Tuesday, November 25, 2014


"Have fun tonight?" The scratchy voice came out of the darkness, startling Stacy as she stepped out of the lobby doors of the Mission two hours later.
She exhaled loudly as Maggie stepped into the spill of light and winked at her. Tonight, the town's resident character wore a camouflage-patterned parka that hung on her like a tent, hiding her hands and going almost to her calves. Her purple scarf, hot pink leggings, and orange rubber boots were all in neon shades so bright, they seemed to glow with a light of their own.
"I swear, you get more fun out of scaring people than the sixth-grade boys in my class at church." Stacy glanced over her shoulder as the light cut in half. Paul Hunter waved to her, lifting his hand from the panel of master light switches in the lobby. The Mission was shutting down for the night. "Yeah, I had fun."
"You don't get near enough fun, from where I'm sitting." Maggie tipped her head in the direction of the sidewalk and fell into step with Stacy as she headed for the crosswalk.
"I don't--" She sighed. One thing she had learned a long time ago: never try to lie to her grandmother or to Maggie. They both had built-in lie detectors. "I'm too busy most of the time to miss it. The rest of the time, I'm too tired to care."
"Yeah, that's what you keep telling yourself." She looped her arm through Stacy's and they fell into step together. "Big noisy doings over at the Ashcrofts' place. How come you ain't there?"
"Because I was here tonight. You can't be two places at once." She was mostly pleased with the nearly flippant, carefree tone of her voice. Mostly. Stacy would have tried to toss her head, but it was hard when she had two scarves wrapped around her neck and her coat was so bulky she felt she had to turn her whole body to see in any direction other than forward.
"Don't you go lyin' to old Maggie. You shoulda been making those fancy froo-froo things with the nuts and the nets and plastic wedding bells."
"That's not what Dinah was--" She sighed.
Hearing about Gretchen's designs for the party favors for the reception had been the icing on the already painful, choking cake that landed on her, when she overheard that conversation at the store. Stacy had nearly shouted that no, Dinah wouldn't dare use what Gretchen wanted to use. She had known better. Dinah wanted something different.
But that was the problem -- Dinah had changed, and she did seem to want something different now. In friends and wedding reception decorations.
In eighth grade, Stacy and Dinah had designed their own party favors for their weddings. Dinah's favorite flavor was peach, so she had decided she would have little white porcelain doves and silver rings tied to peach candy sticks with "miles" of white ribbon. Stacy wasn't sure why she was so disappointed to think of Dinah not using that design. Everything else had changed since those fun days of dreaming, why not that, too?
           Maybe, she decided a moment later, she should be grateful. The thought of Gretchen making those party favors that Stacy had helped Dinah create all those years ago would have been unbearable.

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