk and tried not to smirk. One did not smirk at Mrs. Miller; at eighty-three years of age, his housekeeper was still a formidable force. "Usually, yes," he conceded. "He does, of course, have his moments."
Her smile grew. "I bet he does. So, is his cooking as good as my sweetie pie's?"
Tobias put down his pen and closed the file he was working on. "It is," he said. "Noah is a wonderful cook, thank you. His friend Allison has taught him technique, and he tells me that you've given him wonderful advice, not to mention a pile of recipes." He smiled as she sat down in the easy chair. "He tries very hard." He couldn't resist mentioning the point; she'd invited it, comparing Noah to Phantom, Tobias' former lover and forever Mrs. Miller's "sweetie-pie." Of course, she'd claimed Noah as her "darling," so it was a pretty even playing field, all told.
She nodded and sat back with a sigh. "You're very lucky, Doctor," she said, keeping to her habit of using Tobias' title. She swore she'd worked just as hard on his veterinary degree as he had, and she would use the title over his name in celebration. Tobias didn't mind. "Having someone learn to cook just to please you is a great gift."
"I know," he said simply. He'd occasionally wondered just how much Mrs. Miller knew about his relationships; in his more honest moments, he allowed that she likely knew the important parts, if not the actual details. That she seemed not to mind the nature of his tastes didn't make it any easier tocontemplate.
She could hardly be oblivious, he knew. There were the stables behind the house that he never permitted anyone to enter and the lovers who cleaned and cooked and did chores; it was hardly subtle.
She looked around the office and sighed contentedly. "It's good to be home, you know."
Tobias smiled. "I have often found that my two favorite parts of travel were the day of arrival there and the day of arrival home. Tell me you enjoyed the trip, though. You're breaking my heart," he teased.
"Astounding," a voice said from the door and Tobias turned to smile at Robert, Mrs. Miller's son.