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Drama Fiction Romance

          For months the neighbor gossip mills operated at full tilt about the affair, or lack therof, between the ruggedly handsome Jason Hughes and the beautiful and sexy Karen Tollmyer.

       Of course, the pair kept throwing logs on the rumor fire when, for four weeks running, the deep, throaty sound of the young stud’s eight-cylinder Mustang pierced the peaceful ‘round midnight air of usually quiet Harpersville.

         Few in the capital of imaginative tale spinning doubted the word of the storytellers when they backed it up with tales of the porchlight illuminating the darkness in front of the blond’s 60s craftsman abode followed quickly by the flicking of the bedroom switch on the second floor.

          Several weeks before, passersby saw the young couple rushing out of the heavily-wooded state park just before dusk apparently out of breath with their clothing looking like it had gone through a wrestling match at Harpersville High.

        Another sighting had Jason and Karen making several trips to Jenkins upscale jewelry emporium before returning to the young woman’s home.

         Neighborhood tongues also wagged constantly about the young adults giggling loudly as they slammed the doors on the sports car and rushed into the house.

         Sounded like one of them laughing loudly and saying “she will not, in her wildest imagination believe this,” as they approached the front door.

         Around the Hughes’ neighborhood, rumors also circulated widely of Jason’s much more frequent trips to Ryan’s Liquors and loud shouting emanating from the voice of Jason’s fiancee Carey in the bedroom of the abode they shared on the edge of town during the few evenings he had spent in the home lately.

          Carey also had frequently complained to her neighbor Alisa Wood that the great amount of overtime he claimed to have worked at the mill in the last month did not appear to have yielded a great increase in what she saw of his bi-weekly paychecks.

              He also usually squirreled away some extra stash this time of year for one of the town’s most important social events.

              As it had for as long as anyone could remember, the town’s annual Founder’s Day Celebration had headed the list of almost everyone’s social agenda for six months preceding the gala. 

       This year didn’t seem any different than most, as couples and families from all around the community had carefully mapped out their plans to attend and bring with them the special dishes prepared by the chief cooks in each household.

           While few questions remained as the great event neared, the one outstanding mystery seemed to center around whether the Hughes entourage would include Jason’s long-time lady love or the woman frequently seen in his company for the last month.

            For as long as anyone could remember Karen always attended with her mother and contributed her legendary tuity-fruity cheesecake with a number of special ingredients, a dish that usually required several trips to the local green grocer and the town’s general store.

          Neither her mother nor any of the townsfolk had seen the young girl making these traditional excursions this year. She seemed to be more focused on her little getaways with the fiance of another.

         For the last several years, Carey had prepared a special annual special surprise dish for the gala event.

         This also had included several trips to a number of merchants from around the county hawking all types of fresh fruit and a number of other fixins either grown on the local farms or purchased at specialty shops a good driving distance away.

        This year no one could remember her taking any of those trips.  In fact, it looked like her choices centered on a dish which many believe always was best served cold.

         Rumors continued to fly around the town for several weeks about how the unusual happenings this year would affect the biggest day of the year. 

         Strangely though, other than the idle speculation spread by loose tongues, not one person could provide any solid evidence of anything but a platonic relationship between Jason and Karen.

         Jason’s co-workers said, contrary to his story about working overtime he had, in fact, left early a number of times during the last few months.

        Supposedly he had given the reason for this to their supervisor but had sworn the supervisor to secrecy about his departures.

         Another unusual occurrence, this one centering around the Founder’s Day event itself, puzzled a number of residents of the town.

         For at least 50 of the celebration’s 75 years, Joey Jay and His Hometowne Combo had provided the entertainment for the big dance on the last day of the gala.

         This year, Joey claimed he was totally booked for another event the same weekend as Founder’s Day even though town officials had approached him the year before to play at the gala.

         Finally, the big weekend dawned sunny and warm and all seemed primed for a great celebration despite the gray skies of foreboding that seemed to hang over the planned big goings-on.

         As usual, the Harpersville High Hoopers came booming down Main Street, county fair-type vendors displayed a large selection of traditional picnic offerings and children’s laughter permeated every corner of Main Street.

        Throughout the morning and during most of the afternoon, until families feasted on hot dogs, hamburgers and apple pie, all played out as it had for every year since the original Founder’s Day 75 years before.

        As residents and visitors entered the dance hall it seemed like the celebrations would come to a speedy end.

        Then, out of the back of the quiet ballroom, Joey Jay and his Hometown Combo held forth with “I Will Always Love You,” the Dolly Parton hit.

           Then, breaking through the startled crowd, Jason brought Carey to the front of the room, kissed her, knelt on one knee and proposed to her as the room erupted in applause.

           Turned out everyone had tiptoed around so the entire town could help the couple celebrate their second biggest day.

          Their biggest day came six months later as the town marked their wedding.

June 10, 2024 20:33

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1 comment

Kristi Gott
21:19 Jun 16, 2024

A delightful journey for the reader, with a light touch of mystery and suspense, and a happy ending! Well crafted and good writing style. Right on target for the prompt. An enjoyable read and well done!


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