Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages

Chapter Eight (part 2)

Katie left too, as soon as she had finished in the kitchen. She picked up the puppy for his evening walk and went down to Jericho Beach. She chose a path that turned away from the water and went uphill into the woods. After a short walk, she found the place she was looking for; the remains of an old house were just off the path and behind the bushes. Only the foundation walls were still standing, the rest of the building had tumbled in on itself many years ago. It was a very private place and Katie knew that anyone coming along the path wouldn't be able to see her. She wanted to be alone.

She untied the puppy from his leash and threw a stick for him, but she didn't pay too much attention to the game. She was too busy thinking about her problems. Everything was all wrong. It seemed that every time something good came along, something bad came along right after to spoil it. Even the fifty dollars from the lottery hadn't done her any good. How was she going to impress anyone now that it was gone? The $30.50 in the cigar box would be just barely enough to pay the newspaper company. There would only be two dollars left over and Gale got half of that. A dollar wouldn't impress Max at all. He'd just go right on thinking of her as a little kid and he'd go right on treating her like one. Katie didn't think she could stand that any longer. She didn't feel the least bit like a little kid on the inside anymore, but that didn't seem to matter. As long as everybody on the outside kept thinking of her that way, she was just going to be stuck with it.

The puppy came running back with a stick. He dropped it at Katie's feet and wagged his tail at her. "Oh it's okay for you, silly puppy," Katie told him, "All you have to worry about is chasing sticks." She picked up the stick and threw it again. The puppy dashed after it.

Just then, two people came along the path and stopped for a moment in front of the old building. Katie couldn't see them but their voices were familiar. Katie sneaked closer to the path and peeked through the bushes. It was Max and Ellie. Ellie was holding the letter Katie had seen earlier that morning. Max was pointing to it and smiling.

"So that's it for the divorce," he said. "You haven't told Gale yet?"

"No," said Ellie. "And I'd rather you didn't tell Katie either."

"No, I won't," said Max and he touched her arm. "It's all over now. You won't have to worry about Doug anymore. Everything's settled."

Ellie nodded. "I can hardly believe it. All that time, all that waiting and now it's finally over. It seems like a million years, but do you know what I think, Max? I think I'm in love again."

"You're never too old for that. Haven't I been telling you?" said Max. "Even at our age it can jump right back out at you again."

"Max, you're an old romantic," cried Ellie, and she took his hands and began to swing herself from side to side.

"Can't help myself," Max told her. "Being around you, it's catching."

"You're absolutely adorable," Ellie said, and she kissed him on the cheek. Max smiled and took her by the arm. They started off down the path and in a moment they were gone.

Katie sat very still. She couldn't believe it. Doug and Ellie were divorced; she had heard it herself. That letter she had seen earlier must have finalized it. Ellie had shown it to Max. Max was in love with Ellie, Ellie was in love with Max. She had heard every word they'd said to each other and she was certain it was true. And, if Doug had divorced Ellie, then that meant that Ellie and Max would be getting married.

Katie called the puppy and clipped his leash back onto his collar. She took him home and then walked slowly back to her own house. Nobody was there when she got home. Susie was still at the movies and Katie knew where Max was. She went straight to his dresser and got out the locket. She put it on. She closed her eyes and wished desperately. "It isn't true, it isn't true," she whispered to herself, but she had the terrible feeling that it was.

Katie took off the locket and shut it away in the dresser drawer. Everything was absolutely hopeless and she knew there was only one thing she could do. She'd have to run away. "I'll go to Victoria," she told herself. "I can stay at the hotel where Jim works."

She went straight back to her room, took out the cigar box, and dumped it onto the bed. Two quarters and thirty one dollar bills fell out. She shook her head. Thirty dollars and fifty cents wasn't enough to run away with. It wouldn't last for more than a week.

"I've got to think of a way to get more money fast," she thought in desperation. "I'll need at least a hundred."

Katie sighed. A hundred dollars seemed next to impossible. Then suddenly Katie smiled. It wasn't impossible at all. It might even be quite easy. She had won a hundred dollars in the lottery just last week, hadn't she? Why not again?

Katie picked up the money and ran out of the house. She hit all the milk stores up and down 4th Avenue. She didn't even pretend to buy milk this time. She just bought lottery tickets. In less than a half hour she was home again with thirty tickets for the Western Express. She put the tickets in the cigar box with the two quarters.

"At least I won't have to wait very long this time"' she told herself. "The draw is tomorrow night."

Then she remembered something. Half of the money she had spent was Gale's. "Whatever I win I'll split with her. I just hope she doesn't find out before tomorrow night."

But Gale did find out. She found out the next morning, after breakfast. When she came downstairs, Katie was in the bathroom. While she was waiting, Gale decided to count their money again just for fun. When she opened the cigar box she gasped. By the time Katie got there she was furious.

"You're a thief," she shouted as Katie walked into the room. "You're a crook and a creep and a dirty sneak. You're as bad as Brenda. You're worse than Brenda, twenty times worse. Brenda just steals from stores, but you steal from your friends."

Katie didn't know what to say. "It worked last time."

"That was different. That was just one ticket. This is thirty. This is crazy."

"It's not crazy," Katie told her. "We could win thousands of dollars, did you ever think of that?"

"We might not win anything. Did you ever think of that?" demanded Gale. "I just can't believe you did this to me," she continued. "We're supposed to be best friends and look at you. You steal all my money behind my back and go out and throw it away on a bunch of dumb lottery tickets. I worked hard for that money. I washed floors and windows, I swept garages and baby-sat and..."

"Don't worry Gale, these tickets are going to be winners," Katie assured her. "After tonight's draw you'll be thanking me."

"That's what you think now," said Gale. "But when all those tickets lose tonight, you'll be losing your best friend too."

"Listen Gale, you don't understand," Katie tried to tell her. "There's something you don't know. Your mother is..."

"I don't want to hear about my mother. Don't change the subject!" Gale told her angrily. "You stole my money, you stole it, and don't say you didn't."

She got a pencil and paper from the desk and started to write down all the numbers of the lottery tickets Katie had bought. "I'm going to watch that draw myself tonight and if we don't win something you'll be a creep forever as far as I'm concerned. And not only that, I'll never speak to you again. Not a single word. Not ever."

Gale threw the pencil at Katie and then she stomped down the hall and back upstairs. She slammed every door as she went through the house.

"Some friend she is," said Katie, putting away the cigar box. "What did I ever do to her? I'll tell you what I did to her, I won her fifty dollars, that's what I did. And I'll do it again, she'll see." Katie stuck her tongue out at the ceiling and started to pack. She decided that if Gale was going to be that way, then she didn't even care. She'd win the lottery and run away and it just wouldn't matter. "And I won't even give her a hint about dad and Ellie," she said to herself. "She can find out about that all by herself."

continue on to part three of Chapter Eight

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