59 - Julie's Discovery

Submitted by Ken Watts on Fri, 03/30/2007 - 09:56
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Upstairs, Julie wandered down the hall toward Tim's room.

Mr. Hogan's house was as quiet as a museum, and the air conditioning brought out little goose bumps on her arms.

Poor Mr. Hogan didn't have a clue. You had to feel sorry for him—you had to.

He actually thought all that circus stuff would make the restaurant better. Of course, she felt bad about it—it had been part of her home for her whole life. Her mother had kept her in a playpen, in a corner of the kitchen, when she was a toddler.

She had worked her butt off, the last couple of years, to help save the place. Of course she hated to see it turned into an—an amusement park. But it wasn't Mr. Hogan's fault. The poor man just didn't know any better.

You had to feel sorry for him.

The bastard.

Tim's door was half open. She knocked lightly on the door jamb.

No answer.

"Tim?" she said.

Then louder.

"Tim?"

She pushed the door a little further open, and stuck her head in.

The room was empty—an unmade bed, clothes on the floor, a mess on the dresser—but no sign of Tim.

She turned to leave, but instead froze, motionless, in the doorway.

Something had caught her eye.

She wasn't sure she wanted to know what it was, but she couldn't bring herself to leave, either. She shivered from the air-conditioning, and unconsciously chewed on her upper lip.

Tim wasn't here, and she had no business snooping around his room. She would just go down now, and…

…and never know, for sure…

This was silly. If she really trusted him, she wouldn't be afraid to look.

She turned around, strode directly to Tim's night table, and picked it up.

It was a photograph, of a girl she didn't know, sitting in exactly the same place, exactly the same position, she had been sitting herself, when Tim had so suddenly proposed.