“I think it’s so great that you still have your grandparents,” Tiffany said to Todd as they walked up the steps to his Uncle Steve’s home. “And a family that gets along so well — not everyone has that.”
Todd nodded. “Yeah, we have a lot of reasons to be thankful. We’ve been able to celebrate Grandma’s birthday every year, but this one will be the party to end all parties.” Todd and his wife were joining the family this evening to plan some last-minute details of Grandma’s eightieth birthday coming up in four days.
Uncle Steve opened the door just as Todd reached toward the doorbell. “Hello, nephew. Hi Tiffany. Glad you could make it. Come on in. Darryl, Jenny and Jim, Matt and Shelby are here already.”
Tiffany glanced at Todd and he whispered in her ear. “You’ll remember Matt & Shelby when you see them. He’s Uncle Steve’s son; they were at our wedding, but moved to BC two months later. Jenny is Aunt Joyce’s daughter; she and Jim live in Nova Scotia.”
Aunt Cassie swished by in her long dark skirt. “I’ve set out punch and snacks on the kitchen counter. Help yourselves when you’re ready.”
Todd and Tiffany walked into the living room and exchanged hugs and greetings with his brother Darryl and the cousins gathered there.
Jenny gave Tiffany a big hug, saying “Now I finally get to meet Todd’s wife. Welcome to the family. I see you two are being fruitful and multiplying. Congratulations.”
“Thank you,” said Tiffany. “I’ve really enjoyed being a part of your family and am looking forward to meeting the rest at Grandma’s party.”
“We all are. But are you going to be there? Mom tells me your baby’s due in a couple of weeks — which means any day now.”
“I hope Junior can wait a bit — at least until the next day!”
“Yeah,” said Todd. “We’d be disappointed to miss Grandma’s big do. Mind you, not TOO disappointed.” He put his arm around Tiffany and winked at Jenny. “If we’re in on another birthday party instead.”
Jim laughed. “You wouldn’t want to miss that one, I’m sure.”
Todd grinned, then glanced back at Jenny again. “Your Mom not here yet?”
Jenny shook her head. “I don’t know what’s keeping her. Your Dad and Mom are coming, too, aren’t they?”
Todd shrugged. “I’m sure they will. I thought they’d even beat us here.”
Jenny frowned. “You know, Todd, I’m getting wind of a little difference of opinion between my mom and your dad. I heard her talking on the phone yesterday evening — I think it was to Uncle Brian — and she seemed pretty upset about something. I’m hoping this blows over and doesn’t spoil Grandma’s special day.”
Todd’s brows arched. “My folks haven’t said anything to me. Can’t imagine what they’d quarrel about – especially right now.”
“Well, your dad can be pretty stuck on his own ideas sometimes.”
Todd bristled. “If I recall correctly, Aunt Joyce can be pretty insistent at times, too.” Tiffany nudged his arm.
“Well, yes, she can. I have to admit that.”
Aunt Cassie caught the last part of this conversation in passing. “I hope they can set aside their differences for Grandma’s sake. I’ve been looking in on her more lately; it seems she’s not as strong as she used to be. I was surprised how pale she looked last week.”
Jim nudged his wife. “Here’s your mom now.”
They all looked out and saw Joyce get out of her car, holding a cell phone to her ear. She appeared to be having an angry conversation with someone, waving her arms at times.
“I hope she wasn’t talking like that while driving.” Jim’s tone was reproachful.
“And here come Brian and Sylvie,” said Cassie as Todd’s father and mother got out of their car and stood on the street.
“Dad’s talking on his phone, too.” Todd saw his father run his hand through his hair impatiently. “He seems pretty upset. Why aren’t they coming in?”
“You don’t suppose they’re talking to each other, do you?” Tiffany asked.
Todd frowned. “When they’re only fifty feet apart?”
“I hope not,” Jim added. “They both look like tornadoes about to touch down on someone. Maybe us.”
They watched Joyce shut her phone with a snap and stuff it in her purse. She shot an angry glance at her brother, then hurried toward the house. Aunt Cassie rushed to open the door.
Todd’s father shut his phone at the same moment and rammed it into his pocket. He turned to his wife to discuss something with her.
Joyce charged into the house. Her eyes fastened on Todd and she hissed, “Your father is a pig-headed imbecile!”
Jaws dropped all over the room. Aunt Cassie gasped. But before anyone could answer, the door banged open and Brian marched in, his trembling wife in tow.
To be continued…
This is Part One of my reply to the Write 101 Day Fourteen challenge:
Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force. How does that make you feel?