49 - The Best Party Ever

Submitted by Ken Watts on Wed, 03/07/2007 - 11:26

The next morning, Julie was running on the beach with her mother. She was working up the right approach—and the nerve—to talk seriously.

It was still cool out, and they ran near the water, where the sand formed a firm, wet surface.

She was still reeling from her mother's announcement. She was actually going to sell the restaurant—and their home. She tried to imagine living away from their little cove.

She couldn't do it.

Tim was nice enough. It wasn't that. And she had no illusions—she would probably never do better. It was just that, well, she had never actually said "yes". She probably would have, sooner or later, but—to lose all this? The restaurant, the beach? And just when business was so much better.

Just when they had a real chance of making it go.

A wave washed up, chilling her bare feet. Her mother moved up the slope a bit, to keep her running shoes dry.

It was a technicality. She understood that. But maybe she wouldn't be feeling so, so whatever she was feeling, if Tim, or Mr. Hogan, or whoever, if they had only waited until she got a chance to make up her own mind. She had worked so hard, the last couple of years, trying to save the restaurant. She ought to be allowed to say "yes" or "no" to her own proposal, after all.

And she really liked running the place, whenever her Mom was gone. She was good at it.

Of course, she couldn't stay here forever, she knew that. She had to go to art school, get trained properly. You couldn't make it as an artist these days without training.

But she couldn't understand why her mother would give up the place so easily. There had to be some mistake.

When the wave retreated, her mother moved closer again.

Julie took a deep breath.

"Don't you love the beach in the morning? It's so beautiful here, so full of—of memories."

Ann smiled.

"Mr. Hogan would like to throw a party when we sign the papers on the sale."

"Mom, are you—are you completely sure you want to sell everything?"

"Absolutely. It would be a good time to announce your engagement to Tim."

"What would?"

"The party. You could announce your engagement there."

"I don't know. When is it?"

"Christmas Eve."

Julie frowned.

"Saturday? That's so soon. I need to talk to you about this, Mom. I'm not so sure…"

"Oh, come on, honey. It's just a party. I'm dying for everyone to know."

Another wave washed over Julie's feet. Her mother moved out of the way, again, then back as the wave washed out.

"What do you say, Sweetie?"

"Well, I guess they'll know sooner or later."

"Thanks, honey. It'll be the best party you ever had. I promise."