Victoria walked into the restaurant depressed. Today was her birthday. She wasn’t a child anymore but she thought that number 40 might be a big deal. It was to her. She assumed that her co-workers would at least throw her some cheesy office party, but nothing happened. No one even wished her a happy birthday.
She expected her brother Tony to call her later. He never failed her. He could always be counted on. At least she had that to look forward to.
What a rotten birthday, alone and forty. She sighed as she looked through the menu. She’d made reservations at Trolley’s before she left the office. If no one was going to celebrate her birthday with her then she would celebrate it by herself. She was regretting her decision, wishing that she’d stayed home instead, where she could watch Casablanca and eat ice cream.
“Excuse me Ma’am, telephone,” the waiter whispered. He touched her elbow breaking her attention from the menu.
“Oh… no. You must have the wrong person,” she laughed, a little embarrassed.
“Is your name Victoria York?”
“Yeah,” she said curiously.
“Then you have a phone call, if you would just follow me.” He said politely, still holding her elbow.
“Is this some kind of joke?”
“No joke, Miss York,” The dark haired waiter chucked. “You really do have a telephone call. You can take it in the lounge. It’s this way.” He gestured with his arm.
“Do you know who it is?”
“No Ma’am. I can’t say that I caught his name.”
“His! Now I know this is a joke. What exactly is going on here?” She demanded.
“Ma'am, I assure you that I don’t know. I was told that a Victoria York had a phone call in the lounge. That’s all.”
She rose to her feet reluctantly. She glanced around the restaurant for familiar faces. Seeing no one that she knew, she tried to take a step but couldn’t, her shoes felt like they were filled with lead.
“I don’t believe you. Something is wrong. This… this is not right. Nobody knows that I’m here.” Her voice trembled almost in panic.
“Nobody!” She cried out, louder than she would have liked.
Now everyone was looking at her. She almost bolted for the door. She certainly would have if her feet didn’t feel like cement blocks.
“It’s okay Miss York. I believe the gentleman said he was your brother.”
“My brother!” she exclaimed. “Now I know that you’re lying. Who put you up to this? My brother is stationed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Mediterranean Sea, halfway around the world and there is no way on God’s green earth that he knows that I’m here!” She was glaring at him now.
“Ma’am, I’ll just go tell him that you’re not here. That will solve both of our problems.”
“You just do that.”
He turned and walked away. Whether it was her anger or just the pure oddity of the situation, she wasn’t sure, but she picked up her purse and followed him into the lounge. She thrust the door open with the palms of her hands and looked wildly around for the waiter.
Voices cheered as she stepped through the door. Before she had time to fully understand what was happening, Tony was standing in front of her with a big goofy grin on his face.
“Gotcha!” He taunted.
Her face turned bright red as she realized that she’d been taken for a ride, and a good one.
“What in the world? Tony? How did you…?”
“Not important. Happy Birthday, Sis. It was made possible with a little help from your friends, mainly Brenda, who is single and quite charming, I might add.”
“Single and charming, huh? Try dead and buried.”
“Obviously she’s not amused!” Tony shouted.
Brenda flung her arms around her. “Forgive me?”
“Never! You guys really pulled it off didn’t you? All day I’ve been waiting for a card or a measly happy birthday from ONE OF YOU,” she pointed and glared at all of them in the room.
“You guys let me go on thinking I was celebrating my birthday alone. Do you know how depressed I felt? Now I need therapy.”
She stomped her feet, burst into tears and laughed all at the same time. Everyone started singing Happy Birthday. She hugged Brenda and then Tony. He definitely got her.
It was the best birthday ever.
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