They were awaiting his return.
“Would you like some tea, Jonah? I’ll put the kettle on.”
It still seemed strange to hear a disembodied voice, even though he was aware of Delilah’s presence in a distinctly physical way, though not the usual one.
“Sure. That would be nice.”
“I’m sure the children will want some too,” Delilah added.
“Yes!” said a child’s voice.
“Yes, please!” said another.
Jonah smiled and made his way to the armchair under the mirror. He sat down and sighed. He’d had three meetings in a row and, really, all he wanted to do right now was flake out in front of the TV.
But his unusual guests wanted tea.
“Read to us from THE BOOK!” the first child’s voice said.
“Yes, please read some more! It’s so entertaining!” said the second child.
Jonah sighed, removing his tie and opening the top button of his white shirt. “Have a seat then.”
Jonah heard the rustling of clothes and observed the eddies of dust in front of his chair. He listened to Delilah making tea in the kitchen and picked up the book from the side table.
He opened it and began to read:
She looked back at us from the door, and I had a last impression of that beautiful haunted face, the startled eyes, and the drawn mouth. Then she was gone.
“Now, Watson, the fair sex is your department,” said Holmes, with a smile, when the dwindling frou frou of skirts had ended in the slam of the front door. “What was the fair lady’s game? What did she really want?”
“She probably wanted some tea!” said the first child.
“Do you think so?” Jonah said, looking up from the page, although there was no-one to look at, exactly.
“Oh yes! Who doesn’t want a cup of tea when they go out?” said the first child.
“Or when they come home,” said the second child, in a more somber voice. A voice that held years of wandering and loneliness.
Jonah smiled sadly. “I do want some tea, now that I am home. And I shall share it with the both of you, if you’ll keep me good company from now on.”
“Oh, we will Jonah!”
Delilah’s footsteps sounded on the floor boards as the tea pot came, steaming, into view.
“Go get the teacups, my darlings, and bring them in here. The tea will be ready to pour in a moment.”
“Yes, mother,” they said in unison.
“You’re a good man, Jonah Morris,” Delilah said softly. “I wish I had known you when I was slightly more corporeal.”
“You’re a wonderful mother, Delilah. You’ve done the best you could, all things considered. You are welcome to my home as long as you need it. I’ve gotten quite used to the three of you.”
“Bless you, Jonah. Now, let’s all have some tea, shall we?”