Beautiful Dreamer

by Allen Morgan


no illustrations

nine chapters - 107 pages

Chapter Nine (part 2)

That night at dinner, Katie hardly talked at all, especially not to Gale. But Gale didn't seem to notice. She was too busy talking to Max. Max was very busy talking to her, too. He kept teasing Gale about the surprise that was coming. Gale couldn't seem to guess what it was.

"Is it something nice?" she kept asking.

"Oh I think you'll think so," said Max. "If you don't think so, then I think I'll eat my feet and chew my shoes."

"Then I won't think so on purpose," laughed Gale. "I'd like to see you do that."

Katie thought the whole thing was pretty dumb but she wasn't talking to Gale so she couldn't tell her. She was furious with her father for joking around with Gale so much. Even if he was Gale's stepfather now, it still wasn't fair. Katie thought he should pay attention to her too. "He was my father first," she thought, but she knew it probably didn't matter anymore. Things were going to be different now. It was pretty obvious, Gale would get the best of everything.

"I'll bet dad likes her better than me anyway," Katie thought. "Now that he's married to Ellie he can spend all the time he wants with her and nobody can say anything. Ellie will be the same way too even if she pretends to be nice. Gale's her own daughter so I won't count. The whole thing makes me sick."

Katie looked at Susie and made a face. Susie seemed to be enjoying all the jokes between Max and Gale. Katie decided that Susie probably liked Gale better, too. It made Katie so mad that she decided to give Susie the same silent treatment she was giving Gale. Then she decided not to speak to Max either. All in all there didn't seem to be much point in talking to anybody.

When dinner was over Katie cleared the table. Susie went to the fridge and got out a bottle of champagne. Max whistled when he saw it. "That's imported," he said. "It must have cost a fortune."

"Over twenty-five dollars," said Susie. "It took most of my tips for the week but I figured, what the heck, if you're going to celebrate you might as well do it right. We won't have another occasion like this again." She set the bottle down on the table next to Max.

"Get some glasses, will you Katydid?" Max asked her. "Six-of them."

While Katie got them Max made a quick phone call upstairs. "Everything's all set," he said into the phone. "Five minutes." He hung up and leaned over to Gale. He gave her a big wink. "Only five more minutes to the big surprise."

"Was that my mother? Is she bringing it?" asked Gale.

"She's bringing the surprise all right, just wait till you see what it is."

Max pulled out the cork with a loud pop and then he poured champagne into all six glasses. He handed them around the table but when he was done there were still two left.

Gale pointed to them. "You've got too many," she told him.

Max just laughed. "I've got the right number for the surprise. In a few moments there'll be a knock on the back door and we can all drink a toast."

"Not me," said Katie to herself. "I think I'll just pour mine down the sink. That'll show them."

But at the same time, she was a little curious to know who the extra glass was for. Someone was upstairs with Ellie, but who was it? She thought for a moment and made a guess.

"I'll bet it's Jim," she told herself. "Dad probably phoned him today and he came home for the wedding..."

But Katie was wrong. It wasn't Jim. A few moments later the back door opened and there was Ellie. She was holding hands with Gale's father, Doug. Ellie was blushing, Doug was grinning. They both looked very happy.

"Surprise," cried Max, and he raised his glass to give Ellie and Doug a toast. "To the happy couple. Now that they're back together, I say let them stay that way." He winked and drank his champagne.

Gale just sat and stared at Doug with her mouth wide open. So did Katie, she couldn't believe it either. Doug and Ellie were supposed to be divorced. Max and Ellie had just gotten married. Or had they? Suddenly Katie realized that things were not at all the way she thought they were.

Max and Ellie weren't the least bit married. It was all just a story she had made up inside her head. Katie smiled. She quickly looked over at Max and Susie. They were smiling, too. So was Gale. She had just realized that everything was going to be okay.

"Daddy," shouted Gale, "You've come home," and she jumped up from her place at the table. Her chair fell over backwards but she didn't notice. She just ran straight into her father's arms. And that's exactly what Katie did also; only she ran to Max instead.

"You didn't get married after all," she cried as she hugged him.

"Get married!" exclaimed Max. "Who said anything about that?"

"You did," Katie told him. "I thought you were getting married to Ellie."

Everyone laughed as Katie explained all her mistakes, and Katie was so happy with the way things had turned out that she laughed most of all. When she finally sorted everything out it was really quite simple.

The letter that Katie had seen on Tuesday was from Doug all right, but it didn't say anything about a divorce. It was to ask Ellie if he could come home again. Ellie had been talking about being in love with Doug when Katie had overheard her. Katie had jumped to all the wrong conclusions. Max and Ellie were just good friends. Max had only taken her out to dinner on Thursday night to celebrate Doug's return. They had sneaked away because Ellie didn't want to tell Gale until she was sure everything was going to work out. They hadn't told Katie about any of it either because they knew that she was Gale's best friend and would have to tell her. Max had driven Ellie to the airport that morning, not to the church, the way Katie had supposed. Max wasn't involved at all. Katie had been wrong about everything.

Katie was so glad to have her father back again that she didn't notice when Ellie came over and sat down in the chair beside her. Ellie finally had to tap her on the shoulder to get her attention. When Katie turned around the first thing she saw was the small golden locket. Ellie had taken if off and was holding it out to Katie.

"I've been wearing this for the last few days," Ellie told her quietly. "I wanted to ask you if it was all right, but I couldn't give away the secret. I was so nervous about everything that Max said I should borrow it for luck. He said it used to belong to your mother and that he was saving it until you were older. I wanted to make sure you got it back before you worried about it. I know how much it must mean to you."

Katie didn't know what to say. She suddenly felt so happy that she couldn't get any of the right words to come out. So she just gave Ellie a big hug and tried not to cry. Then everyone had a wonderful time, sipping champagne and talking over old times. Katie and Gale even decided to forget their quarrels and be best friends again. Katie said she was sorry about buying all the lottery tickets and promised she would never do it again.

"You can buy one sometimes," Gale told her, "so long as you don't get thirty of them."

"Oh I won't," promised Katie. "The only trouble is we don't have any money left in the cigar box and we have to pay $28.50 to the newspaper company again on Monday. They'll probably fire us for not being able to pay."

"Don't worry about that," laughed Gale. "I'm still rich. We'll have more than enough after I cash in my bus ticket for Calgary. It looks like I won't have to use it now." She took her father's hand and gave it a squeeze.

"We better be getting home," he said, and soon afterwards Doug and Ellie and Gale went upstairs together.

continue on to part three of Chapter Nine

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