The flight was uneventful aside from the babies becoming cranky toward the end from being confined for so long. When they arrived in Dublin, Remy elected to rent them a suite in the city instead of trying to drive out to the cottage that evening.
After everyone had eaten at the hotel restaurant and the children all settled in for the night, Lee and Remy went over their travel plans for the next day before going to bed themselves. The room had two double beds, so Laura and Jubilee shared one, Remy and Lee shared the other, and Anton and Adalyn slept in the travel cribs the hotel had offered.
The next morning, after room service had arrived with their breakfast, they packed up the rental car and headed toward the country side. It was roughly an hour drive from the city to the cottage they were staying. The cottage itself was on the outskirts of a small village that was known for tourism. It was a ten minute walk from the cottage to the shops in town, so Remy and Lee had felt it would work out well for them all.
Adalyn and Anton fell back to sleep on the ride, while Jubilee listened to music and Laura watched a show on her tablet. Lee was reading in the front seat and Remy drove. When they approached the village, Remy announced they were almost there, and the girls all put their things away to keep an eye out for the cottage.
They arrived five minutes later, the Realtor was sitting out front waiting for them, since Remy had called ahead and told them when they would arrive.
The Realtor offered a quick tour of the house to ensure everything was as expected. The tour began with the parlor, which was to the left of the entry hall. After the parlor, to the right of the entry hall, they looked through the dining room and connected kitchen.
The kitchen was already stalked and the Realtor, who now introduced himself as Tom, assured them that Mrs. Riley, who would be their maid and cook, would arrive in the morning. They thanked him and from there they went upstairs to see the bathroom and bedrooms, before he took them out to the back fenced yard, and ended the tour.
They had no questions or issues, so the tour was fairly brief, and with in an hour of arriving the girls were upstairs unpacking, as was Remy, while Lee went through the pantry to put together lunch, and the babies slept in the nursery that Remy had put together by unfolding their portable cribs in the smallest bedroom.
The next morning,Remy woke to find Lee already gone from the room It was still early, so he assumed everyone else was still asleep, and went in search of Lee. He was surprised. Briefly, when he heard the sound of voices coming from the kitchen before he remembered that the maid was supposed to arrive this morning.
Lee was sitting with Mrs Riley, who had arrived a few minutes before, as the older woman moved around the kitchen preparing breakfast. Remy walked in as the older woman was asking about the number of people in the family. Assuming she was asking to know how much to make for breakfast, Lee explained they had two teenagers, a toddler, and a infant.
The woman appeared surprised at this, so Remy explained. "They're adopted."
"Of course, sir, I meant no disrespect." The woman Mrs Riley, replied.
Remy assured her he wasn't upset, and Lee went to wake the children. A few minutes later they all sat down to breakfast, Adalyn in Lee's lap while Remy fed her and Anton between Jubilee and Laura as they helped him, he could barely see the table.
Jubilee mentioned that they should get a couple of highchairs, and before Remy could respond Mrs Riley came back through, and offered her grandson's as she placed the sausage on the table. Remy agreed, since they would have to buy it and leave it behind otherwise. She apologized for only being able to offer one, but Lee assured her that it was fine and that Adalyn could just continue to sit on her lap at meals.
After breakfast, Remy suggested they explore the area. The girls and Lee quickly agreed, and after a brief debate, they decided to go into town and look over the shops for the day, and explore the countryside tomorrow.
Remy, who had been outvoted, jokingly told Anton "This is your future, mon fils, always surrounded by sœurs, you don' gotta chance."
The comment earned him a glare from the girls, and Lee swatted his arm stating. "Stop it, you get your way often enough."
"Sure I do." Remy agreed. "I'm jus' playing."
"If you really want to go hiking, I can just send the girls to town and we can go." Lee replied.
"Non. Family vacation implies at least one day spent together as a family, it's fine." Remy said.
A few minutes later they had the children ready, and after a second brief debate they walked toward the town. Anton started out holding Remy's hand as he toddled along the road behind the girls, with Adalyn on Lee's hip following behind them. After a few minutes though, with the boy constantly stopping to look at something else, Remy picked the boy up and put him on his shoulders.
They arrived in town about 10 minutes longer than it normally would have taken, and Jubilee immediately dragged the others toward a set of shops clearly geared toward tourists. They spent most of the morning browsing through the various shops, before they stopped at a local cafe.
By the time they reached the cafe, Anton was done with shopping and being carried. Remy suggested they make their way back to the cottage, before Lee suggested that they let the girls explore some more, while they took the babies home for a nap.
After Jubilee assured them that she had her phone on her and that it was fully charged, Remy agreed. When they left the cafe, Remy and Lee started toward the edge of the village before Jubilee called them back long enough to borrow Remy's credit card. He agreed, after she promised not to buy up half the stores.
Remy and Lee found the housekeeper interesting and helpful at first, but by the end of the first week, it was beginning to bother them both. Mrs. Riley always seemed to be hovering on the edges of every conversation. She had more than once offered her advice, or another simple thing such as the highchair earlier in the week.
Over all the woman was nice, and she hadn't actually done anything either of them could pinpoint as odd. Neither of them said anything, not even to each other, but with some unspoken agreement they offered no further personal information beyond the first conversation with her. Lee felt a bit bad, being suspicious of the kindly housekeeper, and attempted to be polite despite her reservations. Remy preferred to avoid the woman altogether. The girls didn't seem to notice the adults reservations at all, and warmed up to the kind woman.
After awhile, when the woman had done nothing insidious, Remy and Lee relaxed, both deciding they were overly suspicious. Still, when the woman offered to watch the children so they could go out to dinner at the end of their second week at the cottage, both refused.
When the girls assured them that they would help her watch Adalyn and Anton, they agreed. Before they left however, they both warned the girls to watch not just the babies, but the housekeeper as well. The girls promised that they would and Remy and Lee left for the restaurant in the village.
After they had ordered, Remy chuckled. "I think I've been to worried lately."
"What do you mean?" Lee asked.
"I've been worried all week thinkin the housekeeper's a bit to nice and nosy. I would have felt better, had we gone out earlier in the week." Remy said, referring to the waitress, who had been very friendly but talkative.
"We're strangers here, I suppose curiosity is normal." Lee replied. " But I know what you mean, her questioning was making me uncomfortable...now I think it may just be normal. Small town gossip and all."
"Yes. Still, I don't like the way she's always there."
"Well, to be fair, that is her job. She was hired to care for the house and the people renting it."
"Care for yes, constantly listen in on private conversations, no."
"She's a bit of a gossip, but a few minutes away from her, I think she's harmless, just a gossip."
"Just..." Remy said, then sighed. " I don' know I can't put my finger on it, just be careful what we say and do around her."
"You think the kids are in danger?" Lee asked, half standing.
"No. No not at all. I just don't like random people askin to many questions about me." Remy said, reassuring her.
"Agreed." Lee replied, sitting back down." In that case, let's change the subject."
"Yes. What should we do for Ton's birthday? We'll be back in the States, so should we throw a party?"
"Not a big one." Lee replied, relaxing as the other conversation was forgotten. Remy continued to talk about birthday plans, hoping that Lee would forget about any fears regarding the housekeeper, while making a mental note to have the woman checked out.
Mrs. Riley had become less intrusive after the second week, helping them to further relax. She was still friendly and talkative, and still occasionally stepped into conversations, but had backed off enough that Remy and Lee decided that she was just overexcited at having new people in her care, and really hadn't meant any harm.
By the time their third week in the cottage was over both of them had forgotten their early concern over the woman. Her husband was the groundskeeper, though they had barely gotten a glimpse of the man, Remy decided one afternoon to wander the grounds in hopes of seeing him.
When he spotted the gardener near the rose bushes, toward the high stone fence, he yelled a greeting before he walked up to the man. He had not wanted to startle Mr. Riley, as he had been on a ladder when Remy saw him.
"Hello Mr. LeBeau, can I help you?" Mr. Riley said as he climbed down.
"No, not at all, I just wanted to introduce myself, we ain't actually met yet." Remy replied with a smile. "If it weren't for the garden looking so nice, and Mrs. Riley talking about you, we wouldn't know you were here."
"Maggie talks altogether too much." Mr. Riley grumbled. " I've told her before, it ain't her place."
"It's fine. She was a bit overwhelming when we arrived, but she's very friendly now."
"I see, well I apologize. My wife has always been a bit... overexcited." Mr. Riley replied as he began climbing the ladder again. "Especially when a guest has children. Maggie adores children."
"Ah, that would explain it then, we have four altogether."
"She said that." Mr. Riley said. " She failed to mention your condition though, I hope you didn't pass it along."
"Condition? I don't have a condition." Remy replied sharply, knowing that the man was referring to his eyes.
"No one ever does." Mr. Riley said as he disappeared over the wall.
Remy walked back to the house, annoyed with the conversation, but not surprised. They had a week left of their vacation, and he wasn't going to waste it worrying about the prejudiced groundskeeper, or the overly helpful housekeeper either. With this in mind he decided he wouldn't mention the man's comments to Lee or the girls either, it wasn't as if the man had tried to talk to any of them before now. Remy doubted it would suddenly become a problem.
As he arrived back at the house, Jubilee and Laura can out to meet him. "Guess what Mrs Riley just told us?" Jubilee asked excitedly.
"What's that?" Remy asked.
"The guy down the road, further out from town, rents out horses and offers lessons. "Jubilee said.
"Do you think we could go?" Laura added.
"What did Lee say?" Remy asked, leading the girls back toward the door.
"She said it was up to you." Laura replied. "But that she wasn't comfortable with Addy riding a horse yet, so one of you will need to stay with her."
" Okay, I'll go talk to her about it, give me a minute." Remy replied, then noticed the gardener watching their exchange, added. "Come inside, girls."
A few minutes later, Remy, Laura,Jubilee, and Anton were on their way to the neighbor's house, while Lee and Adalyn stayed behind, Lee intending to spend the afternoon playing with Addy and then taking a nap.
Remy and the kids arrived at the neighbor's, and found him out front. Remy explained what they were doing there, and a few minutes latter they were led to a corral where the girls and Anton were placed on horses. Remy stayed next to Anton the entire time, with his hands wrapped around the child's waist as the horse gently walked around the fence. The girls were led around a few times, before the man offered to take them out on an easy path across the back of his property. Remy agreed, and he and Anton followed behind, Anton no longer on the horse, to watch from the fence.
Jubilee was a little disappointed that they never went very fast, but enjoyed the lesson, and Laura seemed to be a natural at riding. After some pleading, Remy agreed to bring them back the next day, as long as it was alright with Lee.
They spent the next two days walking over to the horse trainers place, before Remy agreed to let the girls go on their own for the rest of the week. Once his schedule cleared back up, he suggested to Lee that they take the babies hiking, the second to last day of their stay. They had brought a back pack for Anton to ride in as well as a baby sling for Adalyn, though they had gone largely unused. Hiking though was the perfect use of them.
Mrs. Riley had made them up a picnic, and suggested a nice spot beside the nearby pond for lunch. The two girls and the others all arrived back at the cottage late that afternoon, just before dinner time. They all talked about their days, and the girls doing well on the horses.
"I wish we could buy a horse at home. "Jubilee said, after she finished recounting her day.
"A horse is too much work." Remy replied. "Besides where would we keep it, the garage?"
" We could put it in a stable, maybe." Laura stated, liking the idea as well.
"Or we could skip buying a horse, and we could arrange for you girls to continue lessons when we get home." Lee suggested.
The girls agreed that it was a good idea, and Remy promised to look into as soon as they got home, before reminding them all that tomorrow would be their last day, and suggested they all spend it together.
"I know the plan was to stay here until early Friday morning, but I was thinking, if we were to leave here early tomorrow morning, or even late this evening, we could stay the last night, or two in a hotel, and visit the museums and sops in Dublin before we leave." Remy stated.
"We were already planning on staying the last night in a hotel, what's one more?" Lee agreed. "I'd like to see the city before we go."
"We can visit the shops?" Jubilee asked, and when Remy nodded replied. "I'm in."
"I think it is a good idea. Should we pack after dinner?" Laura asked. Remy again agreed, and after dinner the family went about packing their things.
Remy wrote a note for Mrs. Riley telling her they had decided to leave a little early, and thanking her for all of her help, before placing it and the keys on the counter for her to find in the morning. They were loaded into the car and on their way back to the city by nightfall. Remy had called ahead, and they would be staying in the same hotel as their first night there.