Gail leaned forward and strained her eyes in the moonlight to locate her friend Maggie’s house. “This must be it,” she said as she parked the vehicle in front of a Victorian with a white, picket fence. Wood smoke, mingled with the chilly October air, enveloped her while she stood and relished the view.
What an elegant house and pleasant evening for a surprise baby shower. Maggie described ornate furnishings and the various rooms she has decorated. I can’t wait to see inside.
Maggie’s husband, Brad, had taken her to a movie to give Gail and a few of the other women in their Sunday school class time to decorate the parlor. They were due back in an hour, 8 P.M.
Gail removed the packages from the car, walked up wooden steps to a well-lit wrap-around porch, and rang the doorbell. No one answered the unlocked door; she turned an ornate knob, and entered the parlor. Moonlight shone through the lace-covered windows creating ominous shadowed walls.
How spooky, she thought as she flicked on the light switch.
“Abby, Jan, anyone here?” Gail called as she turned on lights and strolled through the house admiring the wallpaper, antique rugs, and lamps. She placed the cake, bag of decorations, and gifts on the kitchen table and turned her attention to an antique cook stove in light green enamel.
“Wow, how beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like this but I thought the range was two-tone pink with a double oven; this is green with one oven. Hmm...I’m sure I heard her right.”
A noise came from the front of the house. She rushed to the parlor, scanned the room, and observed an overturned picture frame on a side table. It held a photo of an elderly woman.
I wonder who she is. I’ve met Maggie’s Grandma Miller and Brad’s Grandma Clark.
A large black cat ran across the room, meowed, and jumped upon the settee.
“Hello, Midnight.” “Climbed any trees lately?”
The cat hissed as she petted him, sprung behind the settee, and ran toward the dining room.
It’s getting late. Where is everyone? I’ll call Abby after the table is set.
Fifteen minutes later she had removed dessert plates, silverware, and an exquisite lace tablecloth from a bureau and placed them on the large parlor table. Gail set the cake in the middle along with a ceramic baby girl in a bassinet with a lamb lying beside it inscribed, “Jesus Loves Me.”
The room will look prettier when the balloons and streamers are added.
A melodic chime came from the door. Oh, they’re here. Gail opened the door to see Abby and a woman she had never met. They stared at the prepared table.
“Well, thank goodness you’re here to help me finish decorating, Abby. I wonder where the others are,” she said glancing outside.
“Gail, what are you doing in this house? Maggie lives across the street. By the way, this is Pam, she lives here.”
“Hi Gail, I’m glad to meet you,” Pam snickered. “Don’t worry, I’m not mad, I should have locked the door. Thankfully, it was you and not a robber.”
“Huh?” Gail’s mouth flew open; she stared at Pam and Abby for several seconds before replying. “Hi... Pam, I’m sorry, I can’t believe I did something so dumb. Brad told me it was a Victorian house; I assumed this was it with the door unlocked.”
“I told the others it was unlike you to be late. The phone was in my hand to call you when Pam noticed lights on here. I peered through the window and saw your car.
Let’s hurry and gather everything, we don’t have much time to decorate, Brad and Maggie will be home in twenty minutes.” Abby said, as the black cat leapt upon the settee.
“Sammy, keep off the couch,” Pam said placing him on the floor.
“He’s another reason I thought I was at the right house. Maggie has a black cat named Midnight, Pam.”
“Yes, I know. They don’t get along,”
“Okay, I think we have everything, let’s go,” said Gail as she opened the front door. “I’ll never live this down; I’ll be the target of jokes for years.”
“Maybe not for years, but I am sure it will be for months to come,” said Abby, as she and Pam laughed.
“Ha-ha, very funny.”
“Oops, I almost forgot,” said Pam as she turned around and locked the door.
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