“Good evening, Abraham.” Henry greeted cheerfully as he hung up his coat and scarf.
“Evening. You’re awfully cheerful, have a nice time with Jo?”
“Indeed, I did.” He went into the kitchen to get himself a cup of tea before sitting down for a quiet evening with his son. But returning to the doorway that led to the sitting room he paused, staring in thoughtful reverie into the depths of the cup held in his left hand as though he might devine in it the answer to some plaguing query. He finally moved to sit in his armchair. “Abe, I think we need um… we need to have a talk.”
“If this is the facts of life talk, we had it already and I’d really rather not go through that experience again."
Henry gave a brief nervous smile, that had indeed been an awkward conversation for all involved. “No, it’s not that.” He fingered the edge of his cup and looked up. “Abe, put the newspaper down, this is serious.” Abe dutifully folded the paper and placed it on the table.
"Sorry. Go on then.” He prompted, with a wave toward his father, settling back in his seat.
“You know that I loved your mother very much, and Abigail will never vacate her place in my heart,don’t you?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever doubted that you loved mom.” He replied, unsure where this was going, then a realization came to him. “Is this about you dating Jo?”
“Yes and no.”
“Then what’s the other part?”
“Being with Jo has made me happier than I’ve been since Abigail.”
“I know. It’s good to see you this again.”
“I know that you like Jo.”
Abe nodded. “As I remember, I trusted her before you did. But Henry, is this going somewhere, or are you just going to say things we both know are true?”
“What I wanted to ask was, how you would like Jo if she were to be… your stepmother?”
“You’re going to propose?! That’s wonderful!”
“So you approve?”
“Yeah, of course I approve! Did you think I wouldn’t?”
“I hoped not.” Henry admitted. “You’re sure you’re alright with it?”
“As long as you don’t kick me out, or send me to England during the honeymoon.” Henry leveled a look that advised he refrain from continuing in that vein. “I’m absolutely alright with you marrying Jo.”
“She has to say yes first.”
“She will, Henry.” He assured, admonishingly. “I know she will. Jo’s a wonderful woman with a good heart, and she loves you to death. I think mom would’ve loved her.” He added.
Henry met Abe’s smile with a thankful one of his own, for the statement. Perhaps that was what he had truly wanted to be assured of before continuing; not Abe’s approval, he had been basically pushing then at each other before he’d even met Jo, but that it was alright to move on from Abigail, as she had fruitlessly tried to convince him it would be. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Now, where are you going to pop the question?”
“No, particularly after that one case. I was thinking the bridge.”
“Oh that will be nice this time of year. Do you have a ring?”
“Yes. I took the liberty of removing it from the jewelry case in the shop.”
“The 18th century silver one with the small setting. It was my mother’s; my father gave it to her for their twentieth anniversary. But don’t tell her how old it is or she won’t wear it.”
“You got it,” Abe promised, “my lips are sealed.” He really was pleased to see his father so happy again, it had been a long time, a long dark time that he had feared might’ve gone on if not for Jo’s entrance into the immortal’s life. “So when are you planning this for?”
“Tomorrow, we both have the day off, thanks to Lieutenant Reece.”
“I’m making you an engagement dinner for that evening. It’ll be a surprise.” He added the later part in response to the inquisitive look that had already been growing on Henry’s face. “Can I start calling her mom?”
“That’s up to her, I believe.”
“She’s not gonna turn all evil once you two tie the knot and turn me into a slave, is she? I’ve heard things about step-mothers.”
“Abe, don’t be ridiculous.”
“And Jo’s gonna be okay with having a step-son twice her age?”
“Of course. She’s quite taken by your charms. Though what may take her some more time to get used to is the possibility of becoming a great-grandmother at her age.”
“Henry!” It was Abe’s turn at last to admonish for insinuations of the amorous nature.
Ignoring his son’s exclamation, Henry took a sip of his tea, a smile creeping upon his lips. “You’ve been seeing a lot of Fawn lately.”
“I thought you disapproved of my romantic association with Fawn?” Abe asked, bushy eyebrows raised in meaningful question.
“An appropriate time has passed and she came in her own time. And I like Fawn, she’s a nice girl.”
“Are you trying to get me out of the house?”
“No, like any good father I’d like to see my son finally settle down with a respectable woman.” Neither missed the insinuation that Abe’s prior choice had not quite met that description.
“I’m gonna be paying for the last few years, aren’t I?”
“Oh, indeed.” Henry assured, a sly half grin curving around the edge of his cup as he took another sip.