42 - Not According to Plan

Submitted by Ken Watts on Mon, 02/19/2007 - 10:50
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Ann beamed.

"William Hogan is going to buy this restaurant."

Julie took a moment to digest this.

"The beach too? And the house?"

"The whole kit'n kaboodle."

"But where will we live?"

"I will live anywhere I want. And you can stop acting so coy, young lady."

"Coy?"

"To think I had to hear it from Mr. Hogan."

Ann turned to me.

"She's getting married!"

A strange expression crossed Julie's face.

"Oh."

Ann held out her arms.

"Tim's a wonderful boy."

Julie gave me a cryptic glance as she crossed the room and submitted to a hug.

Ann squeezed her, all teary-eyed.

"Mr. Hogan is a big donor to the Art Institute, and to UCLA. You won't have to worry about money anymore. Why didn't you tell me?"

"I don't know… I…" She gulped a little air. "Mom, I…"

"I can't tell you what it means to know you're free of this old greasy spoon. It's such a load off my mind."

For some reason Julie kept staring at me over her mother's shoulder.

"I don't know, I guess it's—It's the kind of thing you only get to tell your mother once."

"Oh, and I've spoiled it for you, by finding out before you could tell me. Forgive me, honey. I'm just a selfish old woman."

Julie patted her on the back, her eyes still on mine.

"You're not. As long as you're happy," she said, "that's the main thing."

* * * * *

I never did get a chance to tell Julie I was leaving. Ann didn't leave us alone the whole afternoon, and the evening was just as busy as we had expected.

After closing, Ann had to drive into town, and Julie went to the house, to do the bookkeeping.

I hung back, working in the restaurant. I'd left my stuff in the back restroom earlier.

Things don't always go exactly according to plan. You have to leave room for the unexpected solution. The main thing was, they weren't stuck with a failing restaurant.

William had a new hobby.

Julie could marry Tim and go to art school.

I could go with the flow—I was there to help.